Growth

Perfectionism

“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.” ― Rebecca Wells

Let’s talk about perfectionism and the idea of being perfect. We live in a world in which we are constantly being bombarded with images of the perfect body, the picture-perfect relationship and the ideal life. The implicit notion is that if we are perfect we will AUTOMATICALLY gain more love, more money, more acceptance and more happiness in our lives. The premise of perfectionism is that until you reach perfect, you are unworthy of all that life can offer. This is possibly the greatest lie of our time. With social media and online living we are more connected than ever before but we are simultaneously at more risk of daily comparison and daily, internal berating. As a result, we try to contort ourselves into these impossible images of perfection, prescribed by an unwell, modern society, in the hopes that we will experience a better life.

Psychologists, Paul L. Hewitt (Ph.D.) and Gordon L. Flett (Ph.D.) have shown (through their numerous studies), that perfectionism has been positively correlated with depression, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, problematic relationships and lower levels of self-esteem. Perfectionists are more likely to express cynicism and experience higher levels of stress at home and at work, as well as experiencing a decreased sense of overall satisfaction with one’s self and one’s life. Striving for perfection will lock you in an egoistic, perpetuating cycle which will ultimately cause you more pain than happiness.

The cycle follows this general form: You hold an internal belief (that arose for whatever reason) that you must be perfect in order to have that ideal job, relationship etc; so in an effort to reach your goals you attempt to change yourself. For example, I will only find the love of my life when I drop five pounds. I will only be happy when I have (insert monetary amount here). Perfection cannot be maintained so you ultimately fail. This failure makes you feel guilty and shameful for not being perfect. In other words, you perceive the problem to be something that you did wrong and the cycle begins again. This vicious, perpetuating cycle of perfectionism must be broken. Perfectionism in itself is the problem, not YOU.

So disconnect from this notion, simply let it go. If you experience feelings of guilt and shame because you are not perfect, take solace in the fact that this is totally normal. Show me a perfect human being and I will show you their plastic surgeon. Allow these feelings to arise to the surface and then release them. Know this: there is no perfect, it simply does not exist. There is only this moment in which you can find the courage to live authentically.

Slowing Down: Spring Unfolding

Can you make room for slowness in your life? To feel and appreciate the sounds, sights and scents of spring life unfolding?

After the winter months, I have been experiencing a profound surrender to what is.

A very practical impact of this on my daily life has been a slowing down and letting go of rushing, planning and controlling. I feel more receptive to the wonder of life in each moment, a softening into my heart which feels as if I’m able to bring the gentle power of my heart more easily to each experience. Of course, there are situations that still push my buttons! I’ve also learnt that I can do things quickly with a slow frame of mind helping to transmute tension into relaxation.

When we rush we skim the surface of life experiences and miss a depth of connection with people and with the aliveness of life itself. We seek to cram in as many experiences as possible and seem to have lost the art of doing nothing, of slowing down and simply being – with ourselves and stillness. Speed and busyness have become an addiction and a distraction.

Fast can feel busy, controlling, aggressive, rushed, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, quantity over quality.

Slow can feel calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality over quantity.

Every living being, event and process has its own inherent rhythm – nature teaches us this. Be slow when it makes sense to. Be fast when it makes sense to. In this way you choose a way of being that can feel alive, connected and wise.

“Do you see that everything in the universe is simply doing its dance – expressing itself the only way it can… and this is happening in every moment. Seeing this clearly brings instant relaxation and peace. Why? Because everything is doing the only dance it can, what is there to worry about?” Bhakti Maa

Metanoia: Your New Favorite Word

People often ask me what Metanoia means. Some even think it's my first name. While others can barely pronounce it.

Metanoia is the word that has been a huge part of my life for the past year. It's a word I stumbled across on Instagram a while back and immediately identified with it's meaning.

Metanoia (n.): the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self, or way of life - (pronunciation | meh-tah-NOY-ah)

To me, metanoia represents growth. The possibility of improving ourselves, living the life we envision and the ability of chasing our dreams. In order to be successful and happy, we should constantly be evolving and learning. Learning new ways, new strategies, new routes.

One of my favorite quotes is: "Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." We have the power to create our own paths, opportunities, and destination. That theory is behind Metanoia Living. To showcase the pursuit of a lifestyle -the Metanoia Lifestyle. Inspiring you be open to change, to travel, to discover and to create a happy, fun and balanced life.

