Our Spiritual Change Agents

People come in to our lives for a reason – and they leave for a reason. Sometimes we will know why (circumstances, our own actions, their actions) and sometimes we may never know why and then we need to let them go, especially from our minds. To hold on to them means we do not free space or energy to meet others.

I’ve been thinking about various people in my life and through my life who are no longer part of it. Of course I am happy to never meet some of them again. Others, I think I miss sometimes, but if we were to meet now I doubt we would have very much in common. Yet… though many of these changes caused great sorrow,
I learned that their leaving often left room for better to come!

All of the people we meet on the journey of our life are one way or another, our spiritual change agents. Bosses, colleagues, neighbours, friends, family, partners – there’s no distinction in them being our teachers if we let them be.

By seeing them as teachers and spiritual change agents, we can let so much go! And why would we be angry at any of the less than totally positive people we’ve known, when all they were doing is fulfilling our purpose to be all that we can be?

That includes those who are our deliberately positive change agents. Those who know who we are and still love us, those who are brave enough to ask the hard questions, and who stand by us when times are tough. Angels who at the right time have said the right thing, or just turned up on our doorstep when we need them. Those who knew we needed a coffee – or a cocktail! Those who connect us to a teacher, a book, a course, a different view point or way of being.

Mine have challenged me to grow, change, stand up for myself, move, learn, to take the risk to love again – and to take responsibility for my life.

They’ve taught me much about myself and others, shown me how to find my voice – and that I cannot work where there’s a conflict with my values. They’ve introduced me to passion, humility, love, contentment, grace and happiness. They’ve made me see that I can always choose my thoughts – and thus my attitudes and actions, so happiness is always possible for me.

They have shown me I am a teacher, student, writer who helps people live better, brighter futures. And they are showing me how to love, nurture and inspire myself. I am who I am now because of them all, I value what I have because of them too, and I’m now truly grateful for them all.


The Prosperous Heart

I wanted to change my beliefs about abundance, money and prosperity, so I bought a few books to challenge my thinking. Yet I’ve resisted the lesson, as to date, I’ve only read one, The Prosperous Heart by Julia Cameron.

Most famous for her bookThe Artist’s Way, I hadn’t realised she was once married to Martin Scorsese, with more than enough money – yet was deeply unhappy. That rang a chord with me, needless to say, and I suggest you buy a copy if you are curious about what really drives your spending habits or debt.

One of the exercises is to recall where you have already felt prosperous. Do this exercise! “I feel prosperous when…”

Here’s my response. I felt prosperous when
…surrounded by my family at Brinsop Court, a medieval manor where I spent my 50th birthday. I was able to share the beauty and wealth of that place with those I love most in the world.
…When I spent a weekend with Lee in a wonderful French Gypsy caravan in the Scottish Borders.
…when I was in Korea and saw a man with no legs pulling himself along on a handmade cart, and when I saw the old ladies collecting old paper in wheelbarrows.
…when we went to Scott’s for our anniversary and enjoyed a whiskey tasting night – but not the year before when we went to a luxury hotel that was ruined by bad service.
…in Cumbrae,by the sea, in my busiest ever year, where I had space and time and a log fire… But not the next week when I also had a log fire but an old cottage at the edge if a desolate moor.
…when I stopped by a stall for Cancer support and gave the ladies who were wrapping Christmas presented a bag
filled with juice and fruit to say thank you, when I gave someone else some money and they could fix their windows.
…when I organised my mum’s surprise 70th and all those people came and she had no idea about it
…in Rome, with my girls, the Dolce Vita and the Colosseum.
…as I stepped off the boat to first see the island in the Maldives where we would spend our honeymoon, and when our houseboy said he would get to visit his family again in three months.
…when I bought my M&S winter jacket
…when I had A car instead of public transport.
…when I saw how the Bedouin women live.
…when I can order online easily.
…time spent on afternoon teas and at Jamies and the Butterfly and Pig.
…when I did without coffee in March to give that money to Comic Relief and when I donated over a £1000 to Cancer Support Scotland in lieu of birthday presents.
…when I walked the West Highland Way in slow stages with Madaline
…for a friend buying me a coffee when I couldn’t afford it
…when we sat the kids down, explained the debt mountain we needed to climb, telling them holidays were out and Christmas would be one small present – and my two young teenagers found out they had £100 in their accounts and offered it all to us.

These are the times my soul and spirit swelled with gratitude for all that I have. Lately, I’ve been focused on other things like my health, and forgotten to be grateful. That shocked me when I realised it but at least now I can do something about that. And I’m grateful that I can all-ways change 😉

Project Me – 14/101 – Pollyanna’s not playing

When I started this project I intended to post something every day. I knew I’d learn something about nurturing myself every day, so it shouldn’t be that hard – but the lessons this week have come so fast, I couldn’t quite catch my breath. It’s been one of those weeks, or times in your life, where your life pivots. There have been lots of changes, so I can change… and there’s been a bit of chaos thrown in for good measure.

