Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Lost Art of Creation

One of the clearest learning’s I took from Consciousness Coaching was the statement that the universe can not create a negative. The wording is not perhaps clear but the more I work on creating my own life the more entrenched this single phrase becomes.

All around me are people who are trying to give up something. We use words like ‘will power’ to do this, creating a space where the unwanted used to live…and then we never fill that space. We have no idea what we want to replace our unwanted with….and the law of empty spaces is that they will get filled. If you have nothing new to fill that space with guess what ? That unwanted and familiar thing fits right back where it belonged. My question is..why bother fighting to remove it in the first place ? Why not choose what you would like to replace it and work on creating that ? The two can not exist at the same time in the same place and so the unwanted will disappear, replaced with something positive and wanted.

The art to this is in how we talk about what we want. Think about it! When you talk about what you want how often are you really talking about what you don’t want ? Spend today reframing your words and instead of a long list of what you don’t want, take the time to work out what ‘you’ would be like if the things you don’t like are not there…. If you weren’t afraid, what would you be ? Work on creating clarity on what that state would be…and voila…

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lessons Learnt from Diving - The Art of Empowerment

The moment the euphoria started to wear off was the moment I realised that my world record was not an ending, but a beginning, one that may take my entire life to understand. When I get stuck I tend to look back at my diving to see if what I am experiencing now was something that happened back then and invariably it is. This journey to understand my real life seems to mimic my world record with uncanny familiarity, which is odd considering to become the deepest woman in the world I had to literally lay my life on the line, something a board room rarely requires.

So what is it that makes the difference between an every day diver and one who pushes her own (if not the world’s) limits? What makes a successful diver and how can I take that into my real life ?

Diving is an odd combination of obsessive preparation and then concentrated action. To do a deep dive requires planning, preparation and thought. To dive deeper than most people requires an obsessive mind that continually goes over the plan, trying to find the weak spot, that thing I have not thought of that may stop me in my tracks. Yet, the moment my head sinks under the water all the stress and worry simply stops. The time is now to dive, to trust that I have done what was required and instead to be focused on this moment, attuned to what is happening so I can react in time. The moment my head sinks underwater I feel complete freedom and total power. I have no idea what will happen, yet I don’t try and control it, instead I relax, knowing I have done what I can, it was either enough or it wasn’t. Which is an attitude I battle to find back in the real world. It is as if underwater is the only place I am able to let go and have faith, the only place where I concede that my job is to control myself, not what can happen, so I focus on myself, on having the skills and the state of mind that will allow me to cope with any situation. When I dive, I feel prepared.

Have the last seven years been about finally realising that underwater I never try and control the circumstance, instead I have faith in myself and the universe and so I work with the circumstances I get ? Do I really spend so much time trying to control everything outside of myself that I never do the work that allows me to feel in control of myself and so able to manage anything ?

Is that the lesson I have been missing all this time ? To simply let go control, have faith and focus inwards on creating myself ?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Could all Our Stress and Overwhelmed Feeling be a Symptom of being Faithless ?

After a long year I find myself reverting to one of my favourite enlightenment / empowerment) intentions, flow, or rather the lack there-of. Around me people are tired, overwhelmed and just done with the year. I feel it myself and it has started me thinking about how I experience life (a consistent theme of mine that normally unearths interesting revelations). The question I find myself asking is why are we all so stressed and overwhelmed? What are we doing ‘wrong’ ? There I sit, doing my best to manage my life, trying to work out all the possible outcomes, obsessing about which will be best for me, which worst and trying to be prepared for anything at any time, normal right ? We prize people who can ‘make things happen’, people who don’t sit back and just accept their fate, but create it. What no-one mentioned is how exhausting it is to control every aspect of life and then, just when it all seems to be working according to ‘the plan’, life throws the ever predictable curve ball.

Looking more closely at this pattern of supreme control I was struck by the sheer futility of it all. There is only so much I can do and all the extra worrying that I put in so very rarely affects the outcome of an event. Actually, now that I come to think of it, those days where I let go and relax seem to be the days that work better. It is almost as if I have the entire thing the wrong way round – as if my job is not to ‘make’ things happen but instead to set things in motion and then go with the flow. All that extra energy and stress I obsessively throw at ‘creating’ just seems to get in the way. I miss things as they don’t ‘fit’ what I am expecting or needing to create. It is almost as if I need to have some faith. And there it was, the word that was missing, faith.

Faith is not a word that sits well in my landscape. I link it to serious religious types and religion is something I walked away from a long time ago. Yet, the more I thought about it the more exhausting this faithless life became, exhausting and futile. The idea of letting go and letting someone or something else take the load became more and more appealing. I could imagine myself living with faith - no longer having to be in control of every moment of every day, trusting that the universe was on my side, trusting that events that as a human I judge to be awful (and so actively avoid) are actually there for a reason and will turn out ok. The more I thought about it (and watched my fellow faithless struggle on) the more I saw how the faithless spend their lives trying to control every moment, caught in an endless struggle to avoid what we judge to be suffering and create what we judge to be awesome and happy. We take on the entire load of creating our lives, worrying about everything thing all the time, never putting the load down or trusting anything or anyone to assist us. The end result ? Extreme stress and finally emotional or physical breakdown.

I am not advocating sitting back and letting the universe do everything! No, rather I think there is a balance to be found, similar to the balance I found in diving. To complete a dive there needed to be a time for planning and thought and then a time where you put that down and just dived, trusting that you could handle whatever came up and as importantly, accepting the consequences without judgment. To dive well you need to be able to live in the present and not be obsessed with the past or stressing about a future that may never happen. Underwater was a place of complete freedom and amazingly total empowerment, which is really bizarre considering that cave diving is one of the most dangerous environments in the world where you have no control of anything other than yourself.

Is that the lesson ? That we spend so much time trying to control everything outside of ourselves we never do the work that allows us to feel in control of ourselves and so able to manage anything ?

What would happen if I could just let go and allow the universe to take some of the load ? What would happen if I stopped insisting that the answers in my head were the only answers and became open to what was in my present ?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who Owns Your Life ?

I was watching NatGeo, a short program on the Inuit in Greenland and how their lifestyle of subsidence hunting is being changed by the Western way of life. All well and good, but not really relevant as I sit here in my nice lounge watching DSTv, until right at the end when a former hunter finally gave up and got a job because “he could not pay his bills, his rent, his phone bill and pay for food”. That simple statement opened a door in my mind and I found myself asking the question, who owns my life ? It seemed absurd to me that people who had never been beholden to anyone all of a sudden could not carry on their old way of life because now they had rent to pay. When I look at my life I realise I don’t own it, the bank does. If I stop working I cannot survive, I don’t own my house, I don’t own my car and even if I did, I could not run it as I would need money for petrol, now horses, they can feed on the grass, for free (more or less). I have spent my entire life striving to own it and be independent, yet if the Spar shut down, how would I eat ? How would I survive without money ? I don’t think I (or anyone else) could ?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of Detachment

My passion is to be an explorer whose sole job is to create myself - independently of what other people think, of societies labels and expectations and any other definition that tries to box me and create limits. It is enough that my identity has a PhD in creating limits. Enlightenment has created a lasting inspiration for me on this journey and one of the key principles in enlightened being is the concept of detachment, which is not something that comes naturally to us human beings. Our identities love being attached to ‘stuff’ and outcomes that we invent and then sustain in the safety of our minds, throwing enormous amounts of energy at the images and stories of how it will be. Hardly surprising then when we are devastated when we get a different outcome.


