Saturday, September 11, 2021

What if we are too noisy to hear the breeze?

I always find with hiking/tramping there is a perfect scene set for contemplating life, and uncovering such rich truths. 

The truth I uncovered today was simple: We are too noisy in our lives to hear the breeze... The chatter of this world is too intense for us to hear the tiny trickle of the small flow of water falling over a rock.....Until we settle into silence; we miss it all. 

I went hiking this morning and when I arrived to the car park the place was booming. There were excited hikers all over the place and everyone was happy to see the sun shining and to get out on their mountain bikes or hit the high trails. There was one particular group of folks that started this whole contemplative thought process in my mind.....They were SOOOO noisy!! They were yelling to each other so loudly and obnoxiously and they had music blaring. This is how they were planning to hike the beautiful, peaceful mountain. 

Obviously I avoided being around them at all I took a totally different route and added 1.5 hours to my own hike just to put distance between us....

I say this not to imply that I am in any way better than those folks. (I am sure they had fun with whatever their intention was for the day)...But I had come out to nature to rejuvenate and to commune with nature. To be at peace. 

This is the question that really stood out for me....Is it possible to hear the breeze if we are so distracted by our lives, by our business, by our chaos and noise? Can we truly appreciate the tiny leaves dancing on the tree limb or really hear the sound of the bird? Or do we even take time to step outside to bare witness to those things? 

What do you need to re-adjust in your life so that you can hear the breeze? 

What changes do you need to make in order that you can sit for a few moments and tune into the changing seasons and the beauty surrounding you? 

If you are already there, siting in the quiet bliss of this present moment, then that is so wonderful - offer up gratitude that you have found your solitude..... But if you are like the rest of us and just need a little prompting.....that's okay too! 

"Wherever you are today - be at peace, and appreciate the simple things" ~ Namaste

Saturday, September 4, 2021

What does it mean to see the light in others?

What it means to see the light in others is to acknowledge on a very basic level that the same Spirit and light within me, is the same Spirit and light that exists in you, and in all human beings. While we all have our unique differences, and these differences should be both honored and respected, we also have within each of us a oneness of Spirit that we share. 

It would seem that in this time of life there is a push towards identifying the things which separate us, which place us on opposing sides, the things which cause us to hate rather than love. 

So it is both my challenge to you, as well as my encouragement for you, that we explore what it might look like to notice the elements of life in each of us that are the SAME

Have you stopped to consider why in our society some lives are more "valued" than others? Why we weep over the loss of one life while entirely disregarding the loss of another? 

I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can provide another human is to truly see them, to care for them, and to acknowledge that they are deserving of love in the same way that we are. 

My posting this past year has been quiet because I feel that we are all overwhelmed by a tremendous amount of "content" and our minds are weary of all the commentary and discussion available....However, I also feel that it can be helpful to offer encouragement to all of us to stay kind and care well for one another. 

So I leave you with this message of peace ~

Friday, July 17, 2020

Living Fully

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of getting together with a good friend of mine and enjoying a weekend of pure relaxation and time together just sitting with nature and enjoying conversation and reflecting on life.

While we were out at a seal colony watching these funny creatures enjoying their day, we observed this fella pictured above. He had squeezed himself into this awkward looking crevice in between a couple rocks and was just basking in the sun. He laid there for the entire time we were out there (which was a very long time). Then there was this other seal who was frantically racing back and forth and he would lay down for a half second, get back up again, go to this spot and squirm, get back up again etc. He was exhausting to watch.

There was a valuable life lesson to be observed in this scene as it played before us...

Often times in life we are the frantic seal racing around from spot to spot trying to find our "comfort" trying to find a place to settle, a place that feels safe, a place where we can rest and bask in the sun without there being anything negative as part of the experience. As we race around, as we flit from project to project, from relationship to relationship - we wear ourselves out. Never staying long enough in one place to truly experience the moment.

I have mentioned in a previous post about the value of simply embracing discomfort and sitting with that experience and the emotions it brings. Now, I do not believe the crevice in that rock was comfortable. I can imagine there were parts of the rock that would have been sharp and scratchy. However, this seal seems to just be embracing whatever discomfort there may have been in order to fully enjoy the warmth of the sun on his fur and to just BE in the moment.

