How to be calm & relaxed in the face of adversity: Key #1
Samia Bano, your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”, is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in weekly lessons. In this broadcast, Samia focuses on elucidating Key #1 to how we can remain calm and relaxed even in the face of adversity. This lesson is a critical aspect of how to make change fun and easy!
Hello Salam, Shalom, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Aloha. If you don’t know me already, my name is Samia Bano. I’m your happiness expert and author of the book, “Make change fun and easy”. And the subtitle is, “How to create inner peace to world peace in three simple steps”.
So that’s what I’m all about. I am committed to cultivating inner peace and happiness for myself and helping others to do the same, helping you to do the same. So I have made a decision that I am going to start doing, you know, live broadcasts, like at least once or twice a week. And I figured that, you know, this topic is such a fabulous topic. It’s like the one I love to talk about the most. But not everyone has the time and the inclination to actually read a book anymore. So what I’m gonna do is break it down into tiny pieces, like all the most important, amazing lessons that I share in the book. I’m going to share them during these live broadcasts. And I’ll even go deeper than I did in the book, because guess what? Since I wrote this book a few years ago I have been continuing to learn and grow and become even wiser in the ways of how to make change fun and easy.
Okay, so I thought today I would focus on one of the keys to make change fun and easy. And that is, how to stay relaxed even in the face of adversity, okay? All right!
So you can imagine any kind of situation that’s maybe really difficult for you to deal with in your life. That’s what we’re talking about when we say how to stay calm and relaxed in the face of adversity. This is something that’s going to apply to any situation okay, where you’re feeling not calm, and not relaxed, and not happy, and so forth.
So there are actually, there’s a saying that I want to share with you. It’s sort of like inspiring the content of our talk today. So this is actually a quote from the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And in this quote, the Prophet Muhammad says:
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for the believer in every matter.
And this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If the believer is happy, then they thank God and thus there is good in the situation for them. And if the believer is harmed, then the believer shows patience, and thus there is good in the situation for them.”
So this, actually, the saying, is actually very deep, and I could talk for an hour just elucidating the finer points, the depth of wisdom that’s contained in this. But I’m not going to do that. My very first Facebook Live which I did last week, it went on for an hour! My first one okay, so I was like, I didn’t want to psych myself out by being worried about time limits and so forth.
But my goal this time is to be just a few minutes, just a few minutes in length.
Okay so let me quickly read through the saying again, and then I will elucidate only one part of it today. And then we will do the rest of it in future podcasts. All right? Sound good? Okay!
So the saying is: “Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for the believer in every matter. And this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If the believer is happy
then they thank Allah, and thus there is good in the situation for them. And if the believer is harmed, then they show patience and thus there’s good in the situation for them.”
Okay, so the part that I really want to focus on today as the first key for us to talk about is the idea that in every matter, in every matter, there is good, for the believer. But you know what we’ll get more into, well believer, believer of what? Believer of who, what? We’ll get into that later.
But for right now just notice that this saying is encouraging us to take on a perspective that says, you know what, no matter what the circumstance is, there’s good in it for me, right. And think about how key that is, how key that kind of a perspective is if you are going to be able to stay calm and relaxed in the face of adversity. If you think a situation is bad, if a situation is difficult, if you think it’s stressful, then of course you’re going to feel stressed. You’re going to feel bad. You’re not going to be able to be calm and relaxed in that situation because it’s bad, because it’s stressful, right?
So you have to change your perspective on the situation. You have to actually let go of your judgment of the situation being bad. Actually that’s the key you know. So you have to learn to let go of your judgments, of whatever the circumstance you may be in. Stop judging them, stop judging those circumstances as good or bad. Don’t even judge it as good, really, you know, although… Because if you if you allow yourself to judge things at all in terms of good and bad, there will be times you’ll judge things to be good, situations to be good, but then there will be other times when you will judge that circumstances or those situations are bad. So really the goal is to stop that kind of judgmental thinking.
And I’ll give you an analogy. Okay, so I, as I mentioned, I’m your happiness expert. So my primary focus in my work is actually to start by helping people cultivate inner peace. Because until you have inner peace, you really can’t effectively begin to cultivate and create world peace, okay? So when we’re talking about cultivating inner peace, think about what disturbs your inner peace.
I’ll tell you for me one of the things that really disturbed my inner peace was how I judged myself. You know I blamed myself, I shamed myself. And you know I’ve shared, if you know me, you know I’ve shared in the past, that I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse. So I actually had a very, very intense challenge when it came to how much I blamed and shamed myself. It caused a lot of suffering and magnified my trauma manyfold. Because even before I told anyone, like for so many years I didn’t even tell anyone about having experienced the abuse, because I was too afraid that if I told people that I was, you know, abused that they would actually blame me and say it was my fault.
And why did I think that? Because I thought that about me. I thought it was my fault that I got abused. Because I did not, you know, take action, enough action, to stop the abuse from happening. Or you know, that I did something to attract attention to myself so that the person, you know, was tempted to abuse me or whatever. You know these crazy, crazy thoughts of blame and judgment that I had. So you know, I know that when it came to my relationship with myself, my tendency to blame and judge myself was a huge obstacle in my path to being able to have a loving relationship with myself.
Now think about interpersonal relationships, right. Because if I want to live with inner peace, it’s like I can’t exist in a bubble. I don’t exist in a bubble, do I? No.
So the relationships that I have with other people in my life, if they’re not healthy, if they’re not happy, then I also, you know, cannot be healthy and happy and peaceful in my life as a whole. So it’s very important that I have healthy, happy relationships.
But guess what? When we are striving to have healthy, happy relationships in our life, if we — the extent I would say, the extent to which we blame and judge and shame the other people in our lives, that’s the extent to which our relationships are not peaceful and happy. True or true? Right.
I mean, it’s like how can you be feeling peaceful and happy in the company of someone that you think is bad, doing bad things, you know? If you’re judging them, if you’re criticizing them, shaming them, blaming them, etc. So when you are judging other people then your relationships with other people can’t be happy.
And turns out, you know what this saying of the Prophet Muhammad is clueing us in on, is that if you want to have a more healthy relationship with the circumstances of your life, with the results that emerge in your life, then you need to let go of your judgments of those circumstances and results also. So just as, you know, in order to have a more healthy relationship with myself or with other people, I need to instead of blame and judgment and shame, I need to cultivate empathy and compassion, right? So in this case, when I want to improve my relationship with my circumstances, my mindset around my circumstances, well, what do I cultivate instead of blame and shame and judgment?
Well, the saying gives us those clues, right? Talks about gratitude and patience. So well, yes, okay, so we’ll talk about those keys of practicing gratitude and patience in the face of adversity next time. But for today, just just get this in your mind, just just really hone in on this idea that you need to stop judging the circumstances of your life as good or bad. So whatever the circumstance you are in, if your purpose, if your goal is to create as much peace and happiness for yourself and others around you, then you have to stop judging that situation as bad, okay?
