Monday, April 8, 2019

Vulnerability

I talk often in this space about the concept of "shared humanness" and the beauty in discovering that we have a common thread running through us all. I have discussed in many posts here about accepting one another and developing true friendships, but having unity and compassion for one another is sometimes not an easy as it sounds.

Through many conversations I have learned that being vulnerable with one another and developing friendships that are more than superficial engagements is actually very hard to do. Part of this, I believe, is because it is extremely risky to lay your life bare before another. We are often concerned about what the other person may think, that they may judge us, or that they may think less of us if they knew the "real me". The trouble is that when we aren't transparent with one another, in actual fact, our relationship is shallow and false. Now, that may sound a bit harsh, but I challenge you to hang with me for a moment and look at this idea a bit deeper...

Something that has been on my mind and heart for the past year which I have been working to grow stronger in, is the ability to be vulnerable. (Now, I recognize that this sounds very strange, but hear me out!) Moving around a lot really allows me the perfect opportunity to "hide" and not be transparent or vulnerable with others. I float in and out of lives serving others without a real need for people to know too much about me...Through a lot of self-work over the years I have moved through hurt to recovery, and offered forgiveness and experienced healing. As a result of that I had built myself a really awesome castle with thick stone walls that protected me well from any future harm. I only saw this for what it was this weekend when a speaker at a conference I attended used the beautiful analogy that so well described my life...In the analogy she spoke of how the princess in the castle is protected and safe, and yet is cut off from the villagers below. She may be safe from harm, but she is sitting alone in her tower looking down below at the people of the village who are living in communion with one another...They are more prone to attack and at risk living out in the open together, but they are happy and free living in unity together. (This hit me very hard that I need to break down my walls and get down to the village!)

If you have experienced hurt, abandonment, betrayal, or abuse of any kind in your life, you will understand the natural instinct to "protect" and build walls around your heart and mind so that you do not get hurt again. The struggle with this, is that in so doing, you miss out on the beauty that is relationship! You cannot really have relationship with others when you are hiding your true self and you miss out on experiencing the joy of what it is to be cared for by others...The hardest part about being vulnerable or transparent is that it means you have to be prepared to be hurt or wounded and willing to "risk an attack" as the villagers do...(*Now I make note here, as did our speaker, that this does not apply to un-safe relationships of any kind. What we are talking about here, is friendships with people who are kind people...but the reality is that every relationship will at some point bring some form of hurt to your heart - The point, is that it's worth the risk!)

So, I add this post to get you thinking a little deeper about the idea of friendship, compassion, and unity...Can you really have a relationship with someone if you are not willing to be your true self with them? What do you need to do to move towards vulnerability? What walls do you need to break down? 

One of the things that blessed me the most this weekend at the conference I attended was the willingness of so many woman to share their true feelings. In that moment to be vulnerable, and in so doing their transparency became contagious and more and more people started to share from their souls the TRUTH of who they are and what their daily struggles are. The cool thing is that when someone opens up about what they are struggling with, you realize the common ground you share. It's like "ah, someone else feels that way too!!" This moment is very unifying.

"Let my walls crack and crumble, and let my true self be seen" ~ Namaste

Sunday, March 3, 2019

How Mindfulness Cultivates Compassion and Healing.


I have given a lot of thought lately to the practice of mindfulness and how it impacts on the practitioner. In learning to slow one's breath and focus on the present moment, you can come into the very truth of who you are.

We tend to race through life in a bit of a haze, jumping from one task to another, from one experience to the next. Few people take even 10 minutes a day to calm their mind and rest. Most people simply don't have "time" for that.

Why practice something if you cannot clearly see the benefit? Perhaps many people simply do not know what the benefits are...if people really understood the value of mindfulness and what the outcome of those 10 minutes could bring...I think more people would "make" time for it. What if I told you that in mindfulness you would find a cure for your pain and suffering? What if I told you that in mindfulness you could heal the brokenness of your past? What if I told you that in mindfulness you could find understanding and compassion for those who have caused you harm? If even one of those things could be true for you, I think it would be worth your time...

I love to listen to talks and read books about the power of stillness and the benefit of meditation and mindfulness. (Particularly the scientific evidence of how meditation can actually change the brain - absolutely fascinating!) In knowing the benefits, it inspires me to dedicate more time to the practice.

