Your Greatest Strength

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We are all born with a set of strengths.

These strengths sometimes come to us so naturally that we don’t recognise them as strengths, or perhaps we don’t credit them as strengths.

Some people are naturally good at communicating – they have no particular education or training around communication yet they have a real talent when speaking and influencing others. Some people are naturally good at being assertive, speaking up, and creating change. Some people are naturally gifted at resolving or minimising conflict.

These strengths often become the cornerstone of our lives. We choose careers where we are able to utilise them fully and they become defining characteristics of who we are. What is so fascinating, though, is that our greatest strength can become our greatest weakness when it is overused.

Imagine every personality trait or strength is a volume knob on a radio. When the knob is in that sweet spot, the noise coming out of the radio is perfect. You are able to hear the music clearly, it’s loud enough and it’s pleasant to be around.

When that control knob gets turned up to the higher end, it becomes very loud. The music is unpleasant because it hurts your ears, the sound quality is distorted and tinny, and ultimately you want to move away from the radio.

On the other hand, when the control knob gets turned too far down the other way, the music becomes so soft you can’t hear it. You might catch a note or two but you can’t figure out the lyrics and you know that you are missing the majority of the song.

Our natural strengths are like this. When we are utilising them in healthy and resourceful ways we get great results and we feel good. When we turn them down, they stop being visible in our life and become very hard to see and hear and they are no longer of service. And sometimes when we are stressed or are out of our comfort zone, our strengths get turned up. They get bigger and louder and start to impact us in a negative way. They have now become a weakness.

One of the most easily identifiable examples of this is with assertiveness. Assertiveness is an amazing strength to have. There are many people on the planet who would love to feel more assertive than what they are and they often look admiringly at the assertive people around them.

The problem is that when assertiveness is overdone it becomes bullying. The assertive person has gone from the strength of clear direction and the ability to get things done, to pushing and shoving in a forceful way.

Another example is the strength of being able to minimise conflict. When done well, everyone has the opportunity to speak and be heard and the conversation is led in a way where the outcome is successfully and peacefully reached.

When overdone, though, the strength of minimising conflict becomes a weakness when the conflict is avoided but the parties involved have not spoken up and been heard effectively. Often in this situation the participants leave feeling frustrated or diminished in some way.

For me, one of my greatest strengths is my adaptability. As a coach I have worked with 13 year olds and 65 year olds, men and women, and people from many different cultural backgrounds. My adaptability has allowed me to meet each of my clients where they are and connect to them from that place. Where my adaptability has become a weakness, though, is in intimate relationships – where I have adapted too far away from myself in pursuit of sustaining a relationship.

It would be easy for me to say “Well, adaptability isn’t a good thing for me; it has created problems in my life so I am going to turn the volume of it right down”. This would be a tragedy because it is one of my greatest strengths! I just have it turned up too loudly in this particular area of my life and it has therefore become unresourceful.

The skill is learning to regularly examine each area of your life and working out exactly where the volume knob (the strength) needs to be set to get the greatest results and to utilise that strength to its very fullest potential. Again, like most things it comes down to some robust self-examination, all the while being kind and loving to oneself.

 

Being versus Doing

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I believe that one of my greatest strengths is that I am good at getting things done.

I am definitely a doer – I love a good list, and I have a paper diary where I can track all sorts of things from tasks to be done to the days that I exercise. Being a doer has certainly helped me achieve some of my greatest accomplishments.

The thing about being a DOER though, is I often forget to BE, and the BEING is really how I want to be feeling while I am DOING all those things.  I get caught up in crossing things off my list and the end game, and can often forget to appreciate the process (the BEING). I sometimes forget to enjoy the ride in pursuit of just getting it done! The BEING though, is a key piece to feeling truly fulfilled.

Wayne Dyer, who I believe was one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time, said “I am human being, not a human doing”

I love this quotation because it reminds me that one of the most important jobs here on earth is to BE; not just to DO. The DOING is greatly cheapened if we don’t appreciate, enjoy and celebrate the BEING. This includes appreciating the person we are (with or without the task being achieved, the goal being nailed, or the list being completed) and valuing the learning, embracing the growth, and finding joy and happiness in each day.

