Don’t Mind the Small Stuff – Zoom Out On Your Life

zoom out on your life

When You Become Distracted, Bring Back Focus By Zooming Out

At one time or another, we are all daydreamers, stress balls, disconnected, or whatever else is taking you away from focusing on your moment. It is whenever you find yourself in past or future events, i.e. things that don’t exist anymore or do not yet exist. Why is it that we insist on bringing our awareness to places that are not real, when the only reality we have to concern ourselves with is the very present moment? I think Prof Steve Peters puts it in to a very good and humorous context in  “The Chimp Paradox”; we have all have a very lonely chimp inside who demands constant attention and only wants to get up to mischief. Whether you call it your chimp, ego, shadow or something else doesn’t matter, the result is the same; you are stolen away from fully enjoying and embracing the present moment. 

Past

Many times when we focus too much on the past we can find ourselves in a pattern of depression. We basically have a fear, shame, guilt, sadness, grief, etc. about the past. We may fear the past coming back to haunt us, or perhaps we fear that we will never experience  something that awesome ever again. We bring ourselves back to moments when we did something we are not proud of, evoking feelings of shame and guilt. What really is the benefit in revisiting the negative emotions of past events? Many of my clients come up some interesting reasons for it, e.g. “If I don’t feel bad about it then I don’t regret it and then it’s like I would think it was a good thing” or “I know I shouldn’t suppress things so I must hold on to it”. Often when they write their reasons down and they can read it themselves they realise the lunacy of them. The idea is that you explore the lesson behind the event and drop the feelings surrounding it, which allows you to draw the benefits of experience without having to relive the negative feelings surrounding it. You will then not constantly revisit the situation either as you will only draw on it when the lesson you learned is needed in your present moment without having to actively and consciously evoke the memory of the event. 

Future

Similarly to how we treat past events that no longer exists, but these events are yet to exist. Your persistent focus on the future leads to anxiety. The excuses here range from, “If I don’t worry, who will?”, “I need to think of the future, otherwise I won’t foresee what’s coming next”, “I’ve been told that I need to focus on what I want in order for me to manifest it”, etc. For a future event to turn out exactly as you’ve perceived it is a near impossibility as there are always too many elements that you cannot control. The only thing you can control is how you feel about a situation. With that in mind, i.e. we do not control how the future comes together, we only control how we feel about it, why do we insist on worrying about the details of the future? We in fact view the future from the point of view of our past experiences. For some reason we believe that the future will be no different to the past. Our programming gives us a negative feeling about the future because we have been taught not to expect too much of it or that we are not capable of achieving greatness that we can’t even yet imagine. We impose these limitations on ourselves because we focus on the minutia. Most of the great philosophers, inventors, spiritual leaders, etc. could not envision where they ended up before they got there, they just did not impose any limitations on  themselves, instead remaining fully open to any opportunity and guidance to get to where they would be the greatest version of themselves.

Since neither the past nor the future exist, what is the only thing that determines your future, or the past for that matter? The present moment is the only control of how your past and your future will shape up. 

Present moment

Is it realistic, irrespective of your external circumstances, for you to bring contentment into every moment of your life? In my experience it is absolutely realistic. There are many prominent inspirational personalities around the world that have used their most traumatic experiences to turn their lives around. Two perfect examples of this are; Immaculee Ilibagiza, survivor of the Rwandan genocide, or Viktor Frankl, survivor of the Holocaust. These amazing people viewed their futures out of the possibilities of their attitudes in their present moments. They both decided to bring forgiveness into their hearts and not let their horrific pasts determine who they were going to be in the future.  It is when you string your past and future moments together that you get the full time line of your life. So if you start embodying what you desire to become in the future at this very moment, you will start building up a past and present moments that reflects the future you want. Naturally, as an extension to this your future also become what you want it to become because you already have it. Through this train of thought you will also see how you may control and change your past by bringing what you want to become in the future into the present moment. 

Zooming out

We’ve now explored why the present moment is critical in creating the life you desire, but your attention keeps getting dragged in to the minutia of the future and/or the past, how do we train ourselves to move int the present? Many books have been written on this subject, one of my favourites being “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, but my objective her is to give you one simple tool to use.

