A Change of Scenery


“The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.” ~ Anais Nin ~

For me, the dream is always travel. I have a wicked case of wanderlust that never seems to be fully satisfied.  I’m always in the process of planning another trip.  It makes the day-to-day stuff easier to manage.  How to create magic in the mundane is the key….

Most of my time is spent being pulled in a million directions by all the things I want to do, both personally and professionally.  My husband and I are very ambitious and have a highly successful professional life.  We invest and manage our portfolio well. We give as much of our time and money as we can spare to various charitable organisations. We spend a lot of time on our individual pursuits, which include recreation, personal and professional development and at least twice a week we go on dates to make sure we stay connected as a couple. We ensure we hang out with our kids as much as they will allow (they’re teenagers after all) and we make time for play. 

My life is extraordinarily abundant, yet I always manage to get way off balance somewhere along the way, and then find I’m breaking apart.  Then, when I’m travelling, I’m able to put it all back together again.  How do I go about bringing the “holiday” spirit into my day-to-day life to prevent the break down altogether?  I know it’s all about balance, but boy, do I struggle with this! What exactly happens while on holiday that enables the reconstruction process, seemingly without effort? The obvious answer is that no one is asking much of me. I get to meander through my day, no minute by minute schedule, no issues I need to address, no problems I need to solve, other than what do I feel like doing today?  Don’t get me wrong… I’m grateful for the ability to be able to handle as much as I do and be of benefit wherever I can, but I get worn out. In my most grouchy place, I feel like the more I give, the more gets asked of me. I think sometimes if others know someone is there to handle it, they don’t bother doing it themselves. This is especially true of my kids. Left to their own devices and they’re quite capable.  But when I’m around, they can’t remember their phone number….

My beloved teacher, Geshe-la, says that if my motivation is correct, I won’t run out of loving kindness and compassion.  I guess the trick is to look deeper into why I am doing whatever it is I’m doing on a day-to-day basis and see where I’m getting off track.  Where am I being self-cherishing (motivated by ego), fearful or dishonest? If I can uncover this and correct my motivation, this should enable me to keep my balance better.  Also, I need to be sure I’m setting good boundaries and saying no when I need to. Sounds like a piece of cake, eh?  Mmmmmm…. cake.

Over the years my husband and I have repeatedly found that when we “help” too much, we enable and cripple others. We need to be diligent on when to offer guidance and support and when to allow others the space to figure out and manage their own problems. It’s the process of trial and error that leads to good problem solving skills. We don’t need to be super heros in anyone’s lives. And this is where checking our motivation is helpful… ensuring we’re not feeding our egos and calling it help. 

So, going forward, my path is a little clearer now. I will slow down and create more space between my words and actions and ensure I have enough quiet time to meditate, reflect and recharge my batteries. I will allow myself and others the space to make mistakes and learn from them. I will cultivate emotional maturity and intelligence. I will diligently shut down my inner critic as soon as she pipes up. I will practise patience (I say practise because I’m no damn good at this).  I will monitor my motivation to ensure it’s pure and I will make more time for spirit-enhancing activities.  All the busy work manages to somehow get done. I don’t need to stress about it. The questions I need to ask myself often are, “Will this matter in a year, 3 years, 10 years? Will I regret doing this, or not having done this when I’m on my deathbed? If the answers are NO, then why worry about it? His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

Good advice.

Om mani padme hum 🕉

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ARE YOU AN ADDICT TOO?

Definition of Addict (transitive verb):  to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.

Does this sound like you or anyone you know?  How about everyone you know? I’ve been clean and sober for over 24 years and throughout my sobriety I’m often asked about addiction. What I mostly hear from people is that they just don’t have an addictive personality so they can’t understand how addicts think or why they just can’t stop doing whatever it is they do that is destroying their lives. 

