My hero story

As part of a really beautiful and activating personal growth programme I’m about to complete, we were asked to tell our Hero’s Story.

To look back on my life and sieve for the situations in which I dared leave the usual, to step into an arena, to take risks, to believe in myself.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hero?

I spontaneously thought of a million examples in which I moved forward bravely, and I couldn’t come up with any grand one at the same time.

Thinking of my Hero story, I feel accomplished and like a failure simultaneously.

See, I have a dear faraway friend who is an army doctor and who rescues people from Mount Everest and in war zones and anywhere in between – and he is one of the most beautiful, smiley, warm, loving and humble people I have ever had the privilege and honour to cross paths with.
When I think of heroes, he comes to my mind and heart.

I don’t come to my mind or heart when I think of ‘hero’, but this exercise called me to do just that: find my own heroic stories.
Interesting, and for me therefore: food for thought and processing.

First, I looked up ‘hero’ in the oxford dictionary, just to make sure I got it:

Hero:

  1. A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
  2. The chief male character in a book, play, or film, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize
  3. (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.

Then there is also the Hero’s Journey, often mentioned, well-known and strived for by growth seeking folk, such as my ambitious self:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Some of my Hero’s Stories

OK, so let’s go about recognising myself on my path, and seeing a moment that required extra bravery and faith. A turning point moment, one of those moments that by saying yes, or no, and by taking brave conscious action, my path would be changed, and mainly, I would transformed in some way. I know this to be true: change comes from action, action comes from courage, courage comes from action… it’s a flow that is fun and scary to join!

You’ve got a voice to change a nation yet you’re biting your tongue

I spontaneously thought of that speech I made at my cousin’s wedding back in 2008.

Truthfully, it was more of a toast, but to me it could just have well been a Ted talk in an arena filled with millions.

My other cousin, the bride’s sister, had nudged me to make a speech – I was the maid of honour, and ‘it would be nice’, she’d said. I knew she was right, but the thought made me nauseous. See… this nudge came to me at a time when I would blush when I had to speak up at a meeting, or tell a story when everyone would listen (yes, even at family events) – heck, I’d blush at ‘hello’.
But: I did it! I wrote a speech, it took me days to write. Then I read it over and over again. I learned it by heart. I made my sister listen to it three times on our drive from the church to the venue. I barely spoke a word to anyone during the reception, refrained from drinking before the speech, and barely touched the starter course of the meal… And when the time came, I braced myself, walked up to the stage, took that microphone and… made my speech.

I know my toast was for the bride, really, but in my reality, this was a very selfish moment. While the words and sentiments were for her and her husband, the intention and act were for me. For my brave self. For my voice. For my standing. For my courage. And for all the opportunities I wanted to grab for myself. For not accepting my own beliefs that limited me. For busting the fears and self-judgement and all kinds of mental saboteur talk as to why I would be bad at this and nobody would want to hear me.

I stood there and spoke out loud for my own potential.

A huge added bonus was that people applauded and complimented me afterwards. And what do you know, it did boost my confidence, and since then, I have made more speeches, I tell my stories out loud, I speak into a microphone to hundreds of people in aeroplanes in my job as flight attendant, I deliver workshops to groups of people in my job as a coach – I have even given trainings to airline crew on how to make public addresses. Don’t get me wrong, it still stirs up my insides to think I am to make a speech or speak up in public, I’m not ready to go on TED (yet), but since that day in 2008: I know I can do it.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
Jack Kerouac

Or the Eiffel Tower. Or both. 

I’m afraid of heights.
That, too, is an understatement. And a lie.
This fear here is real. I feel heights, even the thought of heights, in my body. I remember the first time I walked over the Golden Gate bridge with my cousin (the bride, way before she met her husband), bravely going with her because she was a civil engineer student back then who loves bridges. It would have been wrong to not cross that bridge of all bridges with her.
I felt every single tiny vibration. Never mind being told by the expert that those vibrations needed to be see, the thing about a phobia is that the mind knows it is irrational, but somehow the body and heart feel unsafe.
So I entered a state of trance walking across it; like a mantra I told myself to just keep walking, while my skin felt like it was shrinking around my body, my tummy was on a rollercoaster and I just had this one desire which was to slowly kneel down and roll over into a side-lying child’s pose. But I kept walking, she took the photos. And I walked straight, without altering my speed or course. I vaguely remember couples having to separate to let me by – I don’t remember interacting with them in any way, though I may have.

Phobias take over the body. They also grow, and by growing they reduce our range of possibility slowly and surely. Unless… unless we meet them. We all know this.

Meet the fear, be with it;
and only then can you live with it, even move on from it.

And so it happened that one day, in 2014, I went up the Eiffel Tower.

