Monday, September 30, 2013

The Elephant Path

One of our readers wrote a great article that fits nicely here. This article was written by: Richard M. Haney, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Counselling and Mediation) Richard has been practising Wholistic Counselling, Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Mediation for the past 25 years in Ottawa.
"Two years ago, I had the good fortune to participate in a wonderful experiential hypnotherapy training seminar on Cape Cod, sponsored by the Harvard University Medical School. The focus of the seminar was the integration of Eastern meditation traditions with self-hypnosis and visualization practices from Western psychotherapy traditions. The Harvard Professor of Psychology who led this seminar has collaborated and traveled extensively with The Dalai Lama. The seminar was very valuable because this topic is on the very cusp of where East meets West.

One very powerful part of the seminar was the exploration of the concept of "negativity" which seems to preoccupy so many people in the West. When The Dalai Lama was asked to explain how Buddhists deal with "negativity", he went off for a few hours with two other Buddhist monks to consider the question. When he returned, he said that they do not have a word for "negativity" because they do not have this CONCEPT in their tradition. This is profound! The principle they operate on is duality and duality precludes the projections of "negativity" and "positivity". Basically, there is no need for "positive" and "negative". They become an arbitrary and unnecessary burden on one's psyche.
The general theme of my whole counselling and hypnotherapy practice is, "What you project is what you get." One's Self and one's thoughts are two distinguishable entities or energy fields. We can choose whether we let ourselves be defined by our thoughts. We can also choose to monitor our thoughts and pick and choose which ones work for us and which ones do not. We can also choose to move into a supra-conscious state wherein we can modulate our Self and our thoughts. In my view, Descartes was only partially correct in maintaining that we are a "thinking animal". He didn't go far enough. We also have a capacity that other animals do not have, which is self-consciousness and the mutation called "instinctual choice". Other animals do not have conscious choice; they have only simple instinct.

When we open up our capacity to choose to move into the supra-conscious state, we experience the sweet nectar of life. Meditation is a wonderful way to access this state. However, the challenge then becomes one of developing the "staying power" to maintain this blissful state. Awakening is the state of STAYING FULLY AWARE that you are fully conscious "all the time". Ken Wilber challenges all of us with this incredible question, "Since we are fully conscious all the time, why do we seemingly "lose" our awareness of this?"
The Buddhists have many powerful and valuable sacred principles, such as, non-attachment, beginner's mind and the razor's edge. The Indo-Tibetan Buddhist principle that I learned in this seminar and that seemingly answers Ken Wilber's question is called "The Elephant Path". This is the path that eventually leads to staying in the fully awakening state virtually "all the time". "Staying" is the operative word because it is literally impossible for a "part animal" to "stay" in this state. Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha, would probably say to Ken Wilber, and all others: "Catch yourself as soon as possible when you fall out of awareness, and choose to go back into Awakening." The Elephant Path moves slowly onward, like an elephant, and there are nasty, vicious monkeys at every turn on the way to the next highest state. I believe that we can muster the courage to face all of our fears and obstacles.
I truly wish and hope that you experience this wonderful state of Awakening before you leave this life! Namaste............"
Thank you Richard for this thought-provoking article. To contact Richard please call (613) 234-5678 or send an e-mail to:


"Catch yourself as soon as possible when you fall out of awareness, and choose to go back into Awakening."  And have the courage to face your fears and create what you want.

Until next time, be good to yourself! YOU are your greatest asset!!!
Norma Reid, Life Coach and Trainer
If you know of someone going through a transition who might benefit from this, please pass it forward.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Life is Like a Roller Coaster

Here we are, the equinox has occurred, summer is officially over and the days are getting shorter. I haven't yet put away my summer clothes, still hoping for some more of those hot summery days.
I was reflecting on all that has happened in 3 months- starting a new chapter in my life, moving, time spent with friends, new beginnings, some endings. There have been many beautiful memories this summer, including spending a few days with my oldest son, daughter-in-law and three gorgeous grandkids.

One day we went to the fairgrounds and spent the day going on rides. One thing I have learned on this journey of life is there are ups and downs, just like the rides. When life is on the upswing, all is well and I am filled with joy and gratitude, all things are possible. Then, like the roller coaster, sometimes when I start on the downswing I am filled with exhilaration and anticipation, and other times I am filled with fear; for whatever reason, real or imagined, I am triggered and my mind goes into panic. My primitive brain wants to protect me, and I am caught in that awful cycle.
On a roller coaster you can't stop at that point, you have to feel the fear and go right through it. Yet in life we sometimes let that fear stop us, and don't get to enjoy the exhilaration at the end, the satisfaction of having completed it. It is all part of this journey.
This past week has brought some downhill fears, created by my thoughts. Thoughts like, 'what will happen to me financially, will I end up a bag lady? Can I really get my business up and running again?' Along with those thoughts come feelings of loneliness, fear and worry. I know that is old conditioned thinking, my brain returning to old neural pathways.
What helps me is to stop and focus on my breath for a minute or two.

 I practice a mindfulness technique STOP- I Stop and Take a few breaths, focusing on my breath, breathing in peace and breathing out stress, breathing in peace, breathing out stress, breathing in peace, breathing out love, and continuing on for about a minute or so; then I Observe what is going around inside and outside of me- what I am thinking, what I am feeling, the sounds I hear, what I smell, what I see, then I Proceed- ask myself what is the most important thing for me to do next. And do it.

