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This is for my American and Danish friends…

Two weeks ago, we spent a weekend in the Waterberg at the game lodge of friends. One of the guests was Megan Emmet, author of the book Game Ranger in my Backpack and executive Producer of 50/50 a well known Tv show here in South Africa.

Follow the link below to read her blog about what happened after lunch on the saturday.Not exactly an everyday occurrence.

http://blog.africageographic.com/africa-geographic-blog/wildlife/encounters-of-the-spotted-kind/

Hope this whets your appetite for a visit!!

SPIRITUAL MIDGET

When it comes to physical illness, I am a spiritual midget. I always think the worst. Any and all symptoms are seen by me as evidence of cancer or some other dreaded degenerative neurological disease. Tingling in my finger ? Must be multiple sclerosis. Rapid heartbeat for no reason? Congenital heart disease. Fatigue ? Must be cancer which has probably metastasized. Its ridiculous, I know, but that’s where my toxic thoughts go.

No matter how much I reason with myself, my body goes on a mission of its own when I have these scares. High pulse rate, dry mouth and if it is really bad, even a thick tongue.

Where does this come from ?

That’s easy. No question it’s the fearful associations that I made as a child between illness and death, when my father was ill. He had to have three open heart operations over the course of his lifetime and I have so many memories of him, collapsed with a cardiac arrest, in theatre having an operation, being resuscitated, fibrillating, weak or in pain. Deeply ingrained in my psyche as a child, I associated doctors with death. I associated hospitals with fear. Hospital smells alone are enough to trigger the memory of that fear.

We all deal with our childhood experiences differently. My sister dealt with it by becoming a radiologist. Wasn’t it Joan Baez who said that action is the antidote to despair ? I dealt with it by going into unreasonable fear and later by going in search of spiritual truths.

So for the past ten days, I have felt a discomfort in my left breast. Nothing drastic.. just not right. When I discussed this with my sister, who lives in Sydney, she said, bring forward your annual mammogram and have it checked out . ‘That’s not what’s going to get you in the end’ she assured me. ‘It doesn’t run in the family, but check it out for your peace of mind’. That did not comfort me. If she really wasn’t worried, she would have said, leave it . Wait till next wednesday when your annual mammogram is scheduled.

Literally with knees knocking and teeth chattering,I called yesterday and managed to get an appointment for 11.30 am. My heart was pounding, as I tried to access a place of trust and surrender. This is the work I do for goodness sake ! How can I be in my integrity coaching people to be courageous in their lives, to transcend their fears, when I had not transcended mine in this area of my life ? I can access courage, tremendous courage in so many areas of my life, but with this, I am a baby! And the odd thing is that I am not really afraid of death. I have read so extensively about it, that I really am not afraid. Well, at least not in theory. And yet, the fear was unbearable. I decided to do something I seldom do. I asked for a sign to show me that it is safe to trust.

I reached a measure of calm and decided at 10.30 to dash to Spar in Norwood, a shop across town that I seldom frequent, to buy some special tea that a relative was taking over to my sister in Australia in two days’ time. I found exactly what I wanted, paid for it, and as I picked up the package to leave the shop, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Standing right there was the relative to whom I had to hand the package. I laughed and handed it over. As I climbed into my car I realized that that was a powerful message of trust. How was it that out of all the hundreds of supermarkets I could have chosen, I had chosen this one and she was there, at the same time! And she appeared at the perfect moment, as I was about to go back home?

The Universe was sending me a very clear message. And the message is not trust everything will go exactly as you want it. I saw a deeper message. I saw trust that whatever the outcome there is a Divine plan. Things are organized on another level. I recalled Deepak Chopra’s brilliant book on Synchrodestiny, where he explained the source of ‘coincidences.’ Nothing happens by accident. So if you need to go through a cancer, trust that it’s a necessary part of your soul’s evolution. You will get what you need, if you need it and when you are ready for that experience. Not a moment earlier or later.I had just transformed shelf help into self help!!

I walked into the mammogram calmly. Even when they called me back for one more Xray of my left breast and then a sonar, I felt ‘I can handle this’. As it so happened, the radiologist gave me the all clear.

Cultivating that trust has to be the most important thing any of us can do in this lifetime. It makes the journey so much more joyful and light. But our trust muscle needs to be cultivated all the time. If not, it atrophies.

I would like to make the distinction between surrender, trust and taking responsibility. Whether or not I get a cancer is mostly beyond my control. Its really out of my hands. My responsibility is to make sure I have annual check ups, make sure I check out any changes in breast tissue in between, make sure I feed my body with healthy foods, not smoke and keep my emotional space clear. Beyond that, I am not in control and trying to control that which is beyond our control, that which as Byron Katie would say is ‘ God’s business’ or Reality, is simply going to cause me to suffer.

So, spiritual giant ? Not yet, but I may have grown a few inches…..

If you know that you could benefit from more courage and more confidence in some area of your life, have I got the book for you!

