Category Archives: a positive focus
It probably ‘doesn’t do’ for a life coach to admit to being judgemental on occasion, but whilst we’re being honest with each other, you and I, who doesn’t sometimes fall prey to judgementalism?
Being judgemental of others is about seeing the differences between things, rather than seeing the unities, and is probably the biggest problem that we as humanity are working on right now. You think I’m kidding? If I didn’t see other people as different than myself, would I condone war in any form? Would I eat to bursting and leave people on the other side of the world hungry? If I didn’t see the earth as being something different to myself would I extract everything I wanted from it and more and give nothing back? Enough said, and I’ll get off the soapbox. This is what happens when I write on a Sunday morning having read highbrow books and relaxed in the garden all of Saturday!
Well anyhow, there I was in Tesco, browsing the reduced shelf to see if any bargains lurked within (yep, life coach/hypnotherapists do that too – see how many myths I’m dispelling!) and there next to me was an old woman on one of those motorised scooter things. The kind of person whose eyes you might hesitate to meet. I mentally took a deep breath and bridged the gap. “Sometimes you get lucky” I commented. “Oh yes” she agreed in a voice that was stronger than I expected. “Oh well nothing here for me” I said, about to walk on. Then I noticed some Sabbath candles and picked them up to see if they were something I could use. They weren’t. “Oh you’re Jewish are you?” she said “I’m Jewish too. But both my mother and I married out. I do go to church on Sundays but I have great respect for the Jewish religion.” Well what a conversation starter that was! We stood there for several minutes talking comparative religion, messiahs and the Mayan calendar (really will have to write about that one of these days). I proposed that everything that existed was ‘of the light’. She said that Richard Dawkins surely wasn’t. I maintained that even he was, as somebody had to hold the opposite pole (I have Gregg Braden to thank for that idea). I was actually in a hurry – though you wouldn’t think it, with me finding the time to talk with strangers, so I had to make my apologies and go. “Everything is good” I called down the aisle as I walked off “sometimes it’s just hard to see it”. “Oh yes” she said again and we laughed as we parted.
Off I went, looking for light bulbs. Don’t you just hate it when the supermarkets move everything around so that you have to cruise all the aisles looking for something that’s been in the same place for the last 10 years! Finally I found an assistant. He came across as quite dopey … you know, a little, well, ‘David Beckham’. He didn’t know where the bulbs were and had to ask somebody. I remember thinking something to the effect that “You really can’t get the staff these days!” Found the light bulbs and several other bits and pieces and made it back to the tills, running even later than before.
There was the Beckham lookalike on the tills. Ok. But he was smiling, and of course we started talking. I like to chat with the people on the tills. It’s a bit of a game for me to see if I can cheer up the glum looking ones, and break up the tedium of the job for them a little. There was no need to cheer him up though, he was on form. “How much do you think this lot will cost?” I asked him. “Forty three pounds” he guessed. “Ok” I said “I’m going to go with fifty”. He tilled up all my shopping, and it came to forty two pounds and eighty eight pence! “Wow!” I exclaimed “You’re good, you beat me!” He leaned over and confided “You know why? Because when I first started to work here I used to play that game – so I got a lot of practice!” I just had to find out whether he played my other favourite supermarket game. “I know its a little un-pc” I asked with all the excitement of a child “but do you ever play this game: do you ever look at all the shopping on the belt, and then compare it to the person buying it and see if they match?” “You mean if they buy loads of fruits and vegetables” he started and then we both said “they look healthy” and I added “but if they’re buying loads of crisps and chocolate …” and he finished “they look overweight!” “Yeah” he said and we both agreed “…and they always match don’t they!” We were both grinning from ear to ear with the mischief of our shared supermarket games as we said goodbye.
As I pushed my shopping back to the car I mused that I had been wrong about him. Far from being dopey, and I guess rather like David Beckham, he was actually very intelligent. Intelligent enough to be amusing himself with mental exercises whilst carrying out the mundane task of checking out people’s shopping all day. “I really must stop judging people” I thought to myself.