One of the recent talks that I listened to from Thich Nhat Hanh was about how mindfulness allows the space and time for us to listen to and understand our own pain. When we become aware of our pain and suffering and understand it, we nurture compassion, and it is through this compassion that we suffer less. As we learn to nurture ourselves we will also then learn to nurture others.

He uses a beautiful metaphor of mindfulness being like a mother holding and comforting her crying child. When the child cries, the mother tenderly embraces the child not knowing what is wrong she just holds the child in an embrace which offers the child safety and comfort. In time the mother will seek to understand why the child is crying and will look at how to stop the suffering. This is a beautiful metaphor where the practice of mindfulness is like the mother; mindfulness holds the "crying child" which is our pain and suffering. In mindfulness you simply sit with your pain and acknowledge it through your awareness. In time, as you sit with that pain your tender breathing will calm the pain. Once the pain and suffering have clammed down a little, you can then explore what caused this pain/suffering and you can find understanding which helps the "child to stop crying". Over time once you have learned to sit with your own pain and suffering you can then help others learn to sit with their pain and suffering.

Often times when we listen to our pain compassionately and start to discover where our pain came from, we are drawn to the person or circumstance which caused the pain in the first place. Through our mindfulness practice we learn to look through compassionate eyes and we may view the person who has caused us that pain in a very different light. It is possible through this compassion to offer them forgiveness because we can now see that it was because THEY suffered that they caused us pain. 

One of the most powerful things about pain and suffering is that when you suffer it affects the people around you - whether you want it to or not!! So by calming your own pain and understanding your own suffering you will as a result cause those around you to suffer less. One of the biggest lessons I have learned in life is that compassion can heal. A lot of the physical disease that we experience and the tension and the mental struggles that people face are a result of holding onto past suffering and pain. I wonder what wellness would come if more people started practicing mindfulness regularly and started forgiving those in their past who have harmed them?

So, my challenge to you is this: See if there are ways you could incorporate more mindfulness practice into your daily routine.

"Let this present moment bring healing to you today" ~ Namaste

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Looking After Yourself

Over the past few months I have had so many conversations with people in different fields of work (Nurses, Secretaries, Doctors, Cooks, Ambulance Officers, Teachers, Midwives, Environmentalists, Customer Service Reps - these are the people I know personally and have spoken to, I am sure there are many other professions too)...People living in different countries, and from various cultural backgrounds and with different personal values...Across the board there was an underlying theme that came up time and time again over these few months.

No matter what the working environment the story is always the same...There is an expectation to do "More With Less" and to somehow achieve major outcomes and hit targets whatever the cost might be to the worker. 

Time and again we see news articles around "short-staffing" "strike action" "carer fatigue" "adrenal fatigue" (Actually there are heaps of "fatigue" titles...) "job dis-satisfaction" etc.etc.etc.

So I have given some real thought to this and have been doing  my own personal experiments...How can we maintain our health, wellbeing and sanity when we are surrounded by these difficulties within the working enviornment? 

This has been going on for decades, this is not some new drama that is now plaguing people in 2019...So what does a person do when they arrive at work to find that their role now includes 5 new tasks since yesterday? How does the team respond when three people retire and the business decides not to replace them? What happens when you are asked to stay an hour late beyond your contract knowing you won't be paid for your work?

 *I am sure the answers will be different for each person depending on your own personal values, however, I would suggest that there could be some ideas worthy of your time to consider here.
These are my top three:

1. Practice self care - This is my number one because personally I believe that until your own cup is filled you will have nothing to pour into the lives of others. (Experiment with what things work for you, but start making a list of things to do daily that allow you the care and love that you need to feel energized for the work you do. I have talked about this extensively elsewhere in my blog, so I won't go into detail here, but some of my favorites are long walks/hot bath/yoga/meditation/watching a movie)

Falling under this category is - "Don't work sick" If you are unwell, stay home and take care of yourself. Your job will still be there tomorrow!!

*Remember that whoever your employer is, they are looking after their business. (of course they want you to work extra hours and not call in sick and never take annual leave!!) It is your responsibility to look after yourself so that you can do your job well. Don't ever feel bad about caring for yourself. In caring for yourself you ARE caring for their organization too.