Our greatest education often comes from the journey (not the destination), and DOING is actually all about arriving. It’s about our identity and us seeing ourselves as our accomplishments and achievements rather than our character, personality, spiritual self or how we energetically “show up”.

Our society praises the DOING far more than the BEING so it is easy to forget to focus on it.  By simply asking yourself, “How do I want to feel today?” will bring you back into the BEING very quickly.  If you achieve great things each day yet are miserable, what is the point?

So many of the teachers I admire – from Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Myss, Brene Brown (and of course Wayne Dyer) – have all spoken passionately about honouring the BEING. Honouring the BEING is definitely a daily practise.

The rest of Wayne Dyer’s quotation says: “Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you are doing things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t do it, you aren’t”.

I love that man…he is so bloody smart!! The world certainly lost a phenomenal teacher when Wayne Dyer passed away.

Like so many paradoxes, day and night, black and white, yin and yang, BEING and DOING work together.  It’s all about having a healthy balance and ensuring that both of these states are being valued and practised.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for an exceptional year?

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Unbelievably, here we are at the start of another year!

It felt like the year moved at lightening pace and compared to 2016, it was a much happier and brighter year for many people.

I always like the new year because it’s the perfect time for reflection and contemplation. How was the year that passed and how do I want the coming year to be?  It’s a time to take stock, appreciate the amazing things that happened, learn from the moments that weren’t so great and get clear on how we are going to show up for the next 12 months.

It’s a great time to create a list so you are able to track your progress, not only through the year but over the years to come. I love to read other people’s blogs and I came across a particularly awesome one during the year by Robin Sharma. It’s a list that he has created and I wanted to share it with you.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Robin Sharma, he is considered to be one of the top 5 leadership experts in the world. He is a best selling author, speaker, coach and mentor and his work is embraced by rock stars, royalty, billionaires and many celebrity CEOs.

This particular blog is made up of 60 different tips to include in your life so that you “craft an exceptional life”

Robin Sharma says ” Ultimately, life goes by in a blink. And too many people live the same year 80 times. To avoid getting to the end and feeling flooded regret over a life half-lived, read and then apply these tips”

Here they are:

  1. Exercise daily.
  2. Get serious about gratitude.
  3. See your work as a craft.
  4. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.
  5. Keep a journal.
  6. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.
  7. Plan a schedule for your week.
  8. Know the 5 highest priorities of your life.
  9. Say no to distractions.
  10. Drink a lot of water.
  11. Improve your work every single day.
  12. Get a mentor.
  13. Hire a coach.
  14. Get up at 5 am each day.
  15. Eat less food.
  16. Find more heroes.
  17. Be a hero to someone.
  18. Smile at strangers.
  19. Be the most ethical person you know.
  20. Don’t settle for anything less than excellence.
  21. Savor life’s simplest pleasures.
  22. Save 10% of your income each month.
  23. Spend time at art galleries.
  24. Walk in the woods.
  25. Write thank you letters to those who’ve helped you.
  26. Forgive those who’ve wronged you.
  27. Remember that leadership is about influence and impact, not title and accolades.
  28. Create unforgettable moments with those you love.
  29. Have 5 great friends.
  30. Become stunningly polite.
  31. Unplug your TV.
  32. Sell your TV.
  33. Read daily.
  34. Avoid the news.
  35. Be content with what you have.
  36. Pursue your dreams.
  37. Be authentic.
  38. Be passionate.
  39. Say sorry when you know you should.
  40. Never miss a moment to celebrate another.
  41. Have a vision for your life.
  42. Know your strengths.
  43. Focus your mind on the good versus the lack.
  44. Be patient.
  45. Don’t give up.
  46. Clean up your messes.
  47. Use impeccable words.
  48. Travel more.
  49. Read “As You Think”.
  50. Honor your parents.
  51. Tip taxi drivers well.
  52. Be a great teammate.
  53. Give no energy to critics.
  54. Spend time in the mountains.
  55. Know your top 5 values.
  56. Shift from being busy to achieving results.
  57. Innovate and iterate.
  58. Speak less. Listen more.
  59. Be the best person you know.
  60. Make your life matter.

I just LOVED this list, there is so much gold in it!

