No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no. This is the word that every toddler masters yet as adults it can be so difficult to say.
If you don't particularly feel like doing something, don't do it!!! Don't do anything out of obligation. This is not selfishness, this is self-care.
"Drop the word obligation from your vocabulary and you will be free of resentment." (unknown)
Often it is not the feeling of doing whatever it is you have said yes to, but the negative feelings you carry that feel off; often feeling as though you have sold yourself out by not listening to what YOU really want. Saying yes through obligation is placing your needs below those of someone or something else. There is a very big difference between saying yes to something because you truly want to and saying yes because you "feel it best you should."
We can still be "nice people" if we say no! This can be programmed into us as a child to be nice people and this can often mean finding ourselves saying yes to everything and doing things we don't want.
We can give MORE to others in an authentic way when we look after ourselves and learn to develop self care. This is where true compassion and caring for others begins.
To use the analogy of a cup, we must have a full cup before we can start sharing. We can't give from an empty cup. .
Ask yourself everyday: What do I love to do?"
What makes you jump out of bed in the morning? If you could do anything today, what would it be?
The best gift we can give ourselves is the gift of being true to ourselves and the only way to do this is doing the things that we really love. Just for us.
We get caught up in doing things because we think we SHOULD be doing them, we think we NEED to be doing them and we think other people think we should be doing them; so much so that we have very little in our lives that we do for pleasure.
Surely we aren't here to live a monotonous or an "ordinary" life whereby we eat, sleep, work, pay bills, occasionally holiday or look forward to that once a year/few year break and then die?
Bronnie Ware wrote The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying based on her time working in a palliative care unit. She documented the top 5 regrets of people at the end of their lives. The number one regret is "I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not to the life others expected of me."
Often when we are in a state of exhaustion or darkness, we can stop dreaming, we can stop even remembering what it is we like to do.
A few questions to ask yourself to find what you love:
* What did you love doing as a child?
* What were you good at?
* Did you love art, music, sport, drama?
* If time and money were not an "issue" what would you be doing with your days?
It doesn't necessarily mean that we leave our jobs and jump straight into what we wish we could do (if not practical!!!), but perhaps bringing creativity and joy back into our lives will lead us to the bigger heart callings. Over time we may find ourselves living a life of holiday rather than looking forward to that occasion once a year or few years.
"The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been." (Albert Einstein)
Following our heart can ensure we don't need a leash or feel the need to follow the masses. We can't create anything new and we also struggle to find our sparkle (or dharma) by walking in a crowd doing the same thing as everyone else.
It is very hard to break free from the crowd in a society where we are expected to conform. Speaking out, doing something "different", going against popular opinion, drawing on your imagination, gut and heart instinct are even frowned upon. It is hart to do many of these things. It is often well outside the comfort zones of may of us. People may tell you are doing the wrong thing, taking big risks or even belittle you for your thoughts.
Sometimes the crowd we are following is that voice inside our head; our Ego. We face fears, self limiting beliefs, scrutiny; we are challenging our primal safety zone when we choose to stand out. It is easy to do what everyone else is doing. Our ego can present every excuse as to why we shouldn't do something and how it could be very risky. But often when we are conforming and doing what we think is best because everyone else is doing it can bring low times for us without realising why.
It also takes a lot of energy, a toll on relationships, sways in our moods to live an inauthentic life........
Time to thank the crowd for their support and dance happily in the other direction.
Some questions to ponder:
* Can you recall times where you have done things because other people thought it would be best for you?
* What would you really say and do if you weren't filtered?
* Interestingly we start to conform at a young age (especially when we start schooling). Can you remember times at school where you disagreed or wanted to do something but didn't for fear of standing out? What would you now say to your younger self?
* From this moment on, we have the choice to stand out!
The answers to all our questions and problems can appear to be all around us. No end of people surround us to tell us the answers often offering solutions before we realise we have a problem! Whether it is the promise of a flat belly in 30 days by following a particular regime or the answers to all our health issues promised to us by consuming the latest trending shakes diet! We often bounce our problems off others; should we take that job, how do we approach a situation with our kids, do I wear the red dress or the green?!! It can be helpful to share our problems with others but at the end of the day, the decisions are down to one person only and they are found within us.
Advice of course can be sought from professionals in their area of specialty as they can give us their opinion and suggestions based on experience, knowledge and what has worked for others in similar situations but even then, the final decisions come down to us.
Everything we need is within us. That gut feeling is there guiding us. It is difficult to hear what you are saying to yourself when every minute of every day is filled with activities, tasks, chores, appointments and commitments. The only way to hear the answers is to take the time to listen. Answers like the comfort of the still and quiet in order to present. It can be easier said than done, but try turning off the phone, gadgets, media, lock yourself in your room for 5 minutes if you have children hanging off your leg and just sit. Some people are great at meditating or can ask for guidance in prayer time but if you are like me and struggle to slow your thoughts, then just sit with your eyes shut and take a few deep breaths. Then ask the question! Take your first answer. Don't question it! The answer may be cryptic but it can be leading you to the answer!!
