What is the point?

You want to know the absolute truth? Sometimes, I think to myself, maybe this is all a load of shite. All of this positive thinking, energy, vibration, all you have to do is believe in yourself and visualise and all of your dreams will come true. If it really was that simple – why are we not all doing it? Why are we not all living lives of abundance and happiness all of the time? The truth is, of course, it is not all that simple. In life – nothing is. There are so many different things you would have to consider to even ask for the right things, that you could spend all of your time visualising and asking, and none of your time actually doing anything at all. Or you can ask for all of the things you want, and when they turn up, they have all of these extras or bits missing that mean there were not what you were really looking for, but you can’t totally say that it didn’t work, because when you think about it, you did get what you asked for – it is just not how you imagined it. Or, you might have a life of abundance and wealth, but not be aware enough to realise it. Certainly in comparison to many people in the world, a great deal of us are living incredibly abundant, luxurious lifestyles.

The other problem is: other people. They never do what you want them to do, they continually do things you don’t expect, they hurt you, they leave you, they demand things from you, they insult you, ridicule you, talk about you behind your back, question your integrity, your talent, your intelligence. In the end, you realise that can’t trust any of them to do what you would do or to make your life feel worthwhile. So where does that leave you? Why bother with all of these practices, why bother learning, meditating, reading, listening, trying to understand the anomaly that is life? Is it simply that when you are doing these things, you don’t have to listen to other people’s bullshit? Is it because you don’t have to think about the countless mundane tasks that you have to do every day just to get from getting out of bed in the morning to getting back into it in a warm safe environment, fed, watered and exercised enough to sleep?

I went to a meditation course at Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre at the beginning of the month, and I asked a question – not because I didn’t feel the benefits of meditation, but because I couldn’t form an idea in my head of why it makes me feel better doing it. I asked how the teacher would describe the purpose of meditation. Of course, she answered that if I was doing it for a purpose, then I was not meditating. I answered that I understood that, but then if there is no purpose, why do it? She answered that it was simply to calm your mind, and to feel at peace. To feel something other than frazzled. I can relate to that. I am aware that I mostly meditate to simply stop for a few minutes to rest my body and my mind.

So all of this striving, this goal writing, and vision board making – how do you keep hold of that purpose when it seems like things are going nowhere? What if you have no goals or visions? There is a part of me that thinks perhaps I would be much more at peace if I simply gave them all up. I truly considered how it might be to experience life as a Buddhist monk. You wouldn’t have any concerns – no bills, no mortgage, no job with its demands and stresses, you wouldn’t have responsibilities, or traffic jams, or image issues. You would simply go about your daily routine with no purpose at all, except to meditate and chant and talk. I can’t tell you how tempting that is. Yet still, I find that I would not be willing to give up my life for that type of peace. I can imagine leaving my ordinary life and becoming a Buddhist. But I find that I don’t want to.

All of this stuff that I have been doing – the gratitude diary, journal writing, self-development, talking about and writing down what it is I like and don’t like about my life, what it is I really want – has made me realise that I do love the life I have. Not the thought of another life, not the life I will have in 10 years time, not a time in the past when I was happy, not life in general, as separate to me, but this life. As me, not as someone thinner, or taller, or prettier, or smarter, or with more drive, or more charming, but me. In Bridget Jones, like many women I imagine, I love the line when Mark Darcy says to Bridget, “I like you, just as you are.” Finally, I feel like that about myself, but not in an over-confident, arrogant, egotistical way. I don’t think I am especially good, I am not happy all of the time, I suffer from anxiety, and feelings of depression, despondency, shame, guilt, and self-consciousness. Things go wrong, I act in ways I shouldn’t, I don’t always do the right thing, I let things annoy me, I get irritable, I make mistakes, I get stressed, but still I would not give up being me or swap me for someone else. And that is only something I have begun to feel after learning about energy, vibration and meditation. The only thing that is real, the teacher said to us, is sensory experiences (feeling pain, hearing a noise, seeing something, breathing, physically moving), as soon as you start thinking about any of those things, it is a concept in your brain, and you can’t argue that it is real. Your brain is translating those sensory experiences into thoughts, and you have feelings about those thoughts.

So, I am trying to practice enjoying the things I am doing, and that really goes hand in hand with making sure I do the things I enjoy. That involves a great deal of exploration, trial and error, and learning to be aware of how I feel right now. The only way to know that is to stop, look at your thoughts and feelings without judgement, and consider how to act accordingly. So, I write, I meditate, I talk about life, I sing to myself, I dance in the kitchen when I am emptying the dishwasher, I sit in the garden and listen to the birds, I walk, I give myself little tasks so that I can achieve them – for no other reason than it feels good while I am doing it. I don’t live in blissful happiness having once learned the secret about how to live life. My life is messy right now, a lot of things are changing, I don’t feel the kind of stability I like to have, I have a lot of decisions to make, but still, I choose to go ahead with it all anyway because I like it: this life.

Monday Inspiration: Be a rascal!

 

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Inspired by the awesome Alan Watts and his book, ‘You’re It,’ today’s Monday inspiration is about embracing your inner rascal. Too many of us spend so much time trying to be righteous and good (myself included these days) that we forget that is not the true essence of what human beings are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with’the irreducible element of rascality’ present in any honest human being. Watts used it to describe Carl Jung after he met him. What it means is, don’t forget that we are flawed, and that that is absolutely ok – but be playful with it.

The Key® Weekend Experience

So, the other week, I did the Key® Weekend Experience with Christine McGrory. What is the Key®?  In founder Christine McGrory’s own words:

“The Key® is an inspired course which teaches you The Creation Process®. The Creation Process® is “the know how” and “how to” behind creating anything you could dream of being, doing or having in your life.”

