Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Eckhart Tolle has several themes that run constantly through his teachings. To reach our spiritual selves we need to overcome the ego, which includes the story of "me". We need to leave behind ideas of past and future. We need to recognise the emptiness and meaninglessness of deriving pleasure from objects.
I have come to understand that being part of the natural peace and joy within each of us, we must be prepared to surrender all we know, all we believe about ourselves and the world. By being prepared to surrender all this, we can access the inner peace, and stillness that Eckhart Tolle is pointing toward.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Finger Pointing at the Moon

I apoligise for my long absense. It is a busy life.
The Eckhart Tolle group that meet in South Sydney has changed locations, and after a break while I was on holiday, we have started meetings again. Here is what came out in our first get together after our interval.
Eckhart Tolle speaks about Buddha in his book A New Earth. He quotes him "The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon". And it is in this way that Eckhart Tolle leads. He himself is not the light to which we head toward, but with a clear voice, he is someone who can point out a way.

At the close of the well known book The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho this author states," Well, let's distinguish religion from spirituality. I am catholic, so religion for me is a way of having discipline and collective worship with persons who share the same mystery.
But in the end all religions tend to point to the same light. In between the light and us, sometimes there are too many rules. The light is here, and there are no rules to follow this light."

So, it doesn't matter what vehicle you use to find the light and happiness, the purity and peace. The light is the goal, set your sights firm and use whatever inspires you to gain it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Cheats Mothers Day Blog.

I found this from Writer Dad - a mothers day poem.
For all the Mum's out there, enjoy your day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mind mapping-Get your Head around it

I was recently reminded of the process called Mind Mapping. I had done one or two mind maps in the past, specifically related to my business, but not since. It was pointed out that the mind map can be used for all sorts of problems, situations and dilemmas, not just business.
The mind map is an alternative to the list, and allows a greater free flow of ideas without classifying them in any good or bad groups.

How it works is: take a piece of paper, and in the middle of the page you put your situation (eg. Wedding, divorce, kids education, hate my job, holiday, writing a book), with a little cloud drawn around it. From there you put down all the thoughts that come to you about your topic. Some will be about the practical implications, and some may be about the emotional, people effected, possible problems. You will find that they take on a certain order, as your thoughts run in a line, which link ideas together, or in a different area.

The mind map allows you to release a jumble of ideas, and see them before you. You should be able to see a trend, what areas of the situation are most pressing, or help you to set a plan of action. It is very cathartic, and totally helpful.
Having just been reminded about the mind map, my ex husband had an accident. The implications were a bit scary. Also my son quickly accused me of not caring, as he looked to me to discover how to respond to the news, how to feel. I really wasn't sure how I felt. So I did a mind map of the situation. Wow. I had nearly fifty entries of possible outcomes, effects, fears, worries and sympathy. It really helped to see how much there was to be concerned over, and I felt justified in feeling a bit frightened. I also could tell my son exactly what I felt, having got my head around it, and was able to help him with his feelings, too, since he didn't have the benefit of the mind map!

There wasn't anything too positive I had written on the
page, which is unusual for me. But after 45 entries I suddenly realised something reassuring. We would be alright, whatever happened, or how things changed, we would work it out. And that is what I told my son.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Does our own image taint the way we see the world? Artist Sarah Smuts Kennedy's work, Manifestation and Revelation (2003) suggests it does.
A picture of large, open, cupped hands are the feature of this work. Placed deliberately behind reflective glass, when you approach the picture your own image is reflected there. It is a reminder that our self image often gets in the way of seeing what actually exists. You are forced by the picture to make an effort to see the hands unimpeded by our own self image.

