May 14

MINISTRY OF HAPPINESS AND WELLBEING

Just imagine for a moment that a Government of a modern day country chose to establish a ministry dedicated specifically to the happiness and well-being of its citizens and residents. Sounds outlandish, right? I mean, a Government  (according to Wikipedia and the Business Dictionary) is a system or group of people governing an organized community or state…that sets and administers public policy and exercises executive, political and sovereign power through customs, institutions, and laws within a state. Not much room for the exploration of happiness and well-being in such a stiff-necked, protocol following world of Government one might say. Having worked within the structures of local government in the UK, I can testify that I witnessed no proactive strides to foster happiness and well-being within either written policies or human practices. Job descriptions were flooded with to do’s, but no attention was given to how the civil servants felt. Feelings were simply not questioned unless they rose to high levels, spilling over into ‘misconduct’ that interfered with the carefully planned out functions. No wonder there is so much talk of ‘extended tea breaks’ in our public sector world.

 

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Anyway, imagine how surprised and delighted I was upon recently visiting the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and discovering that the Emirates had the foresight to establish a fully staffed government ministry…not just a department…dedicated to the happiness and well-being of persons living in/visiting each of its seven (7) federate areas (emirates). Now I was part of a theatrical delegation from Jamaica, proudly representing a monodrama piece, “Who Will Sing For Lena?” by Janice Liddell, at the biennial Fujairah International Arts Festival. From the moment of landing at Dubai airport, there was an immediate sense of feeling welcomed and respected. The feeling permeated the entire visit. It may not sound like a big deal, but having lived the majority of my life in England and had opportunities to travel, I can tell you that ‘welcome’ and ‘respected’ are not words that readily come to mind when recalling arrivals on the tarmac (in the earlier years) at many world airports. Even when returning to my UK ‘home’ soil I did not feel the warm and dignified welcome I got upon landing in Dubai. The point I am working to make here is that our Arab brothers and sisters, contrary to the stereotypical portrayals in the western media, took me aback with the genuine and consistent royal treatment meted out to our Jamaican delegation from the day we landed, right up to the day we left!  Are we following the right models?

 

 

Now back to the UAE Government’s bold and refreshing move to establish a ministry for happiness and well-being. It became apparent as our festival package unfolded that many of the volunteers coordinating same were high ranking government personnel, including a Chief Happiness and Positivity Officer (what a job title!), that willingly answered my many questions about life in the UAE and the practical work of my now, favourite ministry. It was clear to me that the work of this ministry is more than just words on paper or that the officers pay more than just lip service to the cause/mission of the ministry.  It was in the air. In the smiles. In the social conduct. I was impressed.

 

 

Having packed up and relocated my life from England to Jamaica some years ago, I, for the first time, found myself considering whether or not another relocation was now in order. Had I become complacent in my assessment of the place I call home? Had my love for Jamaica blinkered me to really examine whether or not it is STILL the best place for me to continue calling ‘home’? What criteria have I been working with? Being the birthplace of both my dearly departed parents, Jamaica is a place I fell in love with even before first setting foot on the island in 1989. I recall vividly hearing my father’s stories of the land he loved and yearned to return to. I remember the first vacation here, when I bawled on a dingy, out at sea, at Doctors Cave Beach, because I didn’t want to go back (to England). I wonder now if all of these retained reflections are mere sentimentality. Dare I take off the rose tinted glasses and take a real hard look at my perception of my tropical island home. The unique, world emulated culture, natural beauty and spiritual potency of this island are just a few of the things that still tick my boxes. But are these enough? If so, why then, after 23 years, has a visit to a distant land, with a very different culture, a language that I can’t speak, got me (re)considering my love affair with Jamaica? Like any relation-ship I must now ask, is it sailing in the right direction? Have I given back to the country as much as it has blessed me or was it a one sided relationship? Are we still compatible after our respective evolving?  Why all the questions all of a sudden? (Sorry, that was another one!). Was it the potent sense of peace, consistent civil order or just the reciprocal respect that prevail on a daily basis in the UAE that caught my eye? Could it have been the reverence and respect shown to the country’s women and children that wood me?  It is do-able, I kept telling myself! I am not ignoring the fact that the nations common practice of Islam must certainly play a role in fostering greater unity and social cohesiveness, but short of a wholesale conversion to Islam in Jamaica, perhaps we could start with a simple Government implemented solution, that we might make our people happier and healthier…perhaps?

