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Self-esteem? Or self-importance?

Young woman thinking with question mark circulation around her h

 
Young woman thinking with question mark circulation around her h

 
 
Celebrating our inspirations and achievements can easily be misconstrued and judged as ego – by ourselves and others.

The difference between a healthy, balanced ego and a dysfunctional one? One is an effort to prop ourselves up; the other, self-acknowledgement. One is an important asset in our personal and professional life; the other, not so much.

If we’re self-effacing when being acknowledged for doing something amazing, that’s an invitation for inner reflection. If we’re proud of ourselves but feel we shouldn’t be, our ego needs healing. If we don’t have confidence in ourselves, it undermines others having confidence in us – who wants to do business with someone who doesn’t back themselves?

If we’ve succeeded and feel unable to take time out to own it, we need to reflect. Imbalances like time pressures, perfectionism, workaholism or a need to continually prove ourselves can result in us robbing ourselves of satisfaction and joy.

If our unhealthy ego is ‘driving the bus’, and we’ve bought the lie that other people’s judgements define us, we may worry what others think. If we’re willing to embrace self-worth and free ourselves from others’ opinions, we won’t give a flying duck. (Benchmark!)

Marianne Williamson invites us to choose greater. “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? … Your playing small does not serve the world. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

In light of all this, it was very interesting to observe the self-effacing acceptance speeches of the 2019 Australians of the Year, where hero divers from the Thailand cave rescue seemed quite uncomfortable with all the attention and played it down by saying that what they did was only a brief thing while many other nominees had worked a lifetime. This did not factor in the 20+ years of cave diving they had done to become highly-skilled, experienced and confident enough to be able to effectively carry out such a difficult rescue, and other nominees, as worthy as they were, had not necessarily risked their lives to save total strangers in such a prolonged and dangerous operation.

In stating that they didn’t deserve it as much as the others, they were not only selling themselves short, it was also inadvertently communicating to the decision-makers that they got it wrong, when everybody except the recipients absolutely knew for sure that what they did was extraordinary and deserving of all the accolades.

While humility is a beautiful thing, it does not obliterate the value of owning our hard-won achievements and receiving compliments, appreciation, recognition and praise from others, so why not discover the value of acknowledging ourselves and let’s not hold back when it’s time to shine our asses off and celebrate!
 
*****
 
And let’s wrap this up with a metaphysical plot twist … what are we actually acknowledging?

When it comes to creative inspiration, what if we are conduits for creativity to flow through? What if genius is in our collective consciousness and it’s just a matter of being present to receive it (or ‘tuning in’ to find it)?

When inspirations come through me, I’m simply in gratitude, awe and wonder. Though still giving myself kudos for receiving and developing them, my excitement is about the inspiration itself.

What if the entire ego-free universe was ready, willing and able to funnel itself through us if only we’d allow it?

Awe, receptivity and self-appreciation at the ready?
Bring it on!
 
 
 

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The greatest distance …

misunderstanding

misunderstanding

 

Ain’t that the truth!

The cosmic joke is that things are not always as they seem, as we are likely to discover if we compare notes afterwards. It’s funny how often it’s actually easy to sort out once we take the time to see past our filters and be willing to see the situation through the other’s eyes.

But what if the other person doesn’t feel inclined to clear it up?

On the surface this may appear negative, however, the positive is that you get to discover how much you are or are not relevant or important or valued in someone else’s life. (Not counting those in overwhelm who are taking time out.)

While I prefer to clear up any misunderstanding, I’m also not afraid to leave it be when someone disengages.

We tend to switch into ‘I’ve got to fix this’ auto-pilot – which is just another way of saying we would like our internal malaise to dissolve – but what does that create?

It’s surprising how often things can ease off substantially – or even resolve themselves – if we are willing to get out of our own way and allow it some breathing space.

It can actually be an act of respect and kindness (to yourself and the other) to leave it be if they are not interested in resolving it.