So as you moved forward into the new year, take a handful of these beautiful tips and add them to your life.

If you truly are committed to living an exceptional life, take and apply them all.

Happy new year and may your 2018 be your best year yet.

 

Five Strategies for making friends with FEAR

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In last week’s blog I talked about fear and how it can really cripple us if we don’t learn how to have a healthy relationship with it. Fear is a part of life – we cannot avoid it – so the best way forward is to make friends with it and utilise it as a force for good.

The sort of fear that I am referring to is not the “walking in a dark alley at night” sort of fear but more the “I don’t think I can do it” fear, or the “If I speak up, I might get laughed at” fear. This type of fear is what keeps us small, not ever reaching our full potential, and ultimately changes the direction of our lives.

Some people spend their lives trying to avoid fear, in fact they are so fearful of fear that they live in a continuous and constant state of fear! Ironic really. Facing off with fear can be a truly liberating experience. It gives us the chance to create powerful evidence that we can act in spite of fear or worry, that yes, we can do it!

People who are successful in life, no matter what area that is, have come up with ways to engage with their fear and use it as vehicle to create change, innovate, be courageous or just make amazing things happen.

Like anything in life, having a plan or strategy of what you can do to help you move through an emotion is always extremely useful, particularly with fear. Because of the physiological response to fear, it can easily paralyse us if there is no plan in place.

Here are my top five personal strategies for facing off with my fear when it comes up:

  1. The Five Second Rule – The Five Second rule is the work of Mel Robbins and it is a truly powerful tool! It is a very simple technique where we are harnessing the fact that our brain will start talking us out of doing something within five seconds and if we don’t act within that time, more than likely the moment is lost. Robbins discovered this tool over ten years ago when she was in a highly unmotivated and fearful place. Everything was going wrong in her world and she literally couldn’t get herself to take action on the matters that were most important to her such as her family, her health, her finances, her career and her happiness.

The reason I love this rule is because it is SO simple! The way it works is like this: an idea pops into your head (for example putting your hand up in a meeting with your peers to share an idea; a new business idea to further expand your business; or getting out of bed and not hitting the snooze button) and you literally count down from five to one and then take action on it.

By counting down in this way, it activates your prefrontal cortex. Your prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that makes decisions, plans and works toward goals. When you count backwards, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – you take control of your prefrontal cortex instead of letting it control you.

That simple act of consciously taking control of your decision-making process creates “activation energy”. The energy it takes to get something started is much greater than the amount of energy it takes to keep something going. It’s that first step that’s the doozy. That’s where the Five Second Rule comes in to help you retrain your responses. Replace that initial “negative” or “unproductive” instinct with a positive one and you’ll develop new neural pathways that result in lasting behaviour change. You’ll become a doer, instead of a thinker, and when fear is involved that is crucial!

  1.  Appreciation  and Gratitude – In his book, What Happy People Know, Dan Baker explains that it is impossible for us to experience fear or anxiety and appreciation simultaneously. This is a great little brain trick to help us manage fear in the moment and move out of it so we are able to take action.

“During active appreciation,” Baker writes, “the threatening messages from your amygdala (the fear centre of the brain) and the anxious instincts of your brainstem are cut off, suddenly and surely, from access to your brain’s neocortex, where they can fester, replicate themselves, and turn your stream of thoughts into a cold river of dread. It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.”.

What this means is that when we experience fear or anxiety and we are able to consciously move ourselves to a state of appreciation and gratitude, the fear must diminish. Pretty exciting hey! I love this strategy as it is again super simple and also conditions us to become even more appreciative of our lives.

  1. Future Pacing – Future pacing is a Neuro-Linguistic Programmingtechnique that utilises the fact that the mind cannot tell the difference between imagination and current reality. By imagining something so fully and deeply as if it were real, the mind then acts as if the change has already taken place. It accepts the imagined situation and then goes forward to create it.

In practice, future pacing techniques include having a person first imagine a new and improved change further out in time. By using your modalities – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic – you simply imagine what you would see, what you would hear as well as feeling the feelings that would occur if the event was successful. By turning these up and really connecting with them, we create a strong image in our minds which our unconscious mind accepts.

