The Secret Formula to a Happy Life

This is the truth and I’ll be honest with you now. One of my biggest pet hates is when any coach, spiritual guru or self-help teacher tells you in order to be happy, you need to just think positively.

I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but sometimes there’s some real issues that we have to deal with. If only the biggest issues I’ve faced in my life were finding a new job to fun my world travel plans or not having a new outfit for the weekend or arriving at the deli only to find out my favourite sandwich had sold out or whatever first world problems we complain about.

Most of us have issues that really affect out lives. Most of us can’t “just think positively” to cure our poverty or grief or legal battles or unfulfillment of the life we’re living.

However, this doesn’t make us powerless.

In order to take charge of your life, you have to do exactly that. Be in charge. To do this, you need to take 100% responsibility. Now, if you’re anything like me, your defense will be up straight away and you’ll start listing off a whole bunch of reasons why it’s not your fault that you are where you are. Am I right?

But as you’ll see in a moment, I’m not suggesting that you take responsibility for every injustice you’ve experience and every time you’ve been wronged by someone, but I am saying that you need to take responsibility for how you reacted to it and how you let it define your reality.

We are so much more powerful than we allow ourselves to believe because it’s easy to give the power (and responsibility) to someone else. That way, it’s not our fault why we don’t have the lives we want. It’s always our upbringing, our financial situation, our love life (or lack of love life), it’s our children or our work commitments, it’s the government or the state of our country. It’s always out there somewhere. We point at everyone and everything else, except ourselves.

Let me explain…

I was watching a documentary one day and suddenly my screen lit up with a brilliant man called Jack Canfield. I’ve read some of his books and seen him in many things before so as soon as I saw his gentle face and calming nature, I instantly sat a little taller and had tunnel vision for any wisdom that he was about to share.

He spoke about a formula he lives his life by, which is:

E + R = O

E + R = O
means
Event + Response = Outcome

The Event is the thing that happened. The Event is neutral until we put a label on it, usually good or bad. We don’t always have control over the Event and sometimes we don’t even play a part.

We do, however, have control over how we Respond to the Event. Our Response is just as important as the Event in order to determine the Outcome. Let me give you an example:

You’re driving down the road and some inconsiderate driver cuts in front of you causing you to slam on your breaks (Event). How you Respond now will determine the Outcome.
You could bib your horn and let out your aggression. Causing you to be in a bad mood for the rest of your journey (and very possibly the rest of your day).
You could race ahead to catch up to him and give him a piece of your mind. Which could lead to a dangerous altercation.
You could think “Woah there Mr, slow down or you’ll cause an accident. Thank goodness my breaks are working!

The problem is, most people want to feel right more than they want to feel happy. They don’t want to let that A hole get away with doing them wrong and they want him to know exactly what they think of him. In that moment they’re choosing to feel right instead of choosing to feel happy.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the A hole in the car has just heard that his wife was in an accident and is rushing to the hospital. Or that he just found out his mother is about to take her last breath and he wants to say his last goodbye. Or, he may just be an A hole. Who knows?

The point is, you’re judging the backstory of the Event and then Responding to the back story that YOU’VE created which then leads to an undesirable Outcome. This is a closed mindset.

A much more beneficial way to create more happiness would be to work a little backwards.

Let’s say an Event occurred. Before you Respond (or react to feel right), ask yourself what Outcome you’d want. When you know the Outcome you want, it will give you a much better indication to the Response you should give.

DISCLAIMER:
If this is not how you usually operate, it may not be easy in the beginning, it definitely wasn’t for me. You’re running reactive programming that you’ve been practicing for years and years, so give yourself time. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Don’t beat yourself up if you realise a little too late that you’ve Responded in a way that doesn’t give you the Outcome you want. The fact that it’s come to your attention at all means you’re making the changes necessary to create more happy Outcomes.

You have to take responsibility for your Responses and reactions and therefore, for the Outcomes you’ve created. You hold the power to your happiness 100% and now that you know this secret formula, you have the knowledge to apply it to your life.

Things won’t change overnight, but they will change and before you know it, you’ll look back and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Working on your mindset and perspective is the best gift you can give yourself because it will change your life. Empowering yourself is never time wasted.

If you want to learn tangible ways to empower yourself and improve your mindset, uncover the simple science behind why it works and how you can easily apply this information into your life, then consider taking my Rhi-vive Your Mindset course.

