Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Trickiness of the Mind…

Have you ever had a really great idea just drop into your mind, one that would be really fun to do, or an idea of how to address a tricky situation, or a new way you could be with someone, only to find that when you wanted to recall it, it had gone?

One of the things I always say to my coaching clients is to make an instant note of these insights, these inspired thoughts, or our mind will spirit them away. It is not enough remembering you had to remember something, the old ‘tie a piece of string around your finger trick’, you have to remember the details. Two days ago I had a really inspired idea for the blog and, not following my own rules, didn’t write it down. I can remember actually saying to myself ‘I don’t need to write it down, it is such a cool idea I’ll never forget that!” And here I am wracking my brains for an inkling of what it might have been.

Why does this happen? Well, it has been my experience that as we grow and evolve as spiritual beings we also have a part of us, the ego, that does not want us to change very much. It is very happy with the status quo and feels quite threatened when we invoke change. It is almost as though it is on the lookout for any new idea that may involve change and, if it can, will snatch away the idea and bury it out of sight. This doesn’t mean the idea you had wasn’t a good one, for example the blog idea was brilliant - well I thought so :-) but it is sometimes that we simply cannot hang onto the ideas. They are on the edge of our consciousness, just as we can’t remember a dream two hours after waking even though it might be crystal clear when we woke.

So what’s the lesson in all this? Start to become aware of these drops of wisdom that come into your mind. And, know your own fallibility and write them down. A couple of months ago I wrote about the idea of following the One Inspired Thought. This is a reminder to capture them. You can’t follow them unless you can remember them. These Inspired Thoughts are often instrumental for change in your life. They can give you a way forward when you’re stuck, they can show you that you can create what you wish for, they can lead you to places you can’t even imagine right now.

So, carry a notebook with you, have a book by your bed for when you wake up with a great idea, or just tell someone you trust so they can help you remember. If you articulate the thought in some way it will stay in this dimension, if not it might just dissolve, be sneaked away by our personal saboteur, or be lost in the busi-ness of life. Capture it, act on it and see your world change.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Take 100% Responsibility for your Life

This idea is not a new one but it has been talked about a lot recently in light of the DVD The Secret and many other presentations in the media etc.

I was listening to a Jack Canfield recording and he told a great story that I feel answered the question that is often asked “How can I take responsibility for something that happens to me?”

An earthquake wiped out a freeway into Los Angles a while ago and driving into the city was horrible, long queues moving nowhere. During the chaos a local TV interviewed two people. One guy was complaining and arguing about the situation. All he could do was blame and he was very upset and having a terrible day. The second guy was sitting in his car very content. He had brought food and coffee, had a book to read and music to listen to, a warm rug in case it got cold. He had left home at 5.00am so he felt he had done all he could to get to work and that his boss couldn’t have asked more of him. He was dealing with the situation with calm forethought and a happy demeanour.

This simple story illustrates that you can take full responsibility in the way that you respond to a situation. After all, the dictionary definition of responsibility is 'the ability to respond’. The guy who was happy with his situation was dealing with the same set of circumstances that the guy who was unhappy. He had just responded differently. Instead of being the victim of the traffic jam he had done everything he could to ensure his experience was going to be ok. He had taken responsibility for his life in that moment.

Each time we complain/blame or are resentful about something or someone we are not taking responsibility for our lives. We can choose to act differently. We can choose to see the best in every situation, and respond accordingly.

I was contemplating this for a few days when I received some mail in the post in which one of my tax forms had been wrongly presented. Now it wasn’t my ‘fault’ I had actually filled them in correctly, but still I now had to deal with the fallout. In Spain, a foreign country and foreign language this is not the easiest. In the past this would have driven me mad and I would have spent the most part of a day bitching and complaining about the incompetence of everyone else but me! However, because I had been focusing on taking 100% responsibility I remembered, and in that moment chose to respond differently. I was calm, did not get angry and just worked out what I had to do and who I needed to talk with to sort it out. I have to report that never, in all the five years I have lived here has my experience with Spanish Officialdom been so easy. I responded with ease, and so did the tax office. By taking responsibility for my life in that moment I create a far better scenario than my blame/complain attitude of the past would have done.

Where in your life do you blame? Where are you holding resentment? What do you complain about? If you do any of these things you are not taking 100% responsibility. Until we do we cannot be the master of our lives. Fancy giving it a try? You have nothing to lose and, from my experience, a lot to gain. Your world is in your hands.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Ego and us

I was having this kind of grappling conversation on the net today with a friend about the ego and why it was how it was, and was it an illusion, and why do we have it, what is it’s purpose and maybe we should just get rid of it!

