By Louise Jensen
We can, at times, chase happiness relentlessly because we have the false belief it comes from outside of ourselves. However, as things outside of ourselves can cause anxiety and stress wouldn't it be better if we could experience the quiet joy of being without putting conditions on it? How many times have you thought “when I get …... I will be so happy”, “when ….. happens my life will be perfect”. We relentlessly pursue things we desire and although they can make us momentarily happy when we obtain then, invariably we then end up wanting something else. Modern day society has left us longing for things we think we have to have in order to experience life more pleasurably. We are left being more attached to our beliefs of “I need”and “I want” than the actual object. Of course attachment isn't solely to objects, we can form attachment to people and ideas just as easily. We all want to feel loved, worthy, wanted etc. and grasp the belief that someone can provide this for us. Even if we do see that someone can't give us what we want we cling on vainly to the belief that they can. If we continue to view a person through the filter of our fear based requirements that they make us feel a certain way, we are setting ourselves up for rejection and disappointment. So, do we want to be attached or happy? Habitually many of us hang on to our core beliefs that make us unhappy, believing that we are unworthy, unlovable can provide a sense of stability in the familiar feelings even when they make us miserable.
To attain true freedom from attachment we need to have freedom from our beliefs. Once we recognise that we use our beliefs of a shield against fears to maintain attachment we can begin to loosen our hold. Rather than demanding and needing (which can fuel anger if these demands and needs are not met) we can start preferring. As we can only become attached to things that we see as separate to ourselves, if we become fully unified with the universe there is nothing outside of you, nothing to attach to. We can then experience genuine life beyond fear, which leaves us with love and peace. How awesome would that feeling be?
To explore this concept further please see our workshop page.
By Tonya Sheridan
If you want to make a change in your life but are afraid or if you are already going through a difficult change, how you choose to perceive it is what will determine your actual experience and outcome. In order to change your perception you must look at your current belief about change and replace it with a positive belief. You must also change your mindset and see change as an essential part of life and learn to flow with it.
Having faith in change is an essential part of having the right mindset. Have you ever noticed how some people seem to navigate through change with very little stress or anxiety? This is because they have a positive mindset and belief about change. While a person who resists change might have a belief that ” Change is hard and should be avoided at all costs”, a person with a positive mindset has an opposite belief such as ”Change always brings new opportunities and interesting people into my life.” By learning to change our perception we can have a completely different experience. Even if you are facing an extremely challenging time in your life, having a new mind-set about change will affect your experience and outcome.
People with a positive attitude about change take it one step further – they embrace change. They know that change is about growing and they find it exciting to find out what is on the other side of the transition. Even when change is forced upon them due to life circumstances, they trust that some good will come out of it and they make the best of their situation.
The first thing you must do to change your perception is to identify what thoughts you are feeding your mind about change. Begin paying attention to what you are saying to yourself and others. Having this awareness will enable you to change your negative beliefs into positive ones. Write down the thoughts that come to you about change or that you say to others and then turn them into a positive affirmation.
Look at an area of your life right now that you would like to change. Ask yourself what your life will look like one year from now if you do nothing. Then ask yourself what you would like it took look like and what one small step you could take to today to bring you that place.
If you are struggling with change right now in your life, imagine the good that could come from it. Visualize yourself a year from now and picture the best possible outcome that could come from what is happening today. Part of healing is being able to move forward and look for the positive. Strengthen your faith and care for yourself physically and emotionally.
Go easy on yourself and don’t expect to be able to change everything overnight. Embracing change and giving yourself some time will make your journey through change much easier.
copyright 2012 Tonya Sheridan
By Louise Jensen
Despite gently probing Finley the only explanation I have managed to secure is “Mummy I have worries that stop me sleeping, not big ones, just normal worries”. I cannot dismiss any concerns at age 6 as being unimportant, I knew he had been worried about sports day but that had now passed and I feared getting up in the night had become a habit.