 

 

When asked about the crime rate in his area, a senior UAE police officer (who invited us to be guests at his home) had to scratch his head to recall the one (1) murder that happened back in 2013. A domestic dispute. I remember blowing down heavily at his response, as I reflected on the lives of those lost and being lost in Jamaica daily. The officer spoke of doors and gates to compounds being left open at night. I immediately recalled hearing my father speak of the same comfort in his rural home community in Manchester, back in the day. Today’s Jamaica has two States of Emergency, multiple murders daily, women and children looking over their shoulders, young disenfranchised men being rounded up in packs and detained at police stations for days without ‘due’ processing…we know the rest. Don’t get me wrong, while it saddens me to reflect on the dark side of our island, I remind myself and others often that the majority of my country folk are kind, loving, decent and honourable people, that will light up your day with the wittiest one liners…stop to help a roadside damsel experiencing vehicular distress and sing sincere hit songs of love! All is certainly not lost, but while we witness the media hyped destabilization of our peace and security, perhaps it’s time for our government officials to try something outside the box…as their Emirati counterparts have clearly had the foresight to do. In the meantime, while we await the injection of conscience for our leaders, we can each be our own Chief Happiness and Well-being Officers, taking stock of the contribution we are making to the happiness and well-being of our fellow country folk? How about a little more compassion and empathy for ALL Jamaicans, non-judgement of those outside our circles and a refocused perspective of hope for starters? Wouldn’t hurt us, neither on an individual nor collective level right about now.

 

 

Radical changes do not have to come from revolutions by fed up citizens. Should, perchance, the collective conscience of our government officials, led by our current commander in chief, give rise to a commitment to work towards the happiness and well-being of EVERY citizen…(more) bloodshed may just be averted. I’ve been called the eternal optimist a few times in my life, so should you at this point scoff at my lofty idealistic notion of putting government and conscience in one sentence, my only retort at this point is …”God nah sleep”. Mystical magical manifestations were not confined to the biblical era.  Let your consciousness be focused on the positive attributes of our land, the many possible solutions and Love. We will always attract what our powerful collective minds dwell on most. It’s divine order.

 

 

While the state of ‘Wakanda’ is being brought from fiction to reality, for now, I’ll continue to assess my relationship with Jamaica and determine whether or not we need to take a little break or work to re-ignite the passion!  What do you think?

 

Happiness, Wellness and Plenty Blessing!

 

Jun 5

CHANGE YOUR LIFE STORY…OR NOT.

 

CHANGE YOUR LIFE STORY…OR NOT!

 

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Over many years, as a result of multi-level conditioning/programming, I, like many of you would have arrived at the belief that the events of our lives are mapped out well before we arrive on the planet. Fate. Destiny. Call it what we will, we give in to the twists and turns of the life journey on the collective understanding that we cannot change the events in our lives. ‘Our Story’ is written in the book of life and we are mere spectators to the unfolding.

 

Well, after many years of observing and experiencing life intently, I no longer hold that belief. After all, ‘belief’ is simply a series of thoughts that we continue to think’…until we change them, right? So, if you will indulge me, allow me to explain why I know that we create our future, as ordained by our Supreme Creator, through our thoughts.

 

MIND OVER MATTER

 

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My interest in the human brain has revealed some amazing facts that continue to inspire me with awe. My deep fascination started when I trained as a Neuronet Therapist, as a means of supporting my son’s early learning. I also became a Learning Performance Specialist, sharing exciting brain facts and learning strategies with high school students across England and Wales. When I coach students in the practices of right/left hemisphere integration for better learning outcomes, I love the look on their faces when we apply the theories and prove that their shift in both thinking and specific right-brain integration practices, positively impacts their ability to learn and remember stuff! Once the students understand the correlation between their thoughts/mind practices and their grades, they are more ready to learn. Further, sharing with them that in one day, all the cell phones in the world cannot generate the same level of electrical impulses as their individual brains, usually gets their attention. Yes, I’m talking neurons firing! Giving off impulses as they connect with other neurons making up the billions forming networks in each of our magnificent brains.