I give an example of this when I was really in a dark place without really knowing what to do except live day to day. Each day I asked "what do I need right now?". Every time I heard the word "write". It certainly wasn't the direct answer or the instructions I was seeking to get me out of my funk there and then which is why I ignored it daily until day 5 of asking I thought I should take notice as it was the only word that would come up for me! It was the word that led me to journalling my thoughts, which led me to this fast!
* Ask yourself what questions you would like answered right now
* Find a comfortable space where you won't be interrupted for 5-10 mins
* Shut your eyes and take a few deep breaths until you feel yourself slow down
* Ask what it is you need right now
* Listen to your first answer!
Day 4: I choose to "have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing" (Tilopa 988-1069)
Happiness and success never depend on an attachment to anything, anyone or any place.
What would happen if tomorrow morning you woke up without your worldly possessions, without your house you worked so hard for, even without your wedding ring? Could you still be happy?
Do you reach for your favourite food or look forward to a holiday because you know you can then be happy?
What if the happiness is not kept in the possessions or in other people and perhaps instead it is a choice we make daily within only ourselves.
Have you noticed when we get upset, disappointed, angry, sad, jealous, frustrated and other of human emotions that it is normally the result of two things; either expectation or attachment. When either of these are breached, we can fall into these emotions.
When we attach meaning to objects, people or situations, we become easily disappointed, angry or sad when things don't go to plan.
Other attachments can limit our relationships with other people or limit our opportunities and experiences. An example of this is when we have an attachment to "being right". When we attach to only the words of one person or group as being right, we have immediately shut the door to so many possibilities and points of view. If we stand back un-attached, we can choose to view all these opinions without the attachment of making them right or wrong.
Some questions to ponder:
Are there any beliefs you have attached to (perhaps those of your parents, or those from your education) which perhaps may not deep down align with your core feelings?
What would be important to you if you were to wake up tomorrow morning without your worldly possessions?
Have you shut the door to other opinions or possibilities by so firmly believing in the words of one person or group of people as being right? Imagine approaching the topic from other points of view (without judgement).
Seeking approval from family, friends and people we may not even know is one of the biggest drains of our energy. It can become all consuming worrying about what others think or say about us. It is even possible to base our happiness on having the approval of others...
This can begin at a young age. Often as children we can seek validation from people around us; teachers, friends, family and this can come at the price of withholding our true selves. This can be truly exhausting as we often spend so much time doing and saying what we think we should for others to avoid the fear of judgement.
There are always going to be people who no matter what you do or how you act will still be in a state of negativity and some people can never be satisfied..... ever. This is not about you, it is about them. We all have a unique set of beliefs, perceptions, experiences which all lead to different conditioning but when people step out to say negative things about others, this is reflection of themselves.
A true state of freedom comes from no longer seeking the approval of others. We must make peace with the fact that there will always be people who don't align with our ways and from a place of love, send them peace and hope that they can find peace.
What really counts is whether we truly approve of ourselves and find it in ourselves to be truly authentic. The only person we deprive or hurt when we act out of obligation or in-authenticity is ourselves.
Questions to ponder:
* Do I worry about what others think about me?
* How do I feel when I act out of obligation or seeking approval of others which feels inauthentic?
* What would happen if I stopped people-pleasing?
* Why do I seek the approval of others?
* Looking in reverse, is there anyone I have negative thoughts about? Why? What is the mirror showing me?
When we get lost in thought or we attach to each thought floating through it can be easy to disconnect from our body. We become so wound up in thinking about what has happened or what could happen that we lose all sense of being in the present right here right now.
During this period of disconnect it is easy to move along without purpose with a feeling of no direction; essentially floating. A feeling of disconnect not only with self but with family, friends and community can eventuate and we can even enter a state of shut down or severe depression.
The energy we consume replaying thoughts and worrying can become debilitating. Often it is when we are all consumed by thought that our body can start dropping hints in the form of illness that it is in a state of deprivation.
Often the smallest challenge when in this state can knock us right over or feel like a huge burden that we don't know how to approach.
Placing our feet on the Earth in nature can enable us to connect with Mother Nature and find ourselves back in our body; centred in our self and with the physical. emotional and mental space we are in.
Today I choose to find a place in nature where I can focus on connecting with Earth energy. Feel my body being held up by the support of nature; listen to natures beautiful sounds, smells and colours.
Ideas for grounding in nature:
* watch the sunrise or sunset
* a walk on sand at the beach
* spending time in the garden
* watch some animals or flowers
* witness the birds in the morning or evening
Remember this time is phone and device off time.
