What if you can just ‘be’?

images-23There have been many periods in my life when I have dashed this way and that, trying to get things done, making decisions, feeling pressured and ‘knowing’ that I just need to keep going.

After all, I need to keep moving forward right? And I’m doing important stuff and people are relying on me…right?

During those times, often when it felt like I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown because I was driving myself so hard, no one ever said to me, ‘Lucy, do you know that you can just ‘be’? You don’t ‘have to’ do anything at all.’

Looking back, I wish somebody had told me that. Because they are powerful words that help drag everything in our hurly burly lives back into perspective.

I’m watching a few people drowning in that hurly burly at the moment. Wonderful people who are putting off having fun until later…but later never comes. People who are driven and great at what they do, but gradually burning themselves out. People who think they need to decide now what they must do with the rest of their lives when really their soul is whimpering, ‘Let me just sit a while. Let me just ‘be’.’

Most of us need to work and we all have things we need to achieve and do when we get out of bed in the morning. But our tendency to load ourselves up and do more than we can realistically sustain is very common. And if you’re a perfectionist (like me), you want to do it all perfectly and that creates its own pressures. Meanwhile, any balance in our lives disappears completely and we become the machine instead of the operator.

So I guess my point today is this…if you can’t remember the last time you did an activity that brings you joy (reading a book, playing with your kids, walking on the beach), then make plans to do it now. And I don’t mean plan to do it in a year’s time because you will be a wrung out, resentful rag by then.

If you have a dream that you’re putting off because you’re ‘too busy’ or you’re trying to keep everyone else happy, stop, breathe and ask yourself if you really need to do all those other things. Can you actually have a bit of what you truly want now?

And above all, if you feel like you’re drowning in the hurly burly always remember that you can just ‘be’ and you really don’t ‘have to’ do anything at all. The world will not end if you stop for a moment to catch your breath. It will still be there tomorrow.

 

 

Use Your Power, It’s Time

Emmeline Pankhurst - British suffragette arrested while campaigning for women's rights.

Emmeline Pankhurst – British suffragette arrested while campaigning for women’s rights.

I’ve been thinking about who I want to be and the type of life I want to live.

The people I want to be more like are the women who speak their minds fearlessly. They do not fear judgement. In fact, some almost seem to relish it because they wish to challenge what has always been and replace it with something better, fairer and kinder.

They do not accept that they must put up with things they do not believe in.

People who bring positive change to the world will inevitably ruffle feathers along the way. That is how it needs to be. We all need boundaries to push through so we can reach a better place, a better way of living, a better world.

We all have our own paths to follow and decisions along the way must be our own.

But so much injustice and pain in the world is permitted because people would rather not speak up, because they don’t want to rock the boat, because they crave acceptance above all else.

Turning away from issues with the excuse, I can’t do anything about it and it’s upsetting so I just switch off, is common and understandable. We are overwhelmed and think we can do nothing.

But switching off is not the answer, nor is retreating into your own little world.

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist - refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955.

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist – refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955.

If you believe something is wrong, talk about it. The act of discussion is the very genesis of change, it is movement, a shift forward.

Take action however small. Write letters. Donate your money or time. Educate yourself and find out more.

Do not seek the approval of others for your thoughts or actions. Simply do what you believe is right and like-minded souls will do the same.

We each have power. Power to transform ourselves, our world, our lives.

Turning away because it is too hard, too confronting, too difficult, too uncomfortable, is not the answer.

Be the voice of choice of change in your family, your community, your world. You can make this a better place – locally, nationally, globally. Say it’s not okay. Be kind but use your voice and your strength to help move our world forward to a better, kinder and more inclusive place.

We all have the power, now is the time to use it.

 

 

Are you pretending to be strong?

Courtesy: myrainbowmachine|tumblr

Courtesy: myrainbowmachine|tumblr

I’ve been wondering about our tendency to be strong and just get on with things. I look around me and see a lot of people who feel like they need to do that. ‘I just have stuff to do,’ they’ll say. ‘I should have my shit together. I should be stronger.’

But inside they are dying a slow and rather awful emotional death.

A girlfriend and I were talking about this today. We realised that back in our schooldays we both spent a lot of time putting on the pretense that we were strong. But inside we were definitely not. Except of course for those moments when the pain and confusion burst through. In my case, that meant I was known for crying at inopportune moments and often for no apparent reason.

I’m a lot older now and I like myself a lot more too. But I’m still an emotional person. Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable because they think I should ‘just get on with it.’

