Spring: New Beginnings!

Beginnings

Beginnings: Time For A Fresh Start

Spring is set to hit in the next few days. And just in time for us all to make a fresh start and a new beginning!

Don’t know about you, but it has been a long winter.

Finally the days are starting to get longer and we manged to get an extra hour of daylight. Now all we have to do is get used to it!

Celebrating Winter’s End

I think it would be a fabulous idea to celebrate the ending of winter.

Can you tell that I am not much for winter sports?

All of that aside, it seems to me like it would be a great idea to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring. I think the ancients had it right when they would celebrate the spring equinox.

Spring is that wonderful time of year when we get to come out of hibernation and celebrate the coming of new life.

Although we may wish to take a moment and pay tribute to the losses, and passing ons that we have gone through. The year 2016 started with a bang. A lot of losses and changes, and a lot of good people have left this Earth and moved on.

Let us take a moment to honour their memory.

In Tune With The Seasons

It never ceases to amaze me how we can get so out of sync with nature, and the seasons that surround us.

Whenever I stop and take a look at nature and animals in our environment, I am astounded by how their behaviour is in line with the seasons and nature. What should astound me more perhaps, is why we, man, are not also more aligned with nature!

Man The Disconnected Animal

We humans seem so disconnected to nature and our environment. We have things like “daylight savings time” and “leap year” adjustments. Of course there is a “logical” reason why we add a day to our calendar every four years: to make an adjustment.

But animals and nature seem to do just fine without any calendar adjustments.

In fact, they even seem to do rather well without daylight savings time!

Which reminds me, the adoption of daylight savings time goes back to World War I when Germany used it as a means to conserve coal. When the United States entered the war, they also adopted it. A look at this Wikipedia article on Daylight Savings Time details the whole history of how it came about and the controversies that have ensued over the years.

But the point I am alluding to, is how out of balance and out of touch we modern humans seem to be with nature.

If you really stop to think about it, a lot of us live in tall buildings. We step out of our “nests” and get into our cars, and drive to other tall buildings where we spend our days, only to return to the “nest”. What is striking is that we rarely actually ever touch our feet to the ground. What we mostly put our feet down upon is concrete or pavement. Hardly the Earth at all.

As an aside, if you would like to read up on a topic that is very interesting, please have a look at this article on grounding or “Earthing” as some like to call it. What it is, is a fascinating look at how “grounding” our human energetic field to the Earth can help to promote and sustain health in many ways. This used to be something that we did regularly when we were less so called “civilized” and living in nature.

For a more thorough, and science backed view on the subject, you can have a look at this excellent read called: Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?

Long Live Spring!

In the next few days, let us all take advantage of the new energy that spring will bestow upon us. Let us cast off the old and embrace the new.

I hope that spring’s healing comes into your life and blesses it and carries you along with its healing and regenerative energies.

Long live spring! Long live life!

Namaste

Ron

There Is No Shame

There is no need for shame

There Is No Shame In Reaching Out!

Shame and guilt, are two of the lowest energies that keep us stuck, and drag us down!

Shame and guilt keep us mired in terrible feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

If people were better able to overcome their feelings of shame, guilt and isolation, then they would hopefully be on their way to recovery and a new life.

But a lot of people struggle and suffer unnecessarily!

Staying stuck in our pain and suffering, too afraid to reach out and let others help us, we often cling to the only thing that we have: pride.

The Prison Of Pride

Pride is well seen and often highly valued in our modern society. It has this notion of self-reliance and independence about it. Holding our head up high in the face of a multitude of trials and tribulations, while inside of ourselves we may be crumbling and barely hanging on.

Far too many times we may have seen those around us, family members and friends, who looked like they were barely managing to keep it together, but when we asked them if they were okay or needed our help, they merely brushed us and everyone aside.

There is a very valid reason why it is said that:

Pride goeth before a fall

Perhaps later we come back and see that they have sunk even further, perhaps because of one of the following reasons:

  • They were not ready to see that they were not able to resolve their problems alone
  • They just didn’t want to face up to them (denial)
  • They waited too long. In the case of health issues, finances, or relationship problems.

