<![CDATA[Shona Keachie - Blog]]>Sun, 15 Apr 2018 17:04:15 +1200Weebly<![CDATA[Getting Out of a Slump]]>Sun, 15 Apr 2018 05:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/getting-out-of-a-slump
When I awoke, I couldn’t quite catch a hold of what I’d dreamt, but the feeling of it lay around me like a fog on a cold winter’s morning. It wasn’t a nice feeling, it was a feeling of struggle, of being weighed down.

I guess this is how I feel right now, and I don’t want to.

I left my corporate life over 3 years ago to fix this feeling. We moved our family from Auckland to the Bay of Plenty to escape the rat race. My partner has set up business here and he is doing well. Our kids go to school here, in short, we have started to grow roots.

Feel into the fog…

What I’m feeling, I think, is the lack of any shoots when it comes to my own path.

Despite shaking off the corporate hat, there are still a lot of hats. My time is not my own often enough, consistently enough, to fill my cup perhaps. These thoughts don’t feel good.

I can sense some part of me wanting to take action and it’s rallying for bold action.

And yet… I’ve been there, done that. I’ve moved house, moved town, moved country. I’ve left relationship after relationship. I’ve tried out different careers. I’ve run out of bold moves, well, certainly I’m feeling no impulse towards any in particular.

This last few years was my time in the desert, my time under the Bodhi tree, as much as a mother of young kids can take that time anyway. I’ve awakened to the life within, the truths that lie there. My intuitive abilities have been outed and have started to be honed.

I even feel that I know my life’s purpose; being here as part of this new consciousnesses awakening on the earth. What I don’t know is how that will play out. I’m just following my inspiration.

So when there is no inspiration, only depression, I know this is that part of me that I thought was me for a long time. It’s that part of me that learned to ignore my intuition, to listen to ‘others’ who knew better. That part of me that thought I was an empty vessel at birth, that needed taught who I was and how to be in the world.

The Fog starts to clear…

Ah, now I see it. It’s the age old battle between me and me. Nurture versus nature. Ego versus spirit. Mind versus intuition. Whatever you want to call it.

The answer becomes clearer. There are things I can do, there are things I do do, to nurture that need within. The need for ‘big moves’ is simply an impulse to take off the shroud. To shake all the thoughts and feelings that are depressing the real me.

I have to get in at these, or more accurately ‘out’ them. They too swirl around like a fog, creating general malaise. Try to pluck one out and the fog seems thicker. What was I doing yesterday that created such a fog I wonder?

Connecting the dots…

It was a long Easter weekend. We had a guest, did some socializing, the clocks went back and the kids had an extra day off school. My energy is low. Mum died last year, it was a hard year emotionally and physically. This year is about restoration, filling up my tank. It doesn’t take much ‘have to’ stuff to drain my energy levels, they are still low.

When I took off to the other side of the world for a weekend with mum, to say our goodbyes, I thought “I’ve got this”, I was riding high on the stores of energy that are there for such occasions. 30 hours of flying for a 2 night stay and then 30 hours back again.

A month later we returned with and to the whole family, this time for a month, to lay her to rest and be there for each other. I must learn to be kind to myself. That was big, for anyone.

But the wheel keeps turning.

Be kind. This is what I teach my children. What kind of teacher am I if I don’t demonstrate kindness to myself? The reserve tank was dry; I must give myself time and nurture.

So I write, to ‘out’ this fog. I don’t want the fog ruling how I feel when I’m awake or asleep. I want to take charge of how I feel. Mostly I just want to allow the love I know is there to flow, it feels so much better than shrouding it in the fog.

When I look back at all the years of fog I lived through, it’s hard to believe I put up with being in that state. It’s harder still to take in the sheer numbers of any of us at any one time that live in that perpetual state, believing we are our thoughts, disconnected from everything else.

I know what fills my cup. Even today as I juggle washing, grocery shopping, school drop-offs and pick-ups, and have my partner’s month-end and year-end bookkeeping on my ‘to do’ list, among other things, I choose to take time to look into the fog long enough, and with enough focus, to let it clear.

Writing always focuses my thoughts; it makes sense of the fog. As I’m writing, I’m remembering the big picture, I’m remembering to be kind to myself and I’m resolving to use the last hour I have free before school pick-up to head to the beach and take a walk.

It’s there I’ll find solace and inspiration. The waves crashing on the shore, the sea lapping around my toes, soothing me as I walk. Reminding me that life is stage, we are just actors for a time. The sea will go on lapping and soothing for eons to come, the sun will come up, the birds will take flight.

It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling, or who has died, or has been born for that matter, life continues in its infinite guises, transforming over and over. I find the pattern soothing, reassuring, knowing that the fog will pass.

As I’ve typed, I’ve become aware of the ache in my shoulders, the universe telling me I’m shouldering too much, most of that is in my head. I’ve become aware again of the temporary nature of my thoughts and feelings. I’m reconnecting with a feeling I like much better – hope.

Clarity returns…

Life has sent many signs of shoots that I was overlooking, I see those now. The moments of clarity that have resulted in me taking inspired action, no matter how small, the people who have connected with the thoughts I have shared and those who have sought out my help, all little shoots to warm the soul.

So if you want to know how to get out of a slump, start with facing the fog, feel into it and let it slowly start to evaporate as you put words to what you feel is in there. Let your thoughts wander, but if you write them down you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your goal – clarity. And it will come, maybe not straight away, but it will come; always.

If what you read here resonates and you’d like a fresh perspective on a situation in your own life, feel free to contact me. There’s no charge or strings attached, I truly enjoy helping where I can, click here for further information. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also opt to subscribe to my blog.

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<![CDATA[What Do the People in Your Life Have to Teach (Good and Bad)?]]>Sun, 08 Apr 2018 05:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/if-all-the-world-is-a-stage-who-are-the-other-actors-in-your-play-and-what-do-they-have-to-teach
Lately I’ve been more aware of the transient nature of our lives. My mum’s death has brought home just how impermanent our part on this stage of life really is. That is the nature of our reality here on Earth of course, everything about our physical existence is temporary yet it’s all telling us a story.

As I reflected on this, I started to wonder about the people in my life in particular. In this era of social media, our relationships are much more apparent as we continue to connect in the present with those we knew in the past. But as I thought about it, I realised there are really only a small number of people that have much effect on me right now.

It’s always like that, people come, people go. It is perhaps easier with hindsight to reflect on the lessons we learned than the ones currently in play. For example, when I think back to my first job in a large company, I cringe to think about my own part in that particular act.

The people on stage were very different to those who are now in my life, with the exception of my dad; although his role has now changed somewhat. It was the first time I had ever had staff and a department to run and, as usual, I wanted to be the best I could be.

In some ways I succeeded, winning national customer service awards year after year, with promotions and pay rises along the way. In other ways I was party to the emotional drama that remains my signature memory of the place.

I was fully aware that having a job as an official apologiser (I ran the Customer Relations department) did not make me an easy person to be around. No one can tell customers to tone down their emotions, so sitting at the end of those bullets day after day, dealing with all the escalated complaints, I got emotional. I called it passion.

Now there were times people complained about things and it inspired me into action; hence the career progression and awards. But here is a tip, if that passion is fuelled by emotions like anger, frustration and indignance it’s usually expressed in just the same way.

Then last week, an actor with a bit part in my current life reminded me of that time. She was talking to a group of parents about the need to try and communicate without emotion as it makes it a whole lot easier to deal with the issues. She is right but “that’s rich coming from her” I thought.

That is when I pondered on the bit part of this particular person “why is she even on my stage?” I wondered, “I hardly know her”. Clearly there are some things I still need to learn and she can teach me.

Not that the actors on stage with us really have any awareness of the lessons they are teaching. In fact, if someone is actively trying to teach you something, the real lesson probably lies elsewhere. It’s all about who they are being to you and what it evokes.

This led me to think about the full cast.

When I tallied up the people in my life right now that have an impact on me – positive or negative – it amounted to relatively few numbers; thirteen to be exact. “Gosh” I thought, “Shakespeare nailed it, it really is like a small cast in a play.”

It was also surprising, and perhaps a relief, to realise how many others are in my life in a more neutral way.

Those we live with usually rattle our chain more than others, especially when we have been taught how to find fault in everything – a loud drum that beats throughout most of modern society. The same is true for me.

As someone who likes a lot of quiet time, an organized and clean house - but does not enjoy organizing and cleaning more than once – it is interesting that I have chosen to have a partner and young kids who constantly challenge me on those fronts. It is also true that we most often choose a mate who is our opposite in so many ways.

Realising that these particular actors and I are the main characters in what is likely to be a long running show, my intuition is telling me to grow through the pinch points. It’s up to me whether I want this to be a sitcom, drama, documentary or horror, but I’d like to choose sitcom as it’s so much easier when we can laugh at things.

It’s also much easier to laugh at them when I have a broader perspective.

So lately I’ve begun a journal that I note things in each night about the nice things people have done for me, or made me feel appreciated or uplifted in some way. That too stems from something I first heard way back at that job I mentioned “notice the good things”, I was just too busy being angry to do that justice then.

I figure I have to do something to counteract the tendency that I was trained into to notice all the not-so-good stuff. Interestingly the things that annoy us most about people are likely where our own strengths lie. It was a wakeup call to me to finally realise that things like my communication skills and emotional intelligence are a gift and not everyone finds those things so easy.

The other heartening thing about the list of actors on my stage, is that there are many whose role seems predominantly about uplifting and supporting. And of course there are a few who rattle my chain, but I am able to look at those in a different way now.

That really is in part thanks to my mum and the role she played in my life. Mum had a strong sense of right and wrong, black and white; so my upbringing was fairly strict and typical of the era and place. As a child and young adult I felt rather controlled and resented those strong opinions that held me in judgment.

As an adult, still repeating the same thought patterns and feelings about it, I then realised that I was holding myself in judgment of those opinions rather than my own. Instead of feeling comfortable with my own choices, I was still defending them and that was on me.

And as life does, it beat the drum louder and louder until I could really not stand it any longer. Onto the stage of my life came some new protagonists, each more outrageous than the last, so I could really get over this; I needed to get comfortable in my own skin.

I found myself confronted by strongly opinionated women in the professional realm until finally I encountered one whose behaviour was outright domineering. “I will not be bullied by you nor anyone else” I heard myself yelling across a meeting room one day at the last protagonist in this life lesson. Finally I had drawn a line.

After that, life got a bit easier. I decided to figure out who I really am. I’ve discovered I’m not so black and white as those opinions others tried to force upon me, I’m more about the full spectrum of colours, “each to their own” I feel.

On this journey to me, it’s fair to say this lesson comes in many guises. Back in January I wrote about another example in Do What Fuels You and Dump the Rest but I have to say, that reflects only the vestiges of that particular lesson, its grip has loosened and is slowly disappearing.

I am not quite there yet but the need to defend, to stop trying to please others or to have them agree with me is negligible in comparison to what it once was. Instead I generally hold to my own beliefs and allow others theirs. In fact, I now believe that is one of my core life lessons – to understand there is no one universal truth, the only real truth is our own.

So I look at my mum as one of my greatest teachers, she led me on the journey to me, the discovery of who I truly am, and why I am here in this world. Thankfully in those last years she was here, I had become comfortable enough in my own skin that my relationship with her took on a whole new feel. I was able to drop the blame and appreciate my mum rather than see her in this negative and one dimensional way.

No person is singularly how we see them. That really struck me when someone I knew took their own life. My personal experience of them had been only in the last couple of years of their life, and it was a little scary if I’m honest; there is a raw edge to someone who is that unhappy. But at the funeral I got to hear about their life in a much more multidimensional way, and could appreciate the fullness of who they were to the many others in their life.

These are some of my biggest lessons so far when it comes to people:
  • To look for and appreciate the lessons they are here to teach me rather than resent or blame
  • To listen to the drum when it starts beating, rather than have to invite in a whole darn horde of drummers  to blast me into sense
  • To seek a more rounded view of those that yank my chain
  • To appreciate those who support and uplift me

So take stock of who is on your stage right now, note what you like or dislike about them, see if you can connect that with others in your past that may have been similar. If it helps, ask a friend or someone neutral for their perspective. Try to take the helicopter ride on it all, a broader perspective, and see what life may be telling you. It will help you get past the groundhog-day style of life you’ve been leading and take you further along the path of your best life.

If what you read here resonates and you’d like a fresh perspective on a situation in your own life, feel free to
contact me. There’s no charge or strings attached, I truly enjoy helping where I can, click here for further information. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also opt to subscribe to my blog
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<![CDATA[What We Wonder About Creates Our Future]]>Sun, 01 Apr 2018 05:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/what-we-wonder-about-creates-our-future
I Wonder….What You Wonder?

I wonder at the remarkable changes in our society in the last few hundred years and the strides we have made in recent decades alone and I wonder where that accelerated pace of change is going to lead us to in my own lifetime?

I wonder just how long I’ll be here, I guesstimate maybe somewhere around 2050 to 2070.

I wonder who my children will become? I wonder what path they are here to walk? I wonder in which ways they will change the world? I wonder if I’m getting in their way? I wonder how I can remove any obstacles that stand in their path? I wonder if that will weaken them? Of course.

I wonder how easily I can sit with watching them navigate their obstacles? I wonder if that too is part of my journey? Of course.

I wonder at what point I’ll be living my life’s purpose more.  I wonder if the feeling of lack is holding the more at bay. Of course. I wonder how I can fill up in other ways to distract me? I wonder how to connect with more people who want my help?

I wonder when I will get to the point of loving those who get my back up?

I wonder when I will get to walk the Camino de Santiago with my spiritual friends? I wonder if that will help me get better at allowing others to be who they are without it getting my back up? I wonder when I’ll get to travel more?

I wonder at the many twists and turns my life has taken so far and I wonder where it will lead to in the future?

I wonder when most people will wake up to the fear that rules their life? I wonder how to connect people with their inner power?

I wonder at some of these ‘world leaders’ people voted in? I wonder whether people really think about the power they are giving away each time they vote to give that power to another? I wonder at the mastery that allows both blatant and subtle subjugation of the masses to the egos of a few? I wonder if people realise the extent to which dogmas espoused by others are ruling their lives?

