“If there are no ups and downs in your life, it means you are dead.”
A few years ago I was doing a trek in Nepal, and on the first day we were walking along the valley floor and the guide pointed upwards and said, “That’s where we are staying tonight.” My heart sank, to see the height of the hill/mountain we had to climb. But there was no alternative and we had chosen this particular route so that we could see the sunrise from the ‘top of the world,’ the next morning. And what an experience that was, with hundreds of others from all parts of the world, joined with one common exciting purpose. So the contrast was amazing! Yes it would have been easier to just walk along a flat path, but we would never have had that fantastic experience.
Life is also like that. How do we get the contrast of light and shadow, of good times and ‘bad,’ if we only ever have one basic experience? Life would become monotonous. The rich tapestry of special moments wouldn’t be treasured, if we didn’t have some challenges to gives us the contrast. Maybe even some pride in ourselves when we have overcome something that perhaps we didn’t know we could do. It takes acceptance of both the good points we have and the points we would rather hide, to make us who we are and what we have to offer the world.
Enjoy staying alive with both the ups and downs in your life! Robyn
“You will never be happier than you expect. To change your happiness, change your expectation.” Bette Davis
We are told over & over that happiness is an inside job but a good percentage of us look for outside feed-back or inspiration to ‘up’ the vibration or energy of who we are. Recently I read an article written about a year ago which states, “True happiness isn’t about being happy all the time.” Lowri Dowthwaite wrote, “Martin Seligman is considered the founding father of positive psychology. He describes happiness as experiencing frequent positive emotions such as joy, excitement and contentment, combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. Studies have shown that the way we respond to the circumstances of our lives, has more influence on our happiness than the events themselves.
Apparently there are 2 pathways to happiness. The Hedonistic view that in order to live a happy life we must maximise pleasure and avoid pain. If we see happiness from this point of view, then we have to continue to seek out new experiences and pleasures in order to continue to ‘up’ our happiness. The other path says we should live authentically and for the greater good. We should pursue meaning and potential through kindness, justice, honesty and courage. This may involve unpleasant experiences and emotions at times, but often leads to deeper levels of joy and contentment. So leading a happy life is not about avoiding hard times; it is about being able to respond to adversity in a way that allows you to grow from the experience. Tolerating distress can make us more resilient and leads us to take action in our lives, such as changing jobs or overcoming hardship.
Unlike feeling happy, which is a transient state, leading a happier life is about individual growth through finding meaning. It is about accepting our humanity with all its ups and downs, enjoying the positive emotions, and harnessing painful feelings in order to reach our full potential.
Enjoy finding happiness in your adverse experiences by changing your expectations!
“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold; but so does a hard-boiled egg.” Author unknown
This quote sounded quite clever when I first read it and it’s true we do have to follow through on our intentions but those actions may not be thought through or may be conditioned behaviours that we have done all our lives if our intentions are not ‘pure.’ By this I mean we have planned or designed our intentions so that we have our desires accomplished without trampling over the feelings and desires of others. Have you had those times when you have had a thought of doing something that will be a nice gesture to someone else, but life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen? Or maybe you voice your intentions, you get talked out of it, and then later when it is too late you have regrets? My mother used to have a saying, “The way to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
I understand this Hell, in this case, is the regrets, the negative feelings and comments that you may make to yourself as your inner critic has a field day. So be careful when you have intentions that you are able to take action. These are the times when we do have to listen to that heart of gold, but just be careful that you don’t allow yourself to get swallowed up by the boundaries of other people who take that soft spot (I like even my hard boiled eggs with a softer yolk) for granted. You may have been brought up to believe that service is the only way, but just take care that you don’t lose your sense of self in the process.
Enjoy following through on your intentions!
“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you, that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.” Warren Buffett
When I did my original coaching training, we were taught that one of the problems that people face is the meaning they give to what is being said and done. If my background or conditioning has lead me to believe certain things about myself or life around me, it may set off incorrect assumptions. I then suffer because I believe the words that other person has just uttered mean something that wasn’t intended. We could ask questions to get clarification, but a lot of us feel uncomfortable having that sort of conversation. We would rather have a different sort of conversation in our heads.
What if, next time someone said something that made you feel put down or stressed, you plucked up the courage to ask for clarification? We were also taught that nobody ‘made’ me or you for that matter, feel something. We choose to feel that and we can choose to feel something else instead. If we find it too hard to ask what we see is a difficult question, then as Warren Buffett says, we need to sit back and observe what has just happened with logic. Think about whether this is going to be important in 1, 5, or 10 years time. If not, breathe into the area of discomfort in your body and allow that feeling to dissipate, allow it to pass and move on.
