Spend time alone

At least once a week spend time alone. Reassess your life and take appropriate action that puts you first. Fuelling the focus on you means that you will have more to give out.

The fourth of Five Steps to a Better You in 2020 – Steve Miller.

spend time alone and listen to the whispers of your soulIf you are an introvert, you need to spend time alone. It makes no difference if you are partnered or not, this time allows you to recharge and reflect on what is important for you. Even if you are an extrovert, time spent alone can be productive. How you spend this time alone is crucial.  If you are spending the time perusing social media, this is not the most productive way to spend time alone.  Frittering this time away on tasks that could be done later means you are depriving yourself of quality time.

When you spend time alone meditating you get so much more. Herbert Benson’s study into meditation (The Relaxation Response) showed that meditation increases creativity and productivity. Age is no barrier to a successful meditation practice.  Just the other day I was teaching a six year old in the HeartMath coherence technique, so that he can differentiate between relaxation and the need to be constantly entertained.

When you spend time alone and put yourself first, make sure you dismiss any thoughts of being “selfish”.  Remind yourself of the airline safety message (that many tune out to) about using the oxygen mask first before you try to help others. Treat your time spent alone as your oxygen mask as if you have nothing left, you cannot help others.

What makes you really happy? Are you living a compromised life and have left your dreams on a shelf – or under the doormat – as you follow along with what others want to do? Spending some time alone – fulfilling your own dreams nourishes your soul. Being alone does not necessarily mean that you are lonely and you may discover that you are happy with your own company.

Many years ago, I backpacked solo around Japan, visiting temples and shrines that I had read about. I also went to Hiroshima and as an empath was greatly affected by the energy there. Intuitively I knew that I needed to spend time alone. Going to the island of Miyajima for a couple of days to reflect and reassess was invaluable. This time alone allowed me to re-calibrate.

These days if I need some time alone, I will wander off to the labyrinth and walk the circuits and meditate a while on the swing seat. Soaking up the energy of the labyrinth and the surrounding trees is like getting a recharge before returning to the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

 

 

Social Media

“Delete/block social media drains or those whom you just don’t want to/can’t be bothered to engage with.”  The third of Five Steps to a Better You in 2020 written by Steve Miller. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that you can be in touch with friends and loved ones that are some distance away almost instantaneously and share experiences and photos with them. The cursed part is getting hooked into constant checking to see what is going on.  Unfortunately the written word is often misconstrued but this is not confined to social media.

Social media has been in overdrive the last few weeks as the Australian bushfires have raged and people have sought to connect, comment and keep informed as the bias of the traditional media organizations is questioned. That’s not to say that much of the information on social media has not been manipulated as well to suit various biases. This is where you need to start sorting the chaff from the wheat.

The New Year is always a good time to clean out clutter.  Do a Mari Kondo on your “friends” list. Are they interacting or just watching or lurking? If you read the previous post about cords, then you will understand about the energetic attachments. Staying “friends” with people who you don’t engage with or are on your list to see what you are doing will still have a subtle energetic drain on you.  If you are not quite ready to totally disengage with them, put them on the restricted or acquaintances lists and post accordingly. It’s a bit like going through your wardrobe on a regular basis. Sort and remove.

Cut the Cords

“Cut the cords from those who are really in your life 100% for them, not you.”

Steve Miller

At the end of those cords are either hooks embedded into your energetic field or anchors dragging you down.  To cut the cords from those who are hooking into and using your energy takes some awareness of our energetic fields.  We all have an energetic field and it is many layered. The simplest explanation is that these fall into 3 main categories – the physical, astral and spiritual planes. Cords can be attached in any one of these areas.

cutting tiesHave you ever been in the presence of someone who radiates negative or heavy energy? Like a parasite they are unconsciously looking for a host. They will hook into your energy without hesitation and it’s all about them – not you. Then there is what are described as “energy vampires”. They are not always a stranger to us. Many are close family members or friends that unintentionally feed on your caring nature.  Dr Judith Orloff has written extensively about how to deal with them, with the suggestion to surround yourself with as many positive like minded people as possible to repel them.

However if you have one of these invisible cords attached – not only does the cord have to be cut, but you have to remove the hook.  When training Reiki students, we always go through a process to remove these cords and return them to their owner – with love and gratitude for the lessons we have been given.