I challenge you with these thoughts: What are you doing to avoid discomfort in your life? Are you like the seal frantically moving from moment to moment, relationship to relationship, seeking only pleasure? When you experience uncomfortable moments, what would it be like if you simply observed that experience without wishing it away?

"To truly live fully is to experience all of life - the joy and the pain, the comfortable and the uncomfortable" ~ Namaste

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Don't Avoid Discomfort

Sometimes the only way to truly experience the beauty is to suffer the climb to the top of the mountain! 
Something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately, in the midst of so many changes in our world, is how quickly we seek to avoid discomfort. It almost seems human nature that we seek only after the pleasant pleasures of life and avoid at all cost pain or discomfort.

We have become a people who do not know how to sit with discomfort or hardship without unraveling.  Where has our resilience gone? When I think back on history and the incredible suffering and hardships that so many endured and overcame and thrived, it makes me wonder what we are missing, and where we are going wrong. It makes me reflect and think about my own attitudes and perceptions.

Yesterday we went tramping for the first time in a long time, as our country is now allowing tramping in the mountains close to your home region. This path was so challenging at times as it was relentlessly straight uphill for pretty much a solid hour. As is usually the case when hiking up a mountain, it feels incredibly uncomfortable as your whole body is struggling against the process and then you come out to the top and wow, what a view! You realise that it was only through the pain that you were able to experience this incredible moment of pure awe and joy. Sometimes we just need to be with our pain and keep moving forward until we get to the top of the mountain!

I think there is a need for us to take a step back right now and do some close soul-searching and start to really look hard at our lives and at the attitudes that we currently hold to. We need to look deeper and find within ourselves the ability to sit with the uncomfortable and to just be with that experience. We need to learn how to mindfully acknowledge that we are living in difficult moments, but that those moments will not be with us forever. We need to find a way to fully experience the discomfort without wishing it were any other way.

May I just encourage you today to take some time to fully experience whatever this moment has brought you. May I encourage you not to wish it were any other way, but to simply be with the experience. Remembering that "It's like this now".

If you have not previously tried mindfulness practice, I do encourage you to begin experimenting with this while you may have a little extra time at home. There are heaps of resources online of various mindfulness practices, and I honestly believe that right now mindfulness is going to be key in bringing awareness to the value of these difficult experiences we are all facing. I am reading a fabulous book at the moment called The Mindfulness Solution by Ronald Siegel and I highly recommend it. It has some excellent examples of mindfulness skills that one can experiment with and try.

I leave you with this thought from Ronald Siegel, "Resisting these inevitable changes causes us considerable unhappiness".....Let's learn instead how to accept that change will come, and difficulties are an unavoidable part of life. Let's learn how to embrace this present moment remembering that all things are impermanent. 

"Be present today with whatever experiences you face" ~ Namaste

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Hold Somebody; Tell Them That You Love Them.

One of the joys of my time in Africa has been playing with the children and getting to know them. To remember them by name and see their faces light up when you call them by name is just so precious.

We sing a song in French that says “Hold somebody, tell them that you love them. Put your hands together and praise the Lord.” As you sing the song you are holding hands with the one next to you and looking them in the eyes and singing this song of love and unity. It is precious to me because that is what I have taken to heart during my time in Africa....If I had to sum up my entire trip in one sentence it would be - “At our core, we are all the same - we all want to be love; to be valued; to be known.”

No matter what country you live in, what your values or religious belief is, no matter what your culture or background is....Our purpose in whatever we are doing should be to ensure that those around us genuinely feel loved.

How are you showing others that you value them? Are you speaking words of encouragement to uplift them, or are you gossiping behind their back? Are you taking time to talk with them or plan an activity together, or are you “too busy” for that? What messages do your actions speak?