This idea scares me (or at least my identity) as it makes living detached (or as I prefer to call it, in Acceptance) a remarkably simple thing. Yes, changing the habit of a lifetime is not easy, but I think I may work on just being in the Present for a while and letting go of the stories that project me into a future that does not yet exist. The idea of being Present excites me…I get to experience all the abundance in this moment, things I would normally not even be aware of because I am so focused on something that might never be.

What could you do today to spend just one hour in the present moment ? How could you move from being part of the stories your Identity spins in your head to being an observer instead ?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creating the Right Relationships

How different the world would be, if we gave other people permission to live their lives without requiring them to be bound irrevocably to us. When did we get taught to collect people and hold onto them so tight that we never let go ? Even when it would be best for everyone to go seperate ways... creating space that is now available for someone new. Yet we hold on with some idea about endless loyalty, not understanding that relationships are supposed to be two way streets, things that add value to your life as well as the other person's.

Even more odd, we create relationships with the wrong people in the first place, people who do not think like us and sometimes, do not even see us, it is almost as if we got taught somewhere to grab onto anyone who comes along and then do whatever it takes (sacficing ourselves if necessary) to keep them. Then, after we put in all this work, we wait in frustrated expectation for the person in front of us to do the same thing, repay our sacrifice and start to notice us and fulfill our needs, just like we fulfilled theirs.  When they don't, we don't move on, no, we stay and try harder, slowly loosing ourselves and our belief in people.

What would happen if instead of filling our lives with people we instead carefully selected the people we want to share our lives with and in that selection process, we actually were honest about who we are and what we want (from life and people) ? Yes, we may 'scare' away a lot, but the one's who stay will be worth spending time with.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When last did a course or book create a lasting change ?

The biggest frustration I have had over the last decade or so (which is how long I have been on this journey), has been the fact that no matter what course I do or what book I read, when the novelty has worne off, I still feel trapped and in the same place I was before (admittedly now a tad poorer). I accumulated this wealth of knowledge but I had no cooking clue how to apply it in my day to day life, which meant no clue how to create the change I was so desperately looking for. It was almost as if the world to which I was looking for answers really had no clue  itself. It certainly did not want me to figure that out and it especially did not want me to break away from the herd and find my freedom. 

The further down this path I go the more I realise how trapped in illusion we are and the biggest illusion was the thought that I had to ‘find myself’ before I could change my life. Not that anyone could tell me how to, so I watched what other people were doing... and became fascinated byt the enthusiasm people applied to this single task (not to mention decades of their lives). My problem was that no-one seemed to be actually finding themselves, instead they seemed to be lost in the process - always moving but never getting anywhere. And then, assuming that they actually did finally find ‘themselves’, they were now right back where they started. In fact, all that hard won knowledge was now nothing more than intersting, they still had to do the hard work to create the person they actually want to be.

I started to take a real good look at the books (and courses and guru's) and realised why I was so frustrated - not one gave me a tried and tested practice that I could use to create the change that they expounded with enthusiasm. I was trapped in world of theory when what I wanted was something real. WIthout fail, every book told me how it would be, never how I could get there!

All the experts, all the courses, all the books and not one said, just do it! Stop faffing and go out and create yourself! Stop looking for an answer from everywhere else, the only place you will find your answer is inside yourself. Stop looking for the reasons and events that created you – who you are is who you are, you can not go back and change a thing but you can stop procrastinating and finally accept what is and most importantly accept responsibility for where you are.
Not one said you are here! This is what you created and it does not matter that you created it unconsciously – it is what it is! The only way to change it, is to start CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSING. The only way is forward and that requires you to start Living! Live Consciously, Live Enlightenment, Live Empowered...but LIVE!!!

And so I stopped buying into the illusion. I stopped living Hope’ium and created the practice I call Living Enlightenment. It allows me to let go of the past and create who I want to be in this moment, for myself! Living Enlightenment allows me to Live Empowered, even when the world falls apart and the carefully crafted illusion I have that I have some control evaporates...because with Living Enlightenment I practice being able to choose who I want to be in every and any moment of every and any day.

I may never become a butterfly, but in a world of caterpillars I choose to be the best caterpillar I can be!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Power of a Label – Attachment vs Acceptance

This year seems to be about creating freedom, which first requires that I understand what I mean when I choose to be free. The more I work with this specific Enlightenment Intention (Free) the more I understand that for me, freedom is about letting go of identifying with the labels I live. To live empowered (and so to live enlightenment) means I get to choose when and what I identify with. It also means I can stop defending and protecting the labels I have...which seems to be an integral part of my being and the biggest contributor to my state of suffering. What do I mean by a label ? Well in my mind I define myself as a superior business analyst, which means that is something I have to defend and continually see reflected back at me by the peoplei work with. The problem is that this is just one of the labels that define me. For the most part, I don't even see the label that is wreaking havoc in my world. Work is the perfect example.

Over the last 15 years I have established a reputation (in my own head naturally) for excellence and over performance. So now that I find myself in a large corporate I am battling. Firstly I am no longer visible, secondly, my success is integrally linked to the performance (or more often than not, non-performance) of people I can not influence. My frustration has subsequently hit all time highs and with that frustration comes an extreme effort to be heard and create change.... which is always (and I have 15 years of experience creating this) dramatically self destructive. The less I am acknowledged and heard, the harder I push back .. the more drama and conflict I create.... and so we spiral down and down and down until finally I can not cope anymore and fed up I leave and start all over a new place that this time will be filled with the right people – people who understand, who are high performers (now their is a contradiction of note, an A-type personality that bonds and cares about the well being of others), who will create that safe place of belonging where I can blossom. Yes, fairy tales are alive and well in my psyche which is quite a depressing thought after over 20 years in the so-called ‘adult’ world.

To cut a long story short, at the end of all this I am left with the feeling that I am really schizophrenic (or is it just multiple personality disorder?) because it feels like someone else is creating all this and I am an innocent bystander who is left to clean up the mess. I know there is something I have to let go of, I just can’t see it and if I can’t see it, I can’t stop holding on!!

So when well meaning friends and confidantes tell me I need to leave, that this place does not appreciate me, it is not worth it, I stay. My answer is not in escaping. We live in a world where it is to easy to run away from our problems and distract ourselves with a new place, a new challenge (a new significant other). I need to stay right here and confront this part of me. I need to live in the flames and see what happens if I refuse to give in, if I refuse to live this. So here I sit, refusing to jump ship, just breathing and allowing my world to flow, refusing to give up and escape to another job.

