Change your belief

eagle-soaring

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat on his strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked. “That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbour. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth – we’re chickens.” So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.

Anthony de Mello (1931 – 1987) Jesuit Priest
You become what you believe you are, but if you dream of becoming an eagle, follow your dream, change your beliefs.

 

Change your beliefs

WRITTEN by

When I was a teenager I was the target of a bully at my school.  One day I came home in tears and wrote this on the whiteboard hanging on my bedroom wall:  “I hate bullies.  They make me feel like a loser.”

The next day, while I was at school, my grandmother erased what I wrote on the whiteboard and replaced it with this:  “An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.”

And from that day forward I felt better.  I made a conscious decision to stop letting the bully get inside my head.  I changed my beliefs about his level of importance in my life.

It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control over what you choose to believe.  You can effectively defend yourself against all kinds of negativity by adopting simple, yet powerful, beliefs that support a positive outlook in the face of seemingly negative circumstances.

Below you will find 15 such beliefs that have helped free me from the grips of negativity.  I have these beliefs written down in my journal, and I review them on a regular basis, as needed, just to keep them fresh in my mind.  I hope you will join me by adopting them into your own belief system as well…

  1. What other people say about me is their problem, not mine. – Don’t take other people’s negativity personally.  Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.  What they say and do is a projection of their own reality.  Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you.  What others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.
  2. I am free to be ME. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?  Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and what they want.  Stop living for other people and their opinions.  Be true to yourself.  You are the only person in charge of your life.  The only question is: What do you want to do with the rest of it?
  3. Life isn’t perfect, but it sure is great. – Our goal shouldn’t be to create a perfect life, but to live an imperfect life in radical amazement.  To get up every morning and take and good look around in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is extraordinary.  Every day is a gift.  Never treat life casually.  To be spiritual in any way is to be amazed in every way.  (Read The Happiness Project.)
  4. It’s okay to have down days. – Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise up and never come crashing down.  However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the exact same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs.  It becomes clear that life’s ups require life’s downs.
  5. Even when I’m struggling, I have so much to be grateful for. – What if you awoke today with only the things you were thankful for yesterday?  We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of appreciating everything we do have.  Stress thrives when your worry list is longer than your gratitude list.  Happiness thrives when your gratitude list is longer than your worry list.  So find something to be thankful for right now.
  6. Every experience is just another important lesson. – Disappointments and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to success.  So don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.  When things go wrong, learn what you can and then push the tragedies and mistakes aside.  Remember, life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  We must fail in order to know, and hurt in order to grow.  Good things often fall apart so better things can fall together in their place.
  7. Not everything is meant to stay. – Change can be terrifying, yet all positive growth and healing requires change.  Sometimes you have to find the good in goodbye.  Because the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.  Be strong when everything seems to be going wrong, keep taking small steps, and eventually you will find what you’re looking for.  Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it.
  8. Being wrong is the first step to being right. – Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.  To be creative and productive in life, you must first lose your fear of being wrong.  And remember, a fear like this can only survive inside you if you let it live there.
  9. I do not need to hold on to what’s holding me back. – You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to become.  It’s time to break the beliefs and routines that have been holding you back.  Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer grows you.  Listen to your intuition, not your ego.  When you stop chasing the wrong beliefs, you give the right ideas a chance to catch you.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  10. My happiness today is simply the result of my thinking. – Happiness starts with you – not with your relationships, not with your job, not with your money, but WITH YOU.  It is not always easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is always impossible to find it elsewhere.  Regardless of the situation you face, your attitude is your choice.  Remember, you can’t have a positive life with a negative attitude.  When negativity controls your thoughts, it limits your behavior, actions, and opportunities.  If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would try your best to never think another negative thought again.
  11. Who I spend quality time with matters. – Surround yourself with people who lift you higher – those who see the great potential in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.
  12. Drama and judgments are a waste of perfect happiness. – Make a promise to yourself.  Promise to stop the drama before it begins, to breathe deeply and peacefully, and to love others and yourself without conditions.  Promise to laugh at your own mistakes, and to realize that no one is perfect; we are all human.  Feelings of self-worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible.  (Read The Mastery of Love.)
  13. Most people are judging me far less than it seems. – The truth is, while you’re busy worrying about what others think of you, they’re busy worrying about what you think of them.  Crazy?  Yes, but true.  The good news is this knowledge instantly frees you to let loose and do more of what YOU want.  And while doing so, you’ll also liberate others to do the same.
  14. I can make the world a happier place. – Do your best to help one person every day in some small way.  By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answers to our own.  When the people around us are happier, it’s a lot easier to smile.
  15. The work is worth it. – Lose the expectation that everything in life should be easy.  It rarely is.  In fact, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.  Enjoy the challenge of your achievements.  See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself.  And realize that patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams.  It’s knowing deep down that the work is well worth it in the end.
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Shortest Day of the Year

