We’ll be moving to the cool new Born Happy towers in the next couple of weeks. It’s been so exciting to see how many of you are planning to join us – if you haven’t yet, then you can sign up below to keep up to date with all the news!
So who is coming for afternoon tea?
Well, the list seems to be growing by the day (word of my cake spreads fast!) but here’s a taster of just some of the people who have RSVPd so far:
There will be a luscious podcast of me asking the very smart Jamie Smart questions about life, the universe, his book Clarity and everything.
Mr Awesome himself (Michael Neill, obv) has said he’ll be happy to do another interview – and I’m going to be all efficient and actually manage to record this one. Oh and did you catch his recent Tedx Talk Why aren’t we awesomer? (it’s awesome!)
Derek Mills, author of the gorgeous book The 10 Second Philosophy – he talks about coming from our TrueSelf and he gives a beautiful take on the same place the principles are pointing towards.
Yes! There’s incredible talent lined up to craft guest blogs, podcasts, cartoons, videos and all kinds of things. I won’t jump all over you with too much excitement at once so I’ll tell you about a few of these people now and I’ll save more for my next post:
‘An afternoon tea with…’ podcast session with Dave Booda. He describes himself as a ‘teacher, writer and musician’, he’s basically a rock star of the coaching world.
Piers Thurston is an uber-experienced coach and has that rare skill of putting across complex ideas in a brilliantly relatable and engaging way.
Absolutely fabulous coach Katrina Bygrave is going to be guest blogging about her journey through counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP training and then the big reveal… the moment she met the principles behind the happiness that had been inside her all along.
Phew! It’s fast turning into the love child of The Huffington Post and the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness – I’m not sure I’ll need ever write a blog post myself again!
What’s the deal… why this way and with these people?
That’s like trying to explain the choice of the vanilla essence, flour and baking powder – the magic is in the mixture! I just knew I wanted to create something with sparkle and POW! plus a few rough edges and juicy bits to keep things exciting and lo… the requisite ingredients are pouring into the bowl. It’s been a bit Mary Poppins-stylee actually: things are coming magically to life and fitting into place all by themselves!
I’m not going to lie to you, this might not be for everyone… Born Happy will be an amazing collection of people from a multitude of walks of life, the only commonality being that they’re sharing their own understanding of the principles which create our inborn happiness, clarity and calm – all in their own 100% authentic and inimitable way. There’s bound to be some swearing, silliness and high jinks – I can’t wait!
There’s no script and there’s only one rule: Born Happy is a technique-free, improvement-free, personal-development-free zone because it’s all about the perfection that’s already inside all of us.
Is there more…?
Oh yes! Loads more! Next time, I’ll tell you about the exciting range of downloads and goodies I’m busy creating – they’ll be the perfect intro for someone who is new to the principles and they even come packaged up in a cake tin (sadly only virtual but the contents will still be delicious!)
And keep your ideas coming – everything that’s happening has been inspired by YOU, so please post your ideas or questions in the comments below.
p.s. If you’d like to be involved, please do let me know!
p.p.s. SQUEEEEEEE!!!!! I can’t wait to see you all there… this is going to be SO much fun!
This will be one of the last times we’ll speak here in the cosy home we’ve built at the Three Principles Blog. *sob* In its short life, you’ve visited us in your thousands, you’ve generously shared posts and you’ve made comments which have touched my heart and made my mind tick. And we’ve met lovely people who have come over to introduce themselves in ‘real life’ (whatever that is… blogs don’t tend to get out much).
Thank you so much, you are awesome and so appreciated!
It’s time to give you something more (you are SO worth it)
The Three Principles Blog is transmuting into something bigger, better and all round oomphier. Like, a whole lot oomphier.
More exciting, energetic, or sexually attractive.
What does this mean for YOU, dear reader?
