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.

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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“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

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.

Old Habits Die Hard

Every year millions of people make new year’s resolutions about all the things they want to do or change or stop doing. We hear a lot about quitting smoking, better eating habits and exercise. I don’t, and never have, made a new year’s resolution, well, not on January 1st. I’ve always used my birthday to measure my time/year. It probably helps that it also happens to fall in the 1st month of the year, January 22nd , 1975. That makes me 38 as of yesterday.  Still, I think, even if it happened in July, I’d probably still use my birthday as my time to reflect back on the prior year, and have a vision for where I see the next year going. Something about growing a year older too.

I am probably, one of the biggest advocates I know to healthy eating and exercise. In fact I’ve made it a focus in my life. I get up at 5:30am, at least 3 times during the work week, to go to the gym and get my exercise in. I never eat processed food.  I’ve made “healthy living”  a habit. It is now just a natural instinct in me to exercise and eat well.  Too few of us, myself included, do not make a healthy mind a priority and recognize habits we have formed  in our thinking, externally and internally and try to correct them the way we do with weight, and appearance. When we talk about a holistic approach to life and health, this is what we mean by the “w-hole” part of the word. You can have a healthy body, but without a healthy mind and healthy thinking you’re not really “healthy” or whole

Webster’s defines holistic as such 

1: of or relating to holism

2: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts <holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body> <holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system>

This year I’ve decided to change the way I think, to dig deep and find out who I am. I know that sounds so cliché, and I am 38, shouldn’t I have figured that out by now? Yes, and no. I know who I am. I did a fair bit of soul searching in my life, and I’ve spent a good amount of money in therapy. But I’ve let fear stop me from really accepting who I am, and really being me. Which ultimately, stops me from achieving and living my full potential.

I’ve had many a relationship where I expected my partner to fully accept who I am and love me for it. Truth is, I’ve not loved myself for who I am, so how was I supposed to expect that of anyone else?

As natural as exercise and healthy eating comes to me, so too shall positive thinking and being true to myself. I vow, in 2013, my 38th year, to spend the year getting to know me, loving me and reaching my full potential.

Oprah, in an interview, said once that when she was first starting out she thought to herself too often, “who do I think I am?”, and then one day she said “this is who I am!”… and so you know the rest of her story.

Well, this is who I am. That’s my new mantra. As is, “if you believe, it will be” , which was said to me recently with an air of confidence that I have never heard in anyone’s voice before, and it came from a person whom truly lived their life within their own happiness. I was inspired on a level that I’ve never been inspired before. In part why I am here as well.

Part of who I am, I elude to in my “about me”or on the Penny Light page. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I believe deeply that if more people talked and shared, we would expose an innumerable amount of similarities. We’re all different yes, but we are way more similar than we think, and in sharing we find comfort, compassion and understanding, and we don’t feel so alone in this world. And frankly, the world could use a lot more compassion, and understanding, and in a world with 7billion people on the planet, no one should feel alone.

My reason for this blog is twofold. One, for me to openly hold myself accountable for what I hope to achieve. Two, to share my learning’s and tools I’ve come across along the way and hopefully inspire some to start on their own path to reaching their full potential. As I come to some startling realizations and lessons along the way, I will pass them on here. I paid for a one year subscription to wordpress, and it expires on my 39th birthday. Recognizing the level of vulnerability I will have to go to in order to truly understand who I am, the demons, and old memories, good and bad, and that I will have to use pure honesty with myself as I internally explore, this isn’t going to happen overnight and it’s not going to always be easy. But I’m done with old habits, I’m done doing the same thing over and over again and, surprise!, getting the same results. Call it the Penny Paradigm shift if you will.

What would you do if you knew you would not fail?

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Don’t be Afraid to Give yourself Everything you’ve ever wanted in life