Saturday, 29 October 2011

I came to win!

Why are we here? It’s a question that has plagued the great and the good – philosophers, poets, peasants and princes?
We have come here on trust. Someone has enough faith to know that we have a contribution to make in this precious place known as life. Of course we have never left. Life is a constant so we have come from somewhere, sojourning here and then we will move on.

It doesn't get much better than this!

Faith tells us that each of us has something we must do that cannot be done by another. The task, whether it be small or great, cannot achieve the correct result if done by another.
Therefore, however you do life, know that you are imperfectly perfect. Everything is in order except for one thing – the way we think – that’s where the greatest errors lie.
It’s taken me awhile...about 40 understand that I came to win. My life is the one race I’m finishing in style –but it’s not the rat race I left behind years ago.
On this particular leg of the race, I’m spending time doing some un-thinking:
You think you’re here to be like everyone else – no way.
You think you shouldn’t rock the boat – certainly not – sink those titanic doubts and surprise yourself with a new venture.
You think that you’re missing out when you don’t have or want what others have – that’s plain crazy – a designer kitchen never made anyone the quiet moments.

The greatest tragedy lies in our belief that we are here to please......keep everyone the bridge over troubled the shoulder to cry on.

We may find ourselves embroiled in scenarios where we are called to any or all of these things but when it becomes wearing to your spirit then it’s time to have a time-out.
The un-thinking process
No one  has all the answers; we’re all stumbling around in the dark until we notice shades of enlightenment penetrating the shroud that is life.
If your life’s too busy you won’t see them - so un-busy yourself fast! 

Busi-ness is not conducive to free thinking but solitude and a little bit of minding your own business will de-clutter the mental recesses.

Although we may want to help relieve another’s distress, we must feel strong within ourselves to do so. Too much relief can deplete our spiritual resources and you’ll know when it’s time to rest those tired  muscles. Hydrate yourself with confidence and bask in new found self esteem.
Spending alone time means that you become clear about why you’re here and when you must conserve or expend your energy.  You are not here to get too comfortable or live in state of abject discomfort. Leaving aside our bodies we have to be in emotional equilibrium.

When your mind gets stable and your heart moves past its bruises you’ll know what you’re here for and this will be your mantra:
“I came to win, to thrive, to prosper, to fly....” – oh yes I did! sense of worth - yay!

Winning is more about losing......losing those negative thoughts and people who constantly undermine your creative endeavours.

Winners are quietly heroic – they don’t get stuck – they may   limp, crawl, shuffle yet they move forward.....even if others think its at a snail’s pace.
Winning is a high risk strategy
Thriving is to know that you’re in process. Your mission is not yet accomplished so live each day with purpose.

It may not be your last but this day might be the last time you get a shot at making time for something or someone that you love.
To prosper is reach first base but to not rest on your laurels until you’ve reached the final destination – “don’t settle, stay hungry” is the unique philosophy of Mr Innovation himself – Steve Jobs.
Feel as high as a kite
To’s glorious release from the tyranny of your lower self.....when sweet wisdom (and uncommon sense) burst the banks of resistance within you’ll  be soaring.

You were born a champion and only when you believe you'll see  it so share it with the world.
Keep on running and see you at the finish line!


Monday, 24 October 2011

Generation A* is born

I need a dollar...a dollar is all I need

The current trend of high academic grades is a sure sign that we are raising super bright children….or at least if school league tables are to be believed , many a scholastic institution harbors prodigies and boffins. To herald the new era of super braindom,  the humble A grade of yester-year has now been elevated to A*.  This suggests that our schools are filled with future inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs and intellectuals – ho hum!

Just following the A*s!
The straight A* student, who may tick all the boxes in class, appears no different to the average teenager– sleeping late and forgetting things – not to mention spending an age on the telephone and computer – but they are. They are able to retain a vast amount of information and reproduce them under examination conditions to achieve perfect marks. Education is making  “sheep” of our children as they are herded to their books, munching through facts and figures by the noble shepherds and shepherdesses in charge  of their academic diets– their teachers and the government.
Intellectual indigestion
 A* students are top of the class and teacher’s pet. Schools are ever keen to track their achievements  so that the league tables are glowing. Headteachers are now keen marketers of their top tier students.  If you’re a middle grader  - Mr/Miss Average- pressure upon pressure is piled upon you to see if you turn that C into an A*.

