Jan 22

Say ‘Yes’

Say Yes MoreIn the book “Yes Man” by Danny Wallace, the author encounters a mysterious Asian man on the top of a late night bus. The stranger exhorts him to “Say ‘yes’ more” – so when Danny decides to answer every invitation with “Yes” he embarks on a journey that will take him in and out of wealth, love, and destiny.

It’s one of my favourite books, and even the film “Yes Man”, loosely based on the book, starring Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel has its moments of charm. And I’d suggest you go read it.

We live in quite a culture of fear, where we dread change, where every alteration to the status quo has to be weighed in terms of its downside. But I for one don’t want to miss out on anything life has to offer. It’s all too easy to ask ‘’”What if it goes wrong?” But what if it goes right? I don’t want to look back and wonder what would have happened if I had said “Yes”.

“Yes” to that job offer.

“Yes” to that blind date.

“Yes” to the chance to volunteer.

“Yes” to the chance to quit your job and travel the world.

Some of us have a default setting of “No”. Our first reaction is to say “No” and then maybe work out later that “Yes” was a better choice. I’m going to challenge you to change the setting. Say “Yes”.

“Yes, I’ll give you a hand.”

“Yes, I can come round and help you move home/paint the hallway/dig the garden.”

“Yes, I’d love to drop round for dinner.”

“Yes, I’d love to learn to roller skate/snowboard/skydive”

I have no idea what it might be for you. But go with the flow rather than against it. Don’t fight life – because life will magically unfold for you as you start to say “yes”… because it’s not people that you are saying “yes” to – it’s the very current of life itself, presenting itself through others.

(Word to the wise – I’m not advocating you go crazy and throw caution to the wind here… although would that really be so bad? If something in your spirit, deep down inside says “No” then that’s wisdom from a deeper place. But most of the time it’s going to be good stuff that happens to you!)

Saying “yes” puts you in a position of power – it allows you to get into the flow of life. Stand in a river and all that happens is you’ll get battered by the flow of water and the logs coming downstream. Go with the flow and who knows what might happen! “Yes” connects you to the energy of creation, the energy of life, the energy of movement and change.

Business speaker and entrepreneur Keith J. Cunningham is fond of saying:

“Most people’s lives do not work because they are operating out of FEAR instead of FAITH.”

If we start operating out of faith that everything is going to work out, then curiously… everything really does work out.

Try it.

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Jun 27

Why on earth is this happening to me….?

One of the questions that seems to recur over and over again is “Why is this happening to me?” or “Why is life just so damn painful?” I don’t have a simple answer to that question. Sometimes it is part of our soul’s journey into experience. Sometimes we are learning and growing through it all. Although I don’t personally believe it has anything to do with what we traditionally call ‘karma’ and the working out of the accumulated wrongdoing of a previous life.. although I do believe in the law of sowing and reaping – what we put out has a habit of coming back to us and biting us in the backside…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do know that what we think about tends to find expression in our lives. If we fear disaster, then disaster may well befall us. (When I took redundancy a friend of mine pointed out that I was using the phrase “I can survive for three years on my redundancy” – and indeed, it became a matter of ‘survival’ and not ‘thriving’ for me – until I learned to change my language). I do know that if we block the flow of good from our lives (perhaps by withholding it from others, perhaps by holding on to our wealth or by not letting love out) then we stop the flow of good into our lives. If you continually confess that life is tough and painful, then that’s exactly what you’ll get.

 

“But it’s not happening because I’m creating it – it just seems to be happening and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

When I see someone going through a difficult time, someone who seems to struggle for no good reason, then I tend to pay attention. Because I have learned in these moments that something significant is going on that’s worthy of closer inspection. You see, I have found that our leaders and our true heroes have had their lives forged in the furnace of discomfort, of trauma, of difficulty. It’s those that have seen pain up close, that have felt their heart shredded beyond anything they felt they could bear – the people who have learned to sit with their own disappointment and struggle, the ones who have felt betrayed, abandoned, lost.. the ones who have kept going when life is simply about putting one foot in front of the other, in faith that this too shall pass. It’s the people who have found the very core of their beliefs torn from them, who have learned to cling on to that one sure truth – that one thing that they know for sure. It’s those that have found every element of security, every comfort, every safe place taken from them.

It’s those who have set out to achieve something spectacular – and those who have the sense that something spectacular is calling to them. It’s those who have dared to dream and then carried on fighting for that dream – even beyond the point that they lose hope and begin to despair of ever seeing those dreams come true. It’s those that have been forced to re-evaluate their deepest beliefs, their understandings. It’s those who have felt the rawness and loneliness of their experience and have won through to the other side.

