Expectation versus Appreciation

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Expectation versus appreciation is a very simple concept, yet it is one that I find many people struggle with (me included!).  It seems that we tend to wander through life with a set of expectations that more often than not trip us up and cause us pain. We have these ideas of how things should be, how people should behave, and sometimes even what the weather should be doing.

Why do we do that? That is the million dollar question!

An expectation is a strong belief that something should go a certain way or be a certain way. This presupposes that we must have some level of control over what is happening outside of us for there to even be that belief in the first place.

Yet we know (normally from past experience) that that is simply not true.  In fact, as we get older, most of us realise that we have very limited control over anything that is outside of ourselves.

We can only control how we show up, how we respond, how we communicate and so on. Basically, we can only control us and nothing else. Yet we still have this very lengthy list of expectations tucked into our back pocket that we pull out at every possible moment – usually to our own detriment.

I feel confident enough to say that there would be a direct correlation between the amount of expectations one has and the amount of let down or pain one feels.

Appreciation, on the other hand, is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.  Appreciation is all about what is in front of us right now.  It requires presence and utilises a totally different focus.

Appreciation is underwritten by gratitude, and gratitude is an exceptionally powerful emotional state.  Gratitude has been proven to improve things like our sleeping patterns, physical health, self-esteem and so much more.

Spending more time coming from this place has to make sense: appreciation clearly looks like WAY more fun than expectation!

The premise of this tool (which I learnt from Tony Robbins) is that when we can trade expectation for appreciation we enjoy life so much more. We are in the moment and are focusing from a higher vibrational place: from love as opposed to fear.

If, in that moment when you experience frustration because your partner hasn’t cleaned the house while you were out (an expectation), you were instead able to appreciate that they welcomed you home with open arms and a cup of tea, how different would the conversation be?

What if, when you experienced unfairness and annoyance because you didn’t get the promotion you honestly thought you had in the bag (expectation), you were instead able to trade it for appreciation at the excellent feedback you got on how you could improve next time?

Now I am not saying this is an easy path to walk, I know that I have certainly been challenged living by this at times.

What I do know though, is that it is certainly the happier path – the path of more joy, acceptance and gratitude.

And who doesn’t want more of that in their life?

 

 

 

 

The Quiet Whisper of Intuition

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During the week I watched an excellent four minute clip by a man called Kerwin Rae.  He is a businessman, entrepreneur, investor, international speaker and a very dynamic man.

In 2009, Kerwin suffered a stroke and was lucky to survive.  After the stroke, his short term memory was reduced to 15 seconds which meant he stopped paying attention to what people were saying because he couldn’t retain the information anyway. Instead, he started to “feel” them to work out whether he wanted them to be near him or not.  Through this process he honed his intuition and became very skilled at feeling energy and intention.

In this clip Kerwin talks about the energy that people have and how, when we develop our own intuition, we are able to accurately feel the intention of the people around us. He says that intention is the energy that is being sent out by another that we then intuitively pick up on.

Have you ever walked into a room and met a person and they have just felt wrong or bad?  They may not have even spoken yet, but energetically, your intuition is picking up on them and their intention. Alternatively, have you ever met someone who you connected with instantly and felt a lot of energetic attraction to even if a single word had not yet been said?

I am a huge believer in the philosophy of energy and intuition.  We are energetic beings living in an energetic world, so it makes perfect sense that we can pick up on someone else’s energy/intention even if we are not aware that we are doing it.

The points that really captured my attention in this short clip were Kerwin’s views on how we respond to our intuition – our innate knowing that often cannot be explained by logic or reason.

He said that normally two things happen: Firstly, we simply don’t hear our intuition because of the amount of noise that is in our internal or external environment. We are so over-stimulated with noise, colour, technology and life that we struggle to hear the quiet whisper that is our intuition (and often it is just a whisper).

Secondly, Kerwin said that when we do hear our intuition, we follow it and if things appear to go wrong we tend to blame it and vow that we will not listen to it again: “Damn! I am not listening to my gut again – that turned into a disaster!”. We give up on it so quickly when we don’t enjoy the outcome.

The defining point that I love about this is that it is unfolding exactly as it should.  He said our intuition is connected to infinite intelligence, and it is playing a far bigger game than what we can ever conceive.

So we follow our intuition, something goes “wrong” and we stop following it, when we should instead trust that whatever happened is a part of the process to get us to where we need to be. We need to trust that we are getting the learning that will prepare us for the journey we are on – that in actual fact this event is the prerequisite for the amazing event that will unfold in two, three, or four years time.

