Different Types of Living Words | Balancing Male and Female

igor-ovsyannykov-503532-unsplash.jpg

Source: Unsplash

I was talking to a friend of mine about her experience of making physical exercise an integral part of her daily life, how she had moved so far and what her struggles were. In this case, she had set several words as Living Word intentions such as ‘discipline’ and ‘consistency’.

Over time, working with myself and others, these words have often been a tell-tale sign indicating an imbalance in one’s approach in Living Words. What I started seeing within my own process of Living Words, is that there are different types of Living Words. If you have a look at the words ‘discipline’ and ‘consistency’, they require a timeframe to manifest as Living Words. Meaning, a single moment of application does not result in us Living and embodying these words, manifested truly as ourselves. It takes many moments, many breaths for you to verify that yes, I am living discipline or yes, I am living consistency. They are typified by frequency and regularity.

In my friend’s case, she really wanted to manifest consistency and discipline in relation to exercising because she knew it would be good for her and her body.

For more context, this was coming more from an ‘I should be doing this’ – where on a knowledge and information level she knew that this is going to support her, but on a practical experience level, she had little to substantiate this. This was also coupled with her own self-judgments in relation to being disciplined and being consistent, where these two words or traits are known to be valuable, and then judging herself for ‘not being that’. The line that is formed between her starting point and her goal is one of avoidance, wanting to avoid her own self-judgment. If ‘not being disciplined’ and ‘not being consistent’ equals “being bad” – then I have to become ‘disciplined’ and ‘consistent’ so I can feel good about myself (and hopefully others will see more good of me too). It’s then not so much about really living those words, but rather finding comfort and solace in the knowledge of having shifted labels. The desire of living consistency and discipline are not an end on their own, but a means to an end: avoiding self-judgment.

So within the context of my friend what became apparent is that 1) she is not living the words consistency and discipline for herself. When we try to live something as a gateway to something else, we usually fail.  Because then it’s not about the gateway, it’s about the end result. In this case: feeling better about myself. And we all know, there are lots of ways to feel better about yourself. Binging on tv series, digging into that favourite pie or cake, going shopping, endlessly scrolling our Facebook feed (also note how these are all means of / gateways for self-avoidance)…

In this case, it’s imperative we clarify for ourselves why we want to live a certain word, and what we gain from it for real (It’s actually a good idea to also write down what fear we see we can avoid with this, as a sort of ‘subconscious motive’, because this will bring it to your awareness and so you will notice when you are shifting your starting point in living a word from expression-based to fear-based Eg. “I want to live discipline because I don’t want to be seen as ‘weak’).

And secondly (and this is kind of the point of this blog post), to define and substantiate how we are going to make these words real for ourselves, which often means we have to look at more than just one word.

Consistency and discipline are very structural, goal-oriented words. They are associated with male expression/yang.

It’s great to aim for structure and goals, for instance, getting a house built, aiming for a degree or profession. But we also have to ask ourselves who we are going to be within the structure or form. Once we have our house, how are we going to live in it? How are we going to take care of it? Who are we going to be while studying? How are we going to approach our studies? How do we substantiate ourselves within our profession? Consistency and discipline for the sake of consistency and discipline don’t do much for us. We’re consistent and disciplined – now what? What for?

In terms of exercising, we can end up saying we are consistent and disciplined, but the same resistance and resentment towards exercising remains. Perhaps it’s a little bit easier because at least we’re satisfied that ‘we’re doing it’.

Because we’re only focused on the goal, we miss substantiating every moment of exercise and what we express / who we are within exercising. We overlook things such as ‘which exercises do I want to do’, ‘which exercises work for my body’, ‘which exercise are putting too much pressure on my body’, ‘do I want to stick to a routine or switch things up according to where I feel my body needs focus’, ‘am I really aware of my body while exercising’, ‘do I exercise care in making sure I perform the exercises correctly, am I doing stretches, giving myself appropriate rest and checking if I need to make any dietary changes to support these new activities in my day to day life’. These questions don’t emerge because they are not part of your initial goal and intent of ‘just get disciplined and consistent with exercising’. The focus is on ‘get it done’ – not ‘who am I within it’. This may give rise to consequences such as overexertion, injury, building strength without flexibility, strain on the body due to dietary needs not being met etc. What was supposed to be a supportive endeavour for yourself, ends up creating damaging consequence.

Similarly, when we only focus on words that are expressive and creative in nature, associated with female expression/yin – we end up with substance without direction.

We may wish to support our bodies in gaining strength, become more aware of our body, really getting to know our body’s capacities, expanding it and nurturing it to the best of our ability – but if we don’t include structural points such as planning, a particular method or modality, consistency and discipline — we will miss out on the depth and direction in which we can develop and exercise these expressions for and as ourselves. We both want to draw the lines (structure/male) of the picture we want to manifest/create as well as colouring in (expression/female) to substantiate it.

Whenever you’re working on a particular point or working on a particular endeavour, it’s essential to identify for yourself both which structural and expressive words you want to live. When you know you’re more expression inclined and tend to overlook the structural, it’s easy to go overboard in only focusing on the structural and dismissing the point of expression. Yet when we include expression equally in the equation, you will find that mastering the structural expressions becomes a whole lot easier. Rather than contradicting one another, structural and expressive words complement each other in a symbiotic co-creation, taking each expression to a new height.

aboutSOUL

LeilaAuthor

Advertisements

Fear of Consequence | How Punishment breeds Irresponsibility (and what to do instead!)

I was watching a Black Mirror episode, namely episode 3 from season 4 where a woman’s past comes back to haunt her after an insurance investigator starts looking into an incident and has special technology that allows her to peak into people’s memories to get more ‘accurate’ witness reports. In the beginning of the episode the main character was complicit in covering up a hit-and-run. She goes on to live her life and become quite successful in a business until this event comes catching up with her. It soon becomes pretty obvious that she’s going to get caught for what happened many years ago and that her life as she knew it was going to be over.

