The Soul Connector

The Soul Connector

Reflections and tips on connecting with your soul, understanding the messages from your inner guidance, and enjoying a soul-fully rich and fabulous life...

27 November, 2006

Moving past fear

Fear is probably the biggest barrier to any sort of change. Fear of the new, fear of failure, fear of success. It can keep us on the edge of the precipice, afraid to move forward...

Do you know that famous scene in the 1950s movie with Marlon Brando, 'The Wild One': "Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?" he is asked. And he snarls back: "What've ya got?"

Well, fear's a bit like that isn't it? Whatever you're trying to do, the energy of fear will always be in opposition to your goal. It's not always well-founded or rational - it's just against you.

How to combat fear...
So what can you do to help yourself move past fear? I use this definition to help me combat fear:
FEAR = False Expectations Appearing Real
'The Wizard of Oz' illustrates this really well. Throughout the journey of the film, the Wizard is imagined as being this great and fearsome being. And on first meeting him, he does appear to be immensely powerful and terrifying. Yet this turns out to be all smoke and mirrors, doesn't it? The Wizard is really just a harmless little man who has created a projection to make himself seem more than he is.

That's how it is with fear. By dwelling on fear, we build it up in our minds into a seemingly insurmountable force, paralysing us into indecision and inertia. Yet, when you look fear squarely in the face, you'll discover that it's not the big scary monster you thought it was - it's just a projection.

It's all about expectations...
And the key? It's all about expectations. What do you expect to happen? If you only have an image in your mind of a negative outcome, then that's hard to get past. But if you take the time to think through what a positive outcome would be, you give your mind something else to hook into. Remember, it's only a projection. And, just like the Wizard, you have the power to change it at will.

Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen - what if you fail to achieve your goal? Well OK, so what if you do? Is there any reason you couldn't try again, perhaps do it differently? Who says you have to do everything perfectly right - first time, every time?

Consider this quote by Samuel Smiles: "We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success; we often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery."

Ask yourself, what is the best that could happen - what if you DO achieve your goal? What would you discover about yourself by trying something new? And how great would it feel to know that you've given it a go?

Try it for yourself...
Next time you're struggling with making a decision or experiencing fear about making a change in your life, remind yourself of the Wizard of Oz and bring your FEAR back down to size.

Write down a description of this fear or fears that you're currently grappling with. Now ask yourself why do you have this fear? Sometimes even this simple process is enough to remind you that perhaps your mind has run away with itself and blown things out of proportion. If you can identify it, you can control it.

Another option is to try acting out your fear... This can be really fun! Pretend that you're the Wizard of Oz yourself and imagine a really detailed scenario, exaggerating it out to the point of ridiculousness. Push it until you can laugh at it, and yourself. Not so scary after all, is it? Remember what FEAR really means, and you'll never look at it the same way again!

18 November, 2006

Letting the soul rest

It seems as if the world is one of instant gratification: fast food, instant communication, living life at breakneck speed... And so, when it comes to inner change, we often come to expect instant results of ourselves as well. This is a bit like driving along with a kid permanently in the backseat of the car asking: "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

But change is an incremental process. Just because a dramatic shift can sometimes occur in an instant, doesn't mean that this will always be the case. We need to learn to go with the ebb and flow motion of change...

Cultivating patience...
This means that there will, on occasion, be periods in your life where it may feel as if there's not a lot happening - which can be very frustrating! I'll certainly put my hand up for this one: cultivating patience is a real challenge for me. A friend shared the following "prayer" this morning, which made me laugh as I recognised myself in this:

Lord give me patience... NOW!!!

Oh dear, if patience was a commodity you could buy somewhere I'd be ordering it in bulk lots! But, alas, it's something that you need to find in yourself. So how do you do that? Well, I've actually found a good way is to focus my attention outward, on the natural environment around me - there is something very grounding and reassuring about reconnecting with Nature.

Remind yourself of the farmer, sewing and reaping his crops in tune with the season. And periodically allowing a field to remain fallow - resting the soil. This is to give it time to regenerate, ready for planting again. Sometimes that's what you need to do for your soul as well - it doesn't help to churn things over all the time, like constantly digging away at the field without giving anything time to grow and come to fruition.

