Monday, 13 August 2018 17:02

Mountain or Molehill?

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
Carl Bard

Who doesn’t have a hint of good old drama queen within them? That inherent ability to blow things entirely out of proportion. I gotta tell ya, I am a mistress of catastrophizing. Kevin in a bad mood? My brain flashes an image of me homeless, alone, filthy, living under a bridge, oh, and with rotten teeth. Thank goodness Kevin is such an even tempered fellow!

So what is this overreaction all about? Dont' know, don't care. Is it possible to change it? From my own experience, I can say a resounding YESSS! To do it, we are going to have to talk about these wayward minds of ours ... and parenting. For most of our life, like bad parents, we have let our minds go where they want and do what they will. That pretty much sums up the average mess we get ourselves into.

As magnificent as these mighty minds of our are, they really, really need a touch of guidance, maybe some training and a hefty dose of discipline. Think two year old left to their own devices. That mayhem? Yeah, that’s your untamed mind.

Generally, experience has a way of keeping us vaguely in line. You eat five ice creams in a row, like you want to, and feel so ill you never do it again. Replace ice cream with alcohol, macaroni cheese or chocolate cake, if that’s your thing. Feedback from outside ourselves can also be a powerful influencer of change. We do something, get a result we don’t like and we learn and adapt our behaviour.

Ultimately, thought is the master of words and actions. If we want to speak and behave differently, we have to think differently. Most of us forget that we think our thoughts and it's not them that think us. It is possible for us to tame our own wayward minds. We can calm ourselves, even when we feel panicked. We can support and encourage ourselves and we are capable of giving sound guidance to ourselves because most of us really do know better when it comes to ourselves.

When we take responsibility for what is wrong with our lives, we stand the chance of fixing it. It’s hard to step up and be the wise parent and acknowledging there is a problem truly is the first step to change.

What do you need to say no to? What do you need to say yes to? How you would rather do this whole adulting thing? Now do more of that. It’s the courage to change that we often lack so remember, you’ve got this. This is not how your story has to end!
Monday, 30 July 2018 10:09

Doing it Differently!

At some point you have to stop acting as though life is happening to you
and acknowledge the ways you are happening to it.
Jillian Michaels

Believe it or not, but coaching clients have been known to turn up at sessions sheepishly admitting they haven’t done their homework. Shock! Horror! It’s a flashback to school days and quite stressful for many people.

At the start of my own coaching journey, I discovered a rather troublesome belief lurking in the recesses of my mind. It was driving my behaviour without me even realising it and ahem, it went like this. If is it not 100%, it’s useless. Lovely! That particular phrase pretty much sets me up for a lifetime of failure. I mean, honestly, how many things are ever 100% perfect?

During coaching, apart from uncovering your own personal arsenal of limiting beliefs, another area we address is challenging the idea that setbacks are a disaster. All or nothing thinking seems to be a universal quirk of human nature. When it comes to our own behaviour, if we mess up, we just know it’s because we are a mess and everything is hopeless.

As magnificent as our brains are, the whole clever mechanism has the tendency to be a teeny bit lazy. Kind of like water, our thoughts also follow the easiest route. The more you think in a certain way, the stronger the habit of thinking in that way becomes. Make an embarrassing mistake? Why, that’s irrefutable proof that you are a useless somebody who will never achieve anything. Get dumped? Proof that you are unlovable.

Should I continue? Nope, let’s not! Let’s not walk this old familiar route and instead try another option. Changing the pattern is all important. From my own experience, be warned, it takes a lot of effort to reroute the convoluted highway of habits in our heads.

In times of weakness, I instantly revert back to old, unhelpful patterns of thought. However, what has changed, and is still changing, is the awareness that this is not helpful. The moment I catch myself, I can choose an alternative approach.

Sometimes we are doing the best we can and we need to remind ourselves of that. In fact, a rather large obstacles to achievement is feeling overwhelmed before you start. Life is not school. Different rules apply. As Najwa Zebian reminds us, these mountains we are carrying, we were only supposed to climb.

Put those heavy burdens down, especially ones that are no longer relevant. We do not have to carry our mistakes, heartaches, fears and disappointments with us forever. Travel lighter. Be willing to try new things and see where a sense of freedom and choice takes you. Go on, surprise yourself! I bet you can.
Monday, 16 July 2018 07:13

The Truth about Love!