I also found myself musing on the idea that you really can tell a person by their daily habits. You can have all the healthy intentions in the world but if all you buy is crisps, you’re going to be unhealthy. If you talk about peace but you keep needling people then you’re going to have arguments, and if you like the idea of being rich but you keep buying the latest gadget and don’t actually go and work to support that habit then you’re going to be skint. Conversely, if you buy and eat well on a regular basis, your body will glow with health, if you keep peaceful people around you and work on staying composed when others attempt to ‘rattle your cage’ you will have a peaceful life, and if you manage to arrange your finances so that you spend much less than you earn, eventually you get rich. Simple. Life is just so simple when you think about it. Life is just one action at a time. And having fun of course.
Which brings me to another game I play at the supermarket … riding the shopping trolleys. I must admit at this point that most life coaches probably DON’T do this. Whilst this may conjure up in your mind an image of some wild woman standing rodeo style aboard her wheeled ‘carriage’, waving a shopping list and yelling “Yee-hah!” I am not as yet that flamboyant! I may reserve that for old age, just to tease people. That and arriving on an elephant and parking him in one of the parking bays, whilst I go in and do my shop. I’ve always wanted to do that. Maybe one day. Meanwhile I do like to ride the trolleys whilst I’m shopping – I mean why walk when you can roll! So if I see a clear aisle, and I’m in the mood, I am not above squaring up the trolley so I don’t bash into anything, starting to run a little, leaning my weight on the handle so that my feet leave the ground, and then wheeeeeeeee! It’s so much faster, and less effortful. You think I’m crazy? Come on, loosen up a little and have some fun. Life can be hard work sometimes, so why take yourself so seriously all the time? And if you ever see me flying down one of Tesco’s aisles, with a huge smile on my face, don’t judge me, join me!
Have an irreverent, mischievous and judgement-free week!
You know what I just woke up singing (in my head obviously … and I’m about to betray my age here, not to mention my hitherto taste in movies …)
So Senator, so Janitor so long for a while
Remember you’re never fully dressed without a smile…
So as I progressed in a cave womanly fashion down the stairs to write this (having tea, have evolved back to the present!) I was thinking to myself: “Hmm, what’s better, to always put a good face on it and say you’re happy, whether you are or not, or to be honest and say so if you’re not feeling that great?
There are two camps aren’t there? The ‘Cosmetic Smilers’ would say that you smile no matter what, keep a tight hold on your emotions, never tell anyone how you’re actually feeling because it’s not professional, or not socially acceptable and you would bore people …
And then of course there are the ‘honesty bunnies’ that will go on and on telling you about one dreadful situation after another that they are enduring, every single time you see them without fail, so that if you haven’t got 40 minutes to spare you have to make sure not to say ‘hi, how are you’ in greeting, or boy do you get an ear-full!
Decisions, decisions … plasticized chalky smile, or social bore…
Of course there is a 3rd way … BE HAPPY!
Life has its ups and downs, sure, but for most of us, there’s plenty to smile about. Some times it’s good to remind ourselves of all the things we have to appreciate:
Do you and the people you love have a roof over your head and food to eat?
How many people do you have in your life who love or care about you in some way?
How many people do you love and care about?
Do you get to have fun, relax, see beautiful things and places on occasion?
Do you get to contribute your gift to the world in some way, big or small?
See, there’s plenty to smile about already. And when you add to that the idea that we all rest in this beautiful soup of energy that is the Universe, that was designed to give us all our needs, and everything we need to succeed, then you begin to understand more and more that we attract challenges to ourselves so that we can grow and master those challenges. That we have on tap everything we need to do well and achieve our desires, we just have to be open to the opportunities and ‘special offers’ that come our way …
The problem is never ‘out there’, always ‘in here’. It doesn’t matter what comes your way, good or bad, happy or sad, easy or challenging. It’s what you do with it that counts. Attitude is everything. And you know what? That often starts with a smile …
So this week gather your wits, count your blessings and know that if your plans are wholesome and in line with the development of the Universe, you will succeed. It’s as simple as that. That’s something to smile about!
