Monthly Archives: January 2012
This week my nephew becomes a man. At the tender age of 13, his reading of a portion of the Torah marks the beginning of his responsibility as an adult in the Jewish religion. You might think 13 is quite young to suddenly be considered an adult, but some youngsters are out there making babies at that age, so perhaps it’s appropriate after all! “What’s the point?” You might ask? So there will be a great hoo-hah, everyone will be looking even more young and beautiful than usual, you know who you are ;-), and we’ll all mark the occasion with the solemnity it deserves and then party on afterwards, but so what?
Actually I think these things are really important, and I’ll tell you why. You know in the old days when pretty much everyone had some form of religion or at least some form of superstition, don’t you think that life’s events were marked a little better? Important occasions in a person’s life were always communal occasions- be they births, marriages, deaths or anywhere in between. You had some form of support and acknowledgement as you passed from one stage to another – and you had living proof around you that other people had done the same and survived it. Except death of course – and even then many traditions had it that your deceased relatives would come out and accompany you to heaven, if you were lucky enough to get there. So what could potentially be a scary event if you did it alone became a celebration of moving on and moving up. A celebration of becoming more than you were. Religion has done harm as well as good of course and hence been ditched by many, but sadly I think a number of bathing babies have been thrown out with the bath water, one of them being that we don’t have the same sense of community as we used to and sometimes have to navigate life’s passages alone.
I’m glad my nephew has his loving family around him as he begins to move away from being a child and starts to take more responsibility for his world – I wish him Mazal Tov (congratulations) and would like to reassure him that whilst adulthood brings responsibility, it also brings you the power and resources to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Just as having power gives you responsibility, taking responsibility gives you power … use it wisely!
Ritual isn’t only found in religion of course. When you think of ritual as something you oblige yourself to make a habit out of, or something you engage in ‘religiously’ until it becomes an action you almost can’t stop yourself doing, in it’s looser sense we engage in ritual quite a lot. There are global rituals e.g. taking a bath every now and then and personal rituals – e.g. the time you choose to wake up each day. I have a road ritual, to do with what I think is called ‘lane discipline’. I make sure I ALWAYS stay cleanly in whatever road lane I’m in, or if I’m changing lanes that I do so tidily and having indicated, instead of making free with the road as some drivers do when there are no other cars around. I do that because I want it to be such an ingrained habit that I’ll drive safely even if I’m exhausted, or if my concentration is low that day.
That particular ritual has served me well (so far at least!). Which brings me to my point. Rituals are there to serve us. What you do repeatedly and with focus becomes who you are. What you practice when you have energy to spare can save you when you are low on gumption. So here are my questions to you:
*What rituals do you have that serve you? Do you regularly get enough sleep and wake up at a sensible hour? Do you make a ritual out of regular exercise? Do you have a group of positive people that you regularly spend time with. so much so that you’re almost obliged to touch base with inspiration, no matter what mood you’re in?
*Are there any rituals you have that don’t serve you? Destructive eating habits? Smoking? Watching the same TV programme each week that you know is going to annoy you, just because everyone else is? Renewed awareness is the first step to making a change!
*And finally, what rituals can you install? Remember, what you do repeatedly becomes who you are. So who are you now, and who do you want to be?
Want to be healthy and fit? Get thee to a gym, or find what else works for you. Make a habit of buying the right foods. Make time to prepare the right foods – very few healthy things come plopping out of a tin, so if you want healthy food you’re going to have to make time for that. Want to be inspired and inspiring? Hang out with those kinds of people regularly, and read and watch things that inspire you … on a regular basis. Want to be a giving person? Sign up for volunteer work, or perhaps set regular charity payments on your account even if it’s only a small amount of money a month. Maybe make a habit of considering the well being of strangers around you to be your partial responsibility. This is something I’m personally working on at the moment. To be honest it doesn’t come naturally to pick up other people’s litter when I’m walking out in nature, or stop my car in the middle of the road to move the stray road cone out of other people’s way, instead of just driving round it. I’m doing those sorts of things anyway when I can – because that is the kind of person I want to be.
I find a diary helps with installing regular habits, and if you can set alerts on your phone and actually schedule in time for the habits you want to take on, you’re on to a winner. You can also use NLP to install triggers that remind you to do a certain action, when a particular event occurs – ask me how – it’s a pet subject! However you do it, make sure you do it – and you WILL change your life for the better, guaranteed.
Take on great rituals and celebrate the great rituals you already have … in fact why not go forth, get your rain dance on (or whatever those guys in that fantastic picture are doing) and have a ritualistic week!
Ever noticed how dogs and their masters often really do look alike? The same applies to older couples, who often take on a similar look and manner as the years go by. In the same vein if you had to play ‘match the living room/bedroom/office’ in which you were given a bunch of pictures of peoples personal spaces and then some pictures of people who might own them you could probably match them up.
