Jan 24

Rule your destiny

whirlpoolI’ve done a lot of work on the stories that weave themselves in and out of our lives – the mythic characters that appear in our lives at different points in our evolution. At one point our lives are ruled by the Warrior, bringing a sense of right and wrong, of protection (of ourselves or others), of fighting to succeed, or of facing down opposition – at other times by the Love, seeking to bring romance and passion into our lives. Other days it will be the calm introspection of the Seeker, curious and seeking to find out just what makes the Universe tick, or looking deep into his own heart to work out what moves him – or the carefree energy of the Adventurer, throwing caution to the winds, throwing it all in to set off on a new adventure. I’ve found all of these – and more – active in my life at one time or another. (If you want to learn more, check out the links below).

At some point in our lives we find ourselves seeking to rule our lives – to take control of our resources, to deploy them well, to create order and peace in the land. We rise to a pinnacle of achievement. We become successful, well regarded. All is well and all is in control. This is the dominant energy of the Ruler – and all is well. The Ruler brings stability and safety.

King Arthur ruled his kingdom wisely and well, fairly and with justice.. and yet a different energy still ran through the Land – the energy of the Wizard.

The Wizard brings the energy of change, a disruptive, powerful, magical energy that threatens to tear down the establishment. It is the Wizard energy that causes things to happen – sometimes the things you don’t expect, but always the things that are needed, because the Wizard is channelling the raw creative power of the Universe, earthing the cosmic force of Creation to bring a flow of newness and vibrancy.

You might recognise the two forces in your own life – the desire for peace, safety and order balancing out the desire for the excitement of change.

Without the energy of the Wizard, the kingdom soon degenerates into dull staidness, into a sense of doing things ‘because that’s how things are done’. Without the control of the Ruler, magic becomes uncontrolled fireworks and chaos. The secret to true power is to find the way to balance the two. They will never exist in peace – the crackling sparks of tension continue to arc between the two – but both must be held in tension together.

If you find your life feeling dull, then create some magic. Do something new. Change your hair, your clothes, your job, your hobbies. Dance in the rain. Splash in the puddles. Do something magical for someone.

If all feels chaotic then stop. Breathe. Make a list. Take control back. Marshal your resources. Stop doing too much. Help someone who needs it. But don’t let it become dull… always remember to breathe in the magic….

As Elton Pope put it in Doctor Who:

“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… Grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”

Release the magic. Allow the story to unfold. Dance on the edge between control and chaos. Take the time to breathe in the aroma of fresh ground coffee… and know that as you do, you begin to harness the energies of creation.

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To learn more about the mythic archetypes work, take a look at Carol Pearson’s site at http://www.herowithin.com/ or sign up for my free programme “Walking With Heroes” at http://timothyhodgson.com/the-store/pathway/. Or drop me an email and I’ll send you a little quiz to work out which heroes are active in your life.

Jan 23

Dance anyway . . .

WomanDancingOnBeachSometimes things don’t go the way we want. Sometimes we say “yes” and shortly afterwards think “what the hell happened”. Sometimes we do our best with the information we have available… and STILL everything seems to fall apart. Those are the days we have to learn to dance in the rain. When life sends you lemons, find some salt and tequila.

Somewhere there actually IS a plan – there is always something to learn, something to experience, somewhere to grow. The bad times lead us to places we would never have expected to get to, to synchronicities and serendipities that we could never have planned for.

The failure of my business led to me living in a shed (actually, quite a delightful cabin in my friend’s garden, but it’s much funnier if I call it a shed)… but it also led to me taking the time to travel the world. If I’d been successful that time round, then that would never have happened. My divorce led to me being far closer to my children than I would have been. Sometimes, when everything seems to be falling apart – it’s actually falling together. As my Huna teacher challenged us to remember:

“Everything is working out perfectly.”