Our new home will give us the room for:
More blog posts
Guest blog posts by cool dudes who understand the whole inside-out thing
More interviews with amazingly wise people – and in podcast format too so you can listen whilst you travel
Guides for newbies to the principles which will answer all those sticky questions (“What IS Mind then?!”, “How do you know that our default is clarity and happiness?”, “How is this different to <insert therapy of choice>?”) that you can share with your friends and family without them worrying you’ve been brain-washed by a cult
And coming soon…
An app (I know – exciting, right?!)
Courses (virtual and fo’ reals)
All sorts of other marvellous things and… whatever else you tell me you want!
Most of all, it’ll be a place that you know you can always turn up for a warm welcome, a virtual cup of tea and cake and somewhere you can immerse yourself back into the utter loveliness of the principles.
And it will be sparkling with sprinkles of that happiness we’re all born with.
Don’t turn up to the empty house after the movers have been
Just enter your details below and you’ll be the first to know that we’ve rehung the bunting and we’re ready to chat in glorious technicolor, surround sound, Dolby stereo.
I do hope you’ll join us as it wouldn’t be as much fun without you (although it would mean more cake for the rest of us).
Your wish is my command
Oh and it would fabulous to know what you would find particularly delicious going forward – hit me with your delectably burning questions… tell me who you’d most like to see me do a ‘Tea, cake and principles’ interview with… let me know the format (podcast, video, blog post or something entirely new!) you’d most like to gobble up.
So just leave me a comment and tell me your wish.
P.S. Did this tickle your fancy? Be cool and share it please
grounded (ˈɡraʊndɪd) adj 1. sensible and down-to-earth; having one’s feet on the ground
And when people speak about someone being ‘grounded’ from a principles perspective, they’ll be referring to how well (i.e. clearly and deeply) that person understands how they’re creating they’re experiences via the principles. This groundedness usually means that that person is compassionate towards themselves and others, is calm about life’s ups and downs, and tends to communicate more authentically and therefore effectively.
I’ll start with a disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of the term ‘grounding’, the way I hear it used often suggests a permanent destination, a goal or some kind of grading system which to me is SO not the point (and yeah, I know that’s just my thinking)! Instead, I tend to speak about seeing the principles clearly, and the moment to moment nature of that clarity.
But we’re friends, right? I’ll use ‘grounding’ because it’ll save you from having to read a whole chunk of words to replace it all the way through this post.
This isn’t a one-time deal
It’s truly a moment to moment thing. I recently heard the utterly wise and wonderful Judith Sedgeman talk about grounding thus [I'm paraphrasing here as she talked brilliantly about this for several minutes]: “It’s simply about having peace of mind in the moment.”
The most grounded of people can have moments of brilliant wisdom and humbling compassion but can have other moments of mortifying awfulness – it’s just that the more clearly one understands the principles, the less those awful moments occur. And the less they’ll mean anything or feel mortifying.
Fundamentally we’re all working the same way: all of us experience moments of high consciousness and moments of low consciousness, and all of us are feeling our thoughts – that recipe ain’t going to equal a lifetime of non-stop deity levels of splendour, it’s not meant to, we’re here to be human (although it’s astounded me how the human existence can be sooooo much happier, easier and richer than I ever believed was possible).
So, in conclusion: a grounding is just about how clearly and deeply one sees the truth of how we all create our experiences of life. Seeing that now you see it, now you don’t – and seeing that in itself, accepting that unacceptable paradox, is part of seeing the whole.
So what IS the big deal about the Holy Grail of grounding then?
It’s that grounding is as close to a magic bullet as it’s possible to get.
Want to get clearer on your purpose? Get a deeper grounding.
Want to have a better relationship with your partner? Get a deeper grounding.
Want to be less worried about money? Get a deeper grounding.
Want to be less stressed? Get a deeper grounding.
Want to be more confident in your work? Get a deeper grounding.
Want better sex, an Aston Martin and to lose the muffin top and/or beer belly? *holds the mic out to the crowd* Get a deeper grounding.
It’s not that a deep grounding provides all of these things out of the box, it’s just from that place of having clarity and peace of mind – all those “How do I…?” questions just get answered. Or often, they just don’t seem to need an answer because the question becomes unimportant once the insecurity driving it has fallen away.
