Many, many years ago I embarked upon a sailing trip across the Indian Ocean in a 55ft (16,764m) yacht, from Durban, South Africa to Fremantle/Perth Australia. The estimated duration for the trip was six weeks. There were six of us on board.

Other than a ‘temperamental’ radio system for calling the nearest port in case of an emergency (at 38 ½ degrees latitude, optimism at its best!), there were no cell phones or means of contact with loved ones and naturally no guarantee of a safe arrival (or arrival at all) at our destination.

Once we had lost sight of shore we became the centre of a blue-ish circle with a surface that ranged from flat to, shall we say, undulating. That, I could have said, sums up the extent of the variation of day-to-day life on board during those six weeks, other than the odd adrenaline rush when, for example, undulations driven by wind and rain caused sails to rip in the middle of the night. But such incidents were the exception.

 

So why am I giving you a snippet of my history?

 

There’s a parallel that has become apparent to me between the lockdown situation now and that time of somewhere-at-sea, allowing me to draw on what I discovered during the trip as well as retrospectively, what helped me, my sanity and my soul.

Yes, I chose to go sailing, but once out at sea the only choice I had was ‘to walk the plank’ or to persevere at trying to find out where the hell my sea legs were supposed to be while constantly trying to find some sort of balance, both literally and metaphorically.

Pre-trip anxiety was somewhat dumbed down by a combination of ignorance and not unleashing my imagination – it’s true, the what if thinking honestly did not gain permanent residency in my mind, and I cannot give an explanation for that. I wasn’t ‘coachified’ then so who knows!  Perhaps one reason could be that I believed the two experienced co-owners of the yacht knew what they were doing.

 

But an important take-away here is that the territory of ‘what if’ is really of no benefit to us.

Instead it causes suffering which infiltrates our intercellular messaging highways, ultimately affecting our health. When you feel anxiety rising, and who hasn’t during this pandemic crisis, observe the anxiety with compassion and then gently refocus your thinking onto something else.

 

There’s an upside to ignorance

Too much news grows the anxiety muscle with its insidious knack of eroding our every thought. Had there been all the news outlets, not to mention social media, back in the day, I may well have been reduced to a quivering mound of flesh incapable of setting one foot on a yacht, thereby missing out on an amazing experience. Rather give the news a miss or if the compulsion becomes too strong, occasionally check in on a reliable source.

As Eckhart Tolle outlines anxiety, and I’m paraphrasing:

We worry about what could happen. It hasn’t happened yet, but we nonetheless still choose to worry about it now.

With the power of presence you can face anything, but when it is in your imagination, there is nothing you can do, hence your suffering.

Free yourself by becoming aware of this. Without awareness you have no free will.

 

The control we have is over our attitude

If your situation of isolation is freaking you out, filter your perception through appreciation. In other words, start appreciating all that you have, such as a chair to sit on, internet or the beautiful cloud patterns in the sky and so on. By stopping to smell the roses you’ll notice how more and more emerges that is not only worthy of appreciation but beautiful too.

Variety on board the yacht was introduced through the little things. Perhaps little when you live in the fast lane, but appreciation fertiliser when you are carving your way through the blue. Gazing into the water became mesmerising, peace-inducing. Birds floated or flew by, odd fish shapes passed by in the water. The night sky was beyond special, infusing me with a sense of awe during my shift at the wheel.

 

And then there was time

Having the time to read is considered by many as a luxury – and oh did we read. Some of us did extensive journaling while one person wrote entertaining ditties about our life on the yacht. Expansion through the written word dissolves perceptions of confinement.

And despite the physical limitations of space, it was still possible to have time out, aided by the respect from others.

If you are in isolation with family members, give each other either time out or your full presence, whichever is required. And if others don’t get it, gently communicate how you are feeling. On the yacht, relationships just had to work otherwise it would have been a very loooong trip. I think key to our success was humour and respect, valuable qualities in any situation.

And for one last point about time. Draw up a schedule of all that you would like to achieve during this period of extra time, to prevent your hours from disappearing down the rabbit hole of social media and other such outlets. That can happen easily with a mind-set of “there’s loads of time”. A sense of accomplishment can buoy the spirit and avert that feeling of stagnation.

 

Hands on the wheel no matter what!

That’s how we crossed the Indian Ocean, by steering, whether through doldrums or difficult, heavy swells. We weren’t hapless victims being tossed around by the sea. We had a course to follow and depending on wind direction, sails were adjusted. Strong winds could be scary, but they also signified progress.  Life isn’t a continuum of only smooth sailing, it’s a journey of peaks and valleys.