In African culture people show that they care through touch. Personally, in my own culture and upbringing we have an invisible bubble of “personal space” that surrounds us and keeps us safe and closed off from anything that might hurt us. I was never really comfortable with lots of hugging and close contact....But the beautiful people of Africa have totally broken down that wall for me and I no longer rely on my safe “personal space” bubble....Yesterday this sweet girl wanted to just have my arms wrapped around her, and she just wanted to cuddle with me and know that she was loved. It is in those moments that I realise the importance of human contact and helping others see through your actions that you care for them. It is a valuable lesson.

"Love knows no limit and moves beyond any barrier of language, culture or differences that we may have." ~ Namaste

Sunday, January 12, 2020

See One Another

 Each person is as unique as the rocks that form the mighty mountains. We cannot know the place each rock has or it's purpose, but when we step back and see the bigger picture we can see how each tiny stone has it's unique place and the beauty that it produces when united together.

What does it mean to truly "see" someone?

To walk alongside them as they experience the joys and pain of life?

How can we more fully engage with one another? 

These are some heavy questions that have been on my heart and mind over the past few weeks, not just within my own nursing practice, but actually with my interactions among colleagues and friends as well.

This is what has lead me to thinking a bit deeper about what it looks like to truly see and care for individuals and to personalise care. There is never a clear-cut "one size fits all" approach to engaging with people. I believe that this is exactly as it should be. Personally I believe that the moment we begin to generalise and follow a set standard for ALL, we lose sight of the individual.

I will be honest with you that when you are working with a population that does not speak your language it can be easy to focus only on the "need" and not the person behind the need. Particularly when working in a specific area such as nursing, it is easy to focus solely on the task at hand. This is, of course, a challenge in all areas of nursing, but I believe it is even more prominent if you are working in a country where there is a major language barrier. It is easy to just "get on with it" and do the job you are tasked to do.

I noticed this after the first week or two and decided to make an effort to truly "see" and engage with each person on a deeper level - talking with them through the interpreter about daily activities and things they enjoyed, about their preferences and things that were unique to them, rather than just about topics directly related to their wounds/needs. WOW, what a difference it has made! It obviously takes a lot more time, and a lot more effort on the part of the interpreter, but I have found that for all involved the experience is so much richer.

This, of course, also applies to other relationships as well. I feel that often times our relationships consist of casual greetings and superficial engagement and it is rare these days that people really stop and take the time to dig deeper. Most people are left on the fringe feeling unseen, unheard, and not cared for. Conversations are often limited to very basic niceties and rarely ask the hard/deep questions that require true engagement.

My challenge to you is - Go deeper. Ask more questions. Seek to truly see and relate to those around you. It may be just in that moment where you reach out to someone that they feel for the first time in their life that someone truly sees them!!

"See one another" ~ Namaste

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Wellness, No Matter What

I used to use the hashtag #WellnessOverWeather a lot, and often referred to #ChooseToBeWell as I tried to inspire both within myself and in others the motivation to push through the difficult moments and to seek to do the things that make us well.

This has taken a whole new meaning for me on board the Africa Mercy as so many challenges would seem to be a barrier to wellbeing here: The tiny spaces, the air quality which makes being outside at times really not a wise choice, the illnesses that spread rapidly in tight quarters onboard a ship etc....So the thought of choosing wellness over weather really is no longer appropriate as now I need to overcome more than just rain, snow, heat or cold! Now I need to overcome all the other obstacles too and chose to get on my yoga mat or hit the treadmill anyway.....It becomes so easy to talk yourself out of exercising or making healthy food choices....It is so easy to convince yourself that when things are hard you can just give up....

So I wanted to take a moment to share with you what has really inspired me this week and really given me a whole new motivation. There are two specific events that changed my heart and mind this week:

First I saw two beautiful orthopaedic patients doing their rehab down the hallway by the ward...Their legs were still cast in a wide legged stance and they were needing to learn to walk and use their muscles with walkers to begin strengthening their legs. (They will later be re-casted with their legs straight again - I do not work in ortho, so I don’t understand all the details of it, but these patients are having their legs straightened. When they came on board their legs were bowed - mostly from malnourishment and bone deformity.) These children were SUCH a massive inspiration to me as they were laughing and racing against one another, with an incredible effort to just move one foot in front of the other. There was barely enough space for them to manage around one another, but never mind, they were getting it done and proudly doing so! So this thought stuck with me all week.....that I am so incredibly blessed to even be able to use my legs, and I need to be continually strengthening and using them well. So for those who can’t run - I will run, for those who hurt through their rehab - I will hurt through my cardio, for those who don’t want to do one more set of stick exercises - I will do one more minute on the rower because I don’t want to do that either! In honour of all the brave souls who are struggling, I will push through and will be praying for their strength to push through also.

