Category: goal seeking

Look up or look down

Look up or look down

Look up or look down: that is the quest

Should I be present or look ahead at the future?

When faced with life’s challenges, when is it best to keep your head down, taking one step at a time, or look up and see where you are headed?

When to look up or look down:


Look down

Look down when you are at the starting point of a long climb up a mountain, only to look ahead to keep an eye on the path.

Look down when you have lost a loved one and are consumed by sadness, when it feels there is no end in sight to your grief.  Take each day one at a time.

Look down when what appears to be an insurmountable task, such as shoveling a long drive after a blizzard or the cleaning of a house after a party. Looking up only exacerbates the exhaustion of the task.

Look down when recovering from an addiction; take one-day-at-a-time, to look ahead at a life without that thing is too daunting in early recovery.

Look down if your days have become dull, take each day separately, and be careful to look towards weekend or holidays for a respite, as you will miss the hidden jewels amidst the monotony.

Look down if your moods are tired, anxious and depressed, there is no need to try and push these moods away, looking ahead will only intensify the power of them, they too will pass.

Look down if you are unsure of what your future will look like; allow your future to unfold gradually.


Look up

Look up when running a sprint and can see the finish line in the distance, look at where you need to be to win the race.

Look up as you approach the end of a long arduous feat; see how far you have left and how close you are to achieving it.

Look up when you are in the planning stage of something, look at what it is you are striving for; look at the cake finished, the business successful, the book complete, the wedding dance, the baby sleeping, then look down to start creating.

Look up when motivation and focus is waning, look at where it is you want to be, as your energy restores you can get back on track.

There is no right or wrong way to cope with life’s challenges; it is a personal choice.

Looking ahead and taking things a step at a time depends on what the situation is and you knowing what is best for you.

By being in tune with your emotions and body, you will know deep within which choice to make.

So to look up or down, depends on you.

If you are tired and overwhelmed, or your challenge appears too big or ambiguous, like a loss of someone, or you have no idea of what the future will look like? These are times for looking down.

If it is obvious what you want, you can taste and see it within a short distance, then look up, keep looking up until you get it.

If you have a goal you wish to achieve, you may look up to maintain your momentum, but then look down, as there will be steps along the way. This is the time when both strategies are beneficial.


In answering the question, should I look up or look down?

As quoted by William Shakespeare:

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Do what feels right for you at that moment in time, not what you are being told to do, or what you think what you should be doing.

It is your life, your challenge and your decision.

That is the answer!

Reaching higher

Reaching higherWhat is it that stops you from reaching higher?

Is it the voice from your childhood?

The voice from your parents, friends or is it your own voice?

“I can’t”

It might not be a voice but a feeling, a feeling of fear, apprehension, and unease.

A feeling of inadequacy or doubt in your abilities.

“I am not capable”

Why is it that you give the power over to these voices and feelings, when faced with a possibility of reaching higher?

Reaching higher is your right.

Reaching higher nurtures your confidence.

Reaching higher empowers you.

Reaching higher teaches you about you.

Reaching higher stimulates your creativity.

Reaching higher stirs the pot of emotions, which has settled deep within.

By reaching higher, yes, you step into an unfamiliar space that can rock your world.

If you do not stir the pot every once in awhile you will become stagnant and stale.

Reaching higher means believing that you are more.

You can reach for more, that there is no limits to how far you can go.

Replace the voice with,

“I can”

If you don’t at least try, how will you ever know how high you can go?


Recipe: “I Can” Meditation

Take a moment and close your eyes.

Take 3 deep breaths.

Inhale, reach your arms up as if you are reaching for that possibility and silently say “I“.

Exhale, float your arms down, encircling that possibility in your hands and silently say, “can”.

Do this 3 times and pause for a moment.

Open your eyes.

Then give that thing a try.

What’s your challenge?

Starting1What’s your challenge?

Even starting is a challenge.

Ask yourself, how you feel before starting a new challenge?

It’s the feelings that interfere with the starting process.

While attending a Cycling class this past week, the instructor, asked the class “how do you feel?” his regular students systematically consented the word “good!”

Me, not sure!

At the start of the class I kept quiet, head down, peddling away. Feeling a little tired, agitated and cynical, keeping an ever-watchful eye on the exit.

My feelings were quite different at the beginning from the middle and the end of the class.

In the middle of the session, with my heart racing, my mood began to shift, I felt more positive consumed by a boost of energy, I began to join the class’s exuberant James Brown chants repeating, “I feel good!’’

At the end, with energy levels soaring, high on adrenalin, I was buzzing, a feeling which lasted all day, even in my yoga session that evening.

But what if I had decided not to take that class or left early?

I would have missed out on that feeling.

It continues to amaze me how before I start a new challenge, be it an exercise class, cooking a meal, teaching a yoga class, going out or sometimes just starting the day, I have to overcome my feelings: perhaps a little anxious, daunted or slightly heavy.

Starting a new task or challenge, is often made difficult because of our feelings which hold us back

Feelings provide the brakes to starting a new challenge, they can prevent us starting a new challenge.

