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Enlightened Little Beings

A DIY enthusiast in the making?

Just how brilliant do you allow your children to be? How much of a chance do you give them to learn things for themselves? And do you let them think for themselves?

Due to what we shall term ‘A Baby-Sitting Malfunction’ I ended up taking my 7 year old son to Toastmasters, my speakers club, on Wednesday evening.  In lots of ways it didn’t seem like a good idea.  For a start he would be up very late – I don’t usually get back till at least 11pm – and in addition to that he would have to sit quietly for the best part of 3 hours and listen to a variety of adults speak, and respond appropriately. He would also have to listen to me speak, and manage himself whilst I wasn’t sitting with him.  Now my little boy is a very intelligent and lively young man and at the age of 7 is still capable of a full-on-screaming-abdabs tantrum on rare occasions, so taking him with me did have an element of risk attached.  However, the babysitter had indeed malfunctioned, and I was speaking that night so I couldn’t exactly ‘bunk off’. As it was the summer holidays he could be excused the late night … so off we went.

In the car on the way there I told him how the evening would go, and he was really excited about it.  When we got there I introduced him to some of my friends and then we went and sat right at the front.  The president of the club was lovely.  She included his glove puppet ‘squeak mouse’ when she mentioned the guests that we had in the audience, which he loved, then the speeches began. Would you believe it? My little roof-raiser sat quietly through the evening, clapped at appropriate occasions, and conversed politely with people during the break.  When it was time to go home he told me he had had the ‘best time in his life ever!’  ‘Ever?’  I asked. ‘Well so far!’ he said 🙂

The club doesn’t allow you to join or speak till you’re 16, which is understandable given the fact that it’s a place for professionals to keep their speaking skills sharp, but it set me wondering.  There are so many things our kids could do if we just gave them half the chance.  I’ve talked about this before (Fearless as a Child).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about ‘hot-housing’ – forcing your kids into academic brilliance when they’re not up for it.  But when you see your child has a natural ability for something, and most of all they enjoy it, how many of us support them to follow that thing through, even if it’s something they’re theoretically too young for?  You know at the age of three and a half my son had an avid interest in dinosaurs.  And I’m not talking ‘Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs’, I mean the real McCoy.  We used to sit there reading from a book so heavy that he couldn’t even rest it on his little legs. The typeface was of course tiny, but the pictures were wonderful.  He’d leaf through till one caught his eye, and then say ‘Mummy tell me about that one!’ and I’d read and explain the accompanying text. Then when he went to school he was suddenly plunged into a world of ‘Tom is here. Jill is here. Where is the dog?’ It switched him off for a long time, though thankfully he has had a brilliant teacher this last academic year who has turned him on to learning again.  If your child picked up an academic book clearly written for adults, and asked you about the contents, would you read it to them? Not all parents would you know.

I think that as a culture we sometimes stunt our kids’ growth without even realising it.  We don’t always give them the chance to find out for themselves.  A dear friend once reprimanded me for giving her young son grapes still on the stem. ‘If you give it to him like that, he’s going to eat the stem too!’ she said.  Well, maybe the first time, but he won’t do it again will he?  How is he ever going to learn to pick the grapes off himself if you keep doing it for him?  It’s a balance and not always an easy one to achieve.  Of course you don’t let your children find out for themselves that walking into the road without looking could get you into trouble, part of a parent’s job is to keep their children safe. Yet there are so many things that they can work out for themselves thereby learning about the situation in hand, AND learning vital skills in terms of thinking and analysis.

Many years ago now I used to head up a Jewish Sunday school, and on one occasion the children and teachers were preparing for a meal to which all the parents would be invited.  We were cutting a salad and I asked my teaching assistant to cut the tomatoes.  I watched, astonished, as she pretty much annihilated them. She was doing her best.  She explained to me that this was the first time she had ever cut a tomato!  Wow!  I was shocked.  How is it possible for a person to reach a good 20 years of age and never learn to cut fruit and vegetables with a sharp knife?

Do you let your children use sharp knives?  I do.  How else will they learn?  I allow my two and three year old to hold the knife with me so that they get used to the various motions of cutting.  If it’s something easy, say my three year old has a small amount of cheese on her plate and she wants it in even smaller pieces I will allow her to use a sharp knife independently while I watch.  And I let my seven year old son use a knife independently and unsupervised, because he has been using one so long that he knows how.  If there’s something he isn’t confident about cutting he will ask for help.  The other day he peeled a kiwi and cut it into pieces.   That’s my boy!  I don’t have to hide knives away from them because they know that knives can be dangerous if misused, so they treat them with respect.  I explained to my kids that the most useful things are often also the most dangerous.  Things like knives or fire, or cars or electricity.  I explained that you shouldn’t be afraid of them, just learn how to use them safely and effectively.

