The Cycle of Life

Autumn for me is a time of introspection and reflection on the cycle of life. Recently I have been going through stored boxes that contain stuff from my deceased parents. The years have made it easier to discard what is no longer relevant, but certain items awaken long buried memories. Your sap is in my sap; we are one thing. Part of the healing is making time to read a little each day, varying between fiction and educational works, I have to admit that Manuscript found in Accra is  not the easiest book that I have read by Paulo Coelho.

In fact it is the type of book that I pick up and read a snippet at a time and come back to days or weeks later. The book is in plain view on my desk to encourage myself to delve back into it and am glad that I am taking this approach as the re-reading is delivering greater insights than the first reading. In a way this complements the cycle of life, in that there is no beginning and no end. Occasionally a passage just jumps out from the page and can be immediately related to.

“Does a leaf, when it falls from the tree in winter, feel defeated by the cold?

The tree says to the leaf: ‘That’s the cycle of life. You may think you’re going to die, but you live on in me. It’s thanks to you that I’m alive, because I can breathe. It’s also thanks to you that I have felt loved, because I was able to give shade to the weary traveller. Your sap is in my sap; we are one thing.”

Paulo Coelho – Manuscript found in Accra.

With the autumn leaves turning various shades and creating delicious carpets of colour on the lawns and paths which some will delight in and others grumpily observe as a chore, the leaves once swept and gathered will make valuable compost to add back to the garden at a later time. You may think you’re going to die, but you live on in me. 

It’s not a time to be sad, especially if you look at the vibrant hues of nature’s palette as the leaves respond to the cooler nights. Still, I will miss the warmer days and the summer light, but this heralds  a time to harvest crops and reflect on what lies within and what will come or return after winter. The cycle of life….

Autumn and the cycle of life

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A Sense of Self

It begins with trust. You have to listen to your innermost being or soul and trust, without being led astray by the ego which is often distracted by bright, shiny things. A sense of self is the recognition that we are spiritual beings using the human body as a vehicle. Delve deeply and you will find that a sense of self is often tied to our identity.

Often we align our sense of “Self” with our identity of what we do for a living. For instance, I was a teacher, so often my conversations were defined by teaching, school, students and so on. Being a “school teacher” was a vehicle that has been superseded by other vehicles that I have chosen. I still use the teacher identity or vehicle on occasion, but it’s more like a vintage car that is garaged and brought out for special occasions.

The vehicle you choose to use can be changed so long as it works in a powerful way that allows you to be congruent with your inner self.  Ideally, what you do for a living should be aligned with your personal beliefs. There are many unhappy people walking this earth studying or working in fields that they “should” do or are expected to do, and this can be dictated by our core needs.

A sense of self and Maslow's Hierarchy of needsAnthony Robbins suggests that we have at least 6 Core Needs that have to be fulfilled to achieve success and ultimately happiness. Compare this to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs where he organized 5 basic needs into a pyramid where physiological needs like food and shelter and safety needs such as security form the base of the pyramid.

Maslow then orders “Belongingness and Love” relating to friends and relationships and “Esteem” which relates to accomplishments are our psychological needs. The cap on Maslow’s pyramid is Self Actualization which can only be fulfilled once all the other needs below have been met.

Four of Robbins Core Needs relate to our personality and he outlined these in a much viewed TED talk. These needs are Certainty/ Variety; Uncertainty/Significance and Love & Connection and there is a certain level of contradiction between each core need. For instance if we have too much certainty in our  lives, then there is no variety and if we put too much weight on achieving significance, then often we will neglect our connection with loved ones.

What does certainty mean to you? Robbins puts forward a list that includes safety, stability, security, comfort and order and you can certainly see how they would fit into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  There are many people in the world today that would love to have certainty in their lives, yet are denied it by shifting political and environmental confines.

“Variety is the spice of life” is an old saying. Without it we wouldn’t have our intrepid explorers who craved adventure or being able to rise to a challenge as we seek to make changes in our existence.

Significance is about the need to feel needed or wanted. Taking pride in what you do demonstrates the core need to feel special or important whether it is for personal satisfaction or for others. Volunteering is a wonderful example of meeting our need  for significance. We can also be quite unresourceful when attempting to meet this need for significance. Who hasn’t been the recipient of gossip or had to listen to endless sad tales about someone’s life?