I wonder if people can truly understand the power they have within themselves?

I wonder at the power we have vested in money. I wonder at what point we will wake up to – rather than just accept and continue to enable - the bondage that has created? I wonder where the solution beyond exists? I wonder whose soul it burns within?

I wonder at the systems of health care that are perpetuated by money in pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals designed to sooth your ills rather than cure. A system designed to keep illness alive. I wonder at the overuse of antibiotics. I wonder at the scorn cast upon those who chose not to vaccinate and the silence as diseases return even among those who have been vaccinated.

I wonder when people will wake up to the wellbeing inside? I wonder when the concept of the mind-body connection will be simplified to its most basic component – when you feel bad, whether about something now or something that happened 70 years ago, it shows up in your body in very predictable patterns?

I wonder when people will wake up to their own power?

I wonder when we will treat education as a lifelong journey rather than an obligatory 10 year slot that one should see as a privilege? I wonder when we will wake up to the inherent intelligence in our newborn and help them to access it rather than thwart it each step of the way?

I wonder at how technology has increased connection significantly yet decreased presence just as significantly. I wonder when people will begin to understand that technological connectedness is a crude replica of the connection that exists when we are able to be fully present. I wonder when the masses will tap into that state of presence and connection, which is infinitely more powerful.

Despite all that, I wonder at all we have achieved in recent years. I wonder at the advances we have made in our acceptance of gender, colour and orientation as equally valid expressions of humanity, with equal rights. I wonder when we will get to the point of realizing that we are each expressions of a whole and that being reflected in our interactions with one another?

I wonder if there is an end point in all this wondering? No. More Wondering. Wonderful!

I wonder what I can do to help all of this evolution? Evolve myself. Of course.

What do you wonder?

With thanks to Sonia Choquette for making me wonder.

If what you read here resonates and you’d like a fresh perspective on a situation in your own life, feel free to contact me. There’s no charge or strings attached, I truly enjoy helping where I can, click here for further information. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also opt to subscribe to my blog.
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<![CDATA[Drop the Defence – Simply Be]]>Sun, 25 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/drop-the-defence-simply-be
I had spent so much of my life trying to please other people, it was natural for me to want other people to get on board when I set off on the journey to authenticity, I wanted them to validate who I was becoming.

So I would defend and reason, maybe even my blog was a part of that. My self esteem, or self worth, couldn’t carry off a big moment of vulnerability without some sort of justification and approval.

As I started to write, I began to quickly understand why I felt like that. Over and over my blog would start from the standpoint of us coming into this world with talents, traits, and purpose even, and yet being treated as empty vessels by those who ‘knew better’. We have been brainwashed into a lack of self worth in various well-meaning guises.

This week I was talking to a young adult who is struggling with their academic results and having lots of arguments with his parents, it reminded me about how important this issue is. Getting a good education is a drum many well-intentioned parents beat; it’s ingrained culturally in most cases. There is a feeling education is a privilege.

The same could be said of voting, having doctors available to look after our health, having governments test and sanction the use of certain medical products, having scientists legitimize the understanding of our world and our very being, having politicians or religious leaders espouse certain dogmas as ‘the truth’. I could go on, but that isn’t the point of this particular article.

The point is, I – yes me – know what is best for me. You know what is best for you. Other people (whether a parent, scientist, priest, politician or anything else) are simply there with an opinion that will inspire you to your inner truth in the process of either accepting or rejecting part of what they say. The power of discerning what is or isn’t right for you is yours and yours alone; contrary to what we were told growing up.

As this person was relating more of his story, something my mentor said to me a while back came to mind. She had likened much of my life so far as navigating icy waters, defensively maneuvering around icebergs and the like, and said I needed to get used to the calm warmer waters of just being.

As life is a mirror, reflecting back to us our predominant state of being, as this young man talked about what was happening with his parents there was a clear reflection of defensive energy going on. And I think that is perhaps common to most of us - at least in the early stages of a journey to authenticity.

You see, it’s a fallacy that there is only defence or offense, eat or be eaten, flight or fight.

But when we have spent most of our lives either fighting against the status quo, or trying hard to fit within it, it is hard to simply accept your own position without a need for justification or validation.

He had been a straight-A student, but as his journey into adulthood is getting underway, and his perspective on life is now broadening, he is questioning the validity of the notion that a good education is what he needs to set himself up in life.

So we rebel, we defend.

That is exactly what I did when I bowed out of the idea that I needed to be out earning an income. I had to do quite a bit of work to change the relationship I had with money, as I wrote in this article, and was I ever defensive. That was clearly reflected in my partner’s attitude at home.

Then, as I refocused and accepted that I did not need to be out earning money, that slowly began to change. As I became at ease with the idea, so did my partner, and as my confidence grew, that too was reflected back in his confidence.

I still have situations arise where I can get defensive, here is another I wrote about back in January when I was advocating to do what fuels you and dump the rest. While the need to be accepted is still strong, I am happy to say these situations arise much less frequently nowadays as the need for authenticity is stronger still and becoming more practiced.

As I look back on my life I can see in the many changes I’ve made in direction, from the breakup of relationships, to the bowing out of competitive sport and a corporate career, I was initially defensive. Then, once I got good with the idea, once I was happier in myself, the world reflected that happiness back to me.

The realization that your life choices are just that, your life choices, can take some getting used to. In fact, that is perhaps the root paradigm we get defensive about most, after a lifetime of being told others know better.

Yet it is the one perspective that most universally resonates.

From the standpoint that your choices are yours to make, and knowing you will deal with the consequences whether good or bad, you can start to have confidence in your decisions. As we feel into the power within each of us to discern our own truth, we can start to drop the defence and learn to simply be.

​If what you read here resonates and you’d like a fresh perspective on your own situation, feel free to
contact me. There’s no charge or strings attached, I truly enjoy helping where I can, click here for further information. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also opt to subscribe to my blog
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<![CDATA[Getting Ahead by Gaining a Fresh Perspective]]>Sun, 18 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/getting-ahead-by-gaining-a-fresh-perspective
This week it took a close friend to spell out to me what she’d heard from me several times before I took any notice. I’m always saying “act on inspiration” in order to follow the yellow brick road and yet I was somehow oblivious to my own inspiration. Like most I am busy being busy much of the time, but given that I make space for regular meditation and contemplation you might think I’d have my own “ah ha” moment.

Over the last few years I’ve had people of all ages from all walks of life contact me looking for my perspective on their situation after they have read something that resonated in one of my articles. It’s hard to express the inspiration it ignites, the ease with which a response flows and the satisfaction in simply being able to be of some help.

Yet I had somehow not picked up on this thread of inspiration and acted on it, it took my friend to connect the dots for me.

We don’t get to meet up as often as we’d like, my friend and I, so when we do get together it’s a bit like speed dating because we are trying to get across all the most important bits in the short time we have. So we usually go from the hilarities of being school mums (the ‘you have to laugh or you’d cry’ stuff) to the meaning of life in a nanosecond.

The nature of this particular friendship is one where we hold a space for the other in the big picture stuff. We are each on a journey, neither quite knowing the destination, yet both fervently knowing that where we had been was not where we wanted to be.

I have read and seen enough of my friend’s creative talents to fully hold a vision in which she’s a famous novelist buying me cocktails in the Bahamas as we ‘speed date’ catch up at some point in the future.  She laughs at this, which is not a bad thing as we can’t take ourselves too seriously after all. Plus buying into something that far from where you are now can really put the brakes on any baby steps towards it if it feels too big a stretch.

When I was sharing my latest ‘cup-filling’ moment, responding to a reader about a difficult situation she’s dealing with and recommending some resources that might help, my friend pointed out “you realise your whole energy changed as you were talking about that, your face just lit up”.

Being my friend, and holding the big picture for me, she didn’t stop there. “That is at least the fourth or fifth time you’ve told me about scenarios like that that you really enjoy, why don’t you put yourself out there to invite more?”

At first I meekly retorted that I do invite people to get in touch at the end of each article. She called me out on that “Mmm” she said “but when I read the bit at the end of your articles I wouldn’t take that to mean you’d be happy to help me with my problems”.

Don’t you just love those moments when someone reflects something back to you and you think “ah ha, you’re right”? I also love the people brave enough to do it, it takes courage to call others out. It is said that life is a mirror, but often we are so stuck in the details of our own lives it does take another person to give us a fresh perspective on what’s going on. It’s a classic ‘can’t see the woods for the trees’.

As we were talking I realised that, since I’d initially put up the website and added the blurb at the end of my articles, a lot has changed in my life. I’ve been sifting through different ideas, trying on different hats to see what fits and what doesn’t fit, I am getting clearer about what those things are and who I am so reflecting that outwards can only help draw more of the things that really float my boat.

Over the last few years I’ve shifted away from the idea of having to launch into another career, people have said “what about coaching? consultancy? teaching? writing?” among others. None of it called me, and I don’t want a label on what I’m doing because I like it being fluid: the river is still running, finding its way.

I don’t want to solve others’ problems; instead I enjoy helping them find the place within themselves where they can uncover the inspiration to move towards a solution. I don’t want formal clients at this point in my life; I simply like helping others for the joy of helping. I don’t want it to become an obligation; I want it to thrive as an informal sharing of a different viewpoint.

As I was talking with my friend she observed “you’re really clear about what you do and don’t want, so put it out there”.  So, of course, here I am at the beginnings of “putting it out there”.

These blogs simply reflect my own need to allow wisdom greater than mine to flow so I can continuously learn and grow, and I share them in case they help others. And when those who read them get in touch and share how what has been written has resonated with something going on in their own life, that ignites more inspiration within me and I thoroughly enjoy sharing the perspective that arises in return.

So I’m taking my cue and making myself available. Whether there is something I can help with, or whether you have a great friend like mine, or another person in your life who ‘gets you’, we all need a bit of help sometimes to gain a fresh perspective on what is happening in our lives.

That perspective can give you renewed energy and hope, at least enough to take a baby step in the right direction, and that is what will lead you further along the journey of your best life.

If what you read here resonates and you’d like a fresh perspective on your own situation, feel free to contact me. There’s no charge or strings attached, I really enjoy helping where I can, click here for further information.
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<![CDATA[Taking a Break from all that Mental Activity]]>Sun, 11 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/taking-a-break-from-all-that-mental-activity
Change Your Life, Change the World
When I awoke the other morning, still half in a dream state, I had a really cool moment where I was observing what it felt like to dream versus to actually think. The dreamy state was a lot lighter, as if images were floating somewhere up above my brain. The thought state was a lot more effort, and I could feel the sensation of the areas behind my left and right temples cranking up ready for another day of mental activity.

Once underway, we often don’t realise the sheer effort on our part to keep up all that activity, nor the benefits of taking time out from it. I remember my daughter’s kindergarten teacher commenting a couple of years ago on how important it was for our kids to have regular times in the day where they could just have downtime to unpack new experiences, things as simple as processing the new crayons they had used, or a new story they had heard.

I watched my 7-year-old last weekend as we spent time away with friends, she was in her element playing with the gang but she was not taking any downtime; something I also let slip because of the social nature of the trip. By day two, her lack of tolerance was obvious, she was snappy with her sister and her ears were closed to any requests or questions. By the time we set off for home she was pretty frazzled and had a total melt down over something she’d normally take in her stride.

It’s often easy for adults to look at kids in that state and label them simply as ‘tired’, implying more sleep is needed. While sleep is beneficial for bursting the bubble of any negative momentum going on and resetting our energy levels, it’s not the only thing we need. We need regular, conscious, time to unwind mentally.

Later that same day, once home, I was reading a story before bedtime for the kids and my daughter was really obviously not following the storyline as she does usually; she kept switching into a dream state, which I commented on to help her realise the effects of the over-stimulation. “But I like daydreaming mum” she said and I thought there was a lesson in that for all of us.

While her body was trying to regain its balance through a meltdown, closed ears and day dreams, as we grow we tend to get on with things and ‘push through’. This usually results in headaches, regular colds, coughs, flu, earaches and so on as we ignore what our body is trying to tell us.  Then, as we move through life, we can manifest far more serious illnesses as our body keeps trying to bring us back to balance.

Unlike children, we generally have less new experiences that we have to process in our daily lives, instead we tend to expend most of our mental activity regurgitating the past in some way or worrying about the future. We put a lot of effort into thinking about things that are not just unnecessary, but entirely unhelpful to our quality of life.

I thought about the many hours I have spent in meetings, and how disengaged most of the attendees were most of the time. Personally speaking, I know that if I had just used that time to actually daydream about the kind of life I wanted to lead and the kind of world I wanted to live in, I could have saved myself a lot of angst.

Instead I’d often be stewing on things I had seen or heard that I didn’t like, or trying to figure out how on earth to get to better end solutions, or wishing I could use the time more productively on the list of 500 other things that needed to get done that day, or sometimes I was just simply sitting in despair at the time in my life that was wasting away having to endure those largely useless gatherings.

Rarely was I ‘in the game’. And having attended and hosted many of those useless gatherings over many years in many different settings and companies, I know how rare it was for any of my colleagues to really be in the game either. The one exception was usually ‘away days’ or ‘offsites’, where we kicked into a more open and creative gear.

My partner, on the other hand, has never worked in an office environment; instead he works with his hands. He has the radio on for company a lot of the time, and commented recently about becoming aware of when his mind was wandering while he was working. He found himself ruminating on a dynamic with someone in his life that really bugs him, yet he can’t change it except in his own attitude. Acutely aware of that, he was also wondering why he was letting it take up so much space in his brain, instead of dwelling on the many nicer aspects of his life.

There are so many scenarios that each of us replay in our heads each day, sometimes the characters in our stories change, but often not until we have well and truly chewed them up and spat them out of our daily activity over long periods of time. We tell ourselves we are well rid of that character, then another takes their place in a similar story – unless we wake up to these thought patterns.

This human condition of useless and unhelpful mental activity seems endemic. It’s perpetuated by ‘being busy’. Taking regular time throughout the day to just contemplate, drift and daydream feels impossible and unproductive to many, yet it’s the opposite.

