Wellness from Within

Millions upon millions of people make up the collective whole of all businesses around the globe. Every business has a different leadership style, a different reason for being in business, a different vision, goals and objectives. But one thing remains the same. Every business is operated, managed and lead by people. With this comes the complexities of different personalities, belief systems, gender differences, differences in sexual orientation, color, educational levels and so much more. But I think you get it, people make up businesses – and people are all different from one to the next.

People are amazing. With their unique talents, skills set, personalities and history, they bring a diversity into the workplace that should be cherished, not shunned. 

Changing from within is not about losing your identity. Quite the contrary. It is about finding your true identity and living according to the values, beliefs and uniqueness that makes you you.

After decades of working in management, leadership, executive, directorship and HR roles, I have seen countless stumbling blocks that keep people from reaching and working to their full potential. And most of these stumbling blocks are internal. Of course there are also external factors at play that prohibit far too many people reaching their full potential, but these will be dealt with through wellness from within, too.

But first of all, it ALL starts with you.

There is a need to strip away all that you are not, to create a space of safety within you, where it is no longer necessary to wear different masks for different occasions. It is about building your self-confidence, self-esteem, trust in your abilities, a knowing that it is okay not to have all the answers, and the wisdom to be and love yourself, no matter what. You are not here to gain the approval of others and to people please – you are here to realize your full potential, all while displaying compassion, integrity, trust, transparency, dignity and fairness to yourself and everyone else.

Once you have mastered the art of self-love, self-respect, self-confidence and compassion for yourself and others, then and only then, will you see your life starting to transform on the outside. Thus it can be seen – ALL change starts from within.

I imagine a world where all employees are harnessing their full potential in workplaces that are committed as much to their employees wellness, as to the wellness of the business. I see a world where all employees have bowed out of playing to the ego’s drum of greed, corruption, lust for more, and power-hungry mongers are silenced forever.

I see a world where businesses are embracing Wellness from Within, ensuring that inclusive leadership becomes a normal way of being, and where workplace wellness is not just talk, but it is visibly discernable to anyone working in, and looking in, to any business.

To recap – it all starts with you. Wellness from within is about you letting go of your false beliefs and fears about yourself and others, and it is about loving yourself no matter what. Then, it spreads from you, the individual, into the workplace where you work. Leaders start to include all in their teams, and they give everyone a chance to be heard. And at the same time, it is about businesses incorporating wellness into the workplaces, through policies, procedures, best practices, compassion and a genuine caring for the advancement of all their employees.

Now it must be said, that no matter what I have written above, there will always be those who buck the system, try and swim against the tide, and who cause mayhem wherever they go. This then would be the time when the business reassesses the culture fit of this individual within the company, and it might be that the best way forward is to part ways. But this too can be done with diplomacy.

I am not talking about hugging and loving all in the workplace. I am talking about creating sustainable businesses that act in compliance with the laws and regulations of their countries, and who ensure that people, the planet and profits are all equal in the eyes of the shareholders, owners and leaders of businesses.

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Who Are You?

This is surely one of the greatest questions of all time. And, not surprisingly, a question with as many answers as people on the planet. Like Alice in Wonderland, I fell through this hole in time, and found myself floating – floating – floating. Until I landed with a bump! It soundly dawned on me – I had wasted much time trying to figure this out, when I could have been out there, living my life and just enjoying each and every moment, by just being myself. But, no! This was not enough – I continued to search for this answer, following some, leaving others in my quest to find what resonated with me. Because, my mind would reason, if I was out there just being myself, who was the I being my-self?

There are as many answers as there are questions. But of one thing I am certain. There is a power that connects all things and a consciousness that pervades all; uniting us as One. The collective consciousness of our planet, is far more powerful than the individual consciousness that we all experience. But finding out who you are is an exercise in experience, not theory. You have to experience who you are and not academically ‘know’ who you are.

I have experienced unknown phenomena, that science, nor my own thinking, can rationalize, which, in turn, led me to the answer – nothing is as it would seem.

From Shamanism, to A Course in Miracles, to the Tao Te Ching, to both conventional and unconventional religion (both eastern and western), spiritual paths and other teachings – I have traversed many different landscapes. Some I skittered over, whilst I took a deep dive into others. There seemed to be a thread linking them all.

What saddens me is that there are too many dogmatic, narrow-minded and bigoted individuals trying to push their own agenda. There are those who are inclusive in their teachings of non-duality, but there are others who stick to the letter of the word from which they are teaching, and can see absolutely no other way but their own. And this, throughout history, has been the cause of many a war.

I have gone through life with a giant sift in hand, shaking out the debris of thought that would divide us, and then looking at what remains. And what remains is this:- we are all here, having some form of experience in which we identify with our consciousness. We experience our humanity as real. Science would have us believe that anything that cannot be measured, is not true, and religion would have us believe in a deity that is force-fed to us.

People believe what they want to believe, so long as it does not make them feel uncomfortable. What do you believe? Do you judge others in their beliefs, or are you a side-line critic who would rather point fingers at others, so that the focus of attention never lands on you. Bravo to the ones who stand up for what they believe in, without shame or fear of retribution.

Whatever your belief, you are here, right now – reading these words, which will soon disappear and be a distant memory in your past.

To answer Who Are You? – probably the best way I can describe this is as follows:

You are both your human identity as well as a part of something that cannot be put into words – that eternal part within you that is so often described as ‘spirit’ – that which cannot be seen with the human eye, but which is as it is. You are a part of the power which unites us all, and which makes up the collective whole. Yes, this is my firm belief, but there are many others, and I accept that too.