I had lived in Paris for three years (15 years earlier) while studying there, two of those years with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I had brought all my guests to its feet and waved them off, peacefully waiting for them in the park below. I did enjoy lying in the Champ de Mars, and never felt any desire to go up that tower. But here, that day in autumn when I was visiting a very dear and entrusted friend, he surprised me by bringing me to the Eiffel Tower. As dear and entrusted as we were, he didn’t know of my fear of heights.
However in the meantime, I had been working with coaches and the likes on ‘stretching the comfort zone’ and growing beyond my limitations.

I realised immediately that I was presented, once again, with the opportunity to stay – or grow.

I remember briefing him on my needs (‘I need you to stay with me, but not talk to me, and for the love of all gods, make no funny jokes or swift movements!‘), and I remember him treating me to a thimble of overpriced champagne at the top.

From that day on, I’ve been going up things. Not enthusiastically seeking the experience, and still innerly negotiating the value of ‘going up’ versus ‘not going up’ (sometimes I don’t go up, more often, though, I do) and I meet this particular fear with a more informed opinion:

‘I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower, I’ve crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, I’ve had a meal on the CN Tower and I will no longer be told by fear that I can’t do it – if I don’t do it, it is because I don’t want to, that’s all!’.

 

Climb that goddamn tower and mountain, oh yes, do it!

time flies, best fill it with moments to remember

time flies, best fill it with moments to remember

In 2016 I climbed my own mountain in My Big Walk through Swedish Lapland – an act of courage that happened inadvertently and for which I still take the liberty of bathing in pride.
(you can read the stories in my other blog here: My Big Walk – lauraschummer.com).

We are everyday heroes, really.

The more I think of it, the more I see our everyday heroism.

Meeting someone new requires the courage to open up, even if only in politeness. Opening up to someone new and trusting that I’m safe, whatever happens, requires a certain amount of courage.

Surviving every single heartbreak is a heroic act. The fact of leaning in to the possibility of being loved or hurt is heroic to my mind.
Facing the hurt and letting it go (for some reason, that seems to have been the pattern in love for me so far, lean in – let go) is another heroic act.

Writing a personal blog post and publishing it to the world requires courage.

Joining a personal growth training does, too.

Asking myself the important questions in life, and being with the answers, even challenging them, takes courage.

It can be really hard to get up in the morning and trust the process, even when I don’t understand or even see it in periods of setbacks and downs.

Accepting that today may not feel like my day, and still believing in the power of presence in the moment, the power of pain and healing, the power of universal forces aligning, is an act of courage.

Every conscious step and every conscious pause can be seen as acts of courage.

Oh, we are all heroes when it comes to our own courage;

we are the hero of the story that is our life.

So how come it doesn’t feel like that?

Is being brave being a hero?

To me, there is one thing that stands out in what the Oxford English Dictionary definition says about ‘hero’:
A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.’ A hero is admired for their noble qualities. 

Essentially, to me, being a hero has always been hand-in-hand with an act of generosity, kindness and salvation towards others.

Like my army doctor friend, who is a hero to me because he saves lives in very dangerous, for him too, situations.

I always believed that, despite my acts of courage for myself, I will only be a hero when someone else gets to benefit from it. For some reason I have always seen that to happen in extreme situations, such as war zones, hospitals, tragedies, traumas, therapies and healings.
And since I have not yet had the courage to uproot and ‘go in’ to those situations, since I have not yet had the confidence to believe that I may have a skill that could actually benefit someone in distress, I have not yet seen myself as a hero.

However this exercise, the writing of these words, has helped me consider that we are, actually, heroes to each other. In our very every day life.

We are heroes, to each other, in our everyday life

I noticed a while ago, that whenever I have taken the courage to step outside the comfort zone, I was always, ALWAYS met at the gates by others cheering me on, and helping me forward.

We have allies everywhere, I believe every encounter we make can be an ally to us in some way (read my post Meandering about Wonderland on the different kinds of people we meet), and maybe being the ally to someone else’s courage or healing is what makes us a hero.

Whilst I needed to face my fear and scratch my slithers of courage together to make that wedding speech, it was my cousin who nudged me who is the actual hero of the story: she saw my potential, she believed in me, and she encouraged me in the right ways to be and stay brave whilst facing my demons. My cousin is the hero of my hero story.

And maybe,
maybe, I’m the hero to someone else’s courage?

____________________________________________________________________________

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”- Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living (1960)

 

Event: 13 & 14 April in Luxembourg

Experience Zooming In and My Photo Album with the Points of You methods during the workshops offered in Luxembourg on 13 and 14 April (choose one).