2. Set your own personal boundaries. Decided in advance what exceptions you can and cannot make. (for example, if you have a commitment to your family to be home for dinner by 6pm...hold strong to that and let nothing get in the way.) Make that clear to your boss that you are not able to be flexible with this. Be willing to offer flexibility in another area - but not your end time. Personally for me my "home time" is a boundary. When I get an email asking to meet with me after my shift is done; I ask for the meeting to be re-scheduled. You might like overtime and this is not where your boundary lies, so for you it might be that your boundary is that you only feel safe having a patient ratio of 4:1 (if you are a nurse) so maybe that is the boundary you aren't willing to compromise on, but you are okay with working overtime...See what I mean? Find what boundaries work for you and what you need to do your job well.

Setting these boundaries in ADVANCE prevents you from over-committing or being a "yes" man. If you already know that you will not be taking on extra work past 5pm then when someone comes to you at 4:45pm and asks you to do a job, you will feel a bit stronger in saying "I'm sorry, I can't help you with that today, but I'm happy to talk with you about it tomorrow". (Be clear and upfront with your team about your boundaries so that everyone understands your reasons and there are no hurt feelings when you decline to help.)

3. Compromise - Be willing to compromise with your team members. If you are feeling pressure about some upcoming tasks which you feel you simply cannot complete - be honest about it and say clearly that "I feel that I cannot complete all the tasks required of me by Tuesday, I know I could manage three of them, so do you have an order of priority for which three tasks you would like me to do?" and then further that discussion to see how the team could cooperate with the remaining things needing to be done. Looking more from a team effort than feeling like the pressure falls solely on your shoulders.

Hopefully this post has got you thinking about what things you could implement in your own work-week that would make your experience more enjoyable and fulfilling. We spend a lot of time in our work environments and it's important that we feel good about that!

So, I'm off to have a hot bath, breathe in some beautiful incense, do some yoga and meditation and think about how I can make my work day tomorrow a great day! 😉


"When you say 'yes' to others, make sure you are not saying 'no' to yourself" ~ Paulo Coelho



Monday, December 10, 2018

Judgment gets in the way of peace


I realized a significant truth today that judgment gets in the way of peace. Yesterday I had set an intention for myself to remain peaceful in my heart and mind throughout the day, not letting any of life's stressors touch me. That I would just flow through the day accepting what came and remain peaceful in my heart...While this was my intention, it did not hold up when faced with the challenges that I experienced. Even though my mantra kept staring back at me and I did find this useful at times to be reminded that this was my intention, I also ended up feeling a failure at the end of the day because I was not able to live in the light of that peace...So I did some reflecting on this idea today.

What got in the way of my intention?
How can I offer myself and others more grace?
How can I more closely link my thoughts/feelings today in order to live out my intention fully?

When I ask these questions of myself it became really clear to me that judgment is what stood in the way of my peace. I was judging others for what they were failing to do and judging myself for losing sight of my intention of peace. I was feeling overwhelmed because others were falling short of meeting my expectations and because I was falling short of staying at peace in the moment.

I share this experience because it's real. I share these thoughts because I can imagine that others probably go through similar thought processes themselves.

Wayne Dyer says, "Discontinue deciding what anyone else should or shouldn't be doing". I think this really is a great message to hold fast to. It is in our expectations we place on others and our judgment of how they live up to those expectations that we often times feel discouraged or unsupported. All expectation leads to suffering...

As I reflected on this today I could clearly identify what was getting in the way of my peace. Today I start fresh - while I set the same intention of peace, I add to that intention a new level of grace and non-judgment.

"May grace flow from me today - for myself and for others. Only in non-judgment can there be true peace. As grace flows, may judgment cease." ~ Namaste

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Allowing Others and Ourselves to be Real


Why is it so hard to simply be ourselves? 
Why do we feel the need to always be "pretending" to be fine?
How do we break the cycle of shallow relationships?

These are some deep questions which have come up in several different discussions I have had over the past few months with different people...It would seem that as a society we have created an environment which demands that people show the world a false identity, and that leaves people feeling ashamed of what they are actually feeling and afraid of being seen for who they really are...The message is that being ourselves is simply not good enough - we have to put on a show of what we think the world wants to see.

