Paradise has never been about Places!!


Not about a book this time, it’s about an experience. On the weekend I attended Collective Potential’s People on Purpose retreat: Here’s their contact page. My friend Emeli, the facilitator had a surprise for us on Saturday night, it would test my physical and trust issues to the Nth degree. I had to let my fears of walking down any slight slope when I inherited when I fell down an escalator drunk at the age of 18, a long time to hold onto something seeing I am now 64, but my balance has been shot ever since.

I am one of the worlds great givers, even having the nom de plume, The World’s Greatest Volunteer, but am sometimes naff at receiving, I realise there is a profound cost to this, but have trained myself harshly from the I am Unlovable shadow world.

What I learned was the power of the tribe, of true connection, can have people do things that they had told themselves they were incapable of. What has the world said about the power of connection over the decades, let’s have a look:

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1. Number one spot to Brene, the Queen of Vulnerability.

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2. I love the quote: You can get a kiss easily enough, having sex isn’t that hard really, but finding those people that touch your soul, that’s another thing: Listen To Your Heart.

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3. Relationship 101.

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4. Find Your Others: People Help the People.

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5. Actions not words, true connections not Roses…

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6. As James, the financial planner on the retreat said, you do not change your habits overnight, this is especially true in relationships: Time after Time.

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7. For the Barbara De Angelis fan on the retreat.

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8. I was the elder at 64, there were lots in their 20’s and 30’s, even a teenager I think: Human.

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9. Albert was born in the 18th Century, still relevant today.

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10. Too me this is more profound in shared experience: Shared Experiences.

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11. They are your weirdo’s after all.

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12. Has to slip in Emeli’s favourite word: Purpose: Love Connection.

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13. I think I did this with someone on the weekend, we don’t meet them that often, Emeli was one for me, so glad to meet another.

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14. I  have had these conversations, and they have gone for days: Fresh.

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15. Nada!!!

So go out there and find your others, allow true connection in your life, Collective Potential is a great place to start if you are new to the journey.

The playlist today has some certifiable classics in it: We begin with Roxette, then Birdy’s anthem to People. One of my top ten songs by Cyndi Lauper, then the bass tones of Rag and Bone Man. An unknown electronic classic by Menog. And what would a love connection playlist be without some Bollywood by Shubham Tiwari and some disco to finish off by Kool and the Gang…

Remember to show Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included until we meet again, my dear friends.

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Breath in Experience, Breath out Poetry.


I recently attended the most transformational training week of my youthful 64 years. It is commonly known as ISTA, short for the International School of Temple Arts: Here’s the Link. In my over 350 blogs I normally write about books on a possibility, one of the other participants asked me, You aren’t going to write about this, are you? As one of the agreements is to only share your experiences, here I go.

Some background from the source:

We live at a unique and critical time on earth. At the same time as we are faced with incredible challenges to the survival of the diversity of life and consciousness on our planet, we are experiencing an incredible awakening of human potential. Not only are new energies emerging but for the first time in history, the wisdom heritage of all our cultures and traditions is available for integration just as it is most needed.

There have always been temples and mystery schools on earth where the deep teachings on sexual and spiritual wisdom were practised, developed and taught. These centres were often the hidden cause for the advancement of civilizations. Now we have a global civilization and these temples are once again emerging into the light, blossoming like chakras and Nadi points as the light body of the earth is awakened and energized.

So what has society said about transformational experiences over the years, lets take that journey:

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1. What our logical mind wants to do almost instantly, explain it away.

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2. We all took the opportunities that were offered during the week to the levels our identity would allow a change in: Changes.

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3. I received the gifts of Massive trust and energy from the Earth as I walk on this new planet.

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4. The ISTA community, you join after spending a week in the field. Prior to that your already I have done ISTA friends will just hug you when you tell them you are going to do it: You Belong With Me.

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5. To me, my priceless moment was witnessing a process and looking out over the field and realising there was nothing wrong going on, just total trust.

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6. One of my top ten, have learnt so much off this beautiful spirit: Let It Go.

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7. Integration time.

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8. Albert Camus was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay The Rebel that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second youngest recipient in history: Going Under.

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9. Much easier after ISTA.

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10. Certainly, the journey I took has me much closer to this place: I Was Here.

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11. I am so looking forward to where this new trust and energy will take me, and I don’t really care that I don’t know.

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12. Back to ancient China for this one, so many of our hearts are now travelling this path: Listen to Your Heart.

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13. And the ability of our skilled facilitators, Stephanie, Sean and Elaine.

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14. Could my new energy take me here, Who Knows: Africa.