The second event that took my breath away was observing several family members moving through their prayers at the bedside of their child on the ward. The caregiver (maybe a parent or grandparent or sibling etc) sleeps under the bed of the patient on the ward. The bed spaces are very tight and you can just barely get through between the beds. (The above photo is approved for use by AFM, and shows a little glimpse into what the wards look like). These families sit in this small spaces, or in some cases do their prayers in this very narrow space between the beds. This was what really touched my heart - the dedication and devotion - never complaining, and never for a moment letting the lack of space get in their way.....Wow, I have a lot to learn from this experience. I let my own lack of space stop me from rolling out my yoga mat. I let my fear of others seeing me stop me from practicing in public. I let my own need for the “perfect” environment keep me from doing a LOT of things....So much to learn.

So I share this with you to maybe motivate you as well - What is getting in your way? What is stopping you from being devoted to your wellbeing? What choices do you need to make today to bring back that appreciation for the gift of your life and for your ability to move freely?

Maybe my new hashtag will be #WellnessNoMatterWhat

“Let whatever you do today be born from a heart of gratitude” 
~ Namaste

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Many Expressions of Gratitude

For many of my American friends, you will have just celebrated Thanksgiving and I am sure that gratitude is fresh on your mind as you have spent time with family and are now preparing for the Christmas holidays.

I have talked of gratitude before on this blog, but I bring up this topic again as I feel that when you live a life that focuses on blessings you are living more in-line with the good energies of the world. I personally feel that if we could teach more gratitude-based approaches to living and viewing the world we would be a lot more joyful in our daily lives. I think sometimes it’s easy for people to focus on the negative and the things that are going wrong in their lives and it can overshadow the many blessings that they have. Our society has grown more in this direction over the years where people want to live a perfectly pain-free, struggle-free life and want everything to always go well all the time. When this doesn’t happen they become disappointed in life and despair of the future.

Of course, there are many expressions of gratitude, but for me I had never seen such a raw expression of it as I have seen through the eyes of the people here on the Africa Mercy. Patients who have endured an lifetime of suffering and struggle to get where they are today and who have undergone massive surgeries and recoveries - and who are literally singing with joy! To be a witness to this has truly changed my life, and I've only been here for a few days. To express in words these changes to my heart is actually really hard to do. I feel like prior to coming here I really did not have a full understanding of gratitude. In only a few days I have learned in a new and refreshing way what it means to truly sing praises to God for even the smallest offer up thanksgiving and gratitude for the simple things like water and see true compassion and love for one another in the actions of so many is honestly overwhelming.

If ever you were concerned about the world and thought that there was no hope, or no more love out there, or that people no longer care about each other - if ever you despaired for the future of our universe....come to Africa and see....there is so much love here. There is so much gratitude....There is so much compassion being expressed through these ministries here. It is unlike anything I have ever been witness too. It has inspired me beyond words to be a more grateful person. To not take for granted the many blessings that I have been given.

I encourage you as you move into the Christmas season to take time each day to offer up gratitude for your life. (And not just thankfulness for getting a park close to the shopping entrance, or getting a short line at the register! Haha) but true thankfulness for the massive blessings that we have in our lives every day...for the clean water we drink, for the healthcare services that we are provided with, for the jobs that provide for our families, for the schools for our children, for the freedom to live whatever life we choose to live.....The list is endless. I have NO idea why I was born into the life I was, but I am so extremely grateful, and I pray that I will have an opportunity to express that gratitude through the love and compassion that I share with others.

"With every breath I offer up gratitude." ~ Namaste

Monday, April 8, 2019


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