Where are you Responding in your own life to create Outcomes that don’t support your happiness?
Brainstorm ways you can change your Responses or things you can do to repair previous Responses.
Look into where you’d like to experience more happiness and how you can make it more of a priority.

Take 2 or 3 actions today to start building momentum. You may have step outside of your comfort zone a little bit, but my god it will be so worth it. Take the leap of faith.
You can find more info about Rhi-vive Your Mindset here.

Gratitude – What’s the big deal?

No matter what self-development book I read, YouTube video I watch, seminar I attend or course I take, it seems like EVERYONE is banging on about the importance of gratitude.

Now I’ve always considered myself quite grateful. I like to think my parents done a good job raising me and I have good manners. If someone does something nice for me, I show my appreciation. I’m sure most of us do, right?

So how is this different from the all-enlightened gratitude?

Well, it is different…. and it’s not.
I love learning about spiritual practices but sometimes I just need the science and cold hard facts about something. You can’t just tell my brain “do this because I said“, I need to understand why and how it works. If you’re like me in this respect, I have the answers for you.

Gratitude has been recognized for millennia as a powerful emotion. Some cultures believe gratitude has healing powers. But over the years, science has done it’s research on good old gratitude too and has found that regularly feeling gratitude:

  • Strengthens and deepens relationships
  • Improves physical health
  • Improves psychological health
  • Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Increases mental strength

No too bad, eh? It almost seems too simple, but let’s look at the (simple) science.

When you feel gratitude, I’m serious, you have to feel it, not just say what you’re grateful for. When you feel gratitude, two main hormones are released, dopamine and serotonin. Paired together, these are known as the happy hormones. While dopamine regulates mood, muscle movement and contributes towards the brain’s pleasure and reward system (we get a huge dose of dopamine when we orgasm), serotonin also regulates mood but also regulates body temperature and appetite to make sure we’re at a comfortable and happy state.

In fact, scientists are calling gratitude the “natural anti-depressant” because it’s free, makes you feel great over a prolonged period of time and you’re not putting anything artificial into your system.

The more you practice gratitude, you train your brain to see more reasons to be grateful due to the repetition and the emotional charge that gratitude creates. Therefore you start to notice more blessings and amazing things, people and opportunities in your life.

Also, it’s a common misconception that if you’re grateful for where you are in life now, then that means you’re happy to settle. This is false. You can be happy and grateful for where you are in life right now but still aspire and work towards and even better future. Being grateful just means that you’re happy you’re not further behind where you currently are, like millions of people in this world are.

OK, OK, I get it Rhiannon, now, how can I apply this into my life?

Firstly, don’t judge what you feel grateful for. If it’s that cup of coffee in the morning, allow yourself to feel grateful. If it’s finding a seat on your commute after a long day at work, feel that gratitude. If it’s a quiet 90 seconds while you lock yourself in the kitchen and eat a whole chocolate bar to yourself while your kids are finally quiet, ABSOLUTELY tap into that grateful feeling.

Of course, we’d all love to be grateful for our 5 senses and the roof over heads and all these deep and incredible gifts that we take for granted on a daily basis, and of course, the goal is to feel those things too! But sometimes life can be so stressful that I’m so grateful when it’s finally time for my kids to go to bed after they’ve been awake for what feels like 348,75,93,720 hours.

Our bodies are not judging where our gratitude comes from, it just wants to feel more of it, and the more you feel, the more you’ll notice, the better you’ll feel and it is an upwards spiral from there.

When you notice something that you feel grateful for, stop for a moment longer and allow that feeling to sit in your body a moment longer than you usually would before dismissing it and getting on with your day. Bathe in the gratitude and allow it to reach every cell of your body. Allow it to intensify and multiply and leave you feeling even more grateful. Almost take a screenshot of that moment that made you feel grateful and study it for a moment or two, observe the whole situation and accept beautiful gift you have received gratefully, because you’re worth it.

When you get in bed at night, recap on all the grateful moments you experienced that day. If you take gratitude into sleep with you, that emotion enters your subconscious mind and the benefits are endless. You’ll notice that you wake in a better mood, you start your day of happier and you become luckier… just like magic.

There’s a reason why everyone talks about the power of gratitude. Simply put… because it works.

Have an attitude of gratitude
Challenge yourself to list three things you feel grateful for (remember no judgments)
Do this every every morning and every evening for 7 days.
Write them down for an extra boost of gratitude, maybe in your journal or in the notes section of your phone.

After your seven days, you can look over your list and tap into that gratitude again.

