What do school photographs have to do with how the mind works?

It was photo time a few weeks ago at my son’s school. ‘Right,’ I thought. A chance to get a lovely one of Mason and Violet together. So, I got super organised (for me!), rallied the kids together and was out the door and up the school by 8.30am for the ‘siblings’ session. Standing in queue, waiting our turn, it was clear to see that Mason wasn’t going to play ball. ‘I hate having my photo taken’ he said with a frowny face and his head hung low. I knew this was going to be tricky and immediately my thinking revved up a notch! All I wanted was a lovely photo of my two kids, that I could put on the mantelpiece and share with other family members. Was it really too much to ask that he sit still and smile for 2 minutes?  Actually, in his reality, yes!  And on reflection, here’s what I noticed to be true.

1. We’re not in control

It doesn’t matter how much we think we are, we just aren’t. I can’t control what shows up in my own mind, let alone my children’s minds. It’s just not how the system works. Thoughts show up within us from goodness knows where and we make up what they mean! If we think a thought means something personal to us, we believe it and that becomes our absolute reality, until the very moment it butts up against another thought and dissolves into a new reality. Life is a string of thoughts that show up within us, moment to moment. They’re fleeting, they’re temporary, they’re impersonal and they’re vaporous! If we leave them alone, they’ll move through us. I can take my children to have their photos done, but I can’t control whether they sit there and smile and I can try every trick in the book to make it happen, but ultimately, it has to come from within them.

2. We all live in separate realities

We all live in a world of thought, so there isn’t one objective reality….there are 7.8 billion (or however many people there are on earth) separate realities, each brought to life by whatever thinking we have going on in our awareness in the moment. Back to the photoshoot, Violet was sat there loving the camera, doing what the photographer asked, but Mason hated every second and didn’t do anything he was asked to do. Same photoshoot, two very separate realities. When we see that what’s going on for us is the same as what’s going on for everyone else, we can relax a bit. We can let life move through us. We can take things less personally and we can be more compassionate and understanding. Unless we don’t know or forget that our thinking isn’t real – as I did! But the beauty of knowing how we operate means we don’t get caught up in the illusion for long!

3. We are all doing the best we can

All behaviour stems from a thought, which usually leads to a whole lot more thinking. If that thinking looks absolutely real and solid to us, then we just can’t act any better than in alignment with that thinking, so in that respect we’re all just doing the best we can, given the thinking that we have in that moment. Mason was just acting in a way that made sense to him at that time!  A person’s behaviour will only change when their thinking changes, and we’re not in control of that. But, when we see that the nature of thought is that it’s arbitrary and fleeting, we tend not to take it so seriously.

4. Our our minds work like projectors, not cameras!

We think our minds work like a camera – that we’re looking out through the lenses of our eyes, we see some kind of objective reality which comes back to us and we feel something! So in my example, I’m looking out at Mason who is not willing to have his photograph taken and I am getting frustrated. But in actual fact the truth is very different. A more accurate description is that our minds work more like a projector. We project how we feel out into the world, and how we feel is directly aligned with what we think. We don’t experience the world as it is. We experience it as we are! What we get (through our thinking) is what we see! As much as it looked to me that Mason’s behaviour was causing my frustration, that’s just not possible. My feelings were coming from me, and only me. There are infinite ways I could have felt in those moments, but it happened that frustration showed up, caused by a lot of thinking about how he should be behaving and how I’m never going to get that lovely photo of the both of them. Had I not have taken that thinking seriously, it would have left space for fresh thinking to come through, giving me a totally different experience.

So was it a big deal that I didn’t get the photo that I wanted? Actually, not at all because it turns out that I was making that up too. I have plenty of lovely photos of the two of them together, so really, what was all the fuss about? Isn’t it funny how we can get our knickers in a twist over stuff that we’ve made up?

Until next time

Jo x

How I saw through my anxiety…..and how you can too!