Future pacing is a great strategy to use when we have an event coming up that we feel nervous or fearful about. We can literally practice the event in our minds eye and train our unconscious mind to create that event for us.

  1. There is no failure, only feedback – Create a list of success principles that support you taking action in the face of fear. One of my most favourite success principles is –

There is no failure, only feedback

This reframes our fear of getting it wrong or stuffing it up into a learning opportunity. If it doesn’t go how you want it to or it fails, then you have received feedback, powerful feedback because you can now do it differently. This is where innovation lives – the innovators are the ones that live by this rule.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb, said “I have not failed, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work”. He absolutely had the philosophy that there is no failure, only feedback. There are so many successful people that live by this principle including Michael Jordon, Oprah Winfrey, J K Rowling, John Grisham and Eminem.

  1. Challenge it – So often we accept what our mind tells us. Whatever the little voice of fear is saying, it’s most probably not true. Yet we don’t naturally challenge these thoughts. We buy into them and then let them dictate our behaviour.

The fearful part of us is irrational and overprotective. Its intention is pure but it doesn’t see us in all of our greatness, it just wants to keep us safe.

It might be saying you are likely to fall flat on your face if you take a risk, or that no one will like your ideas, it’s far better to stay quiet. It might be saying that moving to a new city could hurt your children and you don’t want to screw them up! Or what about leaving your safe and secure, yet horribly boring job? Imagine all the bad things that would happen if the new job is worse?

Unless we challenge these thoughts, we will accept them and behave in alignment with them. Sure, we may stay safe but, gee, we also stay pretty small!

This strategy is around questioning and examining those fear-based thoughts. Ask yourself, “Is what this voice is saying true?”, “What could be another alternative to the one I am currently thinking about?”.

Byron Katie, the author of Loving What Is and the creator of The Work, uses this question “Can I be absolutely sure that this thought is true?” as her primary question and it is a really powerful one! So often, once we have challenged these thoughts, the answer to these questions, especially the latter one, is most often “no.”

 

I trust that one or more of these strategies are useful for you in growing your relationship with fear. Remember that fear has a great intention – it is just trying to keep us safe. So often though, safety and greatness live in different places.

 

Are you willing to make friends with FEAR?

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There are not many people who really enjoy the emotional state of fear, but I do believe that there are many people who have learnt to harness it and use it as a force for good. People across history and time have achieved amazing things in spite of being totally shit-scared in the process! And huge kudos to them, there is nothing more admirable then raw courage!!

Thinking back to some of the early explorers on the planet, they must have been really focused on the outcome rather than all the things that could have possibly gone wrong. When you are on a boat and you think the world is flat but you are courageous enough to risk sailing right of the edge, well, yep, you have definitely got a handle on how you allow fear to show up in your world!

In contrast, there are also many people who are so paralysed by fear that they live locked in their homes, locked in their lives solely focused on minimising and reducing situations where fear may show up. This is a tough gig because if what you focus on expands (and it does), and you add to that what quantum physics says about placing your attention on something specific, then those people are up the creek without a paddle!

Their fear only has one possibility – it’s going to expand and therefore create even more of what they are desperately trying to avoid.

The thing about fear is that we can’t get away from it. It’s hardwired into our brain and is a part of our genetic makeup. If it wasn’t we would all be dead by now so it really is something to be grateful for!

The part of our brain that deals with fear is called the reptilian brain. It is the oldest part of our brain (as in millions of years old) and its primary job is to keep us alive. It takes care of many of our unconscious activities too, like breathing and processing food.

So if we can’t avoid fear altogether (and yet we seem more scared than ever) how do we move forward?

We develop strategies….

A strategy is a plan of action designed to move us towards our outcome. Strategies help us act in the face of uncertainty. They also keep us on track as we move towards a goal, whether it be a big one or a small one. Having some simple strategies up our sleeve can really help us take action in spite of fear or worry.

Plus, when we utilise our strategies and they are successful, we create references that we can do it: we now have evidence of our ability to act in the face of strong emotions so we feel more courageous about acting next time. Now, we are starting to condition ourselves.

Conditioning is defined as bringing something into the desired state for use. Like you would condition your muscles if you are a runner, you can condition your mind to act in spite of fear or worry.