Let’s empower our kids.  Instead of cosseting them from life, leaving some of them ignorant and incapable and others so plain frustrated and angry that they have to launch a full scale rebellion just to gain themselves the right to live their own lives, let’s support them in following their capabilities and their dreams.  I’ll tell you what, as a life coach and hypnotherapist I wouldn’t be dealing with half the cases I end up dealing with if people had given their kids a chance to start with.  We all make mistakes, every one of us, so let’s not dwell on the past, but focus on the now and on the future.  Ask yourself the question ‘How can I empower my child today to be the best that he or she can be?’

I was so proud of my son the other night.  Several members of the club came up to him and congratulated him on doing so well, and he accepted the compliments most graciously.  The experience may even have ignited in him a lifelong passion for the spoken word, and all because circumstance gave him a chance to experience being amongst people who have just that passion.

This week, empower yourself, others and most of all the children whose lives you are blessed to touch!

Rivka

Rapport, Doppelgangers and Children’s Unconscious Ability to Connect

 

The other day I was witness to a remarkable though simple ritual of connection. The whole family were at a shopping centre (the Mall to the Americans 🙂 ) – something that happens very rarely as I’m really not a shopping centre kind of person – and we’d stopped for lunch.  Our seats were outside the establishment in what I’d guess you could call the hallway outside the shops, and we were right next door to a hairdresser.  Our kids couldn’t sit down long and after a short while started to play, coming back for the occasional bites which was alright with us. So it wasn’t long before my 3 year old noticed a pair of sisters sitting bored at the hairdressers waiting for their mother to finish having her hair done.  One of the children was a similar age to her.  The girls had obviously been told to stay inside the hairdressers at all costs.  My daughter on the other hand was reluctant to cross the threshold into the next shop, so the two three year olds faced each other across the open doorway.

I think first they stuck their tongues out.  Then they started making faces at each other. Then they started copying each other’s faces. All this was wordlessly, amid the noise and bustle of the shopping centre, almost like a magical little oasis of connection. After that they started to add in various body movements, becoming more and more attuned.  One would raise an arm, and the other would copy, one would bop her head and the other would copy.  They took turns leading and following.  Finally they progressed to full body movements, doing lunges and star jumps.  At times they were so in tune with each other that they performed the actions at the same time, and it looked like one was the mirror image of the other.  All this went on for a good ten minutes or so.  Only then did they progress to a little conversation about brothers and sisters and such like, but by that time they were already friends! After a couple of minutes of that the sisters mother had finished having her hair done, and they trailed off after their mum, my daughter and her friend waving to each other and yelling ‘Bye!’

I was transfixed by the whole thing.  There are times when I find this mortal state of humanity limiting, and there are times when I rejoice in it and just love being human!  This was one of the latter.  Isn’t it fantastic that two little people can build such a connection, without words, just by mirroring each other’s movements?  And they had such fun doing it!  From a young age it seems we are born to interact and to read and predict each other.  NLP will have you intentionally match and mirror the actions of someone you wish to build up rapport with, and if that’s not done carefully it can be very artificial, actually a little creepy and more of a turn off than anything …  you might also be so busy matching and mirroring that you neglect to actually listen to what the other person is saying.  I personally prefer to pay deep attention to the conscious and unconscious messages the other person is sending my way.  You know how you can soften and relax your vision, and then you get to see every little thing that happens even out of the corner of your eye?  It’s something to experiment with whilst you’re driving.  Rather than having your eyes dart sharply from one target to the next, try looking softly. Defocusing your vision a little.  You’ll find you see a lot more.  Then you can zoom in on anything that seems incongruent or relevant in some way.  Well when I’m having a deep conversation with someone or if I’m working with a client  I like to do that with all my senses, with my whole awareness rather than just my vision.  I find that the most important things then jump right out at me.  And I also find that I match and mirror spontaneously rather than by design.  Rather like the two little girls at the shops!  See, we have it all inbuilt already, all we have to do is remember…

I had my own mirror experience yesterday … I was having a one to one business meeting with someone I’d met and briefly chatted with several times.  We’d previously noted that we had some common interests, and until that point we hadn’t actually talked deeply.  To start with, when I came into the room and we greeted each other, I was once again astounded by our physical similarities – both petite frame, shoulder length brown hair left down, glasses.  I had even narrowly missed wearing a similar jacket to the one she was wearing that morning!   Our conversation quickly progressed from the mundane to life goals and our understanding of life’s deepest concepts. She grew up in Hinduism and I grew up in Judaism, so we had different words for things and a different framework … but many of the concepts were the same.  In the course of the conversation we kept finding things we matched on … cue the creepy music!  At one point I had to remark to her ‘You’re like my Hindu twin!’  At the end of the meeting it was something of an effort to float back down to earth and pin down some concrete steps we could take action on.  At this point no one knows if we will collaborate on anything or what the results will be, but whatever happens it will certainly come from a place of mutual understanding.