We all have our unique journeys. For that same reason, the word metanoia can be personalized to each one of us. We add our own value to the meaning. Metanoia serves as a daily motivation and inspiration for me- which is why it's my favorite word. Hopefully, it becomes yours too!

Conscious Walking

Although we walk all the time, our walking is usually more like running. When we walk like that we print anxiety and sorrow on the Earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. If we can take one step like this, we can take two, three, four and five. When we are able to take one step peacefully and happily, we are working for the cause of peace and happiness for the whole of humankind. -Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

How do you walk? Where is your mind? Are you aware of what is taking place in your body? Are you always rushing from one place to another just to arrive?

Can you become fully aware of the experience that we know as ‘walking’? Can you feel all the muscles, joints and movements? Can you simply walk to experience ‘walking’ without the need to arrive somewhere? Can walking become a present moment experience that allows you to be fully conscious?

I invite you to become aware of how you walk and to have the intention to walk consciously with lightness and ease… and experience and feel the benefits! “Don’t hurry. Present moment is a wonderful moment.”

Social Media And Your Health – 7 Ways To Balance Your Real And Virtual Worlds

Many of us are slaves to our phones, tablets, laptops etc. When we are not working on them, we are busy surfing Facebook, Instagram and other social media that captivates our attention for hours. I find myself spending hours on my laptop and social media, writing blog entries, posting photos and uploading recipes onto my social media pages. In a world run by modern technology, we almost have no choice but to take part in this techno-behaviour. We do however have a choice in HOW and WHEN we use these technologies outside of the workplace.

Think about this for a second: How often do you find yourself scrolling through Instagram or Facebook just before bed, thinking to yourself “I am just going to take a quick peek and then go to sleep.” 45 minutes later you find yourself 150 posts down the timeline of your childhood friend ‘Jason X’s’ page – thoroughly enthralled in a full history review of his life since last you saw him (which by the way was 15 years ago). So yes, you now know what happened in Jason X’s life, but was it really worth losing those 45 minutes that could have been better spent on relaxation and sleep?

Social media has a funny way of grasping our undivided attention. We spend hours surfing – automatically comparing our lives to those of others – perhaps in the hope that we will feel better about ourselves and our lives – although, rather the opposite usually ensues. As humans, we are also inquisitive by nature and want to know what everyone else is up to – where they are holidaying, who they are dating, what work they are doing, where the next party is - who is going? etc. It is as if we have forgotten to think for ourselves. Social media has become our go-to for what to do, when, and how.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is an incredible tool through which people and businesses are able to connect using a community-based approach. I love social media, and am so grateful that it has enabled me to connect with so many incredible people both in my personal and work domains. What is key here though, is HOW we use this technology – it is now confirmed that social media addiction is real, and so many of us are addicted, without even knowing it! That constant surging desire to check your Facebook or Instagram is a form of addiction. Whether it be for personal validation (through photo likes or popularity), fear of missing out, wanting to know what is happening within your social circle, or simply being inquisitive, these are all ways in which we utilize social media to fill a certain emptiness - and so we become addicted, as we persist in a constant attempt to fill these voids.

Within all of this, what we don’t realize is that social media can induce stress along with mental health concerns, as can any work or personal concern. Most of the stories or images we see our friends post reflect the best times of their lives. However, in seeing such posts regularly, we begin to believe that our lives are dull and boring in comparison, which in turn makes us feel inferior. For those of us who follow favorite celebrities or idols, daily exposure to posts depicting perfect bodies, unattainable beauty and lavish lifestyles dampens moods and diminishes self-esteem. Social media has also become a source of major information overload which in turn can trigger stress. Developing bad habits and fixations with social media can trigger negative states of emotion and intensify stress. Therefore, it is important for us to set boundaries for this technology.