 

Our mind is our wheel, and our attitude our sails – both in our control

 

 

 

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This month I am beginning this chat with two real life incidents which will serve to illustrate the crux of this post.
So here goes.

About six months ago, I went to the pharmacy to pick up the second repeat of two medicines that I had been prescribed. During the developments of the previous month I had lost the off-switch to my appetite which meant that everything in my path was in danger of being eaten, with the result that I had to endure popping buttons, bursting seams and a mind bemused by my new swell identity.

As the meds had been the only new introduction to my life, I asked the pharmacist to identify the culprit. “Oh it must be that one,” she said. I subsequently discovered that her answer was incorrect.

Fortunately that health saga came to an end except for the battle of the bulge which has a tenacity that defies the laws of normal, which is:
the rediscovery of your appetite’s off-switch equals a drastic reduction of food intake, (I got that one right!), 
which in turn equals reduction in body size – now that’s where my body holds up the finger!

Fast forward to this week where once again I visited the pharmacy. (No, I don’t live at the pharmacy, in fact I revert to the natural route wherever possible, but once you enter the third tri-cycle of life, odd little things seem to pop up from time to time which draw a blank from me.) This time I asked the pharmacist (a different one) exactly what the prescribed medicine does and how it works. She immediately looked it up, right there in front of me. My respect for her instantly grew.

No one can be expected to know everything even if the information falls within your professional field. And being open and transparent about it, does wonders for your credibility.

Consider two prominent figures from the past. (This is an example I draw upon often in coaching.) President Clinton boldly and emphatically denied ever having had sexual relations with ‘that woman’. The late Princess Diana openly confessed that she was bulimic. Which one had credibility? Which one did you feel was trustworthy?

Vulnerability is never going to be like Elvis and leave the building;
it’s here to stay.
The sooner we accept it, the sooner we experience that wonderful release from hiding behind the façades that insecurity erects. Façades that announce, “I’m okay, I’ve got this, in fact I’ve got it all together!” It’s exhausting to maintain an image that is flawed, or any image for that matter.Embracing our vulnerability takes courage and those are the two qualities Brené Brown PhD LMSW, a research professor at the University of Houston, advocates including in our emotional vocabulary. She adds that courage is a heart word. “The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for “heart.” Courage originally meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’  Today that means:

                                     • Talking about how we feel
• Asking for what we need
• Being ourselves
• Being kind to others who are trying to
be themselves
• Learning how to be brave and afraid at the
exact same time.”
And voila, vulnerability!
Vulnerability means that we can never be in total control of life. Change comes with every passing minute, and within just a minute, the rug may be pulled out from under your feet. If you are in a state of acceptance, the sooner you will be more willing and ready to come to terms with it and make a plan. Whereas in a state of denial and resistance, the inner turmoil and unease will persist along with victimhood.We all have weaknesses as well as strengths and acknowledging, accepting and being open about them, translates as valuing the virtue of vulnerability for the peace it brings to you.

So, there is nothing wrong with the answer: “I don’t know.” There is nothing wrong with disclosing your ignorance about something. Give yourself the assurance that it’s okay when you don’t know what’s going on. Then you are free to be transparent about finding out what you need to know.

We are all humans, and as such perfect individualized embodiments of spectacular imperfection.

Let me begin in the customary fashion by wishing you a Happy New Year. Despite it being a greeting that is more habitual than mindful, I do sincerely mean it.

How do I know this?

Because I simply could not dredge up even a smidgen of sincerity to motivate an alternative. Although I’m not evolved enough to sustain unconditional love for everyone, (well not yet!), I also cannot conceive of wishing anyone unhappiness. What benefit would there be in that for anyone including me?

And the third option lies in not wishing anyone at all because one could argue that a wish belongs to fairy tales, not reality, so what’s the point?

In its defence, though, taking the time to send out wishes, even electronically, does serve to rekindle connections with friends and family, and anything that lends weight to connections, even if only slightly alleviating a sense of loneliness, is a good thing.

To change customised ritual and the repetition of utterances from mindless to mindful we need to put heart behind them and bring the fullness of mind to the present moment. What are you saying and why are you saying it? Being in the here and now switches off your autopilot which otherwise takes control when your conscious mind is either in the past or the future.