Kerwin’s main point of the clip is that when we hone our intuition we become so much better at business and life in general.  Intuition is not about everything feeling great, it’s about connecting to a game plan that is far greater than what our minds can appreciate and therefore living our most abundant life.

 

Shake that booty!!

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One of my most favourite things to do in the world is dance, or more specifically, to dance with my young nieces.

There is something about dancing with children that gives me the space to really let loose, not care how I look, and get in touch with my inner rockstar!  There was a long period in my life where the only time I danced was when I was out with friends late at night and quite a few (let’s be honest – many!) champagnes down.

When my nieces arrived on the planet I felt like I had been reintroduced to my inner child. I think I had totally forgotten her and disconnected from her. A big part of that was how I moved my body. I hadn’t played on swings for years, hadn’t bombied in the pool like a hooligan, and I certainly hadn’t danced around the living room sober with total abandonment.  I realised that by being a full-time adult, I was moving my body so differently and in such a limited way.

Over the last ten years as I have spent more time with my inner child, I have found that I have so much more pleasure in my life. Being with her makes me feel so free and filled with joy. On reflection I realise that I had forgotten how to be playful in pursuit of being an adult. And I had gotten very good at being an adult!  One of the greatest gifts that my nieces have given me is to show me how to be a kid again and access that state very easily.

As simple as it sounds, dancing, playing “Apple On A Stick” (a hand clapping game that you play with another person), exploring the beach for shells, climbing trees, having handstand competitions in the pool, riding irresponsibly fast down a hill on our bikes, chasing each other around the garden, and shooting goals on the netball court is where my inner child likes to play.

Every single part of who we are is worthy of love and attention: our Inner Child, Queen, Teacher, Warrior Princess, Caregiver, Rebel, and all the other parts, both light and dark.

Honour them all by finding your ‘thing’: the thing that connects you powerfully to the other parts of yourself simultaneously.

For me, that is dancing with my nieces.

 

 

 

The Desiderata

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Last week I posted a single line from the Desiderata on Instagram, a prose poem written by Max Hermann in 1927. It is a magnificent piece of writing, a simple and thoughtful take on how to live a life of contentment, happiness and fulfilment.

The post prompted several conversations about what sort of person Max Hermann must of been to have had such an insightful and simple take on life. He was clearly  a man who understood the world, and even though this poem suggests that he had his struggles, he was loyal to the belief of choosing happy.

It is the simplicity of this poem that makes its so attractive to me, and the wisdom too.  If we  all lived by these words, I think the world would be a happier place.  I just had to share it again.

Enjoy Max’s beautiful work…..

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

What makes you happy?

Happy

 

I was recently asked a question by a person I had just met, “So Kate, what makes you happy?”.

As I responded, I got to truly show who I was:  my values, the things I love, how I spend my time and so much more. Answering a question like that is a glimpse into another person’s soul so much more than the usual “What do you do?” or “Where do you live?”.

His question indicated that he was genuinely interested in understanding who I am as opposed to knowing the external factors or vehicles in my life. Often in our society we allow those external things to define us, but they are not who we really are.

I found this question totally refreshing and got immense enjoyment out of listing all the things that make my heart sing. I spoke about:

My family. Especially my nieces (and especially dancing with my nieces whilst pretending to be rockstars!).

My friends. Especially my “mantlepiece” friends (best friends). Especially breaking bread with my mantlepiece friends, and especially laughing whilst breaking bread with my mantlepiece friends!

Nature. Especially being amongst the trees. Especially being amongst the trees whilst enjoying their energy, and especially being amongst the trees whilst enjoying their energy when there are no other people around!

Coaching. Especially serving my clients. Especially serving my clients whilst they are creating amazing breakthroughs, and especially serving my clients whilst they are creating amazing breakthroughs and changing the lives of the people they love in the process.

This conversation went on for quite a while and my list was very extensive, he had to stop me at number 74! It was such a pleasure to share all of these nuggets of joy with someone and I realised I hadn’t actually thought long and hard about all the things that make me happy in quite a while.

As I verbalised each of them, I got to visit the moment again and by the time I had finished answering his question, I felt amazingly happy and deeply blessed.

I asked the same question of him because I wanted to give him the chance to enjoy a walk down happiness lane too. Plus, it is just an outstanding question to ask!