And so, there is another saying that I want to share with you, and this one, this is a quote I believe by John Adams. So John Adams says that, “every problem is an opportunity in disguise”. “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise”, right? So this gives you a way of like, how do I stop judging situations as bad, circumstances as bad. Well, think about how every problem is an opportunity in disguise. What’s that hidden opportunity in your current circumstances that are bothering you, you know? And so when you begin to shift your mindset and think about that opportunity, about the good that is there in that situation for you, or that you can create in that situation for you, that is when you see your…you’ll be able to get to that place of feeling more calm and relaxed, right. Because, guess what? If this is not a bad situation, it’s just an opportunity, right? It’s just an opportunity to create some positive change, then why would you be freaking out? Why would you be worried, right? You have no reason left to feel stressed and so forth. So this is the first key to maintaining your calm and relaxed way of feeling and being, even in the face of adversity.
Okay, I actually noticed that we have some people who are live watching. Okay, let me see, can I figure out who is watching? If you have any comments or questions, I would love to interact and respond. You see, but how do I actually do this? I’m very new to Facebook live and Youtube live and all these things, so please bear with me for a moment while I try to figure out — oh someone, Tasneem Noor, just made the comment, “learn to let go of my judgments”. And somebody liked that comment who was watching. Oh cool, yay! Okay, yes, learn to let go of your judgments, in this case the judgments about the situations that you’re in, the circumstances you’re in being good or bad. And yes Tasneem, I see you’re saying hi and a smiley face. Thank you for joining me! So yep, any questions, any comments, any other comments or questions…? If not, we will begin to wrap up for today. Okay, going once, going twice, going three times. Okay I’m going to assume that we’re good for now. So if you do have any questions or comments that come up for you after I finish officially this broadcast for right now, please feel free to send me a direct message or leave a comment under the video that you will see on the profile after we’re done here. So I’m happy to continue engaging on this after. All right? Okay, yay! Oh and to say, to end as I started: Salam, Shalom, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Aloha!
How to be calm & relaxed in the face of adversity: Key #2
Samia Bano, your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”, is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in these weekly lessons. In this broadcast, Samia focuses on elucidating Key #2 to how we can remain calm and relaxed even in the face of adversity. This lesson is a critical aspect of how to make change fun and easy!
All right! Hello, Salam, Shalom, Aloha, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal!
For those of you who might not know me, again my name is Samia Bano, and I am your Happiness Expert and author of the book, “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace In 3 Simple Steps.”
So I have started to do these weekly facebook lives and the purpose of these facebook lives is for me to share with you lessons from my book, “Make Change Fun and Easy” in bite-sized pieces. And it’s especially awesome for those of you who are not inclined to read, but you’re okay with watching short videos, right? And the other benefit of these videos is that I’m actually
going even deeper in exploring a lot of the concepts that I mentioned in the book. Because in the years, a few years since I wrote this book, I have become even wiser and I’m continuing to learn and grow in my own wisdom and experience of how to make change fun and easy. Good? All right! Good, yeah, okay. So the very first topic we started talking about was on this theme of surrender, okay. Like how can you use the practice of surrendering as a key to making change fun and easy? That was the very first facebook live we had. And then last week, which was our second facebook live, I actually picked a specific quote and started to break it down to explore the different lessons that are embedded in that quote for us to learn about how to make change fun and easy, particularly in the context of remaining calm and relaxed even in the face of adversity. So let me tell you what the quote is again. All right, this is very important. So basically the quote says, it’s a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and he says:
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for them in every matter. And this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If they’re happy, then they thank God and thus there is good for them. And if they are harmed, then they show patience and thus there is good for them.”
Okay so I’ll read it once again. “Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for them in every matter. And this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If they’re happy, then they thank God and thus there is good for them. And if they are harmed, then they show patience and thus there is good for them.”
So last time I started to talk about how the saying is really teaching us many lessons. But the lesson that I highlighted last week was this idea that we really need to let go of our judgments of situations being good or bad, okay. It’s really, really critical because as long as you’re judging situations as bad right and you think a situation is bad, well how can you feel calm and relaxed when you’re in a situation that you judge to be bad, right? Also briefly mentioned in passing the idea that you should also actually not judge situations to be good. I think that one is a little counterintuitive as a notion so I want to spend some time today talking about why we shouldn’t even judge situations to be good, okay.
Well, the simple answer is that, look even if what you’re doing is judging situations to be good, the fact is that you’re still judging, right. You’re still stuck in that cycle of judgmental thinking where things are either good or bad, right or wrong, you know. So the judgmental thinking perspective is by nature one that drives you to see situations in black and white, and you miss the opportunity to appreciate the shades of gray. And the fact is that no matter what the situation you’re in is, there are sure to be shades of grey in it because life is more than black and white.
It’s also a fact that because we’re human we have a lot of limitations in terms of what we can understand, how far, how deeply we can understand about any given situation. You know there’s like limitations based on our age, based on our experience, based on our, you know like geography, like where do you live, a culture you know, you’ve been born in and raised in… You know like there’s so many, so many factors that go into informing the different perspectives that you have. And these factors also limit your ability to see any situation from a completely holistic perspective. There are always the limits to what you can understand in a situation and about a situation. That’s just how it is, you know. You can, even if you’re really committed to examine any situation from as many different perspectives as you can, you know even then, even after your very best efforts, your understanding will still be limited. That’s just part of the human condition.
Okay, so when you are making judgments, you are essentially making judgments based on incomplete information. Right? So even with your best efforts your judgments are based on incomplete information. Right? And so there’s a lot of possibility of making mistakes and having inaccuracies in your judgment. So just let go. Like honestly, the best solution is, just let go of your need and your habit to be judging situations, right.
And so if you’re not going to be judging situations, what are you going to do actually? Yes, that is a very important question. But I realized, let me give you a quick example before I answer that question. Let me give you a really quick example of how, you know because of our human limitations, we can never judge a situation in a holistic way, you know. Okay so there I just shared with you a quote from the Prophet Muhammad, so let me share with you a story from the Quran. I’m not going to share the whole story, just a very small part of it, just to highlight this particular point about the limitations of our knowledge and how that affects our judgments, okay?
So there’s this story about Prophet Moses in the Quran where Prophet Moses, you know he actually makes a claim… there were like a bunch of people who were challenging his authority, and they were really bothering him, you know, and he lost patience with them. And he was like, look I’m the Prophet of God and I know more than you do. I know everything there is to know, and so just listen to what I’m saying. I’m paraphrasing, okay, but he said something to that effect to the people to sort of shut them up in the moment. And after he said that, God, you know, revealed to him that, hey Moses you shouldn’t have said that, you shouldn’t have said that, well you know, this because it’s not true. It’s not true, plus you know it’s a little arrogant, and it’s not nice to have arrogance in your attitude. But the bigger point that was highlighted in the story, throughout the story, was that it’s not even true that you know everything. And so basically then God sends Moses on a quest okay. And He says, go find this other being or person that actually God has granted even more wisdom to than you have, and so go find this person and say, ask them to teach you, and you know, so you can learn more wisdom.
