When Saying No Means YesPosted on: Uncategorized, April 22nd, 2013
A Four-Day Journey
I started a part time job a little over a month ago – and I handed in my notice not a week later. Now, as someone who has a CV that confirms that I am very much of the ‘staying variety’, this shocked nobody more than it did me. Well, shocked and titillated.
Being titillated felt like an aftershock, but I was. Because strongly claiming the disappointment I felt, (that what appeared in theory to be the perfect job, that would fit in wonderfully with my budding coaching practise), was the strongest wave of empowerment.
Saying no felt so damn good in this case.
It meant saying yes to me.
I was incredibly excited about the job. It was decent money. It was a key role that worked on my terms as far as time went. It was sold to me in a way that made me think my value set matched perfectly with my boss’s, and the field interested me. My husband commented that he hadn’t seen me that fired up about something in a while. Happy days, until day 4 that is, when:
My work ethic was questioned for the first time in my life: with nothing to base that on, except an assumption. Oh I tried to see where he was coming from, excused it away for 5 minutes, gave him the benefit of the doubt. But no, that was not OK with me and never would be.
The parameters changed; Part-time does not mean 24/7 for a part-time salary. Nor does it mean working on a Saturday because that’s what suited the boss. (I’ll stop there; I’ve worked through my anger, really.)
I suddenly realized how much ego-management was going to be involved in my day.
Logic Vs Gut
There’s more, but that’s not important. What is important is that my gut, during all those moments, was SCREAMING at me. Run woman! Run now!
Logic, was trying to smooth my ruffled feathers, and talk me into the practicalities of staying.
Gut won. Empowerment seeped in.
There was a moment when I asked myself why I felt unable to handle this man’s ‘way’ of working, being, doing, when I had handled so many different personalities in prior jobs. A quiet little voice whispered, “You CAN handle him, but do you WANT to?”
Gut: Negative, nae, no, uh-uh. RUN.
So I listened, really listened to what my inner wisdom was saying. And that’s what was key. The key to saying no to someone else, in order to say yes to me.
So without one iota of fear plaguing my body, I politely and professionally opted out, and smiled all the way home.
Is turmoil gut Vs logic, I wonder?
If gut won every time, would we be far happier?
Is it that simple?
Of course there are other factors at play. This might sound oversimplified, but that’s for a reason…
Because, what if it was?
I wonder how different our lives would look and feel.
My invitation to you today is to follow your gut on something, anything, and see where that leads you.
AcceptancePosted on: Uncategorized, February 27th, 2013
It’s one of my personal favourite colours, and one of my most uncomfortable states… well, it was.
It’s also the area I’ve been emotionally dwelling in for the past few months. ‘Dwelling’ sounds like a peaceful state; it has been anything but. My family has broken, mended, broken and mended again, and, I have no idea what will come next.
But where I am today, is in acceptance: Of whatever comes next. Of not knowing what will come next.
And that is what shifted me from being incredibly uncomfortable in the grey area, to being nestled into it.
Neat Little Boxes
It’s very rare to find every area of our lives perfectly wrapped up in their own neat little respective boxes (preferably with pretty little bows on top), at once. So how do we stay happy on our journeys regardless of this?
I have come to see that being OK in grey areas is key, certainly for me. My happiness, once upon a time, did depend on having everything lined up perfectly – if one key area of my life was out of kilter, it would seep into the other areas and tarnish those too. And, if it didn’t tarnish everything else, it was synonymous with being unimportant, or I was irresponsible, or did not care enough.
What carries us to acceptance?
It sounds like an easy destination to reach – you know, we receive our phone bill, “Ouch, it’s a little high this month”, well, ok, that’s what the bill is, we accept that, there’s not a lot we can do about it bar being a little more careful next month. Done deal, we’re there.
But life stuff, real-big-deal-rollercoaster-messiness stuff; acceptance can be a little trickier to sink into.
This has been an interesting musing for me. Hope, that we all have and indeed need, has been a staggering block in my journey. Well, at least I thought it was a staggering block, until I found a place to put it.
Whatever grey area you’re in, whether it’s a family issue, pain, a state of limbo – hope springs eternal. And that hope, whether it’s for a conclusion, a specific outcome, a relief of some sort, can muddle us, if we let it over-ride acceptance.
It was certainly over-riding acceptance in my case, until I tucked it in next to acceptance: I finally accepted that I could not control the outcome of this situation, and that acceptance also did not cancel out my hope that the outcome would be a good one.
