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Importance of self-awareness

Be a more effective leader by understanding the three horizons of self-awareness.

The stories we make up
Stories are the foundation for how we make sense of the world. We could call these judgments or beliefs as well. Imagine that you get cut off by a car on the highway. In an instant, you might feel a flash of anger. Now imagine that you pull up next to the car and notice that the situation is different from what you expected. Maybe the driver is a teenager, obviously flustered and trying to concentrate. Maybe the driver is older but in the backseat is someone who, it appears, is injured. In either case, your stories about the situation would be updated in an instant.

For better and worse, our stories form the basis for how we make sense of the world. They are our thoughts, and they help us explain how the world is, how someone else is and how we ourselves are.

To get greater self-awareness around our stories, I find it’s best to simply start writing them down. Going back to a dedicated journal or notebook, start to articulate all the stories you’re making up, trying to get curious about how true they are. In the example, one story could have been, “This person is selfish,” and another could have been, “I feel angry because I’ve been disrespected.”

Source article: How to Develop Self-Awareness and Become a More Conscious and Effective Leader Source (click)

The above, once again, reminded me of the importance of developing self-awareness. Self-awareness,however, is not only important for CEOs so they become more efficient, everyone can greatly benefit from understanding who they are and what they truly want in their lives.

Self-awareness is a skill to be learnt. As children we are discouraged to observe ourselves and know ourselves. Instead we learn to defend our wounded parts with a false-self called the Ego.

“Examine yourself & understand who you are… Whoever does not know self, does not know anything. But, whoever knows self, has acquired the knowledge of the universe.”  Jesus, Book of Thomas (Gnostic Gospels)

“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom.”  Lao-Tzu

There are many useful tools to regain connection with ourselves. My courses will provide you with artistic, creative and fun tools to go on a journey within and arrive to clarity and self-acceptance. 

 

Source of pics UNSPLASH.COM

The healing power of drawing

“Creativity is the answer, not bitterness”

CHAOS DRAGON AND THE LIGHT – official trailer

DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPLETE 60-MINUTE FILM: Marika Henriques is a Jungian therapist, a survivor of the Holocaust and the creator of extraordinary art. Now in her 80s, she tells her story for the first time. The documentary’s central themes, of the trauma of war, migration and the refugee experience, are powerfully resonant today. As a young girl, Marika was hidden from the Nazis in a Budapest cellar. Separated from her own family and unsure of their safety or whereabouts, she had to pretend to be someone else’s child to stay alive. This 60-minute film explores the importance of identity and who we become when our identity is stolen. And it is a story about how creativity can help us process inner trauma. Marika was able finally to face the deep wound inflicted on her all those years ago through drawing. These pictures portray a powerful psychic and emotional journey, from the re-discovery of a mute and terrified child, through the loss of her identity, to the horror of the holocaust and her perilous escape from communism. Gradually, over several decades, Marika worked her way to a place of transformation and healing. Marika tells her unforgettable story with insight and emotion. Her interview is intercut with images of her father’s extraordinary illustrated diaries, archive footage and Marika’s mesmerizing drawings and tapestries. “The cumulative impact is assaultive, inspiring, intriguing and moving by turns” Review in The Journal of Analytical Psychology, November 2023 (Catriona Wrottesley)

Director – Sal Anderson
Executive Producer – Tracey Gardiner
Editor – Natasha Westlake
Co-producer – Steve Gough
Cinematographers – Roland Denning & Ian Liggett
Music – Alex Heffes
Sound Editor & Mixer – Adrian Rhodes
Production companies: Iridescent Films; Raw Productions (c) 2023

Learn more about the film HERE (CLICK)

Watch the film HERE CLICK

On my spiritual education

In this blogpost I discuss why it is important that educational institutions learn to serve the people attending the institution rather than following an intellectual idea of what education should be about.

Aka enthusiasm vs disappointment

In this blogpost I express my distress, upset and sense of helplessness with regards to the educational organization where I am studying. 

If you believe that spirituality and spiritual people are supposed to be free of negative emotions, pls do not read this post. Thank you.

I am someone who loves studying and leaning new things. I often go from one course to another because I always feel the need to expand my horizons, learn new skills, and go with the times.

It is partly because I am an educator and I believe that in order to serve my student the best, I need to know about the latest. I must be up to date with the times, the trends, how teaching and learning changes, and about the latest gadgets of learning support.

As I see it, teaching must serve the student. Not vice versa. About a hundred years ago, we all believed that teachers were some kind of authority of knowledge who had power over us. Today, teaching is more about guidance than knowledge. Knowledge is attainable at every corner but trustworthy guidance is still a commodity. 

