Sunday, 14 June 2015

Are You a Rocket Scientist?

There are no two words more associated with intelligence, or the questioning of intelligence, than "Rocket Scientist".  And there is no word more associated with the failure to solve life's problems than 'complication'.

Think about scientists.  They want to learn something or building something so they formulate a question and then they seek ways to find answers that prove or disprove their theories, together with research and testing this is how they achieve their goals.

Do you think that scientists sit down and say "okay guys, what's the most complicated and difficult way we can go about this?" I wouldn't think so.  They didn't go into the field to take 40 years to find something out, or worse still to fail.  They went into the world full of curiosity and seeking answers.

As yourself, would a scientific researcher be upset if, on their first day at work, they discovered that the cure for all cancers was a teaspoon of salt a day?  Or do you think NASA want a spacecraft that can be operated and repaired easily when it's in space, or one so complex they can never work it out but they look good trying?

So let's assume that I'm right and scientists don't set out to complicate matters.  They want easy answers to every question and easy solutions to every problem; the easiest workable solutions they can find.  So let's think how we can take a more straightforward and simple approach to the issues that bug us:
  • Start by working out what the problem is in the simplest possible terms.  Remove all complication.  Get to the black and white.
  • Answer the question "what is the simplest answer to this problem?"  Remember that simple may not equal easy to achieve, but the simplest and easiest answer will of course make it simpler and easier to deal with.
  • Test your solution.
  • If it works job done, if not...
  • Seek another simple and easy solution...and repeat.
You might notice that I'm breaking all writing rules here by repeating the words simple and easy at every possible opportunity.  I'm doing it deliberately in order to break down the social idea that life is complex and problems are so difficult that solving them is a terrible worry.

I want to destroy the idea that life has to be difficult, that happiness is hard to find, that there are always worries, that no one can expect to be happy.  These ideas are untrue, plus they complicate life and confuse our decision making processes. Have you ever had someone say "it's not that simple" in reply to an idea you've had?  Why can't things be simple, in fact very often life is extraordinarily simple.

One of the biggies is obviously trying to get out of a bad relationship.  When asked whether they love their partners people will often reply "yes but not in that way, more as a friend".  Yet they know that if they're having marriage/partnership problems that wasn't the question that was asked.

They know what the question meant but fear of the next step forces them to politely soften the answer in such a way that it makes the problem more complex.  "Well I do love them in a way so maybe I should stay?"

This is why getting the question clear in your mind is absolutely vital, and then answering it in the simplest and most straightforward way is critical.
  • Find the real question
  • Answer the real question
  • Then stop!
You will probably feel that you now have to end your relationship immediately or sooner, but you don't.  Once you know the truth you can spend all the time you need working towards the way to achieve the solution.

I knew for 6 years that I would leave my first husband but I had to put some emotional difficulties to bed, some practicalities in place, and prepare myself mentally for taking that step.  I took all the time I needed and don't regret that, but oh the peace of mind and inner strength I felt simply by admitting the truth to myself.  I was no longer trapped, I was moving on and there was no doubt in my mind that I was leaving him, the decision was made.

There is nothing wrong with deciding not to leave your other half until your last child is 16, but you will be so much more peaceful inside knowing that this is going to happen.  It also gives you time to be absolutely certain the decision is right before you take that final step.  The key point is always to tell yourself the truth but never believe that you have to share that truth with anyone else.

All complexity does it prevent you from solving problems, and a lot of that comes from fear and doubts over your ability to create a great future.  All you have to do is remember to learn from your mistakes and use that knowledge in a positive way to prevent you repeating them.

So there we are - a simple idea for simplifying your life and putting a stop to issues before they become problems.

Who needs more complexity?

Deb Hawken - Writer, Life Coach, Speaker, Medium

Author of "Who am I, Where am I, What is this Place?"
Available from Amazon in softback or Kindle version,
Barnes & Noble, or Google Play Books.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Technological Disconnection

Before I continue with this post I want to make one thing very clear.  I've had the most fantastic support on Facebook from people I've never met who have been messaging me during this stressful time in my life and offering advice on my problem.  Some of them friends, some of them strangers.  So none of this applies to anyone who has messaged me or commented, or the two friends already mentioned in despatches.

