“I have an idea for a blog post for you,” someone told me this morning. “I was walking and, because it was raining, all the worms were out. I hate worms! Then, I realised that I always walk with my head down.”
I interjected: “That mustn’t be very enjoyable.”
“No it’s not,” she agreed.
“It’s great when you get these insights,” I commented. She nodded. “So, what’s the deeper meaning? The analogy for life,” I asked.
“Well,” she mused, “isn’t there some saying that goes like: ‘When you look down, all you see is the muck and the worms. When you look up, you can see the stars.’ Or something?”
Em, I’ve never heard that one before but I love the message that this woman has taken from it. When we’re plodding along in life, we’re focusing on the ugly and the mundane. All we can see is what’s wrong in our lives and what we’re afraid of. But when we have the confidence to hold our heads high, we catch a glimpse of the miraculous beauty and abundance that surrounds us.
Insight can visit us in the strangest of ways. Keep your head up and your eyes open and you’ll be amazed at what’s staring you right in the face. This morning, the rain-inspired worms helped open one lady’s eyes to the possibilities that lay just one chin-tilt away…
Posted in Random
Tagged abundance, awakening, beauty, boring, fear, insight, inspiration, life, mundane, nature, wisdom
I came across an interesting quote in a book last week. It went something like this: “The purpose of all suffering is the development of compassion.” For the past few days, I’ve been suffering with a pain in my right hip. I’ve noticed that, because of this pain, I haven’t been in as good form or as present as I had been.
As I was crossing the street this morning, a car came towards me. I decided not to run as I was afraid my hip would crack out of place. I remembered those times that I felt angered by people who sauntered in front of me as I drove. I thought such pedestrians were cocky and the dark side of me had wanted to rev up and give them a fright. Today, I realised that perhaps some of those people were physically unable to speed up.
The other night, a friend was describing his travels in India. He had stayed with a number of Catholic families on his way. He couldn’t get over their unshakable faith. He said that, each morning as they rose, they gave gratitude that they were alive for one more day. They were utterly joyous. They even gave gratitude for the “negative” parts of their lives. In fact, it was the first thing they did upon hearing bad news. They believed that everything was unfolding exactly as it should.
My attitude regarding my hip was wrong. It certainly wasn’t serving me in any positive way. I was annoyed that it wasn’t disappearing immediately, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to do as much in the gym, I didn’t want to look like a cripple as I walked, and I was afraid that it wouldn’t get better. I decided to shift my attitude to gratitude.
Perhaps I was given this pain to, quite literally, stop me in my tracks. Maybe I needed to rest more or look at or change something in my life. This pain was also lending me compassion and understanding for others. Each time I winced as I moved, I remembered my aunt who’s been suffering with chronic hip and back pain for many years. I thought of clients who’ve told me of their debilitating pains. I’d always wanted to help these people but now I actually understood how they were really feeling.
Recently, Denise Linn spoke on Hay House Radio about steps for releasing fear. One of the steps was to give it new meaning. She asked, “What could be really good about it?” One of the answers she gave was cultivating compassion for others. This step can be used with any unwanted emotion or circumstance. It also allows you to face, allow, accept and even embrace the situation.
I still have the pain and I’m still struggling with the resting part of the equation but I am aware of the extra understanding and compassion I’ve gained as a result of this. Simply bringing acceptance to it is a relief. It takes away the struggle, the resistance, the fight. This even helps me physically as I’m letting go of the emotions that are causing tightness and rigidity in my body. And when I add gratitude, I remember the Indian families my friend spoke about and I feel humbled.
“The purpose of all compassion is the development of compassion.” Alicia Lee (2010) Homeopathic Mind Maps: Remedies of the Animal Kingdom.
Posted in Health, Positive Thinking, Spirituality
Tagged acceptance, alicia lee, anger, attitudes, back pain, catholicism, chronic pain, compassion, dark side, denise linn, emotions, faith, fear, fight, frustration, god, gratitude, hay house radio, health, hip pain, homeopathic mind maps: remedies of the animal kingdom, humble, india, joy, letting go, negativity, pain, positive thinking, present, release, rigidity, struggle, suffering, understanding
Last night, I went to a Post War Years and Everything Everything gig in Whelans. The performances were fantastic and the atmosphere was electric. Afterwards, because a couple of the girls work in Music PR, we went backstage. Having politely declined a pint of Guinness from a cute drummer, I settled onto a couch between two other gig-goers. Although they were lovely people and we had great conversation and laughs, I was clearly in my comfort zone.