I haven’t finished the episode yet, because I was experiencing myself as increasingly squeamish at the prospect that she was going to get caught, that moment where everything comes to light and she has to face the consequences of her actions. I looked into the point, and decided that before I can continue watching the episode (and the rest of the season lol) I should write a blog about it. Entertainment in the form of movies and series so easily provide us points to reflect and investigate ourselves, I didn’t just want to keep watching and let this opportunity pass by to share how we can introspect, investigate, evaluate and correct ourselves in something as mundane as watching an episode of a series.

If people are good only because theyFEAR

As I folded my laptop closed when I made the decision to stop watching the episode, I looked at my experience and what else it reminded me of. I saw that I had had this experience before when watching the series Dexter. Where you go into this conflictual experience of on the one hand liking Dexter, and on the other hand judge him because, well, he’s a serial killer – but then when it comes down to it and things get tense – don’t want him to get caught.

It also reminded me of a dream I had, of which the theme I believe repeated itself a few times in my life. I enter the dream and it’s already in full action, meaning, there’s no ‘story build up’ – like you start watching a movie halfway into the duration of it. In the dream I was busy looking for someone along with another group of people, when the knowledge hit that I had killed the person and that the authorities were also looking for the culprit. I remember not being phased at all by the piece of information that “I had done it”, the only thing I was wrought up about was that I may get caught and set course to run away and hide.

Another memory that came up was of me sitting in music class in my first year of high school, where for some reason we were discussing the topic of the sun when my teacher mentioned that the sun will burn out at some point and then that will be the end of Life on Earth, but that this would only happen a long time from now. I remember thinking ‘Well as long as I’m not there when it goes down, then I don’t care’ – with pictures from the Armageddon movie flashing by and being terrified at the prospect of having to face such a situation. I felt icky inside myself because I also knew that a lot of people now on Earth live a disastrous life that I am unwilling to live and I quickly buried up the thought and the feelings that came with it. But for some reason that one moments thinking has always stuck with me (what you resist will persist hey).

What this episode and the associations as the memories brought up for me is that I still have a very deep fear of consequence and wanting to avoid consequence. That I don’t give much consideration to what I do, but only the possible negative consequence which may or may not befall on me. This leads me to make decisions and work with consideration where I look at how things will make me feel, rather than understanding what I do and whether it is the best possible outcome. In simpler terms it leads to making compromising decisions which give me a sense of reward or forgoing doing what’s right to avoid experiencing someone’s backlash. It’s not about content but about how things make me feeling or how I anticipate they will make me feel.

This led me to look more at my experiences as a child, where faux pas were often met with aggressive, emotional punishment.

What I realised in looking at my childhood memories, is that I had stored punishment and consequence to be part of the same database. In that, as a child – I didn’t differentiate between natural consequence, initiated consequence and punishment.

First image

In the image above, you can see how all three were bundled up together in the same box, with the colours representing a fear energy within which the container as the words and their definitions were drenched in. (To be honest, the box really just held consequence and punishment, as I hadn’t even specified or verbalised for myself that there are distinction!)  I’ll explain later what each of them entails individually.

As a kid for instance, I loved exploring our computer, which was a family computer. There was only one PC which we shared amongst the five us. And well, during those explorations sometimes things would go wrong with the computer. My father, who was really into the computer to play games would always get angry whenever a dreaded error screen appeared or the computer wouldn’t start. I’d get shouted at for breaking the computer, until I felt broken inside myself and would go hide in my room trying to avoid my father for the next couple of days. Swearing to myself that I’d never touch the computer again because it was just not worth all of the shouting, yelling and feeling like a little shit. I had no idea how I ‘messed up’ the computer or why exactly my father was getting angry (other than the basic assumption that computers cost money). A few days would go by and would get back behind the computer, making sure I do it when my father is not yet home. Eventually the cycle would just repeat itself.

The natural consequence here, was that playing around with something you don’t fully understand (and don’t ask for help / guidance), you might make mistakes and possibly create damage.

Because my father’s response was one of diminishing me into submission through fear \ to have a fast, quick outcome/result in keeping me away from the computer (and so hopefully prevent the computer from going haywire) – all I learnt from that one event is to avoid my father whom I feared.

I didn’t learn a thing about pcs, and my father never did get to avoid the computer from messing up from time to time.

It’s a lose-lose situation. That’s punishment.

Punishment is about making another feel bad and diminishing them on a level of ‘who they are’ – with no consideration of ‘what they did’. It’s like saying ‘all of you is bad’, instead of addressing the one behaviour which was not constructive. It’s convenient, because it gives a quick result – and gives an opportunity for the punisher to let out pent up frustration and anger. But nothing about the actual situation is learnt. The one being punished then adopts secretive behaviour to continue, with no accountability or responsibility being developed.

Because there was both natural consequence and punishment in the same event, the two became fused for myself. That the one implies the other.

From there things started escalating. I’d be staying at a friend’s house and accidentally break something. The thought of telling someone wouldn’t even come up as option. My first instinct was how to hide it as best as possible and pretend nothing happened. I couldn’t have predicted how my friends or their parents would have responded. Maybe they would have been totally cool with it, maybe not. The one time an accident happened with eyes around when at a friend. The mother told me to be more careful with how I am playing as I was not paying attention to my environment, and started moving breakables out of my reach until she was sure I was paying more attention.

Even though the mother was totally calm, composed, explained to me my actions and what they were creating and took further measures to prevent it from happening – I felt punished. I felt punished that she moved all the breakables away, and accessed the same hurtful feelings as when my father would punish me. That I wasn’t to be trusted, that I was inadequate.

This example, is actually one of natural consequence and initiated consequence. The natural consequence was that ‘when I don’t pay attention to my surroundings when I play because I am so caught up in the energy of the game, I may possibly break things around me in my unawareness’. The initiated consequence was ‘breakables are being moved away until I’ve shown that I can play with more awareness and do not pose a threat to breakables in my direct surroundings’.

The lines between consequence and punishment were so blurred for me that I couldn’t distinguish the one from the other. My response was always the same. If I saw a parent initiating consequence with a child which was totally supportive, I’d still feel sad and project unto the child my own experience of how I felt when being punished, assuming the child was going through the same and condemning the parent for their ‘abusive behaviour’.

