Blogs and Thoughts, by Alex Klokkaris
Coming home to your authenticity
How do you do that? Start by making a list of all the labels you’ve been given over the years and labels you’ve given yourself. Too fat? Too stupid? Not good enough? Not academic enough? Not ‘together’ enough? Maybe some positives will come up too.
Keep only the ones you like and that resonate. Delete or tear up the others. Writing them down and burning them safely under the sink is also transformational.
What if, residing inside of you already, are all the parts you want in order to feel whole. It may be that you do not feel connected enough to those parts of you. It is largely a process of remembering, especially that you are worthy beyond anything you could possibly imagine, - just be the pure fact that you are alive on this earth and doing your best.
That is more than enough reason to love and respect yourself exactly as you are. And not only that; but to celebrate yourself just for being you.
That is how you come a few steps closer to your true, unique and beautiful authentic self.
New Year 2022 - The way ahead is through
Having been through a turbulent six months in my own personal life, now emerging with so much more resilience and determination to get out the following message:
Wherever you are at, things can and will get better. Believe in the possibility of change. Then begin to take the steps forward, while at the same time releasing and letting go of what no longer serves. .
Even if not clear about any aspect of your path ahead, make space to listen to your deeper self ,and give yourself the time to be with your feelings during transitional phase.
Each step, no matter how it feels, is taking you closer to your next level of growth and resolution; Each step is part of a zig zag and not necessarily the assumed straight line our minds conjure up, on the road to wherever we want to get to.
One step forward two steps back... or so it seems
Even steps backwards are valuable. In fact they are necessary, because as we proceed forward, we sometimes slip into old behavours and reactions.
That is inevitable to some degree, as there are layers of each quality or theme we are working on. What to do when this happens, is not to use this as an excuse to berate ourselves – that old familiar ground.
Instead it’s more about gently taking note that ‘we strayed from our intention', then give ourselves instant forgiveness and even more love than usual… which may feel counter-intuitive.
Learning to drop negative self-talk altogether and be fresh to the next moment while renewing in current consciousness, our intention.
A common pattern is usually to carry this bad feeling into the day which then influences other decisions, thoughts, moods and behaviours.
Questioning the old paradigms
The old Behaviourist Psychology and religious models may work to some extent and with certain laws in our society… however their purist versions have their limitations.
The new paradigm invites us to look beyond the concepts of 'good and bad' and into noticing and asking ourselves whether this serves us, or whether something better would be so much more fulfilling and enjoyable in the long run; or maybe what's presenting itself is an opportunity to change unhelpful habits and form new life-enhancing ones, to take steps towards expansion.
What else enabled me to get through this period and stay relatively sane?! Some tips to share:
Self care, whatever form it takes, is a necessity, not a luxury! That’s rule number one, in little ways, making time for yourself to relax, journal, go into nature, spend time even on the phone with a good friend.
Your Tribe. If you don’t have much of a tribe, then reach out and explore groups, online groups, volunteering, anywhere where you find like-minded people and or activities to resonate. A handful of people who you feel understood by, who reciprocate support and love, rooting for you, and are there to help when they can.
If you are a giver, and judging from feedback and working with many of you, most of you are, practise receiving; remember giving and receiving is a two way flow of energy, so be open to gracefully receiving help and support when needed.
New year’s resolutions?
Ah, that’s old hat. (If they work for you, that’s great by the way). Or perhaps, if there was one, could it be to just be kinder to ourselves? Do what we can with what resources, energy, motivation we do have, and forgive ourselves for not completing all tasks on the To Do list (also old hat)
As an observer of life (and full on participant!) I am noticing that many people are shifting perspectives and values: Among those, many I talk to are more about awareness, wellbeing and quality of life, and less about needing to justify our existence through achievements.
There are always options, things can be adjusted, changes can be made to rebalance some of the old models no longer working in your life. Certain patterns, values and ways of being and thinking have served their purpose and now it’s time to work with the change that is waiting to happen, not against it.
The way to overcome something is to go through it
A few times the lyrics ‘nobody said it was easy’ came to me during the latter part of 2021. Yet that was and is a necessary part of it. The letting go. The facing the feelings, fears, anything that comes up. Most of us have had more time at home than before, more time alone, more time to think and to process.
Acknowledge the leaps and bounds you have taken already in your own personal development because of it. Give a chance to your new perspectives to develop and guide you forward. You know what that is for yourself.
For me, I am working towards being more effective by simplifying my life, further declutter, develop easy routines to keep on top of stuff, have a work-life balance, so watch out for courses on the subject. The aim, to have more time and energy for the things that matter in my life.
I am also learning to live more in the moment, but that's another blog for next time.
Be well, Happy New Year and may it bring greater peace, understanding, and a bit more sanity and compassion in our world.
Getting in Touch with Your Intuition and Higher Guidance
Do you sometimes get the feeling of knowing something without knowing how you know? An urge that doesn’t particularly make sense or a gut feeling that if acted upon brings us positive results?
What if we all had our own answers and all the resources within us right now? What if you could train yourself to tune in to the infinite intelligence and have answers revealed step by step for a lifetime of guidance?
We only use a small portion of our brain, and base our way of interpreting reality on our five senses. Yet we all have access to a tremendous resource that we are not trained to access, that is our own intuition, innate in all of us. Otherwise known as ‘gut instinct’, ‘a hunch’, a sixth sense, ‘small voice within’, ‘inner guidance’, ‘the inner voice’, amongst others.
