Resiliency, Endings, Laughter and Scariness

In numerological terms 2016 is a 9 year – a year of closure and letting go of the past so that you can make room for the present and the future. Apparently unhelpful friends should be avoided and bad habits should be dropped. Study, contemplation and travel are meant to be favourable during this time.

It certainly has been a year of endings for me – some major life changes, challenges and endings did occur. If someone had told me 18 months ago what would happen in my life over the next 18 months I would have just laughed at them. I did study a bit – Quantum Energy Coaching (QEC), I had some wonderful bucket list holidays and have had plenty of time to contemplate as I seem to have lost the ability to sleep.

I have contemplated resiliency quite a bit. Rod Warner from the Building Reliance Group has done research on how people deal with adversity and in his article explains 7 Building Resiliency Principles.

  • Connect to your purpose and meaning in life
  • Use your unique strengths
  • Maintain perspective
  • Generate positive feelings
  • Be realistically optimistic
  • Persevere by being open minded and flexible
  • Reach out to others

I certainly have used these principles for myself and was doing pretty well – I have had a lot of fun restructuring my life, jumping out of my comfort zone, making decisions, and was feeling excited and positive about my future.

But then one change too many, in too short a time, happened and I ran out of emotional energy. In September my dad was diagnosed with cancer and has subsequently also had a very minor stroke due to the treatment he was having. I lost perspective, could generate no positive feelings, was not optimistic and had no idea who to reach out to. I hugely resisted it – in my mind my dad was meant to stay healthy to look after my mom who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year. I did not want to worry about two frail parents living in a different city. I did not want to have to go visit regularly and spend time in the retirement village with two people who are no longer who they used to be. I very selfishly just wanted to get on and live my newly restructured life.

But we do what we have to do, and in the process someone always comes along to support and impart very necessary information, we learn who to reach out to, we use our strengths, we persevere and we gain perspective.

I am still resisting the situation a bit but have explored what lessons I have learnt in the past few months. The first is that I have realised that I am not the reincarnation of Florence Nightingale. The second is that it is not a good idea to lose your temper (and have a rant about human decency and karma) with one of Gauteng’s large and corrupt traffic officers who is trying to intimidate you into paying a bribe. I had a couple of incidences with intruders on my property in the middle of the year and neither the traffic officer nor the intruders seemed to find me very scary. The third lesson is that it is absolutely vital to continue laughing, connect to your inner child, not to take yourself or life too seriously, and be grateful for all you have in your life.

I then looked for the positives in the situation – on my few trips up to Joburg I noticed wonderful and random acts of kindness and care between our different cultures. I was impressed by the care of the nurses, the concern of a young air steward who could see I was taking strain and every time he walked past me gave my shoulder a squeeze, I saw men helping women with suitcases, old people supporting each other, and I noticed a general sense of connectedness and warmth between strangers. It made me feel more positive about our wonderful country.

I wish you all a restful ending to 2016 – we have ten more days left to drop bad habits – and I need to find out how to increase my scariness factor.

The Moral Bucket List

In the article The Moral Bucket List David Brooks writes about résumé virtues and eulogy virtues  “…….it occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character…..”

David came to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born — that the people he admired had achieved an unfakeable inner virtue, built slowly from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments.

This is a long article – but well worth the read!

Stop Setting Hard Deadlines and Enjoy Your Way To Your Goals

Happy New Year!

For those of you who missed my previous blog on pushing less and trusting more, here is a very similar article on reaching your goals. Enjoy the read and may 2016 treat you well.

Stop Setting Hard Deadlines and Enjoy Your Way To Your Goals  

Push Less and Trust More: The Stress-Free Path to Your Goals

As we wind down from 2015 and enter into 2016 we may be beginning to formulate our New Year’s resolutions and set our goals for the year ahead.

I believe that making resolutions and goal setting can sometimes be counterproductive as it asks us to hold ourselves accountable to forces outside our control. If we do not achieve our goals or keep to our resolutions we may consider ourselves a failure.

We cannot predict whether our actions towards a goal will produce a desired outcome – there can be ‘unintended consequences’. So sometimes we just need to take small exploratory steps that will produce a change of some sort – either towards our preferred future or not. We may find that something new, something unexpected and every now and then something fantastic may happen.

Unlike a goal, a small step is not something to achieve or fail to achieve – it is just something that one takes or not.

In the article below Ash Blankenship writes about letting go of our desires and changing our attitude to allow us to become more receptive to life’s greatness.

Push Less and Trust More: The Stress-Free Path to Your Goals

What is Happiness?

Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.”  Unknown

What does happiness mean to you?

Defining happiness can seem as elusive as achieving it. We want to be happy, and we can say whether we are or not, but can it really be defined, studied and measured?

Martin Seligman, one of the leading researchers in positive psychology and author of Flourish – A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, has developed the PERMA Model. “PERMA” stands for the five essential elements that should be in place for us to experience lasting well-being. These are:

  1. Positive Emotion (P)

For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion such as peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category – and the message is that it’s really important to enjoy yourself in the here and now, just as long as the other elements of PERMA are in place.

  1. Engagement (E)

When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present.This feels really good! The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience well-being.

  1. Positive Relationships (R)

As humans, we are “social beings,” and good relationships are core to our well-being. Time and again, we see that people who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not. Relationships really do matter!

  1. Meaning (M)

Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether this is a specific deity or religion, or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives to have a sense of well-being.

  1. Accomplishment/Achievement (A)

Many of us strive to better ourselves in some way, whether we’re seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. As such, accomplishment is another important thing that contributes to our ability to flourish.