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


 

Want peace? Start with your plate and shoes…

I think, if we want to have peace, we need to start with our plate and shoes.

Friends, I have a confession to make:

The fact that we eat animals breaks my heart.

For more reasons than the hurt we cause them and our health, I believe how we treat animals is an expression of our relationship to each other as a whole.

Peace begins with your plate and your shoes

Cattle in the field

I try to keep quiet and not be that ‘annoying vegetarian’ at dinner conversations with my take on my ‘diet’…
I am always grateful to anyone who goes out of their way to make me a special dish when I’m invited, and I’ll politely reply, because often asked, ‘No, not even fish. No animals‘.

Sometimes, when I feel confident enough to be outspoken, I add, “Nothing that experiences fear of death and runs or swims for their life when they feel in danger.”

I’ve also taken to find an excuse to leave the table, or conversation, when ‘how I like my meat best‘ is discussed – because I have come to find it hard to bear.

What makes me think I must be ‘politely’ quiet about something that actually breaks my heart the more I read, see and think about it?

I stay polite to not upset the comfort of the widely, yet in my mind blindly, accepted norm.

To me, this ‘norm’ of ours, of eating and wearing animals, that I also grew up with and did not question at all until just a few years ago, IS AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE TO MANKIND!

Alas, I am part of this abominable system, most of us are, because it is EVERYWHERE, as I realised once I started looking at what I consume daily, thoughtlessly.
And slowly, but surely, I am breaking away from it by sheer disgust.

See, one day it just clicked for me.
One day I truly realised what I knew: ‘meat’ comes from living beings, like ourselves and our house pets that we are so fond of, ‘meat’ is creatures with a life and a survival instict, like ours… who experience fear and will run to save themselves!

And it is now paining me to be confronted with dead animals prepared as ‘food’.

To me, the ‘meat’ industry is just too cruel to support – yes, I’ll take it a step further:

in my eyes it is hypocritical to finger point at the world in outrage demanding for crime and cruelty to stop, while ‘growing’, slaughtering and consuming animals en masse the way we do.

Peace starts at home.
In everyday gestures and habits.
Let’s be kind.

This is a perspective I offer, food for thought.
x

‘Be in the moment’, and let go – NOW

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.

Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
― Eckhart Tolle, THE POWER OF NOW


Ha! It is so smug and almost slapstick to say to ‘be in the moment’, ‘live in the now’… and I always thought being in the moment was ‘merely‘ about cherishing what is when it is, to be present as per Tolle’s quote above, to let go of those anxieties for the future and hurts from the past.

In the past three months I have been travelling, and one of the many things I am learning as a self-named collector of moments is that it is so important to live IN the moment because sometimes moments accumulate so quickly that it is sheer impossible to process them all later! So be in the moment if you want to somehow ‘save it’. I say ‘save it’, because I have taken to writing about what is meaningful to me, in an attempt to hold it safe and in honour.

Overwhelmed by moments

Granted, this is a state I find myself in a lot and, granted, overwhelm often accompanies transformative journeys, but during the two two months I spent in India it was amplified – it was as if someone had turned the volume up and I couldn’t find earplugs! Amazing things kept happening, tiny gestures and crazy synchronicities that blew my mind in both subtle and fantastic ways, literally.
And everyone I met seemed to agree:
the spiritual and energetic resonance is so strong and so clear in India that you feel your emotions rather fiercely.
The ups and the downs hit from one moment to the next, constantly. I have gone from heartbroken tears to belly laughs to life-changing inspiration to deep down dark inner caves and back so often that I had to teach myself that there is no point in dwelling on or deciding from any of them as they are bound to be overruled very soon – and that I would miss out on what’s next if I don’t just flow with them all. The other thing is that anything but going with the flow became exhausting.
I kept being reminded of what a lady said to me within my very first hours in India ever, in 2014. Our flights were delayed, we shared a table at the only coffee shop in Mumbai’s domestic airport terminal, she was a student in Indian medicine and told me
‘The energy here is so clear that karma moves fast. You’ll feel the effects of whatever you put out there very quickly.’
Her words kept proving her right. To the point that I stopped being surprised when things like this happened: I set the intention one day to get cracking on facilitating leadership trainings – and was asked three days later by the director of an NGO whom I’d only just met to do just that: lead a team building workshop for her staff the very next day.

An attempt to process moments: stay.

