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Ways to Amuse Yourself at the Supermarket Whilst Taking a Break From Being Judgemental

Your Carriage Awaits!

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!

Rivka

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The Greatest Problems Often Hide The Greatest Opportunities

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I’m back!

Dear Lovely Loyal Readers how I have missed you!  In the last but one blog I laid before you I wrote:  “Usually if I don’t manage to sit here and write about life it’s because I’m too busy living it!” and little did I know how predictive that comment would be.   Life indeed got so intense that I was compelled to lay down my keyboard and actually concentrate on living.  My apologies for my absence.  Now I shall be getting back into the swing of things, ready to pass along to you any inspiration that comes my way and it’s lovely to be home!

Well here we are, just into Thursday, at least from where I’m sitting, and I’ve just come back from Toastmasters.  Toastmasters is a speakers club where we all take turns to stand up and speak, and then we help each other work on our speaking technique.  It’s all quite formal and very organized, and for me because I often find myself in front of an audience, it’s a great way of ‘sharpening the saw’ and making sure I can get my message across clearer and better each time I present – see how much I love the people I work with?

This week I got home earlier than from the last meeting a fortnight ago, due to the fact that this week I didn’t find a dead-but-still-warm-maybe-it’s-not-actually-dead-I’d-better-call-the-RSPCA-oh-shame-it-actually-is-dead-and-oh-dear-now-it’s-2am-hedgehog in the middle of the road, so I’ve arrived back home with a certain amount of gumption still available to me, and I’ve decided the time is now – time to jump back into the blogging pool with a splash!

I thought I’d tell you all about my inspirational evening at Toastmasters tonight.  This week I’d volunteered/been talked into being the General Evaluator for the evening which is a formidable role, and one I’ve never done before.  You have to sit at the back of the room for the whole meeting, assess everything that happens, notice the good stuff and give recommendations for improvement.  At the end of the meeting you stand up for 10 minutes or so and report all this back.   I’ve always avoided this role because it means so much to so many people that I wasn’t sure how well I would deliver what was needed.

Tonight when I got there, I skidded in at the last minute, really wasn’t very organized when introducing my team of evaluators, and when it came to informing the audience of what I was there to do, I actually ended by showing them ‘fingers crossed’ and telling them “I’ll do my best”.  Not what you’d call the strongest of starts.  I was nervous.  Throughout the meeting I sat there at the back, making notes and hoping I could serve the room as I needed to when the time came to report back at the end. I decided I would simply go through my notes, in order, and not try any high shenanigans, just deliver the information.

Eventually I was called to the stage.  I don’t know what happened to me.  I’ve recently noticed it actually that when I have inspiring content to deliver to an audience that it’s almost like something takes me over and the job just gets done – it’s almost like I become an observer and the information just comes through me.  And it happened again tonight.  I was on fire!  You wouldn’t think a general evaluation could be that interesting, but somehow it came out funny and engaging and above all useful.  When I finished I got one of the biggest claps I’ve ever had, and the whole energy in the room had gone up a notch.  Several people congratulated me, and the president of the club said that whatever I was on, she wanted some! To cap it all off, a colleague from the club whom I greatly admire for his splendid speaking skills told me that my report was ‘jealousy inducing’, that he himself wouldn’t be able to do the report in that style, and he’s happy that our club has someone that can!  You can bet I flew home this evening, drunk on having done a splendid job.

Why am I telling you all this?  Certainly not to brag.  As I’ve said, I don’t know what came over me, only that I surrendered to something and the report came out brilliant.  I just think there’s a great moral here.  How often do we think that we can’t do something and we’re so convinced that we never even try?  I was actually afraid to be the general evaluator, which is quite silly considering that I life coach for a living, and that I’m regularly up on my feet in front of an audience. But when I accepted the role, something in me stepped up to the mark.  In fact I think all I had to do was step out of my own way and let my unconscious higher inspiration get on with it!

As regular readers will know, I am Jewish and occasionally share with you little things that inspire me from inside Judaism.  Well in the Jewish calendar we are currently in a period of communal mourning called ‘The 9 Days’ which will culminate this year on Sunday 29th July in a day called ‘The 9th of Av’, the saddest and most unlucky day in the Jewish calendar.  To me the energy during this time period is palpably heavy, and quite honestly every year (along with lots of other Jews, I’m sure) I can’t wait for the 9th of Av to pass, and take all the heaviness of spirit with it.  And yet there is a flip side.  Somebody told me the other day apparently we have a tradition that the dawn of an enlightened world age will begin on the 9th of Av one year and that all the mourning will be turned to a corresponding amount of joy and celebration forevermore.  Stand by on the 29th July … it’s 2012 after all … it could be this year!