So Moses goes, goes on a quest and eventually you know he finds this person, and he says, okay please teach me, let me come along with you on your journey, what you know, and allow me to observe what you do, how you do it, so I can learn from you. And Moses is warned. Like this person or being, warns Moses that it will not be easy for you Moses to follow me. You will not be able to have patience with me because you will see me doing things that you will not be able to understand, and you won’t have patience with me. So you know it may be better if you just don’t come…
But Moses was like no, no, no. I want to come. I’ll be able to be patient. And so with that intention Moses you know joins this person on the journey. And so a number of things happen. Like there’s three distinct instances that occur when Moses is accompanying the person, and I won’t get into all those three instances because then the story will get really long, but in one of the instances what happens is that they meet a couple. And this couple has just one son and this one son is killed. Okay, so Moses is very sad and upset that this couple’s one and only son has been killed. Now there’s more to how this person gets killed. But I don’t want to get into that right, because I don’t want to be delving into all the other lessons and complications of the story. So just this fact that there’s this couple, they have only one son, and the son dies and Moses finds it difficult to be patient in that situation. He’s like why, why does this son have to die? Why does he get killed?
So later on in the story you know, we find out, God reveals to Moses, that the reason that the son was killed is because God, because God is all-knowing, right, God’s knows the present, God knows the past, God knows the future. God is not constrained by limitations of time. So God knows, knew, that if this son was to have continued living then he would have become a very unrighteous, bad person, committed a lot of bad, evil acts. And it would have caused a lot of trauma and suffering for his parents. And the parents of this, of the son, they were very righteous people. They were very excellent and good people and God did not want these people to suffer because of the evil actions of their son you know. And so God decided to get/have the son die when the son died. And then God also willed and decreed that this couple should bear another child and that this child, the second child that they will bear, that child will grow up to be a good person who will love and respect his parents and be a comfort to them, and you know, spread good in the life, right.
And so once Moses understood this, right this information was revealed to Moses, now I see the wisdom, like now I can be patient in this scenario and experience patience in this scenario. But when he didn’t have all the information he found it very difficult to be patient in this situation, right. And that is the case with all of us that when we are lacking the full picture, the full information about any situation, then it’s very very difficult for us to be patient in it, or to practice gratitude in that situation.
But when we fail to practice patience and gratitude in any given situation then we cannot be calm and relaxed, let alone happy and peaceful in the situation, true or true? Yeah, so even though it’s very difficult, even though it can be very, very challenging for us to practice gratitude and patience in the face of adversity, to remain calm and relaxed in the face of adversity, it can nonetheless be done. It can nonetheless be done. And that’s what we are being encouraged to strive for through the example of Prophet Moses in this story. If I, you know, or in the saying that I quoted for you in the first place, by the Prophet Muhammad that, you know, when you understand, when you know, when you, at the very least, are willing to accept the reality that, you know what, in any given situation your knowledge will always be incomplete. You know that. You know that is a fact, and that will never change as long as you remain human, right? So then why struggle with that, you know? Why struggle with that? Why not figure out a way to make peace with this, with this fact of life you know?
And so the way we make peace with this situation is we say, yes, okay, I don’t know. In any given situation there will be a lot that I don’t know. And so the judgment, any judgment I make, whether it’s that the situation is good or whether that the situation is bad, this judgment is based on incomplete information. There’s a high, high possibility that, you know, that judgment is inaccurate in some way or another. So let me just accept the situation as it is. Be like, whatever the situation is, it is what it is. You just accept it as what it is, and then strive to do your best to practice patience and gratitude in that situation.
So next time I will dive more deeply into how you actually practice patience and gratitude in this kind of difficult situation. Because even though it’s difficult, it is possible, okay? And so we’ll get into that next time. But for now remember — give up, give up judging situations as good or bad. Even give up judging situations as good because you don’t want to stay stuck in judgmental thinking. You want to get yourself out of judgmental thinking entirely, okay? All right!
So, oh my gosh, I just noticed Zakir Malek is watching. Hi! Thank you so much for watching. If you have any questions, if you have any comments, feel free to ask in the chat right now. If not, no worries, you can always, you know, once the live broadcast is stopped, you know this video gets posted on the profile, on my profile. So you can always ask your question or comments that way. And I’m happy to engage afterwards.
And I also wanted to encourage everyone who is interested in this topic of how to make change fun and easy, if you are able to read, inclined to read you know, try reading the book you know. And so that way you can get a lot of the lessons much more quickly than waiting for my weekly broadcast. And so to get the book all you have to do is go to MakeChangeFunAndEasy.com.
That’s the book website. MakeChangeFunAndEasy.com. You can get the book from there. You can also find it on Amazon, and I think around some other book sites also. But the easiest way is going to MakeChangeFunAndEasy.com, and just get the book from there. All right? Okay!
So I don’t think I’ve noticed any comments and stuff so far that I need to respond to. All right. Thank you so much so again! I will see you next week, and in the meantime, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha!
How to stay calm & relaxed in the face of adversity: Key 3
Samia Bano, your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”, is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in these weekly lessons. In this broadcast, Samia focuses on elucidating Key #1 to how we can remain calm and relaxed even in the face of adversity. This lesson is a critical aspect of how to make change fun and easy!
Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha! And I learned a new way to say “hello” today — Hola. So, Hola!
And I’m so happy to be with you again today. We are, oh before I get into what we’re going to talk about today, let me introduce myself just in case you don’t know me. So my name is Samia Bano, and I am your Happiness Expert and author of the book, “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace In 3 Simple Steps”. Ooh, and i see Lubna has joined us. Thank you Lubna. Hi, welcome! Okay, so with the introduction over I’m going to tell you what we’re going to talk about today. So if you have already been watching the last couple of weeks, the broadcast that I did, the live broadcast, then you know that in these broadcasts I have been, I picked a quote. And now I’m breaking it down. So there’s so many amazing lessons to be learned from this one quote that I was like, you know what, I cannot cover it all in one in one broadcast. So I’ve been breaking it down. Now what’s the quote? This is actually a quote by the Prophet Muhammad and here it is. Prophet Muhammad said,
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for them in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If they are happy, then they thank God and thus there is good for them; and if they are harmed, then they show patience and thus there is good for them.”
Okay? So one more time.
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for them in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If they are happy, then they thank God and thus there is good for them; and if they are harmed, then they show patience and thus there is good for them.”
Okay, all right. So the part that I’m going to focus on today is, “if they are happy then they thank God and thus there is good for them”. So, “if they’re happy then they thank God and does there is good for them.”
So I think this notion is fairly intuitive. I think most people will intuitively understand why this might be the case. But let’s see if we can get some, maybe deeper insight today. Tell me, okay, if you hear a deeper insight that touches you. I would be so happy to get your feedback and, you know, or any other questions, comments that you have, or any other feedback that you have, or any other perspective that you have on this, please share it, do share it with me.