When you focus on the minutia of life; mainly past and future, you get bogged down and cannot focus on bringing in what you desire for your future to the present moment. The present moment really does not have any minutia because you are creating every moment as it happens, so there is no planning for the current moment, you flow where it takes you. Invariably your monkey brain or ego will tempt you away with distractions to think of the little details. When you notice this happening, just zoom out and take a bird’s eye view of what you want the sum of your life to be. How do you want to feel on average on a daily basis? What are some of the big aspirations you have in life; e.g. make life better for refugees, create a successful company, help as many animals as possible, be the best parent possible, etc? As you can see, the idea here is to keep it as broad as you can and not allow yourself to focus on any details. With the bird’s eye view in mind you then come back to the present moment with the past and the future out of your focus. As you return to the present moment, bring that feeling of what you want to accomplish with you and create each moment as a building block towards the broad goal you set for yourself. Keep repeating this when ever your focus is dragged away from your present moment and you will find that it becomes a habit and not something you have to do, it just happens. 

Stay in moment and enjoy every second of it 😉 

Photo by Sam Bark on Unsplash

Equality Movement in Society – What is Going Wrong?

Equality

Equality will not be achieved while viewing the world from our old paradigm

I was listening to the brilliant, and most “awake” radio breakfast host out there, Chris Evans on Virgin Radio on International Women’s Day and he was chatting with Mary Portas about her work and her new book. She said something that unlocked a train of thought and awakened a line of philosophy in my core. She said (paraphrasing), “You cannot change the lack of equality (female/male balance) within a current societal structure, which is conditioned for the alpha type personality.” Wow, how true isn’t that! If you follow my writings on Medium (https://medium.com/@clembke88) you will see a trend in my articles where I am advocating a paradigm shift from a quantitative society to a qualitative one. Mary and I are very much on the same page here; we need to shift society as a whole, one person at the time, to evolve to the next level and achieve equality. 

Trying to drive change from the perspective of the old paradigm

Human society is very much set up to celebrate the alpha personality; fight your way to the top and you are considered to have succeeded in life. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, it is the alpha personality that will be considered successful. The challenge women have succeeding in this type of society is that they tend to not be alpha type personalities, they tend to be more nurturing, caring, compassionate, etc. Whereas, males have a greater portion of alpha type personalities in their midst. However, men who are not of the alpha personality do not fare well either in these hierarchies, so it is not just a female issue. It has been famously proclaimed that “if women were in charge, there wouldn’t be any more wars!”. Looking at the females leaders of countries that we have had, I wouldn’t say that history brings any evidence of that statement being true. The reason is because the women that have succeeded in rising to the top in our current paradigm are no different than the men they competed against, they are type A personalities with as much issues that men have brought through the ages. Now, if we can change that statement to “if people were in charge that rose to power within a male/female balanced society, there wouldn’t be any more wars!”, I will be more inclined to believe it. It doesn’t matter the gender, skin colour, religion or any other attribute of leaders in society, it is the qualities of the society that they were nurtured and shaped that determines their leadership qualities.  

This societal structure was necessary and effective in the days when you needed strong leaders to protect against external threats. However, we are shifting far beyond those times and now the main challenge comes from within. That fear that was warranted in history still persists within us today, but we don’t actually know what we are afraid of, so we make up things to fear, basically anyone who is different from ourselves, change, etc. This applies to the majority of the movements for equality in our society today. Because of the prevalent energy of separation that still exists, movements don’t focus on unity, they have a “us-against-them” mentality. This mentality only leads to further divisions and contentious debates. 

The idea that we can legislate away inequality is a fallacy and usually backfires on itself. If we tell a company that 50% of their employees have to be female or male without changing the corporate culture and the culture in which the company operates, you will end up with a lot of employees of one gender or another that cannot perform to the same level as the more established group because they don’t have the training and experience, nor are they operating in an environment that is in line with their personality. This only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes and give the status quo an argument against change. This is not to say that we shouldn’t use legislation to hasten the move towards equality, but governments need to take a holistic approach to change as opposed to the areas that are the most visible and they can use to falsely claim that they are succeeding for their own political gains. 

With a bird’s eye view of society we see that it is stereotypically patriarchal because it has been shaped by alpha males for alpha males.  It doesn’t nurture the individual, but rather protects the “initiates”. Take the Catholic Church for example; the, one can only surmise, institutionalised abuse of young boys has been allowed to persist for so long due to the power structure and the insular club mentality that permeates these types of organisations. I suspect, one of the reasons why, in particular, the Catholic Church have had such a plethora of cases of degenerate acts is the very lopsided imbalance of male energy. It was only after the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and the First Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381 that the leading female characters in the early Christian story were suppressed giving way to an entirely male dominated hierarchical power structure. In the case of the Catholic Church, I believe that its survival is entirely dependent on very quickly bringing in women to the ranks across the Church to even out the balance of male and female energy. However, in itself this is not a sustainable solution for the Catholic Church to maintain its following. It must face its shadows from its history and reform the same way I suggest society as a whole has to reform to create an equilibrium and bring forth much needed balance. 

