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.

 

 

What Legacy Will You Leave Behind You?

“Love is my gift to the world. I fill myself with love and I send that love out into the world. How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine.” This is a quote by Wayne Dyer and is indicative of how he lived his life. He was in Australia sharing his message, and a couple of days later he passed peacefully in his sleep.

I don’t know how many of Wayne’s talks I attended, I’ve read most of his books and listened to his audios hundreds of times and I feel as if a personal friend has died, but beyond the sadness is the the legacy Wayne left behind. The legacy Wayne Dyer left behind him is huge, he inspired me to believe in myself and my dreams. Many times I heard Wayne Dyer say, ‘Don’t Die with Your Music still in You’ and this is a message I took to heart and is one that I live by. I encourage you to do the same.

In the world today there are more negative people than positive ones. There are more people who are ruled by fear than by faith. Beyond Blue estimates that 1 million Australian experience depression and 2 million experience anxiety. We can do something about this. Not everyone is going to help others in the way that Wayne Dyer or even I do, but you can inspire people around you with your attitude, by sharing your knowledge, being supportive and kind.

I was blessed to come from a family cursed by depression. I say blessed because watching the way some members of my family lived their lives and coped with depression by hiding away, inspired me to conquer my own fears, to find ways to cope when my mood goes down. When my daughter was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety in her teens I was able to support her to find her way out of the black hole. I am so, so proud of my daughter today, she is still challenged by depression but she has chosen to live her life to the fullest. Every time she falls down she lifts herself up. When she is afraid she forges ahead. Expect to hear about her in the future because she is the one who will take over my work and add her own gifts when the time is right.

Each and every day we have a choice, we can live our lives from a place of love, or we can react and allow our fears to restrict our choices. We cannot have everything that we want in the way that we want it, but we can always attain the feeling. Remember, the feeling is the real goal.

Include as many pleasurable activities as you can into every single day. They don’t have to be major, it could be something as simple as enjoying your morning coffee (bliss!), having lunch in the sun with a good book, connecting with a friend whose company you enjoy. When you become accustomed to feeling pleasure on a regular basis it motivates you to do what makes your heart sing.

Be mindful. When you are mindful you are not thinking about what you have to do next, worrying about how to solve a problem, or thinking about a future event, you place your attention on the here and now. If you feel anxious rather than making a judgment about it, or yourself, or looking for ways to change your state, you accept that this is how you feel right now.

The purpose of mindfulness is not that you plan to be mindful every minute of the day, there is a time and place for everything. There will be times when it is necessary to do something to change your state, or look for a solution. Mindfulness is practised in short bursts.

I urge you to commit to living your life to the fullest, to follow your dream, to connect regularly with people who uplift you so that you too can be an inspiration to others and leave a legacy of love behind you.

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.

Living Calm Creates Balance

2017 is my year for creating balance and living calm, not just for the year, but for the rest of my life. Living calm to me means being unflappable, but the reality is that I can barely remember a time when I haven’t felt stressed for one reason or another, and just dealing with the situation that is causing the stress, has only ever brought short term relief because there is always another pressing need to fill, or problem to solve. Living calm is something we need to foster and promote to increase the health and wellbeing of our whole society, especially our children.

Your stress threshold determines how well you manage stress

Our response to stress is set up in the womb, my low stress threshold was passed on to me by my mother and I in turn passed it on to my children. I’ve developed some great skills to manage stress but I’ve reached the stage where I don’t want to have to do this any more, I want to be calm, relaxed and enjoy every single day.

One of the best habits we can all establish is to observe ourselves without judgement. This gives us so much insight into why we do the things we do. I’ve given myself a whole year to observe what causes stress for me, establish new habits and make changes that will be permanent. That’s one of the reasons I’ve written so few blogs this year, my focus has been on simplifying and creating a new normal that supports the me to be the person I want to be and the life I want to live.

Living Calm means living a balanced life

Some of the things that I’ve discovered about myself is that my stress response starts long before I am consciously aware of it. Life gives us little clues that tell us when we are out of balance and if we are mindful on a regular basis we notice these clues,which can show up as minor irritations, before they become a major problem. When we race through life, going from one thing to the next, we often miss these clues and this means that we often keep experiencing the same old patterns, over and over again.

I’ve always known I don’t value myself enough but only recently I discovered how much of an impact that has had on my work. When I had to replace a staff member I became aware that I had a tendency to employ people who needed support, rather than choosing someone to support me.

Feeling unsupported has been one of my major life issues, and this feeling has infiltrated every area of my life because I constantly gave up my own needs to accommodate others.