Jump into pictures

One of my favourite childhood films was Mary Poppins and so when I see photos or pictures I like, I often think:

 ‘what if I could jump right into there?’

What if we just jumped into other worlds?

I fell in love with Points of You because it offers a way to jump into pictures like Mary Poppins did, explore what is or could be there for me, and come back to my own reality with some useful insights to work with.


Upcoming workshop events

 

Saturday 13 April from 15.00 – 19.00 and
Sunday 14 April (10.00 – 14.00)

in Roodt/Syre, Luxembourg
Aal Kiirch, 6 rue de Olingen

 

 

In these half day events we will dive into pictures and explore perspectives together.

This is an interactive and creative workshop to reflect on aspects of our life in which we may feel stuck or that we feel unclear about. We use photos and storytelling to activate our imagination around ‘what is and what could be’ in our lives, and you will leave with a few new insights to work on.

 

Zooming In and My Photo Album are two workshops developed by Points of You and they are being facilitated by amazing trainers worldwide, so by joining the workshop in Luxembourg will have you join tribes of others around the globe.

You will

  • pause your every day life for a precious moment with yourself
  • meet like-minded and ‘like-hearted’ souls in a safe setting
  • discover points of views about yourself and others in a light and playful way
  • gain clarity on specific topics you may have been carrying around with you or contemplating, maybe even stuck in
  • leave feeling inspired and uplifted

Price : As part of my trainer certification I can offer these workshops on a ‘help me cover the costs’ basis, and I ask 25€ (once certified, standard rates will apply).

Language: understanding English is a must. We will use Luxembourgish/English/French/German depending on the group, English will be used as common language.

Minimum participants: We need a minimum number of participants. While I hope I won’t need to do this, I reserve the right to cancel the event 24 hours ahead of time if the quota isn’t reached.

Register now!


About ‘Points of You’

Points of You is a personal development method designed by two creative and passionate coaches over 10 years ago with the desire to ‘help people ask themselves important questions about their lives’.
The ‘The Coaching Game‘ was developed to play alone or in groups. We are now sharing Points of You methods with thousands of people worldwide along the principle of ‘Paying it Forward’, inherently inspired to open hearts for individual and collective benefit.

All Go Deep Fly High events are creative and interactive workshops.

We work with trained and certified coaches and trainers.

We aim to:

  • share the skills we’ve been acquiring through our own profound and ongoing coaching and leadership trainings on our personal journeys over the past 8+ years
  • have you dive into experiences using selected tools
  • facilitate you in finding your personal relevant take-outs, and
  • have a lot of fun together.

 

 

Live or endure? Is this as far as I’ll go or will I push on some more?

I don’t know about you, but pretty much every day, in one way or another, I am reminded that life is so short. and life is so precious… And with these overused ‘slapstick’ reminders, I am reminded that in this life, we have all these options.

They kinda keep summing up to: live it or endure it.


Live or endure?

It's your path and yours alone, OWN IT!

It’s your path and yours alone, OWN IT!

By ‘living’ I mean living on personal purpose and the gratification of knowing that I am doing my work and that the lessons and success I reap are mine to celebrate, no matter how big or small.

‘Enduring’, well, isn’t that dodging what comes, suffering circumstances, going through pre-set motions without questioning them – or questioning them from the backseat and staying aboard anyway… instead of grabbing the driver’s seat of your own vehicle?
And then there’s the in-between place, in which we keep going from living to enduring and back again.
 

What will you choose?

And I was reminded just this morning and once again that one of the harshest of all options is choosing to
stay where you are‘ or ‘step into the world of opportunity that awaits‘,
accept that ‘this is it‘ or ‘join the crowd of those who make things happen.’
 
Harsh, because choices like those will always mean taking a stand for yourself, for change, and committing to something.

If where you are is perfectly fine for you, then I will leave you your peace and salute you.

If, however, like in me, there is even
the tiniest spark in you, the softest voice, the gentlest of pulls or even a loud lion roar
suggesting that maybe, MAYBE there is more to the horizon for you,
that maybe, MAYBE you are done with accepting a status quo ‘just because’
and that maybe, oh MAYBE you could step into a grander version of yourself,
then by the love of god or whichever divinity or power you believe in, I encourage you to keep taking the steps.
 

Some steps are easy, many are hard as hell.

And once we start walking, they will keep positioning themselves onto our paths… and every time we get to a roadblock we get to ask ourselves again:
‘Is this as far as I will go?
or will I be that badass and push on some more?’
 
Inner courage and strength are primal and the path is ours to walk. Like Rumi said ‘No one can walk it for you, but others can walk it with you.’
We can help each other, witness each other’s challenges, we can cheer each other on in hard times and celebrate making it through another roadblock and to another milestone.