While in the past few years we have begun promoting wonderful messages like "It's okay to not be okay" and we talk about opening up about our true feelings - Do we really? Is it really okay to not be okay? Or is this just lip service...I believe we as a society need to start backing up what we are saying here.

When was the last time you had a friend tell you that they were having a bad day? When you say "Good morning, how are you?" Have you ever had anyone answer you truthfully, or are you always given the same response "Oh, I'm fine...How are you?" Do you ever pursue that further and ask if they are really fine? How often do you really seek to know the truth about what's going on in the lives of those around you...or is it easier for you to not know and to just assume its all good?

I ask these questions just to spur you on to care for others in a deeper way. I encourage you to start looking at relationships from a deeper perspective where we can learn to really do life together - the good and the bad parts of life. There is some real community and unity that comes from being vulnerable with one another and truly caring for another person on a deeper level.

Personally I feel that some of this comes from a lack of "Oneness"...a lack of unity. We see ourselves as separate/individual/unique...Our Ego is forever trying to stand apart and show the world what we've got that makes us better or stronger, or smarter than the next person. It is this comparison that divides us. If instead we could begin to see ourselves in others we would begin to break down those walls that separate us. When you observe in others your own vulnerabilities, your own failings, your own desires for joy and happiness then you can start to see yourself in them and start to accept with more love who they are in this moment - and not need them to be something else. Perhaps in seeking this oneness we can begin to lessen the need for "pretending", and address the feelings people have that they need to live up to someone else's expectations.

My challenge to you is this: Do you allow others to be real? Are you willing to do life with them, or are you a fair weather friend? What steps do you need to take to make changes in your life that would allow for more acceptance and unity with those you are in relationship with? 



"Embrace oneness by seeing yourself in everyone you encounter" ~ Wayne Dyer


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Impermanence

I used to think that making plans and establishing goals was the true sign of being on-track; you know, taking responsibility for your own future and achieving well...

As I further understand the concept of impermanence and simply living in the present moment I am learning that this is not at all true. When you live by plans and expectations and you rigidly are unwilling to budge from those ideals you have set in stone, this is when planning and goal setting becomes unhelpful.

For me personally, things rarely go to plan! This has actually been a beautiful thing in my life though, and because I was willing to flex and flow with whatever came along I have experienced joy beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. This lesson is something that has taken me a while to understand and apply to my life. I used to hold so tightly to my dreams and plans for my future, and I used to find it so hard to let go of those ideals when life didn't go as I expected. Through gaining a better understanding of impermanence I have learned that what caused my suffering years ago was my own desire to hold onto those ideals that were not my reality.

Holding tightly to those we love and fearing their loss, holding onto dreams of what job you imagine you should have or what house you would live in, holding onto relationships that have long ago ended...This holding is what brings suffering. This attachment to what is either lost, or has never been, is what causes us pain.

When you accept that every single part of life is impermanent you can learn to embrace the present moment with full gratitude for all that this moment brings you - regardless of whether it is as you imagined it would be. You can truly say "It's like this now", knowing that it will not always be so.

I encourage you this week to look closely at the concept of impermanence...truly take a look at what that means and how it fits into your understanding of yourself and the world around you...I bet you will find it incredibly freeing once you truly embrace it.

"Today I accept whatever this day brings me, knowing that it is only here for a moment and then will pass." ~ Namaste




Monday, September 3, 2018

Understanding Others

This summer has taught me many important life lessons, and I am grateful for every lesson/challenge/experience. I also hold a huge amount of gratitude in my heart for the people who crossed my path and helped me to learn and grow. We really are a product of the people and experiences that we face and the way we develop and grow is by moving through these moments that shape and change us.

I had one of those "deep and meaningful" conversations last night with a dear friend and we were discussing our own minds and the minds of others. (You know, sounds like completely normal Sunday night conversation! haha...) I have been reading a book by Nicholas Epley called "Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want". This book focuses a lot on the theory of Egocentrism and how we often misunderstand others based on our own perceptions.

For me the take-home message was to recall and to understand that we are all on some level the same. We all struggle, we are all seeking, we all ultimately want to be happy and at peace in our lives. Finding that place of shared-humanness where you can recognize this in another person is how you move past the Ego. Naturally our Ego causes us to believe that we somehow are better than another, or don't struggle as much as the next person, or that we are more responsible, or more skilled, or simply MORE.....Living in humility means that you come to a place where you are "nobody" special. Where you acknowledge that you are just like everyone else. This is a huge life lesson to grasp.