I was reminded of a story I heard from Ramakrishna, a highly respected Indian saint who lived in the 1800’s. He saw the ego as the coachman, and the Soul as the owner of a coach and horses. Because the coachman (ego) cannot see the owner of the coach (soul) sitting quietly inside he believes he is totally in charge. However, as the owner gradually but firmly makes himself known, the coachman, maybe reluctantly at first, relinquishes and drops the fantasy of control and eventually becomes content with the role of servant. It is the same with us. Our ego is sure that it totally runs our show, but gradually as we become more aware of our spiritual nature, our Soul, we can choose to come from our heart rather than be at the mercy of our egoistic responses. When this happens, the ego becomes a useful and essential tool for getting things done in the world.

To experience this physical world we need the right tools; the ego is one. As we follow our spiritual path, whichever it is, it leads us towards the knowing of our true Self, it helps purify the mind, and thus the ego. We become more aware of our divine nature. This does not destroy the ego but rather allows us to see it for what it is and no longer believe it is who we are.

A second part of the conversation was why? Why have this illusion, this ego, this separation? Big Question. Short answer – because only in this dimension of duality can God experience God. In the spiritual realm there is only One, and so the polar opposites, good/bad, right/wrong, hot/cold, love/fear cannot be experienced. The desire of the Universe to experience everything created the Universe as we know it. Our journey is the one back to the Oneness. That Oneness we see when we look deeply into someone’s eyes.

Whose eyes are looking out of today? The ego’s or the Self? Can you shift your focus to see the illusion, to see the truth? Can you revel in the play of this Universe?


Friday, March 09, 2007


I have a quite a few conversations recently with my clients about the concept of “everybody”. The ‘everybody’ I am talking about is the ‘everybody’ that is in our mind that acts as our internal censor.

“What will everybody think is if change my job again?”
“What will everybody say if I stop going to weight-watchers?”
“What will everybody do if I don’t fall in and do what they all want?”

Somewhere along the line we have empowered this everybody panel and they stand in judgement of us, censoring our thoughts, actions and decisions. We need their approval before we will do anything. Most often this is completely subconscious, we don’t consciously hand over our power, but it is what happens.

Once we start to become aware of our ‘everybody’ we can then start to make some changes. Take a moment, who is in your ‘everybody’ panel? Whose approval are you always trying to gain? Who is the person or people in your life that you feel most judged by? Now these people may or may not actually judge you, sometimes we can just think they do. But the main point is whether they do or not you are the one who can change this.

You can fire them from your ‘everybody’ panel. You can decide that you no longer need them to be your approval group. You can decide to take back your power and stand up, responsible for your world. One of my clients realised that he didn’t even have real people in his panel; it was simply ‘the world’. Once he saw this he could also see how it had no foundation, and could start to reclaim his decisions. Becoming aware of this pattern in your life is the first step to change.

If you truly wish to step out from under your ‘everybody’s’, start with the small stuff. Begin with a situation where it doesn’t feel like life and death, but more like testing the water. I realised when I first started living from my heart rather than letting ‘them’ make my decisions, that most often it was fine. If I truly spoke up and said what I wanted to do and owned the decision a lot of people in my ‘everybody’ panel, who I thought would disapprove, actually got it and said – ‘we only want you to be happy’. It was a revelation.

So who are you empowering, who's in your 'everybody' panel? Do you want them there? Or is today the day you start the process of change? Why not make today the day you put only your unconditional cheerleader up there – YOU.

Friday, March 02, 2007


I have just gotten back from a weekend in Basel where we went to the Fasnacht, a traditional 3-day carnival that starts at 4.00am on Monday morning. The lights go out in the town and a couple of hundred piccolo and drum bands strike up the same song. The most amazing thing about this (other than it goes on for three whole days) is the wonderful masks and costumes they all wear. Many have spent untold hours on making what are in fact works of art.

It got me thinking about the masks we all wear everyday. We have taken years creating these masks. For all of us at the beginning of our life we didn’t even know that we were doing it. Gradually, however, it begins to dawn on us that we do all wear them. Some of us wear them for fear of being judged and so create the mask of likeability. Some of us wear them so we will fit in and so wear the mask of conformity. Some of us construct a mask of different-ness so we stand out and can’t be compared to another. Some of us wear the mask of inability so no one will ask anything of us. Some simply hide behind any mask they can for fear of being seen. Others like to shine out and so have a glittery mask that catches people’s attention, and yet more put on the mask of indifferent excellence.

Whatever mask we wear is up to us. It is not particularly bad that we wear a mask but we do need to become aware of which one we wear and why. Masks can be useful if they are a conscious choice and we may need them in our interactions with the world. But, and this is important, never let them become who we are. When that happens they limit us and our potential. We stop seeing the bigger picture and begin to believe in the story behind the mask. Only when we become aware of the mask can we freely chose to wear it or like some of the participants in the carnival, take them off after one song and play unmasked, enjoying the freedom it gives and taking in the appreciation openly and joyfully.

What mask do you wear and why? Have you ever considered exchanging it for another greater, more expanded version? Or even taking it off altogether?
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