Last night at bed time I produced with flourish a bag of Gatamalan worry dolls. I explained to Finley that these dolls were the answer to his sleeping problem and once they were under his pillow they would take all his worries away from him and he would sleep through the night. After going through the bag and naming them all he promptly fell asleep for ten hours!
The language we use is critical. The subconscious mind has difficulty processing negatives and they cause us distress and fear. Consequently, had I said to Finley “These dolls will help because you can’t sleep” he would have picked out the words can’t andsleep which would have reinforced the belief he had formed that he no longer slept through the night. Using the sentence “The dolls will take your worries away and you will sleep through the night” he subconsciously picked out will take worries away will sleep. Clever old English language eh?
It is during our formative years that we develop many of our negative beliefs which many of us carry into adulthood; I can’t, I’m not good enough, It’s too hard …. Inadvertently we pick up these ideas from the language of our primary care-givers, parents, teachers, child minders etc. and the more we hear them the more we believe the words to be true.
If you begin using words affirmative in nature they will integrate naturally into your vocabulary. If we can use language to eradicate limiting beliefs in a child’s head we can help them lead more empowering lives which will impact into adulthood. Awesome how powerful words can be isn’t it, and such a simple thing to practice.
So next time your child asks you for something they can’t do, i.e. I want to go skating. Keep the reply positive. Rather than “you don’t know how to skate” you could try, yes “you can learn how to skate”. Keep commands simple, replace “don’t run” with walk (the brain will respond to run). Start to notice how differently your children respond to you and how much easier it is to parent.
In the wise words of Mahatma Ghandhi: -
By Louise Jensen
Although I am happy and relaxed, looking around it is clear that not everybody, particularly the women, feel the same.
A few ladies are wandering around unselfconsciously in bikinis, seemingly at ease with who they are. Others are hiding under towels or sarongs, constantly checking how much flesh is exposed and adjusting themselves accordingly. A small proportion remain clothed, even whilst in the pool.
This has led me to question what is confidence, when do we get it, how do we lose it and, most importantly, how do we get it back?
We are born with confidence, the inner knowing that we can, that we are enough. A baby believes it can learn to crawl, a toddler believes it can learn to walk. We all believe we can until we are told we can’t, we shouldn’t, it’s not a good idea. It’s only then we start to question ourselves and the self-judgement starts. Nobody analyses the way they look until they encounter spiteful taunts at school or unrealistic media images.
Our belief system, the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us is formed during our formative years. Being told we are wrong, bad, can’t, will never be etc. is something many of us, subconsciously, carry into adulthood. Even if we come from a loving, supportive family it can be a throwaway comment that stays with us.
It is only recently I have linked my self-conscious nature and inability to speak publicly with a statement made to me by a teacher when I was 7. Wanting to appear in a school play she told me “Louise, you are so softly-spoken no-one will want to listen to you when you speak”. My brain registered “no-one wants to listen to you speak”, and consequently I have, until recently, spent the vast majority of my life hiding in corners, trying to make myself invisible.
So what can we do to raise our self-image? Thankfully lots.
Firstly, if you have any negative memories like I had above can you now look at them with fresh eyes? I think now that the teacher was trying to be helpful, wanting me to project to enable both me, and the play, to be of a high standard. This knowing came as a huge relief to feel I was not being personally criticised, that there was, in fact, a loving intent behind her comment.
Secondly, think of yourself in a more positive, loving way. When was the last time you paid a friend a compliment? When was the last time you paid yourself a compliment? Exactly. While it can feel a totally alien concept to be kind towards ourselves initially, the more we practice this, the more we believe it to be true. Personal empowerment cards which pick words for you daily (available here in our shop) are a great tool if you struggle with this concept.
Thirdly, stop waiting. Confidence won’t magically appear when you lose weight, change jobs or alter relationships. Write a list right now of 10 things you are happy with and carry it with you. Refer to it often and add to it when you can. Gratitude leads to love, and when we are experiencing self-love it is impossible to be self-critical.