When I think about it I’ve had this experience of deep similarity before, with a number of people and each time it has been a friendship that lasts and brings forth great things for both of us.  You know when I watched my daughter playing with the little girl at the doorway of the hairdressers and their rapport seemed so effortless and light, and yet so deep, I wondered whether we as adults could still attain that same rapport or whether we had lost something, a certain simplicity and direct connection perhaps, that we needed to regain.  Yesterday’s experience reminded me that we still have this vast ability to connect, even as adults – if we are open to it.

 

Have you had experiences of deep connection?  I’m sure you have and we’d love to hear about them… please share!

 

Make it a great week 🙂

 

Rivka

The Gifts We Leave Behind – Grandmothers, Caterpillars and Acceptance

 

When we got married one of the gifts I was given was a beautiful pair of crystal candlesticks. They were quite obviously valuable, and they caught the light from every angle, to produce rainbows on the table.  When I received them I even polished them up and held them admiringly, imagining what they would look like each with a burning candle atop. But I’ve never used them.  I use my Grandma’s candle-holder.  It’s a simple metal holder, dark grey in colour, with space for three candles, so that one is usually left empty. It doesn’t shine or glow.  The wax collects and catches in various bits, mostly where it isn’t meant to. And every week when I light my candles, Grandma stands over my shoulder.

Yesterday, Grandma stood with me as I made my daughters breakfast.  I was making semolina pudding, something I often stood by and watched her make as a child.  As I pressed the hot pudding into the bowl with my flat oiled hand, as she used to do, for a moment I saw her old weathered hands instead of mine.

Granny puts in an appearance more often.  In fact it’s usually her who arrives when I’m cooking. “Stir it or it will burn” she tells me. “Put a little water … put, put, don’t be a miser!” She’s always right of course.  My mind turns to Granny when I hit one of life’s little snags/opportunities and I wish I could tell her.  She has a way of approaching anything with calm, wisdom and a little mischievous humour.  Once when she was staying over at our house, she slept in my room and on my table was a large jar of caterpillars that I had kept since their ailing mother moth laid their eggs in my shoe box.  I must have left the lid partially open, because when my mother went upstairs to give my granny a cup of tea she quickly came back down with the message “Granny says to tell you your soldiers are marching!”  I got up there to find that a good quarter of the 64 caterpillars had escaped and were heading for the hills … one had even made it half way up the bookcase, and was hanging off a large file! As I gathered them back into their jar Granny watched in amusement, sitting up in bed and drinking her tea.  See what I mean? Cool, calm and collected … most other grannies would have screamed the house down.

Sadly neither of my grandmothers are still alive and every now and then I miss them terribly.  I miss the story telling, the humour, the person who always made you feel like they had nothing else in the world to do than to spend their time with you. I learnt a lot from them, both about the serious things in life and the fun things too.

I like to talk about visualising what you want for your future and of course we all need to focus on mindfulness and being fully alive in the present  … and doesn’t it make sense sometimes to also look back and acknowledge where we came from?

Of course everybody has had bumps and lumps in their past and some of our pasts are lumpier than others! Yet no matter what brought us to where we are now, we ARE here, and have our past to be thankful to for that.  Sometimes it was loving, caring and enjoyable, and sometimes it was … well, at least you could say it was educational!

Did you get to spend time with your grandmothers?  If you’re lucky enough to still have one or both, why not give them a call and let them know how much you love them.  Or maybe you’re a grandmother (or even a grandfather) yourself … you know your memory lives on well after you’re gone, and your voice will be heard long after you’re there to project it.  Each of us has multiple opportunities to leave our mark behind us as we progress through life, wherever we go and even when we go.  Whether we touch the world community or even if our sphere of influence extends purely to our immediate family, we get to leave so many gems or grenades hidden in the sand ready to be discovered.  What will you leave?  The cool thing is, you get to choose!