Regardless of your personal belief, you need to understand that you are filtering everything through sense of reality, which is based primarily on linguistics. Through words. And words are powerful. Some say God, others say Higher Being, whilst others say my Higher Self. It makes no difference in the word you choose, so before you brand something – think about it without words. A paradox for sure. I mean, how can you think without words. But just give it a try. Picture what you believe in your mind, and then change the words to images, to feelings, and try and see the connectiveness that this holds with other beliefs. Love is love. Grace is grace. Compassion is compassion. Regardless from which pulpit you preach.

You will find yourself at the very core of you. Once you have stripped away everything, all the preconditioning, the filters you have in your life, and the beliefs you have learnt through the years – you will find a pureness that has always been there. Find this and you find you. Find this unravaged part of you, and then sit silently with yourself. In the words of Blaise Pascal – all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

And why is this so? Because the biggest fear you have is finding out the truth of who you truly are, and realizing that you are responsible for everything that is happening in your life. No more blame-games. No more cynicism. No more wasting time.

You are you. A car is a car. They are both made up of many working parts, yet none can operate 100% efficiently unless all parts are connected and integrated correctly. Embrace all the parts that you are, without judgment. Look under your hood and give yourself a service. Change the oil and spark plugs. Get new tires if you have too. And make sure you have A-grade fuel to keep your engine running smoothly.

You are you. Love yourself just as you are. Forgive yourself for all the mistakes you have made up until now, and will still make in time to come while here on earth, and – please – learn to sit with yourself quietly in a room.

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A Shift in Perception

What is this fixation that so many people have on going to the East to find some form of deeper meaning to life that they cannot find here in the West? And what is it that makes people say that some places are clearer portals to the unknown, than other places? 

It really all boils down to what and how something makes you feel. Sure, when out in nature, you are naturally going to feel closer to your inner peace. When you are away from the hustle and bustle of every day living, you are going to find some form of calm, albeit fleeting, wash over you. You are no longer feeling the stress of your daily rituals and routines. You have, in essence, suspended your judgment in time. Literally and metaphorically. You have stepped out of your world into one that you think is the only means for you to totally relax and unwind. And why is that? Simply put, it is because you have removed yourself from all the triggers around you that ordinarily would have set off a creation of stress hormones in your body. Your thoughts are no longer infused with the busyness of living, and you have slowed down a smidgen to allow yourself a moment of reprise, to sit and breathe calmly. The noise has subsided in your head, and you have found peace both within and without. Now herein lies the problem.

You have failed to see that you can actually attain this peace, regardless of where you are. This peace is within you, waiting for you to connect with it. For some reason, however, you have not managed to do this. This peace is so buried beneath the surface of your doings, that it just seems like an insurmountable task to get past and to just be. So, instead, you remove yourself from your environment, for a short temporal reprise of calmness and serenity. Now whilst this is all great, wouldn’t it be just that much better to find the peace within you, regardless of where you are? Whether in an argument with a friend or family member, whether in the workplace, or whether in a heated political debate with a stranger. Does it matter where you are? No. Finding peace amidst the turmoil in our lives, is the best place to find it. And once you have realized that you can live from this place of peace, once you have pushed yourself out the way and let a new way of living embrace your once habitual routines, you will find that connecting with your peace is as easy as turning on a tap to fill up a glass of water. It really is as easy as ABC. But what it does require is a shift in perception.

And this shift begins with changing the way you look at, and think about, yourself and life.

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Children Are Amazing

Children are absolutely amazing!

I decided 5 years ago that if I was going to follow my dream and teach people how to love themselves no matter what, and to teach them how much love Life has for them too, then I would need to make some serious changes in my life. It first started with me leaving the corporate world to start my own business. The intention was to create a space for me to have more time to do what I really wanted to do. However, as life goes, and still holding on to fears and the ways of the corporate machine, I was not able to lose the grip that the corporate world had on me. It was only until recently that I realized that I am NOT my identity. I am NOT the person I was in corporate. My life did not have to be governed by its rules and regulations, and that I could do whatever I wanted to do to be able to follow my dreams. I decided to let go of the business I started, back in 2017, and to teach English as a foreign language to children and Business English to adults. This then gave me all the freedom in the world to create a space of time to both learn new ways of living, to get my message of love out to the world, and to learn the things that I needed to learn, so that I could live the life I so much want to live.

It was in this time that I truly fell in love with the innocence, purity, fun-loving ways, mischievousness, and total acceptance, of children.

I have to say, I have the most amazing students, ranging from very young to teenagers, and they have all taught me so much. Some students I have had for close on 5 years (adults and children alike), and all the while, I have seen them grow, become an integral part of their lives, and they have accepted me just as I am, and vice versa.

Do you remember what life was like when you were a child? Did you have the freedom to be yourself, all the love you needed to grow, and a stable family life? If you did, then BRILLIANT! But many children have not been so lucky. The formative years of a child is from 0 – 7 years old, and it is in this time that they create a picture of life and the world.

But why am I writing this article? Well, I want to remind you that you need to remember the needs of children around you. They need love, kindness, compassion, a gentle heart to guide them, and a place to live where their individual spirit is cared for and nurtured. Our children are most definitely our futures, and we need to be raising children who are emotionally and mentally prepared to live in a world of such dramatic change.

Children should be able to go out and play each day, to look up at the sky and see the wonders in a cloud. They should be taught how to love themselves and not feel pressured to please others. Don’t repeat the mistakes of your own past. Break the cycle of abuse, neglect and loneliness, and create an environment where children can flourish and be the amazing beings that they have been created to be.