In the same way our thoughts and opinions often inhibit our view of the world. Objects and people are labelled good or bad, ugly or beautiful, like or dislike. When we see the world only reflected through our opinions we fail to see what just IS. The reality, and its innate beauty of being, obscured.
Looking at the world through our labelling system also leads to a series of emotional ups and downs, and dissatisfaction. If we can stop ourselves from generating a constant stream of opinions, we can see our world as it exists, and live with a sense of general contentment.
Eckhart Tolle has some ideas that help to see how this works. Ultimately our ego, and maintaining our strong sense of self, is behind the need to see the world reflected through our opinions of it (that is, how we relate everything back to us). By overcoming the ego, and gaining control of it, we also gain the ability to see the world as it exists, and find satisfaction .
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle expands on these concepts. This link takes you to his website.
Sarah will be exhibited at John Paynter Gallery in Newcastle NSW 15th-31st of May 2009. You can find some of Sarah's other work at this link, although I couldn't find the hand picture I mention above, which I had seen on the Sunday Arts program dated 29/03/09.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing.

Yesterday I tired my children out by taking them on 4 trains and two ferries, played for hours at the huge play area at Darling Harbour, and splashed a lot in the numerous water features there. My daughter fell asleep on the way home in the car (she had arisen at 5am that morning, after all) and could not be roused. My son and I stayed up playing Wii and watching rubbish television, too tired to achieve much else. He went to bed at 830pm. Although my eyes were ready for bed, I couldn't resist wanting my last cup of tea, and watching one show, just for me.......Then my daughter woke up, and Playschool came on, and that is what I got to watch before bed. I pulled the words out I had been saying for the last few days to myself - I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
Anyone will tell you I am a very busy person, with always something to do, and be occupied with. In fact, the one clairvoyant I have ever seen told me, that I am not a person who wastes a moment. There is nowhere that I go that I don't take something with me to read, or do while I wait. This, of course, translates to IMPATIENCE. However, as I say, the above words have been soothing me as I hung with the kids over the holidays. Whenever something came in to my mind that I could be doing, or watching or reading, or writing, I just reminded myself that here, with my children, hearing, seeing, being with them, was what I am supposed to be busy doing.
Where did this come from? Eckhart Tolle. I was listening to one of his recordings, where he explained how people waste their time wanting to be in moments that do not exist yet, in the future, instead of being in the present moment. And when that future moment actually happens, they are not present then, either, as they are already looking out toward the next moments. Eckhart Tolle used the example of taking a drink of water, which he supposedly did in front of his unseen audience. He said, that even as many take up the glass to drink, they are looking ahead to having drunk, as they drink, they are looking toward the moment when they replace the glass on the table. This gives a person a constant feeling of disastifaction as they are NEVER experiencing what they want, as it always lies in the future. Tolle suggested that what we are doing THIS MOMENT is what we are supposed to be doing, nothing in the future, nothing other than just this. And it even works for me, who is always thinking of ways to do more. Yesterday I lay in the sun, as my children played, and thought, this is exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly this, and enjoyed it.
For more on resistance see this previous post.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Choosing Happiness for Kids

So, we are half way through school holidays. There has been a week of pancakes, lollies, chips and sausages, AND holiday house, beach, movies, friends, staying up late. Yet my 7 year old son still pulls out the sad face when I say no to one of the many requests for more throughout the day. “I'm bored.” “You never let us have anything special.” “Holidays are supposed to be fun!” And once again Mummy tries to explain the choice of happiness.It hits me that my boy thinks its easy for me to choose happiness – I'm an adult with no one telling me what to do. I can do whatever I like. So I explain that everyone has to live within certain limits. My limits are the need to work to pay for our living costs, I have to do as my boss says so I can continue to be payed. Where we live, car we drive, things we have, holidays we can experience are limited by our means,. I am also limited by taking care of my children, what I can do, when, where. Thus I live with certain limits, but choose, within those limits, to live happily – to be satisfied, not fight against my limits, and so live in ease. My children, I point out, have the limits set by me, but within those limits still have freedom to be happy. Fighting the limits, never being satisfied with what they have, or what they are doing is just a chosen perspective that leads to unhappiness.
The 7 year old said he understood, but he could have just been trying to shut me up, so we could get on with doing something more fun.
Interested in learning some practical ways to be happy, and live in south Sydney? Check out this post for information about my Practical Happiness Workshop.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fathers Call