And it’s not only greetings such as Happy Whatever or How are you? that could benefit from a good dose of mindfulness, but also single words, especially in the descriptive field. Adjectives and adverbs can become flavour of the era and because they are spewed out mindlessly, suffer the kind of repetition that threatens to curdle the last remnants of my word-savvy sanity.

Heard or read the word awesome lately???

Whether it’s a biscuit, a wedding, a day at work, an athlete’s performance… awesome pops out of mouths, screens, and pages.

Those who use profanities get accused of a limited vocabulary, yet old awesome sails into phrase after phrase unimpeded by aversion or criticisms, well not many, and glibly gets adopted by more and more people.

There are so many other delightful and expansive words gathering dust on the shelves of lexicons, words that burst with colour and interest, waiting to reintroduce meaningfulness and mindfulness into communication.

You don’t have to be a lover of words to realise that variation holds or re-awakens the listener’s or reader’s attention. And if you are going to speak or write, is that not what you want?

So as we wish upon a star,

let your search go wide and far,

leave the awe

at yesteryear’s door,

and shake off the dust

of your lexicon’s lust.

 

I said my sanity was curdled….

 

 

 

 

Unless you have sought refuge in a cave, your awareness by now will have been tinselled into acceptance that the holiday season is upon us. And with it comes the onslaught of obligations such as festooning the home with more tinsel, attending end-of-year events, buying presents and preparing for family gatherings.

 

It’s loosely labelled as ‘getting into the festive spirit.’

 

But it’s not for everyone.

 

Some baulk at the very notion of festive, arguing that

  • obligation robs the time of any sincerity

  • undue pressure to be merry shrouds the time in fake frivolity

  • money-making is the true driver behind the festive engine with obligations of reciprocity plunging the credit card into shame.

For the naysayers it appears that obligation is the culprit responsible for their disenchantment.

 

So let’s put it on the stand and take a closer look.

 

Obligation does carry expectations and in turn pits predictability against spontaneity. And with that at play one is at risk of morphing into a robotic merry-maker from tinselling to sending out over-rehearsed wishes to the contact list on your mobile phone, many of whom have slipped into cranial nooks of amnesia.

 

And while one can glibly say, “Well, do not bow to obligation, just don’t do it,” whatever the ‘it’ may be, at the end of the year your energy reserves may not be charged enough to withstand ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous’ relatives who don’t appreciate your not towing the festive line.

 

So what can be done for our beleaguered naysayers?

 

While I would never advocate compromising yourself in favour of obligation, I would offer originality as an option worth exploring – in fact, not only for the naysayers but for everyone who favours a move away from the stereotypical or robotic festive mode.

Loosen up, oil the imaginative cogs, de-tinsel your mind and create a time that has your signature stamp on it, something that pleases you. Or gather input from each family member and weave together an eclectic mix of fun. Make stuff; instead of an end-of-year event that ends in a blur, go on a safari or nature outing or a spa morning; think of alternatives to presents.

 

As long as you are still breathing and have a mind, you have the power of choice and that includes of attitude.

 

Choose your merry!

 

P.S. And for those who are sticking with present giving, we can help you tick a few recipients off your list, with our very affordable online courses. meaningful retirement  www.udemy.com/meaningful-retirement  for anyone heading into the 3rd Tri-cycle of life; and mindscapes in childplay  www.udemy.com/mindscapes-in-childplay  for anyone who spends time with young children (6 months to 6 years old).

Also look out for our latest course, gain self-confidence by defeating self-consciousness which will be out in time to slip into a Christmas stocking (aaargh did I just lapse into a tinsel phrase?!)

 

Please consider sharing this chat.

 

If you would like to receive these blog chats by email please subscribe below.

 

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[EDIT POST]

This is a quick post to let you know that our latest course is live.

You can grab a preview of it at:

www.udemy.com/course/boot-out-self-consciousness-with-confidence/?referralCode=0E7BF6AFAEC681F07ACE

If self-consciousness is standing between you and a greater experience of life, then why not enrol in the course and Boot Out Self-Consciousness with Confidence.

Udemy courses are very affordable, but in the season of giving we do have a limited number of coupons to give away – these give you free access to the whole course. If you would like to make use of this offer, go to the page to enrol and enter the following coupon code in the place assigned for it:

9EC69C72EC10E2BC5DDB

Or if you know of anyone who may appreciate this course, you can give it as a gift, either by forwarding the free coupon, or by purchasing the course as a gift.

For the latter option, this is the simple procedure to follow which I have merely copied from the Udemy site and pasted – just to prove that it really is simple!