This process is all VERY simple, though not necessarily easy. The physiological response we have to fear can really knock us for a six, our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes more shallow, our palms get sweaty so remaining focused does take a little more energy. That’s why having some strategies to move through this feeling as well as manage it with elegance are so important.

I will share my top five fear-managing-strategies with you next week. In the meantime, start to notice how and when fear is showing up in your life because, like everything, it all starts with self-awareness.

 

 

The Disease of Disconnection

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We are in crisis!

A crisis of disconnection.

True connection, real, authentic and deep connection is becoming harder to come by and frankly, it appears we are losing skills that are really too valuable to let go off.

In our fast paced world, where time is money and looking good is more important than connection, we have create a culture where authentic connection is no longer valued in the same way it once was. This certainly appears to have bought great change to our society, and in my opinion, not for the better.

Do you remember a time when you shopped at a store and knew the majority of the staff who you would happily chat with? A time where you would give your postman a present at Christmas  because he had been bringing your family the mail for the last ten years? A time when a friendship was about hanging out and conversation, instead of snapchats, insta pic’s and texting?

I was reading a great article this morning by Dan Schawbel , he was interviewing one of my all time favourite women,  Brene Brown on Why Human Connection will bring us closer and the article covered many great distinctions. One of the most powerful ones is around the fact that fear is keeping us separated.

Brene Brown said “We’ve sorted ourselves into factions based on our politics and ideology. We’ve turned away from one another and toward blame and rage. We’re lonely and untethered. And scared. Any answer to the question “How did we get here?” is certain to be complex. But If I had to identify one core variable that magnifies our compulsion to sort ourselves into factions while at the same time cutting ourselves off from real connection with other people, my answer would be fear. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of the pain of disconnection. Fear of criticism and failure. Fear of conflict. Fear of not measuring up. When we ignore fear and deny vulnerability, fear grows and metastasizes. We move away from a belief in common humanity and unifying change and move into blame and shame. We will do anything that gives us a sense of more certainty and we will give our power to anyone who can promise easy answers and give us an enemy to blame.”

I found this paragraph very interesting as it reminded me of the three universal fears that every human being is contending with each day.  They are:

  • The fear of not being enough
  • The fear of not belonging
  • The fear of not being loved

Whether or not you identify these fears within yourself consciously, it has been proven that they are in operation within all of us.  The variable though, is how we manage them. For some people, they are very small and have a low impact on their lives, for others, these fears dominate each waking moment.

It seems so topsy turvey that in pursuit of minimising these fears we have actually magnified them.  We portray ourselves as having tons of friends who we are constantly doing cool stuff with on social media yet we are more lonely than ever.

We dress in certain clothes and go to certain places to feel like we belong, like we are part of a tribe but really all we are trying to do is fit in, blend in and be enough. Its not true belonging at all.

Brown goes on to say “True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. If we are going to change what is happening in a meaningful way we’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to sign up and join, and take a seat at the table. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness”

What stands out in what Brown says, is that it’s all about vulnerability, truly letting ourselves be seen, even if that brings up fear in us.  Until we are prepared to be uncomfortable, to take a chance, then we will continue to repeat the patterns that we have formed.

As much as technology is a powerful tool and there is certainly much to be grateful for, I am sadden that the cost of it has been a diminishment of authentic and deep connection.

If you would like to read the full article, check out Forbes Magazine

But you signed the contract…

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I have just watched the film Stronger on a flight between Perth and Sydney. It was a beautiful and inspiring film about tragedy and triumph.

Stronger is the story of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.  Jeff was at the finish line waiting for his ex-girlfriend who was competing to cross the line.  He was desperately trying to win her back and had turned up to demonstrate his love for her. He was right next to the first bomb that was detonated and he suffered devastating damage to his legs. He lost both of his legs and the film is the story of his journey back to himself.

Sometimes life seems to deal totally unfair blows to us – and this certainly looks like one of those situations. The film left me thinking about the “Spiritual Contracts” we sign before we come to (or return to) the Earth Plane.

Specifically, it got me thinking about Jeff’s Spiritual Contract and what a life being an amputee would mean for him. I was curious about what he had learnt and how he would consider the whole event four years later.

