Thursday, November 5, 2009

What happens if you stop resisting ?

I woke up this morning and it seemed to be that letting go of control did not mean giving up responsibility. I woke up and thought, what would it be like to live each day being fully present and accepting ? Like a wandering monk who does not know what his day will bring ? Will there be food and if so, what ? Will I like it ? Does it matter ? He wanders and trusts… and accepts!
I woke up this morning and thought - I am amazing ! I am special ! I am brilliant! So why do I spend so much time and energy resisting these facts ? Why do I struggle and fight ? And I thought to myself, “Wow!” Imagine being a child and living that !! Imagine knowing every day from my parents and teachers that I was amazing, special and brilliant ? Who would I be right now ? And then I thought to myself, does it require me to believe. And I knew that it did not! It does not require me to believe it to be true to be so. I am amazing, special and brilliant!
I woke up this morning and knew that the Universe gives and supports! It is man and his thoughts and beliefs that resists and taints, creating scarcity where there should be only abundance. We are the one’s who limit our lives, no-one else.
I am wondering now how I can take those dreams and make them real ? My thoughts create my life, yet my thoughts have been a lifetime in the making. And it feels like I am two people, one who is trapped by earth, thoughts and scarcity, another who flies, laughs and revels in unlimited abundance.
So today I am just going to practice choosing power - letting go and staying responsible, being present, not resisting and accepting. Today I am going to accept my life, its abundance and brilliance! Today I am going to let go and see what happens!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Practicing Choosing Power

The day I finally became the deepest female diver in the world, was the day I started to realise that there was something more to the story than just moving limits. Yes, setting a world record is an accomplishment and it required effort and commitment, but the journey was more than just a physical one. In fact, mastering the physical side was the easier of the challenges. Our society is geared toward learning facts and practicing skills. The real challenge came when I realised that being good at it was not going to get me my world record, there was something else I needed to be doing.

Now in my own mind I was the epitome of normality (albeit a little more stubborn than most and with a natural talent for scuba diving). Even today I do not feel different which means if I could break a world record anyone could ? Well maybe not a world record per se, but their personal equivalent of one.

Which left only one question, how ? How did I go from being ordinary, paralysed by fear and petrified of being visible, to the deepest woman in the world ? And could I use that journey to replicate that success in any area of my life ? What had I actually done ?
The answer it turns out was remarkably straight forward, three words in fact. I had practiced, choosing power. Let me explain.
Do you have permission to practice ? What if life was not about getting it right first time every time ? Who would you be if you had permission to practice ? Who would you be if you were supported ? What if it was nothing was wrong when you got it wrong ?
The key word here is practice and with that comes the freedom to learn, make mistakes and grow. It is a freedom that comes naturally when what you are doing is not ‘serious’. In the business world, permission to practice and get things wrong is most definitely not the norm. Yet, I have occasionally worked with people who did not expect immediate perfection and who allowed things to go wrong. That was normality for them and it was as if a huge burden was taken from me. These days I let go of the fear of being wrong and just allow myself the space to practice. What would happen if you did the same ?

Which brings us to the second word, choosing or Choice – there is always a choice, you just may not like it. The thing with choice is most of us have forgotten we even have it. I know I had. There I was sitting waiting to be rescued, wondering why the world was not falling all over itself to help me. I had chosen (albeit unconsciously) to play the very familiar and comfortable role of the victim and simply did not see that I had another choice.

I could wait until I was accepted by the male diving community and given permission to dive deep (a wait that had taken 6 years and showed absolutely no sign of ever being granted) or I could choose to let go of wishing things were different, accept what was and work with that. The concept of free will or choice is one of the hardest things for individuals to accept. It is far easier to just accept the carefully thought out and perfectly good reasons why you can not change. In fact, there are more good reasons not to do a dive that will break a world record than do it.
The last word is Power or rather Empowerment. Empowerment is not something you can be given, it is something you have always have. You have it right now, no-one has taught you how to use it. You become truly empowered when you give yourself permission to exist and practice, you exercise your right to choose. Power comes when you let go of the illusion that you are able to control the outcome. This is a lesson that most of us never get to learn in the ‘real’ world. It is however an essential lesson that must be learnt if you want to something as dangerous as break a world record.

You see, when diving sub 150 meters (in a water filled cave) you are doing something that a handful of people have done before. Of these, around 50% died on the dive. Yes I can practice my skills until they are instinct. Yes, I can discuss the theory with anyone and everyone to make sure I totally understand the risks (known and unknown) and have processes in place to manage those, but at the end of the day, diving sub 200 meters is something that only a handful of people have done. There is simply not enough experience on which to base decisions. Instead a large chunk of your knowledge is nothing more than assumption. Add to that is the very real fact that every human body is unique and that your body reacts to the same dive differently with no obvious cause you get a situation where you have to simply trust that you are prepared enough and then go and see what happens.

No matter what I did, how controlling I was, there was always that unknown factor that we could not predict, so, if I had no control over the outcome, what did I have control over ? This is not a situation that is unique to diving, in business, meetings, car accidents, life happens. You can not control some events and can not control other people, so what happens if you let go of control ?

If I am not focusing all my energy on maintaining control (or the illusion thereof), what am I doing ? Looking back at my world record journey I realised that I had spent years focusing on what I was doing or rather being better at what diving than everyone around me (sound familiar ?) yet I remained exactly where I was. It did not seem to matter that I was better or knew more theory. In fact, I was watching people who knew less and dived worse, overtaking me. Which is when I came to the realization that perhaps it is not only about skills, perhaps it is as much about who I am being, how I am behaving ? I may have no control over other people and the outcome of an event, but I did have free will. I could choose who I was being ? Which was a rather alien thought as I had spent 30 odd years of my life believing I was who I was and could not change that.

Was true empowerment, true power, really about my ability to choose who I was being? The thought did and still fascinates me. If I knew who I wanted to be in every moment, then would I ever fail ? Even if I did not get the outcome I wanted I still would have been successful because it had never only been about the outcome, it was as much about who I was being ? Even more importantly, when I looked back at my world record journey I realised I had spent years stuck trying to get deeper not because my skills were not at the right level, but rather because who I was being was not at the same level. I only reached my record when I started to act like a world record holder. When my being matched both my knowing and doing I was able to shift my limits!
To set a new world record I had let go of getting it right first time and give myself permission to PRACTICE. I had let go of controlling an uncontrollable situation and instead step into my power by choosing who I was being and how I was behaving. I had to stretch my mind (knowledge), body (skills) and soul (being). What could you do if you started to Practice Choosing Power ?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Habits of Being - Acceptance !

It occurred to me that not many of us truly accept who we are now never mind who we have been. Yet when I think about the possibility of not having to watch everything I say or do or having to apologise for who I am or where I have been... I get a feeling of immense calm. How grand would it be to be OK with who I am and who I have been ? How different would my conversations be ?

What would you have to do to truly accept who you are and who you were ? For there to be nothing to hide from or apologise for

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Pillars of Creation - Knowing, Doing, Being

How do you create limitless being… limitless abundance and limitless success ? Albert Einstein believed you could not solve a problem using same thought processes that created it. Society today would have us believe that success is a function of how good you are. Our lives are geared toward collecting the right skill set, yet how often do you hear people bemoaning a lost promotion, wondering how he got it with his inferior skill set. Companies seem to be filled with people who excel at what they do but never seem to rise up the corporate ladder.
So if is not only your skills that bring you success, what is it ? Could the difference between you and the corporate mover be who you are both being or to put it a more popular way, your attitudes ?
In 2004 I became the world’s deepest woman with a dive to 221 meters. I had created an impossible dream yet I could not transfer that success from diving to the rest of my life. Which is when I started to take a serious look at how I got my record. After all if I could do it once, I should be able to do it again..and again.
So, what did I learn becoming the deepest woman in the world ? That to shift limits you need to align all three parts of your being - your body, your mind and your soul. Or put another way, you need to ‘Know’ (mind), you need to ‘Do’ (body) and most importantly you need to ‘Be’ (soul)!.
The first two are familiar to us all - getting and practicing new skills. Diving was a passion of mine so I focused on my skills and really getting to KNOW how to dive. I wanted to be a good diver so I practiced that knowledge. That combination of knowing and doing got me to the point where I knew I could break the record, but for the life of me I could not get deeper. Something was in my way.
Now you may be thinking that because I broke a world record I am somehow fundamentally different to you. The truth of the matter is that when I started my journey I was probably less suited to be a world record than many people I knew. I was confused, lost, miserable, defensive and paralysed by fear. Hardly attributes you would attribute to a world record holder. I did have two things on my side though, I knew how to dive and could do any dive thrown at me. Yet I was still stuck.
The turning point came on New Year’s Eve, 2000. I was looking back at yet another year of not going anywhere. I was tired and miserable and had had enough! I needed to either give up on my dream or do something different, so I decided then and there that 2001 would not be a repeat of the last 4 years. I made a commitment to do whatever it took to get one meter deeper, no matter how petrified I was. In one simple step, with one simple New Year’s resolution, I fundamentally changed my life. I started to learn the Art of Being!
Until then I did not even realise that I could choose who I wanted to be. I was envious of people who seemed to be born with the ability to ‘be’ successful and resigned myself to the fact that I was not borne that way, so I could never be that. I am what I am and that is unchanging and limited , or so I thought. The idea that I could choose to behave differently and so experience different results was one I came to in desperation. I started to act as if I was already a world record holder so I could go out and do the dive that would actually get me the record. In essence what I was doing was living two habits of being, Courage and Trust. . I chose to trust the whisper that was telling me I could do this and ignore the torrent of voices who declared I could not. I chose to practice courage by doing what I wanted rather than giving in to fear. I did not have to get it 100% right, I just had to practice and not give up.
Hardly aware of who I was being, I was practicing choosing who I wanted to be and the results blew my mind. In the space of 4 months I had done the dive I had been avoiding and with that found a corporate sponsor and had a world record attempt planned for November.
These days when people talk to me about how stuck they are I ask them if they know who they want to be ? Do you ? Are you even aware of who you are being ? I am not talking about labels or job descriptions here, but rather core habits, call them behaviors or even reactions. An example perhaps ? When something goes wrong who are you ? Are you judgmental ? Do you punish ? Are you kind ? Do you accept that mistakes happen and focus on how to fix it ?
Which set of reactions is going to get you the results you want ? Now, what if you could choose your reactions ? What would open up for you if you could create new habits of being ?
Keep it simple! Think about a situation that keeps coming up for you. Now think about who you would like to be in that moment. If you were an actor what words would you be using, what emotions, what thoughts ? Ignore the thoughts that tell you that is not possible for you to be that or that it is too hard. Get it clear in your head, so clear you can write down step for step who you are being. Now summarise that into one or two key words. Some of my favourites are “Acceptance”, “Patience”, “Forgiving, “Non Judgemental”, “Tolerance”, “Kind”, “Calm” and “Gracious” . They replace habits like “Fear”, “Anger”, “Defensive”, Intolerant, “Punishing”, “Controlling”, “Insecure”
My key words are Acceptance and Kindness. Every day I practice treating myself with kindness. I give myself permission to get it wrong. I give myself permission to exist. Every day I practice accepting where I am, who I am. Nothing is wrong. Every day I practice giving love and kindness to everyone I meet.
Some days I do better than others and that is OK because every day I am practicing who I want to be. I no longer measure success only on attaining material things, so every day I am successful because I gave myself permission to BE!
What if it really were that simple ? What if by focusing on all three parts of your being, your mind, your body and your soul you can create a life you want to live ? Who do you want to be ?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who Are you Being ?