What supported me in my own process to detangle my past experiences and memories of punishment and consequence, was to clearly indicate to myself the different types of ‘consequence’/’punishment’ that exist. This assisted me to see where in the past a situation was directed less than optimally by others in my environment, as well as where I missed points of responsibility that could have changed the course of such situations and possible repetitions.

The latter being the toughest part. When you’ve gone through trauma, it’s easy to become accustomed to a sense of victimhood where everything was always the fault of another, and we were just innocent players. When someone treats you unacceptably and you scrunch into a corner and just take it – it’s hard to admit that there was a moment where you could have gathered yourself up again and say ‘Stop’. As a child, we’re not always aware of our alternatives when the alternatives have not been presented to us through the living example of others such as our parents. So when I place myself in those moments of childhood, I give myself a little grace – knowing that, at that point in time, I didn’t know much better. At the same time, I acknowledge I am older, have gone through more experiences and am able to set up a different response for myself. The grace that counted for myself as a child, no longer applies in my current situation. I’m in a more empowered space, and I am going to use that more empowered space to go back into my childhood and see how I could have done things differently. Not because we should have done it differently, or even had the potential to do it differently. But to go back to the source of our wound, the pain, the hurt – face that moment again and rise above it. Even if we can’t re-write the past, we blow a new perspective into it. So that instead of repeating the hurt and carrying the emotional wounds into our current life situation, what we carry through from the memory is what we have learnt, and the solutions we now know we can apply.

In the case of the memory with the repeated computer incidents for instance, I realised that I could have asked for help from others or even just gotten myself a book on how to work with computers. But because of how I experienced my father’s outrageous response, I felt compelled to blame the whole situation on him, that he was too irrational and punitive about it. The size of his emotional outburst took up so much space in the events, that I didn’t see anything other than *that* playing out. I didn’t see or look for any alternatives, and never took a moment to look at how I could do things differently. In the face of the vast punishment, the space and moment to reflect on myself and my responsibility in the given situation was completely minimized. Hence, I didn’t change my behaviour (only when I did it) and the pattern persisted.

So for myself, I clarified my relationship to natural consequence, initiated consequence and punishment through redefining the words – as well as removing any emotional connotations or loads connected to it, so that each word/point can stand on its own.

  • Natural consequence: the if this then that effect, the result/outflow of an action

For example, if I am late at the train station, I miss the train

  • Initiated consequence: a set of imposed conditions to prevent certain damages or harm from comping to pass

For example, my toddler is still specifying his motoric skills and broke a drinking glass, for the time being he will only be provided with plastic cups and plates and we will re-assess in time

  • Punishment: the intention and act of making another person feel bad about themselves to refrain them from repeating perceived undesirable behaviour and to elevate oneself into a position of being in control. On an elemental level, punishment is an act of retribution. You made me feel powerless, now it’s your turn.

For example, my child is running rampant and keeps waking up the baby, I feel at a loss and desperation rises. I take him aside and give him a good shouting after which he isolates himself in his room

The moment we redefine and so clarify a word/manifestation for ourselves, it’s also easier to establish our own directive response to such situations. When we’re confronted with someone who’s out to punish us, we can immediately move ourselves to share that we see our own responsibility in the situation (if any), saying we understand that they’re upset, where they are coming from and to immediately steer the conversation towards constructive solutions. If we however keep ourselves to the wound and not the lesson of a memory, we will let the other person exert their anger and frustration on us, while we feel smaller and more resentful towards the other. We keep ourselves small and disempowered and equally disempower the other party through simply letting their past hurts play out through letting them vent their anger and frustration out. When we move out of our disempowerment position into our directive power, we change the variables and relationship dynamics in any given situation. As we change who we are and how we respond, it forces the other party to reconsider their own position, because things are not playing out according to their expectations.

As a parent who’s been left with a bad taste surrounding ‘consequence’ and ‘punishment’ as a child, it can be tricky to assess as to when to not engage, where you leave a situation or behaviour to natural consequence; when to initiate consequence – and to when you do, to not trap yourself in punitive consequence. (Sometimes, we also need to employ measures that may look like punishing (like shouting) – and may feel bad or guilty afterwards for thinking that we’re damaging our child and that they will hate our guts forever more. While shouting and raising your voice is mostly abused in the sense that it’s an easy way to exert frustration, anger and irritation – the physical act of shouting, where there’s no emotional load or intention behind it can be very helpful and effective in certain circumstances. If your child is about to do something dangerous, using your voice as a sound wave to pop them out of a ‘trance’ where they don’t realize what they are about to do is dangerous, is effective to literally ‘shake’ them out of it for a moment, until you can get closer to direct the situation. Whenever I use my voice strongly, I make sure I can in the next moment be equally gentle and soft, moving from one expression to another with ease. If I get stuck in my voice being raised, I know I accessed some emotional energies and need to have a closer look at what is being undealt in my own interior life.)

In general, I work with a few guidelines to establish how to proceed:

  • Who is being affected by the behaviour?

If my son’s behaviour only affects his reality and he is not placing himself in any form of harm or danger, I leave it up to natural consequence.

If he’s going a bit cray cray and keeps breaking his lego construction because he’s not paying attention, then it’s for him to learn how his behaviour affects his reality and how he can change his behaviour. I might give a suggestion here and there, but I leave it up to him how he moves forward with it.

If he’s going cray cray and he somehow picked up an object he could harm himself with or plays in a way that could easily warrant a doctor’s visit if things go wrong, then I initiate consequence (eg insisting he calms down before he can continue playing and if not removing whatever may cause an issue).

If he however keeps breaking his toys and keeps coming to me to fix it, his behaviour is now affecting my reality and within that gives me space to initiate consequence or parameters if I find that it is really getting in the way. I can fix his toy once or twice, explain that he needs to be more aware and slow down, possibly show him how he can fix it himself if its within his skillset, and warn that I will not keep fixing it.

  • If I initiate consequence, is it relevant to the situation and have I done my best to transfer understanding through communication?