I truly love my students. With all my heart. While I am their teacher, I am also someone who sees the beauty in them. They are all so different from one another. True individuals. And it is in teaching them and being myself, that I hope they see their own beauty, as I see in them.

Have you hugged your kids today? Go on. Do it. Give them a hug, take time out to tell them they are loved, and let go of your worries, and if just for a second, let them feel the carefree spirit that they so dearly need to feel.

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That Which You Resist – Persists

Anger – how exactly do you deal with anger when it arises within you, and when it is all consuming, and you can think of nothing else, and you are seething mad at everyone for everything, but more so at yourself for not living and speaking your truth in situations?

It is 01:37 in the early hours of the morning, and I find myself wide awake, at peace, and with a message that wants to be expressed. So I have a nice warm cappuccino at hand, lights are dimmed, I am in my newly arranged office (which has been arranged in such a way so as to let energy flow seamlessly) and which is calming and pleasant to work in.

I am going to share with you an experience I had this Saturday morning (I work on Saturdays too – out of choice). I woke up this Saturday morning in an incredibly angry state of mind. Nothing had happened as a pinnacle reason for this anchor. However, there were admittedly small situations which when accumulated together, amounted to this anger bubble within me. My initial response would have  been one of A.T.T.A.C.K. – but soon you realize that the only person you are truly damaging is yourself. As the saying goes – if you are going all out for revenge, remember to dig two graves. One for you and one for the person/s who have supposedly aggrieved you.

Lesson 1 in ACIM (hereinafter referred to as A Course in Miracles), is perhaps the most fundamental of all. It basically sums up the idea that nothing I see is as it seems. I am not angry for the reason/s I think I am angry, which, of course, is yet another of the 365 lessons you will find in ACIM. I have included the lesson below for your reference and interest, but you do not need to read it to get a full understanding of the message in this article.

Here are some also interesting quotes from the Buddha about anger:

  1. To be angry is to let others’ mistakes punish yourself.
  2. There is no fire like passion.
  3. You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.
  4. You are the first victim of your own anger.

Whichever way you look at it, anger does you damage, and whilst vengeance might be bitter-sweet, in the end, you do sow what you reap. This is a universal spiritual / natural law, and it is what it is.

But how exactly do you purge yourself of this all empowering and overwhelming sense of anger? When you literally want to go on the mountain tops and scream at the top of your lungs. Or as my late step-mother and some friends still do to this day – go for a drive in your car and just scream. I actually find this to be really cathartic. A releasing of the anger energy within you. Being angry with someone else is like holding a burning coal in your hand, thinking you are hurting another. The only person you are hurting is you.

But NONE of this helped me experience a transition from anger to joy. Wise words indeed. Spiritually in tune with the laws of life, but still not enough to shift the state of anger to one of true inner peace. So what do you do? The answer is so simple that you might not think it will work. But hey, don’t trust me, just give it a try – what do you have to lose, apart from becoming angry yet again that it did not work. But I assure you, if you do this wholeheartedly, with the intention of just being with your anger, you will soon see it disappear soon enough.

And this is what I did. I felt an inner stirring within me to just sit with my anger. No resistance. No judgment. Just to sit with it and observe it. No trying to analyze the cause, just an earnest look at the anger within. Pretty much as an outsider, an observer of sorts. And that is exactly what I did. I refused to give in to my anger. I did not add fuel to the fire. I just sat with it. As uncomfortable as that was I realized a fundamental truth. Anger is just another emotion that holds a high intensity in one’s body and mind. But to let this anger dissipate, you need to first acknowledge that it has no power of you, that you are the observer, and that you can watch it enter and leave your mind and body just as quickly as it appeared.

Remember, you are NEVER EVER EVER angry for the reasons you think you are. Here are my practical examples:

  1. First, I noticed that I had inner anger at someone for not doing something that I thought should be done in the name of treating their animals correctly. Judgmental and not helpful.
  2. Second, I was annoyed at a friend for procrastinating in their life, when all they seemed to need to do is merely take a bold step in the right direction.
  3. Thirdly, I was angry at someone for something they were doing that I am more than certain they were not even aware of the situation.
Now, whilst none of this seems overly dramatic, they were all emotively linked to my psyche. And I let the situations boil over and over in my mind. And then I stopped and I asked myself – what if I handled this differently. What if I sent each of these 3 people Love, Light, Acceptance and Harmony, and then address the issues practically. Which is EXACTLY what I did. (And believe me, the anger was so consuming, that I was snappy at friends, at myself and it derailed my peace of mind and creativity in my job – NOT a good place to find yourself in.)
 
And this is how I dealt with it:
 
  1. First, I decided that I needed to set boundaries between myself and the people not looking after their pets. I sent them a message explaining why I could no longer assist them with certain things, and then we spoke about it. The boundaries I set for myself were so liberating, and I did this in love, standing my ground in truth, and letting the anger dissipate in the process.
  2. Secondly, I have decided that many people want someone to do things for them when in fact they can learn to do these things on their own. So, I am now living the practice of – teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry. So if someone needs my help on something, instead of parting with my valuable time, I help them by giving them the direction and tools that I think will serve them best.
  3. Thirdly, I politely and lovingly explained to the other party that what they were doing was causing damage to property and had to be changed. They understood.

So having read the above, perhaps you can relate to some of these situations, but what has helped me the most is the following:

  1. Things are NEVER as they seem.
  2. You are NEVER angry for the reason/s you think you are.
  3. And finally, just be open to have loving, respectful and direct communication with parties that you might need to set boundaries with.

Because, after all, I was more angry with myself (how destructive internally and a thief of my time, peace and joy) for not having setting healthy boundaries in the first place.

