How is Christmas for you?

I wonder how Christmas has been for you.

Christmas can be beautiful, intimate and magical, and also awkward, disconnected and even haunting… and sometimes both at the same time, or just somewhere in the middle, rather dull and flat, with lots of TV and social media!

How was it for you this year?

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How can I fulfil my potential in Life?

Once you have satisfied your basic needs for food, water and housing, what can be more important in life than fulfilling your potential as a human being?

There are 3 “marriages” in Life: the marriage with your work, the marriage of love and the marriage with yourself.

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Health, happiness and success: the benefits of knowing your Life-Calling

Positive psychology research shows that having a Life-Calling helps you to be more successful, as well as helping you to be happier, healthier, more fulfilled and to live longer.

The research shows that if you put your Life-Calling in your work you will enjoy it more and find it more meaningful1. You are likely to work harder and be more committed, and not surprisingly, you are likely to be more successful2.

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How having a Life-Calling transforms your life – my own personal story. What’s your story?

“Deep down in every human heart
is a hidden longing, impulse, and ambition
to do something fine and enduring.”

– Grenville Kleiser

For those of you who know me or have read my Facebook posts you will know that my early life was difficult: my father was alcoholic and went bankrupt. My mother had post-traumatic stress from the Second World War, and didn’t have much mothering instinct when her twins were born, and my twin brother became a heroin addict and eventually died of it.

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Forget Mindfulness…Discover Mindlessness!

Many of you will have tried mindfulness or basic meditation, paying attention to the senses to bring you into the present moment, but many people have never got beyond a mild feeling of relaxation.

If that is the case for you, you haven’t had the truly revolutionary experience that will turn the world inside out for you. To be thoroughly honest, I haven’t realised it fully myself, but just a glimpse of it has been enough to change my life.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be called Mindfulness, but Mindlessness.

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What is Your Spirituality?

A simple way of thinking about spirituality is that there is an outer practice, an inner practice and a non-dual practice1. When you have all three your spirituality will really flourish.

Let’s explore these three levels and reflect on how they apply to our own practise.

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How to turn your old religion into a spiritual tradition

The problem with world religions is that deep truth is often mixed up with the out-dated thinking of old conservative men. As I said to a gay Muslim girl, “What men say God thinks isn’t necessarily what God thinks”.

How do you keep the best of the tradition you were born into while rejecting fundamentalism and ideas that go against the modern values of human rights? Read more

Everyone Senses the Great Mystery of Life

I am not a parent myself, but I have had the privilege to spend a lot of time with my friend Anna and her son, my godson, Teddy, since his birth. I have also had the honour to spend time with my girlfriend and her wonderful children. Through these families I have come to deeply appreciate both the immense difficulty of parenting and also the powerful love through which parents sacrifice their own needs to take care of their children.

Parenting seems to me to be a profound spiritual training in the practice of love and selflessly giving up one’s own ego needs.

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Learn to feel the support of Life itself

You are not alone! Our skin-encapsulated ego gives us a biological sense of identity, but we would not exist or survive without other people, our food sources, or the entire biosystem. We are part of the biosphere. At a deeper level, we are also part of a great mystery – consciousness itself, and some traditions equate consciousness with God or Buddha-nature. Learn to feel the support of something much greater than yourself, life itself.

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What is personal transformation?

Personal transformation is what an athlete goes through to win a gold at the Olympics; it’s what a martial arts practitioner faces on the journey of becoming a master, or an executive going up the ranks of a well-managed organisation to the top, or a junior officer seeking to become a general in a modern army; or an artist, dancer, singer or painter aiming to reach the pinnacle of their profession; or a couple choosing to be in a long-term relationship that gets better and better; or an anxious soul learning to be at peace with themselves, and the world.

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Listen to the music on the journey of a lifetime: part 2

This article is Part 2 of  Listen to the music on the journey of a lifetime: part 1.

Life as music

You may have noticed that in the three marriages (the marriage with your work, the marriage of love and the marriage with yourself) each of these journeys eventually leads to an almost mystical experience – an interest in the great mystery of consciousness and the wonder of life itself.

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Listen to the music on the journey of a lifetime – how to fulfil your potential in life: part 1

I have a vision in my mind’s eye: a hazy but inspiring picture of me in my old age and, somehow, I seem to be shining with love and wisdom – whatever that looks like- and I am happy and fulfilled. This vision is something I am working towards, and every time something in life goes well, I say, ‘Ah, another step towards fulfilling myself.’ And every time something goes badly, or I fall flat on my face, I say, ‘Ah… another lesson learnt that will teach me how to get to my wise old age.’

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Mentoring your friends can change their lives – and yours too

One of the simplest, life-changing things you can do is sponsor your friends – it is one of the most powerful approaches to psychological change.

Why? – As young kids we are brilliant learners. We suck up everything we see and hear our parents doing… both the good and bad, unfortunately. Parents are a bit better today, but old-fashioned parenting had a lot of emphasis on what you were doing wrong. Telling someone what they are doing wrong (negative reinforcement) isn’t as effective as praising them when they get it right (positive reinforcement).

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Are you mean to yourself? If so, stop now.

Are you mean to yourself? Do you criticise yourself? Is that helpful? Does it make your life better?

If not, stop.

How do you stop? Create new habits. Start sweet-talking yourself. Bring your compassionate wise adult mind (yes, there is one in there somewhere) and your warm tender heart and start being kind to the wounded place in you.

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I will live my life more fully in 2016. Will you?

I don’t make New Year resolutions, because it is so easy to be overtaken by unrealistic enthusiasm! However I do dream about who I want to be in the year ahead, how I want the year to be, and what success looks like to me.

My personal philosophy is to:

  1. Make the most of myself
  2. Transform obstacles to happiness and success
  3. Learn to be nourished and supported by the mysterious beauty of life

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How to be at peace with yourself and naturally powerful too

What would it take for you to be at peace with yourself and happy with your life?

In addition, what if you could also be transparent about who you are, what you are good at and what you stand for at work and in your community?

There is a very natural and authentic power that comes from being at peace with oneself and, rather than having to hide who you are from any one, instead enjoying communicating with people what you are about.

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What is “the step You don’t want to take”?

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible

– St. Francis of Assisi

Discipline and decisiveness are about knowing that “what you do today determines your success tomorrow”. There may be things that need to be done but you are frightened of doing them: for example, calling the person who could give you your next big opportunity.

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What are you LONGING for?

Our society focuses on the outer world, not the inner life.

Our inner life is a secret world of feelings, fears, anxieties, rage, fantasy and magical stories: stories which end “happy ever after”; or dark stories that end in catastrophe and humiliation; stories in which we are the hero or heroine; or the evil one – the world will find out who you really are, and the world will be ashamed, especially your mother/father.

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Doctor Who style coaching for success

Cathy Broome writes:

I’ve always been a fan of Doctor Who. It’s one of those shows which sparks lots of inspiration for me, as well as being entertaining. That and he wears great coats!

It struck me recently that Dr Who is a bit like a coach and the ‘enemies’ of Dr Who are a bit like the parts of ourselves which hamper our progress, or stop us from having success in our lives. And because I do love stories, myths and archetypes, I thought it would be fun to write about it!

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Do you want to make This year your Best Year Yet?

These famous lines speak to me deeply:

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way….Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

-WH Murray, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition (1951)

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