So what is a “Spiritual Contract”?

A Spiritual Contract is an agreement that we make on the Spiritual Plane to ensure that we are set up to learn all the soul lessons that we want to here in this life on the Earth Plane. It may be a lesson of resilience, determination, courage, or forgiveness – or it could be anything that will evolve our soul and continue us on our spiritual path.

I first learnt about Spiritual Contracts from two of my favourite teachers – Dr Wayne Dyer and Carolyn Myss. I consider both to be leaders in the field of spirituality. They were lecturing together and both referenced how we enter into contracts or agreements with other’s souls, so that we are able to expand, grow and get the education that we need. The catch is that often this contract shows up in the form of pain of some sort.

This whole concept resonated so deeply with me as I love the thought that any challenge, tragedy or period of suffering we go through has an opportunity of great learning for us. It creates the possibility of us being able to step into a new version of ourselves; a version we never would have discovered if we had not been pushed to the outer limits of ourselves.

To think that when we were planning the purpose of this life now we chose events and people to come in to our lives so we have a chance to expand and grow. Not only did we choose them, but they chose us! We made a contract together and we both signed it, agreeing to support each other’s soul in achieving the teachings of this lifetime (again, only if we are willing to rise to the challenge).

I can appreciate that this is may be a bit left-of-centre for some of you, but just think about it for a minute: think of an event in your life where something bad, sad or mad happened and then ask yourself: “What did I learn from this?”.

From great loss comes great appreciation;

From great sadness comes great connection; and

From great fear comes great courage.

I firmly believe that if you have found some level of growth, expansion, compassion, gratitude etc and then go on to live resourcefully, then the contract has been successfully filled and completed. Sometimes this may take days and sometimes this may take decades.

For Jeff Bauman, his journey was a tough one – a very tough one – yet he rose to become an even better version of himself. What initially seemed to be the most devastating event that could happen to someone ended up providing him with an opportunity of immense growth.

My other conclusion with these Spiritual Contracts is that we choose them on the Spiritual Plane because if we had any idea of the enormity of experiencing it down here, then maybe we would choose differently.

No one likes pain yet there is no better classroom when we are able to move through it.

It’s time to get Grounded

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In 2010 my Mum, who I was very close to, was diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time the doctors had found the disease, it had already metastasised to her liver and bones so as you can imagine, the prognosis was bleak.

I was living in Cairns at the time and immediately came home to be with my family. It was meant to be a 10 day visit but I ended up staying and moving in with my parents to support them through this.  It was a very emotional time for each member of my family and it felt like we were all just stumbled our way through each day.

During this time, there was one part of my day that I continually  craved and that was taking the dogs down to the park.  My Mum’s dog Daisy, was 16 years old and totally geri (geriatric) and at the time my sister’s dog was living with my parents as they were renovating the house, his name was Roger.

Every afternoon, the three of us would hop in the car and head down to the beautiful big reserve and oval near my parents place and we would walk.  The dogs loved it because they were able to run around and indulge in all those delicious dog smells.  I loved it because, I would take my shoes off and walk bare foot on the grass.  It didn’t matter if it was warm or cool, I just had such a strong compulsion to feel the earth under my feet. The soft, cool grass was so therapeutic and every day I did this, I found a little bit of calm and peace in the chaos of my emotions.

There was one day in particular, my parents were down south and I was meant to be going out to a party that afternoon.  I had been feeling so sad and was really struggling to get though the day.  I made the decision to not go to the party so rang my friend and told her.  She was concerned about me being on my own and wanted to know how I was going to spend my afternoon.  I told her, I was going to walk on the grass barefooted with the dogs.  This did not seem to allay her fears very much but I knew in my heart, I just needed to ground myself to the Earth.

I went to the park with the dogs, took my shoes off and started to walk.  I knew with totally certainty that this was exactly what my spirit need that day.  At this point, I didn’t know any of the science of grounding or Earthing but it all makes so much sense to me now.  I stayed at the park, wandering in a massive loop around the edge of grass for over two hours.  I came home feeling lighter and brighter than I had all day.