Now excuse me, it’s kind of hot and I’m going to make my way over to the ice-cream kiosk without my sarong. I believe no-one will really focus on my wobbly bits. After all, the most noticeable curve on a woman is her smile and mine is pretty big right now :o)
By Robert Holden
How exactly might the search for happiness be a block to happiness? Here are five insights for you to consider.
1. Outside You: The search for happiness arises from the erroneous belief that happiness is outside you. This displacement takes happiness away from its proper place, just as the search for happiness also takes you away from yourself. Happiness is not outside you. Until you accept that happiness is your true nature you will keep searching for happiness in all the wrong places.
2. Not Here: The search for happiness conditions you to think that happiness is somewhere else other than where you are right now. Mistakenly, you believe that happiness is a destination, and a place to get to. This causes you to race through your life so as to get to happiness. In an effort to get to some sacred place you overlook the beautiful ordinary, and you fail to see what is here already. Your searching is a form of blindness.
3. Not Now: The search for happiness implies that happiness is in the future, and not now. Mistakenly, you put all of your efforts into a happy future that is apparently on its way. Meanwhile, you live in the not-now. You use all of your “nows” as stepping stones to get you to the next moment, and the next. You have no time to be happy, right now. You hope to be happy soon, but your future ends up being the same as what you are doing now.
4. To Objectify: If you believe that happiness is outside of you, you can’t help but objectify happiness. This means you end up defining happiness as an “it” or a “thing” that exists in other places and in other people. This objectification encourages you to go shopping for happiness. Instead of being happy, you try to have happiness by attracting it, catching it, buying it, and keeping it. True happiness is not another coffee machine!
5. To Find: The search for happiness can be never-ending because searching is not the same as finding. At some point on your life-journey, you have to be willing to stop being a searcher, and be a finder. For example, instead of searching for love, find out how loving you can be. And, instead of searching for your purpose, choose one. And, instead of seeking after happiness, find within yourself a willingness and openness to be happy now, and to share your happiness with the world.
Ironically, it’s only when you give up the search for happiness that you actually find happiness. So, just for today, try this simple experiment. Make it your intention to find happiness today. Stop and recognize your true nature. Appreciate where you are right here. Enjoy this moment right now. Choose to be instead of to have. And be willing to see that happiness cannot be found in the world until you are willing to share it first.
By Louise Jensen
Self-empowerment lights our internal fire, making us glow, improves our relationships, provides the self-belief to pursue the career we want and leads to better sex.
By Louise Jensen
In my situation emotions were running high and a lot of money was at stake. It didn’t end in a way I felt was entirely fair and friends and family were full of advice about what I could/should do. Finally after months of wrangling and solicitors letters I decided to let it go. Why? Because I had to make a choice between trying to prove my point (which was stressful and interfering in my emotional well-being), and being happy. Trying to achieve both, in this instance, just wasn’t working for me.
Ideally we would all like to be right and happy but from time to time we find ourselves in frustrating scenarios where we can make a choice about how we feel. Your colleague may be promoted over you, a friend may do something you don’t agree with, you may receive an unjust parking ticket or your partner may be, well, just irritating you.
Recognising it is not the situation that makes us feel bad but the way we instantly label it as wrong and react to it leads us to a choice. We can be judgemental, inwardly seethe and lament about the injustice all we want or we can choose to know that although we don’t agree with the words and actions of others it doesn’t have to breed negativity and loathing within us. We cannot change or control the way others speak and behave no matter how much it conflicts with our own beliefs.
So next time you find yourself compromised ask yourself the following: -
If something is interfering with your inner peace and joy of being, you may need to ask yourself “do I want to be fighting to be right or be happy?” Now breathe, and let it go.
By Craig Ruvere
The other night, while she stood at the counter ordering something caffeinated to drink and a sweet-treat to munch on, I was busy laying claim on a table for two. With everyone searching for a comfortable place to drink their coffee and flip through a book they have no intention of buying, available tables are often hard to find.
Patiently waiting for her return, my eyes landed upon a magazine sitting atop the table in front of me. The cover was a series of yellow, green and orange gourds of varying shapes and sizes – all artistically arranged.