People are all individuals. Some are energy parasites, some are lazy and do not want to do the work themselves, some are paralyzed by fear – but by showing them love and setting healthy boundaries, you will see your anger dissipate in no time at all.

So next time you find yourself all consumed with anger, just sit with it without adding fuel to fire. Remember nothing is as it seems, and 9/10 times the anger is misdirected and really we are angry with ourselves. Inward anger can cause all forms of complications, from stress, high blood pressure to other forms of dis-ease. So give yourself the gift of peace, and try this each time you feel anger rising to the surface.

You CAN do this!

I love you.

ACIM – LESSON 1

Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.

1. Now look slowly around you, and practice applying this idea very specifically to whatever you see:

  • This table does not mean anything.
  • This chair does not mean anything.
  • This hand does not mean anything.
  • This foot does not mean anything.
  • This pen does not mean anything.

2. Then look farther away from your immediate area, and apply the idea to a wider range:

  • That door does not mean anything.
  • That body does not mean anything.
  • That lamp does not mean anything.
  • That sign does not mean anything.
  • That shadow does not mean anything.

3. Notice that these statements are not arranged in any order, and make no allowance for differences in the kinds of things to which they are applied. That is the purpose of the exercise. The state­ment should merely be applied to anything you see. As you practice the idea for the day, use it totally indiscriminately. Do not attempt to apply it to everything you see, for these exercises should not become ritualistic. Only be sure that nothing you see is specifically excluded. One thing is like another as far as the application of the idea is concerned.

4. Each of the first three lessons should not be done more than twice a day each, preferably morning and evening. Nor should they be attempted for more than a minute or so, unless that entails a sense of hurry. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential.

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Existential Crises – A Crises of Faith

There appears to be no easy way to describe exactly what an existential crisis is. In short, it has to do with our interpretation and beliefs of the meaning of life. The longer version, well, the longer version is …. long. From the age of 3 years old to 9 years old, I was raised by nuns of the Catholic faith. I grew up in a family whose religion was Catholic, but as a teenager, I saw that this was not what I believed in. I believed in the concept of God, and in Jesus his Son, but I did not believe in having to pray to the saints, to bestow all sorts of blessings on Jesus’s mother, and much more. The rituals, pompous ceremonies and traditions were not enough for me to say – this is it. This is the one and only way. So, I left that faith and embarked on a journey of trying to find something that I could believe in.

In retrospect, why? Why is it important that we find these answers. Why do we want there to be an answer in the first place? What is this need for belonging; the fear of hell, fire and damnation; and the need to find euphoria in some religious or spiritual principle and way of life. Would life really be that bad if there was nothing hereinafter, or is there something out there that we are destined to find, if we seek earnestly enough?

The meaning of life is so important to so many. They need to find a meaning to everything. They see signs everywhere. The power of belief and the mind is more powerful than we realize, and we are often led down rabbit holes in pursuit of the holy grail.

I tried various religious doctrine; nothing jumped out at me. I studied, more like dabbled in, A Course in Miracles – supposedly authored by Jesus. I studied energy healing and became a Reiki Master. I wanted to find the elixir of life. The one in charge of all things, and it was driving me to the brink of insanity. I had to stop with the searching and just sit with myself, as I am. Today. In this moment. There are religions aplenty, spiritual dogma just as much, and everyone proclaiming – this is the way. I even found a great Course in Miracles in teacher, who then diluted that mainstream with non-dualism. This is all great. Find the way that brings you peace, joy, happiness and a sense of fulfilment. Find the path that makes you feel like you have come home. I had not found that. So I continued to look, search, listen to others and on and on.

But then I decided to give all the searching up. I decided to just be. In this moment, and to let life experience itself through me, and me to experience life as it is. It was then that I remembered the late Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book – Living the Wisdom of the Tao. I found it on my bookshelf, dusted it off, and started reading through the 81 verses in the Tao Te Ching. And hey presto! My eyes lit up, my heart opened up, and my mind was at peace. It had find the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu, which so succinctly is inclusive of all. The wisdom in the pages blew me away. I found myself reading the same verse over and over again, just getting as much ancient wisdom that I could. I am not saying that this will be the same for you, but what I am saying is this – follow YOUR heart, follow what rings true to you, do no harm to another, love should be the core essence of humanity, and have a willingness to evolve time after time, on your quest for finding the Aleph: the place where Divinity, spirituality and physicality meet.

The ancient wisdom of the Chinese prophet Lao-tzu is as relevant today as it was centuries ago.

Become an empty vessel and let yourself be filled up with truth, in the way that truth wants to reveal itself to you.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else – just walk humbly on this earth.

You’ve got this. And when it all gets too much, let it all go and just breathe, and center yourself in your peace within.

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Why Can I Not Stop Crying

I am not one to rehash the past, but sometimes you need to use examples from yesteryear to bring home an important point. The old adage of ‘big boys don’t cry’ has been used over and over again, and while this adage is a blatant lie and a misdirect of true emotional strength, what I want to talk about today, is why some people just cannot seem to stop crying. Crying can be cathartic to the soul. It can wash away sadness, help heal the hurts, disappointments, fears and failures, and it can also be a symptom of depression. So why do some people seem to be overwhelmed with grief and sadness. In simple terms, sometimes life just gets too much for them. Life can be overwhelming, confusing, frustrating and bleak. But on the flip side, life can be amazing, fun, adventurous, joyous and loving. It all comes down to how we interpret life and the events that are playing out in our own. Yes, people hurt, and yes, crying can be good for you. But constant crying, whether externally or internally, needs to be looked at under the microscope. Why? Because you are allowing vital life force energy to drain from your vitality. It can leave you feeling exhausted and lethargic, and this does not serve you in any way.

