Dare to Dream

This not only gave me goose bumps – but brought tears (of joy) to my eyes.

Go on my friends, dream on. Be inspired, go on and inspire others.

Live. Life. Light.

Let’s all do the Happy Dance!

 

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Let’s talk about happiness, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things that can be, let’s talk about happy!

Finally, today is the day!!!. Today, March 20, 2013 is the first ever “International Day of Happiness”, as declared by the United Nations. The decision for this day to be appointed was a unanimous vote of all 193 of the UN members.

The goal of is to bring a global awareness around the concept of “Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.”

Last year the UN released their World Happiness Report. (Free to all, read it and talk about it with everyone you know) The report concluded that:

“The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”, as such more and more governments are now including ‘happiness’ for measuring the prosperity of their country. It also concluded that while the GNP has risen 3 points in the last half century, the GNH has remained the same, completely and utterly stagnant.

This morning the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, announced: “On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

The purpose or goal of this day is to have the world acknowledge the importance of happiness and encourage countries to take note of the importance of happiness by holding events and activities that would embrace compassion and teach us to direct our kindness towards others. Today (I say make it a daily practice) you should put aside your stresses, your boring daily routines, and do something kind for someone else, in doing so happiness will prevail for all.

Dr Mark Williamson, the Director of ‘Action for Happiness’ which is one of the main organizations behind the International Day of Happiness, agrees. “Extensive research shows that making other people happy activates the same reward sensors in your brain, so it’s a win-win situation, Even if you just hold a door open for someone, spare some change or simply smile at someone in the street, it can really make a difference. These ideas may seem trivial but they can transform our psychological health.”

The political, economic and social systems of the 9 billion people who inhabit the earth need to live in harmony to support, sustain and save the planet we share. All 9 billion people have the responsibility of combating obstacles such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. and to see that changes are made. That’s every single one of us responsible. We all want a happy healthy and sustainable future don’t we? Think about it this way; unhappiness breeds crime, insecurity and conflict, imagine 9 billion unhappy people?

Not to be a cynic, but setting aside one day for happiness? It’s a really lovely thought and it’s a start, but considering that “happiness is a serious 21st-century global issue,” I’m thinking it should become top of mind daily for all. How about making every day a day of happiness? You and I have that choice every morning when we wake up.

A Gallup Millennium World Survey that poled almost 60,000 people in 60 countries, ranked ten things that matter most to humans.

From the top:

1.  Health

2.  Happy family life

3.  A job

At the bottom or least important:

1. Standard of Living. (this is what the GDP supposedly captures)

So what have you been reaching for to make yourself happy?

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Keeping up with the Kardashians
  • Power
  • Fame
  • Keys to a new BMW
  • Lifetime membership to a VIP room
  • Bigger house
  • A relationship

All that stuff’s nice, and you’ll survive with it, but it has nothing to do with happiness or life for that matter. You won’t find happiness in conquest or the desire for more, that is not where accomplishment or happiness thrives and life is as much, if not more, about thriving as it is about surviving.

The “Light”of happiness does not exist in possession and desire but you can find happiness by exploring human possibility, your human possibility.

It exists in not just in you mind, heart, soul, and body but in the practice of empathy, humility, passion, imagination, compassion, gratitude, vulnerability, authenticity, kindness, and it exists within each and every one of us.

Instead of grasping at mass consumption, excess and status, why not put these things into practice, talk about happiness with your family, friends, coworkers, employer etc. connect and encourage.

  • Reflect on what a good happy life looks like for you, how does it feel? Are you just surviving or are you also thriving?
  • Let someone into your lane on the way home.
  • Smile at a stranger
  • Hold a door open
  • Ask someone if they need help carrying their grocery bag, let the person with less in their cart and seems to be in a hurry go ahead of you.
  • My Fav – if you’ve paid for parking and haven’t used all your time, ask the 1st person you see parking if they would like it or if there is no one there I put it pack in the meter and hope someone will see it before they pay.
  • Talk about happiness with your family, with your friends, with your co-workers and employees/employers, talk about it in your communities, politically, post more ideas on your Facebook or twitter page.
  • Talk about it.
  • Plant dreams, imagination, creation, transformation and love into every moment of your existence and that of those around you.
  • Transform the daily stuff that “sucks” into something that matters.