So what if, through all the coaching and courses, books and shows we are just missing the point ?

What if it is not about what you are doing, the job description or even the dream you have ?

What if it is really only about one thing, who you are being…the rest is all a game, designed to see if you know who you are and who you want to be !

What if the rest is all just ways to practice ? And enlightenment is when you can truly choose who you want to be in any moment. Then the rest is pure free will and design and you can truly create whatever you want! This is the point where you are free. No longer attached to who you need other people to be or what you want from others to feel safe and secure and OK. In this moment you are able to let go of what you want and make it about what the other person needs…and in that moment you give the other person space to give back what you needed…only now you no longer need it, it exists inside …because you know who you want to be. You are free!

And when I talk about who you are being, people look at me blankly, they know their labels, their roles, not their essence. What do I mean ? Well, imagine you want to be ablet to handle difficult meetings, conflict and negotiation. What traits do you need to using to succeed ? Patience ? Tolerance ? Acceptance ? Trust ? Who are you choosing to be ? No matter what ? And what changes when you focus on that and let go of the outcome of every event ?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Enlightenment & The Garden of Eden - thoughts from insomnia

I was sitting under my mind tree, a large baobab, cross oak reminiscent of the Faraway Tree of my youth (yes, it does have a slippery slip). This is the place I go to in my head when I need to reconnect, think and listen (meditate if you will). Some days it is busy, full of people visiting, playing and chatting. Some days it is quiet, just me, the tail of the resident leopard, the sound of the birds and the distraction of the squirrels going about their business.

As I sat under the tree I could feel the sand grains, warm and tickly under my feet and between my toes- the sun’s warmth played across my skin accompanied by the ever present breeze wafting lazily by.
As sometimes happens a lady approached and sat beside me (and I do mean, lady, elegant and serene). As also often happens with unexpected visitors I found my thoughts wandering in a totally different direction, I found myself thinking of how hard it is to accept abundance as my right rather than a reward ? There are so many authors, gurus if you will that continually remind us that our thoughts create our reality, that this is a safe world, full of abundance, yet we live with scarcity and fear. How did man get soo far off the path of what is supposed to be ?
What ? The Garden of Eden ? What has this got to do with enlightenment ?
And then it came to me, the garden of Eden was a place where abundance was everywhere. Here all the concepts I hear and read about are real, abundance is your right, not a luxury reserved for a few.
“Is that what enlightenment is ? Us returning to the Garden of Eden ? “, I asked, but she just smiled, encouragingly I thought.

“So what was the lesson for Adam and Eve ? What was the mistake ? Why even tempt them in the first place ? And why has it taken so much time for us and so few of us to find our way back ?“


Now faith is not a word I am comfortable with - a hectic Catholic family will do that to you. It is not a word I even really understand, unless…. unless faith is what happens when you trust (let go of being in control) and accept (stop fighting).

Is that what Eve did not do ? She questioned, stopped listening to her inner voice and rebelled ? I was at the edge of understanding… struggling to grab hold of the answer.

Images flitted back and forth. I was standing at the edge of a river, rushing gently, struggling to stay by the shore. Eve, standing by the tree, listening to another voice, questioning if this was what she deserved or was there more ?

“Let go Earth Angel, let go and have faith. Go with the flow, trust the river of life will take you where you want, dive in and experience its abundance”

Could it really be that simple ? Then again, trusting, letting go, accepting, stopping fighting, remembering to listen to my soul rather than the messages around me… none of that is easy, but perhaps it is not quite so difficult.

She was gone when I looked back, my elegant lady in white. But the memory of her and the Garden of Eden remains strong. Today, just today, I will practice the word faith. And then tomorrow…and the day after until it is no longer a struggle, until it flows, like the river of life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What If We Did Not Have All The Facts ?

Back in the day (way back, when the world was still dark and scary) I read an interesting statement. That people if given two equally valid intepretations of the facts to hand, most of the time, most of the people will choose the story that was worse. Interesting yes ? Which begs the question, how true are the intepretations or stories we tell ourselves ? Do we even have all the facts ? What if it were impossible to see the whole truth ?

I am reminded of one of my favourite buddhist stories (this is my version of it :) ). There was a poor farmer who laboured all day in the fields. He and his wife finally had a son who grew up and helped his Dad in the fields and so the family was a little richer. Everyone said what a good thing that was. Then the son had an accident and lost his leg. Everyone said what a bad and sad thing that was. A few months later a war broke out and all the sons in the village were sent off to fight, few returning.... except for the son who had lost is leg..... so was him losing his leg good or bad ?

As always, this has come up for me based on my last two weeks, one funeral and one really sick boyfriend and a whole lot of emotions, stress and strain. I found myself creating one singular intepretation of what I was was hard not to because how can loss not be bad ? But what if the situation I was witnessing and experiencing, what if they were the lesser of two evils..... crap though they both were ?
And what if I look back at the 'horrid' events of my life, the one's were I barely knew how to get from hour to hour never mind day to day.... what if they were too filled with God's Grace and what happened was the lesser of two evils ?
I am not sure I can rescript my entire life to work this 'what if' into it.
Indeed, these last two weeks have seen me doing something I hardly ever refuge. It is a Budhist thing that I have found gives me space to seek refuge in Budha (or Jesus, any deity that works for you really) and in doing so you hand all the worry and stress and doubt over. You stop trying to work out what will happen and what you should be doing, what is best. You just let go and TRUST that it will work out for the best...and all you have to do is be the best you can be in that moment...not worrying about the next, just the one you are living now.
So I have a new what if, What if I do not have all the facts ? What if I am not supposed to ? What if the secret to peace and calm and a life without suffering is to not question or label things good or bad...but rather to hand it all over and focus on who I want to be in that moment ? What if it really were that simple ?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creating Peace, Tolerance and Understanding

Having a boyfriend in Afghanistan, listening to the stories of poverty, misery - a nation trying to just exist, survive, bring up families... I was struck at how we may have just - just - gotten it all wrong! We fight hate and intolerance and seem to just create more. My first response was to surround my man with love and protection, seeking to hide him from the people who would harm him for no other reason than he is an ex-pat. But what about all the others ? I can not hide and protect them all. The hate, the anger will still be there, looking for targets. Was I not doing what we have always done ? Reacting .... not acting ?

So, my choice is this. To send love, light, tolerance and understanding to places and people filled with war, hate and anger. If we want to change our world we have to start to work towards a new vision of thatworld. Instead of focusing on what we don't want, we need to focus on what we do want... on who we would need to be to create that energy... a world that accepts, loves, is tolerant, forgiving and patient.

So...if this touches your heart light a candle and keep it lit.... to create light and energy that sends love, tolerance, calm, forgiveness and peace out into the a rain of touch those who need it and open a door. Like Ghandi said, be the change you want to see in the world.

My candle is white. It sits surrounded by rose quartz, washed in salt water and dribbled with lavender. When the wax runs out I will use that light to light another candle and then another. If the candle blows out I will relight it and re-say my prayer.