Okay, so when I think about being happy, and in that moment of feeling happiness to thank God, like yeah, yeah, you know… Doesn’t that just make you even more happy? I think so. It’s, it does, it does for me. Why? I think the main reason, I think there’s two reasons, but I think the number one reason why it makes me even happier and why, you know even beyond just my happiness, you know this word, this saying claims that, you know, by/when I thank God when I’m happy, there’s good in that, or that comes out of that for me, right? So what is that good? What is that good?
And so like I think about it from this perspective – the happiness that I’m feeling, what’s the source of that happiness? Well, as a Muslim we’re taught to believe that God, one of the characteristics or names of God as we know God, is that God is the source of peace. His name, the Arabic name that we associate with this quality of God is “As-Salam”, “the source of peace”. And in fact, I believe that God is also our source of love and happiness and joy, and really every other good feeling that we have, and all the blessings and amazing goodness that we experience in our lives. So if God is the source of all the happiness and love and joy and goodness that we are experiencing, then it makes a lot of sense to thank God when we feel aware of that happiness, true or true?
You know, and then I, so this is, this is pretty much as far as I got with my own thinking. And then one day, one of my mentors, I was learning from one of my mentors. And he pointed out that you know, when you are experiencing joy, peace, happiness, or anything you think is a blessing from God, it’s not just a blessing from God you know. There’s actually more to it. There’s more to it. It, this blessing or happiness or good feeling that you’re experiencing, is actually a a manifestation of, or an expression of, God loving you and taking care of you. Isn’t that amazing to think about? It’s like whenever I’m feeling happy, that is actually a tangible experience that I’m having of being loved and taken care of by God. Isn’t that amazing? Yes!
So if it truly is, if that’s something you can believe and experience and feel, then doesn’t it make sense to reciprocate in whatever way you can the love that God is showering on you in that moment, you know? And so how can I shower some love on God? God is free of all needs. That’s what Muslims are taught you know. God doesn’t need anything from me as such. But one thing that I can do is express gratitude, express thanks, you know. And so by expressing gratitude and, and, and you know, cultivating that feeling of thankfulness within myself when I feel happy, when I recognize that I’m being blessed and loved and taken care of, that’s my way of loving God back. And when you make this, this, you know, relationship reciprocal in this way, so it’s not just God showering you with all the love and blessings, but you are also responding to that through your gratitude and your thankfulness, then you see it actually deepens the experience of love that you have. And it deepens and improves the quality of the relationship. It makes it even more loving.
And so the more loving your relationship gets, the more benefits you experience, you know. So there is so much good that we, we actually are able to cultivate for ourselves by being thankful and grateful, you know, in a very conscious way anytime we find ourselves aware of something that makes us happy in our lives, you know.
And really you can, you know if you’re not Muslim or if you’re not really into, you know, if you don’t have a concept of God as a, you know divine being in your life that interacts with you in this kind of way, no worries, no worries, you know. Think about it, think about this principle right, this idea of cultivating gratitude, and, and thanking people in your life when you feel happy and blessed or you know just, just receiving, when you feel or acknowledge or experience that you are at the receiving end of some love and care from someone you know in your life. Whether it’s your parents, or your friends, or you know, co-workers, whoever it might be in the world… might even be a stranger in the street, or the clerk at the grocery store who gives you an extra, extra smile, and, and makes you feel more cheerful you know, because of their happy attitude at work you know…
So you can feel touched and loved and cared for in so many different situations, and by so many different people in your life throughout the day, every day, right? And so anytime you feel touched you know by that sense of love and care being given to you, when you reciprocate that by acknowledging it, being grateful for it, thanking the person that you’re receiving that love and care from, it will, so it’ll be so helpful in improving your relationships with them and improving the quality of your life you know.
There’s another way, I mentioned that there’s two ways I think this is, this really works and why it works. So this is also another way, even if you don’t you know, believe in the concept of God as I do, this is another way that you can think about why this notion really works you know. So this, I don’t, I don’t know who the author of the thing is, but this is a saying, “what you focus on expands”. “What you focus on expands”.
I learned it from one of my teachers, mentors, Harv Eker, okay. He says it all the time, “what you focus on expands”, right. And so in this context what we’re talking about, is focusing in on whatever is making us happy, you know. And when you focus in on it, the happiness expands. And you know, the like, the sense of you know, gratitude, when you, when you tap into that gratitude attitude, and you focus on that sense of gratitude that you have, guess what? Even that expands, you know. You, you start out by being grateful, feeling grateful for one thing. But because you’re focusing on that sense of gratitude, you find even more things to be gratitude/grateful for in your life, you know. If you find, like you’re focusing on one person who’s helping you feel more loved and cared for in that moment, maybe because you’re focusing on that good thing, maybe you know you will find even more amazing things about this person that, through you know, through which this person expresses their love and care for you. Or you might begin to be conscious of even more people in your life besides this person in this moment who make you feel loved and cared for, right. So there’s so many different ways in which, what you focus on will expand, and can expand in your life, thereby multiplying many, manifold the sense of happiness that you have, in the sense of blessings that you have in your life and so forth.
Okay, so that was the main point that I wanted to make today. I hope you found it super helpful. Again, as usual, I encourage you to chat with me, leave me your comments and so forth, if any thoughts and feelings are coming up for you. And just a reminder, that’s my book, “Make Change Fun And Easy”. All of the content that I’m sharing during these lives, this is inspired by my book. And even better, I mean, of course you know the thing is that I don’t just want to replicate exactly what’s in the book. So I actually go even deeper in these lives you know. I have after all grown even wiser since the time that I wrote this book you know. But nonetheless, if you are really interested in this topic of how to be calm and relaxed in the face of adversity, which for me you know, is a key aspect of how to make change fun and easy. So if you’re really interested in this topic for yourself, go grab my book. And the easiest way you can do that is go to the books website: MakeChangeFunAndEasy.com. MakeChangeFunAndEasy.com, and you can get the book from there. It’s also available on amazon and other book sites, but I think the easiest to remember is just go to MakeChangeFunAndEasy.com, okay? All right! So I don’t see any other comments or questions, so I’m going to assume it’s all right for me to wrap up now and I will end as I began by saying, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha, and Hola! Take care :).
How to stay calm & relaxed in the face of adversity: Key #4
Samia Bano, your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”, is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in these weekly lessons. In this broadcast, Samia focuses on elucidating Key #4 to how we can remain calm and relaxed even in the face of adversity. This lesson is a critical aspect of how to make change fun and easy!
“Hello, Salam, Shalom, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Aloha and Hola!”