Loneliness and Isolation

From my experience of the past few weeks I feel that we're all relying on certain forms of technology too much.  It's perfect for keeping in touch with mates who live a long way away, getting to know new people who would never have been brought into your life, and for a quick "hello I'm thinking of you", but what it doesn't and can never replace is a friendship that offers someone the time to talk when they're in need of support.  That voice that says "I'm here and I care and what you're going through matters."

Support used to be about listening to someone either over the phone or physically being there to show them that you care.  Now it can be about a quick "how's it going?" text or online message, and a clear conscience that you've done something to help.  I don't know what you, the reader feels, but in my experience being physically alone with no one to talk to creates a huge gap in which all your fears and uncertainties meet up to have a field day.

Being There

Yet if a friend turns up, as one of mine did last week, it's as if the sun has come out and even though you don't need them to do anything there is such a strengthening feeling of not being alone with 'all this'.

However, when you're too much trouble or people are asking how much help you need with a viewpoint to getting away with as little as possible because of the pressures of their life, or you're just getting that quick conscience cleansing text or message, you are reminded how vital that human contact is by the people who still have the courage to provide it.

There are times I can't do enough for the people I love, due to pressures in my own life I had to issue a heartfelt and sincere apology to a friend just this week because I haven't been able to phone her or visit her as I would wish to.  She knows what's going on and brushed it off by apologising in turn for being unable to support me.  However, she deserved that apology and she received it, and now she knows that I want to do so much more because I told her.  If someone says "I'll come now" the feeling those words create is like several million in the bank!

Here are few suggestions to help everyone reconnect:

The question "do you need me to...?" should be avoided at all costs, if your offer of help is sincere phrase it as "I'm on my way" not a question that provides an escape route.  Your friend/loved one can still say no but at least they know you definitely would come.

If they've had a difficult time, such as a bereavement, turn up if you can.  Take flowers and when they open the door tell them you're not here to intrude you just wanted to say you're sorry and deliver these personally. that way they can say thank you and shut the door or invite you in if they need the company.

Texting on a daily basis is kind, but a follow up phone call and the offer to listen is worth a great deal more.

Sometimes getting outside your own problems in order to support others can provide a rest from your own worries, give you the feeling that you're not alone and maybe not even the unluckiest person you know, and remind you that you are a worthwhile human being.  So a problem shared is a healing and connecting experience.

Maybe you could even take someone out for the day, buy them coffee or lunch, or sit with their problem whilst they take a rare two hours out to breathe in some fresh air and maybe have a hair cut.  I know we need social care because so many people work full time, but should we really need our friends and family to have 2 hours respite support in a week when we could go?

Think about the weekends.  When my father was dying we lived a long way away and couldn't give mum anywhere near the support we wanted to, but we discovered that if we went up for a whole weekend it took a lot of pressure off mum and gave dad a change of faces and someone else to talk to.  So in the end we had an agreement with Mum, you call and we'll come for the weekend.  I think it helped.

Think outside the box.  Can you send flowers or chocolates?  What would the person appreciate?  In what ways could you help:  theatre tickets, film tickets, sitting with someone, books, paying for a haircut or a facial, buying your friend/family a sauna day and being on hand so that they can go.  There is so much we can do.

Most of all, remember that "being there for someone" is preceded by the words "being there".  It's not always possible if you live a long way away, but a voice on a phone is a presence and most of us can make a phone call.

If you're a friend you are a valuable part of someone's life and they of yours, it's about time we all got back to the old ways.  Be there or leave a gap that will be filled with loneliness and isolation.

Deb Hawken
Author of "Who am I, Where am I, What is This Place?" coming soon

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Implant Miscommunication

Who am I, Where am I, What is this Place?
Out Spring 2014 
Communication is probably the hardest thing we humans undertake and many are better at understanding and loving their animals than they will ever be with another human being.

A good example, at my expense of course, would be the implant miscommunication of earlier this week.  I had been to the dentist to have the moulds taken so that my new crowns could be manufactured and finally the December eek and February gunk would result in two shiny new crowns and the ability to chew my food properly for the first time in 20 years!