Probably shouldn't have been there, but I took the kids out for a little night time ride on the bikes, while we are on holidays. I heard a raised voice, and found the source at the public phone box, just where my son decided to do slalem around the poles, extending our time nearby. I hurried us on, not wanting to intrude on this man's conversation, but not before I heard him say forcefully that “I could easily jump off a bridge, I am feeling that bad – but I wont do that....” before we rode off.
It made me sick to think of his situation, and it is not a feeling I am unfamiliar with. Was this man a single Dad, arguing about how his life has changed through seperation, with his ex wife? I don't know, but did leap to that conclusion. Even if I was wrong, the incident had me thinking of the men that are out there, just bereft, confused, and alone. Men do not always have the means to communicate their needs and fears, encumbered as they can be with an old male standard of strength. But that standard does not help them much faced with the loss of their family.
Perhaps it can be easy to write off another's feelings, or undermine them, because of some wrongs they have does us, but these men are still the father of our children. A child's idea of men, their roles as parents and partners, all go toward their development into healthy, happy individuals. Supporting fathers is an important way to support our kids.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Practical Happiness Workshop

I am running a Practical Happiness Workshop during May for those of you who may be wondering how to achieve greater happiness in life. The workshop will be run over three weeks, three meetings of two hours each conducted in the Southern area of Sydney, commencing the 13th of May.

We will look at many hands on ways to promote a happier, more calm, centred lifestyle.
If you are interested in making positive changes in your life, please email me for course details, and to register.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eckhart Tolle.

Last month I had the good fortune to be present for one of Eckhart Tolle's presentations in Sydney at the Convention centre, Darling Harbour. He is the author of The Power of Now, and A New Earth, and speaks about living in the moment, and about the disruptive power of the Ego. I wrote an article about the presentation, which you can now see in Nova Magazine-a free spiritual magazine. It is available on line, at this address http://www.novaholisticjournal.com/

In the process of writing the article, I found another way to access Eckhart Tolle, and that is through Silent Group Meditations. I have since become a registered fascilitator, and am conducting group meditations in Illawong, south Sydney. The next will be held on Wednesday the 6th of May, 6.30pm.
During these get togethers there will be a time of silent meditation, then we will listen to a recording of Eckhart Tolle's, and close with further meditation. There will be a brief period for light discussion afterwards, but this will not be extensive, as the idea is to quietly absorb the insights, and create and maintain peace within. The evening will be 2 - 3 hours in duration.
These groups are an opportunity for an evening of quiet group meditation, and to share many of the Eckhart Tolle insights into inner peace, the Power of Now, universal consciousness, and A New Earths' concepts of Ego.
Come along and perhaps find the keys you may need to move forward on your spiritual journey, or just enjoy the dynamic experience of group meditation with like minded people.

Please send an email to info@openeyed-meditation.com for further details, and to book a place, or phone me on 0422 801 981.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Empower Yourself

I am fairly typical of the trend now to have children late, and I have found myself wondering how I am going to stay healthy and young enough to enjoy my children and grandchildren, when I am already in my forties. (My daughter is still in pre-school!) So, the title of the book Strong Women Stay Young, by Miriam E. Nelson did grab my attention.
Nelson writes, from a doctors perspective, about the loss of bone density which is common in the aging body. What astounded me is that you can build bone density back up. How amazing is the human body?! To do this, you need to do weight bearing exercises, and Nelson goes on to show which exercises will do that, what equipment you will need, and how to do them at home. You only need to exert yourself twice a week, and although the author claims it will only take half an hour, I can only get the workout down to 45 minutes.
Do I like doing this? NO. But I feel great! I feel strong. Everyday I have reason to acknowledge my strength as I pick up a child, carry the shopping in, walk the hills in my local area, or set up camp (while pursuing my newest interest, camping).
This strength gives me motivation to keep up the twice weekly effort. I also find making my health and body's longevity a priority really supports my self esteem and self respect.
So, some weight training can both strengthen your emotional being as well as your physical being.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Self Respect Infusion (3)

So how do you create self love and self respect if you are currently live without it? You may be surprised to discover that the more you do for yourself the more self respect you will begin to feel, and the healthier and happier choices you will make for you. Creating respect for yourself and greater happiness in your life can just be a matter of making some practical changes to how you live. When you begin to live with you as a priority, you start to feel it, and believe it – then you are on the slippery slope to self love and respect.

