safe, insightful talk alternative to family, friends, therapy, coaching

Posts tagged ‘tribe’

You’ll See It When You Believe It

Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

One of my all-time fave philosophies. Change. It’s powerful beyond measure, and also crippling as hell. Sigh. There’s been another death in my life.

I shared in a recent post that my Mom changed residences from her comfy loving home here on earth to somewhere, hopefully, even more wonderful. For you straight-shooters: she died. I wrote of how for me, Mom’s passing was a positive, enlightening experience and I have felt very little of the grief that I had been forewarned of and feared most of my life – and I LOVED my Mom! I valued my relationship with her greatly; she was a beautiful spirit that brought only good things to my life – the most obvious being my heart, lungs and brain! Read more about my ‘positive’ experience here, but to reinforce the sentiments of that post: today, fifteen weeks later and the day after her birthday, I’m still just revering Mom’s death with a smile! My world has felt a bit off its axis for sure, and her absence has me a wee bit out of sorts: but contrary to my fears, her loss has brought little pain. And let me say again clearly: I loved that woman dearly.

Best teachers help you find your own pathSo why then, has the death of someone I have never even met left me heartbroken?!? Psychologist, philosopher, author, speaker, “father of motivation” and master of the above “Change” quote, Dr. Wayne Dyer, passed unexpectedly on August 30th, 2015. Wayne’s work influenced every field related to mental and physical health, motivation, personal development, professional development, spirituality, education. Any of those things relevant to your life? Then so was Wayne.

I wrote a post on Wayne a while back so I won’t regurgitate his bio and deets, rather, I’m just so curious as to why I, alongside millions of others, felt such shock, sadness and utter loss upon hearing of Wayne’s passing. Clearly, he was a teacher for me. I’ve often been asked: “what teacher impacted you the most growing up”; questioners expectantly awaiting a gushy, grateful idolizing of one of my public-school teachers. I could indeed provide a high-school teacher’s name: Mr. Toews. Pronounced “Taves”. My Grade 9 Social Studies teacher. Why? Because he had a mini-guillotine on his desk and would behead a pencil if I walked in late for class. Still echoing in my soul, Mr. Toew’s sinister voice: “Loughlinnn!!!” CHOP! This anchored to my young psyche forevermore, that being late wasn’t necessarily a bad thing: the flying pencil-head was pretty cool. Otherwise, not a damn thing resonated under Mr. Toew’s tutelage; and it has really bothered me not to be able to name a single school teacher who even slightly inspired me. I’m sure I came out of public school with a decent memorization Off with your head!of some useful (and a lot more totally useless) information and some handy skills, however, no galvanizing direction, having never been approached by anyone in the education system – EVER, offering me personal context, incentive, or even a bolstering of curiosity as to how this ‘education’ could be harnessed “to be anything I wanted to be“. Ditto for college: strong contributing factors as to why it took me so long to identify my calling, me thinks. Wayne Dyer impacted my life greater than any “formal” teacher I’ve ever had: encouraging me to shift my definition and means of education; to shamelessly pursue my tribe, fulfillment, joy; and, most importantly, inspiring a desire to inspire others. And I’ve never met the man.

You got some 'splainin!

CONT’D: So why tears for a stranger, when I barely shed them for Mom? And…see how Wayne made me a believer in the ‘afterlife’!
PLUS: Are You A Self-Help Whore?? (page 2)

First Confession

Fly Mom!

Forgive me followers for I have sinned:
it’s been 122 days since my last blog.

And whew, what a 122 days
Six months, really. This is definitely in the “Top 5” consciousness periods in my life – and I’m including my birth and reserving a spot for my death in there!

My Mom died.

Thank you, I can feel your warm energy.

It was not an unanticipated passing, but not a given at this time either. She had a stroke three years ago; and between adjusting to physical limitations, and struggling to re-engage the social stimuli – which was equally her life-blood, she faded a little more day by day… by day….. by.

Mom's Wedding Portrait 1958After the initial stroke, Mom’s personality and thus my relationship with her changed. She and I had a very intimate meeting of the minds and shared a life-philosophy that was not comfortably entertained in our household: it was a lovely place to deepen our relationship. The cool conversations we would share for hours (typically me lying on her bed, she in her favorite chair after having watched our daily regimen
of The Young and the Restless [another confession!] in our cozy bedroom cave), well… they simply changed. It became more and more challenging to explore and share the vulnerabilities of our take on the world as her attention, body and mind recessed. It was then that I began grieving the loss of “My Mom”.