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15. And we certainly did in that beautiful space known as the ISTA field.

The two main takeaways I received are an increase in my trust of myself and others to the Nth degree and an energy emanating from the earth that feels volcanic in nature and a sense I do not know what my future will be, and that’s a great thing.

Today’s playlist has some classic sings and songs. We begin with Mr David Bowie then one of the great pop divas Taylor Swift. A musical number from Frozen follows, then some great rock from Evanescence and her highness Beyonce. Two older memories from Roxette and Toto close out the list: Breathe in Experience, Breathe out Poetry. 

Remember to show Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included until we meet again, my dear friends.

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Now a Soft Kiss.


I am attending a retreat next weekend organised by my friend and Anam Cara Emeli Paulo via her self-development company Collective Potential: Check them out here. One of her heroes is Joseph Campbell so I thought to revisit one of his books Pathways to Bliss: Get It Here.

Joseph Campbell famously defined myth as “other people’s religion.” But he also said that one of the basic functions of myth is to help each individual through the journey of life, providing a sort of travel guide or map to reach fulfilment — or, as he called it, bliss. For Campbell, many of the world’s most powerful myths support the individual’s heroic path toward bliss. In Pathways to Bliss, Campbell examines this personal, psychological side of myth.

In this highly enjoyable book, Campbell says: “There are something like 18 billion cells in the brain alone. There are no two brains alike; there are no two hands alike; there are no two human beings alike. You can take your instructions and your guidance from others, but you must find your own path.” Defining it as BLISS = THE TRANSCENDENT WISDOM WITHIN YOU – “Your bliss can guide you to that transcendent mystery because bliss is the welling up of the energy of the transcendent wisdom within you. So when the bliss cuts off, you know that you’ve cut off the welling up; try to find it again.”

So how does the world look at Bliss, lets take that journey:

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1. Lisa starts her webpage as follows, Dear Highly Sensitive Soul, Everything happens for a reason, I am so glad you have found yourself here! Let me remind you how special and unique you are AND that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! I know that being a Highly Sensitive Soul can sometimes feel like a curse, but in reality, it’s a blessing. You just need to know how to navigate your way through a world that doesn’t always understand what it means to feel things so deeply.

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2. Make sure your daily reality is not too far from your bliss: From Little Things.

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3. Probably Josephs most famous quote.

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4. the ultimate form of bliss, to know self-love and love for another: All of You.

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5. Not what I hold bliss to be, at all.

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6. the opposite of bliss: Ignorance.

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7. Thomas Gray was an English poet, letter-writer, classical scholar, and professor at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He is widely known for his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, published in 1751.

Gray was an extremely self-critical writer who published only 13 poems in his lifetime, despite being extremely popular. He was even offered the position of Poet Laureate in 1757, though he declined.

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8. If you are looking out there for it, go back, wrong way: Baby It’s You.

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9. Shadow and Light, they travel together.

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10. Think I found this opportunity this weekend: Soul Kind of Feeling.

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11. Appears to be getting harder and harder to do in these Tinder driven times.

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12. All three spiritual fields please: Mind, Body and Soul.

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13. The definition of Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs.

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14. 4 great blissful quotes: Safety Dance.

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15. The right ones will open.

LIFE IS CALLING  but “When the call isn’t answered, you experience a kind of drying up and a sense of life lost.” Life is calling. Are you answering? If not, beware. No matter how much you try to numb yourself, the pain’s not going away. Not till you step up and answer the call. Then? Well, then God’s on the line and flowing through you. Enter: Bliss, Enthusiasm, all the things you want but are afraid you may not get so you keep on doing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. 🙂 * ring ring * * ring ring * PICK UP, already! 🙂

Some great tracks today. We begin with Missy Higgins and Paul Kelly, followed by a John Legend classic. Then a Paramore super hit, then Beyonce. Over to our more obscure numbers, a great Aussie band The Dynamic Hepnotics, then a re-released obscurity by The Flaming Ember. We finish off with Men Without Hats with their dance ditty: Now a Soft Kiss.

Remember to spread Love and Respect for All, Everybody Included until next time we meet, my dear friends.

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To the World, You might be Just One Person!!


I received a reply to the message from the woman I say I am in love with, I feel incredibly happy with this, she has been overseas the past six months. At the moment I am reading a book called Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson which redefines our ability to feel the ultimate emotion: Get It Here.

We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson shows us how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people–even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity.

