Values are what we truly feel are most important, essential or valuable to our lives as parents. Our values originate from whatever we perceive to be missing in our lives. So if we perceive that we are missing relationships, money, or influence, we will seek, desire and value a partner, cash and social networks. Our perceived voids therefore determine our values.
Since we have more than one void and corresponding value, we actually have a series of voids and values ranging from the most important to the least important. Our values can occur in any of the seven primary areas of life – Spiritual, Mental, Vocational, Financial, Familial, Social and Physical and they can be concentrated in one or few areas or dispersed through all seven unevenly.
Every perception, decision and action we make is determined by our hierarchy of values. Every decision is based upon what we feel is going to provide us with the most advantage over disadvantage and most reward over risk to our highest values. The more parents understand their own and their children’s hierarchy of values the more they can communicate, educate and empower themselves and their children.
Every family member has a unique hierarchy of values and no two family members have the same set of values. Whenever either or both parents project their highest values onto their children there will be both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits can initially give them outer direction and can sometimes save them from learning the hard way. The drawbacks can cloud the child’s individual mission. Children spontaneously love learning what is truly highest on their own hierarchy of values, what is most important to them, but not necessarily those values projected by their parents or teachers.
When parents identify, respect and communicate whatever they feel is wise for their children to learn in terms of the child’s highest values, children expand their learning horizons and incorporate these new values and interests. When parents autocratically project their values and learning content onto their children without knowing or honouring their childrens’ highest values, the children can resist.
Many learning difficulties are simply due to parents or teachers not honouring what is truly most important to the child and not communicating information in terms of the child’s highest values or inspirations.
The child’s identity revolves around their highest value – their purpose. It is what they spontaneously love to learn and fulfill. Children naturally express genius in their highest value and suppress any genius in their lowest. Many learning abilities are only in certain areas. These same children excel in other areas that are aligned congruently with their highest values. Children could be labeled Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at their school while enduring a class they are not inspired by or engaged in, while at home they could stay focused for six hours straight on their video games and demonstrate Attention Surplus Order (ASO). Before projecting labels, it is wise to first discover children’s highest values. Authorities projecting labels sometimes undermine the very genius they are claiming to breed.
“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.
Follow your body and not your mind. Listen to your body and what it needs.
What does this mean and how can we apply this practically in our lives day to day and moment by moment?
To help support a smooth and easy transition back into work and family life after the changed routine and potential excesses of the holidays, work with awareness and intention around what foods you reach for and why:
- Excess sugar creates an acid state in your body which in turn creates cravings for more and more sugary foods. Increase your intake of fresh and seasonal fruit and vegetables. This will detoxify your body and help return it to an alkaline state.
- Eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty – in this way you follow your body and not your mind.
- Avoid eating cooked and raw food together; this will help to strengthen digestive fire (agni).
- Re-establish a regular routine around sleeping, waking and eating habits, this helps to ground and balance body and mind.
When we over identify with the story of our mind and are driven by fear, anxiety, frustration, anger or worry we become stuck in our head and disconnected from our body and life. Here, the practice of the half smile is a beautiful way to help bring us back into our body, our heart and the present moment.
The half smile:
- Slightly lift the corners of your mouth and hold softly for at least three breaths.
- Notice what changes in your body and mind… your focus drops out of your head and into your body, you become aware of what parts of your body are tense, which in turn helps it to relax, you get space from the drama of your mind, your heart can open which provides the potential to return back into the spaciousness of the present moment.
- This can be practiced during any periods of waiting – for the kettle to boil, in any queue at the shops, at the traffic lights, on the telephone as well as first thing in the morning upon waking, and last thing at night just before sleep.
- There is no quick fix… benefits accrue with regular practice over time. If you do this practice 5 or more times a day, it will make a surprising difference to your body and mind, and to the environment.
- When we smile it immediately brings us back into our hearts.
Enjoy the practice of the half smile, and remember to listen to your body.
Many of us wake up and jump headfirst into our day, with little time for reflection. If you want to add some serious productivity – and meaning – to your day, a morning routine can make a powerful difference. Why the morning, you ask? Well, this is the easiest time to craft your own day. Early mornings are usually our own time, where we can meet personal needs without obligations, appointments and others’ interference. If you have kids and wake up at the same time, I strongly suggest waking up just 30-45 minutes earlier – it will make a significant difference to your day. Even applying just a small handful of the suggestions below, can help add some energy, productivity and calm to your day.
Drink Water – Or Healthy Versions Of It
Upon waking, you’ve gone hours without food or liquid, so there’s no denying your need to replenish. Gulping down a glass of water immediately after you wake up gives you a head start in getting on top of your daily quota. Better yet, make the morning your time for a cleanse – add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon (to disguise the taste) to a tall glass of water. Or try a warm brew of lemon, ginger and honey. These cleansing ingredients are best ingested on an empty stomach for maximum benefits, so the mornings are ideal.