“how lucky i am to have known someone
who was so hard to say goodbye to”
                                                          – adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh

Coincidentally- or not- as a permanent student of life, at the time of Mom’s stroke I was in a phase of actively exploring change“: neurologically, behaviourally, emotionally and philosophically. [Managing change is  the most prevalent challenge with my clientele- and that of most coaches’ and therapists’.] Me & Mallory
I was intrigued with and paid particular attention to experiences and behaviours around loss, death, and grief. It’s never sat right with me how the majority of North Americans (and my British heritage) perceive and thus manage death: as a death sentence. The default mood upon hearing of a death is morose, dark, sad, uncomfortable, and clinical.  It mongers fear: we almost instinctively jump to the negative view of our own mortality. But death is SO a fundamental part of life: it is an equal milestone to birth in our journey here on earth, is it not? We highlight death dates in obits (virtually the main public bio of one’s existence); and d. is one of the few bits of info on headstones: we don’t list our grad dates, first-job dates, marriage dates, or birthdates of our kids in either of those important declarations. I’ve never seen any contract guaranteeing: my exit date; the amount of time my parents/mates/kids get with me; or how or why I go out. You?

Life is jiggly.  Life on earth is simply a full contact, no-rules journey. Then it’s over. We have HOPE ONLY, of impactful experiences. Even if it’s as simple as a mother and baby only ever knowing each other’s heartbeat from inside the womb – THAT is as complete a journey as any – and we have no reason to expect more or judge it less.  With full knowledge of How are you living?the crapshoot nature of life, why is death so feared and so devastating to some; and so minimized as an accomplishment? The evolution of our physical bodies alone is miraculous, and worthy of conscious acknowledgement for “housing” our beloveds – and in Mom’s case, for a time, me.  Shouldn’t deaths send our thoughts instinctively to a place of fascination, dreams, inspiration and motivation, as we anticipate the wonderful space ahead of US, just waiting to be filled? Big, BIG discussion… but at the time of Mom’s stroke, in my personal journey, I was massaging my own working theory around life and death and was LOVING the insight into the beliefs and practices of others around this issue. I did in fact solidify a belief about death that was comfortable for me – but it was all still in theory, not yet in practice.

Well, in my Mom’s world, “practice made perfect” and she did not miss this opportunity – although a rather extreme one, Mom! – to offer me the benefit of experience. And I’ve got to say: both my curiosity of life and the belief system that I have tentatively adopted are paying off in spades: I am having the most enlightening, beautiful, fulfilling, calm, loving “mourning” period ever.

Huh??My Mom

Page 2: Confessing to enjoying death? What, how, why, who helped – who didn’t… and the greatest confession of all

Sister Act II

life plotIn my reinterpretation of Sister Act (last post), I began a tale of how nature and nurture are so intricately co-dependent that without a secure understanding that you are free to both style your own destiny and to create a supporting tribe, a life-story can transition from fairytale to horror flick with or without the assistance of scary monsters.  A life can go off the reel simply by being uninspired: no need for tragedies or down-and-out tales.

I have to admit, it was difficult writing the Sister Act post – not because of vulnerability, but because I could have written a BOOK with all that I have to say about cultural conditioning, the squelching of authenticity societally, and the impact both of these had on my own life. I’ve pared things down in these Sister Act posts and they’re really just overviews of my experiences, and because of that, they don’t go quite to the level of vulnerability that I believe is crucial to shift the fear of folks just being their unmasked selves. Really, there shouldn’t even be a need to attach a concept such as “vulnerability” when sharing life experiences: being me as me, being you as you is NORMAL. Unfortunately though, we are still buying into the crap that we should conform to a predictable sameness: a boring, colourless, inspirationless, stifling, robotic sameness rather than innate, primal, compelling, exhilarating, gratified uniqueness. Being “vulnerable” i.e. the real me with you, is one way I can personally contribute to the fabulous ripple-effect that my encouragement of you to be you will naturally bring. I commit to share as intimately as need be in future posts as I break my personal movie out into smaller soundbites.