 

BRAIN WAVES

 

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Now, imagine if these neurons, when firing, could emit ‘waves’ that travel outside of our physical bodies. Well, they do. Scientists have measured waves, akin to micro and wifi waves, from the brain of humans, feet away from the head of the subject. The same pertains to the human heart, but that’s a different story.

 

Imagine now, that these waves go out into the atmosphere and alter matter. Yes, that’s what I said. Changing matter external to the body.  Not only is matter altered, but matter is magnetized to you on the basis of the signals contained in the thought-waves. Literally mind over matter! Let this important point sink in a little, because the magnitude of this fact forms the basis of my assertion that YOU control and create your future life events, based on what you think, consistently, about any particular ‘matter’. Good or Bad. So, for example, if you wake up each morning and your first thought is ‘mi salt’…’nothing is going on for me’, it is important to know that your transmitted thought wave has gone ‘out there’ and will be matched with the magnetized confirmation of your statement. Have you noticed how the people that constantly state how sick they are rarely heal? The women that sing the sankey that ALL men are bad, generally repeat a cycle that affirms their belief and predominant thought, time after time attracting ‘bad men’.

 

It boils down to the fact that we are vibrational beings. Yes, we are full of vibes. The physics students amongst you will be able to relate to the fact that all beings and objects are matter, vibrating at differing speeds and frequencies. The human being included. So when someone says, they don’t like your vibe, it is a loose reference to the vibrational energy they are picking up from you within their vibrational zone. And visa versa.

 

LAW OF ATTRACTION

 

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Anyway, I’m not the first person to reach the above conclusions. Google is there for all of us to fatten our factual reserves. I simply chose to share this fundamental information with you on the premise that if it works for me, why not have others out there achieving balance in their lives through the ‘The Law of Attraction’? There are many writings and videos for you to listen/watch on the topic. I, for the most part, am paraphrasing what I have gleaned. In short, that we magnetise our life experiences based on the thoughts we entertain and the vibrations/waves we consequently send out into our universe. Watch the video called ‘The Secret’ and mull over the evidence presented.

 

You literally have to manage your thoughts on a daily basis to keep your life boat sailing smoothly. It doesn’t mean that life won’t rock your boat or the water won’t get choppy from time to time (those are the contrasts of life at play), but the key is, in recognition of what you don’t want showing up, is to adjust your thinking to smooth out the future journey.

 

Since we’re using the analogy of a boat. The other point is that we have been led to believe that life should be about struggle. What if we simply had to focus our minds and thoughts on what we WANT to see/happen/have and not sing endless sankies about what we wanted to eliminate. Close your eyes and place your thoughts (and consequent feeling) on abundance, in place of daily moans about being broke! Instead of lamenting the fact that you are single and can’t find a good man/woman…[after first ensuring that you are reflecting all the positive things you desire in a significant other],… emit those vibrations through positive thoughts of love and a mutually gratifying union. Feel it till it’s real! Anything you push against, fight or resist, creates a tension that creates more of what you are resisting against. Again, the law of attraction. Instead of fighting for peace, why not be peace? The wars on drugs, terrorism etc. in actual fact gives more energy and momentum to the very things not wanted. Why, because when the collective vibrations are emitted, the magnetism can only bring that to you/us/them, what is being focused on…e.g. war, crime…Trump!

 

GO WITH THE FLOW…DIVINE FLOW!

 

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So rather than rowing your life-boat upstream, allow your life-boat to go with the downstream flow, guided by our divine source, for smooth sailing. The Rastafarians call the inner higher self the I in I. We are indeed Spiritual Beings having a Human Experience. I like this perspective of reality as it celebrates the God essence in each and every human being, regardless of location or station in life. It also encourages us to be kinder to one another, resolving that EVERY life matters! So allow your boat to float merrily, merrily, merrily merrily, gently down the stream, rowing only when and where guided (compass = feelings and intuition, as they are free of human ego interference)…and life will indeed be ‘but a dream’.

