Thursday, 4 October 2007

The power of appreciation.......

Woke up at 2.30am and for some reason I couldn't go back to sleep. I went to bed with a mind in turmoil because I had intended to go to hear my friend give a talk and when I got to the area I couldn't find the venue. I thought I knew where it was but when I actually got there I realised that I didn't have a clue. There were hordes of people around and I was terrified that someone would stand on my foot. I ended up coming home and I felt angry and annoyed with myself. It wasn't rocket science to remember to bring the A-Z but no, I didn't even think of it. I put some effort into accepting the situation for what it was but I was aware that I wasn't being honest with myself by doing this.

It was this frame of mind that I went to bed with so I suppose it was no wonder that I woke up at 2.30am still feeling unsettled. I came into the sitting room and opened the book which is permanently on my coffee table. It was The Soul by my favourite occult writer Alice Bailey. A couple of blog posts earlier I had written about how hard I find sitting meditation to be and pondered on the point of it. When I opened the book I read on page 156 'Through meditation, which is the minds power to hold itself in the light, and in that light become aware of the Plan, he learns to 'bring through' the needed ideas. Through contemplation he finds himself able to enter into that silence which will enable him to tap the divine mind, wrest Gods' thought out of the divine consciousness and to know'. When I read it I wondered if it was a message for me to keep persevering with meditation. I feel like I am in a kind of waiting period. Maybe that is why at 7am this morning I found myself sitting down to meditate. I would love to write about great insights that I had but the truth is that I didn't. It was the same as I have written before.

What I realised though is that if I bring my attention to that point where one breath ends and the next begins, that point of nothing, then this is powerful. This is the point of nothing where everything arises. I showered and changed and went out to the post office to post much deserved thank you cards to all my friends. It was a beautiful morning here in London and I took the route which went alongside the park. Walking along I felt the power of the silence and the stillness and it nourished and strengthened me so much.

I returned home and got ready to meet some of my work colleagues in a cafe. They were there when I arrived and it was lovely to see them. They presented me with the most enormous and beautiful bunch of flowers. I felt the tears sting at the back of my eyes. Their warmth and welcome was so genuine and sincere. They are such a great bunch of people that I work with and I am incredibly lucky to have the supportive boss that I have. But it was not always like this. My only wish is that I know so well that the environment I am working in at present is not suited to me. I would give anything to have the ideas and follow through for bringing new products out but that isn't the kind of brain I have. Lateral thinking in a left brain way is not possible for me. So although I try, I end up getting stressed out. I know that the pressure will be on me to deliver when I return.

I put my gorgeous flowers in water which was a real test for the vase situation in this flat because I am not a flowers person so vases are kept to a minimum. Luckily I had enough in two vases. They are now sitting prettily here on my table.

I had a phone call from one of the people that are in my group for the Landmark Beyond fitness seminar. What I find amazing when I speak with people is that you never know how a casual remark can help another. I was talking about how we make up stories about the things that happen to us in life and then treat those stories like they were true. I told her how when I was 15 and in a Catholic boarding school a nun had given us some IQ tests. When I was called in to be given the results she said to me 'Margaret, I am very concerned about these results. According to these you are functioning at borderline mental handicap'. As you can imagine I was stunned and found it hard to get my head around what she had said. I stammered 'but I wanted to go to university and study psychology'. She dismissed this with an impatient wave of her hand and said 'the best that you can hope for is to have one of those jobs where you take cans of beans on and off conveyor belts'. I don't remember much more of the conversation.

I thought I had dealt with it by saying 'silly old hag' when I came out but I never told anyone what she had said. I was in boarding school and we didn't get home that often so I never told any of my family. But after that I shelved my plans to go to university and went to work with children and young people with learning difficulties much to the astonishment and dismay of my parents. They didn't know what had prompted this massive career change. I had never had a nurses uniform when I was a child. My grades went down.

I did my three years nurse training but it wasn't for me. I suffered much stress. Part of the nursing curriculum was psychology and I rediscovered my love for it and once I had qualified applied to do a graduate degree and was accepted. I got my degree and then kind of lost my way. I started to temp but always went in at the lowest level.

It was only when I did the Landmark Forum which is the first module in the curriculum for living that I understood how we give a meaning to the things that happen to us in life. I saw how I had given what that nun had said to me the meaning that I was stupid and that I would never amount to anything. That was the story then that was running whenever I thought about going for a good job. The tragedy is why didn't I make it mean that I was brilliant, that I could achieve anything I wanted. If this was the meaning I had put on it, the outcome would probably have been very different. On that weekend I got to see what I had made it mean. I saw the impact it had on me in terms of career and relationships. I saw that it was only a story I made up to make sense of what happened, it wasn't the truth. If I made it mean one thing, I can make it mean another, in fact I can make it mean anything I want to.

Words don't do justice to the immense relief and freedom that flooded through me. I felt like a gigantic weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I returned to work after that weekend with a confidence I never had before and within 6 months went and got a promotion of my own doing.

Now when I look back at those times I spent with children and young people with learning difficulties I don't see it as time wasted. Far from it. It was from these special people that I learned the value of innocence. It was also my training ground for compassion and where I learned not to judge people or situations. But how different might it have been if I had been aware of the difference between what happens in life and what we are programmed as human beings to make it mean.... This is why I am such a campaigner for the Landmark programme and the Landmark technology. It is the technology that enables the breakthroughs into new and empowering ways of being in the world.....

No comments: