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I was chatting with an older lady a day or two ago about some different new items (you’d think I’d learn not to do that huh? lol).

At one point she said that usually people are mean to other people because they themselves have been treated unfairly.  I really don’t want to start a conversation about the topic so incase you were thinking I’m being rather vague – you are right!

I then had the (apparently) crazy comment that despite the past – wrong is wrong and while I agree that it creates some understanding of why – it doesn’t create an excuse.

Whoa!  That got an angry response from her.

To be honest not much surprises me these days the this really took me back.  This lady is not someone I would have guessed to have not only this opinion but so strongly too.

She feels that if society or a group of people, or even another individual hurts a person they have the right to be angry (agreed) and lash back (not so much in agreement) at other people in general.

Now just to clarify we aren’t talking about an incident that happens in the moment or a situation of defense.

I disagreed with her take on this.  Hurting other people – especially ones who’ve done nothing to you – simply because you have been hurt in the past is not okay.  It perpetuates anger, hate and pain for all.

What kind of twisted circle of anger that would create with everyone feeling victimized and quite justified?  Let me rephrase that…they’ve been created for generations already so why keep doing what isn’t working

We have all been hurt, we’ve all been treated unfairly and we’ve all got baggage.  Creating more crap in the world has never holding on to anger burns only youhelped, fixed or changed any of that.

Now forgiveness, kindness and peace…to me that what is going to change things.

She was quite defensive and angry about it – telling me she has the right to think what she wants.  I agreed and simply moved on.  There was no discussion to be had there, no discourse or exchange of ideas.  Too much emotion and defending.  You can’t talk about things when one person has those walls up can you?

But I ask you dear readers, is there every a time when you feel it’s okay to treat others badly because you may have once been treated badly?

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Some interesting news this week of the possibility of sonar showing where Amelia Earhart’s plane’s final resting place might be.amelia

Check out the news here.

As a young girl I was rather fascinated by her story.  A women who did what she loved, was brave and adventurous at a time when what she wanted to do was generally frowned upon by societal norms.  And yet, she captured the heart and minds of people everywhere.

In fact, this sort of thing happens more often then we realize.  The ‘thing’ being admiring those who buck the ‘norms’ to follow their hearts desires.  Those people who felt the ‘shouldn’t do that’ label put on them by society, but went ahead and did it anyway.

What’s that really telling us do you think?

Clearly as a society we need a sense of normalcy and expected rules and understandings.  This helps us all get a long in a sense.  And yet, when these ‘norms’ and ‘rules’ prevent some of us from reaching for the stars (literally in Amelia’s case) we applaud people for pushing past them.  It seems we value those who are brave enough to be who they are – no matter what anyone else thinks.

We WANT to see the underdog win!

So how does that translate to our every day life?

Seems to me, as I look, I see far too many people living small and stopping themselves from reaching out and taking risks out of fear of upsetting the normal balance of things.  They are living as though that feeling of shouldn’t is their own personal truth!

What would Amelia say about that I wonder?

What does your heart and spirit say about that?

We all do it.  In fact, I’ve been holding back on a few things in case I can’t get it right, or figure it out or mess up and oh goodness….what will ‘people’ think?  I believe I have to rephrase that to what would I think?

Suddenly, when you ask that question; everything shifts.

What do I think about holding back to please unknown masses?  I think that most of them would cheer me on anyway.  I think that those who wouldn’t aren’t who I want in my corner.

Let’s face it, we need to buck tradition sometimes to see what else is out there.  To stretch and realize that what might have worked (or not) before can change and we can learn to be better versions of ourselves at any time.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while but let lie is to shift this blog over to a self hosted one. One where I can offer more and get more creative with what I put out there.  Hanging out here has been wonderful, amazing and at times breathtaking.  I have noticed how much more self hosted blogs have to offer though and how much  more creative they can be.  I told myself I don’t have time to learn all that I’ll need to know to do it, but you know…that is what I told myself before I started this blog too.

So, I’m off to see what I can learn about it and take some steps to streeeeeetch myself in that direction today.

Life is about learning, growing and loving the process.  It’s also about falling flat on your butt sometimes, but even that can offer a different perspective on things.  Or at least a different view.turtleflying

The courses I’ve been taking recently have helped me dig even deeper into my soul’s purpose and you’re going to see some stuff happening in the next while.  I can’t wait. 

What are you going to do today to break through that feeling of ‘shouldn’t’?

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I don’t usually comment on things that are in the news but today I felt a need to.  There have been a lot of horrible things happen in our history. There has always been someone who thinks that hurting others is not only okay but somehow justified. Those who come to life full of anger, hate and cruelty.

And then, there are those who have stepped up into their own light and said no that darkness. Those who refused to allow it to seep any further and in fact push it back.

The number of these folks is growing and this shows me that the shift I believe is coming to our global consciousness is doing its work.

We have been taught to respond to the violence of others with righteous retribution. Vengeance, retaliation – all in the name of justice. While I do think that those who commit such cowardly crimes as the bombs that went off during the Boston Marathon need to be brought to answer for their crimes, I think on a bigger scale we need not answer this with a call for more hate, anger and violence.

We’ve done that many, many times before and how’s that working for us? We might throw a band aide on things but nothing really changes.

What if, instead of focussing on ‘getting them back’ – we focussed on how to mend the hearts and souls of those hurt. We instead recognize that compassion will trump hate any day of the week.  What if we looked to and supported the helpers rather than the war mongers?  We spread love and light instead of more anger and darkness?helpers

Really, do you think that the average person wants to go to war? I don’t. I think no matter what country you’re in, what religion you are, most of us simply want to love our families, live our lives in peace and in a way that makes sense to us.

The puzzle piece that is missing is the human race is so damn afraid of differences. Why is so hard to see that there isn’t one right path, every one gets there just a little bit differently.  Someone else’s differences do not impede your ability to find your own way.

I remember trying to explain to a small child the differences between two religions. I can’t even remember what they were to be honest but I do remember his reaction. A light suddenly came into his eyes and he said oh! it’s like how I call my mom ‘Mom’, but my dad calls her Helen and my cousin calls her Aunty but she is still my Mom.

In his own simple way he did get it. We are all heading to the same end, it really doesn’t matter what we call it, how we pray or where we do it. As long as we aren’t hurting any one or anything why does it really matter? How is it MY responsibility to force my way of thinking on anyone.

Really, do you seriously believe that one person, or one group has the entire truth of it all and everyone else is simply wrong? I think it’s incredible arrogant for any one group to believe they have it all figured out like that.

We need to learn to be accepting of difference and make that the new normal.

We need to begin to live with love and compassion first. Go out into the world and spread your light, share your love and practice compassion. Let’s make the light in this world brighter and brighter so that the darkness that lurks can no longer show it’s face.

Blessings to all, especially to those who are waking up to face the grim reality in Boston. Thanks and blessings to all those first responders and those who risked their own selves to help others.

As Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

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I think there is some assumptions about meditation made by those who’ve never experienced it. Let me tell you first off that you don’t’ have to dress in robes, or have a gong or burn incense.

Yes, you CAN do those things if you like, but you don’t need to by any means.

You can meditate exactly where you are, dressed as you are, right now.  You can stand, sit in a chair, lie down…in fact I find it rather meditative to be on the elliptical at the gym.  Yes…pj’s work too. In fact I often do my meditations in my pj’s as I like to meditate just before sleep.  Some folks like to meditate almost as soon as they wake up…which I also do in a way.

You see, the key to this is simply that meditation is as personal as anything else in your life.  What works for one person may not cut it for another.