To God, Michael and the angels above
To Mother Earth and Jesus, the one's I love
Help my prayer create an energy long abiding
That sends peace and love forever entwining,
With forgiveness and tolerance the energy seeks
hate, war and strife, restoring the meek
Be it Afghanistan or Africa let my prayer have the reach,
connecting and healing, happiness preceding
War to thwart and lives restore
The light of my prayer opens the door.

Could you create a candle of peace ? Could you keep it lit ? Could you keep a light alive to send love, peace, tolerance and forgiveness to places and people beset with war, hate, anger and crime ?

Monday, August 3, 2009

What you Say or How you Say it ?

I was reminded the other day of my past and a phrase I used to hear quite frequently, “It is not what you say, but how you say it !”. Well that little phrase had me flummoxed. I had no clue what it meant or how I was supposed to say what I had to say differently. For the longest time this inability to communicate effectively and speak my truth at the same time had me totally stuck.
Hearing that deadly phrase again evoked a whole set of new responses as I listened to the story behind it…and added some new context. Books like ‘The Dark Side of the Light Catchers’ present a principle that =we get irritated by the things in others that we deny in ourselves. So to claim all sides of ourselves and become whole and so (in my words) have the ability to choose how we react rather than just unconsciously act, we need to give ourselves permission to be those parts of ourselves we normally reject. The bitch side is a good example of one that most of us try and suppress.
So there I am, saying what I want to say but coming from my suppressed and hated bitch side. Now what is it you are hearing ? The words or the intention ? When I switch places and am now facing the bitch in full swing I am no longer hearing what she is saying, but the anger and spite that she barely recognises in herself. My reaction is not to the words but the intent behind those words and the intent behind those words is very, very rarely directed at me. The intent behind your words is how you feel about you!
We are all quick to jump onto books like Debby Ford’s and give ourselves permission to express ourselves in whatever fashion we choose so as not to deny our shadow selves – after all, the reaction is just your shadow and has nothing to do with me. But we then seem to abdicate responsibility and find ourselves being the victim of our own choice. That is of course when we have the awareness to choose a behaviour which most of us do not.
My thought is this, that if you are going to give yourself permission to exist (and that is something we all have to do), then also give yourself permission to choose your behaviour based on the consequences you want to experience. Do not avoid a conflict because it scares you - rather avoid a conflict because you can get the same result in a different, more gentle way. When you choose your reaction you are truly empowered. At that point you are no longer a victim of your own habits and other people’s reactions. The trick is to become aware of your intentions when you choose your words, hard but not impossible. Which is why I love coaching…because it gave and still gives me the space to become aware and so choose who I want to be !
When you are truly empowered you choose your habits, you choose your experiences and you choose your life. How grand would that be ?

Friday, July 17, 2009

I am special...but so are you !

I have spent a lifetime not being special. Which sounds odd considering I hold the womans record for depth. So why do I feel that I am not ‘special’ ? The answer that bounces into my mind is that for me, to be special is to be better than some-one else and in my world that is just not done. You do not elevate yourself above the rest. You wait until you are elevated and then you are shocked and demure and embarrassed. To be special I have to be better than you but I fundamentally know that I am not better than anyone. Nor am I particularly different. So rather than be special my life has been about blending in and being mediocre… excelling but never too much - never enough to make anyone else feel less. So I spend my time finding the things I have in common with you and hiding the things that are different just in case I make you feel less.

But what if being special has nothing to do with being better or worse than anyone ?

This thought fascinates me. What if we are all borne with a different set of gifts which make us the same yet totally unique ? And what if, what if the people who excel at attaining abundance only do so because they are instinctively listening to their uniqueness and playing to that, rather than trying to follow a recipe and fit it?

My thought is that if we were all on the same level we would never change, never learn, never advance. So as a society we have to have the explorers who stand out and dare to be different, dare to do new things in a different way. 100 years ago no-one had ever climbed Everest. Today it has gone from the impossible to merely difficult and dozens summit every year. It took one person who was different and not afraid of that difference to create the possibility for anyone to achieve the impossible. We now all have a bit of Hilary in our consciousness and being.

This whole thoughts began with my search to claim unlimited abundance and a phrase that did not sit with me - that in order to have unlimited abundance it had to be for my higher good coupled with the fact that I would never have it if myself worth did not believe itself deserving.
I have a problem with the former because as a spiritual being I was not borne with limits. I was borne to experience the universe in all its abundance – anything I want is mine for the asking, so how then how can unlimited abundance not be for my higher good ? Unless of course acquiring said unlimited abundance means I never ever follow my path and just ‘retiring’ for life, then I guess it makes sense. Never give me the abundance until I accept who I am and my gifts, the things that make me special.

The second limitation is self esteem, which makes more sense to me because if I do not think I deserve abundance I will make sure I never excel or stand out and so receive it. The problem is, how do you change your self esteem ? Yes, you can read book after book and say affirmation after affirmation and do the therapy thing, but how often does that create a lasting change in your being ?

Which brought me right back to being special and the gifts that make those differences.

What if accepting the fact that you are special and so is everyone around you, is the first step ?
What if you can only claim unlimited abundance when you accept who you are and start to work with what you have that makes you unique ?
What if the very thing that makes you special is a gift and one that you were given so that you can pass it on ? What if (yes I know, a lot of what if’s) but what if there have to be people who stand out and who are fundamentally different because they are the ones that create change ? They are the one’s that create a new potential for anyone and with that new potential what becomes possible transforms ?

What if by being me I open a door for others to transform who they are - to become more empowered, more joyful, more abundant ? What if that was you ? That you had something I desperately needed to see and hear to change who I was so that I could be more me ?

I am left with this one thought. That when I do not accept my gifts, my uniqueness, I deny you the opportunity to expand your awareness and being. There has to be someone to shine the way so that others can follow and as more lights start to shine the differences start to disappear. The very gifts we thought special become nothing more than normal and the cycle starts all over…with a new generation of explorers who bring a new set of gifts that we could not possibly imagine!

Who would you be if you accepted who you were and stopped fighting ? Who ?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who Are You ?

I was reading an advert for a conference promoting woman as leaders. Other than being expensive and filled with woman at the top of their game (OK, woman with impressive titles which may mean the same thing), I could not find a single topic that caught my attention. There was nothing personal about any of the topics. Instead of finding out more about the woman and their path to success I was seeing superficial stuff - stuff I could read from pretty much any book. This was supposed to inspire me ? As I read it struck me that this conference was highlighting what society reflects - that who you are is not important but rather where you are! I went from frustrated to depressed.

Surely enabling and empowering woman is not only about transferring skills ? Surely it is about allowing woman to really see who they are and connect with their power to achieve and do (so that become that), rather than titles and corporate ladder and promotion and all that normal so-called good stuff ? Because when you live and breathe your own uniqueness and power you get all the nice stuff and at the same time you love who you are and your life…which translates to happiness and joy (whether or not you make CEO).

Do you know who you are ? Not what, but who ?

Can you list all the things that define you and make you unique ? What are you good at ? What are you not so good at ? And as I type I realise I am asking the wrong questions because all those relate to the past. What is really more important is knowing who you want to be - because that creates action and movement, growth and transformation.

Do you know who you want to become ?
Do you have a vision of that person, how she talks, how she thinks, what she does every day ? Because if you know that you can choose to add a part of that to your day. You can start to practice who you want to be and before you know it you will be that person without thought. The old you will have transformed - be a distant memory.

As a coach, I don’t want to be showing people only how to become a CEO. Yes, realizing your goals and being successful is part of it, but there is something more. Something more substantial and important and valuable. I want to be showing people how to ‘be’ and how to really choose who they want to be!

Can you see the difference ?

Imagine what the world would be like if we were focusing on being the best person we could be ? Imagine what your life would be like if you were focusing on ‘being’ love and kindness, power and strength ?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Practical Coaching - Choosing Your Day

The joy about being a coach (and limitless being in training) is that I have access to the same tools that my clients have.

One of the most mind blowing of these is the concept that we get to choose the context of anything we do. The basis of this is the simple fact that whilst we may have no control over our thoughts and feelings (or even the world per se), we can control our words and when we choose our words we can choose the definition (or context) of anything - from our relationships to our day to the way we are going to experience a meeting or even a person. Key to this concept is the thought that if we do not choose, the universe just serves up our default experiences – so more of the same. By choosing we can override our unconscious experience and create something new.
Sceptical ? Well so was I until I actually tried it. There is something powerful and present in consciously stating that today I am going to have a successful, joyful, abundant day. Today I am going to be love. Today I am going to define my relationship with a difficult colleague in a way where I am patient and listen and nothing is wrong. These definitions sit in your conscious and subconscious mind and when the day starts to fall over they come back, nagging, creating a new awareness which gives you the chance to choose not to succumb to yet another cruddy day…and instead to choose and live your context.

So why not try it for a day (or two or even three)?

Just wake up and choose how you want your day to go, how you want to feel, who you want to be. If you like, give it a percentage (if it feels too intimidating), something that is do’able and streteches you no more than 20%...and then tomorrow practice again… one day you will wake up and that is now your default awesome would that be ?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why I Can Not Survive Without My Coach

I was chatting about coaching and the benefits there-of and casually mentioned that I get coached, which came as a surprise to the people I was talking to. Perhaps it is because I already have achieved something grand and audacious (my world record) so there is a perception that I already know how to ‘do’. Perhaps not. Why do I need a coach ?