Sister Act 2I don’t know exactly what genre Sister Act II falls into: in the 20 year span from the point where I thought I had an absolutely sure vision of where my life was going, to the point of WTF and surrendering to my spirit rather than trying to direct it, my bio-pic runs the gamut of themes: family film, chick-flick, mystery, horror… yikes, crime too; I’ve lived more than one medical drama, a war (with myself) story, definitely some comedy, and lots of educational content. While more than a few of those twenty years felt completely fictitious- often even animated (like a representation of me but not me), I think I’ll summarize this particular story arc as “action-adventure”: though oftentimes in the moment, I really didn’t appreciate the adventure. (I sure hope it is a period-piece.)

What those 20 years basically brought to light is…  that when you are not consciously living-  living with that kid-in-your-heart, live-it-out-loud authenticity, with a truly supporting tribal-cast, the universe defaults to become your primary tribesman, offering up whatever scheme it needs to get you to check in with yourself. Act One of my universal butt-kicks was during that period referred to in the last post at age 16, when, ultra-bored, I began lobbying my parents to change schools: sensing inherently that I needed a new tribe. Having elicited no concern from my parents, I abandoned any further action. SMASH!!! The universe brought me action…. in the form of a semi-serious car accident, which in complete sarcasm, could have wiped out half of my ill-fitting tribe: my then girl-posse was in the car with me… I was driving. It was a strange night: the girlfriends and I were unusually quiet, not much traffic, I turned left, we were broadsided at 50km/hr., spinning into a merciless pole.  Whew that my broken nose was the only visible casualty (besides my temporary insanity: “maybe Mom won’t notice the dent” I told my first-on-the-scene big bro!) My posse got trips to Hawaii via the insurance money; I got a decades-long limiting belief. My parents never spoke of the accident to me past that night: apparently my 4th-child, sibling-induced pattern of being so competent and not needing much direction led each of my parents to interpret my quiet calm as “handling things well”: no need to rock the boat. You okay?In reality I was in a state of shock, feeling 3-yr-old-little-girl-fear, desperately needing someone to come hold me and give me words to understand the startling randomness of life and the perceived personal failure that the accident provoked; and, just to have someplace safe to cry. Reminiscent of my actual age three when my Mom “disappeared”, and, with no conversation around it everyone just got on with things (per last post, she was in hospital for an extended period due to a car crash), this incident simply reinforced my belief that when life is confusing: you just figure things out by yourself… and get on with it.

Act Two… I continued on my conveyor-belt life: college… first job… up the ladder to second job… next rung third job. I had new players in my life but they were typecast per the uninspiring others, so trusty old universe stepped in again:

Read More: Stalkers, FBI… say whaat???  And  “Why Your Life Sucks!” (page 2)

Sister Act

sister nun blondeGood Golly Miss Molly… can you smell the change in the air: that summer-to-fall slight earthiness edging out the sweeter scent of summer??  My supersmell usually picks that up to the day, reinforced by a chillier now-I-need-a-sweater evening.  The air changed August 20th FYI; I mentioned it to my parents in a phone call that day and could hear the way-post-term-pregnant pause and unspoken “huh?”, followed predictably by: “oh, uh, okay… your Aunt phoned….”. A clear example of tribal lines. I asked about my Aunt: I’m long past trying to get my parents to relate to some of my traits for which they simply have no first-hand experience; and sincerely appreciate the occasions when they may explore me with me more.

Prior to my little summer hiatus, my last post entertained exactly this concept of going outside of your family-of-origin to seek your “tribe”: your support system. It provoked more than a few comments* from readers- ranging from relief to guilt, that family members may not be your best tribesmen as per the unofficial rule book of life.

You’ve asked me to elaborate on my alluded to “misfit” in my family tribe. I am more than happy to do so: I offer mentorship for the pure and simple reason that so many people have been able to learn and grow from my story and its muddy tributaries. Sure, I’ve had some “fun” and unexpected elements to my tale, however, what proves to offer the most value is my out-and-out “normalcy”. The perception that a challenging life comes with a history dominating in dysfunction still prevails: bad parents, no money, disabilities, abuse, no role models, few opportunities; or, if blessed with a few decent elements, you must be the freak, the geek, or – oh my – the one with the deviant gene. The contradiction of my having challenges in life even with a “textbook-perfect” upbringing is unsettling to people (and has made more than a few folks in my life very, very uncomfortable). Even though we clearly know as adults “well of course, nobody’s life is perfect”, people want to be able to have a place to attribute (…excuse… blame – pick a verb) their problems; and they want the reciprocal and comfortable justification that others “have it all” because of their golden roots and obvious advantages. If that were NOT the case then………omg.