Children today have to attend after school / lunchtime sessions in order to be stretched upon the rack of education. Their heads are stuffed like turkeys for Christmas. Most parents don’t understand enough about new education policies so they’re unable to challenge it. Those who do end up with low self-esteem about their child’s efforts and their parenting.  If they don’t keep up with current trends they’ll be left behind and their children will become the untouchables of the system.
I know children with A*’s who can’t even tie their shoelaces! They have poor practical skills and poorer social skills. It doesn’t matter ‘cos  Generation A* don’t have a life and they keep the wheels of competiton turning – even if it means competing for a nervous breakdown! The word on the street is that we should aim to be like them but blending in with the A* crowd is not my idea of getting ahead in the world.
Less education more fresh thinking
Believe it or not, Generation A* have less than developed thinking skills. They wouldn’t survive in the jungle and they’d certainly never be able to put up a shelf. If you’re seeking hands-on people then think again. They don’t have much independence of thought since they look up to authority and rarely question it. They are fodder for dictators who know that these guys will just follow orders.  They are obedient and never break or bend the rules.  Breaking a few eggs to make an omelette is entirely foreign to them!
A* Career progression
It’s important to note that great men and women in history did not have formal schooling. They were often home educated and thereby their original and independent thinking did not suffer. Annie Sullivan did not tell Helen Keller that her disabilities (of being blind, deaf and dumb) meant that she had special needs and could not become a valuable member of society. Abraham Lincoln was not a particularly bright student and Einstein was not force-fed a diet of planned lessons and study skills.
Schools have a habit of breaking you in and down-  “Do you know you have the lowest grades of the entire year group?” “Do you want me to come down to your level – which is bottom of the class?” These put-downs do nothing for motivation and certainly kill a lot of enthusiasm. Emotional abuse is the elephant in the classroom; everyone sees it but no one knows how to remove it!
When I grow up I'm going to get some fresh air
Our children don’t want learning for the sake of acquiring grades. The want learning for the pure joy it brings. The purpose of education is for the refinement of the mind and to keep our mental engine firing on all pistons. The human mind is adept at learning and not just what’s in a class room. Today’s education in schools is damaging to body and spirit. It steals precious hours of childhood when kids should be outside playing in the fresh air or bonding with their families. Generation A* are huddled over their computers worrying about time management and their “to do” list.
DO NOT DISTURB - A* brain at work
If we look at the state of the world then we know that Generation A* are no more brighter than their forefathers. The more the world changes, the more it stays the same. We’re no closer to achieving  world peace or eradicating hunger. Generation A* are not schooled in common sense or even uncommon sense – I acquired mine from the school of life.
Your real education starts when you leave school and begin the world. To face up to challenges means going through a process of unlearning. One that’ll stick in your throat is why you – a student with a smattering of A & A*’s – is working for a C student who made it up the ladder to become your boss!??
Most adults will tell you that they can’t remember a thing they learnt at school. School was just a holding centre to prove to the government and your parents you were doing something useful.  When I look back on my school days I remember my feelings of despondency at the fact that I was just a number – a good student – but still a nobody.
Stand up and be counted
Forget what you learnt in school and always remember that you are unique and called to do something remarkable. You are special and you’ll know that once you leave school and see beyond the assessments and regulations –  a star will be born – once you let  the light of your spirit shine.


Monday, 10 October 2011

How clean is your house?

There’s a great amount of media space devoted to having a clean and tidy home. We are bombarded and seduced with images of designer spaces with pristine interiors boasting the latest sleek furnishings and gadgetry. I’m no exception I love poring over interior design magazines and, deep down, I’m a frustrated make-over artist.
Cleanliness is next to godliness they say. I’ve had a love affair with the vacuum cleaner over many years. My children, when babies, were lulled to sleep by the familiar whirr of the motor and it’s had a vital presence in my life. By no means am I a neat freak. Despite all my efforts my home is not overly tidy though secretly I yearn for it to be so. It is clean but in order for it to be functional, inevitably, it becomes messy.
My home is lived-in so nothing that looks tidy at the outset stays that way. Another obstacle to my  style of home maintenance are my family. They don’t see the need for a place for everything and everything in its place. So…the sellotape will be on the book shelf, the kitchen scissors in the living room, piles of paper mushrooming on top of every clear space. Sometimes I’m as guilty as it can seem an arduous trip downstairs to replace the scissors. Mr Sheen and Mr Muscle are welcome at my home but they’d better not take up residence! 

Clean-a-thon : if cleaning were a sport then men would compete for it!
The only thing I truly hate is slovenliness – throwing dirty clothes on the bathroom floor (when there’s a basket nearby), a pile of unwashed dishes, unmade beds and unflushed toilets. These dispiriting chores  imply that you can’t be bothered to clear up after yourself and you’d rather leave it for someone else. Of course you can hire help but why can’t homes be self-cleaning like ovens?
Clean your mind
An immaculate home for me is a distant dream and I wouldn’t have the energy to make it a reality. It has nothing to do with affordability since money can buy all manner of perfection but more to do with comfort. To create and maintain a spotless home you have to be obsessive and have duster, broom, vaccum cleaner, squeegee and bleach at the ready. I’d rather clear my mental space.
That’s discomforting for someone who’s main aim is to make the people living there feel valued. My son recently broke a pane of glass in the living room window and, though I was none too pleased, I did manage to say that, to me, he is more important than the window.