Ready for our new, upgraded definition of love? Love 1.0 = The emotion you feel for your “soul mate” or kids or family; what we hear about on the radio, etc. Love 2.0? Love 2.0 is ubiquitous. It’s that “micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being.” It’s what Barbara describes as “positivity resonance.”  Love is found in those TINY moments—the micro-moments—in which we are truly present, sharing a positive experience with someone. When that happens, our brains and bodies synchronize in truly stunning ways. Sprinkle in some mutual care for the others’ well being and you have positivity resonance—aka Love. What’s exciting about this upgraded version of love is that it’s not limited to our most intimate relationships (yet, very importantly, can be practised most frequently within them—something I’ve done a bunch of times since picking up the book yesterday). When we allow ourselves to open up to this possibility, we can create more of this positivity resonance with others and experience the extraordinary gains in health and happiness that go with practising this supreme emotion.

So how do we as humans define love, here are a few of my favourite takes at it:

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1. Imagine if we were in contact with those micro-moments of love 24/7. It would transform my life for certain.

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2. Imagine if you glimpsed it every day, it would be blissful: A Slice of Heaven. 

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3. And this is what drops away.

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4. And your micro-moment mission is to…: When You Believe.

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5. Not really a choice is it?

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6. And you, and you, and you, and you…: Better Together.

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7. One never knows what those micro-moments of connection can turn into.

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8. Positivity resonance at some times, our greatest fears at others, it is our time to choose: How Deep Is Your Love.

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9. Not really an example of Love 2.0, but I had to fit the bard in somewhere.

 

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10. Definitely possible in both areas of love, one and two: Soul Shakedown Party.

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11. All of the emotions come with Love.

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12. Love is a two-way street: Give Love.

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13. But we always have a favourite.

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14. And then, time for some Rumi: I Love You for What You Are.

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15. And from the Love Prince, Bob Marley comes how to achieve Love 2.0.

Barbara introduces us to the fact that micro-moments of love are created by and result in changes in three main biological characters: your brain, oxytocin, and your vagus nerve. As she says: “Put simply, your body was designed for love, and to benefit from loving.”

Very briefly, when we have positivity resonance, our brains synchronize in astonishing ways. This “neural synchrony” or “neural coupling” is produced as we attune to the individual(s) with whom we’re interacting. Oxytocin, the “love hormone” is, apparently, more appropriately identified as a neuropeptide because it shows up not just in our bodies but also in our brains. Barbara talks about some fascinating research on how increasing levels of oxytocin increase trust and cooperation. Then we get to Vagus. Our vagus nerve is our tenth cranial nerve. “It emerges from your brain stem deep within your skull and, although it makes multiple stops at your various internal organs, perhaps most significantly it connects your brain to your heart.” Hmmm… A physical, biological component of our bodies that connects our brain to our hearts? I’m listening! The short story here: As per all the benefits articulated above, Optimizing our vagus nerve’s functioning is a good idea. Good news is: our “vagal tone” can be developed much like our “muscle tone.” It just takes practice. We’re almost ready for those practices. First, desire.

Today’s playlist begins across the trough from my homeland, for all you others, that’s slang for New Zealand with Dave Dobbyn, then Whitney. A few rocky numbers follow with Jack Johnson, Calvin Harris and Bob Marley. The penultimate number is some soul from Andy Grammer featuring Lunchmoney Lewis, finishing with a Bollywood masterclass.

Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included until we next meet, my dear friends:

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Self Awareness and Self Love Matter!!


Up to Section 5 of Dare to Lead, Brene Brown’s exciting new book: Get It Here.

The section is titled Curiosity and Grounded Confidence and begins: “Grounded confidence is the messy process of learning and unlearning, practising and failing, and surviving a few misses. This brand of confidence is not blustery arrogance or posturing or built on bullshit; it’s real, solid, and built on self-awareness and practice. Once we witness how courage can transform the way we lead, we can trade the heavy, suffocating armour that keeps us small for grounded confidence that lifts us up and supports our efforts to be brave.” It’s unreasonable to believe that we can just rip off our self-protection mechanisms and streak through the office. Most of us armour up early in our lives because, as children, we needed to.

Brene then goes on about the paradoxes that elicit vulnerability in leaders and provides this excellent list:

  1. Optimism and Paranoia
  2. Letting chaos reign ( the act of building ) and reining in chaos ( the act of scaling )
  3. Big heart and tough decision making
  4. Humility and fierce resolve
  5. Velocity and quality when building new things
  6. Left brain and Right Brain
  7. Simplicity and Choice
  8. Thinking Global, acting Local
  9. Ambition and attention to detail
  10. Thinking big but starting small
  11. Short-term and long-term
  12. Marathons and sprints, or marathons of sprints in business-building

In a conversation with Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of a Silicon Valley IT company, Dheeraj says the following, “Leaders must learn the skills to hold these tensions and get adept at balancing on the ‘tightrope’ of life. Ultimately, leadership is the ability in the ambiguity of paradoxes and opposites.”