I was thinking about all this in a wider context as I drove home tonight, and I was thinking “Isn’t that pattern true generally?”  It brought to mind a quote I recently heard, I’m not sure who said it.  It goes something like: ‘Pay attention to the problems in life because the greatest problems often hide the greatest opportunities’.  It’s just so true, isn’t it?  The bigger the problem that you solve, the more potent and positive the result.  That’s why the 9th of Av has such great potential.  Because it’s such a terrible day, when it gets turned inside out, it can only ever be absolutely brilliant.  In the wider context, it’s such a great way to change our thinking to realize that problems are actually positive things, because once you push through them, the result on the other side is more than worth the effort.  For this reason, the thing you are most afraid of doing is probably the thing that will benefit you the most if you just jump in and get on with it.  Additionally it is often the case that once you do break through to the other side, the so called problem often just crumbles away, as if it was never there in the first place.  Perhaps the problem was just an illusion all along, it’s only purpose being to get you to step up to the next level in your life.  Once you’ve done that, of course the problem vanishes – it has done it’s job!

Most of all, tonight I got a timely reminder that to push yourself beyond your comfort zone is a fantastic and rewarding thing. To quote Tony Robbins: “Everything grows or dies, contributes or is eliminated”.  What a compelling quote! Dunno about you, but I’m gonna keep growing and contributing, pushing through any challenges that come my way, and bringing you anything I learn in the process 🙂

Have a joyous week, get out there and be you!

A Funeral, A Spring Festival and New Beginnings

 

The sky is suitably overcast as we meet at the graveyard.  My great uncle has died, and here we all are for the funeral.  People are gathered in clumps, as if being part of a group will protect them from death.  I’m no different – I stick with my mother and brother.  I never really know what to say on these occasions.  What is there to say when the person lost is much loved, and has been there forever.  Words can’t be enough.  My presence will have to suffice.  Though we children didn’t spend as much time as we should have with him, to me my great uncle was one of those people who was just a given.  You know, someone who holds up part of the edge of your world just by being there.  It’s strange that he is dead.  It feels weird.  One more of the old guard is gone and the rest of us move one step closer to becoming the old guard ourselves.

It feels disrespectful to walk amongst the gravestones, so I stand with some others a little back as the coffin is lowered and the prayers are said. I stand there remembering how not that many years ago despite his frailty he was part of the party that accompanied my granny, his sister to her final resting place, even though he didn’t have his coat and it was freezing.   As we all watch the young lad with the digger fill in the grave, my eye roves over the nearby gravestones, and I read so many peoples’ final words to each other.  I allow the words on the nearest gravestone to dissolve and envision my name there, and I ponder what I’d want my gravestone to say.  Don’t you find these things make you value your life?  If there’s one thing each of us can be sure of it’s that we will eventually die.  I’m grateful to still be in the game.

After the funeral it’s back to the craziness of Passover preparations.  Passover is really an all consuming festival.  It celebrates the survival and rescue of the Jewish people from generations of slavery in ancient Egypt.  The celebration involves a lot of symbolism, to help the participants feel like they too have been rescued from that same slavery.  As part of the preparation involves removing even the tiniest amount of leavened grain product (bread, cake, pasta, biscuits etc) from your home, i.e. a massive and intense spring cleaning operation, by the time you get to the festival you really do feel like you’ve emerged from slavery!  I’m a busy woman, being a wife and mother of three, and serving my clients too.  There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done, so you have to prioritise.  What usually falls off the list is the domestic stuff, so when Passover comes, there’s a lot to do. My kids bless them are like three little tornados of chaos leaving a tumult of disorder in their wake.  So it’s pointless trying to remove said grain products more than a week before the event. And the clean up process when it does happen has to be a deep one – you find bits of pasta in the strangest places!  All of which explains why you didn’t get your blog last week.  Usually if I don’t manage to sit here and write about life it’s because I’m too busy living it!

As with a lot of religious practices, Passover is all about ‘as without, so within’.  I found an interesting reference to this regarding spring cleaning.  Written by David Ault, one of my personal development heroes,  it’s a piece suggesting that you do some internal spring cleaning whilst you spring clean your house   and really that’s part of what Passover is about – removing the leavened ‘puffed up’ ego, so that you can get to the real stuff underneath. It’s about leaving behind the past so that you can embrace the present and ever renewing life.

