Guest Feature on The Sprout

Well I am honoured this morning to be featured on ‘The Sprout’ – bringing fun into all things health and wellness.

The Sprout inspires you to feed your mind and body, built on the idea
that any seed we plant has the potential to grow into something
beautiful…

Gemma from the Sprout wanted to know what it means to live consciously…

Guest Post: Fiona Ferreira is Living Consciously

Conscious Living

My name is Fiona, I am a healer and proud business owner of Left of Centre Therapies, specialising in Reiki/hands on healing and Meditation practices AND I have a blog dedicated to ‘conscious living’.   Conscious living is… well its living consciously of course :)– but in all seriousness…

Let me start with some background…

As I think you would all agree, human nature is constantly evolving, there is so much change from one generation to the next.  History has shown us that human culture and knowledge are also continuously progressing and I believe that goes for human awakening too.  Together we are going somewhere, with each generation building on the accomplisments of the one before.

In our own way, each of us contributes to this evolution, starting young with a determination not to behave the same way that our parents did.  From watching and interacting with them, we discerned what we liked and did not like about their behaviour and vowed it would be different for us.  How smart we were as kids!

This may be where some of us leave it, we lose those conscious thoughts as we ‘grow up’ and revert to behaviour patterns learned from our parents, with little regard to our childhood insight.  We mirror their lives and their mistakes.  Others vow not to be like their mother or father and do everything in their power to be the exact opposite.  If we are lucky at some point we hear ourselves saying – oohhhh I sound just like my mother… or we realise that all that energy spent on being the exact opposite may not have brought us to a better place either.

Don’t tell your parents, but reaching this point is actually a good thing – as using these as cues we start to question, who are we and why we are behaving the way we do?  Why are we not living the life we thought we would as children and why are we constantly mending bridges (particularly with our parents) as we go?  As we work through these questions we become more and more conscious of what is really going on in our lives, what is causing our difficulties, we start to become self aware, we begin to live consciously.

Living consciously is being conscious of how and why we behave the way we do, it is the practice of self awareness. We learn to take responsibility for our actions and our lives, we resort to automatic behaviour less and less and are conscious of our behaviour more and more, we use our parents as examples and seek alternative perspectives and ways to behave, we become open to alternative solutions to our problems, we take conscious action against being limited by negative thoughts and we become aware of and find the lesson in every difficulty we face. We heal and we evolve.

Get Grounded

Do you ever feel scattered, or overwhelmed with all the things you have to do and that leads you to feeling scattered?  The very next chance you get go to the beach, make any excuse, borrow the neighbours children, their dog or their surfboard and go….

When you are there dig your toes in the sand at the water’s edge, close your eyes and let that sinking feeling into the sand ground you.  (If you are at the dog beach be a little careful of wet unsuspecting noses in the back of your knee you may find your whole body connected to the sand – yes this really has happened to me).

It will move your energies from your head into your body, help you feel and be more present, more practical and just see how much more you get done.

Beach Grounding

PS – if you can’t get to the beach, you can also ground yourself by just being in nature and breathing, walking, or doing any kind of exercise… just by consciously connecting to the earth beneath your feet.

Survival

Survival Stories

As I enter a new phase in my life there seems to be a common theme in the articles and TV shows that I am attracted to – they are all about human endurance.  Everyone (well me anyway) loves a miracle and reading these stories has inspired me not only to keep going but also to keep my faith – I have no doubt that it was faith that kept these people going in their darkest hours.  Happy Reading…

Whatever it is, sometimes humans survive situations they really have no right to…

Negative thoughts

Thinking Negative Thoughts

I was reminded last night during a “healing share” of a tendency I can have for negative thoughts… and just as I described here in a recent post on failure – when something doesn’t go according to plan it can so easily be made so much bigger…

“you pick apart your failure with even more obsessive gusto than whatever it was that you were working on in the first place and then you start attacking your life too, you know it’s not just that thing that failed, it is everything else too – my relationships are not how I want them to be, my job is not how I want it to be, I never have enough money and I even can’t stand the people I do extreme ironing with (Google it) …”

And of course we all know how it feels when those nasties manifest :(. The absolute best you can do with them is to make self depreciating jokes about how crap you are at… and while it may be kind of ok to laugh at yourself now and again it’s really not going to help long term.  So of course the solution is to lighten the load and change your negative thoughts to positive ones, phew good idea.