My dentist, being incredibly thorough and precise, has to take a photograph of your jaw where the implants are to go so that the dental technician making the crowns has as much information to go on as possible in order to get them perfect - James Main (dentist) doesn't work with okay or even right, only perfect.  James took 4 photographs of my jaw and luckily I repaired to the bathroom to relieve myself of 2 hours in a dentist's chair before I left for home, because he'd forgotten to put the SD card in the camera!

When I came home I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a giggle so I put a post on my page to the effect of "what kind of dentist forgets to put the SD card in his camera when he photographs your implants?"  Well I have a few wags on my friends list and of course one of them thought implants rather than metal screws in the jaw and just had to ask why my dentist was photographing those implants.  He was worried afterwards that he offended me and I told him he didn't but not that I choked on my drink when I realised what I'd said.  What a giggle!

Sadly though miscommunication isn't always a giggle and getting the right words to convey the right meaning can be very difficult, particularly on social networking sites.

As a life coach and inspirational author and speaker words are my business, and I have to say that over the years of my life and through the hurt people I have tried to help I have concluded that the pen might be mightier than the sword but words are far more cutting than any murderous implement could ever be.  One can slice off limbs and pierce your gizzards and that usually ends in death, whereas unkind words harshly spoken can pierce you to the depths of your heart and soul and although you will live you may never ever make a recovery, not only that, everyone who knows you will spend the rest of their life suffering from your sensitivity towards certain subjects.  Not unexpect, not unfair in many circumstances, but still hard for everyone concerned.  I know many a new love who's spent the first couple of years of the new relationship healing the wounds of the previous ones.

I don't need to tell you that of course because we're all victims of the past and we've all been hurt. However, it is something that needs not just a lot of discussion but a great deal of thought and soul searching.  Because as much as we are all victims of the past, we are also the perpetrators who have affected the present that creates the hurt past of other people.  I doubt if there is one truly innocent human being alive (who can communicate) who hasn't at one time of another spoken their mind when they should have cut their tongue out.  Unfortunately the tongue is the sword of the mind which is the verabliser of the hurt feelings that result in permanent injury by an object that would be better used counting teeth and checking fillings!

Of course the most common cause of miscommunication is disagreement over a point of view.  We hear all the time that "I am entitled to my opinion" and yet there are wounded feelings and buckets of tearful consternation when someone else disagrees.  Note that the term we tend to use is disagreeing rather than "verbalising their own opinion to which they have the same right as anyone else".  You see the conundrum with which we are faced.  Entitlement versus disagreement, right versus wrong.

All this is the result of differing attitudes and viewpoints that result in hurt feelings because A does not have B's belief therefore A has made B wrong, and most human beings find it very hard to be wrong in the eyes of another.  You can't trust that B can you!

The trouble is that no matter how hard we all try to communicate at the moment there are still upsets.  One reason for this is that we are only now emerging from the Age of Pisces, the Age of Conflict, and it could take humanity another decade or seventy (thousand) to lose our defensiveness and move to a place where we don't need to be entitled to our opinion because the global opinion is kindness and respect for other living beings manifested by 'what can I do to help and support you?'

I always believe that a blog such as this, which points out a problem, should end with positive ideas for a resolution of that problem, but I will admit that I'm beaten.

I try very hard to communicate clearly and kindly but still somehow have misunderstandings.  I bite my tongue as hard as I can when I see unkindness, assumptions or prejudice of any kind, but find it hard to remain silent when I know beyond a shadow of doubt that humanity needs to change and that people have to start feeling that truth and every moment that we don't someone else gets hurt.

I started a page on Facebook called The Campaign for Kindness (DebHKindnessSpace) where I try to promote as much kindness and understanding as I can, for the simple reason that it is the only way forwards that I can see.  If our only creed, religion, nationality or belief was kindness then hurting each other would have to stop and stop now.

It won't happen in my lifetime of that I'm sure, but I sincerely believe that if we don't start trying to change things now then the end result will move further and further away.  When you consider how long amazing and kind people such as Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and so on have been trying to change things and how relatively stuck we all still are, you will realise that urgent action is required now to turn this into a world that we want our children to live in.