There are also times when disengagement is part of a natural flow. It can simply be time you each went your own way. It doesn’t have to be a wrong thing. It can even be the case that someone who isn’t comfortable with talking straight creates discord to achieve that goal.

It’s a blessing when we learn how to be gentle with ourselves in these circumstances. We can be at peace if our intentions were good and we’re ready, willing and able to own and rectify our part in any misunderstanding – even if it ends up being only to ourselves.

While it’s important to remember that we thrive on our interconnectedness, being able to thrive without it is an invaluable skill to apply on occasion.

At the end of the day, we will always re-connect if we value each other and our relationship – whether personal or professional – and if we leverage the experience to take us to a deeper place of understanding, it was well worth it.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi

 

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Steer clear or invaluable peer?

conflict-405744_640

conflict-405744_640

 

Have you ever had such a high opinion of someone that you accepted their point of view as truth, or just rolled with it because it conformed with a majority, fit with your world view or it was simply easier?

Human interactions are core to our life, our work, our success; and we all have an influence on each other at different times … for better or for worse. Others’ perspectives can certainly be of value, however, they don’t exactly come with a guarantee.

When I turned up to volunteer with an organisation some years back, unbeknown to me at the time, I had the highest certification level and long-term senior volunteer Donna felt threatened. When another volunteer inquired with Donna as to what I was like, the response was derogatory. As a result, Jodie decided to steer clear of me. However, in our roles we had to interact often … and within a short time, we became best friends. (Years later she shared those derogatory comments and how she unquestioningly assumed them to be true.)

Fast forward a few years; upon starting a new job, an office clique was frequently assassinating the character of a co-worker who was on leave. No matter how vehement they were, after my experience with Donna and Jodie, I resolved to form my own opinion. I liked her instantly, we got on fantastically well and became good friends outside of work.

Conversely, in more recent times I too-easily accepted a savvy networking friend’s recommendation, and after spending thousands discovered the hard way that the consultant was a malpracticing incompetent. (It was quite a mess to clean up!)

Given we can’t review parallel paths in our lives like in the movie ‘Sliding Doors’ to see how we may have attracted or averted challenges; or created or unwittingly cut ourselves off from amazing new possibilities, friendships, partnerships and projects, the next best thing just might be to adopt a neutral position, do our own research, sharpen our observations and discernment, trust and prioritise our own experience and ask lots of questions.

… Or to put it another way; let’s not be sheeple, people!
 
 

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How much more awesomeness might show up?

teenageflip

teenageflip

 

What a gift! This is such a brilliant example of how we can shoot ourselves in the foot by being on auto-pilot based on past experiences/old reference points, beliefs, assumptions and conclusions. I only just witnessed this happening big time in a chat with someone yesterday. What they lost out on was YUGE and they couldn’t even see it – and of course, the gift in that is to keep me more on my toes for the times I do this too. We have countless choice points every day.

What would it create if we met each new moment as a new beginning (which, of course, it is) and be open and curious enough to obliterate defaulting to the negative and actually be present to what else might be possible?

How much more awesomeness might show up?!!!

(Thanks to Terry Lee Wilson for the original Facebook meme that I just had to share here!)

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Wanna kick anxiety to the kerb?

40012808_1364311467039164_1400644579606134784_n

40012808_1364311467039164_1400644579606134784_n

 

Awesome! Let’s add to it: Question your thoughts. (You are not your thoughts!) Are they actually true? Do they belong to you? What would it create if you gave more attention to the thoughts that help you feel better rather than thoughts that cause you to spiral lower?

Plus, if anxiety is out of character for you and you have recently started taking any pharmaceuticals, you may want to read the small print regarding side effects and ask your doctor about possible alternatives.

Oh, and if you listen to music, how about choose songs with encouraging and/or uplifting lyrics, or meditative music designed to enhance feelings of wellbeing?