The Antidote To Pride And Shame

There is a way out.

It does require something special before beginning however.

And that special something is: COURAGE

The Map Of Consciousness

According to David R. Hawkins, in his epic book Power Vs. Force, he suggests that there is a “Map of Consciousness”.

This map depicts ALL of the levels of consciousness that are possible for humanity, ranging from SHAME at the lowest level, just one level above DEATH, all the way to ENLIGHTENMENT!

Now I will be the first to admit, that Enlightenment is a pretty lofty goal to aim for! For most of us mere mortals, PEACE OF MIND, LOVE, and JOY would be more than enough.

So What’s Stopping Us?

Dawkins suggest that our present day modern society is caught at the level of PRIDE.

So what’s wrong with that?

We were taught that to have “pride” in oneself is a good thing, perhaps even a great thing.

However pride has a very nasty shadow side to it, and the flip side of pride is “SHAME“.

We as a society flip from Pride to Shame. And that is a very dangerous game to play with each other.

When we are up and feeling on  top of the world we may feel intense pride. But when we fall, possibly due to excessive pride or even boasting, we may experience devastating shame. And that shame may be compounded if it is public.

The Pride / Shame Dynamic In Everyday Life

To get an idea of the devastating effects of pride and shame in the world, one need not look much further than your local checkout counter at the grocery store and the latest scandal mag, or turn on the TV.

We call it “celebrity” status.

As a society we seem to love to place our heroes on pedestals, to worship and adore them, and to cast praises upon them.

But the moment they dare to show some form of humanity and fumble, look how quickly society not only knocks them off of those pedestals, but throws them down in a heap of shame!

Charlie Sheen comes to mind. And there are many innumerable examples of people who became stars and crashed down, or were torn down by their difficulties made public by an eager to profit media. Michael Jackson is another example. The list is long and painful. Pick a sport, pick a profession, pick any group that is regularly in the limelight, and we will see the dual mechanism of pride and shame at work.

Courage!

Courage is the way out of shame and guilt according to Dawkins.

Actually the way out is to “accept” one’s situation first. To dare to have the courage to see that things are not going the way we would like them to go. To see that the way that we are managing our life, our affairs, is less than what we would hope for.

And by the way, acceptance doesn’t mean that we have to like what we see. It means that we accept the “reality” of how things are. Once we stop fighting against reality, then an internal process begins. It is almost as if our internal mechanism were saying:

Okay, now that I have accepted this thing… now what???

The “now what” is what we embrace with courage!

The “now what” is the rest of our lives.

The “now what” is being ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get our life back on track!

It means not letting “pride” or the opinions of others stand in our way of getting our lives back on track. Where are those people going to be five years from now anyway?

It may even mean “surrending“. Realizing that even though we really badly want to get our lives back on track, it may also mean that we don’t know how to do it!

It may be in those moments that we are called to reach out. Perhaps to those people who cared and asked us if we were “okay”. To swallow our pride and reach out and “ask” for help.

Once we do get over our pride and reach out and ask for help that first time, we may then realize that it wasn’t as difficult, or bad, or shameful as we had thought it would be.

What could be far worse is staying stuck in our pride, and never reaching out for help, when the answers and the people may be right at hand, and perhaps more than willing to lend a helping hand.

And if we still need some convincing, perhaps when we get back up on our feet, we can help those who are less fortunate to get up as well!

One Final Thought: The Myth Of Independence?

All of us at some time or another like to think of ourselves as “independent” or “self-reliant”.

But really?

Are any of us really that independent or self-reliant?

When was the last time any one of us grew ALL of our food?

When did we take apart and completely reassemble our transmissions? Okay a few of you may have….

But when did we make the material to build our houses?

When did we fly our own personally made planes, from self-constructed airports, with jet fuel that we extracted and refined ourselves?…

I think you get the picture.