So, what does the world say about paradoxes and opposites, here are a few of my favourite things:

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1. How well do I embrace and opposites, better some days than others, a lifetime practice, methinks?

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2. Reads like lines from a really great song: Radiate.

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3. The gravity man, Sir Isaac Newton, watch out for the apples.

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4. The Light and the Dark, both are needed to transform: I Gotta Feeling.

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5. Anything goes, it is all required in our journey of life.

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6. That’s very Woo Woo, Albert: God Save The Queen.

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7. Fact check, did our favourite POTUS really say this?

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8. What do you say to your soul, I’m practising with I love You for five minutes in the mirror every day: A Whole New World.

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9. Something Judgement 101 does not allow.

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10. The classic reason why opposites attract, they are incomplete without their opposite, how many modalities teach us we need all the types of archetypes, personalities, etc. etc. etc: New Speedway Boogie.

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11. I post Ram Dass daily in Booker Looker land, he is one of my top ten faves on the net.

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12. More light and dark stuff, you can’t deny either for your life to work: Duality.

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13. They are sent to you to learn from them, what you resist persists, an old Landmark statement from the 1990’s that still rings true to this day.

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14. Best known for his book, The Myth of Equality, Wystma, a minister of the gospel helps us come to a deeper understanding of both the origins of these issues and the reconciling role people are called to play as a follower of the gospel. Inequality and privilege are real. The Myth of Equality opens our eyes to realities we may have never realized were present in our society and world. And we will be changed for the better as a result: Glory.

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15. The paradox of being attracted by an opposite, what are yours, mine is booze versus sobriety.

Brene sums it up as follows ” Learning how to rumble with vulnerability is work. And vulnerability never becomes comfortable, but practising means that when a vulnerability is washing over us, we can hear grounded confidence whisper in our ear, ” This is hard and awkward, and uncomfortable. You may not know how it’s turning out, but you are strong and you have practised what it takes to create and hold the space for it.” 

If you haven’t work it out from these two blogs, buy the book. It’s worth it for the free workbook and the glossary alone, not to mention the values list and the posters you get thrown in.

If you loved punk, there is a song for you on today’s playlist. We begin with a newbie for me, Hannah Kerr, then the iconic Black Eyed Peas, then the legend that is Johny Rotten leading the Sex Pistols. Another Disney classic from Alladin. An Aussie legend Courtney Barnett, then rocking out with Slipknot, then a beautifully smooth finish from John Legend: Self Awareness and Self Love Matter.

Spread Love and Respect to All, Everybody Included until next, we meet my dear friends:

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When Life Give You a Hundred Reasons To Cry.


I am about to do a course called the International Schools of Temple Arts Spiritual Sexual Shamanic Experience/Training and in the registration form, it asked what spiritual path or tradition do you follow or have followed, my answer was Shakya Tibetan Buddhism which I was deeply involved in for a period of 7 years. I thought that would be a great subject to write a blog on and did some online research as I gave away all of my Buddhist tomes several years ago.  I came across The Buddha in Your Mirror Practical Buddhism and the Search for Self by Woody Hochswender, Greg Martin, Ted Morino: Get It Here.

In it they write the following:

“If we were to apply these notions to the realm of human relations, certain insights would emerge. We would begin to realize that the lives of those in our immediate environment tend to mirror our own inner lives. Generally, if an individual finds other people unfriendly, it is often because he or she is provoking that reaction, one way or another. Similarly, if that person becomes friendlier, the people around that person will begin to react differently. An unusually kind and good-hearted person will tend to believe that others are the same. To a person possessed by lust for power, even the most selfless, benevolent actions of others will appear as cunning moves to gain power. When we cherish people with the same profound reverence as we would the Buddha, their Buddha nature functions to protect us. On the other hand, if we belittle or regard people with contempt, we will be disparaged in return, as though gazing into our own image reflected in a mirror. As much as we sometimes resist the idea, a smile and a few kind words can achieve near miracles by reducing hostility in many situations. There are people who can walk into a room and immediately lighten things up and lift everyone’s spirits. These are all illustrations of what Buddhism terms the principle of the oneness of life and its environment.”

So what has society said about the Oneness of Life, here are some of my favourites:

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1. What do you do to make yourself proud?

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2. How many times has your life unexpectedly changed in the last year, your clinging to supposed to causes anxiety around this: Club Controller.

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3. This is more my spiritual practice these days.

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4. Here is a way to bring your oneness in life to life: The Lie.

