What’s In a Shadow?

“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”  Kahlil Gibran

Have you heard of shadow work?  Debbie Ford wrote a great book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.”  In it she talks about how we all have aspects of ourselves that we don’t want others to know about because we’ve been brought up to believe that those aspects are not acceptable in some way.  However my beliefs about unacceptable behaviour may be completely different from yours or other cultures.  My parents & their parents have been brought up with certain beliefs about different behaviours and these have been instilled into us over the years. This may not be conscious but when we see it in others it may ‘trigger’ us or ‘pushes our buttons.’ This awareness can actually be a lesson for us to examine why we have such an aversion to their behaviour. What is it about what they are doing that we wouldn’t want others to see in us? Debbie went on to write a second book called “The Shadow Effect,” with Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. They both wanted to lend their weight to the topic that they think is so important to us all.

And strange as it may seem, there are ‘gifts’ in those shadows that emerge as we shine the light on them. The gifts that Gibran talks about.  There is a Law of Polarity that says, there are 2 sides to everything, so if you can be intolerant you can also be tolerant.  The joy is in being able to accept that you could be something you absolutely don’t want to own, we all could be.  In the same way, that if you notice some great things in others & don’t believe you can be that either. This is called the Light Shadow, and if you don’t acknowledge this then you are shutting yourself off from living from the full spectrum of emotions & behaviours.  Start noticing what is irritating you in others & check in to where are you, or could you be that & what is the gift! Also notice when you see something you admire in someone else & feel into whether you could be that as well.

Enjoy finding those gifts!

Feel the Luuv With Meditation!

“If you meditate deeply, sooner or later you will start feeling tremendous love arising in you that you have never known before. You want a love that is born out of meditation, not born out of the mind.”  Osho

Meditation can be a word that carries feelings of resistance.  When I first came across meditation, I wasn’t even prepared to look at the concept, because the picture I had in my mind, was that of people sitting cross-legged on the floor, humming a mantra and of course they were able to clear their minds of the thoughts, constantly tumbling around in my mind.  However a few years later when I was on a wellness course, I was introduced to the notion that anything we did to create the relaxation response, rather than the stress response, was going to be good for us.  We were taught a variety of methods, and what got me hooked, was the fact that we would feel better if we accepted the transgressions of the mind and accepted that minds keep flitting.  The Buddhists apparently call this unwillingness of the mind to stop, as ‘jumping monkeys.’

Research has shown that even 5-10 minutes each day, of focusing on the breath as it goes into the body can be beneficial.  It can often be just a matter of remembering to carve out this small amount of time, and then follow it up with the odd deep breath, and letting go of the tension as you relax with the out breath, during the day.  You’re waiting for someone to answer the phone, take a couple of breaths to the bottom of your lungs.  The lights are red and it’s tempting to allow the frustration to amp up when we’re running late, instead take a couple of breaths and drop those shoulders.  When we’re in this place of relaxation, it is easier to feel gratitude for the people in our lives, to feel the love in our hearts that will help us respond in a way that makes everyone feel good.

Just trial getting up 10 minutes earlier, sit quietly and focus on the breath, with no other agenda than to ‘be’ and enjoy!

Which Colour of the Rainbow do You Resonate With the Most?

Our attitude is the crayon that colours our world.”   Allen Klein 1931-2009, Businessman and Talent Agent
Over the years I have been writing these thoughts, I have talked about how our thoughts create the feelings we have. In other words creating our attitude, creates how we feel.  What is important to understand is that our feelings are felt in our bodies not our minds.  Becoming more aware of what we are feeling in any given moment will give us an indication of what we are thinking. What we are feeling will then cause us to take some action on that thought, in either a negative or positive way depending on how we are feeling in that moment. Often I will talk about the ‘what if’ concept in a positive direction rather than the negative. This can change our thoughts or attitude into a chosen positive vibration which then by the Law of Attraction can attract those more positive experiences into our lives. There has been some study done on which colours calm people down or hype us up. Different colours have different levels of vibration & like our thoughts can change our vibration to attract different experiences.
So if you are wallowing in feelings of fear and worry your body will reflect that – may be with a sense of anxiety butterflies, or maybe you have developed a physical joint pain for no apparent reason.  Whatever it is, you know where you hold the tension or feeling in your body.  Ask yourself is this what I want to feel, what thought or condition has allowed that feeling to arise, and what would I rather be feeling.  Don’t expect others to ‘make’ you feel better.  Only you can do that.  Damn! That might involve some work on myself!  It may, however, be as simple as choosing to feel the preferred option.
Enjoy noticing the feelings in your body & what you want to change!

What do You Think Would be Your Top Regrets in Life so Far?

An Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware was recently brought to my attention. She has written a book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” after working in palliative care, looking after patients in the last 12 years of their lives.  In this book she talks of the top 5 regrets that these patients had, hoping that if we all see them, we can learn from them.  These are the top 5 regrets that she found…..

