Letting in Freedom

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As much as we all want to work out any issues which arise in our life the best way we can, and of course we should always try, when we become stuck in an unresolved place, that is when we have to start doing some serious work on letting go.

To do that we have to come to two basic realisations ~ first, that we are actually holding ourselves in a negative thought pattern, and second, that we have the power to release it. So, how to do it? I call it ‘space and replace’. Ask yourself how much unwanted space the negative thoughts and feelings are taking up in your life, and then, think about anything better or more productive you’d want to replace them with. It’s a bit like making a wish, and it comes true when you choose.

So what’s more important? Hanging onto what’s making you unhappy, or choosing to feel good? Remember, it takes a lot more energy to hold on than it does to let go. And when it happens, when you finally decide to let go, then suddenly everything that was weighing you down simply doesn’t matter anymore ~ the energy is released, and you are free.

All the defensive thoughts and justifications just dissipate. We don’t have to protect ourselves any longer. It becomes so easy to ignore the issue that was bothering us. We literally stop holding on and walk away from it without a backward glance, and what a good feeling that is … there’s nothing better than letting in freedom with love in your heart. I don’t know about you, but it always makes me want to fly!

Inara Hawley © 2013

Enjoy What You See in The Mirror

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ~ that is a very true statement. We all have our own idea of what beautiful is to us, and it includes what we think about ourselves. I’m not talking about vanity ~ I’m talking about genuinely seeing our own beauty. However, if we do not love who we are on the inside we will never see it.

Without a doubt beauty emanates from within ~ from the beliefs we hold about ourselves and how we allow ourselves to feel because of them. If you believe you look good, that your smile lights up the world, or that you have great hair, the person you see in the mirror will feel good, will have a beautiful smile and will have great hair. When you believe in yourself, and believe yourself, it’s easy to celebrate the image you see in the mirror. Remember, there is no one else exactly like you!

So enjoy what you look like. Never allow an image of what you think you should look like to manifest as better than the real you ~ take pleasure in what you see, and make it fun. I do! I’ve spent decades straightening my hair, and I loved it ~ it was a great look, but about a year ago I decided to let it do its own thing and stopped blow-waving it. And I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying my grey curls. Some days I literally skip down the hall to feel the bounce!

So appreciate everything that you are, including what you look like. And don’t ever forget to enjoy it ~ I for one, don’t pass a mirror without giving myself a wink and a smile.

Inara Hawley © 2013

Who’s the Boss?

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Have you ever lost it? Have you ever let loose with a barrage of words without thinking about what spilled out of your mouth? I think it’s happened to most of us at some time in our lives. So the next question is: How did you feel afterwards? Sorry? Embarrassed? Defensive? Could you have said it a whole lot better had you taken a moment to think about it first?

I bet your answer is yes, yes and yes! We all let loose sometimes, but when we do, we should ask ourselves this question: Who’s the boss here? When we’re in reaction mode we’re definitely not the boss. Reactive behaviour is based in emotions and shuts off our thinking processes. It controls us. When we choose to respond however, that’s a whole different ballgame ~ we are choosing a considered thought. It is the result of purposeful reasoning.

Reactive behaviour is really just a bad habit, and some, unfortunately, are stuck there. We’ve all come across reactive people ~ those who want to punch someone’s lights out or rant and scream. Road rage is a typical example, albeit extreme. But the difference between reacting and responding can also manifest in more subtle ways in our everyday lives ~ around the emotions we experience resulting from simple frustrations and annoyances. It’s important to feel and acknowledge how we feel, but it’s also important to take a moment to ‘consider’ how to handle them. We all live and learn, and having a reactive moment is part of learning ~ it’s an opportunity to train ourselves to respond.

If you’re having trouble with any kind of reactive behaviour, ask yourself: What emotion is getting in the way of responding? If you listen, you will hear the answer. So be honest with yourself. If you find yourself falling into reactive behaviour, work on it. Yes it takes training to change it, yes it takes being mindful and yes it takes time, but it is so worth it.

When you know how to slow down, de-stress, assess and respond you will become the master of your world. It’s very empowering when you make the choice to consider your words and actions. Responding works for you, reacting works against you. Don’t let reactive behaviour rule you. When you choose to respond you will find life will be more collaborative, more productive and far more pleasant.

Inara Hawley © 2013

Simple Choices

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Keeping it simple has almost been a mantra in my life. For as long as I can remember my aim as an adult ~ from about my mid twenties ~ has been to rise above the drama and intensity, and later, to dispel the need to figure out every little thing.