The magazine’s title was “Real Simple” and its intent was to make life as “simple” as possible each and every day. It featured recipes, beauty tips, ideas for the home and inspirational stories for those looking to minimize the chaos many of us find ourselves plagued with.
Flipping through the first few pages, I came across a message from Editor Kristin Van Ogtrop. She spoke at some length about to-do-lists and how our lives are often dictated by these pesky reminders. Admittedly, my kitchen table is frequently littered with yellow post it notes or torn pieces of scrap paper listing a myriad of projects I need to complete. Unfortunately, as the tiny papers increase, so does my anxiety – especially after the realization that I haven’t made much progress.
She recanted a story of how she recently came across an envelope containing cards and well wishes from cherished individuals she had previously worked with. She began reading some of the heartfelt messages from people she still remembered fondly. But as life so often gets in the way, she soon realized several years had passed and the relationships she once valued had taken a back seat. It was at that moment when she came to a very interesting conclusion: “I realized that the contents of that envelope formed a different sort of to-do-list – one made up not of things but of people.”
Take a look at your own life and ask yourself, what’s on my to-do-list?
Our lives seem filled to capacity with a plethora of errands, chores and commitments which often pull us in different directions — robbing us of the more memorable moments life has to offer.
In short we prioritise our lives based upon what we believe to be important and inadvertently forget about the people we always assume will be around when our to-do-lists are finally complete.
It’s funny how our lists seem to focus so much on taking care of responsibilities, yet pay little attention to taking care of the people who provide our lives with meaning and memories.
Imagine turning off the television and tuning out all distractions to interact with that special someone who’s been sitting right next to, yet somehow has been forgotten along life’s journey. Or to regularly afford time to a parent or grandparent as a small token of respect and honour to those who sacrificed so much so that you could have a better life. Aren’t those priorities which deserve a top spot on our to-do-lists?
Lists are a great way to remind yourself to change the oil in your car, pick up bread and milk at the grocery store or your suit at the dry cleaners. But when do we ever remind ourselves to better foster the relationships in our lives? To take time out of our precious schedules to show someone just how valuable they truly are to us.
David Norris once wrote that, “How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes can be corrected, but time is gone forever.”
By Sandra Mellors
Bright colours keep me positive. Colours are very meaningful and can change depending on the moment.
I use the colours I am drawn to and mainly use acrylic paints or sometimes oil pastels to create colourful artwork. I really go with the flow and allow the paintbrush to paint and go where it wants to. This creates lots of different movements. I use long strokes the size of the paper or canvas & short movements too, these also often come out as shapes and it is afterwards that pictures or shapes can be seen.
I have painted red and black when I was upset and angry and often use yellow for joy.
Follow my tips to try this for yourself: -
By Andi Evans
I have struggled with this my whole life, not really knowing or understanding what to make of it. On one hand, being the presence of love is grossly misunderstood. Being the presence of love means loving yourself fully. When you truly understand self-love, as opposed to selfish love, you have the opportunity to shine your light on the world, and truly help others. So what does this mean?
Loving yourself fully means being strong, being understanding, being compassionate, and being honest. Being honest with others is a piece of cake. (sometimes…) It's being honest with ourselves where we tend to fall short.
Being honest with ourselves means accepting no less than love as the answer to heal all wounds. And sometimes being love is walking away from situations, friendships, jobs, even family.
I have had a few instances in my life where my spiritual growth (which has taught me to stand up for myself, and not let fear of loss rule my life) has caused a loss of friendship. And though I have great love in my heart for those who are no longer a part of my life, I do realize it is a gift. As you can only have true loving relationships with honesty. And the phrase ‘the truth hurts’ is accurate, but it is also a chance to heal. Giving one a chance to heal is love.
We all make mistakes in our life….ones we deeply pay for…sometimes the mistakes become life-changing. But there are lessons for all. What is your lesson in your current relationship? When you examine this honestly with yourself, and choose love, you can only be a more beautiful reflection on others, and a magnificent imprint on this earth.
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