Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Revolution has started!

As the world awoke to a Trump presidency, I like many others felt shocked, sad and betrayed by my fellow people living in the US. In this mindset I found it hard to believe the spiritual leaders who in one voice were saying – “focus on light”, “send love”, “this is all part of a bigger plan.” But where do you start, with a person, who has lied, bullied and demeaned anyone who stood up to him. Who has stirred up fear and violence everywhere he went, and has made the people of a powerful nation sick with the toxic energy he has been spreading.

But love and light are much stronger than the darkness we have all just witnessed. As more commentators drew attention to the real need for change across the world, I began to see that these voters were mainly people like you and I, who were so desperate for change that they would vote for Trump. And while the US elections, Brexit, and to a degree the recent Australian elections have been hijacked by right wing conservatists with their own agenda, this was probably the only way to quickly create massive disturbance and enable us to bring in change. Maybe these events are part of a bigger plan?

We have now reached the tipping point, and regardless of how we got to this point, it’s how we move forward that is critical for our world. And this is where I believe hope springs, because: 
      a)  no matter how much the Nigel Farages, Donald Trumps, Pauline Hansons or Marine Le Pens of the world, may try to scare us into their small dark insular world, it is not the reality.  We live in a large, light filled, global world, which cannot be dismantled,
b)  the call to action coming from activists, journalists, celebrities, public figures, leaders of communities, and ordinary people,  are all standing up and saying that ‘we need to stand our ground and not be bullied’. We cannot continue creating a world of ‘haves and have nots’, and neither can we push our society back to the 19th century where white men ruled over everything and everyone.  

Think about it, this call to action would not have been possible without a Trump presidency; we had become complacent, while a majority of us had been suffering without a voice. 

Arianna Huffington calls it a “wakeup call for the Establishment”, I agree, but it’s also a wakeup call for all of us. Now is the time for every single person on this planet to stop and take accountability for themselves and the impact they have on others. We don’t all have to be activists, but it is time to stop the mind numbing behaviours of obsessing on how many likes you get on social media, or having to buy every new gadget, clothes or how you look. If we all just stopped and thought about our behaviour and not accept bullying, racism, and sexism, i.e. “treat people the way you want to be treated (see my first blog), it would create immediate change. For those of us who are activists – stand up for your beliefs, find your tribe as there is strength in numbers, and call out the bad behaviour! 

We are all on the same side. The Farages and Trumps of the world use fear as their message. They divide and conquer. They would have you believe that anyone who doesn’t look like you is not to be trusted. It’s how they win, they peddle fear and scapegoat the minority, usually the immigrants.

But we are all so much smarter than this. We need to call out the Establishment - i.e. our politicians and the wealthy. This is not to begrudge people their wealth, by all means it is their right to make and enjoy their money, however when that money is made at the expense of  people’s ability to have a reasonable standard of living, and approximately 10% of the world’s population live below the poverty line – that is not right. When the tax system supports the rich to avoid paying tax and increases the tax of the average person – that is not right. When governments exchange policy favours for political donations which result in mining, pollution, over development, destruction of our forests and oceans – that is not right. When arrogant politicians around the world no longer hide their abuse of tax payer monies, then claim ignorance or forgetfulness when caught out – that is not right.

Humanity has a long history of fighting for what is right. The French Revolution, the Greek Revolution, the American Revolution, and social revolutions like the ‘Youth’,  ‘Feminist’, ‘Stop the Vietnam War’ are all examples. We are now at the start of the next revolution. This one is about equality and rejection of the entitlement mentally of the Establishment. We have the opportunity and potential to create a healthy world with good values that we can leave to the next generations. We need to teach our children that bullying, sexism, lying and fear are not right, and while it may gain them short term success it does not create a sustainable future.

Trump has the opportunity to prove us all wrong and do the right thing by the American people and be a positive influencer in the world, or, he can prove us all correct and give cause to the revolution. Either way we win.    

