19 November, 2016

6 Gifts of Christmas

6 Gifts of Christmas

I’m being mindful of how I frame my mindset about Christmas.  There are so many dramas and anxieties around Christmas – too much to buy for, too much to cook, too many celebrations, too many relatives. These are all first world problems that are not really problems at all. Let’s take a different perspective to Christmas.

End of year rolling on like an ocean breeze, refreshing, forceful and yet calming.

My first gift of Christmas is be calm.

1.     The Serenity Santa

Let’s enter the festive season with a calm, peaceful and relaxing approach. Let’s reframe the silly season to the serene season where we are truly grateful of the gifts life has given us.  So if you catch yourself buying into the hype (and I do mean buying) take a chill pill and be calm.

Rose gardens blooming, lavender essence in the air and the sun streaming softly through your hair. My second gift of Christmas is to be present. 

2.     The present of being present

When was the last time you felt grass on the bottom of your feet? Mindfulness has taught us that when we are truly present we have a heightened awareness, greater connection and greater energy on whatever we are focusing on.  Be mindful of where your attention goes, remember where attention goes energy flows.

Body moving freely, energy abound, moving eloquently, feeling proud.  My third gift of Christmas is to be well.

3.     The present of wellness

We have all had days when we have pain and unable to get out of bed.  Each day when we are pain free and alive is a true blessing.  Physical capability to walk, run, dance, skip and be free to move any way you want.  Thank your body for being well and remember to care for it.

Choices every day to live, laugh or play to work harder and get stronger, choices every day.  My fourth gift of Christmas is to make conscious choices.

4.     The present of choice

Every day we make choices on how we live our life, the type of food we eat, where we work, how we travel, who we live with, who we play with and most of the time our choices are unconscious.  Bring to your conscious awareness the power you have to make choices.  Be mindful of your conscious choices and take responsibility for your life design.



Laughter of children, cuddles from puppies, sparkling starlight, juicy, juicy mangoes, loving friends, music that soars and a party that never ends.  My fifth gift of Christmas is to have joy.

5.     The present of joy

Be the joy in your life and then spread the joy through your circle of influence.  Find what joy means to you and your loved ones this Christmas.  Be the joy, attract the joy and extend your circle of joy.

Curious cravings, wonderful wanderings, ambitious aspirations are all actions of hope.  My sixth gift of Christmas is to be hopeful.

6.     The gift of hope

When we have hope all is possible.  Hope is the opposite of fear and hope fuels our ability to do amazing creative things. Find your hope this Christmas and share it with the world. 

My Christmas wish is to be calm, present, well, and mindful, have joy and hope. Merry Christmas from Serenity Santa.

23 May, 2016

Tapping into your inner wisdom

May 2016

Tapping into your inner wisdom

What if you could tap into your inner wisdom more often? What if we could be more creative, compassionate and courageous?  I have been guilty of being over analytical at times.  I have been guilty of being too emotional at times.  I have been guilty of ignoring my gut and intuition at times.  At these times my ability to make the best decisions and choices has been impaired.  

Marvin Oka and Grant Soosalu in their book mBraining using your multiple brains to do cool stuff provide us with evidence based models of the wisdom of aligning our cephalic brain (head), cardiac brain (heart) and enteric brain (gut).  Their model integrates neuroscience, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) cognitive linguistics and behavior modeling.  When I first read their book a couple of years ago I got an amazing ‘Aha’ feeling.  All these years I have been espousing and practicing the importance of EQ and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and Oka and Soosalu have neatly wrapped it up into a Head-Heart-Gut intelligences model.

I know personally when I can’t stomach something – my gut feels very unwell.  In the early part of my career I was working in a lobbying role and would travel each month to a nation-wide committee focused on improving the quality of Australian healthcare.  I would arrive hopeful and would leave feeling sick to my stomach.  After 12 months the committee recommended creating another committee.  My gut was highlighting the committee’s inaction and the fear of change.  Have you ever felt this way?  Nearly 20 years later I am so mindful of my gut reaction to situations it has become like an amazing filter.  My gut instinct is a valid intelligence - remember the old saying “no guts, no glory.” Courage comes from our gut.

Sometimes when you are right you can also be wrong.  Recently in a business agreement one of the stakeholders was contractually right about the terms and agreement but lacked the compassion (heart) to understand how that term would impact the people it was aimed to protect.  Over use of the head brain is very common in Australian business, we can become cold and translate everything back to a number and a fact.  We need to remember that we still are human beings and most of what we do is through people or impacts people.  Peter Senge’s ladder of inference reminds us how important it is to have facts and data to support sound decisions.  Our head enables us to think, solve problems, invent and analyse. Creativity comes from our head.

Being an EQ accredited Facilitator and having an Italian heritage has been interesting for me.  In my household there was no emotional filter, emotions were over expressed and lacked a lot of control.  There was a lot of yelling and drama.  My parents would refer to me as the ‘l’avocatto’ which means lawyer or adviser.  I would play the logic card and rationalize my best possible head based arguments and thinking to dampen their overly emotional states.  Our heart intelligence enables us to trust, love and care.  Compassion comes from our heart.

