The Magic of Forgiveness

Sounds funny, doesn’t it? Funny word! I heard about Ho’oponopono from a good friend of mine recently and, apart from the weird sound of it and a short explanation on my friend’s part about it being an ancient healing practice, I forgot all about it. Then, as it usually does lately, synchronicity intervened. Today I met a new coaching client, a very nice young woman who had written to me asking for my support with some personal issues that she is currently going through. We talked about many things and, among others, we talked about forgiveness and how difficult it is to give to others, as well as to yourself. For some reason the discussion with her left me in a very meditative state, that awkward feeling I get right when I’m about to discover something new or get a fresh insight. I never know where the insight is going to come, but it always comes from the most surprising sources. I got home and took a quick look on Facebook and one post stood out: “Ho’oponopono meditation for the healing of Earth’s waters”. To join this world-wide group meditation you only needed to do one thing – repeat the mantra: “I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”  For some strange reason I felt a compulsion to look it up and find out more. What I learnt is that Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Islanders in the South Pacific believed that all people and things were interconnected and whenever an imbalance appeared – a disease, a conflict – forgiveness was needed to restore order and balance. Anger and secrecy (repressed emotions) were believed to be major causes of illness – and modern research in the impact of negative emotions on health supports the ancient’s beliefs. Sadly few “modern” people acknowledge and are open to these truths which were common knowledge hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Ho’oponopono was initially a group ceremony, performed by...

read more

Imagine, what if?…

Tonight I saw a movie – “Cloud Atlas” . It is perhaps the most beautiful, uplifting, inspiring movie I have ever seen. Actually I felt as if I was doing more than watching a movie. I felt as if I was being taken on a journey. A journey through time and the intricacies of human destiny. It made me reflect on some fundamental questions that I know are not only my own. Who am I really? What lessons am I meant to learn in this life? What if, for a brief moment, we could all imagine that death is only a door to another plane and that we are perpetually given a new chance to come back to a new life, to learn, to re-learn, to repeat the same mistakes until we are finally ready to step up to a new stage in our evolution? What if every single experience of our lives, good or bad, pleasant or not, is only another lesson? What if, for an instant, we stopped being afraid of death? What if we stopped being afraid of life? What if we believed we are part of something much larger than ourselves and that we are all inter-connected? What if we were convinced that others are nothing more than mirrors of ourselves and that love transcends time, space and any other barrier humans could ever put in its way? I feel that if enough people stopped for a while to at least imagine what life would be like if all the above were true, perhaps we’d be kinder to each other, more forgiving. Perhaps we’d take more responsibility for our own actions and life choices and we’d understand that no-one but ourselves could ever determine our destines. Perhaps we’d stop considering ourselves victims of circumstance or of other people’s bad intentions and start trying to understand what each experience has to teach us. Perhaps we’d stop holding grudges against people who, we think, have hurt or offended us and instead see them...

read more

The Art of Feeling Good

Today I woke up with a song playing in my head. This is the song: [youtube g_ig1gkgoQc]  As it’s my bad habit to think too much about everything, I did it again and I thought a little bit more about this, just in case there was an opportunity here to learn something new about myself. Why this song? Why today? What I realized was that it’s part of a theme I’ve been actually pondering upon for some time now. Where does “feeling good“, “being happy“, “living life to the fullest” really come from? Does it come from outside of us? Lately I have started stumbling upon more and more resources pointing out that the answer lies within, not outside of us. That, in itself, is nothing new. What was new to me was the idea that if you want to reach that source of inner joy and peace, you first have to gather the courage to confront yourself with all your negative emotions – sorrow, fear, rage, sadness, despair, guilt –  live through them instead of running away from them or drowning up in them. I am now reading a book by Richard Moss, a doctor turned visionary thinker and teacher. The book is called “The Mandala of Being – Discovering the Power of Awarenes“. It basically analyzes where we go when we run away from ourselves. And he says there are 4 places where our minds take us – the past, the future, the notion of “me” and the notion of “you”. This he calls “the mandala of being”. At the center of it is “Now” or “the Beginning”. There is a wonderful metaphor he uses, that really helped me understand what he means when he says we are all more than our memories of the past, our hopes for the future, or our judgements about ourselves and others. The metaphor goes like this: All our thoughts and feelings are like kites in the sky. They fly on the sky of our beings....

read more

Who Am I?