We all have the capacity to do this. It is the significance of being human, to not allow ourselves this is to be reckless with our potential. It’s our obligation to engage in ourselves and in each other and the world.

Happy 1st International Day of Happiness! May all your days be happy.

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The Present of Presence, a Piece of Peace. It’s where the party is, and you’re all invited.

All peace lies within the moment, within the “now”, peace of mind, peace of soul, peace in being, none of it exists in the past or the future, peace within can only exist right now and right now is what’s most important. It’s the only thing we have power over.

It’s one of three possible time frames:

1. The past

2. The present

3. The Future

Pick one.

Being present is choosing to exist in that particular time frame, the timeframe of the present. It’s a choice (choice: the most incredible gift us humans have the power to control and exercise and we don’t use it wisely enough).

You can choose to focus on any three of those time frames at any given moment. In order to know which time frame you’re in you then have to be in a heightened sense of, or awareness around, your thoughts and we all know our thoughts become our words and our actions.

Once you are aware of your thoughts you can then begin to take notice of which time frame you are in when in those thoughts.

Think now, are you in:

1. The past?

2. The present

or

3. The future?

Are you judging and comparing your past and your future based thoughts on your present moment? The past is full of what we think “should” be happening. Our mind movie  plays out to what the future “should” look like, and then judgment sets in around ourselves and others. Our thoughts are handicapped with analyzing the past and our expectations of the future and cripples the ability to be present and we miss out on the party.

Walk into your kitchen and stand over your trash bin, now take the word “should” completely out of your vocabulary and dump it in the garbage. It’s a useless word. What it does is stops you from being authentically you. It hides you from yourself and the world. It seems like a safe place to be, but in fact it’s quite damaging and cuts off your circulation, you can’t breath in the “should”.

Now look at your kitchen clock and imagine it looks like this: (I’m on a mission to find this clock)

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What’s so amazing about the present is the power that only the present has (not the past, not the future) is that in the present we can take those crippling thoughts, acknowledge them, become aware of them, and then redirect them on their way without cultivating them or hanging onto them. We have no power over the past, it’s done. We have no power over the future (unless you’re Marty McFly). The only power we have is in the present where we can we allow all three-time frames to exist in harmony, if we choose.

(The term harmony derives from the Greek (harmonia), meaning “joint, agreement, concord”, and from the verb (harmozo), “to fit together, to join”)

Think of the kitchen at a house party, people flow in and out of the kitchen, a few stay there most of the night and the next day everyone says, “the kitchen is where the party was”.

What it doesn’t mean is hanging on (there it is again! Letting go!). Change happens moment to moment. No two moments are the same. It takes an instant to become present, and it takes an instant to come out of the moment. Most of us fear change, so being present is scary. Practicing being in the moment is also practicing trust in change. Change is the essence of life and we have to trust life.

Do you know that most people spend less than 1% of their time being fully present? That’s not nearly enough time, imagine how much happier we’d all be if we spent more time in the moment. We’d catch so much more of life. And happiness is contagious, it’s the one contagious thing I’d love to catch!

When you start becoming more aware of your thoughts and what time frame they exist in, you can then take notice to when and if you are trying to alter the present moment and do something about it, you can exercise your right to choose.

We hear the term being present all the time now, and we hear a lot about people practicing being in the moment, but what does it really mean?

Dr. Tom Yeomans, defines “presence” in the following way:

“The experience of presence is a central aspect of human psychological health and maturity. It is the capacity to be fully present to what is happening within, and around, oneself in the present moment and not be drawn into distractions, reactions, projections, or defenses. It enables us to respond rather than react. In common parlance presence is often described as “being centered”.

