Managing Change

A theme that arises constantly in my talks is about Managing Change.

Change can be difficult or easy depending on how you approach it and in this article I want to focus on two areas one needs to concentrate on in order to make sure change is permanent and long lasting.

Firstly, have patience with the process of change and with those around you. It is easy when setting out to change to be over enthusiastic and want change to happen instantly. Invariably there is failure going down this route, for as soon as we start rocking the boat to much the subconscious mind will sabotage any efforts which threaten our safety. Remember its primary purpose is to keep us safe so anything going against that is rejected.


A better strategy is to change incrementally. The Japanese management theory of Kaizen, (meaning continuous change) advises us to make small almost minute changes but consistently. This has the effect of tricking the subconscious mind as well as making it easier to accept new programming. It also is in alignment with habit creation. As the saying goes,

“Motivation gets you started, habit keeps you going”

By taking an incremental but continuous movement to change we also encourage longer term thinking and again patience in the whole process.

Another aspect of patience is patience with those around us. In growing, you do challenge those around you whether you are aware of it or not. This can lead to friendships ending and conflict as your very changing upsets the current paradigm. Be aware of this and exercise more compassion and more care for those around you. It can be frightening watching a partner change and this can lead to conflict which has in many cases stopped growth in people as they feel they don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices involved with change as short term turbulence has convinced them to abandon the long term benefits of change. Instead focus on what brings you together and grow together.

Secondly, cultivate an awareness of yourself and your environment. Realise what change is doing to you and again realise when you need to stop and rest. Sometimes taking a ‘gung ho’ attitude and going in all guns blazing really doesn’t serve us and is in fact a subtle self sabotage. Instead focus on how you feel and the sensations you may feel in your body or the thoughts or emotions that may be arising. This will also show you that your limits as to what you are, aren’t real and provide encouragement that you do have the necessary strength to keep changing.

Develop also an awareness of those around you. Your growing and changing will trigger those around you, be aware of that and don’t take any comments or attacks that come your way personally. Your growth will impact those around you, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively, become aware of this and stay the course. If you ride this phase out you may find others adjust to you and help you grow further. To quote Gandhi

“First they ignore you
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win”

So just a few pointers to help you manage growth. Try them as and how they feel right for you and as you change you may find you see more and more who you truly are.

Memories of Bosnia

There were several themes that came up during my time in Bosnia, the two that stood out for me the most were acceptance and effortlessness.  An acceptance of what is and a letting go of trying to make anything happen and instead seeing how effortless it can all be.  This was commented on by many at the talks as we moved from effort into effortlessness.  I was reminded of an interview I did with the website “Never Not Here” many years ago.  During our second interview, Richard commented once he had uploaded the interview,

 “Two people soften and fallen in sync.  Does one mirror the other? Is it just a sign of the times? 

Take a closer look for yourself”

It was this falling into sync that I felt we all experienced as a group, as the initial expectations and roles were let go, over the coming days we naturally dropped into effortlessness and acceptance and questions dissipated and we sat together in what truly is, this beautiful symphony called life showing and experiencing itself in a multitude of ways. 

Since returning I have been unable to really capture what happened over these couple of days as when I find myself trying to tell friends about my time in Bosnia I am unable to articulate exactly why it was so amazing.  I am reminded of my time with the Sufis when I was told I could read all I wanted about Sufism, I could hear all I wanted about Sufism and see all I wanted about Sufism but nothing would hold a candle to taking the journey myself.  TO EXPERIENCE…

In that sense Bosnia was not a talk or a weekend intensive but an experience in which friends met, memories were created and when all was said and done, we parted with the hope that life being as it is would one day reunite us all.  A tale of family, love and honour, a story that has no beginning nor end.  This story with its twists and turns is Bosnia and it will no doubt travel with me wherever I go revealing more and more to me over the coming months and years.  To the participants of this story I offer a heartfelt thanks.  To Di Ana, Milos, Tanja, Janet, Aleks, Biljana, Sasa, Mladen, Dragana, Nena, Ranka and Snezjana.  Each of you in your own way contributed to this story and I am grateful for our meeting and I for one eagerly look forward to our meeting again.  Thank you…


Meeting Yourself...

A theme I am exploring more and more in my talks is that of how our stories and our general conditioning impacts how we think, act and behave.  I have recently become more aware of how my story has impacted how I speak and teach and although uncomfortable at times I have also found that paying attention to my story has been incredibly freeing.  I now know why I do what I do and further insights are constantly changing my ideas of what it means to be me.  It is a generally accepted wisdom, which many are not questioning that it is best to drop the story and let go of thoughts, feelings and emotions, to almost in a sense become this non thinking, non feeling unemotional automaton and yet in doing this we miss a massive opportunity on our journey which can be used to wake us up to our true nature. 

Consider, why do you do what you do and how has it impacted your life, relationships and even this journey of realisation.  What you will find is this incredible tapestry of thoughts, feelings and emotions offers us an invitation and a clue to our true self that can lead us to finally let our seeking go.  And this opportunity to know thyself is happening in every instant of our existence.  By choosing to ignore our story we miss a huge chance to end the search.  

Taking this further our thoughts, feelings and emotions allow us to feel and interact with the intelligence we are.  When we come from this place of wholeness, life becomes vibrant and alive.  We are empowered and able to find our own solutions to our problems, instead of looking outwards and seeking.  This seeking for something outside us causes the agitations and dramas so many are experiencing in this day and age.  Our thoughts and feelings are when we observe them and turn into them nothing more then an invitation for enquiry into our true nature.

This helps us realise that there is no outside to the experience of life that is happening and what we see as outside ourselves is in fact our perception of it.  This perception also serves as a clue to the seeker as to who they really are and again asks us to enquire as opposed to just accepting the status quo of our conditioning which while serving as an invitation inwards also serves to reinforce a separate self.  When realising our true nature we see we can either change or accept the current situation.  The power truly is in our hands. This wholeness shows us more and more of what we are and each emotion, each thought, each feeling provides us with further clues on the path to deepen our knowing of ourselves, of who we are.  This intelligence that we interact with is seen as us and yet for the purpose of existence it can just as easily seen as outside ourselves and taking the form of a deity or god. Everything is accepted.  The freedom of being able to see life from as many different lenses as possible means that each moment is alive and full of possibility.  Seeing the fullness of the void is an intelligence and maturity on the path and it is seen that life is indeed that gift that keeps on giving, that hidden treasure that wished to be known and its wondrous beauty to quote Rumi is stared at with a thousand eyes.  And all that is required to realise this is an acceptance of whatever life brings up, warts and all.  This acceptance changes everything and there is just life. Pristine, perfect, whole and clear.  This is our natural way of being. This is our true nature

Excerpt from the forthcoming book, Falling into the Mystery

Society rushes forward and yet as a people we move backwards. Every ego impulse is satiated and yet, as people we are no closer to being happier. We have a myriad of ways to communicate but despite or maybe because of social media, emails and 24 hour access to the world, we still can’t talk and form real human connections. Divorces, depression and suicides are at record highs, unjust wars are fought in our names, people are radicalised and society lurches from one disaster to the next. There is always the desire to be bigger, better, faster and stronger, always another gadget to buy, another experience to be had and as we spin faster and faster on the merry go round that is our life, our tenuous grip loosening with each whirl,  we hope maybe just maybe  the next experience may  set us free. Free from the maddening pace of life and we will be able to sit as we did when we were children. Sit and  stare and finally be free.