And so, I made a concerted effort to create inner peace. I used to liken it to living in the eye of the storm. I focused on choosing simple, blissful peace over drama. That’s not to say that I didn’t go there as a young thing. Of course I did! Intense drama is part of pushing the boundaries and finding out what we are made of. But here is where I get on my soapbox, and it’s the reason for my post today ~ drama is not something which needs to go on forever.

The words ‘authentic’, ‘real’ and ‘raw’ (a word I particularly dislike) are often used these days in regard to personal growth of the dramatic kind, particularly on social media ~ even to the point of judging those who are positive as being non-authentic and not real. Well I am here to say that those who are positive are just as real and authentic. The difference is they share what inspires them. They have nothing to prove, justify or demonstrate. They don’t focus on complicated drama ~ they share what they have learned and integrated. And from my experience, I can honestly say that that is the truth of it, because it’s exactly what I do ~ I define myself by what I’ve learned, and that’s what I share.

I appreciate that everyone has their own path, their own way of living and learning. We all have to work it out for ourselves, but really … there is no prize for making life dramatic or complicated. It’s time consuming and plays havoc with your emotions, feelings and your health! Constantly immersing yourself in the pain, frustration, resentment, hurt or anger affects every cell in your body. If you are angry for instance, you have an angry heart, an angry liver, an angry kidney and so on. Why do that to yourself? There is a much simpler way to deal with those emotions and feelings: acknowledge them, see the lesson and then choose a better feeling thought. I can promise you it’s a much easier way to learn.

And I can assure you, you will be rewarded for choosing simple ~ your vibration will be clearer, your mind will be more focused, your health will be better, and you will have more time to do what makes you happy. It’s just that simple.

Recently a social media friend asked if it’s possible to stay positive. The following was my response:

Only momentarily do I ever have a negative thought, and I appreciate it for what it is ~ a pointer. So yes, I am positive because there’s always something to learn. I’ve seen my husband through cancer and never once did I think he wouldn’t make it. It was very hard watching him go through it, but I knew he’d make it. After those kinds of experiences everything else is a first world problem. I’d rather have a laugh than take on a burden. The bottom line is that I know everything always works out. It took a few years of consistent practice to always turn my thoughts around. It’s a choice, and for me it’s not complicated. I don’t need to wrestle anything to the ground nor do I need to always figure out the ‘why for’s’. My intent is always good, and so it’s simple ~ I choose, and I trust. The big tests were my lessons, and I always knew it. But had I not been positive, I would not have learned what I needed to, and quite possibly would have had to experience the same lesson again and again. But once there, there is no way I was going to fall into the same hole again. Not ever!

Take it from me ~ you can train yourself to learn the lesson without drama and without laying yourself bare or feeling raw. It’s a simple choice. You can align yourself to peaceful, simple resolutions if you choose. You will still be validated, but it will come in a much easier way ~ with flow.

So why complicate life? My choice is to keep it simple, and to me, it’s very authentic and very real, and also very wonderful. To be honest, I’ve found it’s the simple choices which have resulted in the most real and lasting change ~ not the complicated drama … it’s so bloody exhausting! And as I’ve said a million times I’m sure, you get what you focus on, be it simple or complicated! Why make learning such hard work?

The bottom line of course is that we all do our best, and we’re all human thank goodness. My philosophy is: if you absolutely need to have a 5 minute tantrum and stamp your foot ~ go for it! Just make sure you enjoy every second and that it’s not the boss of you!  And remember, whatever you put out there stays there ~ every thought, every feeling and every word is an energy etched into the Universe. They say be careful what you wish for … I say, be mindful what you choose to think, feel and say. Keep it simple and you will receive with ease and flow.

Inara Hawley © 2013

Live With No Regrets

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Do you have regrets?

Have you ever been in the position of not being able to say what was in your heart? For whatever reason, you couldn’t say the words which would make all the difference. What I’m talking about is saying those magic words, the ones which carry no regrets ~ ‘I forgive you’ and ‘I love you’.

One can say life is too short to be cynical, to worry, to stress, to hold onto anger, to not have a go, even too short not to buy those shoes! But most of all life is too short to have regrets. So please, don’t hide your feelings ~ don’t be afraid … say what is in your heart! Don’t waste your moments stuck in old habits or past hurts. Forget the spits and spats and tell those you care about that you love and appreciate them ~ you may be surprised how much it means to them and how right it makes your world feel. Don’t leave it till it’s too late ~ life is too short for regrets.