Forcing equality upon society will only lead to more division and confrontation. We must change our approaches and attitudes to every aspect of our lives to organically drive the change that will allow it to become a natural part of human evolution.

Driving change through evolution

The only way we will enact change is by engaging in open, transparent and continuous dialogue. The tug-of-war that we currently see, where the loudest alpha type personality garners the most followers and wins the argument will not solve the challenges we face. It is necessary, perhaps, in order for us to awaken to our own shadows relating to society for this to happen. However, it is not what will allow for peaceful transition into a new paradigm. We need to move away from the “us vs. them” attitude, to simply one of “us”. Equality has nothing to do with man vs. woman, black vs. white, Muslim vs. Christian, etc. Equality is about balance among us. Of course, we need to shine a light on the plight on the disadvantaged in society, but we need to do it with empowerment. Showcase how empowerment is helping the disadvantaged and it will increase the compassion from those who are not; it is through positive messaging that we create inclusion. Once you start looking at every situation with the us-mentality, it becomes natural to look at the individual, not separate from you, but the same as you. In actual fact the process will bring balance between the female and male energies within the individual giving space for more compassion and unity to take root and thrive. Through the individual we will shift our societal norms completely from the hierarchical pyramids where money, wealth and materialism are celebrated to flattened organisations that promote the individual and his/her creative contribution to society. This society will focus more on collaboration to solve the challenges we all face collectively rather than giving orders and frameworks that lack flexibility. Child care is a great example to use. If organisations want reliable attendance from their employees who are parents, instead of dumping the daycare problem on them as individuals, why doesn’t the organisation bring daycare within it so that parents can bring their toddlers into work and hand them over to daycare in-house? Some of the results will be:

  • You are helping solve a stress for the employee creating gratitude
  • You have a perk to offer in your recruitment drives
  • Improved attendance
  • Employees that spend more time at work because they don’t have to dash off to pick their child up from daycare

Do you see how the compassionate approach generating qualitative benefits in this example translates into revenue and savings in the output from these employees? Bringing these types of policies in across different aspects of the business create the idea of family, unity and community within an organisation. Silicon Valley companies, such as Google, are known to have some of these tools employed within their organisations, which is of course great. However, their challenge is that the approach is still from the eyes of the old paradigm. The full benefit will not be realised until the critical mass of individuals have shifted in to the new norm. 

If you read my article “What You See, Hear and Feel Becomes Your Reality — External Sensory Perceptions” you will understand the foundation to change that we as individuals need to make to become more positive and to approach life more from our hearts as opposed to our egos. With such a change, it would become natural for each and every one of us to seek the best for our fellow humans as well as the planet and all its inhabitants. Since our organisations, governments, etc. are made up of people and thus become dynamic organisms with energetic signatures, or, if you prefer, cultures, it is the people within these organisations that drive change, but only through their own individual shifts. Irrespective of where in the traditional hierarchy these shifts happen (i.e. worker, management, director or board level), when critical mass has been achieved the organisation will have no choice but to change into the new paradigm. It is important to understand that the individual will not accept the change by order; the organisation must bring the individual to understand that the change is for their own holistic benefit and will serve every aspect of their lives. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink; it will drink when it is thirsty.

When we focus on what makes us tick and what we truly desire we start delivering better results, become more creative, become more loyal (for the right reasons) and far more efficient. We must get past the critical mass of people adopting this new approach before it becomes the new norm and there is no longer any space for the old paradigm to exist. When enough people are motivated by inclusiveness and compassion, the collective fear that drove us in the old world will have no place to take root and grow. In a qualitative based society we measure success against quality not quantity; e.g. we measure quality of someone’s contribution, not how much money they are worth, we measure the quality of living or happiness as opposed to the amount of money generated by a population to measure their success. At work it is more important how happy you and your customer are together as opposed to how much they spend with you. It comes down to loving what you do and the money will follow.  

In this new paradigm female and male energies will be in balance, because they are in balance within each and every one of us. There will be room for anyone to succeed in the way they themselves feel is the definition of success, and their physically identifiable differences won’t be part of the discussion. 