Apart from being an educator, I am also a ‘traveller’. I have lived in about 5 different countries in 3 continents and worked in many more. Over the years I learnt that though we are similar in our humanity and one in our spirituality, we are also very different in our cultures and race. All of these need to be respected equally. 

When I started my spiritual education I did not know what I got myself into. While in the US in about 2017, a minister – and beloved friend – suggested a school that she thought would provide me with the spiritual foundation that I needed. 

On her advice, I started my M.A. in Divinity at a well known institution. After a year, however, I did not feel that I was on the right path and so I left. Though the courses  were interesting and practical, I felt that I was still looking. As I understand now, I was looking for connecting with God more deeply though my studies.

A year later, I started to attend a set of courses that launched me into a completely new sphere of life that I had known nothing about. This set of  18 courses gave me an in-sight into a level of spiritual understanding that I had been searching for decades. I suppose, the student had become ready to start her journey. 

The courses, their structure and the additional support I received from the Urban School were exemplary. By the time I finished with the foundation courses, I  had became an enthusiastic convert who found her calling. I decided to become a minister, what’s more, I decided to work with children and families. 

I could not wait for my ministerial education to start. Little did I know then about the confusion that I was getting myself into. 

During the first year, I was in heaven. 🙂 I was taking courses that open me and my spirit to new heights. I studied and learnt skills I never knew about before! I simply loved every course I was taking. 

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity and the amazing support The Unity Urban Ministerial School gave me. I am thankful for every course I took and the additional support I was offered at every turn. 

After about a year on the ministerial path, I suddenly learnt that because I wasn’t a resident of the US, I was required to move from the American school to another one that ‘dealt’ with foreigners. The so-called IMP course structure and content was very different from what I had gotten used to. After about a year studying at two institutions, one for quality and one for the ‘paper’, I completely lost my enthusiasm.

The entire educational program that is supposed to prepare me to become a shepherd of souls and a guide to the lost, has became a nightmare of paper pushing and dealing with general ignorance about cultural differences, and the needs of Generation X, Y, and Z!

It became apparent to me that the educators who create the ministerial educational program for foreigners (international program) – those outside of the US – have forgotten to check out WHO they prepared this program for and why. 

To my knowledge, the educational advisor who is in charge of the international program has never been to Europe and knows nothing of the general standard of education or the structure of the educational systems in Europe. This program lacks focus and a general understanding of what issues a minister in Europe may face. This ministerial program offers some understanding of the principles of the church and its organizational structure, however, it offers nothing to enable a minister to work with real issues, particularly that of the younger generations. 

Each time I have attempted to gain an audience with the person in charge of the international program, I was ignored. I have worked as an educator for over 30 years so I suspect that I could contribute to the formation of an international ministerial program that is relevant and practical. I may not know what makes a great minister but I am sure I know what makes a good school. 

A good school listen to its students and responds to their needs. A good school prepares its students for the future, not glorifies the past! A good school is relevant and current. 

I won’t even mention, the importance of a good teacher who would come as a  matter of course  with a good school. 

Recently I encountered a teacher who failed me three times in three different subject. First time, it is understandable. The second and third time I felt that I was picked on. Naturally, this incident can be conceived as a great example of a caring teacher who wants to make sure that you learn your lessons so you can become the best of yourself.

I used to believe that, too! Not any more!

The best way to teach someone is to inspire them to do well. I am still a believer of tough love but not too tough. Appreciating and respecting differences create an openness in the students that allows them to perceive and embrace the material presented to them. Condemnation and failing create friction and closedness that prevents absorption of the material presented.

When it comes to spiritual studies the worst thing a teacher can do is, after enabling a student to become open and vulnerable, to take advantage of this vulnerability and judge the student for ‘negligence’.

Another thing I noticed with this particular teacher was ‘assuming the worst’. Assumption is a silly human contrition where we fill in the gaps with our own imagination. Where she lacked facts on the reasons behind my actions, she seemed to fill these in with ‘judgements’. 

As I teacher, it is true, that I prefer studies and obliging students who follow my advise. However, it is not my job to enforce that they do! My job is to offer support, tailor the material in a way that my students find it interesting and engaging, and that I am inspiring enough as an educator so my advice is being followed.

Where there is force, there is resistance!

I still hope that I will find the courage and the willingness to finish my education at IMP because I would like to be the minister and educator I have been blabbering about above. 

Being and acting as as spiritual advisor and educator is the most responsible job, I can imagine. Supporting and enabling people to become aware of their unique essence that is a spark of the all-encompassing Divine Presence, is 

Matthew 6:22

Finding Meaning Series

Finding meaning is an interpretation ‘class’ that will support you to have more guidance in your life coming from within yourself.