Negative People vs Positive People

You know the difference right? You know the people who are so negative that it’s draining to be around them and you want to scream at the to lighten up!! I’m sure you also know the sickening positive people who are so far away from reality that their head are in the clouds and they’re pretty much deluded.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been both of these people in my life, and still am! Sometimes my ego throws a fit and I fall into victim mode and think poor me and can’t help but tell my sad tale. It’s times like this I need a real wake up call. But I’ve got to the point in my life (after a whooooole lot of inner work and soul searching) where I’m a pretty positive person 95% of the time.

I like living in my own little world, no matter how deluded it is. I’ve experienced both sides of this coin and let me tell you that the positive side is a whole lot more fun. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

It’s actually easier to be negative, but why?
Well, Negative emotions have a stronger and more lasting effect on the body and spirit that positive ones.

Yes, lovely things happening to us feels great, and we’re grateful for them, but pretty soon, we’re over it. Whereas negative situations or emotions can linger forever, especially if we don’t know how to move past them. This is a survival tool. It helps us learn what to stay away from whether it’s the saber-tooth tiger approaching our camp or having our heart broken. We use past and perceived threats or events as a guide to keep us safe in the future.

If you’re reading this thinking “but I’m quite a negative person” don’t worry too much, it just means you’re intelligent enough to know your worth and know you’re worth protecting and trying to keep yourself safe in order to survive. However, surviving is not the same as living. There’s also no pride or glory in declaring your past traumas. It IS ok and possible to let go of something while taking the lesson with you.

It reminds me of this great Dr Joe Dispenza quote:

The memory without the emotional charge is WISDOM

I’m also not saying that you need to be a “positive person” by being deluded, pretend everything is hunky dory and open yourself up to pain and abuse. There’s nothing spiritual about suffering. There’s spirituality in healing, but suffering doesn’t make us better or worse than anyone else.

I believe that we all wear both hats. We all have the ability to be positive and negative, it just depends on the circumstance at the time as well as the people we surround ourselves with.
The real trouble is, some of us have just got too used to only wearing one hat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Experiencing a range of emotions is not only normal, but healthy. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious or worrying about something. No one can be happy 100% of the time.

When I feel a wobble coming on, here’s what I do.
Take note here because it’s very detailed… I allow it.
I embrace the wobble and I let it throw it’s little strop. There’s no sense in trying to be the bigger person or meditate or focus on my breathing. None of it will work when I’m freaking out or angry. Whatever emotion it is, is trying to tell me something and wants to be heard. So I let it. I’m not going to lie, it usually is released by me ugly crying and feeling sorry for myself and it’s exhausting and I usually like to have a little nap after that but you wouldn’t believe how much better I feel. Then, and only then, do I have the mental capacity to approach whatever it is, or even just life in general, with a clear head and the energy to try and tackle whatever it is that needs my attention.

Who care’s about being a positive person or a negative person! Who cares about the stereotypes that come with those labels. Why do we always have to be put into boxes? Be both. Be neither. Make up your own label for yourself. You are not one label my friend. You are a complex yet beautiful soul, show a little respect!

Take a deep breath. I had to get that off my chest.
Here’s a cool exercise…
Set a timer on your phone for 1 minute. Notice and try to remember all the things around you that begin with the letter P.
Once the timer goes off, close your eyes and name all of the things that you saw that begin with the letter T.
Yes, I wrote that right. When your mind is so focused on one thing (like things beginning with P), you’re blind to the abundance of things that surround that begin with T.

What are you focusing on that isn’t serving you?

What is stopping you from moving forward to where/who you’d like to be?

Make a list of all the reasons you deserve to move on from this. List all the reasons you have to be grateful in your current reality. List all the positive things you learned from this experience.

Now recognize that holding onto this things is limiting your present and your future. We cannot change our past but we can decide what we allow to hold on to. Forgive that person/event/situation for teaching you a valuable lesson and for being so deprived of love that it caused you pain and decide to release it because YOU deserve to be free from it.

Are you using your thoughts wisely?

Our thoughts are something that most of us don’t really consider very much. At least, not until a painful one comes along.

But as you now know, as you read in Are Your Thoughts Ruining You Life?, that our thoughts not only dictate how we feel emotionally and physically but they also determine our behaviors and traits, what we reach towards, what we believe is possible for us, what we believe we deserve and what we are allowed to dare to dream about.

So, if that’s the case, how can we better observe our thoughts?
Well, as we learned in Are Your Thoughts Ruining Your Life?. we have somewhere between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day and around 95% of those are subconscious and recycled from the day before as the subconscious mind is programmed by repetition.