One great outcome of our conversation last night was that we both realized how important these conversations are to have. (And challenged ourselves both to have them more often with more people.) To self-reflect and to have someone to talk to on such a deep level where you can hear other ideas and perspectives. It is important to surround yourself with people who build you up and challenge your thoughts and allow you to learn and grow. In our society a lot of people shy away from these deep conversations, so it's not always easy to find someone whom you can trust well enough to talk about the "real" stuff with. Equally it takes a certain level of trust to open yourself up to these conversations and to connect on such a level with someone else.

So, I encourage you today - take the time to have some real conversations....Take the time to dig a little deeper into your own thoughts and to do some self-reflection. Remember that when you think you understand another person and you think you have them all figured out - you don't! haha....😉 You are only seeing them from your own mind's eye.

"May I see in another person today myself - that we are the same; we are one." ~ Namaste




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Friendship

What does true friendship look like to you?
What does real love and compassion mean? 

I have been reflecting on these questions over the past few days and I guess everyone will have their own understanding of what it means...For me, true friendship is genuine - it's both happy and sad, through the good times and the hard times. For me, it means accepting one another for where you are at TODAY in this present moment. Friendship means just being present with that person and not wishing things to be any other way...Sometimes that might mean waiting patiently on them when they are running late, laughing at their personality quirks and loving them for it, recognizing the unique differences that we all have...True friendship may mean washing their laundry or cooking them a meal when they are sick, it could mean any number of things...But I think it must mean more than just a "like" on a Facebook page. 

I have been observing a lot lately and just sitting back quietly contemplating how things have changed over the years in our culture and how we seem to be struggling to hold on to some of these really valuable concepts - like true friendship...We have seemed to exchange them for quick/fast results. Like the more "friends" you collect the more popular and awesome you must be in this world. I think we have lost sight of what it means to actually BE a friend. (When I say, "we" of course I am speaking collectively of our society, and that certainly doesn't mean that there aren't valuable friendships happening every single day. It just would seem that we are drifting further away from this place where people used to really care about one another on a deeper level)

I challenge you if you are reading this to take a moment and just think about the relationships you are in. What part have you played in deepening that relationship? What have you done to truly reach out and genuinely show you care? Do you have meaningful conversations with that "friend" or do you just discuss the weather or the latest TV show?

What steps could you take to move your relationships into deeper waters? Do you need to start asking more meaningful questions like - "What is God doing in your life?" "How have you been challenged this week, and how did you choose to respond to that challenge?" "What have you done this week that moved your spirit and made you feel alive?" 

Do you need to make a phone call and check on someone you care about? Do you need to send a card or a gift of love to just let them know that they aren't alone in this world? What actions do you need to take in order to move away from this new culture of "social media relationships"...and how can we as a society get back to the place where folks genuinely took time to care for one another?

This week I was so very privileged to meet up with two of my dearest and oldest friends, and it rejuvenated my soul like nothing else. Being with these two women this week just lifted me up so much and encouraged me so deeply. To love and to be loved - BY CHOICE - what a powerful thing that is...THAT is true friendship!!
*As a side note, I just offer up so much gratitude for the incredible weather and beautiful moments of these past couple of days. I feel so refreshed and alive! I had the most wonderful walk this morning with Helen through the Botanical Gardens at UAF - if you haven't been, you should really check it out!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Choose to live kind


 One of the greatest freedoms in life is that we get to choose how we live. We have control over how we think and behave. We get to choose how to respond to others and what actions we, ourselves, will take. Of course, whatever choices we make in life we also have to live with the consequences of those choices; but the ultimate freedom is in knowing that the choice was ours!

I had a conversation recently with someone regarding "being right". We were discussing how just because you are right doesn't mean you necessarily have to verbalize this....In other words, sometimes speaking about how right you are could cause harm to the other and damage a good friendship or cause a serious disagreement. Sometimes it's best to choose "kind" over "right". Sometimes the act of keeping quiet even when you know your way is right, is actually the best action in that circumstance. Just because you know the right way doesn't mean you have to always speak it outloud. This is a valuable practice of living in Spirit and living a life of humility versus living in Ego. The Ego needs for others to see and recognize that it is "right". I once read from Wayne Dyer a wise quote,“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”....I love this, and it's a great reminder in life.