privilegeWell, I had somewhat golden roots. But guess what: as even a bush-league gardener can tell you, any roots being nurtured in the wrong soil will struggle to thrive – or survive. From the stereotypical image of a family misfit, I in no way fit the mold – in fact quite the opposite.  I looked like my family and peers, had friends, good grades, was outgoing; no rebellious army fatigues or mohawks- -and never has black lipstick touched these lips! I looked normal. I was normal. My normal. Just terribly uninspired as I went through my “Stepford” bootcamp. Pre-conceived ideals suck the living souls out of us – and in my case, it took 20 years to get it back.

What I think has been most valuable to realize- and hammer into others, is that no life path follows the clear pattern of any other; and that the definition of success is yours and yours alone. While there are some societal foundations to facilitate order and cohesion, the rest of your life is a blank slate and you manage all the tools with which to write upon it… or draw upon it, or dance upon it, or turn it into a cake, a rocket ship, a sports playbook, a Tibetan prayer mat….
Blank SlateMaybe your tools are common and familiar to others; maybe they are one-of-a-kind and/or history-making. There are no shoulds: just can’s, do’s, be’s. Act from intuition, desire, joy, curiosity – not from expectation or others’ definitions of living.

Our greatest enemy is conditioning without the understanding that life is yours to change and mold as you need or want. Conditioning happens quite naturally, and for the most part with no calculated agenda; and it can form a very solid, secure jumping-off point to a healthy life. The key, however, is knowing without question that you have free will and permission – if not outright support, to realign your thoughts, beliefs, actions, environments or tribe to foster your authenticity. In my experience, this has not been a standard ideal: and it must be. Challenging the popular book, all we really need to know was not learned in kindergarten.

So… wanna hear more of my story, eh? Well, here we go with…

Sister Actsister true

What are the odds that of the 7,256,508,556 people in the world (as per to-the-second clock on worldometers; oh look, now it’s: 7,256,508,842 ! lol), that the five others in my family are going to fit the criteria for my personal acceptance/ support/ inspiration team?? Well, actually, a lot closer than the now 7,256,509,002 others, science might say – and logic too, given that my siblings and I have come from essentially the same nature/nurture pool. Not really though, and with the rapid advances in the fields of neurology and epigenetics¹, my family and I get further and further apart.

Apparently, most young adults think that they’re the “different” one in the family – the more misunderstood one: go figure!  Read More Sister Act (page 2)

Quotes to Query

See Quotes on… family!

Are YOU The Village Idiot?

Find Your TribeAccording to the latest research, the three components of true happiness are: gratitude, forgiveness and, without a doubt, social connection.

We may not like the fact that we are wired such that our well-being depends on our connections with others, but the facts are the facts.

Belonging to a group or community gives us a sense of identity. It helps us understand who we are and feel part of something larger than ourselves.

Most people come to  me, coaches and therapists when there is a “problem” in their lives. Imagine – just imagine if folks used mentors as a part of a self-perpetuating wellness strategy: you might have several mentors for different facets of your life, rotating them as you proactively ebb and flow in your personal growth. Imagine creating, directing, exploring, LIVING your life fluidly, securely, lovingly — as per your birthright.  Rather, a good 90% of folks in my practice have waited until some part of their life implodes or is driving them sufficiently nuts before they finally recognize that yes, in fact, it does take a village!! Essentially, that’s what most of us in the self-development/help field are: a paid, quick-and-dirty “tribe”; because society, parents (whoever is the scapegoat-of-the-week) has failed to ingrain– without question, the simple concept that we’re not programmed to go it alone. Our genetics and our happiness quotient are structured to have relationships in our lives, and it is our inherent nature and our human mandate to seek and filter those relationships to fuel our souls.

Find your tribe, before...“Tribe” is the moniker I use to refer to the support team in our lives. Some people need a big tribe around them constantly, others, just one or two close folks at a time.  Tribe members may be for guidance, support, or simple oxytocin (happy-mood hormones) to give someone a boost for a time. We are predominantly raised to accept our family-of-origin as our tribe: they are the ones that will “love us unconditionally” and “support us to reach our dreams” – through thick and thin, right?  “Of course- they’re my family!”  Your family may turn out to be a prime source of the types of support that you need to grow and thrive, but more often than not, you need to seek out and assemble a “custom” tribe.  Who ever told us that???  Sure, we’re encouraged to go make friends… you know, for basic camaraderie (led to believe that our friends will at least, be “loyal”: and inevitably hanging on to friendships well beyond their expiration dates for that seemingly finite definition!). Eventually we clue in that our circle of friends may need to “cycle” a little, but was it ever on your radar that in choosing friends, you are in essence auditioning your life support-team,  in which case, you might have very different criteria? No: because we have been conditioned by everything from Mother Goose to The Brady Bunch to English Lit 101 to butter commercials to believe that  family is the mainstay of our support-team, and thus inherently, will be our best bet to guide us in building a happy, secure, fulfilling life. I beg to differ.

Uniquely me.My birth-family is great: I simply define life and experience the world differently than how I witness- thus perceive, they do.  We all have enough similarities that my upbringing felt sufficient: the expected life-path seemed a decent fit.  I know now that while my familial path was certainly comfy, it was slowly choking the part of me that held the lion’s share of my authenticity.  As I rode the proverbial conveyor-belt into adulthood… I could feel the My tribe.suppression alright, I just didn’t have the modelling or education yet to understand it.  I’ll expand at another time… but suffice it to say, in order to tap into, nurture, accept, explore, utilize and LIVE my true nature, I have needed to build myself another family… a soul family- my tribe.

All relationships, family-of-origin or chosen tribe (and they need not be mutually exclusive), will meet our needs or not meet our needs at any given time. The message that needs to be hammered into our philosophical understanding of life from infancy is: to continually seek relationships that will help fulfill your needs, and filter those that don’t. (Of course in my fantasy here, it’s a given that one’s uniqueness has been identified and honoured from infancy!) Understandably, a little balancing and screening is needed in the parenting department with incumbent responsibilities in both the nurturing of self-security and in the legal guardianship of our minor kids (i.e. Mom still needs to be the boss of you!).  The basic concept of respecting that we may think/be different than our family members, and to ensure safety from feeling guilty/rejected should a someone seek like-minded or supportive individuals outside of the family, is a healthy, healthy way to nurture a lifetime of great personal tribesmen.

The vulnerability in my theory- as lived, is that we may not actually recognize that something is missing for us in our Ballet? Okay.early formative years; as with me, nothing seemed missing per se, I just didn’t have any passion anywhere in my life e.g. I didn’t hate ballet: I was indifferent (BTW that is SO me, the redhead at left… and my sister beside me!!).  But I shall once more beg to differ that we are oblivious to signs of dispassion: we truly can intuit- feel when things are “off”; and in the absence of that perception, we are certainly capable of knowing when we feel absolute delight and are excited, curious, or energetic about a path or project. Start there. Find others that share your interest and invite them into your tribe — for an hour, a day… or perhaps your life: time… and your soul will tell.

Still think you’re the blacksheep?? If so, it’s time to ask yourself what the payoff is: how does your adoption of being the blacksheep serve you more that going out and simply finding more black sheep?? Or are you really the village idiot, standing all alone, and yet still in your own way? I say that somewhat challengingly… but with full understanding that while it is that simple, a change in behaviour patterns, limiting beliefs, relationships, and a bevy of new dreams for your true identity will, of course, take energy (note I didn’t say work: with freedom comes fun!).Blacksheep. Really?

Even blacksheep are born perfect! Come on, can you even slightly think that she —->
…is a reject??!

♥♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥♥

Tribes come about in all kinds of ways, for many different purposes and uses. Here are some thoughts from Dr. Julie Connor: planting the seeds so you can identify your top values and inventory your current tribe to see where there might be a disconnect.

Tribe cartoonCultivating Your Tribe

“Finding your tribe can have transformative effects on your sense of identity and purpose,” explains Ken Robinson, author of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. “This is because of three powerful tribal dynamics: validation, inspiration, and what we’ll call here the alchemy of synergy.”

Next: Who To Include In Your Tribe (page 2)

Highly Sensitive People: Not Your Grandmother’s Introvert!

sensitive & A-OK!