“The most beautiful people we have ever known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have pulled themselves out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”  (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross)

Many years ago, a respected spiritual leader  said to me that true leadership always comes with a price.. and I have seen that replayed so many times. One of my life teachers battled for many years through nervous breakdown and  bankruptcy until she broke through into an amazing and beautiful understanding of Spirit, of Love, and of Heart. Another of my friends found her marriage fall apart and custody of her children taken from her – only to find herself a loved and respected authority on relationships – and now she is stepping into a new role in support of women who have found themselves going through similar experiences. Another friend has recently struggled through depression only to find herself on the verge of a whole new chapter in her life – one that sings to her heart. I’ve seen many of my friends battling difficult life situations, and I know that those situations are the preparation for something greater, something truer, something more incredible. Another friend has taken the pain and trauma of a ferocious divorce and used that to step into a new world of beautiful and inspiring creativity.

I know in my own life that, having battled through divorce and painful love affairs, through business failure that brought me to the edge of bankruptcy, through disappointment in building my leadership role – as I look back I can see the divine handiwork in using those times of mental and emotional pain to place me ready for the next part of my own journey.  Even if I didn’t welcome those experiences at the time – when I look back I can marvel at what they have done in making me more prepared for my future path. It seems that looking into that emptiness has allowed me to see the shape of my own soul and helped me understand more of the nature of the Universe and my place in it – and reignited my friendship with God that had been left to one side for many years. Like many of you, I’ve walked through the fire.. and it’s made me who I am.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

(Gloria Steinem)

I take courage from the Old Testament story of Job – a successful and God fearing man who had to deal with the loss of pretty much everything he held dear – his wealth, his prosperity, his family, his health.. even his closest friends advise him that it must be all his fault, and he feels utterly, completely alone – forsaken by everyone,including, it seems, his source of faith and hope on which he had based his life. And yet his trust is vindicated, and he ends the story 140 years later with his fortune and family restored as ‘a man who lived a long, full life’. Job went from failure and despair to success and influence because he held on to his faith that everything was working out for good – his experience laid the foundations of his future prosperity.

So, if you’re finding yourself in the middle of a maelstrom of trouble, where difficulty seems to come from every direction – pay attention. Be prepared to listen. There is nothing more important in this world than the preparation of those people who will help lead – who have met with themselves in the darkest night. As Oriah Mountain Dreamer wrote in ‘The Invitation’: I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

We have learned, you and I, to keep going, no matter what. To continue to pursue our destiny, our purpose, our path despite disappointment, pain, heartache. We have learned, you and I, to push through our fears. We have learned that we cannot be defeated, and that what was meant for our harm only serves to create new inner strength. And in that process, we have found others appearing in our lives that are attracted to that same determination, that see in us the wisdom and the sensitivity that the pain of learning has opened in us. Because through all of that hurt, we have become more transparent, more real, more true.. as you have discovered more of the truth of your own being, then you have also discovered more about others, and have become a source of love and joy.. there is something truly attractive about the sense of ‘this is who I am’ that can only be discovered through the fire, as we let it burn away anything that is not truly authentic.

Your greatest success always comes one step beyond defeat. That’s where I find the leaders.

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Today’s picture is © Hazel McNab from 366 Hearts : one of  a series of 366 beautiful, unique and original heart designs. Check out the rest at http://inspiringhearts365.wordpress.com/ and maybe even buy one of her original heart designs for yourself – or someone you love!

Jun 11

Pursuing Change

Kilauea (8)What causes change in our lives? What elemental energy takes our settled, comfortable, secure world and hurls it across our lives like a whirlwind destroying everything in our path? Why is it that so often, when everything seems to be working out perfectly, that everything that we know suddenly seems to disintegrate like a game of Jenga?

Well, one reason, of course, is that we choose it. We’re actually creatures that are programmed to grow. We don’t sit well on the broad planes of life, where everything is comfortable and nothing is a challenge. It’s built deep into us, encoded into our DNA, to grow, to develop, to progress.

In some of the mythic work that I do, I talk about the appearance of the Destroyer in our lives. It’s the Destroyer that takes everything that we build and shakes it down, creating new opportunities. It’s the Destroyer that fuels the mid life crisis, or the decision to suddenly change careers. It’s the Destroyer that takes hold of our neat and tidy lives and hurls them into chaos. It’s not really about the destruction – it’s about the need to grow, to pioneer, to become more than we are currently experiencing – and to do that we need space. Now, sometimes, this process is completely transparent. I took a very clear decision to leave my successful career in computing and step into the unknown – to do something that I hadn’t experienced before. Another friend of mine is taking a very clear decision to move from her high level teaching role to supporting children with troubled backgrounds. Always we find the Destroyer balanced in our lives with the Creator element making sense and rebuilding where we have torn down.