Rivka

I Can Do It By Myself – Push Your Limits

Anybody miss me last week? My apologies for vanishing.  We ran our fantastic event ‘Cocktails and Consciousness’ on Thursday – recording should be available soon – and suffice it to say that preparing for it occupied so much of my non-family time that I didn’t get to change my clothes for 3 days prior. Ugh I know, but that’s dedication for you!  I just worked till I fell asleep each day, then got up at 4am and worked some more.  Then I had a shower, stepped out, got my hair done and looking gorgeous did my best to entertain and educate – see how much I love my ‘job’?

And my computer died.  Astonishing how much a part of life these little purring electronic beasties have become, isn’t it? This happened an hour before I had to leave for the event, which was a real pain and also put paid to any thoughts of me putting out my blog on Thursday evening.  So now you know.

Well anyway I had to replace the thing.  Now generally I’m pretty good at traditional boys stuff – I can hang light fittings, confidently and usefully handle a variety of power tools and singlehandedly monkey strap 4 fencing panels to my roof rack if the situation calls for it.  I once even changed the points in my car.  Back in my student days I drove a succession of ‘old bangers’ which broke down with such frequency that I got warned I was using the AA too much (that’s AAA to the Americans) and would have to pay next time I was rescued.  I even got to know the local AA rescue guys!  I would stand with them as they tinkered under the bonnet and annoyingly ask question after question, so that over time I got pretty familiar with the workings of my various vehicles.  When one of these vehicles took longer and longer to start and eventually wouldn’t start at all, I reluctantly called a local mechanic.  They wanted £50 just to tow it to the garage and couldn’t tell me how long they would have it or how much it would cost to fix it. “It might be something really simple” I said “couldn’t you just take a look?” “Oh it could be anything” said Mr Know-It-All Mechanic Man “It could be the engine, the tyres, the brakes … we’d have to bring it in and take a proper look”.  This comment incensed me so much I just said thank you and hung up.  How thick did he think I was that I would buy the idea the car might not be starting because the tyres or brakes were faulty! Steaming, I stomped over to the local auto spares shop, described the situation and what I had done so far and said that I wanted to have a go at fixing it myself.  Did he know what the problem was?  “Well it could be your points” he said.  He told me where the distributor cap was, described what the points looked like and sold me a new set for £4.34.  “It might or might not work” he said.  Well it wasn’t working at the moment and I wasn’t going to pay the con-artists down the road several months budget to fleece me, so I would have to have a go.  It took me an hour and a half under the bonnet and the car sprung to life.  Hah!

So as I say I’m generally pretty good at boys stuff.  One of the exceptions is computers though.  I’m not talking about using them – I’m great at that.  But once you start talking specifications my eyes glaze over. You say “500 Megabytes of RAM with a Pentium Dual-Core Processor” and I hear “nya nya nya ga ga ga ga ga”.  I go to my happy place.  If you could see inside my head I’d be sitting by a lake watching the swans.  If you keep talking about it, eventually the top of my head creaks open, and a bird boings out on a spring saying “coo coo, coo coo”!

Which is why I decided that I would have to do this myself. Armed with the information that I currently had 4 Gig of one thing and 250 Gig of another, off I toddled to Costco, 3 kids in tow.  Costco was ridiculously busy, so much so that I had to approach someone who was leaving just to get a trolley, in which I safely installed the kids.  They gave me the coupon book and leafing through I noticed that there was an offer on an Acer.  I had to visit the membership desk first because I’d lost my membership card and (after an hour’s wait) happened to get a computer geek as an assistant. In chatting I told him I had come for a laptop. “Oh are you getting the Acer?” he said “I just got one for my mum”.

Card sorted, we plunged through the crowds to the computer section.  There were two in my price range.  The cheaper one was barely better than what I had in that it also had 4 Gig of whatever and about 350 Gig of whatever else.   A little beyond my budget, the Acer was the next one up and crowds were buzzing round it like flies.  There were so many people there I couldn’t even get my hands on the thing.  By now my son had worked out that you can pull up the wall of one side of the trolley from the bottom and was masterminding the escape of all three children.  I plunked them back in, gave them sweets to keep them quiet (yes, I do it too) and looked at the specifications again.  Nya nya nya.  But it looked a lot better than the other one.  To stop any further escapes and give me a little thinking time I set off ‘around the block’ of printers, DVD players etc.  What to do?

Well, computer geek at the front had bought the Acer.  The crowds were buzzing round it which meant it had to be worth considering (read ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ by James Surowiecki) and Costco have a habit of finding something great and discounting it so that they’re far cheaper than anyone else.  I chose the Acer.