We all need one another. We can do so much more, and help each other to a much greater level of living by helping each other and being there for each other.

All we need do is step out of our collective shame, embrace the courage to want to live a life with less suffering, and possibly more meaning.

Have courage. Reach out. Help is just a call away!

 

Empowered Makes A Difference

To Be Empowered, Or Not To Be Empowered?Getting Empowered

That is the question. And the answer to that question, can often make a HUGE difference in how we feel! When we are feeling empowered, it is as if all in our world is:

  • in tune
  • in line
  • things are functioning
  • and going well.

However, when we are not feeling empowered, or disempowered, things can tend to feel like they are:

  • not working
  • we may feel out of sorts
  • down
  • sad
  • at worst, depressed

All of these bad feelings because we are basically feeling like we lack the control or power to effect our life’s outcome.

Hence, a key component of the word “empowerment” and to feel “empowered”, is the word POWER.

When we feel like we are in our power, when we feel like we have the ability, the skill, and the means to have a positive effect on our lives. We tend to feel good, very good in fact, often with an accompanying greater sense of aliveness, and zest for life.

So What Goes Wrong?

What goes wrong indeed?

Why do we often times lose our sense of personal power?

I believe that we lose our sense of personal power when we give it over to someone or something.

Giving Away Our Power To Someone

In the case of someone, this would involve giving the power and control of our destiny over to another individual. And this may come in very subtle ways, such as:

  • not being happy unless our partner is happy
  • basing our happiness or self worth upon another’s achievements
  • feeling like we are completely responsible for whether things go well in a close personal relationship (in this case, this may be taking on too much responsibility)

The net effect, is that we base our personal happiness and well-being, upon someone whose behaviour we may have little or no control over. The net result is that we may feel miserable and powerless.

Example: A prime example of giving our power to another occurs when we base our happiness upon whether or not our partner is happy. And in return, we may hold them accountable for our own personal happiness.

What inevitably happens, is that any positive feelings in the relationship tend to be overshadowed by feelings of unhappiness, that we attribute the responsibility for onto our partners.

Not taking responsibility for our own happiness, is a formula for creating misery in our personal relationships I believe. While I do believe that our actions contribute to the overall climate of the couple. It might be best not to hold ourselves personally and fully responsible for our partner’s happiness. But we can help them to find their happiness, as they can hopefully help us to find ours.

Giving Away Our Power To Something

In this case, we are aligning our personal well-being with possibly an organization, such as an employer, or possibly some event, such as an environmental conference.

The ways in which we may give up our personal power, and therefore cause us to feel badly could be as follows:

  • If our company does well, then we can feel well
  • If our team wins, then we can feel good
  • If the representative or party that we want to win does, then we can feel happy
  • If a certain result, say in a meeting, or conference is attained, then we feel good

Example: Personally, I remember working for a major retail organization, and the boss would sometimes visit from headquarters. He would look at the previous day’s sales results on the screen. If they were down, we were all expected to feel down, the more down the better, as a way of showing that we cared or were dedicated.

Now a key point I ought to mention about this story, is that I worked in Finance in this company, not in Sales, nor in Marketing, and had virtually no control over what the previous day’s sales were! Suffice to say, it made me, and possibly a lot of us feel very disempowered. But it didn’t take very long to feign “grave concern” in front of the boss, and then to resume our regular financial analysis activities once he had moved on.

We soon realized, that making ourselves depressed over something we had little control over, nor could we change, was not worth getting depressed over. We focused on moving forward. Something we DID have control over!

In The End

Feeling empowered may come down to very clearly realizing what we have control over, what we don’t, knowing the difference, and being able to let go.

It strikes me that this conclusion resembles the serenity prayer in many ways.

Here it is again for your viewing pleasure.

Feel Empowered! Feel Good!

Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

 

The Power Of Optimism And Hope

The Power Of Optimism and Hope

Why Optimism And Hope Are Important

Optimism and hope are key navigational tools that help us get through life and cope with change.