It is an acclaimed leadership skill, that of ‘staying’ after acting. As is Savasana in yoga, the pose in which we are still, to catch our breath and let things settle.
So after six weeks on a yoga training, in ashrams and rickshawing around Bangalore, to put it in a tiny nutshell, I found myself ‘staying’ in Pondicherry for 10 days. I had not intentionally chosen Pondicherry, it just happened to be where I was when I felt saturated.
My intentions was simple: to do my yoga practice daily and to write, ‘save my moments’. Just that!

Moments will keep fleeting by

I failed at staying. Why? Because things kept happening, even in my ‘out’ time.
I was being given a Ganesha figurine by my airbnb host as a gift, my other airbnb host gave me a spontaneous pendulum reading and arranged for a meditation master to ‘sit with me’ to help me ‘stay’, the waiters at the restaurant I went to for my dinner every night surprised me with a desert on the house and a dear handwritten ‘thank you’ note at my last luncheon… in a nutshell, I kept being overwhelmed by more things to be grateful for, yet more events to ‘process’.

Retreating from the moment

I related it to that special energy of The India – and the time came to leave, ‘to geographically remove myself’, to catch my breath and write about it all from a safe distance. So I packed my big backpack and so many scribbles of notes and snippets of memories I intended to write down properly.
Not a chance, my next destinations took hold of me in different, just as beautiful ways…
Days and events go on, feelings keep feeling, learnings, appreciation, more questions… all ongoing ongoing ongoing!

So my new Eureka on living in the now is actually a practice of letting go.

Live in the now because you can’t ever really honour it later, and you’ll just end up schlepping the ‘to do list’ of saving the memory into your next NOWs…

Whatever moment you want to capture, whatever learning you want to process, whatever event you want to journal about, whatever it is you do to ‘keep experiences safe’… do it right now! N O W!
Not tomorrow, not afterwards and definitely not during emergency Savasana in Pondicherry, Reunion or Dubai… time keeps moving, things keep happening; take in what you can, let go of the rest.
Oh there will be memories and transformative clicks that will arise in hindsight… but the true honouring has to happen in the moment.

What an exercize of seizing and letting go at the same time.

Now. Now. Now!

'Happiness is within, it cannot be without.' - Swami Sivananda

‘Realize deeply that the present moment is all we’ll ever have’
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now


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

if you want to be happy, then be happy

I came across this one and it pretty much sums it up.
Picture Credit goes to POSITIVE OUTLOOKS BLOG.

make your choices

if you want to be happy, be happy.

If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose.

There are no two ways about it.

I keep running into that wall myself, of waiting-and-seeing and hoping and expecting and wishing… and it just doesn’t work. Those are all very passive stances.

If you want to be happy, you must TAKE OWNERSHIP!

If you want to have a good day, work towards MAKING it a good day!
If you want to get a project done, you have got to WORK ON IT.
If you want to be happy, you have just got to open your mind, thoughts and actions to being happy – appreciate what is around you, let yourself be delighted, glorify what makes you smile and yes, ‘pay it forward’.
And let the rest blur away, consciously choose what you pay attention to.

Make the choice, set the intention, get up and live on purpose…

– note to self as much as anyone x

So long as it’s moving, it’s ok!

LA palmsSo long as it’s moving, it’s ok”, this is what my godmother Sally said to me once about traffic on the LA freeways, ‘just stay off of it when it’s a parking lot!’.

Navigating Los Angeles is a skill in itself; and even when the traffic seems backed up for miles, and looks like the worst of traffic jams to us Luxembourgers who get antsy when we have to stop at the same red right more than once to get through it, the freeway will, with patience and varying speeds, eventually get you there.  BUT ONLY ‘so long as it’s moving’.

This is the local wisdom I was given years ago and I drive by it.

I also live by it.

Girl in motion

Why it so important to be in motion has been researched and philosophised about. I’ll go with Gretchen Rubin’s bottom-line from her book (which I recommend), The Happiness Project:

‘To feel happy, it’s not enough to have fun with your friends, and not feel guilty about yelling all the time, and feel like you’re working in the right job; you also need to feel growth—a sense of learning, of betterment, of advancement, of contributing to the growth of others.’

‘Being happier requires you to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.’ – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

So find a life purpose, discover what it is that makes us come alive, and keep moving towards it! The journey is the destination.

Especially when I feel stuck, I mumble to myself ‘so long as it’s moving, it’s OK’ , at which point I must ask myself the all important questions:

’AM I MOVING?’,  ‘HOW am moving?’ and ‘Am I content with the way and speed I am moving by?’.