 


Join the tribe!

We’re putting this morning event on 1 December together for you personally, and also for you as a member of a community.

And we aim for it to be light and fun in all its meaningfulness 🙂
More information and registration here: Highway to the High Dream

‘You don’t need to make a living out of everything you learn’

Featured

My Disclaimer for laziness or permission to have fun?


I remember sitting poolside with my friend Romain at a crew hotel in Chennai in February 2016 – I was on the India part of my sabbatical leave from work, he was on a layover. He lived on Reunion Island at the time, I lived in Luxembourg, this was one of those serendipitous alignments of time and space for us to meet there and then.
And this is where he gave me one message I have been pondering and working with since.

‘You do not need to make a living out of everything you learn.’


Serendipity - when a friend shows up in a random place somewhere in the world with the exact right words at the exact right time

Serendipity – when a friend shows up in a random place somewhere in the world with the exact right words at the exact right time

See, I had just graduated from a one month yoga teacher training in Kerala.

I did this teacher training because I enjoyed yoga but found my actual practice unstable. I’ve defined myself as a somewhat ‘creative perfectionist’, which means I get excited by lots of things, and I hold myself back from doing things if I don’t know how to do them, or if I feel that they, or I, aren’t ready…

Perfectionism is a dream killer

Perfectionism is a dream killer – Facebook brought this quote to me in May 2013, I remember when and where I was, and I remember suddenly ‘getting’ it.

growth - when suddenly you find yourself inverted...

growth – when suddenly you find yourself inverted…

So the obvious thing to do if one doesn’t feel comfortable doing sun salutations alone in one’s living room is to take a few months off work, travel to India and learn all about the philosophy of yoga AND how to do the sun salutations… among many other moves and poses.
I now have a RYS – registered yoga school 200-hour yoga teacher certificate, I’ve done 108 sun salutations in a row more than once, I’ve massively evolved my practice and, like any true yogi…

I know that I know nothing.

However I do feel comfortable doing yoga in my living room now.

And while I didn’t have the intention to practice my yoga as a teacher, this certificate, coupled with witnessing my talented fellow training mates setting up courses around the world, did put out the evident questions: ‘What are you going to do with your new skills and knowledge? How are you going to share them?’ and of course:

‘How will you make money with your yoga?’
(at least enough to cover the training costs)

AS soon as I was home and full of fresh elan and deep desire to touch people with my newfound gift, I went out and bought yoga mats and blocks. Then it all slowed down when I had to do the stuff that I don’t enjoy, I half-heartedly researched what one needs ‘to do legally’ to be a teacher in Luxembourg (insurance? taxes?…) and thought about suitable locations and timings that align with my day job, it would be a bit of a struggle. Typical doubts came in as well, ‘so many people are such better yogis with way more experience than me’… and soon enough, my drive had quite organically… frizzled away, and my efforts on this project halted.

For a while I beat myself up as being lazy and purposeless for not setting up my school, which seems to be the accepted response: ‘If you’re not working hard, you’re lazy.’

But that attitude of guilt really didn’t help me with my drive or creativity, and I’ve really worked hard at taking myself out of circumstances that made me feel ‘not good enough’.

SO what was going on here?

I enjoyed the yoga, I enjoyed the teaching… why wasn’t I doing it?

It started to dawn on me that maybe I plain enjoy the learning; it extends my horizons and my friend network, it colours my experience and fills my storytelling… and mostly, it gets my pride buzzing.

““Happiness,” wrote Yeats, “is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
Contemporary researchers make the same argument: that it isn’t goal attainment but the process of striving after goals—that is, growth—that brings happiness.”
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Figure out what makes you happy - and do it!

Figure out what makes you happy – and do it!

One reads about these things – and I read this particular book in 2013, and many similar ones since – but the claims only really land when one truly feels them. And to me, this has been proving true.

I get a kick out of learning new stuff.

So here I was in Southern India, my curiosity was fed and… my curiosity was hungry for more.

See, there is a leadership model on stages of competence. It was brought to me on Day One of my coach training in November 2012.
1 – Unconscious incompetence‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’
(if I don’t know it’s out there, I can’t miss it)
2 – Conscious incompetence‘I know what I don’t know.’
(I know it’s out there, but I don’t have the competence of is – such as speaking a language; I know I don’t speak Japanese)
3 – Conscious competence‘I know what I know.’ (I speak and write English)
4 – Unconscious competence‘I intuitively know what I know.’
(when I drive my car I mostly don’t even realise that I am shifting gears when I do)

Where I was personally just then, in India in February 2016,

the Yoga Teacher Training had given me a taster for the intricacy that is the human body, and the magic that is the art of healing through connecting body, mind and soul.