People who strive for a perfect home can end up alienating their families through their endeavours. There are endless arguments when it comes to stains on carpets,  dirty finger marks on the paintwork, grease in the oven and scratches on the table. We often have a nice home to show off – the “ hey look what I’ve got “sort of mentality.
Keeping up with the Joneses’ is wearing to your body and spirit.
I can't look this gorgeous if I clean all day!
We were not put on this earth to clean! Indeed we are blessed if we have a home to call our own and clean. We have come here for a higher purpose and to achieve much more than bricks and mortar. Our home is not our mission statement though an unacceptably, dirty home is a reflection of our state of mind. Of course, once we clean up then there is some sort of mental refreshment so cleaning begets clarity.
We put in so much effort to our exterior environment but not so to our interior space – our minds, hearts and souls. These can be much neglected in a clean home.

The other issue is how we protect our space and I’m not talking burglar alarms here. Our home is our psychic space and we should guard it well against false friends and those who come to disturb our peace. Our home must be warm and welcoming so that we (or guests) never have to worry about creasing the cushions or spilling coffee on the carpet.
Don’t waste precious hours polishing and dusting if there’s life-changing work waiting.
On their deathbed no one ever cares about the state of the bathroom. 
When cleaning becomes a compulsion it’s the sign of a troubled soul.
When this happens…stand back…and put your soul on a spin cycle and hang it out to dry in the wind
By all means clean your home and design your life. You should know that respect is an important feature in your home as the dado rail. Love is the best décor and it comes in every colour.
There will be conflicts but they must be chiseled and sculpted with forgiveness and the cracks in realtionships plastered with kindness.
The question is not so much how clean is your home but how clean is your heart?

Instant cleanser


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pushing through the pain barrier

A stiff upper lip
Pain is something we’ve been programmed to avoid. We’ll do anything to not feel pain. But from a pain in the neck to the pain in our backside – pains are recurring.
Life is pain. People are the cause of many of our pains. If only pain could stay firmly on the plain!
Pain travels – through our minds and then through our bodies until it takes up full residence. The bravest among us push themselves to the limit and that kind of pain can be a gain.
Working out in the gym to be well toned; slaving over a hot stove to perfect that dish; stuffing your head full of facts and figures to pass exams; bearing up under pressure – it’s all painful.
Some of us a have a low threshold of pain and some of us can be pushed beyond tolerable limits. Women are known to be able to bear a lot of physical and emotional pain.
If we had any sense we’d make pain our friend. This is something that has been with us since the dawn of civilization. We’re no stranger to it and yet we break into a sweat whenever it gets near.
Someone who has pushed through the pain barrier – instead of coming to an abrupt stop in front of it is - the explorer – Aron Ralston. Though you might not know his name you’ll know his story. He was the subject of the film – “127 hours” which was a harrowing depiction of his attempts to free himself from a half ton boulder that had trapped his right arm. 
Naturally, the pain he endured was searing and, after, 127 hours alone in the Utah desert he did the only thing possible to save his life and that was to cut off his arm. I squirmed when I first read this and I lovingly stroked my arms feeling blessed that I had had never to face such a dilemma.
The stomach churning process was carried out by first using his body weight to snap the bone and then using a pen knife he sliced his flesh until he was free…..leaving his arm lifeless under the boulder.
This is a man of true grit and he describes the moment of amputation as “the greatest joy and happiness ever felt”. Minus his arm, he remains stoic about his experience:”I don’t regret losing my arm. I know what’s important and what I’m capable of.”
Ralston  made a successful crossing through his fear zone. Fearlessness has now transcended into joy. He lives in the place where there are no fears and would that we could too.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are
Pain strips away the layers of ego. When you’re in pain you’re as humble as a beggar. In pain, you reach out for relief and solace. When you have someone to share your pain with you don’t really confront it. In fact, you often over-burden others with your pain and it multiplies – for you.
A shot of courage
Ralston took a pragmatic approach and finding the root of his pain…cut it off. That’s what you have to do. Find the root cause of your pain and destroy it. It’s not enough to face your fears; you have to choke the life right out of them. Pain helps you do that. When you accumulate too many pains you’ll wrestle with them and then kick them in the butt.
Courage will come to your rescue in your darkest hour just as it did to Ralston.