Feel good 🙂
Rest in Peace Steve Jobs. As you must know by now the co-founder of Apple died last Wednesday 5th October, age 56. I’ve just sat here and watched him delivering his commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005 (you can find it on YouTube – www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA). The speech is very moving, simple and honest – if you haven’t seen it I’d say it’s worth 15 minutes of your time.
Don’t you ever find yourself wondering “What’s the difference that makes the difference with people like that?” There he is up on stage, just another human being talking frankly about his life, and sharing some things he’s learnt for the benefit of the graduating students present. Now he’s dead, the sentence already passed on every living being. Yet he was different, and in that he lives on. He was different enough to be instrumental in creating the Apple Mac computer, that has revolutionised computing and thereby the world. He mentions in his speech that he started Pixar (who pioneered feature length computer animated films). And most lately of course his company is responsible for the ipod/phone/mac. So a true innovator, and a sad loss for the world.
I think the thing that most struck me about the man, watching that speech, was that he spoke from the heart. It’s always refreshing to see someone who is in the public eye just be themselves with no airs and graces. And perhaps that is where the difference lies. I’m beginning to think that perhaps that’s what sets true geniuses, innovators and trendsetters apart. Perhaps it isn’t the brilliance of their ideas. After all we all have mind-blowing ideas from time to time – how often have you seen some new invention come up and said “Hey I thought of that last year!” Perhaps, just perhaps, it has more to do with the fact that they’re not afraid to be themselves, and to stand up for what they believe in. Everybody has ideas, THEY follow up on their ideas, and have the guts to offer them to the world. Look at the big people in our history – Einstein, Van Gogh, Picasso, Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte , Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi , Princess Diana, Thomas Edison, Mohamed Ali, the Dalai Lama, John Lennon even J.K. Rowling, to name but a disparate few. Every one of them a striking and unique individual. Every one of them bold enough to offer their personal gift to the world, without apology.
Steve Jobs himself touches on this idea during said speech:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
So if you truly want to make your mark on the world and share your gift with humanity, isn’t it time you started to live in accordance with your truest beliefs? Isn’t it time to really be yourself? I say this as much to myself as anyone. I think it’s something most of us really struggle with, because being authentic is a risky business. We risk being ostracised or ridiculed. We risk losing friends. We risk feeling stupid or the odd one out and we risk failure. Scary isn’t it? In times gone by if you were chucked out of your community that meant exposure to the elements and predators and almost certainly an early death, so it’s probably programmed into each and every human being to conform, purely for the sake of safety. It’s actually known that the best ideas usually get laughed out of town before they’re accepted as fact. I guess you have to weigh up the benefit of being safe and boring or living it large, and taking some risks.
Which leads me to one of my favourite quotes:
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, shouting GERONIMO!” Hunter S. Thompson from Hell’s Angels
Wanna be a trend setter? Wanna be the next Steve Jobs or J.K. Rowling? The truth is, you can never be them. You can only be the one and only authentic you. Starting TODAY.
My wish for you (and for myself!) this week is that we take some time out from the tumult around us, and tune in to the quiet yet persistent inner voice within each of us. That we listen well and act on those flashes of inspiration that come to us. The voice gets louder, and the ideas get better the more you listen. Your inspiration deepens, and the power of your creative though becomes more far reaching, the more you invite it into your life and the more you share it. Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy. You’re just tapping in to your own truth, and the deepest wisdom sitting there in the Universe waiting for you, just you, to claim it and proclaim it aloud. Draw down that gift that’s yours to give, and share it with existence – that’s your birthright, and your obligation.