Without these two important factors in our life, one could argue that dealing with life’s adversities and challenges could be extremely more difficult.

But how about taking a closer look at what each of them mean?

Optimisma disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions, and to expect the most favorable outcome

Hopethe feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best

The Power of Optimism and Hope
Optimism

Helen Keller, that fountain of inspiration, brought these two blessed concepts together so beautifully in the above quote.

Or perhaps, another more humorous way of looking at it might be:

The Power of Optimism and Hope
Optimism Mongolian BBQ Style?

But Is This Just A Bunch Of Pollyannaism?

Surely just thinking and believing that things will work out for the best is nothing more then short-sighted naivete?

Is it really?

Perhaps one of the things that motivates us to get out of bed in the morning is the belief that today is a new day.

That the new day brings a new world of possibilities.

Certainly today in Canada, seems to be one of those days.

With a new government being sworn in, the air is filled with optimism and hope. A feeling that we have turned the corner. That things can and hopefully will be different.

But if that is to be true on a national level, it will take more than just words and election victories.

It will take action.

The good news is that the new government seems to remember its campaign promises, and seems eager to put them into place. Time will tell, if this does in fact occur.

But the mood appears to be bright in the country. The citizens appear to be willing to give the incoming government the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully a chance to prove themselves.

The stakes are high. Promises made must be honoured, otherwise the trust and faith that has been placed in the new government will wither and fade. And that would likely lead to pessimism and discouragement, and quite possibly betrayal.

Time will tell. It always does.

But What About The Rest Of Us?

We as individuals have not won a federal election. Some of us may have voted for the party that won, and others not.

Perhaps what is important, now and at all times in our lives is:

What do we believe about the nature of the world, our place in it, and our power to change our own personal world?

In essence, what we are talking about is our sense of: Personal Power

Right now a lot of people in this country are feeling empowered. Possibly because they feel that they might actually have a government that may be willing to listen to them, consider their opinions, but also take action on matters that are important to them.

We Have An Opportunity

Right now there is a great opportunity to take this sense of optimism and hope that we are feeling, and to channel it into our lives.

It is an opportunity to take the time to make an assessment of our lives to date. To see how far we have come, to see where we are, and more importantly to chart a course for where we would like to go.

Right now, we might feel like we have a favourable government tone in our nation’s capital. This may change, and it may change quickly. Governments seem to be only as popular and effective, as their handling of the latest scandal or critical issue.

This is an opportunity to set a course for ourselves, for our relationships, for our families, and organizations. An opportunity to be buffeted by this spirit of optimism, and to set a course into the wind.

There will be many challenges. Of that we can be sure. We need only look to history to verify this for ourselves.

But as we look around the world. There is much to be thankful for in this great country that we call Canada.

Personally, after returning from vacation overseas, I am immensely grateful and thankful to be a Canadian citizen. But we face many challenges as a nation. Our reputation in the world has been tarnished. We are no longer the world leaders that we were.

But there is hope. And there is optimism in the air.

This country can be what it once was. A place that the world looked to for a model of inclusion and compassion. A place of global leadership, inspiration and peace. We are getting back onto the road that we once traveled. And there will be bumps along the way. But I for one, wouldn’t want to be doing it in any other country in the world.

Through The Counselling Door

Bringing things closer to home. It is this same sense of optimism and hope, that I see and listen to everyday when I am with a client.

No matter how much pain and despair that a person may be feeling. There is something deep inside of them, a fire that burns, that believes that things can be different!

And it is I believe, that fire of optimism and hope that fuels each and every one of us to try. To pick ourselves up after pain. To not stop. To hopefully be able to see how we have been hurting ourselves, or have been hurt. And to wish for something different.

To do something different, and to get different results!

On this day, we are full of optimism and hope. Let us all remember this day when the going gets tough. Because it will. But it is in overcoming difficult moments, that we are all brought closer together. It is what unites us.

Let the spirit of optimism and hope burn bright within you. And never stop believing that things can be different. We can all be living proof, each and every day.