For those of you reading this who don’t know me, I’m Jo Smith. Wife and working mum to my two young children, Mason 6 and Violet, almost 4. A few months after Violet was born, I started to become really anxious. All sorts of bad-ass thoughts started entering my head about my ability as a mum and I couldn’t understand why I was thinking them and what they meant! I was affected physically – I lost my appetite and consequently lost a lot of weight in a short space of time (almost 2 stone in as many months) and whilst it’s one way of getting the baby weight off, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Outwardly, I did my best to carry on as normal, but inside my head was in a spin. My husband and some friends knew I was struggling and family members noticed the weight loss but I think I did a pretty good job of hiding exactly what was going on and made out I was ‘losing the baby weight,’ but actually my life was on auto-pilot. I was doing what I had to do to get through the day and as soon as the kids were in bed, I went to bed too as it was the only relief I had from my thinking.

I wasn’t depressed.  I was edgy, overwhelmed and isolated. I just wanted to stay in bed, and yet day after day I continued to care for and look after my kids. I loved them more than anything and I never ever lost touch with that, but it was clouded so much but my thinking….and I hated myself for it. Why couldn’t I just be a ‘normal’ mum to my kids?

I desperately wanted out of my head… to know what was going on and to get back to my life with my beautiful kids. I walked the dog a lot, just to escape the house (I spent a lot of time without adult interaction), but I couldn’t escape the suffering, which I now know I was innocently doing to myself.

The feelings were so intense that there were even times when I actually felt like I was losing my mind – yet at the same time – in amidst this turmoil I was hanging on to ‘normality’ and there were even moments of calm, peacefulness and laughter. I remember thinking how strange it was that I was able to joke about how I was feeling and even laugh at myself, despite what was going on! I didn’t realise it then – but knowing what I know now, these were moments that proved my wellbeing – my natural state as a human and not just brief glimpses of light in my otherwise hazy life.

So in an attempt to find out what was going on with me, I did what everyone does when they think they have a problem…I turned to Google! I wanted to know why I was feeling so mentally crap and how I could get better. I can’t actually remember now what search terms I looked up, but whatever they were, at some point it led me to Dr Amy Johnson, psychologist and life coach. Something struck me about her….the way she described life and how she suffered and overcame an eating disorder with relative ease. I was drawn to find out more! I ordered her book, Being Human and I got stuck into it as soon as it arrived. I think it took me only a couple of days to read at most. I started to get my head around what she was saying, the crux of which was: but for our thinking, we are all innately psychologically well! Every single person on earth: all 7 billion of us- no exceptions – are made of the same stuff: wellbeing, love, confidence, resilience and everything else that is good. The only thing that separates us from each other is our own thinking, which is arbitrary, temporary and impersonal. We don’t know what’s gonna roll into our heads at any given moment. How could we? We don’t think our thoughts, we just notice them when they’re in our headspace. They mean nothing of themselves – they are neutral. The content is irrelevant. Holy Shit! So all that stuff I was thinking about my capabilities as a mum and wondering why I was thinking it, was just fleeting, invisible bursts of energy moving through me….it wasn’t a part of me. WTF? This shit felt sooo real – it had grown roots and it felt like a massive part of me – what a huge relief to discover that I wasn’t crazy after all and that the men in white coats wouldn’t be coming to get me. The truth was simple – I was just a human being experiencing a lot of anxious thinking that I was taking seriously. End of. Woah!

I Googled more and came across another book called The Inside Out Revolution by transformative coach Michael Neill which was written from the same understanding. I read that from cover to cover over a couple of days. I watched videos, listened to audios, ordered more books and over the following few months, as I learnt more about this inside out understanding and how the human mind operates, my thinking started to fall away naturally and I returned to my wellbeing once again. No need for professional support, no need for medication. Some of the old thoughts came back, but I saw them for what they were – just thoughts – and they didn’t stick around. Or rather I noticed them and let them pass by without attaching meaning. I started to see that all my thinking was just made up, temporary, surface level stuff and nothing more. It was meaningless and said nothing about who I really was.

One of the simplest metaphors I’ve heard to describe this understanding is that it’s like the weather. The true nature of every human being is like the sun…always there, always shining, but just as the sun gets covered up by clouds sometimes, so does our true nature with our own thinking, but just because we can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there anymore! In the same way that we don’t have to get involved in moving those clouds out of the way to reveal the sun (because the weather moves naturally all by itself), we don’t have to roll our sleeves up and get to work on fixing our thinking to feel better, because when we leave it alone it moves through us naturally and we’re back in our innate wellbeing. In short, our minds have a self correction system built into the design and when we don’t get involved, they return to their default state of clarity – it’s far simpler than we think!

Our true nature is like the sun, always shining whatever weather passing through.