Samsara HSP Blog

In her national bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, author Elaine Aron defines a distinct personality trait that affects as many as one out of every five people.

According to Dr. Aron’s definition, the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.

Additionally, she says, the success of The Highly Sensitive Person is cause for celebration: “We’ve done it ourselves. And not surprisingly, since we are 15 to 20 percent of the population – that’s fifty million in the United States. Highly sensitive people are real, we exist, and we’ve proven it. That alone is something to celebrate.”

Another cause for Aron and her fellow HSPs to celebrate is the acceptance into mainstream psychology of the HSP personality trait. After numerous in-depth interviews, as well as surveys of over one thousand people, Dr. Aron’s findings have been published in Counseling Today, Counseling and Human Development, and the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Elaine Aron has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a thriving psychotherapy practice. She is the first therapist to tell HSPs how to identify their trait and make the most of it in everyday situations.

Highly Sensitive People have an
uncommonly sensitive nervous system…

– a normal occurrence, according to Aron. “About 15 to 20 percent of the population have this trait. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted.” An HSP herself, Aron reassures other Highly Sensitives that they are quite normal. Their trait is not a flaw or a syndrome, nor is it a reason to brag. It is an asset they can learn to use and protect.

In defining the Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron provides examples of characteristic behaviors, and these are reflected in the questions she typically asks patients or interview subjects:

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

Dr. Aron explains that in the past

HSPs have been called “shy,” “timid,” “inhibited,” or “introverted,” but these labels completely miss the nature of the trait.

Thirty percent of HSPs are actually extroverts. HSPs only appear inhibited because they are so aware of all the possibilities in a situation. They pause before acting, reflecting on their past experiences. If these were mostly bad experiences, then yes, they will be truly shy. But in a culture that prefers confident, “bold” extroverts, it is harmful as well as mistaken to stigmatize all HSPs as shy when many are not. In the Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Aron reframes these stereotyping words and their common application to the HSP in a more positive light and helps HSPs use and view these aspects of their personality as strengths rather than weaknesses.

Sensitivity is anything but a flaw.

Many HSPs are often unusually creative and productive workers, attentive and thoughtful partners, and intellectually gifted individuals. According to Dr. Aron, HSPs could contribute much more to society if they received the right kind of attention – and her national bestseller proves that this 15 to 20 percent of the population is eager to get off on the right foot in asserting their unique personality trait.

Read more:  There are many websites from both the medical and personal perspectives on HSP (including http://livingsamsara.com/)  and of course Dr. Aron’s book is a classic.

Read Me

THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D
http://www.hsperson.com/

BONUS VIDEO! from Marie Forleo, renowned life & business coach… well in her own words:
“I often say if Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Oprah and Jay-Z had a love child, it would be me.  That’s because I’m part business strategist, part marketing maven and part spiritual ass-kicker with a side of hip-hop swagger.”
Marie is highly entertaining – and SMART!

Read/see more from Marie on YouTube, or:  http://www.marieforleo.com/archives/

Belief Systems: Big 5 Culprits

The Big 5 That Develop Your Belief System

by Cathy Campbell, Inspired Personal Developmentprincess frog

From the moment you come into the world, you begin developing your belief system. And just how do you do this?

That first sentence contains a major hint of a notable attribute of developing beliefs… your system of beliefs forms from irrational input as well as rational!

Obviously as a newborn you don’t have a well formed capacity for logical deduction, so developing your belief system is not necessarily a rational process. Rather, it’s a process based on your experience of the world.

Whatever information comes to you in a form that you can digest, (ie. you have the necessary perception to process it), you file appropriately into your fledgling belief system.

As you mature, your abilities and understanding expands, and ultimately you are developing your belief system based on 5 primary methods of gathering information. Note that: only one of these stems directly from your personal facility of critical thinking!

Five Main Reasons You Believe

It can be very helpful and enlightening to know why you believe what you do. You might be surprised to realize some of the shaky ground you have formed your belief system on.

The big 5 are:

  1. Evidence
  2. Tradition
  3. Authority
  4. Association
  5. Revelation

Evidence Based Believing

Evidence shows that one thing causes another. The understanding of causation appeals to the analytical and critical thinking part of your mind.

Developing your belief system through this method is very rationale and based on the use of logical thinking.