Man, I know it can feel frustrating when you just want a cheeky technique, a tricksy tip or a guide to ‘Improving your sex life in 5 easy steps’ to solve your problems but really and truly, you KNOW by now that those feckers never really work – not for long anyway.
The gift that keeps on giving (but only if you notice it giving)
Your grounding will serve you over and over again in every situation, in every walk and every age of life.
Sounds too good to be true? I guess it kind of is if you’re expecting to see the truth of the principles once and for that glimpse to be enough to transform your life for the rest of your days. If you bounce off joyously into the the world full of people who think that we work outside-in, never thinking about or speaking to anyone about the principles again, chances are your understanding isn’t going to be as clear as it could be – i.e. you’ll feel less grounded.
Simply put, this is an understanding that grows clearer and deeper the more we look in the right direction to see it. I love the way Michael Neill talks about it as “…staying in the conversation”.
Make the time to be still and to listen to your wisdom. Notice how thought is the ever present factor in your every experience. Speak to a deeply-grounded coach or a facilitator. Gift yourself the time to step out of your day to day life and to immerse yourself – retreats and immersion days (unsurprisingly) are fabulous for this. Just follow your wisdom and see where it takes you.
There’s no end to seeing new things about the way the principles create our reality. I nigh on had my head blown off with an almighty new insight at a recent retreat and it’s given me a depth of understanding that I didn’t even know existed.
So you’ve had that life-changing realisation (or a series of mini-realisations) of…
“Woah! I’m NOT my thinking, I’m just the awareness of my thoughts! Nothing ‘out there’ can make me feel anything!”
…and now you’re now wafting about, loving the planet and everyone on it? Your spouse’s discarded socks and tissues are no longer having a fingers-down-the-blackboard effect on you, those old issues with your boss seem laughable now you see that the stress was all made up by your own thinking, and your children’s dinner-time foibles are actually quite charming instead of chimp-tea-party challenging.
By my reckoning, that gives you a week, at most, before you start panicking that those lovely feelings, all that compassion, calm and happiness, are going vanish as fast as they came.
So will it ‘wear off’?
Mmmm… yes and no. No, it can’t go anywhere because it’s a fundamental and inconvertible truth about how your mind works but yes, your thought in the moment can make it seem like it you’ve just gone and misplaced the best thing you ever had.
Sometimes, you’ll forget your thinking is just an illusion – how very human of you – and when you do, your feelings will look like they’re coming from the outside world. You had a lifetime of thinking that things happen that way around so it’s not surprising that sometimes you’ll flump back into that comfy old Chesterfield Armchair of Thought with the perfect view of a widescreen television that’s hitting you with the drama of guilt, blame and fear in glorious and convincing Technicolour.
How do I stop that happening then, Dagnammit!?
You can’t but you don’t need to – a two-sided sword of frustration and a relief if ever there was one.
Sometimes you’ll take that ol’ armchair seriously and you’ll be glued to that TV, feeling every emotion as coming entirely from the drama on the imaginary screen, maybe you’ll do that for hours or even days at a time but there will be a moment that you’ll see it all for the illusion that it is and you’ll hear yourself saying ‘Nothing real to see here, move along.’ and the armchair will vanish in the haze.
So, how will I remember it’s an illusion?
You can remember by remembering your true self – the perfect, still awareness behind every thought.
Sometimes, you might find that just reflecting on the infinitely powerful source of thought is enough for you to remember that there’s a whole lot more to life than an itty bitty, fleeting thought in each moment.
Sometimes you might go for a walk and soak up the miracle of nature – and realise that it’s the same awesomeness that’s creating our experience of life (that one blows my tiny mind over and over.)
Sometimes you might immerse yourself in the wise words of Syd Banks or another teacher, your coach or a friend who will remind you of the truth.
And sometimes… Boom! Your incredible, innate wisdom will just trump illusory thoughts.
So Thought is the enemy, right?
Nope, we are designed to be in and out of seeing through the illusion of our thoughts – without it, we wouldn’t be capable of having that gloriously messy, sexy, fabulous, confusing, icky and meaningful experience of life that is being human.