Why is this? Well it turns out your granny was right when she told you to hang out with a good crowd, in nice places. Because we humans we’re pretty porous beings. You are not only what you eat, you are also where you spend your time and who you spend it with. You are even what you spend your time doing, as well as what you see, hear and say. Surround yourself with toxicity and eventually you have to breathe it in. On the other hand if you surround yourself with enlivening and enlightening people and things, well, you can’t help but be affected.
Let’s take a look at some of those elements:
You are what you eat – purely in a physical sense if you eat trash, guess what building blocks you’re giving your body to build itself up with? Take a look at your diet. If you’re living on chips and fizzy drinks it isn’t doing you any favours. This is one of my personal soapbox topics, so I’ll resist the temptation to go on about it for days, except to say that if you know your diet is less than healthy, perhaps now is the time to take an audit, and see what you can cut out or reduce and which healthy elements you can bring in instead. I’ll always remember a video clip that we saw at a Tony Robbins Event – I think it was ‘Unleash the Power Within’, where this guy had had a heart attack. The heart surgeon had to go in and try to clear some of the tubes, and he found them to be full of what looked and smelled exactly like white greasy meat fat. On a whim he asked the man what he’d had for dinner. Burger and fries. If you don’t want that stuff kicking around inside you, don’t eat it!
Oh and by the way, have you ever played this game? At the supermarket look at what people are buying and then look at the people themselves. It almost always matches! The people with conveyor belts full of snacks and fatty meats, and neon coloured fizzy drinks etc etc, are almost always overweight, pale and exhausted, whilst those who load up on the fruit and veg, a little fish, whole grains etc etc are light on their feet and full of energy. See, now you have something to do when stuck in a long supermarket line!!!
You are where you are – your physical environment affects you. Just as the earth seems to shape its inhabitants depending on which part of the globe you occupy, every environment you’re a part of will affect you. Do you live in clutter (embarrassed cough)? Maybe it’s time we had a clear out! Do you live in a beautiful, natural place? When you look out of the window do you see concrete and graffiti … if you do, is it at least good graffiti?!?
Many people don’t realise just how important environment is. If you set up the physical world you occupy so that it supports and nurtures you, life suddenly becomes easier and your goals get closer. If you study or work from home, do you have a desk to do that at? Do you have places for all the important things in your life? What do you decorate your home with? Why not surround yourself with reminders of the good people and things in your life!
You are who you are with – sorry, but ‘fraid so! You are, or you become who you hang out with. Ever noticed how people who work or spend time with kids are often younger at heart than those who never see a child? There’s a reason for that. Take a look at your friends. Can you respect them? Is there something about each one of them that inspires you? Would you like it if you had to take responsibility for some of the things they do? We’re not looking for perfection here – there’s no such thing – we just want to make sure that the people around us represent different elements of who we want to be … because over time we become those things. I have a theory that this doesn’t just apply to the people you physically hang out with, or even just those you hang out with online. I also truly believe that the people you hang out with by watching them on TV affect you too! So, do you really want to be one of the people in the Big Brother house? Or maybe one of those incredible people that they find from who knows where on those daytime shows where they tell the world about their problems and then try to thump each other and have to be held back by security guards …? Don’t kid yourself that you’re just watching them out of curiosity. If you spend a long time with these guys, there’s a part of them that reflects who you are – or who you’re going to be. So pick what you watch based on what you want for yourself … you want to be funny, happy and light, watch those shows. You want to be inspired and inspiring? Watch those shows and hang out with those kinds of people. You want to be strong, understanding, emotionally stable and well developed? Make sure those people are in your life. With the power of the internet you can bring anyone you like into your life on a daily basis – use the power!
You are what you do – our daily habits and practices shape us. Physically if you choose to work out regularly, that shapes your body. If you choose to wake up at a productive hour and do something that adds value to the world, and you do that regularly, then that’s who you are, or who you become. If you occasionally go the extra mile to help out a friend or stranger, that’s who you become! If you want to be creative, productive, rich, beautiful, happy, healthy etc etc etc, it’s no good just wishing for it, DO what you want to be!
You are what you think and say – and this is where the magic really happens. Sometimes I talk about the things we say as ‘your magic word’. Because what you continually and consistently think about and talk about, will eventually materialise for you, good or bad. I used to have this fear that I’d get out of the car one day and my car keys would fall off my lap into one of the street drains. The fear continued until one day I did exactly that! I had to laugh at myself… and spend a long time fishing around in said drain with two kind builders who happened to be parked there till I got my keys back! So if you spend large portions of your day thinking dark thoughts, or moaning about all the thing that are wrong with the world, or the things that you haven’t got… guess what? Your thoughts and your magic word will create that for you. So think positive thoughts, focus on the good stuff and talk positively whenever you can … and your magic word will create THAT for you, instead!
