This year in Drum Circle we’re working our way through the seven Huna principles, as defined by Serge Kahili King in The Urban Shaman.
The principles provide guidance on how to improve your life through healing relationships between mind/body, humans/nature, matter/spirit. This is done by cultivating love, gratitude, and compassion to overcome negative fear driven emotions such as guilt, envy, and anger. Thus, releasing the power that fear has over you and freeing you to shape your life with joy.
Put simply, they’re another way of packaging universal truths that remind us how to be healthy and happy.
This month, we’re working with the first principle…
The world is what you think it is
So, is today the oldest you’ve ever been or the first day of the rest of your life? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Or do you know that it’s refillable?
The world is neutral. It’s only through the filter of our thoughts that it becomes good or bad. Even quantum mechanics has shown that things can change based on how we choose to measure them.
Perception and consciousness make things true. Is the world scary or safe? Abundant or not enough? Are you healthy and happy?
We dream our lives into being using focus, imagination and intent. So why not dream something fabulous?
You might think it’s naive to walk around thinking things are good when so much is wrong with the world, but what’s the alternative? As I read recently, there’s no point worrying about things you can’t change, and no point worrying about things you can. When left with the choice to feel good or bad, feeling good seems obvious.
Whether you think you can or think you can’t - you’re probably right
The placebo effect has shown repeatedly that our mind can heal just as well as medication. Even in some studies when people knew they were taking a placebo.
Loving and kind thoughts benefit our health. Expressing gratitude is one of the most psychologically powerful ways to fight feelings of sadness, anger and depression. Five minutes a day has been shown to increase longevity 5-10%.
Confidence, determination, love, and forgiveness make us well and increase performance. When you perform an act of kindness, you strengthen your immune system, the other person's immune system, and anyone else who witnesses it.
But thoughts can also make us ill. Negative fear-based thoughts like worry, anger and resentment deplete our immune systems. Bad memories aren’t upsetting because of what happened, they’re upsetting because of what you think about what happened.
Be mindful of your thoughts, they are shaping your life
In The Four Agreements, Toltec teachings that overlap and complement the Huna principles beautifully, Don Miguel Ruiz explains that we’ve been domesticated. Raised in our tribes we mindlessly take on their thinking patterns. Both Huna and Toltec teachings encourage us to review our beliefs and question whether what we think is actually true. What made you think that way? When/where did you form that opinion? Is it still true for you?
Thoughts are our choice, with practice we can shift and control them. When people cut you off in traffic it’s no more personal than the wind changing direction. Don’t waste energy getting upset, use it as an opportunity to practice. Learn to laugh it off and your world, at least in your car, will be a happier place.
The world is what you think it is - and what you think is your choice. You decide.
It’s that time again, when we sit poised at the edge of a new year wondering where the last one disappeared to and contemplating what the next one will bring.
Some of us are tired, feeling out of control having worked or partied too hard. Some of us are bored, looking for others to entertain us having not spent enough time finding our flow. And some of us are frustrated having let another year pass without taking the initiative to drive our lives forward and shape them the way we want them to be.
Spending time now to focus your intent for the next year can help to avoid letting another one slip away, which is what I was fortunate enough to do on the summer solstice at a ceremony hosted by Beáta Alföldi. The exercises were so simple and powerful, I thought I’d share a variation on them here so you all might have the opportunity to set yourself up for a magical 2018.
There are 4 questions then a final exercise to be done with intent (not just mentally as you read through this). You might want to flick through the previous year’s calendar before you start, or mentally walk yourself through each of the months remembering the highlights.
Find a space that feels sacred to you, then take the time to ponder each question separately. Consider writing them on separate cards or paper to hold as you do. Read them aloud, then close your eyes, breathe to ground yourself, and wait for the answer that bubbles up - not the one you think is appropriate.
When you have answered all four questions, centre yourself again, reflect on the answers that came up, then ask for one or two words to best describe what you need to cultivate to: build on what made you proud; strengthen your resolve not to tolerate what doesn’t benefit you; and help you achieve what you want from next year.
The greater your intent, the more power this phrase will hold for you. You can also energise your commitment to yourself and your new year by bringing the phrase into form. Do it in a way that is significant to you that will keep it in mind for the year. Consider writing it on the bathroom mirror, setting it as your phone wallpaper, planting something in your garden to symbolise it, or creating your own artwork featuring the phrase. Whatever you choose, do it with focus and intent to support you having a magical and masterful 2018.
In health and happiness,
My thanks to Beáta Alföldi for hosting the Solstice ceremony and creating the space to reflect on and celebrate last year, and mindfully move forward into the next.
“Next steps” is a phrase anyone working in the business world is familiar with. You present something that you’re working on, and the question at the end is always “where to next?” At work it’s easy, you look at the goal and work backwards from there to determine the steps to take.
Why then, do we feel this is so much more difficult to do with our lives? We feel we’re ready and wanting to move forward, but we’re not sure which direction to take.
Agile is another common business phrase. When used correctly, it means to try something one way and if it doesn’t work out to try again a different way. That’s it! Previously people referred to this as failing. It’s only failure if you stop.
If you review what happened, adjust your approach and have another go, it’s learning. If you do this several times it’s experience, and often success.
So how do you apply that to your life when you’re uncertain of where you want to end up? Simple, you just try something new. Anything, it doesn’t really matter so I suggest choosing something fun.
As well as acquiring a different skill, learning something new:
There is always value in learning. Even if you’re learning things you think won’t lead anywhere, they can still help to inform you of the direction you don’t want to go in.
There are countless ways to learn new things: DIY projects mean researching materials and techniques, which might help you understand why some tradies charge so much. You can learn at workshops, through books, the internet, free courses, community colleges, or your local library.
Don’t know what to start with, start with you. Work on yourself, find out how to create joy, or improve your physical and mental health. Learn ways to motivate yourself - for me, waking up five years from now without moving forward is more scary than trying and failing at anything.
If you want a change, it’s up to you to make it but you have to start. Sitting around waiting until you’re sure of your next step will bring success in one area – getting older, and you still won’t know what you want to do.
Not having time is not an excuse either. If you don’t have time today and you don’t do anything differently you’re not going to create more hours in your week, you’ll only be creating less years in your life.
Find the time, reprioritise your commitments, push yourself outside that comfort zone and find yourself a challenge. Because if you don’t the Universe will, and it will probably be based on all the scary stuff you’ve been focussing on rather than all the wonderful things you could be trying.
Life is an adventure. Don’t spend it deciding how you’re going to participate. Play, experiment, be brave, fail spectacularly. If you don’t end up where you planned you will have had a loads of fun getting there.
Don't believe me? Check out this great example where a hospitality course led to a dream job in aged care:
It's that time of year again, when we reflect on this year and start to mentally prepare for the next one.
Some people finish the year disappointed that they haven't achieved more, many also seem personally affected by global events and deaths of celebrities. Perhaps they're a reminder of our own mortality and how important it is to make the most of each day that we're given.
So, how to make the most of next year? Start by knowing what you want, then engage your focus, imagination and intent to make it happen. Here's how:
Reflect on your year that's past
Ponder what you want to achieve next year
Consider what needs to be done to make it happen
Most importantly, try to make it fun. Play with the steps, play with the triggers, motivators and rewards. If you miss a day don't beat yourself up, congratulate yourself on noticing and wanting to continue.
Understand that self improvement is an iterative process. Like the turning of the earth, or its rotation around the sun, it's cyclical and we pass through stages.
Remember, your life is your major work and every new day (not just every new year) you're given another opportunity to create a masterpiece. Embrace it!