Here is what is really groovy about being present. WE CAN ALL DO IT. Everyone. It takes practice, like anything else, but it’s available to everyone on the planet. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been really good at training my muscles to compete in various sporting challenges. Well, being present is also something that one can train towards and I’ve been putting it into practice, slowing letting it develop into a habit. I’ve always been one to push forward, always planning my next move. By bringing myself back into the now, I’ve learnt so much more about myself, my people, my environment. And I’m happier. I’m calm. There is peace.

What you get from being present

  • Better social skills
  • Better creativity.
  • The small things are way better, (every day on my commute to work I see new and wonderful things, my commute to work?! who would have thought)
  • You won’t sweat the small stuff. Less worry.
  • You’ll cast a wider net – open-minded
  • You’ll find yourself behaving like a kid (in the best way, silliness all around! do the kitchen butt dance!)
  • You’ll only do the things that feel good to you
  • You’ll notice the energy in your world and the people in it to be much more positive.
  • You won’t miss anything!
  • You’ll be more positive and clear.
  • Your memory will improve. Truly.
  • You’ll start living and stop conceptualizing

So:

  • Don’t try to quite your mind, it’s about balance, harmony and flow.
  • You are not just your thoughts. You are the force of them and what moves though your mind, you direct them.
  • Breath.
  • Be Mindful. Aware of your thoughts and where you are in them.
  • Meditate. There are various different ways to do this. You don’t have to cross your legs and hum ommmmm. Put on some music, close your eyes and listen to all the words. All of them. Without letting your thoughts distract you, they will still be there, let them flow in, and show them the way out without missing a beat of the music or a word in the lyrics and keep your breath calm. (that’s just one idea, but use it to direct you to different ideas or ways to meditating that will work for you)

Most importantly, presence makes us aware and accountable. Imagine a world full of awareness and accountability? Oh the possibilities.

Life is a sequence of moments called now and there is no better time to become present than in this second and there is no better place to start than right here.
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Relationship Bliss or Amiss?

 

I truly believe that life will never hand you more than you can handle, and whatever life hands to you, it gives it to you exactly when you need it and the trick is figuring out what exactly it is that you need out of it at that time. Good or bad there is a lesson to be learned, being self aware, or self actualized means you’re able to pull that lesson out of each experience and use it to move forward in your life and to better the relationship you have with yourself.

Relationships are a massive part of our lives, just think of all the ones you have, family, co-workers, lovers, friends, the barista at your coffee shop, and of course the most important one is the one you have with yourself. Some relationships flourish and some fail.

We’ve all been in a love relationship that wasn’t going well or that ended badly. We’ve all been in the midst of despair and a broken heart and we’ve all eventually seen incredible hindsight.

What I want to talk about is hanging onto dysfunctional relationships or the attachment to expectations of a what that relationship “is” supposed to or “was” supposed to be or “could” be. Again, another area where hanging on leads to “stuckification” which can lead to a feeling of imprisonment in you own mind and ultimately suffering.

It’s important to learn, and here we go again (seems to be a hot topic), how to let go. When you’re in the middle of that heartbreak or feeling of despair, try focusing on the relationship you have with yourself. Go back to you. Thinking that it was good once so it must be good again is probably a deep fear of change and a deeper fear of looking within to see what it is that keeps you hanging onto that suffering? And maybe if you look further you’ll see a pattern? Here is where you read all the signals and pull that lesson right out and run forward with it!

If you want to be free, you must let go.

When we were kids we were taught to play nice in the sandbox, we were taught to treat others as we would like to be treated. Good lessons indeed but who taught us how to treat ourselves? Holding onto the dysfunction or the expectations is bad for you. It’s stressful, it’s unhealthy, it’s like eating a mouthful of sand, you only did that once I’m guessing. Maybe that was just me.

If you are looking elsewhere to fill your time, space, needs and desires or always looking for that next relationship or just “a” relationship, then you’re never going to find happiness. Think about that, making it someone else’s responsibility for your happiness? That’s a lot of pressure, on them and on you, I mean how can someone else make you happy if you can’t make you happy?