If my son is being loud and others can’t have an audible conversation amongst themselves, there’s no point to tell him he won’t get chocolates today. There’s no natural or causal relationship between being loud and the access to chocolates. Rather, I will ask him to be more quiet, explain to him why I ask it of him, and ask him to place himself in the other people’s shoes (“imagine you are trying to tell me something but someone keeps shouting and you can’t share with me what you want to say, is that something you’d like to experience / be in?”). I’ll also explain that there’s no issue with being loud and expressive in itself, but that we have to be aware of the context we find ourselves. If he really wants to sing loudly or play train, he can also do it in his room.

I do my best to keep the conversation around the behaviour and to not make it personal to him. To clearly state the consequence I will initiate and to not nag about (keep warning but not following through with it). I keep my voice tonality, my choice of words and body language in mind. When there’s space for it, I ask him how he proposes we direct the situation.

I have definitely not perfected this for myself, as my experience with watching the Black Mirror show nicely reminded me of. Old patterns from childhood are like rivers whom have embedded themselves into the earth into a set path. It’s difficult to redirect the flow of water when there’s already a certain direction it is used to following. Every time we practice our new direction and new response, it’s like we’re digging a bit, starting a new trench at the source for the river to take on a new course. The more we practice, the more it entrenches and embeds within our being. Until one day the river effortlessly flows in our new direction we diligently practiced and planted.

LeilaAuthor

Acknowledge the Words you are Living

I will look after you and I will look.png

I came upon this quote whilst reading the book ‘The Universal Principles and the Metamorphic Technique’ by Gaston Saint-Pierre, and it reminded me very much of my own Living Words process…

When I first started with my say, deliberate process of Living Words ( and I say ‘deliberate’ – because we are all, always busy Living Words, but we may not be aware in how exactly we are participating within and live as words) – I created a list of all the words I wanted to live. These words however, had their origin as a reaction and resistance to who I was at the time – where I perceived and believed that these words were ‘better’ ways to be and live. I didn’t fully understand all the words that I was living at that time, and I didn’t really want to bother getting into them, I just wanted to *not be that*.

When it came to practicing my list of ‘superior’ words – I got into quite a bit of trouble. I actually experienced myself as worse off and more conflicted. When I looked closer into it, I noticed that the definitions I had allocated to my words were not clear. Not clear in the sense that they didn’t carry a substantial definition. There were more definitions that implied ‘not doing and not being what I used to be’. Within that, I was fighting my very nature as who I had accepted and allowed myself to be and become. In not understanding that nature as a mere ‘fact’ – but judging it as ‘bad’ and ‘undesirable’ – I withheld from myself the space and opportunity to learn exactly what the words were that I was living – and here, not so much ‘knowing which words I live by name’ – but understanding the content, the dynamic and creational process embedded within each word. I only had access to what I perceived the problem was – and not what the problem was in fact. When you only work with what you think and perceive a problem is, the solution you design and come up with is limited to that perception. If you perceive that your trees are losing leaves because of a lack of water – but it’s actually just part of the autumn process; where based on your perception of the problem you design the perceived solution to give them more water – you can kill your tree and make things worse.

So if you’ve been struggling with the process of Redefining and Living Words – have a look at whether you truly and substantially understand the words you are already living regardless of your perception or judgment around them. The Mind Constructs used in the Desteni I Process as well as the Creational Timelines I have found to be essential components to come grips, acknowledge and understand for real (rather than perceive) the words that I am living, so that I can equally so – create a grounded, practical and specific approach in which words to develop, learn and practice to live for myself as an expansion of who I have accepted and allowed to be – rather than a fight.

For more information on the Living Words Process, check out:

What is Love? (Baby don’t hurt me…no more…)

what is love

One of the pieces of advice I often received as a first time mother – was that if I just “love my child” = everything will be alright.

While the advice is well meant, it’s also extremely vague and abstract. Does Loving my child mean giving him lots of hugs and kisses? Does Loving my child mean that no matter what I do, it will all be okay in the end – because I ‘Love’ him and in the name of Love, all will be forgiven?

What is Love?

For some, Love means protecting those who they hold dear to the extent that they are controlling and limiting their child or life partner – out of fear that anything might happen to them that might ‘take them away’. Or perhaps we fear that they will make mistakes that they will regret and want to be involved in every single decision their life contains. While well meant, it has dark consequences.

For some, Love means making another the center of their universe, putting the loved one first, and self always second. While the loved one shines on an altar of worship, self diminishes and compromises every day – while the loved one feels smothered and in need of space.

For some, Love means beings hard on your child or partner – even if it takes aggressive physical measures – because the world is a hard and cruel place, and the sooner they know their place the better they will be off for it in the long run. The hurt now is justified by hurt prevented later. It’s only because ‘I love them’.

For some, Love means being super conscious of every single move one’s loved one makes. Keeping an eye out for competition, drowning in one’s own paranoia and suspicion, being strangled by jealousy when your loved one spends time with someone else.

For some, Love means leaving another alone, giving them freedom without boundaries – where even where the behaviour becomes obviously questionable or abusive, the loving one won’t step in out of fear of coming over ‘controlling’. Her mother used to love her through control you see.

For some, Love means investing a lot of money in another, getting the best and most expensive education – at the expense of their dreams. Because you know what the world values and while deep down you know ‘it’s not right’ – you’ve given up on your dreams a long time ago and submitted to the idea that the world is just the way it is and we better just deal with it.

 

Love – has many faces. And mostly our definitions of love are born from a reaction to the type of ‘Love’ we received as a child. If our parents were controlling, we will tend to give more freedom (and often don’t set boundaries where they are needed, in fear of being anything like are awful parents – God forbid! As much as we try to learn from the ways we’ve received Love, we tend to remain stuck by throwing ourselves into the extreme opposite polarity in the spectrum – where we still make mistakes and create consequences, but simply of a different kind.

In many if not most cases – Love remains but a feeling, a good intention – but the actions and consequences that follow pave the way to hell.

What does it mean to really live LOVE in action? What does it mean to TRULY LOVE your child?