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I’d let myself be happier.

Are you seeing yourself in any of these? Every day we wake up we can choose to live life differently than we did yesterday, even if it is only one small step. If we have the intention and the aspiration to head in a new direction, we are the only ones who can take that step, take the responsibility for the life we want, as I talked about last week.

Number 3 is the one I work with my clients the most. Not always about wishing they had the courage to express their feelings, but to be able to do that in a way that others are not traumatised because they have used words that are upsetting. So often we don’t have the courage to have that difficult conversation & it escalates to the point where the words come out without a lot of thought and the relationship can suffer. So having the courage to express ourselves about the things that feel awkward, before they have built up to a crescendo, is a vital part of ensuring that our friends can continue to trust us. Just because we have a different point of view does not destroy the trust. In fact, it is the opposite. If we trust we feel comfortable expressing ourselves with a difference knowing that it will be accepted.

Enjoy working on these 5 regrets!

Is it Easy to Take Responsibility For Your Life?

“When a person takes responsibility for their life and the results they are obtaining, they will cease to blame others as the cause of their results. Since you cannot change other people, blame is inappropriate. Blaming others causes a person to remain bound in a prison of their own making. When you take responsibility, blame is eliminated and you are free to grow.” Val Van de Wall

One of the ways I earn finances is to supervise 3rd year physio students when they are in the outpatient department of the hospital. Getting patients to turn up can be an issue. This means the students are not getting this essential learning practice. I had one patient who didn’t turn up for the 2nd time last week & when I rang her, she had all the excuses but the hospital policy has changed & after 2 strikes you’re out. I thought of this quote about how some people cannot take responsibility for putting the appointment down where they can see it, putting it in their phone or whatever it takes. Yes we can all forget once but….. They don’t have to pay so no skin in the game as the saying goes.

As Van de Wall says, we can’t change other people so blaming them & the situation you have got yourself in doesn’t create the results you are after. The only way to do that is to start to make changes in yourself. It doesn’t have to be all at once, just small steps, small intentions every day to do something differently, and you’ll soon notice that things have changed. Often it helps to have an accountability buddy and even if you can’t see the subtle changes you have made, they usually can. Once you can see how you alone made the changes, it is an incentive to start changes elsewhere in your life. Slowly but surely, different opportunities will turn up in your life. You may have felt stuck but now you can see that you have broken free from the prison that you had created for yourself in your old life. You will be free to grow in the direction you want rather than where you were going by default.

Enjoy taking over the responsibility of your life!

Are You Choosing to Live Your Life by Design or by Default?

“Awareness gives you choice. Choice gives you freedom.”   John Assaraf

Often when I am working with a client or at a workshop I talk them through a tune-in process. In a feeling of relaxation, I ask them to be aware of what they are feeling physically and emotionally without judgement. Only when we know what is going on in our body right now, can we choose to change it if we want to. I liken the process to using a GPS. We need to know where we are now if we want to get to the correct destination. At the end of the day the decision is yours. Do you want to live a life that you have chosen, that you are living by design, or are you going to live the one that turns up by default, and you end up feeling like a victim? Making that choice always requires courage. Dr Rollo May, a distinguished psychiatrist, once wrote, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.”

Napoleon Hill wrote the book, “Think and Grow Rich.” In this he devotes a whole chapter to Decision. Like making a decision, responsibility is a choice. When you accept responsibility for your life and for the results that you want, you can break free of the constraints that a life by default brings. A life where we feel it is all happening to us and we have to accept it. Our brains are plastic and can be changed at any time. When you make the changes, you will develop confidence that it is possible to react to life with the freedom you desire.

Enjoy creating freedom from being aware of the choices you can make!

What Thought Seeds Are You Planting in the Universe?

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”  Bill Meyer.

The energy waves that come from our body when we think, can be measured.  The universe is a fertile ground for those thought seeds to germinate in.  Our thoughts also create emotions & actions which ultimately influence the result from our thoughts whether they are good or bad.

If you spend most of your days thinking negative thoughts about your circumstances, the world & the people who come into your life, you will see a pattern in your life that is negative & limiting.  However if you spend most of your days thinking positive, productive thoughts about what is presenting in your life, you will see more productive & rewarding results.  The choice is yours. If we look at this scientifically, there is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System that is constantly trying to find a match to your thoughts to confirm what you are thinking is correct. So it will search for the negative or positive results depending on what you are thinking. It will find that reality so you can say, “See I told you that happens to me!”