Reason 1 – Accelerated Transformation.

In the year that I have been coaching and coached I have grown/ moved/ changed substantially. The way consciousness coaching works makes it impossible to hide if you really want to create change in your life. You create goals and stands for who you are as well as what you want to achieve and so face your demons, fall down, talk about it next coaching session and re-strategise. It is intense and rewarding and a journey that would have taken years if I had done it on my own.

Reason 2 – Clarity.

Often I have the concept of what it is I want to achieve, but defining it and getting it clear takes ages and many conversations over wine and sushi. With my coach I can really get to what it is I want and really become aware of what is in my way when it comes to thoughts and feelings. After which creating a strategy and set of stands to deal with who it is I want to be and what it is I want to create is much, much simpler.

Reason 3 – Results.

Yes, I do make commitments and they tend to fall by the way side as the world drags me off course with its usual thousand little insignificant but urgent problems. When I am in a coaching cycle I have to report back to my coach on how well I have stuck to my word. She is not judgmental, it is what it is…. But just knowing that someone is listening and watching creates the impulse to complete and get things done.

I know coaching works because I work coaching. Whether it is a goal you want to achieve (better golf game, better sales, that promotion) or whether your goal is more spiritual and personal (better relationship, less fear, better able to deal with conflict) or whether you do not know what it is you need to change, just that you need to change who you are so that you can change what you experience – no matter what it is, coaching can create a tremendous, life shifting change. Limits after all are just choices and I really enjoy shifting mine. So thanks to my coach…who is patient, compassionate and stands for my greatness no matter what!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Power of Completion

One of the basic principles in coaching is to finish what you start. Not finishing is a symptom of our modern day lives. We start projects, ideas, books and get distracted, de-motivated and just move onto the next thing.
The problem is that these incompletions live on in our subconscious minds. They hold space, until there is no more space for new, more productive activities.
My week has been dedicated to completing projects I have started. It is (as most things are) a work in progress, but I have made some headway....and the feeling is grand.

What could you finish right now, today ? What is has been on your list to do for so long it is embarassing ?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Deserving Abundance - Expecting It! Receiving It, Coaching for It!

All the coaching in the world is not going to get you your dreams if you fundamentally disbelieve that you are worthy. This believe that we are not special enough to deserve abundance is ingrained in our lives, so subconscious we barely see it even if we do experience its effects on a daily basis. What do I mean ? Well, have you ever had a goal, find yourself almost there and then is spectacularly explodes on you ? Otherwise known as self sabotage, this is one of the hardest limits of all to overcome.

I am currently sitting with my lotto ticket in hand which is an example to prove the point. Why am I special enough to win millions ? There are so many other people out there who are in way more desperate straights than I. Which is not to say I have not gotten debt that I would like to be rid of, the point is I am surviving, semi comfortably. I have a house, a car, enough food, so when I buy my lotto ticket each week I am not really expecting to win because I am not really deserving. And the universal energy feels my doubt….hence not lottery win. Ok, so maybe it is not quite that simple, at least with the lotto.

To quote my favourite author Wayne Dyer, ‘You can’t discover light by analysing darkness’ (get the book, Being in Balance). The first paragraph of that chapter on abundance goes as follows:
“If you had to search for light, the one thing you’d obviously shun would be the darkness. You’d know for certain that spending your time analysing in the dark wouldn’t be the way to experience the light. Now exchange the words light and dark for abundance and scarcity” In his words, you become what you think all day long and most of us are not even aware of the thoughts we think and so the destiny we create for ourselves.

Being creative, we have a list of solid, logical reasons for this scarcity, starting with ‘Its God’s will’ and passing through “There’s a limited supply”, “I don’t deserve it”, “I have limited abilities” and of course “It has always been this way”
But what if abundance was ordinary ? What if it was part of your divine birth right and not something you had to struggle for ?

What if we took away the labels we attach to abundance ? I

What if abundance was not a reward for the deserving who are in someway special or better ? What if abundance were the norm and this world of scarcity the extraordinary ?

So I shout to the world that I am claiming my birth right, my abundance not because I am special but because I exist and as the words escape something inside me shifts, grows, becomes lighter.

Abundance is my birth right! It does not make me different or special, just normal, ordinary…like you! Isn’t it time you claimed your right to abundance ? Isn’t it time we spiritually shifted the balance from one or two individuals to all ?

And yes, coaching is one powerful way of integrating this acceptance into every day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Being.....Limitless...step by step

The question as to whether or not we are limitless is one that has fascinated me for a while. I have a world record but does that mean I was borne different, special ? Or did I just find a way to make something extraordinary happen for me ? If the latter, then it could happen for you. So how do you become a limitless being ? For that matter, how do I make being limitless a way of life rather than a once of event ?

Perhaps it all starts with a question, can you see the box in which you live ? Most of us can not. Indeed, the limits we take as permanent are practically invisible. They hide in phrases like "I could never do that, i am .... " and the list of reasons is as varied as the people who apply them. I am too old, I am too young. I have a family to support, I do not have enough experience or the right qualification. If there is one thing us human beings are good at, finding logical and reasonable reasons for staying exactly where we are is one of them. But what if none of those reasons were true ? If you are truly happy with the life you are living then read no further...but I suspect that most of us are resigned to the lives we are living rather than ecstatic about them. We resent the limits that keep us imprisoned but have no way of escaping. Yet we never challenge them. We assume they are true, unmoving, permanent! Are they ? Really ?

Escape is however simple if not easy. It revolves are one simple concept, to move from where you are right now you have to take one step...then another....then another. But it all starts with that first step. You have to DO! Which is easier said than done. So, how to get that first step sorted ?
Do you have the desire, the passion that will drive you and keep you at it until you succeed ?
Have you taken taken stock ? Have you sat down and listed everything you thing you need to have in order to get going ? Then listed everything you actually have got right now ?
Do you dare ? Have you taken what you have right now and worked out what you could actually do with what you have ?
The final step is to DO! There is no escaping it, if you want to climb the mountain you have to take that first step. You may be walking toward a helicopter but you are still moving, away from where you are, one step closer to where you want to be.

Is there a trick to taking that first step ? The one that petrifies you and keeps you in your comfort zone ? Not really! That is why the desire is so important. Many people refuse to take it saying they do not have the courage, but courage is not the absence of fear, merely the knowing that something is more important than fear and the doing in spite of the fear. Of all the steps to being limitless that is perhaps the most important, that and knowing that you can act independantly of your thoughts and your feelings. If you really want it, you can make it happen.

So, what is it your really want ? And what is the smallest step you could take right now to start you moving in that direction ?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Intellectual Spirituality vs Enlightenment

I was watching Oprah looking for an answer or perhaps it was inspiration, either way, Oprah is normally a good bet. She was talking about Spirituality, something I am quite excited about since learning about SQ or Spiritual Intelligence. For those of you who have not yet heard, SQ is a third way that our minds think (and yes, it has been scientifically proven to exist, so I am not talkign about something esoteric here, but something physical and real).
[IQ (intellectual intelligence) allows us to think serially, answering known problems using known answers. EQ (emotional intelligence) allows us to think associatively and is linked to our ability to respond to emotions and people. SQ allows us to create new solutions. ]
As I listened I started to get frustrated. I was hearing more of the same vague stuff - How Spirituality is about being connected to all living things, to a higher force, it is about a new way of living with more love.... blah, blah, blah. My frustration was not that what they were saying was not true, but rather that I could not connect to what they were saying. The experts were repeating the same vague statements that I had been reading and hearing for over a decade. The same vague instructions and promises that seemed some days to be nothing more than a pipe dream, an illusion of hope.

I started to get the sneaky suspicion that universally enlightenment (for want of a better word) was deemed to be an elite sport that could only understood once you were there. For those of us at the base of the mountain it sounded like a good idea (in principle) but not one with any real benefit. I mean it would be nice to live connected to something bigger…or would it ? And how exactly would being love and light make my day better when I am stuck in traffic or in one of 'those' meetings at work ?

Perhaps it is my thing to attach spirituality to enlightenement, but they do seem to go hand in hand. The concept of enlightenment has fascinated me for almost a decade. From all my reading I know one thing for sure - there is no definite, guaranteed path to achieve it. Everyone seems to have a different approach and each approach seems to be pretty much hit and miss. You take the rest of your life off, go live in a monastery and meditate until enlightenment mysteriously arrives. Seems rather like sitting at a closed door and wishing it open to me. And the few who do appear to have reached it seem to then immediately loose their ability to connect to the rest of us and so, when they talk, concepts that are blindingly obvious to them are incomprehensible to us – as if they are trying to explain the colour blue to blind people.

As I listened, I was struck at how similar all the 'experts' sounded. No-one was saying anything new. No-one had any new insights, yet these were the experts, people who had dedicated their lives to spirituality and enlightenment. So why did it still sound like Greek ? I found myself questioning if they actually 'got it'. Because surely if they 'got it', they would be able to explain it. Instead it was if they got it intellectually but not where it counted, in their hearts and being. Yes each path to enlightenment is unique, so I guess it is kinda hard to explain and give the key to someone else which is where I started to seriously question. Is it ?