I once tried to meditate by looking into a flame of a candle.  Drove me nuts.  It just didn’t work for me and I couldn’t understand how others found it helpful at all.  A fire in a fireplace maybe, but the candle just didn’t do it.  However, a friend of mine recalls doing this and she loved it.  She didn’t realize that this was a form of meditation and was really excited because sitting quietly trying to focus was hard for her ADD brain to handle.

I, however, found that meditative music worked wonders for me. Celtic meditative music in particular soothes my soul.  It gives my wandering mind something to focus on that connects deep within my spirit.  I understand that this type of music has a higher vibration that helps us also vibrate and that level.  I find it helps me settle into my self and when it fades out to silence I am able to sit more easily with that silence and focus on my breath.

meditation_Sep081For some (myself included) it can also be helpful to have ambient sounds in the background to keep from being distracted by sudden noises.  I live in a condo and a noise from the garden or the hallway can rip me out of a meditative state very suddenly.  I have an app on my phone that plays bird songs, rushing river, rain etc. called Relax Melodies.  Very helpful at times.   I have a very easy time meditating when I can hear the ocean lapping against the shore.  Assuming of course my dog doesn’t decide to go for a swim and then shake right next to me.  🙂

It took me some time to realize what worked for me.  It was a process and I am grateful for all the online guided meditations that are now out there that helped me get deeper.  I expect as my meditation muscles get stronger I will add to what can work for me.  I already find myself able to do short mediations out in the ‘real’ world when need be to calm myself or regain focus and energy.

Many ask “So why should I even bother to try to find a way to meditate that works for me?”

Easy answer? —> Meditation improves your  health and well-being. 

Several clinical studies have documented specific ways that meditating may help people stay healthier, improve mental focus and find better emotional control and connection with their emotions.  It increases your ability to be mindful even when not in the midst of meditation.

Some studies even show that the brain of someone who meditates may be physically different from someone who does not.

“A   study in 2005 by Sara Lazar, Ph.D., an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, worked to find out which parts of the brain came into play when a person practices mindfulness and meditation. Her study included 20 people who meditate regularly and 20 who do not.

The findings were amazing. The brain region called the cortex, which is associated with attention, sensory awareness and emotional processing, was thicker in those who meditated. In fact, people who meditated were discovered to have brains that grew thicker in direct correlation with how often they meditated.  The findings suggest that meditation can actually change the structure of the brain.

Meditation is a lot like playing a sport or going to the gym.  You will struggle a bit at the start, you’ll have to find what works for you and you will have good days and bad days with it. As you get more in tune with yourself you will be stronger and better at it.

We spend a crazy amount of our time and energy focused on the external world.  Our jobs, cars, bills, family…the list goes on.   Meditation allows us to explore our inner world and workings.  In turn it gives us more to offer our external world and puts all of that into perspective.

I also believe that this is a time you can focus healing energy on your heart, soul and body.  When I began to meditate regularly I found my body healed much quicker after my car accident.  I had less pain and more ability to focus on getting better.  I give a lot of credit to my practice with meditation for the decreasing pain and increasing mental focus and energy.

During meditation you can hear your true spirit and this is something far too many of us are missing out on.  I found my path to coaching when I was able to listen deeply to where my spirit wanted to go.

I love the expression that meditation charges up my ‘spiritual batteries’.  If you let your batteries run dry you have less to give your family, your job or your hobbies.  Less for life.  You need to nurture your spirit as it is the space you live in. It’s what you bring to your life and to other in it.

This is why I meditate.  This is why I struggle through those tough days where my brain just doesn’t want to settle down.  I heard it said somewhere that during times I am too busy to meditate, I need to meditate more.  Even the act of meditating imperfectly brings about some benefits of stress reduction, focus and calm.  Be kind to yourself as you get started and remember that everyone was once a beginner.

It is a practice and I will continue to practice.  Will you?

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Never apologize for how you feel right here in this moment.  Good advice I think. 