Enjoy restraining yourself from getting too caught up in your emotional reactions.
“A wise man fills his brain before emptying his mouth.” African Proverb
I think this is a delightful way to say what sounds to me like, think before you speak or it’s more important to listen than it is to do all the talking. Either way we can co-create a much more connected conversation. But of course conversations are not just about the words we use, they are about our body language, and the energy we put out before we even open our mouths. We pick up electrical signals from the other person when we are within 300 cm. Once they do start to speak we can tell by the tone of their voice, whether we feel comfortable or whether we feel we can trust them. We can tell if the words they are using are excluding us or if they’re angry at us, whether we feel like we’re taking risks, going to be judged or rejected. If this happens we immediately activate the stress area of our brains. The area of the brain responsible for good connective conversations, the area that is good at making decisions and can trust other people, gets shut down.
What can happen is that we also assume certain things because of our past experiences, not just about this person but about experiences that are similar. We assume that everyone else thinks and feels exactly like us even though we know that to be untrue. We can find it difficult sometimes to walk in their shoes and feel what is going on for them and we don’t actually realise that our feelings can change our reality. Lastly all my experiences build up a picture as you are speaking but unless I ask some clarifying questions I may have the ‘wrong end of the stick,’ as they say. Paying more attention to our conversations can be very valuable if we want to improve our relationships at work and at home.
Enjoy feeling good as you connect in your conversations!
“Knowing your purpose can dramatically enhance your experience in life. Purpose-driven people experience more fulfillment, more success, and often greater rewards than other people. Paradoxically, people who set out to live their purpose often make more money than people who set out to make money.” Timothy Kelly
This does sound a bit grandiose but at the end of the day it is something that most of us want to be doing. We want to be doing something that fulfils us, that we feel is worthwhile. I’ve been pretty lucky in my life in that I have mostly been working in a career that I love doing. There have been times when I’m in a bit of a hiatus, in ‘the gap.’ But if I keep working on things that give me life then it feels as though I am on purpose. I have had doubts when working towards something that seems a bit elusive and I wonder if I am still doing what I have been put on earth to do. But if I keep finding things that create the experiences that give me joy I usually get a sense of purpose.
How have you been living purposefully? Do you get a sense of that energy and passion that Tim Kelly is talking about when you are following your heart rather than your head? Your best self will show up when you are operating from a place of purpose. It may be that your purpose is just to be on this earth as a nice person who others like to be around. Your best self will show up when you are operating from a place of purpose. Set your intention to make every activity you do today be packed with great pupose. I have been through Tim Kelly’s course about living on purpose so if you think you want to step up for 2019 and you need help to sort out your purpose, contact me. Remember nothing happens until you decide to take action!
Enjoy living and breathing your purpose!
“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” Oprah Winfrey
Merry Christmas to all of you reading this rejuvenating letter!
I thought this quote could be taken in more than one way – as a lot of them could be depending on our perspective and how we are feeling on the day. With Christmas coming up I thought of the number of children who are writing lists to Santa and excitedly pointing out what they want in the local toy store. But this is also true of us as adults. Do we expect our loved ones to be mind-readers, or do we expect them to remember the hint we put out at the middle of the year. We could be opening up the whole situation to disappointment. Luckily my partner makes it easy at birthday time and Xmas by asking me what I want. I know it takes the excitement and surprise out of it but it also takes out the disappointment.
Another way of looking at this at this time of the year with 2019 fast approaching, is asking the Universe for what you would like to manifest in the New Year. It is up to us to set a clear intention of what it is we truly want and as I’ve said before, feel it, remind yourself about it often, and believe that you can manifest it with the help of the universe. This belief part is the tricky part for some of us. We may have beliefs from childhood that are telling us the opposite, so it’s hard to get clear. And like an order at the restaurant, what sort of meal would you get from the kitchen if you kept giving them different instructions every five minutes. Make your decision and stick to it until you either achieve it or you really want to give up on it, after giving it a good chance. Being clear about what you want, believing it is yours and not being afraid to ask for it, is key!
Enjoy using some of your holiday for reflection on what you really want in 2019!
“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That is where your power is.”