Which brings me to my final point. Has this been happening to anyone else, or is it just me?  Things that you wouldn’t usually expect to have been springing to life around me.  It all started with the chow chow.  If you’ve never encountered one, a chow chow is a bright green hand sized vegetable, with paler green flesh inside, and a soft white seed in the middle.  As I understand it, it’s native to places like the Philippines. It’s mild and slightly sweet in flavour and great as a steamed vegetable side dish.  Well I had one of these chow chows sitting on my kitchen window ledge for a while and due to the other clutter there, if I’m honest I completely forgot about it.  When I did eventually remember it and decide to cook it, an astonishing thing had happened.  It had sprouted a shoot and was growing a plant straight out of the vegetable itself.  Little roots were patiently waiting under the shoot for such a time when they would encounter some soil.  Now I’m a sucker for a sprouting plant.  If it has a root, I’ll plant it. Over the years I have loved many avocado plants, cobnut trees, and bulls eye seedlings.  I currently have a 4 year old jackfruit sapling growing in my office.  Don’t ask me why.  Being a tropical plant it will never bear fruit in this country. If it asks for soil I provide.  So I planted the chow chow.  It has subsequently shot up, like Jack’s beanstalk, and I have it on good authority that if I take care of it, it will provide us with chow chows all summer.

Then the dead stick on the orchid started flowering again – never seen that before.  Then I found sprouting ginger in the fridge – which I have since planted.  And you know what I found this morning?  We have a weekend treat in this house, for those who wake up early enough.  We have a ‘fruit party’, which consists of a variety of the usual and some more exotic fruit. So I was about to crack this coconut, and I took off part of the hair at the top, and the coconut had sprouted!  Now this was not something that had been sitting around in my kitchen, I’d only just bought it.  Of course I’m going to plant it … so it looks like we’ll be hosting a baby coconut palm too 🙂 Now all we need is sunshine!

So, what with bidding a sad and grateful farewell to a stalwart of the past, cleaning out our house and hearts of the old us to make way for the new us, and new life emerging in all directions, it seems spring is really taking hold at this end of the world.

How is spring manifesting in your life?

I’d love to hear about it!

Rivka

A Goal Setting Reminder – Persistence, Precision and Vision

Would you believe it?  It’s almost the end of March and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve only just completed my year’s goals!!!  Better late than never.  I started as I meant to go on of course, in fact I started before January was even upon us.  To do your goals properly, really you need a concentrated amount of time when you switch off the phone, put on some music to inspire you, and then you let your imagination and desires run free and see where they take you. Hmmm.  Couldn’t have been more different this year.

For a start, being a life coach, I like to make sure I’m using the best system so that I can teach it to my clients and workshop attendees, so this year I tampered with the systems I usually use and ended up using an amalgamation of both!  Then, being a mother of 3 active young kids, of course I didn’t get to do it all in one sitting – not by a long shot.  So whilst the first sit down session was one with the phone off and music, by the time I got round to the last (yesterday) I was sitting in the hubbub  of Costa, in between one errand and another, just getting it done.

Tell you what though there is something to be said for the ‘spaced repetition’ method.  Over the course of the 3 months or so it has taken me, I’ve had to look over my desired outcomes and really think about them a number of times.  You know what I realised yesterday?  That just in reminding myself of them regularly, I’ve actually done quite a few of them already 🙂  I was able to cross a number of things off before they even made it onto my official list for the year.

I’ve also learned two things about the methods I use.  Years ago I used to use the method a brilliant coach, Phillip Humbert http://www.philiphumbert.com/ made available to download.  But I’ve also vacillated between that and the Wheel of Life method taught by Tony Robbins.  This year I’ve decided for once and for all that I actually like the wheel of life method (with my adaptations to it) better.  What I’ve learnt from PH though is the addition of the category of ‘Environment’ which I’m now going to add to the other categories I use: Family, Finances, Professional, Fun, Health, Spiritual, Relationship, Friendships, Contribution and Growing.  And something else I’ve realised is that while every year your goal setting method invariably asks you to write down all your most farfetched and long term dreams in each area, you then only pick the most short term ones to work on.  Now some of those farfetched long term things I really want, so I’m adding another category: ‘Plans’.

So who wants to know what I’m focusing on this year (now that I finally know!!!)?   Here’s a short selection:  Create an amazing summer, full of mountains and lakes etc, Make monthly inspirational hangout at my house, Read an enlightening book a month, Run a weekly personal development class, Write to change the world, Build my internet presence, Lovingly give each child their hour a week, Get 6-8 hours sleep a night, Put all birthdays on outlook and synchronise to phone, Grow my enlightened presence within my marriage.   There are more of course – too many to list here!  I know you’re supposed to emerge with three or four desired outcomes to focus on … but I don’t like to do things by halves…

So now let me ask you … I’m sure you’ve been far more organised than me and got your goals done in January – so the end of March is the end of the First Quarter of the year…. how are your goals going … come on now – I want answers!  And for those of you that got delayed, like me, and haven’t finished, or even haven’t started, well are you going to wait till next January, or are you going to get going NOW?  How are you supposed to have the life you want, if you haven’t even defined what you want?  I want to hear some goals and desired outcomes, people!!!  For those who are scared to comment in WordPress, if you comment in Facebook I will bring your comments over to WP – how’s that for an offer? And by the way, why do you think I told you some of my desired outcomes? So you could hold me to them!  If you tell everyone what you want to achieve, you’re far more likely to achieve it – it’s people power!