The skills associated with evidence based believing develop as we mature, and become more honed through education. In this mode you look for facts. You look at events that are measurable, and where one thing directly causes something else. Scientific studies supply results from research and critically tested hypotheses to support evidence based beliefs.

You can also establish beliefs based on your personal experience of cause and affect. You might continually witness a consistent outcome from your actions. For example:

  • If you drive a certain route at rush hour, you know you will be 10 minutes late and upset yourself and others. Therefore you believe it’s best to take an alternate route during rush hour.
  • When you make dinner for friends, they express their appreciation, and you feel great. Therefore you know you will get enjoyment by creating dinner for friends.

This method of forming beliefs is also responsible for ‘learned helplessness’. If you consistently perform a behavior, and always get a negative outcome, you may come to believe that you have no power or influence in creating what it is you are aiming for. For example:

  • Because you are always 10 minutes late when driving that certain route at rush hour, and it is the only route possible to take, you know you will be 10 minutes late. You will feel upset, and you will upset others. Therefore, you always feel distressed in this situation.
  • When you make dinner for friends, no one expresses their appreciation, and you feel like a failure. Therefore you stop cooking dinner for friends.

The trick in the learned helplessness scenario is to adjust the elements that you can, and accept the things you cannot change. This might possibly include altering the physical elements such as setting alternate meeting times or places, or cooking different meals or inviting different friends!

But certainly one thing you can change, through gaining understanding, is how you view these events. For example, you could say:

  • If that is the only route possible to take during rush hour, and I cannot change appointment details, I will be 10 minutes late. That is reality.

Therefore, I have 10 minutes in traffic to put to use as I wish by listening to relaxing radio, personal development recordings, or reviewing the things I’m thankful for today. I will explain this situation to any other people affected. Whether they decide to make the best of the situation, is up to them. I am not responsible for how they view reality.

  • If I cook dinner for friends, and no one expresses appreciation, I can ask myself exactly why it is that I want to cook these dinners. If you feel like a failure when no one expresses appreciation, then you are likely looking to others to reinforce your self worth. That shows it’s time to recognize that your self worth is something always with you. To tap into it, spend some time talking to a life coach for personal development.

Adopting Traditional Beliefs

The traditions perpetuated through families and societies are a major factor in developing your belief system. We are often showered with traditions day in and day out when growing up, so they can be extremely easy to adopt, without even questioning. When you believe in a tradition, recognize that they have served some generation well. Yet it does not mean they are based in truth, nor necessarily have continued usefulness for your life.

There is a funny and telling story about a woman from a certain family where the women always cut their roasts in half prior to roasting. The third generation daughter said she did it because she understood that it made the meat more tender. Her mother said that she learned it from her own mom and thought it was to reduce the cooking time and save on energy usage. When the oldest woman, grandma, was asked about it, she said that the oven she had when raising a family was very small and it was necessary to always cut the roast in half to fit it in!

So not only was there a belief being passed down that it was important to cut the roast in half, the reason behind the belief was totally lost, and no longer relevant to the women’s lives!

It is through family and cultural tradition that many people formulate their primary belief system. Social culture, family bias, and societal prejudice all strongly influence formation of:

  • global beliefs such as:
    • what God is
    • political theory
    • science
    • personal value
  • topic specific beliefs:
    • the specific religious practice to support
    • which political party to vote for
    • which sport team to cheer for

Ask yourself ‘what role has tradition played in developing your belief system?’.

“We are so conditioned, so heavily burdened with belief, with tradition, with the past, that this actually prevents us from seeing or listening.”
-J Krishnamurti

Authority Steers Beliefs

Many beliefs are adopted from people that have a role of authority in our lives.

Sometimes these figures of authority also fall in the category of tradition, as you can imagine. For example, your parents play a role of authority in your early life and they are regularly passing traditions down to you.

Other times authority figures are independent to tradition. Some examples of authority figures who may influence your beliefs (while theirs are not necessarily based on traditional beliefs) might be:

  • a new age religious cult leader that espouses having a special direct line to ‘God’
  • doctors who tell you they absolutely know best about your health and all conflicting ideas re rubbish
  • a school teacher who you look up to, whether or not they follow ‘tradition’

Beliefs by Association

Who do you hang out with?