Love and connection is innate. From birth we crave connection as we are essentially social creatures. Business networking, memberships of clubs and associations fulfill the adult need for connection, even if it may seem overly purposeful at times.

The remaining two core needs are Growth and Contribution and these relate to our needs of the spirit. To nourish our spirit we need to feed it with emotional and spiritual activities. One of my favourite sayings (& I can’t remember where it came from) is “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting”.

To get a clearer sense of self, ask yourself the following questions. Make a list or a table of your answers and include alongside them your skills and unique characteristics.

What have you achieved?

What do you believe you can still achieve?

What are your limits?

What are your values?

What are your fears?

Who are you becoming?

Need a little help in getting clear about your core needs? Call to discuss which coaching package is best suited for you.

How’s your Mercury Retrograde going?

What does Mercury Retrograde mean?

  • 3 times a year Mercury orbits Earth and appears to move backward
  • Each of these periods lasts about 3 weeks
  • Many believe that during this time problems will occur with communication, transport, technology and more

However Mercury doesn’t go backwards….. that’s an illusion.  And likewise this period can be a very positive time if you set your mind to it, because when you focus on the negative….that’s what you’ll get.

If you would like to use the Spiral Path (or 7 Ring Cretan labyrinth) to reset during this time you can download the PDF  Spiral Path – Mercury Retrograde by clicking the hyperlink.

Dreaming

I often wonder what each night’s dreaming will bring….. most nights are very full of activity and adventure and every dream is in colour. Quite often the location is an old house I’ve lived in or a school that I’ve been to. Other times I’m dreaming that I’m in a familiar place but I cannot name where it is.

There are familiar faces in some dreams but more often there is a cast of characters that are not related to any people that I know in this lifetime.

Over the years, I’ve read some books on dreaming, the first was many years ago and was Carlos Casteneda’s Art of Dreaming which I found fascinating. Without using any substances to alter my state of consciousness, my dreams provide me with rich visual and auditory experiences that cannot be found even when viewing a movie. Carlos Casteneda puts forward that there are seven gates to dreaming and to be able to pass through the first gate, one must become aware of the actual moment of falling asleep.

Delving into other books such as Lucid Dreaming by Pamela Ball has expanded my awareness of dreaming even further. It is wonderful to step out of a dream whose script has gone “wrong” and pause and go back to sleep with the intent to change it and make it a more pleasant experience. Pamela Ball writes that “Healing and dreams are closely interlinked” and I’m sure that this is true for the retreat. The powerful combination of the labyrinths and Reiki energy as well as the organic practices used are no doubt having an effect on the land.

The dreams are also affected by my physical location. At the retreat the dreams seem to be set in times gone by and I have woken on occasion to the sounds of sheep and horses passing by then going back to sleep. When I do wake fully from the dream and know that I am really awake, I have had on occasion, needed to check that the troughs and haystacks are not outside the cottage as I had dreamt!

A psychic friend offered her opinion after I had told her of one particularly vivid dream, that I was having historical dreams….. Picking up on the energy of people who had been passing through on the land..

Robert Moss in his course Dream Gates – a journey into active dreaming suggests not only keeping a dream journal (as do many other teachers) to record themes that are relevant to the dreamer, but he gives useful shamanic exercises in connecting with spiritual guides both animal or angelic and how to use dreams in a constructive, healing way.

Frequently remnants of my dreams stay with me for some time during the day, allowing my subconscious mind to process any message that may have been delivered. In one dream, some time ago, I retained the image of a country road and a driveway that I knew was my home. For years as we travelled along country roads and outback Australia, I looked for that driveway, never finding it. When my parents legacy to me was finalized, I began looking for a country property where I could realize another dream … to create a retreat for healers.

Weekends were spent scouring the internet for properties for sale and then making a list, travelling to the area to inspect and although one or two seemed attractive in the advertisements, in reality they were not suitable. One popped up, twice the acreage of what I was looking for and a little over budget, but I decided to have a look to see what it offered. After arranging to meet the agent, we made the 2 and a half hour trip to view it. It was on a road we had often travelled on to go to the Easter Parade, but further down than the usual turnoff.

Turning into the driveway, my body reacted…. this was the driveway of my dream.