The winter solstice date was today, December 21. This is the astronomical start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Four days to Christmas, Sunrise was at 08.39 and sunset at 16.24.  Colourful lights adorn even the shabbiest of facades. People engage with “Happy Christmas” at every possible opportunity. The shop assistants are smiling even at the busiest and stressful times, why? because the customers are smiling, spending with abandon, happy to finally get to the shop assistant. After Christmas things, will be different, but that’s for another day. For now, nature and ancestors has given us here in the Northern Hemisphere a cold dark winter and a celebration that brings so many people together.

Warmest wishes to you this Christmas. Enjoy, care and love as best you can. Peace be with you this very special time of year.

Pictures of a snowy Christmas from the recent past.

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STOP, trying to make sense of it. Get busy living this life.

There is an Isle.

I can’t make sense of this. WTF. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be one of the Munster faithful, to be under a placard in the West Stand of Thomond Park that spelt out the name ‘AXEL’ and the shirt number eight (see picture below). It was, for me anyway, a tribute to an incredible lionheart of Munster rugby, Anthony Foley who, suddenly and shockingly passed away at the age of 42 this week. As a proud Munsterman I am as bereft as the next supporter. It is incomprehensible how his family are coping with this terrible and inexplicable loss. The link ‘There is an Isle’ above is the anthem to Axel’s club Rugby side, Shannon RFC.

axel2

Anthony, was an extraordinary rugby player, an extraordinary Munster Man and by all accounts, listening and reading accounts of his life from those close to him and extraordinary friend and gentleman. Reading the messages on the condolences wall , now erected outside of the Shannon RFC Club house, it is clear that his passing has impacted the entire Munster family deeply, of course it has.

It was a privilege to be there yesterday, to be under his name, to bear witness to an extraordinary farewell. To expose the ‘Munster Soul’ , raw, aching and trying to mend itself after taking the worst hit possible. The players on the field played for Axel. It was a fantastic game. The way Axel would have wanted all  Munster games to be. Munster 38, Glasgow 17. Thanks you all and Axel.

Life lessons from Christopher Walken: “None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”

Rugby Munster jersey...Munster captain Anthony Foley holds his five week old son Tony at the launch at the new Munster Rugby jersey in Limerick. - Photo : Kieran Clancy / PicSure 30/6/05

Stop trying to make sense of it. Get busy living this life.

You can’t put an old head on young shoulders. We listen to the wise old sages telling us to enjoy this precious life. The fact is that people really only learn from experience. This sad weekend, we had a mass experience of grief, loss, bewilderment and a coming together that will live long in many of our memories. Axel’s coffin also carried his Munster and Irish cap’s. Axel achieved so much in his short stint. he would be first to say, “Stop trying to make sense of it. Get busy living this life”.

 

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Coloured Rings and The Black Dot

Olympic Rings

Hello All, it’s been a while but tonight at 0000hrs. 6th. August the Rio Olympic Games begin. This is the pinnacle for thousands of athletes. Four years of hard graft finally pay off with the joy of participation at this incredible event. 15000 athletes compete. A couple of hundred  come home with medals.The rest learn and cope with disappointment, setback and determination to start over again. Regardless, they will always be known as Olympians. Embrace the spirit. It’s human after all. I’m staying up to soak in this incredible human endeavour and spirit. We are special. Love Life.

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

Bolt

It has it’s ups and down’s but go enjoy this incredible couple of weeks and do include the Paralympics to blow your mind away of how us humans can overcome such incredible challenges in life.

YES I CAN – follow this link and be humbled and amazed at the same time. All of the images have a Hyperlink so when you see that little finger symbol, do click through, you will enjoy.

THE BLACK DOT: One day the professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously for the exam to begin. The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out he asked the students to turn over the papers. To everyone’s surprise there were no questions~just a black dot in the center of the sheet of paper. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s faces told them the following: “I want you to write about what you see there.” The students confused got started on the inexplicable task. At the end of the class the professor took all the exams and started reading each one of them out loud in front of the students. All of them with No Exception’ defined the black dot trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet. After all them have been read, the classroom silent, the professor started to explain:I’m not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the Black Dot~ and the same happens in our lives. We have a white piece of paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – the nature renewing itself every day, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see everyday….However, we insist on only focussing on the dark spot – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives BUT they’re the ones that pollute our mind. Take your eyes away from the dark dots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each and every moment that life gives you. Be happy and live a life filled with love.