Can you imagine a world where instead of asking about what we own, or do, or where we live, we asked about what makes a person truly happy? How much more connected would we all be? How much easier would it be to contribute to another person’s joy in life? How much more interesting would the conversation be?

So I am curious, what is it that makes you happy?

 

 

Man’s (and Woman’s) best friend

 

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What is it about dogs that makes them so absolutely wonderful??

Is it the unconditional love? All the ways that they think you are the best person in the world?

Is it how they look at you, with a smile in their eyes and an open and eager heart?

Is it because they are just so present and are experts at living in the moment?

I am over here in Brisbane (I live in Perth) and am staying with my gorgeous friend and her family who, since my last visit, have a new dog! I am pumped! Billy Dog is a Scmoodle (aka super cute) and has the most infectious and joyful energy.

Today is her birthday so I am writing this blog to celebrate her special day and to express my deep love for dogs and all they give us. I have always had dogs in my life and when I reflect over each and every one of them, they have all taught me so much.

Children who get the opportunity to grow up with dogs, I think, get a whole different perspective on life. Not only because they are able to practice those soft skills like responsibility, discipline and caring for another being. They also get exposed to unconditional love of the animal variety, playfulness, friendship, loyalty and often tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness as well. Dogs are so great at teaching those qualities without even knowing they are doing it.

Growing up, we had two Blue Heelers (also known as Australian Cattle Dogs) and one Jack Russell. The Blueys were called Rosebud and Violet and the Jack Russell was Daisy. Yep, we named them in accordance with a flower theme.

The Blueys were tough. I grew up on 20 acres next to government catchment land and the Girls were always out there looking for stuff to chase, bring down or hunt. There was many a morning when we found an animal or part there-of on the doorstep. They would be so proud for having brought a gift home, and they sure were confused when I would open the door to half a dead kangaroo and start yelling like a banshee!

Mum often sent us off into the valley to play for the day with a packed lunch and the dogs. She knew that we would be 100% safe because the dogs would know how to bring us home if we got lost and they would never let anyone hurt us due to their protective nature.

Rosebud and Violet taught me to be an adventurer, to be in the moment and to love unconditionally and loyally. They always forgave me when I didn’t pay them attention or forgot to feed them or just didn’t care about them because I was thinking about me. They were always about the love.

They would always be by my side if I was sick, they let me dress them up, and they were always ready to play with me if I wanted that.

Those dogs really did make my childhood so memorable. I have always seen pets as family members and I am so grateful that I had so many siblings over the years.

Dogs rock.

 

The Power of Small things

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Yesterday I was at the dog park with my niece, Tessa.  We were taking Daisy for a walk.  Daisy is the cutest cavoodle in the world and I have the honour of looking after her for a couple of weeks while her parents are overseas.

It was the most wonderful outing.

Its autumn here in Perth and the sun is warm at this time of year yet without the harshness of the summer sun.  It is like sitting in front of a heater that is at the perfect temperature.  The sky was bright blue, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen and the air was fresh and clean.

The park is surrounded by big, tall white gums and gum trees and the wind that was blowing gently through them making them rustle happily.

Tess and I were throwing the ball for Daisy and geez, that is total joy on steroids for any ball loving dog!  She ran and chased, fetched and returned over and over again.  The most magnificent part of all the ball throwing for me was her smile, pure happiness and joy.  That dog did not think about anything else except where that ball was and how quickly she could get to it. She galloped, she tripped herself up and she ran with total abandon.  It truly was soul food for her and even more so for Tess and I who watched and enjoyed it so richly.

There is a small seating stand at the park and Tess, who sees herself as an aspiring actress, wanted us to use it as a prop and do some acting.  She went first, pretending to be a cheerleader for the Hawthorn Football Club (her favourite team in the WORLD).  I swiftly followed her up by pretending to be the Queen going past in a royal carriage and waving to her subjects. It felt weird at first but I could see how much fun Tess was having so I just let go and went with it.  It was really quite magical by the end and we had laughed A LOT!

I took my sneakers off as we continued around the park and we ran barefoot over the soft, green grass.  It is long and lush at the moment and it felt amazing on my feet.  After several more laps around the grass area we decided it was time to head home.  Daisy Dog was pooped and we had important matters to attend to, like making hot chocolate and working on the playlist for our next family holiday.

As I reflected on my day last night and I thought about all I was grateful for, I realised that the day had been full of small things. Small things of love, small things of joy, small things of happiness.

There is such an abundance of beauty in our day but often because those things are small, we miss them or we are moving too fast to even appreciate them.

Life really is about the small things.