Here is a Self Respect Infusion you can try for a week, and see how life improves for you.
Step 1. Avoid anyone who is generally negative, or puts you down for the whole week. If you have friends or work mates like that, avoid them or be too busy to see them for the week. If you live with someone like that, spend as little time in their company as you can. Just make excuses, its only a week. When you have spent some time without having to ward of negativity, or protect yourself from another's put downs, you will feel refreshed. A break from these type of people will help you to get some space, and recognise how much nicer and easier life can be. ( If you like this feeling, you can down grade some friendships and pick up some new ones that are more pleasant and positive. Or you can initiate some changes in a relationship that is bringing you down.)

Step 2. What do you really enjoy doing? Put a note in your diary to do this pleasant thing everyday for the week. Make sure you do it – make it a priority. Get up early to do it, if you have to, or leave the vacuuming. Spending more time on something you really enjoy will inevitably make life more pleasant. When you spend some time making your happiness a priority it will start to have a positive effect on you, and you will begin to feel you have a right to a little something nice for you. (If you like how this feels, begin a new habit of making the time to do something that makes you happy everyday. See an earlier post for tips on success building new habits.)

Step 3. What are the most important things in your life? List the top two. Now put a note in your diary to work on them each day for the next week. If it is family for you, set time aside to be together, or do something together. If a group, a pet, or keeping fit, church, put something in your diary to spend time building on that priority. Spending the week focusing on the people, relationships, or areas that are most important to you will bring the benefit of strengthening your connection, and commitment to these things. It helps to give you direction, and focus on the things you identify yourself with. (If you like how this feels, as above, make a new habit to regularly engage and strengthen the bond with those important things in your life. Also, the Open Eyed Meditation directs some attention to this area of your life, which helps you to keep those important things in mind through your day, positively effecting the choices you make.)
If you feel that you don't have time to do these things for yourself, here's a list of ideas that can buy you some time: (and when you choose to make that time, you reinforce your commitment to yourself, helping to build self respect.)
Get up early.
Don't clean the house for the week.
Don't go to the gym.
Don't switch on the TV (at all, or until later)
Check you email just once a day, and
Limit phone calls, and the time spent talking.
It is just one week after all, and the Self Respect Infusion just might be a turning point for you and how you see yourself. Who knows where it could lead.
Make a comment, and let me know how it feels after giving yourself a one week Self Respect Infusion.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Life with Self Respect (2)

In my last post I identified some life patterns that are not in our best interests, and that are signs of a lack of self respect and self value. Now I want to look at what behaviors a person with respect for themselves looks like, so we can have an idea of where we want to go, which will give us a guide for change. Becoming aware is the first step in creating change. So - What does a life look like when a person respect themselves and value themselves?
People who do respect themselves will:
1.have positive, supportive people around them
2.spend a lot of time doing things they enjoy and brings them happiness.

3.do few things they 'ought', 'should', 'have' to do
4.accept the things life throws at them, and make the most of it, somehow always landing on their feet
5.find positive solutions when dealing with lifes challenges
6.will not have priorities in their lives and rarely spend time on the important aspects of their lives, letting them fall apart
7.find ways to grow and develop
8.always know their priorities and put them first
If this sounds like other people and not you, do not be disheartened. The above is just a matter of choice, and you can choose it from this moment forward. By simply living as though you have self respect, you will learn to have it in reality. In a later post I want to suggest some practical ways to gain self respect.
Meditation is a great place to start change the way you feel about yourself. Open Eyed Meditation is a really easy way to learn meditation and helps to inspire inner strength.
If you are a single mother, you may want to look at The Spiritual Journey for Single Mothers. A great package filled with ways to drop negativity from life and become positive and happy

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Life without Self Respect (1)