Now is the time either to be re-evaluating your goals and how far you’ve got on them, or at least stating them before another year goes by.  I’m not going to go into a full on goal setting session now – I’ll save that for the New Year.  Just remember, ask for your heart’s desires – if you don’t ask you don’t get,   be careful what you ask for, and make sure they’re things that you can bring about yourself – ie: that don’t rely on anyone else.

Here’s to persisting and getting things done (eventually 😮 ), and here’s to the life of your desires!

Rivka

What Tony Robbins Shouted in My Ear, Dodgy Shaped Clothing and Opening Up Financial Abundance

He's got money coming out of his ears!!!!

 

It was 2001.  After two very difficult years, I had just emerged from university with a Masters in Psychology, and miraculously had managed to get my bank balance back up to exactly zero at the same time.  I didn’t have too much else – I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life in so many arenas.  It was like I was stepping off a shaky platform and … into a black hole.  Then onto our doormat fell an advertising postcard for a Tony Robbins event.

Several years prior to that my NLP trained driving instructor who also doubled as my unofficial mentor at the time had put a copy of Robbins book ‘Unleash the Power Within’ in my hands.  The book really spoke to me, so when I saw that this guy does events too I thought to myself “I wonder if he’s really the same guy he portrays himself as in his book”.  I really didn’t know what else to do with myself at the time, so I put myself back in the red by £650 or so (which I later learnt is WAY too much to pay for one of those tickets) and went along to Unleash the Power Within – the event.

I have a principal in life that if I’m going to do something, then I do it thoroughly.  I had just paid a huge sum of money for someone coming out of university to be at this gig and was investing a long weekend so I really took part!  I scribbled down everything the man said, I yelled out the answers to all the questions asked from the stage and I fully engaged in every activity he lead.  By the end of the event I was enlightened and exhausted.

There comes a point towards the end of these things where they try and sell you further amazing events for lots more money.  So Tony had told everyone about his ‘Mastery University’ and said something like “so if you want to experience all that and you want to get it at this and this fantastic price then go, go, go!”  and perhaps 3000 of the 5000 people in the auditorium streamed out of the doors to go and find out about getting on to the next stage.  The stands started to empty out.  There I stood, the lines of the tears I had cried in the last exercise still drying on my face, knowing I could never afford to travel all over the world to all these further events and yet desperate for more inspiration in my life.  And I suddenly thought “I have to speak to this man”.

I made my way down from the stars, pushing against the crowd and to the front of the stage where Tony was talking to a few people.  In just another five minutes or so crowds of people would return to the auditorium with the same idea but absolutely no hope of getting to the front.  I only had to wait for a couple of people in front of me and I was talking with the man himself.  I started to pour out my story.  Trouble was, with all the crowd in the background I couldn’t hear a word he was saying, even though he was sitting on one of the huge speakers at the front of the stage. Like a two way mind read I reached up and he reached down and he pulled me up on to the edge of the stage so that we could talk into each others ears and have some hope of being heard.  He has this story he tells about how before he started doing what he does his biggest worry was whether his car would hold together for the journey to work.  I told him that my car was exactly the same!  I told him that I had no money and no idea what to do with myself and was desperately unhappy.  That I really wanted to go to the next series of events he was running, but there was no way I could afford it.  And this is what he shouted in my ear (I might be paraphrasing a bit):

“I have a feeling that you have a problem with money.  You think money is bad in some way.  But actually money is very good.  Look at all the things we have achieved with money.  We do a lot of charity work – we wouldn’t be able to do that without money.  You need to change your attitude to money and then everything will change for you. And if you really want to go to Mastery University the money will come”.

I thanked him and got down from the stage.  I did actually go to Mastery University, which involved a lot of world travel and sleeping in cars etc and it was paid for by a whiplash injury I got, but that is another story in itself!  Tony Robbins is one of the reasons I got into what I do, and I don’t know who gets more out of it, my clients or I.