And if you create something, why not do it for the joy of it as a child would, rather than judge it and compare it with others or societal standards? It’s the process more so than the outcome that is the miracle. (And you might just surprise yourself along the way.)

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Fight or rise for a new reality?

Young woman taking a decision

Young woman taking a decision

 
 
In life, it’s massively important – though mostly dismissed as insignificant – to move towards what we want rather than away from what we don’t want.
 
For many campaign organisations that throw their heart and soul into helping save the planet, preserve species, protect the vulnerable and exploited, and champion new paradigms, over many years I have seen a common thread of fighting what’s not working. Having signed up with several of these organisations, my inbox is often filled with emails that are constantly reinforcing the fight message.
 
Cue Mother Teresa:
 
“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
 
She understood that anything we ‘fight’ for (move away from) puts us in the box of victim, disempowered, disadvantaged, don’t have it, struggling, on the back foot, morale-depleting, resisting, pushing against – in other words, fear-based.
 
Fear is humanity’s Achilles’ heel.
 
Contribute to our fighting fund!
Fight the government!
Fight climate change!
Fighting the good fight!
Yeah! Empowering!
Yeah … nah!
 
The level of empowerment that approach reaches cannot be compared to the greater version of it that didn’t happen.
 
After the March 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, students tapped into this. They planned a march in collaboration with the organisation Everytown for Gun Safety – not Everytown Against Guns. It was named ‘March for our Lives’ not ‘March Against Guns’ or ‘March Against the NRA.’ This student-led movement is a great example of the power and momentum of rising. While the ‘fighting against’ does still come up, predominantly they’re self-empowered, collectively empowered, galvanised, mobilised and unified, and their thoroughly justified anger is being channelled in a positive direction to create a far greater outcome than fighting against. What’s more, they followed this up with #VoteThemOut and #VoteForOurLives. They’re sustaining and growing the movement in an empowered way, taking matters into their own hands. All of this has helped them to energetically cross a line in the sand and there’s no going back.
 
While it all seems very heroic, when it all boils down to it, rebels are victims. What we resist, persists; energy flows where attention goes; what we focus on, expands – focusing on the fight creates more of the fight.
 
Anything we ‘rise’ for (move towards) puts us on the front foot and in the driver’s seat. It’s uplifting, empowering, inspirational, self-determining, morale-boosting, hopeful.
 
Either way, like a snowball rolling down a hill, it builds momentum.
Will we get results with the fight? Sure.
Will we get greater results when we rise? Absolutely.
 
There is a risk that the desire to unite, to belong creates an appealing experience for those coming together to fight. It feels good to be part of a community. What if that causes people to misidentify that the action taken is a good thing? How much better would a unified group feel and how much more effective would it be if the focus was rising?
 
Is pretty much everyone tired of fighting and feeling jaded with the sustained effort needed for that? You betcha.
 
Are people hungry for more avenues to rise in an empowered way? Hell yes (even if they don’t fully realise it).
 
Do you think Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech would have inspired generations and be remembered to this day if he’d said, “I have a problem!”
 
In more recent times, Bernie Sanders’ whole vibe was all about positively creating and focusing on a compassionate and inclusive new reality rather than fighting the old one. He stated that he was focusing on positive politics rather than negatives, and solutions rather than tearing down the opposition. In his 2016 campaign, stadiums were overflowing. People didn’t really know what they wanted until he articulated it and made it seem possible. This flowed onto his 2020 campaign.
 
In the profoundly wise Pixar movie, Monsters Inc, they were bottling screams until they discovered something far more potent. Trump and Clinton were bottling screams. Sanders was tapping into a far greater energy source (as revealed at the end of the film. I won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it).
 