Sometimes we have life patterns that are not in our best interests, and I thought it might be useful to identify some of those types of patterns. In recognising some in our own behavior, we can make a plan for change, and build happier more stable lives. Becoming aware is the first step in creating change. So - What does a life look like when a person does not respect themselves or value themselves? People who do not respect themselves will:
1.have people arount them who are negative or bring them down, and make them feel bad about themselves
2.spend more time doing things they don't like, than they do
3.be driven by things they 'ought', 'should', 'have' to do
4.resist the things life throws at them, feeling how unfair life is
5.worry, stress and feel like victems when dealing with lifes challenges
6.will not have priorities in their lives and rarely spend time on the important aspects of their lives, letting them fall apart
7.continually put themselves in situations that hurt them
8.go over and over bad things that have happened to them in their minds
If you are able to see yourself in some of these points, you may want to make some changes so you can become happier, more centred, and calmer. In later posts I want to suggest some practical ways to address these behaviors. However, in my next post I want to discuss what the alternative looks like.
Meditation is a great place to start change the way you feel about yourself. Open Eyed Meditation is a really easy way to learn meditation and helps to inspire inner strength.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dinner Challenge

I knew there would be a drama tonight – I had cooked something new! My 7 year old raged, hated and spat. Because I had an idea this was coming, and because I had had a lovely, quiet day to myself, and had decided to have a glass of wine, I was not disturbed by the school child tantrum. As he raged and rolled and cried, I was cool and uneffected. And afterwards, when it was eaten and hunger was sated, there was smiles and laughter from the angry young man. “Yes, I want to go for a ride, too.”.And I thought as we all peddled to our favorite face painted tree, and over the bumps in the ground my daughter enjoys challenging her bike with, how much better when I did not engage in the children's temper. How quickly it was over. How much less anger in our world
Although I do it regularly – meet the kids anger and rage with my own anger - I know it is ridiculous. Children have less control of their emotions, and I am supposed to be the adult, who is expected to deal with her emotions – and teach her children to deal with theirs! Tonight I got it right, but mostly I fail, which feeds my guilt.
I will never believe that there is a greater challenge in life than being a parent. And nothing more rewarding than when I get it right. (Which happily happens too).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking In

It's another woman, alone again after another disappointing relationship outcome. Her children and she will be on there own again until the cycle starts over. In an age of self help books and radio and television shows, it is surprising how many are still in trouble. The answers are there for the searcher. Yet if we are not caring enough about ourselves and giving ourselves value, what is there to motivates us to seek these answers? The value can't come from others or things. It is such a cliche, but the only place to gain value is from within us - the rest is shaky ground, inconstant. But what is the motivation to begin to give yourself credit, and value? Well, I guess some never find that motivation. I found it in my children, but now the happiness and steadiness of my life is the reward and incentive for valuing myself.

Meditation is one way to make a start on honouring yourself, and to raise self esteem. Check out Open Eyed Meditation for an easy way to start meditation.
And if you are a single mother, you could have a look at the Spiritual Journey for Single Mothers. Packed with ways to eliminate negativity, and find happiness on your journey.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Step into the Chaos.

On the way to dancing, when we go the back way, we encounter a set of old sandstone steps. They are of the old style - large, weathered blocks, and worn where so many have tread before. At the bottom there is no path, just a blanket slope of dirt, and messy berries, twigs and leaves fallen from the tree to the left. Its great grey trunk is gnarly and pockmarked, but friendly in the sense that it is so climbable. It always feels mysterious and exciting to come the back way, and to walk through this isolated pocket of space that clearly no one is bothering with, or claiming. For the moment, it has escaped the tidying, leveling, modernising that surrounds it.
An analogy suggests itself, that these steps and the undefined space that lies at their base is a little like life. Mostly there is order, predictability, even continuance in life, yet we will always encounter areas of disorder, uncertainty and,
surprise. How do you feel when you step off the sandstone steps? Are you annoyed irritated, worried about your shoes – do you think something should be done to tidy this area up? Or do you find it stimulating, interesting and exciting when the path becomes less defined?
Step down of the step – let your resistance and need for control go, and open yourself up to what is being offered.
For further on resistance click here. And this.

The Garage Speaks.