This doesn’t mean you need to be a jerk about it or even that you’re in the ‘right’.  It also doesn’t provide you with special privileges.  You may learn something that changes how you feel or what you believe to be true.  Heck you might even finally realize that you are wrong about something.

That’s not the point.

If you are doing the best you can to understand something and be as empathetic as you can, there is no point in assuming that your feelings are anything other than what they are.

Apologising for that would be like saying your sorry for who you are.  neversaysorry

Of course the flip side to this is to be mindful enough to maintain an open heart and mind, so that you can learn and grow and not be stuck feeling righteous in your personal feelings.

The bit that many forget is two-fold.  First, yes you most certainly are entitled to feel how  you feel be it angry, happy, silly or whatever.  That said, you also must accept that so is every one else – no exceptions.  You don’t have to understand their feelings or agree with them in order to accept them for what they are; that isn’t always your place. 

The other bit that many forget is that empathy is a skill that needs practice.  We have yet to develop the ability to read each others minds and so being aware that others may feel differently and listening (and asking) is a huge part of being a compassionate and loving person.

We all want to connect in some way and feel understood.  It’s human nature. The best way to begin getting that, is to start GIVING that. 

Acceptance, empathy and compassion sound so simple on paper, but they can be much  harder to put into practice when we encounter difficult people.  When we are able to do this however, we bring peace to our lives rather than adding to the chaos and bitterness that so many drag with them on  daily basis. 

I have seen such a difference in my own relationships and dealings when I approach angry or upset people with a different attitude.  When I don’t allow myself to defend my thoughts and emotions and instead attempt to understand theirs. 

It’s amazing. 

Of course this doesn’t mean I’ll agree with them or they will change either.  Think on this though..the end result is still the same. No one agrees (or maybe they do) but there is much calmer process to get there.  I mean…why stress myself out if nothing is going to change anyway?  Besides I have found I get much better results when there is an attempt at compassion for the other person (no matter how distasteful the encounter might be at first).  You may never change your opinion or thoughts but it saves you a lot of extra heartache.

You may not be able to control how you feel about certain things but you can choose how you react to them.  Your emotions are just that…emotions.  You should never feel bad about feeling them.  And while they might guide you, they should never rule over you.

Your reactions to your emotions should fit the person you are choosing to become. 

 

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Perhaps I am lucky that I have experienced both real passion and real focused purpose.   It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to really understand that some people never get to feel either.

That makes me so sad – and I really want to DO something about it.  The problem is of course I know that everyone has the opportunity at some point.  Some people just choose to pass on it.

I’ve also realized you can’t MAKE someone dig deep unless they are ready and willing.  I’ve tried in the past.  I’ve even thought I succeeded but then nope..not so much.

All I can do is live my life in a purposefully and passionate way and hope that inspires.  I figure if I can move someone to start on their own life journey awake instead of sleepwalkng through it then that would be more than enough. 

I can also offer up some of my own experiences which is what I often do with these blog posts.  Digging is hard work, even when it’s mental and not physical.  BUT I do know that both types of digging is easier if someone lends you a hand – or a shovel.

I knew for most of high school that I was going to be a teacher.  I just knew.  It bubbled up from my heart of hearts and drove me to do what I had to do.  My passion drove my purpose which gave me my continued motivationjobs-tribute 

So what happens when you get to a point where you feel like you’ve achieved what you needed to? 

You have a choice even then.  Find your passion, dig up your new purpose or pass and stay right where you are.

This is what was happening to me a few years back.  I felt like I had reached a leveling off in my growth and the craving for something MORE started. 

It was this craving I think that may have been starting even when I moved across the country alone to live on the west coast.  I don’t think I recognized it yet but it may be that is when the seeds had been planted or struggling to break free of their shells.

Either way, I was looking for my own passion and purpose.  While I love teaching the kids and enjoy it still, I know I have grown and want to play a bigger game in my life.

Probably why I got certified as a Coach in the first place.  Stepping stones to where I was headed.