Whether you run with the ‘in crowd’ or the ‘nerds’, you will be adopting compatible beliefs to your own, as well as reinforcing common beliefs that you hold with your group. It is pretty much a case of ‘what you see is what you get’. As you are continually faced with particular ways of thinking within the group, you start to adopt and reinforce those ideas as the ‘right way’ to think.

Basically, by sharing time and activities, you rub off on one another and mutually influence one another’s belief system.

If you associate with hard working people who feel they are short on time and money, chances are you will be developing your belief system based around those ideas as well. Alternatively, if you spend your time with people who feel they have a very rich blessed life spending their time for their own delight, your attitude will likely be quite different.

Revelations Induce Beliefs

The definition of revelation referred to here is “disclosure of information to man by a divine or supernatural agency”. Basically, this is the experience of attaining information through what you might describe as:

  • a feeling or sense about something
  • a hunch or an inkling of an idea
  • an intuition or premonition about something
  • an insight through your sixth sense
  • a gut feeling
  • your minds eye or imagination

There are two primary and common understandings of how you may have ‘received’ this enlightening communication of knowledge:

  1. the information has been fed into your subconscious through external stimuli. It was just bubbling below the surface, and then some obscure occurrence brought it to your attention.
  2. your developing intuition, a sixth sense of perception of our world that everyone has. It may be that this 6th sense is just as powerful and ‘real’ as our other 5 senses. It has the ability to tune into other aspects of reality that humanity does not yet fully understand, nor have accurate measurements to assess.

Such inspiration can strike at any time; in the shower, driving to work, gazing at the ocean. Where ever it might have originated from may be interesting to ponder. Yet, I think the really interesting question is, ‘is the information valuable to you and how can you use it’.

Certainly Albert Einstein asked this question of the wild ideas he came up with, and look where it lead him and the world. He ushered in a raft of new beliefs for humanity. Just some of Einstein’s words of wisdom on the subject:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The Art and Magic of Believing

It is widely understood that most beliefs you hold have not originated with you. Rather, you have primarily adopted what makes sense to your experience and understanding at the time. You continue in developing your belief system largely by agreeing with ideas that come into your awareness.

Once you understand this, it gives you great strength to:

  • review your beliefs, and ask with nonattachment, “do they have a solid basis and do they serve you well?”
  • drop any feeling of threat when your ‘adopted beliefs’ seem to fall short, or come under attack

You have accepted your beliefs based on what you knew at the time. As you learn more, it is reasonable that your belief system will undergo change and growth.

© 2008-2013 inspired-personal-development.com

Who The Hell is “Society”?

“I am enough. I am not my history” – Melody Ehsani

This article’s theme area:
PERSONAL POWER, BEHAVIOUR PATTERN
S

From My Perspective: Sihle Mahonga January 22, 2013

Never did I ever think that I would be one of those ‘shamed students who take FOREVER to complete their degrees. I am now in my 5th year out of school and still have a year and a half to complete my degree. Now, you might be thinking to yourself “geesh whats taking her so long to finish a 3 year degree?” and this is what they DON’T tell you when you fail or you take another major or you simply want to take your time.

  1. The somewhat shame that is connected to an underperforming or ‘slow’ student
  2. The raised eyebrow every time you say your student number in relation to your year of study
  3. Your own voices telling you “LOSER” “STUPID” “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” “I KNEW IT, ITS TOO HARD”

I know them all…but you see it isn’t all black and white between achievers and non-achievers.

There are those who, stifled by society, are pushed into the life of academia. Those who at 1am in the morning cut cloth, paint, draw, write music, update their scrapbook – only to get up in the morning and carry the never-ending flow of textbooks. Those whose parents pressure their children to do something that they never thought of themselves doing, all for a piece of paper called a degree.

I’m not calling down on academia but I am calling down on those who think academia is life. Right now I have applied to study Music and Fashion (depending on which one I am chosen for).

I wasn’t built for academia

I was built to create and inspire, to roll around in my imagination and bring forth life.

I write, I sing very well, I draw- what I can do with these hands and mind is enough.

My creative mind is enough.

My body (and the crazy things I adorn it with) is enough.

I am enough

I’m not my high school math paper (which mind you, was 23%). I am not what my friends think when I told them that I was on a different path to them. I am not my so called ‘lost years’. I am not my history.

I am going for it and I know somehow, I’m going to make it through. Don’t let doubt and deviant behavior of society define who you are. You who are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am enough. I am not my history.

Tag Cloud