Now, this comes from people (assuming they’re people I know fairly well) who I watch on a consistent basis obsess about this or that.  I watch them give in to cravings, worry compulsively, constantly look at their phones instead of engaging the person in front of them, desperately cling to old, wrong ideas despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, or repeatedly read news flashes that appear on their phones, even though it’s invariably negative and upsets them (with the excuse that they should be well informed). They spend enormous amounts of time making excuses, rationalising their behaviour by trying to blame it on someone else, they create drama, gossip, smoke, berate themselves and bite their nails or other fidgety, compulsive habits.  So this is what it looks like to not have an addictive personality?

As a self-confessed addict, let me share some of my addictive tendencies with you….  I repeat arguments in my head over and over and over again until I prove to myself I’m right, which includes negative self talk about my mistakes and failures. I will spend an hour looking for the smallest accounting error even though it doesn’t matter in the least.  Once I get started on lollies and biscuits, there is no stopping me.  In fact, you might lose a hand if it gets in my way.  Then comes the self-loathing when I’m feeling sick to my stomach after. Why did I do this to myself yet again??  I pick my nail cuticles and obsessively write to do lists and even include things I’ve already done so I can feel the satisfaction of ticking them off. I run, even when I’m injured or sick. Sometimes I imagine horrible things happening to my husband and kids and am wracked with all the suffering and fear those dark imaginings bring, even though it didn’t happen.  And I’m only scratching the surface, but I won’t bore you with all my crazy in one blog post.

I’ve spent the better part of my life researching, contemplating and meditating on why I do what I do.  It all comes down to one simple reason. I want to move away from whatever stress, pain or fear I’m feeling in that moment.  Not that I’m always conscious of any particular feelings, as I’m often on auto-pilot and just doing the habitual thing. But if I pause for a moment, after I’ve caught myself in any of the aforementioned habits, I invariably find that I am in a negative mindset. When I’m conscious, mindful and happy none of this behaviour surfaces. Simple as that.  The irony is, in our attempts to move away from our discomfort, our habitual tendencies only enhance it. 

I believe all human beings are addicts. We believe we are different than those “addicts” in the street because our habitual patterns play out differently, but we are all the same… seeking relief from suffering.  That is all addiction is: the desire for something that will help us move away from an uncomfortable feeling, wherein the attainment of that something increases, rather than decreases the discomfort, leading to more craving for something to bring relief.  It’s a vicious cycle. Pema Chodron, the Tibetan Buddhist nun defines addiction as, “Addicted to a firm and fixed view of ourselves (ego) and the world.” Whenever this fixed view is challenged, we cling tighter to our viewpoint, which only leads to more suffering.  And in that suffering, we engage in our addictions, whatever they are.

I’ve found that creating space in my life makes me more aware of my negative patterns, or addictions if you like. This space allows me to do something different than my habitual thing. By choosing a new way of addressing my discomfort, I create new positive habits.  It’s like the saying goes…. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of crazy.” 

I create space by being quiet.  I meditate every morning, which helps me develop the habit of stopping the mental chatter and just listening. This is my sacred time to touch base with my mind and cultivate a loving kindness toward myself and others.  I don’t look at my phone first thing in the morning.  In fact, it goes on “do not disturb” every night at 7 pm until 7 am the next morning.  Other people’s emergencies do not have to be my own.  Believe me, if there is a true emergency, somehow I always find out. Setting boundaries is another way I create space.  I don’t allow other people to fill my life with their drama. I take time to nurture myself by exercising, getting regular massages, meditating, doing yoga, eating nutrient dense foods and engaging in activities that fill my soul, like hanging with my family and friends, attending teachings, travelling, writing, reading, running and hiking, to name a few.  When I get too busy for self-care, which I confess is far too often, I’m a big grump!  Surprise, surprise. 

So, go forth and get in touch with your own inner addict and see what he/she has to teach you about yourself and the universe.  

Namaste. 

Practising Wellness


“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” ~ Dalai Lama

Today I woke up with such a sense of urgency for all that I had to get done.  I hit the floor running and almost skipped my morning meditation. I decided I’d just do a short one to save time. I chose a 10 minute guided meditation from my favourite app, Insight Timer. Whether you’re a beginner in meditation or are a long time practitioner like me, this app is the greatest! Anyway, I digress….. 