Let’s say that we have 70,000 thoughts per day.
Now, let’s pretend that each of those thoughts represents one pound, or one dollar (or whatever your currency is), for me, I’m going to pretend that I have £70,000 worth of thoughts per day, each thought being worth £1.

At the end of each day, your thought bank will always be £0 and will always be replenished the next day. But out of that £70,000, how much did you spend and how much did you invest?

Confused? Let’s break it down.
You’re running late for work and rushing around, you finally jump on the train and as you sit down, you think to yourself “Why didn’t I get up earlier? I knew I shouldn’t have left it to the last minute. Now, my boss will be angry and I really can’t deal with this right now…” This could easily go on for the whole journey to your desk. This is the equivalent of spending your thoughts. Once you use this thought, it doesn’t benefit you in any way, you can’t get it back and it’s gone forever. It’s spent.

Whereas, instead, once you jump on the train, you think to yourself “All this rushing around makes me feel like crap. It ruins my day before it’s even started. I really do need to sort it out because I really can’t deal with my boss lecturing me again. I think tomorrow I’ll set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier… and put it on the other side of the room so I have to get up.” This, is investing your thoughts. You are assessing the situation, coming up with a solution so you don’t have to experience this (and think this) again tomorrow and the next day.

Want another example?
You jump out the shower and as you’re getting dried, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realise how much weight you’ve put on. Are you going to spend your thoughts or invest them?

Spending your thoughts sounds something like this:
“God, I’m disgusting. When did I let myself go? I hate looking at myself in the mirror. Ergh! I feel awful now. I think I’ll wear my black jumper, it’s baggy and hopefully I can hide in the shadow so no one will notice me.”
Did this benefit you in anyway? Did it inspire, uplift or empower you? Did it evoke change or fuel you to step toward your ideal future?
No. No it did not.
It was a reactive thought that came because you decided not to see past current limitations.

Of course, the ideal investment of your thoughts after seeing yourself in a mirror would be something like:
“Ooooh-weeee! How you doing good-looking?” but I want to punch people like that in the face… mainly because I’m not people like them. A much more realistic investment of your thoughts, for most of us would be:
“Wow, have I really been avoiding looking in the mirror so long that I didn’t see how much weight I’d put on? Am I ok with my body being this shape? I’ve not been in a great place recently and I guess my body is a reflection of how I’ve felt on the inside. I’ve not really shown myself any love recently. I can’t remember the last time I wore some clothes that made me feel good or danced around the house. Maybe I need to reevaluate where I am and pay myself a little bit of love and attention. I’ll start with taking a walk to my friend’s house today, she always puts me in a good mood.”

Do you understand now?
When you spend a thought, like spending money, you give it away and it’ll never return. When you spend money on something, you don’t really want or enjoy the thing you’re getting in exchange. Or you feel obliged and begrudgingly hand over the money. It’s the same with a thought.

When you invest your money, you either put it into something that reap rewards at a later date, like a stock, share or income revenue, or you reap the rewards instantaneously by genuinely appreciating, feeling grateful for and enjoying the thing you’ve purchased. Same with your thoughts.

At the end of every day, do you want your thoughts to have been mainly spent? Or do you want them to have been invested into inspiring you, uplifting you, empowering you, cheering you on, building you up, helping you grow and evolve, helping to open new doors for you, helping to direct you to the life that you want and desire?

Ok, here’s a journal prompt to help you explore a little deeper. Get your favourite journal, notebook or even just some scrap paper and free-write on these questions:

Where am I allowing excuses to determine my circumstances?

What is my intuition telling me about what I need to do or let go of in order to get closer to where I want to be?


If you want to discover more about journaling and how you can use it to process your emotions and set your intentions, take my £15 Online Journaling Workshop

Are Your Thoughts ruining your life?

Years ago, we thought that our DNA defined who we were down to every last detail. We thought our DNA defined if we were shy or outgoing. If we could cope under pressure or crumble. If we took chances or we were too frightened or cautious. If we were a positive or negative person.

Luckily, we now know that all of these traits are not genetic, but learned behaviors. You can learn to become more positive, and deal with stressful situations better, cope with ‘rejection‘ and still have the guts to chase your dreams.

Largely, all these traits, all our behaviors and in fact, the entire circumstances surrounding our whole lives are determined and influenced by our thoughts.