  • For myself Love, means living by the principle of what is Best for All – guiding me in thought, word and deed. Where I not only look at myself, but consider everyone involved in my reality and how my actions may affect others presently or in the future. That whatever decision I make in the end result in the best possible outcome for all. So I can stand as an example for my child to treat others as I would like to be treated.
  • Love, means to unconditionally investigate myself as all the aspects that currently make-up ‘me’ so that I can take responsibility for any behaviour or perceptions that do not serve me nor my environment. So I may stand as an example of self-accountability to my son.
  • Love, means to unconditionally investigate all that is presented to me and to keep what’s good. I am open to perspectives and what others have to share and to test things out to come to my own conclusions. So I may stand as an example to my son for critical common sense reasoning and to not take anyone’s word on face value, not even my own.
  • Love, means to be present and aware in every single moment so that I may direct myself and my reality to the best of my ability. So I may stand as an example of self-love to my son and show in fact that he is to be taken seriously.
  • Love, means to admit my mistakes and to stand up from then rather than throwing my towel into the ring. To change myself to the best of my ability, so I may stand as an example of endurance, persistence and faith in self for my son.
  • Love, means to take care of my physical body, my temple to ensure that I may express myself as my body to the best of my ability. So I may stand as a nurturing example for my son.

This wasn’t always my definition of Love or go-to practical guide of action. I struggled with my own inner demons disguised as Love. Traveling and working through your inner landscape can be challenging and difficult. If you enjoy taking on these type of challenges, check out this free course: http://lite.desteniiprocess.com/

What is your definition of Love?Which faces of Love have you battled and struggled with?

To Teach or Not to Teach

Cesar playing with shapes

When it comes down to learning and education, there are a lot of different views on what is appropriate and what is not. Children are being taught too many things too early, Children need more play and unstructured time. Children need to be taught earlier, they need more structure.

As a reaction to our overzealous educational system, many parents believe it’s better to ‘let their child be’, ‘not bother with learning to read or math’ and ‘just letting children play’. Where learning, such as reading and math are seen as arduous concepts which we should not depress our children with ‘just yet’. In an attempt to let go of the old and introduce the new – we may leave behind the old structures, but our perceptions are still with us, and taint the ‘new’.

Whenever I introduce something to Cesar which I believe or perceive to be under the banner of ‘educational’ or ‘teaching’ – he is not interested and I am met with great resistance. Say I want to show him a word (that I perceive as being a ‘difficult one’), he will quickly be distracted and want to move away. So I took a step back and asked myself what it is that I am doing different in this situation, than in other situations – where his learning or absorption ability runs smoothly and can integrate new information easily. When I introduce him to someone new and say their name – he gets it. This person, this face = that name. When I show him or introduce him, I just ‘say it as it is’.

I don’t go ‘hmm, this person has quite complex facial features and kind of also looks like that person and their name is quite unusual I wonder if he will ‘get it’’.

Whenever we perceive something as hard and difficult to comprehend, and then try and have someone else take in this information – we create our very experience, as we act out this expectation unconsciously through our choice of words, voice tonality and body language.

In showing him a ‘difficult word’ for example – my sounds would become louder, longer, repeating myself often, and have a sort of ‘belittling’ look on my face.

Cesar loves words, shapes and counting. Not because they are ‘educational’ – but because words, shapes and numbers are everywhere around us. Just like balls, dogs, people, toys,…

Recognizing and reading letters or words – is just as easy as recognizing a person and being able to say their name. It’s when we make a ‘thing’ out of it, make it more or less than what it is – a point of separation is created and we’ll be in conflict with the object, being or concept in our world.

I had to challenge myself (and still do) to drop all expectations of what is hard, easy, educational, fun, relaxing – as for Cesar – there’s no distinction. There’s just things around him, and stuff to do – whether it’s reading, playing with a toy or cleaning – it doesn’t have to change him or who he is.

The School of Ultimate Living is a great platform to explore your relationships to words, to see them for what you have made them to be, to deconstruct and redefine your relationship to words so that they form the building blocks of your life, your potential – and live the best version of yourself that you can be.

From Stress to Peace | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

stress peace

Being a first time mother was definitely an overwhelming experience from time to time. It was something way out of my comfort zone, something I had never done before. Even when I was pregnant, just ‘thinking’ of all the things I would have to do and change would send shivers down my spine. Will I do good enough? What if I make a mistake? What if there’s not enough time?

I experienced my childhood as being somewhat traumatic. I was very fearful and anything ‘new’ or ‘out of my comfort zone’ would set me off into fear, anxiety. Overtime, this accumulated into a general experience of myself as being inadequate and a victim. When I had my son and saw all the things that needed to be done, I would stress out in anticipation that things wouldn’t go smoothly, that it’d be difficult, that I’d do a bad job, etc. In a way, this seemed normal. Like, stress is a normal experience in life and is actually a good sign because it means you’re being ‘busy’ and ‘productive’.

In the end, I’d still get to everything I wanted or needed to get to. I’d even get to a point where I was no longer stressed out. But then…this just felt ‘off’. I must be missing something? I must be doing something wrong? This absence of stress must mean I am being soft on myself and slacking!!

When I looked at all the points that triggered a stress response, I saw that I accessed a belief that I wasn’t capable and adequate to direct what needed to be done. That things were just ‘too hard’ and ‘too much’ for me. Yet living in constant and continuous stress, well – then things really get hard and too much because the body just can’t keep up.

So what to do?

Every point of stress is actually an opportunity for myself to investigate my relationship towards that which I am experiencing stress towards. I can use these moments to specify myself. If I stress out about a particular task, I gift myself the opportunity to unconditionally carry it out and do the best I can. To gift myself to check whether my belief of inadequacy actually holds truth, and if I see that there is room for improvement, to set myself up to equip myself to be able to direct it better next time around.

How does this bring me to peace?

Well, in every factor of stress, there is something to learn about myself. That I can direct myself, that I can move myself to direct my world and reality effectively. And so piece by piece, I piece myself back together. And it that wholeness is peace – within bringing all the pieces that were missing – back together.

Words Create our World

words code source soul school of ultimate living leilazamoramoreno

Why do words create our world?

For everything that exists, we have a word. Words as concepts hold the essential information of what something is. We first have the idea/notion of a chair – and then we can create/manifest a chair according to our understanding/definition of a chair. When we encounter a chair, we can know it is a chair by virtue of the definition we hold about it within ourselves.