Stop that and do this:

  1. Learn to love yourself more. Wake up smiling, go to sleep smiling. Be grateful every moment of every day for what you already have. Look around and see the beauty in the small things, and look into the mirror every day and see the amazing person you are. Have you seen you?!
  2. Put that amazing love of yours into action. Eat healthy food, REAL food. Be active. Share your time with good people. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
  3. Hang out with you, have a party! Date you. Lose the dependency on others for companionship. Prepare a nice meal, play some music, sing, write, go to the movies alone, have a drink in a bar alone (I did this recently and it was the most enjoyable experience, I made two new friends!)

Doing this daily will open you up to all kinds of possibilities and believe it or not, a healthier and deeper connection with others all as a result of the one you have with you.

Have you seen you? I mean really seen you? Have a look, you’re pretty awesome, I bet you’d want to date you.

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“Talking ’bout A #socialmedia Revolution. You know we all want to change the world”

I’ve been removing negative things in my life. I don’t buy magazines with all those suggestive ads and images that tell us we are supposed to be a certain way, look a certain way, dress a certain way. I haven’t had a T.V since 2008 because I couldn’t stand watching the news. I found it depressing. I believe in staying informed, so I read the newspaper online, while the same news is often in the papers I get to choose what to read and what not to read.

I’ve also done tiny experiments within my small community of social media interactions by only posting positive or helpful information or by posting negative information. What I began to notice is that there was a ripple effect. I’m not saying I started it, at times I followed it. While I was on my mission to only post positive things I would easily get pulled by some post that I liked or felt strongly about but had a negative undertone and it would stir negative feelings in me and I would share it and then what I noticed was a lot more negative things showing up in my news feed.

But when I posted happy thoughts, or helpful thoughts and articles, what followed in my feed was more helpful and positive things for me to read. I didn’t shy away from the things I felt strongly about, I just made sure what was being shared was helpful in overcoming whatever it was that was ailing me, in turn hopefully helping others.

Taking into consideration the shocking stats about social media that this incredibly impactful video lists, wouldn’t it make sense to use the most POWERFUL source with the widest reach of INFORMATION SHARING (in history) to help each other and gain more knowledge?

As much as the power of our subconscious minds has at driving our life (which is 100%) and as much as the messages and content we put into our subconscious minds with our conscious minds effects us mentally, physically and spiritually (100%) so too does what we put out on social media affect others. We must use it for good and be mindful.

Let’s talk about sex.

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In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory that remains valid today for understanding human motivation and personal development and is probably more relevant now more than ever says that humans are motivated by needs. Some different from others, but the very most basic needs, the ones at our very core that are necessary for human survival, or motivation, and the way  to achieve self  actualization, are  (basically) the same for all of us.

The most basic needs of humans have evolved over thousands of years.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs suggests that we must meet each need in turn and that after, and only when the lowest order needs are met (these are physical and emotional needs) will we be motivated to reach the higher order needs. And If we completely take away the lowest oder needs we can not maintain the higher order ones.

So everyone, get outside more, breath in fresh air, keep your breath calm, drink lot’s of water, eat healthy and nutritional food, get enough sleep, stay warm, and have sex.

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Is your goal to live with no regrets and in peace? Goal accomplished.

When people are asked what a really scary thing in life would be?

The majority say regret.

Making the wrong choice creates a feeling of regret.

Think of all the choices we make in a day.

How would you like you’re coffee? Caramel Brule Latte? Vanilla Spice Frappuccino? Skinny peppermint mocha? Eggnog Lattee? Caffe Mocha? Iced Caffe Americano?

Ever had order regret?

Ever had technology regret because you didn’t realize that a brand new version of your phone was coming out just 2 weeks after you bought the old version?

That’s the problem with having too many choices, we’re always going to be afraid of making the wrong choice. (pssst….what we have doesn’t actually matter)

In actuality becuase of all the choices we have, we live in a state of regret.