I can imagine there are a number of people reading this who are a little grumpy with me right now. They’re saying things like “don’t you think you’re taking this a little far? What do you mean I’m the product of my environment and of who I hang out with? You’re saying I have no choice. I’m more intelligent than that, I’m not a puppet on a string!!” And I’m here to tell you that …. YOU’RE RIGHT! Phew, thank goodness for that! Here comes a huge dollop of good news, are you ready?
When all is said and done, we still have choice. Humans are unique in this world in that we are not condemned to just react to the environment around us – we have the capability of shaping the world around us too. You see, the porosity works both ways! The rest of the world is as dependent, as malleable, as vulnerable to being shifted as we are! What are the telling factors? Strength. Intensity. Determination. Single-mindedness. In the interplay between us and the world, the most committed contestant will win. End of story.
So how can we each become the element that influences the world around us, instead of being at its mercy? I believe that if we set up our environment, our habits, our thoughts and all those other things as best we can so that they reflect who we want to become, then we get stronger. If we push past the limits of what we thought we could achieve and go one step further, we are ever growing. There will always be things or people around you that you can’t change. That produce a heavy negative aura and influence. But if you get the rest of your world right, then you become far stronger, and you become the influencing factor. The rest of your environment will start to be affected by YOU. Magical, Beautiful, Integral YOU. Now isn’t that worth getting up in the morning for?
This week, clarify WHO and WHAT you want to be … and then start to shape the things that influence you, so that you become YOU!
Plug for upcoming event:
For the ladies: Here’s a positive thing you could add to your environment … come hang out with my colleague Ronit Gerber and I as we provide you with a cocktail, motivate you to break through your limitations, and give you the opportunity to do a little shopping … it’s all wrapped up in a girl’s night out with a difference!
See here for more details:
For a limited number of applicants I will also provide a complementary half hour telephone or skype life coaching session for those that book through me … see how much I love my blog readers 🙂
Email me to change your life for the better: firstname.lastname@example.org
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Ghandi
March 12th 1930. An unassuming man sets out on a 240 mile march that takes 24 days. He is heading for the sea near the village of Dandi in India. He is going there to break the law. As he walks growing numbers of people join him and walk peacefully with him, so that by the time they get there the group is big enough to be drawing serious attention. At 6.30am on April 6th, the man takes sea water and dries it to make salt, in direct contravention to the laws of the British colonists who insist on taxing all salt production. This one act sparks off large scale civil disobedience against the British Raj Salt Laws by millions of India’s poor, who are tired of being taxed to death. The man and his group continue south along the coast, making salt along the way until he is at last arrested at midnight on May 4th. The nationwide civil disobedience results in the jailing of another 80 000 citizens. Although the action does not result in major concessions immediately, it becomes a big part of India’s break for independence from the British, and teaches the world that ‘passive resistance’, in this case in the form of civil disobedience, is a powerful method for bringing about change.
The man of course was Mahatma Gandhi, who, according to Wikipedia “was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. A pioneer of resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience—a philosophy firmly founded upon total nonviolence—Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest to achieve political and social progress.” Gandhi was definitely one of my heroes. Regardless of his political importance he chose a simple life existing with no more than he needed, and focusing on the important things. You might have passed him in the street and not even seen him. Despite his simplistic lifestyle, he taught the world a lot about standing up to the ‘big guy’ in a peaceful manner … and yet winning.
Here’s another ‘simple person’. Mother Teresa. Again according to Wikipedia, Mother Teresa “was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950. For over 45 years, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.” Another person who lived sparsely and dedicated themselves to a higher mission, helping the disadvantaged even though in the end her efforts probably cost her her health and her life. I remember that she died a day after Princess Diana, and you barely heard anything about her death because of all the hype over Diana. Probably just the way she would have wanted it.
Then there was the David and Goliath story, and if you look for them there are a hundred and one examples of the smallest, simplest person having a massive effect on the world around them. How is that? Is it possible that the smallest and simplest person isn’t always the weakest competitor?
I think the little people in this world, physically and lifestyle-wise have the edge. For a start others often don’t expect anything much from them, so they’re taken by surprise. You don’t expect the smallest mountain to produce the biggest volcanic eruption. Then there’s the idea that ‘still waters run deep’. In other words, quiet people often have a lot of gumption within that isn’t always visible on the outside. Just think, if someone isn’t spending all their energy waving a stick about and looking big, what are they spending their energy on? Sometimes they’re spending it on actually getting bigger – on the inside. They are often focussing on the important stuff instead of wasting time with external appearances. Not that I’m advocating physical violence or anything but this video on YouTube – in which a school girl defends herself against a would-be mugger – made me smile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuHHB-uF-UEn why don’t you pick on someone your own size, buddy?
