What a Gem

Thoughts to Contemplate by Dr. Luann Robinson Hull

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Maximize Your Happiness Potential

happy gear brain image

“…The desire for happiness is essential to man. It is the motivator of all our acts. The most venerable, clearly understood, enlightened, and reliable constant in the world is not only that we want to be happy, but that we want only to be so.”—Matthieu Ricard

There is an endless supply of resources on how to follow the yellow brick road to happiness. And in recent years, the scientific community has jumped on board fortifying us with impressive data providing empirical evidence to show that we as a species have been hardwired to operate from a foundation of happiness and well-being (Happily Ever After…Right Now, prologue xxx). All we have to do to create that possibility for ourselves is to to focus on training the area of our brain already blueprinted to strengthen our happiness potential. This region is called the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). It governs thinking and emotion and also has been shown to support us in having more empathic responses, which evoke feelings of loving compassion, heightened social awareness, and increased sensitivity to the moment.

The ACC’s job is to utilize a specific neuron unique to humans. This neuron is stimulated to increase in supply when a positive or neutral response eclipses a negative reaction to an emotional trigger —even if it is just taking a breath or two. The stock continues to multiply with every nanosecond you choose not to fight (or flee). As these “happy,” calming neurons develop momentum they can eventually provide enough gusto to balance out the effect of the unruly cascade of neurochemicals designed for your survival, originating from a different region in your head. As this development is unfolding, your brain states are being altered by a process called neuroplasticity. Therefore, you can run your own programs rather than having your programs run you. It just takes some determination. And, your rising band of will power, will definitely support you in the process of this peace-making between the back (reptile) and the front (reason) of your head.

We are fundamentally primates with an endless supply of distractions and possible triggers. We will lose the keys, forget people’s names, and falsely perceive situations by making assumptions based on our emotional sensitivity, all of which is repeatedly re-enforced by any current triggers. Science now demonstrates that until we decide to clear the festering wounds of yesteryear by being available to resolve and balance whatever is out of whack right now, this dilemma will persist.

We are each likely a product of survival strategies, which hide out in our unconscious psyche. These habituated ways of coping most always originate from woundedness—something hurt us and we developed tactics to protect ourselves from future, similar pain. Conditioned beliefs, actually begin to form patterns of behavior that take root in our subconscious data-bank, where ninety-five percent of our actions, words, and deeds live (according to Bruce Lipton, Cellular Biologist). Until it is held in check, this subterranean belief system will repeatedly distort your reality through the lens of fear and insufficiency because it “thinks” it has to do this in order to keep you alive.

“All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble…They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This outgrowing proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the person’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge”—Carl Gustov Jung.

And so how can we upgrade our operating system to a “broadened outlook” where seemingly “insoluble problems” and life dramas will “lose their urgency?” Abraham Maslow, famed humanistic psychologist, referred to this state of expanded consciousness, as “self-actualization” where we are operating on all cylinders, fortified by the stronger life urge that strengthens our most optimal potential (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-actualization).

Of course, in order to fully support this “life urge” you have to be willing to keep unraveling the complicated system that responds to your upsets. Therefore, when you are triggered by a high intensity event, it is vital that you get some distance between you and what happened before your conscious mind is hijacked by the limbic system, “whose” agenda it is to repeatedly override your ability to reason. By strengthening your consciousness, you are countering your deeply entrenched conditioning to survive. You are programming your brain to recognize that the defensiveness, which your initial reaction will evoke, is likely going to cause the very harm you are trying to prevent. Here is an example:

You are at a traffic light turning left. You are late to an appointment. You have patiently awaited your turn. The moment has arrived. You make your move. Out of nowhere, a little red corvette cuts in front of you. You snap and yell obscenities at the driver, only to find just following the release of your expletive, that the one behind the wheel is your boss.

Admittedly, stopping to take a breath under such circumstances is not easy work, though clearly it would have been the better choice in this scenario. It is now being proven scientifically that your conscious choices will not only improve your interactions with others, but will also liberate your biology to such a degree that you can eventually emancipate yourself from suffering altogether.

What are the tools that will support you in the process of actuating the grandest version of yourself? You can start by taking a breath the next time you are triggered, and then another. If you do not already have a practice, consider beginning some type of formal meditation (mental focus). Here is a link to support you in getting started: http://zenhabits.net/meditation-for-beginners-20-practical-tips-for-quieting-the-mind/ . In addition, please find more information here on the effects of meditation regarding the anterior cingulate cortex.