Whereas prior to getting to that place where I let go of the outcome, my hope that ‘things would work out’ (in a way that felt good to me), was what I was clinging to. Accepting things that don’t feel good to us or indeed ‘normal’ is not always easy.
My parents being in turmoil; not comfortable and NOT normal for me – accepting that things may not work out in a way that feels comfortable for me, has been quite a journey and a very grey area, but, a grey area that I am in gratitude for, because grey is such a teacher.
“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
Understanding: Who are you in relation to this situation?
Me, I was trying to play the role of ‘fixer’. The little girl in me thought that if she could just do x y and z, things would be OK.
Fixing comes from fear.
Who are you being, in your situation? What if you relinquished control?
Acceptance comes from love, and, sometimes a combination of love + detachment.
I don’t mean detachment in a vague, non-loving space. I mean in the sense of letting go, really letting go of an outcome, trusting, even when it feels impossible, and holding the situation, the people, in a loving space, from the ‘safe’ distance that enables us to practice good self-care, and still be HAPPY within ourselves even if one of those boxes is all unraveled and unpacked.
Where do you need to love + detach to enable you to look after you?
Wishing you gratitude for your grey area teachers, hope that neighbours acceptance, and, understanding this week. Namaste.
NourishmentPosted on: Uncategorized, February 8th, 2013
I sat down to write this morning and found myself feeling tense and blocked, so I walked away from my laptop and left the house, thinking that I’d feel better when I got back. Only I didn’t. And there I was thinking having my car washed would miraculously shift something for me.
So, I asked myself what I needed, and ‘nourishment’ kept popping into my mind. In this case, lack thereof.
I’m not talking about feeling unloved or unsupported – I’m referring to the juice that feeds our unique selves, our creativity, and allows us access to the parts of us that function and play out best – when we are full.
I have written on this topic before – and here I am again – a little more finely tuned into the nuances of each experience.
What happens when you’re in an advanced state of undernourishment. Code Amber might have been a better place to check in and make some adjustments – but it appears that I had somehow missed amber completely.
We are all so skilled at ‘coping’ that we often miss the personal signs in ourselves that we need something; to slow down, to stop altogether, to re-nourish ourselves.
Flattened Microvilli (hear me out)
I sought advice from a friend who practices natural medicine – she prescribed a pro-biotic and this advice, “When your stomach villi are flattened, they need some help to get back up again – not putting anything back to help them means they’ll stay flat and won’t do a thing.”
Right. Gotcha. Oh wait…I am villi today.
What’s Code Amber to You?
Is it resentment? Anger? Unrest? Irritability? Withdrawal?
All of the above for me, when I need nourishment: They are indicators that I am over-stretched and hitting the edge of my current cope-able capacity.
Whilst the answer to that may seem obvious – glaringly so; step back, reduce load, do something that fuels us – so often those signs are ignored. Because we’re too busy, because we ‘just need to get through x y or z and then we can take a breather’, because we ‘can’t afford’ to stop, or slow down.
The problem with that is, by the time we get to that RELIEF goal post, we’re way in reserve and it takes far longer to get back on the track where we’re functioning IN our power.
Identify what your warning signs are.
Tune in to them.
Ask what you need right now, and, going forward to sustain having those needs met.
Nourishment – It Has To Come First
When my own Coach and Mentor highlighted this during a course I took with her, I could feel my internal resistance: “It’s a reward”, I thought, once the ‘work’ is done. It’s after - not before and during.
Well it’s definitely before and during. Because ‘after’ leaves me with and like, flattened microvilli. Not pretty.
So, What’s Your ‘Nourish’?
I feel nourished and full when ……………
I nourish my mind by …………..
I nourish my spirit by …………..
I nourish my body by……………
Where are there gaps?
Here’s a clue – one I am listening to today. What’s been on my mind as a source of nourishment that keeps popping up in my mind over and over? The desire to take a meditation class: Spiritual nourishment. The desire to start pounding pavements again with my running shoes: Mental and physical nourishment.
What’s on your mind that feels like a desire? That’s a clue. Those whispered suggestions your mind keeps probing you with, hear them.
Where Do You Need Permission?Posted on: Uncategorized, January 23rd, 2013
It’s my buzzword at the moment. Why? Because it’s come to my attention of late, that I need it, in varying degrees of doses, in order to attend to whatever mission I am on, in peace – and, that I’m not the only one.
I’m not talking about permission from other people, although again, in varying degrees, that does creep in at times. I’m really talking about permission from myself. Ourselves.