I bumped into another school mum the other day as I was leaving the beach, where I like to go for regular walks, to go and pick up the kids. She was just getting in her car and had clearly been for a swim in the ocean. She looked at me guiltily and started explaining why she was at the beach, and how she had made it productive because she had groceries to do.

I smiled and shrugged “I just like the beach” I said “I come here most days”.

But I get where she is coming from, our defensive standpoint around productivity is a result of our environment. We haven’t been taught to value ourselves enough to take time out of our regular physical and mental activity and actually be present in the moment long enough to see the world through fresh eyes.

When you do that regularly enough, you can more clearly see your own self defeating thought patterns and how they have and are showing up in your life. For me, it hasn’t meant I am completely rid of these old habits, but I am more aware of them and many have lost momentum as I have switched focus.

I now also see the value in questioning everything that is ‘common opinion’ or ‘the way we do things’. With my head out of the sand of my own little life more often, I have started to think through many of the issues we face as a society.

I look at our way of living and question all aspects with an interest now that I never had time to indulge in before (because I was so caught up in useless and self-defeating thoughts). I look at our ‘systems’ of living and wonder at how we ever came to give away so much of our own power on such a mass scale, certainly over the last 5 millennia; the power to think, to be well, to learn, to build a home, to barter and to govern our own lives.

We are at a place of crazy when it’s normal to think in terms of another ‘owning’ land or anything from the natural world, or to think it’s normal to pump ourselves and our environment with chemicals when we are at dis-ease, or to think that we arrive into this world in complete ignorance of all that has gone before, or to think we are each only our own body and disconnected from everything else.

Rather than let your mental activity take on a life of its own, as most do, become aware of what is going on in there in the moment and try to start directing your thoughts towards something that makes you feel better than worse. It helps hugely if you can mediate regularly, as it makes the practice of becoming aware of your thoughts in any given moment very easy.

Taking a regular break from your mental activity will not only release you from the insanity of your own life and give you a fresh perspective, gradually leading to more quality of life and more moments of happy, it will help us all to evolve this world and realise our best potential.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[You Are Always Winning]]>Sun, 04 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/you-are-always-winning
Watching my kids have a horsey race using their noodles at their swimming lessons, I heard my eldest tell the instructor that her sibling hated to lose. She then compromised her own race so that her sister wouldn’t be upset. In fact her sister, more than anything, is quite suggestible and so quite happily then got upset (playing up to her role) when she did finally lose.

On the way home I started talking to them about the purpose of the race. “To win” they said. So I went a bit deeper and challenged them. “Mm, so win or lose, what do you get out of racing?” Between them they came up with fun and better swimming. Both true. The other word I’d put in there is confidence, with a caveat.

The purpose of the race is motivational, to get them out there having fun and building their confidence and skills. However, if winning is seen as the purpose, only one person gets the confidence boost and where’s the sense in that?

I started to reflect on this a bit more, drawing on my own experience as a competitive swimmer. When I was about 11 years old I beat my personal best time for 100m freestyle; 1 minute and 7 seconds. I have no idea if I won that race, I can’t remember that part. What I do remember is that, despite all the years training afterwards, I never beat that time. There were other races I won, but none of it meant anything.

Freestyle wasn’t ‘my stroke’ so I told myself it didn’t matter, yet it obviously irked me since I still remember the details 30 years on. I really wanted to be able to swim it in under a minute, which is what would have made me feel like I’d been successful.

Winning over others, on the other hand, is just contextual; there will always be others out there who can beat you and there will always be others you can beat. Sure losing can feel bad if you wanted to win, but perhaps we need to think beyond that to the actual goals of participating in the first place.

I know that I want swimming to be fun for my kids, and for them to become capable enough to be safe in water. Personally I don’t really care whether they make a sport of it. Well, that is not true, I care that they only make a sport of it if it’s a passion they want to pursue for the joy of being the best they can be at it.

There are so many things in life to pursue, the choices are endless. We came to experience life here to its fullest, and that means winning and losing in life.

Right now my focus in life is to feel as good as I can as much as I can, to enable me to be fully present in each moment, listening to my inner inspiration. That is no mean feat and is likely to be a lifelong goal. With any luck I can at least improve the proportion of my day I spend in that state versus the one most of us live in.

That state is the one where we live in our head, ruminating on the past, whether it has just happened or happened 15 years ago, and worrying about our future, whether in 10 minutes or 10 years. Most of us are rarely present in our own lives in this moment, which of course is where all life happens,  

So each day I take small wins as I manage to become aware of my mental state and let whatever thought had been in there drift away as I focus on my cat purring away beside me, or one of the kids drawing a picture, or playing a game, or the weather outside and the garden.  I also love to dwell on and relish the inspired thoughts too though, like the words that come as I write these articles.

And each day there are what I might consider many losses, cumulative hours of wasted thoughts. But there are many other things in life we could view as ‘losing’. We have each lost jobs, people, relationships and many other things beside all with varying degrees of emotional intensity.

Yet of all the changes in my life that felt really bad at the time, if I look back they are all just the ebb and flow of life that ultimately led to growth that I underwent. Everything always seems to work out in the end, circumstances change, people change, and out of that comes growth and confidence.

Even in this latest turn of events with mum sadly dying, while I will always carry mum in my heart, no doubt there is some change seeded in me as a result and I will grow in ways I can’t foresee right now.

So perhaps we need to consider the messages we give out when we seek to use winning or losing to motivate someone, especially ourselves and our children. For really, if you choose to look upon any loss as a stepping stone to a better version of who you are in the world, then you are always winning.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[Rewriting Your Future – Rewiring for Appreciation]]>Thu, 01 Mar 2018 08:17:38 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/rewriting-your-future-rewiring-for-appreciation
I woke up, smiling as I remembered the warm embrace of my dream. I used to call these my ‘higher self’ dreams, when I had this sense of just being able to let go, to lean back against the strength and love that was always quietly there for me. Now they are a daily occurrence, my awareness of flitting among the fairies of the universe in my nightly wanderings is more acute.

Yet here I am, still here on Earth, a beautiful planet. The sun has come up, or more accurately we have rotated back around to greet it again. When I moved to New Zealand I can recall the strong desire to see more blue skies. Yet even on the grey cloudy days I am more aware of the sun in all its glory just behind them.

What beauty the sun reveals, even when it is shaded. Colours are one of its more wonderful gifts, and the life of course it breathes into all that is green, not to mention that radiant energy of our most bright star, an energy I have begun to appreciate so much more since I began to reawaken to the wider context of my life.

The cat has stirred, ever alert to my awakening presence, her soft purring a gentle start to the day, her fur silky on my hand as she revels in a few strokes. Then “Mum” I hear, the children of my heart are awakening to the day. I go to them, we greet the day as we always have, a little tune for each. Their smiles are worth a shower of diamonds.

Then Archie, now awake too, greets us all with his usual mischievous bluster and goes off to make my morning smoothie. Fresh leaves plucked from the garden, mingled with berries and yogurt, plant life intertwining with mine. Understanding the essence of what we eat has been a great gift. As death leaves a body as a decaying shell, it is the same with plants. I appreciate the essence of what is given when plucked from their life source and eaten straight away.

We all head to the kitchen, the kids helping themselves to breakfast, then we sit and eat, sharing funny stories and thoughts about the day. I love those moments, the kids are just full of gems and I can see Archie taking it all in too.

After everyone puts their things away, Archie gets ready for his day and the girls drift off to their creative endeavors. I head off to do my meditation. Sometimes one or both of the girls join me, sometimes not. But I smile at the sky as I appreciate the powerful forces that are focused upon me.

Life is pretty cool. Every day I feel grateful for the inspiration that pointed me in the direction of New Zealand and the place I call home, it’s quite a contrast to the place I knew as a child. Though I still love the West of Scotland humour and relish visiting the places of yesteryear and the fond memories I have.

As I meditate I can hear the cicadas singing, their constant backdrop a familiar sound throughout the warmer weather. It’s a soothing sound, like multitudes of small birds all calling to each other in morning song, with only a lull now and then. It helps bring me to the present moment as I breathe in and out, only the occasional thought popping into my head and drifting past like a cloud as I focus again on the sound of the cicadas.

After my meditation, I just take a moment to look up to the sky; upwards and outwards taking in the vastness. Some days I am greeted with a colbalt blue sky, others it is dark and cloudy, with everything in between. Regardless, the enormity of it all gives me perspective and keeps me in deep appreciation. The green of the skyline as my eyes come back to the earth signifies flourishing of life here on this planet, we are very fortunate.

So I step into the garden, rain, hail or shine. I love to wander through this oasis we have planted. I look at trees that are now flourishing into growth and remember the saplings we brought here. I thrill at the berries I can pick and eat as I wander, and thank the universe for such gifts as these. Thinking of the intelligence and love in these plants, is another sheer miracle of the world we live in.

Both Callie and Jenna are often in the garden. For them it is both a playground and a natural wonderland with so much to teach. Watching children at their play is special, especially when it is play that exercises their imagination and connectedness to the natural world.  This time at home is so grounding and they are thriving.

I have help of course, for in my journey on this earth I became limited in my thinking early on and have awareness of wanting to expand my way of being and that of my children, so it is good for them to be around others who can help them to connect with their own inner guidance.

Ahead I seek my little nook. It’s the place I can retreat to, exclusively mine. Others come in of course, when they are invited, but it is the one place that I can go for solitude. It has a beautiful view, I can see the lush green of our land and its plants and trees and beyond the beautiful landscape. I can see the children playing at times and I can hear them or the wildlife around me.

I go to my nook to write, to think, to contemplate, to rest, to meditate, to stretch out in my yoga poses or just to be simply with myself and the whole of the universe. In this home of ours, we each have our own little haven, and it’s bliss.

There’s also a small place for guests to have their own space too, used most often by one or other of our parents. The kids love having their grandparents come to visit, and they in turn love seeing the kids, but all the more for having a retreat.

Archie thrives in this place too. While he loves the process of transforming other people’s homes, he loves nothing more than his own home and working upon it, or riding through the bush around the property. We often talk for hours about our ideas for making the place feel even more special.

Life is good and we often dream together as a family. These days there are less material things Archie or I want, but the kids are unlimited in their thinking, which is a joyous thing for a parent to know. These kids have come to change the world, as did we, but the ground upon which they walk is a much more enlightened one. I look forward to the future that is unfolding and enjoy the present we are living, it’s very gratifying to know we have such control over our experience of life.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.  
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<![CDATA[So You Found Yourself… But Are You Actually Happy?]]>Sun, 25 Feb 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/so-you-found-yourself-but-are-you-actually-happy

In pursuit of happiness, I’ve almost always been afraid of change, yet been more afraid of standing still; something inside driving me forwards. Moving to another country, then to the other side of the world, leaving relationships, leaving jobs, leaving the corporate realm altogether, having a family, reconciling family relationships, the list goes on.

There are no regrets in any of that but when everything else has been stripped away, there comes a point you have to look in the mirror. I could continue to chew my way through excuses and point to certain people and circumstances as my source of dissatisfaction, but I have too much awareness to do that anymore.

While it is true that I am happier than I’ve ever been, I think it’s fair to say I still wouldn’t describe my underlying state as happy. It’s not that I expect butterflies and rainbows 24/7 but, in this journey to me, my awareness of what I think and feel is now so acute that the gap (between indoctrinated-by-the-world-me and unadulterated me) is more painful and more obvious than it was before I got rid of all the distractions.

My underlying state is too often at dis-ease with ‘what is’. It’s this melancholy that blocks me on so many levels, but certainly from an overall state of happiness.

For anyone undertaking a spiritual journey, this will seem really obvious, yet our internal thought patterns do not generally disappear in a moment of grace never to return. Unless we suffer some catastrophic event, most of us have some hard yards to do.

That has never been so obvious to me as it is now.

Yesterday I had a migraine, fairly mild with visual disturbance and a vice-like feeling around my head. It was a school-day so the temptation to take the kids to school while I had a rest was strong, but neither of them were on top form either. So instead I decided to bite the bullet and we all stayed home.

I spent most of the day in a state of observation, since I lacked the energy for much of anything else. There were many moments in the day I wished for the peace and solitude I’d normally have on a school day, but there were also some beautiful moments watching the kids embroiled in their creative endeavours.

Later in the day when my partner arrived home early, we all took a short walk in a nearby wooded area and the kids had fun in the mud at the stream while we took in the sounds of nature all around and enjoyed some sunshine. We had a nice time, something more to appreciate.

So today, once I had dropped the kids off at school, I sat and thought “okay Shona, here is the peace you were wanting, the peace that you bemoaned yesterday. Now what?”

And I realised just how bad I still felt.

Now I can point to lots of things that might explain that away, and anyone who knows me would likely be kind enough to help, especially since my mum passed away recently. However, the only person who is inside my head is me. And I have full awareness of the garbage going on in there. That spew train has years and years of momentum.

Delving into anything on board the spew train will only give it more energy. I’ve done it to death, enough of it is documented in my articles to give you the gist (see What Are Negative Thought Patterns Doing for Us as a recent example). It’s probably not that different to your own spew train.

I recognise it for what it is, just old patterns, old imagery that is chugging along on new fuel. Yet there will never be a shortage of fuel because we are wired for growth, and experiencing dissatisfaction is part of our propulsion system. But if I only use that energy to fuel the old thought patterns the dissatisfaction just worsens.

So what to do about it, this default habit that most of us find ourselves in? How do I use the fuel to get a different, more healthy, train out of the station? Appreciation feels much better than dissatisfaction.

But I have no mental template for that, the switch to living in a state of appreciation rather than a state of dissatisfaction. That train isn’t anywhere near built yet. There have been fleeting trips upon such a train in my life, so I know what it feels like. You too can likely recall memories of riding high in a new relationship, or a new job, or the attainment of some goal you’d been focusing on.

But how do we make that our way of being rather than it feel like a fleeting ride at some Disneyland Park? How do we create an appreciation train and get it out the station?

I suspect there are as many answers as there are people asking the question. I know that what calls me is words. While limited, words are our most focused way of thinking, and thinking is the tool of our creation. So I have started to write out my future as if it was today, I am writing in a way that depicts not just my circumstances as I want them to be, but also my thoughts as I want them to be. I am writing my future and rewiring my brain, so it can help rather than hinder.