Meanwhile, my esteemed colleague, Dr. Jean Watson, and I will be offering a full day workshop on in depth methods for changing your biological destiny (briefly discussed here) with specific practices. This promises to be a life changing event. Click here for more information and to register.

Hope to see you there!

Believing in you!




The Joy of Reconnection

Dear Friends,

Happy summer!

joy of reconnection image

It has been a while since I have been in touch. Even so, much has been percolating over the winter months. Our “Happily Team” is gearing up to launch the sequel to Happily Ever After…Right Now which is titled, Self-Belonging. The plan is for this book to hit Amazon and bookstore shelves some time before the holiday season. We will keep you informed about the timing. I am so excited about this material as it is a complementary expansion to Happily while being a cutting edge resource to support you on your path to full-on self-actualization. Meanwhile, in preparation for the launching, my team has updated our website, and social media tools, along with putting together some talks and gatherings on the subjects covered in the Happily and Self-Belonging material.

Self-Belonging dives fully into the study of human consciousness, happiness, and well-being, while exploring information on how to move into an expanded level of consciousness. In such a state, problems and disturbances will lose their grip on you. Instead, you will be inspired to broaden your outlook to the extent that what matters to you most is how you can fulfill your destiny. And when you are focusing on your life-purpose, you will have no more time for dramas, debacles, and concerns about what you don’t yet have. Instead, you will be concentrating on what you came here to offer (rather than what you can get). And in such a state, you will begin to see all of the people, places, circumstances, and events that you could possibly imagine, show up to support you. If you are not quite “there” yet, the information in Self-Belonging can serve as an important resource and guide. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile please check out my most recent Huffington Post blog, which provides some pointers on the subject of revolutionizing your consciousness.


If you are in the Aspen area (if not make plans to come!) don’t miss an extraordinary weekend event, which I have had the privilege to assist in launching. For information and registration, please go to:  http://davinikent.com/2014/05/07/making-leap-interspirituality-sacred-earth-global-shift/?month=jun&yr=2014#

jean watson logo and linkI am also most privileged to offer a one day Immersion/workshop with my esteemed colleague, Jean Watson, Dean Emerita of the University of Colorado School of Nursing.

Caring Science: Sacred Wisdom of Lovingkindness, Compassion & Forgiveness

 July 9, 2014 | Boulder, CO

This event promises to be life changing with some magical surprises and guest appearances!
Please see the link below for information on registration (register before June 6 and receive a discount!)

register here image and link



Good news! My new website is live! This site is where future blogs will originate. Please check it out and feel free to leave a comment.  http://luannrobinsonhull.com/

Thanks for your loyalty and interest! Believing in you!




Grateful for You

Thankful for the Gift of Sight

Thankful (Photo credit: AGrinberg)

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, I wanted to let you know of my feelings of gratitude for all of you. I so appreciate the many comments and responses to our gems and cannot tell you how inspiring each and every one of you is in my life.

One of you wrote this to me after my last gem:

 “I am deeply thankful that neuroscience now shows us the positive brain evidence, that supports choice versus fight or flight and to nurture self is the key to our new evolution as human BEINGS.”

I loved this woman’s insights reminding me that many of you “out there,” are making note, like those of us on the Happily team, that we have a plethora of choices on how we can decide to respond to life.

The thesis of Happily Ever After…Right Now is that happiness is an internal job, though the discovery process can be easily log jammed by beliefs and triggers that can certainly “trip-wire” our happiness potential. The work and research that we do on the Happily team is all about helping you to negotiate those log jams and the experiences that result when we do get tripped up by our experiences of people, places, circumstances, or events.

For those of you who have read and are familiar with the material in the book, you know that it is divided into three parts:

  • Education: To offer a fundamental historical and scientific perspective on why you repeat certain behavioral patterns, even if they don’t serve you or your growth
  • Awareness: To support you in being aware of what you are doing, so that you can strengthen the behaviors of your choosing
  • Transformation: to offer tools for completely transcending your outdated ways of operating while moving fully into your Happily Ever After…Right Now.” (page xl prologue)

As a gift to you and those you love or would like to reach out to, I am offering the kindle version of Happily at a very special price for a limited time offer.