After spending the entire 10 minutes lost in thought and feeling quite grumpy after, I decided to try again with a much longer meditation. Why the hell am I in such a hurry anyway?? It’s Saturday for crying out loud! Where did this habitual behaviour of putting my To Do List ahead of my mental, spiritual and physical well-being originate?

After an hour of meditation, I finally began to feel the grumpiness and hurried energy melt away and be replaced by a sense of calm and serenity. Perseverance is key. I then decided to do an hour of my favourite yoga practice. Why not transmit this wonderful energy into movement?  What struck me during a particular pose wherein you curl into embryo to rest a moment, was that I rarely rest a moment. I have to be told to do this. Once again, I was reminded that I stink in the self-care department!

Now, I can waste enormous amounts of time on social media sites and watching TV and call it rest, but I’m kidding myself. Not that I believe there is anyway wrong with either of those activites. I love Facebook and Instagram. I love how easy it is to stay in touch with my friends and family overseas. I love chilling out in front of the telly sometimes too. But calling it a wellness practice is rubbish. It doesn’t nourish my soul. It merely strengthens the habit of distraction… the habit of moving away from instead of into self. I have dozens of books on my shelf that I want to read and a dozen books in my head that I want to write, but I get lost in busy-ness and call it work. Working mainly from home brings the added challenge of knowing when to call it a day.  There’s no quitting time and there are always “productive” things I could be doing. Self-care doesn’t seem to rank very high in the “productive” category.

Then comes the crash. This is the part where I’m wracked with exhaustion, which leads to grumpiness, headaches and poor sleep, which leads to more fatigue and overwhelment. I know this is a typical cycle with the modern day working mum and that I’m not alone.  There is a certain pride we take in thinking we are Super Woman “doing and having it all.” And we can do it all, but at a very high price. The price being all the afflictions we suffer today at epidemic proportions…. Cancer, heart disease, weight problems, diabetes, depression, anxiety and mental illness. We’ve been conditioned to believe that self-care in any form is selfish and a sign of weakness.  We should just take a pill and get on with it! Men seemed to have figured this one out pretty well. Most of them don’t seem to be wracked with guilt for going golfing, surfing, fishing, or whatever they like to do to relax and have fun.  Most of them haven’t been raised to believe their job is to take care of others at the expense of themselves. They intuitively understand that without taking time for themselves, they’re not going to be on top of their game or at their best.  We could learn a lot from men, but instead we resent them for our failure to speak up for ourselves and take time for self-nurturing.  It’s not their fault we run ourselves ragged. I’m particularly blessed with a phenomenal partner who always encourages me to take the very best care of myself that I can. He’s my biggest supporter in that because my happiness is very important to him. It also doesn’t hurt that when I’m in my happy place, I tend to be a nicer person to be around. He’s no dummy!

The bottom line here is to remember that self-care, in whatever form, is an act of love, not selfishness. If I am to be of greatest benefit to others, I need to be drawing from a full well. All that busy work will get done in its own time. Besides, I’m far more efficient and effective when I’m rested, happy and nourished. 

So, go forth and nourish yourselves and drop me a line to let me know all the ways you feed your soul. I’m always looking for new wellness tools. 

Namaste. 🙏🏻🌈🕉

BOUNCE – Cultivating Resiliency

resilience

“Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”  

~ Don Miguel Ruiz, author of ‘The Four Agreements’ ~

When I was a child, and I fell and hurt myself, my mom just put me back on my feet (after ascertaining I wasn’t critically injured), gave me a hug and sent me on my way with the words, “You’ll be alright.”  When I came home from school and cried to my dad about some bully who was mean to me, he taught me how to stand up for myself.  I really believe these early experiences were the seeds that would later blossom into the emotional resiliency I enjoy today.