In conclusion there are of course some cords of attachment that you might like to have remain. These are the cords between soul mates and loving and supportive people in your life. Having healthy boundaries and a regular check in on your energy levels will go a long way in ensuring that you don’t need to cut the cords too often.

Embrace Risk

“Embrace risk and stop worrying about the consequences.
On your death bed, it’s too late.”

This is the first of Five Steps to a Better You in 2020 written by Steve Miller, a hypnotherapist that I follow on Facebook from Birmingham in the UK.  There are risks in staying within your comfort zone when it comes to daily life. The days will blend into weeks, which in turn blend into months of bland “beigeness” and before you know it another year has drifted past and all you have are monotone memories of another year gone by.

Embrace Risk

Can you remember back to a time when you were a child and you did embrace risk? Perhaps it was when you were learning to ride a bicycle. I can clearly remember that moment. I was playing with a friend in the small village we lived in. I was on my friend’s bicycle. My friend’s father was holding the seat and running behind me….. and then he wasn’t. But I didn’t care – I was moving along by myself.  I wasn’t worrying about the consequences of falling off – which I eventually did because I didn’t know how to stop.

Can you remember the frisson of excitement in your tummy when you did something new? That fluttering feeling of excitement, which is so often mistaken for anxiety when we start to get into our head space rather than our feeling space.

To embrace risk is to trust yourself and your inner strengths. Sometimes you need a little shove in the right direction, a little kick up the arse to get the momentum going, but when you do embrace risk – and it can be a calculated risk – then you are more likely to have no regrets on your death bed. Which reminds me of one of my favourite songs…..

 

Thirty Days of Gratitude

Day One of Thirty Days of Gratitude

Day One of 30 days of gratitudeAs I embark on my latest Thirty Days of Gratitude exercise, I have discovered that my answers have changed as much as I have over the last few years. In previous years I would have nominated Summer as the season to be most grateful for, with the wider range of fruits and vegetables and outdoor entertaining.

As Australia enters into what seems like a long hot summer, with drought and bushfires affecting much of the country,  I have changed my mind. The season that I am most grateful for is Autumn. I’m looking forward to the cooler nights and hopefully, freshly picked and home grown apples.

I do love Spring as well, but the weather is a little more variable and the pollen is abundant.  Great for bees and butterflies and other pollinating insects, not so great for the hay fever sufferer!

As I embark on the next Thirty Days of Gratitude, I invite you to follow along on my Facebook page (Balance4Life Programs) and share what you are grateful for as well. However, as this is an occasional blog, and the journalling is quite personal, not every day will be recorded here.

Visual Meditation

Recent events have meant that daily meditations have become very important. A presence on Social Media requires constant input, so rather than just sharing other peoples’ work….. I have used many of my photos to create visual meditations using positive affirmations or quotes which help me to focus my attention and share with a wider audience.

visual meditationTonight’s Full Moon encourages us to make changes . This can be done by releasing obstacles to the path forward. Or by working on what unhelpful beliefs that we may have formed as a child, that we subconsciously still hold.

Yesterday I had an insightful visual meditation session, that brought up  a fear. I was surprised where that fear came from and the beliefs that I had formed about it. It certainly wasn’t from this rather beautiful dingo that I photographed at Dalhousie Springs some years ago.  In fact, this wild creature was demonstrating no fear of human presence.

A Full Moon meditation is an ideal time to release not only obstacles but attachment to outcome.  Relationships that no longer serve your higher good and anything else that distracts you from your path can also be released.

 

 

Knowledge

Where does wisdom come from? I’m sure it can’t be learned or be acquired merely by growing older. I have met many young people who have wisdom beyond their years. Wisdom requires some sensitivity or heartfelt connection with not only our own feelings, but those of others. Reflecting further, I have come to the conclusion that wisdom comes from an ancient knowing, a sense of self  that is guided more by the heart and soul than the rational mind. Knowing is different to knowledge. There are people who are very clever, rational and knowledgeable –  but have an absence of wisdom. This absence of wisdom is reflected by becoming desensitized to our environment and inherent spirituality. Ismat Ahmed Shaikh said “Knowledge, you may get from books but wisdom is trapped within you, release it.”