For you to find out why you cannot seem to stop crying, you need to find a place where you feel comfortable and safe, and you need to either have a journal and pen, or a very trustworthy confidant, and you need to start writing or verbalizing what you are thinking and feeling. Clarity comes when you are able to identify causes for your deep-seated unhappiness. If this is a long-term problem you are facing, then you need to seek professional medical assistance to help you learn to cope with the stressors in life. If you feel overwhelmed by things in your life, it definitely helps to either write it or down, of to have someone to speak to. Once you have verbalized what the issues are, just by speaking them out loud, helps release the power these emotions have over you.

What is very comforting is that nothing is as it seems. Most of the time the problems we conjure up in our minds, reside just there – in our minds. And most of the time, the things we worry about happening never come to pass. So what is the use of worrying?

Now whilst I am not religious, I do have a spiritual background. I have my honorary doctorate degree in Metaphysics, and I know that there is more to life than meets the eye. I also know that I am exactly where I am today because of the choices I have made. I am not the victim here. When I started seeing this in a new and helpful light, I started to see the brightness that shines within me, and although I can give you no definitive answer to ‘what’s it all about?’, I can tell you this:- you are not alone. There is a presence far greater than you or I can ever fathom, that honestly does want us to succeed, we just have to find the way in the maze we have created in our lives. Whether this presence is purely energy or something else, I cannot say, but I know that the energy is there. How do I know this? Is it because I want it to be true? No, I know this because I have seen a force at work in my own life, that is loving, kind, gentle, yet firm, direct and healing.

So if you find that you cannot stop crying, take time out to write or speak about what is bothering you. This will help you let go of the power that these debilitating emotions are holding over you, and you will also get to see that not everything is as it would seem.

Love yourself enough to do the work. Love yourself enough to cry if you want to. There is nothing wrong with that. But if your crying won’t abate, and if writing down your thoughts and feelings, or speaking about them to your confidant, does not help, then seriously consider seeing a medical professional who can help you best deal with your emotional crisis. You are not alone. We are all in this together.

 

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Love Yourself No Matter What

I am pressed to write this blog because I see just how many people do not love themselves, regardless of the no matter what sentiment. A while back someone asked me what I did. I told her that I teach people to love themselves, and her reply was give me some of that please. I thought she was just making a joke, but it turns out that she was completely serious. And this from someone who I thought had this down to a fine art. I was mistaken. And it got me to thinking about just how many people out there in the world battle with loving themselves too.

Looking around the world I see war torn countries, famine, the escalation of deaths due to the Covid virus and lack of vaccines. I see atrocities of all kinds; corruption, internal political fighting, a lack of tolerance for one another, and hurt people hurting others. But, I also see – loving acts of kindness all over the world. I see people of service giving so much. I see people with plenty give to those who have less. I see people standing up for change, for equality for all, and for a better world for everyone. I see people with humanity and love in their hearts, and I see others helping to save our planet. Our collective home. 

Change is possible and inevitable. It is a constant. Just look around you and see how much you have changed, how much your family has changed, how much your community has changed. There is a life cycle to everything. There is life and there is decay. You cannot have one without the other. Fighting this is futile, it just is what it is. There is birth and there is death; there is light and there is darkness – you cannot have one without the other.

But how can you make sense of this all? How can you accept the inevitable, with love, joy, peace and calm in your hearts. Easy. You learn to love yourself no matter what. You learn to be kind to yourself. You learn to give more than you receive, and you learn that no matter what, we are ALL equal is a human race. No one is better than the other. No one has the sole rights to this play we are acting out on the stage. We are all in it together. Sure, there are people with different roles, but they are still no better than anyone else. They simply are people with different roles to play in this point in time. So start with stopping comparing yourself to others. Look to your life, your role you are playing on the stage of life. And play that part to the best of your ability. After all, William Shakespeare said: All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

To love yourself no matter what, really means to love yourself with your perception of good and bad. Regardless of your failures in life, where perhaps you have intentionally or unintentionally hurt others, where you have been less than you have wanted to be, you can let this all go now. Just let it go. Stop having such a tight hold on your life that you are not prepared to forgive yourself, yet you are able to forgive others. Be kind to you.

You are here. You might as well make the most of it. Find your own truth within and know this – it is not possible to love another until you first learn to love yourself. This means forgiving yourself for falling short of your own standards, let go of your past, walk away from toxic situations and relationships, and welcome in the dawning of a new day. It is completely possible to live a peaceful life, even in the midst of perceived chaos. Remember this, love is what you are. Love is all there is. Love can never fail. Let the hurt go and give love a chance, and love yourself – no matter what.

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Transparency & Trust

I often wonder how easy it would be to live in a world that is free of corruption, greed, lust, discrimination, prejudice and bias. How easy would it be to eradicate all forms of covert operations in the workplace? Is it possible to see a world that is full of love, where humans treat one another with compassion, dignity and respect.

This is my one and only wish. For everyone to do their part in bringing about a world that is transparent, where we can truly trust one another to look out for our best interests, and where corruption, greed, lust, prejudice, bias and discrimination in any form, is no longer practiced or indulged. It is possible, you know. To live a life that is fun, adventurous, successful, and still be light and breezy. You can still have the success and all you desire, without having to resort to power struggles with others.

One of the most common reasons that I have seen people do things in the workplace that is concealed and under-handed, is one of fear. Whether it be fear of failure, retribution or of authority, or even success, fear is a powerful driver for many. To mask the inherent fear, many people take on a different persona to appear brash, a bully, don’t mess with me kind of person. They attack and defend themselves to a point of exhaustion.