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe
is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced
by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
Douglas Adams

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is often an extremely frustrating business. When a person’s brain is misfiring, as my father’s does, it makes connections that have me scratching my head at their sheer novelty and unexpectedness. The rest of the time, life is pretty much Groundhog day. No matter how often the same thing has been said or done, it’s always the first time for the person with Alzhiemer’s. Eish, see how you do around repetition one hundred, never mind a thousand and counting!

However, there’s more to our story than just challenges and lost ground. My dad and I muddle along but beneath the surface, something extraordinary is happening. Like an archaeological dig, as we get our hands dirty, in what really is quite a mess, something magical is being uncovered.

In this weird and wonderful world without rules, everything is welcome. Each moment offers the opportunity for a do-over, a chance to improve on the previous attempt. There is such forgiveness in forgetting. Mistakes are promptly erased and there is no continuity to hold on to. Nothing can be relied on. What worked yesterday is gone today and back next week. Reality is in constant flux and you cannot pin anything down or quite put your finger on it. It’s as if the very centre of gravity, of the world as I knew it, has shifted.

Beyond the superficial frustrations, I’m discovering a world of unconditional love. Love, not based on give and take, but a more enduring, encompassing love that has no language, no rules and certainly no tangible rewards. It’s no longer about making sense of things. Recall and recollection? Nope, not happening. Results and doing? Pretty much a hit and miss affair.

There is space for frustration and exasperation, misunderstandings and disappointments, and also for patience, compassion, love and laughter. This is not going to end well, there is no happy ending around the corner. Instead, these difficulties are the very ground that is nourishing the infinite love at the very heart of being human. There is only this moment, what is happening here and now.

When everything else is taken away, what we are left with is something ineffable, A connection to something very essential to life. Not this... and definitely not that... but very much there none-the-less. It’s a world in which simply being is good enough. Imagine that. A world where it’s enough to simply be, in joy and sorrow, in pain and pleasure. What an awe-inspiring world it is!
Sunday, 01 July 2018 08:10

Hang on.. or Move on?

And once the storm is over,
you won't remember how you made it through,
how you managed to survive.
You won't even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain.
When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in.
That's what this storm's all about.
Haruki Murakami

Here’s some useless information for you. The name Soul Sense Life Coaching had it’s humble beginnings in a rather more earthy side of life. None of this airy-fairy soul stuff, it began with feet. Yes, feet! Back in the 1900’s (haha), after training as a Reflexologist, Sole Sense was born. As the business evolved from a focus on physical wellness to mental and emotional well-being, Soul Sense Coaching arose. Recently, a friend pointed out that with Novus perfumes becoming a most enjoyable sideline, the time for Soul Scents is here! One name, a few tweaks and a lifetime of use!

In this high speed world of instant gratification, going the distance is an increasingly rare quality. In the past, marriages lasted a lifetime and jobs were forever. This is no longer the case. These days, ‘it’s not working for me,’ has become a perfectly acceptable reason to move on and find something better. In fact, fast-paced, busy and the good old ‘undo button’ epitomize the modern lifestyle.

However, every now and then we are given an opportunity to re-look that dynamic. Showing up, staying, holding our seat, all of these offer alternative ways of being in the world. And make no mistake, it’s a different world, one that is no longer about you and what works for you. Putting our needs and wants aside to fulfil a broader, and possibly thankless task, whether for the greater good or not, is a big ask.

When someone close to us messes up big time, they let us down or behave appallingly, it’s hard to know if it’s a time to leave or a time to stay. Without doubt, there are times when leaving is the best or a necessary option, especially if there is any form of abuse or danger.

But sometimes, these challenging experiences take us beyond our capacity as we knew it and guide us towards a deeper and clearer understanding of the limitations of our habitual way of being. A bit like ‘sole’ to ‘soul’ and ‘sense’ to ‘scents’, to go the distance, we may have to give up some ground. We may have to change, adapt, or get creative to work with what we have to make it into something it wasn’t to begin with.