Wishing you a deeply inspired, authentic week –
You know, being a life coach, I practice what I preach, so every year I sit down, reassess the past year, look at my lifelong goals and plan for the year ahead. The boundaries between one year and the next are a little blurry for me, as being Jewish, I also have a Jewish New Year, so in practice it tends to be a new year ‘period’ that runs from sometime in September until the end of December! So unlike many I’m already thinking about my New Year’s resolutions…
I’ve recently started to have a mantra or slogan for the year – something that’s simple yet digs deep and affects everything I do. Last year it was ‘Compassion, Not Judgement’, which I’ll probably write about at some stage. This year it’s something out of a Rhonda Byrne book …*shuffles off to go find the book and get the quote right*…
Ok, here it is…
“… with anything you don’t love, simply turn away from it without judgement and you won’t include it in your life”
Rhonda Byrne – The Power
Now I know I’m writing for an educated audience here, most of whom are aware of the Force of Attraction – that the more attention you give something the more of it you bring into your life. What I used to have a problem with was the other side of things. It’s all very well focusing on wealth, health and all the other good stuff, but what do you do when something nasty ups and smacks you in the face? Life’s not all rosy-sunny all the time is it? And if you then say to yourself ‘this thing is bad and I hate it’ you’re just giving it all the focus it needs to turn into something bigger. A lot of people will tell you – “focus on the good stuff, don’t focus on the bad stuff” but how do you ‘not focus’ on something? When you ‘not focus’, you’re actually focusing on it!
So those two words in the above sentence – ‘turn away’, really solved a problem for me. When it rains on my parade, or someone disrespects me, or the traffic just won’t move, and it’s a situation I can’t do anything about, I just turn away. Physically if I can, mentally if I’m bodily stuck there. I turn away and find something more productive and enjoyable to think about or do. You can’t fight the rain, force someone to respect you or snap your fingers and magic away the traffic, so what’s the point of resisting it?
Which brings me to another point – Acceptance. I’ve written about this in a previous blog (https://rivkadavid.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/38/ ) so I won’t delve into it here, I mention it only to point out that accepting a thing you can’t change allows you to drop your obsession over it, and get on with your life instead. So I think it’s relevant here too.
With that in mind, here’s my new 3 point plan for dealing with what appear to be adverse circumstances, and at the same time keeping a hygienic ‘Force of Attraction’:
1- If you can do something about it, in whole or part, then Take Action – every little positive action always bears fruit, if not in the situation at hand, then in the future.
2- For things you are currently powerless to change, practice Acceptance (and do please see https://rivkadavid.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/38/ so you understand what I mean here). These things happen, it isn’t personal. Heavy traffic isn’t personal, and neither is the intention of someone who disrespects you – even if they think it is! Their disrespect for you is about their journey. What you do with their disrespect is about your journey and is the only thing you’re responsible for. Actually I would say practice acceptance of the things you do change too – acceptance always comes first – once you accept something challenging, you remove the negative energy that surrounds it, leaving you free to act with a clear head.
3- Then once you have accepted and dealt with what you can, Turn Away from the rest – and Turn Towards something positive. Turn your attention to something creative and constructive. Think about the people you love, and the people who love you. Think about your favourite projects and the things you intend to materialise in your life. If you can physically move away from the challenge, go do something fun – take a walk … scare other adults by going on the swings and be sure to balance on a low brick wall on the way! Go spend some time working to bring good things into your life … make some money, send an email to a friend, take your kids out for ice cream.
Well that’s my plan anyway. Actually it reminds me of The Serenity Prayer (see here for the rest of it http://www.drnadig.com/serenity.htm )
G-d grant me
the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference;
With an action point at the end – Go Do Something Cool!
This year I shall Turn Away from all things unchangeably heavy, and so TURN TOWARDS all the beautiful, wonderful, delightful things – and there are so many your heart could positively burst into flowers at the thought of it!!!
I invite you to join me – let’s all harness the Force of Attraction together and make life even more beautiful!
You know what else? I’d love to hear YOUR mantra for the coming year – come on peeps, give it some thought – and share in the comments section below, so that everyone benefits.
Have a stupendously fantastic week 🙂
Using pain as punishment for wrongdoing? A bit of an old chestnut. Since the dawn of time people have been inflicting pain on themselves or others as a punishment for doing something wrong. Research now finds that this seems to be hardwired into our psychology.
A paper published in Psychological Science by Brock Bastian et al in January 2011 found that people asked to write about a time when they rejected another person left their hand in icy water for longer than those who just had to write about an everyday interaction. Of those who had to write about rejecting another person, they later scored much lower on a guilt questionnaire if they had put their hand in a bucket of ice than those who had put their hand in a bucket of warm water.
