Do you want to create a happy environment? Here’s how…

shutterstock_220749814According to Buddhism, everything around us, our environment – which includes where we live, our work, friends and family – are a reflection of our thoughts, and our thoughts are a reflection of how we see ourselves and everything around us.

Here are a couple of personal examples:

For most of my adult life I believed myself to be helpless in the face of the stuff that life was throwing at me, that others were to blame for my loneliness and unhappiness, and that I was helpless to do anything about it.  As a result, all my relationships, including my marriage, my work and other circumstances reflected that belief.

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The value of disappointments

"This is hopeless! I can't deal it!"

“This is hopeless! I can’t deal it!”

A few years ago you’d have had a hard time describing me as a ‘resilient’ person. When some challenge happened, I’d fret and worry and agonise and fuss – paralysed, unable to move forward or make decisions. Yet, somehow, I did muddle through but I ended up drained and exhausted.

That memory came to me because, lately, life has been hitting me over the head, challenge after challenge after challenge but I noticed that, far from reacting as I used to, I was now dealing with them reasonably calmly and competently, without being blown off course.

The reason I noticed it was because I was in the middle of preparing for my Grade 1 Buddhism exam which actually took place yesterday.

One of the sections explores the principle of how we deal with challenges. The Buddhist phrase goes like this and, though slightly paraphrased, it makes the point. “When the challenges appear, the wise rejoice and the foolish retreat”. Read more »

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How to change relationships

Let me tell you, life as a people pleaser is a hard one. But you probably know that.

The hardest part was when I was with a group of people. I believed everybody probably had a different expectation of how I should be but I just couldn’t figure it out. That was really stressful.

"You should talk! You're the most untidy person I know!"

“You should talk! You’re the most untidy person I know!”

I didn’t become a people pleaser by accident. As a child, it was explicitly drummed into me that I needed other people’s goodwill not only for my emotional but even for my physical survival. Not surprisingly, the idea of conflict absolutely terrified me.

That’s why I’d allow people to treat me in ways that were unkind, inconsiderate and sometimes even hurtful or offensive. I was firmly convinced that, if I tried to say something, they would walk away from me. In those days, that was the worst outcome I could possibly imagine.

I hadn’t been working with Alan, my life coach, long when I was staggered to discover that I was actually educating people in how to treat me by the way I treated myself.

I was intrigued when he introduced me to the idea of setting my own personal boundaries. I had never given any thought to how I wanted or didn’t want people to treat me. I found that process intensely scary because I was brought up to believe that looking at my own needs and wants was selfish.

Even though I had never given a thought to my own personal boundaries, I knew when people crossed the line because of the way I felt – hurt, patronized, frustrated or resentful. Read more »

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How to overcome fear

I recently remembered a particularly difficult period of my life that took place few years ago.

I remember feeling totally overwhelmed with fear, a feeling I imagine you’re also familiar with.  I particularly remember trying to control it because, having reached enlightenment (hahaha!) I knew that fear doesn’t exactly promote clear thinking.  I remember I simply couldn’t think straight.

shutterstock_157192814The problem was that I had no idea how to genuinely let go of the fear apart from my usual strategies, like pretending I didn’t really feel scared and doing stuff just to distract myself. I was very good at distracting myself, not just from all kinds of fears but from sadness too. I wonder, looking back, how I would have survived otherwise. Read more »

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Are you ready to embrace your power?

A long time ago I had a heated conversation with other women friends about the word ‘power’.  They all hated that word. To them it meant ‘power over’ and ‘abuse of’.  I was the only one who loved that word. To me, power means, the power to make a difference, to influence an outcome, to take control over your own life and make things happen.

But, as those women justifiably felt, power can be a double-edged sword but not in the obvious sense.

shutterstock_157192814When you’re powerful you put your head above the parapet, stand up and be counted.

What does it mean to be powerful?

When you Read more »

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The 5 things that need to be in place for you to be truly happy

Many years ago I noticed that, as much as I love buying stuff, it only makes me temporarily happy. One minute I’m ecstatic about my new top, booking my holiday by the sea, the stunning piece of furniture I’ve coveted for months – and then, not long after I got it, the buzz is gone.

And I noticed other things too, for example, everything is going really well for me but I’m feeling miserable. Or things that used to frustrate the hell out of me, no longer disturb this lovely feeling of peace and joy. How can that be?

The words speak for themselves

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