We can achieve what ever we set our mind to, but we need to believe that this future is possible and that the responsibility to start the process lies with each and every one of us.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

What You See, Hear and Feel Becomes Your Reality – External Sensory Perceptions

sensory perceptions

Are your sensory perceptions serving you?

We all know that today we process far more information coming in through our senses than we ever previously did. The vast majority of this information never makes it to the conscious part of yourself, it lands in the subconscious. This does not mean the information has no impact on you, on the contrary, it has a greater effect because you don’t control it and most don’t even realise the impact, so it sneaks up on you. A lot of people walk around like sponges without any restriction to what information they absorb. Just like a friend can bring you down or lift you up depending on their own energetic imprint at that moment, you are influenced by not only what you feel, but also what you see and hear.  

Just like your trauma and environmental programming sits in your subconscious directing your reaction patterns to situations you encounter, media, relationships, society, geography, etc. affects your attitudes and moods. It all really comes down to being aware of your sensory “intake”. Engage in healthy communications in your relationships, watch TV/movies that uplift you, limit your exposure to advertising, focus on what you support in society and help those in need and be in places that energise you and help ground you; these are just some examples of how we can work towards letting our external sensory perceptions help us as opposed to dragging us down. 

We are surrounded by negativity in the news, suggestive messaging in advertising, division and conflict in society and ego driven motives in relationships. With this bombardment of negative energies it is really tough not to get swept up in the machine and partake in the perpetuation of negativity. This is where we are sheep, we do not see any reason or possibility of change because “this is the way things are”. I am here to tell you that there are compelling reasons and not only possibilities, but necessities to change. However, it is each and every one of our responsibility to make changes within us, it is not anyone else’s responsibility. 

Let’s take a look at some of the major areas that trigger and influence us in our every day life:

  • Relationships
  • Media/advertising
  • Social media
  • Society
  • Geography

Relationships

When you argue with someone, it leaves you feeling pretty poorly inside, doesn’t it? You may have said things you didn’t mean, you may have been belittled or just drawn in a screaming match. In any case you are left affected by the altercation. How long do you carry around this burden of the altercation? Do you let it go only when the other party apologises or do you just stuff it deep down where you don’t have to deal with it? So, is this feeling you are left with something that was created by an outside force? No, any emotion or feeling or reaction is always created by you, but your interactions may trigger you to create it. Some relationship experts, and I use the term experts lightly in this case, suggest that you need to have fights now and then to keep the relationship alive. There is actually never a time that you would be better off arguing with anyone to the point where you get angry or upset. I think what they mean to say is that you need to always communicate your truth to your partner, family, friends, etc. so that you maintain that meaningful relationship. No yelling or screaming is ever called for.

If you are upset, communicate it in a healthy way. In the case where the person you are interacting with and has triggered the upset cannot recognise that you are upset and the reason for it, nor giving you space to express yourself, then yelling is not going to change that. In that situation you have to just express your disappointment with the lack of empathy for you and move on. The most important step in this situation is to forgive yourself and the other person to release the pent up emotions that you may have. Also, be grateful for the lesson the other person gave you; it could be that you learned something new about that person or perhaps you learned something new about an aspect in yourself that gets triggered and why. It is when you take something personally that you start reacting from the point of your ego.

If you end up in a situation where one of you do yell, if you are the delivering party, apologise to yourself and the other person for raising your voice and not communicating effectively. If you are the receiving party, calmly state that you do not deserve the disrespect of being yelled at and will leave the space if things don’t calm down. Again, don’t take it personally, the reason you are being “yelled at” has everything to do with the other person and their perspective. 

Forgiveness and gratitude are you main tools to successfully getting out of accumulating negativity from your relationships. Of course there are many more intricacies to consider, but this is a starting point. 

Media, advertising and computer games

Until you try choosing positive messaging in your media intake, you probably won’t realise the impact TV, movies, news and advertising has on you. The message delivery system is designed to make you feel bad as it better grabs your attention. Take a look at these points:

  • News broadcasts are predominately about bad things that have happened
  • Pharmaceutical advertising is telling you that you have a condition and their chemical is the only one that is going to make you feel better
  • Fashion advertising tells you that you have not succeeded because you are not wearing their brand
  • Movies and computer games show violence, imbalanced relationships, gratuitous sex, etc. as something we should expect from life.
  • Reality TV is focused on mocking people and showing them off at their most vulnerable

All these points serve to make you fearful of the world and humanity, cause you to feel bad about yourself, make you sick, eliminate your empathy and judge those around you, not to mention cause you to see yourself as separate from others. I am sure these are not the influences you want your subconscious to be programmed with, are they?