There is another reason for staying - the corporate world is the one place that still swallows me up whole. It is the one place where I can not seem to Live Empowered. My world record create a moment where I was able to escape being invisible and less. For the first time in my life I was truly empowered. That lable of deepest was something I choose for myself, something I fought to bring into being. It was the first taste I had of freedom and an experience I wanted in all areas of my life. Which is why I created Living Conscious Enlightenemetn.
Now at work, I am finally starting to get a glimpse of what it will take to recover my power and my first step is going to be a hard one - to stop identifying with the labels I carry with me into work. Which means creating awareness in every moment so that I can stop just being a collection of unconscious habits. I need to own the me that created this mess and start to slowly release her.
It is with relief that I can fall into the process of Conscious Enlightenment and with my own coach (there are just some days I can not escape my own mind by myself and need an unbiased observer to ask me the ‘obvious’ questions) I am going to focus on what it is I want to create - because it is not enought to know what I don't want. You can not create a negative and if I want to live something new, I have to know what that new is so that I can start to make choices that create that. Only and only in that process will the old disappear.
It is going to be hard to ignore the temptation to search for the labels that are creating this drama and instead work on disinvesting and disconnecting and creating consciously who it is I want to be. But, I suspect that the labels will show themselves when the time is right and when I am able to let them go. Until then, my focus is going to be on stepping into my power and consciously creating me. That way if it all goes pear shaped at least I made the choice - it was not something that happened to me. I find my life easier to accept when the consequences are a result of the choices I MADE! I can accept being wrong, but when someone or something else chooses for me and I have to pay the price, then I am not such a graceful looser.

How do you escape the trap of being ? Start to consciously choose and trust that you will find the baggage along the way. Anything else is a trap, keeping you from going forward, keeping you from your power to create your own life and your own experiences.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The follow up blog - Understanding redecoration, makyo/ ego & being here

One of my favourite passages from Spiritual Enlightenment – The Damndest Thing’ by Jed Mckenna...just is so irreverent...and very funny.

“Have you heard of the term makyo?” I ask her.

“Yes, isn’t it something to do with...?”

“It’s a Zen thing. Very handy term. In Zen, no one is interested in spiritual growth. No one is interested in self-exploration or self realization. They’re not trying to become better people or happier people. They’re not following a spiritual path, they’re following a wake-the-hell-up path. They’re completely focused on the hot and narrow pursuit of enlightenment. There’s no consolation prize, no secondary objective. Full awakening is what they signed up for. Of course, as students, they have no real idea of what such a pursuit actually entails, so it’s the job of the master to see that they stay on course. With me so far?”

She nods a little uncertainly.

“The Tao warns to beware the flowery trappings of the path, or words to that effect. There are many things to see and do on the path to awakening. It’s all new and magical. There are points for instance, where you can stop and develop what you might consider special powers; prophecy, telepathy, mediumship, magical arts, plate spinning, whatever. During Zen meditation – zazen – the student might merge into timeless unity consciousness. He might unravel all the complexities of his life in a single glorious sitting. He might feel that he has vomited a gigantic ball of molten lead that has resided in his chest for years. He might descend into the pits of hell and slay all his demons. After such experiences, he might run to his master to share his victories and experiences, only to have the master splash him with cold water by calling it makyo.:

Marls is frowning now, realising that she’s the one being splashed with cold water.

“When a Zen master uses the term makyo, he’s telling his students that the previous gems they’re stopping to pick up or the pretty flowers they’re pausing to collect only have value or beauty in the world they’ve chosen to leave behind. The Tao says ‘beware the flowery trappings Because, in order to possess them or benefit from them, you mist cease your journey, stay in the dream. Ultimately, they’re just a distraction from the tricky business of waking up. Breaking free of delusion takes everything you have. The price of truth is everything. Everything. That’s the rule and it’s inviolable.”

She looks sad. I continue in a gentler tone.

“I’m explaining makyo because this is what’s happening here. You have had some profound insights in meditation and you have brought them to me. Understandably so. Western spirituality seems to equate enlightenment with self perfection, so it’s natural to assume that ridding yourself o mental and emotional baggage is the way to go. But what I’m telling you is that, within the context of searching for enlightenment, your experiences are makyo. You bring me these priceless jewels and I am telling you that you should flush them down the toilet and move on.”

I pause to let that sink in. The point here is less to aid Marla in her quest for enlightenment than to help her see that she’s not on one. I sometimes wonder if I would make a good Zen master but I don’t think so. Or maybe I’d be a great one, depends how you look at it. My emblem would be a graphic depiction of the Buddha’s head lanced on a pike, complete with dripping blood and dangling viscera. The motto beneath the emblem would be “DIE!” Students would line up outside my door and as soon as the first one opened his mount I’d start shrieking at the op of my lungs “You’re not him! You’re not the real guy” You’re the makyo guy? You’re just the dream character!” I’d probably start hitting the student with a stick at this point, which is one of the perks of being a Zen master.

“You’re supposed to be dead! Why aren’t you dead? Why are you coming to see me? You’re the problem! Get out and come back when you’re dead. That’s the guy I want to talk to, not a stupid dream character. Now GET OUT!”

That essentially defines the quest for enlightenment; the you that you think of as you (and that thinks of you as you, and so on) is not you, it’s just the character that the underlying truth of you is dreaming into brief existence. Enlightenment isn’t in the character, it’s the underlying truth. Now, There’s nothing wrong with being a dream character, of course, unless it’s your goal to wake up, in which case the dream character must be ruthlessly annihilated. If your desire is to experience transcendental bliss or supreme love or altered states of consciousness or awakened kundalini, or to qualify for heaven, or to liberate all sentient beings, or simply to become the best dang person you can be, the rejoice!, you’re in the right place; the dream state, the dualistic universe. However if your interest is to cut the crap and figure out what’s true, then you’re in the wrong place and you’ve got a very messy fight ahead and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.”

Cracks me up everytime.... DIE DIE DIE...bwahahahah

I also find it totally reassuring. We get to stop where we want on this journey. We do not have to commit to awakening. The whole point of being here, human is to enjoy the drama and play with our lives... there is no point being enlightened...or rather, in this reality of be enlightened is to be outside of the fun.

Excerpts from Books – Redecorating the Office/ Stepping into Enlightenment

One of my pivotal books at the moment is ‘Spiritual Enlightenment – The Damndest Thing’ by Jed Mckenna. Seems to just hit the spot about where I am and how odd it feels right now – a stranger in a world where everyone else seems to be comfortably normal. Thought I would pass on this extract... it revolves around the only practice he believes creates an enlightened individual, spiritual autolysis, which is in essence the destruction of the ego. Ego is the enemy and until it is destroyed and the illusion it creates dies, there can be no truth and so, no enlightenment (that is a really bad summary of a truly awesome book that will challenge what you think you know to be true). He is trying to explain the process of becoming enlightened to a student...

‘“Let’s try out a new analogy. I’m making this up on the fly so bear with me. Here’s the situation: You’re sitting in your skyscraper office a hundred stories off the ground thinking about how successful you are and how your life is just grand. With me so far? In terms of satisfaction, you’re very satisfied. You have it all; fancy office, great views, the respect and admiration of those around you, everything you ever wanted. Okay?”


“So, you’re like that – happy, content, sell-satisfied – for however long; months, years, decades. But then one day, for whatever reason, dissatisfaction begins to creep in. Something about your office starts to bug you. It starts with little things. You’re dissatisfied with your curtains, they don’t go with the credenza at all. “What was I thinking?’ you wonder. ‘How could I have been so blind?’ And now that you’re looking more closely, it’s obvious that the carpet is a fiasco and the artwork is just an embarrassment. One minute you’re happy, the next you’re very dissatisfied. Extremely dissatisfied. This office is simply not an accurate outward representation of your inner professional. You’ve outgrow it.”