Simple Steps To Detach Yourself From Social Media

  1. Stick to a “no technology after 9pm" rule. This will remove all distractions or temptations, and enable you to fully relax and unwind. If your tablet or phone are lying next to you all the time, chances are you will end up browsing, so keep them away after 9pm.
  2. Keep a diary of how many times a day you check your social media pages – this will help you become more aware of your behaviors, and be prepared to be shocked. When a given action becomes habitual we often don’t process what it is that we are actually doing.
  3. Try to limit your social media viewing to two to three times per day at most, and don’t allow these browsing sessions to be longer than 5 minutes.
  4. Stay clear of all social media before bedtime – the amount of data that social media provides is huge. Just think how much your brain is having to process as you scroll down the page. Because your brain is busy processing information, it is very active, which may impede your sleep – you are basically waking your brain up when you are browsing, which causes your mind to race. The bright light omitted from your phone, iPad or laptop also doesn’t help with sleep either. These interfaces emit blue light; nearly identical to the light you are exposed to outdoors during the day. This tricks your brain into thinking it is still day time, thereby shutting down melatonin secretion.
  5. Try to avoid social media completely during the weekend. If this is too much to handle, try allocating 1 day per week during which you cut yourself from social media completely. The more often you do this, the more you will see how much you don't need it, and how much more productive your day is without it.
  6. Train yourself to use social media for the purpose it was originally intended –communication. Use social media to connect with friends, find events or businesses. Don’t spend hours stalking exes, old friends or current circles - it’s not healthy! If you are having trust issues with a partner, confront them face to face, stalking their social media activity, or hacking their accounts really isn’t going to solve any problems.
  7. Lastly, seek adventure outside of technology. Go for a hike, take a walk in your neighborhood, invite a friend out for lunch, cook for your loved ones, go to the spa, rest, meditate, go to the gym…stop living in a virtual world, get out there live your real life!

Mid-Career Crisis

Do you feel unfulfilled in your current job? Are you daydreaming about a career you’d rather be doing? Do you dread Mondays? The honest answer to these questions might very well lead you to the conclusion that you are, indeed, in the midst of a mid-career crisis and it may be time for a change. Staying in an unfulfilling job may not be the wisest path.

6 Steps To Making The Most Of A Mid-Career Crisis:

  1. Interview Yourself - The quality of your life is based upon the questions you ask yourself. Think about what you’ve truly loved doing throughout your career and ask yourself what your ideal job would ultimately look like.
  2. Expand Your Mind - Take the time to read, research and study this area or areas of interest. Look for mentors and people in your desired profession or skill area to speak with.
  3. Make A Plan - Once you have evaluated your options take the time to set out plan and give yourself permission to create your own business if that is what you wish.
  4. Know When You Are Ready For Change - While it sometimes takes a crisis for us to make a change in our lives, a good indication that you are no longer fulfilled is a lack of energy and enthusiasm on a daily basis. When the pain of desperation overrides the pain of action you’ll move into your new career.
  5. Reinvent The Role You Have - As an alternative to a completely new career path, it may pay to simply make a few changes to the role you currently have and/or look within the organization you are currently in to see where you feel you are able to serve best and serves you best.
  6. See The Solution - You are never too old or too entrenched in any given profession to make a change. Focus on the experience that you’ve gained and the skills you have acquired rather than possible excuses for not moving forward.

Letting Go

Our lives would improve immeasurably if we let go of past hurts and nagging anxieties and surrendered to the present moment. This is easier said than done. I’d like to answer three questions about letting go: What stops us from letting go? How do we let go? What happens when we let go?

By the time we reach adulthood we’ve undergone a lot of conditioning. It’s hard to let go of all the things we’ve been conditioned to believe.

A well-adjusted ego is important to survive and thrive in the world, but it needn’t hold us back from exploring our true freedom and potential. There is something more beyond the ego, and we can feel a yearning to be set free from the limits of our conditioning: societal, cultural, familial. What stops us from connecting more deeply to ourselves, friends and family, from expressing our creative talents? The main reason we stay stuck is because of fear – the fear of failure, loss, rejection, abandonment, judgment and criticism. This manifests in all aspects of our lives and is experienced as contraction and disconnection. At the root of this fear is the belief that we are separate. Our ego will always be there, but when we grow into Spirit we identify less with the contracted ego and more with the unbounded, unseparated Self.

How do we let go? Letting go of the ego’s story is the start of spiritual awakening. We start to let go of hurts and anxieties when we acknowledge what we are feeling, and allow ourselves to honestly feel it. This is a very important first step and too often neglected because of a strong conditioning to suppress our emotions. The breath is also an important tool in spiritual practice. Breath is Life, and Life flows through us in rhythms of expansion (in breath) and release (out breath). The out breath is a process of letting go. By relaxing and surrendering on the out breath we create a gap in the flow of mind-chatter and loosen our rigid sense of identity.