Thought is the friend that will be with you your whole life so enjoy it, feel it, experiment with it, play with it, create with it, see through it and laugh at it. When you do that then you might not feel blissfully compassionate, calm and happy all of the time but life will just feel more comfortable (and that’s waaaay more comfortable than the cosiest of armchairs.)
I’ve seen a glut of articles on mindfulness recently, which can sound similar to the Three Principles, as can ‘reframing’ (basically changing negative thoughts to positive ones) and I’ve also seen suggestions to combine the two approaches.
Inside-out isn’t a technique – it’s how you already work
The ideas are pointing in the right direction – looking inside for answers, instead of blaming circumstances or other people – and they can work well for some people for some of the time, but it’s not showing the graceful ease with which we can live our lives once we let go of focusing on what thoughts and feelings we’re creating and start looking at how we’re creating them and where it all comes from (of course, exploring the ‘why’ will take us into mind-blowing realms that will require we stay up until the early hours whilst lining up empty red wine bottles.)
We don’t need to focus and practice being mindful of the present moment and we don’t need to change our thoughts. Why would we when at the core of every one of us is perfect mental health, wellbeing, happiness and calm? The design is perfect, it comes with peace of mind and mindfulness as standard, we just misunderstand that.
It’s really really not real
That moment that we recognise that the reality in front of us that looks oh-so-real and the feeling that feels way-flipping-painful are just something we’ve conjured up all by our own sweet selves via our thoughts is the moment that we see that a) We’re incredibly creative beings and b) There’s a whole lot more to life than that ONE thought in that ONE moment.
Sometimes that’s a ‘Woah! This changes everything!’ lightbulb moment – it was for me (my full story is here but I’ve knocked up this picture for those of you who like the visual.)
For some people, it’s a gradual realisation that their beliefs, worries, fears and insecurities don’t need to rule their lives because they’re all just thoughts in the moment. One by one those thoughts drift away all by themselves. As those thoughts fall away, we’re left naturally with peace of mind and thoughts of the present moment.
And then what…?
Life goes on, stuff happens, our moods go up and down, new thoughts flow in – sometimes ones that we don’t enjoy feeling – but knowing this is all that’s happening and that the design remains perfect, means we’ll see that we don’t need to do anything, think anything, learn anything, practice anything or change anything to fix it.
Right now, in this moment, you’re already perfect.
I see other people’s Facebook posts where they’ve posted something like:
“Your life is AWESOME right now – you just don’t realise it because of your own THOUGHTS!”
And then I see their friends are upset by the suggestion that serious issues like depression, grief and addiction can be just swept away with the ridiculously simple realisation that it’s all just down to thought.
And that’s totally understandable, this stuff IS ridiculous in its simplicity.
I remember when I first came across the 3Ps and it was pure slapping-of-the-head levels of duh! How had I missed something so basic? I’d wasted years of my life bitching and angsting (and seriously, I took angsting to a world-class standard, as my story of fifteen years of chronic pain shows) about nothing other than my own made-up thoughts.
The science bit
These conversations often result in debates about the cause and effect relationship between addictive personalities, the brain, depression, hormones, the amygdala, neurons and drugs but as much as we all adore playing amateur psychologist, it’s not getting us any closer to anything that feels like truth or to anything that makes a damn difference to our own lives.
For what it’s worth, I know a long-standing principles teacher, a doctor, who has talked to a large group of ‘brain experts’ (surgeons, scientists and the like) about the principles and they were getting the logic of it, no problem. They had no issues with the whole ‘feelings come from thoughts’ thing. Likewise, the psychiatrist and psychologists who talk about the 3Ps in their work.
If you want to find out the truth for yourself, maybe the most illuminating path would be to look to yourself for the answers. Don’t fall back on half-remembered A-level psychology, don’t hang on to the words of evangelists (except mine, obviously), don’t defer to the ‘experts’, don’t grasp onto the hand-me-down ideas that you’ve spent your life accepting as facts, instead look to your own experience of life as honestly and openly as you can and then see what that tells you.
