Anne Hartley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Hartley

Anne Hartley is the founder and CEO of Hart Life Coaching Anne is also the author of several books including Financially Free, Love the Life You Live, Love Your Money - Love Your Life and Life Lessons. www.hartlifecoaching.com.au

If you want to make a difference meditate

Ever since Ken Keyes Jr wrote his book, The Hundredth Monkey, the theory this book is based on, has been criticised as being incomplete and inaccurate. The premise of this book is that a small  number of people, just 2% of the population thinking and acting in the same way can change mass consciousness.

In more recent years Edith Chenoweth, a highly respected political scientist at Harvard University, stated that the magic ratio to change the world is 3.5%. Just a brief example of how this has worked in the past includes the peaceful protests carried out in 1986 when millions of Filipinos came together to pray and protest against the Marcos regime. On the fourth day following day the protests, the Marcos regime folded. Another example quoted is when the people of Georgia stormed their parliament in 2003, holding flowers in their hands. It is believed this action led to ousting their president in a bloodless revolution.

Edith Chenoweth has looked at hundreds of campaigns carried out over the last century and says that non-violent campaigns are more likely to achieve their goals than violent campaigns. It is this principle that inspires many of the climate change protests being carried out around the world, especially the Extinction Rebellion,  and while you may not wish to protest, adding your thoughts, prayers and voice to saving our planet can only help.

If it takes 3.5% to oust a Government then it makes sense that this same number of people focused on a single goal, can change anything, as the Washington experiment in meditation indicates.

What meditation can do

In 1993 a study was carried out in Washington by a group of four thousand people who practised meditation for approximately seven weeks.  Their sole intention was to reduce the city’s violent crime rate.  This study was monitored by a board consisting of sociologists, criminologists, and officials from the police department and the Government of the District of Columbia.  In determining the results the board took into account the temperature, daylight hours, as well as any changes to police and community anti-crime activities.

Prior to this project the city’s rate of violent crime had been steadily increasing. A week after the study began the violent crime rate started decreasing. The statistical probability that crime could be reduced by meditation was less than 2 in 1 billion, or .0000000002%. The figures on the success of this campaign vary, according to different sources, but the decrease in the violent crime rate is estimated to be between 23 – 75%.

It is also quoted that this research is extremely reliable by the usual standards of social science, which states that the positive effects of this coherence group cannot be attributed to other possible causes, including temperature, precipitation, weekends, and police and community anticrime activities.

Interestingly, though once this exercise was completed the city’s violent crime rate started to rise again, and I would suggest that was because the number of people meditating was not sufficiently high enough to create permanent change.

If you want to make a difference meditate

There are so many of us who want to make a difference but don’t know what to do. Whether you want people to be kinder, end the climate crisis we are living with, or live in a peaceful world we can all contribute by focusing daily, through prayer, meditation or active participation in peaceful protests and become part of the 3.5% needed to change the world.

In a country the size of Australia, we only need 875,000 people to make a difference. That may sound a lot but the number of people attending church each week in Australia is estimated to be 1.8 million. The number of people who meditate is not known, but the numbers world wide who pay for meditation apps is in the millions. If these groups focused on care and compassion for each other and our earth, what a different world we could live in.

What will your legacy be?

Legacy is not just about what we do, it’s about how we make people feel when they think of us.

Most days I take the local paper out of my letterbox, glance at the headline then throw it in the recycling bin.  One day the headline, ‘The girl that everyone loved’ grabbed my attention so I took the paper inside to read.  The story was about a 22 year old girl who died after being struck by a car while crossing the road.  It wasn’t a story about a drunk driver, a hit and run or, even about blame.  It was simply a sad and beautiful story about a lovely young woman who had spent her short life making a difference to the people who crossed her path.

Another young girl that I read about was Rachel Beckwith who started giving at a very young age.  When Rachel was just five years old she learnt about an organisation called, Locks of Love, which provided wigs to children who had lost their hair following cancer treatment.  Rachel asked her mother if she could have her hair cut off so that it could be donated to this charity.  At eight years old Rachel started raising money for an organisation that built wells in Africa called Charity: Water.  And when her ninth birthday came around she asked her friends and family to give to this charity rather than buy her presents.

Five weeks later Rachel’s was with her family when their car was hit by a truck in a 13 car pile up.  The only one injured was Rachel and she died soon after.  Rachel’s parents donated her hair to Locks of Love and her organs to other children but Rachel’s legacy didn’t end there.  As her story spread around the world people started donating to Charity Water and since her passing Rachel’s web site has raised in excess of a million dollars for this cause.