Many grassroots organisations do take the ‘empowered together’ angle, and that’s fantastic, however, when they run with the fight angle at the same time, it puts it all at cross-purposes. It’s so common and automated in our language that it’s a bit like a habit we need to break. Building a toolbox of alternatives also helps … take a stand; stand up for; stand together for; not on our watch; unite; add our voice to; rally to the cause; champion a cause; galvanise; mobilise; put our name to; march for; choose greater; we choose ………..; have humanity’s back; be the change; on the right side of history; in this together; onwards and upwards; unstoppable; best foot forward; change-bringers; no to ………, yes to ……… (and these are just off the top of my head – thesaurus is our friend!)
 
What would it take for these wonderful, dynamic, world-changing organisations to factor in more psychology, energy dynamics and shamanic/Indigenous wisdom for future campaigns? How much greater and sooner could the desired outcome be?
 
Ask yourself, which of the following speaks more to your heart and inspires you the most?
 
A new earth reality to fight for!
A new earth reality to rise for!
 
It really simplifies down to one basic question: how does it make you feel?
 
For me, the answer is a no-brainer. If you want to fully harness and galvanise my energy and my participation, don’t inadvertently deplete me by asking me to fight. While I uber-appreciate all those doing the super-important job of helping save our collective ass, I find myself mostly disengaging from the various calls to arms that invite me to join the fight. Like so many others, I’ve been fighting injustice my whole life.
 
Bill Gates nails taking the optimistic high road:
“Being an optimist doesn’t mean you ignore tragedy and injustice. It means you’re inspired to look for people making progress on those fronts, and to help spread that progress more widely. If you’re shocked by the idea of millions of children dying, you ask: Who is good at saving kids, and how can we help them do more?”
 
While ever the invitation is to fight, I truly believe many on the sidelines will spectate rather than participate. Give us a break from all the fighting, and give us every reason in the world to rise and to know we are rising together, moving forward in an empowered, positive way towards a new earth reality in which we all thrive.
 
… Then we will have a greater capacity and desire – THROUGH UNENCUMBERED INSPIRATION AND ASPIRATION – to heed the call, throw on our superhero cape and leap tall buildings in a single bound.
 
 

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A gratitude tsunami coming your way!

gratitude

You know those times when you’re having a moment?

The universe gifted me a magnificent moment…and I’d like to share it, and pay it forward – to you.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and from various conversations over time I was already aware of most of the gratitude that came my way at a recent lunch with half a dozen friends on a random sunny day…BUT this was different.

Just imagine what it would feel like if various expressions of appreciation over time all lasered into one spontaneous moment and synergised into a big wave of energy that swooshed over you… a massive tsunami of love and gratitude all at once.

Uh huh…that amazing.

Flowing out of a conversation we were having, one friend started the gratitude rave. That triggered another friend to add to it, then another leap-frogged off that, then another until everyone at the table had linked themselves into a collective story in which I was apparently the ringleader.

The sudden chink, chink, chink of it dropping into my awareness in quick succession was the kind of head warp anyone would be happy to have. As the next person and the next person added their bit…chink, chink, chink…the realisation grew. All the threads synchronistically co-woven with me that connected everyone at the table to each other; to what it created in their lives and what they have gone on to create out of that, touching many more lives. Relationships and friendships had been forged; new career paths, business partnerships and creative collaborations were developed; workshops were held all over Australia…the stories kept coming. They were palpably immersed in gratitude and all at the same time they sent it my way. As I soaked up the big wave of energy washing over me, I ‘got it’ on a whole new level.

This glorious gratitude wave came at an interesting point in my life – after a year of being immersed in solo time and low key everything, with my work on hold and my social life on ice. As much as I had been flowing with all that and it felt right, questions had arisen in my mind on occasion. Should I be doing more? I have so much to contribute and yet I’m doing so little…am I wasting precious time?

As I sat with the enormity of what I had contributed to everyone in front of me – and via them to so many others – it was a beautiful reminder of something we rarely reflect on. Everywhere we go, everything we do, we are creating ripples. We are shaping the history of the planet; we are weaving the fabric of the universe. (No pressure!)