It’s all too easy to pay attention to the feelings at the starting point, even though they do not reflect how you will feel in the middle, and especially at the end.

I suppose it is similar to starting the week, Mondays rarely feel like Fridays, in fact each day has its own feeling.

When you can see ahead, how you are likely to feel at the end, it motivates you to start a new challenge.

Once you start, ride the feelings wave, and acknowledge all the feelings along the way, but you do need to start. On top of the wave you will catch sight of what is ahead, those feelings of exhilaration and the momentum will drive you forward.

Your heart will race; an excitement infused with nervousness but it will be worth it.

Get started.

Challenge yourself!

Letter to my children

childrenA letter to my children.

Dear children,

You both are struggling together with that age-old question, ‘what should I do with my life?’

It is not an easy question to answer for anyone.

As a parent and a human being, I too struggle with this question; when I think I know the answer, out of the blue something changes.

I know there are too many career choices today; with new one’s emerging all the time.

I understand how daunting it must feel for both of you.

What advice can I give you?

I suggest you stop trying so hard to answer the question. If you rely exclusively on the logical mind, you will be forever trapped in concentric circles, lost and frustrated

The mind will help you, though you need a seed of an idea first.

The seed is deep within you, hidden, but often blatantly obvious.

The seed waits patiently, until you have a feeling, this feeling can be powerful or subtle, quietly nudging you, either way, we all have these seeds within us.

The seed triggers an urge to search, to dig deeper, revealing a curiosity, through curiosity you venture out and explore.

Searching is the process of uncovering what it is you want.

I know searching can be frustrating because it does not answer the question, it only guides you to the answer.

Remember those cakes we made when you were young.

All the ingredients we needed to make the cake, without them there was no cake. Unless you bought the cake already made.

Remember the satisfaction in making the cake from scratch, mixing all the ingredients with your bare hands, prepared with love, the effort and discipline involved.

In the same way your search, is a bit like gathering and blending the ingredients of the cake. It is the route to revealing the answer to your question of what you want to do with your life?

The search is more significant than the answer, when the answer appears, it will be taste Oh, so, much sweeter.

So dear children, please be patient, continue the search, trusting that the answers will eventually come. There is no rush, just enjoy the search.

Love Mom.



During my Sunday boxing class, our trainer, Jay, looked at me and repeated twice, “strength is in the struggle”.

Punching with all my might, wincing through the discomfort, longing for the session to be over.

The words gave me little comfort in the moment, it wasn’t until after the class, I was able to sit back and reflect.

Then relaxed, my body feels strong, alert from the morning class, the sweat, discomfort and fatigue, only a distant memory.

Relaxed it’s easier to resonate with those inspirational words.

In the midst of a struggle, it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees. All you can see is the suffering.

Only later, you recognize the value of struggle; when it all makes sense.

Strength comes from persevering through the struggles, coming out the other end, with the knowledge that you can overcome pretty much anything.

Struggles help us to get to know ourselves better.

Struggles stimulate personal growth: they help to feed the soul, boost self-confidence, strengthen our resolve, teach empathy, humble us, leaving a greater respect for yourself and others.

In fact our life stories emanate from our struggles; it’s how to connect with others, and their struggles.

Whether you are in the midst of a struggle, or have come through a struggle, see them for what they are:

An opportunity to grow and reveal your “inner strength”.



candle1What do YOU expect?

Expectations, we all have them.

Expect a good meal when we go out.

Expect a gift in return if we give one.

Expect a restful or a memorable holiday.

Expect your children will always be in contact.

Expect love everlasting, on your wedding day.

Expect a gesture of love in return if you offer one.

Expect recognition if you have worked hard on something.

Expect that each time you exercise, it will leave you feel satisfied.

Expectations can destroy us, they frame our world, can expose a gaping hole, leaving you feeling tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious and constantly disappointed.

Expectations create a rollercoaster of emotions. There is rarely a moment you will not feel let down, criticised, unloved, unworthy, under valued, and not acknowledged.

Buddhist philosophy speaks of having no expectations, maintaining a neutral position on everything you encounter. So you are leaving space or an opening to allow things to unfold organically, rather than controlling it with an expectation or a judgement.

Maintaining neutrality, is a learned skill, it is about noticing when you are judging or having an expectation, halting the process and remind yourself you do not know what will happen.

When I expect nothing, I can enjoy the moment because my mind is open to possibilities. It’s like starting with a blank canvas where anything is possible.

Without expectations, you give yourself permission and those around you; the chance to be themselves, nothing needs to be contrived. It just is.

This week is the yoga challenge, we enter without expectations but just to be, whatever your personal challenge may be.

So this week whatever you may doing, try to commit to no expectations for an event, an exercise class, a business meeting or just when start your day. Keep your mind wide open to all the possibilities that await you.

Peace and expect nothing

What is your purpose?

purpose1What is your purpose?

Whilst traveling through Sri Lanka I met two extraordinary women.

Both travelling solo, until their paths crossed in India.

The two women were searching for the same thing, a purpose.