November 29 thru December 5, 2013:
99 cents!

Happily Book Cover

Click here to take advantage of this offer.

Enjoy! Meanwhile, remember I am grateful for you!




It was a Soulful Weekend…


Thanks to all who participated in the Immersion weekend offered by Jess Jacobsen and me last weekend in Carbondale, Colorado. We did some inner exploration around our soul’s purpose and how to unlock our limitless potential, and it was exhilarating!  The mixture of lecture and practice turned out to be a winning combination that resonated with our lovely gathering of beautiful souls!

For those of you who couldn’t be there, we spent time together reviewing some of our “inner workings,” looking at why and how we get triggered, which hijacks or log-jams our peace and creative potential.  As neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux points out,

“human consciousness is the way it is because of the way our brains operate…emotions evolved not as conscious feelings, linguistically differentiated or otherwise, but as brain states and bodily responses….(and so)… Where is evolution taking our brain?”

Deutsch: Phrenologie

Deutsch: Phrenologie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As it stands now, we are not very effective at turning off our emotional states once they are triggered. The good news is that it has been proven that through the strengthening of cortical connections to certain areas of our brains, we can begin to condition ourselves to start to step back and take a breath away from our emotional states, reducing the amount of charge these emotions can cause.

That’s great, Luann. But… huh? How do we strengthen those connections in our brains?

We do this by practicing mental focus (another proven fact). There are a plethora of ways that we can engage in these practices, including meditation, yoga, conscious walking, and more.

If you are inclined, please take some time this week to explore how your days are unfolding. Are you taking some time for yourself…I mean just for you?  Do you have a regular time set aside to renew and recharge? Have you considered or are you engaged in a daily meditation practice? Are you exploring your life purpose…and taking some moments to reflect on what you want…how you can serve? Just checkin…

Let’s hold hands and stick together. Believing in you!



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Broadening Our Outlook


Changes (Photo credit: prayerfriends)

It seems like there is some pretty significant turmoil in the world–people having trouble getting along–from the personal to the global level. Women want one thing in a relationship–men want another. The Republicans have a position–and so do the Democrats. As humans, we just plain struggle to get past our own stubborn stand on things–our feelings of righteous indignation. Why is it so hard for us to move into states of compassion and empathy for the other guy/gal? Why does our positionality laced with its fears and insecurities, so often have a stronger voice than a compassionate, loving heart?

I am no newcomer to the planet and I have been studying human behavior for over twenty-five years. I gotta tell ya, people. I am pretty frustrated. Why aren’t we making more progress? When I take off my rose colored glasses and really look at the state of humanity, I definitely see the deep threads of evil sprinkled everywhere. None of us is immune from it-both from exhibiting it ourselves and also being the unhappy recipients. We are all capable of demonstrating the most heinous deeds of hatred just the same as we can choose to offer acts of compassion from an open, magnanimous, and loving heart.  The following quote from Carl Gustov Jung, the famous Swiss Psychiatrist, who introduced spirituality and consciousness to western psychology states:

“All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble…They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This outgrowing proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the (persons) horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.”Carl Jung

Do we really want to continue letting the challenges of life, the triggers that dig into the ditches of our heads, get the best of us? Or do we want to transcend the tendency to be driven by these unconscious patterns? I believe we each have the ability to reboot our brains and change the age-old propensity to react from fear and “urgency.” And it takes self love, courage and commitment to make those changes.

Please join Jessica Jacobson, ABT, and me this coming November 9-10 in examining the possibilities for emphasizing that “stronger life urge” in an immersion in Carbondale, CO. We will enjoy this time well-spent… together.  Jessica and I will apply our combined wisdom to support you as you strengthen your emotional intelligence and expand fully into “a new level of consciousness.” And this is where the seemingly “insoluble problems” of life will fade and eventually disappear. Show yourself how valuable you are. Treat yourself to this and join us!

Believing in you and us!




Taking the Road Less Traveled by

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference” — Robert Frost

AspenFallIt is getting to be late in the season and the gondola that I use for transport down the mountain after a hike will soon be shutting down, so, I decided to go on another hike this morning.

Today, I decided to take the “road less traveled by” so I could discuss the topic of resistance first-hand with you.  Since our discussion last time was on courage, I thought it might be appropriate to explore the subject of resistance or avoiding the inclination to give into fear and taking the path of least resistance.

