Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Losing my identity

Following a recent birthday, I find myself at that uncertain age.......uncertain because I'm not sure whether to subscribe to the fact that the middle years have become well and truly established. Each morning,the reflection tells me that the years have been kind. But each year I feel my identity slipping away and as if my spirit has found the light.

Identity crisis? Hopefully

Identity is a series of labels... a process of classification. I balk at the labels foisted on to me by society daughter, sister, wife, employee, teacher. People judge you through their own lens which is either rose or grey coloured. There is very little objectivity out there - what one person finds pleasing, others find repulsive and the great majority are swayed by outward symbols.....from the way you dress to the car you drive.

Labelling people is a subtle form of control. Governments do it so that they can keep tabs on the populace. Once labelled, we are forced to act out such roles in order to fit in and have something in common with our neighbour. Keeping up with the Jones's means thinking like them too. Labels pigeon hole us and when we start acting them out, going against the grain of our true nature, our self- worth is reduced.

When I was a wife, I felt as if I had an impossible job description to fulfill (subtly imposed by the HIM in my life).  When I became a parent the process became even more acute. My children  believe that I'll be cooking and clearing up after them until I drop. Becoming a wife and mother means both losses and gains - you gain a family and lose your identity as an individual.
I am more than what you choose to see

Labels beget a range of  unhealthy expectations. When someone has a negative attitude towards you they inadvertently project this. Sometimes we are not strong enough to cast this off and we end up acting out damaging behaviours. You demonstrate your identity in every waking moment according to your inner motivations.

The best thing of all is to lose it. Lose your identity and then re-invent yourself. It will surprise you and others around you. When you take charge of your individuality and nurture it then you make great strides.
Don't let anyone rain on your parade!


Saturday, 15 January 2011

Too Human Planet

The new BBC 2 series "Human Planet" reveals that humans are the most adaptable creatures on the earth. No matter how austere the physical landscape - from the South Pacific to the South Pole - humans  adapt and thrive. Our survival instinct is so strong that we fight against all the odds and, quite often, succeed.

However, there is a dark side. This great skill of adaptability is misused as we succumb to the negative.
 Our weak wills lead us into the paths of tyrants and, true to our nature, we adapt and so become marginalised. Ruthless control freaks disguised as employers, neighbours, mothers-in-law, husbands and even our much adored offspring wreak all manner of abuse upon us......and what do we do?
Do we rebuke them and demand respect? Do we assert ourselves and erect boundaries?
NO....mostly we do none of these things.....we remain silent, hurt and making a good job of pretending that it doesn't matter. Sadly our broken spirits our testimony to this subtle and not so subtle abuse.

 We make prisons of our lives and claim that we're powerless to escape or choose something different - this is how adaptable we are!!!  Many of us have forgotten the dream or believe that it'll never come true.
Global Village
We become conservative and despondent. We accept whatever doom and gloom is foisted upon us by the visual media culture. 

We need to re-connnect with our inner selves and listen to the voice within. Great men and women have always followed their hearts and shut out the negative babble of the "real world". Being real means harnessing our personal power and using it wisely. Let's look up to the best role models that we know - us - let's raise the bar and "adapt" to the best in us.


Friday, 7 January 2011

Teaching the teachers

Has Teacher stopped learning?
Why is it that teachers believe that there's nothing more for them to learn? Who is training the teachers to teach new lessons? Why are schools failing our children?

Teachers, not students, are a real cause for concern. They seem to want to only teach the bright pupils. The middle to low academics are left out in the cold. These young minds who need the most priming are neglected and even abused. Very few teachers manage to inspire or even stimulate their young charges.
Parents are duped into believing that the teacher knows best....and some do....but too often those in the teaching profession have become jaded and cynical. They have the necessary qualifications but something is missing.....compassion and kindness. It's never been on the curriculum yet it has never been so vital in the 21st century. The dearth of spirituality in education is demoralising the next generation.
Removing the joy of learning

To produce an emotionally intelligent society, our teachers must go back to basics. After all, kindness is intrinsic to our inner nature as much as the primeval. Why is it easier to learn negative behaviours rather than positive ones? The answer lies in the way we teach. Much of teaching is empty preaching. We need to live out our beliefs, we need teachers who are activists and role models. We need teachers who teach with their hearts, not just with their heads!


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The value of intellectual property

Priceless asset
Property prices are plummeting or worse still, stagnant. Everyone bemoans the depreciation of their bricks and mortar though I've not seen a lack of enthusiasm in the race to update, renovate and extend.

The property market is an artificial mechanism to distract us from the most valuable property that we own - our minds. Sadly this too is in a state of decline. We have to (or think we have to) digest a vast amount of useless information in order to keep up with current trends. Ignorance is not bliss but a luxury. Choosing to be clueless about social networking, the vast worldwide web makes us pariahs. However, we never stop to think about the cost to our intellects to drink in so much trivia.

Teaching is a profession that requires lateral thinking and use of the imagination. Intellectual property in this sense is a priceless tool to impart to young minds the importance of creative endeavour. Teaching requires dedication and inspiration. It is the true meeting of  ageless minds. So how do we reward the professionals that we nominate to cultivate the next generation? By paying them badly....by making them work ungodly hours and then sending them on a guilt trip for all the holidays they "enjoy".

Anyone associated with teaching knows that the burn out rate is high. Those in power makes beasts of burden of teachers. They place upon them a yoke of responsibility for nurturing young minds in impossible conditions and for little financial gain.

Good brain care is essential
Intellectual property has never been so devalued. I went after a web writing job recently and was offered the princely sum of £2.50 per 350 words. It felt like exploitation.

Sotheby's may not value intellectual property so the challenge lies with the individual - each and everyone of us. We must not sell ourselves short. We need to constantly refresh and protect our minds to maintain optimum levels of thought. Solitude, healthy reading, soft music and open wide spaces foster original thinking. Clarity of thought is our true inheritance. We must feed our minds well and keep them in good company.


Monday, 3 January 2011

Balance? Only for the faint hearted

I purposely waited a few days before posting for 2011 - I'm trying on the new year for size......hmmm....seems a reasonable fit and hope it can withstand the wear and tear of a go getting lifestyle of a roller coasting diva!!

Falling down and getting up - that's balance

Over the years, I've been aiming for a life of balance - work/life, male/female, to be or not to be etc...
Now as the second decade of the millenium dawns I'm hoping for less balance and more focus.
Balance suggests a state of equilibrium but it's an unattainable aspiration -in the vein of marrying a tall, dark, handsome prince or frog. Seeking balance is akin to sitting on the fence - going nowhere fast and watching the world go by. So what's wrong with that?
Balance is living in the comfort zone. Balanced people are not progressive. They play safe and never throw caution to the wind. Successful entrepereneurs and high achievers are anything but balanced. They are obsessively ambitious; they live, breathe and dream the dream. They are not measured in their actions, they are trail blazers and path finders.

Find your Everest and conquer it
If their dream is to scale the highest mountain then that's what they do. If they want to break down barriers and push boundaries there's no stopping them. They do not follow balanced advice. History is littered with the heroes of recklessness and (some might say) irresponsibility: Florence Nightingale defied her father to nurse soldiers in the Crimea. Helen Keller defied doctors who told her parents that she would never lead a useful life as a blind and deaf person. Scott would have never have traversed the snowy wilds of the South Pole if he had been a "pipe and slippers" man.

Balance is unhealthy when it stops us taking risks. All of life is a risk of one kind or another.
Th is year my resolution is to be more of a risk taker. I want to test my mettle.....and why?.....because a balanced life is a life half lived.

Happy New Year!