It’s said it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I suspect I will have to go on rewriting and rewiring my thought patterns by focusing daily on my life through these appreciation lenses. I have already noticed thoughts in my head making excuses about why I can’t write about that today.

But you know, I suspect once I get some momentum going on the appreciation train it won’t seem that hard at all, and I will have changed my underlying state to one that makes me feel happier a lot more of the time. And who doesn’t want that?

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[Porn – Good or Bad?]]>Sun, 18 Feb 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/porn-good-or-bad
To be fair I’m not just talking about porn here, but it probably grabbed your attention and what is written may make you think about the topic a bit differently; or not.

In response to From Desires of the Flesh to Deep Connection a reader felt that it was perhaps necessary to acknowledge that the desire for porn was real in order to transcend it, and asked for my thoughts.

The word ‘real’ in there invoked a memory of sitting, (bizarrely) in a corporate management pow wow, listening to a young woman recite to us a poem she had written. The poem had conjured up images and feelings about the human body that felt more real to me than anything in the porn genre.

She had written a poem about her post partum body, and all its glorious details and changes as they had related to each of the memories of the miracles that had occurred. The images she wove were those of the body being honoured as a map of that singular best example we have of co-creation on the planet today.

You can imagine this gaggle of senior managers from a well known corporate brand all assembling for their usual run down on the month just gone, steeling in anticipation of the budgetary presentation and the like, cringing at the thought of what some well-meaning person may have dreamt up as a ‘fun’ part of the meeting this time.

And here comes forward this young woman, laying it all bare in words, being real. Her voice had a nervous edge, and we all wondered what was about to be said. Although nervous, she projected strongly as she sank into her subject and recited to us verse after verse honouring her stretch marks as though each were a tender babe in itself to be held to the bosom.

The whole audience was gripped and moved, if I knew who she was or where you could hear her poem I’d share it in a heartbeat. I remember no context for that particular diversion that day, I suspect someone had just heard it and thought it bold, brave and moving, so decided to include it for its inspirational qualities.

And it was inspirational. I contrast that with something else I heard said once about a wife’s postpartum body “looks like a pound of mince mate, lucky if I can touch the sides”. Which do we want our sons and daughters to hear?

As someone who has birthed two children into the world, I would not trade my body for the one I had at 19. I love the story my body has to tell about my journey, and to deny that is to deny who I am. To compete with an image of some nubile chick who is pretending to be in ecstasy in return for money would be insanity.

If I’m being asked, then my observation is that porn is clever as it’s designed to appear as a simple tool of instant gratification, but its images speak to something deeper. It seems to play to the male ego and cuts off communication to the soul, invoking feelings of domination and submission and perpetuating the images of a dying patriarchal society.

But bigger issues aside, on an individual level the question is whether that instant gratification leaves a feeling of love and fulfillment in your heart, or whether it leaves only loneliness or some other feelings of lacking? This is where each one of us has our own truth. If it takes you closer to happiness, then in your book it’s good, if it doesn’t then perhaps rethink.

The fact that it proliferates in our time seems to me an indication not of its popularity, but of the desperation (not of the consumers) of those who wish to perpetuate the patriarchy that did not work and cannot lead us to a more enlightened and loving future.

We think in images, and those we conjure up from within – especially those attached to strong positive emotions – are the most powerful tools of creation that exist.   But we have become a world of lazy thinkers. Video makes it ever-easier to embed images in our minds rather than create those of our own imagination.

Instead of focusing on the images presented to you externally, what if you took the time to focus on and create images of the best reality you could imagine for yourself? A friend of mine related her experience of intimacy once her partner had stopped viewing porn, she described him as more present, more attentive, and even more loving.

Indeed to have your partner honour your body in the way the young woman’s poem did would be amazing, but that begins with each of us honouring ourselves. It does make me think about the images we hold in our common psyche of beauty generally. I tell my kids “beauty shines from within” but I have to really challenge myself on that to ensure I’m living in a way that reinforces that message.

It’s not just about porn though, you could apply any of these principles to make up, food, cigarettes, drugs, clothes, or the multitude of things that are designed to make you look or feel better; do they? Do they make you feel better about your true authentic self? Do you even know your true self never mind loving who you are?

Recently my partner exclaimed “wouldn’t it be great if you could just trade your body in for a younger version?” I paused and said “No. Think about the miracle our body is, grown from practically nothing visible to the eye. It weathers a lot, and it tells us quite pointedly that we need to change our attitude when we are not listening to our inner voice.”

Now, don’t get the wisdom that flows through me mixed up with the Shona Keachie my partner actually lives with. I knew that I spoke that message because I needed to hear it. Needless to say that happened only a day or so before my kidney stone lesson, talk about needing to clear blockages!

Coming back to the original question that was posed, do we need to acknowledge our desires in order to transcend them? Absolutely. Bringing awareness to the thoughts and emotions that reside within us is crucial. Understanding where those thoughts and images are seeded from is also extremely helpful.

Volumes of images that are viewed externally, especially if they invoke emotions, will sadly seed quite well when there are no internal images in their place. So who is truly creating your reality? Is it you, or is it others/hype whom you have allowed to creep into your consciousness and become ‘real’?

Forget about whether porn or anything else is good or bad, we need to learn to take hold of our own thoughts again. If we can relearn to appreciate the person that we are, the body we each have, and the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can start to feel good again about ourselves and others. Now wouldn’t that be something?

​I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at
shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 

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<![CDATA[From Desires of the Flesh to Deep Connection]]>Sun, 11 Feb 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/from-desires-of-the-flesh-to-deep-connection
Lately I’ve heard a few things that have taken me from a place of “pah, political correctness gone mad” to a deeper understanding of our intrinsic connectedness.

Firstly there’s the podium girls and the grid girls, my partner mentioned internationally sports were pulling the plug on these types of roles. Then the next day there was a moment as we arrived home to our little suburban street, to witness the teenage girl across the road washing her car to the thumping sound of some totally demeaning rap lyrics blasting out from her stereo.

I had my white middle aged suburban mom moment in my head, and the contrast to my ‘oh-so-cool’ younger years (those who know me may dispute this, but we shall just go with it for the contrast). I let it sit, “am I just getting older I wondered?”

Well, yes, there is that, the wisdom of age. But it brought to mind another conversation I’d had with a friend recently about sex in long term relationships. With the demands of jobs and/or parenthood, this becomes a grey and dismal area for many.

She was talking about the evolution of porn from magazines to video, and what that was creating in our society today. I’m going to join this up, as I did in my own head, with some interesting insights I’d gotten from reading about some ancient Vedic cultures.

We are basically talking about the power of imagery. We create our reality with our thoughts, but we don’t imagine words, we imagine images. So those who can conjure images that stick in our minds – be it you, or someone in society that can create common images in the now or enduringly – have a powerful influence in our present reality.

The issue is that most of us are unaware of both the inherited and learned images that play such a major part in how we perceive the world on a day to day basis. Sure, most acknowledge this to an extent with the marketing of brands that proliferate in our modern world. But then there have been many more powerful images than that.

As I was reminded recently, a really common one is the white Caucasian Jesus. Given he hailed from the Middle East, the likelihood of this image being false is extremely high when you apply some common sense. Not wishing to offend by the next leap in my thinking, but the issue of false images brings me back to the conversation we were having about porn.

The truth is, whether in a magazine or on the screen, the images that are projected have very little to do with what the vast majority would actually consider to entice intimacy. Sex is something that is only a part of a whole, especially in a long term relationship. If isolated it’s – at its best - a bit of sweaty bump and grind that leads to hopefully one person having at least a very fleeting moment of pleasure. At its worst, it’s damaging the connectedness rather than strengthening it.

As my friend said, there’s no 1-2-3 in the bedroom that can even come close to the love felt when her man comes home and says “you sit down love, I’ll clear up the kitchen”.

Interestingly my youngest daughter kept taking Gary Chapman’s ‘5 Love Languages’ book off the shelf and leaving it around lately. She cannot read but she likes the big loveheart picture on the front and so imagines it must be about something good.

I haven’t read that book in years (possibly even decades), but its principles stuck with me from the first time I flipped its pages. The simple premise behind it is that we all express and feel love in different ways. For certain, not everyone would put any real weight on their partner recognizing their efforts in the kitchen, nor relieving them of those efforts.

It’s not to say that we don’t all appreciate someone taking up the slack for us from time to time (or someone giving us a hug… or spending one on one time with us… or noticing our efforts and appreciating them rather than berating and criticizing… or even lavishing us with gifts), it’s more that each of us have a different pathway to love, so these things will mean more or less to you depending on your ‘love language’.

Leading on from last week’s article on what our thought patterns are really doing for us, one of the most important points to note are the images the thought patterns create in your head, and to question whether these images are healthy or not, are they images that create feelings of love? Sure, we all had some version of damage that came from our childhood, but what about all these external images that we openly subject ourselves to?

What are the lyrics of the songs you’re listening to? What are the TV programmers you are watching saying to you about life? What is the news you are reading telling you? What are the games you are playing doing? Don’t underestimate the power of images that get conjured. Each image that desensitizes us to crime, violence or hatred, or engenders fear or aggression is a step away from love and connection.

What images must that teenage girl have in her head, for her to think she is being cool listening to that crap? The urge to walk across and tell her she was worth more than the picture being painted by her music was internalized. She doesn’t know me from a bar of soap, so rather than come off as a moralizing old bag, I trust she will hear her lessons when she is ready for them.

However, it was obviously my time to hear them, and to wake up to more of the falsehoods that surround us and stand in our way of the deep connectedness that lies within us.

The point is that the desires of the flesh are deeply connected to all our other interactions and connectedness. Listening to the demeaning lyrics of a song creates images in your head, reading or watching porn, watching TV, reading news, playing games… on and on… do exactly the same. The question we each have to ask ourselves – and our children as they emerge into young adulthood - is whether these images are pathways to love and connectedness or quite the opposite?

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[What Are Our Thought Patterns Really Doing for Us?]]>Sun, 04 Feb 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/what-are-our-thought-patterns-really-doing-for-us
“What the…?” my eyes flew wide open, the pain having just seared through my side. “This doesn’t seem right” was my next thought, as I dialed the national health helpline, who – after a few pointed questions - dispatched an ambulance. 8 hours and several episodes of birthing-like pain and tests later, the diagnosis, a kidney stone.

Now I could dwell on the physical level of what causes of kidney stones but, if you want to avoid them, drink lots of water to flush out any fragments before they get a chance to form. No, I was more interested in the real cause; what I was thinking, feeling etc to cause something that really got my attention.

I’m pretty healthy as a rule but, if I’m honest, I knew I’d been in a bit of a funk lately. With almost two months of looking after the kids, meaning little ‘me’ time (it’s our summer holidays here), mum dying and a mammoth trip to the other side of the world with us all in tow, I had gotten caught up in some rather unhelpful thought patterns.

Thankfully I’ve been in the habit of taking 15 minutes each day to meditate for a couple of years now, so, despite the chaos around me, I was at least aware of the nonsense that filled my head. I just didn’t think it was as serious as all that to indulge in it for a while.

I’m not talking about anything much different to what is probably planted in most people’s heads. For example, I was brought up in an environment where it was important that I tidied up after myself. So, as a mother of two little ones, and a partner who does not object to a bit of mothering himself, I often find myself tidying up after everyone and resenting the heck out it.

On the face of it, you would think this fairly harmless. But think about it logically. I start resenting the kids for doing their tidying, where does that take me, they are young kids after all? That road can too easily lead to anger or apathy, depending on what I decide to do about it. Neither healthy.

As for my partner, well, when you get on the vibe of resenting your nearest and dearest, that can quickly spiral into a whole load of other thoughts on the same wavelength – whether the thoughts even relate specifically to that relationship is irrelevant. In fact, when you get on that wavelength, bang, practically everything you ever thought or felt in relation to resentment in a relationship gets served up in one sonic energy boom into your consciousness.

The next thing you know, “that is it, the relationship is over, it’s a matter of principle, being treated like that!!”reverberates through you. Thankfully I didn’t go there, I just birthed a kidney stone instead. A painful reminder that what I am thinking and feeling is entirely at my will. I can be right or I can be well.

Talking to a friend of mine recently, she was recounting some pretty upsetting interactions with her very much grown up daughter that had taken place over the holidays. Her daughter doesn’t like being yelled at, it has its roots in her childhood as it does for all of us. So, long story short, someone yelled and ba-boom, out spews this tirade that had very little to do with the actual conversation at hand.

What followed was a dramatic exit and weeks of awkward interactions that left everyone bruised and never really got resolved.

Old thought patterns are very seductive; their old familiar feeling makes them nestle right back on in there, in their spurious self-righteous indignation.

Let’s take apart this example, shine some common sense onto it. Being tidy, is it worth losing the people I love over? More importantly, is it worth losing my self-love? All those hours of feeling bad, harbouring those unhelpful thoughts?

I’m not saying let’s all go to hell in a handcart and live in some stinking mess of our own creation. Oh, did you hear that? That is exactly what we could consider we are doing as a human race on the much bigger planetary level.

That is probably what I am feeling more, truth be told. This man-made world of ours that I seek to keep so tidy, throwing away mountains of rubbish each year, giving away mountains of consumable toys, having to continually upkeep houses that last only decades, cars that last much less, all of which is such a gross waste of energy.

Instead of loving and appreciating the planet we live in, living with it and all of the natural resources it provides us symbiotically, we rip into it, like a child ripping into a Michelangelo masterpiece to use it in a creation of its own. “Look at us, we are so clever” we think, “so technologically advanced”.

Yes I do like to be tidy, “tidy house, tidy mind”. But was I really created to tidy my environment constantly? Or is that just a result of the man-made society we have constructed?

Big questions over being tidy. And so they should be, we have to start thinking beyond our powerfully embedded self-absorbing, self-defeating thought patterns. Sure, I could beat the drum of being tidy so loudly that my partner and kids submit and take on their own self-absorbed energy about the whole issue. Or I could go and find someone really tidy to sate the little tidiness ego inside.

Or I can see all of this for the distraction it is. I was not created to tidy, I am absolutely sure when I worked out a blueprint for this life on the planet, I did not specify tidying up after everyone as my purpose, or any part of the deal.

