Sorrow

Sorrow is a beautiful thing when it arrives.  But it hurts, like an arrow.

It asks to be seen, embraced by the aching heart and washed by the fall of courageous tears. Sorrow will sit on the window sill until you are ready, and with  help from the small sparrow, will guide you back into your own beloved heart.

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The story

There’s no need to be defined by your story, because if closely looked at, it can be someone else’s story.

Someone else’s thoughts, beliefs, opinions of you. Or themselves but in your head. Years old.

So hand them back. Now it’s your story.

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Inspirational podcasts

Abatgap favourite way to relax (and learn) of mine is listening to thought provoking, paradigm shifting interviews with ordinary people who, for various reasons…a slow dawning or a powerful one off event, have  different, clearer perspectives on life. On consciousness.  A great site is BATGAP (Buddha at the Gas Pump). Rick Archer in collaboration with his wife, interviews people from all walks and paths of life who as the website says, “are ordinary, but with awakened states of consciousness.”
Here you’ll find hundreds of skillful interviews with men and woman who will expand, challenge and offer you new ways of seeing both yourself and the world. The intention of this resource is to inspire and inform-it is up to the listener to discern and endorse, or not, each individual.
simranSimran Singh(whose book I reviewed and am just about do another because I love her!) has 11:11 talk radio. Again, there exists a plethora of wonderful interviews for you to choose from. She also offers 11: 11 magazine online. An inspired and inspirational resource of interviews, poetry and more. It is a good time to mention the generosity behind all these podcasts. They are all freely given and available as powerful teaching tools for those drawn to them.
sounds-trueAnother great site is Sounds True, Insights at the Edge. Tami Simon offers interviews “with leading spiritual teachers and writers about their latest challenges—the “leading edge” of their work.” Here you’ll find a range of conversations with psychotherapist’s, to shamans to Ministers. Her website also offers audio books, programmes, music. Again, another inspired place to listen and find resources on any topic.
There are many more than I’ve listed here but these are my fav’s.
I hope you enjoy!

‘Mindset Reset’ by Prudance Gensmen

The first thing that struck me about this book, was the generosity of the author who offers the templates in it for examining our beliefs. Its not just for individual use, but can by utilised by coaches, therapists, anyone who works with others in a transformative way.
‘Mindset Reset’ is an accessible and pragmatic approach to identifying beliefs, working out which of beliefs are working for us and which are limiting us, and then offers a straightforward process to follow to create new paradigms and beliefs.
The book offers twelve areas or Mindsets to examine: Self Care, Exercise & Nutrition, Medical Care, Financial Management, Education, Work, Life Purpose, Leisure, Family, Relationships and Spiritual.Under each of these headings we record our beliefs eg: Under the ‘Work’ heading the mindset you hold may be, “The harder I work the more valued I am.” Then you move onto changing that belief into a healthier one. Gensmen offers “ticklers” or possible mindsets under each category to get us thinking.  From here there are six questions to ask ourselves of each mindset or belief.

 

  1. What is my current Mindset? What message am I telling myself?
  2. Is this working for me? Yes/No? Why/Why not?
  3. If it is working, how is it reinforced and what does it bring to my life?
  4. If it isn’t working, then what would I want it to become and why?
  5. How can I, right now, begin to live from this (new) Mindset perspective? (3 actions)
  6. How does it feel when I embrace this (new) Mindset?
The workbook offers pages to record your insights and action points for each belief. Gensmen reminds us that it is an ongoing process; to examine entrenched and familiar beliefs and at the same time there is a way of embracing new beliefs to create positive change.
Change happens from the inside out so this is a powerful and practical resource that could be useful to us all!

New thoughts, new behaviours, new experiences

I’ve been reading a great book ‘You are the Placebo’ by Joe Dispenza. Some of the science I tripped over, but the kernel, the gold nugget, the daemon was this. Same thoughts, same choices, same behaviours, same reality. New thoughts, new behaviours, new choices. Nice.thoughts 3
Neuroplasticity makes us powerful co-creators of our own lives. Given we can create our own suffering through the quality (or lack of) of our thoughts, we can also create well-being by improving the quality of our thoughts. We think around 70,000 thoughts a day, almost all the same as the day before and the day before that. So let’s bring some Mindfulness into the equation and with intention and attention begin to notice our thinking.

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What are your “Top 8” repetitive, replayed thoughts?
They vary for each of us but often fall into themes of unworthiness, failure, needing to work harder to prove worth, I’m no good/ at much, I’ll never get well, it’s too late to….., I can’t….. and on and on.
So let’s make conscious, unconscious repetitive thoughts by:
  • Being Mindful/aware of your thoughts
  • Listing your personal Top 8 repetitive, unhelpful thoughts
  • Creating the antidote. For each negative thought write the opposite, healthy thought. eg: “I am worthy and deserving.”
  • Repeat these to yourself on waking, during the day (timer on phone helps as reminder) and before sleep.
  • If you meditate finish your meditation by recalling these new thoughts
  • Noticing the negative thoughts you’ve been cultivating for maybe decades, (!) and reminding yourself that they aren’t real, just old habits, and can be replaced
Like Mindfulness, this is a quiet day by day practice. Approached lightly but with intention. Remember, new thoughts, new feelings, new choices. Co-create your life!

Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times by Pierro Ferrucci

The task of self-mastery is arduous, but noble and fruitful.

pierro fThe book ‘Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times’ by Pierro Ferrucci, philosopher and psychotherapist, is a deeply considered and pragmatic book. It’s grounded in both the authors experience and learnings’ as a therapist and supported by neuroscience research. Each chapter places a spotlight on the traits necessary to the cultivation of our “Will”, which is like the marrow in the bones of one’s life. Willpower is described as our capacity to endure, persevere and not give up in the face of adversity. Ferrucci says our “Will” is a “survival tool.”  It may be tested in different settings throughout our lives…a job search, a relationship, travelling alone, making decisions that alter the course of our lives. It is a certainty that we will all face situations whereby we have a choice to either cultivate or undermine our “Will”. Different traits are highlighted in each chapter…Resilience, Mastery, Autonomy, and each chapter is introduced with a fable or myth, that captures the heart of each particular trait. Engaging the old wisdom of these stories, Ferrucci goes on to highlight the essence and necessity of these traits in a psychologically healthy and happy life.
Each chagandipter ends with practical activities to deepen our experience of that particular trait. For example in the chapter Autonomy, Ferrucci discusses the importance of self-determination and exposes the danger of delegating responsibility to others for decisions about our lives. The particular activity at the end of the Autonomy chapter requires us to list what we like and value, what our strengths are where we want to invest our energy. In doing this we are encouraged to make conscious that which we may be unaware of and to proactively call forward and strengthen the trait. Like the fables we are encouraged to ‘own’ our choices and live vibrant lives in alignment with our values. We are asked to deliberately nurture these traits.

The will is for everybody…if we don’t have it we can generate it.

The author highlights the challenges we face in an overstimulated society where superficiality is often revered in the media. The danger of being seduced by this superficial path is that we forget to value and foster traits necessary to live a thoughtful and meaningful life.

If we are missing out on the essential quality of courage, every aspect of our life suffers.

His discussion on the power of attention was interesting. Often ‘attention’ is highlighted in relation toward developing or cultivating a trait. Ferrucci does too, but he also states how powerful it is to withdraw attention. The power of ignoring. This can help deprive repetitive and negative thoughts and impulses.  To ignore is to take the ‘life’ from them, thereby reducing our suffering.
‘Willpower-How to find Strength in Critical Times’ is an important and accessible book. Its poetically written so in no way dry or ‘scientific.’ I found it to be an intelligent, deeply useful and authentic book.

 

 

Courage and the Car Accelerator

Driving on the motorway, years ago, my frustrated brother asked if I always drove “Like this.” “Like what?” I asked. “Well, you press the accelerator and we speed up and then you lift your foot off and we slow down…over and over.” Unaware of this pattern I laughed, partly because the moment required it and mostly because it was (and can be) my approach to life. Courageously moving into the world and then withdrawing into an inlet; risk adverse, protective and immobile. My driving style had inadvertently captured both my potential and said in good humour, my pathology.

What in your life reflects your courageousness? Make a list. And where in your life are you fearful, risk adverse and low in the courage stakes? It’s good to know this about yourself.

Courage is a truly beautiful, noble and essential human trait. It creates positive change within us and inspires others. Courage, or the lack of it, activates two different parts of the brain, so it’s wise to practise and learn the art of courage for wellbeing and personal growth. Like all things, courage sits on a spectrum- we don’t need to jump into burning buildings but we can take small steps. To do nothing, can be to atrophy this noble trait.

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So, if you’re prone at times, like me, to being risk adverse and not acting on your own behalf, here’s some things we might do to nurture courage.

Breath, not that shallow fearful breath in our upper body, but breathing with intention into the belly. An abundant type of breath that says ‘I can do this.’

-Practise gradual courage. Small steps. If the metaphor is a marathon, start with walking and then 20 minute runs three times a week.

Support yourself-We are our own harshest critics. Tell yourself you’re doing well, you can do it, it’s going to be ok or even great. Over and over.

Recall times when you were courageous. This is powerful. Find a memory and recall it. Feel it in your body. Feel the strength in your legs, spine, and voice. Use that feeling to propel you into the next act of courage rather than into aversion and avoiding.

Ask for support-nobody said you had to do this alone.

We get better at things by doing them. So, if your foot is steady on the accelerator, well done. If your style is start, stop-well done too because you know it and can do something about it if you desire. If your foot hasn’t quite made it to the accelerator, you instinctively know where it is and how it works. Be courageous. You can do it.

by Ana

Conversations With the Universe; How the World Speaks to Us by Simran Singh

The Universe never stops talking to you. It avails itself of every possible avenue to get your attention.