I recently had an opportunity come up that really excited me, but alongside that snowballing giddiness, I wondered if I was ‘qualified’ to grab the opportunity. At first I thought I just needed reassurance, so I sought that externally – and in between asking for it, and receiving it, I realized what I actually needed was permission from myself to jump into something new.
The deepest layer for me in that situation was my knowing that I could do it, and my internal response reflected that. The surface layer was that I was having trouble locating the ‘permission granted’ sign from myself, so I sought it elsewhere – and without a doubt, sometimes we have to do that a bit, in order to get to the place where we trust ourselves and our own captaining enough.
I think reassurance and permission intermingle at times though. How often, when seeking reassurance from someone else, are we actually just failing to give ourselves permission?
Permission to go ahead with something, to want what we want, to fulfill our needs – sometimes even to put ourselves first.
I Concur – Or Do I?
I wanted my life to look and indeed feel different when we made the move home to South Africa. I was craving more time, more space, more flexibility – because that’s what I need to be creative, to write, to coach. So far, it’s carving out exactly that way. Scream-of-joy-worthy right? Except it’s recently come to my attention that there’s been something missing from the equation – and that’s express permission from myself, to embrace it.
Most of my very much-desired time to recreate has in fact been laden with a somewhat generous portion of guilt: That I have this time, that I am no longer working ‘normal hours’ like my husband, that my days are flexible and far more in tune with my desires than they ever were before.
Sometimes there is this sense, when we get our needs met (especially if it’s in a new and different way), that we’re shirking responsibility. So the guilt creeps in. And I think guilt is the biggest indicator that we’ve bypassed our self-permission. It relieves us in a way: If we’re holding guilt, we’re not being entirely irresponsible.
Self-reflection in the last little while has shown me that unless I give MYSELF the permission I need to mission on in the rhythm that gets my needs met – it will never take place in an entirely peaceful manner.
So now, when I find myself harbouring an urge to ask for reassurance, I ask myself what that’s about, and I wonder how much of it could be quietened if I just said yes to myself.
Where have you needed reassurance lately?
Where did you get it?
Did it provide the stepping-stone you needed to get to a place where you could grant yourself permission?
And, where don’t you struggle to be your own source of YES?
What’s different about the latter for you?
My favourite thesaurus definitions of ‘permission’ are ‘empowerment’ and ‘freedom’. And those are both true – when we give ourselves the green light, we shift into something both empowering and freeing. And that, of course, is what I want for you.
How could life look different if we stepped into our power, and let “Yes” come from within a little more?
Intentional PlanningPosted on: Uncategorized, January 10th, 2013
What do you wish for yourself, your people and the world this year?
And what are you going to do about it?
Provocative question – no?
January – Not a Flail Free Zone
I had to smile (eventually) to myself last Sunday. I woke up at the crack of dawn with anxiety sitting on my chest like a lead weight. Sunday: The day before school starts again. Or in this case, the day before the 7th January – the date that I set in my mind when it was time to really knuckle down, get my brain into 5th gear again and get on with 2013 by grabbing it by the horns.
Except I wasn’t really sure where those proverbial horns were, so I was flailing. Muttering to my husband, “I just don’t know what to do” at regular intervals. Adorable.
I could have been 14 again: What’s this term going to be like? Will I get the grades I want? What if I don’t like being at school again? But mostly, what if I fail at what I intend to accomplish this year?
January is a funny old month. For most of us, it’s entered into brimming with resolutions about our health, our wealth and the very best intentions that this will be THE year, because we’ll make it so.
So how do we ensure that this is the case?
I believe is where so many of us, hit a stumbling block. We have a plan, but we don’t have a plan.
By that I mean, that our intention is there, in all its glory, and sometimes that can feel like a plan in itself, but really, that’s only half the equation. The other half is how we execute that intention.
And, sometimes without consciously realizing it, our intention is tied up in conditions.
Like this: You decide you’re going to get fit and drink more water and eat a better diet: Three goals that can be looked at separately although they are closely linked and benefit each other. If one of those goals, on a particular day, doesn’t quite go to plan, you might find yourself making less effort on the other two – because they’re conditional to all three going to plan. Ever found that to be the case, in any areas of life?
So, What’s the Plan?
Break it down: What’s your intention, what’s your goal, and what’s your plan?
The first two are usually clear. The third part is usually what has us flailing… and that’s exactly what had me muttering ‘I don’t know what to do’ last weekend.