I’ve never been the type to camp outside the hotels musicians are staying in and I’ve never even asked anyone for their autograph. I know it’s better not to swoon over somebody just because they’re famous but it’s healthy to be able to make eye contact with a celebrity. Famous people are still people after all. I’m sure they value being treated like normal human beings every once in a while.
Last year, I attended the I Can Do It! Scotland conference. During the lunch break, my friends got their books signed by some of the speakers. I went for a walk. While at the time I was glad of the fresh air and exercise, looking back it would have been good to have met Wayne Dyer, Robert Holden and Louise L. Hay in person.
I probably thought I was cool not to go gaga over the stars but there was something deeper at play. I obviously thought I was less than them in some way. I didn’t hold myself in high enough esteem. I’d always found it difficult to be myself around celebrities, attractive guys and even certain teachers. So I ignored or avoided them and became tongue-tied when I found myself in their company. I was closing myself off to a sizeable chunk of the population.
A couple of weeks ago, dating coach Matthew Hussey was interviewed on the Ray D’Arcy Show. Matthew advises people to engage with the human race by chatting up service staff and striking up conversations with customers in the coffee queue or at the gym. He advocates giving compliments and completing random acts of kindness. He tells people to make eye contact and smile. While Matthew is speaking about getting dates, I feel this can be done by everyone. Since I listened to that interview, I’ve been making an effort to follow these tips. And it’s made my days brighter, lighter and much more interesting. Also, once you’re more confident and used to chatting to lots of people, it will come more naturally when you’re faced with someone you fancy or admire.
As we were leaving the back stage area, I remembered Matthew’s words. One of the bands had started messing about on stage. I made a comment and a bit of banter ensued. When we jumped off stage, the band members shook my hand, asked for my name and I told them how great they were. They were just nice, normal, humble guys who delighted in the positive feedback and seemed surprised when we weren’t staying for another drink. It was that easy!
Today I pulled a card from one of Louise L. Hay’s decks. It read: “I am neither too little nor too much, and I do not have to prove myself to anyone.” How very apt.
Here’s one of the tunes Everything Everything rocked last night. Imagine a whole venue singing along to these lyrics… You wouldn’t want to be taking yourself too seriously. And from now on, I won’t.
Posted in Modern Society
Tagged attraction, backstage, band, celebrities, celebrity, communication, concert, confidence, dating, dating coach, everything everything, famous, fans, fear, gig, glasgow!, human race, humanity, i can do it, louise l. hay, love, matthew hussey, music, partner, people, post war years, ray d'arcy show, robert holden, romance, self-esteem, suffragette suffragette, today fm, wayne dyer, whelans
In his movie The Shift, Dr Wayne W. Dyer speaks about the first nine months of our lives. He points out that, in utero, everything is taken care of for us. We don’t worry about how we’re going to look or what we’re going to do when we leave the womb. We simply are. We are in total surrender.
Dr Dyer then puts forward this theory: If everything is looked after for us while we are in our mothers’ bellies, who’s to say that the same doesn’t hold true throughout the rest of our lives? So, when you’re worried about money, your career, health, children or love life, take a step back and let go of control. Release your ego’s expectations of how you think things should happen. Everything is unfolding exactly as it should. This does not mean that you give up. It is the opposite of giving up. It is trusting that all is well.
I came across this quote recently by an unknown author: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” And Florence Scovel Shinn wrote: “Replace fear with faith.” I remind myself regularly of these two quotes. Some people think that faith and surrender are too passive, even stupid, that we have free will and need to take action in order to survive. I believe that once we, as Florence Scovel Shinn put it, replace fear with faith, we become more aligned with our true potential and purpose. Grievances, hardships, mistakes and disappointments no longer have such a strong hold over us. We have faith that we are loved and that all is well. Thus, we are stronger and more confident in our quest to live life fully and to fulfil our destiny.
