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The Villain is Essential in Every Great Story – Embrace Yours

 

VillainEvery great story from fairy tales to epics like Star Wars has a villain.

 

Can you imagine how blah stories would be if there were only ‘good guys’ in them?

 

If we use a story as a metaphor for the Self then it stands to reason that both the hero and villain are an intrinsic part of the ‘story’ or Self.

 

Why then when do so many us fail to recognize that we need both hero and villain to be integrated in order for us to be authentic?

 

Instead we embrace only the hero and vilify the villain – that’s if we even accept that the villain exists.

 

We all know that within us lie traits that are considered less than desirable – avarice, jealousy, envy – pile on whatever ‘deadly sin’ you’d like here.

The problem that many of us have is ‘knowing’ never extends beyond a vague intellectual acknowledgement. We certainly never embrace these qualities or make any effort to connect with them. Most of us prefer to stay in our delusion which is that despite that we know and accept that all humans have all traits, we’re of an advanced enough level of consciousness to not have to worry about the messy ones.  In fact we believe we’ve transcended them.

 

This is not spiritual or personal growth but rather avoidance.

 

Without the villain to provide contrast, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the hero and vice versa.

 

Many of us want to be our most authentic selves but we live in the delusion that being authentic means having and exhibiting only what we consider to be positive or desirable traits. We think we’ll be ‘Zen like’ and wise; always peaceful, always kind.

 

When this happens our desire is to be ‘good’ in whatever way we define ‘good’ rather than authentic.

 

Part of the vulnerability of being authentic is that we embrace and are not afraid to show, the parts we judge as ‘bad’ just as much as the parts we judge as good. We realize that all humans have all traits.

 

When you can embrace both the hero and villain in yourself, it becomes possible to embrace them in others.

 

Acceptance, compassion and unconditional love begin with you.

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It Really Is About the Journey

 

I’ve been feeling as if my life lacks direction for some months now and have been on an inner exploration to find some answers.  I’ve been feeling as if I really just want to stay at home, surrounded by the familiar, nesting and feeling safe.

In contrast, my husband, who loves to travel to out of the way places, (he also has a love affair with his car) had planned a five day trip to Lesotho IMG_1893 specifically to drive up Sani Pass.  This trip had been planned at the beginning of the year and at the time I said it sounded great.

As our departure date drew nearer the prospect of undertaking a relatively arduous journey in a short space of time didn’t appeal.  I toyed with the idea of not going but eventually decided to put on my big girl pants and just do it.

The five days away felt like months in terms of the change in my  Pierre at Sani topperspective regarding all aspects of myself and my life.  I would attribute much of it to the rarified air at almost 2900m above sea level but things started changing almost as soon as we left home so that wasn’t it.

I realised that when you change your surroundings, move into the unfamiliar, especially when it allows for many hours of introspection – such as you get driving through beautiful scenery with few signs of human habitation – something shifts inside.

The comforts of home provide security but also distraction.  There’s always something that can be done – cooking, cleaning, playing with pets, watching TV, reading.

I get car sick if I read while travelling so apart from conversation with my spouse, long comfortable silences and shifting scenery left a lot of room for thinking.  Not even thinking in the analytical sense but actually just being – watching the world go by.  A large part of the journey was in unfamiliar territory for me.

Sani Pass‘It’s the journey that matters, not the destination,’ is a cliche that I’ve always brushed aside.  I’ve always been a ‘destination’ person.  It’s all about getting there right? Doing things in the world, making a difference, achieving things.  That’s what matters not so?

I realised on this journey that my need to get to the destination is associated with anxiety about not having control.  When I get to the planned destination, I have a sense of control, achievement and satisfaction.

For the first time ever I managed to appreciate the journey.  I set an intention to just ‘go with the flow’.  I didn’t have any expectations about how long each stage of the journey was going to be or what things would be like at the end of each stage.  I allowed myself to be surprised and to be patient in waiting to see what unfolds.

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During our two days at Sani, I was amazed to find that I could actually sit on a rock, connected to the majesty of the mountains around me and just gaze into space for more than an hour – not meditating, not really thinking too much, not reading or learning any new facts.  Merely sitting quietly with myself, connected to my surroundings and connected to me, the essence of who I am.  Feeling the cold wind on my face, the texture of the rock beneath me, watching the other tourists come and go, feeling connected to everyone and everything.

Having no expectations and allowing things to unfold rather than trying to control them was challenging at times but so worth it.

We left Sani Village at around eight thirty on a bright Tuesday morning and set off for the tiny village of Rhodes in the eastern cape highlands.  In order to get to Rhodes, we had to travel through Pot’s Pass and Naude’s Neck Pass.  The road was gravel and long; the pass itself hemmed in by beautiful mountains.  It was an overcast day and the tops of the mountains were shrouded in mist.  As we climbed higher and higher, being jostled and rattling along, it seemed that we were climbing into the clouds.  This part of the journey started after we’d already driven two hours down the gravel road Sani Pass and another four hours on tar.  I had no idea how long this pass was or how long it was expected to take to traverse it.

