Thank You

April 28, 2014 at 7:39 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank you is two simple words but they can say so much and can have such a huge impact in our lives. The ability to be grateful for family or friends, what someone does, things we have, our opportunities, our challenges, the sun rising, or anything big or small can positively inspire our thoughts and actions.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”Melody Beattie

How many times have you heard the words thank you being spoken? My guess is lots, most probably each and every day. Sometimes we are prompted to say them, when other times they come flying out of our mouths with enthusiasm. Each time we think, say or demonstrate gratitude through our actions, we release positive ripples for others and ourselves.

The attitude that we walk around with each day, taking into all of our interactions with self, others and the world around us affects the quality of our experiences. It is a choice as to whether that attitude is positively or negatively affecting our lives. We are the only one who can make that choice for ourselves.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”- Maya Angelou

Being thankful seems quite simple. But why do we sometimes forget or find it difficult to say thanks or be thankful? Like any other part of our lives it takes practice and making it a part of our everyday thoughts, words and actions. If you wanted to be able to speak another language, or improve at your favourite sport or musical instrument, you need to make the choice to make that happen. These choices start with small changes but can see amazing results.

“Small changes can make huge destination differences.”- Sean Covey

So what sort of changes are we talking about? There are many examples of projects that have done exactly this, bringing being thankful into the everyday that have seen incredible results. One that has caught my eye over the past few years is ‘365 grateful’. Hailey, who started this project loves photography and after experiencing some challenges in her own life decided to focus her thoughts, words and actions on what she could be grateful for.

When we focus our energy, attention and attitude on all that we do have, rather than worrying about what we don’t, we deepen our connection to self, others and the world around us. This allows us to alter our perspective on certain things and assists in the journey of potential that we are all on.

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” – The Hausa of Nigeria

Little Reminders

April 21, 2014 at 7:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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During the holidays I always find some time to do some reorganising and tidying up at our Program Equipment Storeroom. It’s that chance to make sure all is in readiness before the next term’s programs begin. While doing this last week I came across a small framed quote (shown above) that my father has had for a long time that made me stop and think.

“What we are today is the result of your own past actions;
Whatever we wish to be in future depends on our present actions;
Decide how you have to act now.
We are responsible for what we are, whatever we wish ourselves to be.
We have the power to make ourselves.”

As individuals and groups we are connected to self, others and the world around us. Interconnectedness provides us with so many amazing experiences and opportunities but also sees us having the responsibility of being stewards for this precious Earth. The framed quote about consequences made me reflect on many things, our connection to the environment being just one of them.

It reminded me of, while ‘we’ argue and fight as individuals, communities and nations over whether you’re a climate change ‘believer’ or ‘sceptic’, whether certain laws will make a difference if ‘others’ don’t act, and ‘who is’ ultimately responsible for our relationship with the planet, we allow inaction to be justified because of ‘someone’, ‘something’, ‘somewhere’ else. While all this is happening, the planet, not to punish or reward us, is just simply changing according to our impact, resulting in a variety of consequences that are, and will in the future, being felt by us all.

How do we (each individual) best care for the precious planet that we inhabit? Our daily thoughts, words and actions provide us with opportunities to plant and tend to seeds of behavioural change, while supporting each other in this shared journey of stewardship. A critical mass of informed, connected and empowered individuals embodying the actions described below may provide a map to share in the consequences that we wish to enjoy.

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together. All things connect.”
– Chief Seattle, 1855

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“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” 
– Peter Marshall

So what small deeds can you do today to care for this life giving and precious planet of ours? And what conversation or interaction could you have with others that could plant a seed of behavioural change?

I Am …

April 14, 2014 at 7:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This past week I watched the documentary ‘I Am’ by Tom Shadyac. The film was a thought provoking journey, one that saw Tom explain the accident that turned his life upside down and then documented the unravelling exploration of connection to self, others and the world around us. The thing that strikes me most when you watch or hear about life changing moments in peoples lives is a realignment of identity, worth and value from the external (title, power, profession, money, possessions, etc.) to an openness to discovery and deepening connection (the internal).

It is so easy to get caught up in all the ‘stuff’, ‘competition’ and ‘noise’. There could be many words that we as individuals insert to finish the line, ‘I Am …’ It could be our gender, nationality, sexuality, profession, etc. All these could be true reflections of various parts of us but can never fully encompass the wholeness and value of who we are, the depth of connection possible to others and the world around us, and our ability to make a difference through empowered daily thoughts, words and actions. This is why I am reminded of the power of Malala Yousafzai’s statement and the title of her book, ‘I Am Malala’.

“Who is Malala? I am Malala and this is my story.” – Malala Yousafzai

We each have an unfolding story within our journeys of potential, one that is layered and complex, involving both successes and challenges. Honouring this story involves courageously showing up in our interactions, which can be challenging when we consider all the vulnerability and influences on our lives. The quote below from Malala shows an example of how this can unfold within our journeys.

“My mother always told me, ‘Hide your face – people are looking at you’. I would reply, ‘It does not matter; I am also looking at them’.” – Malala Yousafzai

Watch the interview linked below and consider what themes jump out to you. I hear courage is open to us all in the choices we make but we need to practise it daily and appreciate we will not always think, speak or act as we would hope to. Each new interaction though provides another opportunity and as Malala explains so eloquently, authentically make a difference for self and others, not waiting for others to do it for you.

Working in education I too believe that, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world” (Malala Yousafzai). I also believe that this process of ‘being the change’ is influenced by having the courage to place our name at the end of the statement, ‘I Am …’ with a sense of identity, worth and value coming from within, not the external in our lives.

Emptying Our Cups

April 7, 2014 at 8:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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He looked at me for a long moment. “Please don’t take this the wrong way. I really respect you, John. I always have. However, just like this cup, you seem to be full of your own ideas. And how can any more go in … until you first empty your cup?” – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Robin Sharma)

I add these few lines from a book that I read many years ago as a reflection this week. As individuals and groups we are constantly interacting with self, others and the world around us. How can showing up in these interactions with a cup that isn’t already full provide us with opportunities as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically?

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