Your Inner Castle

How many parts of yourself have you lost along the way?  And when I say lost, I mean shut out/shut down?  How many parts of you have you not explored because ‘somebody’ said you couldn’t do something?  How many parts of you have you not discovered because of fears and doubts you listened to growing up?  It’s time to begin exploring your inner castle again.

Your Inner Castle

Imagine being a wonderful castle with long hallways and thousands of rooms. Each room in the castle is perfect and possesses a special gift.  Each room represents a different aspect of yourself and an integral part of the entire perfect castle.

As a child, you explore every part of your castle, without shame or judgement.  Fearlessly you search every room for its jewels and its mystery.  Lovingly you embrace every room, whether it is a closet, bedroom, bathroom or cellar.  Each and every room is unique.  Your castle is full of light, love and wonder.

Then one day, someone came to your castle and told you that one of your rooms were imperfect, that surely it didn’t belong in your castle.  They suggested that if you wanted a perfect castle you should close and lock the door to this room.  Since you wanted love and acceptance, you quickly closed off this room.  As time went by more and more people came to your castle, they all gave you their opinions of the rooms they like and the ones they didn’t.  And slowly you shut one door after another.  Your marvellous rooms were being closed off, taken out of the light and put into the dark…… A cycle had begun.

Then you closed more and more rooms for all kinds of reasons.  You closed doors because you were afraid, or thought the rooms were too bold.  You closed rooms that were too conservative.  You closed doors because other castles you saw did not have a room like yours.  You closed doors because your religious leaders told you to stay way from certain rooms.  You closed any door that did not fit into society’s standards or you own ideal.  The days were gone when your castle seemed endless and your future exciting and bright.

You no longer cared for each room with the same love and admiration.  Rooms you were once proud of, you willed to disappear.  You tried to figure ways to get rid of these rooms, but they were part of the structure of your castle.  Now that you had shut the door to whatever room you didn’t like, time went by until one day you just forgot that room altogether.  At first, you didn’t realize what you were doing.  It just became a habit.  Shutting the rooms actually started to make you feel safe.  Soon you found yourself living in just a few small rooms.  You had learnt how to shut off life and became comfortable doing it.  Many of us also lock away so many rooms that we forgot we were ever a castle.  We began to believe we were just a small, two bedroom house in need of repairs.

Each room is an essential part of the structure and each room has an opposite somewhere in your castle.

The Castle is just a metaphor to help you grasp the enormity of who you are.

We each possess this sacred place inside ourselves.  It is easily accessed if we are ready and willing to see the totality of who we are.

Most of us are scared of what we will find behind the doors to these rooms.  But if you truly desire to change the direction of your life you must go into your castle and slowly open each door.

You must explore your internal universe and take back all that you’ve disowned.

Only in the presence of your entire self, can you appreciate your magnificence and enjoy the totality and uniqueness of your life.

Forget the critics.  Have pride in yourself, and quietly, give thanks for who you truly are.

Source: Unknown (I received this wonderful analogy via email and the sender did not know the source either. If you know the author, please let me know.)

Picture source

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Do you let your light shine?

Stained Glass

Quote

I have been going through a challenging personal time in the last few months and yet, it has been a reawakening for me as well.

Even though I know the way to reach goals, I too, let the busy-ness of life get in the way.

I too feel overwhelmed at times.  I let my work-life balance become out of kilter and I spend too much time making others happy, forsaking my own happiness.

I started writing a book three years ago and every time I’ve wanted to edit it I felt like a fraud.  I felt out of integrity with myself.  How could I be sharing with others the path to reach their goals, or find happiness or have a better work-life balance if I was not doing it myself.  For me to finish this goal I had to make some tough decisions.

It meant big changes.

It meant facing fears.

It meant uncertainty.

It meant being vunerable.

It meant hurting people I cared for.

It meant it was time for my light to shine.

It was scary.

I made some changes towards the end of June last year.  Big scary ones.  And that was just the start.

