Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Its so easy to be cynical but how about replacing every cynical thought with a positive one just for a few days! Go on, it’s Christmas!

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My best buddy has just arrived from the UK and we haven’t seen each other for nearly two years so blogging is taking a bit of a back seat while we catch up. But I found this lovely article by one of my favourite authors. I hope you enjoy it:

You Were Made For This
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

Author of the best seller Women Who Run with the Wolves

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Here’s a fun exercise to stretch the limits of what you know about your potential.

Is there anything you know you are not good at? Maybe you’ve always been told you can’t sing or draw, or that you’re useless at cooking or you can’t count. So your task for the next two weeks is to choose one thing you have always believed you are not good at and choose to believe that you are really an undiscovered genius. Use every possible opportunity to tell yourself how brilliant you are at art/music/cooking, whatever you like. Whenever you find yourself thinking about it smile to yourself and say “no one knows how amazing I am at…., but I know”. Now for the fun bit – once you get used to thinking of yourself as an undiscovered genius start taking every opportunity to express that genius and marvel at what happens.

Most of the things we think we can’t do are purely based on what we’ve been told by other people. Those people may have been well meaning but they were dead wrong! Every one of us has more potential than we will ever need. Its only our belief systems that are holding us back.

Playing at what you can’t do lets you see that you really can do anything you set your mind to!

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I love this video! I hope it makes you smile like it does me:

Remember – you are always perfect when you are being you!

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I’ve been hearing it for so many years now that I had almost come to accept it as undisputed fact but actually I’m not so sure. Negative thoughts are bad and positive thoughts are good. Sounds obvious doesn’t it?

The thing is that some people are naturally positive and some are naturally negative. Does that mean that negative people are absolutely never successful? I don’t think so. I know some right miserable gits who are very successful and I’m sure you do too!

I think what’s important is what you do with those thoughts.

For example, say you have set yourself a new challenge, a big scary goal. For some people its perfectly normal to set about thinking of all the ways to make it happen. But some people can’t help but see all the obstacles. And often we are a mixture of both but the long list of negatives stops us taking action.

The thing is, it doesn’t really matter where you start, what matters is where you end up.

If you’re naturally a negative thinker then make a list of all the reasons why you can’t achieve something. Round up as many as you can think of and when you run out of reasons keep thinking about it till you have some more. Now you have a big long list, start looking at it critically and for each one ask yourself are they really true. Cross off all the ones that are not 100% true. For example you may have said “I can’t start a business because I don’t have enough money” – ask yourself is that really true? Have you really done your research thoroughly and do you know exactly how much money you would need?

Now look at all the ones that you are absolutely sure are true. For each of them ask yourself what solutions you can think of to get round them. Again, go back to your business idea – now you’ve done your research and you know for sure that you don’t have enough money – but you have quantified the size of the challenge. That’s a huge step towards solving it. Now brainstorm all the ways you could get the money, or think of ways you could start with less, or think of other ways round the problem. Do this with every obstacle you have listed and suddenly you have an action plan!

The thing is that all the reasons why we can’t do things are actually solutions disguised as problems. Its just the flip side of the same coin! If your natural way of thinking throws up problems instead of solutions, go with the flow, use them. Your negative thinking is just as much a useful tool as someone else’s positive thinking if you know how to use it.

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A lot of people ask me why I put so much importance on having a clear purpose and vision underpinning and supporting everything you do, and that this should be in place as far as is possible before you start to take action.

There are so many reasons but I think for me the most important thing is having clarity about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. When things get tough and the Inner Reptile tries to take over, the more clarity you have the more easily you will be able to calm him down and retake control.

When you’re under severe stress you only have access to about 10% of your normal intelligence so its vital that you have a clear and simple plan of action put in place before stress takes hold. Once the Inner Reptile is in charge this is not a good time for making decisions! So if your detailed plan is all there for you, telling you exactly what your next step should be, your chances of making a bad decision under stress are much less.

The problem with the Inner Reptile is he can only ever predict consequences one step ahead. Remember, his job is to save your life in that moment. So dealing with complex decision making is beyond him. Decision making under the Inner Reptile tends to be only about short term survival and often only preserves the status quo. He really only has three possible solutions – fight, flight or freeze. These reactions was developed back before the stone age when the most complex decisions were about eat or be eaten. Its unlikely in a complex stressful situation that any of these decisions are going to be helpful! Can you imagine if the GPS in your car only ever gave you three instructions? You wouldn’t get very far and your stress levels would not be improved! And it wouldn’t do you much good to wait until you were lost to programme it!

Having a definite purpose and a clear vision also means you can keep your eye on the result you want. This means you can stay on track towards your goal, or even if you choose, meander off for a while! Sometimes the direct route is not the most interesting or the most fun, and sometimes life just gets in the way and you have to take a break. Having a clear picture of your destination means you can quickly and easily to get back on track after a detour.

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I’m still squeezing out the very last drops of this weekend so I thought I’d let someone else do the thinking tonight. I’ve found this lovely video which combines two of my favourite things – Buddhism and quantum physics. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

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Its always a great idea to start the week on a high, that way you set your expectations for the rest of it. So here’s a little exercise for this week:


I know that I have the ability to achieve my definite purpose in life,
therefore, I demand of myself massive, immediate, intelligent,
persistent, and consistent action towards its attainment.
I here and now promise to render such action.

I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure,
unless built upon truth, integrity, and incredible value,
therefore, I will engage in no transaction that does not
benefit all whom it affects.