Science tells us that we have around 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day, of which, 95% of those thoughts are unconscious thoughts, recycled from the day before, and the day before that and so on. These unconscious thoughts, program our subconscious mind which ultimately runs our lives.

You can’t consciously tell your subconscious mind to change. This has to be done by hypnosis or by repetition. So, this means, then, that the subconscious is running our lives without us even knowing it. And if you’re honest with yourself, I know you can think of scenarios in your life where this is true.

When you go for an interview, or give a talk on stage, you might repeat in your head “Don’t blow it” or “they’re not going to like you.” or “you’re going to forget what to say”. Your whole body posture changes. You hunch a little, even if only a fraction. The volume and tone of your voice is quiet and uncertain. You don’t make eye contact, look uninterested and people can’t engage and get excited for what you have to say because you’re not even excited about what you’ve got to say.

None of this happened because you aren’t good at speaking or you’re uninteresting. It happened because the thoughts in your head dictated the event in your life. Don’t believe me?

Imagine you’re with a group of friends and someone says something that makes you think of an amazing new film you watched, the new diet you’re trying and loving, or the cutest little thing your baby did the other day. You cannot wait to interrupt them and share this wonderful piece of news. You explain in detail everything you love about this thing and it doesn’t even occur to you that no one gives a crap or not. You have no problem communicating during this time.

Also, I know you’ve been there when a friend remembers something so funny that they can’t even tell the story. Every time they start to speak, they start laughing again and nearly wet them self. You, on the other hand, have no idea what the story is, but you’re hanging on so intently waiting to hear the story that your friend is trying to tell. Of course, the story is never as funny to you as it was to your friend, I guess you had to be there, but their excitement keeps you hanging on. Your thoughts tell you it’s going to be worth the wait and their thoughts, keep them doubled over with laughter but to attempt again and again to tell you the story because it’s going to be worth it.

If you don’t yet believe me that your thoughts are powerful, let’s take a look at the above example. Your friends funny story had happened at some time in the past. It is no longer happening, but their thoughts about it set off a series of neurons in their brain, conjured up some emotion and then they began reliving the scene as if it was happening again, causing very real emotions and physical effects.

Even now, nearly 3 years later, a thought may come into my head to do with my brother’s death or my grieving and then a series of neurons are set off in my brain, it remembers the emotions and I relive it as painfully as I did when it first happened. My brother hasn’t died again and again. I just remember it (or have a thought about it) again and again.

A single thought about a presentation at work, or a deadline or a due payment or even a date can cause physical symptoms like sweaty palms, shortness of breath and an increased heart rate. Just a single thought.

In some situations, it’s really beneficial to have these recurring thoughts. Like if you see fire, your brain says “don’t touch! That’s hot!” or if you get too close to a cliff, you have a thought telling you “danger! Stay back“. These thoughts are helping you to survive, like we spoke about in #1 Surviving. But what about normal every day thoughts?

What are you thinking when you lift a piece of cake to your mouth?
Or when your kids are arguing?
Or when you’re tired?
Or when you walk around your home?
Or when someone asks you on a date?
Or when you have a bill to pay?

What thoughts come to your mind about your health, your wealth, your appearance and your happiness?

Are your thoughts supporting your dreams and aspirations? Or are they sabotaging them? We’re going to learn more about this in #3………………

Think of something you’d like to be, do or have.
What thoughts or feelings come up? If you can’t think of anything, ask yourself “Why can’t I have this?” This should give you an insight to your thoughts around this topic.

Can you remember the earliest memory you have around this thought?
For example, if you want a new car, but your thoughts are something like ‘that’s wasteful and irresponsible as I already have a car. Ok, it breaks down every other week and you have to get in the passenger side as the driver’s door doesn’t open, but to buy a new car when I already have one is just wasteful.’ Can you remember the earliest time you remember feeling (or being told) you were being wasteful?

Can you, now that you’re older and wiser see a bigger picture? Can you see how other people’s opinions had shaped your belief based on their own limiting beliefs? Can you hold compassion for yourself or others for the actions surrounding that event? Can you forgive the person, or event to free yourself from holding onto it anymore?
If you’d like to better understand and filter your thoughts and beliefs, you can sign for my Journaling Workshop

Adrenaline and Living in Survival

You’ve heard of the flight, fight or freeze hormone, right? That thing called Adrenaline that either petrifies up or gives us a rush of energy?

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another and it’s really useful to have.

Animals have it too. When a predator approaches, the prey can either freeze and play dead or like a deer caught in headlights or run like their life depended on it, because… Well, their life does depend on it.