And know that just by reading this, YOU are also appreciated and loved. Don’t ever forget that, because you are amazing.

Shine bright,
Inara ♥

Inara Hawley © 2013

Through Grateful Eyes

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Some time back while scrolling through a social media site the following words caught my eye … ‘I don’t believe in gratitude’. Well I do, and that my friends, is what this blog post is all about ~ the good fortune of connecting to conscious gratitude.

Now I understand that life can be very hard sometimes ~ we all have our mountains to climb, but we also need to learn from them and move on. It’s when we can’t see the blessing for the pain that we allow ourselves to be held captive by the past, and gratitude can then be very hard to find.

Of course no one feels particularly grateful when they are in the midst of suffering or drama, but in my experience there is always a lesson which lies within it. And when we find it ~ when we see it clearly, feeling grateful is a big part of letting it go and moving forward. And then, when we bring gratitude into our daily experience we find more and more to be thankful for.

I connected to the magic of conscious gratitude over thirty years ago. For a short time I kept a gratitude journal, but as I got into the habit of feeling grateful on a daily basis my journal became more and more superfluous. Instead I started a new ritual, one which I still practise today ~ I never fall asleep without finding five things to be grateful for in my day. And as you can imagine, falling sleep became a divinely uplifting experience. Every night I drifted off amidst thankful thoughts with a smile on my face. And every morning, I woke with the same smile and the same thankful heart.

As you can see I’m a huge believer in gratitude, but this doesn’t mean my life has been without its challenges these past thirty years ~ some of the mountains I’ve created have been very steep indeed. What it does mean, is that being consciously grateful for what I’ve learned, and for the simple joys and blessings in my day has been part of what’s helped me stay positive through some very hard times.

Many of the stories I’ve told in this blog have been about overcoming past hardship. But in the telling of them I can honestly say I am not emotionally connected to any of the hard times, and it’s because I am grateful. For me the challenges are stepping stones. I look for the lesson, the catalyst for growth ~ that’s what I identify with and what becomes part of who I am. That is the gift. I connect to what I’ve gained, and move forward. And in my world, there is always a gain ~ something for which I feel enormous gratitude.

When we look for things to be grateful for we begin to appreciate all the little things ~ the simple pleasures that we once took for granted. So I live with the joy of both appreciation and gratitude ~ I appreciate the joy of every moment and I am grateful that I experience it. And today, I still have my nightly gratitude ritual, albeit somewhat improved. I now include five things that I am grateful for in my future. I feel the gratitude as if I already have them in my life, and appreciate and visualize each desire in all its glorious detail. It’s a magic thing to do. Try it ~ you will be amazed by what starts to happen when you live in the state of gratitude and appreciation! It opens your heart like a flower.

And remember, a belief is just a thought and we can change our thoughts anytime we choose. As they say, what you resist persists and where focus goes energy flows!

Inara Hawley © 2013

From Doing to Knowing

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Busy WorkingSometimes there are events in life which catapult us into a completely new reality. For me, becoming a mother was one such event. This of course is true for all new mothers ~ it’s a life changing experience, but the extent of that change depends on where you were before your bundle of joy enters the world. Prior to my daughter’s birth I was totally focused on work. Hubby and I had both been in empire-building mode for a number of years, and it took 100% of our time. I was in fact so busy ‘doing’ that I hadn’t really given much thought to what would happen when the baby arrived. To be honest I think my feeling was that I’d give birth in the tea break and carry on, but oh how wrong I was! Not only did my life and priorities change in an instant, my connection to ‘doing’ and ‘knowing’ as it was, changed dramatically as well.

It was late November, a hot and sticky time in Australia, and I was due any day. I’d given up going to the office the previous month to prepare for the birth, but instead of relaxing, in my organised way I spent most of my time cooking food and freezing it. Overall, it had not been an easy nine months ~ I was one of those pregnant women who had morning sickness the entire time, so let’s just say I didn’t bloom and I was well and truly ready to replace my baby bump with the real thing.

Early in the pregnancy I had a serious scare. In the moment when I realised I was in danger of losing the baby I instinctively sent out the strongest message to the little life within me to ‘hold on and stay’ … and she did. That should have been the first inkling of what was to come, but I didn’t connect to it just then. I spent ten very quiet and still days feeling anxious until the danger was over. And when it was, I went back to being busy and doing ~ so busy that I didn’t buy a thing for the baby till I was seven months pregnant. When I finally did launch into a shopping spree, like everything I did in those days, it was all purchased, delivered and assembled within two days!