I wish I could offer a solution but I can't.  I can only suggest two things:

  • That we bring kindness to the forefront of our minds and do our utmost to be kind as often as we can.  
  • That we do our utmost to lose the fear of being wrong.

We won't succeed because we're the forerunners of the New World Age, the Age of Aquarius, the Age of the Higher Mind, but as forerunners we can get started and try to make this world a better place for future generations.

How many more people have to die in wars or have their feelings shattered for life before we realise that we don't need to be right we only need to be fearlessly kind?

Monday, 30 December 2013

Escape from Unhappiness

It's that time of year again when thoughts turn to new year's resolutions and people begin to wonder what they want to happen next year.  What do they want to change?  How do they want that to happen?  How quickly will they forget that they made a resolution and when will it dawn on them that another year has passed and nothing much has changed?  Probably about the same time you're realising that once again you've almost left it too late to post the Christmas cards.

I'm not a believer in new year resolutions, or indeed any resolution.  I am a believer in total, permanent change beginning from within.

For me a lot of things such as giving up smoking, losing weight, cutting down on alcohol, not buying things you don't need, etc., are symptomatic of an unsettled inner world.  If you started smoking as a dare who were you trying to please?  If you were rebelling why was that, and why are you still rebelling?  Do you drink to dull the pain of the day or life?  Do you shop to fill gaps in your life and clothes and stuff give you a temporary respite from the grinding reality of your every day life?  If you're in the wrong job or career, what were the decisions that got you to this uncomfortable point in your life, and are you in fact making better decisions nowadays?

These are the sort of questions I ask and why I prefer to begin the process of change a step beneath the surface of everyday life, in the truth.  Everyone has a truth and many people are aware that the real them doesn't see daylight.

Do you find yourself playing imaginary conversations in your head where you answer back, or make that killer point in the argument rather than standing their dumbstruck and agreeing with everything you disagree with?  Do you find yourself looking at the people in your life thinking "if only you knew the real me?" but never standing up and introducing them to that person?  Do you sit at work knowing that you were meant for better things than this, and then go out and job hunt for something exactly the same because it's part of your skill set?

The point is that if you really want to bring about meaningful change in your life that is real, permanent and effective you will need to find your inner truth and start living it and you can only do that by being it.

This means that you never again from this moment say yes when you mean no, agree with something you disagree with, or believe that the life you're living is the sum total of everything you're capable of.  Expunge the word 'deserve' from your life and don't deal with it.  There is no deserve (I sound like Yoda), there is only a life to be lived in the best way possible.

There is no rule that you have to be as unhappy as you can as often as possible, that good luck belongs to some people and not others, that success belongs to those born into money (try telling Richard Branson and Alan Sugar that!), or that fortune favours the brave.  Fortune favours the truthful, the determined, and those who don't quit!

So yes, please protect your health by stopping smoking and eating well, get another job if that's really the answer rather than a continuation of the same rut, cut down on comfort shopping, do whatever it takes to make the surface calmer.  But if you really want to live the life of your dreams then you must acknowledge what those dreams are and let the real you out into the daylight, and you can only do that be being fearlessly, determindly, truthfully yourself.

And never limit your power to daydream.  Happy thoughts are the quickest way to bring about deep internal change for the better.

Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and real change for the better

Deb Hawken
Author of "Who am I, Where am I, What is this Place?"
Out Spring 2014, email me to put your name on the pre-order notification list

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Existence of Negativity as Sometimes Misrepresented in Yin Versus Yang

I have one of those plasticised cards that describes Yin and Yang thus:

"The dualistic world of Yin/Yang is not seen as good versus bad.  Yang, represented by the white represents the creative principle, While Yin, represented by black, represents dissolution and return (to creation).  The forces are believed to be cyclical, moving and evolving into each other, represented by the white dot in black and the black dot in the white.  Yin and Yang can transform into one another just as night turns into day, thus symbolising the transition of opposites.  It is a Taoist symbol of the interplay of forces in the Universe."