My coaching and leadership skills had me dive into the often underused realms of mental power, and here I was now in front of this other thing we all have – and don’t seem to use to its full potential either: our body!

And I was suddenly very aware of how little I knew about the human body and anatomy.

Conscious incompetence is a driver for me…

Thoughts came up around taking up nursing, or medicine. I shared them with my dear Auntie Pam weeks before she passed away and at her hospital bed. She’d always been an eager supporter of my craziness, and I remember her whispering to me ‘You’d make a lovely nurse.‘ She would also always repeat to me that ‘it would be a shame if you didn’t use your skills, you are so talented.‘ She was, and still is, one of my angels and teachers, bless her (Read my post ‘Meandering about in Wonderland‘ for my thoughts on who we meet and why).
I’d often thought I’d quite like to know more about the caring side of humanity. I’d, actually, often seen myself as a flying doctor out in a faraway adventurous bush somewhere someday, though I am neither pilot nor doctor – I am a flight attendant and a mental coach, however, similar paths I say.

Back to my thought process at hand; because over time a lot of my most inspiring yoga teachers had also given little neck, head and foot massages during Savasana, and yoga retreats often include massage treatments, massage therapy seemed to be a rather logical next step for me, and most reachable as an introduction to human anatomy in the immediate present.

Also, massage is a very daily normal thing in India, like yoga, it is a part of the omnipresent Ayurvedic living.

And I was in India, massage was everywhere and so the flirt with massage began.

Once again, the thought alone on the rational level brought me further off whatever my track was:
I’d kind of left the normal track when I left the corporate job (and potential-yet-not-happening career) to become a flight attendant, and then some more when I left a full-time job for a part-time job, and then some more when I started spending my non-work time and my savings on learning, and getting certified in, new random things such as photography, diving, coaching, leadership, yoga…

And the saboteur voice in me, you know, that voice of reason, and that voice that says ‘be rational’, ‘this is not safe!’, ‘what will people say?’, ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘what are you thinking?’, ‘why?’ and ‘you’re weird!’ was yelling: ‘how about setting up your coaching and leadership training practice before starting something new again? And how about teaching yoga after that? What are you hiding from when you hide in your trainings?’ And the loudest ever ‘you do all these things but you don’t get anything done!

And this is exactly the conversation I had with Romain in Chennai, when he looked at me with the love that only someone who sees right through you and knows and cherishes exactly what dreams and depths you have and he said to me:

‘What makes you think you need to make a job or a living out of these trainings and certificates?
What if you do these things because they are fun and you enjoy the learning part of them?’

This perspective is one I have been pondering since, and it has given me a lot of freedom.

See, I have a feeling we all talk a lot about ‘being in the moment’ and ‘following our heart’, yet we live more ‘rationally’ (a word I have actually banned from my vocabulary because it means little to me now, that is another story) – I have a feeling we make up a lot of our limitations by glorifying society-rules and self-invented rules around what is the accepted norm for ‘safety’ (that job that pays the bills) and how to ‘spend time’ (make sure it is useful and you can make money off it).

I will not disrespect the luxury of knowing where the next meal comes from or knowing that I have a roof over my head and a blanket on my bed. I am not talking about the very basics of survival and comfort, however I will always and again challenge what we think is all-important and that stops us from living out just for the sake of living.

I found a bodyworks training school, Jing Advanced Massage Therapy. In Brighton. It was recommended to me by one of my yoga holiday organisers, AdventureYogi. Encounters, encounters.

Practicing the healing touch

Practicing the healing touch

The school was brilliant, right up my alley. I signed up for a 10-day initiation called Bodyworks Beginnings, and yes, oh, that healing touch is a gift – not only is it a gift, it is something we all have if only we gave it some attention and space.

A bit like what I thought when I began my coaching track, and anything I find brilliant, I kept wondering:

‘Why isn’t everyone doing this? It would make the world such a nicer place if we all knew this!’

One thing led to another, they always do, I continued the Advanced Clinical Massage Training for treatment of chronic pain, again, not because I intended to make a business of it, but because it sheer interested me; and I enjoyed the courses, I loved coming home to a family I hadn’t known I had once a month for a year, and I got a right kick out of being local in Brighton for a while.

I trained alongside a group of brilliant and practicing therapists in Brighton, and some of my most encouraging and brave friends and family members accepted to be my practice clients at home. I enjoyed it all, and I took and succeeded all the courses.

The courage to ‘not finish’

When the time came to get ready for the final exam, I was called to check in with myself on what my priorities were… while the training was hands-on and about showing up, the exam really did require a lot of studying, i.e. home-time invest. Acknowledging that I was still not intent on building my own business around it just now, that my actual practice had not allowed me to apply my learnings in between courses, that my job was full-on at the time, and I had committed to a rather big trip just before the exam: I dropped out.