It’s more likely I specified feeling the flow of the eternal wellbeing and love that exists as important. So when I get these fairly trite examples in my life, and they get louder and louder until they manifest in the absolute agony of a kidney stone, I get the clarity I need to knock me out of that funk.

Back up the truck a bit, with the school year in sight I had started to turn my thoughts back to what I wanted to focus on this year. I had actually recognized that I needed to let the love in. I read a book recently where an older man was talking about the animals of our planet (even ‘dangerous’ ones) generally nurturing, rather than harming, children in need. He cited a child’s most dominant state of love as the reason. Yet we adults live more in a dominant state of fear and aggression, and so we elicit the same from our surroundings. This really made sense to me, and resonated deeply.

So what to do about the little ‘tidy’ drum beating? Or the ‘being shouted at’ drum, or whatever montage of drums we each have going on distracting us from the most important message of all – to love ourselves?

We have to start beating the drum of love, it is that simple. When I think back to my thoughts leading up to the kidney stone, it seems quite pertinent that I had just had a conversation with my mentor who said “just take it on then, let love be your predominant state”.

And so in my quiet moments, the ones where I was going to dive into doing something (like tidying up…)  I began stepping aside for 5 minutes of relaxation instead, I had a conversation in my head that said “come on in love, take a look around, feel free to have a clean out, let’s get rid of anything unhelpful”.

So what do I take from that? Well, for a start, I’d probably recommend adding on something like “gently” to that intent if it resonates! However, thanks to that kidney stone, despite its pain, the contrasting outcome is a sharp clarity.

And I should add that the love came, in the form of some amazing friends and family, and most importantly, the peace within. So I urge you to keep even what you’d consider benign thoughts on your watch list. As you become aware of them, reach for the love instead. That doesn’t mean you let everyone walk all over you, just that you start to look at the world through a different pair of lenses that can only see the most loving action for you to take.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[Is More Leisure the Antidote?]]>Sun, 28 Jan 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/is-more-leisure-the-antidote
“Take some leisure time” she suggested. “Leisure?” I thought, that stopped me in my tracks.

Here I am on this journey to me and, while I’m a few deliberate years into the journey, I got rather distracted this last year with mum’s rapid decline and recent death. Now there is this moment of readjustment, trying to remember “where was I up to?”

Except I’m not starting where I left off, that is an illusion. Life continued, my journey continued, I just stopped tracking it quite so much. Mum is basking in the fullness of her energy now, consciousness reconnected with our source, in the light, however you want to put it. Yet here I am.

In truth, I think part of me went too, and felt its warmth. That part of me isn’t quite so sure how to renter into the world.

As my mentor reminded me, I came from that source almost half a century ago into a world, a family, for whom war was familiar. It’s probably no coincidence I listened to two audio fictional books on the plane recently, stories about the atrocities and struggles of the Second World War.

Those were real in my life as a child, with parents born just as the war ended; yet rations, fear and struggle continued for some time. I recall vividly the fear I felt when Britain went to war in the early 1980’s over the Falklands. At the time I was deeply in love and the threat of conscription suddenly loomed over the relationship.

While that threat was never realised, the memory demonstrates to me just how real the threats all seemed. Then came the other wars, the war against AIDS, the war against drugs and the war terror, all perpetuating more fear.

Our life is a mirror, it plays back to us where our energy is dialed in. And so I have known defense and fear all my life. This part of me that reconnected with our source, it knows no fear, and it has no desire to take on the energy of defense. But I have no mental template for that.

In my recent article about doing what fuels you and dumping the rest, I cited an example of saying no to the onerous task of organizing the school’s annual fair. That was all very well, but the question was how to say no without defence, without inadvertently starting a war.

It was an interesting exercise observing draft email after draft email. Each time the defences lessened. First came spewing forth the (literally) years of indignant thoughts on the topic merged with a defensive intonation and a mix of suggestions for improvement. Finally came the version where I just sent my apologies, explaining that, with mum’s recent death, I just haven’t got the energy for something I don’t like.

It was like a scene from Nashville watching singer Juliette Barnes get all angry with her fans for judging her then, finally, taking a breath, feeling into the pain and just throwing up her hands and saying “you know what, I struggle with depression, I need to figure this out”.

In fact that scene was just life mirroring to me where I am at: letting go of defence and done with navigating icy waters. My mentor is right, it’s time to let in the warmth and the light. But how do I carry that into this world?

And so, stopped in my tracks, all this passed through my mind as I contemplated the word leisure.
She is right of course. Taking on a more leisurely attitude will reflect back a different world than the one I’ve been experiencing until now.

But what is leisure? I guess for some it’s walks in the forest, playing tennis or being more social. Not  for me, and there are only so many times I want to walk on the beach no matter how I love it. Another ah ha moment waited in the wings as my mentor asked me what kind of mother I'd like to be for my children.

Funnily enough it was the same question Juliette Barnes got asked in her scene too. It was like the universe was playing back to me the important parts of the conversation I’d had.

The kind of mother I’d like to be is one who is in harmony with her environment, who fully understands the natural world and the part it has to play in aiding human growth and life. To understand human potential and how to leverage the amazing capacities we all have that most believe belong only in sci-fi movies.

I’d like to be the kind of mother that can say to the creator “I know you made us in your image, I know your design was flawless, I see the perfection. I can do this, you got it right, I have got this.”

That is what leisure is to me, where glee and awe and inspiration lie, to discover the secrets that unlock all of that. So as Juliette Barnes was advised to take a deep breath every time she felt anger and, instead, feel the pain behind it, the advice given to me was to take 5 minutes to myself to contemplate, to relax, every time I felt compelled to some sort of action – or at least 5 times a day.

And so as I wonder whether leisure is indeed the antidote to the life of defence I’ve known until now, I am left in no doubt that pursuing all that interests me will help me find the way into calmer, warmer waters that are filled with light.

As you contemplate what leisure might mean for you, consider a world in which you could feel a more leisurely attitude about everything you get drawn to, where others feel the same. It just feels different doesn’t it? Much nicer, certainly the kind of world I want my children to experience and for us all to enjoy.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[Do What Fuels You – And Dump the Rest]]>Sun, 21 Jan 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/do-what-fuels-you-and-dump-the-rest
As my brother and I were talking about what motivates people, he said “it’s simple right, some people get their energy from doing things that would make others feel drained.” Right. It’s one of the basics of the way we are each wired.

In theory, as we all derive our energy from different things, you’d think there would be no opportunity for us to get bored or resentful or depressed in the world by things that we do, instead there are endless opportunities to fill our cups. So why are so many of us doing things that deplete rather than refuel our energy?

As I’ve cited many times before, the number one regret of the dying is all the time they wasted in life trying to please others. With my mum’s death recently it’s reaffirmed my commitment to spend time doing the things that matter to me, and trust that any gaps I leave will be ably filled by others who love what I hate.

When I left the corporate world a few years ago, I remember vowing to myself that I was done dancing to the beat of another’s drum. No more mind-numbing meetings, having to cross and uncross my legs, or waggle my foot around just to stay awake. No more politically correct conversations or being nice to people who were just downright nasty. That was the idea.

Like many of you, there are things that I do that are not high on my list. I try and be mindful though about not making compromises and making myself miserable when I have a choice. For example, for those of you who have read my musings over the years, you’ll know a perennial issue for me is our annual School Fair.

When we joined the school, I eyed the sentence (on the commitment form we had to sign) about supporting fundraising activities with suspicion. When I queried it, I was told “oh it’s nothing to worry about. The only thing you really need to do is to help with the School Fair each year, each family has to do 4 hours on the stalls and bake cakes etc”. Mmm. Big understatement that was.

The Fair, it turns out, is a big community event attracting thousands of visitors. It’s not just a few bake stalls. There are lots of good old fashioned fun activities like candle dipping, a coconut shy, a flying fox, a ‘stack-a-crate’ climbing challenge and other interesting games like the lemonade bike.

Then there’s the centre stage entertainment, the crafts (it’s the parents who make all the crafts to sell and there are rather onerous specifications and quantities), the food stalls, the rubbish and zero-waste management, the car parking, on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots to love about the school my kids attend. Most importantly, it’s packed with staff who really give a lot to the roles they are performing. The head teacher is passion personified when it comes to the children and the education they are providing.

But I’m under no illusions; the Fair is a big project. I have enough experience of projects under my belt in the corporate realm to know the size of this job. For me, just the thought of it drains my cup so fast you’d think it was a sieve with 5cm holes in it. Equally, I know there are others who thrive doing this kind of thing.

Now I have no real idea why the Fair has come to be run the way it has but, however it has come about, it’s become practice for Class 2 parents to organize the whole thing – and guess which class my daughter is in this year?

It may be that the Fair was initially the brainchild of a dedicated group of parents, or at some point it all got too much for staff worn out by the myriad of other activities throughout the year. Regardless, at some point since the inception of the Fair, someone decided it would be a good idea to have Class 2 parents organize it all.

So do I have to buy into this? The school has never been explicit about this onerous task, yet here it is.

Should I ’suck it up’ because others have? Or should I expect to contribute because it’s a worthy cause? Whatever the reason, trying to push a boulder uphill is never a great idea. For my part, organizing the Fair is simply too much to ask; it’s too draining, taking too much mental, emotional and physical energy away from my focus on parenting especially, never mind the other hats I wear.

What I do know is that I have no specific obligation to take part in this project, other than perhaps peer pressure created, in the main, from others’ perceptions that they have no choice.

Yet the parents do have a choice, as does the school. It’s perhaps better to cast the net wider and, rather than expecting a set of 26 parents in one class to take on 25 different and sizeable project roles, allow those in the wider community - who might actually feel like they want to (and have the capacity to) take on these roles - to come forward.

We are all motivated by different things, so you’d think there would be no shortage of willing volunteers for everything that takes place in our world. And there is, there are those that love this type of stuff, so why – as in so many walks of life – are people trying to decree how things happen and perpetuate it just because it’s become the norm?

There was an article I wrote last year, called Win-Win-Win Giving, talking about how giving is something that should be about ease and joy, not sacrifice and duty. The win-win-win stuff, when you inspire or empower someone doing something you love, and get the warm fuzzies from having helped.

At what point do we say ‘enough is enough’ if it’s how we feel? How many examples are there like this in your own life, where you are dancing to the beat of another’s drum? Where you are trying to be superman or superwoman, instead of realizing that less is more?

Yes we may face peer pressure, and perhaps pressure from other quarters, but really, the most pressure we put on ourselves comes from within. Our own desire to look good, to fit in, to have others think well of us.

Instead of being a martyr to something where we’d rather be poking our eyes out with a pin, we need to learn to step aside; there are others who would get a lot out of taking up the mantle. And if there isn’t, one would have to question the need for the task anyway.

It’s not that I want to see our School Fair fail, I want to see it thrive. Rather than walk around with an all too visible “I survived the Fair” attitude for the rest of our children’s primary and intermediate school years, I know the best way forward is to let those who want to take up the reins and lead the way with energy and enthusiasm go for it. Sometimes the best thing we can do is simply to get out of their way.

We have been born with unique desires, talents and traits that can serve this world in so many ways. Instead of trying to be a square peg in a round hole just because we think the world needs us to be, how about we each take that square peg and inspire the heck out of others by finding the best 4 corners to fit it in?

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 

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<![CDATA[What is Living Life Through Our Devices Doing to Us?]]>Sun, 14 Jan 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/what-is-living-life-through-our-devices-doing-to-us
Having spent two days this week in Hong Kong’s Disneyland, what really struck me was the way in which people were all using their devices. There we were sitting on Cinderella’s Carousel in Fantasyland, going around and around, up and down, and pretty much every adult was holding out a device trying to capture the moment. Really?

It reminded me of a futuristic drama I saw on TV a few years ago of an extreme version of everyone living through their devices, one that didn’t paint a hopeful picture for the human race.

But is it actually a bad thing, I wonder? I have explored this idea of changing social norms before, in so far as technology is assisting. There was an idea in there that the present and the future are born of our past desires. But it’s more accurate to say, I think, something I heard a few years ago “wherever we give our attention to will be our greatest contribution in life.”

Certainly your desires can create your reality, if that is where your attention is. But if your attention is on the lack in your life of what you want, that too creates more of the same in your reality.

That leads me to wonder where the collective attention has been previously focused in order to have created a reality where we have become fairly obsessed with objectifying each moment of our life? And is that even the right way to look at it?

Well, as I was holding up my own device on the carousel, I really took stock of that moment. I wanted to get a picture of my daughter, as I do often, to send to her grandparents. Others I know share photos and videos on other social media platforms. The point is that there is a lot of attempting to capture the moment, and is it happening at the expense of fully giving our attention to the moment?

From my vantage point, I know if I’m taking a picture - and it doesn’t stop there, there is the editing and sharing process – I’m distracted. Distracted from actually being on the carousel and taking in my daughter’s experience, even just listening to her and answering questions. That doesn’t even count the whole process of ‘notifications’ if the picture is shared more widely.

I also take an abundance of pictures in the hope of capturing just one or two of those gorgeous moments of delight spread across the faces of my kids. Or as a record to “help them remember the moment. In reality though, it ends up in thousands of digital records I never really look through, and creates a disruption to them actually really ingesting their own moments which allows them to etch it in their hearts forever.

And what is her experience in all of this? She is there trying to enjoy the moment and I’m constantly trying to call upon her to “smile for the camera”.

There was a ride called something like The Star Wars Experience, it amounted to having your photo taken with (in our case) R2D2. There was no experience, no moment to actually admire this fully recreated robot and interact with it in any way, simply “smile for the camera”. The same was true when we met Mickey et al, although in those instances we happened to be dining and my device wasn’t handy so my eldest daughter got to interact with them, which was much more fun for her.

So we have this strange situation going on where, at any given time if you look around, you are likely to see people with their attention immersed in their device rather than in their present surroundings.

I’m not sure how different that is to life before devices, as the expression “wake up and smell the roses” alludes to, we have been guilty of living in our heads rather than in the moment for much longer than devices have been around. Our heads are where are generally ruminating about the past or planning the future. Maybe our devices are just a more physical signal to the rest of the world that “no one is home” than previously?

