Feb 19

You are magic . . .

dragons

This quote from Richard Bach’s true love story ‘Bridge Across Forever’ is one of my favourites – and I make no apologies for using it again. It draws from deep within me a knowledge that something else is going on in this world that we’re not always aware of. That there is something deeply mysterious, exciting and enchanted about this world we live in.

Somewhere, deep down inside us, we KNOW we are magical. We KNOW that this world in which we live is not all there is. We KNOW that at some metaphysical level the fairy tales and stories are true. Somewhere deep inside we are certain that we are not dull, boring, average, powerless. Somewhere we carry the truth of who we are, and that we are powerful beyond measure. Sometimes we see it – we become conscious of something more than the immediate evidence. Sometimes a thrill runs up and down our spines and we KNOW, in certainty, that stories, myths and legends are true, and that we are the hero of the story. Just sometimes, the veil slips and we remember who we are.

If there was one thing I would whisper to each of us, it would be this: “You’re not dust – you are magic.”

For Mollie, for whom a story isn’t a story if it doesn’t have a dragon in it.

Feb 17

Remind them they’re great….

tardis-in-space-tardis

A friend and I were musing over some feedback forms from a recent event she had run, and our conversation turned to the most effective way of giving feedback to others. It’s an art… to find ways of communicating how well some one has done, how successful they have been – and yet to provide them with opportunities to improve.

Received wisdom says you should deliver what the management textbooks refer to as a feedback sandwich: tell them how well they did, what they got right, what you loved about it – then tell them one thing they could do better next time – then finish off with an overall positive comment. The theory is that leaves them with a sense of happiness while delivering something to work on gift wrapped and easily digested.

And I am not so sure that works all that well.

My friend, for example, had lots of positive feedback from her weekend event. Rave reviews, lots of ‘that was amazing’, a real genuine ‘everybody loved it’ – and yet she’ll naturally find a way to focus on the negative. Which seems a shame, somehow, because all the great stuff that should feed her self esteem is lost, simply because she has chosen to look at the negative side.

For me, there’s too much negativity in the world that we could do without. So I’d like to suggest a different way of providing feedback that you might like to think about… tell people what they got right. Tell them what you loved. Tell them what was amazing, and be very specific about it. What happens when you do that? People do more of those things – and less of the other. The ‘not so good’ stuff shrivels away, because they are busing doing more of the great stuff, more of the exciting stuff, more of what makes them incredible.

When I look at the world, I see people who have been told that they can’t achieve, people who have been told they can’t be successful.. people who are downtrodden. Like Moses I want to shout ‘set my people free’ – take off the restrictions of ‘not good enough’ and let people fly free, free to rise to their highest potential, free to be incredible, free to release their own inner awesomeness.

Who can you find to encourage today?

Feb 14

This moment

clock

 

When we truly pay attention to each moment, when we throw ourselves fully into it, when we choose to experience it and then, having experienced it, choose to act – then we realise that all the power of the Universe is focussed into the Now. That single unique, precious moment becomes the opportunity we have to change our world – and in changing our world, changing the world of others.

Care to play?

Feb 12

Living in the blur

tardis

Quote from Terry Pratchett – check. Reference to Doctor Who – check. Thoughtful blog post… we’ll see!

It’s so easy to get stuck in the past, looking back to what was. We can live in a state of regret for mistakes made, opportunities missed, unkind words spoken. We think ‘if only’ and wish that we’d done things differently.

Or we look back to how wonderful things were, when we were younger, or when life was easier – past excitements and achievements, moments of pleasure, The moments that thrilled us remain in our memory, ready for us to unpack them out of their tissue paper.

(Interestingly, scientists suggest that we remember things better when we live viscerally in the moment, rather than recording it on video or photograph. We think we’re preserving the memory, but because we didn’t LIVE that moment fully, then the memory fades faster.)

The present seems to be this space where we struggle to get by, living from moment to moment, yet not truly experiencing those moments… haunted by the past, missing the memories and fearful about an uncertain future – or hopeful that things will work out.

And so we live in this fuzzy space of uncertainty – living in the past, worried about the future, yet not truly experiencing NOW.

And NOW is where it’s happening. NOW is the moment that we have real power. NOW is the moment upon which destinies change. We have infinite power in this moment to change our lives, and to change the lives of those around us. One decision changes the world. Maybe just a little – but it does. Such is the power that we have when we truly choose to experience life. Every single cosmic possibility exists in this moment of NOW.

Live it.

Feb 11

Teach your children

holding-hands-b-w

I have been profoundly influenced by the writings of Neale Donald Walsch…. and loved this excerpt from “Communion with God”…

Teach these truths to your children….

Teach your children that they need nothing outside of themselves to be happy, neither person, place, or thing, and that true happiness is found within. Teach them that they are sufficient in themselves.

Teach your children that failure is a fiction, that every trying is a success, and that every effort is what achieves the victory, with the first no less honourable than the last.