Both women appeared to have it all; successful careers, ownership of their homes, financial security.

What more would they want?

Neither knew the answer.

What they did know was that something deep inside them had shifted.

They needed more adventures and exposure to differentness.

What was it that instigated this inner shift?

It was the sameness of their lives,

Some call it the grind of daily life; when sameness becomes oppressive.

Following many days of travelling together, I had a realization.

I too have been searching for my purpose.

Our purpose is growth!!!

All living things need to grow, to thrive.

I used to think my purpose was my role at work, being a mother, teaching yoga…

The problem with a purpose being linked to roles is that our purpose would be forever changing.

Leaving us feeling frustrated, empty, and endlessly searching for our purpose.

When it is simply… to grow.

My new, dear friends, did not have to find their purpose.

Their purpose had not been lost.

All they needed, was to seek out fertile experiences to grow.

So what do you need to do to grow?

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Look for the streaks of light not the glare

Look for the streaks of light not the glare.

Me: “Self, how can I help you feel better?”

Self: “Not sure. I drag myself through the days, weeks and months, feeling empty, like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Me: “What light are you looking for?”

Self: “The light of my happiness.”

Me: “What does this light look like?”

Self: “The thing that will blow me away, shake my world… you know that thing called passion.”

Me: “What’s stopping you, from finding it?”

Self: “I don’t know. I look, search, think and wonder, to no avail; then I give up?”

Me: “Because you can’t find it?”

Self: “Yes!!. Everyone talks about finding their passion, I think I am only one who does not know what mine is.”

Me: “So, you crawl under your covers, in hopes you’ll find it there?”

Self: “Yes!”

Me: “What would if I were to tell you, that passion, is deep inside you, not out there.”

Self: “I am not sure I believe you, because I would have found it by now.”

Me: “How would you find it, if you are searching outside of yourself?”

Self: “But how else can you find it, if you do not look outside?”

Me: “The first step is to trust that you know what it is, even if you do not have the answer yet. The second step is that seeking a passion is way too big for most of us.”

Self: “Then what is it that I am looking for?”

Me: “Your curiosity? Open your eyes, ears and heart to the possibilities in front of you.”

Self: “Such as?”

Me: “A warm, soothing shower… a cup of steaming coffee… a stretch on your yoga mat… a walk in the fresh air… the touch of the soft fur of your cat… looking at your fresh face in the mirror… putting on a freshly ironed shirt… the taste of fresh fruit and sliced toast….

Self: “Then will I find my passion?”

Me: “You will find what you love. Passion is not sustainable, but love is. Passion fizzles, love when nurtured, flourishes.”

Self: “I think I now understand what you are saying. Look for the streaks of light along the way, not wait for the glaring light at the end of the tunnel. These small steps are more powerful than the leap toward the end.”

Me: “You got it!”

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Future Self

future_self1Your future self

Do something today that your future self would thank you for.

These words came from my idol Elizabeth Gilbert this past week.

Words I found myself repeating all week especially when I was about to put something off or do something I might regret.

The simple task of deciding to make my bed before I leave for the day became a test to see if this really works. Hence I asked; “What would my future self feel that evening if the bed was made or unmade.”

Needless to say I made the bed.

Or if I wanted to grab for that extra piece of cake, “What would my future self feel like if I ate it”; I knew it would be happier and less annoyed.

I did not eat the extra piece.

This goes for exercise or taking time out to stretch.

It also works to stop you before you say something hurtful.

How would your future self feel after you said that thing.

This question also works really well with longer term goals. How would your future self thank you if you took the time each day to craft your CV… take a class… write… read for 30 minutes… ride that bike … meditate for 10 minutes… sign up for on-line dating… move house or country.

When you look ahead into the eyes of you in the future, there becomes no division between the now you and the future you.

That brief pause, may be just enough time for you to be able to reach your hand out to your future self and give her/him a high five.

This pause is an act of mindfulness.

It gives you a moment to reflect on what it is you truly want and what is best for you.

Your future self will thank you.

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On Giving up

GivingupOn Giving up

‘Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.’

Thomas A. Edison

How often do you start a project or a resolution and then stop midway, despite really wanting to pursue it?

Thomas Edison’s quote holds a special place in my heart especially when I find myself close to giving up on a dream. It helps me to keep on, keeping on, in order that I don’t give up too quickly.

You will know deep down when it is time to try something different. That something different is often an offshoot of what you started.

Our dreams may begin as one thing and then morph into something else.

Remember our failures or setbacks are lessons along the way, without them you will never get to where you are going. There is a rarely a clean line from A to B when on your journey through change.

So whatever you have decided to pursue this coming year, whether it be a healthier lifestyle… a new job… leaving a unhappy relationship… a sewing class… writing a course… committing to a regular yoga practice… on-line dating… being kinder… moving in with someone you love… taking time for you… having a baby… getting married… pursuing your dream to be an artist…

If you give up you may never know the sweet taste of success.

Success only comes from setbacks, there is no way around it.

This is a lesson for living,

Once you can embrace this concept,

Then you can embrace your life!

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