“It actually sounds like a pretty cool office ”

“Yes, well, that’s what everyone else things; your friends, colleagues, your family. They think you’ve got it made and that you’re nuts for wanting to mess with it. Of course, you’re only dissatisfied when you’re in the office. You pretty much forget about it when you’re anywhere else. Right?”


“and you’re following the analogy, right? These things can be a bit wobbly the first time out. Your office represents your relationship to the larger questions of life and your dissatisfaction represents –“

“Got it.”

“Good. So what’s the answer? What do you do about this very dissatisfying office of yours?”

“Uh, I don’t know.” He shrugs. “Redecorate?”

“Yeas, that sounds right. But this time you’re going to be ery serious about it. You’re going to bring in a top-notch decorator and strip the place down to the floorboards and start from scratch. You’re not going to be a mere dabbler; you’re going all the way with this. You’re a serious professional and you deserve a serious office. See what I mean ? See how what started as a gnawing little dissatisfaction has grown into a life transforming event??

“Oka, “ he says dutifully.

“So that’s what you do. You go out and buy books and magazines on interior design. You talk to people and attend lectures and events. You hire the best decorator you can find; someone you resonate with deeply. You yourself are being transformed by this experience. You yourself are growing, developing, expanding. It’s very challenging, but you’re taking a no-nonsense approach. It’s slow going, but little bu little change is occurring. Your office is starting to look and feel like a genuine outer representation of your inner professional. It may take years to get it right, but nothing wills top you. This is too important. In fact, it has become one of the most important things in our life, right up there with home and family. See what I mean?”

“Yes,” he says eagerly. “The master decorator represents the guru and the redecorating process represents the spiritual transformation we undergo when we truly begin to challenge our beliefs and seek higher knowledge. What started out as a kind of gnawing dissatisfaction has grown into the impetus for important change and although it may seem like a bad thing at first, this is how the process of change works. This is how we develop, how we grow.”

“Exactly, “ I say. “Nobody acts from contentment. We need problems to solve or else we vegetate. That great office was once something we strived to get, then it was achieved and enjoyed in contentment, but then discontent sets in to let us know that it’s time to move on.”

“So, “ Says Kamiel, “that’s what the teachers are talking about when they discuss the dissatisfaction needed to spur us on, right? It might seem bad or uncomfortably, but it

S really a good thing?”

“Sounds right,” I say.

“And that’s the sort of determination and focus that’s required in order to awaken from delusion? To become truth=realised?: He smiles, excited, like he’s just now getting the big picture. “So that’s what you mean by purity of intent!?

I smile back.

“Fuck now. That’s what I mean by recipe fore failure.”

His dismay is instantly apparent. I’ve cut him off in the first rush of a new grokkign and now he’s confused and hurt. I did this intentionally. I didn’t allow myself to be drawn into this “A lot of teachers say’” conversation just wanting to make a point’ I wanted to counterpoint. That’s what the dialogue has been up until now because I wanted to make a clear distinction. This is the critical distinction between seekers and finders. This is where the line is drawn; a line the existence of which ‘a lot of teachers’ don’t even suspect.

That’s the sort of pathetic, half-assed approach that is absolutely certain to keep you confined to your current state. That’s the sort of approach that everyone takes and that’s why they fail.”

He visibly and audibly gulps. “Oh.”

“ The very people and institutions that are supposedly dedicated to waking us up are doing exactly the opposite. They are lulling us into a more comfortable sleep. That’s what we really want and that’s what they really provide.”

He doesn’t seem pleased. “oh, God...well then...then what drives the process of true awakening?”

“Purity if intent, but what does that really mean? Oka, you’re back in the office again, totally satisfied with everything. Life is great. Okay ?”


“Okay. So now dissatisfaction starts to creep in on you, but this time the dissatisfaction stems from the fact that you smell smoke.:

“The building is on fire now?”

“Wake up and smell the coffin, Kamiel. The building has always been on fire, you were just repressing that knowledge until now. But now you’re aware of it and it’s causing you some dissatisfaction. Quite a lot, in fact, and more with every passing moment. Now for the first time you realise that the flames are right outside the door and the temperature is rising. Acrid black smoke is pouring in. The door busts into flames There is no exit. Now you’re very, very dissatisfied with your office. In fact you’re starting to hate your office quite profoundly. See how this dissatisfaction – this gnawing discontentment on the, uh, feeling level – is of a more immediate and compelling nature then the dissatisfaction brought on by the decor?”

He nods mutely.

“Sure. Now your dissatisfaction with your office is quite intense. Searing really. In fact, your dissatisfaction is so intense that it feels like you’re n fire, like you can’t stand to be in your own skin, like anything would be better than more of this. Now you have no thought at all for career, home or family. Die to a change in your personal circumstances they’ve all been reduced to complete irrelevance. Belief’s and concepts disappear and even death is suddenly small. You’re very focused now You’re in the moment, very present. The flames are feet away. Your dissatisfaction with you office is well beyond anything even a master redecorator could handle for you, agree?”

He nods.

“and there’s no return is there? No going back. No do-over. The fire is here. It’s a fact. Do you see that?”

He nods again.

“And you’re completely alone in all this. There’s on rescue. Your office is engulfed in flames and there’s no one here to save you. Not Jesus or Buddha or the Pope or your mama. This is your dissatisfaction. This is your problem. This is your agony. This is you about to burn to death, okay?


“Okay/ So what do you do?”


“Your world is burning. The whole office is in flames. You’re in a hopeless, no-escape situation. The pain has started and will only get worse. I think we can safely say that your dissatisfaction is now quite pronounced. What do you do?”

“Christ, I don’t know. Go out the window?”


“Hell, I don’t know. What else?”

“Yeah, I guess so. You’re in this inferno of an office while outside the window is blue sky, white clouds and freedom from suffering. That seems like the only possible solution given your very dissatisfying circumstances. But-“

“But what?”

“Well, that’s not Hollywood glass in those skyscraper windows. You start flinging yourself against the window but it doesn’t give. Your dissatisfaction is of such intensity that you might break bones and crack your skull from hurling yourself desperately against the window, all to no avail.”

“Yeah, then what? What happens?”

“Well the obvious thing is that you might simply perish in the hellish inferno. No law against dying.”

He look sate me desperately.

“Or, maybe you have some object that allows you to break the window out. Or maybe the sheer intensity of your – what are we calling it, dissatisfaction? – allows you to break through the unbreakable window. So, boom!, you blow out the window. Now there’ s nothing left in the equation but you, the raging fire and a hundred story plummet to the sidewalk below. Everything is suddenly quite simple. Perhaps for the first time, your life is perfectly clear.”

“Yea? Then?”

“Burn or jump, I guess.”

“Burn or jump?”

“Do you see another option?”

“Burn or jump.” He says flatly.

“When you become so dissatisfied with your office that the hundred story plummet and the sidewalk seem like the better option, so dissatisfied that you actually hurl yourself out the window, then you know the level of dissatisfaction necessary to awaken from delusion.”

He is silent for several moments, head bowed, thoughtful. “I guess dissatisfaction isn’t the right word.”

“Maybe not, “ I agree. “I call it purity of intent, but that doesn’t really capture it either.”

“And that’s something every enlightened master went through?”