So far this summer has proven to be a wonderful experience and full of many life lessons. Daily as I reflect on my own reactions and interpretations of circumstances, I learn new things about myself. (These observations can simply be and don't necessarily require changing, but it is good to acknowledge them.)

My intention this summer in starting a new role and working in a remote environment was to stay humble and seperate from my Ego as I worked in service to others. This is not always as easy as it would seem. (I acknowledge that at times I have not been so great at living out this intention, but each day I set the intention again and keep trying). Our human nature draws us to seek approval/acceptance from others and to constantly be self-critical or judging of our own actions. Particularly when working in a new job, one likes to have positive assurance that one is doing things well/right. This is often where Ego steps in and where it is important to keep that Ego in check. One thing that has been helpful for me has been my mantras and loving-kindness meditation.

I am sure I have mentioned loving-kindness meditation on this blog before. (If you don't know about it, google it, as there are some great videos on you tube you could try, or you can make your own script up like I do!) It is a wonderful way to calm your mind and bring your focus back to the grace and humility that your Spirit is seeking to live in. When people frustrate you, or when you feel you are judging yourself, when you disagree with someone and you feel sad by their responses/actions, or simply when you feel your mind is racing and needs some time to re-set.....loving-kindness meditation is an incredible practice. It has really helped me so much this summer.

Loving-kindness meditation has also helped me on multiple occassions find compassion for those in my life whom I may not fully understand. Recognizing that people are experiencing things that we often know nothing about. We can often judge another person based on their actions/reactions without really understanding where they are at in their life and what other private things they may be trying to cope with. Offering love and kindness towards them even when we do not know what is going on in their life is a special kind of compassion that I am learning more about.

"Set your intention today to project love onto others." ~ Namaste


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Emotional Intelligence and the Ego

While I have internet connection, I thought I would take a quick minute to share some thoughts related to several conversations I have had this week. 

It is always interesting to me when you talk to several different people about completely different situations in life but realise later that they are actually all rooted in the same basic concepts. To me this is usually a sign that it is something the Universe is trying to teach me or open my eyes to the reality of. My eyes have been opened widely this week to the fact that we need collectively to gain a better understanding of ourselves in order to appropriately relate to and interact with one another.

This week the underlying theme has been two-fold. Firstly, the need for training and personal work to be done around emotional intelligence; and secondly, the need for training around living outside of the Ego and inside of the Source of Spirit that is within us. If you are at all in any type of leadership position, I would really encourage you to do some research around emotional intelligence and how to teach those skills to those you lead. (Parents and those who mentor others, this would include you as well!)

I have discussed emotional intelligence many times on this blog because essentially that is the foundation of the "personal work" we are doing within ourselves when we read these kind of blog posts or seek to understand our own experiencs and how they impact our behaviour. This work that we do within ourselves is paramount to our ability to interact with others and have meaningful relationships. When people do not self-reflect and understand how their past experiences impact on their behaviour, they project emotions onto others in a harmful way and this often leads to the distruction of those relationships. This is what I have seen in the examples given during several conversations this week around how the harmful words and behaviours of others negatively effect/traumatize/harm the other person involved. People living from their Ego often do not even realise that they are living in this state. Because they have not reflected on their own experiences and what drives their actions and words, they do not even realise the harm they are causing by projecting these emotions onto others. I believe that the skills of self-reflection are some of the greatest skills you can ever learn in your life. Learning how to look deeply at your own self . (Your thoughts, emotions, past hurts etc.) Whether it's through journaling, talking it all out, meditation or whatever tool you choose to use, I highly encourage you to take some time today to think about the ways in which you could do that "personal work" that needs to happen. It would be my hope for our world that this skill eventually gets taught on a large-scale and that people start to understand the impact that this can have on relationships of all kinds (both personal and professional).

