Posted in Family, Life Purpose, Relationships

“I wonder if it is that emptiness which swallows our spirit for living?”

218a95fa-f347-470b-8496-0de93e89ca27 They spoke for three hours. Something was weighing on his mind. He was devastated by the number of suicides which he had experienced within his community over the last couple of years.  As they shared their experiences, they both realized that between the two of them, they knew of almost twenty people who had committed suicide.

“What makes them do it?” he asked her.

“I don’t know.” she replied.

“Sometimes I think that we have not learnt how to experience emptiness within us.  There are two types of emptiness – one which last for a short period and one which last for a long period which leaves a feeling of hopelessness within.  Both are normal and both should be seen as healthy but sometimes people can’t cope with that feeling of emptiness.” He answered quietly.

They explored the topic from all angles – from people who have everything and seem to have no clear reason to commit suicide, to people who were stressed by financial, emotional or social challenges…but still, at the end of the conversation, he did not have an answer to justify the deliberate end of a life.

“If you had a serious problem, like debt or you had committed a crime or had been in a situation which made you feel ashamed, who would you go to?” she asked.

He bent his head and got in a pensive mood. “I have no one who could support me if I was in a serious crisis.  No one has time and neither do they have the resources to support someone else.  We are all busy trying to hold our own stuff together.” he replied.

The conversation left a heavy feeling in the air. His body shifted uncomfortably. As she looked closer at him, she saw the sadness in his eyes.  She suddenly became alerted to the unspoken message within the room.  He was close to the edge himself. As he pondered on the grief of others, his own grief of trying to hold it together for so long by himself was beginning to crumble. The tears welled in his eyes and as they streamed down his face. His sobbing was unstoppable. “I am sorry.” he apologized between the sheets of tissue. “It is so hard to keep it all in sometimes.  Just having anyone to listen to relieve the emptiness is so important. I don’t have a problem which I can name.  I have an emptiness in me which seems to be going on forever.  I wonder if it is that emptiness which swallows our spirit for living?”

We often think that problems need a diagnosis.  Maybe most do.  But what if it is just this nagging feeling that won’t go away?  What if the only way to get through it, is to talk long enough?  What if the problem may never be fixed? Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, stress, inability to cope with life, cannot always be seen on someone’s face. We may not have the answer to why someone commits suicide and there are some things which we may never understand in this lifetime.

My simple explanation is that it is simply their exit point from this lifetime. However, don’t underestimate the power of a conversation today! You may just be that lifeline to someone.  Also, don’t forget to seek support when that feeling of emptiness seems to be taking away your spirit for living fully.

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in Health and Wellness, People who inspire others, Women

Are you aging gracefully?

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My friend Sharon stopped by my office a few weeks ago and I could not help but admire her clear flawless complexion and her youthful energy. She is a great role model of a woman who is aging gracefully.  (I won’t tell you her age!) I met her eleven  years ago and was instantly drawn to her lovely, long silver hair and her very positive energy. She exudes a beautiful, zen presence and makes others feel completely welcomed in her space, wherever that space is.  Coincidentally, I met her around the same time when I was in a dilemma about whether I should dye my hair as a few strands were turning grey.  Looking at her hair made me decide not to dye mine – why not just keep in natural?  Eleven years later, I am glad that I kept all my greys because I am enjoying them completely.  It makes me feel wiser – maybe one day my hair will look like Sharon’s hair.

Women and men become more mindful of aging after the age of 40.  For me, my 40’s are amazing years in my life. I had several conversations with women from  different parts of the world who use different strategies to age gracefully.  Here are some of their secrets for aging gracefully:

– Make decisions based on your values and your visions for your life.  You will never please everyone but make sure that you are happy or can genuinely live with whatever decisions you make in  life.

– Forgive quickly.  Don’t hold on to anger and resentment.  It kills your spirit slowly.  Find a way to let go of things and people which has caused you grief.

– Do something positive for yourself and someone else or for the environment every day.  Doing good and positive things make you feel good about yourself.  When you feel good, it naturally boost your immune system, reduces stress and relaxes your body. Stress causes your heart rate  to go up and causes other illnesses such as digestive problems, ulcers and even cancer.

– Live simply that others may simply live. Sharon told me that she lives her life by this motto – as she grows older, there is a need to have less things in her own life.  She is a great example of reaching out to others in a soft, compassionate and heartfelt way.