Imagine how you would start feeling if you chose the content you allowed your subconscious to pick up by choosing comedies, positive news, mindful content and move away all together from news and advertising. I have personally made a conscious effort of limiting my exposure by taking away my TV and only watching on demand programming. I also subscribe to Positive News, Happinez and Soul Hub, giving me content that shows a world that is positive and creative. It doesn’t make me ignore all the challenges the world has, on the contrary, it helps me come up with ideas of how to make it better. What would happen to our world if we all did that?

Social media

This is the double edge sword; it connects us to a vast variety of information and allows individuals to reach out through grassroots networks, but it is also highly addictive coping mechanism for many young people today. As many thing is can be used for both good and evil. 

What I want to address for the purpose of this article is the information shared by some of our friends that has a sole purpose of creating fear. We have also seen that governments use social media as a subversive tool to wreak havoc on national election by disseminating divisive messages. The messages that appear in our feed have the same effect as the news on TV, in our digital as well as hard copy newspapers, but with the added boost that the information now comes from someone you know, which subconsciously adds a layer of trust. Thankfully, you control the content that appears on your feeds. I am ‘ruthless’ in unfollowing (not unfriending) people that I am connected with on social media that perpetuate negative messaging. I apply the same filter to groups I belong to, if there isn’t a positive vibe in a group, off I go!  Your friends won’t actually know if you unfollowed them, but you will have less negativity to deal with. 

Again, this is not about putting your head in the sand, it is about protecting your energy from the constant bombardment of the negative messaging we are exposed to. For example, you don’t need to show horrible images of animal torture in the fur industry, show the beauty in the living being and target your message from a positive angle why people should be kind to animals and not support the fur trade (please note, I am not making any arguments for or against the fur industry, this is just an example).

Society

I could write books on this subject, but I will keep it short in this article by challenging you a bit. What do you think is the driving force that make us allow governments and government institutions to exert complete control over us as human beings? Is is because politicians and civil servants are superior to the rest of us? Of course not, they are human just like the rest of us. However, I would argue that the reason that we hand over the power to govern us is fear. We fear the past because, let’s face it, today is the best it’s ever been. We fear the future because we do not know it and we somehow believe this is as good as it gets, we cannot become better than this. The system is set up to create fear and division so that we won’t seek to create something new. If we did, politicians and civil servants would be out of jobs and they couldn’t have that. Hence society will, as a living organism, make sure your focus is on “us vs. them”, “follow us or this bad thing will happen”, etc. If you take a look at politics from a humanistic point of view you will see that it serves no one apart from the system itself. I am a willing participant in society, but I try to internally refocus from what could happen in any given situation in society to accepting that what ever is going to happen will happen. Beyond that, I then focus my attention on what I would like to see as the future of our society, partaking less in the game of us vs. them. Focus on what you are for and less on what you are against.

Geography

I think, unless you are a realised HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) or a realised ‘Empath’, it is when get older and more reflective that we pay attention to our geographical surroundings. What you see, hear and feel as you step out your front door will be what inspires you and drives your passion or weighing you down, draining you of energy. Artists are, in many cases, very adept at realising their environment is key to allowing their creativity to flow unhindered.

To show case this with a personal example; when I was living in New York City I remember walking out of our building on the Upper East Side (77th and York) my mood would change in an instant dependent on the prevailing energy in the City on that day. I didn’t understand this at the time, but now as I have been trained in the art of controlling my ability to sense energy, I find it fascinating. Now, add the noise, chaos, media imprint, advertising (I worked in Time Square!), etc. and I would be exhausted before even getting in the office. I love cities for the energetic flow and the ‘buzz’, but in terms of an optimal environments, cities weren’t, nor are, the best place for me to be. I need access to nature and solitude to recharge.

Paying attention to your sub-conscious ‘hygiene’ is no different than paying attention to your everyday physical hygiene, do it or you get sick; simple as that.  If it all appears overwhelming to you, start in small steps. You may want to wait until noon to look at your social media and the news and then only glance at it a set number of times during the day. It is important that you just make a start and work your way towards becoming aware of how your external surroundings and sensory environment affect you. 

Take care of what sensory perceptions you let in from your external environment into your sub-conscious and you will notice big shifts withing yourself. 

Photo by Branden Harvey on Unsplash