We can be moving in so many ways, here some I have found myself going by:

Flying with the jet stream, riding a wave, flowing with a powerful current 

I picture Nemo joining the sea turtles on the East Australian Current 😉

Sometimes we’re moving really fast, yes, we know we’re moving, we actually see the landscapes around us change. It can be scary and better still, really exhilarating, even dizzying.  And there is no doubt: things are happening!

Flying against the winds, still flying, just it requires so much more own effort

Yeah, sometimes the road is bumpy, or downright closed and we need to make detours. Or the mountain is a bit steeper, the air gets thinner… this one is when just getting out of bed is harder. But we do.  We’re on it, we’re busy, and even if slowly, things are happening!

In the bog – as in ‘moor’ (not toilet, not necessarily)

Gah sometimes everything seems to drain us, to pull us down, to push us down… we feel the murky water of stagnation creep up, make us heavier. For me, this is one to get out of ASAP, because the higher the waters rise, the stronger the negativity sets in and the harder it is to even move a limb, let alone a thought. ‘Keep swimming, just keep swimming’ (Nemo, again)

Pitstops and vista points

Sometimes we stop, take a break, enjoy the view, catch our breath, re-assess – still in the spirit of moving AND resourcing. It is important to charge the batteries, fuel up the energy levels; this is a conscious and very essential stop while moving.

The stroll of life

Ah this one is TRICKY. Sometimes we’re moving along so rhythmically, that we think we’re not moving.  And sometimes we’re so busy and tired with life we think we’re moving when in fact, we’re not at all. Here’s one to stay very aware in because it can be so misleading.

The parking lot, gridlock, that lull of the everyday grind

Sometimes we check out. Let go of all projects, dreams, intentions… in my case get stuck on the couch watching reruns of tv series and not doing my washing. Nothing happens here. Gridlock is a useless place to be.

For ME, ‘couch etc’ is also one of my ways to resource, which is why it is so important to keep asking where I am at. Am I sourcing or have I checked out?

I.e. ’Am I moving and am I happy with the way I am moving? Is it time to change gears and speed things up, or down, yet, or even to take another route?’ And if I’m in gridlock, I have to turn up the tone on myself for a ‘how long will you stay here before you move your ass off the couch?’.

I have, for myself, decided that forever gridlock is not an option unless I want to disappoint myself; I am a hungry learner and always travelling, Yes, personal growth is part of my happiness formula.  And I am here to be happy.

I got off the couch to write this.

Baby steps count.

‘So long as I’m moving, I’m ok!’ – Thank you Sally x

What if we had a ministry of peace?

First International Yoga Day

I tend to ask myself in contemplation, probably like many of us do, what it is that makes us such enemies to ourselves at times?

Laura Schummer at the Taj Mahal

‘Be mindful of your words’, they say, ‘because once a day, the goddess Lakshmi sits on your tongue and whatever we say in that very moment comes true.’

And I can’t help but wonder if the answer may be a very pure and simple one, like DUHHHHH – and that our mere tendency to be short-sighted and dramatic might be obscuring it.

And I have been wondering what the shift is that needs to happen, in the social paradigms as we know them, for us to be at peace, with ourselves and with each other.

So I’ve been growing this unfinished thought…

‘What if we had a ministry for peace, and we gave it the glorification and budgets that we give defence ministries?

What if tending to our own inner peace was the law? 

What if the law instructed us to actively care for others?

What if we worked towards having balanced lives, from the root on up, with the same seriousness and passion we use to fight against whatever it is we’re fighting against?

What if learning to take a breath and to settle into a moment was inspired by example with the same discipline we use to teach the knowledge written by others?

What if…?

And this morning, as I settled onto my mat with a few hundred yogis for the International Yoga Day in Luxembourg, I was informed of two things I did not know and that made my heart smile:

  1. India set up a Ministry for Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine last year.
    I then googled: ‘Yoga should not be just an exercise for us, it should be a means to get connected with the world and with nature.’ (India’s Prime Minister Modi)
  2. The UN, whose number 1 purpose is to ‘maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace (…)’, have proclaimed the 21st of June as the International Day of Yoga and by doing so (un.org) ‘the General Assembly has recognised the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.’ BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General

YAY, things ARE happening :-)

I’ll finish off with a quote I love, from the Dalai Lama:

The planet does not need more successful people.

The planet desperately needs more peace makers, healers, restorers, story tellers and lovers of all kinds.’ (and coaches and yogis…)

… and what if we had an army of all these people?