Not that either is desirable really. Even as a child I remember walking to the local shops and seeing how many people I could get to look at me and say “morning” or afternoon and that was in Scotland in the 1970’s. People tend to be cocooned in their own little world.

There are more questions than answers here, but what I do know is that it just doesn’t feel right. I want to live in a world where people look each other in the eyes and smile, they connect. I want people to feel connected not just to their own life, but to others around them as well. Not in a way that we can point to the number of contacts on any given platform, or ‘likes’ of a post, but in a way that truly fills our cup.

The kind of world where we can walk down the street and openly greet our neighbours and strangers and actually see each other, and be seen.

Perhaps we have created this very visible situation to help really highlight how far from being present in our own experiences we have drifted? Perhaps our children will balk at having had to break from their experiences in order to “smile for the camera” so much that their desires to fully experience life will be more acute?

Is why we share a matter of connection? Yet in pursuit of that through our devices we become disconnected with the essence of who we are. We are missing the natural world around us, and the opportunities to feel our connectedness with everyone and everything beyond the ‘friends’ we have online.

I want to ingest each moment, and my kids to do the same. For my part, I’m going to take less photos, and be much more mindful of the way in which I use my device from now on. Real life is there for the taking, it’s so much more than a 2 dimensional moment, real life is multidimensional ,  it smells, it tastes, it sounds, it feels and breathes, it just can’t be captured in a can.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[We Can Live in Harmony]]>Sun, 07 Jan 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/we-can-live-in-harmony
Currently in Scotland, we visited an old textile mill. It’s not any old mill, it’s the World Heritage site at New Lanark, a short drive from where I was brought up, marked by the philosophy with which it was run by Robert Owen in the early 1800’s.

Owen was an interesting character whose ideas made for remarkably better living conditions for the workers than elsewhere else in the industrial world at the time. His philosophies on social communities were deemed strange by many at the time, and are still today aspirational. In his New Year’s address to the people of New Lanark in 1816 he said:

“What ideas individuals may attach to the term “Millennium” I know not; but I know that society may be formed so as to exist without crime, without poverty, with health greatly improved, with little if any misery, and with intelligence and happiness improved a hundredfold; and no obstacle whatsoever intervenes at this moment except ignorance to prevent such a state of society from becoming universal.”

202 years on, this is still true. We see ourselves as more advanced than we were back then, and yet health and money remain the top two areas of focus for individuals, and most of us are still in pursuit of happiness rather than embracing it as a state of being for the most part.

He also said “If we cannot yet reconcile all opinions, let us endeavour to unite all hearts.” Wise words, but I think harmony begins within our own heart.

With the recent death of my mum, whose body was ravaged by cancer, I was struck by the end of life phenomenon known as “terminal agitation and delirium”. This happens in the last hours and days of someone’s life. If you look at common cancer information websites, like Marie Curie, you will see they talk about the actual symptoms and guess at the causes, all of which are assumed to be emotional or physical.

I was much more interested in the metaphysical reasons for this agitation as a person is letting go of the body and material world. After a bit of reading, looking for something that resonated, I came to the conclusion that the apparent suffering likely arises from the struggle to surrender that separate sense of self, from which emanates a feeling of utter isolation and loneliness, and fear of what will come of that surrender.

Having gone through this process myself while in a healthy living state, I can appreciate that those who have been locked in their heads for a lifetime and whose sense of self is so completely identified with their bodies must find these final moments in this life pretty frightening.

I know from my own journey and experiences that resisting the inevitable truth - that there is more to ‘you’ and the world around you, a greater intelligence certainly - only worsens fear or suffering. Loosening my grip on the need to fix everything, and trusting the inward feelings of peace I had found after peeling away all the emotional layers I attached to everything around me, led to a trust that things work out for the better when I get out my own way.

Life is savage when we believe we have to suffer, for whatever reason, because we will; it’s inevitable.

Instead of seeing money as it is, a man-made construct that means nothing except whatever value we place on it; or seeing heath as it is, an opportunity to learn from what our body is teaching us about our lifestyle and thought patterns; or seeing happiness for what it is, our natural state, we feel lacking and then suffer.

Coming into harmony in your own heart with your soul, for want of a better word, is where your best life resides. This is where I’ve learned that there is no one truth, only our own truth. There is no one right way, only the way which is best for you in this moment.

This means letting go of judgments, of yourself and of others, a thing my head does not like to cooperate with. Yet, as you practice being with yourself, sitting silently for a short period every day, awareness arises of your thoughts. And if you are aware of your thoughts, what is this awareness? It’s like two parts of you.

Perhaps it’s a huge fountain of consciousness, some of it running into your body as a vessel but most remains part of the bigger whole.

The state of terminal agitation seems to me to arise from the realization that the vessel is about to run dry, yet awareness remains, the fountain is still plentiful.

In life, if we can see ourselves not as separate vessels but part of the one fountain, then we can start the process of living in harmony with ourselves, and from there this will lead to a world in which we can live in harmony.

Suffice to say in the world today you can see whatever you want to see; from what would appear to be the prevalent more insular and selfish behaviours of many – which I like to think of as a crazy death dance of a desperate egoic state that knows its number’s up – to the more conscious behaviours of those who are aware of their connectedness to everything.

So for all Robert Owen’s grand ideas on creating harmonious communities, I think it really is quite simple. If we endeavour to allow the harmony within us to surface, through our individual harmony we will naturally give rise to more harmonious living and communities. We can live in harmony.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.  
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<![CDATA[Who Am I Now?]]>Sun, 31 Dec 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/who-am-i-now
“She’s gone”, I thought. I wrote in her eulogy that we each had to figure out who we are in the world without her, but now that is the reality I have to actually live.

As we head into another year, that is everyone’s reality, in the sense of rediscovering who we really are in this moment.  Yet in the absence of something major changing, many of us slip back into old routines despite promises to ourselves to the contrary.

Generally that is down to the day to day servitude, the things we feel obligated to, and they are powerful distractions.

This year though, with mum’s passing, circumstances around me have shifted and I am forced to ask who I am now. After a year spent contemplating her illness as I walked along the beach many a day, now I shall contemplate her loss and all that means.

Being in the UK to say goodbye to mum has also meant catching up with lots of family and friends that I haven’t seen in over a decade. It’s been a long absence for a girl with a large and close extended family. That said, emigrating to the other side of the world is never a decision I’ve regretted, I love the life I’ve created there, and the person I’ve become.

But, there are also things about my roots that I find I miss too. For example, sitting in the Kings Theater in Glasgow, watching Elaine C Smith and Johnny Mac in pantomime, I rediscovered the joy of the West of Scotland humour (think Billy Connolly). Perhaps when you know where your humour is, you know where your heart is, or at least the way to it.

And so I wonder what will unfold when I head back to the southern hemisphere, taking the best of this trip and the worst of it with me.

Where one door closes another opens. I know this from experience time and again. The way the universe delivers serendipities and coincidences, things unfolding in ways you can never imagine save for looking back upon them.

It’s another precipice of change.

Despite the circumstances, I am curious to see what unfolds next, eager to understand what awaits in this life’s journey.

This is not a new year I can talk to those who will determinedly pursue changes amid a stagnant daily routine, though I have done in the past. This is a year marked for me by endings and beginnings, which I accept with hope and mixed emotions.

True to the journey I’ve been on so far, I will remain concerned with who I am becoming now and in what way I can be of help in order to feel the warm glow of happiness that emanates when I’m in tune with all of that.

Whether you are facing major changes in your life, or things are just humming along, making a commitment to figuring who you are in this moment – now (not the you of yesteryear) – will be one of the best commitments you ever make.

The kind of self awareness we need to develop in order to do that requires us to take a much broader perspective of the present moment. It requires us to live in the moment rather than to be swept along by it, to become aware of what we are thinking and feeling and how that is affecting the life that is unfolding around us.

Making a commitment to figuring out who you are now, regardless of what unfolds for you in 2018, can only help you to deal with the worst of whatever the year has to offer in a more healthy way, and to receive the best of whatever the year has to offer in a way that can really fill your cup.

Talking of which, raise your glass, here’s to you in 2018, whoever you are now.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 

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<![CDATA[Rejoicing in Who You Are]]>Sun, 24 Dec 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/rejoicing-in-who-you-are
This year has been a heart wrenching, heart melting, mind-expanding sort of year. Above all I’ve become more and more aware of our capability as humans and equally aware of how little of it we understand and use it.

The year has ended with my mum’s passing, and some beautiful experiences that surround that. After her death (a welcome release after the months she’d spent debilitated, her body ravaged by cancer) I took some time to sense into her energy.

I had a wonderful vision of a hand reaching down from the heavens to pick her up, with first one and then the other hand; the way one would with a small child about to be whirled around.
 
No longer weighted down, light as a feather and as free as the wind, she took to racing across the land, running fast and free with thunderous exhilaration. Then she was a single drop of dew on a rose, then the thorn, then the flower itself, an insect, a blade of grass, the wind that whistled through and the life-giving rain that descended from the sky.
 
All at once she took flight; she was everything and she everywhere. Like a kid in a candy store experiencing the jubilation of life. The feeling that accompanied all of this was exultation and absolute grace. Then a word arose, rejoicing.
 
As wonderful as it was to feel, it led me to appreciate the gap between that and how it would have felt to be shackled to a body so sick. While hers was an extreme and devastating burden, I know how far from the feeling of rejoicing I often feel on an ordinary day to day basis, and how others around me often seem weighted down too.
 
With mum’s passing we have made the trip back to the UK, and have been catapulted from the warm summer and longer days of the southern hemisphere to the cold and dark days of the northern hemisphere.
 
From beach walks to bright lights, late shopping and an abundance of consumables, it’s quite a shift. There seems a lot to distract me here, and it feels pretty overwhelming. In that sense I feel a deep gratitude for the somewhat more low key life I lead back home, more nature and less consumerism.
 
Yet there are the connections with friends and family to warm the heart and reflect back life in new and interesting ways. Being here with my family has made mum’s passing both more poignant and, at the same time, easier.
 
When I experienced the freedom and jubilation in mum’s rejoicing of all that is, I decided that I want to be connected with that feeling more often. Everything in the vision was connected to the natural world around us, a world we often under appreciate, and so I think the key is to appreciate and revel in the simpler things within and around us.
 
Many of our day to day worries don’t really mean much at all when push comes to shove. Most of us know things always work out in the end, yet we constantly worry about how we are going to get there, wherever ‘there’ is at that moment in time.
 
It really isn’t worth it, the worry.

Instead, reflect on the miracles we make happen. As much as I think we completely and almost universally underestimate our capabilities, there is one very obvious one we do recognise. The example I have in mind is the power of creation – the miracle of making and birthing new life. When you start to think about the complexities of that, just allow yourself the luxury of imagining what that might mean your true capabilities are.
 
We take for granted this amazing power of creation, yet for the most part seem to miss that it would point to the possibility that we can indeed create anything the mind can conceive and the heart believe.  I managed to create two beautiful lives, literally created two beings, yet for the longest time couldn’t fathom that the job I felt trapped in was a prison of my own making rather than an economic ‘necessity’.
 
Suffice to say life has moved on enormously since then, and the journey is well documented, but still, am I truly rejoicing in who I am and what life has to offer? Far from it.
 
Instead we become entangled in others’ opinions, and limit our lives and possibilities with beliefs that were passed along without too much thought, only fears.
 
So my new year’s resolution this year is to uncover more of our human potential, master it, and rejoice in it. To be more of who I am, more of who I was created to be, and to revel in all that means. Rejoicing in who you are means beginning to understand who you are and loving every aspect of that and of life around you.
 
As we head into the New Year, I hope more of us will seek to understand what we are capable of, and start to drop our attachment to those ‘others’ opinions and to rejoice in who you are.
 
I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.   
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<![CDATA[Awkward Social Conversations About Your Beliefs]]>Sun, 17 Dec 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/awkward-social-conversations-about-your-beliefs
At a family gathering recently a late night conversation turned to the question about what happens when you die. The question wasn’t asked of me directly, but our small group started sharing views in the zealous way people do when alcohol has lowered their inhibitions.

I remained quiet, not really enjoying the conversation particularly. My partner listened for a while and then prodded me “I’m surprised you’re not joining in” he said, as everyone listened, “this is right up your alley”. He started to add his views about us being energy and said perhaps the others should read my articles. It was awkward and I said nothing.

Here’s why. For a start, my core belief is that there is no one truth, I believe each person has their own truth, “each to their own” as the expression goes. Expounding my own beliefs is fine if someone is genuinely interested, genuinely searching for answers and seeking inspiration in the experiences I’ve had. But then, that is why I share my experiences in these blogs, for those who are interested.

From the conversation that had already taken place, and from what I already knew of the family, it was obvious to me that he and I were probably the only ones there who believe we are all eternal consciousness, non-physical at our essence, having a physical experience as humans. It was also obvious to me that no one was really looking to hear about my experiences, they simply wanted to state their beliefs.

The reason I hadn’t been enjoying the conversation was its limitation; the limitations it infers of us as humans. Our general lack of awareness as a society of the vast powers of our consciousness is something I view as a sad state of affairs. I don’t want to dwell on that, I don’t want to give any energy to it by pushing against it; I’d rather just continue to strive to live life to its fullest potential and share that with others who are interested.

Besides, how on earth do I put into one or two sentences (which, in a setting like that, is all you get if you are lucky) the current answers I have to the questions I’ve been seeking answers to for more than half my life. What happens when we die? What is the meaning of life? What is life? What is our human potential? As I say, these are all questions I’ve actively explored for years, it’s an enormous field of study. It’s not just something I give thought to now and again.

Sure, the science of consciousness has moved far beyond many of the current views of the world’s residents, and anyone who checked out the latest research and findings in the realms of neuroscience and epigenetics would have cause to reevaluate some of their beliefs. However, most just aren’t that interested.

Why push a boulder uphill? And why try and persuade anyone to your point of view? Isn’t that the single cause of conflict on this planet? Isn’t that where religion fails? At the end of the day, we each have an opinion and only that.

As I shared recently in Why the Big Questions are Important, when I was talking to someone about life, existence and human potential, he acknowledged the probability of ‘something more’ because of the astounding perfection found in nature, but felt it was fruitless to pursue it as nothing could be proven.