Distinction between wisdom and intuition: Intuition is the data. Wisdom is what you do with it.
Where does intuition come from?
- The subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind holds all the information you have ever learnt or experienced. We can access old information and use it for our current purposes and used in a new way.
- The ‘collective consciousness’. This is a pool of information of thoughts, knowledge etc that we can tap into. We are connected in our thoughts with other people,e.g. becoming aware of someone looking at you and you turn around without knowing why you know
- The Superconscious or the Higher Self. It is called ‘Higher’ not necessarily because it is above us in any way; it is the part of ourselves that vibrates at a higher frequency than our physical self. Through it we can access information, power and resources. It has a timeless quality and transcends your normal perceptions and limitations of the ego self. It contains within it great fields of information and solutions.
“ If you take a boat out to sea and fill a glass half full of the liquid you are floating in, that glass would be identical in composition to the ocean from where it came. Although it is in a container, the glassful and the ocean ore one and the same. Part of your mind is a microcosm of an infinite ocean of wisdom and as such has direct access to it.’” (Born to Succeed, Colin Turner)
What blocks intuition?
Our conditioning has cultivated our reasoning side and under-developed our intuitive side. Often we ignore, override or dismiss intuition as it often comes in whispers, it is subtle; if we are not used to tuning into it, and so is easily missed and easily obscured. If inklings of intuition do come up, we often reason things out and the rational mind takes over. There is so much noise in our minds and the world, so many conflicting messages, that the voice of intuition is easily drowned.
The voice of intuition is either gentle or neutral, never forceful. Be aware of thoughts, feelings, dreams or even things like 5 people telling you the same thing!! Or it may come through more symbolically, look for these, they are different for each person and highly personal. Of course not everything will be hugely significant, it is not an exact science, just be more aware.
How do we access it?
Expanding intuition takes practice. The more you make room and listen to it, the more you will trust your own ability to receive guidance in your life from a deeper, wiser and more intangible part of yourself. Make space and time each day to tune into yourself.
Food for thought:
- Think of a time when you had a hunch or intuition to do something that didn’t fit in with logical, linear thinking and took immediate action. What did you notice?
- Think of a meaningful coincidence that has occurred in your life, where things flowed and happened without planning. What were the conditions that allowed this for you?
- Make a consistent effort to develop your intuitive side by using it more and more
Cultivating the art of stillness, sitting and giving yourself the time to listen to your inner whisperings. How could you incorporate that in your day?
- Train the left and right brain working together. The reasoning side to clarify, identify and research exactly what you want, then bounce it off our intuitive feelings (and not the other way round) Write down your question, wait until thoughts and feelings settle, breathe and allow an answer to come. Avoid censoring, just keep writing whatever comes. The more you do this, the more you will trust the process and the more effective results will be.
- Start training yourself to notice intuitive thoughts. In the next week, once you have a thought or inclination to call someone, do something etc. do it. Monitor what happens.
- Exercise. Write down a challenge you are currently struggling with. Write down all the main thoughts, angles and solutions, if any, that you’ve come up with so far. Then let it go, take a moment to breathe deeply and clear the questions of any emotion. Take another couple of deep breaths and feel that you are in a neutral place emotionally. Now start writing from your Wiser or Higher self. Whatever comes, do not censor it, even if it feels like you are making it up, go with it. When you have finished read it. What is the tone? Is it kinder, what nuggets does it offer? Practise this regularly, the more you do so and allow the wiser part of you to come through, the more it will freely express itself.
"Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out." - Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
So, take care of that flickering flame, and keep practising and cultivating intuitive thinking at work and in life!
Your Journal - A Treasure at Your Fingertips
Your Journal is a personal development tool. A space for keeping track of goals, insights and process. It enables you to slow down and reflect, get in touch with parts of you, you didn’t know existed! If you have not kept a journal before, you may feel a little daunted at the sight of all these blank pages! What do I write? How? Why?!!
Here are some suggestions, perhaps read through with a highlighter, decide which ones you will try out and put into action, perhaps choose the ones that appeal most:
- Number one rule is that there are no rules! Sometimes there are preconceptions about journal writing, e.g. ‘I have to write every day’ or write certain types of things etc. Use as you please.
- Write down your achievements and things you are proud of to reflect on when you are feeling down on yourself, keep adding to this list..
- Reflect on a current theme. Write out your feelings and thoughts around it. What, if anything has shifted? Insights? New ideas? Any quiet whispers from subconscious or intuitive self? Go inside for a bit, how are you feeling? Write down anything that comes up for you.
- Get into the habit of giving yourself 10 minutes, either when you wake up or just before you go to bed, or both, checking in and reflecting on things that stood out for you in the day, including personal successes. Or just, how am I doing? How am I feeling?
- Have your journal by your bedside to record dreams first thing in the morning. Avoid getting too hooked up with the storyline and trying to remember details. Write down what you remember and then focus on the essence. What was the main feeling? (Often, the subconscious communicates valuable information to us through our dream life.)
- How to avoid writer’s block: When you write, just write as if you are speaking to a good friend, counsellor or coach. Don’t worry about style or grammar, this is for you as a tool for connecting to yourself, understanding your process and developing awareness. Or just do bullet points, diagrams, whatever works for you.
- A space to observe patterns and identify themes. Observe how you do things and how you navigate life. Without judging, reflect back on the day and observe. If there is a pattern you want to avoid, write down what you were feeling, thinking, before, during and after. The process of conscious (non-judgemental) self-observation itself is a very powerful transformative practice.