Just before the end, I dropped out. I did not take the exam.
I do not have the final certificate.

Can you hear the voices of guilt and shame and… disappointment chanting?

And this is when I remembered, once again, you do not need to make a living out of everything you learn. You do not need a certificate to prove anything to anyone (unless, of course, you do, in which case the circumstances change and: I can still take that exam).

On a street in Brighton: What did I miss? And: what did I choose?

On a street in Brighton: What did I miss? And: what did I choose?

The reactions I got to this choice reflected every single thought that banged about my head.
They always will.

There will always be a good reason and argument for any single thing we do because Life is full of missed opportunities.

As I wrote in my article on this very thought:

“Every single moment in this, our, life is an opportunity.

So if that is the truth, whatever we decide to do is a YES to one opportunity and a NO to another.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time, therefore life IS, indeed, filled with missed and taken opportunities.”

Had I only gone by ‘do I want to be a massage therapist now?’ I would never have embarked on this journey, and I would have missed out on a lot of fun, new friends, new skills and that glorious growth that has me buzz!
I preferred doing it my way, i.e. doing it anyway, to be honest, and I just can’t help but wonder how many of us are not doing things we might enjoy, that may lead to somewhere, or not, just because ‘it isn’t sensible’. How many of us take up studies because ‘it is the right thing to do and will lead to a good job’ versus fuelling creativity?

Once again, and always, I remember Steve Jobs’ thought:

‘Trust in something (…), because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well-worn path… and that will make all the difference.’

And as my favourite author and creative-critical life contemplator Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her book Big Magic, I’m not suggesting we let go of all things we consider security; keep something going that pays the bills, so that we can feed the creativity and fun-lover in us without pressuring THEM to have to pay the bills.

But: keep feeding the creativity and fun-lovers within, just because!

The dots will connect in hindsight, and for the very least, we get a kick from the growth and so many colourful magic moments on the way.

All of this is mere food for thought, as always, an ongoing process. One day, maybe, I will open that school and sanctuary – it is still not entirely off the bucket list.

Love x

Life is full of missed opportunities – get over it!

Featured

just.decide.

there are opportunities everywhere. just.decide.

So this morning I cancelled my participation at an event I really wanted to go to at the end of the week – it was riddled with opportunities for me on many levels. The thing was, as I was looking into getting myself there, arranging the intricacies of travel and going through all the things I’d have to ‘have done’ by then, ladidadidah-you-know-the-chatter, I felt a tingling sense of nausea that I have come to listen to… something wasn’t right, and my gut said so.

And, just like that, I knew I wasn’t going to go.

And just like that, I let go of countless opportunities I will never know I had.


I’ll use this example to elaborate a new thinking that has been building up in me. Taking decisions is not something I’ve always been assertive at, I still find it a workout. Because, for one, it means I am letting a someone, or something, down, either it is myself, or another, or everyone… for another it is because of the opportunities I may be missing.

Monkey mind going haywire

That is the hard part, that of overruling my chorus of inner voices that is loud and chirping at best of times, and starts frantically shouting at me in the run-up to taking a decision – because of course, there are as many great reasons FOR doing something as there are for not.

I also like to see myself as a pacifist, and as such I have a tendency to listen to all the voices that come at me, yes, I believe in finding peaceful alignment, always. I apply this to my inside voices even more than to the outside ones – and there is often somewhat of a cacophony in my mind yelling perspectives and possibilities at me at all times.

They all have a point!

The bottom-line is: I am the boss lady.

I have that great executive responsibility of listening to what is useful and taking the lead in action that best serves us all, the voices, me and my good self.

Pretty much at the same time as I was deliberating with my monkey mind on my big decision, I had a conversation with a friend, who was ‘not feeling’ an event she was supposed to go to, either – I bluntly suggested: ‘don’t go’, to which she replied ‘but I hate missed opportunities‘.

And just then, a penny dropped in me.
It was this little statement that I’ve heard and said a million times before that suddenly, today, had me come to a new conclusion and that I will be trying on for a little while:

‘Life is FULL of missed opportunities.’

In any given moment, we could be in a whole other place. I can be in my home building my business or lying lazily on my couch, just as much as I could be on a safari in Zanzibar, or anywhere in between – whatever I do can be just as real and as important to me as anything else would and could be.

See, a while back on my, for lack of a better word, journey through life I started exploring the attitude of searching for the silver lining in every thing.

Whatever happens to us, whatever the circumstance, we have the power to make it worth while.

In the best of cases we are showered with an abundance of successes and magic, and in other cases, the best we can do is find a learning, grab it, drop the rest and move on.