When I really started to see that I was creating my own reality with my anxious thinking from the inside out, it just didn’t make sense to me to hold onto that habitual thinking anymore, just like it doesn’t make sense to stick your hand back in the fire after you’ve been burned. When I saw insightfully how the human system works and that I was bringing to life whatever thinking was going on for me in each and every moment, I just wasn’t afraid of it anymore.

Another way to look at it, is that it’s a bit like turbulence. When we understand that all that bumping around, no matter how bad it gets, is just the plane bouncing on pockets of air and nothing to do with the plane’s ability to fly, whilst we might still feel a bit uncomfortable, ultimately we know we’re safe and it will soon pass.

Knowing this stuff has been a real game changer for me, not just in seeing through my anxiety, but in all areas of my life – particularly my parenting. I’ll admit, I’ve held back a bit from telling my story because of fear of judgement, but I don’t actually care about that anymore. Judgement is something created within the person judging and says nothing about the person being judged (am I getting too deep now? ). Plus, I bet that for every person who speaks out about anxiety, depression or any mental illness, there’s any number of people who haven’t, who are innocently and needlessly suffering. So that’s why I decided to share my own story. Having seen for myself first hand just how the human operating system REALLY works and what an impact it has had on my life, I’m on a mission to share this with others too!

I’m super keen to reach out to parents who might be going through something similar to what I went through or just to support them with all the challenges that come along with being a parent . There’s no doubt about it, parenting can be tough at the best of time,  but  if there was something that could help you stand firm in your wellbeing which enabled you to deal with the daily ups and downs of raising children with more ease and grace, wouldn’t you want to know about it?

So, I hope this has been useful as an intro to me and how I’ve come to be sharing the truth about how we operate.  Humans fascinate me.  I can easily while away the hours in a coffee shop just watching people go about their daily lives….but I can’t help wondering how many of them are smiling on the outside but suffering on the inside, just like I was.   My guess is, more than we think.

If anything I write about resonates with you or makes you just a little bit curious to find out more, please follow this blog, join my parenting Facebook group, like my Facebook page or if you’re interested at all in personal coaching please drop me a line for a chat. I’d love to hear from you. Oh, and I’m running an awesome parenting retreat next June right here in Cornwall. A weekend of getting back to nature, making connections, wild cooking and outdoor activities. If it sounds like something you’d be interested in, sign up here to receive the full schedule.

Until next time

Jo x

You don’t have to feel motivated to take action!

A golfing friend of mine commented in a Facebook group recently about how he hadn’t felt
motivated to practise over the last week or so.  My response to him was, “You don’t have to feel
inspired or motivated to take action.” Something I’ve started noticing a lot more for myself recently.  He messaged me the next day and asked me if I could expand on that statement, which I did (from how I am seeing it at the moment but who knows, I may see things differently or more deeply in the future), and since he found my response helpful, I thought others might too.  And so begins this blog post….

When you think about it, how motivated do you really feel on a daily basis? Do you jump out of bed everyday with a spring in your step, pull back the curtains and shout ‘Good morning world’? Is your family breakfast routine akin to that of the famous Morecambe and Wise sketch?  What about doing the housework or taking exercise? How often are you fired up to do either of those? And then of course there’s work….I don’t care how much you love your job, there will always be days when you just want to pull the duvet over your head and go back to sleep. But on the flip side, there are also days when the opposite feels true.  When we are inspired by the day ahead, we do look forward to work, and when exercise and housework just don’t bother us.  So what’s the difference?  What’s going on that either motivates us or not? Quite simply- it’s always and only ever how seriously we take our thinking!

When we have thoughts about not doing stuff that we take to be true, we just don’t do that thing.
Looking through that filter, we’ll find every excuse under the sun not to do it. Let’s take exercise as an example, “I’m too tired,” “I didn’t hear my alarm clock,”  “I couldn’t find my other trainer,” “the dog ate my gym shorts!” But with a clear head and without much thinking going on, we’re just propelled into action. We get up out of bed, get our kit on and before we know it we’re pounding the pavements.