We were born as human beings onto this planet and we are an integral part of this magnificent universe. However, soon after our birth, we began to doubt our perfection. We started to question our self-worth by filling our minds with fears, worries and insecurities. We have removed ourselves from the present moment and insist on living out of the past and the future. We don’t believe that we will be okay, that we are okay. Yet, we trust that the animals, trees, plants and flowers are okay. They grow and feed and reproduce without worrying. They have all that they need when they need it. And when they lose their leaves or wilt or even die, we trust that it’s part of the natural process. New leaves and flowers appear. Saplings bounce out of the earth. Why should we doubt that this does not apply to us as humans?
We are a perfect creation of God. We were born out of pure love. We are pure love. What we call evil or sin is just a movement away from God, away from love. And God loves us regardless. It is this unconditional love that we need to accept. This trust that all is well. This surrender to the wisdom, beauty and omnipotence of the Universe. For once we surrender, we can truly appreciate and enjoy each and every moment.
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged acceptance, beauty, birth, career, children, confidence, death, destiny, doubt, dr wayne w dyer, earth, ego, faith, fear, florence scovel-shinn, god, health, humanity, insecurities, life, love, money, nature, omnipotence, perfection, potential, present moment, purpose, relationships, self-worth, surrender, the shift, trust, uncertainty, unconditional love, universe, wisdom, worry
The more I speak to people who are brave enough to be honest about how they’re really feeling, the more I realise that we are all the same. We all go through tough times. We all struggle with fears and insecurities. We have all gone through or are currently going through periods when we feel depressed, hopeless and unable to cope.
Many of us struggle with our inability to be “perfect”. We believe that we must achieve, accumulate and gain approval in order to deserve a space on this planet. We beat ourselves up, even hate ourselves, when we think that we have failed. We feel lost and alone. We disconnect, shut ourselves down and close ourselves off from love, both for ourselves and for others. For when we don’t love ourselves, how can we possibly love one another?
It’s sad that many of us feel alone in this world. We fear that there is something wrong with us, that we have messed up, and that we must try to fit in. But how can we fit in with something that is just an act? It’s all an illusion. We are human. We were born into this life perfect and we spend the rest our lives struggling to come to terms with that reality. We battle against it. We rage so hard against ourselves that we look for the quickest way out of our self-inflicted hells. We turn to drugs, alcohol, overwork, unhealthy relationships, anything, to forget how bad we’re really feeling. To avoid the real reason for our suffering. To blame anything or anyone other than ourselves for not living life to the fullest. Until we cannot kid ourselves any longer. Wouldn’t it be easier if we accepted that we deserve love just because? The mere fact of our existence is enough to merit self-acceptance.
I’d love to take the whole world in a giant embrace and tell you all that you are okay. That you are not alone. That everybody feels bad sometimes. That you are magnificent and miraculous. That life can be wonderful. That if we all dropped the bullshit act of pretending, there wouldn’t be so many people who punish themselves for being less than society’s idea of perfect. But I can’t. Because everyone has a journey. Because everybody has their personal lessons to learn. Because I’m not a preacher. But I am a human being who has been through some really rough times, who’s struggled with a lot of the things I’ve mentioned above, and who still does sometimes. I am also an example of how, once you let go, open up and surrender, you can connect, enjoy, live and love.
This Christmas, consider the fact that everyone has a story that they may never tell you. Most people have been hurt and continue to hurt themselves over and over. But if we open our wounds to one another, we can finally start to heal.
Merry Christmas, my beautiful readers. I am delighted to be able to connect with you all. I am full of gratitude. I am also constantly learning. Right now, remember all the things that you are grateful for. Give yourself the gift of self-love this Christmas. And allow yourself to connect with your fellow human beings. We are all in this together.
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development
Tagged addiction, approval, battle, christmas, courage, depression, difficulty, emotions, failure, fear, feelings, gratitude, honesty, humanity, illusion, insecurity, mental-health, openness, perfection, reality, sadness, self-acceptance, self-love, sharing, struggle, suffering
On my way to Naas this evening, I glimpsed a sun-soaked field of hay rolls. I pulled over because I simply had to take a picture of it. As I snapped a couple of shots, a group of lads wolf-whistled at me from a passing car. I couldn’t help but grin even though just this morning, I’d been thinking about how the ego loves a good stroking. My ego did a little dance, smirked and whooped: “I’ve still got it!”