There is an organisation called the Institute of Heart Math that you may have heard of. They operate like a non-profit and have a lot of free stuff on their website if you are interested in having a browse. One of the key markers they use is what happens to the heart rhythm when we show an emotion. If we get angry or irritated the heart rhythm is irregular. However if we feel love and compassion the rhythm becomes even and what they call coherent. When our heart is in a coherent state we are able to think better, we connect with people better and we find it easier to respond to life’s challenges better.
At the start it takes some mindfulness. Mark Waldman, a neuroscientist, says “Acting on anger, or expressing it, is very disruptive to healthy brain function. But if you observe it and suppress the impulse to act out, you’ll develop greater calmness and emotional control.” He added, “If I were to put you in a brain scan machine and flash the word ‘NO’ for less than half a second, a dozen stress hormones will be released throughout your brain. And if you chronically worry or ruminate on negative thoughts, you’ll begin to damage your memory circuits. Anger is particularly dangerous because it interrupts the frontal lobes where logic and clarity take place.”
Enjoy being mindful when with family over Xmas!
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn is one of my favourite personal development trainers. He usually had a different way of looking at life or putting things in a way that would help the listener reframe the way they were looking at life. I used to listen to his audio tapes. Yes this was before even the days of CDs. I am in the middle of putting a programme together and at the moment talking about Dreams. To achieve our dreams we all need to grow, so if things are easier to achieve or we have less problems or challenges to overcome, then we don’t need to grow. But we don’t actually achieve the outcome to the same level of greatness.
Where in your life are you wishing that life was easier instead of learning the way to handle the situation in a better way to achieve at that higher level? Where are you wishing for less problems because you are tired of constantly putting out fires? But if you learned more skills it would all seem less stressful because you would now know what to do. Where in your life are you wishing for less challenges, rather than having the wisdom because you have put in the work? It is often human nature to want to take the easy route, the shortest route, not realizing that we have a lot of growing to do, that it is about the journey not the destination.
Enjoy learning to be better, to be more skilled and to have more wisdom
“Our brain is only a receiver. In the universe, there is a core from which we obtain strength and knowledge from.” Nikola Tesla
This is a concept that the world of Quantum Physics has brought to our attention, but if you read some of the books on personal development written at the beginning of the 20th century, you will see that it is a concept that they ‘knew’ about back then. In his book, “The Science of Getting Rich,” Wallace D. Wattles talks about the Formless Stuff or original Substance that the universe is made out of. His belief was that there is, “no limit to this ‘stuff.’ This Original Substance fills in the spaces between the forms of the visible universe.” (In other words all the physical things in our lives and our physical bodies is surrounded by this stuff.) So he’s not only saying that we can gain strength and knowledge from this ‘substance’ that surrounds us, but also those things we get knowledge about can become physical.
Nikola Tesla has used his understanding of this concept to create all the innovations he has come up with so far. He is a modern day figure. Einstein had the same beliefs back in his day. He knew that there is no problem for which there is no answer, so he would get into a meditative state, and let the answers come to him and design his next, ‘whatever.’ We could read back then and now in modern day and find the same thoughts being repeated, that the universe is always working to express itself more fully. It is okay for you to give gratitude for what you have, but at the same time want to grow and be a bigger better you. Wattles says, “Nature is formed for the advancement of life; its impelling motive is the increase of life.”
Enjoy increasing your life by obtaining strength and knowledge from the ‘Core Original Stuff’ around us.
“The 3 C’s of Life: Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”
“Here you go again talking about choices,” I hear you saying. Everything we do is a choice whether it is conscious or not. Whether to have that cup of coffee even though you know you’ve had enough, what to wear in the morning, and so it goes on. Often we make choices subconsciously. Things that have become habitual, that you give no thought to because you’ve always done something a certain way, are beneath the conscious radar. These things happen by default rather than by design or choice. If you were to look at a normal working day, how much would you estimate is being done on auto pilot? Do you have the same breakfast every day, or do you consciously choose to mix it up a bit? Do you hop into the car at roughly the same time & drive the same route? These sorts of things area ok to do without worrying about them too much but what else in your day could you change?
Do you need to take some chances on trying something new? It doesn’t have to be major, it could be as simple as deciding to watch ½ hour less TV tonight and read a good book or actually talk to your spouse about something meaningful. It could be to find out how you could start an exercise regime to feel better about yourself. It could be to eat differently at lunchtime. What chances have you got to step out and do something differently TODAY that will make changes in your future life? Remember that every second of the day is the beginning of the rest of your life. Every second, every decision will impact your future. So what would you like to change now that will impact your future in the way you would like?
Enjoy being mindful of your choices!