According to Bare Foot Healing (www.barefoothealing.com.au),  years of extensive research has shown that connecting to the Earth’s natural energy, by walking barefoot on grass, sand, dirt or rock can diminish chronic pain, fatigue and other ailments that plague so many people today.  Quite simply, walking on the earth in bare feet is great for your health and vitality.

When your bare feet or skin comes in contact with the earth, free electrons are taken up into the body.  These electrons could be referred to as nature’s biggest antioxidants and help neutralise damaging excess free radicals that can lead to inflammation and disease in the body.

The Earth is a conductor of free electrons and so are all living things on the planet, including us.  The body is composed of mostly of water and minerals which in combination are excellent conductors of electrons from the Earth providing there is direct skin contact or some other conductive channel for them to flow through.

As the Bare Foot Healing website says “The Earth’s energy upgrades one’s physiology by allowing the body to cope and repair thereby promoting wellbeing, vitality and better sleep.  It also harmonizes and stabilizes the body’s basic biological rhythms, knocks down (and even knocks out) chronic inflammation and reduces and eliminates associated pain, making it the most natural and powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-aging remedy around!  No matter what your age, gender, race or health status you will benefit from a daily dose of Earthing”

So often we intuitively know what out body needs.  It may show up as thirst, the desire for more sleep, a craving for plant based foods or a longing to get outside and walk on the earth in bare feet.  My point is, trust your intuition and if you can acknowledge that inner whisper and guidance by giving your body what it wants then you are truly loving yourself in the most divine way.

As I read more about Earthing or Grounding after my Mum passed, I realised why my desire to get out there every day had been so strong. I found comfort in that.

If you are having a bad day or your health, energy or Spirit is depleted, give it a shot.  Find yourself a patch of beautiful, green grass and walk on it for at least 30 minutes.

Who knows, maybe you will feel that little bit better (or a LOT better:)

 

 

The Five Love Languages

 

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Would it be useful for you to know how to love your partner in exactly the way they want to be loved? Would you like to have your partner love you in a way that totally fills your tank up?

I imagine your answer is a resounding yes! I mean, we all want to be loved, especially in the way that is most meaningful to us.

Humans are such fascinating creatures. At times we all seem so very different and then at other times, we seem so similar. Often at the beginning of relationships, all we see are the similarities, then – as time goes on – we start to notice the differences. Sometimes the differences become so vast that the relationship struggles to stay together.

Doing the work that I do, there is one thing I know for sure – and that is that humans have patterns and those patterns become predictable once we have an understanding of them.

For example, a pattern of behaviour that you may already have awareness of is that of the extrovert and the introvert. If you know that your friend is an extrovert, then you can predict with a high level of accuracy that when you take that person to a party they will comfortably find someone to chat with and before long they will have made new friends. Oppositely, if you take your introvert friend to the party, you know that they will either want to stay near you for a while or maybe just chat to one or two people throughout the party. They won’t be drawing attention to themselves and will be less eager to tear up the dance floor.

When it comes to love (how we show it and how we like to receive it) there are also patterns. These patterns were discovered and made famous by a man called Dr Gary Chapman.

Dr Chapman has a background in the church and throughout his years as a minister and counsellor he worked with thousands of people – many of them married. Over the years he identified five distinct patterns in how people love each other. He also noted that often, when a marriage or relationship was in crisis, it was because the couple were showing their love to each other in different ways. Because of that, the partner would misunderstand an act of love and the moment would pass.

The Five Love Languages is one of the most simple, yet effective frameworks that I utilise in helping people create happier relationships. When we can communicate our love in a way that is desired by our partner we create stronger bonds and are more equipped to weather the storms of life together.

When we are miscommunicating our love (or our love is not being understood) it is like a person speaking Japanese to a Chinese-speaking person and then wondering why they are not being understood. They are two very different languages!

So what are The Five Love Languages?