My response to that is it can be proven, but only by yourself - through your own experience. And to have mind-expanding experiences, you generally have to be seeking them to be open to them. It doesn’t matter what our science can now tell us, you need to have the experiences to believe them.
As part of the same gathering, in a more sober state, the topic of my daughter’s ear infection came up. We happened to be flying in next week and so it was asked whether she was on antibiotics to make sure she’d be okay.

All the same emotions and thoughts came up for me then as they did when discussing what happens when you die. To most they are not related, to me everything is related.

Here are the thoughts that went through my head. Our bodies are perfect, they are far superior to anything man has ever constructed or dreamed about. They are most certainly capable of (and intended to) heal themselves. We are at a point as a society where we know antibiotics (like most synthetic medicines) kill not just the germs that are harmful, but those that are helpful, we generally all now also believe they are over-prescribed and the germs they were intended for are becoming resistant – and this is just in a matter of a few decades of use. 

Yet, in fear, many turn to them at the slightest hint of an infection.

Here is what I had done about my daughter’s ear infection. I first contemplated the emotional cause, for the body in its perfection uses illness to teach us what we need to learn in order to be healthy. It’s common for children to have earache because of the constant moralizing of adults – she had it at the end of the last school term too (though I don’t exempt myself from the choir that is preaching).

Then I had my daughter’s ears physically checked, indeed flying with earache is not just undesirable, it would be a dumb risk for me to take with her hearing. We could see there was fluid in her Eustachian tube. The fluid needed to be drained as it creates pressure on the ear drum, which can be done by blowing your nose regularly and using a nasal spray with just saline or something else natural, along with steam inhalations.

If the fluid becomes infected it can become painful, and the body might need some help. Antibiotics have been shown to be effective in only 1 in 9 cases of earache like this (though you can find evidence to support or refute this, but it sounded about right to me personally). I have a preference for energy medicines, homeopathy in particular, and chose Merc Dulc for the job.

Within hours the pain (that had become debilitating for her, along with the fever and vomiting) subsided. The next day the pain was gone entirely, the day after her appetite was back, and now the regular nose spray/ blowing sessions are revealing there is no infection and little fluid.

Her body, in its perfection, has healed itself.

So, what did I say when asked if I’d given her antibiotics? Just that I didn’t think it was necessary or would have been effective. This was enough to kill the conversation in truth, because it lay at the opposite end of the spectrum from the questioner’s beliefs and they did not want to get into an argument. If the topic had come up again in more general terms, I would have just ignored it as I did the question about what happens when you die.

Many of us feel awkward when faced with these questions, and we can feel awkward not answering, but it can get very awkward if you end up disagreeing or arguing about your opinions. What wasted energy, for they really are only opinions after all. So when faced with these awkward social situations I think the best thing to do is just to respond as I started here, with “each to their own”.

On the other hand, when people are more open or accepting, even if they don’t share your beliefs, it can be inspirational and uplifting. What is by far the most inspirational tact to take, is to simply live your own truth, and let others awaken to their own potential as life leads them to it.

I’ve found the best approach in social situations is to turn away from the awkward subjects and lean into the ones in which you have more common ground; it make the whole experience a lot better.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[Life of Your Dreams?]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/life-of-your-dreams
Last week my young daughter’s poignant observation that her life was far from free, set off a chain of thought that led me to the point of realizing we needed to do some good old fashioned (and somewhat cliché) dream building with our kids.

That then made me realise just how little time we assign to any conscious creation of the life we actually want. Instead, most of the time our thoughts are lost in everything we’re observing and experiencing and that just perpetuates more of the same.

So, as I vowed, I started a conversation with the kids about our ideal life.

It has only been a brief conversation so far, which in itself is ridiculous as the kids and I have spent enough time together to have had several really good goes at putting together a pretty good picture of the kind of life we would like.

As you might imagine, the kids had no problem in coming up with ideas.

What I found interesting was the tack they took in their line of thought. Everything they dreamt up appeared to be based on the premise that they would create a lifestyle purely from nature, and it would involve nothing we have commercially available.

When I asked them why this was, they replied that they didn’t want to use money. They have none and they have seen the life of bondage it creates in adults.

It was fascinating to realise that the kids and I seemed in tune about our ideal lifestyle, even although I have shared very little with them about the direction my own thoughts have taken of late, involving a great deal of contemplation about getting back to a more natural lifestyle.

While we spent only a few minutes talking about our ideal life, it has set in motion further thoughts and comparisons with the life we lead now. I have no wish to make life harder than it is, and it can often feel hard just to think about bucking the ‘normal’ ways of living, never mind doing it.

I don’t have any aspirations to Tom and Barbara in The Good Life (a 1970’s British Sitcom about a couple escaping commercialism to become self sufficient), I have more of a vision that the new normal will be a return to self sufficiency and sustainability.

To create the kind of lifestyle that we would find ideal needs to feel easy though, and not like we would be pushing uphill, though admittedly alternatives lifestyles are certainly more on the agenda these days than they were in the 1970’s.

For example, when I consider the schooling choice we have made for our kids, it has exposed us (perhaps more so than in a state school environment) to alternative lifestyles; mainly evident around food choices.

Gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and vegetarian are all common place dietary choices and, while it certainly poses a challenge to cater for any event that traditionally involves ‘treats’ for a number of kids, these types of food are certainly more widely available and easily obtainable than at any other time in my life.

Despite that, food shopping, baking and cooking are not high on my agenda. Neither is gardening, although I do appreciate plucking lettuce leaves and other fresh things from our garden - courtesy of my partner’s endeavours - to eat only minutes later. For my own part, I find it simpler to avoid anything involving catering and am just grateful my daughters’ birthdays generally fall in strawberry season, since these are fairly universally regarded as yummy and meet most of the ‘free’ requirements.

While I’m not a zealot, I am an advocate of natural living (including food) and feel that, quite simply, the closer something is to its natural state the better it is for us.

Yet here we are plopped right in the middle of an age and society that has created a crazy world (see Escape the Insanity of Your Life) where, instead of it being easy to eat richly beneficial food that grows under our noses on the land where we live, it’s easier to eat food that we go online or get in our car to obtain, and may have been flown half way around the world, be genetically modified, highly refined  and/or pumped full of enhancers or preservatives.

In this regard, I think I need to take more of a lead from my kids, who were not in the least bit concerned about how we would make any of our ideal lifestyle happen. I was busy telling them we could just trust that whatever we came up with would no doubt unfold so long as we trusted and believed in it. Yet there I was, contemplating all the uphill struggles I could foresee.

I know it’s not down to me to make everything happen, and I know things always work out, I have just been programmed the way most of us have. Despite all the work I’ve put in on raising my conscious awareness of the thoughts running through my head, and in starting to focus on the thoughts that are more beneficial, that old societal programming still has the ability to kick into overdrive at times.

So much so that a whole week has gone past and the kids and I had only that one conversation about creating our ideal life. What happened to all my intentions of getting them to draw pictures of it? Like happens with all of us, life gets busy. I could give you the run down and you may even sympathise, though most likely you’d simply recognise the same craziness in your own life.

That is okay, even if it takes me a month, or six, I know we will spend more time dreaming the lifestyle we want into existence. We’ve just made a start, and that will do for now.

What about you and the life of your dreams? It’s almost holiday season; most of us get at least some time out. How about just taking a moment of that to dream a little? You never know what could happen, and it’s certain to at least take you in the direction of your best life.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.  
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<![CDATA[Life is Free and Life is Fun]]>Sun, 03 Dec 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/life-is-free-and-life-is-fun
Yeah right! Except… what is stopping us from making it that way?

“Life is free and life is fun” said the narrator calmly. “Life isn’t free!” my daughter exclaimed; our kids were listening to a bedtime meditation story. Straight away she cited some examples dear to her heart “we don’t have free (style) drawing at school, we have (designated) play groups and, if life was free, we wouldn’t have to go to bed at a ‘reasonable’ hour.”

Of course she is right, from her vantage point, life isn’t free.

“You can change that” I told her “you came to build a new world, not live in this one. You just have to be smart about it.”

I started in on a brief explanation about focusing our thoughts, then just told her to put her attention on what she wants rather than what she doesn’t want. “Imagine what you want in great detail, as much as you can, and trust what your thoughts have set in motion.”

The way she picked that statement out about freedom really stuck me, especially as I had just written an article only last week about the insanity of our lives. “It must be the current theme I’m currently exploring in the journey of life” I mused.

It reminded me of another story I heard recently, about a priest in Egypt watching on as many hundreds of slaves were put to work on a building project. After a long contemplation he decreed the slaves should be set free and offered coins to do the same work.

There was an incredulous response to this course of action, and so he explained that the slaves begrudged the work, and so were slow in their efforts, requiring constant goading. The slaves were also expensive to keep, they had to be fed and housed. And so, for less money, they freed the slaves who – of course – came back to the same jobs much more willingly for coins. “This” the priest said “is democracy”.

The key in this story, and the one of our life, is the contemplation that took place on the priest’s part.
Those with true power are those who know that power lies within – within the realms of your thoughts and imagination. We only need to grasp that thoughts really do create things, and we have our solution.

Of course, we can keep going round the same old hamster wheel year after year, or we can take charge of our thoughts. Or at least start by just noticing what those thoughts are.

As a friend of ours said to me today when I told him the story “yep, we get to choose what we think and how we feel”. This is absolutely true, yet most of us run on autopilot and let our feelings be dictated in response to whatever we are experiencing. So we harvest more of the same.

If our thoughts and feelings are running on autopilot, who did the thinking that put the thoughts in there? This was the theme of the article Your Best Thinking = Your Best Decisions = Your Best Life. We all have the choice to be like the priest in the story, to observe and to make smart moves, or equally we can choose bondage, like the ‘freed’ slaves.

So life can be free and it can be fun, is yours?

Mine is probably like yours, I still let what is happening around me dictate what I am feeling too much of the time. Intellectually I get what I’m pointing to in these thoughts I share with you, but emotionally I get wrapped up in everything from the fights the kids have to the things that are happening on the other side of the world with the people I love.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling the range of emotions I feel in response to those things, but they create more thoughts, and the thoughts spiral, and before I know it the whole direction of my day can go down the gurgler if I don’t catch what is happening.

So I make it my business to catch these thoughts, to be aware of what I’m thinking and feeling, to simply take the steam out of them. I manage that more easily now than ever because, by regularly meditating (for 15 minutes each day), I have practiced and practiced noticing and letting go of thoughts that aren’t helping me.

Now it’s about kick starting my fervent imagination, to create the kind of world I want to live in. In What a Wonderful World This Is, I talked about the great things we have to focus on in the here and now, those create a good backdrop from which we can start to paint the canvas of the future.

My kids have an amazing imagination, I know when I talk to my daughter about using it to build a new world that she gets this stuff better than I do; she’s not nearly as buried under layers and years of dogmas and societal constructs and other nonsense that has filled our heads and cut us off from our hearts.

Perhaps it is time to write a story of the future, the kind of future where life is free and life is fun for all of us all of the time? This is the story of my life, and your life, and our children’s lives, and their children’s lives. It starts here, today, right in this very moment, invest in a bit of dreaming and you’ll have planted a seed for a better future.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at
shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.  
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<![CDATA[Escape the Insanity of Your Life]]>Sun, 26 Nov 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/escape-the-insanity-of-your-life
I read a story about a man who had an apple tree on the land where he lived, when he was hungry and fancied one, he picked an apple and ate it. The taste of this apple is beyond the comprehension of most of us today, we are used to buying fruit long since plucked from its source of life, not grown for its nutrition or even taste particularly, more for its shelf life.  This apple, however, was freely available to him and contributed greatly to the man’s health and wellbeing.

One day this man looks over at an apple tree on some neighbouring land. He sees others picking all the apples, putting them into boxes. Upon investigation he discovers the apples are being picked for a thing called a wholesaler, who will exchange them for a thing called money with a thing called a shop. A shop is where his fellow man will go with his own money that he has earned from a thing called a job to buy the apple. Some portion of the money the wholesaler and the retailer made, will go towards a thing called a tax imposed by a thing called a government.

I could go further. On neighbouring land he may in fact see orchards full of apple trees, propagated for more so for their looks and shelf life than anything else. This land will be sprayed with fertilizers, insecticides and weed killers to keep the orchard in full production.

What part of this makes sense?

The man could not make sense of it, why would his fellow man take a job to buy something he had freely available? He had planted a variety of trees and shrubs, the plants on the land he tended did not need things sprayed upon them in order to thrive, they naturally attracted insects that were helpful to their growth and the dead leaves and fallen branches of other plants would fertilize the soil.

Once upon a time there was an Earth more abundant with plant life and beasts than it is today. Humans lived in that abundance, freely on the land, man had not yet ‘carved up’ nature proclaiming ownership of some sort. Yet here we are, the proverbial frogs slowly boiled in a pan of water.

How did this happen? I can recount to you several theories, or perhaps you can work it out for yourself. Logic would dictate it was driven by a thirst for power and by people who did much planning and scheming. We had abundance, we cut it up and created ‘systems’ that we now we live in slavery to. Whoever the original source or sources, they had time to think and knew that their thoughts held the key to creation.

Perhaps let’s not dwell on who, because it’s happened over such a long period of time (proverbial frogs remember) and it really is no longer even relevant. What is more relevant is to recognise it for what it is, insanity. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Mmm, well then, how do we break the cycle?

Well, start by simply becoming aware that you live in bondage to a man made construct called ‘society’ shaped and reshaped over hundreds or years, thousands actually.

Given all the habitable land on Earth (estimated 15.77 billion acres) this is enough for more than 2 acres per person, though as Mahatma Gandi said “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed”. So why it that land, which preceded humans, is something which is ‘owned’?

I used to think ‘living off grid’ was the domain of hippies and doomsday preppers, but lately I’ve been looking at things a little differently. Although I wouldn’t call myself a gardener, I do recall what my dad taught me about planting with the end in mind, with regard to the natural size things would grow, the natural cycles and seasons, to create all year round interest and food. A few of the parents at our kids’ school have taken such courses in organic gardening in recent years. People are beginning to see the sense in returning to the land.