The head sees words and numbers and the heart and gut sees pictures and metaphors. It is important to use a combination of words, numbers, pictures and metaphors to activate all our intelligences. Our ability to align our creativity, compassion and courage is when true wisdom arises. 

The link between mindfulness and utilizing our 3 brains is interesting.  Oka and Soosalu have a number of techniques to activate our wisdom state.  The easiest technique is deep breathing.  Breathing from the gut, through the chest, throat and nose triggers the connections between our brilliant intelligences.  Next time you are faced with a decision try the breathing technique and notice what happens.

Each Monday I do slow flow Yoga, it frames my week.  In Yoga my breathing and physical movements allow for my head, heart and gut to realign.  I feel centred, energized and strong and there are moments when I feel tapped into a wise intelligence beyond my physical self.

Become aware of your head, heart and gut intelligences for 1 week.  Notice what happens to your state when making decisions.  Tap into your own authentic wisdom and the wisdom all around.

13 April, 2016

Ride the Wave of Life

A motto is a short phrase that embraces the essence of one’s beliefs and ideologies. Here are some that stand out for me:

We must become the change we wish to see in the world.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seize the day (Carpe Diem)
- ancient Roman (and Dead Poets Society Robin Williams)

What is your life motto?

According to a Facebook app http://fuzzyking.com/en/  this is my life motto:

 ‘Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.’ 

The surprising part for me is how accurate the life motto actually is for me.  Which makes me very curious about the smarts around data analytics, how much we are showing and sharing of ourselves with social media and how did my life motto actually emerge?

The plethora of data and knowledge that is so easily available is mind blowing.  My 10 year old is accessing information instantaneously about anything and everything.  I observed my daughter messaging her cousin yesterday and she used speech to text recognition technology to expedite her communication.  How much quicker can we get in communicating our thoughts?  Companies like Oculus and Google are continuing to stretch what is possible in communicating and connecting to one another.  It won’t be long until we are communicating telepathically (no need for spell checks).  I am curious about how this immediacy of information will impact our planet, is it making us smarter or lazier?  Will this help us save our planet or destroy it quicker? What does this mean to how we are educating our kids and creating intellectual property?

So if I go back to my life motto – ‘Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything’ let’s go with the flow and ride the wave of speedy knowledge and communication. Be open to it and see where it can take us.

At the lowest times of my life I am patient. I put on the life vest and tread water until the surf changes. When life has been at its highest I pause and am very grateful for what I am experiencing. I throw off the life vest, dive deeply and enjoy the moment and appreciate the present.  Life is like the ocean the waves are glorious and treacherous and the rhythm of life can be exhausting and spectacular – but not at the same time.  I have seen people, teams, organisations ride this wave.  The fortunate ones have the courage to be open and humble the less fortunate drown in the swells and can’t see above the water. 

At a recent holiday in Noosa I marveled at the blue, powerful surf.  The surfers of all ages were able to find wave after wave after wave and smoothly glide through the water.  It was beautiful to see how a human being with little effort and ease harness the power of the ocean to create momentum and energy.  In business and in life we need to at times just surrender to the flow of life and take courage to ride the waves and achieve much with less effort.

What is your own life motto? What if you were more conscious of it?  What would that mean for your own wellbeing and success? You need rain and sunshine to make rainbows and in life you need highs and lows to savor life.

12 January, 2016

Imagine a world

Imagine a world where cancer is cured.  Imagine a world where people live in peace and harmony. Imagine a world where love prevails.  Imagine a world where our planet is sustainable.
Imagine a world of dis-ease.  Imagine a world where people live in fear and war. Imagine a world where our planet is unsustainable.
Did you notice how you felt as you read the 2 contrasting views?  Hope versus Fear. Every day we are consciously or unconsciously imagining from a state of hope or fear. Both states can be true if we imagine them.
All magnificent and horrific feats have first been imagined. Our thinking creates our reality.  Please stop the mindlessness.  Please stop all the noise.  Please become mindful of our essence and actions and energy.  Please take responsibility of our own thinking and be kinder to ourselves and to the world.
Michelle Payne imagined as a young girl that she would win the Melbourne Cup. She created history this year.  She dreamed and she achieved.  Martin Luther King's extraordinary - 'I have a dream' speech resonated such hope and emotion and helped change the world.
Please be mindful of our dreams.  When we imagine we visualise ourselves as if we are in the present state experiencing the event, we see ourselves, we see the stage, we see the people around us and we feel the emotion.  When you imagine be conscious of our aspirations and have the courage and conviction to have hope.
I recently travelled through Las Vegas and was reminded of the planet and humankind's extraordinary ability to create.  The Grand Canyon - really, words cannot describe the magnificence of nature.  In the middle of the driest, hottest desert in the world there is the extraordinary, plethora of humankind's imagination - Las Vegas. Las Vegas was an oasis of jaw dropping architecture and experiences.  I am not a gambler and did not gamble.  I was in awe of the Venetian gondolas and the Bellagio's lights, lake and fountains, Wynn's waterfall and opulence, Circus de solei's breathtaking dreamlike shows.
Humankind is extraordinary - we are divine.  Please be mindful and not mindless and lets blanket the planet with hope and wonder.  Together we are extraordinary and it starts with one extraordinary thought at a time.