Make time to be

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Are you afraid to slow down? What will happen if I slow down or sit quiet for a few minutes and just be? No, the thought of that is just too scary I’ll keep on doing.

Keeping busy allows us to avoid things we don’t want to face. We know if we slow down one of two things may happen:

  1. The critical voice in our heads will say things like – How can you sit still you must be working? People don’t like people who are lazy. If I don’t do something you’re not productive or competent…
  2. The calling voice will start to speak up. It’s the voice that you are trying to avoid. The one you are saying to ‘I just want to do this first then I will listen to you…’.The one that you keep busy in order to distract from it. According to Jennifer Louden a calling is:‘That which is so alive, so urgent, so blissful, you must shield your eyes from it… It is that which you may think you do not deserve and certainly are not capable of giving birth to.’

Whatever voice it is that you are trying to avoid by keeping busy. Know that with everything we do in the world there is a doing and a being state. Check in with yourself. What state are you mostly operating in? Who will you need to be for the desired things to happen in your life?

Even though the thought of just being might be scary. The good news, according to Rick Hansen, is that the more we practise to just be with ourselves. We develop new neural pathways. Over time we create a felt sense of a core being that is intact.

So, how does one do it?

  • First find out what ‘activity’ allows you to connect with the ‘being’ part of you. It can be meditating, praying, walking early in the morning, yoga, being in nature, and breathing deeply…
  • Then make time for ‘being’ in your life. It does not need to be long – it can be 1 minute a day.
  • Practise regularly. Don’t underestimate the power of little things. It builds over time.

I want to close with one of my favourite mindfulness phrases by Mark Williams:May you have ease of being. Allow yourself to be just as you are: complete and whole.

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Hope for the nation

DSCN0064_1024This week I had the honour to do a leadership workshop with the student leadership committee of a female residence at Stellenbosch University. It was an amazing experience. The words ‘grateful’, ‘humbling’ and ‘hopeful’ come to mind.

I feel grateful for:

  • having the opportunity to work with such a dynamic group of women.
  • to be in the privileged position to be able to work in the personal and professional growth field
  • other women all around the world that are playing big and in doing that give me the courage to live my truth. (Tara Mohr is one of these women and I can recommend her book “Playing Big” if you are interested in doing exactly that.)

I am humbled by:

  • the students’ willingness to do inner work and ask the tough questions.
  • their courage to be vulnerable in front of the group.
  • their energy – I mean they went to a pool party after our evening session ended (just after 9pm) and was ‘op dit’ (Afirkaans saying something in line with ‘you are on the ball’) early the next day for our morning session 😉

This gives me hope for the nation because:

  • the new generation of young leaders are not afraid to choose risk instead of safety or diversity instead of sameness.
  • they realise that change starts within. Change does not need to become a grave for the old but rather a doorway into a meaningful and bigger life.
  • during and after the session I had goose bumps all over my body. Over the years I’ve learned that my body doesn’t lie and it usually knows something before my conscious mind does. After all the definition of hope is based on ‘a feeling that events will turn out for the best’.

Nelson Mandela understood this. He said:

‘One thing I learned when I was negotiating was that, until I changed myself I could not change others’.

Starting 2016 on a personal note

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I clearly remember that the 7th of January 2007 was a bright sunshine morning and I was in hospital due to illness. While I was busy with my spiritual morning read it became clear that I needed to start trusting and listening to my Inner (true) voice. I was unconsciously causing my own suffering by avoiding it.

Exactly 9 years (to the day), after I had made a conscious decision to start following the calling that had been entrusted on me, the website of my own business has been made live! For the first time in my life I can honestly answer the question: If you could do anything in the world what would you do?, with Exactly what I am doing now! Not that I have any certainty about the road ahead. In fact, the road ahead is the most uncertain it has ever been, but I’m curious to see where it takes me.

During the holiday I read the insightful book “Power vs. Force” by David R. Hawkins. Through his studies he developed a ‘Map of consciousness’ that represents the levels at which certain emotions and attitudes calibrate. His research indicates that the level associated with courage and integrity (a calibration of 200) is the critical response point in the scale of consciousness. Any emotions below that make a person go weak and emotions above that level (such as trust, optimism, acceptance, understanding, love, joy, peace and enlightenment) give us strength.

The book reminded me of my nine-year journey. I had to work through emotions of shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride to build up the courage to follow my dream. Hawkins defines courage as;

the willingness to try new things and deal with the challenges of life.

Looking at the year there are many challenges that I still have to face. Knowing that overcoming them are all part of my personal growth process gives me the strength to tackle them one at a time. I want to invite you to join me on this journey in 2016.

What are the challenges and emotions that you need to work through to move to the next level this year?