Category Archives: Humour

Change the Channel

“You cannot struggle to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You joy your way to joy. You laugh your way to success. It is through your joy that good things come.”

~ Abraham-Hicks ~

Right now, I’m reading a great book called, “A Year To Clear” by Stephanie Vogt. In it she says, “If you’re trying too hard to experience freedom and joy, it’s probably because you got stuck on the wrong channel.”

I really like this idea as it coincides with the concept of pivoting that I’ve been working with a lot lately. If I don’t like the direction I’m heading in, I better pivot, or I’ll end up where I don’t want to be. If I’m running a negative storyline in my head that feels bad, I remind myself to pivot, or change the channel to one that feels good. If we don’t like a song on the radio, we change channels. We don’t even think about it. We just do it. So, it’s the same practice when we have negative thoughts, such as: “I’m overwhelmed, too stressed, too busy, too poor, too fat, too sick, not good enough, not brave enough, not loved enough, not smart enough, etc….”. We can pivot to its positive opposite.

Below are tried and true examples I really find helpful:

  • “Slow down and just breathe, in and out.” Do this all day, every day. It’s that simple.
  • “Everything that absolutely needs to get done, always manages to get done.” So much of our energy is wasted in trying to get everything done in the least amount of time. It’s like we’re in a race with ourselves that never produces a winner. We multi-task, which usually only produces half-assed results. If we do one thing at a time, and are completely present and aware, we will likely have a great end-result with far less stress. This is personally my biggest challenge. I’m a do-er, but am actively practising be-ing (I even wrote the word, “BE” on my wrist brace).
  • “Will this matter in a month, a year, 5 years?” Will we lie on our deathbeds and regret all the stuff we didn’t get done? Or will we regret all the time we didn’t spend with those we love and doing all of the things we love?
  • “I have everything I need today.” List everything we do have and are grateful for. This is so important! Seeing our world through the eyes of gratitude, as opposed to lack, is essential in finding lasting joy. If we focus on what we don’t have (money, health, love, time), we will have more lack in all these areas. If we focus on all we do have and appreciate, we will have more abundance in these areas. The Law of Attraction is not hocus pocus. I’ve personally experienced it over and over as absolute truth.
  • “Money is a useful tool to be of greater benefit to others and I welcome it in abundance.” Money is NOT the root of all evil. Greedy attachment to it is. If we have a negative association with money and/or “rich people,” we will never attract money or have enough of it. We are just cultivating poverty mind. Think of money as a person, named Cash. We constantly trash-talk Cash. We think Cash is bad…evil. We believe Cash is everything that is wrong with the world. We hate Cash. Yet, at the same time, we are always complaining we want and need Cash. We want Cash to come round and hang out with us. We wonder why Cash has abandoned us. We feel sorry for ourselves and are jealous of the people that Cash hangs out with. They don’t deserve Cash’s friendship, we do. Is it any wonder why Cash stays away from us? We’re fricken nut jobs as far as Cash is concerned. Cash would rather spend time with those that appreciate and welcome him/her into their lives with love and open arms. Wouldn’t we do the same?
  • “I am moving toward my perfect weight/perfect health.” We spend so much of our time obsessing about our weight or poor health, that of course we experience more weight gain and worsening health. If we spent just a fraction of that energy doing what we KNOW will create the conditions for weight loss and wellness, there would be far less obesity and illness. It’s no mystical secret what creates good health. We instinctively know what to eat, what to avoid, to move our bodies more and what we need to be happy and well. We’ve just been taught to override our instincts in the name of profit, but good, old-fashioned common sense can lead us back to balance.
  • “I am nurturing my body with nutrient-rich food.” This is a great reminder to eat for nourishment…fuel. Our bodies are these amazing, miraculous vehicles to be honoured and respected. Yet we abuse them by eating crap food, smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking drugs and even worse…. hating them. No wonder they eventually break down!
  • “I am nurturing my mind by keeping it open to new, positive thoughts and ideas and releasing the negative ones that don’t serve me.” Our negative self-talk is vicious and defeating. I do it, my friends and family do it, strangers I pass on the street are doing it. How do we escape it? Simple…. just stop doing it (oh, if only it was that easy…..). Our habits are created over lifetimes and are incredibly difficult to break. The only way I know of to move beyond the habitual patterns is to first become aware of them. Catch ourselves in the act and just notice that we’re doing it. Then, aspire to change and practise pivoting or changing the channel. I’ve found that, with practise, I’m catching it earlier and earlier, which has prevented a lot of the suffering that comes from following the negative storyline. As one of my fave teachers, Pema Chodron, says, “Stop kicking the wheel.”
  • “I am nurturing my spirit by surrounding myself with loving, vibrant, positive energy.” It is not only ok, but essential that we carefully select who we spend our time with and what energy we allow into our sacred space. If a person or activity lowers your vibration with negative or chaotic energy, reduce your exposure to them/it. Spend as much time as possible with people and engaging activities that raise your vibration and enhance your energy. And for those times when exposure to negativity is unavoidable, use it as a path to practise loving kindness for yourself and others by not getting hooked in. Joining someone in their negativity doesn’t reduce it. It only increases it and makes it stronger. I imagine a blissful pink bubble surrounding me with the negative energy bouncing off my bubble in an almost comical way. It really helps to keep it simple and light. You’re welcome to borrow my pink bubble anytime you want.
  • “I am enough, just as I am.” You don’t have to “do” to be enough. You are enough just by “be”ing. Any thought that says otherwise is a big, fat lie!
  • “I am brave.” Remind yourself of all the times you were scared and did it anyway. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” In other words, it isn’t brave if you’re not scared.
  • “I am loved and love others.” Picture all the people you love and bathe them in loving green energy. This practice will increase the love you carry with you, always.
  • “I am universally intelligent.” Think of all the times you made decisions or solved a problem that led to a great outcome. We all make mistakes and do stupid things, but the ability to recognise it and aspire to change, shows enormous intelligence. Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