Each day this week, pay attention to what you are thinking.  What are your thoughts about your job, your friends, your colleagues, your income, your family members etc?  Take time to write them down, so that you can see clearly the patterns that are developing.  If your thoughts are continually negative, do your best to focus on intentionally choosing positive thoughts, just as you choose what to eat & wear each day.  Take note of how you feel in your heart or your body when you are positive & what shows up as a result. We should be aiming to feel good. In light of what has happened in Christchurch in the past few days we need to focus on our thoughts of compassion and love for the victims and their families as opposed to the hate for the perpetrator. We don’t want that energy of hate to be going out into the world, it doesn’t serve anyone. We can influence that by looking for the good in everything that is happening around us. The choice is yours. Think about it!

Enjoy choosing to be positive and looking for the good in everything!

Are You Living in a Cage?

“Too many people are living in a prison that they have themselves manufactured.”   Michael Beckwith.

About 3 years ago I really enjoyed a hit song that was put out called “Brave.” It had a great catchy tune & the singer had a video with people dancing out on the streets and all over the place. What some of the words said was, ‘Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live, Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is.’ The trouble is, so often we don’t know we are in a cage or a prison. We are living the only life we know and don’t realise that we can have a different life if we choose to. The beliefs we have been taught over the years, especially up to the age of about 6 or 7, are limiting us to how our parents and teachers thought was where our potential could be.

Have you heard of ‘River Reed Thinking?’ Baby elephants in India, were brought up with one leg tied to a stake in the ground and no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get away. Eventually they gave up. Then all the trainer had to do to the adult elephant was plait some reeds from the river and tie it around the elephant’s leg. The elephant’s belief was that they couldn’t get away when something was tied around their leg so they didn’t even try. We might think, “Poor elephant, how sad that they aren’t able to think like we can. Couldn’t they see that they were much stronger than those reeds plaited together?” But where in your life are you staying stuck in a dead end job or a relationship you should be out of? Yes we do have a mind and could get out of our cage or prison, but we need to see that we are in one and that we do have the ability to get out. All it takes is some courage to see the beliefs we have for what they are – certainly doesn’t have to be our truth. We can change our beliefs because we have a mind.

Enjoy showing us all how “big your brave is!”

What are Your Biggest Fears and Insecurities?

“Rather than sweating to manage your image, manage your fear and insecurity thoughts that tell you that you have to get people to like you.”   Alan Cohen

I have a string of women clients who in some shape or form are being driven by the conditioned thoughts that were set up when they were little people. I know there are men out there who feel the same but they tend not to seek advice as much or certainly not from a female coach. But I’m sure their image is there, but it is different. It is important to them that they have a performance image, that they have a good job, that they are providing for their families and that they have the latest toys. For women it is more about how well they are able to hold down a job and manage the children and their activities at the same time. How well they appear to have it all together, to keep up with the men if they want to be promoted, still have the meals sorted and look well-groomed and the ‘smarts’ to go with it.

It is like a treadmill, at the very least maintaining the status quo for both sexes, but not stopping to understand why they allow themselves to be pulled into this stream that is like the vortex of the plug hole. If we can look back to the fears and insecurities we had as children, it will go some way to explaining why we are doing what we are doing. It doesn’t have to be like that, we don’t have to continue to try and please others who have now taken the place of the parents or adults who had these expectations of us as children. We can choose today, to let go of the fears and insecurities we are holding on to. It is not our job to try and make people like us. It is our job to connect to our feelings and if we don’t like what we are feeling, connect with the times we have felt good and allow ourselves to feel that and as we can, to amp that up. Turn up the dial and remind yourself, what they think is not about me!

Enjoy feeling the bliss and allowing others to have their opinions without it bothering you!

What Mind Food are You Eating?

“To keep the body in good health is a duty – otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong & clear.”  Buddha

Having worked as an acupuncturist for 25 years I have been aware of the connection of the physical, emotional, spiritual and energetic bodies that we are. The more research being done, the more we are seeing the connections. How beliefs affect thoughts & emotions, which in turn affect our actions and therefore results. So if we pursue a spiritual life without attending to the temple that is our bodies, the body will start to be affected by disease. If we concentrate on the diet and physical health but don’t attend to the purpose and source of who we are, we’re not balanced and the spirit craves attention from us. Some cultures believe that anxiety and depression are diseases of the lack of connection between the inner and outer being.

I love how Buddha says that it is our DUTY to have good health. If you feel that you have been doing lots of personal development work on helping your mind to let go of its poor thinking, but you haven’t paid a lot of attention to your diet, then maybe it is time to start making considered changes to what you eat. Not because you are hell-bent on losing weight but purely to nourish your body and mind. This of course includes the water we are putting into our gut. If your tap water is full of chlorine and you are feeding yourself good bacteria to improve the biome, then don’t expect them to stay alive. Some have said that psychics are able to do better work when they are eating a healthy, natural diet and enjoying vibrant health. If that is the case, I think it’s safe to assume that everyone is better able to hear the voice of their inner guidance when they are taking good care of their bodies. 

Enjoy eating well for a clear mind!