Is enlightenment so complicated that it can only be obtained by a select few ? I was hearing once again that the path to spirituality was courses and of course lots of meditation, yoga and retreats are required. Seriously ? I live in the real world and no amount of yoga is going to get me to enlightenment. Nor do I have the time or finances to monk myself for 5 years to get there, wherever there may be. So what if these so called experts had not actually reached an physical understanding of enlightenment, only an intellectual one ? What if they were intellectual enlightened and not spiritually enlightened ?
The concept fascinated me. Because if I was spiritually enlightened, then being enlightened would not be hard work. I would have a level of awareness and compassion for myself that would make each day a joy to live, no matter what happened in that day. As I listened to the story of how our souls are released through pain and sorrow something sounded off. I felt that what I was hearing was another trap, another story. I was hearing something intellectual, something not understood. In that moment I got the edges of a knowing. What if pain and sorrow, good and bad, joy and delight are just labels we give situations ? We attach the pain, we attach the joy, we attach the judgement and we create the limits and prison that confine us.
But surely it could not be that simple ? Surely enlightenment was an exclusive thing, not something you could grasp the edges of whilst listening to Oprah ? But what if it was that easy ? What if when we were borne the only thing we had was our soul. It laughed, it played. It did not wallow in sorrow. As a child we could be one moment happy, the next sad. We did not attach ourselves to our emotions. They just were.
What if what we got taught was all wrong ? What if instead of being taught how to be grown up and free what we really got taught was how to be trapped, just like all the adults before us ? Think about it. We get taught the rules of the world and with each rule we lock away a part of our joy, our freedom, our soul. We create this thing called an ego which is less than what we were. It knows only what it has been taught, only the limits and rules of how to exist in the world. It is a thing full of fear, fear of getting it wrong, fear of making mistakes, of not fitting in. When we finally enter adulthood we have lost our essence, our joy, our creativity, our soul. We are trapped by our emotions, some of which we label as good, some of which we label as bad. We then spend the rest of our lives avoiding the bad emotions, suppressing and denying them and dwelling in and chasing the good one’s.
We react each day based on our ego’s emotional pattern with little awareness and no ability to choose a different way. So, what if enlightenment was not something that you got from meditation and separation and religion ? What if enlightenment and spirituality was nothing more than shrugging off the limits of our ego ? What if all we needed to do to be enlightened was not be controlled by our emotions and instead to be able to consciously and actively choose every day who we want to be ? What if enlightenment was true empowerment and something we were all borne with and so can all reconnect to ? To change your habit of being is not easy, but it is do’able. This I know thanks to my own coaching journey. And when you have a vision of who it is you want to be and how you want to react every day, it is not work or something that you need yoga and a retreat to create, it is a choice and because you have a vision, a direction, the journey is easier.
What if the way you are living your life today is not the only way ? What if there is a more peaceful, more joyful, more successful way ?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

IQ, EQ and SQ

IQ allows you to answer questions...EQ allows you to interact with people...SQ allows you to change the limits...

Working with boundaries, not within them

I blogged recently about SQ or spiritual intelligence..something that appealed to me instinctively, but something for which I could not find a does this work for you ?
Neither IQ or EQ, separately or in combinations, is enough to explain the full complexity of human intelligence nor the vast richness of the human soul and imaginations.
Computers have high IQ – they know what the rules are and can follow them without making mistakes. Animals often have high EQ – they have a sense of a situation they are in an know how to respond appropriately. But neither computer nor animals ask WHY we have these rules or this situation or whether either could be different or better.
They work within boundaries, playing a finite game. SQ allows human beings to be creative, to change the rules and to alter situations. It allows us to play with the boundaries, to pay an infinite game. SQ gives us our ability to discriminate.
It is in its transformative power that SQ differs mainly from S. As Daniel Goleman defines it, my emotional intelligence allows me to judge what situation I am in and then to behave appropriately within it. This is working within the boundaries of the situation, allowing the situation to guide me. But my spiritual intelligence allows me to ask if I want to be in this particular situation in the first place. Would I rather change the situation, creating a better one ? This is working with the boundaries of my situation, allowing me to guide the situation.
from Spiritual Intelligenvce. The Ultimate Intelligence by Danah Zohar

Friday, May 15, 2009

Practical Coaching - Creating Mind Space

I want you to think about how you spend your day or rather what you spend it thinking about. How often to you ‘get on it’ or to put it another way, how often are your buttons pushed and there you go, again. In those moments (which can fill a day) do you have choices or control ? Are you being who you want to be or who you always have been ?

Ja, ja I hear you say. All well and good, but that is the way it is! My buttons get pushed and off I go! That is who I am!
‘Really ?’
So, could you not ‘get on it’ ? Just could you ? Is there a future you that could be calm and ‘in control’ ?
For most people the answer is yes and if the answer is yes, then could you let go of this learned response next year ? This year ? Next week ? What about once today ? Just once ?

Don’t know how ? Well, what about when your button gets pushed and you get onto it you just breathe for 30 seconds ? That is all. What if for today all you did was acknowledge when you were on it and try and stay off it for 30 seconds. And then at the end of the day you score yourself, 1 to 100 as to how well you did on that. Give yourself a goal, you will stay off it for 30 seconds every time you get on it….for 50% of the day…or 80% or 30%.

And tomorrow ? Well what about staying off it for longer ? And the day after…stretch yourself a little further…. After a week…where could you be ? Who could you be if you had the time to choose how you were going to act rather than just reacting ?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Evolution of Spirituality

I was introduced to something new the other day, SQ. We are all very familiar with IQ and even thanks to names like Daniel Goleman, EQ, but SQ is very, very new. It fascinates me because up until now there has been something missing in the way we see ourselves and the world around is.
Spirituality is something that is private and sensitive. It is associated with churches and religion and not really open to discussion. Yet could spirituality be something more ? Could it be independent of a brand ? Could it be the only way we truly evolve into our selves, into our most powerful selves ? I have long known that where you pray (or how) does not determine your location on the spiritual ladder. We all have met people who seem to have an inner peace and strength that is just different…. And they are not restricted to any one brand.

The founders of the concept are Danah Zohar and Ian Marshal and their books are not easy to get hold of. I am waiting eagerly for mine to see if there is a nugget in there that will fill the gaps left by IQ, EQ, meditation, Buddhism and Christianity. Perhaps it is time we started to talk openly about how we see our souls and spirits. Perhaps it is time we started to explore how we can become more Christlike or dare I say, enlightened.
What would it be like to live in a world where every day was one filled with inspiration, empowerment and exploration ? Where every individual knew that they could choose who they were in every moment of every day and chose to be love in everything they did, thought and said ? What would it be like if we could accept what is without having to judge it or make a story about it ? What would it be life if Nothing was ever wrong ? If we trusted ourselves firstly, God second and then money and meda ? What would it be like if we stood for our own greatness instead of waiting to be rescued ?
What would it take to create that revolution in consciousness ?

What does this have to do with coaching ?
Well, quite simply. I have spent almost a decade researching and reading and never found a way to get that knowledge into my daily habit of being...until I started to be coached. There I found how to turn everything I have read into a vision and from there...into daily experience...I found a way to create inspiration, empowerement and exploration in my own life. I thought what I was doing was changing my emotional I am thinking what I was really doing was changing my spiritual intelligence...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Are You Truly Empowered

It struck me that there are three words an individual can live his or her life by. Inspiration, Empowerment and Exploration. It then struck me that I was not 100% sure that I understood what those words really meant. Take empowerment. It has been around for a while. We talk about empowering others, workforces, the poor. Here is an incredibly powerful word that has just been abused. Can you really be given empowerment ? Surely it is something you have to give yourself ? The whole point behind empowerment is that individuals take charge of their own destiny and by that very definition empowerment is never something I can give you. Yes ?

I was thinking about this in the context of my diving. I got my world record because I stopped waiting around for someone to come along and make it all safe and give it to me. I made the conscious decision to take accountability for who I am and the decisions I was going to make. It scared the bejeebers out of me. Now, what if truly empowering someone means you give them the space to work it out for themselves. You let them stand on their own two feet. You don’t tell or give, you guide. You never, ever take away that persons responsibility or accountability. Is that not true empowerment ? As an individual you are now expected to choose for yourself. And yes, you may get it ‘wrong’ but is there really a wrong ? What if there were no good or bad outcomes and it is just our interpretation of those that makes them so ? What if with every choice there came a lesson and with every lesson you learnt more, about who you are, about where you want to go and how to get there ? What if true empowerment simply meant choosing, accepting the results and choosing again ?

How does this relate to coaching. Well within consciousness coaching there is the concept of ‘standing for someone’s greatness’. For me that is believing fundamentally that every person is unique and that it is part of everyone’s responsibility to find their own recipe for success. A coach does not give you the answers, we allow you to find your own. For a client this is one of the most frustrating parts of the coaching process. They want me to tell them the answers. They expect me to have them. But the power of coaching is that I get to teach you how to empower yourself. You get to find a recipe for success that takes into account your weaknesses and focuses on your strengths. That recipe takes into account exactly where you are at now and always includes where you have come from. When I empower you I trust that your answers are always right and that they will always take you where you want to go, even if some of the outcomes you experience on the way are unpleasant.

So, are you empowering yourself ? Or are you waiting…for someone to come along and give you your freedom ? What could you take responsibility for right now that could give you your power back ? Who could you be if you accepted your own power ?