As I write I am having ducted airconditioning installed in my home and I clearly asked when I got the quote, for the outdoor unit to be placed in a specific location, out of sight. Yesterday, after the tradesmen had left, I discovered that the unit was installed in the wrong place so that’s it’s visible as you walk in my drive. I have plans to convert this area into a relaxing outdoor area. My builder, who isn’t involved with this service, encouraged me to leave it where it is, and normally I would have gone along with this, but I know I’ll never be happy with that choice.

So now whenever I feel tempted to compromise just to make life easier for someone else I pause and reassess if this is something I really want to do and ask, ‘will this choice create more stress for me’. Leaving the unit in its current location might cause short term stress but over the long term it would be a constant irritation.

When we give up our needs on a regular basis we reinforce the belief that we can’t have what we really want, and that belief is behind so much unhappiness that exists today. The more aware we are the easier it becomes to make small and sometimes major adjustments in our daily lives. The discomfort we feel in the short term is minor compared to the long lasting benefits we gain from living a calm life. When we feel calm we are in balance. Our feelings reinforce the belief that we can have what we want. We fill our most important needs and as a result we feel happier. And happy people make the world a better place for everyone.

Where are your thoughts taking you?

When Wayne Dyer’s book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life was released in 2009 I purchased it immediately only to discover that it wasn’t the book I expected, so it was tucked away unread on my bookshelf. My daughter Laura has been telling me to read this book for quite a while, so needing inspiration one day I pulled it out and started reading a verse a day. And as the old saying goes, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear”.

For nearly 20 years I have felt blessed to be able to do work that I love, but as my business has grown my role has changed and sometimes I find myself spending hours marking a never ending pile of assignments or troubleshooting administrative problems. This change in my daily routine took me away from feeling joyful and I found myself becoming increasingly irritable, negative and tired a lot of the time. Wayne’s book was the perfect reminder to take control of my thoughts.

It’s easy for anyone to be positive and happy when everything in life is flowing, it’s when life challenges us that we need to be conscious of where are thoughts are taking us. Being positive is not a state you reach and stay there. To live in a state of flow we need to be conscious and willing to change the way we respond.

I chose to be mindful whenever I found myself in a low energy state, or whenever I was tempted to moan about something that irritated me. Instead I focused on all I had to be grateful for. Before long I noticed how incredibly grateful I felt, even when marking assignments, my least favourite job. I thought, How lucky am I to be doing this work, guiding teachers and coaches who go out and make a positive difference.

Thoughts are not something you take control of once, they are something you need to check in on on a regular basis. People often say to me how positive they are, and in some areas they most likely are, but we are all dual beings and we can be both positive and negative at the same time.

OUR THOUGHTS AND WORDS AFFECT THE WORLD AROUND US

We need to be conscious of how our thoughts and words impact the world around us. Now we all know that the world is predominantly negative and it is very easy to get caught up in negative emotions, but by being optimistic, grateful, kind and light hearted we can have a positive influence on the world around us.

According to HeartMath the heart’s electromagnetic field contains coding which is transmitted throughout and outside of the body and that intentionally generated positive emotions can change this information/coding. HeartMath believe that care, compassion, love or other positive emotions not only transmit through our own bodies but are transferred externally to people in close proximity, and possibly over long distances.

This means that we are constantly projecting our emotions into the energy field of the world around us. If you have ever read about the studies carried out by the late Masaru Emoto[2] on water you may remember his findings on how emotions change the quality of water.

When words such as ‘thank you’ and ‘fool’ were wrapped around bottles of water with the words facing inwards, the bottles exposed to ‘thank you’ formed beautiful hexagonal crystals, whereas water exposed to the word ‘fool’ created similar results as water exposed to violent heavy metal music, which was dark and murky.

CHANGE YOURSELF AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU CHANGES

When something is not working in our lives our automatic response is often to change something externally, but when we shift our focus off changing what is and onto changing our response we become powerful. We don’t have control over much that happens in the world around us, but we always have control over our thoughts and that is what makes humans uniquely capable of changing themselves and the world around them.

Some of the coaches I train get fixated on marketing, particularly their lack of knowledge in this area, and I know some who have spent $20,000 on a course to learn how to market their businesses. Yet the most productive thing they can do, that will guarantee a positive return every time, is focus on adopting and maintaining a positive mindset. Living your life as if you already have your heart’s desires is way more powerful than intellectual knowledge.

By adopting the habit of being mindful whenever you find yourself experiencing any negative emotion, you learn to focus on the present, not the past or the future. By giving thanks for all the blessing you have you create an energy field that draws what want into your life. This is what the law of attraction is all about, it’s not about wishful thinking and something magically turns up.

Write yourself post it notes and place them in prominent places, put reminders into your phone to stop and be mindful. Change your thoughts to ones that always support you and you will find that your thoughts really can transform your life.

[1] https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/the-energetic-heart-is-unfolding/

[2] Masaru Emoto, Hidden Messages in Water, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, New York, 2005