Awareness

AwarenessI recently completed a 21 day guided meditation program which resonated with my belief that you CAN achieve a lot in “bite sized” pieces. I have meditated for many years and am always interested in new or alternative methods to my own practice. I often choose a random Oracle card or quote to focus on and today I chose a card from Treasures from Tikashi  …. Awareness.

Awareness is the key to spiritual growth, but watch out for that ego! For as soon as you think you are aware of it all….. You’ll find out that you aren’t.”

I was aware of the fact that prior to this program I was missing many days due to “busyness” and I did allow myself moments where I was unhappy about that. The guided meditation program was online and each day’s 10 minute meditation was available for a few hours into the next day – which was helpful when I had poor internet reception at the retreat. In that instance, I found myself stressing about the possibility of missing a day. By taking just 10 minutes a day, I re-established a pattern and looked forward to some moments where I could focus on relaxing whilst listening to the guided visualization.

A week or so on from completing the program, I am finding the time to do mini meditations during the day and really enjoying the results.

Emotional Intelligence

Strengths and VulnerabilitiesIt is accepted that IQ – the Intelligence Quotient – is fixed. You either have it or not. But Emotional Intelligence can be learned and that is why it is important to differentiate between an inherent weakness and vulnerability. To diverge slightly…. when I was training to become a homeopath, we learned that if you remove the cause (eg: poor sanitation) then health outcomes improve. When there are lifestyle changes made: such as choosing healthy foods, one’s vulnerability to poor health or disease is lessened.  Likewise with Emotional Intelligence Coaching: if you identify the vulnerability and remove or change the contributing factors, the possibilities are endless. There may be some adjustments to be made – both in mindset and in the physical body and it is similar to the aches and pains felt after starting a new workout at the gym as the muscles get stretched and adjust to new levels of fitness.

In my search for Emotional Intelligence related meanings I came across an article  that described four types of vulnerability:

  • Physical
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Attitudinal.

For instance, the dictionary definition of vulnerability states that there is “a capability or susceptibility to being wounded or hurt” which implies that it is a possibility, not necessarily a given that something will happen. Whereas weakness in one definition that I came across,  is portrayed as “a disadvantage or fault” often of character or a lack of determination.

Emotional Intelligence is not only being aware of your own emotional responses to a myriad of situations, but also being cognizant of the emotions of those around you. It’s how you manage your behavior, how optimistic or resilient you are and how you manage your stress. In your relationships, whether they are personal, social or business – it’s about how you communicate, manage conflict, build team bonds or inspire others to lead.

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Empathy

EmpathyEmpathy is one of 26 key competencies in the 4 Quadrant Model of Social + Emotional Intelligence®. Emotional Intelligence is about being aware of not only of yourself as well as others. Empathy is also about how to manage behaviours and relationships.

So what is empathy? Who has it and what are the signs of someone who doesn’t have it?

The Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. The definition that I have on my own SEI profile is “- sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns; the ability to put yourself in another’s place and to take that perspective into account in your relationship with the other person.”

You would expect most therapists and coaches to have empathy with their clients as they listen for and observe both spoken and unspoken cues. In my humble opinion, if you come across a therapist or coach that lacks this quality….. find someone else.  There are several signs that pinpoint that someone is lacking in this competency. Firstly, they will tend to stereotype others. Another clue is the inability to “read” people or their emotions and respond without considering how another might feel about that response. A third and telling sign is that they are often in conflict and don’t take any personal responsibility for creating these situations.

Whether you believe in unseen energies or not, humans are energy beings and the research undertaken by the HeartMath Institute has shown that the energy field generated by the heart can influence both our emotional responses and those of others nearby. Of course, you don’t have to be a therapist to have empathy, you may be a good listener – which is always a good start.

The good news is, that if someone is lacking in empathy, there are ways to develop this important emotional intelligence competency. It is possible to learn how to become more empathetic. For instance, to be a good listener, you first need to quiet the chatter in your mind. Too often people are forming responses before the speaker has finished. Above all, a regular meditation practice will help you to listen with a clear mind. Practice the power of the pause.  This will help you to respond in a manner that shows sensitivity to the speaker. Learn to paraphrase what you think you have heard and most importantly withhold judgement as everyone has a different perspective.

Needless to say, if you feel that you need to develop this particular intelligence or any of the other 26 competencies for Emotional Intelligence, then schedule a Discovery Session or some coaching sessions.

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