And in living in that belief, I have come to understand that

every single moment in this our life is an opportunity.

So if that is the truth, whatever we decide to do is a YES to one opportunity and a NO to another.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time, therefore life IS, indeed, filled with missed opportunities.

Regret – concept deleted!

“Maybe, if I’d taken a left instead of a right, I would have met the man of my dreams and we’d be living happily ever after by now?”

Over time, I’ve come to decide that regret is one of the most useless feelings we can have.
Regret not only holds us in the past, feeling miserable, it also impacts our power in the present as we make huge efforts to dodge potential future regrets.

There is no way of knowing what could have been ‘had I only…’; for one, there are innumerable possible ‘had I only…’ options and dwelling in those thoughts serves no apparent purpose.

Trust that synchronicities will happen when they need to happen, the universe and its energies have our back – all we need to do is follow the heart and stay alert.


So here’s my new statement, which I share while I shall keep exploring it myself:

1 -Just.Decide.

Learn to listen to your heart and gut, follow them, they really do know the way. Make your decision, make it right for yourself in the moment, and own it. You are the boss lady, or man!

2 -Be in the moment as fully as you can.

Live the moment. Make the most of where you are, learn from it, and find and seize the opportunity you are in: embrace it with love, gratitude and creativity, as I like to say, ‘magic lies in the simplicity of appreciation’.

3 – And: let go.

Let go of what coulda-shoulda-woulda been.

Yes, life is full of missed opportunities, get over it.

And keep moving.

nothing will change unless we change something we do daily

‘You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.
The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.’

– John C. Maxwell


 

When contemplating the über-concept of ‘world peace’, I can’t help but wonder that We will never change the way the world is turning until we change things we ALL do daily. The secret to peace is found in our daily routines.

In the times when I choose to observe the ways of our modern societies, my heart breaks – I know I am not alone in that one, either.

And I am getting very very tired of the way we behave.

So tired of the glorification of busy, the stern tone and ‘serious’ talk that comes with politics, corporations, life.
So tired of finger-pointing.
So tired of mass outrages and following what we all, as a whole, seem to agree to be ‘reality’, a reality that at the same time leaves us burned-out, stressed, lonely, sick, unproductive, and frightened when we are at our worst – which, also, for some reason just seems to be the accepted ‘how it is’, a place to ‘deal with’.

What I have come to observe, in a caricature but respectful nutshell:

  • Something horrific happens. We are shocked. Someone must be blamed. Blamed for the action, for letting it happen, for not preventing it.
  • We get outraged, at how awful the world has become, at how hopeless and how evil man is.
  • Facebook develops a temporary profile picture, slogans and icons appear within hours of the event, for us all to unite in solidarity, to show we care – because, that I believe, we truly do.
  • The news and the stories that emerge become our topic of conversation for a few days; we’re terrified, and also relieved that it didn’t happen to us. We feel with the victims, and consider our own luck, make resolutions to live life fuller – for we never know which moment may be the last…

And, as time goes on, pretty soon we go back to normal again – and luckily so, we could not carry the burden of all injustice and terror of the planet with us all the time.

Back to normal, until the next time something we decide is awful makes the headlines. And we go through it all again.

HOW are we agreeing to the ‘way this is done’? Clearly it is not working, we’re going round in circles. And it is exhausting us.
What is the paradigm, the thought acceptance, that needs shifting?

May I join those who suggest that MAYBE all this is not just a result of ‘others’ being evil, others doing or not doing their job?

Maybe, MAYBE, we are all to blame, maybe we are all feeding this system?

I dare say, we even enjoy it. I’ll be so blunt as to hold up a mirror:

  • we watch murder mysteries, read crime novels and play combat games – FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT!
  • the most explicit headlines sell best, BECAUSE WE BUY THEM. We devour the gory details and we watch, ‘like’, share and talk about them all the time, granted, often behind the shield of ‘outrage’ and ‘protest’ and ‘sadness’ and ‘news’!
  • we judge each other and ourselves, we are constantly in competition for what is ‘the truth’, the ‘right way to do things’, ‘the only belief system that matters’.
  • and yes, every day we all support imprisoning fellow living beings of the planet in the most disgraceful of conditions for them to then be slaughtered – so that we can eat them in quiche and with barbecue sauce, fashion them to be worn on our feet as shoes, and we carry all our stuff around in their skins as handbags.

This list is endless… and so ‘normal’ it is hardly questioned!

We are blindly feeding our system in our every day routines with the very evil we condemn!

Once again, I can’t help but think that our solution may be simple. And we’re ignoring it because a part of us enjoys it.