Both of these girls lived meaningful lives and left behind a legacy.  They weren’t famous, they didn’t break any records or achieve any outstanding goals, yet their lives left an imprint upon the people who loved them, as well as many who never even met them, simply because of who they were in their daily lives.

Here are some suggestions for leaving a legacy.

 

Support the people you care about

Legacy is more about the people whose lives we affect, rather than the work we do.

Friendships sustain us and enrich our lives. So, if you aren’t sure ask the people you care about the most how they would like to be supported by you. Sometimes we think we know, but our assumptions may not always be accurate.

Knowing you have a friend that will support you in good times and bad, and knowing you will always be supported adds so much to the quality of our lives.

Reflect on what’s most important to you

It’s so easy to get caught up in attaining goals such as making money, owning a home, maintaining a standard of living or travel, that it’s easy to forget what’s most important.

Do you make time for fun? For important relationships? To do what makes your heart sing?

When you make time for what’s most important to you the rest of your life flows automatically.

I have always believed that the Universe cannot give you what you will not give yourself.

Practice gratitude

It’s so easy at times to focus on what’s missing from our lives rather than what is good. By establishing the habit of being appreciative and grateful we remind ourselves of all that’s good in our lives.

Help where you can

So often people say, ‘Let me know if I can help you’. They mean well but how often have you approached someone for help who has said this? I know I don’t.

To me helping is not about offering, it’s about doing. Do something spontaneously for someone you feel may need cheering up. There are many ways we can help. You can give money anonymously to someone in need. Lend a helping hand. Cook a meal. Listen when someone needs to talk. Mind someone’s children. Drop in for a chat, or invite someone to have coffee.

It’s often not the big things we do, but the simple ways we live our lives that becomes our legacy.

The Vacuum Law of Prosperity

At this time of year I usually start my annual clean up. I  go through my drawers and cupboards and I either throw out items I’ll never use or, I give them it away. It’s a habit I established more than 40 years ago, as a way of attracting more prosperity into my life, and it has served me well.

I was inspired to do this after reading The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder, and when I was younger and very poor this book was my bible, and some of the principles covered in that book I still live by.

The one I wanted to write about today is creating a vacuum. Catherine says, “Basically the vacuum law of prosperity is this: if you want great good, greater prosperity in your life, start forming a vacuum to receive it!”  In other words, get rid of what you don’t want to make room for what you do want.

We all say, more often than we realise, how we wish we could have certain things. I have worked with clients who have said, I want more friends, but they don’t have any time to spend with these new friends. I’ve had many clients who have wanted more money yet the way they treat money and possessions indicates they don’t care about it, or their financial records are a mess. Many say they want more freedom, yet they don’t allow space in their lives for spontaneity.

What do you need to make room for?

Are you holding onto memories and possessions from a failed relationship?

Do you have a lot of old stuff you no longer use that could be money in your bank?

What are you afraid you’ll never be able to afford again?

If you would like to attract more of anything into your life I suggest that you go through each room and make an inventory of what needs to go.

I did this recently in my office, and even though I felt it was well organised to begin with I knew I didn’t want to store paper files in filing cabinets anymore. To start we cleared the tops of our filing cabinets and made room for plants or flowers as flowers have always been something that makes me feel prosperous.

Our record keeping is now mostly digital, and when we have finished checking all files, we’ll have more space.

Do you need to forgive yourself?

As you go through this clean up you may come across things you’ve wasted money one. Most of us have at some time or another. When we allow unused items, that were mistakes to begin with, to clog up our wardrobes and cupboards, we are constantly reminded of our mistakes. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and sell or give away the items.

I once worked with a client who was unable to clear away her clutter, even one drawer and that told me that there was a deeper meaning behind her clutter. I asked her to sit and ask the clutter what it was trying to tell her. She thought I was wacky but good-naturedly agreed and over the following weeks and months she gained so many insights into why her life was the way it was.

How to let go

Pick one room, one drawer at a time. Focus on one item and ask yourself:

Does this bring me joy?
Does it make my life easier?
Are there sentimental memories attached to it?
Will I ever use it?

If you don’t get any affirmative answers then bin it, sell it, or give it away.

When you let go of material possessions you need to emotionally let go as well. Then visualise what you want coming into the space that you’ve prepared.

Remember this, you never need to let something go if you want it. The aim here is to let go of things you don’t really use any more, that don’t enrich your life.

Focus on what you want to create?

Are any of the items in your home hindering you from doing that?

Are you making the most of what you have right now?