When Did You Choose the Life You Are Living ?

written May 4 2009

One of the underlying themes in consciousness coaching is that you can choose the life you want to live. It is an extremely hard concept for most of us to understand as it is not something we were ever taught. Think about it. When did you choose the life you are living this moment ? When did you sit down and say I am going to be 40 years old, in debt to my eyeballs, stressed beyond belief, husband, two kids, boss from hell and a 30 year vision of more of the same ? When did you choose to become an accountant or lawyer, doctor or receptionist ? How did you choose ? Based on what you were good at ? What made you happy ? Or what would make you the most money ? Who chose your life for you ? The media and movies ? Your parents and family ? Your friends ? Or did you just take the first job you found and stayed with it ?
Now…what if it was not too late to change ? What if you could learn to choose what you want ? What if there was a way out ? What if you did not have to relive every day as the victim or martyr ? What if your live did not have to be Groundhog day ?

Where are the Spiritual Women ?

written April 23 2009

I was watching a rather interesting doco the other night ….it involved a Church of England priest looking for spiritual enlightenment, which is right up my alley. Enlightenment fascinates me. Where is it ? How do you find it ? Why is it only a Eastern concept ? Why does it not exist in Christianity ?
There this vicar was in the Shaolin monastery and it suddenly struck me. Where is the female Buddha ? Where is the female Dalai Lama ? Why are all the religious figures I know and admire MEN ? Why do men have exclusivity on leadership (thought and practical) ?

Being Light and Love

Written April 20 2009

I am always amazed at how interlinked events are in the universe. A couple of weeks back I reversed my rather large vehicle into a parked car, trashing their driver door in the process. I went into a flat spin, imagining an outraged that I would have to deal with. Turns out the owner was an extremely nice, considerate man who phoned me later when I was home to tell me not to stress or worry. Accidents happen. I was amazed.
Even more so when I found myself sitting at a petrol station at 6h15 watching in disbelief when I was told that they had just put 50 litres of petrol into my diesel engine. I was on my way to Botswana and had a border to make. My stress levels went through the roof. I was angry, upset…and completely forgot that a week earlier I had been the person who had made a mistake…and the kind gentleman who had not made it my fault, but rather allowed me to own it and move on. It was then that I realised my personal vision was not quite strong enough to survive those little events that derail us. It was also then that I realised that perhaps I was living my life the wrong way round. That the things I made into big events are actually quite, quite small….like having 50 litres of diesel put into my tank. What if what was really important about that event was acknowledging the people involved, giving them the space to be human and make mistakes ? What if I needed to live “nothing is wrong” ? What if I had to live being light and love ? GULP!
What I was doing was creating a new way to work my life. I already had Nothing is wrong as one of my key stands, but now I had two more. Own it and be light and love…. And the universe was about to test me to see if I was really serious.
The first test came when some gentlemen decided to ‘free’ my gps from my vehicle through the rather infamous smash and grab technique. That was 10 am, Wednesday 8th April (yes, just before Easter). I passed with flying colours. No stress, calm. At 2pm I got a phone call to say my boyfriend had had an accident. Turns out it was way more serious than I was led to believe. I spent Easter and the subsequent week in hospital panicked and new stands forgotten in a backwash of emotional distress. Turns out this was only the 4th worse week of my life (my Dad’s death claims the first, my Mom’s death the second and a hijacking the third). The last thing on my mind was being light and love. The last thing on my mind was making right rather than wrong.
I am now home! The boyf is getting better day by day and will be fine and I am left with the feeling that I missed an opportunity. I can see where I need to be, owning the places I find myself in (whether or not I created that situation), being light and love. I am just not quite able to execute all of that yet. I am angry with the person who asked my boyfriend to do him a favour and tow a vehicle quickly down to Nelspruit on a dodge trailer. An act of kindness that almost cost a life and has serious monetary side effects (boyf can not earn money for the next 3 months). Right now it is a struggle to let go of the need to be right, the need to have someone to blame and hold responsible. Right now it is hard to just let go, breathe and find that quite place…where light and love flow, where nothing is wrong, where I trust the universe, myself, life. So right now I am going to be kind to myself and let it be what it is. There is nothing wrong with where I am at!
Where are you right now ? What anger is preventing you from owning where you are at, and so changing it ? What could you do right now to be light and love ?

What is Coaching ? Knowledge vs Habit

It struck me the other day how easy it is these days to accumulate knowledge. Powerful and successful leaders have all written books outlining how they made it to the top. The shelves of bookshops are filled with books on leadership, team building and how to be a success. Which means that it is not due to a lack of knowledge that individuals are not getting it right.

Training programmes abound with the stated intent of teaching you how to become a better leader, a better individual, you name it there is a book to make you better. Yet in business today these skills (be it leadership, team work or just the ability to get things done) are still rare. So what is the missing ingredient ?
It takes more than a theoretical knowledge to make it in today’s world. You can read as many books as Echardt Tolle can put out and still not change who you are. You can read every book by Jack Walsh and still not get out of the typing pool. The missing ingredient is the ability to turn words and theory into practice … which is where coaching is so powerful.
As a coach my job is to take all the knowledge you have accumulated (be it through books or actual experience) and create a space that allows you to create and then practice new habits based on that theory. As a coach my goal is to give you the opportunity to connect with your courage and remember what it was like as a child to learn, to practice and to experiment until you found a way that worked for you. As a coach it is my job to let you create your own unique recipe that works to your strengths and allows you to fulfill your grandest vision of who you could be.
Sounds very salesy perhaps but here is the thing, it works. I am always amazed at how much knowledge people have. In fact often the hardest part of my job is listening as they debate with themselves, throwing this piece of knowledge against that in an effort to decide what it is they should do. At the end of these solo debates my clients have a habit of looking to me sadly and saying “I just don’t know what to do”. Which is when I have to find a way of repeating back all the ideas and suggestions they presented but just did not see.
My job as a coach is to listen and summarise and most importantly just allow every client the space they need to start to remember how to create. The realy scary part is that the power to create as an individual is no longer a process that many are comfortable with. Indeed, learning how to take your knowledge and create something new that works for you seems to be a skill that few of us have. Those that do have it are idolized. Yet, sooner (or later) every person I coach takes that first step and just tries. They take a stand to see what would happen if they did something new. They step away from the situation (and how they used to handle it) toward what they want and how they are going to get there using the knowledge they have. It is one of the most rewarding moments to witness.

So next time someone asks you what coaching is all about, remember this. Coaching allows you to take your knowledge and turn it into a practical skill and that is something that is priceless in today’s fast paced and competitive world.

Creating Choice - Disconnecting From Thoughts

written March 11 2009
If you read the blog for long enough you will find that I am fascinated with the concept of thoughts and emotions. In particular how trapped we are by them - they seem to run our lives and I don’t know about you, but I sure did not give permission to belong to a dictatorship. I want choices!
It is the norm to assume (without questioning) that who we are is our thoughts and emotions. If we have sad thoughts we are sad. If we have angry thoughts we are angry. We have no CHOICE and instead ride a roller coaster of emotion that has (well for me at least) a nasty habit of sabotaging life. I started my journey with just one thought, to escape these emotions or at least find a space where I could hide, re-group and then go back into the fight. The problem was I had no idea most of the time what I was feeling. I was emotionally blind. I could not name the emotion I was feeling at any one time (the amusing part was that the people around me could ).

There was another reason why I wanted relief. This journey really started with my Dad’s death…which was yet another drama. Think emotional father getting his second divorce and not coping with it. Insert alcohol (large amounts) and a persistent suicidal tendency. Now throw in a dicky heart and you have the summary of 4 months of my life as I struggled to hold onto my Dad. He died! Suddenly of a massive heart attack and in the wake of his death I found myself in a storm of intense, unforgiving grief that threatened to totally overwhelm me. It would not be the last time I found myself in a storm of emotion. Back then I had no way of coping never mind escaping. Just a persistent, stubborn desire to keep going until it passed.

That was when I started to cultivate the observer. What! I hear you say! Well, somewhere in my voracious reading I came across a book by Dr Wayne Dyer and in it he asked a simple question, when you say ‘I am feeling sad ‘, who is the I ? The very sentence implies that there is a you that is experiencing the emotion and another one who is watching it all…. Another one who is NOT the emotion. I was not really convinced that something as spacy sounding as meditation was the answer,so I did not go that route. Instead I found myself creating a screen in my mind across which I let my thoughts and emotions fly….i could watch them without becoming them. It was tough at first. The damn things just did not want to be watched. They wanted participation and energy. But slowly I was able to disconnect. I was not only my thoughts and feelings.

The thing is that as a coach I find that all my clients are battling with the effects that their thoughts and feelings have on their lives. Simply put, thoughts and feelings drive our decision making (often to the detriment of our goals). As my reading expanded I came across an article on yoga meditation and a section about colouring thoughts/ emotions that just appealed to me. As I highly visual person it just sounded so much easier to see my thoughts in a colour ?When you are meditating (because putting your thoughts on a screen and watching htem is a form of meditation) you do not connect to your thoughts. You do not judge them or have opinions about them. They just are. A cup is a cup whether or not you like the colour or form or size. It is what it is independent of your emotions about it. The thing is, when you start observing your thoughts and emotions they will come with judgements and opinions. You will find yourself categorizing a thought. Ohh, can not think that, that is bad! Oo, I like this thought. And in that process of giving each thoughta label we are dragged back. We are no longer unbiased observers. When I give each thought a colour and intensity I create a new way of observing that allows me to see how a thought affects me in my day to day life. A thought that is strong and affects me negatively gets Bright, angry red, a gentle thought a lighter violet. In this space I now have space to work on removing the attachments and judgments that come with these pesky thoughts and feelings. They become a part of me yet not all of me. They lose their control and I have the space to make my own choices. I have the space to create my own destiny.