We do know what to do – we just need a starting point. Mine was a brain storming session and as always, a list and some scheduling. In fact, the scheduling came first and it was not even directly related to my goal.
I like knowing what I plan to achieve in a day, even if it includes the oh so glamorous task of cleaning the oven – so after not doing it for a while, writing a list last Sunday, for Monday, got me into a space where I felt like I was planning my day again – which in turn got me into the space where I felt able to plan for what I want to achieve in the next few months.
What’s your starting point to get your plan down? What gets you into the right space to plan? If you’re flailing, start there, even if it feels unrelated to the bigger picture. Just start somewhere.
Break it down and write it down. Intentions, words – they have power once they’re there in a solid form where we can see them.
What’s your end goal? What are the mini mile points between now and then?
What’s one small thing you can do today, right now, this week, that keeps you on the path toward your end goal or even just your end of this month goal?
Schedule those things into your phone, your diary and your mind. They’ll gather momentum.
Where do you need help? Ask for it.
Make it Fluid over Rigid
How fluid is your plan?
Your plan might be an exercise program. So, no tricks there, once it’s prepared, you just have to follow it, right? Except maybe work gets busy, or you get tired, so you have a bad week. If your plan is rigid in your mind and in your self-expectation, this might cause the following week to follow suit – but if it’s fluid and there’s space incorporated into it, and gentleness with yourself, it’s far easier to get back on the wagon the following week, or day for that matter.
As you think about what you’d like to change or achieve this year, what are your self-imposed conditions?
What triggers a loss of motivation in you? That’s where the fluidity is key – where do you need some gentleness with yourself?
Can it just be OK to not be perfect in 2013? Let’s embrace this year as the one that, with fluid planning, brings us closer to our wildest dreams, in an imperfect fashion.
My Wish For You
My deepest wishes for YOU for 2013: That this is your year. That POSSIBILITY starts feeling like PROBABILITY. That ‘I wish’ becomes ‘I will’ – and that fluidity accompanies you on your journey.
At CapacityPosted on: Uncategorized, December 18th, 2012
10 days ago, after an afternoon of dealing with a completely surprising outpour of pain, I wrote what I thought would be my next blog piece. It was raw and emotional and harsh, and I couldn’t bring myself to read it again for a week after, let alone publish it.
I’d driven past a very ‘cheerful’ homeless man at the traffic lights and when he walked past my door, he touched his fist to my window and smiled. I did the same back and he thanked me for the gesture by touching his fist to his heart and waving with a big grin on his face. I drove off with a golf ball sized lump in my throat, missed my turn and had to circle back past him again – only to find him then sitting on the side of the road, staring sadly into the picture he was drawing in the sand with his finger.
In Your Face
It wasn’t that I felt any less compassion for all the other hundreds of people I encounter here daily, that have been dealt a hard hand by life, it was the truth in his face the second time I drove by. The reality compared to his effort of cheer just 10 minutes before. The courage.
That’s what rendered me ‘hopeless’ for the rest of the day.
I felt angry and sad and useless and helpless and I felt completely engulfed by the pain, and I wasn’t sure how to get away from those emotions, and that’s the core of what I want to write about and share with you – holding a big fat dose of ‘ouch’, no matter what source it is coming from, when it feels like you don’t have the capacity and it’s spilling over.
‘World pain’, grief, betrayal, anger – sometimes we can feel swallowed whole by the sheer intensity of our emotions. So how do we learn to hold ourselves when we’re completely overwhelmed by something?
Sometimes it can feel like the only way out of a maze of pain is to adopt an “I don’t care anymore” attitude – a hardening of the pain into a protective shell to shield oneself from dipping any deeper into it.
But what we’re really saying, when we state that we don’t give a rat’s arse anymore, is that we’re in a world of pain and we’ve reached our edge and need a break from it – because, we only have the capacity that we have at the time, to be in a space that is not comfortable.
So, we don’t need to toughen up, we just need to take breaks when we’re hurting, and we need permission from ourselves to do so. Compartmentalising in a healthy way – yes, my heart is heavy but yes I am going to give myself permission to laugh with my friends today and think about something else. In that way we get to feel what we’re feeling, without hardening, but within our capacity.
The Flip Side
This is a strange one, but have you ever felt completely overwhelmed with JOY? Has that ever felt uncomfortable? I’ve had that experience too and it really irked me. It’s happiness, why can’t I hold this – this is what I want to feel, isn’t it?! You feel like you’re going to pop with joy and then, whoa, hang on, I’m not really sure how to deal with the intensity of this, let me turn this down a few notches so I ‘equalize’ again.