How to Gift a Course From the Course Landing Page

You can also gift a course that you’re not enrolled in from the Course Landing Page. To do so, please follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the Course Landing Page of the course you wish to gift
  2. To the right of the course title, and above Preview This Course, click Gift this Course
  3. Enter the gift recipient’s name, email address, and the date you want the gift sent. You can also enter a personal message for them if you wish
  4. Click Proceed to Checkout. If you have a coupon code, you can enter it by clicking on Redeem a Coupon at the top.

How to Redeem Your Gift

If you’ve received a Udemy course as a gift, then you can quickly enroll in the course by following these steps:

  1. In the email notification you received for your gift, click Unwrap Your Gift
  2. Next, click Activate Your Gift, and you will be enrolled in the course

Or, you can also redeem your gift by going to https://www.udemy.com/gift/redeem/, and entering the code that’s included in the gift notification you received. The code will include the word GIFT.

Please note that in order to redeem your gift, you will need to create a Udemy account, if you don’t already have one.

If you have decided to enrol, we would really appreciate your review on the completion of the course. Constructive feedback is always welcome.

Enjoy the course and let’s all put self-approval above that of others.

 

 

 

 

 

Unless you have sought refuge in a cave, your awareness by now will have been tinselled into acceptance that the holiday season is upon us. And with it comes the onslaught of obligations such as festooning the home with more tinsel, attending end-of-year events, buying presents and preparing for family gatherings.

 

It’s loosely labelled as ‘getting into the festive spirit.’

 

But it’s not for everyone.

 

Some baulk at the very notion of festive, arguing that

  • obligation robs the time of any sincerity

  • undue pressure to be merry shrouds the time in fake frivolity

  • money-making is the true driver behind the festive engine with obligations of reciprocity plunging the credit card into shame.

For the naysayers it appears that obligation is the culprit responsible for their disenchantment.

 

So let’s put it on the stand and take a closer look.

 

Obligation does carry expectations and in turn pits predictability against spontaneity. And with that at play one is at risk of morphing into a robotic merry-maker from tinselling to sending out over-rehearsed wishes to the contact list on your mobile phone, many of whom have slipped into cranial nooks of amnesia.

 

And while one can glibly say, “Well, do not bow to obligation, just don’t do it,” whatever the ‘it’ may be, at the end of the year your energy reserves may not be charged enough to withstand ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous’ relatives who don’t appreciate your not towing the festive line.

 

So what can be done for our beleaguered naysayers?

 

While I would never advocate compromising yourself in favour of obligation, I would offer originality as an option worth exploring – in fact, not only for the naysayers but for everyone who favours a move away from the stereotypical or robotic festive mode.

Loosen up, oil the imaginative cogs, de-tinsel your mind and create a time that has your signature stamp on it, something that pleases you. Or gather input from each family member and weave together an eclectic mix of fun. Make stuff; instead of an end-of-year event that ends in a blur, go on a safari or nature outing or a spa morning; think of alternatives to presents.

 

As long as you are still breathing and have a mind, you have the power of choice and that includes of attitude.

 

Choose your merry!

 

P.S. And for those who are sticking with present giving, we can help you tick a few recipients off your list, with our very affordable online courses. Meaningful Retirement  www.udemy.com/meaningful-retirement  for anyone heading into the 3rd Tri-cycle of life; and MindScapes in ChildPlay  www.udemy.com/mindscapes-in-childplay  for anyone who spends time with young children (6 months to 6 years old).

Also look out for our latest course, Gain Self-Confidence by Defeating Self-Consciousness which will be out in time to slip into a Christmas stocking (aaargh did I just lapse into a tinsel phrase?!)

 

Please consider sharing this chat.

 

If you would like to receive these blog chats by email please subscribe below.

 

Subscribe

Frequently asked by parents, grandparents, nannies or au pairs is the question: What can I do with a young child or grandchild that’s simple and easy, yet effective in bolstering imagination and confidence?

The busy life of parents leaves little time to think about the what and how of playing with young children, and that’s where our second online course, MindScapes in ChildPlay, can help you in providing many answers to this question, that are demonstrated by parents and their children.

Lala and floaty paper

Preview lectures have been posted on YouTube, with Lecture 7 appearing today. This one shows mothers and their children taking part in the activities exploring pine cones amidst giggles and laughter. Kyla and Cones

 

Most of the props in the course have three lectures dedicated to each one, simply because each and every one offers endless sensory explorations that generate fun-filled, open-ended activities.