So perhaps the spiritual leaders are right, and this is all part of a bigger plan that will lead all of us to a better world. How painful that journey will be, we don’t know, but we do know that we each have a critical role to play and that love and light are our tools.     

Love and light 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Web of Life has been hacked!

The Web of Life is being hacked! And it’s been happening for some time. But, if we act now it can still be repaired!
What’s the Web of Life?” I hear you say. “Who’s been hacked?”
Not another do-gooder getting in the way of progress”  
Well, actually we are all part of the Web of Life, and, unfortunately, WE are the hackers destroying it!   Confused?   Let me go back a step.
The Web, not the internet one, but the Web of Life is the connection between all living beings on our planet. It includes humans, animals, plants and organisms.  We didn’t create the Web but we are part of it and therefore we are connected to all life within the Web. This means, that the actions of one impact all. The impact isn’t immediately obvious as the Web tries to compensate to maintain the balance.  It’s this balance however, that’s now in trouble.  So how did all this happen?  
Indigenous cultures around the world have long actively practiced respect for all life within the Web. This doesn’t mean that they are all vegetarians but rather, what is taken is respected and replaced.
In the western world however, we have been taught that there is a hierarchy and that humans are at the top of this hierarchy because we have a larger brain and opposable thumbs. “We can do whatever we want because we are better than everyone else”. However this isn’t true, it is a belief born out of ego, dating back to the beginning of westernised civilization, where we believed that (usually white) man ruled over his family, community, environment and material possessions.
This mindset that we are superior to all other living beings on our planet has contributed to disconnecting us from the rest of the Web.  When we do not regard ourselves as an equal member of the Web, we believe we can just take whatever we want; this spurs our continuous drive for more consumption.
It is this disconnection that is causing our planet and all members of the Web to suffer. We are seeing more animal species becoming extinct, more of our plant life (ranging from the Amazon forests to 100 year old trees in Sydney), being removed, and more of our land mass and oceans changing.  All in the name of ‘progress’
Surely by now you would think we could run industry, business, economics and technology in a much more sustainable and respectful way. But the focus tends to be how cheap can we make it and how much can we sell? While it is within our power to stop practices such as: child labour exploitation; unsafe factories; and low wages, our focus on making money remains the primary goal.
We validate people by their ability to consume and we reward them by how much they can make others consume. The more we consume and value materialism, the further we disconnect from other humans and the whole Web. We focus internally on what we have and what we want, rather than what we can give or share. Many studies have been conducted that prove what Buddhists and others have said for a long time – “if you want to find happiness you need to focus on what you can do for others, not what you can get for yourself”.
We have built our society on capitalism and while there are many opportunities, we have also by default created a society of ‘haves and have-nots’.  As we continue to be obsessed with consuming, the divide between people is growing and the environment is being destroyed in the process.   
So how do we start to change this situation, repair the Web of life, undo the hack? Now is the time to take accountability.   At an individual level we can ask ourselves some basic questions: Do I really need this? How is this serving me?   At a group level there are people redefining what we mean by profit by advocating a ‘triple bottom line’ and ‘sustainable investments’, while others are trying to protect our oceans, our forests, recycle and convince our politicians that we need to address climate change.
Education and raising awareness for all people is the first step. Reminding ourselves that we are all part of the Web and that ALL life is precious and should be treated with respect. If we each do just one small thing like consider others and be grateful for what we have, the ripple effect of this behaviour would create a tidal wave that can bring about change. Isn’t that how women got the right to vote or and how segregation in the US ended – it all started with individuals standing up for what they believed was right.
The time has come to wake up and realise that we have been letting greed, and ego-centric behaviours tear the Web of life. Only we can fix this and we are running out of time.  In the words of the Cree Indians from the 19th century “When the last tree is cut down, the last river poisoned, the last fish caught, then only will white man discover that he cannot eat money.”

love and light 


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Hope sparks our inner light

Generally we don’t think about hope until we are faced with some sort of fear, and right now there is a lot of that being stirred up in our world, so now, more than ever we need hope.   

So what do we mean by hope?