Try it for yourself...
Next time you're feeling impatient with yourself about the apparent lack of speed of manifesting some desired change in your life, take yourself out into Nature somewhere - a garden, the ocean, the wilderness...

Take a moment to be still and connect with the cycle of the seasons, with the rhythm of breath and of life. Allow yourself to be fully present there and feel your anxiety or frustration flowing downward and away from you into the Earth, being gently absorbed and transmuted back into the universal lifeforce.

Allow yourself, and your soul, to rest...

11 November, 2006

Making "me" time

There's a lot of discussion these days about work/life balance. We all know what a challenge it is to juggle the oftentimes conflicting demands of earning a living, fulfilling job responsibilities, making a home, looking after family or loved ones... and staying healthy in the midst of it. So how do you manage to find "me" time in all of that?

The problem...
Often, taking time out for yourself is seen as a the very lowest priority. There's a perception that it's somehow selfish or a luxury. But it's actually essential to your health and wellbeing - no matter what your "job" in life is. Making "me" time can be hard for women, who may have been brought up with the belief that they must be selfless and always put the needs of their children, partner, parents or even their employer ahead of their own. And a common issue for men is falling into the trap of spending long hours at work, in order to excel in their chosen profession, and then feeling guilty about not spending enough time at home.

My client, "Pete", was struggling with just this issue. In his early 40s, he had reached a major crossroads in his career and had come to me for coaching to get some clarity and make decisions about what direction to take. Pete was happily married, with a young family, and did his best to spend as much time as possible with them. He lived a busy but pretty healthy lifestyle, keeping fit and staying in touch with friends. So he had actually accomplished a lot of the things he thought he wanted in his life.

But, when we talked, it became apparent that Pete was secretly feeling empty and unfulfilled and he was doing some real soul searching to try and figure out why. He thought that finding the "right" job was going to solve things. Yet, as we delved a bit deeper, he realised that what was really missing in his life was a spiritual dimension. He was not a religious person - he simply yearned for more depth and meaning in his life, more of an understanding of himself and his purpose.

The solution...
But what to do about it? Pete's dilemma is a common one. It's easy to look for an external cause to what is actually an internal journey we each need to make. We think that finding the perfect partner or home, earning enough money or, as in Pete's case, taking the right job, is going to be the missing piece of the jigsaw that will make our lives work. But it's the other way around. By tuning into yourself, and coming to understand your unique purpose, the elements of your life progressively come into alignment and start to gel in a deeply satisfying way. It's not necessarily about adding a whole lot of new stuff to your life!

So Pete came to realise that he needed to regularly spend some time by himself. This wasn't something he'd previously thought was important. He became really drawn to the idea of meditation, but didn't think he could fit one more thing into his life. I suggested he do the simple exercise of mapping his activities in a typical week. Was there any time in there that he spent on his own? Actually, yes there was. He took the dog for a walk most mornings. So, instead of trying to squeeze meditation in as a new activity, I suggested that he try using the existing activity of walking the dog as a form of meditation.

This had never occurred to him before - he thought that meditation required sitting or lying down in a quite formal practice. But it doesn't. Just getting out into nature is great. Meditation is about being by yourself, allowing your mind to settle, and getting into your own rhythm - the inflow and outflow of your breath, feeling the warmth of sun and the breeze on your face. Simply being present... and allowing yourself to simply BE.

After only a few weeks of doing this, Pete reported that he was feeling calmer and more centred, and he started following his inner guidance in shaping the direction of his career. His wife, noticing the positive difference it was making for him, began to also take some time out for herself. They decided to create a corner in their house that was for "quiet time" - an armchair by the window, with a small sidetable beside it on which they placed a candle and a few other meaningful items. A simple thing to do, but one which made a profound difference to their whole family.

Try it for yourself...

Why not try this for yourself? Make a list of your usual activities across the week and see if there's time there that you could use differently. Walking the dog is just one idea. When do you get to spend time on your own? Maybe you can go and sit in the park at lunchtime a couple of times a week, instead of always eating lunch on the run, going out with others or sitting at your desk. Or go and sit in the garden with a cup of tea when the baby's asleep, rather than putting through that load of washing. Make a quiet corner in your home... Remember, taking care of you is important too!