Many times on this blog I have also touched on the subject of living from Ego and what that really looks like. This week the examples that were shared with me really highlighted how this negative projection happens and how harmful it can be to those involved. When someone lives in a state of Ego they are highly offendable, jealous, gossipers, put others down to make themselves feel better, confrontational and generally difficult to work with/be in relationship with. The Ego is not just about pride (which I think is the mis-conception). The Ego is also about projecting emotions from past experiences and hurts onto another. When your actions are Egoistic you are thinking only of yourself and how things impact you personally (If you are jealous it's because of the feelings you have about your own current situation and discontent within that. If you are confrontational it's because you believe your way is the only right way. etc) The complete opposite is living In-Spirit where your actions come from a place of humility and grace. Where you have a un-offendable Spirit because your pride is not involved in your emotional responses, where you are genuinely happy for others because you are content with your own life circumstances, and where you don't need to gossip about others or drag other people down. It takes a lot of emotional intelligence and self-reflection to get to a space where you can live In-Spirit, but when you get there, you are no longer projecting negatively onto other people and your relationships improve tremendously. The more people that learn to live from their Spirit rather than from their Ego, the more peaceful and loving this world will be.

It is my personal view that our current society is much too focused on things that don't matter (people spend an enormous amount of time on social media, watching TV, doing meaningless activities because they are tired after work or need a "mental break".) If we each took even just 15min a day to stop and do a bit of self-reflection and look closely at how we responded to various people throughout the day and what we were thinking/feeling at the time and where those feelings may have come from. I believe it would be the start to some really powerful changes with the way people relate to each other. It seems like we are somehow losing touch with how to have those significant interactions with others. I feel like in our modern world we have lost touch with how to communicate with one another and how to relate. (This is likely linked with the high use of technology for communication, but that's a whole other can of worms.)

Perhaps through this sort of work we could come back to a place where the Spirit of love and peace is what drives our words and actions. I encourage you to give some thought to emotional intelligence and the Ego this week. Take a few moments to do the "personal work" that needs to be done!

"Today I take the time to stop and reflect on my true nature - remembering that the Spirit has already provided everything I will ever need. I am compassionate, gracious and humble. I am one with my Source." ~ Namaste





Sunday, April 8, 2018

Three Great Treasures

As I approach a new transition time in my life - from Nurse in Te Anau, New Zealand to Cook in Galena, Alaska...I conclude my month-long focus on rejuvenation and now move into a continued practice of living out the "Three Great Treasures" (Mercy, Frugality, Humility). This time of rejuvenation leading up to the transition has been amazing. I have really spent a lot of time focusing on my physical wellbeing and also doing some good soul-searching and emotional healing work which has brought me a lot of peace. I have slowed life right down and it's been a truly wonderful time. (Mind you, I took this time of rejuvenation WHILE working and volunteering, so I encourage you in this - you do NOT have to quit your job or stop attending to your daily activities in order to have some restful rejuvenation time....simply make it a habit to slow down and take time out of your day to reflect and do some of the work needed to heal - that might mean going for a long walk instead of watching a movie or calling a friend instead of reading that novel....These are simple things you can do while you are still attending to your daily schedule.)

As I move forward I keep in the forefront of my mind the concepts of Mercy, Frugality, and Humility. To me Mercy incorporates compassion and loving-kindness as well. It's about not giving that which is deserved - so if someone deserves your scorn or retribution etc., you are instead offering them loving-kindness, compassion, forgiveness etc.

Frugality is not referring to spending less money as such...but rather it's about living simply. In Wayne Dyer's book "Change your thoughts, change your life" he talks about the beauty that comes from living a simple life and how this attitude of being satisfied with less results in greater generosity towards others..."The less attached you are to your stuff, the easier it is to be generous; the more you cling to it, the more you feel you need, and the less concerned you are with the welfare of others".

Another beautiful treasure is Humility. To me, this is about having a heart open to serving others, it's about letting go of the Ego and the need to be elevated to a place of "success", and rather to be content to simply live each day loving and serving those around you.  Humility is also about recognizing the shared humanness that we have and the unity of our spirits with those around us - not believing ourselves to be somehow greater than, or even so very different to the person next to us. This is moving away from the ideas of separatism and division, and seeking more unity in life.

So, I leave you with these three treasures to ponder this week...How can you bring these concepts more to mind this week and how can you apply them more in your daily life? Who in your life do you need to show more mercy to? How can you live more simply and give more generously? When the Ego wants you to show how much knowledge you have, or wants you to dictate to someone else how they should be living their life - stop and take a breath and think about how you could maybe take a step back and live humbly in that moment.

