Joy is What Comes After a Transition

Joy is What Comes After a Transition

Every 20 years or so I go through a fairly major period of transition which creates turmoil as long as I resist what is. When I am open and willing something new and wonderful opens up.

My first major transition occurred in my thirties and that was scary as it resulted in a total life change. When I was in my late forties I felt directionless and in total despair that this was all my life was ever going to be, but as I searched for a better way to live, a whole new career and lifestyle opened up to me.

Most of the time I’m very  happy with my life, but there are occasions when doubt creeps in, particularly as I get older. At these times it is so very easy to slip back into our stories. Our story is what we tell others, and ourselves, about why our life is the way it is. It is the conversation that we repeatedly have with a friend about something or someone who irritates us. It is the problem that keeps recurring. Our stories are such a familiar part of us that most of the time we cannot see how our stories are running our lives.

Our stories can be about feelings, relationships, health, work, money and lifestyle. It often becomes the conversation we engage in when we feel stressed or challenged.

Our stories include choices and decisions we have made about what we can have, what we are capable of and how supported or loved we feel. And if we are not careful our stories can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Stress is just another name for fear

Until we live mindfully our stories can easily run our lives. The more mindful we are the easier it becomes to recognise when we are feeling stressed, or when we are indulging in self-defeating patterns of behaviour. Stress is the wake up call we often need to change what we are doing. The easiest thing we can do is to stop talking about our problems and to stop resisting what is.

My go to strategy when my life isn’t flowing is to pause and tune into my emotions. If I find I am feeling angry, frustrated or fearful I forgive myself and the people whose behaviour is bugging me. I focus on appreciation and gratitude. Within hours life starts flowing again.

While most people dislike change life transitions always present us with wonderful opportunities. Practice sitting with your emotions. Accept that the quickest way to change your life is to accept what you don’t like. Stop worrying about what others think. Use this time to focus on joy. Ask yourself what a joyful life looks like? What a joyful day looks like? And start working towards it.

Joy is the gift we give ourselves.

 

 

Intuition Always Leads You to a Place of Joy

Intuition can speak to us as a gut feeling or through a sudden thought, yet we often overlook the most common way intuition speaks to us and that is through our feelings.

I’ve loved my work for the past 20 years, so it came as quite a shock to me when I started dreading going to work each day. Feelings such as this are a very clear message from our soul telling us when something needs to change, sometimes we need to change our circumstances and at other times we need to change ourselves.

I started asking myself what my ideal business would be like and as soon as I did this I knew I wanted to help more people to awaken. Jonas Salk once said, “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next”. My intuition told me to get back to doing what I love, which is creating, writing and setting up the Be Different Movement, and do less administration work. That’s meant cutting back on some of the courses that make us money, but I know I’ve made the right decision, I feel joyful and everything is flowing easily.

Steve Jobs said that intuition is more powerful than intellect and scientists now back this up. Sometimes intuition comes from our subconscious which works at an incredibly high speed, sometimes it comes from God.

Most of us don’t acknowledge intuition enough

It takes courage and trust to follow our intuition. Courage to break away from the tribe and do what you feel is right for you, and trust to know that if you are following your internal guidance system you will always be supported. Intuition will only ever lead you to a place of joy.

Here are some examples:

You have a strong desire to write a book, ego tells you that it needs to be a best-seller.

You have a strong desire to start your own business helping others, ego tells you that you that you need to be the best.

Intuition guides you to forgive, ego resists or wants to get back at someone.

Ego places conditions upon what you do, Intuition says just do it, the door will open. This is how I’ve lived my life. Every success I have achieved has occurred when I did what I intuitively felt led to do. I always felt I could help people through writing a book, it never entered my mind how many copies my book would sell, or even if I could do it. When I decided to be a life coach I decided that even if I couldn’t make a living from life coaching I would so some other work and continue to do what I loved on the side. When buying a home seemed to be an impossible dream, I just prepared for my own home by saving small amounts and buying a few items in preparation for it. I also loved the home that I rented by painting and gardening and making it mine while I was there.

When you listen to your intuition you allow love, joy and abundance to flow into your life. When you listen to your ego you allow fear to rule your life.