Just Matthew heads in box

The golden rule of no right or wrong predominates throughout this course which in turn allows a freedom of expression in the complete absence of judgement.

We are all unique in our combination of talent and potential and MindScapes in ChildPlay encourages the confident emergence of this individuality in your child.

To access the course please click here

MindScapes in ChildPlay Logo

Our new course for parents, or anyone who looks after young children, was launched today!

 

MindScapes in ChildPlay is now live and to celebrate the event we have allocated a number of free coupons to give away. These will give direct access to the course for free. If you or someone you know has young children (preschool age) or looks after them, such as grandparents or caregivers, send an email to gill@gillmidgley.co.za  and on the basis of first come first served, we’ll have great pleasure sending them off.

 

For a preview of the course please click here

 

The course is chock-a-block full of ideas to get you into the flow of seeing the endless possibilities that surround you within your home that will fire your imagination and in turn keep your child’s inner fire of curiosity well stoked. All the activities presented in the course are merely suggestions to encourage you into the mind-opening flow of seeing and realising the multi-sensory opportunities for exploration that are always present. The course provides you with initial prompts, suggestions and pointers to elicit your child’s participation as you play alongside him or her, but never to be insisted upon or dictated. MindScapes in ChildPlay is imbued with fun-filled free play in the complete absence of stodgy parameters of right and wrong. Simple as the open-ended props or playthings may be, they carry a dimensional depth that facilitates accessing those hidden gems of unique individuality.

 

MindScapes in ChildPlay makes an ideal gift for young parents, expecting mums (not forgetting baby showers), grandparents, doting aunts and anyone who spends time with preschool children.

 

The course is soaked in fun while demonstrating a variety of activities with an array of simple things, generating divergent thinking and a strong imagination, giving your child the confidence to be who he or she was born to be.

Sprinkling our sparkle

This is the time of the year when the months seem to hang on some kind of religious or celebratory festive occasion. So I am going to join the trend by sprinkling a little sparkle on the fading Valentine flowers with the offer of a free 40 minute one-on-one Skype coaching session with me, Gill. This offer extends to the next ten enrollments in the Meaningful Retirement course as from today to the end of February 2019. Participants will only be eligible for the coaching session at the completion of the course.

Please go to https://www.udemy.com/meaningful-retirement/ to sign up. Once you are enrolled and registered, send me a private message via the facility provided, with the words February Offer to ensure your coaching spot with me.

If you would like to receive more sparkles when they are sprinkled – usually monthly – please subscribe below.

 


Sunflower

Free from society’s conditioning, or the need to compare for appropriateness, this sunflower doesn’t know (nor does it care) when to put the brakes on. At 3.8m (12ft 5½ ins), it’s called sun-thriving!

Nor do we need to put the brakes on when we hit the 3rd Tri-cycle of life. In fact, we can sur-thrive by taking the brakes off and making  breakthroughs. Discover more at www.udemy.com/meaningful-retirement/

 

The end of the year signals, ranging from merely a New Year’s date to perhaps, for some, children leaving the nest or the beginning of retirement.
Will life still be as meaningful after retirement?

What are you going to do next?

We’ve just launched a new online course through Udemy called Meaningful Retirement which shows you how to continue designing a life of meaning where your whole being says YES to LIVING.

new launch means discounts which can also translate as an affordable gift to yourself or someone close to you.

Click here for course

Free yourself

Through a combination of video sessions, real life examples, downloads with exercises and probing questions you will gain conceptual tools to tackle this phase of life with a renewed perspective by discovering:

  • what really makes you tick, the real you (not the you everyone else expects you to be)
  • how to free yourself from all that ties you to the past, such as regrets
  • how to gain the courage to show up in life – it’s never too late!
  • options galore of what you can do – various activities and outlets where ideas for your third tri-cycle of life may germinate and flourish

This is a journey of exploration and discovery.

If the course resonates with you, we’d really appreciate it if you would post a review, and please, feel free to invite your friends to take it as well.

https://www.udemy.com/meaningful-retirement/

© 2019 Gill Midgley

Anxiety [3], Competition [1], Counselling Fear [1], Creativity [2], Fulfilment [13], Life Coaching [41], Anger [5], Parenting [2]

Anxiety [3]

Competition [1]

Counselling Fear [1]

Creativity [2]

Fulfilment [13]

Life Coaching [41]

Parenting [2]