When we’re struggling to do things, we don’t see that it’s our thinking that’s getting in the way, and we look at other people and think, “I wish I were them. They’re always at the gym. They must be really motivated to do that everyday.”  We try and figure out why they find it so effortless whilst we find it so difficult. Perhaps they have strategies. So we put some of our own into place to assist us.  We get our kit ready in advance as a prompt and leave our trainers by the door so there’s less chance of us hitting the snooze button, rolling over and going back to sleep. Sometimes that might work, sometimes it won’t, and that’s because it’s never strategies or techniques that are the cause of our actions….our kit being ready is not the reason we go to the gym on a particular day (although it may really look that way). It’s always our own thinking! That’s the only variable – the one thing that’s constantly changing.

We may also try thinking more positively or use willpower to push through things.  But that’s just not the case either! Thinking things like “I must go to the gym” or “I can do this,” to try and encourage us into action is just adding more thinking to an already busy mind. Again, it might work, it might not but it’s not the cause of our action-taking.  And when we do stuff because we think we should, well that’s resentment right there: more unnecessary thinking to add to the long list we’ve already got going on. Inevitably we feel worse and so into a downward spiral of thought we go!   When we have less on our minds, we naturally propel ourselves into action.

But wait a minute…..this blog post is about not having to feel motivated to do stuff, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on there! How is it, on those days when we really, really don’t feel
energised to do something, we just do it anyway? When we feel poorly, but still have to look after
the children. When we get home from work after a hard day and the last thing we feel like doing is cooking a meal for the family or when we have to clean our house top to bottom because we have friends coming over. The fact we’re able to get on with these tasks is not because we are in the right state of mind, that’s for sure!

So what is going on? Well here’s how I see. There’s a bit of a misunderstanding around how we feel verses what we do in the world. We think we have to feel a certain way to take action, but as I see it, we really don’t. Yes it’s true that we find tasks and activities effortless when we don’t have much on our minds, but our ability to get things done is not dependant on it. If that was truly the case, we really wouldn’t achieve much in our lives . The universal life force energy that powers us up is always running through us, so we never have to wait until we are in the right state of mind or until we feel ready or inspired to do something; and because of this, our potential to achieve in the world is always the same regardless of how we’re feeling. All that’s happening is that we find it easier to do things with less thinking about it, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do it just because our head isn’t clear. In other words, a few clouds in the way doesn’t affect the sun’s ability to shine. It’s always there, as is our potential to take action.

Whether it’s taking that cooking class, writing a blog post, washing the car, painting a picture, giving up smoking, or going on a date. The truth is, whatever it is we’ve been waiting to do, we’ll never feel ready. Why? Because ready is made up. It’s just an arbitrary word that we attribute our own meaning to. If we sit down and think about all the things we think we need to be or acquire before we feel ready to do something, we’d never get off the starting blocks.  If we say to ourselves, “Someday, when I’m ready I’ll do that?” then we’re setting ourselves up for a fall because as Mara Gleason says in her book, One Thought Changes Everything, “Someday doesn’t exist.”   All we have is this moment.

But regardless of whether we feel ready or not, it’s important to know that as long as we have
energy flowing through us, we’ll always be ready. Every moment is a blank piece of paper just
waiting for us to create, so however you’re feeling you can still get your crayons out and produce a masterpiece. Think about it. A lot of artists and musicians produce their very best work when
they’re going through tough times and I’m guessing they weren’t feeling particularly motivated at the time , but they were still able to take action. Do you think Sir Richard Branson or Sir Alan Sugar waited until they felt ready or good enough before taking their first steps into entrepreneurship?  My bet is they just showed up in the world, the best they knew how….and the rest is history.

I’d also like to make the point here, that there’s a difference between not doing something because you don’t feel like it, and not doing something because not doing it feels like exactly the right thing to do. You’ll know the latter because it will come with a specific feeling; that instinctual knowing.  We’ve all heard stories of people not getting on that plane/train, only to find out later that something catastrophic happened. Not doing something might be right if that’s what wisdom is telling you. Which brings me back to my golfer friend.  Although he didn’t see it at the time, on reflection he thinks that it  wasn’t that he wasn’t motivated to play golf, but rather his wisdom was letting him know that he should spend a bit more time at home, rather than on the course. It turned out to be exactly the right thing for him.