BUT HOW! WHAT IS THE MAGIC FORMULA FOR CHANGING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS TO POSITIVE…

Well as I am not Louise Hay, for me, like everyone else, it is a lot about trial and error and keeping it conscious, by which I mean firstly admitting to the tendencies and then being aware of how you use them in interactions you have with others.  Do your interactions feel good, soft and fluffy or not so much?  Not so much hey – then really you need to overanalyse what you are saying/doing and kick yourself for being so negative – ONLY KIDDING – ha I really do need some work…

Anyway so I have decided to try a couple of tricks to work this one out because I really, really want to manifest the good stuff – I like good stuff – and as I also like to share here is what I am starting with.  Anyone else with any more fabulous suggestions please feel free to share too:

Gratitude – While I haven’t done the and Deepak and Oprah’s 21 day gratitude meditation I believe that the concept behind it is to focus on what is good in your life as opposed to what is not so good. So Fiona’s way is to put a little sign next to my bed with THANK YOU on it. It’s the first thing I see in the morning, besides an over affectionate hungry cat, and so I remember to start the morning with thinking about and thanking the Universe for something special in my life.  I can then use this throughout the day and whenever I feel the negatives creeping in I think of the good thing that I was thankful for that morning.  This morning – I am thankful for the absolutely lovely MAGIC of last night’s energy healing session, it was fabulous.

And no 2:

Questioning habitual thoughts – when you catch yourself having a “moment”, question your thoughts.  Interrogating negative thoughts is enough to begin off-loading old patterns as I learned in the 10 life lessons you should unlearn. Take an issue that is worrying you like “I’ve got to work harder” and think of 3 reasons why that belief may be wrong…

Off now to continue my homework and am feeling so much more positive already 😉

 

 

Simple Magic

I have not read anything this beautiful in a long time

“Why did they believe? Because they saw miracles. Things one man took as chance, a man of faith took as a sign. A loved one recovering from disease, a fortunate business deal, a chance meeting with a long lost friend. It wasn’t the grand doctrines or the sweeping ideals that seemed to make believers out of men. It was the simple magic in the world around them.” ….

Brandon Sanderson, from The Hero of Ages

2013

2013 The Year of the Tree

Has 2013 been a fabulous, rewarding, special year or a difficult, challenging, confronting year for you?

I don’t actually ever remember a year having been so talked about as much as 2013.  Is it just me, or have you noticed too, there have already been countless comments in passing summing the year up, what has happened, just how challenging a year it has been – and it hasn’t even finished yet.  From a world economic environment being anything but secure, to an general underlying feeling of unfulfilment within the work place, to the weather being the hottest or the wildest or the extremist in recent history, 2013 has brought its fair share of challenges.

On a personal level 2013 has been an ‘interesting year’ to say the least (I say this through gritted teeth).  I am not sure I would call it the worst year but it certainly has not been the best.   As we seem to be on the homerun, with 31 Dec being only 46 sleeps away, I thought I would take the opportunity to examine what 2013 has meant to me, perhaps it has meant similar to you…

To sum it up it has been a year of ‘forcing growth from adversity’

The November horoscopes in the STA magazine reinforced the point: ‘if you understand adversity is a gift then you will fare well this month.’

I would have extend that to ‘this year’.

But in experiencing adversity for the most part of this year, I see now the gifts that it has brought me.  Dealing with situations that have left me raw and lacking faith, have shown me my edges.   From people who have pushed my buttons I have seen the weak spots in my character. From difficult situations I have asked and answered the questions of myself, the – why am I so affected, the – why am I behaving this way, exposing my true character.   From every testing and challenging situation I have learned oh so much.

From unfulfilled desires I have learned patience.

From bouts of jealousy I have learned there is enough to go around, like a cloud of experiences above the earth we draw what is rightfully ours, while others draw what is rightfully theirs.

From bouts of anxiety I have learned to calm my mind.

From lack of acknowledgement I have learned that I am my most important audience.

From times of loneliness I have learned to connect with society.

From having to do things on my own I have learned I can take as much or as little from the experience as I wish and this knows no boundaries like those from a closed but well intention companion.

From showing my vulnerable side I have been shown just how compassionate people can be.

From the times I have expressed ‘poor me’ I have learned from others the power of making decisions or taking action to change something that is not working.  And I have also learned that not taking action is a sign that there are blockages to work through.

From asking I have learned how willing others are to give.

From reacting to critics I have seen my own fragility, a sign to firm up my own self belief.

I have learned that courage is about forging your own path, believing in yourself even when others try to lead you a different way.

From lack of support I have had to grow all on my own, to cement in my own mind what it is that I stand for, that I believe in, without influence.

From ongoing power struggles I have learned to negotiate with love, first and foremost with a love for myself.

From financial insecurity I have learned to stop worrying about the future but to do things today which may aid my security for the future.

From desperately wanting to know the future I have learned to live in the present.  A necessary end to a constant search for answers has lead me to live for now and to follow my instincts.

From open and closed doors I have learned to follow my intuition.

From failure I have learned to let go of expectation.