– Eat lots of greens, vegetables and fruit. Stay away from sugar.  Sugar creates yeast in the body. Yeast causes havoc.  Greens, fruits and vegetables provides nutrients which makes our skin glow, keeps our hair healthy and helps our organs to function at their optimal capacity.

– Exercise daily. Walk, swim, do crunches, cycle,  run, aerobics, weights, jumping jacks, ski – physical exercise produces endorphins which makes us feel good.  Find out what your ideal weight should be and try to stay within in.

– Meditate and pray.  A few quiet  moments each day does wonders for our souls.  It reconnects us to our spirit and makes us feel the “awe” of life.

– Create moments to simply give thanks for all the good things in your life. Give thanks for all the bad things too.  A heart full of gratitude brings abundance to us.

– Choose your battles. No need to fight with everyone and everything.  Some things are best left alone.  Karma deals with everything…. the good, the bad and the ugly.

– Smile.  It is that simple.  It keeps your face looking relaxed and invites others into your space.

– Be genuine with others.  There is no need to hang around people whom you really do not care about.  We don’t have to like everyone but we need to be genuine. Not being genuine drains our good energy.

– Enjoy the presence of others by being in the present moment. Enjoy good company.  Plan moments for you to get away with others whom you really genuinely care about.

– Work at a job you love.  If you don’t have a job you love, start adjusting your attitude towards it, find another job or create a job for yourself.  Work stress negatively impacts our emotional and spiritual health.  This causes us to age rapidly.

– Be in a happy relationship which gives you the opportunity to grow and share in an intimate and “heart connecting” way.

– Enjoy physical touch.  Hug.  Kiss. Make love. Massage. Touch others with love and embrace the touch of others with love.

– Try new experiences.  Your brain need stimulation and has the ability to build neural connections throughout life.

– Spend time in nature.  Nature takes us back to balance.

– Plan events/occasions/opportunities to look forward to.

My own special tip – stay away from people and situations which cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.

Love fully. Laugh loudly. Live with abandon.

What are your tips for aging gracefully?

TuneIn and StepUp to create  your own mindset that this is YOUR life…not a dress rehearsal.  So live it up and age gracefully!

Love,

Magdalene

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Do you feel that you have lost your spirt? How do you feed your spirt?

Feed your Spirt

It is not hard to lose the essence of who we are.  It is not hard to lose our souls.  Our lives sometimes feel so busy that we don’t have the time or energy to listen to our spirit, which is really longing for our attention to help us live our best lives.

We hear it in our voices when we say or think:

“I feel lost.”

“I feel tired.”

“I am not feeling fulfilled.”

“I need a challenge.”

“I feel bored.”

“I no longer know what I am doing with this job/partner/relationship.”

“I can’t stand my job any longer.”

When we disconnect from our spirit, everything else begins to crash around us.  When we tune in to those feelings – it is a signal for us to get back on track and honour that essence which sustains us.

For many years, I struggled trying to understand how to be quiet and meditate.   When I tried to sit quietly, my mind seemed to drift to my multitude of challenges. But I never gave up.  In my quest to quieten my mind, I have read lots of books on meditation.  One of them gave me an insight which changed everything completely.  It helped me to understand that my breath is the source of all life. It is the source which feeds my spirit.  As soon as this clicked in my mind, I found that I could lie down quietly and breathe deeply peacefully and let all other things float out of my mind.  I understand how important that my breath is – it is the breath of life.  As I lie down and just simply breathe in and out deeply for 15 minutes, I give my body and spirit, the gift of acknowledging the power of that breath and that life which I have been blessed with through grace. The  oxygen which feeds the cells of my body feel delighted that I take the time to do this.  In my moments of stress, my spirit reminds me to go back to my breath – and as I tune in to breathing and acknowledging that essence of who I am, all things become peaceful again.

TuneIn to your spirit today.  How do you feed it?

A walk?

Laughter?

Charity?

Breathing?

Singing?

Working out?

Slowing down?

A long bath?

Listening to music?

Lighting candles?

Doing the thing that feels right?

StepUp to feed your spirit daily.  It is so longing for you to come home to it – it is the source of our true essence.

Sign up for a TuneIn and StepUp Challenge.  We are looking for participants worldwide!

https://tuneinandstepup2013.wordpress.com/signup-for-a-tunein-and-stepup-challenge-2014/

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in Uncategorized

Do you deliver 70% or 100%?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Don’t expect others to do things exactly as you would do it yourself. If you can deliver at least 70%, it is o.k.” These were the words of my mentor advising me on how to deal with a project several years ago.