Yeah but what if something really annoying happens, like.. uh… getting a parking ticket?
So today I got a parking ticket (the things I do for the 3Ps Blog, right?) and knowing that any anger about it would be coming from my own thoughts, meant I could smile at the parking warden and say “No worries, you’re just doing your job.” when he apologised very sweetly. We drove off (me and the children, not me and the parking warden, he wasn’t that sweet) with the children taking in turns to clutch the ticket like a trophy.
It’s not just the parking tickets of life that this thought-feeling connection holds true for. I’ve experienced bereavement, physical pain and all manner of other ups and downs in life, and my own experiences convince me over and over again that this is true – I can honestly say that I’ve never been aware of a time when my feelings haven’t been coming from my thoughts. Knowing that has settled me down, it no longer makes sense to angst about stuff when I know the only stuff that exists is my own thoughts.
It’s Depression Awareness Week (26 April to 3 May 2014) and the point of it is that people who aren’t aware of depression become aware of it and better understand it. Given that the vast majority people have either suffered from it themselves or will have a close friend or family member who has, I’m not convinced that there’s many people who won’t already be aware of it but… the wonderful thing about weeks like this is that they prompt people to talk, not just of issues, but of hope and help.
First, let’s check that we are aware of depression
Here’s the dictionary definition:
Depression: severe, typically prolonged, feelings of despondency and dejection.
No surprises there, right?
What might surprise you is that the ‘feelings’ in that definition come from the same source as every other emotional feeling we are capable of having: from the happiest feeling to the most despondent feeling. In every case, feelings come from the same place – not circumstances, not past events, not other people – just our own thoughts.
A BBC survey on mental health showed the more that people thought about past events, the more they were likely to suffer from mental health issues, such as depression. Peter Kinderman, who led the study and is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool said:
“The study found traumatic life events, such as abuse or childhood bullying, were the biggest cause of anxiety and depression when dwelled upon… …But these didn’t merely ’cause’ depression and anxiety. The most important way in which these things led to depression and anxiety was by leading a person to ruminate and blame themselves for the problem.”
We have no real choice about the thoughts that come into our minds – we all have funny thoughts, depressed thoughts, scary thought and joyful thoughts – and we will all feel those thoughts. We’ll feel funny, depressed, scared or joyful for as long as we hang onto the thought which created the feeling.
The sixty four thousand Dollar question…
In pretty much every first coaching session I have with a client, we’ll get to the point of the client understanding that their feelings only come from their thoughts and then ask…
How the flipping heck do I stop thinking myself from thinking a thought then?!
And it’s a very good question. At this point, clients will be waiting expectantly for a brilliant technique that will kill all known yukky thoughts. I don’t have one… but the fabulous news is that we dont need one.
It’s just a thought
We’ll stop thinking a thought by realising it’s just a thought – and no more important, real or true than any other thought – and then noticing it drift away. As old thought flows through our minds, new fresh thought is always there to flow in. I know that sounds, rather paradoxically, both far too simple and far too difficult but I’ve seen people transform from decades of depression to a happy life purely from understanding this, as is shown beautifully in This flower has bloomed, the story of a lovely lady who recovered from almost an entire lifetime of depression.
Usually the easiest way to get an understanding of the principles is through a one-to-one conversation with a good Three Principles coach, teacher or facilitator (and I’m always very happy to recommend someone if I’m not the right girl for you) but there’s also lots of brilliant 3Ps books and movies which can be a good way to start exploring, the Finding out more page lists lots of these resources.
Maybe reading this will be the start of someone else’s story of recovering from depression. Maybe it’ll be their time to bloom. Maybe you could share this if you think it might give someone hope and help.
A conversation about the Three Principles with Michael Neill, internationally renowned success coach, best-selling author and all-round being of awesomeness. He has spent decades as a coach, advisor and friend to celebrities, CEOs, royalty, and people who want to get more out of their lives.