What happens when we let go? When we let go we reconnect to Being, back into the flow of Life and the precious present moment. As we let go of the mind chatter, we are able to feel Life, living from the heart: our lives become enriched with authenticity, love, compassion and joy.

5 Ways To Build Self-Worth

I’m sitting at a coffee shop contemplating on what to write about, when I over-hear a group of ladies talking behind me. The conversation is typical at the outset and then implodes into a group chorus of negative, self-placating talk. ‘Oh no, of course he wouldn’t date me, I’m far too fat’. ‘My husband and I don’t have enough sex’; ‘My kids take up all my time…’ ‘I’m always too busy, I feel like I’m spinning’...

The conversation continues and it becomes as clear as day that this group of women are feeling particularly victimised and unworthy. What would it mean to these women if they could speak kindly to themselves and expressively communicate their needs and desires? It would mean that they would have to respond to the situations they are in accordingly. How would they do this? By developing a healthy sense of self-worth.

The belief that one is worthy of love and self- care is often a foreign concept to women and men. To be a good mother/husband, lover, wife and partner we often believe that we have to put others first. I’m reminded of aeroplane instructions, in which we are directed to put on our own oxygen masks before helping others. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could treat ourselves well first and foremost? Now to some this may sound incredibly selfish but that is exactly my point. There is a fundamental difference between self-love and selfishness.

Self- love is the ability to treat yourself well, which includes healthy and kind thoughts about yourself. Self-love and a healthy self-esteem intertwine, if you believe you are worthy of love, you treat yourself kindly and others respond accordingly to this. Selfishness is a narcissistic, self-orientation that puts ones’ needs first without consideration of others. Brene Brown, discusses the belief that one is worthy of love, and the impact that this belief has on relationships, beautifully in the video below: 

How does this relate to relationships?

If you have a healthy sense of self-worth and love, you can express this directly in your relationships. BELIEVING that you are worthy of love and a great life, despite what you think you look like or think you lack, helps you achieve a sense of wellness. This sense of wellness affords one the ability to act accordingly. So for the exhausted mother, this may be allowing herself the opportunity to take a much needed break, despite what others may need or want from her. For the unhappy lover, self-love and worthiness is expressed by communicating her sexual needs without blaming herself or her partner for their sexual rut, but by rather changing their sexual script (which takes courage). [This couple can also spice up their love life with the help of Foxy Box]. Lastly, for the woman who thought she was too fat to land a hot date, well self-love is accepting who you are, as you are. Of course, this is not to abdicate from the responsibility of taking care of oneself but rather the ability to be kind to yourself at this moment in time, and then take healthy steps moving forward.

So here are my five steps to achieving a healthy sense of self-worth: 

  1. Quit the negative self- talk.
  2. Surround yourself with people who are good for you- people who help you build your self-confidence.
  3. Take care of yourself: remember self-care and selfishness are two different things.
  4. Embrace your imperfections!
  5. Express self-love first and love for others will naturally follow.

Karma Cleanse

When we hear the word karma, we often hear it in the context of having done something “bad” and its consequence of justice served, well-deserved. This is a rather small vision of what karma actually is.

A clearer short explanation is that the word karma in Sanskrit principally means action…and as we know, because we don't live in a vacuum, every action has its resulting reaction hence creating a circle of cause and effect.

And this can be both positive and negative alike. It is because of this never-ending cycle of the ups and downs of pain and happiness, that the sages and mystics have looked for the relief of suffering, in seclusion, away from society and its karmic ties and distractions.

For those of us for whom it is not possible to escape into retreat for years to a Himalayan cave, we too can cleanse and reset our karma to be a more positive cycle of cause and effect, while still remaining active in society.