  1. Words of Affirmation: This is all about expressing love and affection through words, praise, compliments, acknowledgement and appreciation. Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If your love language is words of affirmation then genuine compliments and positive words will mean the world to you. Being told “I love you”; “You are a great dad/mum”; or “I am blessed to be with you” will make your heart sing and you will feel truly loved.
  2. Quality Time: If Quality Time is your primary love language, nothing says, “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being present for this type of person is critical – with the TV off, knives and forks down and the phone away. This will make your significant other feel truly special and loved. It’s all about being in the same place and focusing on each other.
  3. Receiving Gifts: This love language isn’t all about materialism. The receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift – no money even needs to be spent. It could be a flower brought in from the garden, a poem, or bringing home your partner’s favourite chocolate bar. If you speak this love language, a beautiful gift or heartfelt gesture shows that you are seen, you are cared for, and you are valued.
  4. Acts of Service: Can doing the dishes or washing the car really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service Person” is a powerful demonstration of love. Feeling supported through assistance and acts of service shows a level of thoughtfulness that fills up this person’s love tank.
  5. Physical Touch:  A person whose primary language is physical touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. They love hugs, holding hands, gentle touches on the arm or shoulder when walking past each other, as well as all of the more private moments of intimacy. Physical touch shows this type of person that they are loved and cared for. Physical presence and accessibility are extremely important.

Here is an example from the book that highlights the misunderstanding that can happen when we speak different love languages:

A husband said:

“I mow the grass every Saturday after I wash the car. I vacuum every Thursday night. I do the dishes at least four nights a week. I help with the laundry. I do all of this and she says that she “does not feel loved” – I don’t know what else to do”.

His wife’s response was:

“He is right. He is a hard-working man”. Then she began to cry and said, “But we don’t ever talk. We haven’t talked in thirty years”. She is dying for ‘Quality Time’, while he is speaking ‘Acts of Service’.

This example is such a great illustration of two people who are communicating through different love languages and it having a serious impact of how loved they feel. The husband has such good intentions and really believes that he is demonstrating his love by easing the household workload – yet it totally misses the mark for her.

Self-awareness and knowledge are power! If you feel that you could have a more connected and more loving relationship, then I highly recommend reading The Five Love Languages. Dr Chapman even has an online quiz you can do to work out what your own primary and secondary love languages are – and this could be the first step towards a more loving and empowered relationship.

 

The Paradoxical Commandments

 

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Being a lover of the arts, music, theatre, literature and poetry, I am always on the lookout for pieces that move me – that stir up my soul. In my experience, when artists express themselves through these different mediums (and when they do it well) they become powerful storytellers and inspiring leaders. In fact, there are songs, poems, books and stage shows that have profoundly impacted the world and have changed the way we think.

Whether is an emotive code of life such as The Desiderata or the lyrics to the Robbie Williams song “Angels”, we get to experience an emotion that moves us into deeper feelings. It gets us thinking and feeling and seeing the world through different eyes.

This is a gift. This is empathy.

I discovered the poem “The Paradoxical Commandments” several years ago and after a conversation I had this week with a friend, I went looking for it. I find it thought-provoking, moving, courageous and – most importantly – centred around love and being the very best version of ourselves that we can be.

Even in the face of it all going wrong.

Kent M. Keith wrote this poem in 1968. At the time, he was a 19 year old who was studying at Harvard. He clearly had a great understanding of what being a good human being meant.

I am hypothesising as I really don’t know much about Mr Keith, yet his words lead me to wonder if he endured some challenges to have this level of commitment to greatness at just 19 years old. It makes me curious to know whether he had a challenging relationship with his family, or maybe he came from a very loving family who taught him these values? Perhaps he was the kid who got bullied in the schoolyard and no matter how hard he tried to blend in and not be seen, he was still tormented every day.

The key message in this beautiful poem is to persevere. Continue to do good for humanity, continue to act with integrity, continue to be the best version of you EVEN when you are getting nothing back and even losing it all. And that’s the paradox of the commandments.

Why should we keep giving when we get nothing back? Why should we keep building our empire if we are going to lose it all? Why do good for others when they accuse you of having other motives?

Well, from an energetic point of view, it is about “vibrating high”: vibrating at a frequency that creates abundance, health, and even more happiness. Mr Keith is clearly all about vibrating high.

From a spiritual point of view, if we are here to live a life of cleaning up old karma or creating new karma credits for the future, then it makes sense to live this way.

From a humanitarian point of view, if we all behaved according to the lines in this poem, there would be no need for a poem like this.

Please read it because I would love to know your thoughts – and just remember: there is always a choice.

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favour underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.