I met one of Team Caroline yesterday, and was reminded that even Pollyanna went through times when she couldn’t play the Glad Game. I’ve been so out of sorts this week – grumpy, feeling down, unsettled, and feeling less than totally positive, and not able to encourage myself to be happier, let alone anyone else. It’s been tough at work, as my colleagues – who really really need their holidays – have started to take them, and that inevitablly makes things harder for the rest of us. While on one level we know can only do what we can do, the fact is that I work with the best bunch of committed, conscientious professional people who push themselves hard, and it can be hard for all of us to remember that, and not feel tremendous external as well as internal pressure. So put this together with everything else that was going on this week, and I know I can actually cut myself some slack here – because strange things were happening.

In the house, I set the grill on fire by forgetting about it – had I left the house, it would have burned the place down. I had left the hob burning a day or so before. And as I was in such bad form, I just went to bed early – forgetting I had put a ham on to cook! I’m luckily surrounded by others who were looking out for us when I wasn’t. And that phrase is significant….as it was as if I started looking after me, and took my eye off everyone else. Or that I was somehow sabotaging what I had set out to do, or that I was being reminded to remember things. Hhhm…

My next day wasn’t much better; and for me, that’s a BAD THING. I tend to be pretty stable in my moods, I’m naturally optomistic, and to stay in this place wasn’t a nice feeling at all. I know I can change my thoughts. I know I am responsible for my moods, for my own happiness. I know to be grateful in the dark times. But again – knowing isn’t doing.

And here’s what I wrote in my journal on the day things started to change again:

” What is the difference? I’ve lost count of what day I’m meant to be at – but in the past six days, I’ve had no way to centre myself… I’ve been too busy to journal. Which isn’t actually true. I HAVEN’T journalled – and that is quite a different thing, and my life and my relationships suffered as a result.”

Things weren’t to get easier, oh no! But at least I was unstuck, could start playing the Glad Game again – and find many things to be grateful for – and learn some really important things about money, stories, friends, questions, balance and movement, which I’m going to share in different posts over the next few days.

Could-Be Obstacles

My youngest daughter has, through illness, had to pull out of the final year of her Honours course. She kept going, when able, to the lectures, because she couldn’t bear to think it might be her last one, and opted to have lunch with a close friend rather than attend what was everyone’s last lecture. It was a difficult day for her. Though she is now thankfully recovering, it would not have been possible to catch up on three months of coursework and lectures that she missed, or to complete her dissertation.

Sometimes, life gets in the way of all the plans you make and then it’s perfectly okay to experience grief, loss and sadness. How she felt had nothing to do with having a Pity Party or feeling sorry for herself. To fail to acknowledge or feel these emotions would mean she was not being true to herself. Or human. It’s only if she was bitter at options that closed off or at unrealised dreams, or if she remained stuck, that problems would arise. For now, to go “with the flow,” could well be to feel pretty miserable.

Louise Hay says we remind ourselves at these times that “All Is Well, For My Higher Good.” Jenni’s Great Auntie Belsie used to say, “This Too Will Pass” (which I recently discovered won a competition for wisdom in the time of the Ancient Greeks). I’ve found both phrases work well for me in helping me live with what IS right now.

I’ve learned to be grateful for the times I didn’t get what I wished for. With “hindsight insight” I am even grateful my failures, my wrong turns, my mistakes, my blocked exits and all the obstacles I’ve had to find ways to clamber over or get around. All of them have brought me to where I am now and to WHO I am now. None of it was wasted time. It was waiting time.

I know enough of her positive attitude to life to know she will bounce back from this and follow her own path. Her right-now path that leads to her right path. As I was thinking of this, I happened to read Pat O’Donohue’s comment on ‘could be’ obstacles; a way of seeing things in a different way. He says:

“Here in the Burren you are befriended by rocks and stones wherever you go. They only become obstacles if you can’t find your way around them. When we were being introduced to the world of garden and meadow it was natural to see a massive grey conversation piece protruding through the brown soil or the green grass. The rows of vegetables never seemed perturbed as they continued around the possible obstacle like the flow of the river meandering on its way further down the valley.

In fact, the fruits of the garden often flourished in the vicinity of this rock. The heat of the limestone warmed the seed and its size sheltered the tender young blossom. It also presented the tired back with a justifiable occasion of straightening and rest. In a mysterious way it seemed beneficial, if not necessary, to have a ‘could be’ obstacle on your path.”

I had never thought of a massive rock in a field like this; I would have been more likely to see it as something to be removed, or something that made planting anything in it’s vicinity to be a waste of time. So then it’s ultimately all about perspective, or how to choose to see what is in front of you.

I don’t know what’s in front of you ; I don’t know what is in front of me either! But my wish for us all is that whatever ‘could be’ obstacles are in our paths, may they mysteriously ultimately turn out to be beneficial. X