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Choices

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered..

Daili Lama

let’s not go to our graves without having lived.

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The Mindful Breath

Hi Everyone, I did say I would attempt to blog about this growing phenomenon that everyone seems to talking about, ‘Being Present’  otherwise know as, Mindfulness. (I’m attempting to keep this short and as clear as possible)

I’m just back from my Mindful Walk (very icy but crisp and clear), it’s the highlight of my day, every day, and I have my Mindfulness teacher along with me, via the power of my smart phone, WAV Files and Podcasts, guiding me wisely. An insightful and amazing Teacher and if you can get on one of Catherine Sutton’s courses, you will be blessed.

Got this YouTube link last night and it’s perfect. You may have seen it already. It’s a brilliant animation that gets to the heart of what mindfulness is about. Mindfulness is not easy, but it’s simple

One way of understanding this now ‘ubiquitous’ term Mindfulness, for me anyway, is to see the focus on my breath as a way of giving me a bridge over the continuous  flow of the minds ‘ thought processes’.  The breath is like a ‘Bridge over troubled Waters’

Tommy Fleming recorded his now very successful album ‘Voice of Hope’ in the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, including this classic song which is appropriate for this small blog. Tommy is a unique singer and if you have the time to listen to him on youtube I think you might be softened on a very tough day.

I am not the most religious person but back in April 2013 I had reason to travel a 600km round trip with some good friends to offer condolences to one of our good colleagues. We stopped to take a break on this drive at Knock to visit the Basilica at the Knock Shrine. The incredible presence and spirit of this place of pilgrimage for countless millions of people, who visit for faith, hope, peace, solace and relief from suffering for themselves or loved ones. I felt it’s power deeply and if ever you get the chance to journey there I do believe you may too feel this presence (It would be my hope that you do). First for everything.

And hence I think Tommy’s rendition which was recorded in the Basilica at the Knock Shrine of ‘A Bridge over Troubled Waters’ is particularly relevant in that Mindfulness is being practiced by many millions of people to live in the present, focusing on the breath, while letting those troublesome thoughts flow continuously (as they always will, it is the brain’s function) under the bridge. You are aware of the constant stream of thoughts but your meditation and focus on the breath means you choose to stay on the bridge and not be in the river of thoughts. You are not your thoughts.

For me the Bridge is a good analogy. Have a great day, my friends and fellow travellers on life’s road.

Knock

Remember I spoke of the ‘Fork in the Road‘ well I have just accepted a new exciting position, starting next Monday and then off for a global meeting. All go and stomach knotting just the same. I’m making 2016 my mindful challenge, and I’ll hopefully find a little time to write about it on this little blog.

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A Terrible Beauty is Born

This very short blog is a play on the words of our famous poet William Butler Yeats.

Floods3 Floods4Floods1 Floods2

 

It’s been a very rough December and into this new year for a huge number of people here in Ireland. The flooding has been catastrophic across huge swathes of the country and it will take a long time to recover. Fortunately, looking out at an incredible sunrise this Friday morning, 8th. January 2016, we are reliably informed by our forecasters that the worst is over and many farmers and homeowners will now have to start to rebuild their homes and farms. Good luck to them all for a quick recovery.
Ireland sits on the edge of Europe and mother nature can exact a very big price when the seasonal storms visit our beautiful little Island. The water that surrounds our beautiful island, that pounds our coastline and drenches our green fields has shaped the most incredible landscape. Our Terrible Beauty.

Found some incredible footage (5 minutes) shot this year by a visitor to our shores and using a drone he captured our beautiful Atlantic shoreline and landscape in Kerry and Clare, and the words of WB Yeats immediately spring to mind.

2016. Here in Ireland we also celebrate the centenary of the birth of our Republic of which this link will give you all the details. Our beloved Poet William Butler Yeats, living in England at the time, observed as he looked back at the destruction of our Capital City of Dublin and wrote the poem Easter 1916. To look at the ‘Terrible’ destruction of the city, the many deaths of Irish volunteers and of the leaders of the rising who dreamed of a free Ireland, while also appreciating the significance of Ireland becoming an independent state, breaking free from the oppression and imperial rule of the Crown. (The beauty rising from the destruction).

Easter 1916

Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse–
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

 

Have a great weekend

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