- Ask a question you’re struggling with. Pause. Let go. Write an answer, let your Wiser self or intuition speak without censoring, as much as possible ‘get out of your own way’ and let it flow. Keep practising this and trust! You’ll be building your intuition muscles, accessing information from other parts other than just your conscious brain.
- An additional exercise to the above is to take the critical incident of the day that perhaps disturbed you the most and reflect on, How would I have liked to handle that incident? How could I do/think/say/react differently next time? If there was a gift or lesson in disguise for me here, what could it be?
- Gratitude: Write down 5 things you are grateful for every night. Pause and absorb the feeling, will release serotonin and dopamine which motivates us to take action. According to quantum physics helps attract positive solutions, goals and desires as you will be shifting your vibrations and like attracts like!
- While you’re in that state of gratitude, write down 5 things that haven’t happened yet and feel the positive feelings as if they have already happened, without getting too attached to outcomes. Very powerful exercise.
- Add inspirational quotes, visual images and anything that inspires you, remember this is your space, your tool for self dialogue, exploration, healing work, goals work and a space to encourage yourself and explore.
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior” – Christina Baldwin
“Writing in a journal each day, with a structured, strategic process allows you to direct your focus to what you did accomplish, what you’re grateful for, and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day, feel good about any forward progress you made, and use a heightened level of clarity to accelerate your results.” Hal Elrod
‘The Universal Law of Attraction’
Forthcoming lecture at ACL Colchester on Tues 26th February 2019
Details click here: ACL Lecture series
What exactly is it? Do we really create our own reality? If so, how?
Much has been said and written about the Law of Attraction, or Law of Resonance as it is sometimes known. In this workshop we shall look at the main principles and how you can begin to put them into practice in your own life to start creating results you want …. And learn more about ourselves in the process!
What if the reality we each experience was a reflection of the sum total result of everything we think, say and do?
And, what if, everything already exists, has already been created out there, and we ‘pull it to us’ or call it forth by adjusting our energy to match that which we want to attract?
“The power of your most dominant thoughts plus the force of your most frequent and intense emotions, equals the resonance of your personal energy field.” Sandra Anne Taylor, Quantum Success
Quantum physics has proved that everything in life is energy and vibrates at certain frequencies. This includes our words, thoughts and actions all vibrate at different frequencies according to what we are feeling, thinking and doing. Our personal energy moves outwards and connects with events and people of like resonance. Through this energy of matching and resonating, we are constantly creating, consciously or unconsciously.
Qualities of the Law of Attraction:
- The Unified Field, as it is sometimes known, is impersonal, does not differentiate between ‘good things’ and ‘bad things’. It receives our thoughts and reflects them back as experience
- Responds to our predominant thoughts and feelings especially the latter, above all else. Whatever you put your attention and feed it with thought and feeling, grows!
- Does not compute the word ‘no’ or ‘don’t want’, i.e. words or thoughts of negation. E.g. by saying, ‘I don’t want to fall over’, chances are you will fall over! Instead rephrase in the positive.
- Even things that you resist persist, because you are putting so much energy on the resisting! So lean towards the change and begin to embrace it!
- Responds most of all to our feeling vibrations. It is possible to change our vibrations by working on catching ourselves and choosing better-feeling thoughts.
- Since we are constantly creating either by default or consciously, it is important to train ourselves to be as conscious as possible in our thinking.
- To know whether you are on the right track, tune into your feelings in any given situation. If you are feeling bad about something, choose a better feeling thought, up a notch or two. Avoid trying to feel the other end of the spectrum if you are feeling really down.
- Gratitude helps greatly with shifting your energy and staring to change persistent negative thinking. Through gratitude, even for the smallest things, you are changing your frequency.
- Act ‘as if’. Think, feel and act as if you have already received what you have asked for. ‘Wear’ the energy, like wearing a new suit or dress, get used to it!!
- Give to others what you want to experience for yourself. E.g. If you want to experience safety, cause another to feel safe and secure. This is based on the idea that what you give to another, you create in yourself; in turn based on the idea that we are all interconnected.
- Watch out for signs of ‘paradoxical intent’ (Wayne Dyer’s phrase). This is when we want something but at the same time there is a conflicting value or feeling that is in the way. As far as possible, be clear and consistent with what you are sending out and be aware of any mixed messages/feelings or fears associated with the outcome you are working on.
- ‘At the end of the day, go through the events of your day. Any events or moments that were not what you wanted, replay them in your mind the way you wanted them to go.’ (Tip from ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne.)
So, how do we ‘attract’ events, people and things into our reality?
“The energy that creates the solution must be equal to the energy that’s caused the problem’ (Einstein) The energy, therefore, that you put out for the solution must certainly be different but equal in intensity.
- First get clear about what you do want. (as opposed to what you don’t want) Neale Donald Walsch calls it Intention Attention, i.e. the outcome you intend to produce
- Make this outcome as specific as possible.
- Visualisation is the process of creating pictures in your mind of a desired outcome. When you visualise create powerful thoughts and feelings of having it now. Begin to build a picture of it in your mind. See it, run scenes of it like a film on the screen of your mind, making it 3D and engaging your senses. You can even draw pictures, even simple images or symbols and words. Do a vision board. Anything that helps to focus your thoughts and arouse your feelings.
- Keep the outcome and feeling in mind for several weeks and return to it frequently without getting too hung up on the outcome. Don’t worry too much about the how. Take one or two obvious steps – remembering also to listen to non-rational steps from your intuition!