I’ve worked with so many people over the years who would not put any effort into a home because it was rented. I rented for 16 years before I bought my first home and I treated every home as if it was mine. That I believe is the secret to creating abundance. Love what you have right now. Treat everything and everyone with respect right now. Catherine Ponder says:

“When you have released, let go, and formed a vacuum for new prosperity, that is the time to do whatever you can to affect the rich feeling, the rich atmosphere, the rich look with your present substance. Mention the apparent lack or vacuum to no-one. …Do not talk about hard times or the necessity for strict economy. Do not think how little you have, but how much you have. This is the time to use your best china and silver, and to eat by candlelight, even if your menu only consists of pork and beans….Quietness and confidence is your strength when there is a need for greater prosperity”.

These principles have worked for me for over 30 years and I can attest that they do work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to build more social connections

At 9 years old Summer Farrelly was the kid that no-one talked to and she spent most of her lunch breaks in the school library. Summer, and her whole family are on the autism spectrum and she didn’t know how to make friends. Summer raised chickens and she observed that her chickens formed different groups according to their moods. As she studied the ways these different groups communicated with each other she applied what they did to her own interaction with other kids at school. Before long she went from being the kid with no friends to one who connected well with others. Her mother said that the biggest difference, apart from her growing confidence and resilience, is that Summer learnt self-acceptance. Summer and her mother have created a chicken therapy program and at 12 years old Summer is now helping disabled animals.

We all know that we’ve become a society that has disconnected from each other. Social isolation and loneliness are on the increase which affects our health and wellbeing. This separation from others isn’t something we intentionally create we just get busy and there are less opportunities to make new friends. So, what can we do?

I feel that if we can all establish habits that support support connections, we can change the culture of the world around us.  Following are a few suggestions that come to mind:

Set an intention to connect more

When we set an intention, preferably by writing it down and placing it somewhere that we can look at it daily, we remind ourselves of what is most important to us.

Allow time to connect

When every minute of our day is scheduled we miss opportunities to be spontaneous. We need time to connect, to be able to stop and chat if you run into someone unexpectedly. When you are focused on doing all the time you often miss the clues that someone else is in need. Schedule some time each day that is free time, if you don’t have time to talk to someone when you run into them you can always tell them you’d love to catch up and give them a call at this time.

Smile more often

I don’t mean just a quick upturn of the lips, consciously choose to smile in a way that engages your whole being. Smile when talking on the phone, when talking to a shop assistant, when you greet your family. Smiling makes you feel good, and it makes the recipient feel good too.

Make time to talk to strangers

When my daughter was waiting for her liver transplant earlier this year I was totally worn out. One day I was getting into my car at Woolworths before heading into the hospital and wondering just how I was going to summon the energy to get through another day, when an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked me if I was okay. I asked him why he thought I might not be and he replied, “You are moving so slowly”. I stopped and talked to him for a few minutes, told him what I was going through, and he told me about his sister’s illness. Then we said goodbye. I have never seen him since yet his kindness to me that day lingers on. It was exactly what I needed at that time.

When you feel lonely look for a way to give something to someone else

This could be by performing a simple act of kindness, or it could be joining a community group. Whenever I need a pick me up I look at what I can give to someone else. Sometimes that’s having a conversation, doing volunteer work, or doing an act of kindness. It doesn’t always mean I connect with someone, but it always makes me feel good about me.

Join a group that shares a common interest

Communities are formed when groups of people who share a common interest come together. I read this morning of a group that meets to knit mittens for koalas hurt in bushfires. There are also groups that knit for kittens. Meetup is a great place to look for common interest groups, but if you can’t find one see if you can find one person who shares your interest and start your own, it could grow into something bigger.

We can all talk about what’s wrong with the world, and what is missing, but change begins with each one of us. By choosing to be part of the solution and reaching out to others today, we may just change our own life as well as helping others.

 

 

Midlife a Time to Awaken

Most of us have hopes and dreams which give us a sense of purpose and structure but as time goes by what once gave our life meaning shifts, our children grow up and our roles change or become redundant. Work which may have once fulfilled us may suddenly becomes a chore, relationships change or break down altogether. And for some of us our big dream never came to fruition, leaving us wondering, What now?

This time in life is often described as a midlife crisis, a better way to describe it is an unravelling, as it’s a time when we question everything about ourselves, our lives, who we are and what we believe. Of course, some people go through periods like this earlier in life but what typifies a midlife unravelling is the life stage, and it’s often associated with some change in our lives.

Midlife unravelling is an inside job. Those closest to you may have no idea what’s going on. You may feel apathetic, fearful, anxious, despairing, depressed, confused and out of control. Or, your might just feel lost. The intensity of this time varies for each one of us. It feels as if this is something we can’t control, manage or fix but, if we are open and willing to learn it can lead us to the best time in life.

Not everyone goes through a midlife unravelling. Midlife is generally classed as the time in life from mid to late 40s and 50s, although some people experience it as early as 35 and some in their 60s as it occurs because of a life stage.

