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’.
My daughters are listening to one of the Harry Potter books on audio – I can hear Harry crying out ‘Expecto Patronum!’, the spell that summons a protective guardian energy.
Many parents have been as caught up in the magic and mystery of their children’s fantasy books as their children, but how many have considered teaching their kids how to create magic in their own lives? Real magic?
I’ve long been struck by the fact that our children’s choice of fiction is either fantasy, in which characters straddle dragons or broomsticks and possess magical items or supernatural abilities, or ‘faction’, in which characters deal with real-life dilemmas like divorce and drugs and death.
Try my ‘Two-Handed Meditation’ to help you Deal With Festive Season Madness
You might instinctively react to the statement that ‘being negative is good for your health’ with a ‘No way! Being negative causes depression and other destructive states of mind, whereas being positive is a creative, optimistic state that is productive and encouraging and hopeful!’ – but if you are familiar with earthing and ions you’ll know that ‘it ain’t necessarily so…’
We have come through that ‘New Year Resolutions’ time where we innocently (naïvely?) set goals that we fully intend to achieve, tentatively set goals that we hope we’ll achieve or, with a mocking laugh, avoid the whole thing altogether.
Having written a personal-development-styled novel for youth, I have suddenly found myself in the strange, and often uncomfortable, position of being an ‘expert’ on goal-achievement; a bizarre turn of events, given my own journey where goals are concerned. Recently, in the process of teaching goal-setting to others, I was struck by the actual spelling of the word ‘goal’ and its association with the word ‘gaol’. After all, the word ‘goal’ and the word ‘gaol’ are not that far apart. Flip a couple of letters and your innocent dream has landed you in the clink.
I was sitting in a business breakfast yesterday morning listening to the famous Beechworth Baker, Tom O’Toole (who is both very inspiring and very entertaining), when he asked the audience the following question: ‘What is success for you?’ and suddenly I realised that, where business was concerned, I had been defining success as something that was still to come.
Immediately I decided to change that definition so that success no longer has to do with book sales (in the future) or number of Mastery Club programs being run (in the future) or number of Facilitators teaching programs (in the future) or number of my writings published (in the future).
I’ve just started a Qi Gung class and when I was the only one to turn up for one class, the Qi Gung master and I settled into a long conversation about energy and healing. In the midst of it he made a comment about 'watering concrete’. The image was so striking that I cannot now recall why he said it or what came either before or after that comment.
'What a great title for a blog or newsletter,' I was thinking (which is the other reason why I didn’t hear what he said after that comment). 'I’ll write it when I get home…' only to find myself sitting in judgement on the concept of watering concrete. It was clearly a criticism of someone, something, some sort of action, but perhaps there was something useful to extract from the apparently pointless exercise of watering concrete… ?
Last week I blogged about the myths of ‘Talent’, ‘Mastery’, ‘Gurus’ and ‘Ideal Partners’ so I figured it would only be fair to blog about the realities this week. Here’s my take…
Writing powerfully is no mystery. There are simple strategies for overcoming writer’s block that all tackle the core issue: an over-zealous internal editor, often masquerading as a critic. When we trust and accept what we’re writing, our writing flows. That might seem to be an over-simplification, but it’s absolutely true. The proof is in the pudding of application. If you dedicate yourself to practising trust and kindness, your words will flow.
I’m in a myth-busting mood, so here are my thoughts about a few of them…
The ‘Talent’ Myth
We tend to think that some people are naturally more talented than others, but (as I teach in my Writing Mastery course) talent is a very misunderstood word!