“You say it like there are countless enlightened masters dotting the spiritual landscape, but there are extremely few and now you know why.”

“Jesus,” he umbers, seemingly sincere in his effort to truly appreciate what he’s just been told. “Jesus”

I deliver the moral of the story in three easy pieces.

“The price. Of truth. Is everything.”'

Makes me think that until now, all I have been doing is escaping...redecorating the office, creating a temporary solution that reappears eventually.... I am fixing the symptom... not the problem... but I do not want to pay the price.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Being Empowered – Using the power of your Voice and Choice!

The entire goal behind te-a and Conscious Enlightenment is to create empowered individuals. Which requires a number of conditions to be met.

The first and most important of these is to understand what empowerment is. It is not something that you can be given! No matter how long you wait for that guru, that father, boss... whoever it is, no proverbial knight in shining white armour can ever give you empowerment. Empowerment is something you have to take for yourself. It is an attitude, a knowing deep in your soul that you are worthy, that you have a voice and that you have choices.

Yes, you have a choice!

This concept is perhaps the hardest for individuals to ‘get’. Where is the choice when you get laid off and no longer have a home? You have to go to work otherwise there is no food on the table, where is the choice in that ? Where is the choice when you live in a township, have no education and so no way to get a job and provide for yourself and your family?

The thing about choice is that you have to be aware of who you are and your surroundings in order for you to begin to see the choices that are available. The entire mindset that we have no choice  is based on being unaware. We live in a kind of default program, living what we expect to be true without ever questioning our assumptions. We are unaware of who we are, we are unaware of what we think and we are unaware of what we say and what we do. We do not see the connection between what we say and what we do and the experiences we live.  We see instead people (often defined by colour and gender) who speak differently, who act differently and we want to be those people without understanding that really the only thing that differentiates us from them is the way we think about ourselves and our world.

When you live a life of unconscious unawareness, you live a life of permanent reaction, never questioning, never asking if this is true, never wondering if there is something else out there, always wishing and envying those who have. When you are living unaware your seldom believe that you have the ability to create the life you envy. So you never make new choices, instead you say and do the same old things and so create the same experiences and limitations.

Yes, you need to work to get the money to pay for the bills, but is it true that you have to put up with humiliation and derision and unpleasant people ? No! Do you have a choice, yes! The choices range from the extreme (making a stand and accepting the possible consequences there-of) to finding an alternative job, but there are choices.

When you are living in extreme poverty the choices become more limited but they are still there. You still have a choice in how you engage with the world, in who you are being. You get to choose if you are going to be defeated or simply make the best of a horrid situation and if you watch the people who choose not to be defeated, you will see that somehow that choice seems to lift them out of where they are, creating opportunities that open up more choices... and creates a more empowered and abundant life.

Until you as an individual can make a choice (be it where you live, what you do, who you marry or how you vote) based on what YOU want and not based on history, skin colour, gender, culture, circumstances, family, religion or any of the thousand labels that limit your, until then you will always be trapped. Choices need to be free of all those labels, all that history and all that guilt. Choices need to be about what you want ! Which is a question most of us never engage with.

Living in the new South Africa I feel this lack of conscious choice. When I look at my country (one I have a passion for and could never leave), I see one that is still divided by gender and race. I see a nation that approaches each election knowing things are not right but unable to make individual choices based on what they want. Instead we make choices based on loyalty and race and so we create a country where loyalty and race are king, instead of a country where we demand performance and equality. Yes, that is perhaps a simplistic view, but think about it? How do you make the decisions in your life ? Do you think that as a woman your place is defined ? Or that you can not move up the ladder at work because you did not have the right parents, the right school ? All of these assumptions create labels that define and restrict you. All of these assumptions about why you can not create change disempower you and make you into the never ending victim. The people you envy are people who have things because they never believed in those limits and they were prepared to make choices (often hard choices) to do whatever it took to create what they wanted.

At the end of the day, limits are choices. The trick is to become aware of those limits and so either accept them (and the consequences they bring) or make a new choice.

Perhaps I see this from a perspective where I am already empowered, yet there are moments where I feel completely defeated by my world.  The goal behind Conscious Enlightenment was to take the empowerment I created in diving when I attained my world record and transfer it into any and every moment of any and every day. In the real world it is too easy to forget I have a choice an instead fall into the never ending victim thinking that is so pervasive. There are way too many days where I find that the world is a place where there are too many people making choices for me - my boss, my colleague, the President of my country, the President of the United States. I seem to live in a world where other people’s decisions create turmoil in my life. I have to live with the consequences of other people’s actions. I have to stand up and explain why I am not performing yet it is not my fault, these were not my decisions. I live in a permanent state of victimisation.

So I actively work on trying to find choices! I may not be able to control the effects of other people on my life but I can make the choice to let go and instead use that energy on trusting myself and creating a flexible attitude. I can let go of the outcome and focus instead on who I am being and my reactions to events. Instead of being a bitch about it, I can focus on how to make it work for me and so create an experience that is calmer and more pleasant not only for myself but for the people around me. I can make a choice to express my needs instead of getting more and more frustrated as no-one seems to care and I become more and more invisible. These days, the choices I seem to be making seem to be less about changing the circumstances around me and more about changing how I react to those circumstances. I want to be living a life where circumstances and other people do not define who I am and so do not define my experiences. I want to have control back of me.

I want to be empowered. I want to use my voice to make the choices that are right for me. And I want the people around me to start seeing that there is always a choice and to be Empowered is one of them!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What do you Want? Do you know ?

It is one of those days, when I get lost in my thoughts, trying to find my way forward. Inevitably I find myself coming back to that one question, “What do I want?” It is a question that always interests me because, if take a step back and just watch the conversations in my head I notice how hard it is for the various me’s that live in my thoughts to stop focusing on what is wrong and what I don’t want!!

Engaging with that one question was an eye opener for me (and I have to thank my life coach Savannah Steinberg for nagging me with it until I started to really answer). It has also been an evolution. The first couple of times I started to answer I answered with things. I want this job, here. I want this house, here. The problem I find now is the same problem I faced in diving. What do you do when you have a world record ? Where do you go ? What do you create? I have a job I basically enjoy. I have the perfect house (for me at least), so what do I want ? I have run out of ‘things’ to desire and chase after!!!! Is this the end of life ?
What if I changed the answer to the questions? Rather than providing the answer, what if I let the universe find me the ‘thing’ and instead defined who I want to be and what I want to be feeling? I know already that I do not have enough imagination and that my answers will be more of the same...what if I released the universe and allowed it to find me an answer I could not imagine, an answer that would give me the inner world I am looking for.. what then ?

So my challenge to you is simply this, take ten minutes and sit with that question, what do I want ? Then take it one step further and sit and really understand what you are hoping those answers will do to your inner world ?

What do I want ? I want to be living in contentment, peace, laughter and safety (not the physical sort... I want change... a different sort). I want to be adding value and  influencing my workplace. I also want to feel free. What do you want ?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Living Acceptance

The more I Live Enlightenment, the more Enlightenment Intentions I find. A quick recap for those of you who are not familiar with the practice of Living Enlightenment. This is a daily practice that uses the concepts and habits of being behind Enlightened Being as a focus points. The principle is to stop waiting for some mysterious event to happen to transform you into an Enlightened individual and to start practicing the core skills and habits that would be natural one day when you finally do become enlightened. This is not so much about creating enlightenment as it is about creating empowerment using Enlightenment as an inspiration. The Enlightenment Intentions are the focus of the practice and are single words that create a focal point around which you conscious choose your actions and words.