Think about it.

Think some more.

That in itself is living our life on replay, a combative state of the conscious and subconscious mind, we keep skipping a beat.

We’re living in the past and the future, we are never in the now, there is no referee keeping the game fair.

What can we do?

We can defiantly eliminate the pesky past thing by being in the now, right? We cannot grab onto the past and hold it here, that is what holds us back and ties us down and stops us from moving forward, so we simply have to let it go.

The past, or the chatter that goes on in our subconscious mind will never go away, but when it comes up we can now acknowledge it, we can thank it (it taught us something, everything taught us something, we know that), and then we can send it on it’s way, let it go.

That’s some of the fear of regret gone.

We can most certainly eliminate the anxiety one gets of not knowing what will happen in the future, (and come on, really? we all know we will actually never know this, there is no way in the world that we could ever know this, it’s a completely unrealistic idea or goal to think we can know the future, so we should really stop setting unrealistic goals on ourselves while we’re at it, however, don’t get too excited… we do know that we can somewhat predict the future by seeing patterns in history remember?) anyway, we can eliminate the anxiety and the expectations we have of the (completely unknown) future by coming into the present moment. We can not keep looking to the future or only focusing on the goal, that’s what sets up expectations and we find ourselves always disappointed, like we missed a step along the way, we skipped a beat, we overlooked something, missed the on ramp, didn’t catch the wave, like we didn’t get it quite right, we missed something along the journey, so we go back and do it again, and again. That’s our subconscious mind on replay. That’s history repeating itself. That’s the internal conversations with ourselves, screaming at us to learn the lesson already so we can all move on!

We won’t get it right, the balance, the flow, riding the perfect wave, enjoying the journey, until we refocus on the present moment, on the day to day, on the steps we take to reach the goal or the future we imagine, not until we bring our goals and our aspirations into the present moment will we we enjoy the ride, will we embrace the journey, will we ride the perfect wave, when we will be grateful for what we have and not suffer for more.

Our goals should consist of what we want to feel, what we want to see, and what we want to hear in the environment of which we imagine ourselves in when we reach our goals. It’s our imagination. POWERFUL.

It’s not just about the business we want to start, or the finish line we want to cross, the house we want to buy, that we want to be debt free so we can buy more or to loose ten pounds.

It’s about remaining true to ourselves along the way. It’s about how we feel, see, hear.

Our goals should align with our core values.

How will we feel now that we have that house?

How will we feel when we are 10lbs lighter?

How we will feel when we are debt free?

What will we hear ourselves say, or what others will say to us when we have the house?

When we’ve lost 10lbs?

When we’re debt free?

What will our house look like?

What will we see ourselves as when we are 10lbs lighter? how will others? What will people say

If we quiet the choices we have by being present in every moment and thankful for what we have we’’ll find we are experiencing a much more fulfilling and enriching life and authentic life. We’ll start feeling how we want to and our enviroment will become what we want without even noticing.

We must quite them at the same pace as our breath goes in and out.

That is how often the conscious and subconscious mind come into play with each other.

Every moment you breath in and breath out.

So keep you’re breath calm or it’ll be a full blown boxing match between the minds and people might get hurt.

If we do this, not only will we become more aware of ourselves, but inherently we’ll become much more aware of our surroundings, of our environment and more aware of each other. As humans we inherently make sure everything around us is safe and where we feel content, nurtured, authentic, where there is enough food, water, and a sense of community, a sense of family, where our basic human needs are being met, where we’ll most likely thrive and reach our full potential. Where we’ll plant our garden.

It’s how we’ve thus far survived as a species.

We will take better care.

We will pay more attention to all the tiny details.

We will take care of the earth in which we occupy.

We will nurture ourselves.

we will nurture others and the relationships in our lives

We will come together as a community.

We will help each other which will in turn help us individually and will ultimately help all of humanity.