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5. At 64 this statement rings true for me.

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6. Two of my friends reached the end this weekend, they were both quite a bit younger than me, what was their what-ifs they hoped to fulfil before they were 64: Take Your Chance.

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7. Your Oneness is unique, never forget that:

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8. Oneness is not stopping and hoping things will change, It’s dancing with it: Singing In The Rain.

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9. I can feel it getting closer and closer.

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10. We cannot live forever, but the greats create something that liver long past their physical form. Nelson, Martin, Theresa, etc. etc. etc.: Someone Like You.

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11. Confucius’s principles have commonality with Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, and respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives, recommending family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle “Do not do to others what you do not want to be done to yourself”, the Golden Rule. He is also a traditional deity in Daoism.

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12. You’ve got to fight for the right to Party.

 

 

 

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13. Your Oneness with Life will pay you back in kind.

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14. Speaking the truth Carol is: I’d Love to Change the World.

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15. But finally, remember that your Oneness in Life is yours, for you and that part of it is respecting others way of thinking.

Another tenet of Buddhism mention in the book is another link to an enriched life: “No one exists in isolation. We are connected to parents who conceived and raised us, to teachers who have educated us, and to friends who have encouraged us. We are also linked to people we have never met who harvest and distribute our food, manufacture our clothing, write the books that shape our thinking—in fact, we are connected to everyone whose efforts help hold together the fabric of society. There is no one in the world who has no connection to us.” So we have Oneness in Life and no one existing in isolation to tie together.

The playlist today begins in South Africa with Prince Kaybee and friends, then some spoken word from the Lie. Three different type of songs follow. They are Fun Factory, Gene Kelly and Adele. One of the classic anthems by the Beastie Boys is the penultimate track ending with a beautiful ballad by Jetta: When Life Gives You a Hundred reasons to Cry.

Namaste until next time, my dear friends.

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If at First, you don’t Succeed, You’re Normal!!!


 

In her excellent, book: Mindset, The New Psychology of Success – How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential: Get it here. Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychologist in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset.  Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. The major difference between the two is as follows, Carol writes:

“The growth-minded athletes, CEOs, musicians, or scientists all loved what they did, whereas many of the fixed-minded ones did not. Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do. This point is also crucial. In the fixed-mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.”

“Is it ability or mindset? Was it Mozart’s musical ability or the fact that he worked till his hands were deformed? Was it Darwin’s scientific ability or the fact that he collected specimens non-stop from early childhood?” 

“People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower.” ~ Carol S. Dweck, PhD.

So how has the growth-minded mindset been viewed over the centuries, here are a few of my favourite sayings:

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1. Out there on the edge, that is where we discover what we love to do. What it is that we really want to spend our time on.

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2. What happens to the hundreds, even thousands of children’s mindset who were going to be astronauts when they grow up and that of the rare few that actually make it: How Far I’ll Go.

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3. The yellow ones say it all.

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4. As long as you really believe 100 per cent, another way of saying doing something you love: I Believe In Miracles.

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5. First attempt in Learning, Forever Acquiring Important Lessons, First Action in Learning equals your flaws.

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6. My group is called the Warriors of Love, brought together by my mentor Arion Light to spread Essence work around the globe: Essence.

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7. Did you see that chance fly by? No sorry, it isn’t part of my growth mindset.

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8. Definitely, from the land of the growth mindset, a challenge may not exist as a concept in Fixed Mindset land: Hey World, Don’t Give Up.

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9. “Every child needs someone to be crazy about them.” These are the words of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher and principal, and nationally recognized educator. They shape his life-long commitment to answering the question, “How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?” This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations.

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10. It’s easier to master when it is truly doing what you love: #that Power.

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11. Everything, your body is not deaf, like we think it is at times.

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12. They have growth mindsets, they came out as someone’s bundle of joy just like the rest of us: Not Afraid.

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13. From Carol, three amazing important W questions to ask yourself each day.

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14. Beep, Stop-Go: I am not my Hair!!

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15. Obstacles, challenges, mistakes, frustrations, etc. etc. , all part of life.

What is the danger of the fixed mindset? If you are stuck in this mindset it can get us in (a lot of!) trouble. Let’s take a quick look at the “growth mindset”: “In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Some rock rhythms in today’s playlist. It begins with a soundtrack hit from Alessia Cara, then Hot Chocolate have us believe in miracles. We then rock it out with Lucinda Williams and Michaele Frente. Then pop from this century with Will.I.Am, an Eminem anthem finishing with India.Arie: If at First, you don’t Succeed, You’re Normal

Namaste until next time, my dear friends.

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