Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Awakening 2009

As we put 2008 to bed & awaken 2009, spend some time reflecting upon what you have learned this year. How have you changed and as a result, grown?

In the spirit of celebration, I invite you to review the lessons that have shaped you this past year. What successes have you had? Small gains do count. By negating them you do yourself a disservice. The more you appreciate your accomplishments, the more you'll go on to accomplish...big things happen with small steps.

Keep in mind that it's important to have goals & to be flexible enough to alter them as you get new or better information. Would you hop into your car, strap yourself in, lock your elbows, put on the blinders, and  floor it -  straight to your destination? Not likely - you're always responding to the road - detours, traffic jams, accidents and sometimes, you even decide to take the slower & more scenic route. 

For 2009, how do you wish to grow? For those of you who struggle with this, the key is in learning to use the power of your heart. In turn, this allows you to access higher brain function.

For what things, big or small, are you thankful? It's amazing what happens when you start looking for things to appreciate. You suddenly find them!

These changes in attitude have worked for me. Despite on-going challenges, I am enjoying my life. My wish for you is that you all learn to achieve peace in your heart & head, which will ripple out to your home & community.

I invite you, the readers of this blog, to post one of the things you've learned & also one thing for which you're thankful.

If you're interested, please subscribe to my quarterly newsletter, Heart to Heart.

Photo: Flynt

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mind Your Mantra

This post from Grammar Tip of the Day started me thinking about the mantras we unconsciously use as we go about our day.

What oft-repeated phrase are you saying to yourself? Is it resourceful? Would you say it to someone else? Does it make you feel good about yourself?

If not, perhaps you are in need of mantra maintenance? The first step in modulating your mantra is to become aware of what it is you are saying to yourself. It may help to know that the negative self-talk (a.k.a. mantra) results in very different heart rhythms that over time, leave you feeling old, worn-out or ill. In other words, it creates stress in your body.

Why do that to yourself? How have those negative mantras improved your life? If you are still repeating them, there's a good chance that the change you were looking for hasn't occurred.

Start 2009 by learning how to activate the power of your heart to create mantras that are life-enhancing.

Available: 5 one-hour weekly telephone sessions or The Anti-Stress Starter (mini programme)

Photo: Daniel Wildman

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are You Right? - Part 2

The beliefs we hold are created by a number of factors - how we grew up, where we grew up and the experiences we've had. All of this helps to shape who we are.

I once did a presentation about changing how to effectively deal with the stressors in our life by learning to change our perception. One woman, quite adamantly, stood up to declare, "Those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis are Type A personalities, don't you know!"

My reply was that I, too, am/was a Type A and have learned to lessen some of that "tightness" or "Typeness". (Hmmm, anyone catch the metaphor there?)

The point is that beliefs can be changed through awareness, knowledge and practice.

When we are aware that we are doing certain behaviours that are no longer serving us, it is helpful to know what to do and to be able to practise those techniques, preferably in a non-stressful time, so that the learning takes hold.

As mentioned in my previous post, we will work hard, often on an unconscious level, to make ourselves right. NLP describes this as deletion, distortion or generalisation.

Since this post is about change, the examples below explain deletion, distortion and generalisation when they are non-resourceful to the individual. (Deletion, distortion and Generalisation can also be resourceful.)

Deletion: Someone may compliment you on your appearance or work. You don't hear or remember the compliments; only the criticisms or complaints.

Distortion: You often engage in "mind-reading" and predict how others will react to something you say or do. You apply your own perceptions to the events around you, being quick to judge, often without adequate information

Generalisation: (One that I'm currently working on!) These often begin with "You never/always . . . ".

An airline pilot makes corrections in the flight plan with new and better information. I like to do the same. You?

Photo: Rajeshkannan MJ Vijayalakshmi

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Are You Right or Are You Right?

Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you're right or you think you're wrong, you're right!"

I'm much more aware of this now, for myself & others. We hold certain beliefs and we will usually do whatever it takes to make our beliefs true.

Consider these 3 examples:

1. The guy who is uncomfortable with learning public speaking skills. Rather than give the class a chance, he finds reasons why this isn't going to work.

2. The woman who, when she finally meets a guy who treats her well, finds a reason why he's "not the one". "He looks ok, but he doesn't really have the look I'm going for."

3. The student who believes that everyone else breezes through school & gives up before even attempting to study.

Versions of these scenarios occur countless times in a day. What are you "right" about? What is the cost? Can you afford to be just a wee bit wrong and if so, how do things change?

The point is that we can get stuck in believing a certain thing about ourselves and will ignore any information that proves the contrary belief. This is often something of which we're unaware, and is very limiting and keeps us from fully living our lives.

For now, it's enough to just get curious and notice how you feel when you hold a particular belief? Is it resourceful? Do you feel good? If it doesn't feel good, are you ready for a change of heart?

Photo: Cecile Graat

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Years ago, a friend told me something that I've never forgotten. Her sister had been challenged with a particular type of cancer, one that was playing a very serious game of Hide and Seek with her.

Rather than bemoaning the fact that she was getting older, she chose to celebrate each birthday because it meant another year of life. So what if she had some new wrinkles or grey hair or that she wasn't as fast as she once was! She was thrilled to still be here on this earth and to continue learning, growing & sharing.

Sadly, I've lost touch with this family and I don't know whether Jen healed from the cancer. I did learn a very powerful lesson through her and that is to celebrate each year of life. Now, that's a change of perspective that's worthwhile.

I am thankful for this birthday and for all the lessons I have learned. I also know that learning to transform my stress has made a huge impact upon my life, allowing me to help others. Three years ago, I wasn't in a position to help anyone. I was merely existing. Now, I feel younger than I have in years and having all sorts of new experiences! (Look younger? That's debatable!)

So, Happy Birthday to Meeeeee!

Now, let's see about reconnecting...

Photo: Steve Woods