Why was 70% o.k for him? It was not good enough for me. At that time, I had high expectations of myself and others plus the need to control the results of the project which added additional stress on my mind and the team. I couldn’t understand why others could not put as much effort in getting things done as I was.

Wisdom kicked in over the years. I have lost several committed friends to illness and death who wished they had a more balanced approach and had spent more time enjoying the journey of life. I still aim high but I know that most importantly when managing projects and my life in general, each person involved can make or break the targeted results. For excellent execution, 80% of problems are solved by simply having the right people in the first place who also understand the true value of a team and how to balance each other. While we all want our visions to materialize perfectly, we need to consider other factors that life throws at us and continuously work at risk management. My mentor’s suggestion for delivering at least 70% of my results allows me to cater to the days that someone is ill; a few moments to enjoy and celebrate something special; a few moments to breathe a little better; a few moments to connect at a deeper level with someone; a few moments in between to simply let life lead me down paths I would not think about before. 70% allows me a few moments do nothing sometimes.

My 70% helps me to manage my expectations around other human beings in my path and acknowledge that they too are their own soul journeys with their dreams and challenges. Managing these expectations significantly reduces my stress level which increases my ability to manage everything around me better. Surprisingly, my 70% is becoming a restful and enjoyable 90% of living life generously, gracefully and with a sense of well-being. I actually prefer to live life with this balance than the stressful drive to getting things done perfectly well. Sometimes, we get to 100% with the least effort simply because a space has been created to be at ease with each other and to feel happy. When expectations are managed, we feel happier and life opens up more and more opportunities for us to live in this ideal space of well-being.

What is your % in meeting your life/soul deliverables? If going for a full 100% works for you, don’t limit yourself. We all have different approaches to work/life balance. TuneIn to how you balance your life and StepUp to create a space of well-being around you and those around you.

Love,
Magdalene

Posted in Motivation, Overcoming fear, Work

Are you being treated as a door mat?

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“I feel overworked most of the time. I need to find a strategy to make my supervisor realize that I am not a doormat.” Sheila said quietly.

By that she meant the everything was being dumped on her – she had become a welcome place for all types of problems. She did not know how to say NO and could never prioritize. She felt undervalued and “taken advantage of”. She could feel the mental and emotional toll it had taken on her over the last year.

In my 20+ years of managing programs/people plus what research shows, this type of feeling from a staff manifest itself in various forms which can create hostile work environments. It is manifested in passive-agressive behaviours, low performance, constant “unspoken” battles, resentment, gossip, and lots of frustration. I have allowed others to treat me as a door mat and I learnt how to be more self-assertive. I coach people to discuss it instead of avoiding it because the problem is not just about you being treated like a door mat in the work environment. You are probably being treated as a door mat in your other relationships as well and most of it stems from a need to please others and to be liked. You can’t change your manager or team but you can take ownership for the situation and approach it sensitively.

Note that there is a difference between working hard and being treated as a door mat. Hard work which is aligned with your belief system fuels you to excel even greater!

Here is one approach that you can use if you feel overworked and feel treated as a door mat.

Try this:

Have a conversation with your manager about setting a list of priorities for a week/month/year. Be calm, smile through the conversation and go prepared with a list of items that are already on your plate. At the end of your discussion, type it up, share it with your manager and put it where you can see it to keep you focused.

Try this script: (Use the word “I” and NOT “YOU”)

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“I feel  bit overworked over the last few months and my objective is to reduce my stress level so I can work more efficiently. I would like to work with you to help me identify our priorities over the next little while, so that I can be more effective with how I use my time and support you in meeting our team goals.”

By using this strategy, you are taking ownership. You demonstrate professionalism and can measure your progress based on your priorities. If new tasks pop up, you can negotiate what to give priority to, seek support from your manager in re-assigning some of your tasks and be in charge of your workload. You will gain respect and feel that you are taking control of the situation and not the situation controlling you. You can also take some other courses in self-assertiveness or try a sports program like kick boxing that help you bring out the assertive side of you.

TuneIn to what you have control over and have the courage to Stepup to create a good work/life balance. The first time you do this will be hard but eventually, you will master it and it will become second nature to you.

Love,
Magdalene