So whether you’ve been avoiding that pile of dishes on your draining board or you’ve been waiting to take your first steps into setting up your own business, just know that whether you’re in a high or low state of mind, life is always moving through you and as such, the capacity for creation is always available.  You’re always ready to take action, regardless of how you feel and you’ll probably find that you’ll actually enjoy whatever it is you’ve been putting off and that it was never as bad as you imagined (isn’t that always the case?).  You might also be surprised at what unfolds for you. And if  you are…I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time.

Much love

Jo x


Are You Operating from Your Head or Your Heart?

Last weekend was the final ‘official’ training day of my coaching course.  I quote ‘official’ because I’ve made such a connection with the ladies on the course that we know it’s not the end of a chapter but rather the beginning of new one and many ideas were brewing on how we might take this understanding out into the world.   But I’ll save that for another blog post.

Anyway, we were all sat together reflecting on the following quote by Jack Pransky, one of the first generation teachers of this inside out understanding that I talk about.

‘All we are is love, peace and wisdom and the power to create the illusion that we are not’

I’ve seen this quote many times but this time it came down on me like a ton of bricks. There are only two ways from which we operate in the world: either from our head or from our heart.  I saw it more simply and deeply in that moment than I ever have before.

I don’t mean that we live our lives solely from one place or the other. For a start that’s just not possible – our lives are a continual string of moments, brought to life by the creative power of thought which is served to us either through our intellect (head) or our wisdom (heart) and we go in and out of both all day, everyday.

All of nature is powered by the same intelligent life force, but unlike the rest of the animal kingdom which survives on instinct, us humans are thinking creatures, born with this amazing gift of thought. Life is a game to be played and to join in and make the most of it; we need to operate from both head and heart.  We need our heads to plan, analyse, achieve, and concentrate on tasks.  We need intellectual knowledge and skills to do our jobs (I don’t know about you, but I’m going for the surgeon who knows a thing or two about anatomy rather than the one who relies on Devine inspiration to guide them), and we need our heads to store information and memories that we can recall in certain situations.

However, a life lived too much from our head means we are in a constant state of ‘doing’ – always striving, always searching, always wanting:  we get burned out, stressed, anxious, impatient, depressed, intolerant etc. which leads to all sorts of unwanted behaviour and consequences.  We don’t see the world favourably and we react rather than respond.  It’s a fragile place to be and when these feelings show up, it’s a great sign that we need to slow down.

But, underneath all of that intellectual thinking is our true nature – the peace, love and wisdom that Jack refers to in his quote.  Always there, ready to serve us when we need it.  It’s constantly working for us even in the everyday moments, like when you need a pee or when you need to eat or drink:  you don’t consciously need to make those decisions.  You just get up and pee or make a sandwich.  If you have to think about whether you’re hungry or not, I guarantee you, you’re not hungry!  Wisdom moves through us all the time in the most subtle of ways, helping us to make ‘no brainer’ decisions that we don’t even realise are decisions!

Of course when we get quiet enough, our wisdom brings us those insightful light bulb and life saving moments too, which is why we’re always told to keep calm in a crisis.  Have you ever seen the blockbuster film Sully? It’s based on the true story of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who performed an emergency landing of his plane on the Hudson River back in 2009. It’s the perfect example of a man using heart over head in an emergency situation when he had only minutes to make a crucial decision.

Shortly after take off a flock of birds struck the plane, resulting in failure of all engines.  He was ordered by air traffic control to return to La Gardia airport.  He ignored those orders and landed on the Hudson, saving the lives of all the 155 passengers and crew.  A flight simulation later showed that normal procedures for engine loss are designed for cruising altitude and not for situations occurring after take off.   The simulation also didn’t account for the human element of the situation – the time needed to understand and assess the situation. Therefore if Sully had returned to the airport, it’s more than likely that they would never have made it, and we all know how that would have panned out. He didn’t let his head get in the way, he let life flow through him and he did what occurred to him to do in that moment. Thank goodness.

Whilst most of us will never find ourselves in Sully’s situation, it’s still super useful to get an understanding for which mode we’re operating in when situations present themselves.  I’m not saying that Sully consciously thought about how he was operating, ‘Hmmm these thoughts, are they head or heart?’ As far as I can tell that’s not the case!  When emergencies occur, as long as we have a clear head, wisdom will guide us naturally into doing the best thing without our involvement, and quite often after such events, people look back and can’t quite believe their actions! Life moved through them, propelling them into action without conscious thought involved.