It’s pretty easy to understand the benefits of a morning stretch, but most of us still don’t do it. It not only relieves your stiffness from the night’s sleep, it improves circulation and flexibility. Perhaps of the biggest benefit: it helps you wake you up! Pushing blood around the body is a natural and effective energiser. Inverted yoga poses or even a minute or two on a mini-rebounder will have the same benefit.
Set The Tone
Music-fundi or not, there’s no denying music’s impact on our moods. It’s a guaranteed pick-me-up that is within our control – so make use of it! Play a song or two guaranteed to energise you or fill you with happy thoughts. Online meditation tracks or mood-themed playlists can help if you don’t have a lot of your own music at hand.
Count Your Blessings
Many of us wouldn’t consider ourselves ungrateful, but we still need to consciously acknowledge what we are grateful for in order to fully appreciate it. Doing so has a grounding effect that can help us keep our perspective throughout the day, and promote resilience when problems crop up.
Remember Your Goals
We may sail through life effortlessly and appreciate some wonderful events, but in the end, a feeling of accomplishment comes from having a goal and reaching it. There’s something about putting in a little effort to get what you want that just makes the reward so much sweeter. Rather than wondering ‘where did the time go?’, have a balance of a few general goals and a few specific ones to really add purpose to your days. It also helps keep you on track in terms of crafting a life you really want, and making every day count towards it. General goals could be – I want to have children, I want to build close relationships with my family, I want to travel each year. Specific ones could be – I want to see the Northern Lights, I want to bungee jump, I want to save enough for my children to attend a private school. You may already have reached some big goals without realising it, but simply being mindful of the achievement process plays a big part in feeling accomplished.
It could be 5 minutes alone or 15, but mindfulness is crucial to our authenticity, our productivity and our wellbeing. Many of us perform certain, varying roles in a day, influenced by others and the situations we are in. Being alone helps us connect with our thoughts honestly, helping us focus better on who we are and what we’d like to get out of life.
Get A Game Plan
Have a general idea of what you’d like to – or need to – get out of the day. It doesn’t have to be set in stone or complete, but you’ll manage to tick more things off your to-do list simply by having one. You’ll also feel more productive as a result.
I don’t mean this offensively as I am seriously guilty of it myself – but don’t overestimate yourself! Be realistic versus idealistic about what you’re going to get done in the day – add some buffering time around each appointment as emergencies, distractions or even just traffic often cause us to lag on our daily schedule.
Fuel Up Properly
What nutrients are you likely to by-pass in the day – getting enough water, taking your vitamins, or squeezing in enough veggies and fruit? Avoid these possible deficiencies by packing a nutritional punch in the morning.
Make Your Bed
Or do whatever other tidying you need to do to keep your space clear. Bringing order to your physical space has long been identified to help with mental clarity – take advantage of it!
Exercise – If You Can
I know this is not an option to everyone, but consider exercising in the morning if you can. Curve balls often get thrown at us during the course of the day, or we can simply be too exhausted at the end of the day to care about exercise any more. Fitness and health really need to be our top priorities, and getting a session in at the crack of dawn means it is less likely to be cancelled.
There are seven primary areas of life that you are capable of empowering and mastering – your mental, vocational, financial, familial, social and physical and spiritual areas or quests. Each of these areas can be empowered depending upon how more congruent your intentions are with your highest individual values and life mission and their cortical influence on your perceptions, decisions and actions relative to each of these areas.
There are also seven associated fears that can disempower or weaken your full potential in each of these seven areas. The difference between you doing what you love and becoming a master of your life and you not, is your ability to identify your fears and have a strategy to break through them or at least wisely utilize them and live congruently – and you forsaking this ability.
The first fear is the mental fear of not knowing enough.
This fear can immobilize you and keep you from doing what you truly love. In fact, you have the capacity to do whatever you dream of doing, regardless of the level you’re at now, or the level you are planning to grow to next. You attract opportunities according to your level of knowing. As you know more, you grow and empower more. By loving yourself even when you don’t happen to know something that is lower on your list of values, you can liberate yourself to learn even more. Whatever is truly highest on your list of values is where you efficiently learn the most. And you know something most when you have a more balanced awareness.
The second fear is the vocational fear of failure.
You must be able to love your illusive perception of failure as much as your illusive perception of success since you probably perceive yourself to shamefully fail and proudly succeed equally and constantly and both act as feedback loops to help you ever refine your more balanced daily actions. Have you ever set yourself goals and yet haven’t managed to fulfill them? Everyone does. Throughout your life you’ll perceive yourself to be a success and failure. Neither of them have to disempower you or distract you from your highest mission.
The third fear is the fear of financial poverty or loss of money.
You fear that if you go out and do what you truly love to do, you won’t make enough money. If you love something and are committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve it, and you also truly value money, follow the financial laws of success and save, you can certainly build wealth doing what you love. By caring enough about humanity to discovering how you can most effectively serve others you can more effectively access your financial fortune.
