It’s 14 July here in France, better known as Bastille Day to non-French is a national day of celebration of freedom, equality and brotherhood. Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité! The clarion call by supporters of the French Republique – and the only thing most of us Anglo Saxons remember from our French history classes – is A Very Important Day in France. For on this very day: July 14th 1789, the people of Paris stormed the Bastille prison – for them the very symbol of a brutal, elitist system; a monarchy completely out of touch with its people. Totalitarianism absolute.
In actual fact it’s also great excuse to have an enormous military parade along the Champs Elysées, a wow! aerial flypast and, a massive firework party this evening, where the Eiffel Tower will be set alight in red, white and blue.. and a whole lot more. Paris is full of tourists but a lot of Parisennes seem to have left the city for the weekend. St Germain, where I’m staying, is particularly quiet along the side streets.
So in the shade of Les Deux Magots, I got to wondering about the meaning of freedom. So many of us wait until we have ‘enough’ money, or have lost ‘enough’ weight, or have the ‘right’ partner, or ‘right’ job before we call in our chips and make a break for the border. But real freedom has very little to do with external forces, and everything to do with our perception and our thoughts. You can feel trapped with 100 million in the bank, or with just 10 quid in your current account. It just depends on the definition and meaning you give things.
You can be free right now. You can change your thoughts right this minute… it’s totally up to you. But you have to actively choose to be free. It sounds simple, and it is. So here are a few tips:
1. Become aware of your thoughts. We usually think the same 4 to 10 thoughts every day. Over and over again. What are you telling yourself around the subject of freedom? Is it a scary prospect? Or simply an impossible idea?
2. Start focusing on what you DO want, not on the things you don’t. Our subconscious creates everything we focus on. So if you don’t want something in your life, do not focus on it. It’s like the phrase: “Don’t think about pink rabbits”. What did you just have an image of? Precisely.
3. How can you feel more free in your life? And what does freedom mean to you? Write the answers down.
4. Become more present. To do this shift your focus from the future (which creates anxiety) and from the past (guilt, shame ext). Be. Here. Now. Become aware of your fingers on your keyboard, the sun on your face, the cool water in your shower. You can’t stop your thoughts but you can definitely be more present.
Freedom is a state of mind. Just ask Nelson Mandela.
Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? We’ve been taught to believe that ‘going with the flow’ means inaction and passivity. Lying back and letting life happen to us, without any sense of direction or will involved. Old hippy dippy stuff.
But the true meaning of the phrase is the exact opposite. When we negotiate a river and go with the flow, we harness the energy that’s already available to us, in the currents. And we combine it with our own. Fighting the current is pointless, as is inaction. To truly go with the flow in life is to notice patterns, energy and circumstances around us – whether they be challenging or easy – and make full use of them. As a result we’ll get to wherever we are going far faster than if we resist.
Going with the flow doesn’t mean we have no idea where we are going. We do. But we remain open to the myriad ways of actually reaching our destination. There is no ‘right way’. Yet for so many of us (me included) our control beliefs all too often dictate the show. We decide on a course of action and come hell or high water we’re gonna stick with it. We have our GPS all worked out and can’t possibly deviate! Our beliefs tell us that unless we are ‘in charge’ we will lose our way, or lose ourselves.
The result of this rigidity? Staying in relationships way past their sell-by date (ouch – done that), jobs that are unfulfilling and drain our life force (tick), and in friendships that no longer serve us (been there too). We rigidly remain tied to plans that simply aren’t working and refuse to budge. Painful.
Recently, I had a plan to move to the south of France, and headed there. But after only a few weeks I realised that this was not the right place for me. I needed to let go of certain constructs and ideas I’d had and allow myself to be guided by my intuition. It didn’t actually bother me that I’d told everyone I was moving there (again) and instead I headed south for Spain and spent a blissful time on the coast at my friend’s wedding. A totally unexpected change of events that was even more wonderful as I got to see a dear friend from New York I hadn’t seen since 2009.
By letting go of my Grand Design, I was able to create space for other, better and more fulfilling opportunities to come into my life. It’s scary stepping into the unknown as it so often feels like a void. But this void is actually pregnant with potential. Trusting that there is a higher force guiding us – if we will only allow it – takes practice and self-awareness. But the more we do it, the more trust we will have in it. And the richer and more fulfilling our lives will be as a result.
This week, take a look and feel into areas of your life where you know you are holding on. Maybe take a different route to work, shake it up a little. Or go for a walk with no destination in mind and simply allow yourself to be guided. Practice going with the flow in your life and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Are you amazed at how quickly time seems to be passing? Worried that December will be here again and you won’t have taken action towards making those longed-for changes in your life? Perhaps it’s time to ditch the baby steps and push yourself out of your comfort zone!
Chris and Gina discuss ways you can begin to take big, bold steps – and calculated risks – towards creating the life you’d love. If you wanted to increase your happiness quotient by 10x – what could you do TODAY to get the ball rolling?
Life would be so much easier if we could just see over the camel’s hump, and realise that at the very moment when we feel like giving up, we are only metres from the finish line. If we could only trust that round those pesky U-bends in life is a gorgeous sun waiting to give us a big hug! Or as one sage teacher of mine once opined: “Joy is an interval between two sorrows” Ouch!
There have been times in my life where I have definitely felt like giving up and those moments are when (I now realise) I’ve been the closest to achieving what I started out to do. When I was only 10 minutes from completing the editing and laying out my first children’s story, I felt as if I was drowning in quicksand. The effort it took to finish was incredible. But I forced myself. I made the effort.