But that’s not my style. And quite frankly I don’t think anyone should have to.

If you’re feeling depressed, unhappy or unsure of yourself, you should be able to talk about. Yet still a lot of people feel guilt about reaching out. They feel like they’re imposing their problems on others. Sometimes they think it’s a sign of weakness.

So this is a short blog tonight with an even shorter core message. If you are feeling lost, sad, depressed or like you don’t belong, reach out and tell someone. Because we are all floating along on this lake of life together and you might be surprised to discover how many other people are in their own boats, alone, on the lake with you.

“If you don’t stop and look around…you could miss it.”

Image - theprospect.net

Image – theprospect.net

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller, 80s icon.

When I was a teenager, back in the 1980s, I remember watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and loving Ferris’ irreverence for social norms as he dragged his girlfriend and best friend from one outlandish escapade to the next.

Ferris was fearless.

‘Borrow’ a priceless car and take it for a drive around town? Sure.

Hijack a float in a German parade and lead hundreds of spectators in a rousing rendition of ‘Shake It Up Baby’? Absolutely.

Use countless ingenious ploys to avoid the clutches of malevolent truancy officer, Ed Rooney? No problem.

Ferris was constantly pursuing new and outlandish experiences as he crammed excitement and fun into his life.

Last night I watched the movie again and it still held the same appeal it did 20 years ago.

Part of me wants to be Ferris.

Yes, I know he was an irresponsible teenager with a huge capacity for stretching the truth. And I’m a grown up with responsibilities, a mortgage, bills to pay and work to do.

But a big part of me wonders why we don’t all spend a little more time being Ferris?

His character grabs life by the throat and shakes, squeezes and throws it all around. As a grown up, I’ve no doubt that he would have become either a master criminal or a multimillionaire.

His comfort zone is the world, not a safe little place constructed out of fear and the expectations of others. I have a feeling he would try almost anything once if he thought he’d enjoy it.

And that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

So the next time I’m feeling uncomfortable about stepping outside my comfort zone, I’m going to channel my inner Ferris. If I don’t, I might miss something amazing.

Are you more psychically connected than you think?

Image - blogboogie.com

Image – blogboogie.com

A couple of weeks ago I was getting some feedback about my book (yes, the book I’m still editing) and was told perhaps I should rethink one of the chapters.

The chapter deals with clairvoyants and horoscopes and how single women will often rely heavily on these avenues when searching for love.

I was told that most people don’t believe in that stuff and might think I’m a bit, ‘you know’ if I included it.

Then I mentioned I’m psychic and believe in that ‘stuff’. The conversation quickly shifted to other topics.

The thing I found so interesting about the exchange was its black and whiteness. People have believed in God, an entity we cannot see and have not met, for hundreds of years. But to suggest that we can access our intuition about situations, connect with the energies that bind us all together and speak to the spirits of those who have passed over still makes some people uncomfortable.

Mmm.

In Western culture, we have always talked about instinct and gut feelings – a knowingness that has no foundation in what we see or any relation to the ‘facts’ we are presented with. Yet still we will know something isn’t right. Isn’t that a connection to information we don’t technically have?

What about those moments when, while sitting in quiet contemplation or engaged in a mindless activity, you are suddenly struck by a brilliant idea or  concept? How can you you explain those times just before sleep, when you close our eyes and suddenly know the solution to a problem that’s been bothering you for days or weeks?

In these moments our minds are not consciously active. They are not scurrying around being productive and engaged in the serious pursuit of answers and information. Yet these are the times when the answers come. Some form of inner knowing kicks in to help and takes over where our mind leaves off.

Being open to my intuition and ability to connect to the world around me has made it easier for me to trust my own decisions (and make good decisions) even when they haven’t been based on what my mind regards as ‘facts’.

Many of the greatest minds in our history have also said they ‘trusted their gut instincts’ when making decisions. Some of the great business strategists of the 21st century have said the same thing.

And there have been numerous times when I’ve corrected a student’s work and they’ve said, ‘Oh, that’s what I did the first time but then I changed it.’ Did their mind just over-ride their instinct?

Being psychic just means that my intuition and instincts are a little more developed than others. But I’m not ‘you know…crazy’ and I’m not the only psychic person out there. I meet them every day. It also feels like people in the public eye are talking about this stuff more and more. Some of the most creative thinkers of our time are talking about ideas coming through them or inspiration coming from another place. They are not passive in the process but they are open to receiving information from a place that is not their mind.