It's a two car garage, but has only one small green car in the centre. That's not to say it is empty – it is not. All around the edges of the room is our stuff, and although it is dark I can see the orderly piles. Nothing is moving in here but me, and an ant that scurries around in manic circles at my feet.
There is a dense physical silence, and yet in every direction I turn my gaze, things speak to me. The camping gear, in piles of kharki, call out to remember the mellet for the weekend camping trip. The large, sagging blow up water toy begs to be let down and stowed away. Any number of sad pieces of furniture bleat their need for a new home, and a dusty black hunk of machinery wonders if I will ever get fit again.
I find the keys, get in the car and happily select reverse. I press a button and the door slides down and cuts the garage off – mid sentence!
If you have jobs that are hounding you, either sell it, give it away, throw it away, clean it, stow it, pack it. The negative energy that is triggered for you everytime you think of that chore is toxic. See an earlier post for taking the chore out of chores.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Days Colour

Driving by, my attention was caught by a tall, neat woman waiting at the bus stop. She stood just to the left of the bus shelter, a discreet distance from another waiting passenger. Dressed for work in sensible office attire, I was about to see her nonchalant expression collapse, as a black cat approached her. And, in that way that cats have of rubbing up against your ankle, using even their tails to curl around your leg, the cat touched her.
The working woman threw her hands up to her face, not before I glimpsed the circular change to her mouth. Although I couldn't hear it from the car, she must have let out a cry, for immediately she was speaking to the other passenger, gesturing to the cat and clutching her heart. Smiling and laughing.
I wondered if the colour of her day would change as a result of the unexpected exchange. I hoped so as I drove on.
You can change the colour of your day by meditating when you first wake up, or think positively on the things you have to look forward to in the day. Bridging the distance between yourself and others can give you a little lift, so don't be afraid to smile at a fellow passenger in your day, or make a pleasant comment so you can have a chat, or offer to help them with their load. It is surprising how the smallest interaction can colour your day.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Take the chore out of chores.

Find motivation for all those little jobs you hate to do. Time yourself when next you do the job and note the time in the back of your diary. Often as we avoid those chores that no one enjoys, the mind will exaggerate the length of time and energy it will take to complete. When we know exactly how long the job takes, this tactic no longer works, and resistance is reduced.
Now you have a better idea of just how little time your job takes to do, you will no longer need to put off doing it. If you find yourself avoiding that job again – check your diary. It only takes 5 minutes to knock that one off!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Flow Baby.

Does anyone else love that strange TV show Eli Stone? I think it just came about at the perfect time for me (the cricket season was on, and the ratings weren't) and gave me a lift each time I watched.

This weeks episode had a boy explain how much he enjoys swimming – that it is the only time he is not thinking, he is just there, of the moment. I think what he is expressing is what Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence – why it can matter more than IQ, calls 'flow'. This is a time when we are completely involved and engaged with an activety. To reach flow, we need to be doing something we enjoy and are good at, but at a level that takes our entire concentration. It may be knitting, but when you are working on a new pattern.
Perhaps, too, flow may be the same place expressed by Erckart Tolle in his book The Power of Now. The absense of thought of past or future, and a conscious absorbtion in the present moment.
I believe a great gateway to flow is through Art. I do mosaics, but am always trying something new with each project – new design, style, or tile.
Happiness could just be a case of recognising what creates flow for you, and actively choosing to give more time to its pursuit.
What creates flow for you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guaranteed Success in Creating Habits.

The habits we use daily can make a difference in our lives. They can either be unconscious repeated bad patterns of behavior (creating annoyance, irritation, unhappiness in ourselves and others) or they can be unconscious repeated great patterns of behavior (creating satisfaction, organisation and happiness in ourselves and others).
Perhaps there are some habits you would like to change, upgrade a bad habit to a good one. These are the tips Leo Babauta gives, as published by Timothy Ferriss:
1.Change only one habit at a time.
2.Write down your new habit, and when you will do it - time of day, or the trigger to do it. For instance, if you wish to always put your keys in the same place, your trigger may be when you get home.
3. Tell everyone you know, family and friends, even blog. Possible public humiliation is a key to maintaining motivation!
4. Keep those friends, family and blog updated on your progress. This to maintain the public humiliation component.
And I will add this one.
5. Never allow an exception to pass. If you miss your new habits' time, or trigger, go back as soon as you realise and set it to right.
So - what small behavior can you work on first. Remember to sit back and enjoy the satisfaction, in setting, committing and achieving your new habit, and the positive impact of an unconscious repeated great pattern of behavior on your life.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Get the Habit of Happiness.