Before we really get into it, some things, such as a death, are very hard to deal with and the how of it happening can be horrific as we all know.  Although I could try to apply some logic here I'm not going to because death is something we just have to cope with as best we can and it defies all logic and common sense.  All I can say is that if you're struggling at this time my heart goes out to you and I send you love and support to deal with it.  I just wanted to make it very clear that I'm not going there and death isn't part of this conversation.

This description really surprised me because when I was first introduced to Yin/Yang I was told that Yin was female and negative and Yang was male and positive, a sexist description that this modern world of ours really needs.

The other misunderstanding around Yin and Yang is that it represents negative and positive, and of course the translation in western society of negative and positive is often 'right' and 'wrong'.

We are lovingly scolded in positive thinking books for negative thinking, something that must be expunged, we not-so-lovingly tell each other off for negative thinking which drags other people down and definitely gets in the way of cosmic ordering and all that is good.  "Well what do they expect, they are such a negative thinker, it's not a wonder that everything goes wrong for them."

I wanted to look at negativity because we need to get it into perspective, especially in human thinking and relationships.  Firstly, by thinking about what negativity actually is.

For a start it's a word that we have given meaning and that meaning has an element of 'attraction' about it. You will often hear people say that we attract the negative, that it's down to our attitude that negative things happen.  It can sound and feel like a real blame game, which is of course a losers game.

 If you apply the word to a magnet it means that there are two poles and one without the other would not work.  However, that is not a bad thing,  It just is.  As the positive pole of the magnet just is.  Neither good nor bad, just the way a magnet works.  If you look at it in these terms positivity and negativity is a team situation that creates something useful.  If, however, you apply it to life you need to be very careful - for the sake of your sanity and coping skills.

So, I want to get you thinking about deciding for yourself what the word negative means and where you will choose to apply it, because being in a negative situation can feel like a punishment, especially if you have a period when everything seems to go wrong at once and you're wondering what the heck you did to deserve all this and why the Universe has it in for you.  This feeling can create such distress and unhappiness in you that you find it hard to see the good when it returns, as it normally does, and may accidentally trap yourself in a loop where you yourself create more unhappiness.  Seeing the light when it returns is critical to healing.

Do you feel that when a person is unkind to you that this is negative and you have attracted it?  Or would it be better to think of this in terms of extremely bad behaviour by a person who is not choosing to handle things in the best possible way with as much courtesy as possible?  We all have a choice how we handle difficult situations and if someone chooses to come to you in a way that is rude and disrespectful that is a choice.

Is a car accident a force of negativity, or is it a moment's inattention or misjudging of speed, distance or width, that everyone could have done without?  Or maybe an angry and aggressive person in charge of a car?

Is having horrible people in your life such as bosses, people who call themselves friends, and a proportion of social networking engagees a negative situation or a simple case of you staying put when things are not working?  The same goes for a job/career that you dislike.  Have you stumbled into negativity or inactivity?

I could go on, but just get into the habit of when something happens defining for yourself whether it is this ephemeral creation of the human psyche called negativity or whether it is a life event that can be dealt with.


Partly because I am questioning the idea that certain forms of what are known as negativity (unkindness, violence, war, aggression, gossip, spite, etcetera)  have to exist.  Do they really?  Is there a rule that says there must be negativity?  Is it true that we cannot appreciate the good without the bad, happiness without unhappiness and so on?  I can tell you beyond a shadow of doubt that I would have had no trouble appreciating happiness, abundance and joy if negativity did not exist.  Okay, I might not have known that I was happy but most certainly I would have been happy.

AND because your attitude is everything and the more positive your attitude the better your life will be, therefore the less you think about negativity and the more you think about solving difficulties the less negativity there will be in your psyche and therefore your life.  Rudeness will be rudeness, that's one negative gone, accidents will be accidents, there goes another, and so on.

If we wish to evolve as a race and bring about peace, harmony and abundance for all, the belief that there has to be bad in the world needs to diminish so that in turn we diminish the bad.

Let's Yin that negativity!


Thursday, 5 December 2013

How Long Has it Been?

It's a long, long time since I visited this blog and added anything to it, but that's for good reason, I am actually writing my book and I have a publisher interested in it.