So, when you catch yourself struggling to find joy, remember to just change the channel.

Namaste 🌈🕉

Moving Forward

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 🕉

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. 

Newton’s Laws of Drama….I mean, Motion.

Lately I’ve become very interested in Physics and how they relate to my marriage.  Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion seem to coincide nicely with the nature of drama.  Bear with me as I explore this further.

Newton’s 1st Law of Motion, called the Law of Inertia, says that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.  Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion (Force=mass x acceleration) says that an object with a certain velocity maintains that velocity unless a force acts on it to cause an acceleration, which means to me:  Love=emotion x drama.

Here’s an example of how these first 2 laws apply to my relationship:  When everything is going smoothly in my marriage, and I actually allow that to continue, my marriage is a happy one (at rest = no drama).  However, my nature is to not let this last for very long.  I can become quite an “unbalanced force” (thank you menopause!) and will abruptly change the speed and direction of our lives without any consultation, whatsoever, with my husband.  This acceleration greatly changes the velocity of our relationship.  He’s expected to just keep up, no questions asked.  As you might imagine, this creates a wee bit of tension.  I’m not entirely sure where this insatiable need for drama comes from.  I get that a lot of it is just simple hormonal surges, but surely there’s more at play here.  I know plenty of menopausal-aged women who seem quite balanced and content.  Are they all great actors or is there a tendency toward drama that’s more pronounced in some and less in others?

I spend a great deal of time analysing this drama phenomenon.  I’ve discussed this with a lot of my girlfriends, who all agree there is something quite seductive about a good dose of drama, although as grown women we’re not supposed to feel that way anymore.  In the absence of any real drama in our own relationships, we find others’ drama quite delicious.  I guess that helps to explain the gossip connection.  But what is the actual (or perceived) payoff in engaging in a good dose of drama?

Historically, for me, it served many functions.  It staved off boredom.  I was taught well by chick flicks that contentment and an easy friendship with a man are NOT sexy.  Nice guys who adore and cherish us are booorrring. I was trained to believe that lots of conflict and drama in a relationship creates passion, which in turn equates to true love. And let’s not forget the thrill of the chase.  Being unsure about how someone feels about you and the insecurity that comes with it causes that flip-flopping feeling in the stomach which is often mistaken for love. When, suddenly, all that adoring and cherishing goes away, it is all you can think about and all you want. The animal-instinct to chase it ensues.  Then there good old-fashioned self-doubt.  I had the very wrong idea that I didn’t deserve adoration and cherishing.  I thought, eventually, he’ll figure out that I’m not so great after all and split.  I decided the best answer was to drive him away by being the worst version of myself and then I would get the added benefit of “victim” drama.  This is where I get to whinge to all my friends about what a jerk he was (and they would all agree) and I never had to look at my own culpability.

I’d like to tell you I’ve matured and have no more need for all this drama.  Well, that’s just not true.  I don’t engage in it the same way I used to, but it’s still a factor.  This leads me to Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion:  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I like to call this, “The Pissing Contest.”  It looks something like this…..  He’s being grumpy and I ask him why he’s so grumpy and he says he isn’t grumpy, that I’m being the grumpy one.  I tell him I was perfectly happy until his grumpiness caused me to become grumpy.  He says he was perfectly fine beforehand and is simply reacting to my grumpiness.  On and on it goes until we’re not speaking to each other anymore. Hours turn to days and days turn to weeks.  The drama phenomenon has been activated.  My husband knows me all too well and that I’m likely packing my bags in my head.  Old habits die hard, I reckon.  He’s come to expect that and no longer really worries that I’ll actually leave.  At this point, I’ve usually forgotten what I’m even angry about, probably because there was no good reason to begin with.  In my head, of course, I’m using the tried and true anthem of the 4 year old…. “but HE started it!”  My overdeveloped pride keeps me from just calling a truce and apologising, although for what I’m not really sure.  I’m ashamed to admit that it’s generally him who puts down the sword and comes forward with all that annoying logic and reason saying that it doesn’t matter who started it.  Isn’t is more important to just be happy?  Isn’t that what we all want?  Ironically enough, we were happy before all this unnecessary drama started.  Why this ridiculous detour?

There’s only one answer…..Physics!