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If you were able to choose just one quality that you would like to have access to at all times, what would it be? For me it would be courage and confidence. Its that exquisite heady mix that when you are present to it, when you are expressing it, makes you feel AMAZING. You feel like you could just hug the world . Is it possible that I can actually cultivate that quality, you may ask? Tap into it, reveal it, live it? Yes, says Debbie Ford in her latest book for women (soon to be released) called Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self Confidence.

Yes? How? Well as one of 75 coaches being trained worldwide to become a courage coach, I can confirm that there is a way. In a nine week course, we take you step by step into what can only be described as the deeper truth about yourself and who you are , a deeper connection to the Divine, one which will light you up and have you inspired about your life.

At any one moment, there are two you’s. The disempowered you, ruled and limited by your fears, your beliefs , taking small and safe actions and feeling pretty stuck and then there is the empowered you, the one who is able to face your fears head on and use them as fuel to get moving, to make new choices , a you who is able to see the limitation inherent in previously unquestioned beliefs and a you who is able to make powerful choices that will get you out of stuck places and propel your life forward. Which you would you prefer to express?

What stands between the old disempowered you and the courageous woman that you are ? Only one thing. Your story. The story you tell yourself about yourself .In courage coaching, we reveal a deeper truth about you, your unique Divine plan, the cost of holding onto resistance and resentment and I will guide you week by week to a place of more courage and confidence, radical self responsibility and more self love than you thought possible. Its 2012 and its time to take back the reins of your life, of your power! Allow me to support you in this quest.

I am currently in week 2 of the Courage Coaching Program run by The Ford Institute in San Diego. Based on the book ‘Courage: Overcoming Fear and Igniting Self Confidence’, due out in America in April 2012, I am in training to become one of only seventy five Courage Coaches in the world. Written by Debbie Ford for women, this course is designed to support you in standing in all your strength and to feel great about yourself by rebuilding your courage and your confidence, that enormous power that lies deep within the heart of every woman, but that we, for various reasons over the generations, have turned away from.

In this program, we learn to distinguish the false confidence of the ego, built on our achievements and the comparisons we make of ourselves in relation to others, and true and authentic confidence which comes from building our connection to our Divine inner nature. This type of confidence “comes from a deep knowing that we are spiritual beings, whole beings, human beings”. Divine confidence arises naturally when we view life through the eyes of our Divinity, seeing all of our experiences, both the positive and the negative, as there to help us, to encourage and invite us to connect with and remember who we are and why we are here.It can never be taken away or lost and it supports us to try new things and be brave and courageous, because its not just about us, and our failure, our shame, our embarrassment. It is sourced by principles such as the collective good, the connection between all people and a deep honouring of each and every expression of life.

And here once again is that choice. That choice that is available to every person every moment of the day. To see ourselves through the eyes of our ego as separate and alone and in a struggle for survival and to listen to that endless negative internal chatter of ‘you are not good enough, smart enough, lovable enough, its too hard, others do it better and on and on.. OR to vigorously seek out a deeper truth. The truth that each and every person is worthy,that every experience that you can possibly imagine is valid, that we each have a role to play and something to contribute and that we cannot even see the wider ripple effects of seemingly small gestures.

Take a moment to click on the link below to Rosalind Sedacca’s website, and then click on the black tab which says Child Centered Divorce Month and scroll down to the second interview which is an interview I participated in last week with Rosalind Sedacca for International Child Centered Divorce month. Rosalind is the Voice of Child Centered Divorce Month in America,author of the book ‘How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce?’and she is also a director of WE Magazine and contributing writer to Exceptional People Magazine.

In the interview I get to elaborate on the work I do as a Spiritual Divorce Coach. The website contains several amazing interviews, blogs and tips, for anyone wanting to create a child centered divorce. Here is the link:

http://www.childcentereddivorce.com

Enjoy and if you think anyone you know would benefit, please click ‘like’ or post the link on your website or facebook page.

It is my deepest belief, that our external world is merely a reflection of our internal world,and that when we don’t like something in our external world, this is a red flag calling on us to go to work on our internal world.

This is especially true of relationships. Have you noticed that you can’t really fix or change someone else? If you spend your life trying to make people fit neatly into a vision of how you need or want them to be,you will end up angry, frustrated and disappointed.

This is crucial to understand because if you are making the issue about someone else, you are essentially powerless.The deeper truth is that relationships are mirrors showing us the qualities that we cannot, will not and refuse to see in ourselves and they are a rich source of information about our hidden beliefs about ourselves and the world.

Being willing to look at yourself from the outside in, is the most humbling yet powerful thing you can do, and it is the first step to taking back your power.When you identify the qualities you hate in someone else in yourself, you are doing your spiritual work , and gaining the sacred lesson that that person came into your life to teach you. Once you have that lesson, it often profoundly shifts the relationship , either by making it better, closer, more mature or by shifting the person right out of your space. And whether you stay or go , is not the issue. The issue is, did you look in the mirror and can you learn to accept or even love and have compassion for that unwanted part of you that you see so clearly in the other?