In case you don’t know who I am already, my name is Samia and I am your Happiness Expert and author of the book, “Make Change Fun and Easy: “How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace in 3 Simple Steps”. So I’ve been doing these weekly broadcasts and I’ve been sharing bite size lessons on the theme of my book. And now you’re getting a more updated, even wiser, deeper reflection from me. Because since I’ve written this book, I have continued to learn and grow and become even wiser. Good or good! So, I have picked a quote and I have been breaking it down for you because it’s full of so much amazing wisdom, I cannot cover it all in one broadcast. The quote is by Prophet Muhammad. And in this quote he says,
“Wondrous, is the affair of the believer, for there is good for them in every matter and this is not the case with anyone, except the believer. If they’re happy, then they thank God. And thus there is good for them. And if they are harmed, then they show patience and thus there is good for them”.
The part we are going to talk about today is, “and if they are harmed, then they show patience and thus there is good for them”. And we’ll actually also end up talking a little bit more about the idea of who this believer is, the one for whom the state of affairs is so wondrous… What do they actually believe? Now, if you actually have been following all the broadcasts in the series, you will see that I already talked a little bit about this idea of what you actually believe in order to help you have this mindset that allows you to find good for yourself in every matter. What are the beliefs that inform that mindset?
When you think about being harmed, when you think about what are the possible responses that you can have in that situation, patience certainly is an idea that is very likely to come up, right? It’s like okay, I’ve been harmed, I’m struggling with something, I’m dealing with some kind of adversity in my life, I have to be patient.
But I know for the longest time for me, when I thought about being patient, it was just sort of gritting my teeth, tolerating the situation and doing the best I could to survive through it, to get through it. I didn’t want to be in that situation, and I didn’t think that there was anything good in that. I just wanted to be able to get through it. And there was definitely the sense of stress and tension that I experienced in my mind and heart as I attempted to practice patience in the face of that adversity. And honestly, that’s how I saw most people in my life practicing patience. In fact, I would even say maybe all the people I saw in my life, until very recently… I started noticing that there is a different way we can be patient. And I think that different way of being patient is actually what this saying is talking about.
In this quotation, we’re talking about a state of affairs where there’s good for me in every matter. We’re talking about this being the case for the believer. Now, I mean to say a little bit about the believer and what the believer believes. This believer has deep trust and faith in this idea, that there is good for them in every matter. In one of my earlier broadcasts, I shared the quote by John Adams, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise”. And I think that’s the perspective that the believer that’s being referred to in this quote takes, i.e. that in every problem, there is an opportunity. And so what’s the opportunity that we have when we are feeling harmed or thinking we have been harmed or experiencing some kind of harm in our life? Well, according to the saying, the opportunity is the opportunity to practice patience. But what’s so great about the opportunity to practice patience? If all it is, is that we’re gritting our teeth and just tolerating our way through the situation, what’s great about that? See, I don’t think that’s so great. So if I’m not practicing patience in that way and that is not the true opportunity, then what is the true opportunity in the practice of patience?
I think this is where another teaching in Islam comes in very handy, to help us better understand how we can better practice patience. This is actually a notion that is both a teaching that’s present in the Quran, and it’s also something that the Prophet Muhammad practiced in his life and taught all Muslims. There’s actually an Arabic phrase that pretty much all Muslims have memorized in Arabic. And it literally translates to, “I seek refuge in God”, (“‘audu billahi minash shaytan nirrajim”). The extended version of it is, “I seek refuge in God from the accursed Satan”. Right now, let’s focus on the idea of seeking refuge in God and what does that really mean? Why are we taught to seek refuge in God as one of the first responses that we make to facing hardship or feeling like we’re in trouble and difficulty? I actually looked up the definition of refuge, like just the dictionary on Google. Like what does refuge mean, you know? And the refuge is defined as,
“A condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble.”
Refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble. It’s a condition of being safe or sheltered. What we are doing by seeking refuge in God, what we are actually doing is we’re seeking safety. We’re seeking shelter from danger, trouble, pursuit and whatever is bothering us or hurting us. That makes sense. Interestingly, when you think about the believer and what he believes… so again, as a Muslim, not only have I been taught to believe that there is good for me in every matter, but I’ve also been taught to believe that God loves me. God takes care of me. God is ever present in my life. And in fact, there’s a beautiful verse in the Quran that talks about how God is closer to me than my jugular vein. And that is always true. That is always the case. There is never a time when God abandons me or just leaves me to my own devices. Leaves me by myself to deal with things on my own. That will never happen. God is ever present, always loving, merciful and compassionate towards me.
The moment that I seek refuge in God, I’m actually reminded that I’m already in refuge with God. Isn’t that amazing? Yes! It’s like here I am seeking refuge in God. And that reminds me, that I’m already in God’s refuge. Because God never abandons me, God never goes away. God is always there to help me, love me, protect me. I am already in God’s refuge. Remember, refuge is a condition of being safe and sheltered from all danger and trouble, right. So I’m now realizing that I am already safe, I’m already sheltered. What a relief. As soon as I seek shelter in God, I realize that I already am in the shelter that I’m seeking, then I’m able to relax.
When you are able to relax in this knowing that you’re completely safe, and loved, and you are in God’s refuge, it has so many benefits. Number one, it immediately fills my heart with gratitude. Our relationship with God actually deepens and becomes even more loving. We grow to love God even more. You know it’s because you realized, “Oh my gosh, I’m being loved right now! God is taking care of me right now”! And through that care, through that sheltering that God is giving me in this moment, the refuge that God is giving me in this moment, that’s actually God loving me, right? And so when you realize that, when you recognize that, it increases your sense of love for God and your appreciation of God, and you become even more grateful for all the amazing blessings that God has given you in your life.
Another amazing benefit is when you are in the situation of feeling challenged or harmed, but you are still able to now relax knowing that you are safe, you’re taken care of, you’re loved, you can now shift your focus to thinking about the opportunity that’s in this problem, right? Remember, every problem is an opportunity in disguise. If you’re still worried about the problem, it’s very difficult to see the opportunity. But once you’re feeling relaxed and safe in refuge, then you can easily shift your focus to thinking about the opportunity. Where is the opportunity, what are the solutions? What are the next steps that I can take to help resolve the situation?
And the thing is that you also realized and recognized in that moment that you don’t have to figure all this out by yourself. You’re in God’s refuge! He’s there to love you, take care of you, guide you. There’s no reason to be stressed. You can just relax and focus on the opportunity, the solution and the bright side.
That was the main point I wanted to make from the perspective of what Muslims believe and think. But I also want to just take a little bit of time now and talk to you about this idea from a different perspective. So in case you’re not a Muslim or you just don’t share the same beliefs or concept of God that I have or that I believe in, you can still learn from this and really allow this to inspire you and benefit you. So how can you look at this in a different perspective, that’s not so Muslim and Islam specific?
This reminds me of a quote by Albert Einstein, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe”.
Our beliefs have a causal, direct impact on our thoughts, which have a direct causal impact on our feelings, which have a direct causal impact on our behaviors, which have a direct causal impact on the results and the circumstances that emerge in our life. And this has been proven over and over again through research in Positive Psychology, among other disciplines. This causal chain or this causal link between our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions, and the results that emerge in our life… this is actually a really key and important idea so I will just tell you again what this causal chain is.