There is one way to completely change your life, and that is through changing bad habits for good. The great thing about habits are that we do them automatically, we don't have to think about them and choose. However, bad habits mean we are regularly, without thinking, doing things that do not get us where we want to go, don't give us the results we want. But we can change habits. All we need to do is recognise the habits that are not working for us, find a habit to replace it, and change.

One habit you might like to consider changing is that of saying negative things to others. Speaking complaints. For one thing they bring others down. For another, they make a negative situation last longer, become bigger and more insidious, as you give the bad situation more and more space in your life, and allow others to associate you with the complaint. By stopping ourselves from speaking negatively, we just might reduce the amount of negative thoughts we have. Reduce negative thought, promote happiness, calm and contentedness. And we could all do with some of THAT.

Timothy Ferriss experimented with an bracelet sold specifically to stop this old habit. (And I am sorry, I can't quite locate it now, amongst all that he has written, but it is there on his site somewhere.) You wear the bracelet on one arm, and try to go 21 days without saying anything negative. If you do say something negative you have to change the bracelet to the other arm AND START ALL OVER AGAIN. Ferriss decided that it was a little vague – is negative a bit of a relative term? - so he decided you could relate a negative story to another, but you had to add the solution you had decided on to the end of you tale.

So, why not try it? Get one of those rubber bands that are everywhere at the moment, and try to wear it for 21 days in a row on one arm. Ferriss took 3 months to finally succeed in 21 days straight, so expect to struggle a little with it. You can choose which option you go with, no negative statements, or no negative statement without a solution punchline. Take notice of any changes to your attitude as you conduct this experiment (maybe a diary, or a moment before sleep) as it may inspire you to make more and more positive new habits in your life.

Good Luck. Of course, if you decide that you could do with further calm in your life, you can try meditation!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Divorce With No Bridge.

I once read that there is a certain connection between two people who have had a difficult relationship together. Like they are the survivors of a train crash, that only they know what it was like to experience. And that may be true for some, but for others it is more like two people in the same train crash having entirely different experiences of that same event. I have no doubt my ex husbands' view of our demise and then divorce is very different to mine. Not more or less closer to the truth, or better or worse experiences, just different.

It is as a result of our different perspectives that I could really relate to Elizabeth Gilbert's comments in her book Eat, Pray, Love.. She speaks about the lack of closure that is often felt after divorce. The feeling that there can never be forgiveness, that there is another person in the world who thinks so badly of you, and you will never get them to understand your perspective. An unresolved case, a nagging, gaping space that you can't bridge.

Elizabeth holds a ceremony, suggested by a friend, to try to remedy this open wound in her life. Ultimately she imagines the two higher beings - the purer soles - of herself and ex husband meeting on a higher plane to create peace, understanding, forgiveness and love between them. From then on, when she becomes conscious again of the difference in views between herself and her ex husband, she send their higher spirits up to sort it out, and releases the sadness.

Held back by our baggage, negative ideas and thoughts, and ego centred expectations, sometimes it's just not possible to get the closure to a relationship we need. It can help to know that other people experience this feeling of grief, and that there are some ways to get past it.

Take this link to try a Positive Change ceremony, and see how powerful a ceremony can be in releasing old negativity, and creating new positive energy. Or check out The Spiritual Journey Guide for Single Mothers if you want to find out how to be a happier as a solo parent. Want to know some good reasons to meditate?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just Do It.

I get that if you really want to make special/exciting/quality things happen in your life, you can't allow your time to be monopolised by petty chores like cleaning the house. But, as I sat to write a new blog entry, all that came to me was a need to do the dusting.

It seems to me that if there are situations in your life that are constantly giving you stings of annoyance, zaps of irritation, and pangs of guilt, it is just as well to get them done, fixed or cleaned and get back to a happy, productive life. Those irritating grabs of your attention, like dust an inch thick, serve to break good humor and exciting trains of thought (makes me snap at the kids, too).