He was absolutely right about the money thing.  I had grown up skint.  And it seemed to me that anyone around me who had money was full of themselves, and lorded it over the rest of us peasants.  In my community I felt like a little nothing because I had nothing to show for myself.  That people didn’t talk to me because I wasn’t wealthy enough for them.  Indeed there was a big part of me that felt that ever getting money and any form of financial stability would make me into a horrible person.  I think I mentally chose rather to be poor than horrible.

I am happy to say that over the years my attitude to money and people with money has changed considerably. As I traveled and widened my horizons I met many people who had loads of money and were still really nice!  I learnt that money is far more of a blessing than a curse – if you know what do to with it.  My bank balance has also changed somewhat though there is still plenty of room for improvement 🙂

Back to now … I’ve been having a financial sort out in the last few weeks.  An old school teacher of mine once compared what you have in your life to the water inside a big tea urn.  He said “if you want more to be poured in from the top, you have to let water out from the tap at the bottom.”  I truly think he was on to something there.  For the last few years every time someone gave one of my children a tenner or whatever for a birthday present I was lazy to put it in their account for them, and have been stockpiling the envelopes.  Then every time I didn’t have cash to pay the cleaner or whatever I’d end up borrowing the birthday money, so these envelopes had IOU’s written all over them.  Well I’ve sorted it all out. I worked out what I owed and I’ve paid everybody back, or will do shortly.  Also, being Jewish, I have a law (or maybe a custom) that tells me to give 10% of everything I earn to charity.  I owe a bit of money that way too.  Now I’ve worked out exactly what I owe, and I’m going to pay that back as well.  You see if you want it to flow in from the top you do have to let it out at the bottom!  The two other things I remember that teacher saying was that he reckoned I’d hold some form of communal responsibility when I grew up (right again, Sir) and some reference to receiving a giraffe-shaped jumper as a gift!

So how are your finances?  What is your attitude to money like? – be honest now.  These are tough financial times for all.  The rich are suffering along with the poor – some of the wealthiest individuals have taken some of the biggest tumbles.  It isn’t easy for many people.  In the midst of all this, changing your attitude to money can be challenging … and yet it’s essential if you want more to flow your way.

All together now (in the words of The Secret, I believe): “Money flows freely and abundantly into my life” say it like you mean it and say it often.  Think rich, feel rich, act rich and talk rich.  Remember, your reality follows your FEELINGS.  Do what it takes to feel great and feel abundant and your reality is obliged to match that.  If all else fails, remember the best things in life really are free, so we’re all rich anyway.

Here’s to your wealth and mine!

Rivka

Trees, the Interconnectedness of All Things and the Power to Choose

I am currently emerging from one heck of a flu.  The shakes have gone, my head has pretty much stopped continuously rotating, and I can even more or less hear properly. All that’s left is a really annoying cough and phlegm in pretty 1970’s bathroom suite green … cos you really wanted to know that.  Oh yes and my memory’s completely gone.  Forgetting people’s names, faces, forgetting which section is which in my new meticulously organised but as yet unlabeled paperwork filing system … argh.  I feel like someone’s wiped my hard drive.  Thankfully I still remember my children, where the kitchen is and what it’s for, so I guess that covers the important things in life. Onward!

Yesterday morning I stopped the car opposite a park so that I could have a phone conversation.  In the summer the place would be buzzing with people, but in the cold of winter only one or two determined dog owners were to be seen, battling the blustering wind and hanging on to their leads for dear life as their pooches took them for a walk.  The playground lay empty.  I briefly flirted with the idea of having a few goes on the zip wire (yes, I have a bit of a mad streak) as for once I wouldn’t have to stand in line and wait with a bunch of 8 year olds whilst pretending I was just there to help my son, but then decided against it as my car was much warmer.

At this time of year all the trees are naked, and you can see their ‘bones’.  I like trees.  To me they represent how energy/matter is distributed in this existence.  If the trunk represents the whole, then each major branch would be a group of things, say celestial bodies, or all carbon based life, and then the smaller branches would be the divisions of those things, eg; plants, animals.  At some point you’d get to all the little twigs, leaves and flowers at the end, and each of those represent each individual instance of something, say a particular star or animal or human.  I know the analogy needs a little work, and it would have to be a gigantic tree, but it does really help you grasp the idea of ‘the interconnectedness of all things’.  We are all connected, not just every human being, but also every animal, every plant, every mountain, every star and every planet.  The connection comes from within – we are connected via our very essence, by the fact that we are all made of the same floaty frozen energetic ‘stuff’, bits of which migrate between us all with regularity, and thereby connected to the same trunk/source.  If this paragraph strikes a chord with you, wooohooo, I am not alone.  If it doesn’t, sorry, I just had the flu 😉

That wasn’t even what I was thinking about the trees yesterday though.  I was looking at their skeletons.  In front of me were three types of trees.  One type had knotted twisted branches that somehow still made their way outward and skyward, so that when clothed in leaves the tree would still have a classic tree shape.  Another type had fine delicate branches that seemed to have grown effortlessly. The outer branches of these trees swayed gently in the wind.  The third type of tree reminded me of my old school sports teacher.  Even then she looked about 80, yet her back was ramrod straight, and she held herself with pride.  The spines of these trees reached to the sky and the further branches seemed almost an afterthought.

