The Blessing and Curse of Having a Choice

Jun 03, 13 The Blessing and Curse of Having a Choice

Posted by in Featured, Mindfulness

This is good, that is bad, he is right, she is wrong, we know better, they make mistakes. Where is the truth? We are all so immersed in our own view of the world that we forget one simple thing: We have a choice! A choice of what to believe, of which side to take, of how to define what is true for us. We are so busy judging others, playing the victim, complaining about things we think we cannot control, that we forget about the one thing which always is within our grasp: Choosing our attitudes towards life, choosing who we want to be and what we want to stand for.  I’m sometimes wondering if we forget we have a choice or we choose to forget. Lately I started thinking it’s the latter, rather than the former. Choice is a blessing, but it can be a curse as well. Choice comes with responsibility and often we don’t like what that implies. Isn’t it somehow easier to complain about your job and your boss and to use that as an excuse for always being tired and angry at everybody, rather than just quitting and embracing the risk of not knowing what to do next and financial uncertainty that comes with that? Isn’t it more comfortable to complain about others’ annoying you instead of accepting that you always have a choice of letting yourself be or not be annoyed? Isn’t it easier to find excuses for not living your dreams and let words like “must”, “have to”, “obligation” or “too late” rule your life instead of accepting that you are free to take a different path if you’re ready to leave that comfort zone and embrace the fear of the unknown? Isn’t it easier to feel victimised and use that as a justification for your own aggression, instead of choosing to become the owner of your life and to get out of toxic relationships, step away from hurtful people or stand up for yourself with calm...

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Stepping Off the Treadmill and Into the Ocean

I’m back in sunny Brazil, which is quickly becoming my home away from home. Here, in a small, dusty, green, charmingly animated town by the ocean, one can find an impressive mix people from all over the world. I found myself immersed in this incredible diversity of styles, backgrounds and preoccupations, which felt like being thrown on a cultural carousel – the whole world, normally so full of lines dividing people/nations/cultures seems to have shrunk to the size of a small town where lines are blurred and surprising similarities start emerging from among all the differences. A French businessman seized the opportunity to own a “fazenda de cacau” (cocoa tree farm), producing his own organic brand of chocolate. A Dutch, former University professor, now in her 50s, used her life savings to buy a “pousada” – a small motel – right by the ocean and is now making a living from it. An Australian in her 40s, who had refused to settle down before, finally found true love here, in Bahia, and just had her baby one month ago – she and her husband own the local bakery. A Portuguese chef and passionate hand-made jewellery artist found a place here which she calls home. A lovely, highly educated young woman left a 7 year career in the largest bank of Brazil to live here, by the ocean, with the man she loves – he the manager of a small restaurant, she a waitress speaking flawless English, with a beautiful smile on her face most of the time. Surfers, eccentric “rasta” tattoo artists, people belonging to various spiritual communities, party goers, capoeira dancers with perfectly sculpted bodies diligently practicing their art on the beach every single day mix with locals, expats and tourists from every corner of the world in what probably is the most amazing cultural cocktail that one would ever expect to find in such a small place – barely the size of a pin-tip on the map of Brazil. What do all these people...

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I believe…

Oct 12, 12 I believe…

Posted by in Featured, Thoughts/Ideas

Yesterday, at the end of one of my workshops, I asked participants what is the thought, insight or idea they are taking with them from the day’s experience. I have heard some emotional things over time when asking this question, but this time one person in the room really blew me away and brought tears to my eyes. She said: “Today I was reminded about the incredible power of Good”. This was one of the most powerful reminders of why I do the things I do every day – to bring out the power of Good in people. It reminded me of some other fundamental things I believe in and which lay the foundation for the way I choose to live my life. Perhaps they might inspire you in living yours. I believe in the power of Good. I believe there is light in every single one of us, even though we let ourselves lose it among layers and layers of fears, anger, disappointment, self-constraings and limiting beliefs. Sometimes people need to be reminded about this hidden inner light. I believe in the power of smiling, in the amazing force of kindness, in the magic of compassion and presence. I believe in rainbows and playfulness. Perhaps if we lived as if life were a playground and we were children playing, we’d be just a little bit happier and brighter. I believe none of us are too grown up, nor are any of our jobs too important to ever justify taking ourselves too seriously. I believe in freedom. Freedom to be ourselves. Freedom to make our own choices, even though they might not please everyone around us. I believe we are all masters of our own destinies and we should have the wisdom to let others be the masters of theirs. I believe in honesty. Towards ourselves and others. Even when it’s hard. Even when it doesn’t make us look good. I believe in authenticity. We are all unique. We all have our dark side,...

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On being different…

I’ve written about “being different” before, but from another perspective, more, let’s say “business oriented”. This time it’s more personal. I want to share with you a lesson I learned this evening about personal identity and having the courage to accept and communicate to the world that you are who you are, even when “you” are perhaps, in more ways than one, different from the norm. We all take on roles in this life – professional roles – marketing specialist, trainer, coach, sales person, manager and personal ones – mother, daughter, friend, husband. What I have just realized this evening is that once we’ve communicated that particular role to the world, others start having certain expectations that we fit the role. There is something akin to dogma surrounding different roles. There are “right” and “wrong” things that mothers, coaches, friends should do or should avoid doing. Once you are “qualified” to be in a certain role, it’s as if you’ve just, inadvertently, joined a community of people, all sharing that role. You have a child, you’ve joined the community of mothers. You are a qualified coach, you’ve joined the community of coaches. You’ve joined a family through marriage,  you’re part of a whole new community of in-laws and cousins and friends of the family. And that community has standards, rules, regulations, procedures that you must follow, if you want to be accepted by that particular group. What happens when you trespass others’ expectations from that particular role? What happens when you don’t behave as you are supposed to, within the role? What happens if you craft your own, personal version of the role, that is different from anyone else’s? What happens, for example, if a high-profile finance consultant decides to wear blue-jeans and a t-shirt to work? Will he suddenly become less competent in managing his client’s finances? What about a sales-person who cares more about customer satisfaction than sales targets? Or a mother who decides to offer a completely different education to her...

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