Just today, I’d been pondering the difference between the ego and the authentic self in relation to compliments. I’ll compare the ego to a bitchy girl at school. She’ll be your best friend so long as you’re giving her what she wants but, as soon as you’re no longer serving her, she’ll stab you in the back. The authentic self is the soul, the spirit; it is pure love.
The ego longs to be complimented. Tell it it’s lost weight and it’ll love you forever… Or until you’ve gained a few pounds. Then, it’ll convince you you’re ugly and unfit for society. The ego’s praise is conditional. The fear is that if you don’t live up to your ego-imposed standards of perfection, you will fail, you will be worthless and you will not be loved. The ego survives on fear. Luckily, if you stop feeding it, it will become weak. In contrast, the authentic self gives and receives love. Simple. The more complimented things are, the more likely your ego is involved.
Here is an example of an ego-based compliment: “You’ve lost weight, you look great!” Nice to hear but it implies that you didn’t look good before you lost the weight and you won’t be attractive if you put it on again. In comparison, the following is a declaration to the authentic self: “You’re beautiful.” Love without limits or guidelines or terms and conditions.
When someone gives you an admiring glance, you may feel thrilled and self-satisfied. He/she may just be imagining what’s underneath your clothes (and I’m not talking about your soul in this case!) but it keeps the fear at bay momentarily. Until the next time you spot a grey hair/wrinkle/patch of cellulite and you’re back to living in fear of getting old and dying alone. However, when someone looks you in the eye and smiles a genuine smile and it doesn’t matter your age or race or creed or dress size – you just connect on a higher level – there’s a feeling of warmth and authenticity that’s missing in the previous scenario.
That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy a few words of praise or encouragement. Just remember that the ego only does back-handed compliments. If it can lift you up with approval, be sure that it’ll chew you up, spit you out and stomp all over you at the first sign of criticism or disapproval.
As I reached my destination, I chuckled delightedly. Because I love life. And autumn fields of hay rolls. And my 32-year-old body. And anonymous wolf-whistlers. And the ego with all its tricks and tribulations. And the authentic self for knowing better.
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development
Tagged attraction, authentic self, beauty, body image, compliment, ego, fear, insult, life, love, perfection, praise, pride, society, standards, unconditional love
Yesterday, I observed a group of teenagers getting into the sea. One-by-one. Slowly. Reluctantly. When just one remained, dry and shivering by the water’s edge, his friends shouted words of encouragement: “Come on!” “Just do it!” “Don’t let my mam get in before you!”
One of the boys in the water looked up and said: “Just jump in! Pretend you’re dreaming.” I’d never heard anyone say something like that before. It got me thinking: What other things could we make possible for ourselves if we made like this was just a dream?
Pretending this is a dream would enable us to detach from fear. Fear is what keeps us stuck. If we were to extricate ourselves from the debilitating clutches of fear, we would finally start really living.
This way of thinking would also require us to stop taking everything so seriously. GK Chesterton wrote: “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.” This quote was the welcome message on my phone for a number of years. It’s amazing how much easier life becomes when you don’t take it or yourself so seriously.
And, finally, pretending that this is all just a dream means having faith that everything will be okay. I came across this quote recently: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Having faith means that even though things may seem painful, sad or difficult right now, you always have a knowing that everything is working out exactly as it should. Everything is in perfect order. Florence Scovel-Shinn wrote: “Replace fear with faith.” This is my new go-to quote any time I feel that familiar flutter of panic, dread or doubt. It enables me to let go.
If we could banish fear, take ourselves lightly, have faith and let go, can you imagine what we could achieve? And, more importantly, how we would feel? We would be free to really enjoy life. Isn’t it funny how acting like life is just a dream can result in really living?
And if you’re wondering what got that guy in to the sea in the end, I could lie and say that what his friend said about the dream had a profound effect on him and he jumped in, fearless and triumphant. But in truth, as his friend’s mother edged towards the ocean, he shouted: “You’re not getting in before me!” while dive-bombing into the water.
What would you do if this was just a dream?
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged detachment, dream, faith, fear, florence scovel-shinn, GK Chesterton, It will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end., letting go, life, living