So, how much colour and intensity do your emotions and thoughts have ? How much control to they have and how much you ? How much time do you spent cultivating that quiet, persistent observer ? How much time do you take to stand for your own greatness and power ? More importantly…what is stopping you from starting ?

Never Failing Is Possible!

Sat Feb 21 2009

It occurred to me that there is an art to never failing and it is wrapped up the context you create for yourself when you undertake a task. For most of us engaging in the world is not a conscious exercise. We get up. We go to work. We strive toward a vague idea of more money and that promotion. We are in fact just going with the flow just like all the people we know. Along the way obstacles are thrown our way and we find that we often hesitate to take risks or really, really try for the things we want. We even go so far as to keep our real desires hidden from ourselves, keeping them vague…so that when we fail (note, when not if) the sting is not so harsh. We had never really committed so we never really failed

As a coach one of my goals is to assist you in getting clarity on what it is you want which is often a challenge. I find that most every person has a hard time articulating their wants (it took me a while to get used to being so blunt and forward). There seems to be an inbuilt and unconscious habit that stops us from clearly defining what we want. As if that clarity will evoke negative attention from the universe. It is as if intense clarity is nothing more than setting ourselves up for failure.
But what if creating a clear vision of what you want actually releases yourself from ever failing ? Think about it - if you know where you want to go then is how you get there so important ? So long as you get there ? (I am talking about ‘how’ in terms of how long, how straight ? I am not referring to that infamous phrase, ‘the end justifies the means’).
You see I find that people are afraid to try because they might fail and then the moment they fail they stop. But what if you were not supposed to inherently know how ? What if the whole point is that you get to experience and learn for yourself ? What if you are not supposed to succeed first time around ?

We live in a world where learning as an adult is frowned upon. There is this unvoiced expectation that individuals always know what they are doing, even when they are doing something new. As if the mere fact that it has been done before means every one should automatically know how.

So what if you decided to reject this assumption of expertise ? What if, when you created this vision or context for yourself of what you wanted, you included a statement that created you as an explorer and made it an adventure ? Because explorers are allowed to ‘get it wrong’. In fact, the very essence of exploring is to try new things without an expectation or investment in success. As an explorer you are not expected to already have the answers because you are choosing to head into unknown territory and learning along the way is a part of the challenge and adventure.

So….there you are with your clear vision and an explorers mind set. You can now step into action because even when you do not achieve what you set out to achieve you are getting results and learning. Every time you take a step you are getting more information that improves your odds of completing the next step and getting to your goal. Every step you take, whether you get the expected/ desired outcome or not, takes you toward your goal, even if it is just to eliminate an option.

The first step is often the hardest as you may have a clear vision about where you want to end up, but no cooking clue what the first step really is. So you take a learning step. You try something and see what happens. Something you think will get you closer to your goal. It may, it may not but with every step the next step becomes clearer and your goal comes closer.

The world around you may be its normal critical observing self. Labeling your efforts as success or failure, but you do not care. Because every step is a success! The word failure no longer is part of your experience.

Here is my challenge to you – to become the explorer of your life! To give up labeling the outcome of your efforts and instead just focusing on keeping moving toward what it is you want! Try it! You may be surprised by the results.

Helping vs Coaching

Feb 18 2009

It always astonishes me what lessons there are to be learnt in coaching, this weeks is how entrenched the concept of being helped is in our society. Here is the thing, in coaching you are not given answers. You are not helped. If there is one fundamental philosophy in coaching it is that as a coach I stand for your greatness. What that means is that I give you the space to find your answers. When I give you an answer I am disabling and disempowering you. I am saying that I know better and how could that possibly be ? How could I know where you are at ? Where you have come from and what would work for you ? All I know is what worked for me and as a totally unique individual that may or may not connect with you.

What I am discovering is that as individuals we somehow get taught not to trust our own answers. We would rather have someone else’s answer – those are somehow more powerful. Your answer is somehow better than anything I can find for myself. We seem to inherently believe that we do not know enough, that we are less than the guru or mentor we look up to and aspire to be. So when someone comes along who gently refuses to give answers and help we do not know what to do! We resist, fight back! We demand help! Yet help is the one thing that will always, keep you disempowered and reliant on some-one else. When you rely totally on outside help to change your circumstances you create an even stronger sense of victimisation and resignation. You are always waiting! You are always relying on someone else! You are always out of control and subject to someone else's whims and abilities. Your success depends on theirs.
My stand remains the same - I stand for my own greatness and the greatness of the people around me! I believe that we were all meant to reconnect with our own power and that is a vision I can not let go of. So, why do you value other people’s answers over your own ? More importantly, what answers could you find for yourself ?

Practical Coaching - Setting Your Context

Feb 2 2009

Context is a term one learns early in consciousness coaching. Using it becomes part of your day, however explaining it is hard. Perhaps an example will make it easier. You have a meeting scheduled that you are dreading. Your boss is there and you know he is going to start taking you apart accusing you of not delivering. Based on your previous experience you have created a context for that meeting - one in which everything is wrong and you are being attacked. Even before a single word has been said, this context starts to drive how you respond, feel and behave in that meeting. What happens next becomes a sort of self fulfilling prophecy. You walk into the meeting defensive. Your boss opens his mouth and yes, he is out to get you. You respond as always. It is a disaster of a meeting (just like all the others).

Now, what if you could create a different context for the meeting ? Even if your boss is actually out to get you (sometimes paranoia is reality) the way you interact can fundamentally change how the meeting progresses. But as we all know, changing how we behave is not easy. It becomes automatic. The only way I know how to change this automatic behaviour is by setting your own context. How do I know this works ? Because not only do I use context successfully, I have watched my clients use it successfully. It all starts with one simple statement - what you want to get out of the meeting! Who do you want to be in that meeting ? What do you want to feel when you walk out of it ? Think about it! If you want to be confident, calm, non-aggressive and walk out of there with your self respect then immediately the way you behave when attacked or taken on will change. You simply will not be dragged into a slagging session and when you do not respond the way the meeting expects you to you, the people there have to change they way they behave. In that moment you have changed what happens next. In that moment you have created a space for a different outcome.

Creating a context is based on one very simple fact! If we do not define how we want to experience something it will be defined for us based on every other meeting or similar event. If you take the time to set your own context you override that ‘automatic’ programming and create an opportunity for change to occur. It sounds like simply stating a context would not be enough to change anything. When your life has been run by thoughts and feelings it sounds daft to think that it is at all possible that you can create a new context simply with words that overrides thoughts, feelings and the past. But it can! When you know what it is you want you have a direction. With that direction you can actively choose how you react so that you are fulfilling that intent and in that moment you change what is possible. Try it! After all, you have nothing to lose!

Why God Does not Help!

Sun Jan 18 2009

This may make no sense for people who have not done the Master series. For example, standing for some-one's greatness means not running to their rescue and the ladder of power is one of my favourite takes you from our seemingly default state of resigned victim hood in which we just wait to be rescued to a place of power, responsibility and creation. Enough said! There are two inspirations for this. One, the movie Constantine (which i have watched a number of times) and two my Habit of Being Me ( a protocol I designed that i use every day to give my day context and complete it so that I carry nothing over).

I started my journey with the vague goal of enlightenment or at least spiritual enrichment... failing that, just some form of happiness. A long, long way down that path things started to come together.
God said, ‘Ask and yee shall receive!” and I was given the ladder of power.
God said, “I am the word” and I was given speech acts, integrity and the power to create whatever I choose.
God said, “You are created in my image” and I realised that my state of powerless victimhood was nothing more than an illusion. My power had always been there, all I had to do was remember. All I had to do was to ask!
God said, “Choose!” And finally I did!

Was he always there ? Waiting patiently ?There I was waiting for some higher power to rescue me, take me from my misery when all I had to do was ask ? Was he always patiently standing for my greatness, while I wandered lost in the dark ?

I am filled with gratitude! Indeed, overwhelmed at how things all connect. I asked and got way more than I was ever expecting.Now I can take my place and stand for my own greatness, knowing that I am supported. Nowing that my power is mine!

A Different View of Meditation

Written Tue Jan 23 2009

Ten years ago meditation was not that mainstream, these days more and more people are discovering the benefits, yet to many it is still a mysterious practice. I started meditation almost ten years ago and am still hard pressed to ‘explain’ it. My journey started with Transcendental Meditation which is based on a mantra (in my case a word) that you repeat over and over for 20 minutes. The course is over a week (if memory serves), with meditation every evening so you get lots of practice…which is critical for a beginner in meditation.Why is meditation so hard to describe ? Because it does not fit into anything we normally do. When do you take 20 to 30 minutes to just sit and do nothing ? In our fast paced society we do not allow ourselves chill time. We have to be productive! We have to be busy. There is not time for 'day dreaming' which means taking time off just to watch your thoughts is not usual.
So... some basics of meditation. You can meditate for 5 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour…it all depends on you. Meditation is something that should fit into your day and we all have busy days. Even 5 minutes will make a difference.