Whether it’s good ‘pain’ or bad pain – if it’s intense enough, it’s going to have the potential to feel uncomfortable.
Breathing INTO it
Ever tried not to scratch an itch? Try it the next time you experience one. Breath into it, instead of against it.
That’s how we increase our capacity. We lean in – as much as we can, within our own personal limits, and then when we reach our edge, we take another breath, and withdraw again, and then we lean in again, and this time we can lean a little further. Like stretching out a muscle after exercise, the more we breath and lean, the further we are able to stretch those muscles.
It’s natural to want to retract from something that hurts, and to harden, but if we soften into it instead, we have the potential to expand and strengthen.
Same goes with joy that feels overwhelming (and please can we all have some of that!) – we grow our capacity to feel happy.
Great ExpectationsPosted on: Uncategorized, November 30th, 2012
FEAR: False expectations appearing real.
So, that’s what the acronym stands for, and it’s pretty accurate in most cases – but what if that expectation, albeit false, feels very real? How do we change the way we address fear on a daily basis, so that it doesn’t get the better of us?
Driving Through It.
Pardon the pun, because in my case, I mean that literally.
For the decade plus that I lived in London, I only drove a car when I came home for holidays – so, a few weeks a year. Returning home recently, I discovered that somewhere between my 17th birthday, and the present time, it appeared that I had misplaced my confidence in my ability to drive. Gone was my fearless teenage, “this is my license to freedom, put me on a freeway please and I can parallel park anywhere” self. In her place: Um, well, Houston we have a problem.
Baptism by Fire.
Certainly not the only way to do things, but hey, sometimes the most direct route.
When I got in the car to do a stretch of driving through the Transkei a little over month ago, after 2.5 years of not being behind the wheel, I was having heart palpitations. No dramatisation either.
Now considering the amount of potholes in that area, and the rather copious amount of very unfortunate animals (may they RIP) one sees, this might be understandable. And, perhaps it might have been a wiser move to choose a less stressful area to baptise myself by fire through, but I felt at the time that it was now or never – so I noted the heart-palpitations, thanked my yoga teachers once again for teaching me how to breath diaphragmatically, and started the car. A couple of hundred kilometres later, I slunk back into the passenger seat feeling exhausted and relieved – if I could have hugged the seat that did not have a wheel in front of it I would have.
No matter what ‘subject’ is driving your fear, it’s not the nicest feeling realising you’ve lost your confidence in something you once did well and with ease. It can really rattle your self-esteem, no matter how practised you are at being gentle with yourself.
And that’s the other thing – hand in hand with that nod to a perceived decrease in your faith in your ability often comes the (sometimes slightly surprising) added intrusion of your inner critter rearing it’s ugly head. I can’t tell you how many times I have caught mine handing out a lecture on how crap I am at driving in the past few weeks. It never fails to shock me how sneaky that voice can be, it can really take hold with claws, and it often takes a little while to recognise it as what it is – that voice inside us that is (mostly) not helpful, not gentle, and not cool.
So, what to do?
Adjust Your Expectation/s (Of Yourself).
Most of us have bars that are too high to reach in one area, or more. Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to push ourselves healthily to reach our goals, to aim to be the best we can be. We should always encourage that. But there’s often a slight (slightly large?) gap between what’s realistic for where we are now and indeed who we are right now, and what we might expect from ourselves. It’s in this gap that we run the risk of a run in with our inner critter, and a question mark posed to self by self, over our abilities.
I expected myself to get in the car and have the confidence that would fit having driven daily for the past 13 years. That was my bar. It makes sense that it was too high and ditto does it make sense that anything other than that would leave me feeling less than capable.
Lowering the bar to a more realistic level meant releasing the pressure and in that way enabling myself to deal with the fear in a more diluted way.
What’s Your Story?
In whichever area you’re finding yourself relating to this – what’s your current story attached to it?
What’s your real expectation of yourself in that situation? Not the sensible, practical expectation that would make sense, but the real one that’s written itself into your book?
How much of that is based on where you’re at right now and what you’re realistically capable of, and how much of it is based on an idealised version of yourself?
How much of it is based on your projected expectations that other people have on you?
And, now, if you adjusted that self-expectation a little, to make it a little more “user-friendly”, how might that shift things for you? How would you handle a friend who had way high expectations and needed a hand easing up on their self?