Sometimes, we need to get to crisis point before we start to realise who we are – before we start to understand the true nature of reality and our place in it. The Persian poet & mystic Hafiz wryly commented:

“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favour: to hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.”

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that we forget what’s important… we worry about the details and forget the big picture – we forget the laughter and happiness, the exuberant joy that should accompany us throughout this whole glorious experience of being alive… until we remember that we’re here to learn to dance.

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Jan 22

Je ne regrette rien

neuralizerI know that there are actually some things that I regret. Stupid things I have said, unkind words I have said. There are moments when I have hurt others.. and I am not particularly proud of those moments. I may not be able to ask forgiveness of anyone that I have hurt – but I can choose to forgive myself. I can chose to be kind to myself, to go easy on myself.. and having learned the lesson, to move on. Everything that happens to us is designed to draw us closer to our truth.

But the big life decisions that I have made….? I don’t regret them, one little bit. Because they have brought me to who I am, to the person who I am.

I know that life in the future will bring choices to each one of us. Choices to be amazing, incredible, wonderful, gorgeous, talented. Choices that will enable us to step out into a brave, bold future. Choices that bring hope, that bring excitement, that bring possibilities.

I want to make the bold choices, the brave choices. I want to decide to do the the things that will make my heart sing, the things that will make a difference, the things that will bring love and life to others. I know I will make mistakes, take the wrong path from time to time – and yet I have faith that if I do, then the universe is self correcting – that simply by the process of ‘getting it wrong’ there are things that I will learn and that, ultimately, I’m going to end up in the right place.

There is a choice when making a decision, when considering what to do, and it’s this: we are motivated by either love or fear. And the right question to ask is “What would love do now?”

Love is bold, strong, courageous, powerful. Love is kind and tender. Love looks for us to grow, to learn, to become bigger, to step into more of our magnificence. Love doesn’t play safe. Love doesn’t shrink back. Love steps forward and allows us to be true to who we are.

Listen to your heart.

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It’s a crazy world out there. It’s a crazy world…
Let’s hope our prayers are in good hands tonight.

(Per Gessle)

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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Jan 20

Forgetting the past . . .

rear viewA couple of days ago I asked the questions:

Did I live?

Did I love?

Did I matter?

One of my wonderful friends asked the question “what if the answer is ‘no’?” Now, I happen to know that this young lady actually should be answering a huge ‘yes!’ to all three of those questions. For many of us, we underestimate the effect we have on those around us – we forget the impact that we have on others, and how a kind word and gentle encouragement can have a huge impact on those around us. I was talking about this with my dance instructor the other day – how many people have different beliefs about themselves, and massively increased confidence, simply because she has helped them to learn to dance. She does that because she loves it – and yet because she is doing something she loves, other people find their lives changed. I know this, because I am one of them!

But the real question is not about the past. It never is. We can learn from the past, for sure – our mistakes AND (please) our successes. We are all doing the best we can with the resources we have available to us – believing what we believe, having what we have, knowing what we think we know – we move through life trying to do the best possible, trying to be the best possible human beings we can be. And as my son said, aged about five – “there’s no such thing as a mistake. There’s just what has happened”.

The real question is about the future. How do we want to be? I want to look back at those questions when I get to the end of my life and be able to answer “Yes!”

Did I live well? Did I manage to enjoy the experience of life as fully and as completely as I could? Did I take the risks I need to take?” – and if I sense that right now, today, I am holding back, that I am not truly living this life as vividly as I could be – then I have the chance, right now, in this moment, to change that.

Did I love others? Did I find ways to make the lives of others around me better? Did I do the best I could for my family…my partner…my friends…my colleagues? Was I kind? Was I encouraging? Did I help people? Did I give something of myself to others?” – and if I sense i am withholding love in any way, to resolve, right now, in this moment, to love more fully tomorrow.