The intention behind meditation is to relax and to create a space in which you can start to observe your thoughts and feelings. Why ? Because we are not our thoughts and our feelings and meditation is a particularly powerful way to give you the opportunity to discover that. When you inherently know that you are not your thoughts and feelings you can choose other ways of reacting and behaving and that is where you start to experience true power.

There are as many ways to practice meditation as there are flavours of ice cream (ok, so probably not in South Africa so much :) ). I started with a mantra (which I still use almost daily) but have moved onto breathing meditations. In this form you focus on your breathe - breathing in and then when you breathe out you just feel yourself releasing and expanding. I started off with closed eye meditation, these days I prefer a sitting, open eyed meditation where you focus on a spot about 1.5 meters in front of you, and start to breathe. My other favourite (especially when i do not have time) is to do 5 minutes just sitting in front of the mirror...that is one powerful 5 minutes let me tell you.

What confuses most beginners is that they are expecting something - a result! They are expecting to experience a specific thing (enlightenment, peace, harmony). But with meditation what you get is what you get! It is different every time you do it and the point is not to achieve anything, the point is to meditate. One of my favourite books (Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior) says it best. They work with a seated practice of meditation, eyes open.

‘In meditation as you work with your breath, you regard any thoughts that arise as just your thinking process. You don’t hold on to any thought and you don’t have to punish your thoughts or praise them. The thoughts that occur during sitting practice are regarded as natural events, but at the same time, they don’t carry any credentials. The basic definition of mediation is “having a steady mind”. In meditation, when your thoughts go up, you don’t go up, and you don’t go down when your thoughts go down; you just watch as thoughts go up and thoughts go down. Whether your thoughts are good or bad, exciting or boring, blissful or miserable, you let them be. You don’t accept some and reject others. You have a sense of greater space that encompasses any thought that may arise.In meditation you can experience a sense of existence (or being) that includes your thoughts but is not conditioned by your thoughts or limited to your thinking process. You experience your thoughts, you label them “thinking: and you come back to your breath, going out, expanding, and dissolving into space. It is very simple but it is quite profound. You experience your world directly and you do not have to limit that experience. You can be completely open, with nothing to defend and nothing to fear. “

When last did you create a space in which you accepted yourself, all parts of yourself, unconditionally ? Just the thought of creating that kind of gentle lovingness toward oneself gives me goose bumps. How different would the world be if we started our adult lives with this kind of personal compassion already in place ? How different would my life have been ?
written Jan 7 2009
I have just completed one of two coaching sessions designed to complete 2008 and set a brilliant context for 2009. I am amazed at how one hour can change the way I perceive a year of my life and I am left with this thought:
" It is only when you have experienced the right place that you have the distinction that allows you to identify when you are in the wrong place. So if you have only ever been in the wrong place… how are you to know that there is something else, someplace else you should be ? How do you know that there is a better place, one where you will feel alive, excited, enthused ? If all you have known is duty, boredom and normality and that almost low grade misery that seeps into everything you do and think ? "
All I know is this...if you keep on doing the same things you will experience the same results!!!! The only way to find the right place is to stop doing the wrong things. Who was it that said, sometimes you have to take that step off the cliff and trust that you will learn how to fly, failing that, trust that you will find a place to stand.

What I 'Got' For Xmas

There is a phrase that stuck with me from my coaching courses, ‘Getting it’. Getting it is not the same as getting information. I can tell you something, but until you ‘get it’ it is useless to you. The process of ‘getting it’ can not be rushed….and you only get what your coach has gotten. Here are some things that popped for me while driving on a long, dusty (and bumpy) bush road…wondering where all the animals were.

- I really got just letting go and not being stressed, worried and having to judge everything and everyone. It all takes way too much energy. Now to answer the question ‘ why on earth do I end up there all the time ?’ Why not just let it go and be with what is! With that thought came a whole lot of relief…imagine not having to analyse everything and give it a rating all the time ? Imagine if I was always in ‘Nothing is wrong ‘ ?

- I really got the tiring nature of keeping up with the Jones’s. In the bush there is no need to consume…in fact, every night when we are burning rubbish I was really getting how much we waste. Everything is packaged, everything we eat and consume takes space and plastic and more wrapping. So this year I am going to practice keeping it simple and not consuming so much…will let you know how it goes.

- I really got the idea that we are all warriors and that everyone of us was borne worthy…. We are all inherently good, inherently respectable, inherently full of worth. Will post on this topic more as I get through the book I was reading this holidayMay 2009 be the year you ‘get’ it !

Letting Go

Have a pen handy ? Pick it up! Now....drop it! Easy right ? One of the hardest (and simplest) concepts to grasp with coaching is how easily we pick things up. We get on it! We hold our pain, our misery and our past tight, tight, tight. When really all we have to do is put it all down for a while... and focus on what we can do right now.Or put another way. I realised a while back that I had completely disconnected from feeling. I just pushed all the hard one's aside...away! The problem was, feelings need to be felt and the longer and harder you push them away..the harder and stronger they come back at you..wanting to be felt. So I learnt to pick them up, to feel them and discovered I was in a place where emotions were overwhelming things. I was continuously feeling...anger, sorrow, pain! It was only when I started coaching that I figured out that I had control. I could put them down whenever I needed. Not push them away or hide from them, just put them down for a while. I had the control. I could choose when to pick them up (and you do need to take time to pick them up).

As we fast approach xmas old family troubles and stories start to emerge. For some the holidays are emotionally traumatic... so what would happen if you just acknowledged the story and pain..and put it down ? What would happen if everytime you found yourself in the story, 'on it' you made the conscious decision to put it down and to put it down as many times as you find you have unconsciously picked it up ?

What would happen if you gave everyone else a clean slate, a fresh chance ?

May you all have a fantabulous christmas and a spectacular New Year!!!
written Dec 02 2008
The new year is upon us…and with champagne and presents come New Year’s Resolutions. Which, as we all age tend to get more ignored and laughed at as the years go by. This time of year I am reminded of how powerful the right New Year’s resolutions can be. You see, it is thanks in a large part to this little, much maligned promises that I have my world record.
The year 2000 had not gone well for me. As the New Year arrived I found myself reviewing what I had actually achieved over the last 365 days. Not much! I had been busy, I had been frustrated and nothing had changed. Another year and nothing had changed. I realised then that I needed more focus. I needed to get to the end of 2001 and have something to show for my life. So I made three New Years resolutions. The first only scared me a little and was designed to get me moving again. I commited to doing belly dancing with my 3 month old niece (and looking like a complete twit). The second was my medium challenge, starting to write again (and face my internal judge). The third was really why the other two existed… get deeper than 121 meters. That was the one I had been chasing for 2 years. That was the one that scared the bejeebers out of me. My goal was not to reach 140 meters that year, but rather a more manageable ‘get to the end of the year not having given up, having done whatever I needed no matter how hard for me’. The most amazing thing happened. I learnt how to belly dance (and loved it), I started to write (and found myself all over) and I faced my fears, got not only 140 meters but as a result, in November 2001 I got my first set of records. I made 186 meters and a new cave record for depth for women.

So, with another year fast ending and a clean slate fast arriving… why not see what you can make of it ? What did you achieve this year ? What hopes and dreams seemed to slip away ?

This time next year, where would you like to be ? In the same place or somewhere slightly different ? What would happen if you dared to be…just for 2009!
What could change if you made coaching a habit

Getting It vs Understanding

written Nov 27 2008
Who we are is not how we behave. How we behave is a habit, a habit of being and habits can be changed.

I remember a long while back sitting in my office in absolute despair. I just did not know what it was I was doing wrong…nor did my boss. We both knew I had to change something, that they way I was - the way I reacted and behaved - was not creating the results I wanted, but for the life of me I did not know how to be different. I did not need counseling or therapy. I needed a new way of being. I needed a new habit of being me.
I had heard Einstein’s saying that the height of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but that was no help. I was stuck on how! How to behave differently when my entire life was about getting me to where I was at! I remember the frustration because it was not that I did not want to change - I just had no clue what the new me looked like or behaved like.
Understanding that they way we behave creates the results we experience is not a conscious understanding, especially if the way you behave has gotten you to a certain level of success. But sooner or later, we all reach a ceiling and if you want to carry on rising something has to change.

Which is where coaching comes in and especially consciousness coaching. With consciousness coaching the focus is on creating an awareness of how you behave now and the results you actually want. The phrase ‘what do you want’ sounds rather obvious but think about it ? When you talk do you talk about what you want to happen or what you do not want to happen ?

One of the least known rules of the universe is what you think about expands! So when you are thinking about what you don’t want, you get more of what you don’t want. The other thing about thinking about what you don’t want is that you create a vacumn. You are taking away something…. and immediately the universe starts to fill up that space. But it has nothing new to fill it up with, so you get more of the same.
When you are trying to change the habit you have of being, you need to focus on what it is you are trying to create. When you do that the old behaviour no longer has a place to exist because you are replacing it rather than evicting it…and life is much, much smoother.Which brings me back to a new habit of being! The way we behave is not set in stone, we can change it! If we know what we want, we know what behaviours we need to get there. So what is stopping you from getting it ?