But in our everyday lives, we can listen to ourselves and notice our feelings. When your child spills a drink – is yelling the right thing to do at that moment? Are you teaching them anything meaningful if you do that? Maybe step back from your thinking and see what shows up for you!
Same with work colleagues, partners or any human relationships in fact – if your head to head with another person, there’s gonna be friction – a battle of wills. Two people, face on, both of which are locked into their thinking because it looks so solid and real to them.  It’s going to be impossible to find a resolution.

On the other hand, if you are heart to head, at least one of you will be in your wellbeing which means compassion, understanding, listening; and you have a great chance of drawing the other person towards those feelings too. Have you ever noticed that happen before? I see it all the time in my kids. Only last night, my son was having a paddy as he didn’t want a shower – he just wanted to play Minecraft. He threw a wobbler, ‘ you’re the worst parents ever,’ ‘you don’t love me, nobody loves me,’ ‘I’m going to run away!’ You get the picture.   Seriously, it was like something had possessed my sweet, kind and loving little man. But I never rose to it. I never met him head to head. I stayed calm. I talked to him, even though he continued with the insults, but I knew that wasn’t his true nature speaking, just a bunch of revved up thinking coming out in the form of words. We cuddled and I said, ‘How about you have a shower, get in your jimmy jams and you can show me how to play Minecraft?’ His response, ‘OK Mummy!’   You see, when we don’t buy into other people’s stories, and show up in our own wellbeing, that’s the best chance we’ll ever get of helping them fall back into theirs.

It doesn’t get any better than two humans connection from the heart

Of course the real magic happens when two people are just heart to heart. It’s the perfect connection and doesn’t get any better than this. Two people in a good feeling, working collaboratively, in the flow of life.  Solutions and resolutions are effortless.

So next time you find yourself in conflict with another or are feeling stuck in a particular situation, give yourself a moment to reflect on whether you’re in your head or your heart, and if you’re not sure, look for that clear, quiet ‘knowing’ feeling.  You can be sure to trust that!

I hope this was useful. See you next time.

Jo x

What if your understanding of life was just all wrong?

What if everything we understood about how human beings operate was just completely wrong? What if, regardless of external circumstances we had everything we need to feel deeply connected to other humans, be naturally creative, thrive in everything we do and live more of our life in a good feeling. I’m not suggesting it’s all smooth sailing, but when the seas get rough, what if you just knew how to navigate them effortlessly?

You see, a few years ago I came across an understanding of life which points to something much bigger than any other psychology out there! It explains where our experience of life actually comes from, rather than offering strategies or applications to deal with our experiences….and the revelation is that it doesn’t come from anything on the outside! It’s universal (as in ‘of the actual universe’) and it’s the Truth! Now that’s a pretty big statement to make but read on…..

There are seven billion people on this planet and every single one of us are all made of exactly the same stuff – universal energy, Mind, God, whatever label you wanna give it – it’s what we all are. It’s the same stuff that rotates the earth, turns the seasons, gives ebb and flow to the tide and grows acorns into oak trees.  We can trust that these things will happen without our involvement, yet we see these things and a gazillion other miracles happening around us all the time throughout our lives and we don’t really give a second thought to what’s powering it – it’s just what happens!  But when we get all spiritual about human beings, people tend to shy away – ‘oh I don’t believe in all that stuff,’ ‘Spirituality? That’s for new age hippies, man!’or ‘I’m more into reality than spirituality’ some might say!

But have you ever really stopped to think about what it is that beats our heart, breaths our lungs, digests our food or heals our cuts? And even when we die, what does that? Because none of that is being powered by us….it’s being done through us! Just sit with that for a minute. In other words, life happens through us, not to us.

The same life force energy that rotates the earth, powers all human beings!

We all have innate mental health
So now that’s brewed for a sec, if you weren’t before, are you feeling more open to listening? Just as our bodies are perfectly designed to run themselves, so are our minds. But for our own personal thinking, we have innate wellbeing at our core.  Actually to be more accurate, we ARE innate wellbeing.  All of those things I mentioned in the opening paragraph – we are (and more!), and the only thing that can cover that up is our thinking. Wowsers! *Pick jaw off floor*  That’s totally the flip side to how most of us live our lives.  We think we will only be happy when; we get that promotion/that nice big house/the flashy car/a few more zeros on our bank balance/have children/fill in the blank.  But the actual truth is that our outside circumstances bear no reflection at all on our wellbeing.  AT ALL.  Because it’s innate and within us from the day we’re born and will continue to be until the day we die.