It’s hard. Marriages that heal from infidelity go through this type of process. They are no longer what they were but those differences can be a good thing. It also happens when we have children or care for an elderly or ailing family member, or any experience that has us realizing we are not the centre of ‘the’ or even ‘our’ world. Instead we have fleeting glimpses of being a part of something that is much greater, much vaster, than we ever imagined.

Sometimes to heal a relationship, or the world, for that matter, we may just need to tweak things a bit. An adjustment here and there, a small change that captures a whole new reality. At the end of the day, the story doesn’t end with us, it begins with us. Right here, right now.
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 14:21

Did not Finish?

At some point you have to stop acting as though life is happening to you
and acknowledge the ways you are happening to it.
Jillian Michaels

One of the commentators of the local Comrades Marathon last weekend mentioned that DNF - Did Not Finish - are the three most dreaded letters for any runner to have placed after their name. The Comrades is an epic race with various cut off times throughout the day. If you haven’t passed a certain distance at a certain time you are not allowed to continue. The most hair raising cut-off comes at the end of the marathon. Runners have twelve hours to complete the 90-odd kilometre race. When the twelve hours are up, along with a dramatic crowd cheering countdown, a gun is fired and that is that. If you are not over the finish line, you are a DNF’er.

Can you imagine being a kilometre or two away, or worse, actually being IN the stadium, after enduring an excruciating day of pain and suffering, but missing the final cut off? Truly, the disappointment would kill me. According to psychologist Susan David, that’s because I have dead people’s goals!

When we are not willing to try in case we get disappointed or when we simply don’t want to feel what we are feeling, she reminds us that we have dead people’s goals. Only dead people never have unwanted feelings or are inconvenienced by their feelings in any way. For the rest of us, our strong emotional reactions are a flash-light showing us what’s important to our lives. We feel strongly because we care deeply. It’s what makes life, life.

Whether it's not finishing, not starting or just plain failing at something important, one of the hardest tasks is finding the capacity to endure our suffering. Endure is such an encouraging word. It captures the sense that there is more to you, and to this moment, than the pain - physical, mental or emotional, as the case may be. Some people fall in love, get their hearts broken and vow never to love again. Others fall in love, get their hearts broken and vow to fall in love better next time; to align more closely with their core values and what brings them happiness.

That is what we want to do more of. Use our emotions as data to guide us closer towards who we are and what’s important, rather than as instructions about who we are or how to be in the world.

The same Comrades Marathon commentator mentioned that the night before, she had been chatting to a runner that had started, but never finished the race, ELEVEN times. What an extraordinary example of endurance and resilience in the face of adversity. Seriously dude, respect!
Saturday, 19 May 2018 10:38

Willing to Heal?

Before you heal the body you must first heal the mind.

Human minds are Incredible! Earlier this year, while researching for a blog post, I meandered down a Google-link-clicking-rabbit-hole. I read a range of writers on a whole lot of topics but one sentence stuck with me. It’s a simple sentence that’s had a profound impact on my life.

This happened months ago and when I decided to write on the topic, I tried to trace the original article. Nada, I could not find it anywhere. Searching my history for hours turned up nothing so I gave up looking.

My magnificent brain, however, had other ideas. Like peeling back the layers of an onion, it kept reminding me of some other topic I had researched further back in time. I tried again, found nothing and re-gave up! Lol, is that even a thing? Anyway, my brain didn’t. It kept wondering and trying and one morning I woke up with it figured out. Two minutes on my computer and I found the article.

One of the foundational principles that New Insights Life Coaching is based on comes from a very simple model of change. To change, we have to be unhappy with the current situation. It’s along the lines of, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’. If we don’t want to change, chances are it ain’t gonna happen.

While reading Kristen Brown’s article I had an epiphany! Healing works on the same principle. When it comes to pain-filled emotions, being willing to heal is a vital ingredient. We have to want to change.

I am willing to heal from this. Read that again and let it sink in for a moment. I am willing to heal from this. ‘This’ being anything that is causing you mental, physical, emotional or spiritual pain. How powerful it is to glimpse the healing in the reminder of our willingness, our openness, to the possibility of healing.

It’s a wonderful question to ask yourself and an important one to contemplate. Whether it’s physical illness, emotional devastation, or mental anguish, ask yourself, am I willing to heal from this? For me, the answer is a resounding yes.