There are several ways to go up the steep incline (Aspen Mountain) which continues to be my training ground on so many levels—physically, spiritually, emotionally.  And the route I chose today, being the steepest, is no exception.  When I arrived at the crossroads (which I have filmed in the video below), I saw that the path up Copper (going left, or the steeper choice) was almost completely overgrown with weeds and prickly, thorny bushes. I really had to re-think my choice. There were hidden potholes, thorns, and other unpleasantries, which would have to be negotiated if I persisted. I was literally going to have to blaze my own trail. And yet, I had made a commitment to you (even though you didn’t know it) that I was going this way. How else was I going to make my point?

Entropy: The Human Enemy—“…the force that holds us back from spiritual evolution”—Scott Peck

In his legendary book, The Road Less Traveled, the late Scott Peck discusses the subject of entropy (laziness) which he says is “…the only impediment to spiritual growth.”  He goes on to offer that our failure to conduct a “true internal debate,” on which path to take (in any given scenario) and becoming skilled at identifying the Wise Internal Voice (God)—is the true human challenge/dilemma. “Generally,” says Peck, “if we do seriously listen we will most always find ourselves taking the more difficult path—the path of more effort.”


If you are unable to see the video box above, click this link: http://youtu.be/8wh97xudvrE

This week, I’d like you to notice what you are resisting. Have an internal debate or inquiry on what is really going on. And, incidentally, have you considered starting or deepening your meditation practice? Research continues to show that with meditative techniques, you will strengthen the parts of your heart-brain connection that will support you in considering the “road less traveled.” Here is an interesting link to contemplate on the subject: http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases/2013/Anxious_Activate_Your_Anterior_Cingulate_Cortex_With_a_Little_Meditation.htm 

In order to prepare ourselves… to even be willing to go on that less traveled road, we have got to calm down, people!

We are a stressed out, highly strung, over-functioning culture. So… let’s find some ways to chill!

Believing in you/us!



Image Credit: Lisa Jey Davis (c) 2005


Courage! A Labor of Love

In my last message, Taking Back Our Emotional Wellbeing, I talked about proven ways to interrupt the brain’s conditioned mechanism to “emotionally hi-jack” us, when we get triggered–a coping mechanism which has actually been dialed into our programming to keep us alive throughout our evolutionary development.

As we continue to learn, some of our conditioned fears and the responses caused by these are no longer useful—at least when they cause more harm than good—like running around your back hand in tennis—or, consider this: Suppose you have had a life-long fear of heights for whatever reason (like me). And, for the last 11 years, you have been living in an alpine town, filled with hiking trails, cliffs, ski-mountains, and a multitude of exceedingly high places. What are your choices? You could most definitely avoid direct contact and just enjoy viewing the scenery—certainly a valid and understandable choice. Or, you could make a decision to use the proximity of these mountains as an opportunity to break through some of your fears.

What I have found is that the more I am willing to approach something that scares me (within reason–I mean–no need to test out the theory on a bear or mountain lion)—the more I am able to release the grip of fear’s hold on me. Hiking in the mountains of Colorado has definitely changed me on many levels—no doubt about it. When I came here over a decade ago, I was terrified to go up even the most benign of trails. Nine years in, my son took me on an amazing adventure—the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, where I was the first in our group to summit a peak of 13,900 feet (maybe not a big deal for macho hiker dudes/dudettes, but for me, a true accomplishment!). As far as I am concerned, the going up isn’t really scary anymore—it’s the coming down that I still dread (there is more work to do on that one). And though I continue to be uncomfortable on the south-bound journey (even on a pair of skis) the level of fear I experience now has significantly diminished.

I am certain that having the courage to overcome some of my fears on the mountains of Colorado has transferred to other areas of my life.

I believe that each time you “walk yourself through a fear” you are strengthening (even training) that “courage” pathway in the brain, which will eventually provide you with a more balanced choice when you are triggered (this process is called neuroplasticty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity).

The “happily team” wants to support you in having more peace, more fulfillment, more freedom, and just generally more happiness in your life.  We want to help you upgrade into your most full and optimal potential—right now! And so here’s the rest of this week’s message filmed in my little vlog on “walking down the mountain” (maybe you will be able to sense the fear in the beginning and the victory at the end—stronger “courage” pathway in progress here!).



Let’s celebrate courage—a personal labor of love…

Believing in us!