The minute we hear our inner voice saying: “I can’t be bothered” is the beginning of a slippery slope. A slope that leads us away from creating what we’d love, from engaging with the people that we’d love to have in our lives – and most fundamentally – it stops us from engaging with our Selves, and life. Not a wise move.
So what can you do to ensure you keep going around the U-bends of life?
1. Don’t ever, ever give up (unless it’s an abusive relationship or something else that is making you very ill – emotionally and mentally).
2. Check in with your feelings. Are you scared of failure? Of success? Of being judged? Acknowledge these feelings and realise that they have arisen from thoughts that aren’t necessarily true. You are simply projecting your fears into an imaginary future that hasn’t even happened yet!
3. Take a break. Go and do something physical like a brisk walk – or if you’re feeling angry go punch a few pillows (works for me every time!).
4. Allow yourself to be imperfectly perfect. You don’t have to be number one. You just have to do your very best. That is always good enough. Stop competing.
5. Have faith. Yes, I know the very word conjures up religious connotations but having faith in something greater than yourself is a powerful way of being. Have a try.
If you tend to give up when the going gets tough, then try some of the above tips. We’d love to hear how you get on – sharing your own experiences with other readers helps to inspire them too. You can leave a voice message on our website landing page or write to me at: gina@actionpodcast./com
Have a great week!
In today’s podcast, Paul and Gina look at the sometimes thorny issue of putting your own needs first in times of stress or change. This could be during exams, moving house, the end or beginning of a relationship, changing location or changing jobs.
Often we’ve been brought up to believe that putting our own needs first is selfish. But this is NOT TRUE!
Sometimes it’s essential to create boundaries, albeit temporary ones, and let people know that you love them, but you’ve got your own stuff to deal with for a bit. You love them, but you need some ‘me time’ right now.
Partners, friends and relatives won’t generally mind – as long as you’ve communicated clearly and directly with them why you’ll not be so available for a bit. And if they do, this great quote from Bernard Baruch will be helpful:
In today’s podcast Paul and Gina look at the benefits of becoming more emotionally engaged with the things or lifestyle you want to create. Wanting something isn’t enough – you’ll just get more of that ‘I want’ feeling.
But by engaging all your senses – smell, sight, touch and hearing – and using your imagination (a very powerful tool) you’d be amazed at what you can create.
Gina plans to create her home in France… so instead of just having a visual image of the house, she is using her other senses to connect with her desired end result.
How do you emotionally connect with your goals and dreams?
This has to be the fastest flying year EVER! And I know it’s got nothing to do with me being 1. busier 2. older – time really is speeding up. Or at least my perception of time is changing. And I’m not the only one – children I know have also told me their school holidays seem to be coming round faster, while friends of more advanced ages are also bemoaning the fact that we’re on a speed-up.
Talking of speed, I read last night that the earth is actually hurtling around the Sun at the mind-boggling speed of 18.5 miles per second. Now that’s what I call fast! Continue reading
Do you ever find yourself wishing you could do things but they just seem so far our of your reach they are even worth trying?
Paul and Gina talk about taking some advice from Tim Ferris to “Change the Rules”
When Paul decided he wanted to write a book so time ago, he struggled with the dread of having to start such a mammoth task from scratch. But after going to see Tim Ferris speak in London, Paul decides to change his on rules in what it takes to create a book. Looking back over the years Paul has written many blog posts and has decided to use these as a foundation for his book.
To get things going Paul is using the Scrivener app to collect all the parts of his book and turn it into something that works. You can have a look and download the program for windows or Mac’s from their website:-
What have you been putting off, that you felt was simply unachievable? How could you change the rules to make it happen?
It’s all too easy to cast aside those amazing dreams you had as a child. Dreams and ideas of what you’d love to achieve, where you’d love to go, the kind of work you’d love to do – when you grew up. Everything seemed exciting and full of promise back then. We were looking at the world through eyes of innocence. At least during the Seventies!
Granted, you might not actually want to be an astronaut in later life, but there are many things we park, as we get embroiled in marriages, mortgages, kids and just surviving.
In today’s podcast, Paul and Gina discuss ways in which you can re-connect to your lost and abandoned dreams. And begin manifesting them in your life today.
There’s nothing more exciting than ticking off a ‘to create’ list and realising that you have, in fact made your dreams come true. Check out the fab movie ‘Bucket List‘ for more inspiration!
Keeping your heart open after you’ve been hurt is almost counter-intuitive. Why would you want to do that?
Doesn’t make any sense at all to open yourself to another bruising… It certainly makes sense to lick your wounds, look after yourself and be kind to your heart after a betrayal of trust. But it’s imperative you also stay open to receiving love from others, however much you’re hurting.
When a client of mine discovered his partner was seeing someone else, his whole world fell apart. He told me he felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach; a knife stabbed through his heart. A visceral, aching pain that he couldn’t handle. It took him months to get over the shock and the disappointment of this ultimate betrayal. He told me he wasn’t much fun to be around at that time.
It became clear during our sessions that he’d shut down his heart. And was pushing away friends who were trying to help him. And latterly he was also pushing away potential new partners. A double whammy pain.
He was shutting himself off from love, whereas he actually admitted to me he really needed to be held, to cry, to yell out, to laugh with friends who could support him. And when he stopped fighting himself, he began to allow allowed close friends in to support him. His real friends gently coaxed and nudged him through his pain – and often self-pity – to a happier space. And now, six months later, he is dating again. Cautiously but with an open heart.
So if you’re going through a break-up right now.. sure, acknowledge all your emotions – they need to be released. But please don’t close your heart to receiving love while you go through the letting-go process. You need it.