In coaching this equates to step one of the change cycle. I’m unhappy with the current situation and willing to change. Step two involves thinking and deciding what to do and how to go about the transformation. Step three is to take relevant action and step four is maintaining the action until change occurs.

When it comes to physical health, healing and cure are not always the same thing. Some things, although they cannot be cured, we can still heal from them. Give your beautiful brain a chance to work on your healing in the background. Be willing to heal and allow yourself the space to figure out what that means for you. You may discover an unexpected gift in the muck!
Sunday, 29 April 2018 18:35

You Didn’t!

Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes... just be an illusion.

The latest in the emotional world is that we are not actually at the mercy of our emotions after all. You are the creator of them, well at least your brain is, according to Lisa Feldman Barrett anyway. She reckons that emotions are our brain’s best guesses according to the information they have to work with. Basically, using past experiences, your brain predicts and constructs your experience of the world. The good news is that we have more control over these guesses than we realise.   

In coaching we explore this concept under the topic of projection. Projection describes the process of how we give meaning to the information coming to us. It’s what our brains do, make meaning out of situations or hazard a guess, if you prefer that terminology. It’s a unique process not without it’s limitations.

Here’s what I mean. Someone says something to you and along the path of you receiving that information, processing that information, and making meaning out of that information, it becomes something else entirely. Sound familiar? Robert McCloskey summarized it perfectly, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Sometimes even when you are really, really sure someone did or said something... they actually didn’t. Or if you think they are a certain way, they’re really not. You just made it up because that’s how we humans roll!

Right so where to now? How do we start transforming our emotional life into something more along the lines of what we want. The bad news? It's not going to happen at the click of your lovely fingers.

It takes effort and awareness to change the meaning you are giving to the sensations you experience and the conclusions you draw and have been drawing since time began. It is, however, possible. If you start paying attention, even to the most obvious triggers that set  off an emotional reaction within you, the insight gained will help you start the process of drawing different conclusions.

So, if you’ve found yourself kissing way too many frogs recently, shake things up a bit. Do it differently. Get curious and see what happens. Say no where you would usually say yes, say yes, when you tend to say no. Give your brain some new information to work with and start believing that you can. It’s as good a guess as any!
Monday, 16 April 2018 08:24

Tighten Your Belt!

When we learn to live without, we discover what we're really made of.
Sarah Arthur

I was listening to a radio interview with Frank Magwegwe, Founder of ThrivenFinancial Wellness on how to survive the recent VAT increase. The cost of living in South Africa is soaring. Food, petrol and tax increases have left many of us wondering how on earth we are going to cope. The radio show host commented that we have been asked to tighten our belts for so long, he didn't think these belts of ours could get any tighter! My word, I can so relate!

Frank gave simple but useful advice on which debt to tackle first, suggestions to reduce hidden expenses, for example, unnecessary bank fees, wasted water and electricity causing higher bills than necessary, and some ideas for finding additional ways of earning income..

One thing he didn’t mention is that for many of us, to really reduce our spending, we have to talk about consumerism. Our urge to buy. Our wanting. The problem with wanting and buying is that it's like using salt water to quench your thirst. Yeah, see... it doesn’t work! Unless we reduce our wanting no amount of buying will satisfy us, at least not for long.

Wanting is addictive. Have you ever had it that you are sitting there, minding your own business, until the idea of wanting something grabs your attention? The moment that thought settles in and gets comfortable, it becomes all you can think about. Most of us go about satisfying our desires by focusing on the object of our desire, be it chocolate, a particular rather enticing person, or a job or car we want.

And so we indulge in the object of our fantasy and sometimes it’s as good as we expected but often there is a niggle of dissatisfaction. The object of our desire doesn’t quite meet our expectation. So we keep looking and trying and buying, hoping to find that perfect moment so we can relax because finally, we have everything we need.

Instead, if we take the time to get to know our desire from the inside, from the point of view of the desire, we start to recognise the addictiveness of wanting. That is what we need to stop indulging. Wanting and dissatisfaction. It is possible to be happier with less, to be satisfied with what we already have. For most of us, enough really is a lot less than we think.
Thursday, 29 March 2018 04:58

More of Less!

Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony;
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein

I’ve been an absolute tosser this week! Like a new broom, I have swept through the house passing on anything and everything that is not being used or is no longer needed. One good thing about living in a humid climate is that it puts paid to any urge I might have to keep something for, you know, just in case.

While I don’t have a sentimental bone in my body when it comes to ‘dust-gathering, mildew-forming stuff’, not everyone has the same approach. For those of you reading this and thinking, hrmph, she really doesn’t understand how hard it is for me, I have a confession to make. A pro at tossing ‘things’ I might be, but when it comes to relationships, I hang on like a ship captain going down with the Titanic! Letting go of people is a concept I’m not sure I fully understand.

That said, I’ve been mulling over the whole holding on / letting go dynamic. I don’t think it matters so much WHAT we cling to, the bottom line is that most of us are clinging with all our might to something. If it’s not stuff, or a particular person, it can be our identity, reputation, job or even past hurts that we find impossible to leave be.

Most of us are familiar with the anecdote of catching a monkey where a monkey’s greed is used to trap it. A treat is placed inside a container with an opening big enough for an empty monkey hand to pass through. However, once the monkey clutches the treat, his fist can no longer pass through the opening and volia. By refusing to let go, the monkey is trapped.

So how do we coax ourselves into loosening our grip when we really, really most want to hold on? I got to tell ya, this is one place where I’m a pretty big fan of avoidance! Buy less. Consume less. The earth and your budget will thank you. And yes, it’s a lot easier to let go of something you are not holding on to in the first place. I’m just saying!  

When it comes to relationships with others and with ourselves, learning to love with an open hand takes some doing. In a recent article on letting go, Pema Khandro, points out how we keep postponing our acceptance of this moment to pursue reality as we think it should be. It is a powerful question to ask yourself in moments of uncertainty. Am I postponing acceptance of this moment to pursue reality as I think it should be?

This habit of pursuing reality as we think it should be is at the root of what traps us. As we learn to let go, it’s surprising to discover how little we actually need to be happy.
Thursday, 15 March 2018 03:12

Middle Ground!

Unless there is within us that which is above us,
we shall soon yield to that which is about us.
P. T. Forsyth

It was market day and I Kevin and I were in the midst of a difference of opinion. We sell perfumes at a local Craft Market once a month and this particular morning it was raining. Kevin reckoned it would work for him to stay home. I reckoned it would work for me if he came along. ‘What we need’, I announced snippily, ‘is a solutions that doesn’t actually work for either of us and makes neither of us happy!’  Lol, isn’t that just compromise in a nutshell!

These sorts of issues come up often for clients during coaching sessions. Whether it’s a choice they are making that will affect someone else, or someone else’s choice impacting on them, finding a middle road through these differences can be challenging. In fact, differences in general are pretty challenging.

So what elevates compromise from out the ground of concession on either side, a kind of tolerating our differences, to something loftier and more meaningful? As I recently learned during my run in with equal rights in communication,  there is a big difference between tolerating someone’s point of view and respecting it.

To really respect something we disagree with, we have to give up some ground. We have to let go of an ideal and instead meet the situation, and our needs, as best we can under less than ideal circumstances. Fortunately, as Madyson Grace reminds us, grace works best on messy people.  

One thing we often lose sight of in a stand off, is that our happiness is often a result of someone else’s happiness. When we do good, we feel good. Simply witnessing a friend's delight in a gift we have given them fills us up inside in a way that looking out for ourself doesn’t. In the same way, if what we are doing is harming someone else, it generally doesn’t sit well with our soul.

A grumpy husband hanging around with me for the whole morning? Oh my word, can you imagine! Instead, we compromised. The market is around the corner from home so Kevin helped me set up, pack up and manned the stall when I needed a leg stretch. My needs were met perfectly. He was happy because, in between helping me, he managed to get a whole lot of his chores for the weekend done. Despite my dire predictions for universal unhappiness, we ended up two happy little campers with a pretty good win/win. Nice to know it's possible!
Thursday, 01 March 2018 07:15

A Ghostly Perspective!

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
C.S. Lewis

Without wanting to make light of something that has been right up there in terms of painful experiences of my life, I have to say, being ghosted by my bestie suits me! Abandonment is a universal fear and few, if any, of us get through life unscathed. This experience has been such a reminder of how deeply painful rejection is.