We should not underestimate the difference in taste and nutritional value of plants grown in loving care. Talking to ones plants has always been a bit of a kooky gardener’s thing. Yet think how anything reacts if it is treated simply as one of a number. Perhaps look at the work of Masaru Emoto when he decided to photograph frozen water from various different sources – the difference between water bestowed with good wishes and that which is not is immense.

While I’ve focused on plants here, it’s worth also consider whether humans have yet to make anything anywhere near to the perfection found in nature. Even with plants we have lost a lot of what our ancestors knew about their healing properties. But there is so much about the natural world, including our own bodies and consciousness that eludes us as we have become so entrapped in a different world of our own making.

There was a time when I would aspire to things money could buy: bigger houses, nice clothes, expensive trips and fine jewelry were on the list. I’ve had, and still have, nice things. But nothing we humans have created comes even close to the intelligence and beauty found naturally.

Compare nature to the ugliness of man’s rotting creations of yesteryear, the ever-growing garbage pile of consumable goods, never mind the run down appearance and associated societal issues with old housing and untended parts of towns.

Everything we create requires maintenance. We have becomes slaves of our own creations, creations that are substandard to those that naturally exist, and are freely available in nature.

And nothing – not all the massages, spas and holidays – comes as close to soothing and creating clarity as time in nature. Time to think, to contemplate life, your life.

Time, as another friend reminded me today, another man made construct. It’s the one thing most people yearn for more of, time to do with whatever they feel – the things you want to do rather than the things you feel you have to do.

What can you do about it? Rage against the machine is one thing, but it does nothing but give power to the machine. Better to ignore it altogether if possible, focus on the future you do want.

What is that though? Have you taken any time to think about it beyond the relentless machine you are part of today? Perhaps now is the time. As we approach another new year, a time when typically people reevaluate their lives. What about a commitment to have regular time to contemplate your life, to keep your eye on the bigger picture, to make quality decisions?

Making it a priority to take time just for you, to think, to simply be, is far more important than you realise. You are part of the generations becoming more aware of themselves on Earth, you know you are a frog whose skin had adapted to the boiling temperatures of the pot, but you also feel the freedom beyond the pot and yearn to make the leap.

Go ahead, take the leap, escape the insanity of this man made world and take some time to fill your cup in nature. Not just temporary reprieves, but life changing moves. Take the time to contemplate your life, to do your best thinking, and that will lead to your best life.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.  
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<![CDATA[Why the Big Questions Are Important]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/why-the-big-questions-are-important
As I was talking to someone last week about life, existence and human potential, he acknowledged the probability of ‘something more’ because of the astounding perfection found in nature, but felt it was fruitless to pursue it as nothing could be proven.

I reflected on this and realised that is not in fact true, it can be proven – but – only to oneself. There is little value in trying to prove or persuade anyone else to a belief in something that cannot be taught, only experienced.

The more I pondered this, I asked myself why it’s important to ask the bigger questions about our existence. The answers are many, but can be summed up simply as the answers lead you to your best life.

As discussed in previous articles, like “is religion stopping you from exploring your inner world?”, for many years I simply didn’t think too deeply about the meaning of life, although I did come to a vague point of appreciating that there was more that existed beyond my comprehension.

Then, just prior to leaving the corporate world three years ago, I had a number of things fall into place that suddenly opened my eyes to a whole new world around me.

Shortly afterwards, I managed to neatly manifest an exit from corporate life with a steely determination to uncover more of the real me, I just felt there was so much more to me and to life than I was experiencing.

Over these last few years, I have written to focus my thoughts and understand my feelings, understanding these are the very tools of creation. Thoughts, and the way we feel about them, become things.

Taking charge of our thoughts and feelings begins a process of creating life experiences that are wanted rather than a result of lazy thinking. Lazy thinking is – for example – thoughts about hating a boss, a job, a partner. There is nothing wrong in having the thought, the point is to recognise the thought and recognise that unless you do something to change the thought you will continue to experience all the same things in the future.

Note I’m saying “change the thought” rather than the boss, job or partner. You can do those things too, certainly the thoughts you have gathered about those will have a lot of momentum and are perhaps easier to change when there are not those specific people in your life. However, if you don’t learn to recognise and change the unhelpful thought patterns that led to those circumstances, you will simply attract them again in a different guise.

So, yes, you can change your experiences in life. First there are those experiences with the things that you have personal relationships with – like your health, wellbeing, relationships and wealth. A good place to start, but as you undertake the journey and your experiences validate the power of your thoughts and feelings in your life, keep asking yourself about the bigger questions -“why am I here?”. “what is the purpose of my life?”, “what is the purpose of all life?”.

As I did and discovered that the more I come to know, the more I realise I don’t know. Life is exponentially more amazing than I imagined.

Muhammad Ali once said “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it”. I’ve known this to be true for a while. So let’s zone into something quite spectacular. Think Star Trek and “beam me up Scottie”, can a human dematerialise and then rematerialise in another place? In the same or a different time and space dimension?

Only you can answer that for yourself. I have now had enough experience of my own existence in this physical body and of the non-physical energy that flows through it to believe that is indeed possible. Though is seems a rather intense process to put the physical body through when it is entirely possible to separate all that you are from your physical body temporarily and undertake experiences elsewhere much more easily.

I was thinking this as I spent almost 60 hours in a metal tube flying through the air this week to visit loved ones. Now that really takes a toll on the body physically. Yet, if there was a more widespread understanding of the human capacity to do this, people who live at a distance could easily ‘visit’ or communicate with each other without the arduous undertaking of the body making the actual journey.

You can remain skeptical of this, but should you wish to explore it, you will find there are examples out there of humans who have and do achieve this. And should you wish to not believe them, you will find evidence for that too.

What remains at the heart of this is the controversy that we are eternal, non-physical beings who are simply having a physical experience in this time and space dimension. Instead we see ourselves cut-off from all that is and believe we are only this body and the thoughts it has.

But for me, and the experiences that have led to me to this broader understanding of life, so much of the way we live and the things that cause pain are so unnecessary.

If every thought that ever existed still remains, it is only energy after all, and you can access that ‘thought bank’ at any time, then why do we ‘educate’ our children?

Why do we treat our children as empty vessels that need to “learn about the world”? What if they are actually only needing to learn how to best flow their energy through this physical apparatus they projected themselves into?

Therein lies the problem. That is not something most of us know how to teach, and so for generations we have perpetuated this insanely limited and cut-off version of who we really are.

What if nature can provide you with absolutely everything you need? There is nothing man has invented that even comes close to the natural world. You might think of modern technology as being something of an example, well, while the internet perhaps provides a conceptual example of what I am talking about in terms of the ‘thought bank’ I mentioned, it is vastly inferior to what already exists.

But just look at water, The Miracle of Water was what came of me contemplating this for months as I walked along the beach. But you could do the same with air. Then there’s earth, an amazing ever-changing aspect of the planet, bringing us all that we need to be healthy.

If we understood the power within nature to heal us, rather than relying on the synthetic versions produced by companies who are after money, a construct in itself created by humans to what? To keep you busy, to stop you from thinking about the absurdity of working to earn money to be able to buy food and shelter which is already available to every human being on the planet. The only reason it is not freely available is why?

Why do governments exist? Why do the leadership of those governments not get the time to make quality decisions? Why do we entrust so much to people who haven’t got that quality time? Quality Time = Quality Decisions = Quality of Life.

These are big questions, but money, education, healthcare, commerce, governments, the whole construct of our society today is so unnecessarily restrictive to human potential.  If you are interested in opening up to alternatives to these just read things like Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations or Vladimir Megre’s Ringing Cedar series.

And even death, it is thought of as a bad thing, a painful thing in our society. But if we believed we are non-physical and we are eternal, we might have a different vantage point of this process.

Ask yourself the questions, start with you, and who you are, but keep asking and you will find that the secrets to your happiness and wellbeing are not so hard to find, for they lie within. To go within, step out into nature, meditate, it’s not hard, you just have to want to do it.

If you are not entirely happy with your life, this is a starting point if you want it to be. Asking the big questions will lead to answers, and those answers will help you unlock the secrets to your best life.
I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 
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<![CDATA[Your Best Thinking = Your Best Decisions = Your Best Life]]>Sun, 12 Nov 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/your-best-thinking-your-best-decisions-your-best-life
Where do you do your best thinking? For me it’s at the beach, which is only a short drive away, and I make it a priority to get there regularly and alone.

Good for me, what a luxury to regularly get to the beach. Not so much, I have moved mountains to make quality thinking time a priority, even then it only happens in short bursts, but anything is better than nothing.

If I’m at the beach and my kids are in tow, well, it’s unlikely much of my attention will be focused anywhere other than them. The same applies if I’m with a friend, or anyone else who is going to need my attention.

It’s not just people who distract you from your inner world though, it’s all the thoughts that are swimming around your head about what has happened, what is happening and what needs to happen.

That is what makes some form of regular meditation so vital, to quieten the less useful thoughts, the fog, and get some clarity and perspective on what is important. There’s no need to make a meal of meditation, the point is to do it regularly, 15 minutes is all you need, allow yourself to get in the habit of noticing and switching your thoughts instead of running on automatic pilot.

These last few years I’ve written a lot about how we cloak ourselves in layer upon layer of others’ beliefs and expectations, derived mainly from our early childhood years and societal expectations, resulting in us not really dancing to the beat of our own drum. But what is it that leads to these expectations and how do we break free of them?

Well, for a start, think about your beliefs. Do some quality thinking. These days with so many working outside the home, and so much media vying for your attention, it’s easy to get sucked along and not really do much thinking at all.

As I read about the leaders of a country being so busy that they really didn’t get the time to make quality decisions, it led me to memories of the corporate world and all the unnecessary meetings and truckloads of email and other nonsense that constantly stood in the way of allowing enough space for quality thinking and, therefore, quality decisions to be made.

It leads you to wonder who is shaping the thinking of today’s leaders? I read a thought provoking statement about Hitler the other day, that while his generals were held to account after the war for their actions, what about his advisors, his spiritual advisor for example? The whole thought pointed to Hitler as more of a puppet than a puppeteer.

So setting aside that particular example, it does raise an interesting question - who are you, the puppet or the puppeteer?

My mum, always so worried I’d be led astray by some dogma or other, asked me quite a few times when she read my early articles about who and what was influencing my thinking. I told her what I’ll repeat here, I do my own thinking and encourage everyone to do the same. Sure, listen, read things, read the opposite just to challenge yourself, but go with what feels right for you in that moment.

​I recall a conversation at two in the morning with an old mentor of mine (we were in different time zones) who was a whistle-blower on the leadership of an Amway distribution group that had been deceiving people about the extent of their profits coming from the personal development system, rather than the Amway products themselves. He said to me “If something feels off, Shona, trust yourself, it probably is”.

That resonated, and it was a turning point for me in terms of self confidence. Over the last 20 years I’ve largely shut myself off from sources of distraction and persuasion – like TV, newspapers, social media etc, and tend to shun any kind of ‘group think’ in favour of my own thinking.

You might wonder that I am therefore not abreast of ‘important’ current affairs, believe me it’s amazing what I seem to pick up by osmosis through everyone around me. It’s more amazing what people think is important, yet those same people aren’t taking the time to think about what is truly important.

Those who read my articles regularly will know I’ve been encouraging people to start thinking about the big stuff – the “Why am I here? What is life about? What is my purpose?” stuff. It’s important; it will kick you into a different mode of thinking, one that can be less influenced by the plethora of media out there.

It’s just as important – more so probably – for our younger generations to think about these things, they are leading us into the next evolution of our world after all.

If you get caught up in the drudge of life, before you know it you’re at the other end, wondering what happened and wishing you’d spent more time dancing to the beat of your own drum, rather than doing what was expected of you by others.

So what of all this? You do your best thinking and what? Well, you make better decisions, pure and simple. The kind of thinking and decisions many only make once a year (if that) when on holiday.
This is how I like to live life. And right now I can tell you I’m happier than I’ve ever been, it’s been that way for a while.

It doesn’t mean I don’t have challenges or that I don’t want more from my life, quite the opposite. It just means I make it a priority to make sure I have perspective, so I don’t get bogged down in drudge and get back on a hamster wheel.

You are important, you are unique, you are worthy and you are enough.

What do you want for your life? How do you want to feel day after day? Only you can make you a priority. If you don’t, no one else will. I can tell you something though, if you will make it a priority to give yourself the space to do some quality thinking on a regular basis, you will absolutely change the momentum of your life for the better. And that is good for everyone.

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You. 

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<![CDATA[Step Out to Reach In]]>Sun, 05 Nov 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://shonakeachie.com/blog/step-out-to-reach-in
Life was designed to be perfect

As were you and I

Yet, far too often ‘less than’ is the now prevalent cry

Really? Are you able to see what is all around?

In nature energy and answers always abound

Are we so cut off from our world we can’t see what really is?

Instead we live our lives in some kind of indoctrinated fizz

We took what was perfect and carved it to our demands

Yet have created nothing as perfect or sustainable

As already exists in our heart and our lands

In fact we took our world and carved it in such a way

As to make ourselves nothing but slaves both night and day

When I am sick or sad or mad, it’s a gift for me to see

What my inner world has been trying hard to tell me

Help is always near in the natural world that we live

Take a walk, feel the truth of all that actually is

Switch off your device

Stop listening to that clown

The fizz is stifling; it keeps your thoughts spinning round

Round the same old circuits, believing you are less

Believing in what? The answer is anyone’s guess

Whatever it is

Is usually designed to keep you down

Believing you are not enough

Intended to wipe the smile, perpetuate a frown

Do you know why you’re here?

Do you know how perfect you are?

Do you know that in all those questions you can ask

The answer is never far

Yet most live their lives

The questions, even if asked

Left unanswered as they hide behind the mask

Go take time in nature

Reach within and you shall see

The answers are already there

They exist within me

I’d love for you to like, comment on, or  share these thoughts with others if they inspire, or contact me directly at shona@shonakeachie.com, I’m always happy to help if I can. To be the first to receive these posts, you can also subscribe to my newsletter and, as a special thank you, you will receive the link to my video 3 Steps to Becoming You.  


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