Teach your children that they are deeply connected to all of life, that they are one with all people, and that they are never separate from God.

Teach your children that they live in a world of magnificent abundance, that there is enough for everyone, and that it is in sharing the most, not in gathering the most, that the most is received.

Teach your children that there is nothing that they are required to be or to do to be eligible for a life of dignity and fulfilment, that they need not compete with anyone for anything, and that God’s blessings are meant for everyone.

Teach your children that they will never be judged, that they need not worry about always getting it right, and that they do not have to change anything, or “get better,” to be seen as Perfect and Beautiful in the eyes of God.

Teach your children that consequences and punishment are not the same thing, that death does not exist, and that God would never condemn anyone. 

Teach your children that there are no conditions to love, that they need not worry about ever losing God’s love, and that their own love, unconditionally shared, is the greatest gift they can give to the world.

Teach your children that being special does not mean being better, that claiming superiority over someone is not seeing them for who they really are, and that there is great healing in acknowledging, “mine is not a better way, mine is merely another way.”

Teach your children that there is nothing that they cannot do, that the illusion of ignorance can be eradicated from the Earth, and that all anyone really needs is to be given back to themselves by being reminded of Who They Really Are.

Teach these things not with your words, but with your actions; not with discussion, but with demonstration. For it is what you do that your children will emulate, and how you are that they will become.

Teach them these things, and you will have taught them grandly.

Go now and teach these things not only to your children, but to all people and all nations. For all people are your children, and all nations are your home, when you set out on the Journey to Mastery.

Feb 10

Choose Only Love

consider loveOn Friday, Valentine’s Day will be upon us (just in case you hadn’t remembered – I’m just acting as a public service, particularly for the male members of the species who, if they wish to survive until 15th February, had better darn well remember).

Although movies and media have done their part to mythologise love, and we find ourselves under a deluge of hearts, roses and boxes of chocolates, battered by Hallmark card sentiment and the false dreams of a thousand romantic comedies, there is something about love that remains pure, untarnished, a space of radiant light when all around is darkness.

No matter how much we might choose to play it down, to put it into its own little box of ‘romance’, love is bigger than that. Because love is what is at the heart of creation. Love isn’t something we bring into a situation – love is already there. Hidden, discoloured by smoke and fire, tarnished by anger and hatred, by retribution and by unforgiveness, but it will always find a way.

Remember, stories are true not because the events necessarily actually happened, but because the core of the story reveals something about our humanity. And as any student of fairy tale will remember, “True love’s kiss will break any curse.” Metaphysically, we’re being reminded here that love, shorn of falsehood and untruth, stripped of sentiment, will break through any stuck situation, will destroy any hatred, any bias. Not because love is ‘nice’, but because love is the toughest, most powerful, most irresistible force on the planet. Darkness isn’t real. Darkness is simply an absence of light.

I see the effects of a lack of love all around me – in the media stories of war and of famine as well as in the individual lives of my friends hurt by thoughtlessness, malice and (sometimes) sheer stupidity. Yet I have faith that, no matter what, love will find a way to prevail. Because no matter what horrors we see, no matter the cruelty, no matter the thoughtlessness, the lack of sensitivity.. this thing called love is more powerful than we can possibly imagine.

Perhaps today it’s time to take love out of the box in which it’s been hidden and see it for what it is – the energy and vibration at the heart of the universe, the power that lies at the core of your being and my being, at the heart of our closest friends – and those we perceive as our enemies. We are all one – perhaps more deeply than we can ever know. Not because if we work hard at it we can become united and at peace with one another – but because when we let all that is not love drop away from our lives – we find that we already are.

 

TimSigWeb

Feb 07

Make peace with yourself

agreeSometimes children come up with little gems of wisdom that make you think “that’s really cool”. My son, David, aged around 6 or 7, looked up at me and said “You know, Dad, before you can make a deal, you have to agree with yourself” and I thought… that’s something to think about!

And this one seems to be true on so many levels.

I think the first thing is that before we can make any sort of agreement with someone else, we have to have true peace in our heart first. Those things we decide despite the fact that we’re not happy about them, whether out of compromise or desperation – those things turn out to be the big mistakes that take us into places we didn’t need to go.

 

Secondly, we need to have thought it through ourselves. Decisions made that are poorly thought through usually end up going badly wrong. I’m not saying that we need to become paralysed by thinking too much… but those knee jerk reactions are usually going to let us down. The exception to this, I would say, is when there is a tug in our heart that says ‘do this’. Those tugs can be trusted. They come from a deeper place, a place of wisdom and connection. Trust them.

Thirdly, I think that we need to have the peace that this is the right thing for the other person too. The universe works on a win win basis… the universe will not ultimately honour anything that takes away from the other person because it’s unfair or because it doesn’t respect them.

And ultimately, in agreements with others as in life itself, we have to come from a place of wholeness in our lives. We have to find a way of integrating body, mind and soul. I’m not one of these people who advise you not to trust your body or your mind – the ones that protest that they have ‘evolved above into a world where they are guided by their souls alone’.