Intuition has nothing to do with control, in fact it asks that you relinquish control. It has nothing to do with achievement, although success and achievement often follow when you listen to it. Intuition will never lead you to a place of scarcity where there is only enough for a few, your intuition knows only abundance. Intuition never questions if you are good enough, it already knows your strengths and it will bring the right people and conditions into your life to turn your weaknesses into assets.

Develop the habit of listening to your intuition

When you take an outside-in approach your life is always guided by external factors. Other people’s opinions will always influence your choices. Fear of scarcity will keep you doing things that take you away from your joy. And you will live your life searching for more.

When you take an inside-out approach you shift the focus onto asking yourself, what can I give, how can I serve. Living your life in this way only leads to joy and abundance, although I must admit it’s often scary to step out in faith, but it’s a leap worth taking.

If you have not already established the habit of listening to your intuition don’t make radical choices overnight, start by making small changes each day, and that is the key, you need to make these choices consistently. As you leave your home ask for guidance as to the best route to drive, or where to park your car. Act upon the feelings you receive. If you work in a job that is less than your ideal, ask how you can serve each day, and act upon the answers. When you need to make a decision, which could be as simple as where to go on your next holiday, or whether you should change jobs, ask for guidance and act upon the answers.

By acting on your intuition on a regular basis you will begin to differentiate between ego and fear. You will develop an automatic response that will support you when you need to make the bigger choices in life. Listen to your feelings, they are your soul’s way of guiding you to make a new choice.

Finding Joy in Unexpected Places

As we go about our daily lives it’s so easy to let the things that bring joy into our lives slip. If we wait for circumstances to bring us joy we may have to wait a long time, but if we establish the habit of being mindful and doing something every day that brings us pleasure it becomes so much easier to experience joy, and attain our most important goals.

It has been discovered people who suffer from depression have an inability to see things as new, fresh or exciting and this is what makes them depressed. In chronically depressed people the mind creates links between sad moods and feelings of hopelessness or inadequacy. For instance, a person experiencing depression could interpret the fact that they didn’t get a job to mean they are hopeless as a person, or a failure, that they will never get what they want.

Depression has been largely treated by drugs which puts serotonin back into the body, or by cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these work, but when a person goes off drugs they often experience a relapse. There is a third way that can change the way we feel, which has been proven to bring about long-lasting change, and that is by being mindful.

Mindfulness

Scientists have found that the brain can only create new pathways when we pay attention to what we are doing. If you go around saying affirmations by rote without really thinking about what they mean, they won’t have much impact upon your life. Say affirmations consciously, focusing on positive emotions and follow that up with action that makes you feel good and you will get an entirely different outcome. Our brain is constantly remaking itself in response to outside stimuli, our environment and our experiences.

Neuroplasticity occurs when the mind is in a state of focus and attention, this is commonly known as being mindful.

Being mindful, as well as inducing a state of calm, means we can change our emotional response to events that once upset us, and we can change beliefs which prevent us from moving forward.

Mindfulness is the practice of observing yourself. It is observing the way we think and feel without judging.

Drugs for depression work from the bottom up. Cognitive behavior therapy works from the top down. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy keeps the depression circuit from being completed.

No one is happy all of the time, but when we are mindful we notice our emotions and that allows us to take control of them rather than having our emotions run our lives. Attention training changes lives. Rather than just making a decision to be more mindful, which you’ll probably forget within a day, link being mindful to any activity that stresses or challenges you. Or set a specific time each day and put a reminder into your phone to stop and focus on what is happening in the world around you.

By training yourself to be mindful you start to recognise those things that bring you joy. When you add more things that bring you joy into your daily life you feel happier. When you feel happy you have a positive influence on the world around you.

Frustration is Your Friend

Frustration is something I am intimately familiar with and I have never liked the feeling. Only recently though I’ve become aware that frustration is my friend, it’s my soul’s way of reminding me to trust myself and follow my heart.

On my computer I had six partly written books, this of itself is so unlike me, whenever I start something I generally work at it until I finish, but during the last ten years instead of following my own inner guidance sometimes, I made other people’s opinions more important than my own.

Several years back I was writing a book on happiness when I attended a Hay House Writer’s Workshop. At that workshop Reid Tracy, CEO of Hay House said something like, “If you want to write on happiness, you won’t find a publisher unless you have around 50,000 social media followers”. A year later I attended a Hay House Writer’s Cruise, where I heard similar messages on what won’t work, so I kept changing the message of my book and it didn’t flow because I wasn’t writing what I wanted to write.