Did I matter? Did I set out to achieve something with my life that contributed to the world? Did I do something that mattered to someone? Did I set out to do something worthy? Did I attempt something worthy of the amazing being that I am? Did I dare to make a difference? Did I choose to do something spectacular? Did I think big?”

On this last one, I don’t care whether you changed the world or changed the life of one person. Because, if you changed the life of one person, you did change the world. In every moment that you decide to live from love you change the world. As Mother Teresa said:

“There are no great deeds. There are just small deeds done with great love”

So go easy on yourself. Recognise who you are and what you have already achieved…. and then, tomorrow, go and be even more amazing. Live even more fully. Love even more passionately. And decide to make a difference in the lives of others. Make a difference in every moment you are here.

As Liora Garcia said in the movie “Conversations With God”

“I don’t want to spend my life making a living. I want to spend my life making a life.

A life that makes a difference. A life that is built on love and compassion”

Are you with me?

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Jan 18

Ask yourself these questions today

did i liveYesterday I opened my post by quoting from the movie ‘Serendipity’… and then the post took a turn I wasn’t expecting. So today, provided that the winds of destiny don’t move me in a different direction, we’ll get back to what I intended to say.

Our hero, Jonathan, has been searching for the woman he met in series of coincidences in New York City, having thrown the future of their relationship into the hands of fate, so that only if the stars are aligned and destiny smiles down on them will they meet again. Jonathan’s friend, Dean, observes that

“The Greeks only asked one question when a man died.. ‘Did he have passion?’”

I want to be known as a man who had passion. Passion for life, for adventure, for experiences. Passion for joy and a little bit of craziness. Passion for laughter, and joy, and happiness. And passion for love, for caring, for kindness. I don’t want to just sit and watch life go by. I want to leap in with both feet. I want to cry “Yes” to every wild experience that life brings along, to immerse myself in the whole moment of truly living – the mad, joyful passion of it all, the mournful sad grief of the moment – to experience with the whole of my being what it means to live.

Brendon Burchard says that there are only three questions that really count, when we look back on our lives:

Did I live?

Did I love?

Did I matter?

Perhaps we should ask ourselves those questions when we make the decisions of how we spend our time.

Did I live? – did I truly experience life on this planet – did I throw myself into the experience of being truly alive or did I just look to survive, to make it through life intact – to live from safety and not from adventure? Did I truly live this life?

Did I love? Did I care for those around me? Did I look to be a blessing whereever I went, to ask the question ‘what would love do now?’ Did I seek to bring healing, to bring life, to bring hope, to bring peace, or did I just look out for number one? Did I truly love in this life?

Did I matter? Did what I do have meaning? Was there a grand purpose behind my life, or did I just spend it on things with no true cosmic significance? Did I truly matter in this life?

I want to have the right answers to those questions. Don’t you

To know that truly live your life – squeezing every last drop of juiciness out of it – “for life not to be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, espresso in the other, body thoroughly used up and worn out,  screaming ‘WOO HOO – what a RIDE’”

To know that you seek, to the best of your ability, to love those around you – your friends, your family, your colleagues, the people you meet in the street, and even those that you have never even met – that you are an expression of love and tenderness in the world.

To know that somehow, somewhere, and to someone, that what you do matters. That you make a difference in every moment of you being here, and the world is a better place because of the decisions you made.

The world is a better place because you are in it. And when you truly live your life, and when you truly let love flow out – then what you do..matters.

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Jan 17

Seeing the beauty

moonIn the movie ‘Serendipity’, John Cusack’s character, Jonathan, has his (somewhat premature) obituary handed to him by his friend, the obituary writer for the New York Times. The movie itself is a riff on destiny and fate, on whether there is something more than just random chance involved in our lives. Part of the obituary read

“Ultimately Jonathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call ‘fatum’, what we currently refer to as ‘destiny’.”