Much of the personal growth work we do in coaching explores the concept of who we are. Not from the perspective of ‘who I am’ in terms of habits of the past, but looking more at ‘who I am’ truly within myself.  An entire session is dedicated to identifying your core values. These are the inner qualities that are most important for you to cultivate in your life.

Knowing what is important to us is a crucial process. This knowledge becomes a guiding force in how we react and respond to the experiences and challenges we face. Oooo, I want more anger, despair and shame, said no one ever! This gives us a clue that happiness lies in a different direction.

For me, gentleness and kindness were Galadriel’s light in a place where it seemed all light had gone out. Gentleness, in the midst of things going horribly wrong, is awe-inspiring. The urge to shut down when we are hurt is strong. Staying true to your core values in hard times is like finding a doctor with a good bedside manner when you’re in pain. It heals your body, mind and spirit and strengthens you in unexpected ways

Another coaching tool that is helpful when dealing with rejection is to write a goodbye and thank you letter to the person who has hurt you. The idea is to focus on someone who has challenged you... and not necessarily in a good way. Relating to a difficulty from this perspective shifts the balance of power. It gives you the space to express yourself and that can help you release what you are holding on to.  

The choice to communicate or not is a basic human right. Whether you send the letter or don't is an individual choice, there is no right or wrong. Sometimes writing it is enough. This is particularly useful in situations where the unfinished business is with someone who has died. I chose to communicate, the friend ghosting me chose not to. Equal rights at it’s darndest!  

In one of the exercise DVD’s I workout to, the instructor asks a lady in the group how she is doing. ‘I’m feeling it,’ she replies. I’ve got to tell ya, I can so relate! However, as hard as it has been, there’s surprising strength coming from the peacefulness of a gentle heart and mind. When the rug is unceremoniously pulled out from underneath you, it’s very gratifying to discover a new centre of balance, one based on your personal core values. It turns out, happiness truly is an inside job.
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 12:55


Courage will now be your best defence against the storm that is at hand.
J.R.R Tolkien

I got ghosted. At my age! Who knew such a thing even existed? I certainly didn’t until it happened to me. What was even more startling was discovering just how many people experience this. Seriously peeps, what on earth?  

For those of you lucky enough to not know what I’m talking about, (and I truly hope you never find out), ghosting is the act of breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact without any apparent warning or justification, as well as avoiding and/or ignoring and refusing to respond in any way to the former friend / partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.

It’s not only in romantic relationships, it happens in friendships too. Remember the agonizing wait at school, wondering if you’d be picked for the team? Yeah, well this is worse. Having been through it, I can only say it is so, so painful. Rejection in any form is difficult, but to have someone you love and trust simply vanish from your life without warning is devastating.

Most of us are guilty of slowly withdrawing from a relationship. Life happens, it can be an argument, a breach of trust, or just plain busyness. We take longer to reply, say less and don’t engage as much. Ghosting is different. Communication simply ceases. No explanation. No warning. Like a sudden death.

Should this happen to you, hold on to your hat, it’s going to be bumpy. In fact, get your helmet on, the shock and disbelief will knock you off your feet. One of the most painful adjustments when someone we love dies, is getting used to the loss of contact; their presence, their voice, the very fact of them being ‘there’, in your life. Ghosting takes us on the same journey but with the added burden of knowing that this person is CHOOSING to ignore you.

It’s treacherous ground and all too easy to fall into the rabbit hole of ‘why?’. Why would they do this? What did I do? It’s a riddle you will not be able to solve. At least, not without the other person’s input... and you are in this mess for the very reason that you don’t have their input.

It's a Catch 22 and the road to emotional hell. Get off it! Be Gandalf facing the Balrog in Lord of the Rings. Stamp your foot and do not allow the monster of anger, blame and shame to overwhelm you. You. Shall. Not. Pass!

Not knowing why can be frightening but self-hatred and blame will only weaken you further. Do your best, it’s hard. Instead, familiarise yourself with the reality of not knowing. Sometimes we discover an unexpected peacefulness when we simply acknowledge the uncertainty of not knowing.