It goes from beliefs, lead to your thoughts, lead to your feelings, lead to your actions, which are directly causing (in part) the results that you see in your life. So if you want to change the results in your life, you need to think about how you can change your behavior, your feelings, your thoughts, and your beliefs in a way that would support the different results that you want to see in your life. And if you want to make change fun and easy, which is, I assume, something that you want, that’s why you’re watching this broadcast now, that’s why you’re interested in what I’m talking about… what beliefs can you/must you have to actually support this outcome of being able to stay calm and relaxed in the face of adversity? And creating this outcome of being able to experience making change as fun and easy now… what beliefs support that?
Well, I’ll tell you, if you believe that this universe is a hostile place, that belief does not support making change fun and easy, it just doesn’t. And it doesn’t support being able to stay calm and relaxed in the face of adversity either. So if you have any chance at all of being able to experience change as fun and easy, or being able to stay calm and relaxed in the face of adversity, you must realize, recognize and believe that we live in a friendly universe. If you believe in a loving, kind God like I do, who loves me, not just theoretically, but is actually actively present in this loving way in my life, that belief also allows me to believe that I live in a friendly universe. But if you don’t believe in that kind of a God, or in God in that way, then what evidence can you find that you live in a friendly universe?
Well, you know, there’s a lot of different evidence I’m sure that you could find if you really look for them. I want to encourage you to find as many different types of evidence as you can find that help support the belief for you that you do live in a friendly universe. I will just give you one example of evidence that I found for myself. This was like when I was a teenager… I was in a very different place in my life, I was actually very traumatized. I was in the process of healing from the trauma of having experienced child sexual abuse. I mean, that healing process is, in some ways, of course never ending, always ongoing. But in my teenage years I was not peaceful at all, I was suffering and trying to emerge from being the victim of child sexual abuse. And so, I will say that my faith in God in those years was not as deep as it is now. I did not experience God as an ever loving presence in my life at that time. To think about God in that way was like a wish or dream. I wished I could experience God like that. I wished I could experience that kind of love. But that wasn’t my reality at that time. I had to find other things to give me comfort and to give me hope in my life. And one of the very first things that I found that gave me comfort and hope was reading books.
As a young person, a teenager, I wasn’t reading books of deep philosophy or anything like that. I wasn’t that enlightened or that smart. I was reading novels, young adult novels and trying to learn from the characters in the books that I was reading. And one day it happened … now I see it as a blessing from God… God put this book before me, I picked it up. It was The Diary of Anne Frank. It was one of the very first non fiction books I ever read or that I remember ever reading.
Anne Frank was a teenager, a Jewish girl who was living during the era of the Second World War. And because she was a Jew, her family was being targeted by the Nazis. They were in Germany at the time, and in order to escape, her family had to go into hiding in a little attic… in a building that one of their friends gave them. I can’t remember exactly how long, but I think it was like, maybe a couple of years or something like that. And so you can imagine being in Anne’s situation where your family is literally being hunted and other people in your community have been caught and killed and tortured. And you have to live with that constant fear of, what if we get caught, and we might get caught any day, any moment, anything can happen. You’re stuck in this attic and you can’t leave, not even for a little while.
You can imagine, especially for a young teenager, how traumatic that would be. It was very difficult for Anne. She writes in her diaries about the many challenges that you have to face in that situation. But she writes about so much more than that. Even in that situation, she finds reasons to be happy, reasons to be hopeful, like she manages to find love and peace in her life and in her heart.
And even though the challenge that Anne was going through was so different from the challenge that I had experienced, there was something that really touched me about her story. She still managed to find hope, peace, joy and love in her life, even while she was stuck in that attic. That gave me hope. If Anne could go through the hardship, the trauma, adversity that she went through, and find hope and love and peace and all that good stuff, then maybe I could too!
And that inspired me to find other biographies… I was like, “Ha! Let me find other people that I could learn from, real people who have been through difficult experiences, who have been through trauma as bad or even worse than what I have experienced. And let me see if I can learn something from them about how they helped themselves heal, how they found hope and peace and so forth in their lives”. And once I began to look for those examples, those stories, those people that could inspire and teach me that way, I started to find them everywhere.
This is just one example of how you can find evidence in your life that we do live in a friendly universe. You know that we live in a universe where we humans have such an amazing capacity to heal from such deep traumas. I mean, think about people who have experienced rape, who have experienced other forms of abuse, who have lived through wars, experienced torture, experienced starvation, who have experienced severe debilitating illness, sickness, disease, all kinds of things. And no matter what kind of scenario, situation, adversity you can think of, if you look, you will find people who have been able to overcome those adversities. Who have been able to heal from those traumas. And been able to grow into even better people.
And that’s certainly very true in my case also. Most people my age have very different priorities in their life. They’re thinking about very different things. They have very different goals. But because of the trauma that I experienced, the abuse that I experienced, because of how it impacted me in terms of creating the sense of great suffering in my life that I couldn’t bear, I was motivated. My whole life direction shifted, and actually… In some ways, I was obsessed. I was like, I have to figure this out, I have to figure out how I can stop suffering. I have to figure out how I can regain my peace and happiness. I became focused on learning about this and achieving this goal for myself. And because of that I was actually able to achieve it. And achieve it to a point where now I’m actually able to help other people who are suffering, who have experienced trauma in their lives also. I’m able to help them find healing, growth, happiness, and inner peace in their lives. And that gives me even more joy in my life. I am this way because of the trauma that I experienced.
If you’re having a hard time finding evidence, or if you’re still in the process of finding evidence that this is in fact a friendly universe, in the meantime what can you do?
Just remind yourself, “This too shall pass! This too shall pass!”.
That was another mantra that I learned, that I found immensely helpful in my life. When I’m finding it difficult to be patient in this more better way of the believer who realizes and recognizes that they’re already in refuge, in God’s refuge. So while I’m struggling to recognize that, I can nonetheless still, at the very least, remind myself that this too shall pass. This too shall pass… And that gives me hope. And that gives me strength.
Thank you for staying all this time with me. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please share them. If you found this helpful to yourself, please like and share this video with your friends on whatever platform you happen to be watching it on. And I will see you next week. And in the meantime, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha and Hola!
How to Be Happy in the Face of Adversity
Samia Bano, your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”, is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in these weekly lessons. In this broadcast, Samia shares how we can go even beyond remaining calm and relaxed in the face of adversity, to actually being happy. This lesson is a critical aspect of how to make change fun and easy!
Aloha, Salam, Shalom, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Hola!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Samia Bano and I am your Happiness Expert and author of the book, “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace in 3 Simple Steps”.
I’ve been doing live broadcasts for almost a month now, and I am so happy to be connecting with you again this week.
Today, we are going to talk about how to be happy in the face of adversity. For the last several weeks we were talking about how to be calm and relaxed in the face of adversity – and hey, that’s pretty good! Most people find it difficult to be calm or relaxed in the face of adversity. So even if all you’re able to do right now is be calm and relaxed in the face of adversity, then you’re doing great!