From facing my fears I have learned that the pride that follows the achievement from facing fear far outweighs the fear itself.

I have learned that to be a leader is to walk a lonely path.

From despair I have learned how important it is to have faith.

I have learned to see colours so that as I type this, my computer is surrounded by green blotches, the colour of healing.

From working with energy I have learned that everything is about the flow of energy.

I have learned that to live through my heart is the answer to keeping the energy flow in balance ensuring I neither desire it from others nor give it away unconsciously.

And most importantly I have learned that life is about practice, while all this learning should improve the way I handle myself and the situations I face, it takes practice to change old habits.

So finally, while I would not want to relive 2013, neither would I want to change any bit of it.  I hope with all my heart that 2014 is much, much easier, but I am sincerely grateful to 2013 for I have grown.  I have grown from a vine into a tree xx

Failure, the other F word

FailureIt’s a Friday night, its been a hellova week, no month, no year – you have put excessive time and effort, not just physical but mental and emotional time and effort, into working on something that you want, think, believe will bring you the success that you want, think believe you need –  crunch time has arrived and you realise that you have F*&#%ing Failed.

After a deep breath you start the process of try telling yourself that “if you learn from defeat, then you have’t really lost” or that “everything happens for a reason”, but when you realise that you are not going to get that end result that you have manifested, dreamed of and obsessed over, there is the first F word with a shorter word to follow.

And this is because dealing with failure is not only one of the most necessary but also one of the hardest lessons that we as human beings, will ever have to learn…

And that is why failure is generally followed by the inevitable tantrum…

where you pick apart your failure with even more obsessive gusto than whatever it was that you were working on in the first place and then you start attacking your life too, you know its not just that thing that failed, it is everything else too – my relationships are not how I want them to be, my job is not how I want it to be, I never have enough money and I even can’t stand the people I do extreme ironing with (google it) …

WHEN IS IT MY TURN??

Maybe this is coupled with floods of tears and results in a few broken things around the house or a few broken things in your body, headaches, shoulder tension, neck aches…  Because when you are in it, experiencing it, living it, none of the 500 quotes on failure on the Goodreads website are going to inspire you to think – alright then I think that this failure is a gift and I’m all good to go now… they may help, but failure, in most cases, takes time to get over.

To explain why, lets look at what failure means as per the trusty free dictionary online…

fail·ure n.

1. The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.

2. One that fails.

3. The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short… and so on

The common denominator in all definitions is “EXPECTATION”.  In each case the falling short, the not achieving, the non performance all relates to not reaching an expected outcome.   And we all know what happens when we don’t meet expectations (ours or others), hey presto – it means that we are not good enough and as the guru of positive thinking, Louise Hay famously preaches – the fear of not being good enough is the fear that underpins all fears. 

SO GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK if you threw that tantrum that you weren’t real proud of after experiencing a set back, apologise to anyone that may have experienced passing wind from some flying glass, apologise to yourself if you were the brunt of the negative banter and remember you are only human – and (for yet another quote):

It is not how you fall that matters, it is how you rise again…

But as we have identified that expectation is the common denominator of failure, what if we changed our perspective slightly on the expectation set in the first place, would this mean that next time we wouldn’t have to rise up again from such a low base?   Would changing or even losing the expectation of the end result lead to a little less pain associated with failure?

I THINK SO…

I see it like sitting a school exam.  Getting a good grade in an exam generally means that you can get your parents off your back and you can feel good about yourself because an A in science means that you are bright and have a bright future, there is nothing to worry about here.  The point that you have learnt something really interesting about the anatomy of the cockroach, doesn’t really get more than a passing thought.  But if you were more interested in the actual learning or (perhaps if it is a boring subject) why you are learning the subject and not so focussed on the grade you will receive at the end, then you will have increased your knowledge, NOT YOUR EGO.

Or perhaps you have started your own business and you decide to put on an event with the intention to get exposure, to show people what you do, convince people you are worth following.  This takes a lot of planning, time and effort and don’t get me wrong exposure is a good marketing tool, BUT if you decide to put yourself out there so you can nurture your creative side, allow your passion and imagination to shine, as well as firming up your skills and knowledge on the subject you are presenting then whatever happens with regards to attendees, followers, stalkers, exposure etc is A BONUS.

It is well worth a try next time you embark on something where you could very easily face both F words, by following the approach: Lose the expectation, enjoy and learn from the journey and whatever positive outcomes result from the action are purely a bonus.  Whether it be end of year exams, going for that new job or the next blog post you write, work with the “what am I learning from this exercise”, I guarantee it will be 100 times more rewarding than “what will I get from this exercise”.