Maybe the concept of peace is not a complicated top down strategy that is to be designed, negotiated, ruled, controlled by others?

To be fair, the way we all talk about ‘peace’ is so intricate, so many intertwined threads of belief systems, historic events and ego trips, it is really difficult to understand what is going on. I know that the way I am writing is simplified, possibly naïve. And deliberately so.

I am tired of the way we over-complicate things, it clouds the essence of what is important. Let’s give ourselves a break, we sure deserve it!

My ongoing thought keeps emerging: what if we all took better care of ourselves, and made sure that OUR OWN HEART WAS AT PEACE before finger-pointing at all the others?
If we were really at peace, would we even fathom hurting ourselves, our fellow inhabitants or the planet we call home the way we’re doing it?

Of course it would mean taking personal responsibility, and making a few changes to our own ‘known comfort’.

The big bad system is too big a project to tackle individually, but so long as we finger point to it and behave as victims, we shed the very ownership we actually, desperately need to take!

It is time to change our perspective of ‘world peace’ as being a board room summit topic to it being a daily individual inner strive.

Individual ownership in everyday lives brings it home… breaking down a huge insurmountable project into lots of little do-able ones, so to say.

Let’s get going. Or, let’s keep it up, whichever applies to you! We’re in it together.

We will never change the way the world is turning until we change things we all do daily.
The secret to pea
ce is found in your daily routines.

 

Food for thought x


 

Meandering about in Wonderland

I found myself at a Latin American Spanish ladies artists’ event in Dubai tonight, as one does, and just before leaving I was asked the classic cocktail question by a fellow coach: ‘So what are you doing?’.
I said, as I do these days: ‘At this very moment, I’m travelling.’

Her: ‘Ah sabbatical year!’
Me: ‘Sabbatical half-year, yes, life is good.’
Her: ‘Si, que bueno! Where are you going?’
Me: ‘I don’t quite know’, which is my truth at hand.
 

Her: ‘Do you know Alice in Wonderland?’

Me: ‘Of course ;-)’
Her: ‘Do you remember the cat she meets?’
Me: ‘Yeeeees!?’
Her: ‘And do you remember the conversation they had?’
Me: ‘errrrrrm remind me, please…’
 
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: So long as I get somewhere…
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
 

We’re constantly meeting people on our paths.

I’ve come to find I can often put them into four main categories:
– some guide us along our way, to give helpful pointers and lessons we need to learn, subtle or strong,
– some challenge us to find our answers, our place, to test our learnings,
– some come with messages, downright information
– and some are angels, beautiful angels – they appear to say ‘you’re ok, honey, everything is just fine!’
 

There is no right or wrong: we get to choose our truth of the moment.  

This encounter could have been any of the above, and it is all of them to me in some way or an other – but as her story was unfolding I felt that she was an angel for me tonight, reminding me that everything is OK just as it is.
Yes, if we want to get somewhere, figure out where it is. And go. Take baby steps or great leaps, it doesn’t matter.
And if, at times, we don’t really know where it is we’re going, that is also ok. No need to beat yourself up about setting or reaching goals and destinations all the time.
Just keep moving in a way that you enjoy the journey, stop from time to time to smell the flowers, celebrate the mad hatter’s non-birthday at his tea party when you stumble upon it… and eventually a pattern, a path or a destination will become clear.

 

It may only become clear much later, but everything happens for a reason, trust and embrace the process.

As Steve Jobs said:

The dots will connect in hindsight,
so for now, follow your heart’.


Create your own PAY BACK

You can create your own pay back. It might sound crazy, but it works. It just does. Magic is everywhere. Angels are all over the place, helping us, challenging us, guiding us, holding us safe.

It is our job to let go, see, appreciate… and DANCE!

I posted this article on Creating Memories, my other blog (‘the Universe always provides‘), a journal from a journey to the Philippines a few years back. It’s one of a million examples of serendipitous encounters that keep blowing my mind.

I share it for inspiration and with my heartfelt reminder, to myself as much as us all:

Keep doing the inside job of searching for clarity of who you are and what you want. And keep working towards it.

Make the requests. Believe in them, make them real, in your being and doing, every day.

Trust the process, everything always happens for a reason, there is a learning, a guidance and a gift in everything.

And yes, lean into receiving everything that comes your way, in gratitude.
Some of our experiences come along to remind us of what we don’t stand for. Thank them and show them off politely, yet firmly.

And most, most of everything that happens, is a teacher, a gift that wants to be opened, so FOR THE LOVE OF YOURSELF:

accept the gifts gracefully, gratefully, unwrap them and hold them in honour.

As Albert Einstein said:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

 

We make our choices, always.

Magic is everywhere, remember to let go and dance!

Much love, Laura x