I see a world with endless possibilities; where we have collective groups that bring about change in much needed areas of the earth. Whether it be humanitarian, environmental, social, political, economical or simply just in our day to day interactions, I see people who actually care. Who are compassionate to another. They roll up their sleeves, get on their knees, and help their fellow man. This is not a pipe dream, but it is a path that you have to be committed to take, no matter what. I observe people speaking about doing amazing things, and then I see others actually doing so. There are the talkers and the doers. There are the committed and the indecisive. Whatever your stand, know that your contribution, no matter how big or seemingly small, is not insignificant. It could make the world of difference to someone else.

I have a friend who calls me the Queen of Decluttering. I am not a minimalist, but instead, I am someone who has come to know the value of having what you need, and clearing out the rest. I love simplicity in order, and yes, maybe I like to be in control of things – something I am learning to breathe through, but what I have come to realize is that if the task appears to be too big, I seem to not start. I feel exhausted before I have even begun. That shows me just how powerful the mind is.

And so when I look at transparency in the workplace, it seems like a daunting task to address. In truth, it is not. If every CEO or business owner is held accountable for bringing about transparency and trust in the workplace, and this does not happen, then they have failed in implementing policies, procedures and practices in the workplace that encourages this. They have failed in their duties. And this is regardless the size of the organization. They are responsible to ensure that these policies, procedures and practices are filtered down the rungs of management. It is possible. And they should be held accountable for any breach in transparency and trust in the workplace.

Which brings me to my next point. Here is a great article for you to read – Apple vs FacebookIn this article you will see that Apple and Facebook’s fight is not actually about privacy or tracking, the real reason Facebook is worried is because transparency is a much bigger threat to its business. But why. Surely Mark Zuckerberg knows the importance of transparency on Facebook’s platform? Why would he be worried about transparency, unless it means loss of revenue and opportunities. I do not know what goes on in his head, what drives him, how transparent or trustworthy he really is. But do we ever know this about another. My point is this, we cannot assume to know what someone is thinking or what the driver is behind what they are doing. All we can truly see is the end results of decisions and choices people such as Mark Zuckerberg make. And these results speak louder than words.

Transparency does not mean pull back the curtains and show us everything. It simply means, be transparent in your dealings, motives and actions. Of course there are trade secrets to keep confidential. Of course there are strategies, plans and actions which needs to stay on the down low,  but it is never, I repeat – never, acceptable to be covert when it comes to the publics right to know what you are doing when it involves them directly.

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. I am sure you have heard that before. 

So, where and how do we begin bringing transparency and trust into the workplace. Well, it begins with you and me, and then filtering this message down throughout the organization. It is each of our responsibilities to hold the torch of transparency and trust burning bright in our corner of the workplace. 

You are not alone in this. Align yourself with those who share this same value as you, and remember, behind that unscrupulous dealer, is someone who actually does want freedom from all that fear that engulfs their life. 

On a last note, if everything is energy, then transparency and trust holds its own energetic footprint, as does corruption and deceit in all its forms. If you are transparent and trustworthy, then matching energies will gravitate to you, but if you are corrupt and deceitful …. well, I am sure you know the answer to that.

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Policies & Procedures

Throughout my career in Human Resources, I have worked in small organizations, large multi-national organizations and family-owned businesses. There was a striking difference between the Human Resources expertise accessibility in these businesses.

And this is not only based on the size of the business. It is also based on financial constraints of the organization. Yet, Human Resources is one of the key critical functions in any business.

I remember reading a book written by Jack Welch (former CEO and Chairman of General Electric), Winning, where he explained the close working relationship he had with his Human Resources Director. It was inspiring to read.

But just how many companies can afford, especially faced with the pandemic crisis that has had a negative impact on business worldwide. And this has also had a ripple effect of many people starting their own businesses, but are they adequately equipped to handle issues such as company policies and procedures?

And better yet, why is it important to have policies, procedures and best business practices?

Simply put, they are the rules that you will lead your business by. They set the ground rules for all to follow/comply with. They cannot  be put together haphazardly; they need thoughtful construct, and must be easy for all in the business to understand. If there are multiple languages in your business, it is also important that everyone understands the document, if it is written in the universal language, English.

You will see under Transparency Commission, that I have a section for Policies and Procedures. Here I will be posting FREE policies and procedures in .pdf format, so that anyone can get access to them. These are generic documents, and you can also purchase the same documents in other formats, which you can customize to meet the needs of your own business. But for now, please feel free to download all documents as they are created.

If you need staff to understand the rules of the company, then it is critical they have easy access to these documents. This can be via an intranet system, a hard copy of the documents in their managers’ offices, or they can be kept in an accessible centralized place, like the Human Resources or Business Owner’s office.

Perhaps it is time for you to take stock of the relevance of your current policies and procedures, and if you do not have any, to start changing this. This will go a long way in ensuring that there is consistency in expectations of all parties with regards to their behavior in the workplace.

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How to Deal with Bully Bosses

perception

noun

plural noun: perceptions

  1. the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses
  2. the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted

There is a very good reason why I have started this article with the definition of perception. We are all programmed to see things through our senses, and our programming is subjective. It is an accumulation of our past environment, experiences, our beliefs and our societal influence. Whilst you might see someone or a situation as difficult, I might see them entirely differently.

But it matters not how we see things, but how we react and deal with them.

There are most definitely prickly personalities in our jobs, and then there are those who know just what buttons to push to get a reaction from us.