So, the plan was to record the hour long interview that Michael kindly granted the Three Principles Blog and yep, you guessed it… epic tech fail… nothing was recorded. I’ve done my best to capture as much of our conversation as accurately and faithfully as I can but please accept my huge apologies that you won’t be getting the full measure of the magic that is Michael.
How do you see the Three Principles as being different to how you used to work? Michael:This may seem a strange metaphor, but I used to think of myself as a preacher in search of a gospel. I knew I was really good at getting a message across, but I was always looking for a better message. So at first, when I came across the principles, I thought I’d found my “gospel” – but then I realized what I’d really found was the source of gospels. So instead of preaching great ideas, we’re pointing to fundamental truths. Unsurprisingly, it’s a lot less “preachy” and a lot more useful. There is a deeper intelligence and energy behind life. We experience it via thought and we’re aware of it through consciousness. That’s it. What you do with those truths is entirely up to you.
They never get to see that the healing force is inside all of us. It’s a preexisting part of the system.
Do you still use any of your old techniques in your work now? Michael: I can’t remember the last time I’ve used a technique. It’s not that techniques are bad or wrong or never work – it’s just that they often get in the way of what’s really possible. And that’s from someone who used to be the go-to guy for techniques. If you needed a six-step process, I’d give you a choice of three – and if I didn’t have one I’d make one up. But when I saw the transformations that were happening when people got an insight into the principles just through conversation, I got really curious about it.
The problem I’ve found is that when you help someone with a technique, they always think that it’s either the technique or you that made the difference. They never get to see that the healing force is inside all of us. It’s a preexisting part of the system. So it’s like if you want to teach someone that the body is designed to float, but you also throw them a log they can hang on to in the meantime, people tend to grab the log and think that’s the only thing keeping them from drowning.
One of the things I love about the principles is that they don’t tell you what brand of beer to drink, or who you should date, or whether you should change jobs or exercise more. They’re a description of how life works versus a prescription for how life should be lived.
Which thoughts, if any, do you still struggle with?
Michael: I’d say the thoughts I struggle with the most are the ones I don’t know are thoughts – they still look like part of reality to me. That’s just the nature of the game – at times we fall for the illusion, and at times we wake up to the reality of thought. What understanding the Three Principles does for people is give us an insight into how the human experience is being created from the inside-out, moment by moment. And seeing that makes the highs and lows of our experience gentler and easier to bear.
One of the things I love about the principles is that they don’t tell you what brand of beer to drink, or who you should date, or whether you should change jobs or exercise more. They’re a description of how life works versus a prescription for how life should be lived. There’s so much freedom in that, because life is about so much more than trying to get it right.
I love the way wedding vows talk about “…for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live..” That’s just strikes me as true of the human experience – we’re here for all of it, not just the bits we know we’ll like. We don’t go to the movies and then run out at the scary parts (well, not usually!) – we’re there for the whole experience. Or like going on a roller coaster – we don’t try to negotiate with it and say that we only want to stay on for the the high points and then get off. We’re in it for the ride – the ups and downs, the scary twists and turns, the whole experience.
I still have new insights but they’re smaller and they tend to be about thinking in my own personal life
What would you change about or add to about your wonderful book, ‘The Inside Out Revolution’? Michael: It’s been just over a year since the book was published, and then a couple of months ago I recorded the audio version and was delighted to discover that there was nothing in it that I didn’t agree with or was inclined to say much differently now. I think that’s partly because I waited to write the book until the changes to the way I was seeing the principles began to slow right down. When I first became a student of the principles, I’d see them differently every week, but after five or six years there was a certain constancy to what I was seeing. I still have new insights regularly, but they tend to be about things in my personal life rather than the things I write about in the book.
We hear of those big sexy transformations… …and if you think this is going to happen for you in a certain way and you’re waiting for that then you’re not open to anything else that could happen.
What do you think is happening for people when they’re trying to understand the 3Ps but are struggling?
Michael: This may sound paradoxical, but it’s hard to see something this simple. So if you come to the conversation with a mind full of intellectual questions, or you really really really want to find the solution to a problem, or you’re looking to spot the hidden technique, then you’ll miss the simplicity of what’s on offer.