‘I want to be the middle type of tree’ I thought to myself.  Why fight life and be all knotted and twisted inside? Or why be so obsessed with perfection that you don’t even have time for proper branches?  The middle trees were beautiful, elegant and effortless.  All the trees were growing in the same soil within meters of each other.  They all had the same conditions to work with.  Yet each grew differently, according to its nature.

Trees don’t have a choice – they just obey their genes and grow as they are designed to.  Animals are the same – granted they have a greater ability to discriminate, but at the end of the day they just obey their ‘programming’.   We humans are gifted with something no other animal has.  The ability to choose.

Many people just go with the flow, and let their conditions decide their life for them.  Many people waste that gift that elevates them from the other animals.  After all we have animal bodies and we too are awash in a sea of social conditioning.  So you can get through life hardly having to think for yourself at all, and many do.  Isn’t that a waste though?  We get to choose what we do with the conditions around us.  We get to choose what we do with what comes to us.  Do you really want to leave that choice to the herd?  I don’t.   I choose.  I choose to be the middle tree for a start, beautiful, relaxed, elegant, graceful.  And I choose to keep on choosing.  It may be harder work, and I’ll only have myself to blame if something goes wrong, but then on the other hand I’ll be able to take credit too when things go right!  And I know that I’ll be the creator of my own life … I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How about you?  Do you choose to choose? And if so which tree are you? And which would you be?

I think I may go on that zip line today…

Rivka

Giving Birth – and other times you need to let go and go with the flow!

I am soooo excited!!!! My good friend has just gone into labour 🙂 This will be a friend’s birth with a difference though, because she’s asked me to be there … crumbs!  I’ve never been at anyone else’s birth except my own 3 children … and myself of course, though I can’t remember very much about that … childcare has been suitably rearranged, clients put on hold and I’ve made sure to have a good healthy lunch – anyone would think I was preparing to give birth myself!  Now I’m sitting here ‘on call’, and whilst waiting what else would I be doing but blathering away at the keyboard – I guess I’m a true blogger at heart.

Now anyone who knows me well will know that I could go on forever about my beliefs regarding the intricate details of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding etc etc but never fear, I will hold off, for the sake of those who have a problem with anything blood or bodily fluid related, and of course for any gentlemen reading this, a percentage of whom would scurry quickly in a different direction or faint gallantly at the thought – you’re safe!  You may read on indignantly and then put me right in the comments section below with your incredible stories of the fastest drive of your life to the hospital delivery room, or how you videoed the whole thing from up close right until the moment you got kicked in the face, ok? (I know, I know, I’ve set myself up for it now :-/  )

Now where was I … ah yes, birth.  You know, in the personal development field we tend to make a big deal out of the idea that each of us needs to be in charge of our lives.  Oft repeated phrases come to mind such as- ‘If you don’t make a plan for your life, someone else will’ or of course ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’.   As a life coach I routinely encourage my clients (and anyone else who will listen) to live with forethought and act with deliberation.  Somewhat like James Bond to take calculated risks as opposed to irrational ones. To ‘begin with the end in mind’.  To do yearly planning and weekly planning, and to take time to decide on three things you want to achieve each morning.  And I strive to do each of these things myself.  So it may come as a surprise when I wholeheartedly suggest there are occasions when you might be best off chucking your planning in the nearest river and going with the flow.  Giving birth can be one of them.  A wise woman friend of mine, Chamutal – and I’m giving her a shout-out here because I think she’s brilliant – see below – has often said to me that “you give birth how you live life”.  I think that is true on many levels.  I think that in both it is important to plan for what you want, to point yourself in the right direction for getting what you want, and to make sure you set up your environment so that what you want is possible and can get to you.  After that there comes a point where you just have to let go.

Control freaks will be tearing their hair out at the thought … ‘What?’ you might say ‘You mean I can’t control every little detail all the way to the end?’ Nope.  You see life is rather like giving birth, too. You can plan till the cows come home but at the end of the day you can’t control the weather, or other people, or chance itself.  You can maybe guide life, funnel or magnetise it along a certain route, to a certain degree, but at the end of the day the world around you is going to do its thing, and blow you off course on occasion.  At that point you could waste your energy yelling at the wind or you could just get back on course.    Sometimes you do your best, and you still can’t go in the direction you think you need to.  Sometimes the only thing left in your control is your decision as to how you are going to react and what meaning you are going to give events.