Currently there are 21 defined Enlightenment Intentions and whilst I use all of them I find that some come up with regular frequency. Acceptance is one of these. The aim with Living Enlightenment was to create a practice that would change how I experience my life. I wanted to step out of suffering into joy and contentment, but I found that I could not easily define this new experience I wanted. I knew exactly what I did not want, so I had to first start with defining this new me. I needed to understand what she would be doing and saying. The process of reframing what I did not want into positives I could create resulted in the Enlightenment Intentions.

Acceptance is not a new concept (especially for those of you who do spiritual reading), however what was new was the thought that I could actively and consciously create this in my life. For some reason I had always expected things like Acceptance to arrive one day, when the new me was finally bestowed on me (not that I knew how that would happen or what would create that either…. I had a vague idea that I needed to be doing things, achieving things…world records, a directorship in the workplace…. )

But back to Acceptance. It is one of my favourite Enlightenment Intentions to practice and dare I say, one of the hardest. It does not matter how many times I revisit this simple little word, I always learn something new. When I take a look at my own life, most of the anguish (and dare I say, suffering) I experience is caused by the fight I am in with the world. In my mind a story goes round and round… this is not the way it is supposed to be! It is supposed to be different! I am supposed to be different! The problem is, the more I fight, the harder life gets and the more miserable I get.

But during those moments where I can just relax and Accept that the world is what it is...I find that I can consciously choose to let go of having to judge every moment...then something new happens - I find laughter and joy bubbling into my day. It is more than that though. The moment I relax and just ‘Accept’ where I am (and what I have) is the moment I can really start to engage with what is and it is in that moment I find I can create a new experience. When I am not fighting, I can make new choices, act in a different way and say different things. The lesson of ‘Accepting what is’ was THE thing that took me the longest to learn on my way to a world record. For years I was the good girl, patiently waiting for things to change and be the way I thought they should. I should have a team of eager and enthusiastic (and supportive) divers, I should have someone like world record holder Nuno Gomes there to guide me and ensure I did not make any mistakes, I should have the equipment I needed... the list of the things that would need to be in place before I could really get going was quite long. And then one day I got fed up waiting! It was now or never- I either went ahead and made a pan to dive with what I had or I gave up and walked back into my rather boring and normal life. Needless to say I chose to let go of all the things I should have and instead work with what I had. I chose to ACCEPT where and who I was and in that moment a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was able to start making decisions, all of a sudden consequences I had been avoiding were easy to accept. The result ? My 146 meter dive, which was a dive that petrified me as I did it on my own (breaking all the so called rules), but that was the dive that got me full corporate sponsorship, a dive team, gear and my first world record attempt.

These days I take the practice of Acceptance into my work and personal life. It is not easy to sit in a meeting and make a choice to not be irritated or defensive but instead take a deep breath and just accept everyone without fighting and get on with my job… but it is rewarding.

So how do you bring the energy of Acceptance into your life? What is it you practice? This is not something I can answer for you. Living Enlightenment is a choice that you make to explore who you are and what the different Enlightenment Intentions mean for you. The place to start is with a set of questions that are open ended. Keep on asking the questions becoming aware of your answers as they change and you grow. So….

What would open up for you if you started being Acceptance ? If you let go of resisting, let go of attachment and just breathed who would you be ? What would you be saying and doing? Where in your life would Acceptance bring change? If you were already living in full Acceptance of your life, its circumstances and the people that surround you, what would your life be like? Now.... how can you start to bring that intention, that energy of Acceptance into this moment, this day?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting Started Living Consciously - Managing Emotions

Over the last decade (if not more) I have been obsessed with one thing, escaping suffering. For most of my life I have felt like a stranger in my own life. I have no control! Everything I say or do is driven by one thing and one thing only. My emotions!

In my search to escape suffering I have read most everything I could find in an attempt to escape. I soon realised that I hadn’t a clue who I was being emotionally. Around me people reported that I was angry or sad, but I was oblivious. How had I become so disconnected from myself. With an effort I started to pay attention to these pesky things called emotions, and soon realised why I had spent to so long with amnesia –  they were out of control. Bottled up for so long, my emotions were so desperate to move and flow, to be heard and acknowledged that I felt almost completely overwhelmed.  Ignoring how I felt because it was uncomfortable feeling was no longer an option. So I let them go, let them be what they needed to be. I let the memories come and go, holding onto nothing, just acknowledging that this is who I am, who I was…. And to my surprise after a while they were spent out. There, but no longer a controlling force. They no longer demanded my attention. I had survived the emotions that my child’s brain had told me would destroy me!

When I look at the journey I am on, I realise what an important first step just acknowledging your emotions is. These days I talk about making choices in spite of my emotional attachment to ideas, people or places, but that is not an option if you are not able to let your emotions just be. My goal is to be Living Conscious Enlightenment which means that my emotions no longer dictate what I say or do (some days are easier than others). To get to that point I had to first dive into those emotions. I no longer fight my emotions but to get to that point where I could choose who I want to be in spite of what I was thinking and feeling, I had to first step into my biggest fear, feeling. 

Avoiding emotion is something a lot of us learn as children, indeed, it was the only way I could survive my parent’s divorce. I remember taking pride in never feeling, never crying – I could handle anything. And then, one day I could not. The problem was that hiding from my emotions had become a habit. The mere thought of experiencing one of those troublesome and unwanted things petrified me. How ? What was I supposed to do with them? How was I supposed to control them? For my whole life I had learnt that emotions were bad. They got in the way, they got me into trouble. They were the reason I overreacted at work, they were the thing that made me break out into frustrated and angry tears at the drop of the hat. I was spending so much energy keeping them in I had no energy for anything else.  No-one ever told me that emotions are a part of being human. They need not control your every response, your every moment. Emotions are water, they need to flow and slowly, step by step, I let them in.

It started simply enough, with just acknowledging what I was feeling when I was feeling it. Then as I started to become aware of this world inside me, I started to allow them to express themselves. First in the privacy of my own head (where there are no witnesses and no judges telling me I am wrong), then in public. I can’t say my first attempts were very successful. I had never had any experience or practice telling people how I felt, so I had no clue what words to use. But as I gave myself permission to exist and feel, it started to become easier. Is this what all those books on Emotional Intelligence were talking about ?

These days I find that I still have too much energy in my emotions, which means that often the words I use come out with too much force, so I am not focusing on taking the time to acknowledge and be present with my emotions, to let all that energy spend itself before I express myself. Some days that is not possible and on those days I just give myself permission to exist. It is no longer about getting it right, it is now about not backing down and letting my fear get in the way. Every time I engage with both my emotions and express what I am feeling (and needing ) is a success and every time I do it, I get a little better at it. One day I will re-read this and wonder how emotions were ever an issue. I hope I remember the journey to get to that point and how it took a conscious choice and yes, courage. No-one ever said that Living Enlightenment was going to be easy, but as I walk this road it seems to get less difficult, or maybe the rewards become more present as I reconnect with me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Transforming Self Doubt - Creating Conscious Deserving.