- Be aware of any blocks, e.g. thoughts and feelings that stand in the way. Process these (yes, easier said than done, plenty of help/resources out there…including Alex’s workshops!!)
- Now feel how you would be feeling if you were this or had this in your life.
- If you have trouble conjuring up the emotions, think of a time when you felt optimistic, confident, powerful, at ease or whatever emotions you want to associate with the new goal or situation. Write it down, spend time savouring it and imagining those thoughts, feelings and memories. Feeling is a fine-tuning, it magnifies the energy of what you want to experience more of by resonating with it.
Out with the old, in with the new: The Art of Letting Go!
Before the Xmas festive fever sets in, what would it be like to give yourself an early gift? When have you given yourself the opportunity to press the pause button, stand back, lay your year’s cards on the table, and give yourself the luxury of an hour or two to reflect, with a nice cup of tea (or mulled wine!) on what’s been great – or not, as the case may be – about the past 11 months!
What would it be like to sit down with 2018 on one side and your notebook on the other, and have a conversation with your year! “Hey, let’s just pause here. What’s been happening, what’s worked, what hasn’t, where am I heading?”
Your year's cards on the table
What have been your main events, hopes, disappointments, achievements and highlights? Where are you going with x or y matter in your life? To what extent are you ‘merely surviving’ To Do lists, paying the bills, doing your duties, with the odd distraction to keep you going? What are you shying away from, denying, procrastinating or ignoring that is calling out to you?
To what extent are you in touch with your values and what really matters to you? Are you living what you believe in, and what, in your heart, do you want? What have you done about it? If not, what’s stopping you?
You can go as deep or as superficial as you want with your year’s life review.
Our present creates our future.
The risk is that the busy-ness of life on the survival mode causes the more meaningful aspects of your life to be concealed beneath masses of everyday life clutter, duties, responsibilities and the permanent feeling of not enough; Not enough time, resources, money, love, satisfaction…. A gap forever trying to be filled in, often with endless distractions, while the future sits somewhere else, the time is never now, the conditions never quite right for the changes you know deep in your heart you want to make.
Result: ‘It’ never happens, you don’t get round to prioritising the things that will make your life easier and more satisfying. And another year passes by…
You deserve to live well now
We deserve more than that. As the ancient Greek Epicurians believed, living as well as we can is a priority – and we can do that within our current circumstances. The only time we have is now, and the seeds we sow today are the creation of our life tomorrow, incremental step by step.
Beware of a common cognitive distortion known as Black and White thinking, otherwise known as the ‘All or Nothing’ approach. Things are either going to be great or I will stay where I am immersed in my struggle. Either organised or disorganised, either diet or comfort eat. The change that will emerge as a result of your review does not have to be massive life overhaul. The most common clichés have an annoying habit of ringing true: One simple step at a time.
Our time-cluttered lives, stops us from engaging in things that matter to us, feed our soul and make life worthwhile; whether spending quality time enjoying company of good friends or loved ones; or having a go at creative work; or sitting back and listening to podcasts of your choice while soaking aching feet in a bucket of Epsom Salts. No time, no time, I hear you. My reply, or one of them: When you look back in ten years’ time at this part of your life, what regrets do you not want to have?
Letting go layer by layer
By all means, let us keep and enhance what is already working for us, but what of the things that are not working in our life? Most of us are natural gatherers, not only of stuff in a consumer-based culture, but also carry with us a trail of experiences, hurts, disappointments habits, physical, mental and emotional.
In what ways are we making our daily reality even more challenging that it should be? So then what do you need to let go of? (If it feels too daunting or massive, like forgiving someone, or on a practical level decluttering your home, it does not have to be done all at once, but in stages, letting go layer by layer.
While undertaking this process recently, the one thing I realised was holding me back most in having smoother experience of day to day living, was the sea of paper that seems to characterise my daily existence. It was coming to a stage that was affecting the quality of my work and interfered with my sense of wellbeing.
Taking myself through the process using strategies I teach, I was able to a) identify and review the pattern b)release and c) develop a new mindframe or a new habit, in my case re-training my inner teenager to put away and file a project or piece of work (and there are many in any given day) once I had finished with it. Through it, I developed greater positive habits of self-discipline; one of the secrets of success of resilient people, and people who enjoy a better quality of life.
Letting go of outmoded ideas
What is behind your resistance to change? For me, strange as it may sound, it was fear of being organised. I realised that I harboured an old outmoded belief – probably a conclusion I reached in my teenage years, deep down some sort of ‘belief’ that a tidy desk and organised paperwork kills spontaneity and creativity, which are qualities that I value – something that could not be further from the truth! On the contrary, as you can imagine, the space it has created in my office and mind gives me so much room for self- expression and developing new ideas and projects, I love it!
On a deeper level I know I need to let go of another layer of a root belief that life is a struggle, and begin to replace it with a much more attractive concept, of learning to dance with Life…
As you embark upon this personal development work, the layers seem, at times, endless. But with each stage of identifying, releasing and letting go, lightness, freedom and space for the new is generated. Building the new, however slowly or incrementally, comes hand in hand with letting go of what is no longer serving us.
Does that ring true for you? What limiting beliefs or unhelpful perceptions do you need to look at that are holding you back?
Before setting goals (next month’s theme) what fundamental basics in your life need addressing, adjusting or clearing?
A workshop on Letting Go on Sunday 15th December 2018 in Colchester, Essex, all welcome, please pre-book to secure your place. See Forthcoming Workshops page for details.