Take the opportunity to journal how you feel after some time in nature.
Today and each and every day I am.
Whenever we start a sentence with "I am" we are creating our "reality" of who and what we think we are and what we want to be. We are now labelled and defined. I am is infinite; we are "everything and more".
This is incredibly powerful! Let's use it for good!!
Think about ways you describe yourself starting with I AM..
How do you describe appearance?
How do you describe your finances?
How do you describe your relationships?
How do you describe your health?
What reality would you like to create?
The beauty is, even if we don't feel we can believe what we are saying, say it anyway. Keep saying what you would like to create.
Create an I AM affirmation print out and put it up where you can see it EVERY day. It can relate to your whole family.
The past 6 weeks have been heavy. It seems I'm not alone. I have spoken to so many others who seem to also be going through a period of confusion, questioning, self-doubt, illness and feel as thought they have pulled up at cross-roads. I know I am not alone in having to sit up and listen to the big messages.
I spend so much time teaching others to "listen to their body" and about how our thoughts can create dis-ease in the body. But in my pursuit to prove something to myself, or even get away from myself, I ignored everything I spoke about.
I ignored the exhaustion and instead pushed through. I ignored the signs that I was becoming over-consumed and possibly obsessed with my work to the determent of time with my family. I ignored the 2 torn muscles in my calf which I could easily associate with the deficiency of magnesium that left me hopping around the bedroom in the middle of the night; this wasn't enough to slow me down though... I ignored the white specks on all my nails. I ignored the skin peeling off my hands which by now I should know is a huge sign to slow down as historically the train wreck is approaching. I ignored the breast lesions and rashes that were appearing. They were enough to make me stop and think and question a little but again I kept going, pushing harder to prove that I could do everything and be something to everyone.
Often the Universe sends down a feather, that gentle reminder or incident to make you realise you need to do something or change something. But if we don't listen then the brick is thrown. The brick is often an uncomfortable reminder of the lesson the feather was sent to tell us.. When even that doesn't stop us, the trucks are called in to ensure that we have no choice but to stop and listen. So my Mack truck arrived a few weeks ago. It arrived as a health presentation I couldn't ignore. Lumps and bumps weren't enough to stop me but blood has the immediate power to bring you into the present as it yells "Oi you, now listen up." Within a matter of only a few days I went from running at full pace to sleeping all day passing blood and unable to consume anything but small amounts of water in crippling abdominal pain.
My first reaction was I need doctors, tests, pathology; I need to know what is going on. And this was the way I went (with so much gratitude to the beautiful care I received).
After many tests and time being rehydrated on a drip, spending two weeks on water only followed by 5 days of broth only, I started to improve physically but my mental wellbeing was facing the biggest challenge.
Loud and clear I understood that the beautiful medical care I received was to support my struggling body and get it into a better place but if I am to truly look to heal and repair it's time to have to look in my mirror.
However being unwell forces you to spend lots of time in the present. I very quickly came to the realisation that I didn't want to spend time with myself. Being "busy" and filling every minute of every day works so beautifully as a great distraction from sitting in my own company. The more time I sat (or lay) in my own company, the more horrendous the words I started to speak to myself were. Up pop all those self limiting beliefs: I wasn't good enough, I wasn't worthy, I don't deserve the family I have or who am I to do the work I do? The sad thing is it is so easy to create that cycle. It then goes on loop and the words get worse and worse and then you believe them. I think that under the busyness they have been on silent loop but I could dull them by thinking about everything else more pressing at the time.
I am happy that my body is being supported in the best physical way to recover; great nourishing and healing foods, low toxins, good sleep and movement. However the real healing must come from changing my though patterns and trying to change some loops!
If I was to talk out loud to someone else what I talk to myself, it would be emotional abuse.
It's no wonder I have been exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to convince yourself the words you are saying are true.
The health event I have just experienced has been now my third event and each time they have worsened in severity. It's time to change the track.
So I am devoting the next 40 days (at least) to recognising negative thoughts and replace them with positive, forgiving and loving thoughts. I am going to find something each day that I am grateful for within me.
Today I choose to observe my thoughts without casting judgement.
There are no "good" and there are no "bad" thoughts. There just are thoughts. As an observer though we have the gift of watching what is going on without partaking in the emotion. No beating ourselves up.
A few questions to ask yourself today........
What were your first thoughts when you woke up this morning?
What did you say to yourself while looking for an outfit to wear this morning?
What comments did you make to yourself when you looked in the mirror this morning while brushing your teeth?
Did you react to the weather? If so what did you think or say?
What were your thoughts after checking FB this morning? (I am assuming you did because you are here!).
Keep an eye on other conversations you have with yourself throughout the day.
Imagine you heard those words coming out of the mouth of a loved one; your child, parent, friend or partner. What would you say to them?