In a way, words as language, are the same as coding and programming languages. When we browse the internet, any page we enter or stumble upon has behind it a source code – just lots of text and characters that don’t make much sense unless you have some programming knowledge, which together define all the elements we can see with our eyes, their relationships to one another and all the different actions those elements need to perform on the page we’re on. What we see as visually appealing the webpage is held together and dictated by this source code, which is in essence words/text.

Say we see a blue button on the page that says ‘Next’.

The source code would contain information such as: blue button: colour=blue; width= so many pixels; height=so many pixels; link to=some hyperlink that is the next page.

Whenever we want to implement another such button on the page and have it be executable we can simply make reference to ‘blue button here’, and the button will act according to the same information above.

How is this information useful to ourselves as human beings, and how does this relate to words creating our world?

As individuals, we also each carry a ‘source code’ that together forms ‘who we are’, and who we present ourselves to be to the world.

Let me use myself as an example.

I’m Leila.

Leila in itself is a word placement to refer to myself as a name.

Leila is female. Leila is married. Leila is a mother. Leila wears glasses. Leila grew up in Belgium. Leila now lives in South Africa. Leila lives on a farm. Leila has two siblings. Leila went to university. Leila doesn’t like conflict. Leila likes animals. Leila’s favourite food is pizza. Leila works with graphical tasks on computers. Leila is shy when meeting new people, ….

Any person you meet, just like yourself, you can describe and ‘capture’ through the use of words.

So how do words define who we are and what we create in our world?

Let’s take the word female.

I am female. In terms of a dictionary definition, this merely means that: I am of the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes.

Yet, through my upbringing and experiences as a child, the personal definition I carry may look something like this: being able to birth children, weak, fragile, submissive to men

Whenever I am confronted with the fact that I am female in my life (which would be a constant thing, being aware that I am a female at all times) – how I act, behave and see myself – is per my definition of the word ‘female’.

When I speak to another male, my automatic behaviour will be to present myself as weak, fragile and submissive; because that’s the definition I’ve placed for myself for the word ‘female’.

All the words we’ve associated and defined ourselves according to; contain specific information as ‘tasks’ that we perform and execute. Through our own personal life path and journey, we all contain different, personalized definitions of the words associated to ourselves. All these words and definitions together, define who we are, how we act, what decisions we make. A website is limited to perform only that which is contained in the source code, it’s predictable and limited to the range of code that backs it up. Depending on the extent of coding involved, we can have very elaborate websites. And depending on the soundness/effectiveness of that coding – the website will perform successfully/smoothly or poor/buggy.

How expansive and effective we are as a person, is just like a website, dependent on the words we contain and whether they have been effectively defined.

We may want a blue button on our website, but somehow it always shows red; because the source code wasn’t scripted effectively and defined it as such (red instead of blue). I may want to be a confident female, but as long as my source code as my definition dictates that a female is weak, fragile and submissive – I won’t be able to successfully be a confident female.

Within my parenting journey, I’ve found it imperative to investigate all the words associated with parenting, so that I can be the mother I want to be rather than the mother I’ve been conditioned to be.

During the first 7 years of a child’s development, most of our behaviour and personality is shaped. We are literal sponges that absorb everything coming our way and specify who we are and who we need to be to be able to ‘survive’ the conditions we’re faced with. This all happens on an unconscious level, where we are not involved in making conscious decisions about who we are and who we want to be – it all kind of just ‘happens’. Depending on the circumstances and events we face as a child, we will develop a particular personality. This is very well known in psychology, where clear patterns have been observed where adult abusers where once abused themselves as children. Or where children left in the woods, who by some miracle got raised by other animals like wolves – will show all the traits of ‘being a wolf’. What comes in when you are a child (input) will equal your behaviour and personality as an adult (output).

If you were raised with parents who were very anxious about the world, that the world is ‘not a safe place’ – you too will as an adult perceive the world as such and behave and make decisions accordingly.

Luckily, just as we can go back to the source code of a website and edit and correct any bugs or corrupted scripts; so too can we go back to our source code as the words we live and correct them, script them in a way that empowers us and allows us to live our utmost potential.

For more information on how to use words as a tool of self-empowerment and living your utmost potential, visit http://schoolofultimateliving.com/

Subscribe to the School of Ultimate Living’s YouTube channel, and like the SOUL Facebook page to stay up to date on new releases and updates on how to use Words in your life.

From Guilt to Accountability | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

guilt accountability parenting emotional turmoil leilazamoramoreno

In this blog, I will be using the example from my previous post ‘From Anger to Integrity’, to elaborate on the regret and guilt dimension which played out in the scenario. Please read this blog first to gain full context.

So in my previous blog, we walked an example of how we tend to act while emotions are high, and end up regretting the course of action we took. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth which we experience as guilt and regret.

Now, a fascinating thing with Guilt, is that we use guilt as a self-punishing instrument. The moment we act in a way which we perceive is wrong or contrary to our personal principles, guilt sets in where we feel bad about ourselves and feel ourselves being stuck in a rut.

What I noticed with myself, when taking a course of action with my son which I would regret – is that I would go through a period of feeling really bad about myself and putting myself down. However, as soon as another opportunity arose – it was very easy to make the exact same mistake again – only to be followed by another ‘guilt session’.

Within this, the act of feeling guilty and indulging in this experience was in essence ‘punishment enough’. Where I did something wrong, ‘paid for it’ – and was then able to once more go about doing as I please. We find this pattern in our own religious belief systems as well. We will go for confession and ‘confess our sins’ while feeling bad for it – be forgiven, but come next Sunday we are right back at square one asking forgiveness for the same sins.

In my parenting journey, it became invaluable to not remain stuck and indulge in an experience of guilt. Feeling guilty and deliberately prolonging the experience by participating in self-diminishing thoughts only places you in a position of disempowerment. How you’re ‘such a bad parent’ or ‘how inadequate you are’. These are all statements where we condemn ourselves to remain stuck, and define ourselves by our weaknesses. Instead, I learnt to listen to the message behind Guilt – which is that of Personal Accountability.