The difference between the first few questions and the last couple is the gap that needs addressing, and this is where you get to make those gentle adjustments that ease things for you.
Driving Miss Daisy
It’s taken me until this week to adjust my story. Patience required with self. I’m now a little less leg-shakes, a little more, “It’s human to be nervous when you’re out of practise”. A little less “You suck at driving Kerry!” and a little more, “I’m driving Miss Daisy people, you can wait behind me while I re-channel a slightly more responsible confident teenage moi!”
Surprise!Posted on: Uncategorized, November 14th, 2012
We always have ideas in our mind as to how things will go, (even if we try our best to take things as they come), and this is usually based on past experience, or, other people’s experiences. And because of this we can often end up surprising ourselves in the present.
My recent geographical shift and of course the emotional rollercoaster to get here, has had the word ‘surprise’ popping up over and over in my mind of late – namely that I keep surprising myself with my response to things. Mostly in good ways, and sometimes, well, not so much. So, I wanted to share those pleasant surprises with you – naturally, even though I’m not sure that I should be surprised by some of these things! (And I’m sure my dealings with the ‘not so much’ aspect might find their way onto here in the next little while.)
We’ve All Evolved Personally. Maybe Even Since Yesterday.
I remember how I felt when I boarded the plane from Durban to London 13 years ago – there was a moment I thought I would most likely have enough panic-induced strength to tear the plane wall off so I could get off and leg it back to my family! What the hell was I doing, I was 18 and I was going overseas on my own?! Oh my God let me off this ride!
Oh shit, the plane has taken off.
Based on how I felt during that experience of ‘leaving’ I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I would feel going back the other way again. And when we boarded at Heathrow, I waited for the onslaught of the panic, and it didn’t land. Oh there was sadness and exhaustion, but I realised that I had grown enough in the interim to be able to handle a big shift, and my sadness and fears. Yes they were there but they had a parking bay to park in, next to my excitement. First surprise.
The second surprise has been my ability to be in the unknown. I was pretty certain I did not like change, even if I knew it was inevitable and necessary and sometimes very much needed. So I expected some internal resistance with all this upheaval and yet, I find myself enjoying this space of not quite knowing how things are going to turn out here. That’s new for me – I’ve become more flexible.
We evolve, personally, in the ways we need to – all of us, all the time. Have you noticed that lately about yourself? Consider it right now, and see what comes up – and then store those notes in your confidence bank.
What We Base Our Expectations On.
It’s natural to base our expectations on our past experiences, or, if we haven’t had a particular experience before, then we might go on what someone else has experienced – what else do we have to base them on after all? (We’ll leave fear and fantasy out of this for now!)
How often do we do ourselves a disservice by assuming that we can handle far less than we actually can, because in the past we didn’t feel we handled something all that swimmingly? Do we shy away from similar experiences because we felt burned before? What if we knew that every single experience had surprises in store for us – would we lean towards them more readily?
And, when was the last time we entered into an experience assuming it would leave a bad taste in our mouth based on something someone has relayed? (My hands are up – apologies Telkom and Absa, you’ve actually been brilliant!)
The Spiral (Up) of Life.
Experiences that repeat themselves can often be a bit like driving in a circular winding fashion up a mountain. You start at the bottom with your first experience and the road pretty much follows the same pattern up the mountain. I say ‘the same pattern’ in the sense that each of us has our own unique brand of life lessons that will present themselves over and over to teach us. We’ll come across them time and again, to learn.
So, whilst the first few spirals up the mountain might feel jerky and scary and like you don’t really have a handle on the car, (or your feet for that matter!) there comes a time usually, when you suddenly realise you didn’t have to think so hard, or, feel so hard, the last turn you took.
It’s not necessarily that the experience got easier, but you’ve learnt how to be IN the experience in an easier way.
Big changes and our responses to them can act as a good barometer for this, but so can small changes.
I invite you to reassess your capabilities, your capacity to hold yourself and those beliefs that limit you for the next little while – I bet my bottom dollar you’ll start hearing “SURPRISE!” too.
Letting GoPosted on: Uncategorized, September 6th, 2012
I had a disappointing experience at work recently. It left me feeling very angry, extremely hurt, and somewhat devalued. For about 2 hours. And that’s the important part of the story, because what happened once I started to calm down from my very strong reaction is what I want to talk about.
In my recent guest blog (scroll down to have a read if you haven’t already), Stephen Light spoke about choices and my experience was timely after reading what he had to say.
Choosing in the Moment (or hour!)