Can you ever really wrap your head around all the contributions you have made? All the ripples and rivulets you’ve created as you flow along this river of life? (…I’m guessing that would be a no! Where would you even begin?)

It reminds me of an old movie, ’It’s a Wonderful Life‘  where the main character gets to experience life in his town as it would have been if he had never been born. I highly recommend it to anyone who is tempted to think they are not having an impact, or not doing enough.

Everyone has done enough to receive waves of gratitude. If you haven’t had such a moment spontaneously gifted to you as I was so fortunate to have had, I invite you to close your eyes and create a gathering for yourself.

It’s been proven scientifically that the unconscious mind can’t tell the difference between real and imagined, so why not imagine a bunch of people who you know have gratitude for you and for what you have contributed to their lives? Why not gift yourself how it feels to have all of them beaming at you and appreciating you? You can receive the energy of that even if they are not physically in front of you.

Enjoy being immersed in a tsunami of gratitude, and thank you for being you, being here on the planet, and making a difference in multitudinous ways waaaaaaaaaay far past what you could ever comprehend. How amazing is that?

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Kindly reconsider

kindly_reconsider

I have come to realise that while it is my definite preference to be kind and considerate to others, if it compromises my kindness and consideration towards myself – no deal. How about you?

It strikes me as quite funny that when people are not treating you kindly because they are being self-centred, they think they’re looking after their own best interests.

What they seem to fail to factor in is that the person on the receiving end of the unkindness may respond by withholding gestures or benefits or assistance or opportunities that would have enhanced their world – sometimes BIG time. Usually, they actually have no idea how much they have lost out.

 

Cloud 2

Just one example: I intended to offer something to someone that represented a benefit to them of several thousand dollars. Their continual unkindness to me caused me to change my mind. If they had any idea how much they had lost out as a result, they would be totally shocked.

My take on it is that being kind and considerate is ultimately an act of self-interest regardless of the intent behind it, and the other person gets to experience kindness instead of unkindness, so it makes much more sense all around.

One little caveat though – when someone is unkind to me and the unkindness persists, I have come to realise that if I continue to be kind I become a doormat.

Some say continue to be kind irrespective of others, if that’s your nature. I’ve tried that. It’s been fabulous in certain scenarios.

Some say ‘match the energy’ of what is being delivered to you. I’ve tried that. It’s been fabulous in certain scenarios.

By withdrawing kindness or not offering kindness, that’s not to say I must then be unkind. There is a neutral place I can be in that is neither kind or unkind – that isn’t laced with emotional, reactive stuff. In philosophical speak, this is a place of ‘observer’. It’s a potent place to be.

This quote (pictured) nails it. Givers need to put boundaries in place because takers never do. I’ve come to see that this is a healthy thing to do when an unkind person keeps taking. If I don’t have my own back and put boundaries in place, it becomes a lack of self-love, a lack of self-respect. Sacrificing kindness and consideration towards myself is an unloving choice that I no longer choose. If I don’t have my own back, I can’t expect others to.

I have finally come to realise that while it is auto-pilot as part of my nature to be kind and considerate to others, it’s BS to judge myself as not being kind when choosing not to extend kindness where it is unappreciated or taken advantage of.
 
It’s a new day! And it’s ‘be kind to me’ day … every day.
 

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Hell bent on negativity

hell bent

After sharing an incredible street art image on Facebook an interesting conversation took place. I say interesting because it demonstrates how locked in we can be to a downward spiral, and it can serve as an opportunity to reflect on how we interact with the world…

 

I’m sharing it in case it helps anyone to think twice before starting a negative thread – it’s so easy once you start to get on a roll, to get so much momentum that you can’t stop. It can become a habit. Next thing you know, you wake up one morning and you’re negativity central. It’s much harder to claw back from that place than to not flirt with it too much in the first place.