Finding our purpose - perhaps it's been there all along!
Q: Do we find or do we create our purpose? And if so, based on what exactly?
You may already have some thoughts and clues; to what extent have you given those inklings some space to come out and play, and be seen!
What inspires you and what holds you back?
What if, all along, the Universe and Life is preparing you with exactly the right challenges and experiences for the unfolding of your own personal fulfilment?
And what if, your whole life’s journey until now, even the bits that have been painful – and maybe especially these – are pointers to your bigger purpose and your own unique contribution in this world.
This process of discovery involves unpacking some things that are held – sometimes tightly – as limiting beliefs and your ideas about who you are and how you fit into the world.
As a precursor, our attachment to our ‘stories’ and our self-definitions based on our personal history, need to be identified and loosed up before we get to the essence of our purpose.
What if the resources, some lying dormant within us, are already there? What if we actually do have whatever we need in the here and now to begin to consciously pursue our purpose without further denial or procrastination?
Then the process of arriving home to our authentic and innermost self, to our true essence, becomes one of uncovering and allowing as opposed to an artificial cerebral process based on our perceived reality and self-biased interpretations.
The process involves letting go of identification with our self-defining stories and connecting to that space deep down which is guiding us forward towards our unique potential and personal evolution.
It's almost as if we have put ourselves in a space that is far too small for us and to break free we must face and break down old structures and paradigms and ways of being that do not serve our self expression, creativity and development.
Developing a vision of where each of us wants to go needs to be one that is connected to our true essence and values if it is to be sustainable and deeply satisfying.
If it was so that we can consciously create and connect to our own truths and meaning, what truths which you hold need to be adjusted, abandoned or created, for you to feel closer to who you really are? Not the stories you tell yourself but the innermost self that is connected to your own values and deeper essence. And how do you want your life to incorporate and reflect that?
The central theme around my own whole adult life has been around a search for meaning and purpose, and finally I am at a place knowing that I am doing the work. Looking back, I also realise that I had been doing ‘the work’ all along - as are you, whether you are conscious of this or not. Our current challenges are exactly what we need in order to get to the next zig zag step of our journey.
Part of that is sowing seeds in enabling others to allow to emerge and connect with their own vision.
It would be a pleasure to work with you on a sunny Sunday in June in the beautiful Tree Room oasis, in the heart of Colchester. A chance to put everything aside, give yourself that day, and focus on you. Hope you can make it. Sunday 4th June at the Tree Room Centre, Colchester, Essex. For more info please click Forthcoming Workshops
Intuition: The Intelligence of Your Heart
Your intuition is your own internal sat nav, a guidance system that can help navigate the complexities and challenges of life. Stemming from a deeper, wiser, more connected part of ourselves, it has its own language. Learning to recognise its subtle messages and trusting your gut feeling without allowing thinking to get in the way, will reap many rewards.
Your heart is the centre of your truth and its intelligence is much wider reaching than that of the rational brain. There is increasingly a rebalancing in human consciousness from heavily-based rational scientific thinking to the use of both the left and right brain, the rational and spiritual intelligence that is available to us. While we have been taught to listen to head, we are in danger of missing out on a whole lot by drowning out the little voice inside with the noise of everyday living and technology.
Although subtle, the signs are often felt in the body. Tune in to the body periodically throughout the day and learn to recognise your own unique signs. It may be a tingling, or a feeling in your stomach or a sensation, it may be a whisper or any of the five senses. Other times it’s just a knowing, a deeper knowing that does not come from deductive thinking but something much bigger.
Relatively recently, I had an urge to attend a random cultural function on my own. Despite initial trepidation, I turned up, and after just five minutes, found myself making a new acquaintance. What followed were a series of coincidences that led me to meeting some great people who are now dear friends as well as leading to lots of paid freelance work!
- Put out a question, based on a dilemma, something that’s bothering you, say it out loud.
- Say out loud: ‘My head says…’ and complete the sentence. Repeat with three similar sentences.
- Now place both hands on your heart, take a couple of deep breaths, get yourself into a neutral space and say out loud, ‘My heart says….’ Completing the sentence, repeat with three similar sentences.
When you are in the middle of emotional turmoil or stress, the frequencies you emanate are many and mixed and it is difficult to tune into wisdom and truth. Silence, prayer, meditation, a walk in nature, anything that helps to quieten the mind and emotions is helpful. Once you’ve calmed the wild seas, then in a quiet moment ask your question and know that your guidance will come.
So, get yourself into a quiet neutral space, tune on your internal radios and get ready to listen to the broadcast. And most of all, trust what you feel, the more you trust, the more your intuition will work for you.
Coming Out of the Closet: Creating Personal Value at Work
Whether working days are spent in an environment of openness and learning, or still confined by rigid structures, it remains a personal choice to take the reins. Creating personal value and taking responsibility for lifelong learning and awareness, brings enrichments and true value.
In a recent training, one of my delegates picked up a workshop leaflet entitled Bringing Joy to the Workplace, showed it to her friend and giggled. I guess the concept was to her ludicrous. The reaction brought up the following question: Is being happy, engaged and fulfilled in the workplace such a strange notion? If that is so, should we not be concerned about this?
Increasingly, organisations and enterprises are being run in an environment of learning and flexible structures, allowing for an individual to thrive. In a successful learning organisation there is room for expressing ideas, building shared visions, working to realistic deadlines, flexibility in learning and permission to make mistakes. People have the opportunity to take risks, experiment and communicate openly: they have the freedom to be authentic without fear of losing jobs.