“Serendipity” remains one of my favourite movies, because it echoes my belief that there’s something more involved in life – that there is something more than the cold hearted cruelty of blind chance at work here. Whether we call it ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’, ‘the Universe’ or ‘God’, it seems to me that there is something more going on than might immediately meet our eyes – that there is indeed a pattern running through our lives – as Jonathan’s epitaph goes on to say:

“Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Rather, it’s a tapestry of events that culminate together in an exquisite, sublime plan”.

As I look back on the events of my life, I could choose to see many of them as unmitigated disasters – moments that have plunged me into despair and left me feeling lost, helpless, confused, and alone. Or I could choose to see the warp and woof of divine destiny threading through each of them: and the longer I reflect on events, the more I can see them fit together, that at the back of them is a beautiful design – a pattern that has helped me to be where I am and freed me to do what I am doing.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of the tragedies of our lives, so hung up on the drama of the moment, that we fail to step back and look at what is being woven out of what seems like chaos and mayhem.

The book of Isaiah promises:

“Those who grieve will receive a crown of beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, and thankfulness instead of a spirit of despair.”  (Isaiah 61:3)

– and it seems that when we take a moment to step back, to reflect.. or when we look back at what has happened and where you’ve come from – that everything is working out in a harmony of perfection.

I don’t know if you’re going through a time where everything seems chaotic right now, where it seems that life is sucking your very soul out, and where malign events are piling up one after the other – but I will tell you this… what is happening will, in the end, prove to be for your ultimate wellbeing and for the welfare of your soul.. so have faith that there is meaning in the chaos – and if you find it difficult to find that faith, then, if only for a moment, lean on mine.

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PS. That is SO not what I sat down to write this evening… but I hope it has meaning for you. We might get on to what I planned to write – tomorrow!

Jan 16

Over the edge . . .

Today, it feels like story time…..

canyon bridgeI have a memory of exploring the desert near the Grand Canyon… it was late evening, and as dusk fell the shadows of the rocks loomed across my path, while the eerie stillness of the gunmetal sky was interrupted by irregular shards of lightning, and the protesting grumbles of thunder rolled across the landscape. In between the intermittent rolling bassline of the clouds’ soundtrack playing in the distance, the plains were still and silent, with only the occasional animal sound punctuating the emptiness.

As I walked, looking to see how far I could get, I came across a chasm slicing across the desert floor as far as the eye could see in either direction. Many metres below, the silver of a running river could be seen dodging from rock to rock, the boulders crested with foam as the water charged through the canyon.

Disappointed and frustrated by this interruption to my hike, I was about to turn back when i noticed a wooden post in the ground on the edge of the canyon. Maintaining a respectful distance from the sheer drop onto the rocks below, I approached the weather beaten post. Leading from the post across the canyon was a rope bridge – two ropes running out across the void with sturdy wooden planks between them, and two more slighter ropes as handholds. Every few metres cross-bracing held the handholds to the main bridge. It seemed solid enough, and the planks seemed worn by the passing feet of hikers and locals before me. And yet I have never been fond of heights, and the growing darkness added a further menace to the scene, the ominous growls from the lightning storm in the distance sounding like angry warnings should a mere mortal attempt to cross.

I had come too far to simply give in and turn back, and surrender has never been my preferred option, so with my heart in my throat I set out across the gap. At first the bridge felt solid under my feet, and yet as I inched forward, it began to sway alarmingly, the planks of wood beneath my feet increasingly swinging from side to side. I had seen the old westerns where one hurried footstep splintered through the planks, sending debris crashing to the canyon floor below, and these images played out in my mind as I attempted to rally my courage and forget my fears. All suggestions of ‘don’t look down’ were gone, my eyes alternately riveted by the river swirling below, threatening to reach up and pull me down, and the promise of the other side of the bridge, so many metres distant.

So many times the promise of a return to safety called to me – going back where I knew I could be safe, a place where the solid rock I had so recently left almost felt tangible under my feet. And yet the promise of a different world the other side of the emptiness still called – the opportunity to discover something new, to find myself in a new place with new explorations and adventures to be had.