06 November, 2006

Opening to joy

One of the questions I often get asked is: "How do you maintain a positive attitude? How do you actually keep it going, from day to day?" In truth, it's not always easy - some days are tougher than others! But it is possible, and there are some simple steps you can take, so let me share with you a few things that work for me...

Some inner guidance...
When I was on a retreat last year, I did a meditation with the intent of receiving an affirmation to guide me in my daily life. Maybe you've tried affirmations for yourself - these are positive statements that, when used consistently, can help you to overcome negative thought patterns and create new ways of being in your life. Most people use affirmations when working to create something, such as greater abundance, improved relationships, better health or more satisfying work.

When I meditated on this occasion, that's the sort of message I expected to get - something I needed to work on. But what came, while it clearly was an indicator of where I needed to place my focus, was quite different in tone. Here's what I received:
Every day I live in joy.
A very simple message yet, in essence, truly profound. Put aside for a minute all the more this/better that stuff that we often spend all our energy trying to manifest - all the things we think we need to DO to be happy. This is about simply allowing yourself to BE... in a state of joy. How great is that?

Putting it into practice...
So how do you put that into practice? Well, it's easier than you may think. When I first got this affirmation, I spent a lot of time reflecting on what the words meant for me. What does it really mean to "live in joy"? What is JOY anyway? Look it up in the dictionary and you'll see words like gladness, rejoicing, pleasure. But I've come up with my own definition:
JOY = Just Open Yourself
To me, living in joy is about being grateful for the good things in life - bringing your focus back to the present moment, and being open to the flow of life, rather than concentrating on the future (what you still have to do or want to happen) or the past (what you may or may not have done). It's something you feel in your heart centre, in the middle of your chest. When this is open, you feel warmth radiating out to the rest of your body - you feel centred and relaxed...

The present is always where the point of real power is, so enjoy what you do have in your life right now! In doing so, you're sending a message to the universe that this is what you want more of, and so that's what you'll get. You know the saying: "what you resist persists"? When you spend all your time thinking about what you don't want in your life, what you're actually unconsciously doing is continuing to create it. Instead, by simply allowing yourself to be joyful as you go about your day, it's like you set up a forcefield of positive energy that magnetizes good experiences to come to you.

Try it for yourself...
Why not try it out for yourself? Tomorrow, when you first get out of bed in the morning, make the choice to "live in joy" today - in whatever way has meaning for you - and see what a difference it makes to your day. Use the affirmation above (or create your own) to support your positive mindset. Allow yourself to be open, and en-JOY your day!

Like to find out more?
Read the article 3 Steps to Affirmations that Work on the Resources page of my website for some tips on how to create and use affirmations for yourself.

05 November, 2006

A soul-full welcome!

Hello and welcome
to The Soul Connector!

Do you ever find it hard to stay balanced and centred in your life? No matter where each of us is on our life journey, we grapple with the same sort of challenges. But we also acquire wisdom along the way, sometimes more than we realise!

It can be really helpful to share stories and experiences with one another of how we've made it through the tough spots, as well as those times when everything is "in flow" and working fabulously well. Enter The Soul Connector...

Tune into your soul...
Discovering how to tune into and understand your soul purpose, and connect with the inner guidance of your soul, makes an incredible difference to your enjoyment of life. Becoming connected to that calm, deep knowingness within empowers you to meet any challenge that comes your way, and enables you to create what I call a "soul-full life" - one that is truly meaningful and fulfilling.

About this blog...
In this blog, I will share ideas and reflections based on my own experiences and those of my clients, along with practical tips and strategies that I've found the most useful, to inspire and assist you on your own soul-full life journey. I would also like to create a forum - a soul-full community - in which other like-minded individuals can exchange thoughts, ask questions and make suggestions for what works, what doesn't seem to be working and why.

Share your thoughts...
I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future posts. Please feel free to email me with any questions you would like answered - I'll do my best to help you in any way that I can!

Many blessings for your soul-full journey...

PS: I also invite you to stop by my website for a visit, to browse through the online resources and pick up some soul-full inspiration to take home with you, as a gift from me to you - a copy of my ebook, Living in Bliss! 10 secrets of a soul-full life. Enjoy!