In other words, those who had punished themselves felt less guilty afterwards about having rejected another person!
So how’s that for a solution? You can do what you like, and then punish yourself afterwards and you don’t have to feel guilty. Hmmmm.
I prefer a different Feel-Good approach. The approach of doing one’s best.
Yup. As simple as that. If at every juncture you do your best, then what have you ever got to feel guilty about? And if you don’t feel bad about things you’ve done, or not done, then you’ll never feel psychologically obliged to punish yourself or let anyone else punish you. Instead you can feel good that you did your best.
Of course this only helps with things you do willingly and with intention. What about all the actions where you’re not sure about what to do and you take the wrong action, or you make a mistake? What about those times where whatever you do you end up doing damage in some sense? Well in those cases there’s still another option – the opportunity to say sorry and do what you can to put things right.
Punishing oneself is destructive. It may be hardwired in, but don’t you get the feeling that it’s a bit of an old-world approach to doing things? Like caning naughty children … we don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Punishment weakens you and lessens your ability to do the next thing. Whereas caring passionately enough about your world to make better decisions upstream, putting things right if they go wrong and if all else fails saying sorry and finding a way to forgive yourself allow you to continue moving forward in life. You can have a lighter, happier attitude and go forth and achieve everything you desire. Forgiving yourself and others when things go wrong allows you to cut ties with negativity and heaviness and focus on the good stuff. It allows you to start again and get it right this time.
Have a fabulously productive week – in which you forgive yourself and others!
Ps: This post was meant to self-publish on Wednesday and as you might have noticed, it didn’t … so Ive fixed it, and here it is. I certainly did my best though, so I’m not going to give myself a hard time about it – in fact I’m forgiving myself and moving on to the next thing!
Brock Bastian, Jolanda Jetten, and Fabio Fasoli
Cleansing the Soul by Hurting the Flesh: The Guilt-Reducing Effect of Pain
Psychological Science January 2011 , first published on January 18, 2011
There I am, feeling a right nincompoop, half way up a mountain somewhere in Wales, aching feet, out of breath, ridiculously heavy backpack, tearful with effort, wondering what the heck I thought I was doing when I put myself up for this. Mountain Leader Training?!! Hah. Just cos I love being in the mountains, doesn’t mean I need to volunteer to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with two ex army guys, and three hefty outdoor adventure guys, all of whom are secretly or not so secretly wishing I wasn’t there so they can go bounding over the earth like mountain goats instead of waiting for little slow coach to catch up … Character building? I’ll give you character building. You try chasing those chaps up and down rock faces … when we finally got back to the bottom, and I trailed in, an hour after the first mountain goat had arrived, they all stood up and slow clapped me. And I’ll tell you something else too … several years later when my brother went to the same training company they were still talking about me! Talk about notoriety … Ah well, at least I’ll have a story to tell my grandchildren…
Anyhow, I’m glad I went, because I learnt something. I learnt (now pay attention …) that when climbing a rock face, you never underestimate a foothold or handhold. What I mean to say is, say you see a small foothold and it’s only 10cm or so above the one your foot is on, if there’s nothing else available you take it. And something astonishing happens. Your point of view changes. And you see other footholds and handholds that you couldn’t see 10cm lower down, or that weren’t available from slightly lower down. You work out your next move from where you are at the time (though of course you keep an eye on your general direction so that you don’t climb yourself into a bush or something), and you find that there’s always a way up, even if its 10cm at a time.
I think life can be a bit like that. Sometimes it really does feel like an uphill struggle, and there are times when the only available options are less than inspiring. The thing is to pace yourself, take one step at a time, and use those little options, if they’re all you’ve got. And your point of view changes. You begin to see other options that you couldn’t see before. You gain experience. You gain a sense of mastery. You get to feel great about pushing your limits, when you discover you can go farther than you expected. You can start to take joy in the moment too – joy in just being, joy in the privilege of having got this far. Once you begin to enjoy the process, the load seems lighter, and as you relax and start to smile your muscles loosen up just a little so the climb gets easier. Then at a certain point, you notice that you’re actually quite near the top. Your step quickens, and you’re happy to push yourself even harder. You clamber over the last few bumps and … you’re there.