I had the experience. And by had I mean I experienced the experience, in full HD. I ranted and raved and cried, and then had the very clear realisation that I could keep focusing energy into those feelings, or, I could let them go. REALLY let them go, along with any resentment I was feeling.
It made sense to choose the latter because I wasn’t enjoying how I was feeling prior to that, nor was it serving me in any way shape or form. But I thought back to so many other situations in which I did not find it as easy to do so in, and instead stayed tuned into the feelings that were making me feel sad or angry or hurt and I realised just how easy it is for us to remain locked into that, and, that it is just as possible for us to choose something different.
Letting it go (but for real)
You know those situations that happen sometimes, when someone upsets you with a comment, or an action and you feel kind of stunned/gobsmacked/ouch but you really don’t want to feel like that so you brush it off and choose to ‘let it go’ – only you don’t really let it go and it comes up again sometime later and you suddenly realise you’ve been harbouring a mini resentment?
The right key
Well, I’ve wanted to let go of things in the past, decided to do so, and then wondered why I couldn’t quite shake the dregs off. I realised last week that there is a double-key to a double lock in the proper release of something:
Emotions are emotions and we feel what we feel. I’m a big believer in allowing ourselves to feel stuff – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Often it’s so tempting to squash it all down with whatever our own particular coping mechanisms are, but, that week, I really allowed myself to be IN the grip of my strong emotional reaction. It was not pleasant, nor fun, but that’s where I was and I rode the wave until it dissipated.
And I think that was what was a little bit different to the other times – the space I made for those feelings to BE.
The part where it started to slow, when I had been on it a couple of hours, was the point where I was calm enough to ask myself if I wanted to continue riding this wave, or, go find another one that would not be so painful to be on.
I wouldn’t have been able to make that choice though, if I had not allowed myself to BE with my feelings prior to that.
So that’s the first and oh so important key:
Feel it. Ride it out, make space for it. Your feelings are always valid and they need to be allowed.
There comes a point once you’ve allowed yourself the time you need, that we get to say, “Ok, I am going to run with this some more” or, “Ok, this really isn’t feeling good, time to let it go.” Kind of like arriving at a crossroads – you get to choose in that moment, which path is going to take you where you want to go.
It’s a defining moment and our lives are made up of them.
They’re all important and if we chose in maybe not the best way the moment before, we get to choose differently in the next moment. One of the great reliefs life offers!
The dregs that I mentioned before, the final bits you sometimes feel you can’t shake off entirely – that’s a shadow. You know, you choose the path, you start walking down it, but you keep glancing back at the other path! And when it starts creeping in, I think the key is to run through these 2 steps again:
How am I feeling now?
Make space for it.
And choose again, to let it go.
Emotions are never black and white, so we often find ourselves bumping into the grey area again and again, but that’s the juicy space we get to teach ourselves in – even if it means practising letting go of one particular thing, 800 times in a day. Eventually, that ability becomes second nature to us, and that’s where big shifts happen.
Also, it doesn’t have to be current – what are you holding onto from the past that could use a release?
It’s so important to make space in our emotional closets, over and over – so that new, better, more fruitful things that serve us better, can come along and have somewhere to land. Otherwise it’s a bit like trying to shove a new t-shirt into an already crammed drawer – it doesn’t really have the chance to uncrease, and nestle down comfortably.
Choice and Responsibility by Stephen LightPosted on: Uncategorized, August 16th, 2012
I’m delighted to introduce you to Stephen Light who I am honoured to have guest blogging for me this week:
CHOICE AND RESPONSIBILITY
I spent most of my life blaming other people and situations for the state of my life. It was all I knew and it was what I was conditioned to believe. As I have progressed on my journey in life I have come to realise that I am in control of my life through the choices I make and the responsibility I take for my life.
Growing up I was exposed to a lot of blame. Whenever we went out to a restaurant there was always a problem. If we went to town there was always someone or something that was making our lives difficult. There were bad drivers, slow walkers and so many more opportunities to be offended. I learned that other people were the problem, not me.
I was conditioned to believe that I was right, others were wrong and that others were to blame. I had rights and if people didn’t do exactly what I wanted or give me exactly what I wanted then they were making my life difficult and so I had to ‘deal with them.’
I can’t quite pinpoint when but something happened and I decided to change my life. I realised that my life was not so great and full of fighting and broken relationships. I was tired of the constant fighting. I needed something else and so I started reading inspirational books.