The other day I was asked an interesting question, what is stopping me? From the long list of really, really good reasons only one turned out to be true, my self doubt. Simply put, I don’t know what it is that I have to offer and until I know that there is no way I can stand up in front of the world (and its inherent critics) and exist. This fact fascinated me. Could self doubt really be such a powerful force ? In that moment of awareness I suddenly saw my life from a slightly different angle and from there, doubt was a persistent presence that had kept me trapped in mediocrity and sameness for my entire life. Doubting my worth had been the trap that had held me on my world record journey. It alone is able to stop my momentum. I don’t even need to step out into the range of the world’s critics. In my head I have my own critic and she is always asking me simple, unanswerable questions... Why am I different? What have I got to offer ? Why am I special ? In my mind I am a normal, flawed person who has a long way to go. In my mind I have a list of things that need to be improved on, a set of reasons why I will never be really special and could never be better than the person next to me, never mind the greats out there. Who am I to challenge people like Oprah, Deepak Chopra or world record holder Nuno Gomes. They are special! They are not me! I am nobody!

As I put words to this thing called self doubt I am able to finally see it’s shape. When did I learn to see only my faults? Why is that my default view of life? Why is being the best me I can be something that will inherently disempower the people around me? And why does the mere idea of standing out from the crowd and living up to my potential fill me with guilt... awful, gut wrenching guilt and embarrassment. Somehow I believe that being me is be an act of deliberate defiance, one that is intended to out shine you and so make you look stupid. There, hidden underneath it all is this voice saying over and over again, do not make him (or her) look bad, adjust who you are so they always shine, never, ever make someone else look or feel stupid simple because of who you are. An impossible (not to mention draining) task.

How insidious this way of thinking is! Hardly visible to the conscious mind and almost impossible to get a good grip on. With effort I wrench myself back into this moment, a moment where I have the ability to consciously choose. I am no longer living default me. I now choose to be conscious. I choose to be empowered. I choose to live enlightenment and this self doubt can not exist in that choice.

To Live Enlightenment is not about focusing on what you don’t want, it is about focusing on (and so creating) what you do want. Here I was focused exclusively on this beast called self doubt. I had lapsed back into my default unconscious mind. Time to stop and step back into consciousness. You can’t create a negative, so the first step would be to find the opposite of this thing called self doubt. If I no longer was filled with self doubt, who would I be? The word that came to me was one of my Enlightenment Intentions, Deserving. The moment I choose to be deserving I change how I view myself. I no longer see the list of things that are wrong with me, instead my focus is on a list of reasons why this will work, why I am the right person for the job. With that single word I no longer see you as someone whose power comes only when I make myself less so that you feel more.  Your power is a part of your being, something you can choose at any moment. In fact, that single word, Deserving, opens doors for all of us. We are all deserving, no-one more so than any other. The only difference seems to be that some people understand and live this and others, wait to be declared deserving by some external agency and so never step into their greatness.

Is it really so simple ? I knew the answer to that, a resounding Yes! My biggest fight in getting you to believe in living conscious enlightenment (and so stepping into your power) is to get you to let go of what you think is true and just get on with it. What if you could choose in any moment who you want to be, who you are ? What if it is the conscious act of choosing that changes your experiences? What if choice is the only way to step into your power ?

True empowerment is the ability to consciously choose in any moment of any day who you want to be. True choice is where you ignore what you don’t want, ignore the endless reasons why not and instead focus on why it is possible.

So this week is about letting go of waiting and instead living Deserving! Anyone want to join me and see what happens ?

Monday, June 20, 2011

People are Seriously Grumpy

In an effort to bring more joy into my day to day I spent last week focusing on (amongst other things) creating a sense of inner calm and peace. I was really surprised by one of the consequences. Until I started to practice not being at war with myself I never really noticed how angry, impatient and totally disturbed most people are. Take an hour and just listen to the people that surround you. It does not matter if you are at home  or at work, or somewhere neutral like a supermarket. Even better, take an hour and listen to how you speak to other take the time to notice how you speak to yourself ?
How many of the conversations you hear are about what is not right, what is wrong, how the individual concerned is being done in by someone (it always seems to be a conspiracy) ... or how someone else is an ignoramus and should not be allowed oxygen?
As a culture we seem to be rude to people without thought, coming from a place of righteous indignation - a place where it is ok to treat someone in a way that would horrify you if you were at the receiving end.  This is a  place of no tolerance and even less love, a place where people deliberately waste your time and are deliberately incompetent.... a place that never sees the other person as someone who loves, feels and perhaps hates having to answer a phone to be berated and belittled by yet another annoyed customer.
The more I watched the world around me the harder I found it to maintain a sense of inner calm and peace. Each word became a torrent of ‘violent’ energy that was intent on assimilating me. I found myself becoming as angry and discontent...
Do we really have a right as individuals to do so much judging of other people ? Do we really have a right to expect them to live to our standards ?
Are we really so blind to who we are being that we don’t see ourselves becoming what annoys us in others?
I have to say that I am left with a large dose of disappointment and a feeling of complete futility. As a species humankind seems to be irrevocably lost in unconscious being that fosters hate rather than kindness and acceptance.  Yes, I know...that is a judgement in itself. We are all on our paths living what we need to live in order to learn what we need to learn....only somedays ... somedays I want to shake people and say wake up, smell the roses, snap out of it! Then on other days I wonder if it is really worth it ? Is it possible to make a difference? What is the point of even opening a door, most people won’t see it and if they do, can’t be bothered to find the energy to change and step through it.
So I think for today I will go back to creating inner peace and calm. I have a feeling the answer is there, inside me.... that it does not matter who you choose to be or what energy you choose to put into the world. It only matters who I choose to be.... so I think today I will smile at random people and tell them how beautiful they look today...and maybe, just maybe... they will let go of some of that anger.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Breaking Free of the People Trap