The fourth fear is the fear of losing your loved ones.
Many people feel that if they do what they love, they will either not have enough time for or lose someone they love. I think what stabilizes a relationship is not needing each other as much as loving each other. There’s a big difference. When you both have an independent and empowered life there is less of a fear of loss. If either partner decided to leave, the other would still be able to function.
The fifth fear, the fear of social rejection is a big one.
Some people are not doing what they love because they’re afraid people will reject them. Actually, both acceptance and rejection consistently occur throughout your whole life, and the more extraordinary and empowered you become, the more you will receive of both. Learn to appreciate both equally. People come and go, they’re transient, but you’re with yourself for the whole journey – it’s your life. Never sacrifice the eternal for the transient. Embrace both sides of your social life equally.
The sixth fear is the fear of ill health, death or disease.
Some people don’t live their dream because they’re afraid they will become ill or die if they do. But the greatest cause of illness, disease, and death is not being inspired and not living your dreams. That will kill you faster than anything else. Inspiration and gratitude heal and empower, and if you’re not doing what you love, you’ll feel ungrateful and desperate. Your illness may be you wakeup call to start living according to your true highest priorities.
The seventh and last fear is the spiritual fear of breaking the ethics of some perceived authority.
Morals are the rules you impose on yourself, and ethics are the rules that others impose on you. Many people let those fears stop them from doing what they love and expressing their mission because they fear that others may not ethically approve of them.
You can break through or break down in all seven areas of life. If you break down, you’re listening to your fearful self, if you break through you’ve listened to your empowered and masterful self. But there will always be fears in your life. Fear means you’re growing and challenging yourself beyond your comfort zones. Your fear is a feedback response to assure you set more congruent and inspiring objectives.
I have fears almost every day, but I know that my fears are incomplete views of what is actually happening and are offering me great feedback to my incongruencies, or unrealistic expectations, so I identify my fears, bring them to balance, and then utilize or walk through them. I suggest you give yourself permission to do the same.
image: Vinot Chandar
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!
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.”
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Do you complain too much?
“The year is flying by too quickly. And I haven’t achieved what I should have”
“I can’t believe I haven’t stuck to my resolutions.”
These are just some of the complaints I hear in my practice. But all complaints, It seems to me, are tied to fear. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are legitimate things to feel scared or worried about: paying your bills, securing a stable future, for instance. But fear, and the subsequent complaining about it, is crippling. Why? We associate the act of complaining with off-loading far more than we do with problem solving. As a result, we complain simply to get things off our chest, not to resolve problems. This is known as ineffective complaining and it has been linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety. Moaning that that the year is flying by is not going to make it slow down. So instead of trying to avoid the underlying feelings of fear by complaining, why not simply face them?
How do you do this? Firstly, you need to become aware of when you are ineffectively complaining. Become mindful of the everyday complaints that have become routine (bad weather/ traffic) to the larger more valid worries (financial security/ job happiness). Secondly, take some time to write down what is really concerning you. There is no correct or incorrect way of doing this, just write without thinking too much or editing anything. Thirdly, reflect on what you’ve written and notice if any beliefs and feelings arise. Notice if these beliefs and feelings have any validity in reality. For example, feeling unworthy can often lead to inaction, so identifying underlying beliefs can often lead to major breakthroughs! Fourthly, take action and be kind to yourself in the process. After all, you are only human, doing the best you can do with where you are in this present moment.
Let's take a look at why we should be thinking twice about genetically engineered milk: This product forces cows to produce more milk than they are naturally equipped to give, and as a result destroys the physical condition of the animals, interfering with their breeding cycles (when it doesn't destroy them outright), and also causes infections in their udders. In turn, farmers are compelled to increase their use of antibiotics, aggravating an unhealthy dynamic whose ultimate result will be enhanced enemy microorganisms. The milk produced by the implementation of this engineering method contains elevated levels of a growth hormone implicated in a variety of cancers and other diseases.
The costs of producing milk in this manner are significant. Starting with the costs of the product, then adding to that the costs of the labor involved in injecting them, the extra feed needed to help the cows sustain the unnatural burden to their systems, and finally the veterinary costs that are so inevitably linked to the product's use that the manufacturer included vet vouchers as a sales tool to help offset that expense. The recommended feed to help cows survive the demands of these antibiotics is animal protein, which raises the specter that the product's use could advance the spread of other diseases.
By appealing exclusively to large dairy herds, the product threatens to pit the large farmer against the family farmer, so much so that it works as advertised and helps big farmers produce more milk. This only adds to the chronic oversupply and helps depress milk prices further, thereby throwing more family dairy farmers out of business. And by reducing consumer confidence in the safety of milk, it limits demand for milk as well as other dairy products, again depressing prices and threatening the livelihood of the small farmer.
Think twice about where and how your dairy is produced, and when in doubt...got Almond Milk?