Oftentimes, we consciously decide that we need to make a change. We carefully weigh up the options and step forward into a new world and into new opportunity – or in some cases we take a spur of the moment decision and hurl ourselves freely into a new world. But in both of those cases, we’re in control. We decide.

Other times, the Universe seems to decide for us. It may be illness, or unexpected financial difficulty. It might be a relationship that suddenly, inexplicably, changes shape – a marriage that disintegrates, a friendship that goes wrong, a love affair that fizzles out leaving sadness and a sense of emptiness.

And change, of course, is many times welcomed and hoped for – the delirious chaos of a new and passionate romance, the unexpected freedom of a lottery win, the arrival of a long awaited new addition to the family, the surprise promotion, or simply the blossoming of years of hard work finally bearing fruit in your life. Yet even this welcome change is not without its moments of insecurity – as if the thing that has been longed for for so long brings with it its own sense of discomfort and trauma – the moments when the sense of a new love affair triggers fears of loss of freedom – or the moments when the responsibility of our new found wealth leaves us wondering if we’d be better off how we were – or those moments treading the boards in the middle of the night with a wailing infant in our arms.

“Going into the unknown is invariably frightening, but we learn what is significantly new only through adventures.” – M. Scott Peck

bigstockphoto_From_GoOn the surface these things may either be seen as welcome or unpleasant, as joyful or painful change – and yet each one of them hides the simple truth that each one of them is precipitated by a simple call deep within our beings, stronger even than the desire to survive… the desire to evolve. Genetically programmed inside us, hard coded into our DNA, is the biological, emotional and spiritual imperative to grow. To become more than we are. To change our lives. To step into more than we currently are, to become closer to that image that lies deep within us. In the same way that an acorn is genetically programmed to grow into an oak tree – in the same way that deep within every single caterpillar is the evolutionary structure that causes it to die and become a butterfly – the same process lies at the heart of every human being – to grow, to change, to learn, to develop – to evolve.

I do believe that humanity is evolving. I think it’s happening, underground, as we change our social expectations – it seems to me that – despite appearances – that the individual being is becoming more loving, more accepting, more compassionate, more self aware. Our potential for stepping into Love is finding more and more outlets,exposing cruelty and harshness, violence and unforgiveness to the light of Love and showing it up for what it is – an opportunity for healing. I think it’s happening at a deeply spiritual level as we begin to understand how our interrelatedness actually works – as we explore our hidden world and discover the truth of intuition and interconnectedness, the power of the Collective Mind.

“I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.” (Jill Bolte Taylor)

We’re discovering that we are more powerful together than we ever were apart. We’re discovering the power of joint effort and finding that individually we are powerful – yet when we explore the power unleashed together, we are unstoppable.

But what does that mean for us individually? Learn to welcome change – because whether it is welcome of unexpected, whether it initially brings joy or brings a sense of loss and pain, when we yield to it and allow it to change us deep within – it’s in those moments that we grow, that we learn more of who we are. It is in those moments – and never in the times of ease and comfort – that we grow and develop, that we discover what we are capable of – and where we demonstrate the truth about what it is to be truly, incredibly, wonderfully, powerfully human.

Where are you changing today?

 

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PS a special request…. I’d really like to hear from you and get some thoughts and opinions to help me shape my new products. I have a new course that’s nearly ready to roll called ‘Mastering Change’. I’d like to hear from YOU. What challenges are you facing around change in your life? What help would you like? What processes would make your life work better? What do you need to hear… or understand… post your replies, your thoughts, your questions below!

(Photograph: regrowth on Mt Kilauea, an extinct volcano on Big Island, Hawai’i – Copyright Tim Hodgson 2010)

May 30

Everything’s changing.. but what do I do?

Well, that last post about change certainly touched a chord with many of you. I had folk writing in to tell me about some of the massive upheavals in their lives – relationships changing form, new jobs, new decisions. And I know that, many of you were asking “OK, so everything is changing… so what do I DO?”.

“The only constant in today’s world is change”

Route 66 (5)I got a letter from the USA, from one of the authors that I truly admire, Catherine Ponder, reminding me that change is very very natural. Although (apart from the maniac adventurers amongst us) we tend to resist change, it’s part of the growth process. Our inner spiritual being loves change, because it proves that we’re expanding, growing.  Change challenges us, causes us to avoid the status quo, throws everything up in the air. I was reminded that when a caterpillar huddles down into its cocoon – everything changes. It’s not like ‘Transformers’ in there – just a little twist and a pull, a nudge and rotate and “voila, a butterfly” – it’s far more basic than that. The caterpillar is reduced at a cellular level to a mush – literally, everything that the caterpillar was has to disappear so the butterfly can emerge in all its shimmering beauty.