I was about to become negative about the bumpy ride at the end of an already long journey when I set an intention to allow myself to see what unfolds, to be surprised.  And boy was it worth it!  We got the top of the pass just as the sun was beginning to set.  The light was perfect for photography and we were awestruck by the beauty all around us.  Instead of being tired after the long journey to the top, we were both energised and enthused when we finally got back into the car and set off on the final leg down the pass.  IMG_1935

After another hour and half with night falling we finally arrived at our bungalow on a farm outside Rhodes.  We couldn’t see much of our surroundings but the bungalow was nestled into the side of a mountain and we could hear the rushing of a river in the valley below.

Rhodes BungalowWe were tired and ‘saddle sore’ from the long drive but the site of the starts hanging from the night sky like clusters of diamonds was awe inspiring.  Another wonderful gift that I hadn’t anticipated.  In fact, I’d expected to see wonderful night skies in Sani but the moon had only just started waning and the area where we were staying was fairly well lit so the stars were a disappointment.  I wasn’t expecting glorious night skies in Rhodes and there they were anyway.

I realised that I can live my life in the same way I approached this trip.  No attachment to the outcome, enjoying the journey and allowing it to unfold as it does, trusting that whatever happens is exactly as it should be and seeing each destination as another stepping stone getting my closer to the ‘home’ of who I really am.

 

 

 

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Sufficiency Versus Abundance

I’m reading a book by Lynn Twist called ‘The Soul of Money’.

In this book she makes the argument that when we see things from a point of sufficiency rather than lack, then we make better use of the resources we have and move from a state of hopelessness to a state of empowerment.

This got me thinking.  ‘Abundance’ has become such a buzzword in personal development circles.  We are told that in order to be abundant we need to feel abundant. (more…)

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The Secrets of Slim People

People who seem to be ‘naturally slim’ have certain common patterns of behavior when it comes to food. They may not strictly adhere to all four of them all the time, but practice them most of the time.

They:

  • Eat only when they’re physically hungry.

 They don’t use food as a comfort when they’re stressed tired or upset but listen to the genuine hunger signals that signify physical hunger.

  • They tend to eat only what they feel like eating.

 They don’t eat merely because the food is available. By eating what they want to eat, they experience the taste of the food and eat it with enjoyment. Naturally slim people seldom restrict themselves when they feel like eating something specific.
(more…)

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Living a Life of Inspiration

The Importance of Values

 Your values are the foundation of how you see the world (evaluate and judge things/people), the decisions you make and the actions that you take. Your value system thus determines your life’s strategies and results. Your values can determine whether you’re living a life of desperation or a life of inspiration. Knowing your values and living according to them can make the difference between living and ordinary life and living an extraordinary life.

Our values arise from things that we feel are unfulfilled. If you grew up poor and not having enough material possessions, you may feel that unless you have money, you are unfulfilled. This will make having or making money a high value/priority for you. That which you perceive as being the most important thing in your life that is missing, becomes what you want most to fulfil and thus drives your highest values. Your values are things that you perceive as being missing that you want to fill. What is missing is what drives what is important.

Knowing, understanding and applying your values can make the difference between having a life that is meaningless and having a life that is inspired and meaningful. This one factor has more impact on your life and destiny than any other factor. (more…)

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Fasting For Health

Diverse research from groups all around the world support the idea that calorie restriction increases life span and improves health.

 Calorie restriction by as little as thirty percent can increase life span by up to forty percent.

Populations that fast are noted for their good health and longevity. Early studies of the Mediterranean diet touted as one of the healthiest diets to follow, were conducted mostly on populations of Orthodox Christians, who frequently fasted. It is speculated that it was the fasting more than the diet, which accounted for the low incidence of cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases in this population. (more…)

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Do You Have The Guts For Health

 

All disease begins in the gut. – Hippocrates

Research over the past twenty years has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health and can contribute to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, acne and other inflammatory skin conditions, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are two variables that determine out gut health:

  • The intestinal microbiota or ‘gut flora’.
  • The gut barrier.

(more…)

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Dieting Makes You Fat!

Tired of playing the yo-yo dieting game?

Research shows that more than ninety per cent of people who attempt to lose weight by dieting fail. Every time you ‘fail’ at losing weight, it diminishes your self-esteem and enhances the belief that you will never lose weight.

Food deprivation causes symptoms of irritability, obsessive behaviour with regards to food and a loss of endurance

A study of the effectiveness of dieting done at UCLA in 2007 showed that one of the best predictions of weight gain was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started. (more…)