Later that evening computer geek hubby, who had desperately wanted to help me make the purchase, asked me what I’d got.  I showed him, saying “I think you’ll find I’ve done well!” with a lot more confidence than I felt.  He looked and was actually impressed.  “Do you know it has a nya nya nya processor?”  He said. “I don’t know what that means” I smiled “I bought on psychological principals, you know.” It took him several hours of research to find a comparable Dell computer at the same price, online.  Bare-faced cheek and a little right-brained thinking won the day!

The moral of the story?  Well sometimes I think it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and do something you previously thought you couldn’t.  If you can’t do it the conventional way, just do what it takes. It’s very easy to get stuck in your beliefs about what you can and can’t do, but where’s the fun in that?  Pushing your limits isn’t always easy or comfortable, but in the words of Peter Mc Williams, a self help author:

Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.

You never know what you can achieve till you give it a go, so this week push some boundaries!

Rivka

Now is the Time of Your Life

A dinosaur and a call for peace - I think you can work out who made what!

Well, it’s technically still Wednesday as I write…

What a day it’s been … a topsy-turvy day … My childminder had to cancel and the friend I usually swop childcare with had to cancel, meaning my little girls were home and  my son’s school was on strike meaning that he was home.  I had two appointments to keep today which could have been a problem, only one of them cancelled due to the client having a cold and the other was a phone appointment, who just wasn’t there when I called!  So by many accounts today was a bit of a non-event … except we really enjoyed it!

We had a nice relaxed morning.  I got my son onto Skype so he can now call family overseas … then we spent far too much time Skyping each other from upstairs to downstairs.  After that we got the guitars out.  Before you picture a family band all playing beautifully in harmony I should probably tell you that my daughter’s ‘guitar’ is a five quid job that can’t be tuned or the strings snap, and my son’s guitar is a hand-me-down from a family member who got it from somebody else who probably didn’t want it because the strings are so high off the fret board you could slide a dinner plate under them!  My guitar was the cheapest thing Argos had at the time, but unlike the other two it works.  So she swung hers round her head, he picked open strings and I played the chords to The House of the Rising Sun which is pretty much the only thing I remember from all those years ago… well that and the baseline to Stand By Me.  Noisy, tuneless fun was had! Then we did a lot of clearing up family stylie, watched children’s TV till our eyes went square and after dinner, made menorahs – candle holders used to celebrate the festival of Hanukah – out of clay. Finally the kids spent a good three quarters of an hour watching cute baby animals on YouTube with Daddy and running round in circles dancing to their favourite theme tunes.   All in all it has been a lovely day.

My point?  Well to start with I was a little peeved that my working day was effectively cancelled … but as the day really started to fall apart, I decided to just go with it … it wasn’t like I had much choice in the matter, so why not just take a break?  I think life does that quite a bit, you know, produces the unexpected.  So firstly there’s that element of ‘You’ll get what you like if you like what you get’ but I think it goes deeper than that. I think it’s part of the human condition – or perhaps part of the human ailment – that we tend to spend a lot of time wishing we were somewhere else, spending time with someone else and doing something else. Young people wish to be older and old people wish to be younger. Singles wish to be married, but once they get married they miss their single days.  Stay at home mums miss their working life, but once they get back to work they often hanker after the freedom of the days spent at home and the time spent with their kids.  When your kids are young you wish they’d grow out of nappies and get to the point where they can take themselves to school, yet once they do, you miss the cute days! Working dads can often be heard grumbling that they are out all day slaving away at a hot desk, instead of chilling out with the kids at home, but ask them to baby sit … We spend three quarters of the year wishing we were away on holiday.  You lie down in bed and think about the day to come.  But once you wake up and turf yourself out of the house and into the winter cold you soon wish you were back in bed … and on and on and on.  You can see why it’s an ailment.  Why can’t we just be where we are?  With the people who are actually there, at the period in time that we’re actually at, doing what we’re actually doing… would that be too much to ask for?  Can you imagine getting to the end of your time on this earth, looking back over your life and discovering that for most of the time you were here, you were so busy wishing for something else that you completely missed the joy of the moment?  What a waste of a life that would be.