*Just a wee side note that I may not be online that much over the next few months as internet connection is not fabulous in remote Alaska.

"May I be compassionate, gracious and humble and may loving-kindness and truth never leave me" ~ Namaste

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Work of Forgiveness




  • Could forgiveness be a key to rejuvenation? 
  • What exactly does forgiveness require of us? 
  • Could you bring physical healing into your life simply through forgiving others? 

These are some questions that have been rolling around in my mind for many years now, and as I have worked through finding answers to these questions over the years, I have come to a much clearer understanding of it...I believe that there is a connection between holding onto un-forgiven things and our ability to move forward in life - to heal...to rejuvenate.

This is very tightly linked with the blog I shared a few weeks ago around having the courage to look closely at the stories we tell ourselves of our life - our past, our present...the pain, the joy, the struggle...Part of the process involved in letting go of these stories and moving forward is forgiveness.

Often times these "stories" involve multiple characters/players. There will be many people who are involved in our past and whom we may have been deeply wounded by. Finding forgiveness for these past wrongs and offering love and grace to those who have harmed us is probably one of life's most challenging tasks. However, the peace that comes to us when we release that person from the bondage of our heart, and when we allow love and grace to flow from within us is indescribable. It is well worth taking the time to do the work that forgiveness requires.

Noting also that forgiveness is a process and sometimes it takes months or years to fully release all the pain associated with it. (The key point here is that once you have let go of that part of your story, you cannot take it back into your life again - letting it go, means it's gone and it's in the past...it no longer serves you).

From a religious point of view, I believe this is why Christianity and so many other religions put so much emphasis on forgiveness...because it releases and allows for so much more space in our lives. When our lives are consumed by past wrongs, we simply do not have the energy or space for the abundant life that should be ours.

Letting go allows for space to be created where beauty and love can then flourish. Until we can face the things we hold so tightly to, those burdens will grow heavier every day...What do you need to let go of today? Who do you need to forgive? (It could be that you actually need to forgive yourself).

I encourage you today to set aside some time to reflect on this and to start the process of forgiveness. It is not a quick and easy journey, but it is definitely worth it! Easter is an appropriate time to think about forgiveness and love. If Christ could forgive us of all the many wrongs that we have committed in our lives, surely we could use that example and forgive those who have wronged us.

"May I let go of all the things that no longer serve me; all the pain, all the suffering, all the sadness...May that space in my heart be re-filled today with compassion, love, and grace." ~ Namaste

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Making the Connection

I have a personal belief that when we feel tension, illness, fatigue or an unsettling within our body there is often an emotional link attached to that feeling. Sure there can be a physical cause (poor diet, traumatic injury like a broken limb, exposure to a virus etc.) but I think it goes so much deeper than that and I believe that if we can stop and take time to uncover what that emotional link is, we might just heal our body quicker. For me, it's about making the connection.

I started doing this recently when I would get a headache or feel fatigued, or when I recently got sick with a cold...I found it so interesting once I really stopped and took time to look more closely at my emotions and what was going on within myself at the time. When I started to work through some of the baggage of my past and let go of the pain, my healing would begin. I have now been doing this regularly and seeing a tremendous link. 

My challenge to you is this: The next time you feel tension in your back or neck...the next time you start to feel a cold coming on...Take a few minutes to really settle into yourself and start looking at where you are at emotionally in your life. Perhaps grab a piece of paper and jot down some thoughts that come to mind. What are you holding on to? What are you fearful of? What thoughts and worries are you ruminating on over and over and over again? What past hurt have you not acknowledged or spoken of? What sadness are you hiding deep within your own heart?

It is entirely possible that the worry, fear, distrust, and any other number of negative emotions we feel, could actually stimulate a physical response in our body. This could be through lowering your immune system, keeping you from sleeping properly or through causing your muscles to tense - leading to headache, back pain etc.

I share this with you to give you something to think on, I'm not saying that all physical illness stems from an emotional source...But just try it for a few weeks and see if you can find the connection within your own life. In letting go of these emotions we attach ourselves to, we can create the space needed for healing.

"May today be the day that I leave behind my old self and begin a new story. May today I release any power that my past held over me. In letting go of that, may there be a space created where new life, love and peace can flow freely." ~ Namaste