When you prepare for flight against a perceived threat, all your body’s energy and focused is directed towards survival. It’s only when the threat is over and we feel safe that we can return to homeostasis.

Animals recover very quickly and instantly go back to grazing in the field or merrily swimming along within moments of escaping death, but humans tend to prolong the danger phase.

When we are safe, the first thing we want to do is complain about the events that have just taken place. We tell anyone who will listen about the suffering we had to endure. We constantly look over our shoulder to see if the big bad wolf is following us, ready to launch into action if he appears.

I’m not saying caution is a bad thing, but let’s be honest. This isn’t just caution. This is survival mode. When you’re in survival mode, you’re body is in stress, when you’re in stress, it’s like putting your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time.

When you’re in survival, it is not a time for growth or renewal. What’s the point in new healthy cells if the predator kills you anyway? So when you’re in hyper states of stress, you’re body isn’t functioning to it’s fullest ability.

Have you ever noticed your health deteriorates at times when you’re in a prolonged state of stress? That’s because you’re immune system is compromised. Your body is so focused on survival that it isn’t performing to it’s highest ability.

When you’re in survival mode, you’ll know it. You feel like you’re constantly treading water, like you don’t have enough energy and like like your emotions are on high alert. You can’t even think of tomorrow let alone planning for the future. You’re in constant reaction mode.

When you’re constantly reacting to things, you will never get ahead. Life will always give you things to react to and you’ll never ‘be done’.

Survival is a blessing when we are faced with life-threatening situations, but do we really just want to survive? Why don’t we focus our attention on thriving? Why don’t we move from our defensive position to a progressive position?

When we feel safe, we tend to be more creative, more happy, flow more freely. We try new things and discover new experiences. Many of which can enrich our lives and even make it easier.

It’s much more beneficial for you to be proactive than reactive. And I definitely have some blogs to share with you to help you do that, but for right now, wherever you are, in this moment, know that you are safe. If you wasn’t you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
In this moment, not 10 minutes time, not tomorrow, not yesterday or next week, this moment right now, you are safe.

Do this now:
Place your hand on your heart and feel is beating.
With your hand resting on your heart space, take a deep breath in and let it out. Feel the air rush into your lungs when you breathe in and feel your body relax and your muscles melt as you breathe out.
Do this 5 times, feeling the air rush in on your in-breath and feeling your body relax on your out-breath.

Give yourself permission to take 2 minutes to do this 3 times a day for the next week.

Here are some of my blogs to help you get out of survival mode and into thriving mode:

How to reduce overwhelm
How to Find Your Motivation
Six Steps to get to where you want to be in life
Making Upgrades

Learning From The Past… And The Future

Isn’t it funny the things you remember from the past? Of course, some things are valuable and profound, and others seems to be completely random.

I always remember being in assembly in my primary school and hearing our head teacher giving a talk about learning from your mistakes. We’ve all heard this right, but he went on to say that not only can we learn from our own mistakes, but why not learn from other people’s mistakes too?

This made total sense to me. Why wait until we make the mistake to learn the lesson? Why not find value in other people’s mistakes too.

Although I still think this is valuable, I’ve realised that life doesn’t work out that way. How can it? We see so much pain and destruction across the globe but yet seem to think that’ll never happen to me.

Children are disappearing, horrific accidents steal lives, homes are being lost, loved ones are taking their last breaths. And yet, we will moan and groan about the silliest things, hold grudges and deny ourselves and those around us the love and joy we all deserve. If only we knew.

After my brother died so suddenly, I remember being so scared that every night, as I put my kids to bed, it might be the last time I get to kiss them goodnight. I remember every day when my husband went to work, it could be the last time I kiss him goodbye. I worried that anything could happen to us at any point. My parenting became a lot more relaxed and I learned to let go of petty arguments. It just didn’t seem worth it anymore. Did I really want my last conversation with my husband to be my moaning about crumbs in the kitchen?

I felt I suddenly had such clarity in life and I wanted to share it with the world. I tried. People around me were having family problems and siblings were not talking over silly things. Of course, there was a part of me that was angry. You don’t even realise how lucky you are to have your sibling at the end of a telephone and yet you’re throwing away that relationship? I would give anything to trade places with you!

Of course, I know that my loss didn’t erase or invalidate their feelings. How could it? But even when I’d try to share my new profound clarity about life and how blessed we are, a lot of the time it fell on deaf ears.