If you’re climbing a mountain you get to survey the view. A beautiful lake glinting in the sunshine. Maybe a few little clouds huddled round a neighbouring mountain top. The deepest blues and the most verdant greens. Waltzing grass and patient rock. A tiny lone figure in the distance. A cooling breeze caresses the smile on your face as you stand there and just be. Nothing else exists but this moment.
If it’s life that you’re scaling, you can also let yourself celebrate those wins – there’s nothing quite like putting in everything you’ve got, and getting results you only ever dreamed you could achieve. When you go for something you truly want, that’s always been a part of who you are, and you get it … don’t you just think to yourself “I could die happy right now!” I love those moments. You feel like you’re stepping more deeply into being yourself. You almost glow, and the feel-good is infectious. People around subtly get the message “If you’re willing to do what it takes, you can achieve your desires”. And so your success becomes a beacon of possibility, lighting the way for others.
In either case, all the blood sweat and tears you put in are forgiven and forgotten as you rejoice in just being … after all, what else is there?
This week live in the moment. Take little opportunities that come your way. Know that you will get there … and rejoice in the process as you move closer and closer to your next summit.
Every morning, as I brush my teeth, like a trigger the dentist’s voice rings in my ear ‘electric toothbrushes are always better than manual ones’. And every morning I say to myself ‘how do they know?’ Well ok I suppose electric toothbrushes can be better relied upon to brush more strongly, provide more brush strokes and thereby remove more plaque … but how do they know that more vigorous brushing won’t wear away your tooth enamel … or maybe the vibrations from the toothbrush might, I dunno, rattle your teeth about too much and make them fall out earlier … who knows? Yet we’re all willing to accept the dentist’s recommendation to use an electric toothbrush…
Well, as my mind was pondering this bland conundrum the other morning I followed the thought along to ‘Just think how many other things we take as fact, which are actually just theory’. That we’ll be well and healthy tomorrow, that nuclear war won’t break out, that we are actually the child of our parents (hospital mix-ups do happen you know!), our religious or spiritual standpoint, or the lack of it, that when you see something red, and somebody else sees something red that you actually both experience red in the same way … the list goes on. It’s a little unsettling when you first think about it … that a lot of what we base our lives on is theory. What if the theory is wrong? What if I get to 70 and all my teeth fall out because I’ve used an electric toothbrush for so long?
I like living on a theory though. For one thing, life is never dull and you never quite know what tomorrow will bring … but I think it’s more than gratuitous excitement. You see if you live in a world of theory, the possibilities are endless. Once you realise that pretty much everything is unstable, if you can find a way to place yourself ‘at cause’, i.e. be a force that makes things happen, or holds them as they are, or stops them happening, then you can do anything.
I think that’s a real key to life. Being comfortable in instability. A lot of people like things to remain stable and when elements of their world change unexpectedly that’s unsettling for them. Instead of being rattled by the change though, you can see it as an opportunity. To create something new, to be the most updated version of you, to understand something in a deeper way.
Embracing the possibility of instability allows you to be truly alive. If we always wait for ‘absolute facts’ before we make decisions, we delay and delay in taking action, and often those opportunities go stale and pass us by. If, on the other hand we’re willing to act on an estimate or a 70% likelihood, we get to take action more frequently, and get to live life far more on our own terms. The ride may be a little choppier, and sometimes we’ll make mistakes, but we’ll get more of what we want and boy will the process be exhilarating!
So this week embrace uncertainty, live on the edge and push the boundaries of possibility – it will be the ride of your life!