What do we do in the class?

We read text from different ‘spiritual text’ like the Bible, the Baghva Gita, the Torah, or the Koran and interpret the ‘message’ in the text.

We use something called ‘metaphysical interpretation’. Charles Filmore one of the founders of Unity (see more about Unity), an ecumenical Church in the USA, created different metaphysical dictionaries such as the Revealing Word and the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, offering insight into reading the Bible.

However, you can find your own meaning without someone else giving you their meaning to the words.

What does this class offer?

This ‘class’ offers support in finding personal insight into any spiritual text or poem in order to find guidance.

We often seek out seers or oracles to tell our future or what decision to make in life. The truth is that we all have the wisdom to know how to make our life work. It is also true that sometimes it is hard to access the information.

How do we do it?

With inward-looking meditative, interpretive and affirmative practices we can all learn to understand spiritual text that can guide us towards living with wisdom and clarity.

Spiritual texts do not give us answers to our daily ‘how to’s, but they do provide us with tips and tools that can help us live a more peaceful and fulfilled lives.

What kind of class is this?

By class I mean that you take the time to read the text provided and listen to the material I offer.  You do this class yourself, in your own time, with others. 

In our Facebook group by using #findingmeaning hashtag you can join the conversation. You can join the group to engage in the conversation below

READ THIS! TASK

So, our first text is from the Bible, the New Testament. Read the passage below and contemplate on what the text means to you. First read the text. Then close your eyes for at least 5 minutes and think about it asking yourself “What does this text means to me?” Don’t worry if your mind runs in circles at first. Just allow yourself to come up with different answer. And if no answer comes, it is OK, too. (read on)

Matthew 6:22

The eye is the menorah of the basar. Therefore, if your eye is unblurred, then your whole basar will be lighted.

basar = living, livelihood, course of life
manora = lamp

The light of the body is the eye: if then thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be light.

The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

After having read the text above and contemplated on it, listen to this short meditation.

Share your experiences with me in our Facebook Group below. Please remember to use the hashtag! #findingmeaning If you are not on Facebook, please write to me using the message-box below.

Contact us by filling out the form below.

Know thyself

We have all arrived to this earth carrying gifts. Are you living those gifts? Are you even aware of these gifts?

More than 7 billion people are alive today. How many of those people are living the life they were born to live? Are you? Julie Cantrell examines the search for true identity while reminding each of us that every choice matters.

Julie Cantrell is an award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novelist whose work focuses on contemporary issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking, family dynamics, and faith. She is a speaker and teacher who is known to inspire readers to live their best life.

Self-Acceptance Day1

We tend to talk a lot about and so have a clear understanding of different issues in our lives. 

We discuss meditation, talk about why mindfulness is so cool, or why self-awareness helps us become more successful.

BUT DO WE ACTUALLY DO THE WORK?

By reading and talking about something we do not ‘know it’. We gain a mental understanding of the topic but we do not have a personal experience of it, neither do we ‘own’ it.

Self-acceptance is one of such topics. Self-acceptance is something we ‘should’ do by practicing it and finding our the best way to go about it so to know we really ‘own’ it!

Mostly, we need to do the very things that we do not feel like doing because it is outside of our comfort-zone.

I would like to invite you to take this challenge and practice self-acceptance so you can experience it and own in.

The challenge will go on for a few days. Look for my posts daily to learn what you will do to practice and investigate what it is like for you to accept yourself.

Why?

It is Important to experience Self-Love and Acceptance. To learn to love ourselves unconditionally. We can free ourselves from the mind (judge and victim) and become who we came here to be. In self-acceptance, we can discover our gifts and begin to share these with the world. Until we focus into judging ourselves, it is unlikely that we can see and share our gifts. We can leave behind the negative thought processes and begin to vibrate a positive energy into our lives and the lives of those around us. When you discover the truth of who you are, you will no longer be attached to your pictures of perfect people or things to “make” you happy. Happiness will reveal itself gently in your life, and emerge from you

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds” Bob Marley

Challenge DAY1

In the morning listen to this very short meditation, then do the tasks throughout the day. See them below.

For the next 24 hours, catch yourself when you are seeking validation from the external world, whether from the people or the things around you. Remember, that these don’t define who you are.

During the day find some time to this. Write down 5 qualities or character traits you appreciate about yourself and include a time when these came into play. Suggestion: you may want to listen to the meditation again before you start doing the task.

Over the next week, look for things you appreciate about yourself to add to this list.

In the evening, before you go to bed, watch this video and do 5 rounds of tapping with 5 different issues. Follow the instructions in the video.

Source – happiness project and EFT Method

Let me know what you have discovered today by practicing the tools above!