We sometimes have to accept and accommodate our personalities. Personally I'm unable to think clearly in a messy environment. There is little point philosophising that tidying is not a high priority, because for me it is necessary to my being able to function effectively. So, I make it a priority, try to do it as quickly as possible, and make habits that keep mess to a minimum so that it takes up the least amount of brain space.

Thus, as I dusted, I considered these issues, and found I had a blog entry after all.

Cleaning as a back up job in these times of financial uncertainty? Check blog entry "Don't Panic - It's An Economic Downturn!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Change Your Life!

When it comes to Lifestyle Design, Timothy Ferriss must be the master. He lives very consciously, ridding his life of what is not necessary, productive or fun, and reducing to a minimum everything but the exciting.

I found Timothy Ferriss in a bookshop, in the pages of his best seller The Four Hour Work Week, and you can gain a huge shift in your approach to life by reading it. However, the book lead me to his website, and a world of amazing lifestyle changing information, and how to's. At www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog you can learn the art of letting bad things happen. The formulas for more output and less overwhelm. How to loose 20 pounds in 30days. How to change bad habits. How to learn a language in 3 months. The best swimming style. How to be more productive at work, and get more time at home.
Ferriss is constantly experimenting and logging his findings in lifestyle design, and it all makes for very entertaining and inspirational reading.

Find something to inspire you today, perhaps something from The Spiritual Journey Guide for Single Mothers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Delete Worry!

All the noise about economic downturn, and recession will no doubt cause a lot of anxiety, stress, fear and worry for many people. Apart from kepping our priorities first place in our mind, thought and action, and reducing stress by confronting our fears, What can be done?

If we look at how worry works, the cycles it creates, it is possible to recognise and counteract worry, which leaves us more able to come up with solutions to our problems. A book titled Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman incorporates many relatively new findings on the way the brain works, and how our brains and bodies respond to different emotions. Goleman shows that for real worriers, rather than thoughts that help find solutions, worry can keep us immersed in our problem. Unexpectedly, exaggerated worry can have a strangely soothing effect on us, and can become a habitual response to life's challenges. When a worrying situation comes up, the worry cycle makes us conscious of bigger, worse, scarier situations (that are extremely unlikely to happen) which in themselves take our minds off the real and present concern. In this way some of us have learned to sooth ourselves. However, this type of thinking does not produce solutions, leaves us in a mess of negative thoughts, and does not reduce the stress in our minds and bodies that can be so destructive.

The answer to avoiding long periods of worry or anxiety is through catching ourselves before the worry cycle begins, by learning the warning signs of rising tension. Becoming conscious and aware of how our body shows tension can be the best way to stop the worry cycle. Do your shoulders tense up? Do you hold your mouth tight, or hold your breath? When you feel YOUR signs of tension rising, this is the time to confront your worries with logical questions, before the worry cycle begins. Questions such as:
If the worst possible scenario happened, what would that mean?
How would I cope?
How likely is it that this worst case outcome will actually happen?
Is there any action I can take to prevent a worst case outcome?
Does it really help to go into worry meltdown?

This way it is possible to avoid a cycle of worry, which just leaves you helpless, and instead allows you to come up with responses that will resolve your situation.

Check out my last post if you are worrying about the economic crisis and your financial situation. And some things to remember when under pressure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dont Panic - it's an Economic Downturn!

It is easy to get caught up in the panic and fear that is running rampant through the media about the economic crisis. After all, heads of countries are meeting to discuss....... It's the worst downturn in.......... But there are ways to avoid the hype, and steer clear of the panicking stampede.
Take 3 steps to stop worrying about the economic downturn.
1.Face/name your fear.
2.Take action.
3.Have a back up plan.
ONE. Here is what you do. Read full article.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Calm under Pressure

Brian Houston, the pastor at Hillsong Church, has recently been speaking about performing under pressure. There is a great deal of pressure and stress at the moment, in this economic climate, and many worry about work and their financial situation. Under this type of pressure it is easy to make mistakes, hasty and panicked judgements, and allow health and relationships to suffer.

It is a good time, then, to remember the things in our lives that are our priorities. Those things that sustain us, and give value in our lives, such as family, friends, faith. Don't allow those priorities to fall or faulter in times of pressure and stress. Rather highlight them, and let them support and cushion you.