Much like an elephant can step on a twig and not break it, or gently step over a tiny birds nest on it’s path to water, so too shall we be gentle with the planet and humanity.

When people are asked what they wish for humanity or for the world?

The majority say peace.

When we all step into the present moment, the world will be a much more peaceful place.

Live Light. Live with no regrets. Live in peace.

Going through old photos and came across this. I took this in Cape Town on the 2nd of Jan 2012. It was an Art Installation that I had been eyeing along the waterfront a couple of times as I walked by it. I stopped at a couple of the statues along the way, but not long enough to read and catch that there was a story. Shame. However I remember being extra drawn to this one from afar and spent some time there and read the message underneath and it struck me, but looking at it now just over a year later and it’s struck me even harder. Go to www.walkingtheroad.comThere is a a very profound and beautiful message, and the art installations brilliantly tell it. Bravo to the artist.

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Walking the Road 

http://www.walkingtheroad.com

Sibling riverly – Our conscious and subconscious mind

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When we refer to our conscious and subconscious minds, do we understand the relationship between the two and why it’s so important?

Our subconscious holds 95%-97% of our minds processing power,  so where does that leave our conscious? in the remaining 3%-5%. Our conscious mind begins developing at the age of 3 and isn’t fully developed until 25 – 30. So what is formed in our subconscious is responsible for 95%-97% of our response to things, or how we perceive them to be, our sixth sense if you will which are our emotions. Our emotions are our feelings, how we see things, and how we hear things, what we let in, our belief systems. Our conscious mind, remember the only 3-5%, that’s the part that is present and knows what it wants in that moment, knows how it wants to feel, knows what it would like to hear, again remember, its taken 25-30 years to form, so our belief systems are formed after critical events in your life.

Here are two examples of the relationship between our conscious and subconscious mind.

#1

Imagine if you will, that our life is like a garden and all the things in our conscious mind are the seeds of all the different types of plants or flowers we would like to plant in our garden.

Everything in our subconscious mind is all the years of rain, wind, sun, and drought, even the animals that grazed there, that went into the soil or ground in which we plant those seeds. Whether it was a fertile environment or a hostile one determines how those seeds thrive or if they reach their full potential of maybe a healthy tall tree, or a fully bloomed rose-bush, or a perfectly ripe avocado, whatever each seed was meant to be. The history or condition of the soil is the determining factor of what seeds will grow there. It’s the most important thing.

Our conscience minds determine what seeds will be planted or say, our goals. How we want to feel, what we see our environment looking like, what we would like to hear. It’s the things we have control of, we get to decide how our garden grows.

Maybe what you want is sunny and hot and you feel comfortable and accepted and you’re surrounded by like-minded people, and you hear laughter and positivity and your relationships and your life are simple and enjoyable and you love who you are, then those are the seeds you should plant but you need the right soil to do it in and you need to know how to cultivate it.

To plant those seeds so they reach their full potential and thrive in their environment, we have to actually re-cultivate the land a bit by unleashing or unlocking those belief systems and fertilizing them. We need to access our subconscious mind and ask it what we want and see if there were any objections, see where it is inconsistent with our conscious mind or how we want to feel, what we want to hear and what we want to see. We should acknowledge them and then be grateful for them, all of them the wind, the rain, the sun and the drought and even the animals that grazed the land, all made it what it is today and it’s here for us to plant some seeds in. Once we’re grateful for it, we can upgrade it, or fertilize the soil so it’s a place where our seeds will grow, or say, our goals are met.

#2

Imagine if you will, that our life is like a Camera and all the things in our conscience mind is the body of the camera. Everything in our subconscious mind is the lens. If our camera is on auto focus we have little control on what the lens focuses on. It goes to the closest thing to it. Our conscious mind is the body, it’s where the shutter is that lets in or out, the right amount of light to form the image we truly want capture.

Our conscious mind determines or decides what it will focus on, how we want to feel, what we see, what we would like to hear.