It all sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it.  So let me tell you a little secret … sometimes letting go of what you think needs to happen is the one key that unlocks progress again.  For example if you want to get into a certain training course and you fail to get in every time you apply, the point at which you eventually let go and say ‘you know what I’ll do that other course instead’ might be the defining moment of your life.  Maybe you wanted to be a teacher, and you ended up being a plumber … you could find that you’re a jolly good plumber, get amazing job satisfaction, very little homework, and will almost certainly be richer too!

Sometimes you might not even have a plan B.  Sometimes you just need to let go and forget about the thing entirely.  Not even wait for it.  Sometimes, dare I say it, I think you need to give up.  Give up trying to direct the course of events at all, and just surrender to chance or a force bigger than yourself.  Let’s be clear, I’m not advocating this as a general attitude to life.  I mean once you’ve done all you can and can go no further under your own steam, once you’ve really, deeply and completely exhausted all your options, I think in those cases it is not only ok to give up, I would say it is required.  And then something incredible happens.  It’s as though existence steps in saying ‘Phew!  She finally got out of the way! Now let’s give her what she really needed all along.’  And you suddenly find that things start working again.  Like a creaky old cartwheel that has finally got some grease, life starts to move forward again, and you get everything you ever needed, almost effortlessly.

Without quite getting on my soapbox, birth-wise, I can tell you that I think a lot of the work of Michel Odent, a well known voice in the natural childbirth movement.  I heard him speak once, well before I gave birth to any of my children, and remember him saying something to the effect that childbirth is something the animal body does pretty much by itself if you give it half a chance.  His suggestion was to surrender to the animal side of things, and let your body do what it needs to do, and whatever it needs to do, without letting your mind get in the way.

I think life is the same – sometimes you just have to surrender and let things happen.  Sometimes you have to get out of your own way.  When you let go, a beautiful healthy baby pops out!

So this week, here’s to surrender and letting go –

Now I’m off to go give birth with my friend – wish us luck!

Rivka

Update:  … and we have a lovely baby boy, Thank Gd! My inspirational friend made light work of the whole thing.  It was a privilege to be by her side, and I am profoundly grateful for the experience.

NOTES

Quick event plug:     www.dashofsparkle.com/cocktails_and_consciousness.html

If you are considering joining us for our inspirational ‘girls night out’ event, Cocktails and Consciousness on Thursday evening 9th February- there’s no time like the present! Please follow the link above for more information and to book. Tickets are £15 each, and include one cocktail. If you let me know you have booked as a result of reading this blog, you can claim your complementary life coaching session with me too – 30 mins by phone or skype.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Odent – about Michel Odent

Chamutal Isaacs – is a seasoned doula, teaches natural fertility awareness, natural gender selection and provides coaching sessions on all things fertility, birth and breastfeeding related.  She is a well-spring of knowledge in my very personal opinion and you can reach her on 0044 (0)7903 268 551 or at chamutalishere@gmail.com .

Shape Your Environment, Shape Your Life

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!

Rivka

 

 

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:

http://www.dashofsparkle.com/cocktails_and_consciousness.html

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: rivka@tiqun.com

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Could you fill the empty space?

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!

Rivka

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohandas_Karamchand_Gandhi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_March

Are You a True Friend?

When approaching the ocean it's great to have a hand to hold!

How do you explain friendship to someone who doesn’t believe in the soul? Pairing up to procreate makes sense to cold, old fashioned evolution, as does having a working buddy – someone you hunt with.  But plain, no strings attached friendship? Where does that need for simple companionship come from and why is it sometimes soothed by some individuals that you ‘just feel a link’ with?  You can’t tell me that consciousness is just a state emerging from the complexity of the connections in the human mind, and then try to sell me the idea that that consciousness requires friendship.  Sorry, I don’t buy it. I think true friendship is a soul thing.

Right, philosopher’s hat off, life coach’s hat on.  Friendship was gifted to us, so let’s allow it to serve us and our friends both, as it should. I think we should be giving and receiving things like this:

Just plain fun

Obviously friends are the people to have fun with – if you Google ‘things to do with your friends’ you get a host of silly and fun activities, just for a laugh. Fun and laughter makes the world a happier lighter place, and it is seriously good for your health (I’m not kidding http://www.squidoo.com/normancousins#module12601876)  so are you getting enough Vitamin F, and do you have the right people to share it with? Don’t be too groan up now (the spelling error is intentional) get out there and have some fun!