 

Certainly it’s one of my guiding principles to seek out change in my life – if things stay the same for too long, then I’ve become too ‘safe’ and I am not growing and changing as I want to. Change keeps us alive. It doesn’t have to be something huge, by the way. Change what you’re reading. Change your diet. Change your habits. But for some of us, we are going to realise that what we’re currently doing doesn’t serve us any more. That job that we’ve complaining about? Perhaps it’s time to change. Because if we don’t take the initiative to make the change, something else will turn up, orchestrated by the Universe, or our own creative force, to force our hands. Because we need to grow.

So trust the process. Whatever’s happening is going to work out just fine. On my events I often share the story of crossing a rope bridge – you know, those bridges that appear in Indiana Jones movies? They always have slightly frayed ropes, with one or two of the planks missing. They always span an impossibly deep ravine, at the bottom of which (almost invisible to the naked eye) is always a rapidly flowing river, the white flecks of foam revealing dangerously sharp rocks. Or crocodiles. Or both.

San Juan Camping (1)We know we need to get to the other side. It might be the promise of untold riches, or the fact that a thousand locals with murderous intent are pursuing us – but we have to take a step across that bridge, from the safety of the rocky cliff onto the first plank, the first step into the dizzy reaches of ‘unsafe’. And it’s not as bad as we thought – so we take another step, clutching on to the ropes that seem frail and rough under our hands, and always trying to remember the one piece of advice that others have given us… “don’t look down”. But of course, we do, and a sense of panic rises in us – just about the time when one of the planks gives way and goes skittering into the river below, and a gust of wind reminds us of just how precarious a situation we’re in. But we’ve started, and we press on. The bank behind us still looks like a safe haven… at least we know it’s solid, and we’re not taking a risk by staying. Perhaps it’s ‘good enough’. Perhaps there are people on the bank pleading with us to stay where it’s safest – not to rock the boat.

Yet something in us keeps us going. That human nature that wants to find a new place, that wants to grow, explore, learn, transform. That certainty that there is always something more, something greater. And although, when we get right into the middle, the bridge is swaying, the wind is blowing and we feel far, far away from anything steady and safe… we realise that we might as well keep going. And bit by bit, step by step, things become steadier and more peaceful. The wind subsides a little, and the river (and the crocodiles) don’t seem quite so daunting. In fact, we realise that it’s actually a very beautiful view. And so, just a few more steps.. three… two… one… and we’re safe on firm ground again.

One of the huge powers that we have as human beings is the power of naming. What we name an experience, so it becomes. So if this is ‘scary’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘unsettling’ or just plain ‘wrong’ then we’re going to feel bad about it. But if we rename it as ‘exciting’, ‘challenging’, ‘pioneering’, ‘adventurous’ – if we recognise it as a step to our greater good – then our reality shifts too.

Look for people around you to support you – don’t pay too much attention to people who tell you how hard it is – but listen to those that will encourage you, that remind you of just how amazing a being you are, that will acknowledge your gifts and your strength. Sometimes that means choosing not to listen to well meaning family members or close friends. Sometimes that means seeking out someone else to share your thoughts with. Relax.. there will be someone, whether it’s your Yoda figure who only appears after you’ve crashed your X-Wing into the swamp, or Merlin who mysteriously materialises just as the despair of your life as a squire begins to emerge.

Sometimes it’s necessary to remind yourself that, as Shirley Manson from Garbage reminded me ‘The trick is to keep breathing’. But, seriously, keep breathing. Deep, relaxing breaths from the centre of your being will ground you and help you feel safe and calm.

And know, whatever is happening, that it’s all OK. You’ve made it this far, so all the evidence suggests that you’re going to make it to the next step too. Because, in fact, everything is working out perfectly. Even if it doesn’t feel like it – often, really, especially when it doesn’t feel like it. When your life feels like it’s falling apart – often, that’s exactly the moment that it’s really falling together.

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As I’ve said before, I am going to be making some changes about where I post stuff – so mosey on over to facebook.com/journeyintopower and ‘Like’ my page over there – or subscribe to the newsletter (and your free e-course) at www.timothyhodgson.com.