Within a learning organisation people are required not only to bring to work one narrow aspect of themselves but are encouraged to utilise creativity, individual expression, authentic communication and flexibility. Work roles are fluid and challenges are contained in a value system of which they have ownership. This creates room to experiment, learn, support, be supported, and thrive.
I always struggled with the homogenous culture of work in my days as an employee, where only one dimension of myself had the space to be. The mechanistic workplace required and was prepared to acknowledge a very narrow definition of my capabilities, overlooking the rich benefits of diversity, creativity, the new, the innovative, the rich pool of strengths and experiences that lay dormant and underutilised.
There was simply no room for meaningful contribution and ownership of organisational values or for any expression of potential. So it remained in the closet, unused from 9 to 5. It pains me to imagine how much waste of human talent and resources, at whatever level and whatever sphere in our modern workplace, there is.
Breaking patterns and starting to communicate authentically, which may involve challenge, is something that few people dare do. Even as the dysfunctional shadows that exist beneath the surface are pushed down, the workforce begins to absorb them. Sickness, stress leave, bad backs and in some cases, high staff turnover begin to manifest.
While some are resigned to the idea that a job is simply to pay the bills, and the soul gets nurtured elsewhere, bringing some spirit and authenticity to work will increase value, fulfilment and productivity both on the organisational and personal level. Finding or creating meaning in what you do can enhance the fulfilment within those hours of work: making time to connect to people, discovering different ways of doing things, finding ways to serve others, breaking the routine and taking each challenge as an opportunity for self-growth.
Developing Personal Mastery
And what of the things that you truly feel powerless to change? Taking personal responsibility means that one is able to extract value from the experience of work, whatever the conditions and context. The arena is open for discovery and growth.
The knowledge and self-awareness that can emerge through self- observation can be a significant beginning in challenging a culture that is largely unconscious. What roles do you play, what other personas do you wear, what emotional reactions do you have in the course of your day?
Opportunities for creating resilience abound as you become a lifelong learner. You inevitably develop your ability to handle situations more effectively and even tolerate the ambiguity which characterises so much of the current working landscape, knowing that each day and in each step, you can use the material given (i.e. critical points in your working day) to reflect, learn, increase self-awareness and experiment with solutions.
Personal mastery is a key feature of a healthy learning culture. Catch yourself in moments, if you dare to observe your mental and behavioural patterns and learn. Unearth and face feelings of incompetence, self-esteem, self-sabotage, your role in team dynamics. Through developing an awareness of habitual patterns that we normally gloss over, and working through them (possibly with a coach), self-knowledge is enhanced, tensions are diffused and negativity eased. Results of your self-observation can be used to make discoveries, set new goals and gain a degree of inner freedom.
The ability to engage in conscious growth, is a reminder that we no longer have to be passive players, but rather take responsibility to tap into and utilize our inner resources and potential, stretch perceived limits and thrive in the workplace. In that way we will be a part of helping to foster an innovative and responsive environment and create personal meaning and value - and why not, the joy of satisfaction that we are learning and growing no matter what- in the large portion of our time spent at work.
Three Ways to Rejuvenate Mind, Body and Spirit
April 7, 2015
For most of us, our predominant default thinking/being pattern consists of an excessively non-stop chattering mind and a constant chain reaction to a seemingly endless string of life demands. So what do you do when you have used up your energy quota of the day and are in need of replenishment?
Here are three surprising and interesting ways to top up energy and renew your mind and spirit.
1. “The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” Shakti Gawain
Here is a Mindfulness breathing exercise you could try: Visualise and breathe in white light from the bottoms of your feet, let it rise through the body. When you exhale, imagine doing so from the top of your crown. Repeat the process, this time inhaling from the top of your crown, letting go of the breath from your feet. According to neuroscience, one the effects of visualisation, is that it releases corresponding feel-good hormones and chemicals, similar to having the experience in real life. So, suspend your disbelief and experiment!
Imagine yourself under the most beautiful crystal white light shower (or other colour that you may be drawn to). Imagine light pouring into you and reaching every single cell of your body, healing, cleansing, refreshing.
Stay with that for a couple of minutes. Really feel the old energy leaving and new life-enhancing energy permeating every part of your body and mind. Release any accumulation of stress and tiredness with each outbreath. Breathe in new, life-enhancing energy with each in-breath. Two-three minutes of this, done with focus and intention can make a difference, if you commit to trying it.
I did this exercise in hotel room once, a few minutes before I was due to do a presentation. I had been feeling stressed, exhausted and tearful due to personal things that happened earlier that week.
The amount of energy and clarity I had a few minutes later was surprising, as was the round of applause and queue of excited people waiting to chat with me at the end! It works. The key, as I have said above, is focus and intention.
2. “Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” (Stuart Brown, American Psychiatrist)
Engage in creative play! If you have young children, spend time and join their world. If not, create your own magical world. Play allows us to immerse ourselves fully into the now and lights up neural pathways related to clarity and memory.
When was the last time you played? When did you last lose yourself in drawing, colouring in, making things and doing things just for fun? Consider your play options. What new or neglected hobby could you rejuvenate?
Why do we deprive ourselves with so many excuses? Would you do that to your own child? Would you say, “no time, sorry, can’t have fun or have a hobby, too much to do, have you even SEEN this to do list?!!”
What do you love to do that you don’t normally give yourself permission to do? Be creative in your considerations, choose your play activity, ring-fence some playtime and enjoy!