Although it isn't great that I haven't blogged, what has been fantastic is that this is clearly the right time for the book, the structure is there, the words are there, and the love of writing is there.

I wanted to share this because for many years I've pushed myself to do things that I believe I should do, worrying why I don't, pondering whether the time is right, freaking out and wondering whether the time would EVER be right, and feeling a complete failure.  Yet when the time was right I was right there raring and ready to go!

I wanted to share this because I know that a lot of people have a dream yet find ways to avoid achieving that dream, and then worry themselves silly that they will procrastinate forever and never achieve anything.

I want to say to you if you are one of these people, stop worrying now!  The only thing you need to be scared of is if you let go of the dream, as long as you think about it, visualise it and believe in it, that dream will come in and you will achieve whatever it is you're dreaming of.

All you really need to ask yourself is - do I really want it?  As long as the answer is a resounding, doubtless, YES then you have nothing to worry about and just need to keep working towards manifesting the dream with plenty of happy daydreaming and regular visualisation.

One thing with this book was I never gave up on the dream and the dream never gave up on me, and if something is meant to happen then the dream will be a part of your very existence and you will do whatever it is when the time is right, the people to help are there, and the ducks are all in a row (and facing the same direction).

Dream on (and don't quit)

Deb Hawken
Doing after all the dreaming!
And author of "Who am I, Where am I, What is this Place?"
Email to pre order the book, out Spring 2014

Friday, 16 August 2013

Think of Yourself as a Car (Spirituality and Everyday Life Can Mix!)

Think of yourself as a car. 

You have wheels to move, doors you can close to keep you warm and safe. Gears you can change to get you up even the steepest hill. A steering wheel to guide you and breaks to slow you down and stop you. 

You have an on board satnav, or satnag if you don't listen to it, and you can programme a direction into the satnav or you can drive aimlessly, constantly getting lost and disoriented and never finding your desired destination. 

You have a fantastic engine and are a masterpiece of engineering, which if kept happy and relaxed can run for decades and travel all over the world having fun. 

You have a large boot/trunk behind you where you can either store holiday gear or a load of rubbish that ought to be taken to a dump and disposed of. It will slow you down and make even the smallest hills difficult if you don't. 

You can use windscreen wipers when the weather is bad and maintain a clear direction no matter what. Or you can let the windows get dirty and drive blindly hoping not to hit anything, drive off the road or miss your dreams completely. 

You can be a sports car, a four wheeled drive that goes over rocks and up inclines and barely notices, a nippy little city car, or a rusting old heap that its driver doesn't care about. 

You can be all shiny and polished or dull, dusty and rusty You can run like a dream, or you can jerk along firing on only three cylinders, loaded up with cheap fuel unsuitable for your needs. 

You have windows to look out of that can be clear and shiny, or dusty and muddy if you don't keep them clean. Except for a couple of blind spots, they give you all round vision. But you need to remember that you only look backwards when you reverse into a nice space somewhere you want yo
Park for a while. You only look sideways if you want to see life passing you by. Using the windscreen and looking forward is the only way to get to the great places life has to offer. 

So what can cause problems in the running of this car called you?

Listening to back seat drivers, letting your partner in the front seat play with the controls, or letting loads of other people drive your car when they don't care about it the way you do. 

Think of yourself as your absolutely favourite shiny, expensive, desired and admired car in the perfect colour. Add in a few extras such as a 6th gear, four wheeled drive, a small boot/trunk where you can only keep good stuff, off road tyres, sports tyres, all weather tyres, and air conditioning. 

Change up and down gears according to the needs of the car. Know when to brake and when to accelerate, and be in cruise control as often as you can. Change your tyres according to the conditions. Programme your satnav yourself. Have the driving seat coded only to you. Never give anyone you don't trust absolutely the key to your car. Only use the best quality fuel. And put on the aircon as soon as things warm up. 

Point forwards, be observant, choose your first destination, and start moving towards it. 

Deb Hawken
Sleek, sporty, well equipped, much loved, four wheel drive enabled, key well protected. Windows clean, aircon on, music blasting out of the speakers. No interfering passengers. And we're off.