It seemed that I made progress handhold by handhold, inching slowly across and keeping my eyes fixed on the end of the bridge, only occasionally being tempted to look down – or to look back. I could always go back to safety….there’s no shame in giving up….what if you find yourself in a dead end….it seemed as if the bridge would never end, as if the gap was stretching and expanding, getting further away…

Yet slowly the wild swaying of the bridge subsided, and almost without realising it I found my feet touching rock once more. I had passed the test and made it to the next step of my journey. My trembling legs would hold me no more as I collapsed onto the nearest boulder, uncorked the small flask I always carried, and steadied my nerves. There would be more exploring in the morning, but for now… I could rest in safety. The sky split open as a bolt of lightning shredded the horizon, and the following thunder reverberated like the applause of a thousand angels.

Perhaps now.. it’s time for a rest.

It’s not so different when we set out to do something new, is it? We don’t really have a map for the journey, because we are pioneering – going somewhere no-one has been before. Even when we are following in the footsteps of others, it’s still going to be different as we carve our own path into the unknown. We can prepare, we can consider the possibilities, we can plan, we can get advice.. and yet there comes a moment when we have to take a step of faith – to step beyond our safety and into the raw chilling unknown.

There’s always the temptation to go back – to run to safety, where those who called us foolish for setting out in the first place are waiting, willing us to fail. The further we go into the unknown, the more our fears cry out to us, and the draughtier and scarier, the more ‘on the edge’ we find ourselves.

Yet if we push past those fears, we find them slowly subsiding. One by one, moment by moment, we find ourselves becoming one with the very things that scared us at first. What we feared becomes a place of safety, until we can catch a breath and gulp down the fresh air of calm tranquillity again.

I cannot prove it, but I suspect that if you’re reading this, then somewhere that resonates with you… that there is an exploration to be made, a risk to be taken, a chasm to be crossed. In our relationships. In our careers. In our personal lives. Our dreams lie just beyond the point we can see – just over the horizon. Listen to the encouragement of those who have dared to pioneer in their own lives… and step beyond where you feel safe. The bridge will take your weight. Your nerves will hold out. Your dreams are real. As John Updike observed:

“Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”

It doesn’t take much to step into the unknown – but until you do, you will never know the power of what is possible. For you.

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Jan 15

Unlimited Possibility

x-defaultSometimes it seems as if we’re holding out for a hero – waiting for someone to rescue us. We see it in the eyes of those hoping to win the lottery, of those looking for the government to solve their problems. We see it in the suggestion that if only we meet ‘the one’ then our life will be complete.. or the possibility that if we find the right career, or discover our role in life, then everything will come together in a mighty thunderclap of perfection.

Yet we are, ourselves, the pivot on which this universe turns. We are the creative engine that unfolds the future. We are the ones who decide how our lives are to be. We can either accept the status quo, be content with where we are in life, content with what we’ve done, what we’ve experienced, how much we have loved and how much joy we have created.. or we can take hold of the unlimited possibility that runs through our veins – and change things. Each one of us has unbelievable creative power just waiting to be let out. Each one of us has a uniquely different gift to bring to the world – and when we withhold that gift, then the world is impoverished. Some of us will be inventors, engineers, scientists. Others will be artists, painters, sculptors. Others will be writers, bloggers, authors. Still more will be parents, carers, teachers, leaders. For some of us we will be able to demonstrate creativity through our jobs – others through our hobbies and interests – others through relationships, friendships and family life. Some will to it through voluntary work. And each of us can bring that gift simply by choosing to unlock it – choosing to recognise it – choosing to accept it. We are, each one of us, without exception, God’s gift to the world.

St Paul said in his letter to the Romans

“The whole of creation stands on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own”

We have the opportunity, today, to step into our inheritance and choose to be the incredible, gorgeous, fabulous creative energy that we truly are.

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