A strong feeling of Déjà vu as we drove down the driveway to where the cottage was located. An area nearby was semi cleared similar to a drawing in my vision book, convincing me that dreams are a powerful agent in the manifesting process.

The Power of Metaphor

What is metaphor?

It’s a way of speaking that uses words or pictures to describe something in a symbolic way.

At the workshop I presented at today, I used both words and pictures as metaphors to bypass the conscious mind.  This was to get the participants thinking more deeply about their EQ or emotional intelligence in regard to how much balance (or not) is in their lives.

Without giving too much away…. and because I’m planning on repeating the workshop quite soon, I asked them to think about what tools that they might have on hand to apply in various situations.

Using a variety of photos, including that of my own toolbox, we segued into how they might successfully navigate situations or people using various Emotional Intelligence strategies.

My real toolbox contains a good selection of Homeopathic remedies. Many years ago I used to take it on home visits for some clients who had children diagnosed with ADHD. Much easier than having a bored and disruptive child confined in an office and a wonderful way to observe their behaviours in their natural habitat!

The metaphoric toolbox

This contains various tools that can be used to change perception of self or situations. These tools enable one to respond rapidly to changing situations or to be creative and innovative in an approach to new or novel ideas.

Setting life goals is much like having a garden. You’ve designed the garden beds, carefully planned where the trees have been placed and planted a variety of plants – perhaps even a lawn area. But the work doesn’t stop here. The lawn needs to be mowed on a regular basis. The plants need to be tended and occasionally, plants such as roses need to be pruned to produce the next seasons lush growth.

And so it is with life goals.  You’ve planned the goals, placed a few key elements to stand out. All this needs maintenance and constant action to keep the momentum to get the end result. Along the way you may encounter a prickly person or what you thought was a beautiful flower which turns out to be a weed and needs to be removed.

With no way of knowing their story, a metaphor can be transformative to many people as they apply and adapt it to their own life experience or goals and bring about an inner awareness of their own strengths or weaknesses.

Negative self-talk

Would you put up with someone you barely know constantly criticize you?

I think not.

Yet how often do you do this very same thing to yourself?

There will be some people who don’t, but many of the clients that I see, have a fair bit of negative self talk or chatter going on inside. The biggest one is “I’m not good enough”.

Not good enough at what?

When delving deeper the source of the problem usually stems from a childhood perception, although some people are unfortunate in that they have very negative or toxic parents who frequently tell the child that they are “not good enough” in so many ways.

I remember back to my own childhood when I was learning the times tables and I got stuck on 9 times something…even now I’ve filtered the memory so that I don’t feel those feelings of failure!  My brother who is three years younger piped up with the correct answer and my parents were ecstatic at his cleverness.

Cue the negative self talk.…….“I’m not good at maths”, yet years later in high school I got 100% in a geometry test, because I loved the shapes, had an eye for angles and measurement.  Later in life I developed an interest in Fibonacci numbers, Mandelbrot sets and Sacred Geometry. But because I had that label of not being good at maths and seriously didn’t (and to this day don’t) have a clue about algebra and those weird math stories to puzzle over, my teacher thought I cheated and gave me a detention.

But back to you….. and your negative self talk. Think back to a time when you were a toddler. Your subconscious mind knows what we are talking about even if your conscious mind doesn’t a memory of that time. When you were starting to walk. You pulled yourself upright and most probably sat yourself straight back down again.

Did you think you were “not good enough” then? Of course not!

Taking your first steps….. oooops! Down again.

The Japanese have a lovely saying “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” And that’s exactly what you did until you got yourself mobile. If you are prone to negative self talk then it may pay to remember this.

How to overcome the negative self talk? It will have become a habit and habits can be changed. Some habits take longer to change than others, but this depends on how motivated you are.

Practice observing and listening to others and the language you most frequently use. Notice your language. What if you could substitute some key words you are using for something more positive?

The energy of the words and the tonality are all-important ways in which we communicate subtly.

Is your language positive and empowering or do you dis-empower yourself and others when you speak?

Tony Robbins has some comprehensive language lists in Awaken the Power Within. This is just a very small sample:

Negative Transformed to…
Angry disenchanted
Depressed Not on top of it
Hate prefer
Irritated stimulated
Overwhelmed challenged
Rejected misunderstood
Sad Sorting my thoughts
Stressed busy
Terrible different

It’s time to start being mindful –  use some of these alternatives and notice the difference.