So by the time I was full term, I had very little left to do. The bassinette and cot was organised, the baby clothes were washed and folded, the nappies were ready, the baby’s room was decorated and the house was in perfect order. So I decided to weed the garden … you know that burst of energy just before the baby is born? Well that was it. A few months earlier we’d moved into a lovely turn of the century house, and the garden was a work in progress, and I was full of energy. So, on my hands and knees in the shade of the Jacaranda tree, I pulled weeds for most of the day. When hubby came home, I made one of my cordon bleu dinners and we went to bed early to read. Half an hour later my water broke, and with bag in hand, we headed off to the hospital.

MotherhoodIt was a long night and an even longer day which followed. Suffice to say that by the time I’d been in the labour ward for a few hours, I was not only stroppy with hubby, but with everyone else who walked through the door. I will however be forever grateful to the intern who panted with me for hours! Having had an induction I was launching from one pain to the next without a break until suddenly … everything stopped. The labour ward was becalmed! After more than twenty one hours, for me it was a welcome relief. And for the next thirty minutes doctors and nurses leaned against the walls and chatted about their weekend plans!

Then all of a sudden, I felt an almighty thump from above. It hit my stomach with full force and without thinking I shouted, “It’s a girl”, and out she came! It was quite a moment, one which I have never questioned because I just knew. And there it was ~ all of a sudden I just ‘knew’. Giving birth switched on a light, and it was significant. My new awareness felt so alive and awake that it was almost as if my previous existence was a dream. There were many things I was to learn and experience in the years to come, and while my life was still filled with lots of doing, it was now quite different ~ the divine connection between mother and child had been forged and the door to the most wonderful and remarkable ‘knowing’ had opened.

Inara Hawley © 2013

Don’t Waste Your Joy Worrying

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‘Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere’ ~ Glenn Turner

Worrying is such a nowhere place, but for those who are perpetual worriers it’s a hard habit to break. Afraid of being taken by surprise, perpetual worriers are hyper-vigilant, always on the look out for the next thing that might go wrong. For them, it’s akin to a duty which holds their world together, but the price is high ~ anxiety, stress, insomnia, rapid heart beat and even digestive problems ~ all unwanted things which create more worry. And sadly, for those who can’t stop worrying it never goes away!

Anyone who is or has a perpetual worrier in their family knows exactly what I’m talking about. My sweet, caring, loving little mother is a worrier. She instantly sees the worst in any situation and no matter how hard she tries, she just can’t stop. It’s her first response to almost everything, and because she keeps thinking about the bad bits, she creates more of the same. It often keeps her awake at night and also creates an enormous amount of stress. And even though she is aware that she is creating more of what she doesn’t want she remains trapped ~ stuck and unable to move beyond it. Now in her 90th year it’s unlikely she’ll change a habit of a lifetime, so I wrap her in love and do my best to ease her worries by telling her that everything will be just fine.

Now I’m the opposite, which is interesting given I grew up surrounded by so much worry energy ~ I’m always focusing on the good bits. And I guess I can thank my happy-go-lucky Dad for that! So, all of this leads me to a conversation which I had with a friend yesterday. She is a very caring concerned person ~ so concerned in fact, that she was in worry mode … worried about all the ‘bad’ things happening to the planet, and those on the planet. Of course I am aware of all of these things, but because I am always focused on the possibilities, I can’t bring myself to worry about any of it or be negative. When concern becomes a passion for positive change, that’s great, provided it stays focused on the positive. To paraphrase Mother Teresa, ‘ask me to an anti-war rally and I won’t be part of it, but ask me to a pro-peace rally and I’m there’. It’s my belief that when you shine a spotlight on positive thought, action or improvement the world is a better place.

So, there is awareness ~ very important for solving the problem and creating positive change, there is concern ~ equally important as it’s very clarifying and also part of our survival instinct, and then there is negativity and worry ~ that’s not so important and bad for your health. For me it’s a choice, and I choose to focus on the good and to feel good. When it feels bad, and for me worrying and negativity feels really bad, it’s not helpful.

Sitting there with my friend, if I’d had a wand I would have whipped it out and become the happy fairy. Instead, I said that I preferred to focus on the positive aspects of all her concerns. And when it was obvious that I wasn’t prepared to wave the worry banner she looked at me and said, ‘Well, at least you’re happy’. And that is the whole point. I am because I choose it. We all live and learn in our own way, and for me, this is the most important thing. I choose to focus on the positive, the expansion and the joy. I choose to allow wellbeing … and I am grateful.