When I find myself feeling guilty after a particular action of behaviour, I check my actions and ask myself where, how and why I acted contrary to my principles. The experience of guilt lets me now that I strayed from my moral compass and that there is a lesson to be learnt. Instead of indulging and plunging in the emotional storm of guilt, I ask myself what course of action would have been appropriate. I immediately commit myself to live this this course of action as a correction and to remind myself of this particular weakness I identified within myself. The moment I embrace this commitment and set myself up for success next time around – any feeling of guilt disappears. So just like anger, guilt does not arise for us to punish ourselves and tell us ‘how bad’ we are. It’s a flag in our biofeedback system indicating that there is an improvement in our approach which needs to take place. Guilt lets us know we made a mistake. It’s an indication for yourself to take responsibility for your actions and to restore your trust in yourself. After all, nobody likes it when someone says ‘sorry’ but fails to follow through in adjusting their behaviour. What makes an admission of remorse real is not the utterance of it, but the actions which follow.

On another note – I have also experienced adjusting my behaviour and approach the next time a similar situation took place, but where instead of being clear inside myself, I would experience a sensation of discomfort inside myself.

Guilt is linked to our moral compass and comes about when we move in a different direction than the one our compass dictates. Yet sometimes (or for some maybe often), it is not the behaviour or approach we need to change – but the morals we were responding to. Our sense of right and wrong is established in our childhood years where we absorb what is right and wrong from our parents, family, school, friends – you name it. We often copy beliefs and morals believing they are ‘the right thing to do’ because others told us so, without checking whether we actually agree with these beliefs/morals. Often, these morals are imposed to use using some kind of emotional enforcement. If we don’t obey/comply to the morals set out for us, we get punished, excluded – leaving ourselves feeling alone and unaccepted. To avoid these experiences, we behave as we are expected to behave by our environment, and not because we agree with the morals presented to us.

Say your parents were very intolerant of any kind of crying in the house. Crying is seen as a form of weakness and not to be tolerated. When you were found crying you received comments to ‘man up’ and ‘get over it already’. Now, many years later you have a baby. Your baby is crying for no apparent reason and you pick your baby up to comfort her. While you are holding and rocking her, you feel guilty for ‘giving in’ to your crying baby. You think you are being weak and that indulging in comforting her will cause her to develop a weak and dependent character.

Now say that because of this, you promise to next time leave your baby to ‘cry it out’. The next time comes around and you leave your baby to cry it out. On the one hand you praise yourself for your discipline but on the other hand you feel very uncomfortable and sad about the whole situation.

In such a scenario (which I personally went through as well!), it’s important to take a moment to evaluate your compass. Do you really stand by the moral dictated by your compass? Do you really believe and stand by it? Or have you conditioned to stand by it to avoid uncomfortable experiences and criticism of others?

Here, it can be valuable to investigate your own childhood, to see how you responded to such an approach and whether it had the best possible outcome for you. You can for yourself, play out the future of your own child. If you uphold this approach and behaviour in the long-run, will you achieve the long term goals you have set for yourself as a parent as well as for your child? This can sometimes be difficult to emulate, as we often only tend to draw from our own experiences. If ignoring and suppressing crying is all you have ever known, it can be hard to imagine how things could have turned out if your parents had opted for a different approach. When I face an impasse like this, I reach out to other people and do my own research on the internet. Even if I am not sure of a new approach or suggestion, I will push myself to test it out unconditionally to see what the results are. Remember though that each person’s perspective and suggestions may not always work for you as not everyone finds themselves in the same situation, nor do we all have the same children. Find what works for you and be honest with yourself whether you are satisfied or not with the approach you are taking. This is part of being accountable to yourself. To be fully cognizant of the decisions we make and to be able to stand by them. All too often I found my parenting mistakes to be rooted in copied beliefs and morals from my own parents, media, schooling etc. This is in part what I love about my parenting journey. To constantly assess and evaluate any ‘hidden’ beliefs or morals, to check whether I agree full heartedly with them – and to change them if need to be. As a child,I lacked the autonomy and skill to establish these for myself. As an adult with my own child, I am bound to revisit these and can filter out the junk and keep what’s good.

 

From Anger to Integrity | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

anger and integrity

Anger is one of the emotions I faced a lot within my personal journey, and one I made a priority to deal with. Becoming angry and acting out in anger – would only lead to guilt and regret. Anger, was a real (d)anger.

Let’s look at a simple scenario to place how anger can play out and what we can learn from it.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Say, you’ve had a long day (as is every day when you are parenting a young baby/toddler) and you’ve finally found a moment to sit down and catch up on your emails. Your baby is crawling around by itself, and you pray to god that he will continue entertaining himself. As you’re clicking and reading away, you realise that your baby found your cell phone and seems quite fascinated by the lights and movements it makes as he swipes on it. You cringe inside yourself, because you know your baby doesn’t have the concept of what a phone is, how easily phones break these days and the type of financial investment they are. You really don’t want him to play with it.

But… on the other hand… you are finally having some sweet time to yourself. If you intervene and remove the phone, baby might get fussy and then it’s bye-bye me time. You weigh your options and decide to take the risk of letting baby play with the phone.

Click, click, click….Scroll, scroll, scroll. You realise how long you’ve been reading your emails and you check up on what your baby’s up to.

Oh My God!!

Did he just SLOBBER all over the phone?? Are those BITEMARKS???

You get up, rip the phone out of baby’s hands and start shouting that he must NOT PLAY WITH THE PHONE!!

Baby started crying the moment you stood up energetically and ripped the phone away. Now he’s REAL FUSSY. You see the devastating look on his face, how he has no idea what just happened. You realise the look on your own face, piercing through his heart. You regret what you did immediately, you soften up and try to comfort him.

———————————————————————————————————————————

So let’s have a look what we can learn from anger in such scenarios.

First thing I realised, is that whenever I get angry at my son, I am not actually angry at him – I’m angry at myself.

I’m upset with myself without even realising it, and instead of listening to myself and directing myself – I project the issue unto my son as if he is to blame for my experience.

