Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom
Do you ever tutt at the news?
I used to spend fifteen minutes or so, once or twice a day, watching the news, moaning about politicians messing things up, feeling horrified at human nature and getting frustrated about things that were way beyond my scope of influence. Then for a decade I pretty much shut myself off from the media and ignored it all. All that’s changed now.
Back in February this year I wrote an article called Are you Stepping Up? At the time I wrote this emotive article I was considering taking my son out of education at aged thirteen, against strong opinion from family and friends. But there were two other issues on my mind that called me to step up too. I couldn’t write about them then, but I can now.
Back in February, when I published Are you Stepping Up? someone had just approached me with an opportunity. Meantime I was in discussions with someone else about new projects.
For now – so as not to confuse things – let’s just talk about the first opportunity.
At first glance it occurred to me that this opportunity wasn’t something I’d normally have gone for. But when I thought about it I realised that it wasn’t normally my thing because I knew very little about it. And while making one very informed decision – a la Stepping Up – I was on the verge of making this other decision in complete and utter ignorance.
Ironic, isn’t it, that I’d do that – make a decision in complete ignorance while at the same time making another decision in full knowledge, while writing an article which highlights the importance of making informed decisions!
Thankfully I’ve become aware enough to notice when I do silly things. So, I put a stop to my ignorance and got curious about this opportunity life has sent me.
To be honest, the decision facing me seemed even bigger than deciding to remove my son from school and taking all the resulting flack.
Perhaps I felt like it was all too much – all these big decisions in such a short time span. But when I began to explore this other opportunity, I came to understand something important about it and about myself.
Through my work I promote self-development and overcoming your personal obstacles. I believe that when we resolve our differences with our shadow personalities we can be of greater service to others since we approach things with a more whole and complete outlook.
But here I was, nice and content doing what I did, writing to my readers each week, drafting a book and coaching. That’s when the Universe gave me a nudge and said, ‘Oi, Neil, get off you’re butt.’
‘I am off my butt,’ I responded.
‘No you’re not,’ it said.
So, I set about researching the first opportunity. Oddly, I began to find it was entirely me. The I researched the other opportunity and discovered that that was entirely me too. Making the decisions, after undertaking some investigating, made the choices incredibly easy.
As a result of the first opportunity I become a Parish Councillor. This means making a contribution to my community, helping to care for my neighbours and the land that sustains us. It also means that rather than moaning about things, locally, that might have been outside of my control I can influence them, or at the very least understand why they turn out the way they do.
The second opportunity is about taking my work to a wider audience. My work is about helping more people find solutions to difficulties and hardships and then turn their life around and make gold out of all that happened before.
The reason why I feel I can now begin watching the news again is that I feel I’m contributing something that can help to create change. Viewed like this, the news becomes a resource that shows the next steps to take.
Breaking the Spell
Often our decisions can be made based on past results. If things didnt go well in the past, we may have no good reason to believe that a new situation will turn out any better. This creates a belief. Also, new situations are unfamiliar and we may have reservations or even fears about them. The problem is: when our decisions are made based on past failure, future reservations and fears, it paralyses us and keeps us from moving forward.
Its not uncommon for us to push aside an opportunity even before weve considered it, thus missing important information and obscuring us from empowering possibilities. This sends us back into a loop of more of the same hard-work and difficulties.
Continuing a loop is like being kept within a spell. If you are happy to continually experience the same things over and over this is fine, but if you want to transform your life you must lose the attachment, to what has happened before or what might happen in the future, and view the situation based on the present possibility.
A way to begin breaking the spell is to take two minutes every hour to quieten your mind. This allows what is happening to settle in your mind. Also when things get stressful, for example, when one of your children yells at you, you might decide to take a few moments quiet time before responding – kids can find silence more shocking than shouting!
With Love and good wishes