This morning my father sent an email to my uncle, and in that correspondence, he sent a photograph of a jar of extremely clear maple syrup. The comment he put in there was: “this may be the only clarity we have for a while”.
Is this so?
What is clarity? We have lived in a world where we have been spoon-fed the idea of who to be and how to be. So often our own intuition or inner voice has been drowned by media surrounding us, and the society in which we live. The entire world is now experiencing something unimaginable even a few months ago; now it has forced us all to hide away in cocoons. By now many of us have overdosed on TV, explored the insides of books, and have played countless video games. Introverts are still in their stride; however, extroverts are wilting beneath the shadow of this isolation. We have drawn all the bubble baths we can possibly have in one week, but still, there is a hunger for something more meaningful.
What is the opportunity in this crisis?
The opportunity I speak of is connecting with your inner voice. I invite you to seize this chance while in forced isolation to really identify what your own voice is saying. Hear that inner wisdom, notice the clarity it can provide, and allow for it to adjust your perspective and priorities. There have been trends in our society of taking mindfulness classes and learning to meditate.
Some people involved in this practice of meditation have even gone to the extreme of travelling to isolated parts of the world to “gather themselves” in complete solitude. We are now in a collective “gathering” with our social distancing. So, what now? What clarity are you truly seeking for the other side, and how do you find it?
Consider unplugging for a while.
A caterpillar in the cocoon doesn’t get outside tutorials on how to be a butterfly or a moth; it happens naturally. Just as well you cannot learn about yourself from other people. Trust that you have within yourself all that you need to fully connect with your inner wisdom. Once the outside chatter has dimmed, more of you will emerge. As you get comfortable connecting with your inner voice, notice what forms of inspiration may come your way. What clarity does that create for you?
Getting to this place of inner connection is just as unique of a journey as you are. When you have made that connection with yourself, you will know it, and you will begin to fully step into the values that you hold most dear. From there, the clarity of your next steps for moving forward will open up to you.
The world will be a very different place compared to how we once recognized it as, and we will emerge from it also as different people. Who will you be?
**Note: Thank You to Lucy Kavanagh for your editing support on this article.
Humans along with all animals on the planet are hard-wired to respond to threats by freezing, fleeing or fighting. It is part of our natural survival behaviours. Sometimes fear is useful to us when we find ourselves in dangerous situations and these automatic behaviours just kick in. Sometimes they are a hindrance when our fears are deemed irrational, like fear of a dark closet or of leaving our house when there is no reason not to.
What we are afraid of can be highly personal depending on our life experiences. It can also be influenced by the fear of others. Presently there is a tonne of information flowing out there and it is difficult to be sure of what to believe and what to take seriously. We may have our internal red flags and sirens going off with no reassurance of what to attend to. Being a person who has come out of a religious organization that based their whole teaching on fear, I know how challenging it is right now to get a foothold on what to do. The temptation is to freeze and be immobilized.
What is fear? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “the bad feeling that you have when you are in danger or when a particular thing frightens you”
To keep fear from overwhelming me in a situation I think back to the Litany of Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune:
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Throughout history, fear has been used to control or incapacitate a population. We have seen that in wars, religions and relationships. Fears become incapacitating in times of panic whether it is orchestrated or a natural response to a given situation. To no longer be controlled by fear we need to find ways to let is pass over, around and even through us.
So how do we flip this coin and have an appropriate level of caution yet keep our rational minds and humanity?
Be kind to yourself. Be considerate of others. We are globally in this together and together we can get through this. When we let fear bypass us we keep our heads and manage what really matters.
If you need someone to help you through this time please feel free to connect with me for an Additional Support Session.
So often Values and Beliefs are used interchangeably, but what is the difference between the two and why should it matter?
First, let’s tease these two apart.
Interestingly the online Oxford dictionary defines values as “… what is important in life”.
They define beliefs as “an opinion about something; something that you think is true”.
I find that a bit vague, so let's untangle it a bit more so that they are easier to identify.
Values, in the context of core or individual values, tend to be aspects that are important in one’s life.
In knowing my core values I can recognize when something has come up in life that is rubbing these values the wrong way or when people try to manipulate me through knowing what my values are. This knowing has saved me from a lot of frustration and disappointment and has given me power over my reactions to others who knowingly or unknowingly try to hurt or manipulate me. Hence the reason I help all my clients in my coaching practice uncover and connect to their core values.
When looking at beliefs, I can tell you I have run the gambit concerning religion, but beliefs are not just about religion or faith. They can be beliefs about our capabilities or how things will always be. 10 years ago I would have laughed at you if you had told me I would have a private practice, and be posting regular blogs online, let alone my business website! I never would have believed I was capable of that. That was a limiting belief. One that stopped me from striving to reach beyond to check to see if it was possible or not. To bring this out in an even clearer illustration. In the late 1800’s cars only went 10-30 mph because it was believed that the human body would not be able to survive speeds faster than a horse. These beliefs have a purpose. They are there to keep us safe from the unknown. Thank goodness for the innovative ones who choose to test the boundaries, and in my case, to those who asked me the questions that helped me challenge my self-made limits.
So why does it matter to know the difference between values and beliefs? I liked this one quote from www.difference.guru “Beliefs are assumptions people hold as true and that are related to past learned experiences. Values can affect behavior and character, whereas beliefs can influence one's morals and values. Values apply and are directly related to everyday life, while beliefs are often rooted in faith and religion.” When we have a grasp on our beliefs and values and dive into why they are part of our life, we have more of an understanding of our lives and therefore more control in our lives. Not to say that this is an easy, Saturday afternoon project. It’s not. It means diving deep and challenging things that we may never have questioned before. The benefit of doing that though is to know yourself, be more in control of your reactions and allow you to make decisions easier because you know what you are basing your decisions from. It also gives you the courage to test your boundaries and potentially live a life you may have thought were only available to others.
If you are interested in investigating your values and beliefs, feel free to contact me. I would love to hear your thoughts and input on values and beliefs!