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.