Inara Hawley © 2013

Don’t Take It Personally

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‘Be careful what you identify yourself with for you may well misinterpret it for who you really are, and then feel injured by something that should not matter’.

That’s a comment I recently made on a social media site after someone took exception to a well-intentioned comment, an honest observation which was completely in context with the conversation and meant to be of assistance ~ one that indeed could have been appreciated for its value if it hadn’t been taken personally. The drama resulting from that knee jerk reaction, and there is always an element of drama whether it be big or small, just wasn’t worth it. There was no value or lesson in it ~ it was wasted energy, and achieved nothing beyond creating negative feelings. All that could then be done was to draw a line under it with goodwill, and then, let it go with a great big blessing ~ you can’t beat yourself up about good intentions that went astray.

Now there’s a big difference between a well-intentioned observation and an opinion or judgement that is meant to harm. Many years ago when I was prac teaching I was at the receiving end of daily assessment and judgement. Being inexperienced in the classroom, much of what was obvious to the person doing the assessing and judging was not so obvious to me. While I may not have agreed with all of it ~ some of it was very subjective, even picky ~ I took every word on board, and examined and considered it because I wanted to improve. I didn’t take exception to any of it because it had nothing to do with my worthiness. It did however have everything to do with my desire to do better. And nothing has really changed. While I will never need anyone’s approval ~ as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission”, I still have the desire to improve … in all areas of my life. So sometimes it’s worth listening ~ I would much rather be open to a well-intentioned honest observation than dismiss the opportunity to do better. Sometimes, you’ve just got to say, “Yeah you’re right, and I’m willing to work on that”. After all, when we know better, we do better.

When we are young and inexperienced knee jerk reactions are understandable ~ we’ve all had them!  It’s part of the process of learning and growing. However when we understand growth on the highest level it’s easy, and in fact a true blessing, to embrace self-improvement no matter where the motivation comes from. A wise friend, T.W. Smith, recently coined these most beautiful words ~ ‘I embrace correction for it nourishes my soul peacefully while allowing me to be in tune with my destiny’. I could not have chosen more perfect words!

In fact, when you feel secure within yourself and know who you truly are, you start to view yourself so differently you begin to see that there is indeed more value and clarity in a considered response rather than a knee jerk reaction. And you will not only be able to release any feelings of negativity, you will even be thankful for a comment that may once have upset you. As Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements says: ‘There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you don’t take anything personally’.

I have a dear friend who is very spontaneously direct. She’s so straightforward and honest it never occurs to her not to say what she thinks. We have been good friends for over 30 years and not once have I taken anything personally, and neither does she. It’s just not worth it. I know her intentions are pure, and I appreciate her honesty. After all, isn’t it better when we can all be honest with each other? I’m certainly honest and I’d much rather have honest friends. It’s a long time since I’ve been sensitive about anything and tiptoeing around on eggshells is not my thing, especially when I know my intentions come from the heart. The bottom line is I’m much happier when everyone around me is straight up … I learn a lot more that way!

So if you know who you truly are and what you offer comes from a loving caring heart, then identify with that and let go of the need to feel injured, or to justify or defend yourself for it serves no purpose. Spend your energy loving and improving every bit of the real you instead, and you will see the value of what comes to you! Oh, and one more thing … lighten up!  

Inara Hawley © 2013

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello and Welcome to My Blog!Hi and thanks for stopping by. My name is Inara Hawley and this is a personal space where I will be sharing thoughts and reflections about what interests me, what inspires me, what’s happening in my life and what makes my heart sing.

So why have I started this blog now? In the last few years I’ve done a lot of writing ~ family history and memoir projects which have been all-consuming, and now that they’re finished, I miss it. So, in my desire to keep writing I felt this was a good place to start.

Now while I have a million thoughts and ideas running around in my brain each day I am a bottom-line kind of person, so it will be most interesting to see how well I can organise those thoughts and create words which constitute my bottom lines. I am looking forward to the challenge.

In a nutshell I will be keeping it simple and straightforward ~ I won’t be spending time wrestling anything to the ground. In my years of journaling I experienced many a profound moment, moved through fears and came to a place where I relinquished the need to be attached to the past ~ I much prefer to appreciate what I’ve learned and focus on feeling good in the present.

I wear my Positive Pollyanna Hat most of the time, I live in gratitude and try to find joy in every moment, and I believe there’s a positive lesson in everything … and every word I write will come from my heart. If my way of living and learning resonates with you ~ please stay awhile and in-joy.

Cheers
Inara Hawley ♥