I think there is something beautiful in most if not all situations.  There’s always something to learn, there’s always some growing to be done, and there’s often a lot of fun to be had if we can only open our eyes to it!  I think life was meant to be lived in the now – after all NOW is the only time that exists, that is ever ‘live’.  The past is gone, it’s just a memory, and is only as accurate as the mind or the medium that records it. The future is just a sea of random points that coalesce into the things we expect to see when we turn our heads that way.  When we turn aside, those forms instantly collapse back into pure potential again … the future is just a dream.  The other guy’s occupation belongs to him, and is for him to focus on right now.  Summer break will come when it gets here and we can enjoy it then.  The only time is NOW folks, the time is NOW.  Sure we can spend time learning from the past and celebrating the good things that happened there.  Sure we can look towards the future and plan.  But if we’re going to put down roots and live somewhere, let’s do it in the NOW  – and reap all the benefits of being present-minded.  When you predominantly focus on where you’re actually at a wonderful thing happens.  All of a sudden you feel light as air, because you’re unencumbered by baggage from the past or concern about the future.  With all that extra energy you can make every second of now count, one by one, as you live life to the full and get the most out of every      single     moment.  Then when each of us gets to the end of our lives we can take a final glance backward and know that we did a sterling job of the whole thing, to the very best of our ability, and the painting that was our life was a masterpiece.   I like doing things properly, don’t you?

I had a very ‘now’ day today, and I liked it, so I’ve decided to have a ‘now’ week … care to join in?  This week be where you’re at, wherever you’re at.  Let’s live it up, guys and gals, and have a great week!

Rivka

Ps: Book of the week: ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle … great book, read it when you can!

Fearless as a Child

I’d only popped out of the room for a minute.  I returned to find my one and a half year old had climbed all the way up the full size adult ladder, and like a little mini-marvel, was crouched low to avoid the ceiling on top of my son’s cupboard, at the very edge, delightedly messing with his most highly prized belongings!

Now I’m not one of those parents who hysterically screams “Come down Harry, you’ll hurt yourself!!!!!” every time one of my children dares to climb a tree or something – I do like to let them find their feet and push their boundaries.  Even so, I caught my breath and had to bite my tongue while I strode over there.  I quickly climbed up behind her, and complemented her on her climbing skills.  Little monkey!

So I moved the ladder, this time leaning it at the middle on an old cot full of teddies.  I figured that if she did go up, she’d hopefully get off at teddy level.  I was wrong.  You couldn’t keep her away from the thing.  Under my watchful, OK slightly proud eye, she quickly got herself to the top again and this time stood on the second to top rung, leaning on the top rung, hands free, completely chilled out, and surveying the toys on top of the nearby shelves to see what she could reach.  When she actually reached out and the ladder slid a fraction of a centimeter to the right that was enough for me.  I captured my little monkey, put her safely back on terra firma, and put the ladder lying down on the floor till it could be put away … you should have heard the shrieks of protest!

It was a beautiful example of fearlessness (more on her part than mine).  Fear is bred into us.  If you watch small children they are completely fearless.  They have to be.  Think about it, you come into this world, totally reliant on others for your very survival, with the world around you making very little sense.  With the exception of the feel, smell, sound of your mother everything else is foreign and your senses aren’t even fully developed yet.  Once your brain receives information it has very basic compartments to put things in, probably labelled something like ‘me’ and ‘not me’.  So we learn about the world around us at the same time as actually developing our mind’s capacity to understand that world.  Can you imagine if we approached such a job with fear?  We’d be too scared to function.

So where does all this fear come from?  Why as adults are so many of us afraid of so much?  People say that we need to have a degree of fear in order to keep us away from doing stupid things, like walking off cliffs or sticking our hands in a fire.  I don’t agree.  We don’t need fear, we need awareness.  If you understand that a fire is hot and will damage you if you put your hand in it, then its common sense that dictates you don’t do it, not fear.

I think fear is overrated and overused.  I also think it’s a big fat slug of a thing that might take humanity a while or at least a concentrated effort to shake off.  It is so bred into us to use fear as a motivator both with ourselves and others.  Don’t climb the ladder or you’ll fall off, don’t try something new or you’ll fail and everybody will laugh, don’t try to drive that truck, you’ll probably crash it.

Dontcha get the feeling that humanity is on the verge of something big right now?  This is a bit of a soap box topic for me, and I’ll probably blog about it sometime.  Personally I believe we’re on the verge of some evolutionary leap in the way we think.  There are things we need to grasp such as the idea that there is more than enough for everybody, and that you attract to you the things you feel strongest about.  There are also cobwebs we need to clear.  Fighting and anger don’t solve problems, they postpone or even create them.  You aren’t a successful human being just because you have the most stuff, or because you’re the most outrageous thing on TV. And fear is something that might happen to you if you’re in mortal danger but it shouldn’t make an everyday appearance on the horizon of your mind, every time you’re in touch with the unexpected or the new.