I forgot for a while that the very successful books I have written came about because I did what felt right. I broke all the rules when it came to publishing, yet my books were published and were very successful.

Two things happened recently that have made me reassess my choices. I held my Dharma Retreat, which was a great experience, and I listened to people tell me how my books had helped them. The second thing was I reached a level of frustration that was so great that I lost my joy.

I had been working with a life coach in America to help me gain my masters certification in coaching from the International Coach Federation. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, it was a means to an end goal. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to gain this qualification and anyone who knows me well knows I don’t like to comply just because someone tells me to. So right from the start following this path went against my essential nature. The other thing that challenged me about this qualification is that I had to change the way I coached to comply with their core competencies, it didn’t matter if my way worked with a client or not. I am a person who believes there is never just one way.

That’s when I realised that frustration was my friend. Feeling so frustrated made me aware that I needed to get back to trusting myself.

Since then I have stopped pursuing any further qualifications in coaching, they may be right for some people but not for me. I deleted all of the half finished books from my computer. I started writing the book I want to write and I have created a new routine to support that choice. Every morning first thing I do is read a verse from Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life, which is based on on the ancient wisdom of Tao te Ching by Lao-tzu, then I meditate. Once I start work I write for a couple of hours before I do anything else. I don’t have an outline. I am simply writing one chapter at a time by following my inner guidance.

Sometimes you can’t just throw in the job, or change your life as easily as I have, but you can always adopt habits that make you happy where you are right now while working towards the life you really want. Sometimes you may make a short term sacrifice for a long term gain, such as getting up earlier to work on your dream, when it’s what you love to do, it is worth it.

Such simple choices yet the difference in how I felt at the beginning of the week to now is profound. I feel free again. I feel joyful. I feel me.

 

 

FACE YOUR FEARS

How do you know when life tells you it’s time to face your fears?

Several years ago I started coaching a man who was tired of working in the corporate world. At our first session Carl (not his real name) told me about a business that he had always wanted to own, but he dismissed that idea by saying, “There is no money in it”. Not long after we started working together, Carl was offered a well-paying position in the corporate world which he accepted.

Carl continued to work with me on and off over the years and made progress in his personal life and he improved his management skills, but he still wasn’t really happy in his job and didn’t know what he wanted to do. It took another change of job, which precipitated a midlife crisis before Carl finally listened to his heart.

Carl has now invested his life savings in the dream he told me about at our first session. He doubts that he will make as much money from this venture as he did as a corporate executive, but he’s chosen lifestyle and personal satisfaction over money. I personally think he has such great ideas, skills and such passion that he may surprise himself, but time will tell. When I caught up with a very excited Carl he said, “What always held me back before was fear. I simply wasn’t ready to face it.”

I hear a lot of reasons as to why people can’t have what they want ranging from: confusion, lack of money, lack of support, no skills, insufficient time, not intelligent enough, and not good enough. These are only the outer manifestation of fear. Problems, confusion or dissatisfaction, are mirrors which show you the fears you have yet to face.

Some people think that they are facing their fears, and have gone after their dream, but it didn’t work out and they settled. The reality is often that it was easier to give up than to face their real fear.

When I started my life coaching business I knew I had found my passion so I made a commitment to myself to do this work regardless of whether I made a living from it or not. I was prepared to get a day job that paid the bills and coach in my own time if I needed to, and there were times when I did just that. There have been times when my business has flowed and times when it’s been tough, but one of the things that I love about myself is that I never, ever give up. If it feels right, and I love what I am doing, I look at what I have to learn from the situation and then I address the fear.

Face Your Fears

The gifts that comes from facing your fears are freedom and joy. Freedom to live life on your terms, to be yourself, and joy that makes waking up each day worthwhile. There are too many people who just get by, don’t be one of them. The only thing that stands between you and the life you were born to live is fear. When you face the fear, accept responsibility and take steps to turn your dream into reality the people, money and resources come into your life to support you to turn that dream into reality.

It’s been a few years now since Carl started his business and business is booming. He said he is happier now that he has ever been.