You know the saying, “If you’re not growing you’re dying.” – I have come to believe in this very strongly. And so I’m always looking for ways that I can keep growing in whatever aspect of my life, because if I’m not growing, I’m dying. I don’t want to be dying, therefore I’m very committed to growing. Now, if you’ve already learned to be calm and relaxed in the face of adversity …How do you grow from that point?
Well, how about learning to be actually happy, to be actually joyful in the face of adversity? That’s definitely a step up, that’s definitely you continuing to grow in your ability and your capacity to face adversity!
So how do you do that?
How can you actually be happy in the face of adversity?
Actually it’s not going to be very complicated and if you’ve been following along with what I have been sharing with you in the last few weeks about how to be calm and relaxed. You will recognize what I’m going to share with you today as a very logical next step.
Okay, so in the previous weeks we talked about the idea of practicing patience when you find yourself in a position of hardship. I shared my interpretation with you that being patient really means learning to be calm and relaxed. And the way you achieve that sense of calmness and being able to relax even in the face of adversity is – if you are a believer. A person of faith who believes in a God, a divine aspect to this universe, and you believe that the God or this divine spirit is of a nature that is compassionate and caring and that loves you. Well, you can ground yourself in that faith, and that trust, in that knowing. And you see, that allows you to recognize that even in this moment, when you might be feeling some sense of hardship, some sense of adversity, that divine presence is still very much there with you and taking care of you, loving you. And so you just have to sort of open yourself up to that “Divine Presence”, that “Divine Guidance” and when you do that you’re able to relax and be calm because you know that you are in God’s refuge now, and that really allows you to be calm and relaxed.
If you don’t believe in this kind of a “Divine Being” or a “Divine Presence”, then I encouraged you to find evidence around you that you actually live in a friendly universe – because there’s something that I quoted from Albert Einstein, where he said,
“You know one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life is whether you live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe”.
Last week, I gave an example of how I found evidence that I’m living in a friendly universe. So, if you missed that from last week please go ahead and watch that broadcast. When you come back to this one and watch it again it’ll make even more sense, okay? Cool!
Yes! So you learn to be calm and relaxed by recognizing you’re already in God’s refuge now and/or by reminding yourself that you live in a friendly universe that’s on your side, that’s there to take care of you, and that allows you to be calm and relaxed.
But then if you really think about it, once you recognize that, you have something to be really grateful for … true or true?! I mean, the fact that you’re in God’s refuge right now, the fact that you live in a friendly universe, that is something really amazing and that is something you can be really grateful for. And so the moment you begin to tap into your gratitude attitude … voila! You see, right there you have hit the key to achieving happiness no matter what your circumstances are. Because Science, research in Positive Psychology, has proven that tapping into your gratitude attitude is the fastest way to feeling happy in any situation. This is a scientifically proven fact!
Okay, so now you have already tapped into one realization or one bit of awareness that is starting to help you think and tap into that gratitude attitude. Now challenge yourself to think of even more things. Expand your awareness of what else you have to be grateful for.
I will admit that most of us unfortunately are not trained to live life with a gratitude attitude. Most of us, unfortunately, spend most of our lives very much in a mindset of complaining, judging, blaming, shaming and we experience that in our life way, way more often. And we practice these attitudes of judging, shaming, blaming, judging, way more often than we practice gratitude in our lives. It’s actually really sad, but it is what it is.
So, unfortunately for most people, when they really need to tap into their gratitude attitude, it’s because they’re in a difficult situation, facing some hardship, dealing with adversity, and they really need to tap into their gratitude attitude so they can begin to feel happy, they can begin to feel more in control of their wellness and so forth… And they have a really difficult time identifying things that they have to be grateful for in their lives. A lot of people will actually be feeling very accomplished to come up with even three to five things that they can be grateful for in the moment. And for people who are feeling really down in the dumps, people who are struggling with depression for example, they may not even be able to identify a single thing they have to be grateful for.
But that doesn’t mean that you don’t in fact have things to be grateful for. It really is a practice that you have to engage in diligently, to learn how to find these things in your life. So the more you practice tapping into your gratitude attitude when everything is good in your life and you are actually feeling happy and in control of your wellness … then the easier it will become for you to also tap into your gratitude attitude when you are actually dealing with adversity or finding yourself in a place of hardship.
There’s no escape from having to practice this as a skill, and it’s something you need to do every day of your life as much as you can. And anything you can do to remind yourself to engage in this practice … please, please do that, okay? Now there’s a lot of tips that I share with my clients when we are happily coaching together about this. I will give you one tip that I find really helpful. And this actually is a lesson that I learned from studying the Quran which is the Holy Scripture of the Muslims. And in case you didn’t realize it already, yes I am a Muslim. I take great inspiration, and I learned a lot from the Quran about how to be happy, how to be peaceful.
One of the lessons I’ve learned is found in a specific chapter in the Quran and it’s called “The Compassionate”. In Arabic, it’s called “Surah Al-Rahman”. In this chapter, God basically highlights a lot of different amazing aspects of creation that we all benefit from and therefore have to be thankful for. So think about, for example, the fact that there are oceans that provide us not only with water but with all kinds of nutrients. There’s fish and other things that you can eat, and other amazing benefits that you can experience and benefit from every day of your life, every moment of your life, just because the oceans exist. Even if you’re thinking about an example at a very commercial level, just think about how much abundance is created in the world in terms of commercial gain and activity because we have oceans, right?
And that’s just one thing that God has created that brings so many blessings, so many amazing benefits to our life. We also have trees, we have birds, we have the stars and the sky, the sun, the moon, you name it! There are infinite numbers of things that God has created in this universe that are continually providing some benefit to us, allowing us to exist and experience our lives as we do. And so even if you are finding it really difficult in your life to identify something very specific to your life that you can be grateful for – well, why not widen your scope of thinking? Start by appreciating the existence of these things, that every single human being has access to and is enjoying and able to enjoy the benefits off. Start with what is universally available to all humans and then hopefully that will begin to trigger your gratitude attitude more and more and more… And you will be able to identify more and more things that are more specific to your life, that you can be grateful for. So yes! Start with these universal blessings that we all have not only access to but that we are all benefiting from every day of our lives, every moment of our lives. That’s my tip!
Now I want to share with you a quick story as I wrap up for today. I was studying with one of my teachers who shared this with me, and I’m so sorry I do not remember the names of the specific people who are involved in this story, but it’s an absolutely true story. And you know what I do remember is this really amazing important lesson and I hope you will too. There’s this whole field of Happiness Science, it’s called Positive Psychology. It’s the Science of Happiness and there’s a lot of research that’s ongoing in this field. And it’s all focused on studying what’s right with people, what actually allows people to be happy, to live with great wellness and contentment in their lives.
There was a group of researchers who actually decided to go all around the world and try to find the happiest people that they could find. Basically, wherever they would go, they would start asking people, who’s the happiest person you know? And then they would go meet with those people who were identified by others as being the most happy in their circles. They interviewed them, and over the course of their research, they figured out some of the common things between all of these people in terms of different aspects of their thinking and lifestyle and so forth.