You learn from your own mistakes because they hold so much emotional attachment and you’re emotionally invested. But you can’t learn from other people’s mistakes because you’re not as emotionally invested as they are.

By all means, take heed from other’s lessons and life events, but you may need to experience something first-hand before you can fully learn from it.

This is a simple adaptation of an NLP technique that you can use to learn from certain events.
Think of something you are worried about happening in the not too distant future.
Now close your eyes and imagine floating ahead into your future self to a time shortly after this event has happened.
What do you notice? Can it be prevented? Can it be an easier process? What does your future self know that you don’t yet know? Perhaps some information you can use once you float back to your present-day self? Is there something the present-day you that can alter or change in order to give a more favourable outcome in the future?
Use everything you can learn from jumping into the future and apply it in your present day life in order to create a future that’s more in line with what you want. The future hasn’t happened yet so you can decide how you want it play out.

When Your Current Situation Holds You Back

Do you ever feel that the odds are stacked against you? Or that you don’t have it as easy as those born with a silver spoon in their mouth?

Do you ever think ‘why bother trying? People like me don’t get to do things like that.

If you do, you’re not alone. Most of us never even attempt to turn our dreams into reality because we believe our current circumstances reflect what’s to come in our future.

Of course, I’d love a big house and a cool million in the bank, but when I’m eating tuna out of a can and wrapped in multiple layers because I can’t afford to turn the heating on, what do you expect me to believe?

It’s interesting that we’re so quick to stick our heels in when it’s about ourselves, but when others can’t see past their current situation, we seem to have much more perspective.

When our children try to take their first steps but stumble and fall, we don’t say “Too bad. I guess this one’s not a walker.”

When our best friend comes crying that her boyfriend has broken up with her and she’ll never find love again, we don’t pat her on the head and say “I know, it’s such a shame.

We keep ourselves in our comfort zone for two reasons.
1. To keep safe and not put ourselves in situations that can harm us physically or emotionally.
2. So that we have a reason as to why we can’t and then can be right as to why we didn’t.

Let me tell you about about prisoner 19476/62 who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1962 for conspiracy and terrorist charges. Those are some bold labels. He was later labelled the president of South Africa and a peace activist. When he was sentenced, Nelson Mandela didn’t let his current situation define the rest of his life, nor did he let other people’s opinions and labels of him hold any value in his heart. He stayed true to who he knew he was.

Did you ever hear about the homeless Canadian family of five living in a Volkswagen van surviving on canned food? One of the sons not only dreamed of living in a house and perhaps having his own bedroom and privacy, but decided to look past his current situation and chase his dreams. Jim Carrey went on to become a multimillionaire after starring in so many blockbusters of my generation and quickly became one of Hollywood’s hottest names.

In 1930, a young African-American boy was born into an extremely segregated country. His dad didn’t stick around and his brother died when he was five. Shortly after, he developed Glaucoma and started to go blind. As if that wasn’t hard enough, he had to endure racism and was expected to live a life of poverty due to his skin colour and his disability. When we was 14, he was life all alone when his mother, his only relative suddenly died. Ray Charles could have chose to give up at any one of his traumas, but he decided to follow his dreams and he became one of the most iconic musicians of all time, often being referred to as brother Ray or the genius.

Believe me when I tell you that I know life can be difficult. It can be so shit at times!But, please, for the love of god, don’t allow a difficult patch to define the rest of your days. Let it fuel you. Let it light the fire inside of you. Let it light the torch to led the way.

Ok, so some people have it easier than you. So what? There are many, many people who are born into wealth, good health or fame, and they reject it, lose it or throw it away.

Work for what you want, because you deserve it. You know what they say, keep your eyes on the prize.

What do you want, that you’re not currently reaching for?
Write it on the top of a sheet of paper.
Next, brainstorm all of the things you can think of that stand in your way
Now, identify each one and come up with as many solutions as you can to help you overcome this hurdle.

Choose one thing you can do right now that will help you get one step closer to what you want and without thinking too much or talking yourself out of it, do it now.

Emotional Wounds

Recently, I started watching this documentary series on Gaia called Sacred Powers with Caroline Myss. One particular episode really grabbed my attention and I want to share it’s message with you today.

When you cut your finger (for argument’s sake, let’s say it’s not too deep), you don’t have to consciously do anything to help the healing. Your body naturally tends to the wound. I’m no doctor but I know that, at a basic level, the platelets in our blood help to clot the wound and form a barrier (scab) to stop infection from entering. Then under the surface, your white and red blood cells, along with other chemicals in your body work in their own individual, specialized way to heal, remodel the area to return your body back to good health.