Now, is a time for kindness. It’s kindness you needed from the person ghosting you and it‘s kindness you need from yourself. Life is full of hard stuff, the world is filled with people doing terrible things to each other. Your task is to make sure you do not become one of those people.
Monday, 29 January 2018 18:49

Say It's So!

It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.
Virginia Woolf

This should not be happening. It’s not fair. This can’t be. I’ve been reading about Day Zero. Cape Town is running out of water and Day Zero is the anticipated day in April when Capetonians will open their taps and nothing will come out. Every fibre of my being believes it’s simply not possible for such a thing to happen. And yet it IS happening.  
Never mind the news, life these days is becoming an exercise in disbelief, or is it just Facebook? This cannot be true. They can’t do that. How could he/she/they? As Eric Barker points out, we kind of know the world is not really a fair place... until something unfair happens to us. Then we experience an indignant outrage that is unable to believe what is happening.  
In Life Coaching, much of goal setting is based on the idea of writing a personal ‘fairytale’ for ourselves. We fabricate an ideal picture in our minds of how people, ourselves, and the world should be and we then we go get it. And why not! It’s wonderful to feel so empowered and in control. It’s nice. Reality, however, isn’t always nice.
The problem comes when we start relating more to our idealised version, our personal interpretation of reality, rather than to reality itself - reality being what is actually happening in the moment. It’s an interesting dynamic, one that finds us arguing with reality. A lot. We feel justifiably entitled to our happy ending and when we don’t get it, it can be a shocking and frustrating experience. Byron Katie summarises it beautifully, “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time.”
There is a fine line between unrealistic fears and unrealistic hopes, and between taking responsibility and being alarmists. The truth is, there are some experiences we are not going to come through intact. Sometimes, we are not okay, things are not okay and there is no miracle coming to save us.
At these times, a willingness to face the situation is our best hope. We may need to assume the brace positions and prepare as best we can for what is coming. Even when we don’t know what exactly is coming.
If we can relax, (and this is the hardest part), into the feeling that I am not okay and that things are not going to be okay, we give up the make-believe image of an ideal self in an ideal world. Without this fabrication, we face the true situation more directly. This gives our awareness, and intelligence, the chance to step up and guide us in coping with this particular very real moment.
Monday, 15 January 2018 08:47

Welcome to the Jungle...

All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Mother Goose

Have you ever had one of those experiences where the rug is suddenly pulled out from under you? It happened to me over Christmas. A dear friend, whom I speak to on pretty much a daily basis, was visiting South Africa on holiday. We hoped to meet up in early January. Not only have we not met up, I have not heard a word from them for the duration of their trip. Not a word. Now, while there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation, the complete loss of communication damn near broke my heart.

This is essentially what ‘rupture’ is all about. Reality, as we know it, is disrupted and we find ourselves struggling to accept a change that has already happened. We are not given options, there is no room for negotiation and sometimes the most painful part can be this very inability to accept things that are beyond our control. Life is incredibly hard at times. Welcome to the Jungle.

Some ruptures are far more brutal than my experience over Christmas. The sudden death of someone you love, the diagnosis of a life-changing illness, a car accident or the moment  you catch your spouse cheating can tear the fabric of your existence in a way that, rather like Humpty Dumty, you never can quite be put back together again. At least not in the same way.

Coming at the end of a difficult year with far too many losses already, my life coaching hat was decidedly crumpled. While slumped in front of Facebook, feeling very sorry for myself, I came across an article by Sylvia Boorstein titled, Restoring the Mind to Kindness. Her words were a soothing balm in the midst of the bewildered disbelief I was feeling. “Sweetheart, you are in pain. Relax. Take a breath. Let’s pay attention to what is happening. Then we’ll figure out what to do.”

A lot is contained within these few sentences. No matter what pain we are enduring, a warm-hearted acknowledgement of our suffering is immensely strengthening. Taking a breath helps reset the current operating system, so to speak. It reminds us that there is more to us and to our story than this raw pain. Pain is pain, but paying attention to what is causing the worst of it, makes it easier to figure out what to do about it. Sometimes the ‘doing’ is nothing more than not being mad at ourselves for feeling what we are feeling.

There is a saying from Milarepa, a famous Tibetan Yogi, “The precious pot containing my riches becomes my teacher in the very moment it breaks.” Sometimes, it’s the same with broken hearts.
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