People hear about those big sexy life transformations, the binary shifts, the big insights when everything changes in a moment, and they’re holding out for that to happen for them instead of just listening. So they don’t notice all the small insights they’re having and they think nothing’s happening and they get discouraged and think “this isn’t working for me – I need something else or something more.”. That’s why I always tell people that the most important thing is just to stay in the conversation. If your mind is open and you don’t have too much on it, you’re far more likely to hear something new.
…the fundamental truth of the principles can’t be changed or diluted
What are your thoughts on the way awareness of the 3Ps is growing?
Michael: I think It’s great the way the principles are getting out there, being copied, being repackaged, even being argued about – they’re all signs that this understanding is becoming a part of the world’s consciousness. But I also think it’s important to make a distinction between the 3Ps as a community and the principles themselves. The 3Ps community, like any community, is going evolve. It will go through changes, and some of those changes might look horrible for a while, and then something new will emerge. It’s a natural evolution. But the fundamental truth of the principles themselves can’t be changed or diluted. They are constants in an ever-changing world, in the same way as electricity, magnetism or gravity are. So personally I don’t worry too much about the way it’ll spread. What changes the world is seeing the truth behind it, whatever you wind up calling that truth and however many different ways you try to describe it..
If you could ask Syd Banks anything, what would it be?
[Michael is silent for so long pondering this, I was about to check I hadn't cut him off] Michael: If you asked me this question again in an hour, maybe my answer would be different, but right now, I don’t think I’d ask him anything, I’d just want to spend time with him. People who knew him have described him as this incredible presence to be with, so I think I’d would just like to spend some time with him and enjoy the feeling rather than asking him anything.
Thank you soooo much, Michael!
If you’d like to know more about Michael then check out his website Supercoach where regularly shares his gob-smacking wisdom and he offers raved-about coaching and training courses. And no library or Kindle collection would be complete without his book The Inside-Out Revolution – it’s soooo good that I often recommend, lend or give away copies of this book to clients (but I always keep my signed copy to myself!)
How important is it to you to keep things in your life clean and tidy? Your home, your garden, your car, or your appearance and that of your children (and maybe even your pet, if you have a almighty furball of a cat like mine)… keeping them free of dirt, germs and mess because of the affect not doing so could have on your health and happiness.
I’m guessing that you place a lot of importance on those standards and you prioritise the way you spend your time and energy so you can uphold them. Yeah?
So is your mind a gleaming palace of love or a manky den of fear?
Yes, we’re living in our physical surroundings but far more importantly in terms of our health and happiness:we’reliving in the feeling of our thinking.
Happy thought man by Karen Salmansohn
What we think about is what we feel, what we think is what manifests in our lives and we can’t achieve anything worthwhile without having thought about it first.
Is your mind a place where thoughts of anger and resentment dwell? Is it somewhere that fearful and stressful thoughts are welcomed? Are guilty and shameful thoughts given the red carpet treatment?
Or do you see that no matter what your physical surroundings are and despite how others are behaving, that’s nowhere near as meaningful to your health and happiness as your own thoughts?
That’s not to say we should judge ourselves when we’re feeling fearful, stressed or any other painful emotion, it’s far more useful just to notice that it’s all just coming from thought and we have powerful choices about our own thoughts.
Yep, you get to choose…
We have little-to-no choice about what we think but we do have a choice about whether we take thoughts seriously and hang onto them. We can allow fearful thoughts to clutter up our mind like they’re something big, real and heavy or we can see them for the lighter-than-a-dust-mote thing that they are and watch them drift away. Isn’t that a beautiful thing right there? There’s no need for elbow grease or brillo pads to scrub thoughts away because our minds come with a self-cleansing design – to switch that feature on we simply need to realise that we have it!
That we create our reality through our own thoughts and that gives us choices about our reality is the most inspiring, powerful and yet simple truth known to humankind. It’s a truth which will have been known by the all great people in history including Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, Da Vinci, Nightingale, Carnegie, Curie, Ford and Jobs… as well as thought leaders alive today.