I learnt decades ago that it is best not to rise to the occasion of retaliation, and neither does it serve you to sink to another’s level of antagonism, insult or blatant disrespect. Difficult people exist; in our families, at work, in our communities and in circles we travel in. There are a myriad of reasons why some people are difficult, however, it is NOT your job to try and change them, and neither is it your job to point out their perceived shortcomings that you are looking at. It IS your job to take control of your emotions, to breathe, pause before responding, and then to choose whether this is a good time to engage with the person, or to walk away and to revisit the situation when all parties have cooled down.

Let me give you some practical examples, as I know it can seem impossible for you to walk away, when dealing with a difficult and rude boss. So, how do you deal with that? Let me help you by painting the backdrop that I have grown up with – Section 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides for the right to human dignity: ‘Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected‘. In short, human beings are entitled to be treated as worthy of respect and concern.

Back to your bully boss. If you are confronted in any way whatsoever that falls short of treating you with anything but respect, even when you might be at fault, do not respond with disrespect. Breathe deeply and slowly whilst your boss is verbally attacking you, as this will help you to maintain calm. (However, if you are physically attacked by your boss or fear for your safety, remove yourself from the situation immediately and seek help from your HR Department, or someone who is senior to your boss, immediately. If you choose, you can also report any physical abuse to your local police and press criminal charges.)

Once your boss is finished with shouting and verbally attacking him, calmly ask if he/she is finished saying what he/she wanted to say. Then it is important that you let your boss know that in no way do you appreciate being shouted at or verbally attacked in the workplace. Whilst I realize this is a perfect response in a company that looks after their employees, some businesses are unfortunately not concerned with the way they treat their staff. A matter which I intend to take up on platforms that will reach a far wider and executive reach.

Here are some situations I have personally been involved in:

  1. I have been a chairperson in disciplinary hearings of managers who abused their positions, and were found guilty of sexual harassment. I had to terminate the services of managers found guilty of this misconduct. The employee also has the right to take criminal legal action apart from internal company proceedings. The sad reality is that this happens more often than one would think, and at all levels of management. Sadly, far too many cases are not reported, because employees are threatened with losing their jobs.
  2. I was fortunate to have a group of women come forward to me to inform me that their manager they reported to (junior to mid-management level), had told them if they did not partake in sexual favors with him, they would lose their jobs. This is a blatant abuse of power. I applaud anyone who comes forward and trusts in the process of making sure that one’s organization will take the appropriate action to investigate, and if found that the allegations are true, then to terminate the services of said perpetrator/s.
  3. Whilst in a senior position, I was shouted at by someone who was senior position to me, and I calmly responded by saying that when they had calmed down, they could come to my office when they were ready to apologize and continue the conversation in a professional manner. This did happen. I understand that this was easy for me to do because of my seniority within the organization, but it is to highlight that no matter who it is, you do not have to be treated with disrespect. And neither do you have the right to treat another with disrespect.

I have had some fantastic bosses, and some who had the IQ to do their job, but lacked in EQ. This made it very difficult to deal with them, but it was not impossible. It did make for some very tricky situations, but you always need to keep yourself in check. Be aware when you need to walk away from a situation.

Difficult bosses are a dime a dozen, but a lot of this can be put on organizations for not training or equipping their management on how to best deal with stressors in the workplace.

And please note, that this is NOT gender based. Both men and women alike can be bully bosses.

Humans are not robots. We all have emotions, stress levels, and at times, when things seem to be falling all around us, we can often just have an outburst – much like a pressure cooker. The key here is how quickly do you recover, and apologize to parties concerned, for your outburst?

If you are an employee being bullied by your boss, you can do something about it. You can talk to your HR Department, or if you feel comfortable enough, you can approach your boss directly and discuss the matter in person. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied for another day. Respect yourself enough to take back your dignity. You are entitled to dignity and respect.

If you identify yourself as a bully boss, be aware of what triggers you to react in this way, and then work on watching yourself like a hawk, and when you start feeling or acting in a way that is not respectful, take a step back, leave the situation, and address it when you have calmed down. It is never okay to treat anyone with disrespect.

Remember the golden rule:

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

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Random Anonymous Acts of Kindness

Many of you might have heard the phrase ‘random acts of kindness’. But how many of you have thought of doing random acts of anonymous acts of kindness? These acts which don’t bring you praise, recognition, a feeling of feeling great that others know what you have done etcetera.

My daughter and I had this conversation a while back, where she pointed out to me that I would often share with her some things I had done to help others. Now whilst the intention here was to communicate with my daughter about my daily life (she lives in the USA and I am in RSA), I saw her point. Why was I telling her these details, and why was it so difficult to keep these things quiet? Like the parable, do not let your left hand know what the right hand is doing.

After much soul searching and deep introspection, I realized that it was important for me to tell her, so that she could see that I was a good person, when in truth, she has known this all along, without me having to tell her of these random acts of kindness I was doing. What a difficult habit to break.

I am now able to catch myself when I am about to share something with someone about something I did to help another. I first catch myself, check my intention behind me wanting to tell this to another, and then I make a conscious decision whether I will share it or not. Oftentimes I decide not to share it.

Now, I am not saying that there aren’t times when you should share these random acts of kindness. It can be so contagious if you share a story with someone, and then they feel inspired to do the same, but what is important to note here, is that it is the intention behind sharing these moments with others, that matters.

So I encourage you, next time you do something great for another, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Do it in the privacy of your own life. Do it for no gain whatsoever, which includes, not wanting to get that feel good feeling of helping another, and then sharing this with someone else to feel even better.

Just go out there and be kind to someone.

Brighten their day.

Give them a smile.