 If that doesn't work and the questions still persist, I take each of the questions and ask myself if it is true right now? So for instance, with 'what will happen to me financially, will I end up a bag lady?'- it helps to know that is a fear many women have (thanks Sarah ban Breathnach in her book "Peace and Plenty"). I know I am financially okay (and always have been- something always unfolds for my highest good) and it calms me down.
And if that doesn't work, I do something I enjoy. You may want to write a list of those things that bring you joy (I call them touchstones)- such as listening to music, singing, walking, talking to a loved one, a bubble bath- and then when you need to change your mental state, pick one and do it! At one point a few years ago I bought some bright butterfly stickies and put a touchstone on each of them and posted them on walls, on mirrors, all throughout the house, so when I felt blue, I would read one and go do it and raise myself up a bit on the emotional scale.
(And sometimes we need a little help from a technique like EFT or Sedona Method or someone else, such as a counselor or body worker). It is really about staying grounded in the present, not letting the past or the future get in the way, and taking one step at a time.

Action Steps

Notice your thoughts and next time they are taking you on a downhill ride, choose to do it differently. You could ride it through, not letting the thought or feeling stop you, or you could really embrace it then let it go, or STOP and do a mindfulness technique- or do a state change by doing something you enjoy- or choose to put your hands up in the air and enjoy the ride- or remember our thoughts are just thoughts, we don't need to buy into them.

I would love to hear of the techniques you use!

Until next time, be good to yourself! YOU are your greatest asset!!!
Norma Reid, Life Coach and Trainer
If you know of someone going through a transition who might benefit from this, please pass it forward.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Persistence, Dreams and Team

Welcome once again!!! And thank you to those of you who responded to my last article- one person shared with me her journey of recovery from a toxic parent, and another generous soul offered some of his great writings to share. I am very moved by the generosity of each of you, and will share your stories at a later date, thank you; you both truly are heroes!!!
I say heroes because they both have been through the Hero's Journey- through the struggles, pain, heartache- the Valley of Death- and learned and gone on to share their light with others.
Today I want to talk about another Hero's Journey. I don't know if you heard the story of Diana Nyad- the 64 year old woman who successfully swam from Cuba to Florida on Sept 2 without a shark cage. This was her 5th attempt- the first was in 1978. She was the first woman to do this.

 After her 53 hour swim she said, "I have three messages.
  • One is we should never, ever give up.
  • Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams.
  • Three is it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team".

You can read the whole article at the link below- an interesting story of a woman who wouldn't let huge obstacles stop her and in the end succeeded. Even her best friend of 35 years had encouraged her not to try again after failing last year- and she still continued.
I found it incredibly encouraging- a great reminder we are never too old to go for our dreams. I feel more hopeful for my future, that's it's not too late for the dreams I have to come to fruition.
For me, setting a goal isn't about the prize at the end, it is the journey- the learning we receive on our way there. It gives us a direction, a purpose, a focus. For Diane, it was her sole purpose to complete that swim. These days, when I find myself getting distracted easily, it makes life a whole lot easier to set daily goals for myself- it gives me a purpose and direction to go in- and something to celebrate at the end of the day.

What made it successful for her this time (besides the good weather and absence of sharks) was the people she had supporting her- the shark swimmers, the special equipment, people who made her journey easier by supporting her with their expertise. It is so much easier when we have others supporting us along our journey. I feel truly blessed for the support I've had along mine.
Have you put away a dream because you told yourself you were too old or it was too late or you failed so many times before there was no point to try again or? Is it time to dust it off and breathe life back into it?
Some action steps should you choose:
  1. What are your dreams? If you don't have any right now, it might be fun to start writing and create some! It gives you something to look forward to, a focus and direction.
  2. Is it time to take them closer to reality by setting an intention and daily goals?
  3. Enlist the support you need to keep the jellyfish away and reach the beach (if you read the article on Diana you know what I mean)!
Until next time, be good to yourself! You are your greatest asset!!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Albert Schweitzer once said, 'At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us'.
Thank you to those who emailed me after reading the last newsletter, your support really means a lot. Big thanks to my family, friends and mentor who have been there for me in such loving ways, rekindling the spark within.

One beautiful soul, Lisa, congratulated me on being back following my life's purpose, and that really reminded me of how far I had strayed. I so badly wanted my relationship to work that I stopped listening to my intuition, and tried to be who my partner wanted me to be rather than myself. I tried to live his values and dreams and forego mine. And in that process I numbed myself- I almost forgot who I was. I so badly wanted his approval and love that I neglected me. I was looking for love and approval from outside myself rather than within. Then, I started remembering who I am and hired a coach to help regain my power and life, live my purpose and feel again- having faith in the future, laughing, feeling more positive, training again- saying YES to life.
I feel all the emotions- sadness, remorse, shame- the emotions I used to try and eliminate from my life. Now I accept what I feel, acknowledge it and keep moving on. As Brene Brown said we can't selectively numb out feelings- when we numb out the 'bad' ones we also numb out the 'good'. I make sure to do something I enjoy each day -such as listening to music, singing, walking, talking to a loved one- to shift the energy a bit.
And I keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing what needs to be done. It is important for me right now to have a daily ritual. Each morning I write down my goals for the day, what the potential blocks may be and how to hurdle them, and at the end of the day I acknowledge my successes and what I am grateful for. I don't beat myself up if I forget something, I pat myself on the back for what I did do. This helps me to continue moving forward rather than being stuck in the muck, and each little step leads me further on my path.

Some steps to help you move forward are:
  1. Be who you are- listen to your intuition and speak your truth!
  2. Accept and acknowledge your feelings and move on
  3. Start a daily ritual

Until next time, Be good to yourself! YOU are your greatest asset!