Healing is natural and automatic.

Caroline Myss said that the body’s natural state is good health and wholeness.
Yes, sometimes things happen that can alter this state, but good health and wholeness is our natural state, and everything within our being is working to return us to this state.

When a wound occurs, everything we have rushed to the wound to heal it because we were never meant to be wounded forever.

So what about emotional wounds?

This is where a lot of people will not like what Caroline had to say but before we get into it, let’s look at physical wounds again.

I have many scars on my body. All from wounds where I have tripped, fallen, had things dropped on me and some I can’t even remember. Each scar tells a story and each scar has become a part of the person that I am today. However, not one of my scars define who I am. Not one of my scars determine what I can and can’t do. Not one of my scars hold me back in life.

We seem to deal with emotional wounds differently.

An event happens at a point in time and we seem to suffer with it for months, or even years. We attach to the story and use to to shape our future. It doesn’t matter how many wonderful things happen in our lives, we keep coming back to our emotional wound. We identify as our wound.

Caroline talks about people sharing their wounds when meeting new people and in circumstances that are completely unrelated. I have to admit that I’ve done this. For some reason I’ve felt it’s necessary to share my pain so that people can ‘get a full picture’ about me.
But why? It’s none of their business and I also didn’t feel the need to mention all the wonderful blessings that I currently have or have experienced in my life.

For some reason, we live in a society where struggle seems to equal noble. The more we suffer, the more we deserve. I don’t know where this notion has come from, but let’s go back to Caroline’s statement.

The body’s natural state is good health and wholeness.

We carry past traumas and wounds into the present and allow our past to limit and decide our future. We allow our emotional wounds to determine who we are, what our personalities are, what we deserve in life, what we can achieve and how we behave.

We keep picking the emotional scab and never allow it to heal.

As Caroline says, this is not about dismissing how you feel. This is not about ignoring your past. I also want to stress it’s not a time for blame or shame. It’s just about allowing yourself to heal from past wounds and deciding not to carry their heavy load anymore. Don’t allow them to define or limit you.

Your natural state is good health and wholeness.
You deserve peace.
You deserve freedom.

Think about what you’re carrying around in your life that it’s time to let go of.
Write a letter to whatever or who ever it is that caused this wound.
Now, we’re going to do a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness called Ho’oponopono.
At the end of your letter write these four statements. After each statement you write, take some time to feel into each one before moving onto the next one. Repeat them as many times as you need.
I’m sorry
Please Forgive me
Thank you
I love you.

Hitting Rock Bottom

If you read my blog, Two steps forward one step back, You’ll know the importance of allowing yourself to ‘regress‘ slightly in order to progress.

What I didn’t talk about in that blog was when all you seem to be doing is regressing. When you seem to keep falling further and further down.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever experienced rock bottom? Are you there now?

Not many people will admit to this, or even see it this way, but hear me out because there’s a lot of good stuff here.

Have you ever heard this saying?

When you’ve got nothing to lose, you’ve got nothing to lose

It’s saying that when you’re at rock bottom, you actually have an advantage! You can afford to be bolder and take more risks because the potential payoffs are so much higher than the potential pitfalls.

We hear and see it constantly in our day to day lives as well as in films and televisions programs. The guy who is desperate to declare his love for the girl because, without her, he ‘has nothing.
Or someone loses their job, their partner, their home and they have to rebuild their lives from scratch, but this time, they end up even more happier than before. Why? Because this time, they got to start from scratch, learn from past mistakes and are now clear about what they want from life.

Most of the time, life is…. ok. It’s not terrible, of course it could be a little better, but we are so scared to rock the boat and ask for more because we fear we will get less, so we learn to settle. This means that so many of us are walking around with less than adequate lives, too scared to ask for more and just making do with what they have.

When you are not living up to your full potential, and you’re not living as your true authentic self, life takes hold of the steering wheel and that’s when everything seems to be ‘going wrong‘, but what’s actually happening is someone is pressing the reset button for you.

When the reset button has been pressed, you now get to redesign your life in a way that is more in line with who you really are and what you really want.

Hitting rock bottom can seem like such a curse, but it really is much more like a blessing. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, things seem uncertain but in the end, it will all work out better than you could have ever imagined.

Imagine for a moment, that you have nothing to lose.
What would you want to achieve in life?
What steps would you take to get there?
What resources could you take advantage of that you’re not currently utilizing?