I wrote down some goals: 

  • Be kinder to myself  (I wrote this post on my parent blog about it)
  • Lose 23 kg’s by the end of 2012 so I can go for a breast reconstruction (Lost 15kg’s so far)
  • Let go of negative people in my life and surround myself with those that inspire and uplift me. (Have put up boundaries)
  • Take more time to do my arts ‘n crafts (Have been making jewellery again)
  • Spend time on my own reflecting (Could still do more of this)
  • Spend more time planning for work projects instead of just starting the work (Still a work in progress)
  • Blog on my parent blog at least 4 times a week  (On track here)
  • Blog here at least once a week (Okay, have missed this one)
  • Do things that make ME happy like read more, meet new people, help others, spend time doing crafts with my daughter, be more creative, blog lots, dance more, laugh more, sleep more  – I’m a night owl and I need to get more sleep – (I’m getting there)
  • And finally, edit my book.

On this last one, I feel I needed to accomplish some of my goals before I could authentically honour it.  I feel like I’m almost there.

Just today, no fewer than 4 people told me I’m radiating or glowing and it felt so good to see how my goals are working for me and that my inner light is shining.

And as if that wasn’t an affirmation enough, I happened across the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross quote above.  Isn’t that an awesome sign to show me I’m on the right path?  I thought so.

So what are you doing to let your inner light shine?

 

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5 Thoughts of Wisdom

heart, wisdom

5 Thoughts of Wisdom

1. If you are right, then there is no need to get angry. And if you are wrong then you don’t have any right to get angry.

2. Patience with family is love. Patience with others is respect. Patience with self is confidence.

3. Never think hard about the past, It brings tears. Don’t think more about future, It brings fears.  Live this moment with a smile, It brings cheers…

4. Every test in our life makes us bitter or better. Every problem comes to make us or break us.  Choice is ours, whether we become victim or victorious.

5. Search a beautiful heart, not a beautiful face. Beautiful things are not always good, but good things are always beautiful.

Anon

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Trust Epiphany

Trust QuoteI’ve experienced my fair share of broken promises and had people in my life that I’ve stopped trusting for various reasons.

I had a realisation about it today.

Each time my trust is broken; whether it is by a promise broken, a confidence breached or credibility dashed it seems my trust bank is depleted.

This same trust bank is where I find my own source of trust, so each time I allow someone to make a withdrawal I am not replenishing it for myself or others. This means that I am less trusting of others and even worse – myself.

For me, it has meant that I second guess my ability to trust myself. If I trusted someone and they broke it, I question whether I was wrong about them all along? And if that is so, then how can I trust myself not to make the same mistake again? Anyone else experience this? I hesitate and procrastinate, I miss opportunities. I do not grow.

How many others that are deserving of my trust don’t get it based on my own experience of it? They were not the ones to break it.

If trust is ‘the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something’, then I have power over what I believe in. As a belief is a choice, I am empowered to choose to replenish my trust bank.

I saw this quote, “At some point we need to trust ourselves, so it might as well be today.”

My promise to myself:  I’m going to trust myself to know more than I think I do. I’m going to trust I can make the right decisions for me. I’m going to trust others even though I know they have the power to hurt me as I know I can choose to make more deposits into my trust bank just by making the choice to do so.

I can’t say I’m ready to trust those that have depleted my trust; however, I going to be more mindful of not letting their follies influence my own abilities negatively or take away from others that are worthy of receiving mine.

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Flip a coin

Decision making 101.

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The empty soap box

One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soap box, which happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty.

Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty.

Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent whoopee amount to do so.

But when a workman was posed with the same problem, did not get into complications of X-rays, etc but instead came out with another solution.

He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

Moral of the story: Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problem. So, learn to focus on solutions not on problems. “If you look at what you do not have in life, you don’t have anything; if you look at what you have in life, you have everything”

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2011 in review

Thanks for all your support in 2011.  I’m always looking for inspiring stories to share here and will hopefully be posting many more in 2012.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Dash

My friend Luddite Lass shared this poem on her blog today and  it is such an inspiration, I had to share it here too.  She’s started a meme on her blog called Wednesday Memories and today she remembered her dad.  This poem reminds us about living.  Enjoy.