Lately I’ve been feeling like I need to be able to go even deeper.  With myself, my business and all of life.  I can see it, taste it even…but didn’t know quite how to get there.

I was a bit stuck.  Funny how stuck rhymes so nicely with YUCK isn’t it?

I started getting an idea but I was resisting opening up to it fully.  I’m not even sure why.  So much has changed the last few years that I think perhaps I just wanted to stay in some comfortable settings for a while but my restless heart would have none of that.

The signs started showing  up more and more often until one day I just took action.  A tiny small thing…reaching out to a friend for some information…that lead to a huge leap.

Suddenly, I’m headed back to school!  I’m upgrading my skills, opening doors and freaking out with happiness! 

I can’t quite see around the bend in the path yet but as soon as my feet hit this road I knew…just KNEW it was the right one.

I won’t kid you that my inner saboteur jumped right out and started yelling about ‘what if this’ and ‘what would happen’ sort of stuff.   I gotta say I almost smiled at that.  It means what I’m doing is just scary enough to bring about some serious leaps and bounds of growth.  I’m aiming so BIG!!

I answered that little voice with faith and then told her to shut up and sit down, cuz I’m doing it anyway.  Oh yes…I got this!

Open hearts find their passions – you already know what it is I promise you.  Fear and inner beliefs try to keep us from them.  Quite a dance really. 

I believe in me (and it’s taken a lot of work to be able to say that with real conviction!) but I also believe in YOU.  If you are having trouble finding your own purpose just look at what makes your heart sing.  

My heart sings when I help other women figure out what makes their hearts sing…pretty awesome huh?

How much attention have you been paying to growing your life?  Do you have Purpose, Passion or do you Pass?

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It has occurred to me over the last while that for a very long time I had been looking at things all wrong.

Shocking I know. 😉

I had spent a lot of time believing the hype, the quotes and I suppose the movies and thought that we all must be searching for our own very special, very important answers. 

It was shown, insinuated and flat-out told to me that this was what it was all about.  Finding that answer; that truth which would set us free, make us happy and make everything make some freaking sense.

Looking back on this now I think I was aware on some level that there was an important link missing from this.questions-and-answers

An answer would be great sure…but what the heck was the question?

Nobody ever talked about that part.  Certainly no one ever told me what the questions were or should be.  Most importantly, no one ever talked about how to figure that out.

This realization hit me one day and it took a long time and a lot of other little wake up calls to really understand what this meant.

Go on..ask yourself.  What is the question you are trying to answer? 

For years I felt this pull, the need to look for something.  I begain to learn about different religions and cultures.  To look at different aspects of the human condition.  I studied psychology, sociology, biology, geology, ancient cultures, linguistics, the greats of literature,  mental health, special needs…the list goes on.   I found some peace and connections here and there, but never could really put it all together into this mythical ‘answer’.

I think it made me a better teacher though; such a wide variety of interests. My thirst for learning rubbed off on some of my students I hope.

But yet, here I am.  Realizing that the reason I could not find my answer, even among all this different formal learning, and life experiences was simply mind blowing.  And it was this – I didn’t know the question I was trying to answer.

The answer? That may not be what is really important after all.

Perhaps the real key in life is not in finding all the answers.  It’s asking questions that matter to you and exploring them.  Truth is, you may not find the answer to your original question.  The truth is you may only end up with more questions.

But that’s good.  Self discovery, life…it’s about figuring out what matters.  There is no magical final answer out there.  Each answer can only lead to more questions so it makes sense to pay attention to the questions you are asking.

Ask the right ones and you are going to end up on a path that will lead you to yourself.   Questions bring light and understanding to your heart and soul as much as they do to your mind.  GOOD questions lead you further into a topic or idea.  There is no end to that kind of discovery!

How freaking exciting is that?

My suggestion is to we need to spend more time on figuring out the question.  You may find you already hold the answers you look for.

What questions have you been asking?

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