Maybe you would like to capture the image of a beautiful piece of architecture where you feel successful and financially secure and where you hear a lot of conversations and opinions from a lot of people and feel intrigued, challenged and purposeful.

Our conscious is the camera on manual focus, controlled by the body of the camera, which is controlled by us, where we pick and choose what we will focus on and what we won’t, setting the f-stop and aperture to determine how much the shutter opens and how much light gets in.

So the lens is the most important part of the camera, it needs to focus on our  conscious mind and unlock, or unleash the shutter to get the best exposure, the best image.

Not many people know how to take a picture with a camera set to manual. I suggest everyone learn the basic of this, it’s so applicable.

Again when we access our subconscious mind and ask it what we want to see and see if there are any objections , then we will see where it is inconsistent with our conscious mind or how we want to feel, what we want to hear and what we want to see, basically what we want to focus on, or the image we want to capture or the garden we want to grow. When we take the time to set the f-stop and the aperture and the exposure just right for us to get the exact image we would like to capture. When we take the time to give the soil just enough sun and rain and tending to so that our garden can bloom. When we give ourselves the time. When we give ourselves.

We can reach our goals better when we understand the relationship between our conscious and our subconscious mind and how we need the two to be aligned.

Even Freud and Jung agreed on this.

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What “thing” is that?

I’ve talked about letting go on an emotional level,  about forgiving and moving forward. And certainly there will be a lot more of that topic to come, this is about letting go of “things”.

As of late I’ve been shedding or letting go of “things”, things that I have continued to cling to long after they have out-lived their use.  We all do it. Look around your place. I’m sure you’ll find boxes of things that you couldn’t list the contents of.

I’ve done this “shed” once before. In 2008 I sold my condo and most of my stuff, anything I didn’t sell went into “storage” (aka like a squirrel hiding its nuts, spread evenly amongst family and friends basements and garages). I put everything I needed into a duffel bag and moved into a tent in the middle of the African bush in Botswana for a year.  I can honestly say I probably used about half of what was in that bag. I didn’t have a bathroom, or running water or an oven. We dug a hole into an abandoned termite mound for a washroom. We filled a bucket on a pulley in a tree with water from the swamp that was heated over a fire, to shower. We cooked over a fire, we hand washed our cloths and hung them to dry, the nearest  town was a 3-5 hour drive away, and by town I mean they just got internet about 6 years ago, we got what we needed in town once a week, sometimes once every other week.

That was where I learned about how little we actually need to survive.

However the story of my time in Africa is a completely different one.

Back to now. As our space swells it quickly fills up with more stuff. It’s actually quite amazing, it sneaks up on us and we don’t even realize it and all of a sudden we’re full again. Emotional attachment to things is perfectly normal. We all do it. What we must try not to forget is that memories live on forever in our hearts.

I recently sold my road bike and I cried. Seems silly I know, however understand that I rode a lot of kilometers on that bike. I bought it at the end of a long-term relationship I was in and through the break up it was in the saddle of that bike that I found a lot of solitude and time to think. I did three, 800km bike tours to raise money for kids with cancer to go to camp (imagine the time spent training). I crashed on that bike and I recovered on that bike, both mentally and physically.  I met two of my now closest girlfriends on that bike.  I wasn’t using it anymore, or maybe I didn’t need it anymore, so I sold it and I hope the person that bought it gets as much out of it that I did. The memories will live on in my heart.

Material possessions are temporary.

While we do attach ourselves emotionally to some things, what about those that we spend simply on self-esteem? Expensive cloths, or maybe just more clothes, shoes, purses, stuff for our house that doesn’t actually reflect who we are but what we saw in a magazine as “perfection”(another post on how important it is to make your house a home is to come). These purchases are temporary highs, and might make ourselves feel better in the moment, it doesn’t last,  it does fill up our space with more meaningless stuff. We can get the same high or a better one helping someone or doing things that are truly enriching for ourselves and these highs actually last much longer, but are equally as addictive.