 

The Dash Poem
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

©1996 Linda Ellis

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A Gift From Horses

I have attended many workshops in my career, many of them fantastic learning experiences that created great shifts for me, but few (and I can count them on one hand) delivered as this one: “Authentic Leadership through the gift of horses”

How does one begin to describe the learning and experience this workshop offers? I mean, doesn’t it sound so far fetched? Or perhaps intriguing? Or crazy? Or a load of horse sh*t! You might have thought some of these thoughts when you read the name of it; however, perhaps you will indulge me and let me illuminate this gift?

Did you understand what unconditional love felt like before your experienced it?

I’d only ever been a receiver of it from my parents and my dog. That was my experience of it, until I held my baby girl in my arms, and in that moment I found my heart outside my body, bigger than I ever thought possible. I experienced giving unconditional love, there were no judgements, no expectations, only love and trust. Then I got it. I truly got it.

Do you remember struggling to master anything in your life? How it felt like you would just never get it? And then one day it just clicked into place and you wondered why it seemed so challenging when in reality it was quite easy? Like learning to ride a bike or car, learning to touch type or perhaps forming letters?

When I got my first calligraphy pens I spent hours practising the letters, line after line, stroke after stroke, pushing through my finger cramps and stretching my aching hand I practised daily. I felt like giving up, it wasn’t worth the frustration. I thought I’d give it one more try…and in that moment, the perfect letter formed, the angles aligned in uniformity and I felt the pride well up inside me. Accomplishment, I got it. I truly got it.

These are examples of moments in our life that simply take our breath away; or we grin like the Cheshire cat or dance a little jig. They are not always earth-shattering to others but they are always meaningful. They change us somehow, sometimes very subtly. When these moments come into our awareness we can’t help but make a change, because once you know something it can’t be unknown. You may choose to ignore it, but you still know it.

This is what the horses do for you. They provide you with insight into the parts of you that will trip you up in your life if you leave them unaddressed. In under 10 minutes!

Accepting feedback can be hard. We hear it from others and instinctively we want to push it away. We deny it is true, we justify it, try to rationalise it, mask it, and often blame the messenger. What’s their intention? Who are they to judge us? This loops until we find acceptance within their message, and then, only when we accept it, can we say we are truly self aware and can make a positive change.

This is the gift of horses. They have no hidden agenda, and their feedback is a mirror to you that gives you the opportunity to see yourself as you truly are with all your masks removed. What shows up is what you need to work on to become an authentic leader, whether you are leading people at work, in your community or your family.

You see it, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak and it is delivered gently and you feel supported and safe. As you see it, you become aware of your internal dialogue, you connect with how you are feeling and in that moment, as you let their feedback sink in, you realise how this part of you has been playing out in your life.

In that moment, you know that if you could make one small change the horse will respond so differently to you. You know that if you practice and embed that change you will connect with your inner authenticity. You become conscious of what you need to do to embrace the authentic leader you were born to be.

So simple, yet so powerful.

Footnote:
What I’ve shared here is just based on the first one-on-one interaction with the horses.

The workshop covers much more; and for me who works in the leadership space, I was familiar with most of the content; however, knowing the subject matter did not detract from my personal learning through the experience.

There was an area of my development that I was grappling with. I couldn’t find the cause of it and yet in just one day I’d identified the reason for it. Rarely as leaders do we take enough time to reflect on our personal leadership journeys or the opportunity to immediately implement a new way of being. On day two I was able to practise the internal shifts I needed to make. I received instant feedback from the horses. We had several exercises to affirm our shift had taken place.

With the constant change in our worlds, we are not only leading teams, we are influencing people at all levels. To do this just by being ME is invaluable. So now I can take a horse to water and make it drink! (Or in my case, lead her through an obstacle course AND have her lift her hooves for me only because she trusts and respects me and chooses to follow.  There are no adequate words to describe it.)

PS  Did I tell you I was anxious around horses? Oh yes. I forgot to say that upfront. And the reason I forgot is that I’m no longer afraid.

PPS If you’d like to find out more you can click here

PPPS If you have any further questions about my experience please ask away

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