“A Master Class in Gremlin-Taming” by Rick Carson

Subtitle: The Absolutely Indispensable Next Step for Freeing Yourself from the Monster of the Mind

Rick Carson’s prior book Taming Your Gremlin was transformative for me. “Simply notice” and “Play with options” have become touchstones in my own process.

Based on the title and subtitle of this book, I had high expectations.

Those expectations would have been better met if the title were “A Followup Seminar in Gremlin-Taming.” It gathers a series of informative articles on the topic, offering useful techniques in a commanding style. I would dispense with the subtitle altogether.

Advice for clear communication with yourself or others:

  • Simply Notice
  • Describe
  • Hush
  • Breathe
  • Listen

I like “Hush” as the middle step. It includes an expectant silence, as well as ceasing to speak. It evokes the natural world at evening for me, too.

Some types of disrespectful communication:

  • Overexplaining
  • Talking about someone instead of talking to him/her
  • Rushing to share a parallel experience
  • Interrupting
  • Habitual lateness
  • Not returning phone calls or emails within 24 hours
  • Not acknowledging acts of kindness
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Mumbling
  • Fidgeting
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Being phony
  • Sarcasm
  • Doing more than one thing in any breath’s worth of time
  • Asumming tha tthere is an unalterable truth and that you are the bearer of it
  • Huffing, puffing, and rolling of eyes
  • Inflection and intonation that implies that your comment could well end with “Stupid,” even though you’re not saying it
  • Spinning on one’s heels, storming off, and slamming doors and/or cabinets.

Seeing overexplaining at the top of that list was validating for me, since I’d just had several encounters with Overexplainers. At the same time, some of the list reads like a letter from a frustrated parent to a teenager.

The most useful tip for me was to accentuate what is already happening. Make those shoulders even more tight, rather than trying to make them open and relax. It’s a great way to stop fighting what is.

I highly recommend the first book, Taming Your Gremlin. Pick this one up for some extra tips, and a few stories from Rick Carson’s life.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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