Thursday, 22 November 2012

Control - to be, or not to be?

There have been three excellent bits of writing which have stopped and made me think this week. It started with Super Coach's Michael Neill's Monday morning e-newsletter and continued with Chris Morris and Stephen Woolston. Each in their own way, talking about Life and the effect our perceptions have upon our experiences. I'd recommend you having a look to see what you think of their work. These are all men who are well experienced and qualified in their areas of expertise.

Me? I'm just throwing in my tuppence worth.

What is reality? How do you perceive it and Life around you? These are the big questions personal and spiritual development try to answer. I say 'try', because I believe there is no one answer, no one way which is right above all others. Ultimately, we all bring to our lives our experiences, hopes and dreams and for me learning is the key.

Being aware of where you are in The Moment, being able to recognise how you are feeling and thinking, is an incredibly powerful place to start. In this, I would follow Richard Bandler's thoughts on leaving out the 'why'. The 'why' can lead into so many justifications which can be a dead-end road. Sometimes we really don't know why. Why people choose to behave the way they's a mystery - all we know is that they did it, and we live with the consequences.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I realised I'm bringing in learnings from Buddhism as well. A bit of detachment and acceptance is part of this process. Being able to let your thoughts be what they are, without judging them, buying into them or believing them gives you more room to manoeuvre. Meditation and trance is a great way to still the mind and to learn how to be. 

My mind is like a troop of chattering monkeys. Any meditation which starts: let your mind be still, go blank...that's a non-starter for me. Instead, I give my mind something else to do. I focus on repeated phrases and I particularly like the meditations from Jack Kornfield in A Path with Heart. 

How much control do you have in your life? This was Michael Neill's question. I think it's a valid one. I like the fact that the point he was raising is that it's okay not to feel or be in control. That giving up on the illusion of control, leaping into the chaos and being well, as you deal with all manner of situations is the authentic response.

Are we really in control? No. I'm with him on this one. I'm not in control of my government, the World, the economy, my family, my lover or my child. I sure as hell can't make them do what I want...believe me, I've tried. That is what Byron Katie calls arguing with reality. And yes, I did and I only lost 100% of the time. Do I control my thoughts? Do I control how I feel? Umm....I can. I've learnt to guide my thinking in certain circumstances, to boost my mood when I've got to do something to meet my responsibilities. But by in large, I'm not blessed with an over-abundance of energy. I've learnt, I don't have to. Things get done, or they don't. 

Mostly, I've learnt to work with my body, work with my thinking, moods and energy levels. It's created more of a flow. I realise now that NLP has given me flexibility and more options. This has been it's greatest gift to me. 

This has been a bit of a ramble. I suppose I don't really have a point, per se. If I do, it's simply this: be well.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Be yourself. Good advice isn't it? But it's not always easy, nor is it as straightforward as it might seem. In daily life we act out different roles: parent, child, sibling, employee, employer, partner... We adjust ourselves to the company we keep. After all, standing out in a crowd is supposed to be good, but mostly we really want just to get along.

If we are surrounded by like-minded people, who share our values, beliefs and goals, it's much easier. They are the glue that holds families and groups together.

Not so easy, if your day-to-day life is living and working with people who are not on the same wavelength. You are forced to choose two options. You conform. You laugh at their jokes, try to look like they do, act like they do, think like they do. Or you rebel. You stand up for yourself, you look different than they do, defend your identity aggressively.

Both options are isolating. If you're acting in your daily life, you draw your energy from illusions and you never really fit in. It's a lie. You're fracturing yourself which causes a whole gamut of unpleasantness: ill health, depression, stress. You're alone in a crowd. You might say what they think, laugh at their jokes, but are still lonely because this fracturing can still be sensed by those around you. They don't believe you and don't entirely trust you because of it.

If you feel like you must constantly defend your identity against people who don't think like you; it's a battle. Conflict is inevitable. You against the world, and boy is the world out to get you. People just don't understand. Teenage rebellion, but in an adult arena.

Here's the thing: life is short. We are like footsteps in the sand: we make brief impressions and then are washed away by the incoming tide. Life is too short to be lying to everyone around you about who you are, or having to defend yourself constantly.

The third way? Sometimes it is better to hold your tongue, to go with the pack. Fighting to be heard is a tiring way to live. Sometimes you do need to stand up for yourself, acknowledge your values, principles and rights. 

It's okay to be you. However you really are. By being yourself, acknowledging your uniqueness, it allows other people to see you for who you really are. And if you're insulted by being yourself, for being different - the person who is trying to hurt you is actually just stating the obvious with malicious intent. If you are comfortable in your own skin, the malicious intent slides away and ultimately, shows their true colours. It actually says nothing about you and everything about them.

Accepting yourself: your strengths, weaknesses, foibles, quirks, humour...all of it, means you know who you really are. You know what works and what doesn't in your life. After all, you're living the reality of it. It's not a quick fix. Life has a funny way of throwing up situations, you weren't expecting and shaking your resolve. Plans can fly out the window in the face of challenges. 

There are over 7 billion people now living on this planet. It's okay to be you. In fact, by being the most you, you can be, you'll inspire the people around you. I figure we need more authentic, switched on, aware and inspiring people. So speak your truth, live your life the best way you can. 

Because Life is short. Get out there and Live it!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Taking Time Out

Sometimes we need different things: a kick up the back side, a hug from a friend, silence, excitement, stimulation, hard work. It's important to recognise, acknowledge and meet your needs. At the moment, I need some time to reflect and to re-energise.

Yes, I could change my state, wind myself up and go forth and be fabulous. But at the moment, quiet contemplation is where I'm at.

It's too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life and to expend a huge amount of energy being busy and productive. 

The thing is, if you don't look after yourself, you're not going to be able to meet your responsibilities at home, at work or to your family. Looking after yourself isn't selfish. It's necessary. There are some things that really can wait 5 minutes.

Stop for a minute.

Feel your breath as it enters and leaves your body. What does your body need right now? It needs your next breath. That's all. In this instant, that's all that matters. 

The sun will rise tomorrow, the earth will dance through the universe.

These things happen whilst we are breathing.

It's hard at the moment. I don't know anyone who isn't carrying worry. Who isn't concerned about their finances, their loved ones, their health and wellbeing. I see it in the faces of the people on the street, as they drive to work in the morning, as they try and keep it together. If we're finding Life a bit hard, maybe it's time to find compassion for ourselves, so we can be compassionate to other people.

We're all trying to figure out what we're doing here on this Earth. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn't. And do you know what - that's okay. It's okay to be confused, worried and scared.

But tomorrow, the sun will rise and the earth will continue to dance around the universe.

Every day is a new beginning.

So taking some time to breathe, to relax; it means you'll be better able to deal with what lies in front of you. It's not self-indulgence; it's necessary. Even if it's a few minutes every day just sitting, staring out the window and being aware as the breath enters and leaves your body.

Be well darlings.