Compassionate Insight

I recently created a new class – it is rather a precise group – that I call Compassionate Insight. It focuses on using this tool – Compassionate Insight – to create better relationships with ourselves and others. As a result we can become happier and more contented regardless of the environment we find ourselves in.

At the links below read and listen more about my journey to compassion and what this tool comprises. 

Compassion is HARD!

Audio of the post below

Why being compassionate is hard to do?

The answer is actually rather simple. It is because of our lack of self-care and lack of responsibility. 

Let me explain it!

When we suffer in our lives and our needs are not met, we find it hard to feel compassion towards others’ needs and hearing others’ issues with openness and understanding.

Let me tell you about my journey of discovery!

One day,  I was sitting through a six-hour meeting where people kept on forgetting to mute themselves so they caused a lot of background noise; some peoples’ audio was so bad that they were hardly audible; most of the time I could not figure out what the conversation was about because there was no structure to the meeting at all; people kept on interrupting each other (there were not guidelines introduced at the beginning) and the topics changed so abruptly that I could not follow the meeting. It was utterly chaotic.

Because I am on a practical journey of discovering compassionate insight, before the meeting, I decided to participate fully regardless of the challenges. I promised myself to stay compassionate and interested. I meditated and moved myself out of expectations and into a place of openness just before the meeting started. 

An hour and a half into the meeting, however, I found myself extremely frustrated and exhausted. I was outraged at the way the meeting was conducted and how pointless my attendance was.

It made me think. How could I bring compassionate insight into this situation? What do I need to know now? What am I frustrated about? What are my unmet needs? How am I not taking care of my own needs right now?

I  became aware of the following:  I am constantly short of time. I have different jobs and responsibilities that leave me very little personal time. I am very particular about what I am willing to spend my time with. When it comes to education, I expect good level of education for my money. I need the meetings that I attend to be informative, well-organized, and well-conducted by an expert educator. This meeting, in my experience, was none of these. I was also frustrated because I was in no position to communicate my needs.

Hey! It sounds like a victim story!

I had to remind myself that I create my own reality and I am responsible for my experiences. Non-violet communication, or NVC in short, says that we need to fulfill a request like a child feeding ducks, with joy. In short the request was that I attend this meeting and participate fully. The truth is that I could not attend this meeting with joy, so I shouldn’t have! NVC also says that we always have choices and by knowing that we can stop playing the victim. 

I was angry and frustrated because I felt like a victim. My needs for getting a good education was not met. But the truth is that my needs must be met by me. It is my responsibility to take good care of myself by making different choices.

Compassion must start with me!

 

From Fury to Compassion

Listen to the Vlog

One of my greatest achievements as a human being on a spiritual journey is the conscious movement from fury to compassion. 

I grew up in a country where disagreements were retaliated with dreadful consequences and children were train to be insensitive militarized robots. The education system were to take our will, our personality and our humanity. I was told numerous times what a worthless piece of sh*t I was. Mistakes were punished severely and we were only shown an imperfect and intolerant world that wants to shed our blood.

As a result, most of the people I know chose quiet desperation,  I  moved into resistance and fury. All I heard inside of me was: HOW DARE YOU?!? My fury was fueled by criticism and helplessness.

I spent decades criticizing the world around me with the conviction that this is my job to do that. I am a creative with fresh ideas, now I have a voice and I  want to used it. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with communicating a need for change. However, there is a great difference between how this need is communicated. I learnt judgement so I used criticism. And the result was upset and disconnection.

Each time I criticized someone’s ideas or actions, they got upset with me and did not want to work or be with me any more. It is not to say that I did not have the right to express my disagreement but the way I did it was so harsh and critical that people moved into resistance, exactly the same way I did when I was a severely criticized child. 

It took me a long time to understand that if I wanted to generate lasting change I needed to come from a loving and accepting place within myself that gives the other person the right to do what s/he thinks best. I don’t have to agree with it, but I must respect it. 

Compassion is not giving excuses but knowing that everyone at any given moment in time is trying to do their best to meet a need regardless of my opinion on how they may attempt to do that. 

Compassion assumes that everyone wants to meet their needs by the means available to them. These means usually steam from the beliefs systems that they grew up with. 

Moving from anger to compassion removes the judgment. My inner critic who feeds on events that appear to be unjust or not good enough is now replaced by an observer.

In compassion, the observer wants connection instead of separation. The observer wants to generate change in ‘ togetherness’ which also means that it may not be possible. This topic is for another post! 🙂

Moving from fury to compassionate understanding is actually moving from separation to connection. In this action, I released anger about the way I was treated as a child and my fear of people. At the same time, I started opening to connecting and collaborating.