3. “Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.” (Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks)
Nature has regenerative qualities. Exposure to and interaction with nature has proven to replenish energy, enhance our ability to focus, produce greater connectivity in the brain and improve our sense of wellbeing.
As you take a walk, whether in the country or your nearest green space, stop and NOTICE. Place your attention on the detail of what you see, the dance of dappled shade under a tree, the elegance of a bird in full flight, the delicacy of a fallen white feather on the ground; notice the vivid greens of new growth, connect to the promise of emerging buds, lose yourself in the cloud formations as you look into the horizon.
Allow yourself not just to ‘look at’ nature but connect to it, feel and commune with it. ‘Take it in’ – it’s even in our language. Take it all in. This exercise not only helps with getting you ‘out of your own chattering mind’, but also sharpens your powers of observation and has innumerable other benefits that neuroscience is only just beginning to discover.
12 Golden Rules for Successful Goal Setting
What is going to be different for you in 2015? What do you want more of or less of? What do you want to achieve, change or introduce into your life experience to make it more worthwhile and in line with your current values and priorities?
One or two of the tips to follow may speak to you louder than others. Take note, let them sink in and take the opportunity to plan how you will apply and implement.
A wish is a hope, something you’d like to happen. An intention involves a decision, a clear goal indicating you are ready to set the sails and begin moving in your chosen direction. Commit to your goal.
Ensure your goal is meaningful and compelling. Do you get excited about the idea of achieving it? Is it in line with your values and current priorities?
‘Ah, but there are so many changes I want to make!’ I hear some say.
Prioritise, stick to 2 or 3 goals, and avoid more.
Make your goal specific. The more particular you are, the more focus and clarity you will have. This will give you motivation in planning and taking steps, as well as recognising when you are on or off track.
Do your research. What will it take to achieve your goal? What process is involved. Most importantly, are you prepared to pay the price in terms of time, energy, resources and possibly some sacrifices? Make that decision now.
Write down a structured, step by step plan. Set milestones of long, medium and short term goals, so that you can measure your progress and keep motivated.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer busy-ness of life, focus on one goal at a time and think of the first 3 or 4 steps. Timetable these and take action!
Take that step, however small, consistently. You may well veer off course, forgive yourself instantly and carry on tomorrow.
Associate with your goal. Picture it vividly in your mind’s eye and most importantly feel the feelings associated with its achievement.
Review your daily routines, especially those that have become deeply entrenched. Are they supporting or hindering your progress? Introduce new habits, one little bit at a time, that support your goals.
Make a daily practice of tuning into your intuition, quietening the mind and listen to answers and guidance. Whether it’s from the unconscious mind or your Higher Self or unseen help, be open to access a limitless resource that is available to you to assist you on your journey. Note creative solutions and synchronicities that follow.
Make sure you are coming from the right place, i.e. .intention and determination, not neediness or desperation. The former is an energy that invites progress, the latter, based on ‘fear-energy’ will inhibit. Like attracts like and this works on an energetic level.
Clarify, commit, plan and take action! Above all, enjoy the process. Destination is important but it is what we become along the way that is of essence.
12 Ways to Uplift Your Spirit
The British sky may be in shades of grey, possibly experiencing a post-Bank Holiday slump, or perhaps you’re feeling stuck or demotivated. How do you deal with your low times?
Here are some simple and effective ways to help bring back your sense of balance and shift your energy. One or more may speak to you louder than others, so make a habit of putting those into practice.
First of all, don’t feel bad about feeling bad! Acknowledge that you’re feeling down and know that it will change. Avoid comparisons and any ideas of what you ‘should’ be feeling. Allow your emotions to be what they are. Avoidance measures are common amongst all of us. However consider that it is normal and healthy to experience a whole range of emotions and also that an uncomfortable emotion contains within it a message woth exploring or noticing.
2. Check in
Take a break, a few minutes to have a word with yourself. What’s going on? Get to the root of things by either asking yourself or in an imaginary dialogue with a trusted friend or counsellor: What’s going on for you right now? What is it that you need? What would make you happy? This will give you some clues on which you can build a plan.
3. Play your favourite music
Music is a simple yet powerful catalyst to help change ‘your state’ as it is known in NLP. Play your favourite music, some uplifting, energetic or uplifting songs; whatever it is you feel you need that will help you switch your state of mind.
4. Get physical
It is widely known that exercise is beneficial in raising the levels of serotonin and dopamine. The physical aspect, however, could take the form of a walk, a dance around the room, housework, baking a cake, or doing some gardening. Get out of your mind for a while and focus on being in the moment in the doing. Enjoy the physicality of it; we are so often caught up in our cerebral existence.
5. Use your imagination as a tool
Take five minutes. Three deep breaths and let go of anything you don’t want into an imaginary dustbin. Think of a place, object or experience that you love. Allow the good feeling to wash over you and feel it in your body, mind and heart. The latest evidence from neuroscience, suggests that our imagination and sense of reality are so closely interlinked, that one inevitably affects the other. If you vividly imagine having a lovely swim in the Mediterranean with the sunshine on your back and sense of peace and freedom, then on some level you are. Your body and emotions will experience the effects.
6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
Generate positive feelings by listing, mentally or on paper, 10 things you are grateful for. Pause with each and really feel the emotion of appreciation for each one.
7. Play the Glad Game
Having recently had a sentimental hour watching one of my childhood favourites, Polyanna, I was reminded of the Glad Game. No matter how bad things feel, look for three positives in each situation. This also helps with reframing, another effective NLP tool at your disposal.