One of the things that fascinates me about me is how desperate I am to escape, well me. It seems as if I am trapped in a personality that creates experiences I realy don't want. This instinctive me defines how I react to the most normal of situations. Take work, here I find mysef being pulled too and fro thanks to a difficult working relationship that has contaminated my entire experience. Thanks to some fuzzy role definition I find myself in an almost continuous fight for territory with a peer which makes for an exhausting day.
My strategy for avoiding this instinctive me is to simply not to put myself in situations that trigger her. Which is fine with friends and even family but totally not possible at work where I have no choice but to engage. The question is how ? I know they way I go about it now is destructive and not pleasant, but what are the alternatives ?
So I took a look at this unconscious me and realised that she seems to be a person who can only exist in the presence of other people. People and the emotions they trigger define her, creating this perpetual existence that is just more of the same. An existence I can no longer live. As I contemplated (with dread) returning to work on Monday, I realised that I needed to find a way to escape thispeople trap. I no longer wanted to be defined by the people around me and most importantly, I no longer was willing to give up my abilityt to choose who I am in any moment. It reminded me of a story I had read.
‘One day when Buddha was giving a lecture and a Brahmin got up and began insulting him. He raved for while and when he had finished the Buddha said,
"If somebody laid out a banquet in front of me, to whom would it belong?
"Obviously it would belong to the person who put it there," replied the Brahmin.
"And if the person offered it to me," continued the Buddha, "and I declined to accept it, whose would it be?"
"Well obviously it would remain the property of the person who put it there."
"Just so," declared the Buddha. "just so."
That story had always hit a nerve with me, but now it seemed to take on new meaning. I was taking other people's emotions and reactions personally, I was accepting these, reacting to them and making them my own. But where they really ? What else could I choose ? Who could I be if I were not instinctive, unconscious me ?
One of the steps in my personal journey to Conscious Enlightenment has been the understanding that I can choose to override my default program. It requires a conscious effort on my part. Which started me thinking not about what I wanted to escape, but where I wanted to escape to. If I wanted to stop other people defining me and get my power back, then what would I need to start doing?
My starting point as always was to really engage with what I do not want and turn it around, into the state of being I would be in if I were not that. I did not want to be fighting the whole time, instead I wanted to be living in a state of  peace. I was tired of other people having the power to take that calm away from me. The more I thought about the me I could be the more resistance I started to feel. Instead of calm I found I was fighting myself.
"Why on earth should I let them just ‘win’. They were not right. If I just let go and walked away I would loose, loose my place on the ladder of success, loose my pride. I would be ridiculed, thought less of. It was my job to stand up and fight for my job, for recognition. It was not fair that I just let them sit back and stuff it  up without doing anything. " The tirade went on and on... and I let it.
I let this other me go and just watched as she ranted and raved. Was this who I really wanted to be ? Did I really want to be wasting this much time and energy on a job that did nothing more than pay the bills ? Did I really want to be wasting this much energy and space on the people I worked with, people who I had no real attachment to ? Even worse, I was bringing this bad energy home into my real life. I was letting these people and these situations control who I was!  Watching her live inside that small and miserable box I knew that I I no longer wanted any of that and if the price was to let go and walk away, then so be it.
It occurred to me then that to create the calm I needed in my workplace I would first have to create calm within myself, which was going to be extremely hard. I was in a state of permanent fight, the arguments from work playing over and over again in my head ... not even requiring the people from work to be present. So much for being calm and at peace with the world.... and thank heaven for Living Enlightenment!
With a deep breathe I stepped out of my analysis mode and into my doing mode. Thanks to almost two years working through the Living Enlightenment process withim my own Enlightenment Project i knew what I needed was a single focus, a single word that I could take into work and have in my consciousness, something to practice being.
For the first time I realy started to focus on who it was that I wanted to be? What was it I wanted to be practicing ? Which enlightenment intention would create the peace and calm I wanted ? As I spread my enlightenment intention cards in front of me I found three that ‘popped’ for me, Respect, Flow and of course Calm. Both Calm and Flow are intentions I work with quite a lot, but Respect, that one did not sit well with me. I found myself imagining the instinctive me barring teeth and retreating at the mere thought. Surely not Respect ? Respect was something that was earned. It was a reward given when due and my problem people at work definitely were definitely not to be rewarded with something as valuable as respect.
My adverse reaction to that simple word meant one thing, this was the word I needed to be working with. Now to sit with the how !
To escape unconscious, instinctive me I would have to remain conscious and Aware. I could not afford to just let go and fall into the instinctual me, no matter how much I wanted to.  I would also have to take a deep breathe (or three) and Accept that this is how it is. I had neither the right nor the mandate to try and change the people around me, that was their job. I would have to accept who they were without fighting that... it was what it was...and what it was exactly what it needed to be.
I let myself just be with my intention.... I wanted to maintain my Calm, I wanted to keep in a state of Flow but mostly, I wanted to be the energy and intention of Respect.
All that remained was for me to start working  the Living Enlightenment process  and create the context for my day. So here it is, my commitment for the world.
For this week I will:
·         Live Awareness for 80% of my day, no matter what the situation
·         Live Acceptance for 80% % of my day, no matter what
·         Live Calm Harmony for 80% % of my day, no matter what
·         Live Respect for 70% of my day, no matter what.
It should be interesting to see what the universe brings... and how this Respect challenge and my unhooking from the people trap actually brings.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Living through Conscious Enlightenment

Well after almost two years of silence I am back. The years have not been wasted - I have been working on finding a way to create lasting change. My problem was that, after a world record, intense reading and some awesome courses, I still felt like little old me. Yes, I had found empowerment, but it seemed to only exist within the world of diving. I needed it to extend into any moment of any day, especially those moments where life got difficult (you know the one’s, where you get a phone call saying your husband was in a car crash and you feel the floor fall out from underneath you).
I knew that my world record held the key, it felt like a map, all I needed to do was decode it, then I could disconnect it from diving and be able to apply its lessons to my entire life. The result has been not one but two books, Conscious Enlightenment (which describes the journey and lessons I took from my record to create the change I was looking for and is still in progress) and then a work book called Living Enlightenment, which is something anyone can use to develop new habits of awareness and consciousness.
Asides from my world record there have been two other major influences in this journey of mine. The first is a book by the Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness – A Handbook for Living, which was my first real introduction to the concept of Enlightenment and the release from suffering it promises. The second was a series of courses without which I would never have been able to escape where I was. These are the Awareness courses run by Marc Steinberg through his company CCI ( I can say that without those three influences, my record, that book and Marc’s course I would never have been able to get here.
So where is here? Here is a place I call Conscious Enlightenment. I found that the thing I feared most was not being able to control my life and I realised that I never would have control over the events I experienced. It seemed rather obvious when I finally got to this point, I had a lifetime of memories in which there was nothing I could do – watching my mother in intensive care, watching my husband to be battle to recover from his car accident. These were just two of those events where I felt totally lost. Instead of reaching for a therapist, I reached for my life coach and she asked me one question that really hit home, “What do I want? What do I want to be feeling?” In a moment she turned my life upside down. Until then I had always been focused on what I did not want. Until then I had been focused on things and events outside of my life to create a new feeling, a new set of experiences. Now I had no control of the outside world. If I wanted to escape the state of suffering I found myself back in I would need to stop focusing outside and focus on me. It was a scary thought. I did not know who ‘me’ was. I had never been taught to even look toward me for an answer.
That was when I knew what I wanted, the person I wanted to be was Enlightened. For me enlightenment held the answer. If I could just understand how to become Enlightened without having to sell up my life and wash myself in orange on a mountain somewhere.
The end result is Conscious Enlightenment. It is a practice that enables you to slowly transform your wisdom and experience into a series of practical habits with a focus on who you would be if you were already Enlightened. It is not about being Enlightened, that is a state of being I am still starting to slowly accept that one day I may get to, but rather, it is about becoming MORE enlightened.
Who would  you be if you were Enlightened you would be calm, at harmony, kindness, joy, laughter, trust, tolerance ? How would that change your everyday life ?
I wrapped all this into a practice called Living Enlightenment which allows you to start to practice, no matter where you are at. It uses a set of 21 Enlightenment Intentions (which are simple words that you can easily keep in your awareness during the day ) as focus points for creating change. The process leverages the skills I learnt as a Consciousness Couch and is based on the key learning’s from my world record. It is simple, although not easy (creating lasting, personal change is never easy).  Living Enlightenment is about creating choices in any and every moment because it’s only when you realise that you have a choice no matter what the moment that you can truly step into your soul and into your power and that is was Conscious Enlightenment is all about, creating authentic empowerment. 
So welcome to my new project, The Enlightenment Project.