 

 

30 Days of Gratitude

Gratitude helps you grow30 days of gratitude.

30 days doesn’t seem like a lot at first, but thinking about what to put for each day would have been a challenge had in not been for a picture that popped up on a social media site at just the right time.

I transcribed each day into my diary and then made a booklet to print off later that has space to diarize each day of gratitude. I had thought to post the next cycle on this blog, but then realized that there are days where I have little or no internet – especially when up at the retreat – so that idea won’t work.

A good friend said “Why stop at 30 days? Shouldn’t we all be grateful for something every day?” and I agree with her. Eileen Caddy’s quote: ” Gratitude helps you grow and expand. Gratitude brings joy and laughter into your lives and into the lives of all those around you” seems so apt. It brings about an awareness into our lives and awakens our consciousness.

By using the 30 Days of Gratitude Journal a habit  can be created. Even though it has been a couple of days since the 30 days finished, I’m finding that I’m still writing down what I’m grateful for in my daily journal.  I’ve rewritten the 30 ideas, mixing them up a little into my diary for another 30 Days of Gratitude and am looking forward to continuing the journey.

 

Gratitude

At the time of writing this, I’m up to Day 21 of a 30 day challenge to show gratitude for a different thing each day.

I found the original idea on LinkedIn and started by entering the questions in my work diary at the top of each page. All well and good, but I don’t take the diary with me to the retreat, so I realized that I would miss a few days here and there.

The solution to this was to post these daily questions and answer them on my Facebook business page. It’s interesting reading what others are grateful for as well.

So yesterday’s day of gratitude (Day 20) question was “Who in your life are you grateful for?” I could think of many and my initial response was my immediate family. Then later in the evening a cousin contacted me to say her father, my mother’s twin, had passed away that morning, just a day short of what would have been their 91st birthday. Mum had always joked and said she was going to live to a 100 like her Granny, but she left this realm just over 17 years ago. Back to gratitude….. I am grateful to my Uncle (and Aunt) for the many holidays I had with them during the six years we spent in the UK. Memories of playing with my cousins and getting up to all sorts of mischief.

Today’s question is “What song are you most grateful for?”

These seem like simple questions, but there are so many responses that can be made, which is why I’m planning on repeating the 30 Day Challenge again, but with the questions in a different order and created a booklet to print out and write in.

What song am I grateful for? Porcelain by Moby. Don’t know why, but it soothes my soul.

Another New Year

Each new year seems to come around a lot quicker these days! Or perhaps time is really speeding up. Many will have started the New Year with resolutions, new dreams and goals and have reviewed the previous year. Some will have celebrated the various religious holidays. Others may have withdrawn from celebrations as they leave an empty chair at the table for a loved one.

From what I have garnered in conversations with friends, colleagues and clients, is that most people seem to be confident that 2018 will be a good year and better than last year. Personally, I had a reasonably good year last year and feel optimistic about this new year. Late last year I retrained in NLP (with a different trainer), finding that to be very satisfying and as a result I am combining all the therapies I use into a Flexi Package for clients.

LabyrinthAnother project is the 30 days of Gratitude, which I intend to redo each time I finish a 30 day cycle. As I write this I’m up to Day 9 and today I am asked “What place am I most grateful for?”

No surprises here, I am most grateful for the retreat which I was able to buy with a modest inheritance from my parents and has allowed me to indulge in my labyrinth building passion.

If you would like to follow this cycle then have a look in on my page Balance4Life Programs on Facebook. I’m inclined to post the next cycle here and the challenge will be to find some different things to be grateful for!

 

Truth, Love and Transformation

Everyone has a different perception regarding events and likewise what is the truth for one person is not for another.

Having respect for the needs and values or principles of others is what contributes to our character.

Too often we place conditions on ourselves and others, but when we begin to take time to still a busy mind, the space that the stillness creates will allow you to achieve more balance in your life.

You may get a sense of this space and take some time to become aware of the many possibilities that the Universe may be offering you.

As you become more familiar with meditation, the chakras will unblock and open. You may start to feel that love is all around you and whilst this may feel unfamiliar at first, once you acknowledge it and let it go, you will start to experience some amazing transformations.