For me – each time we hope we ignite a spark of our inner light. Things may seem dark and lost but the spark of hope keeps you moving and taking action.  When I’m going through a tough time one of my favourite quotes is “If you’re going through hell, keep going. Anonymous” In other words when things seem dark, it is not the time to stop. You need to take action, no matter how small, and hope is what helps us to take steps towards action. 

Consider for one moment what it would be like if you didn’t have hope. What would happen when you went through a tough time? Would you just give up? Believe that the worst will happen because you thought it was futile to hope?  It saddens me that some of us do just that because we are scared to leave our comfort zone, even when our comfort zone is not so comfortable.  Sometimes the fear of the unknown can be so great, that we would rather stay with what we know even if it means being unhappy.  

Last week Michelle Obama (another one of my heroes) made a very powerful speech at the US National Democratic Convention and her underpinning message was about hope and not giving up.  She talked about the striving of the previous generations, their persistence and most of all, their hope for the future.  Where would we be if people like Martin Luther King (civil rights 1950s-60s), and Emmeline Pankhurst (women’s rights early 1900’s) gave up hope because things were hard, imagine if they gave into their fears – we would all have lost the many benefits that these people and many others, have given humanity. 

Each and every one of us is part of humanity and we each have light inside us, but only we can turn on that light.  Hope is what helps us turn on our inner light.

I wonder how many times Hilary Clinton was told that a woman could never be considered a US Presidential candidate, now look at what she has achieved – the first woman to be nominated as the US presidential candidate.  Imagine if Nelson Mandela did not have hope. He was in prison for 27 years but never lost hope in his vision of equality for all people. He was released in 1990 and four years later became the first black South African President ending Apartheid.

So how do you hope when all around you may seem bleak?  Or when you are told that it is futile to hope as nothing can change? Having read both Clinton’s and Mandela’s biographies and through my own trial and error here are three core actions to try (they do work):

1. Believe in yourself, listen to your heart and push the boundaries of your comfort zone

2. Every action you take has a ripple effect, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is, it all enables
    you to take your power back. Feeling hopeless or giving up means that you disempower
    yourself and put yourself at the mercy of other people’s actions

3. Remember to be grateful because that helps to spread more light  

Following the light always takes you to a better outcome even if it’s not the one you imagined, following the shadow just gives you false hope and unhappiness.

In today’s world it is more important than ever to not give up hope, by facing our fears and igniting hope we dissolve the shadow.

In the words of Stephen King “Fear can hold you prisoner, but hope can set you free”

love and light 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Ego

On any given day the news is full of examples of ego doing its thing. The US elections have seen the rise of Donald Trump who continues to spread fear, and the appalling behaviour of the US Republican Party who keep rejecting the gun laws.  While our own elections are perhaps not as colourful, we have now entered the last few weeks where fear is being ‘shovelled out’ as an election strategy.  This weekend we are also seeing the immediate aftermath of the Brexit results, a perfect example of ego doing what it does best – more fear.

What is the ego?  The easiest way I understand the ego is that it’s like Iago from Shakespeare’s play Othello.  Iago is Othello’s ‘trusted’ advisor who keeps whispering in Othello’s ear that his wife is unfaithful to him, until finally Othello kills his innocent wife. Like Iago, our ego is whispering in our ear all the time.

All of us are composed of light and shadow and the ego is our shadow side. Our ego always points out the negative. It’s the little voice that whispers, “they are trying to rip you off”, “you are not good enough to do that,” “you’re better than them”, “why should they have a nice car you’re entitled to that,” “immigrants are taking all the jobs”.  The ego lives and breathes fear.

Our ego can paralyse us from doing what we know is right. When you are in the clutches of your ego you come up with lots of justifications why you don’t do what is right. We mistakenly call this pride.  You know the “I can never forgive them for what they did to me!” scenario. Well the only person who suffers in this scenario is YOU. Your ego is happy because it keeps stoking the fires of resentment and anger and all you gain is bitterness, unhappiness, it can detrimentally impact your health and you become boring to your friends as you keep talking about the same thing over and over. 