I discovered that in life there are two are two core behaviours people display that allows us to characterize them, Appreciators and Depreciators. We all have people like this in our lives and we know the impact they have on us. We also know that sometimes we can behave as both of these. I was a depreciator and there was always an opportunity to depreciate something.
Appreciators know the difference between choice and control and that they may not have control over all situations but they always have a choice as to how they respond. They take responsibility for their choices and their lives and don’t blame others. They deal with situations effectively and grow relationships.
Depreciators believe that others and or situations are to blame and that if they don’t get what they want, they have been ‘done in.’ Depreciators do not take responsibility for their choices and find their lives are always at the will of others. They feel disempowered and don’t even realise this. Life is filled with anger and fighting and they break relationships.
The key to creating an empowered life is to realise we are always making choices and that we are responsible for these choices. Our lives are a series of choices, moment by moment and the choices we make in each moment will either add value to or take value away from living a great life.
When I realised this I started taking responsibility for the role I was playing in my life and started making empowered choices for me. I realised that in every situation I always had a choice. This is a bold statement, it’s hard to believe and yet it’s true.
I challenged my limiting beliefs that had me believe that others were wrong and that I was right. I realised that every one had an opinion and that they were entitled to their opinion. This did not make them wrong, just different. I no longer had to blame them for being different to me. We could both exist with differences.
I started loving myself and accepting who I was and this is where my huge life insight came. I realised that the reason I had to blame others and not take responsibility for myself was because I lacked the inner confidence to be wrong, to not get what I want and know that I will still be okay. This would only come with learning to love myself. My journey started with me pushing blame outside, looking outside for answers and discovering that the truth lay inside of me the whole time. This was freeing and learning to love myself was a journey I needed. I was enough and with this new belief I was able to make choices that empowered me and I took responsibility for my life.
There is no journey more fulfilling than the inner journey of self-discovery – Stephen Light
I learnt to be an appreciator of people and situations. Knowing whom I was and that I was enough meant I did not have to make others wrong by blaming them. It meant I could see the greatness in whatever showed up in my life and that I had played a role in creating this experience.
Making choices for you and being responsible for these choices brings freedom in life. It is this freedom that allows us to lead great lives and invest our energy in what we want, not in what we don’t want. Below are a few tips to create great lives.
- Make conscious choices
- Consciously be aware of the choices you are making and ensure you make better choices
- Focus on seeing the best in people
- Control your thoughts (this is in your power)
- Hold onto your power and know you have a right to
- Create the life you want through how you think about your world
- Manage how you feel
- Choose everyday to feel good; this is your only task in life
- Choose positive feelings and hold onto them
- Do it for you – you deserve it
- Take responsibility
- Know that every outcome you get you have had a role to play in it
- Take feedback and make growth changes
- The more you take responsibility for your role in the situation, the more power you have to change it
- Don’t blame others thereby giving away your power
- Serve others
- Our purpose in life is invariably linked to serving others
- Become a appreciator, not a depreciator
- Always leave others better off than when you found them
- Giving = receiving, keep this flow of abundance in your life
- Our service to others is the rent we pay for our time on earth – Cassius Clay
- Have an attitude of gratitude
- See everything in life as a gift
- Affirm to yourself how grateful you are for your life everyday
- Create your Life
- Love yourself and others will love you too
- Invest in yourself (if you are not growing, you are dying)
- Read, listen to audio, watch material that will help you grow as a spiritual being
- Create your external world through deciding what your internal world will be like (it’s your choice) and take responsibility for whatever shows up (the key to your power to change it)
- All meaningful and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out
Life is much like the old story of the frog and hot water. If you put a frog in hot water it immediately jumps out. It recognises the extreme change. However if you put the frog in cold water and heat the water to boiling point, the frog will sit and boil. The gradual change goes by unnoticed.
Our lives are like this. We find ourselves living a life we do not want through falling into the rut of gradual changes that go unnoticed. Our lives start moving in a direction we actually do not want and when we do notice we believe it’s too late. We accept that we have no control over our lives and in fact support this by saying things like; I have no choice, this is just the way life is, these are the cards God dealt me etc. We give away our power and exist. Then one day if we are fortunate enough we get put into hot water; in other words we have a big wake up call. This may take the form of a life threatening illness, an epiphany or an emotional breakdown. It is then that we decide we can change our lives and some do.
Why wait for the hot water? You have the power to change your life right now through the choices you make and the responsibility you take for these choices. Make the right choice…..
Love & Courage
FB: Stephen Light Bringing the Light