Let’s instead choose acceptance.  Let’s choose curiosity and let’s choose a sense of adventure.  Babies at their most vulnerable are also at their bravest … by and large they survive into adulthood, so they must be doing something right.

This week if you find yourself putting the frighteners on somebody when you could just help them be aware, then experiment with awareness instead. And if you find yourself afraid of something, examine it closely, get to know it deeply and see how well you can approach it differently.

Onward, fellow adventurers!

Rivka

 

 

“There are always two voices sounding in our ear: the voice of fear, and the voice of confidence. One is the clamor of the senses, the other is the whispering of the higher self.”  Charles B. Newcomb

How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts – a Small Boy’s Story

Young kids are sooooooooooooooo exhausting.  They are full time, 24/7, round the clock, always on and you as the parent (or your chosen surrogate!) have to be there to meet their needs whatever the weather, whenever.

I am absolutely out for the count today, you know why?  Yesterday my lovely almost seven year old saw some advert on the TV for a programme attempting to verify entities such as werewolves, demons and some other scary thing, I forget what.  Now he has this habit of watching or listening to things that scare him (E.g. Roald Dahl’s ‘Witches’) and then afterwards getting really scared for ages.  He’s really drawn to all this stuff, then afterwards he pays.  He asked me to record the show for him so he could see it.  Of course I refused, because it was clearly inappropriate for his age and besides I knew what would happen afterwards.  He spent some time trying to win me over and get me to change my mind but I wasn’t budging.  He’s a bright boy, so I explained to him that you get more of what you think about in life.

“Does that mean that if I think about werewolves I’ll get werewolves?” he said.

“Well no of course not, werewolves don’t exist”  I answered “but if you spend a lot of time thinking about werewolves then you might end up hearing more stories about werewolves or getting more scared of werewolves.   You like to watch a lot of kids programs involving fighting and anger ((there are far too many in my opinion, all the kids in his class watch them and so does he … whatever’s the current trend – Bakugan, Yugioh, Ben 10 and on and on, all targeted at his age group)) so do your friends and you end up with a lot of fighting in school, don’t you? Imagine if you chose more things to watch that were funny or interesting …What are some nice things you could think about?  You know you can never really make scary thoughts go away, what you have to do is fill your head with nice thoughts instead so that there’s no room for the scary ones anymore.” I made my point and not that long afterwards it was bed time.

Anyway having got to sleep maybe 11.30 myself, 3.34am I am nudged awake and this little somewhat hoarse voice says: “Mummy I’m really thirsty.” “So go downstairs and get a drink” I tell him, and fall asleep again. A few minutes later- “Mummy I’m so thirsty I can’t sleep”. Basically he is too scared to go downstairs himself, because he can’t stop thinking about the advert with the werewolves and demons and all the rest of it.  I groggily drag myself out of bed and accompany him to get a drink.  After he has his drink he lies there quietly and starts to fall asleep.  Then all of a sudden his breathing changes, and I know where he’s going.

“It’s ok,” I tell him “I’m here.”

“Mummy” he says in a small voice “What are some nice things to think about?”

“Who loves you?” I ask him.

“I don’t know …” he says.

“Who loves you enough to get up at 3.30 in the morning and help you get a drink?” I prod.

“You do” he smiles and his voice starts to relax a bit.

“Who else loves you? And who else?” One by one he names all the people in the family, first immediate, then wider.  As he does, his body loses its tension and he starts to sound sleepy again.

“There are so many people” he says in wonder.

“Yes there are” I answer “how does it feel to be loved by so many people?” He smiles again, turns over and falls asleep.

It takes me a lot longer, and I don’t fall back into a deep sleep again before I have to get up at 6.  Hence my cave woman like demeanour today!

I can’t help thinking though, what a lucky boy he is to learn the skills it takes to redirect your mind before he even reaches seven!  Nobody taught me that till I was an adult.  What applies to a child equally applies to all of us.  You get more of what you think about.  Actually, you get more of what you FEEL about.  Anything you put emotion into, positive or negative will keep coming back to you.  Take a little look through your life and you’ll see it’s true.  Look at the types of people you draw in, and the types of situations you find yourself in.  Look at the recurrent thoughts that pop into your head.  Do you see any patterns? If there are elements of your experience that you’re not too happy about, you can change them.  Don’t bother fighting them and pushing them away – that just brings them back.  Instead re-direct your focus.  Think about what you want.  Think about who loves you and who and what you’re passionate about. Bring good things into your life.  We are ALL powerful enough to do that for ourselves. If my almost seven year old can do it, then I can do it and so can you.