I feel like there is a shift happening that’s allowing us to access opportunities, discoveries and solutions that our rational thoughts have previously blocked or discarded. This can only be a good thing for our development as a human race and as a community. Imagine the possibilities.

In the meantime, I’d like to suggest that maybe, just maybe, there a lot of people in the world who are more ‘psychically intuitive’ than they think….they’re just calling it gut instinct.

Are you missing out on something?

Image courtesy - telco.com

Image courtesy – telco.com

On Friday afternoon I went to an auto-teller and withdrew $80.

Unfortunately, when I got home, I realised I’d left the money in the auto-teller. I mean seriously, who does that??

Later that evening, I met some good friends for dinner…and I was the only one who did not pull out my phone repeatedly to text someone or post a Facebook status update.

Now the conversation was not dull – we meet regularly for dinner, enjoy each other’s company immensely and invariably cover a wide range of subjects. And while each of my friends holds down an important job, I can’t really believe that anything was so important that it needed a critical response at 8pm on a Friday night.

So what was going on?

When I went to the auto-teller, I wasn’t being present. My friends also weren’t being present at dinner.

So I missed out on $80 and they probably missed out on parts of the conversation.

My inability to be in the moment was a response to stress and a mind that needed calming. If I hazarded a guess, I’d say the distraction of my friends at the dinner table had a similar cause.

When I asked why they couldn’t just be present, they didn’t have an answer. Therein lies the danger of our modern world.

When we’re stressed and have too much on our plates, we aren’t present. Technology compounds our distraction because we can always reach, or be reached by, someone else. There is always an email we can answer, a status to update or a text message to send.

So we keep churning through our days or weeks without giving our minds a chance to be completely in the moment. Then we miss something important…like $80 in the auto-teller.

On Saturday, when I realised the universe was trying (not very subtly) to force me back into the moment, I went into my backyard and stood with barefeet on the grass. Then I looked up at the sky, felt the warmth of the sun on my face and breathed in, then out, then in again.

I walked around feeling the spikey blades of grass under my feet, watched the birds flying here and there, listened to the noises around me, and observed my surrounds as they were in those precious moments.

I forced myself to be present and afterwards I felt refreshed, calm and centred.

I also resolved to make sure I’m extra-present at all auto-tellers in the future.

Bad foods versus bad thoughts – what’s really damaging your health?

The other day I was eating something that wasn’t 100 percent healthy and a friend decided to point out just how many ‘bad’ things were in each mouthful.

Later, after I’d politely told them to pull their head in, I started to wonder if there really is much difference between the bad food we put in our mouths and the bad thoughts we put in our heads.

I know a lot of people who live a really healthy lifestyle. They purge those toxins out regularly, exercise passionately and eat all the healthy foods we know we should. In fact they do all the things that are good for their physical body.

But inside their heads it’s sometimes a different story. Often their thoughts are negative such as, ‘I’ll never do what I want to do’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘It’s not worth trying that because I’ll never get there,’ ‘X, Y and Z is out to get me’, ‘I may as well give up’, ‘A is a b!tch’, I’m ugly’ and ‘I’m stupid’.

Sometimes they are angry, depressed and even dish out abuse to themselves that they would never direct at others.

They live this really healthy physical lifestyle but in their heads they are being really unhealthy.

These days evidence is mounting that positive thoughts and attitudes can positively affect our health.

I know from my own experience that when I’ve been happy and positive about life, I’ve looked younger and felt more energetic and physically healthy.

But, when I’ve been in a negative headspace for prolonged periods, I’ve looked older and my physical health and energy levels have suffered. The same thing has happened when I’ve led an unhealthy physical lifestyle.

If you’re living a super healthy physical lifestyle but you’re feeding your mind with negative thoughts then you’re probably fighting a battle against yourself. In fact, you could even be making yourself physically sick.

And if you’re eating really unhealthy food, never exercising and not looking after yourself then it’s likely you’ll also be physically sick eventually.

Governments and institutions spend millions every year to encourage people to exercise more and eat better food so their physical bodies can be healthy.

This is admirable.

But what would happen if we began putting similar energy and resources into helping people develop healthier minds? What would happen if we found more ways to help people reject those negative thoughts and instead focus on positivity and possibilities?

Could taking a more mainstream approach to making our minds ‘healthy’ even address some of our physical health issues?

I’m posing a lot of questions here and I’m not claiming to be a doctor or a medical expert. But these ideas make a lot of sense to me.

I think we need to find a way to be good to our physical bodies and be good to our minds as well. Otherwise, as a community, we may just be fighting a health battle we can’t win…against ourselves.