It seems in this age of social media, we’re exposed to a seemingly infinite stream of harsh words and negativity.  In my day, the bullies were “out there” and my home was a sanctuary.  Now the bullies come into our lives from every angle with no where to hide.

Add to that the idea that we need to protect our kids from any real or perceived discomfort by rushing in to remove every bad feeling the moment they have them.  How are they to develop any kind of resilience to negativity?  We mean well, as parents, and want to prevent our children from feeling pain, but in all this intervention, we’ve robbed them of the opportunity to learn how to move through discomfort, instead of always running away from it or making it someone else’s problem to solve.

The pharmaceutical companies tells us that every negative emotion is a “syndrome” or “disorder” that’s not our fault and easily fixable with a pill.  And as we’ve become a culture of instant gratification, we want instant symptom relief, which these pills promise.  If not pills, we turn to food, narcotics, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. (which are just different variations of the same pill).  Why spend all that time and energy addressing the cause of our discomfort when we can just remove the symptoms and forget about it for a while?

Here’s why… we now have a society of non-resilient and entitled people completely unprepared for a world that isn’t going to shield them from all forms of emotional pain (Political Correctness Police aside); that doesn’t think that every little thing they do is amazing and cause for celebration; that isn’t going to validate their worthiness and solve their self-esteem issues; that isn’t going to reward them just for showing up and doing the bare minimum; and that will hold them accountable for their actions.

Is it any wonder that depression, obesity, disease of all kinds and global anger is sweeping the planet in epidemic proportions?

So, what’s the solution?  It’s simple…. but certainly not easy.  Stop blaming others and decide to take responsibility for your current emotional state and develop resiliency in whatever way resonates with you. The following is a list of all the things I’ve personally done that have helped me enormously:  Seek a counselor, wellness coach or spiritual teacher to help you become more empowered and emotionally stable, which will make you less vulnerable to the negative words and actions of others; go to rehab or a 12 Step programme if you suffer from addictions; train for and run a marathon or half marathon (one of my faves for learning to move through pain and persevere), eat nutrient dense food and exercise (two of the best, and most underused, antidepressants out there), and meditate, meditate, meditate.

If all of these suggestions seem way too overwhelming or hard, just start with taking a single deep breath, then another, and another. Just breathe.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  ~Lao Tzu ~

Namaste.

I’m going to print out the list below and put it next to my computer as a brilliant reminder of truths I’ve already learned the hard way…. Be grateful and accountable, eat less and move more, be teachable and flexible, and surround yourself with people who inspire you to be your magnificent self!

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful

https://medium.com/personal-growth/13-things-you-need-to-give-up-if-you-want-to-be-successful-44b5b9b06a26

Liberation through Accountability


“Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.” ~Helen Keller~

There is no word for shame or guilt in Tibetan. The closest translation is “intelligent regret that decides to do things differently.”  One of my biggest regrets is wasting so much of my energy on anger, instead of cultivating compassion. It wasn’t until I made the decision to look more closely at my anger, dig in and pull it out by the roots, that I discovered most of it came from feelings of shame.

I never set out to intentionally hurt anyone. I do the best I can with what I have to work with at any given moment in time. As I learn and acquire better tools, I become more adept at expressing myself honestly and productively, causing less collateral damage. When I’m wrong, I accept responsibility and endeavour to right that wrong. Denying my culpability is a complete waste of energy.  I cannot move forward and enact significant change in my life if I’m not accountable for every aspect of my life. I am the sole creator of my life experience.

Whenever conflict arises, it’s not always easy to see what my part is. It takes skill and rigorous honesty to unravel the knot and discover what part is mine. Then comes the real challenge… to not beat myself up about it. It’s this investigative process that leads me to a much deeper understanding of myself and others. This is where compassion is born.  However, if I’m being harsh with myself, that harshness will cloud my interactions with others. In order to gain freedom from anger and shame, I needed to snap out of delusion and fearlessly seek out the truth.