Ps: A quick shout out to my colleague Sara Jane Tepper (http://www.facebook.com/sarahjanetepper), who gives a fantastic full body massage amongst other things. If you’re living on the edge you need to take good care of yourself and this is one way! – check out Sara Jane’s website http://www.hertsholistic.com from where I copied the following:
Herts Holistic is run by Sarah-Jane Tepper and is based at Elstree Film Studios in Hertfordshire. She is ITEC and VTCT qualified and has Diplomas in Anatomy & Physiology, Massage, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology . She trained at the Central London College of Reflexology and the Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine. She is also qualified in Reiki I and II. Sarah-Jane writes Being Holistic, a column for At Home magazine online and is an independent distributor for Forever Living. She is fully insured and a member of the Association of Reflexologists and the Federation of Holistic Therapists.
I’ve got a thing for stubborn people. Sure they can drive you crazy, but you know what, they don’t stop till they get what they want, and you can’t argue with that for a skill!
As you may have heard, my colleague Ronit Gerber and I were on Salford City Radio on Monday for a show entitled ‘Harness the Power of You’. To sum up the show in a sentence the message was: When you are authentic to yourself, you attract a life that fulfills you. If you want to hear the show you’ll find links to the right of this page under Newly Added Resources. Anyhow, on that show we took questions live by email. Several listeners spoke about how they’d lost their job or relationship and found themselves looking for something new. They were looking for motivation and strength, and more than anything looking for a way to change the way they felt about life so they could move forward. And where did my mind go? Finding Nemo. You can see what I do in my ‘spare time’!
In Finding Nemo (for those readers who actually get to watch movies for grownups!!!) the lead character, a young clown fish called Nemo is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney. His timid father, Marlin, then travels all the way to get his son back. Many adventures ensue (which I’m not going to recount, you might be relieved to learn!) and there’s a point where Marlin accompanied by his scatty, amnesiac friend Dory, feels like he’s never going to make it. And she starts singing “Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming …”
I love that line. Cos sometimes life is tough. Sometimes you can’t see any way forward. Sometimes every route seems to be blocked, and you don’t want to be upbeat about it! Sometimes you’re angry and sometimes it’s overwhelming and all the motivation and ‘happy happy’ cheering up in the world isn’t going to help. Let’s admit it – we’re human and we all feel like that sometimes. So in those situations I say to you ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming …’. Sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping on, until you perceive an opportunity to change things.
That’s where stubborn people win out. They just keep on keeping on, and eventually they get what they want. We can learn something from that.
I’ve found that if you do keep going it’s as though G-d/The Universe takes notice of that. It’s almost as though a proclamation rings out “Heavens! This person is actually serious about their goals! Let’s give them a helping hand …” and then as if it was happening by itself, things start to turn around. You get the loan you need, you suddenly realise that you know exactly the person to help you or perhaps whatever was pressurizing you eases off and vanishes. Persistence pays and it seems The Universe likes those with a stubborn streak too! Just look at evolution if you need evidence for that – the most flexible, persistent life forms are the ones that survive to thrive.
So this week if there’s something getting you down or a situation that doesn’t seem to have a solution … you know what I’m going to say… JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!!
Have a great week!
What do you do with the dark times? You know, like visiting a house of mourning? Or when September the 11th comes round? Or hearing of some human tragedy – (even the ‘UK Riots’) on the news?
Well now, some people lap it all up. They love a bit of tragedy. I think in a way they kind of get high on it. They’ll be the first to call you and say “Did you hear what happened to …. isn’t it sad?” Isn’t it miserable, hard, deliciously depressing… Then you’ve got those who feign complete composure. You know, the ‘pass the salt’ types. They’ll sit there and say things like “Well it was par for the course, wasn’t it really, I mean what did you expect?” Sometimes they’ve gotten so cold in the practice of not feeling, that I think they actually don’t feel it anymore. Then you’ve got the channel switchers. You know, the people who change the channel when the ads about abused or starving children come on because they can’t bear to watch. And here I have to put my hand up and admit: That’s me. Well at least it was…
I know this one from the inside. I do watch the news, because I like to know what’s happening, but I’ll never read sad books and hate watching drama. Don’t talk to me about horror movies – even the film ‘Titanic’ kept me awake for a week, thinking about all those people dying. Funny disposition for a life coach/hypnotherapist. I get to hear about a lot of the dark things that have happened in people’s lives – sometimes things that they themselves haven’t faced up to in years. And it grabs me by the throat every time. I don’t think I’ll ever be immune to feeling it, and I don’t think I want to be. Lucky for me I’m adept at ‘turning down’ the sensitivity enough at least to help my clients get themselves out of the pit, but I feel it first. I’ve always got time to ‘feel’ along with my clients, but when I get home, you’ll never catch me chasing the misery shows – life’s serious enough!
