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Archive for June, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47rQkTPWW2I&feature=player_embedded

 

I love this advert because it so clearly illustrates (with an exaggerated and absurd example) how our internal unquestioned dialogue keeps us trapped (literally). Please take a moment to watch this and then ask yourself , is there any place where am I refusing to see obvious routes out of a stuck situation because of some outdated belief or habit that no longer serves me ?

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EXAMS

Paula is in Grade Eight and she writes her first set of high school exams this week.  I am upstairs writing this blog and I can hear her playing loud music downstairs in her bedroom and singing along. The old familiar impulse to go and give her a lecture bubbles up and overflows in me.

I have a philosophy , born out of bitter experience, that I learnt many years ago.  If it is my requirement that my children excel or do well in their academic pursuits, then they tend not to take responsibility for their education. Why should they anyway ? I am there to nag, bribe and cajole. They don’t even need to watch the time, because someone else is. So fairly early on , after yet one more blow up about staring blankly at the television the day before a test, I called my middle daughter Megan aside and said, ‘OK. You win. Its your education , your life and I am not going to take responsibility for you. You are old enough to understand the implications of a bad matric. (She was about 13 at the time and it took so much courage for me to say that as I honestly thought she might, if left to her own devices, drop out of school) Go ahead and fail. Be my guest. ‘ I then simply stopped nagging .

I watched her stare at the TV day after day and I said nothing. After about two weeks, she realized the game was over. She quietly crept back to her room and has been working ever since spurred on by fabulous results and a new definition of her abilities. She is currently studying at a top university to become a chartered accountant. Its crazy, a complete turnaround.

Now I am faced with a similar thing with Paula. She is genuinely okay with an okay result. Like mediochre. No great shakes. A pass . That is not what matters to her. What matters to her is that the cat is not left stranded out in the rain, that our domestic worker’s grandson has a warm tracksuit for school, how she can inspire other kids at school not to sleep with their cell phones on and how to make the new girl at school feel welcome. She is very concerned about the beggars that populate our streets and never passes without a wave, or, if there is time, diving into (my) bag for a few coins.

When I nag her to work she reminds me that it is her business what results she attains and I must deal with my insecurities around her performance! (She says it, not in so many words, but you get the idea) This child, leaves me in awe of how small my mind is. I mean if I really question my assumption, my long held belief, handed down through the generations, that good results lead to good careers and happily ever after, is it true ? Just a brief enquiry reveals that it is not true. In fact very often, we use our good grades to feel superior and separate to others and in creating the separation , we eventually feel unhappy and lonely. My daughters, my teachers! Who is the slow learner now?

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Gregg Braden has identified three Universal fears:

1. Fear of not being good enough

2. Fear of Trusting and Surrendering

3. Fear of Abandonment and Separation.

 

Can you imagine going through your life, not allowing those fears to dictate your choices and actions? Who would you be and what would be possible ?

When you are comparing yourself and judging your worth based on how you look, your intellect, how much money you have, those around you, or any one of those external factors, you WILL see yourself as not good enough sooner or later because there are always others who are prettier, smarter, wealthier . When I look at myself today and compare myself to myself thirty years ago, on an external rating scale, I am not good enough. I am not nearly as good looking and my ability to retain and process information not nearly as astute. And yet, as I connect with the woman I am today, I have immense value. I have gained so much wisdom , so much experience, my heart, which was previously shut down is filled with so much compassion and love. I feel like I provide shade to many people with the work I do and love. And no, I don’t earn as much as I would have had I continued as a lawyer, but how can I exchange that for knowing I have facilitated a profound shift in consciousness in those I have coached, not to mention the ripple effects down the ages on those I cannot see ?

I have come such a long way on trust and surrender but I do still have a long path way to travel. But what a comfort to know that I am on this path, day by day building my trust, my courage, my ability to roll with the punches and dig deep and become a warrior for all things good. I can now see my role in creating my experience and I can tap into a deep and wide centre where my true power lies . I am excited about my life again.. I feel the excitement of an eighteen year old again!

I have been abandoned. When my parents died, I had to face life without that cushion of unconditional love. I have been abandoned in relationships , as I have abandoned others. I have been separated from so many close friends and family who now live in other countries. But I am not left with a deep wound where they left. Just gentle love for and understanding of the processes of life.

Ultimately as I say now and have said so often before, it all comes down to your relationship with yourself, but not your ego self. Your inner self. The real you. The you that exists behind the chatter of your negative internal chatter. The part of you that holds the big picture for your life. The part of you that knows on a very deep level the true value of your life, that everyone is equally valuable and that everyone has a unique role to play. The truth that we are as human beings always evolving in consciousness whether we like it or not, whether the way in which it happens fits snugly into our ego ideal or not. Life is about getting familiar with the part of us that houses our love and compassion and light. You can only do that, by making peace with the part of you that houses your hatred and envy and your fear and your need to be superior. Everything in my life up to this point, has pointed me in this direction.

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STRESS.

Its early Friday morning and I am sitting on the deck of a private camp in a game park near Gaborones, Botswana, called Madikwe. Everyone else has gone on a game drive, but I decided to stay behind because it is freezing in the early morning on an open landrover and I , I want to enjoy the bush in silence. Alone. I cast my eyes over the magnificent spectacle before me. Miles and miles of untouched African bush in all directions. And utter silence. Exquisite silence. Just the flapping of the wings of a beautiful yellow bird at the water hole in front of me. The melodic chirps of about five different kinds of birds in the immediate vicinity. As I focus on them , I notice their chirping becomes louder. They fly overhead in all directions and perch on one of the thorn bush trees to my left. I hear the drone of dragon flies and I see,  in the not so far distance, four giraffe lazily walking from tree to tree .The air is still and gently warm , the sun is shining and the smell is fresh and unpolluted. I silently invite the giraffe to come closer , to the watering hole a few metres from the lounger where I lie.

I feel so blessed to be here. I feel so privileged to be on earth! It feels like I am on this amazing playground, and the more I connect to my authentic self, the more  ‘me’ is present here to enjoy the colours, the smells, the beauty. I always unwind in the bush. I think I get younger here! The reason is that the imperative to problem solve and the propensity to get sucked into the issues of the day, are simply not as compelling here. Everything is placed in firm perspective in the bush.All that negative internal dialogue fades and is rendered petty in the face of  the majesty of nature .

What is stress if not taking responsibility for something the outcome of which is beyond your direct control ? I mean think about it.. if the outcome or the future of something was in your control, you would not feel stress. Stress comes in when we image a series of scenarios unfolding which we cannot determine. And how much of our lives really can we control ? Can we control what other people think , say or do? ?  Can we control how successful our spouses or children or loved ones are? Can we keep them all safe all the time ? Can we control natural disasters, wars, hostilities between people, the stock market ? No NO no . Then surrender! Do what IS in your control, take responsibility where it is yours to take and then resign as general manager of the Universe. All we have dominion over is our RESPONSE to what is going on out there. Thereafter all we can do is trust that whatever happens, will work out in our highest, even if we can’t see it in the moment.

I hear the sound of the landrover with our guests returning. I look up to see the giraffe right in front of me at the watering hole. What is meant to be will be.

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