It seems to me that we were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and that what we are works best together. Sometimes we will get a ‘gut reaction’ – and we can trust it. Sometimes things ‘don’t seem to add up’, or they make sense’ – and we follow that. Other times, it seems that we are guided by an energy, a wisdom that comes from a place outside of ourselves – and we can place our trust in that.

We are wiser than we know, when we learn to listen to our whole being.. and then we can make decisions, and agreements, and commitments, that benefit us, our friends, our colleagues, our families, and, ultimately, the world. When we act from a place of total inner integrity then we become… unstoppable.

Feb 06

The secret of winning…

Explosion

Sometimes we feel there must be a safe way to move forward. But there isn’t. Whatever it is you want to do – if it’s truly worth doing, there will always be a risk associated with it. It doesn’t matter what it is – changing job, starting a business, falling in love, starting a new class…. there’s always that fear that we’re going to screw it up, fall flat on our faces, look stupid. We have to learn to look at that fear – and call it adventure. Those dreams have appeared in your soul because they will make you grow, cause you to stretch, make you bigger, more truly ‘you’. I’ve learned to recognise the fear of jumping into something new – it’s the same feeing of panic and exhilaration that I get strapped onto a snowboard at the top of a mountain. A friend of mine says that he always gets butterflies – he’s just learned to make them fly in formation.

But beyond that fear – just one small step beyond – there lie your dreams. And the reason you have those dreams… is because you can make them come true. Go get them.

Feb 05

Thoughts on ‘being spiritual’

all knowledgeA friend of mine (the lovely Diane Nicholson who with her husband Andy run ‘Relationship Insights’, posed a question on her Facebook page asking what sprang to mind when people read the word ‘spirituality’. One of her respondents replied: “Spirituality for me is something beautiful- but why is it that people automatically believe that someone who is ‘spiritual’ is a good person- kind of like it absolves them of any need for discernment? Unfortunately that means some ‘spiritual’ people are not good nor nice.”

And that got me thinking a little bit.. rather than sharing my thoughts on Diane’s page alone, I thought I would put them in my blog.

Now, I totally get what Diane’s respondent is getting at. People who claim to be ‘spiritual’ can be bigoted, cruel, harsh and some of the most unloving people ever. More damage has been done in the name of religion and spirituality than anything else in the history of the planet. And for that, we should hang our heads in shame. And yes, it does seem that those who are religious take their ‘truth’ and use it to destroy others.. whether physically or in conversation. They seem to have the opinion that they have ‘seen the light’ and that they are right and others are wrong. In the pursuit of ‘truth’, the need for love and compassion, respect and tenderness is lost. I see this in Christianity, in Buddhism, in Islam, in Mormonism, in Confucianism, in New Age religion, in Wicca, in shamanism, in atheism…where ever man has decided that ‘here is the Truth’. (Helpful hint: always watch out when someone uses ‘the’ in front of the word ‘truth’ – and be very concerned if ‘truth’ has a capital letter!)

To me this behaviour is what I would call ‘religious’ – concerned with the form of their beliefs and upholding their ‘religion’ in whatever form it is. (The dictionary may not define it that way, but that does seem to be how it’s used today). ‘Religious’ seems closed, cold, restrictive. ‘Religious’ works from old books, closed texts, commandments set in stone, ‘follow the rules or face the consequences’. ‘Religious’ works from ‘we’re right and you’re wrong’.

For me the word ‘spiritual’ comes from the heart of love. If someone is ‘spiritual’ then they are simply seeking, however they see it, to express their soul, the heart of their being. Some of the most ‘spiritual’ people I know actually don’t believe in God. But they do believe in the power of the human spirit, and in something bigger and more ‘real’ than just the physical realm that we see. 

You see, ‘spiritual’ is something that we choose to be in any moment. When we’re expressing from a heart of love and concern, when we are understanding our unity with the universe and with one another, when we are giving and caring, listening and respecting each other, then we are being ‘spiritual’ – connecting to our true spirit nature. When we step away from that, when we regard ourselves as different or better than someone else… we actually cease being spiritual. It’s impossible to be spiritual and be unloving (although even those amongst us who we might consider to be truly spiritual sometimes do step outside of that and act from a different place – because they are human. Even Gandhi was more concerned with facing his own internal failings than with any external opponent). And Gandhi knew that:

“Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.”

Spirituality cannot exist outside of a heart of love, because that is the very nature of the universe.  Jesus said ‘by their fruits you will recognize them’: those who demonstrate pride, harshness and unkindness do not reflect the nature of God – those who demonstrate love, peace, harmony, kindness, humility are, at some level, in touch with the heart of Reality. They are the ones who are learning, growing, changing, becoming somehow more ‘true’. They are not going to get it right all the time – but they will be humble enough to be able to admit they make mistakes and that they don’t know it all. Listen to them.

(Photo is the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Picture © Tim Hodgson 2011 )