Pay for their groceries in the store, if they are in front of you, and you see they are struggling with the money to pay for it. There are so many ways you can do random acts of anonymous kindness too. Leave a letter of love and appreciation in a neighbor’s letter box. Don’t sign your name. Make an extra lunch box to take to work, and then give to someone on route who is in need of a meal. It might be the only meal they get that day.

Remember, everyone has a life story to tell, and you honestly do not know what they are going through. Smiles are external manifestations which could be a mask to hide what is truly going on in someone’s life.

So, always be kind to one another.

No exceptions.

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Be Kind to You

To be truly kind to yourself, to stop that negative self-talk, that self-lambasting, criticism, judgment, belittling – all those things that swirl around in your head that tells you that you are not enough – what a load of bollocks! You ARE enough! You are PERFECT just as you are.

One of the biggest lies that I have seen in this world, is that you will only be happy, successful, beautiful etc., when you have this or that thing. When you drive that car. When you have that mobile phone. When you live in that house/city/country. What an absolute crock of sh*t. NONE of that is true, and, if you do find some happiness, success, beauty in any of those things, trust me, it will be temporal. Things rust. Things get lost. Things fade. But true inner beauty and the knowledge of who you truly are – well THAT is priceless. THAT is the key to your true happiness. Not material things, but the inner beauty at the very core of you.

If only I knew then what I know now. OMG! How many times have I actually said that or heard someone else say that? Far too many.

Advertising, marketing, the media – they all have you in a vice, unless you are aware of this, and can navigate unaffected through their waters of discontent. Now, I am NOT saying that you should not have lovely things! Not at all. What I am saying is that you must not become a slave to the movement of consumerism for the sake of self-gratification and acceptance. Because, you need nothing external to claim your self-worth. You are worthy just as you are.

How kind are you to yourself?

For a very long time I could not see that I was not treating myself kindly. It took my daughter a lot of times having to tell me to stop saying such negative things about myself, to realize what I was doing. I could not see it for myself, because I was living in it. But for someone on the outside, she could hear it loud and clear. And for her I am truly grateful. And yes, this from someone who is in fact, self-aware. However, this was in my blind spot. And I was not being kind to myself.

Now I find myself catching myself more quickly when I think or say something that is harsh about myself. I take a pause and appreciate myself.

Be kind to you.

Take the time to spend time on pampering yourself. Appreciate the small milestones and accomplishments in your life. And when you are tired, rest. When you feel overwhelmed, unplug. Just be silent in the pause. Breathe. Know that you are doing the best that you can do. Love yourself no matter what mistakes you have made. Love yourself no matter what. This world needs people who are self-assured and certain of who they are. You are not your body. You are not your possessions. You are an eternal truth, only here for a short space in time. Let your light, love, happiness and joy spread out to everyone in your area of influence. Speak your truth always, and bless everyone who crosses your path.

Be the person who is a part of the solution to bringing love and healing to this world.

Be kind to yourself, and in so doing, you will teach others how to be kind to themselves.

Life is hard enough, than having you being your own critic. Let the critic go.

You are perfect – JUST AS YOU ARE!

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Breaking Through

It has been decades of tumultuous times, that eventually brought me crashing to my knees. I had no more fight left in me. No will to get up in the morning and face another day. I just wanted to lie in bed with the covers over my head, and hope for some form of silence and solitude for the following days and weeks ahead. I knew at some point that I would have to shake this feeling, and become larger than my environment, thoughts and body. I just wanted it not to be that day. I wanted to be left alone. To gather my thoughts. To hide. To stop feeling the pain and suffering.

And yes, the moment did finally arrive when I felt and knew that I had turned the corner of disappear. It took 3+ years.

For some you might wonder why it took just over 3 years, whilst for others, you might still be in this position for many more years than this. It is personal, subjective, and until you are willing to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, you might never escape that feeling of impending doom and gloom.

I knew something had to change.

Soon.

Time stands still for no-one, and the longer I lingered in my pain and suffering, the less time I had to help others overcome their battles.

One day I knew that pain and suffering served me on no level whatsoever.

You see, I know that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The teacher can be anyone or anything. You just need an inkling of willingness to see things differently, and then the things you once thought were impossible, suddenly become possible. You experience a small breakthrough here, and another small breakthrough there. Life seems calmer. The sounds of birds chirping at the dawning of the sun, no longer grates you like nails on a blackboard. Instead, you now spend that time outside with the birds, just enjoying what once you thought was your enemy. You are starting to see things differently.

I am an all in kinda gal. I am either fully committed or not committed at all – and you can believe me when I say this – this is NOT always a great thing. Sometimes you need to just have the will to put one foot in front of the next. No rushing. No blindly following yet another ‘guru’. You see, what I have come to know to be true is that we all have our own personal answers within us. We are just too afraid to make a decision, because then we will have no-one to blame for choosing incorrectly for us. How absurd.

We are not here to give our power away.

We are here to learn and grow, love and support, cherish and care for, one another.

Compassion is the cornerstone of any friendship. We are all going through our own experiences, feeling our own way through this world.

It is not for us to judge another and to try and prescribe the one way you know that is the answer to all of life’s questions.

You are here to be discerning. Take in that which resonates with your soul, and keep on moving, loving, growing and knowing.

Breakthroughs do happen – you just have to get to that place when you fall on your knees and acknowledge that you no longer can do this on your own.

And you do not have to. There are a myriad of solutions for you. Find the one that works for you.

Live life with love and laughter in your hearts.

Turn inwards for your guidance and wisdom.

You are everything you ever need to be.

Just step out of your own way and let the guiding light within you start to illuminate your path.

You can do this!

You are NOT alone!

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