“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs
You are creating your life one thought at a time – what kind of life is it?
How a nursery run gave a powerful lesson about consciousness in less than five minutes…
Does this kind of morning sound horribly familiar?
My five-year old son, let’s call him Mr F, had woken us all up earlier than usual that morning. My three-year old, let’s call her Lady A, is usually all sweetness and light but she loves her lie-ins and so was tired, grumpy and generally at her most Attila the little Honey that morning.
So back to the fated nursery run… she wasn’t happy with the way I’d put her in her car seat, the fact she had to be in a car seat, even the fact that car seats had ever been invented. And I was in a hurry as I had a client coming for an Immersion Day that I needed to get back to prepare for.
Yep, that kind of morning.
The gem that lies beneath
My own awareness of consciousness meant that I didn’t take my daughter’s words or mood too seriously. When we know that others are tired, in pain, ill, hungry, hormonal or in any other way physically out of sorts, or even just in a ‘bad’ mood when the cause isn’t clear, it’s helpful for us to bear in mind that their consciousness is likely to be lower. In these moments, they’re less able to take their thoughts lightly and they’ll be less aware of other perspectives, so it’s helpful for us to keep that in mind and not take their behaviour in those moments too seriously or personally.
So, I continued to feel and show love and warmth towards the absolute gem of a girl who I know was lurking beneath her costume of grouchy thoughts and her cloak of grumpy behaviour. I’ve got plenty of practice of recognising my daughter under layers that don’t look like her, given her penchant for eclectic outfits involving Spider-Man costumes, tutus and fairy wings. But it works the same way with all of us – that diamond is always there, glowing away inside, however weird, unreasonable or awful the costume looks - the behaviour makes total sense, given the thinking in the moment.
When we’re able to reconnect to our love for the diamond inside the person, the feelings become warm and the right words to say to them will find themselves. It’s rarely in the words anyway – the feeling does most of the work on its own.
Our smile is always there, hiding in plain sight
As we got onto the road (note for the health and safety conscious ones amongst you: with Lady A safely strapped in) and the warmth of feeling was beginning to thaw her mood. She told me she was trying to be happy again but couldn’t find her smile. Aw!
I said: “When I can’t find my smile, I remind myself that sometimes I can smile so widely that my cheeks tingle, sometimes I can giggle so much that it makes my tummy ache and sometimes I can laugh so hard it makes people around me burst out laughing too. When I remember that I don’t worry about finding my smile because I know it’ll will come back when it’s ready… just like it always has.”
Lady A: “Mmmm, but I still can’t find my smile!”
Me: “When I notice I’m still thinking about my smile being missing, I sometimes notice that there’s lots of other things that I could be thinking about. I might find myself thinking about how much I love you, Mr F and Daddy.”
Lady A: “…and Beatle and T-Rex [our cats]!”
…and I caught a glimpse of her grin in the rear view mirror
So that could have been a nice, neat end to this post but no, the universe had more to show us.
The one about the rat trying to cross the road
Literally just after that exchange, a rat legged it across the road in front of us, being the animal-loving tree-hugger that I am, I did a nifty swerve and brake to avoid it [at this point of me telling him this story, my husband gave me a lecture on road safety].
Cue uproarous laughter erupting from the back of the car at the thrill of our rally car ride around the rat.
Stop the search and open your heart
How fleeting our moods, thoughts and feelings can be – when we don’t try so hard to hang on – by analysing, focusing on, looking for an explanation for and ‘working on’ – the ones we don’t enjoy.
When we stop searching for our smile, we’re open to it slipping back in again without us even noticing.
When we just sit back and enjoy the ride, we’ll have our eyes and our hearts open for whatever’s going to come around the corner – be it rat or rainbow – and we’ll give it whatever meaning we choose.
p.s. I was waiting for the time and inspiration to write a post about the illustration above – how fabulously serendipitous that this story which explains the Mouse and Mountain metaphor so perfectly, involves another small rodent?