That’s why they say that when you forgive someone, it releases you from holding onto the negative energy that came out of that particular situation. You don’t have to forget what happened, you just accept the lesson and forget the rest. This however is the opposite of what your ego wants, because this approach empowers you and disempowers your ego.  

The ego makes the situation all about you and you have to ‘win’. Continuing down this path however ultimately backs you into a corner with nowhere to move.  And when you are backed into a corner the ego tells you “you didn’t get enough support”, “they lied”, “they’re jealous of you.”
It’s always someone else’s fault.

We have so much opportunity to be the best version of ourselves and grow. Yes the world is a scary place at the moment but this is the time for all of us to step up and show compassion, forgiveness and acceptance.   You see, being ‘me focussed’ is living life from ego. Living a life from ego does not enable you to be the best version of yourself. Wouldn’t it serve you better to be aware when it’s your ego whispering?

We can’t get rid of our ego as it is part of us. But, we do have free will and always the choice to act in the light or shadow.  There are two things we can do that give us power over our ego:
1. Take responsibility for our behaviour
2. Consider the situation from the other person’s perspective

I have been practicing these two things to help me to focus my energy on being the best version of me, and I have to say I’m feeling more empowered.  

The only way we can fight fear and change the world is to start with ourselves.

Love and light

Monday, 6 June 2016

Treat people the way you want to be treated

A few years ago I made a conscious decision to follow the path of light and become more balanced, open, and authentic. Amongst the many things I am learning on this journey, is a fundamental truth I have been reminded of and now live by, that is, treat people the way you want to be treated.

You may be thinking, ‘That’s too simple! Surely following the path of light involves spiritual stuff like lots of meditation, eating vegan, or practising yoga?’  I agree, and while it’s important (in whichever way works best for you) to focus internally, be present in the current moment and connect with your higher self; underpinning all of this is a core fundamental truth that applies to every single person on this planet – how we treat each other. It sounds simple, but as I’ve been learning it’s something you have to think about, and this thought drives everything you do, because we always have a choice. Our choice is to act in the way of light or the way of shadow.

What do I mean by light and shadow? I think the way of light simply means doing the right thing by people, such as; being respectful, honest, tolerant.... The way of shadow is the opposite such as being intolerant, dishonest, lazy, greedy, and basically letting your ego drive your behaviour.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we all acted in the way of light? Even small things would  make a difference - drivers would let each other in, pregnant women would get a seat on the bus/train, we would give more generously to charities, I’ve been doing these things and you know what – good stuff comes back to me! On a bigger scale imagine if there was no such thing as corporate fraud, or violence, or discrimination! It sounds like utopia doesn’t it? But I don’t think it’s impossible if everyone does their bit.

Look at Canada, okay I’m biased, Justin Trudeau is one of my heroes, he’s not perfect but he’s trying to treat people the way he wants to be treated. His Cabinet has an equal number of men and women and is also representative of the ethnicities living in Canada. Medicine Hat (in Alberta) is the first Canadian city to eliminate homelessness!

I was reading an article recently that said there is enough food in our world for everyone and there is a growing food wastage problem in developed countries. So why do some people have to go without food while others throw food out? I know I sound na├»ve, but why wouldn’t we share? Maybe it’s the way of shadow. Unfortunately we see lots examples of shadow in our world today, war, violence, greed, corruption. But look closely there is also light, in France for example, they have just passed legislation to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charity!

We are all connected and each thing that we do has a ripple effect. I think for a long time we have forgotten this and focused on what we can get, rather than what we can give.  This is not surprising, given all the things we juggle it is easy to lose sight of what is really important.

Maybe this is simplistic, but if we thought more about the consequences of our actions, maybe there would be less greed, violence, or lies. All of our individual behaviour has a collective impact. Little points of light collectively can create huge rays of light and positivity in our world.

How to start? Just treat people the way you want to be treated and see what happens.

Love and Light