And finally not only do you learn that it is about the experience and not the outcome, but from failure you also learn:

  • to be humble
  • to be compassionate
  • to be vulnerable
  • your limits
  • your capabilities
  • courage
  • your strengths
  • your weaknesses
  • what interests or inspires you and what doesn’t
  • to be flexible
  • to be open minded and
  • you learn more about who you are…

 

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way

Emily CunninghamHave you ever had to write a list of things you like about yourself, a list of your redeeming qualities? Usually you can manage to scratch together a few admirable characteristics but generally there are one or two stand out qualities that you possess that are the epitome of who you are.

In the same way, have you ever played the game “how would you describe… Auntie Glenda”, assuming you are looking at the positives for Auntie Glenda, there should be at least one particular stand out quality that she naturally displays, something that you can admire about her, that is the epitome of who she is.

My point is that generally speaking each person you come into contact with has at least one stand out quality, one very positive attribute that they possess that comes naturally to them, is part of their personality, a quality that they absolutely nail so that when you leave their presence you comment, wow she/he is so…

I hope over time to be able to share with you some of the special qualities that people around me possess, they will be real people telling real stories about what it means to be a nurturer, to live compassionately, to be calm and centred, to be super enthusiastic or as in today’s post – “what it means to be a leader”…

There are few people who I have come across that have shown greater natural leadership skills than my friend Emily. She has done so much already in her 24 years and what is most fun is that she is just a little bit famous in WA netball circles. To get where she has, at the very top of WA in her sport, has taken huge determination and a lot of pain (she has often been seen hobbling around our office with broken feet on a Monday morning) and so while Emily is a gun on the court, it is her abilities both off and on the court that will get her far.

Emily has written below, a little about her journey and her thoughts on the trials and tribulations of, as well as what it takes, to be a good leader. Hey who knows we could be reading the contemplations of the next female PM…

My name is Emily Cunningham. I am nearly 24 years old; I work full time and am within months of finishing my Uni degree. I work and study HR however I guess my true passion lies in netball and/or anything related to sport and fitness. I have played State League Netball since I was 14 years old and have also had the exciting opportunity of representing Western Australia.

Throughout the years I have had many chances to perform the role of leader whether at school, on the court or off the court as a mentor. I love the opportunity to mentor younger people – I have had numerous coaches and mentors over the years who have shaped who I am today and the thrill of being able to pass on those skills to others, inspires me. If I can provide someone with half of the amazing guidance that I have received todate, it will be a wonderful accomplishment.

Leadership to me means being an example – it’s setting an expected standard. Over the years I have realised that you do not have to be the ‘best’ player on the team, but rather a player who demonstrates the qualities, values and goals that the team is working towards as well as being passionate and competitive whilst remaining supportive and constructive.

A leader knows when to self-sacrifice – putting the team before themselves, assisting the coaches on their day off, or helping out at the local carnival with the kids – who are excited just to see them there, even if this means sacrificing their own personal time. A leader recognises the best way in which their team mates learn – by using aids or perhaps drawing the play. A leader knows how to be reliable, to be someone that their team mates can talk openly to, or knows when to speak up and when to keep things quiet. A leader knows how to show respect – respect for coaches and management, for team mates and for the people that look up to them.

A leader most importantly maintains their integrity at all times.

However, not all of my leadership experiences have been easy and in the past this has lead me to occasionally wonder whether is it really so great to be a leader. The term ‘leader’ is often viewed as a position of power – but in reality it comes with huge responsibility, self sacrifice and can compromise relationships, especially with peers. While being a dependable team mate is a must, sometimes being the one to step up and say something that your team mates may not want to hear or set an example when the buck is down and morale is low, is a difficult thing to do.

I recently had a team mate who was struggling on the court, resulting from problems they were experiencing at home and work – in this case and most others the person bottled up their feelings and tried to perform anyway and of course, the coach/other team mates didnt know and just pushed harder. As a leader within the team, I took her aside to find out what was going on and provided the support and understanding she needed even when it caused some rupture with those who were not aware of her situation.

A team cannot succeed without understanding and unity, a true leader gets that…

I believe that some people are born with the natural qualities that make them a good leader. However, I strongly believe that such qualities can also be enhanced over time and experience as long as this is coupled with passion, determination and most importantly an understanding of the responsibility that it takes to lead people. It may take mistakes and facing a few fears but when does anything worth accomplishing, not.

I was given a quote by Jim Rohn many years ago and it has become a mantra to me;

“the challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.”

Leadership is rarely easy – but it is an honour. It’s an opportunity, an opportunity to be a role model, set an example, encourage, inspire, step up and – see the bigger picture. It’s exhilarating and challenging and I could not be luckier to have had the experiences that I have had and cannot wait for future opportunities, future chances. Success to me is learning, and leadership has provided me with the greatest lessons in life.