If you read my blog of a few weeks ago (‘Watch a human being emerge from a cocoon’) you’ll know that I was in the process of rethinking my life! Well, I’ve scratched a hole in the chrysalis and I’m peering out. Here’s what I discovered in the process of being ‘liquified’…
I've emerged from my cocoon with the realisation that my core area of mastery is writing and teaching writing. Duh, right?
The phenomenon of the caterpillar constructing a chrysalis and secretly transforming itself into a butterfly is a powerful and wonderful metaphor that inspires most of us.
- What a beautiful illustration of the idea that nothing is destroyed or created but simply changes form!
- What a beautiful symbol of transformation.
- What a stunningly elegant demonstration of the fact that some degree of struggle (the squeezing out of the cocoon) is necessary to develop strength (without being squeezed, the butterfly would be too moist and heavy to fly).
But have you ever wondered about that process inside the cocoon? What is actually going on in there? And what parallels can we draw from that process to our own lives?
One of my ex-writing students is a Marketing Manager and we’re doing an exchange of services at the moment. Something I really appreciate about Ellen is the cleanness of her communication style. In one of our early conversations she deliberately addressed the subject of our expectations.
‘Conflict Resolution Skills’ is a course I taught years ago, and Ellen demonstrated them perfectly. There’s a sliding scale of events that result in conflict from initial Discomforts and Incidents through Misunderstandings and Tension to outright Conflict. In other worlds, conflict doesn’t just happen out of the clear blue sky; it starts with little baby steps…
A friend of mine reckons that water is only good for washing dishes. His beverage of choice is champagne, and his life philosophy is that he’s 'here for a good time, not a long time'.
It sounds good and it’s very amusing but I suspect that when his body starts to fall apart he might have second thoughts. On the other hand, his great attitude to life is such that I’m sure it’s providing him with some pretty decent immunity. At sixty-odd, he’s fitter than many a younger man. I’m going to be interested to see which wins out, physical laws or the laws of the mind!
The Perfect Partner - Perfect for What?
A first-hand account of the retrieval of a drowning relationship.
“Describe your perfect partner,” someone asks you.
“Okay,” you say. “Tall, good-looking, riveting eyes, sex appeal, intelligent, sensitive, honest, good communicator, creative, spiritual, great in bed, fun-loving, financially independent, aligned with whole health and whole food, romantic…”
The list of glowing adjectives just spills out, doesn’t it? It’s not at all difficult to be a Pygmalion, dreaming up an ideal partner, but let’s just fast forward the film past those first few exhilarating years to when the rose-coloured path begins to look boggy... or even bloody...
Don't Look for Mr Right, Or Give Up on Him
– Create Him!
I recently read an article in which the author, Lori Gottlieb, believes that many women are too fussy in their choice of a life partner. In her opinion, they should settle for Mr Good Enough rather than holding out for a romantic fantasy. She advises her reader: “Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling ‘Bravo!’ in movie theatres. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.”
And she makes a valid point. We’re fed such a steady diet of Hollywood romances on TV – in fact, her article draws heavily on television characters – that it’s easy to compare real people with celluloid people who’ve had powder dusted on their blemishes, whose words and actions are backed by stirring music, and who’ve had to re-state their lines until the Director is satisfied. So, yep, if you want to be happy in a relationship, you need a decent sense of reality.
‘Riches, my boy, don’t consist in having things but in not having to do something you don’t want to do, and don’t you forget it. Riches is being able to thumb your nose.’ - Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
I was at a business networking event recently when I found myself chatting with Jay, an Indian businessman who shared with me the following story:
Jay's son had discovered that his friend received 50c for doing the dishes. After telling his mother, she asked, ‘Do you want 50c too?’
You’ve probably heard the proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.
It’s a good one. It makes sense at an everyday human level, but if we delve a little more deeply, it’s actually telling us how the universe works. You know that guidebook everyone says we didn’t come to earth with? Well, that proverb is your guidebook.
In July 2006 I launched my first book, The Mastery Club, in the wake of - and setting off - an absolute explosion of little miracles. For one thing, world inspirational speaker and author Dr John Demartini happened to agree to read my manuscript and in response, wrote my Foreword. For another, enough business people and individuals came forward to purchase copies of the book that our printing bill was covered. For another, I sold out in five months, went to a second print run and sold that out in six months, and then went to a third print run, all inside 12 months. For an unknown author with virtually no publicity and no big money backers, that was pretty awesome.
And then my little Mastery Club project hit a few snags and things started to slow down. The website needed to be updated and there were a series of delays and mishaps, including being offline and unable to process orders just when I was guest speaker on an international telecall. The publicist I had hired, who was absolutely convinced that she would have me on national TV inside of a couple of weeks, didn’t turn up a single media opportunity in ten months. Sales were slowing down.
How do you feel when somebody makes that comment? Do you squirm or smile? Do you feel as if you’ve been criticised or as if you’ve received a compliment?
For the moment let’s not get distracted by the ‘facts’ regarding how upstanding and admirable or how despicable and revolting your parents actually are; instead, pay attention to your response to being tagged with the same brush.
I was never called to summon things with a flick of my wand or straddle a broomstick and take off for the dark side of the moon, but I was certainly interested in magic. Real magic. The kind of magic that transforms ordinary lives as they are lived here on earth.
Then it becomes important to us to win our footy match (score goals!) or the art competition, pass our exams, or take that girl out to the school dance… As adults we want to land the job of our dreams, travel to South America or buy that particular car; we want a life partner, a house, financial abundance…
I don’t know about you but I arrived at the end of last year feeling quite tired and burnt out.
Over Christmas/New Year, I was tackling so much less that I began to deeply relax… and a digestive issue cleared up all by itself…
It occurred to me that it would be a grand idea to not set out to be SuperWoman this year by taking on so very much but to instead be more realistic about how much I am likely to be able to achieve in a day and deliberately only tackle that much; to deliberately 'under-achieve’.