When people ask me what the Key® is, I say it is a kind of personal development programme, but that really doesn’t do it any justice at all. After the weekend, I see it more as an educational experience that teaches you self-empowerment. It is an intense workshop that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and open up to some like-minded people about how you feel about your life, and how you would like to feel about it. While Christine does encourage you to be brave, no one is forced to talk, or to stand up in front of everyone else.

I tend to go into any of these things with the attitude that whatever it is, there is always something to learn. Every person there had decided to spend their time and money on a weekend fully dedicated to working on their own happiness. I have been working very hard at learning a new job in communications and when I am not at work, I am writing, so I knew that taking two full days off to spend on myself without distractions, and without work would be invaluable. It far exceeded my expectations.

The Key® doesn’t simply tell you: “Your life is your own responsibility, you have to change your attitude and create the kind of life you want if you are not happy .” It helps you to truly believe it, and more importantly to feel it. It is one thing to know that you could change your life; it is a different thing to actually do it. This is where I think Christine has created something truly unique. The Key® spends time educating you in a way that is engaging, interactive, and enlightening. I didn’t just go on a course for a weekend, I really feel like I went on a journey – and that I travelled a great distance.

Christine is a scientist. She does not believe that the power of positive thinking is an elusive, elaborate trick that only some people can learn. She believes that it is scientific, that the proof is in physics, and like Einstein believed – in energy. She believes that energy is something that is in every one of the billions of cells in every body, and that it is directly connected to your brain and your heart, and that every thought you have, every feeling you have about that thought, sends signals to your cells and those cells transmit messages and vibrations out into the universe, bringing into your life  the things that those messages attract. She believes that your cells are either charged positively or negatively, depending on the thoughts and feelings you charge them with. She explains this through videos, discussions and teachings from other scientists and visionaries. She explains the theories of nuclear fusion, nuclear fission and how understanding that can help you understand that you are a creator, and are creating your life with every single thought you choose.

Christine’s teaching style is engaging; she uses drawings, videos, and her own personal experiences to explain her concepts. She does it in such a way that makes it understandable to people of all intellects. You can tell that she fully believes everything she is saying, and that she genuinely wants everyone else to understand it so that they can better their lives. She is personable, fun, and light hearted in her explanations of energy and encourages discussions throughout to allow people to get their heads around what can be a very different way of looking at life.

You are then taught some tools you can use to observe your life, consider what things are most important to you, and how you feel about those things. You are asked to look at what you believe about yourself that has made you feel that way. And that point is driven home – it is not about what you have or do not have, it is about how you feel about it. Doing this kind of honest self-interrogation was very emotional for many of the participants, and for me. There is something about writing down on paper how you feel about your life that really hits home.

One of the things that struck me most about my experience of the Key® Weekend was how most of the people (and in particular the women) seemed to get so upset when they were writing or saying good things about themselves. At one point, we were all asked to write down the things we loved about ourselves. I am not sure that anyone in that room managed to do that without crying. Why was that so upsetting to us? Perhaps what makes us feel so sad about writing down the things that are loveable about ourselves, is that we have never before said those things out loud. And if we never say it to ourselves, how can we expect other people to show us that kind of love? That was something that seemed to be really evident in a lot of the people there – they were struggling to love themselves. Everyone had different self-esteem issues, whether about body image, beauty, relationships, work, worthiness or confidence.

I found myself seeing that I had come a very long way in my own struggle. For years I don’t think I had very much love for myself at all, and I acted appropriately. Learning to love yourself, believing that you deserve to be happy, and that you are capable of attracting the things in your life that will make you happy is not something that can be taught in two days. I think we all know that. But the Key® teaches you an awful lot in such a short period of time, and has the potential to send you on that journey, or send you further on it.

I realised that I want to show these women that this works, that changing the way you think about how things happen in your life, gives you a great sense of self-worth. I have found out some things using this school of thought that mean I can confidently walk into a room and not feel insecure about how I look or what I am going to say. I feel like I deserve to be treated with love and respect by everyone in my life. I am completely happy in my own company, and don’t feel that I need another human being to validate me. I live a completely independent life where I can confidently, but lovingly say: “No, I don’t want to do that.” I want everyone woman in the world to feel empowered to make choices that are about their own happiness, to feel worthy of love and respect wherever they go and with anyone. The way the other women at the Key® began to support and help each other by the second day was just lovely. I was touched when we were doing our vision boards and after about an hour, we all started looking for things for each other, cutting out statements from magazines that made us think of others. That is the spirit of the whole thing: supporting each other to be the best we can be, and encouraging each other in our dreams.

I have a great deal of work to do on myself, my own demons are as large as my dreams, but I think those two days at the Key® have taken me a great deal further down the road I have started on.

Christine also wants everyone in the world to feel good about themselves, to find their labours of love and create wonderful vibes all across the world – because she wants to change the world for the better, and she believes that by passing this energy and understanding on from one person to another, she can. She has certainly shone a light on my own life.

I used to be sceptical about anything like this, but the more I practice the tools, and the more I think about energy and how it works, the more strange and wonderful things happen to me. I am not sure how it works, I am not sure that there is necessarily someone out there listening to all of your words and thoughts, but I do know that my frame of mind affects a multitude of things that I am not always fully conscious of. I know that my own experience of life is completely affected by how I am feeling, and that is most definitely a reason to work on finding ways to keep my thoughts positive, stimulated and open to opportunities.

If you prefer to actually see things with your own eyes, here is a visual image of what the The Key® can do to your brain. This is my vision board before Key® and Apres-Key®. I think my brain may have exploded!

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about The Key® at: http://www.unlock-the-key.co.uk.

You can read a review I wrote of Christine McGrory’s book, Grace here.