8. Change your physiology
Studies have shown that by changing your physiology you can change your state of mind. Shoulders back and a big wide smile held for a few minutes will affect your mood. Better still, smile to yourself in the mirror each morning, hold it for 5 or ten minutes and practise this for 30 days. You will be training your muscle-retention memory which in turn will positively influence your day.
9. Express yourself!
Be creative, some of the best work comes from true and authentic self-expression. Instead of numbing feelings through distractions like food, TV, alcohol etc., how about drawing, painting, making something, writing, baking. Without too many expectations about the end result, enjoy the process of self-expression and creativity. Release, self-nurturing and healing and bound to soften your mood.
10. Filter out negativity
Take a look at your environment and note energy drains that can take the form of people, things, rooms, clutter and situations. Do whatever you can to minimise or filter these out. If you are in a work environment where there is much poison and disenchantment, place yourself in an egg-shape of white light and affirm that only good energy can enter the electromagnetic field that surrounds you.
11. Acts of kindness
Tried and tested, an act of kindness raises the feelgood factor. Recently a young man received much attention in the media from his You Tube films of random acts of kindness. That’s one thing that deserves to go ‘viral’. Each day think of one thing you could do, could be as small as writing a positive testimonial for someone, sending a card to say hello or going out of your way to pay a genuine compliment.
12. What went well
At the end of each day, get into the habit of reflecting on your day and identifying three things that went well in your day. Replay them in your mind and feel the good feelings associated with each success, however minor.
Our well-being and happiness really is our responsibility. We do not necessarily have control over what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it.
“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Henry David Thoreau
How to Get Out of Your Own Way
Preparation is everything, they say. (And ‘they’ seem a wise lot!)
You are at point x. You want to get to point y. You may be taking some steps, consistently or erratically, towards your goal.
The question is: How prepared are you to accept, have or be what you say you want? If what you want manifests tomorrow, would you be able to enjoy, utilise and benefit from it fully? How ready are you to receive?
Someone once said that progress is moving from one set of challenges to another. Are you ready for the new demands and responsibilities the change will bring? To what extent do you have your own personal infrastructure in place to contain and maintain the changes? Is there sufficient room in your life? Do you have the space, energy, time, lifestyle to welcome it?
This is exactly the time, between x and y to take not only regular and sustained actions towards your goal, but more importantly perhaps, to prepare your emotions and mindset. Perhaps that's why, here on earth at least, gratification isn't instant! That way, when ‘it’ does arrive, the process will be organic and will comprise a natural extension of who you are and what you do. This will also help make you less likely to self-sabotage, consciously or subconsciously.
Identify the areas within yourself and in your life in which adjustments have to be made. In other words, what needs to happen between then and now? Knowing that you are preparing on different levels will give you added integrity and congruence, that lovely shine that emanates when our being, thinking and acting is in alignment.
Courage is needed but be gentle!
There may be some areas in your life and some in your emotional and psychological make-up that need addressing. Are there any significant things that you put off looking at or doing something about? If so, what are they?
A long, honest (but gentle) look at the mirror of your life will reveal these. Is it about health, some anger you are holding onto or some deep-rooted beliefs that may be holding you back? Whatever your personal diagnosis is, remember that those dark spots require attention, in order for your energy to be vibrating at the same frequency to that which you want.
Blocks and areas of conflict are signposts. Do not let them put your off your path or dampen your determination; they are stepping stones in disguise, gifts waiting to be unravelled.
This unravelling is precisely the work. The muddy, misshapen diamonds you unearth are calling out for your attention. As you work through them, their sparkle will shine light on how to get out of your own way.
When Life Gets in the Way: Stop, Think, Reframe!
Life has an annoying habit of getting in our way. Let me rephrase that: We have a habit of getting in our own way!
The reality is, whatever our day to day or long-term agenda is, stuff happens along the way which throws us off course, whether it’s the unexpected traffic jam or your PC playing up or of course something more severe in what feels at times like the rollercoaster of life.
These factors were not part of the plan! Together with the frustration and pain they may create, they feel out of our control.
Now the news is (and it’s not really news because you know this already) we DO have control, in terms of our attitude, habits and our root beliefs. These become such a deeply ingrained part our make-up, that we slip into automatic reactions of anxiety, fear, worry, blaming and self-pity.
I wonder, what would it be like in these situations, to stop, think and reframe?
Stop: First create a distance between yourself and the situation by bringing yourself to the moment. Put your focus into your body and become aware of sensations, no judgement, just bring your awareness to it. For a minute or so, simply connect to your breathing. Ask your subconscious to present a picture in your mind’s eye of what the situation looks like. Hm, the one that came to me last time I did this, was that of holding a racket and hitting tennis balls that came to me from all directions, at times missing the ball altogether!
Think: In what way have I created or contributed to the situation? What outcome do I actually want here? What is within my control and what is not?
Reframe: What can I do differently that would get me closer to my desired outcome? What one step can I take right now to start turning this around? The answer may be a simple adjustment to the way you are handling or thinking about the situation. A good question to ask is: “What’s GOOD about this?” If you did get a picture of the situation, how could you alter the picture and what do you need to do? In my example above, I put my tennis racket down, sat down in a lovely meadow with a pen and pad, gave names to the tennis balls and began to prioritise.
Next time you find yourself in a reactive state, especially with the small annoying things in life, practise this simple technique and turn it around. A traffic jam need never be the stressful experience it is expected to be again!