Children are the best example of the true nature of humans
Hmmm still don’t think its true? Think about this. Have you ever really considered a child having a tantrum? Let’s go with an example of my five year old son. At the beginning of the year, there was a lot of talk on the news about snow falling in the UK (a big deal for England!) and Mason had it fixed in his head that there would be snow on one particular Friday. Of course, there wasn’t any….not a flake and right there in that moment, he had a meltdown (no pun intended!) and full on flung himself on the bed, head down in the pillow, kicking and screaming.  Fast forward 10 minutes, that thought storm had passed and he was back in his wellbeing.  There was still no snow, so the circumstances hadn’t changed, but his thinking had! This is just one example of what we see in children ALL the time. Children do not hold onto thought like adults do. They live in the moment and they’re a great example of who to look at for evidence of our true nature. They haven’t learned to hold onto it and they don’t try and fix it either. They simply feel it until another thought comes along, then they feel that…and so on and so on. They don’t hold grudges (could you imagine – the amount of times siblings fall out!!!) they don’t fret about things that happened in the past and they don’t worry about what might happen in the future. They don’t have expectations or thoughts of how things should be. They just show up in the world as they are, living right here, right now! How cool is that?

Look to children as proof of humans innate wellbeing

The Nature of Thought
Oh and here’s another thing about thoughts? They’re not ours – they’re completely impersonal, neutral and meaningless! When I first heard this, it was a complete revelation to me, but in a Homer Simpson, ‘Doh’ kind of way! Like it was so obviously staring me in the face, how could I not have seen this before? Thoughts have no inherent meaning other than what we give them.  This is game changing stuff, right?

This means that everything we’ve ever thought to be true about ourselves, our friends, our family, money, the world, anything…is made up! We don’t experience life – stuff out there – directly. It comes to us through the filter of our own thinking and flippin’ heck, it doesn’t half feel so real at times! But just knowing that it isn’t, is a really good thing because it means we don’t ever have to be a victim of circumstance.

There is infinite potential to think something new
It means we have the capacity to think something new in any given moment and see the same circumstance in a completely different light.  Having a crap day…. you’re just looking at life through a crap filter! Maybe one thing happened to you that sent your mood spiralling downward, and for the rest of the day you saw everything through that lens. But think again, how your day might go if you knew exactly where your experience was coming from:

Kids won’t get their shit together : you feel frustrated – that’s making it all about you. Maybe you can look at your child, see the innocence and make it all about them. You could think, ‘oh how sweet. Look at her trying to do her shoelaces up.’

Driver cuts you up on the way to work: feeling angry? ‘How dare he? Why does he think the rules don’t apply to him?’ Look again, ‘ Oh, poor man! He looks confused? Maybe he genuinely didn’t see me?’

Stuck in traffic: More frustration: ‘C’mon! I’m gonna be late!’. How about, ‘ Well it’s holding me up now, but at least this road will be better when it’s finished!’

Boss: Makes a joke about being five mins late: ‘God, he’s so annoying – doesn’t he know what I’ve had to get done even before I get to work’. In a lighter mood you might think, ‘I’m so lucky to have a boss who values what I do, understands my family life and doesn’t get annoyed because I’m a bit late!’

See where this is leading? It’s not about changing our thoughts for more positive ones! That’s just adding more layers to our thinking. It’s recognising that we live in a world of thought, like fish live in a world of water, and we can only ever feel what we are thinking in each and every moment and the capacity for new thought is infinite.  It’s a constant ebb and flow of ups and downs all day every day and whilst we don’t have control over what pops into our heads, we can start to see thoughts for what they really are, just bursts of energy that come and go.

So next time you’re feeling angry/frustrated/sad/anxious, just remember those feelings aren’t telling you anything about yourself or your  situation. They’re letting you know that your thinking’s off centre, and just like a snow globe settles after it’s been shaken, so will your mind. That’s the beauty of the system – it’s self correcting!  We don’t have to get involved.  And once your mind has settled, you’re open to the infinite potential of (Big) Mind and you’ll have a whole lot of clarity on what to do next. It’s perfectly designed.

Until next time folks!

Jo.  X