A sense of connection

We humans, we like to feel that we’re a part of something.  We like to feel like it matters that we exist, that we hold a piece of being that no one else can hold.  That we’re valued for that. How’s your sense of connection with your group of friends?  Do your friends ‘get you’? Do you have that link? Or do you need to find more people that you can feel that connection with? If so, where might you find them?

Loving help and protection

Friends look after each other.  They’ll drive out in the pouring rain, dragging their kids with them if necessary, if your car breaks down and there’s no one else to rescue you.  They’ll bring you a hot soup if you’re down with the flu, or find a few minutes in their crazy busy day to say hi.  And if they are so overwhelmed with life they can’t even call you, they still think about you, and smile.  A friend stands up for you when everyone else is against you – even if you’re wrong. Doesn’t mean they agree with you, but they will do their best not to let anyone hurt you, even so. How well do you take care of your friends?

Whilst having a laugh is important, feeling a part of something also worthy, and giving/receiving protection can change a life, I think these last 3 points are not to be underestimated:

An experience of reflection

The closest people to us are in a way our greatest therapists.  What do I mean by that?  Well what does a therapist do?  Part of the job of a good therapist is to reflect back to us or help us to see the way we relate to the world, so that we can change what doesn’t serve us.  And if you look at the closest people around you, don’t they do the same thing?  Our family and our friends constantly hold up a mirror for us so we can see ourselves.  (www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsGl-XIWM5Y) If you practice anger you will often find angry friends who reveal you to yourself.  If you’re a loving caring person don’t you always see that in the friends around you?  If you will ‘do anything for anyone’ don’t you have friends who do that for you?  What are your friends reflecting back to you these days?

Safe arms in which to have a revelation

Oh those safe arms of friendship!  Someone that you can trust never to desert you, never to intentionally hurt you, someone who deeply cares about you …  what a safe place to face your deepest pains and find your way to a solution!  What a safe place to reveal those little shards and splinters of your truest self as you discover them and piece them together, knowing that your friend will still accept you as you grow and change, and will delight in your discoveries as much as you do.  Do you have a friend that could do this for you?  If not, are you being this type of friend?

Someone to hold you to account

A real friend … doesn’t let you get away with self destruction. They will love you and support you whatever you do, but if you truly start to lose yourself they are the ones who will smack your face if they have to and help you get back on track.  If you tell your true friend you’re seriously dieting they will wrestle the cookie jar from you.  If you tell your true friend that you never, ever want to go out with that kind of girl again, and you mean it, they are the one who will get you by the scruff of the neck and drag you out of there so you don’t get yourself in trouble again.  Sometimes your true friend won’t rescue you, because the value of the lesson learnt in a losing pattern repeated would help you more.  But they also don’t abandon you.  When the house of cards eventually falls down they’re there to help you pick up the pieces and start again, and there to help you build a better house this time.  They might even bite their tongue and avoid saying “I told you so!”  Held anyone to account lately?

 

When you think deeply about the blessing of friendship don’t you just feel lucky to be given that?  Where would we be without our friends? Let’s take a moment of gratitude for friendship now.  When you think of everything your friends have given you, it’s hard not to be grateful.  Poet’s hat on (I wish!!!) This has been going round and round in my head for the last few days so I had to chuck it onto the keyboard for you…

 

To Friends

To friends past:

friends that have come and gone,

friends lost, friends missed,

friends from the old days,

friends who left a hole in our hearts,

friends who taught us something,

friends who were like family,

friends who were brothers and sisters to us,

friends who never let us down,

friends who left a bit of themselves with us always,

and with whom we left a bit of ourselves.

To friends present:

friends we laugh with,

friends who guide us and we guide,

friends we trust with our deepest pains and joys,

friends we learn from and friends we teach.

Friends we have fun with,

friends who are soul mates,

friends who make life a delight,

friends we pledge ourselves to forever.

To friends future:

to the friends we yearn for,

friends not yet met,

friends that would fill the gap,

friends like a piece of soul missing,

friends we would do anything for,

the friends we wait for,

friends we know are already ours,

even though they are not yet there.

The friends we daydream of having

and so draw closer to ourselves.

To all these friends thank you, bless you and much love to you.

May you always bask in pleasant sunshine,

may your path be easy,

may your rewards be plentiful.

May you reach the heights you aspire to,

may you easily recall your life’s desires

and accomplish them with flair.

May love, fulfilment and abundance be your territory,

and may you be happy always.

This blog is for all my friends, past, present and future, and for friends everywhere, with a great deal of gratitude and love.

This week, nurture your friends!

Rivka