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Entries in choice (19)


Noticing the noise.

These days, I wake up at 4am and savour the moments of bliss before watching, noticing, observing my Mind fill with noise. 

When I had small babies, I would lie awake for hours worrying about getting enough sleep, raging against the lack of sleep I was able to get, fearing the daylight hours, fearing the night hours too. Getting up to a child in the night meant being awake at least 3 hours ... and it was making me sick. It wasn't the lack of sleep, it was my Mind keeping me awake and making me sick with worry, rage, frustration, fear. 

By accepting my being awake in the early hours, I have come to treasure it as a moment when my Mind is clear and less noisy than "usual". I get up and write, or read or research or listen to the gentle silence in my mind. 

Of course when the noise begins to take over my Mind, I notice I feel the need to get moving, do things, start on the list I want to get through for that day.  That noise is what I now recognise as anxiety in my Mind

Notice, I don't say "anxiety in me"?

My Mind and my Self are different: my Self is calm, centered, clear.

My Mind is full of noise: crazy stories, thoughts, judgements, ideas, fears, conversations had, conversations that need to happen, to-do list items, random sounds.  That is what I observe... when I step back from my mind and notice. 

This morning, for example, I noticed how I think about my ability to speak French as "intermediate", "it will never be more than that" and "I am intermediate or average at everything I do and have always been". I noticed these thoughts and wondered  "Really? ... where does this stuff come from?". 

These limiting thoughts are fairly benign: they relate to a skill that does not make or break my day - although has definitely led to all manner of frustration over the years!

But what if this kind of thinking is prevalent in other ways in my Mind ... and even more crucial, what if I am actually listening to it, believing it, holding it to be a truth, and living my life as if it's true?? What are the consequences of seeing that noise as a real part of me? 

These days I notice the noise and see it as separate from Self. These days I label it as noise, acknowledge its connection to the anxiety I feel, and accept that it is something I carry with me that does not define me. It is NOT me (Self), it is my Mind - that is all. 

Naming Mind and Self as different is a freedom we all have, if we choose.

Noticing the noise is a significant step to seeing the separation between Self and Mind and to reducing both anxiety and depression. 

When you listen to your noise, what do you notice?



A step towards self-care.

Is it at all familiar to you? … the moment where you start to wonder if you are going mad or “losing it” because you no longer appear to be able to handle the pace of your life, you feel like crying or hiding away somewhere dark and private? It's a sign that your self-care needs ramping up. 

My work over the past few weeks shows that this is a feeling familiar to a lot of people.

I want to let you know now that you are not going mad. You might indeed be losing it – but we need to look a little closer at what that means … 

We need to begin by understanding what you are trying to manage right now, what is on your jobs list, what are your responsibilities, what are you carrying with you from the past too (because the more you are carrying from back then, the heavier the load right?).

We might even write it all down … to see it all there on paper, to recognise that it takes a while to get it all in print because there is so much of it.

And let’s be expansive about this. For example, if you are simply going to work each day and coming home, eating dinner and going to bed then perhaps you are assessing your life as pretty much what it's always been. But to get the full story you will need to go a step further and write about whether you like your job; you are eating in a way you want to be eating; you are sleeping a full night; you are waking up feeling refreshed from sleep and so on.  

Once you have your list and have expanded on it, take the time to look at the list and ask yourself “what else is going on?” – this will help you understand that while the day-to-day activities may not have changed or increased a great deal, your response to them has. 

Start by doing just this, for now. It’s enough.

To begin being conscious of what your life involves (not just the activities but your feelings and responses to them) is a step in sorting out why you feel like you are losing it/not coping. 

It’s a step towards self-awareness and self-care. 

Any step in that direction is life-changing. 



It's spring ... somewhere.

After more than 7 years in the northern hemisphere, I appear to have suddenly reverted to living my home (southern) hemisphere’s seasonal pattern. The planet’s south has passed the magical date of 1 September and launched itself into spring. That means the north is on it’s way into autumn – not exactly the traditional time to begin the behavior of ‘spring cleaning’.  It appears to be part of an elaborate plan of resistance to taking back my “old” life in an effort to have more of what I truly want and less of what I have settled for. 