Here are 12 ways:

  1. Make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for right now. Write them down and put it where you can see it easily to remind you when the going gets tough.
  2. Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who has hurt you. (Not necessary to send it. The act of forgiveness takes a load off of you and lets you live without resentment which just makes one bitter. Also helps break karmic ties because anger as well as love is an energy that binds.)
  3. Write a letter asking for forgiveness to someone you have hurt. (Also not necessary to send.)
  4. Practice random acts of kindness without recompensation…this lets your ego have a much needed break from the suffering of expectations.
  5. Check the intentions behind your actions. Are you seeking some kind of reward and or boost for your ego? Is it really just all about you and what you want or need? Narcissism just hurts the narcissist in the end. Be truthful with yourself and others
  6. Self study and reflexion, daily moments of non-action and meditation.
  7. Add beauty and or joy in some way, wherever you go, without needing recognition. Live beauty..live joy, passionately. Also lets your hard-working ego/mind have a deserved break :-)
  8. Don’t worry about what other people think or say about you…it doesn’t have much to do with you anyway. Impress yourself, not others.
  9. Always try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from another angle. This develops empathy and compassion but not pity.
  10. Don’t judge others unless you have walked a while in those shoes of theirs and even then don’t judge, because we will never know someone else’s entire story.
  11. If someone is hurting you, let them know in a neutral (as best as you can) manner. Explain how they are causing you distress. Open channels of communication without harming, for both sides. If they don´t care to or are not able to stop, walk away…they are just acting out the pain they have inside because they need a way to release it. You are not obligated to continue the cycle of pain and you have every right to protect yourself from toxic behavior or situations. Sometimes the best response is to just remove yourself from the situation, do not feed into negative energy exchanges and the cycle therefore is broken. If you manage to cultivate a truly neutral yet compassive state of mind and feeling towards this person or situation, the karmic link can also be anulled this way.
  12. And finally…don´t hurt anyone or anything…we are all one family here on our planet, our great mother, who provides for us so generously and what one does to another, one does to themselves in the end. Our action is what we experience. We are all tiny reflections of the One, offering and contributing of our small selves to the whole and truly divine picture.

How To Become A Lasting Entrepreneur

There is nothing wrong with being altruistic, as long as you structure your business so that it still makes a profit.

Recently I worked with a gentleman who is a great entrepreneur. He was driven, but he’s been a little on the altruistic side, so he has not maximised his profits. He had come to realise that he was doing all this work and “sacrificing” himself for others. Certainly, working diligently for the sake of fulfilling the needs of others is part of being a great entrepreneur, but that doesn’t make a lasting entrepreneur. If a person’s own values aren’t fulfilled, then their business won’t be sustainable, because they will burn out doing it.

So it’s important to make sure that you structure the business systems to make sure that it is efficient for maximising profits. If you don’t have a value on making a profit, you probably won’t end up with a profit.
Perhaps you have noticed that if you don’t take a portion of your income off the top and put it in savings and then investments, unexpected bills will keep eroding all your potential to save. You have to pay yourself first, not last, or you’ll probably never have money left over to save.

Many altruistic people claim. “When I get a bit extra, then I’ll begin to save”. But this is not wisest way to get ahead. You have to save and invest your money up front instead of waiting for it. You have to seed or initiate it and then you will receive more money to save and manage. When you manage money wisely, you receive more money to manage. So you have to have a value in maximising your ROI or profits.

When a new CEO takes over a company, their values will infiltrate that company. That company will then change its own profit margins based on where the drive for service and profits are in their own value system.

There are many companies that have huge volume with little margins as well as others that have low volume and huge margins.

I know a guy who sat in his underwear at his computer each day making two million dollars a month. He was a master of the Internet. He was looking for everything that people were searching for, and everybody was providing services to fulfil those little niches and he was linking these together and getting a percentage of each one of those through an affiliate program and he was just raking in the dough. And he had only his computer and the internet, that was all. High profit margin, low cost.

But I also know a manufacturing company that I worked with once that had about a 5% margin and was doing about 300 million US dollars and every year was stressful. Any tiny little dip could kill it. And I can assure you, that had something to do with the CEO who was running the show, the leader of that organisation’s value system.

But if the CEOs are looking at how they can make the business more effective and efficient to maximise profits, they are constantly looking at how they can restructure. An entrepreneur has to constantly restructure to maximise their company profits, because otherwise, if the business doesn’t keep up with efficient innovative technologies, other companies will come in and grab those niches. It’s a game of predator and prey. There are constant predators out there trying to get hold of your niche. You won’t be able to carry on doing what you were doing five years ago anymore. It is essential that you constantly up your game.

So if you don’t have a value of refinement, you’ll stagnate, and you probably won’t be able to compete in filling niches in the world. So, it is wise to first dedicate your life to serving, but you also have to dedicate yourself to refining and maximising profits. It is wise to balance out your altruistic service with your narcissistic rewards.

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