This past week I facilitated a workshop for a group of managers, and tried to change what I usually do in the beginning, when people introduce themselves – I asked them some challenging questions, aimed at making them think and making the “introductions” part more interesting for everyone. There was one question in particular that turned out to be a real challenge – although I hadn’t intended it to. The question was: “Who are you?”.  I had written this question on the introductory slide without really thinking about its deep meaning, and I was surprised at people’s reaction to it. Many identified themselves with their daily roles – manager, father, wife, friend, economist. Others mentioned personal qualities that defined them: goodness, honesty, openness, curiosity. Some said, openly, that they didn’t really know who they were, that they were still searching and discovering themselves every day. Listening to them got me thinking about myself and this question. Who am I? I realized I have been striving to answer this question all my life. There have been times when I thought I was getting close to finding the answer, and there were times when I felt like a visitor in my own life – as if I didn’t belong there, as if my home were somewhere else, but I had no clue where. In time, I became friends with this never-ending dilemma – Who am I? In doing so, I discovered something very important. I realized what I am NOT and that is something I would like to share with you. YOU are NOT your roles in life! I learned that I am so much more than my roles. I am not only a daughter, a sister, a friend, a trainer, a coach, a woman… All these are roles I take on every day – roles that I cherish, that are part of me, that make me feel alive and connected. They are part of my identity. But not a single one of them is ME –...

read more

5 Great Books on Happiness

Aug 15, 11 5 Great Books on Happiness

Posted by in Books, Featured, Psychology, Videos

Summer is usually a quieter time, that most of us spend recharging our batteries. It can also be a time for introspection and reading “for the soul”. That’s why I’m happy to recommend 5 great books on happiness, perfect for summer reading and full of ideas to keep us “charged” for the rest of the year. 1. Gretchen Rubin – “The Happiness Project” This is definitely the greatest book I’ve read this summer. It’s a funny and authentic tale of Gretchen Rubin’s year-long quest for happiness – a year in which she tested the most famous studies and theories on the subject. You’ll definitely identify with many of Rubin’s stories and examples and get the tools to start your own happiness project. This book will likely give you some great ideas on how to increase happiness in your own life. Here is Gretchen’s Happiness Project story in her own words: 2. Martin Seligman‘s – “Flourish“ This is the follow up to the famous “Authentic Happiness”. Seligman, the father of positive psychology, updates and refines his theory on human happiness, renaming it, more appropriately – human well-being or flourishing. It’s probably the best scientific account of what makes life worth living. I really appreciate Seligman’s scientific rigor – I think it makes his conclusions even more worthwhile – the instruments of positive psychology are proven, beyond doubt, to improve human well-being – and they have now been applied in schools, in the workplace and even in the army, with remarkable results! I highly recommend this book to all who are looking for a scientifically validated perspective on maximizing human potential. Here is a video of Seligman, detailing the book’s key concepts: 3. Jonathan Haidt – “The Happiness Hypothesis“ This is perhaps one of the best books on happiness that you could find! Haidt, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, tests 10 great ancient ideas about happiness that he questions in the light of the latest scientific research. The book takes the reader...

read more

Is There a Science of Happiness?

Jul 01, 11 Is There a Science of Happiness?

Posted by in Books, Featured, Psychology, Videos

For a very long time, psychology, the branch of science which was supposed to be concerned with human behavior and mental processes, had a surprisingly narrow focus – researching only human misery and mental illness. All efforts were concentrated on understanding and alleviating mental disorders, and this in turn led to a whole revolution in pharmacology (with unimaginable profits for drug companies). For decades, countless drugs were developed to aid psychotherapy in its battle with disorders ranging from depression to much more debilitating conditions, such as schizophrenia. All this changed some 13 years ago, when Martin Seligman became the President of the American Psychological Association. Seligman, a psychologist who had devoted his career to subjects such as “learned helplessness”  took a sharp turn in focus. He realized that the human condition might benefit much more if psychology started researching what makes people happy, what makes up the good life, the accomplished life, the meaningful life that, ultimately, all humans were striving toward. Seligman’s monumental insight was that researching human suffering and alleviating it was far from equal with increasing human wellbeing. Less pain did not mean more joy. So where did joy come from? This is the question that Marty Seligman has been striving to find an answer to for the past decade. His quest has led to a whole new science of happiness, a new branch of psychology – Positive Psychology, a wave of research done in schools, communities and in the workplace. He documented his journey in two books – “Authentic Happiness”, published 10 years ago and, recently, this year, “Flourishing”. In his latest book he takes the science of happiness one step further and arguments that a fulfilling life is about more than happiness – it’s about well-being. He identifies the elements of well-being and supports with solid scientific evidence the ingredients that lead to human flourishing. Here is a speech held at Google Zeitgeist, where he reveals his latest findings. I hope you enjoy it and I’m looking forward to...

read more