 

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The mind is powerful! Our natural vibration is harmony of mind, body and spirit. Well-being, Modern lifestyles and dysfunctional cultures have unfortunately eroded this natural order and I, like many like-minded around the world, am passionate about guiding others to a more harmonious life. Happiness is our birthright!

 

So, since our thoughts (and feelings) do indeed become our reality, if you don’t like what keeps turning up in your life…change your mind and create YOUR NEW STORY!

 

ONCE UPON A TIME… 😉

 

Mar 7

SELF-RE-DISCOVERY

SELF-RE-DISCOVERY

 

Self Discovery 5

 

Just think for a moment. What if who you are now and what your life is about, does not reflect the ‘authentic’ you? Is not congruent with your personality type, inborn talents or deep passions. Now that can be a frightening state of mind to give attention to, right? It becomes even more daunting (or liberating), when you are considering this when you are outside the category of ‘spring chicken’. Let me give a little personal context to this topic.

 

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It struck me a few months ago that I am now approaching the phase of my life that is considered, according to chronological categorization, as ‘middle aged’. The senior Crone woman that has already passed through the other two demarked stages known as Maiden and Mother. All of a sudden, my self-assessment took on a more bird’s eye view scrutiny. The last time I remember having this level of intense reflection about my life was when I was approaching 30, looked at my life, mildly panicked and decided that it was time to make some drastic changes…being that I was unmarried and without child…and the clock was ticking! I know, I know…all stereotypical nonsense, but I was raised by a traditional Jamaican woman that would make the subtle (not) point whenever a friend of mine got married. So, what did I do? I packed up my life, took a 5 week soul searching trip to Ghana, West Africa, returned to England, then made rapid plans for a brand new life in Jamaica! Uncharted territory, my having only visited the island twice before! A little dramatic some might think. I mean, many women approaching 30 might have just gone to the hairdressers and changed their hairstyle. Not me. My life had to be shaken up out of the monotonous, non-committed zone and thrust into a new adventure that would sate my free spirited, adventure seeking nature. My family were not at all surprised. They knew that when my ‘mad head’ took me…things were bound to be transformed!

 

So fast forward to now, I’m a mother (check), approaching mid 50’s, had amazing life experiences in the tropics…yet I’m feeling that tell-tale itch again, that cannot go unscratched. Who am I now and am I living my full, authentic life? What are my true passions and purpose? Have they changed? 20+ years on…just who am I?

 

ARE YOU REALLY WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

 

Self Discovery 8

 

So, since I’m currently working out my future ‘lane’, I invite you to take this journey of self-re-discovery with me, so you too can hit your life’s refresh button. Some of you will find it very difficult, while others will enjoy the ride. Ready? Here goes.

 

Just imagine (close your eyes for greater effect…after you have read the instructions of course 🙂 )…imagine that all the things, places, people and hobbies that currently make up your life have been gathered, assumed or imprinted on your life over X many years based on family traditions, national customs, influence of friends, previous relationships/heartbreaks, requirements of your job or fear! We will leave out governmental rules/regulations as I don’t want to insight anarchy. Imagine that you are being given a clean slate upon which to create your ‘dream life’, including the things you value, cherish, are passionate about…generated from your own mind and feelings. I know, trying to peel away the external influences to get to the pure YOU factor might not be as easy as we think, but I’m going for it and encourage you to do the same. Create a vision board. Go for walks in nature. Dig up the photo album and look back at the ‘old you’, the things you used to do, places you used to go and simply reflect on whether or not you wish to re-create or eliminate specific things from your NOW life. Or create exciting new stuff!

 

THE ONGOING PROCESS

 

Self Discovery 3

 

Now, first thing tomorrow morning, when you open your eyes, take note of your first thoughts? How do you feel? Are you feeling alive, happy, excited to start the day, full of vitality and the wonders of life? Or is it more like…”Oh Lord, it’s Monday morning already???” If its the latter, which let’s face it, is one of the biggest ‘elephants-in-the-room’ for many of our lives, it’s time to ask those deeper self-examining questions. Do I like what I do? Am I where I want to live? Am I with who I want to be with? What did I love doing when I was young(er)? [Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that you quit your job, move into the hills or divorce your spouse…unless of course any of those things are necessary for the positive expansion of your life to its full potential].