I began with my resentments. They serve as a rich guide, as I tend to resent in others what I most need to acknowledge in myself. When I took a hard look at my anger, my patterns became very clear. I have learned some painful truths behind my behaviours and expectations. I found that I often looked to others to fulfill my need to feel secure in myself…for validation and worthiness.  I allowed the behaviour of others to dictate whether I was happy or miserable.  I was a victim.

Through the following practice in honest accountability, I found liberation from shame and victim consciousness.  I discovered a well of happiness not dependent on outside circumstances… a sustainable happiness I could maintain by working with my mind. Taking people and circumstances out of the equation put me completely in charge of my levels of joy or suffering. The choice was, and is always, mine.

The practice:  Make a list of all your resentments, past and present. Give yourself permission to throw out all rationale and reasonableness and just vent all your feelings about the person or situation. Be as detailed as possible, but don’t worry about how accurate it is. Your perception is what matters in this exercise.

Next, write down how you were specifically affected by the circumstance that led to the resentment? Did it affect how you feel about yourself or what you believe others think and feel about you… your reputation?  Did it prevent you from getting something you wanted or did it cause you to get something you didn’t want?  Did it affect your sense of safety or security? Did it make you feel fearful or worried? Did it affect your finances? Did it affect your personal or professional relationships?

Now, describe any part you played in the event. This is where you need to be rigorously honest with yourself. There’s no point in this exercise if you’re just going to bullshit yourself.  Where were you harsh or judgmental… expecting others to behave the way you think they should?  Were you lacking in humility? Seeking to arouse jealousy? Was the need to be right (protecting your ego) the most important result to you?  Were you dishonest in any way? Be aware that blame is often dishonesty in disguise. Dishonesty includes, not only lies to others, but lies to yourself (denial) and things left unsaid.  Were you inconsiderate…only thinking of yourself?  Were you full of fear? Were you grasping… afraid of losing what you have or not getting what you want?

If you are able to be completely open and honest with yourself, you are likely to see your patterns of thoughts and behaviors underneath your resentments. It is only in identifying the hidden defense mechanisms we use and accepting responsibility for the role we play in all our interactions with others that we can begin to make real changes in our lives that create a new and healthy dynamic in all our relationships. Refusing to play the victim and allowing the behaviour of others to dictate our level of happiness is liberating. We will no longer be held hostage by our feelings, which, by the way, are constantly changing and very rarely based in fact.  As Helen Schucman says in A Course in Miracles, “Your understanding is not a powerful contribution to the truth.”  In other words, feelings aren’t fact. Anger, shame, fear….. all delusions.

So, be brave, seek out your truth and know peace.

Namaste.

Anger… my greatest teacher.

For the last few months I’ve been dealing with a very angry old man who has been terrorising my 14 year old son, who occasionally rides past his house to ride his motorbike in a large flat paddock in our community. I won’t go into very much detail except to say that it’s been bringing out the vicious mama bear in me.  As a Buddhist, I’m taught to practise loving-kindness and compassion toward all beings, but dealing with this man makes me want to kill!

My one small vindication (ok… let’s call it a rationalisation), is that my super patient, calm and reasonable husband has the same reaction to this person. We’ve tried to figure out how we’ve allowed this man to hijack our serenity and infect us with his misery. It feels as though he has some kind of super power, that when fuelled with alcohol, turns him into some kind of impenetrable demon. Trying to reason with him is like to trying to reason with a 2 year old mid-tantrum…. totally pointless.

What to do? We’ve tried ignoring him, but when he actively tries to seriously harm our son, we have to intervene. We’ve talked to the police who are unable to do anything until something happens, like our son ends up in hospital. We demand that our son always wear his Go-Pro so we have every interaction with this man on video, which I’ve uploaded into our police file so there’s a history of the abuse. We’ve even met with our community Board to attempt a compromise wherein we will minimise our son’s bike riding in that particular area. Never mind the thousands of dollars we spent buying him a quieter motorbike. So far, to no avail….