Second thing I realised, is that when I get angry, it’s already too late. Why is that? Anger in itself, is a statement of ‘this is unacceptable’ – a boundary or line has been crossed. In the example above, we can see that the boundary or line was crossed the moment we decided to forgo our own common sense. The common sense being: I don’t want, and can’t afford to get my phone ruined – baby should not have access to my phone.  Instead, we decided to *hope* that by some miracle the phone would be alright (which who knows, could have happened – but you don’t have any control over that) and so gave away our power to direct the situation from the get to and leave the outcome up to ‘fate’.

Then, when fate turns against us – now we get emotionally charged and angry at our baby. But why? Didn’t we make the decision to not intervene? Didn’t we leave the outcome up to chance? And now suddenly the baby has to pay for it?

This brings me to the solution of dealing with anger, which is Integrity.

What does integrity mean? Integrity means to live and uphold your principles. As within, so without.
Furthermore, integrity is linked to wholeness through its root in the word ‘intact’. Within being whole with yourself, you are living and standing undivided. Yet, the moment you uphold principles within yourself but not live/act upon them – you stand divided within yourself and so ‘cross your own boundary’. You get angry, at yourself.

Within this I realised, that the essence of anger is essentially hypocrisy, something I didn’t like seeing or realising – but cut straight to the point, and allowed me to see my adult tantrums for what they were.

So whenever I get angry or get the slightest irritation or frustration boil up inside me – I stop – and I ask myself: where am I not being true to myself? Where did I make a decision to ‘slack’ and not live up to my principles, and my utmost potential that I know I can live by? Where, and how could I have done something differently? Where am I being divided, split inside myself?

Through working and developing your own personal integrity, we can avoid these situation where we burst out and have an outcome we regret. These rash emotions and feelings which rise up, they are not here to be ‘acted out’ – they are part of our biofeedback system, pointing at a message we have yet to embrace.

Whenever you get angry, remind yourself of the word Integrity. There are two sides of the same coin, we just need the courage the flip the coin over and hear the message we require to learn.

The Art of Horsemanship, starts with Self-Mastery

horse woman leilazamoramoreno

When I first got into contact with horses on a daily basis, I was already walking a process of Self-Investigation – analysing who I am and where I can improve myself to my make daily life and living more effective and enjoyable. For me, spending time with horses was a ‘hobby’, something I would do for fun to ‘take my mind of things’. Yet, soon enough – it became very clear that working with horses and spending time with them was not the kind of ‘break’ I was looking for. Quite the opposite happened actually. My buttons were continuously being pushed, and no matter how much I just wanted to ‘relax’ and enjoy myself around the horses and specifically the horse I ended up having as my companion, I found myself in an almost constant state of inner conflict. I really wanted to get to know my horse and have a fun relationship, but he was bullying me around and I was anxious just being around him. When I had first met him at the farm he was staying before coming to live with us, he seemed like a sweet and grounded horse. But when it came to daily interaction, a whole new dynamic came to the surface. In the first few weeks, I’d need to keep his halter on in the stable while grooming because he was very pissy and all too happy to bite/nip to express his. With the assistance of others, I was able to set boundaries and stabilise myself through addressing my fear relationship with him.

When I was a child, I got my share of beatings – this left a very deep impression on me which affected my entire life (and is something I am still working through). Now, having this BIG animal with massive strength and power around me – it scared the living shit out of me. Just seeing him, seeing his grumpy expression and the intensity of him movements whether directed towards me or not – would trigger all sorts of memories bringing me back to my childhood, scared, insecure self. When I was a child, all I would do to cope with the situation is to draw back inside myself and wait the situation out while sitting in complete fear and petrification.

My experience of myself around my horse was absolutely awful. Either I would stop participating with horses, or I would change and empower myself – teach and give myself the tools I did not have as a child, to find a constructive way to work with another being who is angry and plays this out physically – without getting hurt and going into self-diminishment in the process.

This has shown to be a very challenging task. Every fibre of my being has since childhood been set up to avoid conflict situations at any and all costs, especially situations where things could get physical. It was very difficult to give up my primary coping mechanism as the survival skill I developed in situations of conflict. I had to constantly remind myself that I was no longer a child and in a position of powerlessness. I was an adult now and I did not have to be a victim of the situation. I was very scared to change, because all I knew was that ‘avoidance’ would keep me safe. So every day, I would make the deliberate effort to change. To be present, here and work with my horse regardless of the anxiety inside myself. I was taught to take notice of my posture and body language, as any emotional instability would translate into a particular body posture, which would draw out a particular response from the horse. Horses are herd animals as well as prey animals. Their survival and well-being depends on effective leadership. Someone who knows what they are doing. If you are scared, fearful, and go into states of self-diminishment – it is logical to the horse to get rid of you or at least ‘know your place’ in the hierarchy with all the consequences that come with it.

Not only are horses very perceptive of the state of being of their fellow herd members, but they are perceptive of the state of being of any human or animal that gets into their environment. In the wild, a predator who’s just had a nice meal and is fully satisfied can stroll by a herd of horses and the horses will peacefully graze on – because they already picked up on this state of being from miles away. If that same animal however would have approached them in a state of hunting, they would have ran off the moment they picked up on the animal. Much of their behaviour is determined by ‘where everyone else is at’. This became very clear that, as I changed – my horse would change. And so my horse would become the mirror reflection of myself and my state of being. Challenging me, pushing me, checking where I am at and responding accordingly.

Unfortunately, many people do not consider this aspect when working with a horse or any other animal for that matter. If a horse is being unruly, then simply more control and force is used. Someone in my position, then easily moves from being a victim to being a perpetrator – doing unto the horse exactly that which had been done unto self. Horses, in their kind forgiving nature – will put up with this behaviour until they have either had enough (at which point they get sold or sent to the slaughter house) or until they collapse under physical strain and pressure.

To have a willing, trusting and cooperative relationship with your horse – Self-Mastery is absolutely essential. This means constant evaluation and assessment of yourself and your horse. Never assume that your horse is simply being an ‘irrational animal’. This great creatures are very advanced processing machines – to call them stupid would be a deflection of our own inability to see beyond our limited perspectives.