Make Better Stories

We tell ourselves stories all the time and these stories direct our behavior, they dictate how we react to people, places and things. So if you are finding yourself constantly elucidating a bad story, that things won’t work out, that people will disappoint you, that life will kick you when you’re down: start making better stories. Yes ok, maybe it won’t work out, but maybe it will. Maybe someone will disappoint you, but maybe they won’t. Maybe life threw you a curve ball, so that you can find a better solution than the one you were aiming for. Every time you tell yourself a story you’re creating a future. Not in a weird esoteric woo woo way, in a very concrete way. When you expect someone to let you down, you unconsciously sow those seeds. You might test them. Or goad them. Or trick them and when you behave as though they will, invariably they will respond. So make better stories. You will feel happier and start creating a better reality. 

PS. On that, if someone is constantly letting you down, maybe it’s time to consider letting them go…


The Rational Mind

 “Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon.” Jalal al Din Rumi

This is the root of trusting your intuition over your rational mind… Last summer I took part in two Vision Quest. Both times I went out with expectations of what I should do, how I should act and what I should feel. Both times I was reminded that it is only when you let go of the labels and expectations that magic really happens. It was at the moment that I gave up all my learning and just went with my heart that the true experience unfolded. Naturally and easily, like a flower blooming. When you go to the lake expecting the moon you will not find it, but when you go to the lake for the joy of the lake you find the moon.


Reciprocal Liking

Don’t be so nice to me, I fall in love so easily

Waylon Jennings

Common dating advice is to play hard to get but scientific research on the psychology of love suggests otherwise. The key point here is: Reciprocal Liking.

The perception of how the other feels is KEY in deciding whether to engage in a relationship. This is not gender specific, men just as women need these indicators. 

Of course the first step is mutual attraction, if that already exists showing interest creates a positive feedback loop. The other feels secure enough to show you they like you, you feel secure enough to show them, and so on. Being difficult and rarely available will make a healthy person bored, wary and withdraw, whilst being difficult or unavailable to someone who is not that interested will just confuse you as you won’t have any insight as to whether they like you or not. 

Naturally I am not suggesting exhibiting bunny-boiler levels of commitment, but a critical ingredient for cultivating a relationship is to show them you like them by being available and engaged and natural.


Anger in Relationships

“Anyone can become angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-this is not easy.” Aristotle

Whoever was I angry with to the right degree at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way?? In truth, probably no one!

I was discussing anger with a client today and how so often anger is a reaction to cumulative behavior, it is not a response to the matter at hand. Often it isn’t even a response to the person in front of you but someone else who harmed you years ago. Anger is important, it is a fire. It is a driving and generative power. To be angry is to burn away the dead wood, and to clear the space for something new. It shouldn’t be something we fear but something we are a curious about. 

Observing yourself in a situation where you find yourself triggered into anger is a fascinating process. It’s called Observing the Ego, when you step outside yourself and ask yourself the questions Aristotle poses above:

Ø  Why was I angry with this person?

Ø  Was my anger proportional?

Ø  Was this the right moment for me to express my anger?

Ø  Was it really addressing this issue?

Ø  Was this the right way to express myself?

Even if you can’t ask yourself these questions in-the-moment, catching yourself in REACTION rather than RESPONSE and asking these questions later is an incredibly powerful mental process on the path to removing your blocks, managing our emotions, cultivating self awareness and healthy relationship dynamics.


Live in Harmony With the Seasons

Have you noticed how your mood and energy levels shift with the seasons? I can always trace my slower pace to Mabon, the day of the Autumn Equinox and my faster pace to Ostara, the Spring Equinox. If, like me, you are living in a western Urban environment you are probably discouraged from responding to the earth’s cues by the continuous pace that modern life demands and the amenities that allow us to keep living fast and comfortably. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life has a lot to say on the subject of Ritucharya, or seasonal living. Years ago on retreat in Thailand I met Kimanna Nichols, an Ayurvedic practitioner I can strongly recommend. I went to him complaining of lethargy and low moods, this was how I interpreted my body’s response to winter. As though there was something wrong with me. It was a revelation to be told that I could have compassion for my body as it goes into its natural winter rhythm of quietness, contemplation and rest. That this is the time to take care of myself and soothe myself with warm, sweet, rich foods and spices. This connection to the body’s reaction to the seasons is an expression of self-compassion and a way to channel your body’s wisdom and intuition.