 

AN EXAMPLE

 

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Recently I (re)discovered that I love to play pool. I used to do so in my 20’s and became quite good at it. I had forgotten this fact until I attended a community street dance recently and eyed a pool room full of young men and couldn’t resist the urge to put my coin on the table for a game. I was in my element! The joy it brought back to me, the energy rush, after so long away from the table, was palpable. The game was very close, I lost, but that was cool. I vowed to find a spot in Kingston where I could re-sharpen my skills and play ‘for fun’. I don’t business that I’m a ‘middle aged’, female executive with a British accent! In the pool room…it’s a level playing field and the respectful competition is fierce among the bredren!

 

I’m sharing this example with you because sometimes we surprise ourselves with the things that reconnect us to our joy. Often simple things. So make a start. Observe yourself and your feelings as you revisit old and even new ways of being, living and doing YOU!

 

WHY NOT DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE?

 

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The big question then becomes, why did I/why do we stop doing the things that bring us joy? Do our lives become so full with surviving in our societally acceptable/respectable worlds, that there is no room for round the clock joy? Too eutopian?

 

Self Discovery 6

 

On the drive to school each morning, our car is filled with music and my son and I singing/dancing along [while exhibiting all due care and attention to road conditions, Officer!]. In contrast, we notice the faces in the oncoming lines of back-to-back rush hour traffic and the ‘doom and gloom’ staring back at us is significant. Just 7.30am and so many furrowed brows. Stern looks. Impatient horn honking. Strange looks at our exhibit of joyfulness. Mimed quarrels.

 

TIP: It is a proven fact that listening to music from an earlier era, especially if it was your ‘hay-day’/teen years improves your mental outlook, level of joy and even physical health. Dig out those old hits, convert them from vinyl or tapes first :), and make your rush hour journey an Old Hits session. When the significant drop in road rage statistics is announced…remember me!

 

Self Discovery 7

 

NOW WE ARE AWARE…WHAT NEXT?

 

Once we rediscover the things that still float our boats, we must remove the excuses that stop us getting back into the said activity. I spoke to a middle aged, unemployed mother recently who, through sad eyes, spoke of her love for baking, which she hadn’t done for so long. When I asked her why she didn’t just go for it, she firstly cited lack of funds to buy ingredients, but encouraged by my blank stare, honestly shared how demotivated she had become because of other domestic pressures, lack of home based support/motivation and a consequently dwindled self-esteem. You see how easy it is for our minds to lead us into ruts that make our simple joys seem insurmountable? As we spoke about pastry, her eyes lit up, her slumped posture straightened up…she was (mentally at least) in her element! We have to break the imaginary barriers that we place between our current ‘livity’ and the joys of our hearts!

 

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So! Here is your homework. In addition to the suggested exercises above, determine what is your BAKING? Or POOL PLAYING? Do you love to dance, yet haven’t dropped a foot in years? Did you use to play an instrument or listen to music regularly, but have parked your passion back in the days when music was played on vinyl? My dears…it is TIME. Dust off the instrument, polish up our dancing shoes, join the drama club, enroll in that Salsa class, get that pet etc. etc. etc. The reality is, if we do not make the time to bring the simple joys into our mind space, then back into our lives…it will be difficult to be that joyful partner/spouse/friend/parent/employee that adds real value to the lives of others. Let the phrase ‘Please Yourself’ take on a new spin, because once you are pleased and your glad bag fills to the point of bursting…you will naturally ‘Please Others’! Even the children will share in the fairy dust sprinkling of joy and lightness in the otherwise heavy home. Come on…push yourself! Put those shoulders back, take a deep breath and say to this world…”I claim my joy!” Anything less and you are shortchanging yourself and robbing the world of the magnificent divine plans for your unique, fully accomplished life!

 

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While I have not seen the statistics, I am certain that happier drivers have fewer accidents, so just think, as well as being much happier…you will be protecting your No Claims Bonus! See you in the traffic! Then in our offices when your motor insurance is due. ;).

 

P.S. If the self-re-discovery process gets too overwhelming, link me for a Psychodrama Session and we can journey together!