So what do you do with it? It seems I’ve not been alone in trying to ‘protect’ myself from the dark side of life. There are plenty of people – some of them pretty big in the personal development world – who actually don’t watch the news at all because they don’t want to be brought down by the world’s misery. There are therapy techniques that have you ‘rewrite’ your past so that the dark things supposedly never happened or so that people apparently didn’t hurt you. And there is some pretty powerful evidence that ‘what you focus on, you get’, so there’s a growing industry out there to help you focus on the good things, so that you get more of them. It’s powerful stuff and I believe in a positive focus with all my heart.
But here’s the sting in the tail. In ‘trying’ to protect yourself from the darkness, what are you doing? YOU’RE FOCUSING ON IT. Think about that. I’m not talking to the misery wallowers here, you’re focusing on it and you know you are, so you’ll get plenty of it to keep focusing on, if that’s what you really want for yourself. I’m talking to all of us personal development junkies who read all the positive books, and laugh with all the funny people, and wake up and tweet “It’s a beautiful sunshiny day!!!” How many of us can’t face the darkness, and run from it? Well guess what baby, you better never look back, cos it’s right there chasing you!
What’s the answer? I’ve just read it. In a book by Gregg Braden, entitled ‘Walking between the Worlds’. I’m probably still not going to watch the tear jerkers, but I won’t be switching channels every time the sad ads come on any more. I’ve found a better way to deal with it and I’m ready to share. Here it comes: Accept the Darkness.
‘Watttt?????” You might say. “You mean I have to like the dark side??? You mean I have to want it?? Why did I just spend all those years training my brain to ignore it??? Don’t be silly, the dark side is bad, its evil, it pulls you down, it makes you sad, why would I want it???”
I didn’t say want it. I said accept it. Allow it. Maybe forgive it. Mr Braden even has us bless it.
To quote Gregg Braden:
“To live in the absence of fear and pain, you must allow for their possibility. That is it. Simply allow for their very existence. In the “allowing” for the possibility, is found the removing of the charge. Please be clear regarding this subtle yet powerful chemo-behavioural code. Allowing for the existence of something does not mean that you are choosing for something to happen. It does not mean that you condone it or like it. It does not mean that you would ever wish that something upon someone else. Allowing simply means that you acknowledge its existence and the role that the “something” plays within the overall context of life. That is all, no more and no less.”
Why allow it? Because then you can leave it behind. Once we accept that these things happened, that they exist, that they play a part in life, once we find a way to truly make peace with the dark side, the fight is over. It can’t chase you if you don’t run. It won’t suck your energy anymore every time you strive to ignore it. And then you’ll finally be free.
Once you’ve made your peace with the darkness and found a way to view it with compassion this allows you to deal with the situation compassionately and successfully, ensuring the best possible result for everyone involved. And so we see that acceptance does not mean impotence. Far from it. Once you accept, you are no longer compelled to a ‘knee-jerk reaction’. Instead, if a response is possible, you will be able to respond in a measured, appropriate and compassionate way – and you will be far more effective.
Furthermore, the power that you’ve freed up through no longer being obsessed with heavy feelings you can now put to use to accomplish everything that’s important to you. To really live a life of abundance, and blessing and brilliance. Then we can fully turn to the brighter side of things, with all our newfound vibrancy and zest and drink in deep!
Ps: I’m now starting a running collection of useful information, both on resolving our issues with the dark and of course on the all important positive focus side of things. You will find these in ‘Newly Added Resources’ to the right of this page, and in the ‘Resource Bank’ page – link at the top and to the right. Please do contribute, and here’s to all of our brilliance – go forth and shine bright!