I am clearing, cleaning, culling, washing, airing, tidying, and making space between the stuff. I am recycling all manner of work-related paper that I was sure I would ‘do something’ with one day. I am vetting carefully the social engagements I accept.

I am choosing nothing over 'something' ... instead of settling for less-than. 

I have to admit that, aside from a few attempts in the area of spring cleaning (even on-season), I haven’t done this properly in years. I put it down to a recently restorative two week holiday where I didn’t cook, clean, grocery shop, do laundry, organise a babysitter, follow a routine attend social events or work.  The holiday created space for awareness and reflection – for detaching from my life.  

Post-holiday, I feel a strong resistance to falling back into the old way simply because it was “the old way”. An automatic response that pre-holiday was simply there – perhaps even something I would have labelled ‘natural’- is no longer the leading force in my actions. 

Instead, there is a delay … a moment when I find myself thinking “umm is this what I want? Is there a better way/different response/alternative thinking I could be using? Do I need this in my life? Is it bringing me closer to Self and the ones I love? Am I living my values” 

Of course it’s not a sweeping change. It will come as no surprise to you that there are times when I just do it the old way because it doesn’t feel like there is time to suddenly create a new one. Other times I choose to do nothing instead of just doing the same ole, same ole.

There is a very strong sense of coming up for air – from daily life, from habit, from a kind of sludgy place where I always felt I was struggling to keep my head above water. 

For years, when asked what I want I would respond “a simpler life”. Now I feel like I am creating it. 

Why did it take me so long?

I suspect it comes down to letting go – to just simply having the chance to STOP and step back. Doing nothing of the normal allows us to reflect on the ways we normally spend our time and energy.

It's spring somewhere ... 




Setting your GPS for a destination YOU want.

Quit being shocked or disbelieving about where you are in your life.

You can no longer remain surprised at where you've ended up in life if your GPS is set for a destination completely different from the one you want.

Many of us can remember a time when we (sort of) knew what we wanted. We had ideas about how life would and could be. We set about making plans for reaching those would/could places. 

Perhaps along the way we got distracted and drifted away – from ourselves (who am I?), our purpose (what am I doing here?), how we want our lives to be (what do I want), our plans, our relationships, our children, our family.

... Now we feel isolated and alone.

We wonder how it happened and we assume that ‘they’ have changed, or there is something wrong with us that is making them distance themselves from us.

We wonder how we got off track, how we started to wobble, how we stepped out of the light.

Yet Self and connection, the light and balance is all a choice away. Choose to listen to your Self.

The answers are not elsewhere – ever!

When you focus within, you connect to Self.

When you connect to Self, you plug in to the combined energy of the universe.

There, you will find what you are looking so diligently for outside of yourself.

Begin today ... by sitting quietly with your Self for a moment. Ask the big questions: 'what do I want", "where am I going", "who am I".

Do it regularly - just for a minute.


Use what you hear to adjust the settings on your GPS and begin moving in a direction you value




Values provide the strong base for goals

If you want to achieve something in your life ... something meaningful, something that you value, you are going to need to get to know yourself properly. 

To "know thyself" you need to figure out what matters to you, what you feel is important in your life.  

Understanding what your personal values are - not those of your parents, partner or friends - is a key to hearing your own voice, knowing what action to take and how you want to behave. Once you know your values you can set goals that are congruent with them and take action that matches those values (valued action).

Through aligning goals with our values, we are genuinely inspired to find the energy and persistence to go after those goals with our whole heart.

With our values as the basis of our motivation, we can be clear about the 'why' of our choices.

This motivational knowledge is key to achieving goals that may at times be long and difficult, and require extra determination and perseverance to achieve.  Knowing which values are being served by the action you take:

  • you'll endure higher levels of pain and pleasure in their pursuit
  • you will have more patience and persistence to go the distance 
  • you'll believe in yourself and your ability to reach the goals
  • your internal experience of your life is significantly more positive and rewarding

Living in line with your values leads to all sorts of positive, enjoyable results such as feeling like you are on the 'right' track, supporting and growing your self-esteem, reducing internal conflict, clarifying how you live your life and what you do each day.

Values knowledge = intention/goals = action/behaviour

When our values and our behaviour are congruent, we set goals with our highest values in mind, we see the greatest opportunity to live the life we value and we are inspired to do things that count.

So what are your values?