 

Facebook friend (FF):
Beautiful street 3D art, but unfortunately it also resembles a giant sink hole, which we are seeing everywhere…. thumbs down ..only because of the resemblance to sink holes…

 

Me:
I didn’t think sink hole when I saw it and I still don’t. Each to their own.  I choose to appreciate the artistry and the effect, and how it can remind us that underground caves and caverns can be magical places.

 

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FF:
I love underground caverns, those that are easily accessible, I dreamed of a grotto with crystalline blue clear water, I was sitting along the rocky edge watching people canoeing in and out of this grotto, I then saw the tide roll inside this grotto, I know I walked in it but was not going to be able to swim out, then I woke up. Though this street art represents underground caverns, let’s not forget the sink holes that form from nothing.
 
Me:
I’m happy to not think about sink holes.
 
FF:
That’s great for you, that you care not about INNOCENT lives lost from these sink holes…I think I will now say good bye to you ….good day….!!
 
Me:
That’s an interesting point of view.
 
Immediately after this conversation this Facebook friend (who I have never met) unfriended me. (Saved me the trouble!)
 
(I would love to credit the artist, but I don’t know who it is. Rex isn’t much to go on!)

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Does your BODY choose suspense?

body

When it comes to movies, TV shows and games that are all action, thriller, suspense … what does your body think about it?
 
… I can almost hear you say ‘Huh?’

 

Years ago, watching my favourite sci-fi drama series, ‘The X Files,’ I closed my eyes during an ad break. It was quite a shock to realise how stressed and unsettled my body felt. The degree to which my heart was wildly racing unnerved me enough for me to resolve to drastically reduce my exposure to excessive ‘fight or flight’ spikes of harmful adrenaline and cortisol.

 

 

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While I used to love those kinds of shows – and I can certainly understand people wanting to watch them – now that I know what I know, I find it challenging to comprehend how we humans can essentially choose to sustain our bodies’ stress response for ‘entertainment.’
 
After studying NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), I came to understand that everything we see stays imprinted in our mind permanently – even if we’ve forgotten it – and the unconscious mind cannot tell the difference between real and imagined, even though cognitively we know on-screen violence and suspense is make-believe. (A case in point: after a friend saw a horror movie scene decades ago, it continues to show up as a recurring nightmare.)
 
While I enjoyed those genres – and totally understand their popularity – I’m now incredulous that we humans essentially choose to sustain our body’s stress response for entertainment. All the more eyebrow-raising given just how much stress we can be under; the multitudinous unavoidable triggers in our daily lives and the effort required to not have it adversely affect our interactions with our loved ones, friends, colleagues and clients.
 
With little interest from the media in balancing it out with the positive, there have been many who have cautioned against watching the news and getting caught up in the repetitive, negatively-focused news cycle that causes us to churn things over and over again. These days I stay informed and engaged with the latest news via the web, where I can read headlines and choose what to read more of, rather than leaving it for TV news editors to decide what is visually appropriate for me. I also keep in mind the fact that there are a zillion incredibly special, beautiful, positive things happening in the world in every moment.
  
No right or wrong; each to their own. However, there’s value in sharing how limiting my exposure to societally endorsed and normalised trauma and drama as it plays out on the screen – both as news and fiction – has made a huge contribution to my health, well-being, peace of mind, quality of life and daily interactions.
 
While some may consider it harmless, or sufficiently infrequent; when factoring in the synergistic and cumulative effect of myriad stressors in our lives, it pays to tune in to how your stress levels are at any given moment, and discern and choose accordingly.
 
For anyone curious, the invitation is to close your eyes and truly pay attention to your body next time you’re watching (or gaming) such genres. I’m sure it would appreciate the opportunity to let you know how it’s getting on.
 
Killjoy? Some would believe so.
My joy of choice? Overdosing on endorphins, serotonin and dopamine via uplifting content.
 
Don’t worry, be happy! Just sayin’ …

 

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