I’ve been desperately trying to find compassion toward this man who is clearly in the jaws of a serious alcohol problem and has a long and distinguished reputation of being a miserable prick!  Let me be clear here… I’m doing this for myself. This isn’t about changing him, but changing my reaction to him.  There will always be people or situations that cross my path that are unpleasant or downright infuriating. While I must take appropriate action to stand up for my rights and the rights of others to be free from tyranny and abuse, it’s also essential that I don’t add more anger and hatred to the mix. If I do…. everyone loses.

I recently began my tonglen meditation practice again in order to get back to my happy place and my body’s first reaction has been a wicked sore throat and cold. I’m hopeful this means it’s working.

My practice begins with this prayer:

“Having recognised the futility of my selfishness and the great benefit of loving others, may I bring all beings joy.  May I send all my virtues and happiness to others through the strength of my practice, and may I receive the suffering, obstacles and defilements of all motherly beings in all realms.”

I start by visualising a person or group of people who are suffering. I imagine their suffering pouring out of them as hot, dark smoke, as I breathe it all in deeply. I accept the feelings of pain and discomfort as they come forward.  This part is tricky as my first inclination is to move away from pain, almost reflexively.  When I catch myself doing that, I bring myself back to the discomfort, repeating the mantra, “May I remove all your suffering by receiving it fully.”

I then look toward a group of my loved ones and generate all the feelings of love I feel for them. Children and pets are particularly easy in helping to generate this pure, unconditional love as we don’t tend to hold any resentment toward them. I imagine this feeling of love as a healing white light surrounding me and dissolving the dark smoke within.

Next, I go back to those who are suffering and visualise the pure white light of love and compassion surrounding and embracing them. I repeat the mantra:”May I send you all my virtues and happiness and bring you joy.”

This tonglen practice can be done in 5 minutes when I practise it everyday. But if I’ve gotten away from it, it usually takes me longer as my mind is very busy and rambunctious, like a wild elephant.

The results are amazing and instant. Unfortunately, anger and resentment are difficult habits to break, so it takes a lot of practise to gain control of them. It can be frustrating in the beginning as it feels as though you can’t hold any image for more than a second before you start thinking about how annoying some person is or what you need to get done that day, ad infinitum.

Be patient with yourself and push through the roadblocks. It’s worth it… I promise.

Namaste

3 Things To Stop Saying Sorry For…

lifetips-copy

Saying you’re sorry and meaning it is a powerful tool in taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions. It relieves you of guilt and empowers forgiveness and change.

However, we’re often saying sorry just for speaking our truth. Women, in particular, are prone to this social conditioning.  We’re so afraid of being thought of as a selfish bitch or a nag,  we suppress our truth and do what those around us want or need, often at the expense of our spiritual, mental and physical health.

It’s time to stop being sorry and start taking care of ourselves.  If you believe that makes you selfish, it’s time to look at the definition of the word…

“Selfish:  seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others.”

Taking care of yourself and making sure your needs are met is not selfish as long as you are not completely disregarding the needs of others. I’m suggesting you put on your own oxygen mask first before attempting to help others.  Remember, you can’t give what you don’t have.  So, if you’re running on fumes, or worse, collapse altogether, you’re no good to anyone, least of all yourself.  Why not leave the martyrdom to the experts…

Here are 3 things we need to STOP saying sorry for:

  1.  Taking time for yourself – Exercising, resting, reading, meditating, vegging out in front of a movie, hanging out with your friends, date night with your main squeeze, or any activity you enjoy are all perfectly acceptable to engage in without feeling guilty. Whatever feeds your soul and brings joy & bliss to your heart, needs to be included in your list of priorities.  Making yourself a priority will empower those around you to do the same, which benefits everyone;
  2. Saying no  – Whether it’s help in some form, such as giving your money, time, resources, or your expertise in some area, it’s ok to say no. Of course, it’s important to help others when and where you can, but stretching yourself too thin weakens you and throws you out of balance.  I always ask the question, “Will my help empower or disempower them?”  I try to find ways to truly benefit others in such a way as to create independence and boost their confidence. This enables them to build strength and resiliency. The next question I ask is, “What is my motivation?”  Am I coming from a place of love and compassion or am I being self-serving in some way, such as, playing the hero to bolster my ego? Ensuring my motivation is pure is essential in every situation. When my help is peppered with wisdom and love, I find I don’t get out of balance or exhausted. It’s important to remember that sometimes saying no is an act of love.
  3. Asking for help – It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help when you’re struggling.  I personally find this one the most difficult.  I am not an island, although sometimes I like to think I am. When you’ve been let down by someone, or many someones, who you counted on to be there, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you can only rely on yourself and close off channels of connection. However, this disconnect can often to lead to narcissistic delusion. Together with my intuition, I need to bounce my ideas off trusted friends and family to gain a clearer picture of the truth.   Perspective can only be obtained through a broader view.  When we’re too close, everything becomes blurry.  So, don’t apologise for asking for help.  If you’re concerned about being a burden on someone, remember #2 – it’s their responsibility to tell the truth and say no if they need to.

The Beliefs Challenge

beliefs
“It is only by being supremely blissful that you can give others your absolute best.”
~ Jana Joy ~
I encourage you to look at some of your beliefs and ask yourself the following questions:
Does this belief empower me?
Does it benefit me in any way?
Does it make me happy?
If the answer to any of these questions is, “NO,” you may want to consider letting this belief go and open your mind to a new & improved belief that actually benefits you.
Comment below with a belief you have previously challenged and let go of, or one that you currently hold that creates negativity and restrictions in your life. I’ll start…
There was a time, long ago, that I held the belief that others’ opinions of me defined me. I believed, wholeheartedly, that I was an amalgamation of the ideas that others had formed about me.
Once I challenged this belief and learned the truth about who I really was underneath all the dogma and wrong ideas, I was freed from the prison of shame and self-doubt. I was liberated!! I had discovered that I was pure perfection…that we are ALL pure perfection.
The result of this exercise is that I became highly motivated to challenge all my beliefs, which has led to a life of constant, free-flowing inspiration, growth, empowerment and abundance.
There have been many obstacles along the way…painful emotions, a lot of fear and the pressure of society to try and make me conform to negative beliefs, but I persevered and eventually overcame them all.
I promise you, it was absolutely worth it!
Blessings, Jana

BREATHE.

clouds

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Several years ago, when I was a smoker (I know….gross!), I used to believe that smoking relaxed me; never mind the fact that nicotine is a stimulant.  When I gained my freedom from that terrible addiction several years ago, I found that it was the act of conscious breathing that one engages in while smoking that leads the smoker to believe it’s relaxing.

Conscious breathing, as in meditation, right? Yeah.. kinda. But I don’t have to be on the pillow in meditation to consciously breathe.  Once I started to pay attention, I was surprised at how  often I found myself holding my breath or breathing in a shallow manner.  What usually caught my attention to this was that I would suddenly become anxious. I always thought anxiety brought about the shallow breathing but shallow breathing also brings about anxiety.

I once believed that breathing was automated and I didn’t have to think about it.  When I first began meditating many, many years ago, I learned that I didn’t know how to breathe at all and had to be re-taught.  It was hard in the beginning as the more I focussed on my breathing, the more I would hyperventilate.  Man, those early days were rough!

But over time, it became easier to control my breathing and feel the benefits of a regular meditation practice.  I highly recommend beginners join a meditation class or download some good guided meditations as I found it much easier to begin this way.

Now, whenever I feel uneasy, I check that I’m not holding my breath.  One deep, cleansing breath invariably removes, or at least reduces the anxiety.  My breathing tells the tale of my inner world.  It lets me know when I’m off balance, stressed, insecure or not in alignment with Source Energy.  It’s a great barometer that never fails to tell the truth.

So, Number 2 on my list of Divine Daily Practices is:  BREATHE.