We can become addicted to Happiness. (Psst start the rumor, it’s also contagious)

We need to create ritual’s for ourselves. Create an environment with things that enrich us. Play music, light some candles, spend time with really good friends, and getting to know new people, read more books, eat healthy real food all of the time, but indulge every now and then in the sweets, don’t limit ourselves too much, limits aren’t boundaries meant to keep us in just mild barriers meant to keep us out of some things that we know will hurt us. Exercise, enough, but not too much and really sweat it out when we do. Stop caring so much about what other people think of us and putting that energy into what we think of ourselves and being true to ourselves and who we are. Use our sixth sense more often, our emotions. Trust our intuition. We need the people who are in the spotlight to start being more honest and human becausethey hold the huge responsibility of influence on our children. We need to be careful who we vote for.  Better than that, vote for ourselves, we have that power. Don’t diet. We need to let out children fall down and scrape their knees, we need to let them get dirty,  let them push some barriers out-of-the-way for themselves, let them fail, and reprimand them when need be. Inherently, as a species, it’s the only way we learn how to pick ourselves back up, how we learn (from our mistakes), how to clean ourselves up, and be responsible for our consequences.We have to do things that scare us, and not let fear stop us. Spend quality time with ourselves and being alone reflecting and asking questions. And when we’re alone we should relax into ourselves and not let other things distract or numb us, like chores or drinking, or gambling or eating while watching mindless T.V. that tells us it’s reality, that what we are seeing is in fact reality T.V. based on REALITY.  (and people are addicted to that, this is why I don’t have a TV)

I don’t know about you, but if that’s reality it scares the shit out of me it blasts me off  running in the opposite direction to create my own reality.

I’m starting to let go of all the things I’ve been hanging onto for no good reason. The things that are no longer in use by me and are just holding me down, but they might be useful to someone else right now. Step by step. I’m letting go of “things” and making more room and time, thus opening myself up to be available to the things that truly enrich my life.

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STOP to START

Stopping. So I googled the words “Stopping in life”. I was looking for step by step directions since I had decided to “stop” doing a lot of things “in my life”, I wanted to make sure I knew the right things to stop doing. And this was the results of the 1st google page.

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I learned that the life expectancy of someone on Dialysis is longer than one who is not. So I’m thinking that the life expectancy of someone who does the things that make them happy in life, those who are happiest, live longer than those who don’t or aren’t as happy, right?  That doing the things that make us happy is like dialysis for the soul. The dialysis is a mix of, physiological, safety, belonging, self-esteem, self actualization, with the main ingredient of “letting go of fear”, (stopping the stories in our heads), that keep us from living the life of our dreams.

Because the soul is like the kidneys, they, like the soul, serve an essential regulatory role.

Wikipedia describes them like this:

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Kinda important to stay on that dialysis of the soul I think.

Ok. Got that. Now just the word, Stopping. Because I keep saying “I am stopping”. And this is what I got:

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So the holes left by letting go of all the things we are afraid of, we will fill up with things that make us  happy, or that bring us happiness. The things that are good for us mentally, where we feel safe, a sense of belonging, and good about ourselves, where we realize we are no different from anyone else. We all have the stopping power, we all have what it takes to prevent ballistic injury to ourselves, the target of the stories in our heads. Stop by the woods on a snowy evening…

Really I think the word stop, should actually be defined as Start. Or somewhere along the way we’ve reversed the meanings in our english language. Or maybe it should be defined as the only thing that comes before Start. Start doesn’t exist without Stop.

What are we going stop “stop/start” in our life to take charge of our own destiny? We need to stop repeating the things we dislike and do something about it. Start to think compassion over desire. Stop the fight between our conscious and subconscious mind and start letting them live in harmony. Start to find the meaning in our life. Start going with what we belive in. Start with your inner child. Seek discomfort. Live in the moment. And stop doing all the things that prevent us from living our full potential.

 

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Thank you to the Toronto Design Exchange for putting on the Happy Show – by: Stefan Sagmeister The photo’s above are from the show.