 

 

 

fb_thumb3Oh, and ‘up and coming’ news.. many of you know that I’ve had a huge interest in the power of story to shape our lives, and the how the characters that we play can determine our destiny. I’m going to be starting a weekly blog series on the hero’s journey, which is going to be a three month journey into myth, adventure, story – with a nod at movies and fairy tales along the way. You’ll be able to recognize yourself… and free yourself from some of the limiting patterns that you’ve created following that story. You wouldn’t want to miss that..

See you soon – until then, enjoy the adventure!

 

(Photographs: the old Route 66 and San Jose Canyon in the US of A – Copyright Tim Hodgson 2010)

May 28

It’s time to make a change . . .

IMGP0015I’m intrigued by patterns. Patterns seem to speak of order, of things happening for a purpose. They speak of design, of there being a reason – of there being an artist, a weaver. Have you ever had one  of those moments when seeming randomness coalesces into structure, and suddenly a pattern is revealed – when the camera pulls back and the whole picture suddenly becomes obvious? So when I see something happening in many places, when I start to discern a pattern, then something in me starts to pay attention… because perhaps there’s something important to learn here.

What’s struck me over the last couple of days is how many of my friends seem to be in a cycle of change right now. One of my friends and colleagues is changing the direction of her business – and her purpose in life – radically. Others are moving home – or country. Some of my friends are searching for new jobs – or becoming restless in the role they currently have. Others are finding new relationships – or releasing relationships that they need to let go of. And others are finding smaller yet no less significant changes in what they believe about themselves, in their hopes and expectations and dreams.

Others are finding change thrust upon them – changing careers, retirement, children (or grandchildren), relationships changing form.  I know that for some those are difficult, uncomfortable transitions.

Even I sense a change in what I am about and what I am doing with my life.. this week new opportunities are opening up, particularly in my social life, that will have a major impact for me. There’s a new freshness about what i am creating – new ideas, new urgency, new intensity, new passion and fire and energy. There seems to be a new energy here – a chance for each one of us to reinvent ourselves – to meet new challenges in new ways, with a new freshness and a new sense of being alive.

And for others, too, I sense that change is just round the corner – I have a feeling that for several more of my friends – maybe for you, too, change is about to happen to bring them into a new and deeper part of their lives, a part where they feel more deeply at peace, more at one with the Universe – a place where they feel they belong more than they ever have before.

IMGP0013So what is that about? I’d love to have a deeply spiritual answer to it all. Perhaps it’s the fact that the warmth of summer sun and its promise of new beginnings is finally (fingers crossed) here at last. Perhaps it’s the solar eclipse and the cosmic alignment. Perhaps it’s the earth’s magnetic core shifting. Perhaps we are seeing some of the shifts promised by the Age of Aquarius, or some other cosmological transition.

I do think it’s the nature of life – the rate of change in the world is increasing at an astronomical (sorry) level. Previously reliable (if not necessarily stable)  economies have faltered. Technological change continues to surprise us, just when we’d got used to the latest new paradigm.

Yet more than that, it’s the nature of life to evolve – and it’s the nature of man to evolve, too. When I look out on the world I see more and more people beginning to decide that there’s more to life. We’re starting to see ourselves as more powerful, more perfect, more incredible beings. We’re starting to understand more of our true nature – to truly comprehend what it means to be human in these days. Over the last fifty years we’ve see huge advances in our understanding of how the mind works – psychological insight and tools like NeuroLinguistic Programming and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have helped us understand how we think – and to use that understanding to make real and lasting changes in our lives.

I sense that we’re beginning to understand a different level of our true cosmological power – the power to shape our experience in new and even more magical ways. We’re beginning to step from “we’re only human” into the truth of what being human really is – of what we’re truly capable of.

And that’s incredibly exciting. And for me, that’s begun to change the nature of what I am writing about in incredibly exciting ways. So.. what do you do when you find yourself in the middle of cataclysmic, thrilling, scary, tumultuous change? Well, that’s going to have to wait ’til the next post….

 

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As I’ve said before, I am going to be making some changes about where I post stuff – so mosey on over to facebook.com/journeyintopower and ‘Like’ my page over there – or subscribe to the newsletter (and your free e-course) at www.timothyhodgson.com.

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Oh, and ‘up and coming’ news.. many of you know that I’ve had a huge interest in the power of story to shape our lives, and the how the characters that we play can determine our destiny. I’m going to be starting a weekly blog series on the hero’s journey, which is going to be a three month journey into myth, adventure, story – with a nod at movies and fairy tales along the way. You’ll be able to recognize yourself… and free yourself from some of the limiting patterns that you’ve created following that story. You wouldn’t want to miss that..

See you soon