What a year!! As 2011 draws to a close, (two hours and fifteen minutes left to go for those of us living in GMT plus two),its been quite remarkable how one after another , dictators have been shown the door, some by stepping down and others , those who clung to power relentlessly, by being violently deposed. The thick skin, the certainty that they were right and everyone else wrong (‘my people love me,they love me all’),was met with a fury born of years of suffering and oppression.The human spirit will not be silenced forever.

Not only on a macro scale has this occurred, but I have noticed on a microlevel too. Look around your life. See how former ‘dictators’, ‘my way or the highway’ type of people, have been silenced, sidelined, hurt, extinguished. I believe its a global phenomenon and it is reflective of the dawning of a new consciousness, a new awareness.

This paves the way for a new world , starting in 2012. But the change needed to happen on an internal level first, before it could be reflected on an external level. This is the proof that our consciousness has evolved. Not allowing yourself to be dictated to. Not allowing others to determine what you can and cannot do.Desiring autonomy and self determination. Not allowing religion or state to limit you.Not dictating to or limiting the freedom of expression of others. Being personally responsible. Being the best version of yourself that you can be.And that means being fully self referring and always understanding the big picture.Having a win-win attitude.

Anywhere where you are not honouring YOU, you will suffer. Anywhere where you are not honouring others, YOU will suffer. The whole of life is to propel us to that understanding and if we don’t get it, life will show us.Because what we don’t realize is that when you limit or hurt someone else, you are limiting and hurting yourself. Our separateness is an illusion. That’s the understanding that we are headed towards and what a much better place the world will be when we ‘get it’, not as an intellectual concept, but as a knowing!

So here is to an amazing 2012, with lots of love, light and laughter… the luscious fruits of freedom, responsibility, authenticity and the right to choose.

Yad Vashem

I have just returned from a week in Israel. A relative/friend donated funds to the Weizmann Institute for postgraduate studies in Science, which were used to develop a magnificent convention centre for visitors from all over the world to meet, interact, exchange ideas and break scientific boundaries. It was fascinating and uplifting to meet world famous philanthropists and Nobel prize winners as well as brilliant young scientists doing groundbreaking work in so many fields. All of them working to make things better for humanity.

Compare that with my next day spent at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. My first visit in years, but each time I am freshly horrified. There are no words to describe the inhumanity perpetrated a mere seventy or so years ago. The images, the stories, the shoes, the letters, the clothes are unforgettable, a reminder of humanity’s darkest hour.

How I value the quality of intellect, but used for the methodical destruction of a nation and to create division, it is hideous. How I value the quality of charisma, , but used for dark reasons, it is repugnant. How I admire those who have the courage to step into power, but used without a moral compass, it is abhorrent. How I value the quality of passion, but used to stoke the flames of hatred, its dangerous.

INSANITY . What happened was en masse insanity. A testimony to how far astray we can go when we listen to our head and not the deeper whisperings of our heart.

But then I started thinking, how far have we really come since this time? There have been other holocausts. What do we, as humanity, learn when we go through these shocking experiences? What do the perpetrators learn ? What do the victims learn? What new qualities emerge? Do we value the sanctity of life more now? Do we honour those whose views conflict with ours? Are we kinder to those who look different or speak differently? Do we fight for the oppressed? Do we speak out against injustice or do we turn the other cheek ? Are we still blinded by charisma and power and intellect and not ask too many questions? Are we attracted to people who are well known , even if they are infamous ? Do we teach our children tolerance? Do we respect our neighbours? Do we live and let live?

Well I cannot answer for anyone else except myself. When I walk past a beggar at the side of the road, my tenth of the day, my heart hardens and I angrily ignore him. How does that make me different to the seemingly well dressed Europeans walking past starving and freezing Jewish children at the side of the road? Do I fail humanity when I keep silent in the face of any kind of oppression , racist comment or discrimination. It makes me realize that we have such a long way to go. Each and every one of us, and until we can see that every choice matters, those to speak up and those to turn the other cheek , we run the risk of repeating the holocaust. Different century , different role players, same issue.

In this blog I want to honour my dear friend Debbie Mankowitz. For having the courage to speak out against misinformation, to debate issues, fight for justice and not roll over and play dead just because it was not really happening here. Now I understand Debbs and I am proud to be your friend.

Still Time to Sign Up

There is still time to sign up for The Right Questions Teleclass, starting on monday morning 17 October at 9 am and if you can’t make that class, then monday evening at 6 pm.

This teleclass, developed by Debbie Ford, invites you to select one goal, something in your outer world that you want to accomplish or some situation you want to alter.This course is designed to use The Right Questions to support you to see yourself and the circumstances of your life in ways that allow you to act more clearly, decisively and powerfully. If you play full out on this course, what’s available to you is a whole new experience of life….a whole new set of lenses..

Click on the Free Teleclass section at the top of this blog and register! Even if you cannot be live on the call, I will send you a recording.