Wishing you a powerful force of attraction for all things positive this week,

Rivka

Feel Abundant and Get What You Want

 The sun is shining beautifully, there are just a few little clouds scudding across the sky and my friend and I have taken our kids to a pick-your-own farm.  We are in a huge field chequered by big plots of various vegetables, in the middle of a plot of onions so big that it takes a couple of minutes just to walk across it.  There I am carrying the baby in the sling, laden with a bag of beautiful, fresh onions in one hand, complete with long spring-oniony type greens and pulling onions out of the ground with the other hand.  My son comes up to me and with his typical ‘Mummy is Superwoman’ thinking tries to get me to carry his bag of onions as well!

‘Let’s just put it down here, and you can come back and put more in as you go’ I suggest, leaving the bag on the ground. ‘But Mummy’ he says ‘someone will steal it!’

‘Look around’ I tell him ‘there are a million onions – who’s going to want to steal yours?’

We often think like that don’t we?  You can be right in the middle of a field of possibilities and still feel impoverished, like you don’t have enough or that someone is going to steal it all away from you! Feeling ‘poor’ isn’t good for the moral, and it keeps us stuck.  When you feel like there isn’t enough, you can’t live large, in case you ‘use it all up’, and quite often you don’t even see the opportunities around you because you ‘know’ that they aren’t there! 

How about knowing something different?  How about knowing that there IS more than enough?  How about knowing that we can have anything we want if we can just be open to receiving it?  How about allowing yourself to live with an attitude of ABUNDANCE instead?

Remember Schrodinger’s cat? If you don’t, that’s your physics homework for this week. Basically we influence the world around us just by looking at it. That’s not me being fanciful, you’ll find it in your physics textbook.  In a sense we create by looking.  So if you want abundance in every sense, you need to look for it, and absolutely expect to find it!  We draw to us that which we expect to experience, both positive and negative.  So if you want to change your luck, start by changing your expectations.

I close with another story about my son – children truly are our greatest teachers. There we are at a large seaside fairground.  I am playing ‘baggage woman’ and have all the coats and bags and babies and drinks, and I’m sitting there watching the world go by, whilst my son and his cousin go from one ride to the next.  My attention falls on the nearby games stalls and I can’t help noticing that there’s a little skulduggery going on.  There’s this guy, obviously the stooge, carrying a massive fluorescent orange alien teddy bear on his back, and walking up and down the fairground.  Every now and then he stops at the ‘knock the cans down to win a prize’ stall, chucks a couple of balls at the cans, has a laugh with the stallholder, and then walks off carrying the gigantic teddy on his back, supposedly having won. I know my boy is going to want one of these, and sure enough, as soon as they come off the rides, he insists on having a go at winning this teddy.

‘But it’s a con!’ I explain to him.  ‘Watch the people who are playing, nobody’s winning.’

‘Yes they are’ he says ‘I saw a man with one!’

‘He’s a con too!’ I say ‘he’s pretending he’s won so that people will come and play the game! Look, take the two pounds – you can have it.  Put it in your pocket and take it home.’

‘No!’ he says ‘I want to win the teddy!’

You try arguing with a five year old. ‘But you can’t possibly win it’ I say, exasperated, ‘the game is set up so that you can’t win!  You’ll lose your money and get nothing. In fact I’ll bet you a week’s earnings that you can’t win that teddy! If you have a go at this, then you can’t go on any of the other games!’  ‘Fine!’ he says and beaten I take them to the stall.

He puts his money on the counter.  He’s so little he can barely see over the surface. So the stallholder invites him to sit up on top. ‘As you’re young’ he tells him ‘you can have three tries instead of two’. My son nods, looking ever so serious.  All I can think about is the disappointed tantruming I’m going to have to deal with all the way home.  He throws one ball and it goes wildly off into the corner of the stall.  He throws another and it’s just as wide.  Then the stallholder himself takes the last ball and throws it at the cans, just leaving two standing!  He picks up the ball and hands it back to my son, who throws it again. And he gives him the ball back again.  And again.  He keeps giving my son the ball until all the cans are down. ‘Well done!’ he tells him ‘You Won!’ The smile on my boy’s face could light up the pier. 

Well that’s how I ended up handing over a week’s earnings to my five year old … word is word.  He taught me a lesson though.  He taught me that if you want something enough, and you believe in it enough and insist on it in the face of all dissuaders, and actually go for it, then you can get it, no matter what the odds.

So this week know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are surrounded by every opportunity you could possibly need. See the abundance and give yourself permission to receive it. Claim your destiny.  There is magic in the eye of the beholder. 

Rivka