I succeed by attracting to myself the forces that are in
harmony with my vision, and the partnership
and cooperation of other people.
I will cause others to serve me because of my willingness to serve others.

I eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness,
cynicism, anger, and competition by developing
true love for myself and all humanity.
I know that there is an unlimited supply of goodness
in my universe and that a negative attitude towards
others can never bring me success.
I compel others to believe in me, because I believe in them and in myself.

This is my creed and my quest.
To never stop climbing to the top, to always keep growing
and moving forward, to always scale endless peaks of possibility
and to fulfill my destiny.
I KNOW that my spirit’s sole purpose is for fuller expansion
and that I am dying if I am not growing.
Therefore, I learn, grow, and expand my comfort zone each and every day.
I believe in, and commit to progressive advancement, growth and improvement.

I AM the power. I AM the magic. I AM unstoppable. I AM a winner.

I promise to always be true to myself,
because I am a child of the creator and a master of my universe.
I alone am responsible for making a positive difference in the world and to the quality of life in it.
Print this out and put it somewhere you will see it every morning first thing – maybe stick it to the bathroom mirror or put it by your bedside and read it at least first thing every morning and last thing every night as well if you’re serious about changing your personal energy. If you can carry it around with you and read it in quiet moments during the day even better.
And watch what happens!

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When I was growing up I often used to hear the phrase “its not what you know, its who you know that will get you results”. And it was generally said in a kind of resentful way, as if there was something negative about it. The thing is, its neither a negative thing nor a positive thing. It just is. Its a universal law. A bit like gravity, its one of those things that we can choose to fight with, but we will always lose. So why not learn to make it work for you?

If you want to be a dancer and all your friends are footballers, what are the chances of you learning to dance? Pretty slim. Likewise, if you want to learn to be a success in your field and you choose to hang out with people who are struggling like you, what are the the chances of you learning something useful that will help to move you forward? Well, they’re not zero – sure you will learn lots of ways not to do things and that can be useful. But its really slow!

The best and fastest way to learn how to succeed is to spend time with people who are already succeeding and watch what they do. You might think that they won’t want to help you, but the reality is that most successful people didn’t start out that way. They were once where you are now and they know what its like. They know the obstacles you’re facing and very often they have the map to get around them. And there’s a good chance that they will share it with you if you ask them nicely!

OK some of them might have forgotten but most people who are really successful acknowledge that they needed help along the way and are willing to give what they were given. The ones that won’t – well they probably won’t be around long enough for you to need to worry about!

At the same time, you are not going to get help from anyone long term unless you show that you are willing to give back. You might wonder how you can be of help to someone who is already successful. But remember, they are only that way because they do the things that make them successful, and what’s more, they keep on doing them! So you can always be of service to your network. Don’t be afraid to ask them what you can do. Its much better to help someone in the way they want to be helped than to help them in the way you want to be helped! Whether you choose to pay it back or pay it forward is up to you. But true success is like a candle – the more you share it the more it grows!

Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. –  George Bernard Shaw

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Here’s a great story about leadership:


By good fortune, I was able to raft down the Motu River in New Zealand twice during the last year. The magnificent four-day journey traverses one of the last wilderness areas in the North Island.

The first expedition was led by “Buzz”, an American guide with a great deal of rafting experience and many stories to tell of mighty rivers such as the Colorado. With a leader like Buzz, there was no reason to fear any of the great rapids on the Motu.

The first half day, in the gentle upper reaches, was spent developing teamwork and co-ordination. Strokes had to be mastered, and the discipline of following commands without question was essential. In the boiling fury of a rapid, there would be no room for any mistake. When Buzz bellowed above the roar of the water, an instant reaction was essential.

We mastered the Motu. In every rapid we fought against the river and we overcame it. The screamed commands of Buzz were matched only by the fury of our paddles, as we took the raft exactly where Buzz wanted it to go.

At the end of the journey, there was a great feeling of triumph. We had won. We proved that we were superior. We knew that we could do it. We felt powerful and good. The mystery and majesty of the Motu had been overcome.

The second time I went down the Motu. the experience I had gained should have been invaluable, but the guide on this journey was a very softly spoken Kiwi. It seemed that it would not even be possible to hear his voice above the noise of the rapids.

As we approached the first rapid, he never even raised his voice. He did not attempt to take command of us or the river. Gently and quietly he felt the mood of the river and watched every little whirlpool. There was no drama and no shouting. There was no contest to be won. He loved the river.

We sped through each rapid with grace and beauty and, after a day, the river had become our friend, not our enemy. The quiet Kiwi was not our leader, but only the person whose sensitivity was more developed than our own. Laughter replaced the tension of achievement.

Soon the quiet Kiwi was able to lean back and let all of us take turns as leader. A quiet nod was enough to draw attention to the things our lack of experience prevented us from seeing. If we made a mistake, then we laughed and it was the next person’s turn.

We began to penetrate the mystery of the Motu. Now, like the quiet Kiwi, we listened to the river and we looked carefully for all those things we had not even noticed the first time.

At the end of the journey, we had overcome nothing except ourselves. We did not want to leave behind our friend, the river. There was no contest, and so nothing had been won. Rather we had become one with the river.

It remains difficult to believe that the external circumstances of the two journeys were similar. The difference was in an attitude and a frame of mind. At the end of the journey, it seemed that there could be no other way. Given the opportunity to choose a leader, everyone would have chosen someone like Buzz. At the end of the second journey, we had glimpsed a very different vision and we felt humble – and intensely happy.

So here’s the question. Which of these instructors was the true leader?

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