Simran Singh first came to my awareness through an interview I listened too. That interview led me to her TED talk, her 11:11 talk radio show and then to this book, ‘Conversations with the Universe.’

It’s a captivating read. Both immense in concepts that challenge our often narrow views of life and wise in guidance on how to broaden our perspective to see the benevolence & beauty within ourselves and others.

Singh is a passionate messenger. She says we are more than we realise. More powerful, more beautiful. In fact Divine. To evolve our Divinity, the world, or our world, guides and communicates to us on a daily basis.

The key for us, is to notice the signs, synchronicities and symbols that fill our days and dreams and to see them as self-created messages that encourage and guide us into alignment with our highest good. Observing these messages, whether it is a song on the radio, a repeating number or an alarm going off in the distance, all have relevance if we choose to notice.

universeGiven this, our world is a classroom in which we have abundant opportunities to heal and transform. Through this lens we are our flat tyre, the butterfly on the windowsill, the flooded basement.

The question to ask ourselves is: What is before me? What is here for me to heal/learn/grow? In this view our outer world is a reflection of us.

There are anecdotal stories woven into the chapters illustrating nothing in life is random, that all is a symphony asking us to become who we are meant to be. The true “Self.”

“We are the mess, the message and the messenger of our lives.”

‘Conversations with the Universe’ is a deeply compassionate book. It emphasises self-reflection and inner healing to free ourselves of suffering and at the same time reassure us:

“Whether you are stuck in your muck and liking it or rewriting your story and becoming the hero, there is magic in your midst.”

We are encouraged to live bigger, with less fear and to see beyond our narrow ‘reality’ (really illusion). To understand our birth right is to live fully and joyously.

The Sunset HD Desktop BackgroundThere are practical exercises throughout the book to encourage reflection of both our inner and outer worlds. Acceptance, awareness and forgiveness are necessities: we are human, imperfect, but at the same time magnificent Divine co-creators of our life.

“You are not on a journey, YOU are the journey. That journey is asking you to experience YOU in discovery. This means that there is no end goal or destination but a never-ending path of realizing ALL that you are. Step into the magnificence of infinite possibility.”

I loved Singh’s palpable wisdom and inspiration, captured through her beautiful writing style. Paragraphs and pages needed to be re-read to allow my mind and heart to expand around the author’s vast view of life. It’s a book that could be re-read many times and with each reading new insights would emerge. It’s definitely one that will stay on my bedside table for a long, long time.

Our lives are designed beautifully. They have been created in the most unconditionally loving way, without interference or hindrance, other than that of our own choosing. But they also have the gifts of ‘choice’ and ‘asking.’

Stuck in the Mud like a Lotus

lotus

I recently just read a fabulous book and this line captivated me.

Whether you are stuck in your muck and liking it or rewriting your story and becoming the hero, there is magic in your midst.

Using mud as a metaphor for muck, let’s explore how we get ‘stuck,’ how it might serve us unwittingly and the potential ways to get unstuck. Given the complications in life, getting ‘stuck’ is not that difficult.

Sometimes we have to admit it’s just where we are at. There is no moving because we don’t yet have the resources, resilience or know-how to change it. It’s not healthy to stay here for too long.

At other times we use our comfort zone to mask the truth that we are “stuck” and unwilling or able to make the changes needed to enable our wellbeing and fulfil our potential. But we can do it.

Not long ago I started dancing classes. It was terrifying. I needed mountains of encouragement from another and reassurance all would be well. Fun in fact. After the initial three or so lessons my anxiety levelled off and self-consciousness diminished. And it was fun. Being out in the world, moving to music and laughing at two left feet with others is a joyous activity. And it’s a lesson that fear is just fear. It can’t hurt us and neither can it stop us if we choose.

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So, tips for working with the “stuck in the mud” feeling in your life.

  • Get a friend or support to encourage/back you up into doing something fun and liberating that you’ve always wanted to do. It can be ANYTHING, but something that moves the body is particularly good.
  • Set intentions small or big and write them down eg: by the end of the week/month I will have looked at vacancies, talked to someone who does the job I want to do, relaxed for …. every day, walked in nature. Tick them off as you go because it feels good
  • Do small things outside of your comfort zone that are good for you and bring you a sense of happiness
  • Notice the good things already manifest in your life e.g. the love of an animal companion, loyal friends, the natural beauty around you, a good coffee, being a parent (even though stressful at times). Savour!
  • Know that you are co-creating your life, so that even if you feel “stuck” you can become unstuck with the support of others and perseverance.
  • Alice Walker once said ‘books save lives’. There are many books that are teachers. Inspiring, backed by neuroscience, reaching for the heavens books. Get to the library or bookshop and explore!

The very best to all of us who are continually working, both in and out of the mud. May we blossom like the Lotus.

namaste

 

Ana