I experienced a midlife unravelling in my late forties when I felt every one of the abovementioned emotions. What led me out of my crisis was my curiosity, I actively went looking for a better way to live and discovered that what made me happy had changed. Up until that time my life had been very goal focused. I became aware that achievement and success didn’t necessarily equate with being happy and so I chose to shift my focus onto being the ideal person I wanted to be. That discovery led me to find my passion and the work I do today.

Midlife unravelling is not something that is experienced by just women, having been a life coach for 20 years, I’ve worked with many men who have been through this transition as well.

It’s so easy to cling to our old lives, to the familiar even when that life doesn’t fulfil us any more usually because it’s not as scary as the unknown.

How we handle this period of discontent or disconnection, determines how difficult it will be. If we refuse to look at anything that makes us uncomfortable or try to be perfect by working harder and longer, while pushing our emotions down, this transition becomes tougher than it needs to be. Some people in fact never fully recover and live their lives accepting that the way they feel is all there is.

My books, and all the work I do resulted from questions I asked myself. Every time I don’t know what to do, feel lost, confused or just need guidance I ask questions. Some people say, Who are you asking? And the answer depends upon your belief system. Some people ask God, the Universe, themselves, life. As a coach I have seen first-hand the power that one question can have on a person’s life.

If you are going through a period of confusion in mid, or even late life, ask yourself these questions. Then listen for the answers which can come in many different ways.

  • What’s missing from my life?
  • What matters to me?
  • Who could I be?
  • Is it too late?
  • If my life was rich and meaningful what would that look like?
  • What’s standing in my way?

Unravelling provides us with an opportunity to awaken to what our hearts and souls are calling us to do. Our heart is our compass, it knows what makes us happy and our soul knows what makes our life matter. By being honest with ourselves and viewing life through different filters, we can recognise and share our unique gifts, and this is what adds meaning to our lives.

Midlife is a doorway that leads to the best time in life, if you are ready to step through it.

No tree tries to become a certain kind of tree. No flower tries to become a certain kind of flower. The tree and the flower open up to the sun and soak up water. Thus, they grow into themselves. No judgment. No expectations. No commentary. Your task is the same. If you can stop trying so hard to become who you think you should be, and instead commit to understanding and nourishing yourself, you will bloom into whatever kind of person you are.
Vironika Tugaleva, The Art of Talking to Yourself

 

 

Allow Intuition to Be Your Guide

In the months following my daughter’s liver transplant I started feeling discontented, obsolete, I lost interest in things I once loved and experienced mild depression. These feelings were familiar, I experienced all of them and worse when I went through my midlife crisis 20 years ago. That crisis led me to find passion, joy and meaning. So, following the urgings of my heart and soul I started to write, thinking that if I wrote about what I was feeling I would find my way out.

My writing started as a book, then a course and grew into a training program for coaches. The more I wrote my passion ignited, joy leapt, twirled and bubbled within me. My life felt meaningful again and I knew that this is what I wanted to share with others for the rest of my life.

Writing, if you want to do it well, needs to be an intuitive process. It’s using the thinking mind to get you started, then as inspiration pours through being prepared to put it aside and trust the process. I can write quickly. The three books I ghost wrote took just three weeks each and that’s because they were about money and it was a subject I knew a lot about. When my writing is inspired it’s a longer process, because my thinking mind gets in the way at times, so I need to gently remind it, now is not the time. Of course, there is a place for the thinking mind, the organising and getting my work out there is very much run by this part of me, but the creative process needs to be led by my intuition.

Some days I just sit at my computer and it pours out of me, I am just the vehicle. At other times, when I don’t understand the next step, I need to write my way to clarity. Usually this means that days of work and pages that aren’t quite right get thrown away. But when clarity dawns I slip back into the flow again.

When I write I meditate more than usual, I am fully present. I connect with my heart multiple times throughout the day and time stops. I can’t tell you what bliss this is, even though at times the pain (from arthritis) is so bad it feels as if my arms will fall off.

By following my intuition, I discovered what was making me feel discontented. I found the answer to a problem I hadn’t been able to overcome. I’ve found a way to meet an unmet need.

A very wise man once said to me, ‘Sometimes you just have to walk through the fire first”. The fire is different for each of us, mine is physical pain so I am going to have three joint replacements, starting December, one after the other as quickly as my body can cope, so that I can enjoy my life to the fullest.

For some people the fire represents their feelings of not being enough; worrying about what other people think or, being rejected.

Ask for guidance and take the first step, then follow that step with another. You may not feel inspired at first but as you walk through your fears at some stage inspiration will dawn, that’s when you will know you are exactly where you are meant to be, and doing exactly what you are meant to do.