Additionally, I remember reading in Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ or it might have been ‘A New Earth’ something to the effect that the most spiritually or metaphysically effective people are very often those that you would pass in the street and not notice, due to their unassuming nature. And that if you are a more metaphysically/spiritually aware person you’re more likely to see them and appreciate their degree of connection, whereas those of us more physical and wrapped up in life’s irrelevancies won’t even notice them, or would probably dismiss them as unworthy of attention.
So how do you see yourself? Do you ever quietly feel that you’re nothing much? You might be bigger than you allow yourself to realise. What hidden skills do you have? Who are you really? You may be small fry on the outside, but as long as you’re mighty big on the inside … well that’s what matters isn’t it? If you’ve ever day-dreamed of changing the world for the better, now’s your time!
There’s a fantastic quote from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
When would now be a good time to shine out, and do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing? You don’t need to get a fancy shmancy sports car or wear big brand labels to change the world, though if those things give you a kick and you can have them, that’s good too! Why waste energy trying to be what other people want, when you are amazing just the way you are? Be yourself. All of yourself, undiluted. Big or little, it’s time each of us found our own personal brilliance and set it free to soar.
I’m going forth to have a brilliant week – you have one too!
Doesn’t life sometimes feel like one long course in self improvement? I might be a life coach/hypnotherapist (and a jolly good one too- wink, wink) but that doesn’t mean I have all the answers, just that I’m good at finding answers 🙂
This week I’m learning … to stay with myself. Some people are naturally good at this. They always know who they are, what they stand for, what they want. They’re always able to work in their own best interest, or according to their own moral standards. They begin with the premise ‘This is my stance. I may change my mind if I think it’s appropriate, but only if it makes sense to me. Now how can I help you?’
For those who have to work hard to stay with themselves, it can be very easy to forget who you are and your highest priorities and unintentionally fall into someone else’s agenda. You start seeing yourself as the other person sees you, and even being as the other person sees you. It’s a way of losing yourself. Some people are so lost, they always see themselves as other people see them. If they had to look through their own eyes at themselves or better yet feel what it’s like to be themselves from inside, they wouldn’t know where to start.
Do you know who you really are? And once you’ve found yourself, do you know what it means to stay with yourself?
As far as knowing who you are, it helps a great deal to sit down for a little while with pen and paper, think about all the different things you do in your life and ask yourself who you are in each context. So for example one of the things I do is mothering. Who am I as a mother? Who am I as a professional? Etc etc. You might not have done this before, and some of the answers might not come easily – that’s ok, nothing’s set in stone, you can always go back and change it later, just write down what you get. That process gives you who you are in a physical sense. Then if you like, you can do a hypnotic or meditative process to discover who you are in a deeper metaphysical sense. You’ll find that’s harder to capture in words – it’s a more experiential thing, and it’s something everyone should do, as a way of connecting to their source of power. I might run a workshop on this one day – it’s something I frequently do with clients and they find it very transformative.
I think part of life’s lesson is to find that source of power – that inner light if you will – and then learn to stick with it and to bring it through into our everyday living.
So to stay with yourself find your inner light and connect to it. You will feel a sense of peace and coming home. You will feel a sense of empowerment, as though you’re a light bulb and electricity is finally flowing through you, and you can light up and shine out to the world. You will feel a sense of rightness. Then all you have to do is maintain those feelings. Carry on through life, and if those feelings start to lessen, connect again. The tension falls away and you feel at peace again.
The same is true in a physical sense too. If you’re starting to lose yourself, you can remind yourself of who you are and what you stand for in each part of your life.
Why bother to connect back to yourself each time? Because then your every thought and every action will come from a place of integrity. You will be acting on your morals and your principals, and not dancing to someone else’s tune or to the general world hypnosis. I think it’s worth the effort, don’t you?
It’s -Very Important- in this process to have people to support you, people who know who you really are, people who are on the same path themselves. Your circle of support will help you to stay with yourself when you are temporarily weaker. They know who you are, even when you forget. If you lose your way they help you come back to yourself, and you can often do the same for them, in their times of weakness. With them you can be yourself. The more often you are yourself, the stronger yourself becomes. The stronger you get connected to yourself, the less likely you are to lose yourself in the tough times.
Then an interesting thing happens. When you are truly with yourself, and you ain’t budging, people who were working intentionally or unintentionally to draw you into their agenda are often drawn into your agenda instead! You don’t have to misuse this. Your agenda can be to help them regain their self respect or help them see a better path. And you know those people or situations that keep popping up in your life in one guise or another? Being with yourself gives you another perspective. It’s like you suddenly zoom out and you can see the patterns that you keep getting sucked into. Then you have the option to change your approach and do something different.
Most importantly, as I’ve said above, you then get to carry out your life from your own perspective and according to your own standards. You start to get much more of what you want, and you get to create your world as you want it. And you get to be truly, madly and deeply … happy!
This week find yourself and stay with yourself!