There’s this one lady that they found when they traveled to Vietnam. They were out researching in the countryside in Vietnam. They were referred to this one lady who lived in a hut made of hay or something like that… some very impermanent material. It turned out that she was actually disabled, she couldn’t even walk. She was restrained to her bed. She didn’t even have an electric wheelchair or anything else that she could use to move around. She was basically in bed the whole whole time. And when you visited her home, you saw that she had little to no possessions. She just basically had a bed and a little chest with a few possessions, and that was about it. Everyone in her family had died in the war that happened in Vietnam. And just think about this lady’s situation. She has severe disabilities, and can’t even get out of bed on her own. She is living in poverty by any standards… she has barely any material wealth at all. And yet, everyone in her village, in that area, referred the researchers to her as the happiest person that they knew.
The researchers went to this lady and they asked her what makes you so happy? You’re in this difficult situation, and yet you’re known as the happiest person everyone knows. How is it that you’re able to be so happy? And she said …
“What do I have to be unhappy about? You know I’m so blessed. You know my every need is taken care of. There’s so many people who love me so much. There’s so many people from the village who come to see me every day, they stay with me, they talk to me, they help me with whatever I need help with. They bring me food. I have all my needs taken care of. I have this wonderful window in my hut, and through it I can see the beautiful sky and the trees and listen to the birds”.
She just found so many things to be grateful for in her life. She focused on all the things that she had to be grateful for in her life and that made her the happiest person. So if she in her situation could find so much to be happy about, so much to be grateful for, surely you and I can also find lots of amazing things in our lives to be grateful for. And thereby, we too can move to this amazing place where we are actually able to be happy even in the face of adversity. In this lady’s case, she didn’t even see her situation as being a situation of adversity. She was so tapped into her gratitude attitude!
And that is what I want for me, and that is what I want for you!
So please practice your gratitude attitude every day. And do trust that with practice you will get better and better at it and be able to actually learn to practice being happy even in the face of adversity, or not even have any adversity left in your life because you just don’t see life like that anymore.
Lastly, I will share with you just one quick quote from Oprah Winfrey. It has been my tradition in these live broadcasts to share an inspirational quote that inspires the content of my talk. Oprah Winfrey said …
“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life you create more of it”.
All right! Salam, Shalom, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, and Hola! I will see you next time!
Fear is an illusion
Samia Bano, your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”, is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in weekly lessons. In this broadcast, Samia focuses on the idea that Fear In An Illusion… This lesson is a critical aspect of how to make change fun and easy!
Hello, Salam, Shalom, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste, Hola!
So good to be back here with you. Hey! If you don’t know me, my name is Samia Bano and I am your happiness expert and author of the book – “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace in 3 Simple Steps”.
So, that’s the topic I love to talk about the most. And one really important thing that can make change NOT fun and easy is when we feel fear. Fear is an emotion that has held me back from living the life I love, from living the life I’ve dreamed of more than any other emotion. It’s such a powerful controller of my behavior, and I think that’s the case with pretty much all of us. After all, fear is a signal from our brain that is warning us that hey, I foresee some kind of danger, some kind of threat. I’m concerned that I’m going to get hurt, my safety is in jeopardy. So when the brain senses any danger it produces the feeling of fear and so no wonder it is such a strong feeling, such an intense feeling, and it tends to have such a huge impact on our behavior.
And so for years, I struggled to figure out how to deal with my fear. How do I get over it? How do I continue to work through it if necessary? I‘ve listened to hundreds of different youtube videos and read so many different books on this issue of how do I deal with my fear? How do I overcome it? How do I transform it? You know when I was first introduced to this idea of transforming fear, I found it very exciting because…I was like “Oh! That’s the direction I want to go in. Then I don’t really have to feel fear, it’ll transform into something else”…
Actually in my book, I have a whole section in here talking about how we can transform our fear into our friend. When I talked about that in this book, that was the best advice, the best wisdom that I had access to at that time. Since then, I have grown even wiser. And I have found an even more amazing way to understand fear and to just have it disappear from my life! And I’m so excited to share that with you.
“Fear is an Illusion” – that’s right! I really have come to believe in the truth of this idea that fear is actually an illusion. An illusion in what sense? Well, I’m going to share with you something I learned from one of my teachers, Johnnie Cass. He said, “fear is an illusion created because we have bought into the myth of abandonment”. Think about that.
What he was teaching us, or inviting us to consider and reflect on, is the idea that really behind all our fear is that we feel abandoned, that we feel alone. We have developed a deep belief that in this moment when I’m experiencing fear I am alone. I have been abandoned, I don’t have help. I don’t have enough strength myself, I don’t have enough capacity, knowledge, whatever else may be required. I don’t have enough of it myself to deal with this situation. And there is no one else here capable of helping me, protecting me through whatever this difficult situation is, through whatever is triggering these signals of “danger, danger, danger” in my brain.
Because when you feel alone and believe you’re alone like that .. that is actually at the root of the fear that you’re feeling, and that fear could take on many forms. For example, for me the fear of not being believed as a survivor of child sexual abuse was a huge one for me. And you know there’s so many different reasons fear can crop up. But Johnnie Cass, my teacher, invited us to reflect and go beyond the surface to the root of why I’m feeling fear.
And you know one of the things that really helps me to understand this idea and that actually convinced me that this was true is something that I actually shared with you in my broadcast last week… I was telling you that as a Muslim, one of the things we are taught to do is when you find yourself feeling stressed, worried, anxious, scared in any kind of difficult circumstance, is that you call out to God and you seek God’s refuge. Why should we do that? How does that really help us?
At a time when you’re feeling fear, and think about the definition of fear as what my teacher Johnnie taught us, “fear is an illusion created because we have bought into the myth of abandonment”… Doesn’t it make sense? Can you see the connection? This is something that I also talked about last week…
So remember one thing that we are able to do is actually remind ourselves of God’s presence in our life right now. As a Muslim I also believe that God is ever present. And God is not only ever present, but God loves me completely and continuously. There is never a moment when God doesn’t love me or when God abandons me. God’s always with me, always taking care of me, always helping me, wanting to help me, through whatever the difficult circumstance or adversity might be. It doesn’t matter. And the thing is I also believe that God is all powerful, God is all knowing, God is all wise, God is just, the most just, the most compassionate, the most merciful. I also believe that this being who has all of these qualities is with me now, every moment, helping me, protecting me, loving me…
When I recognize I’m not only seeking God’s refuge, but I’m actually already in God’s refuge now, I cannot feel alone anymore, true or true?! And so in that moment my sense of loneliness or being abandoned is broken and the fear disappears. Because now the brain has no more reason to keep giving me this alarm, to keep putting out the signal of “danger, danger, danger”… It has no more reason to send out the signal because it’s feeling so calm and relaxed in the knowing and the recognition that God is right here with us, helping us, loving us, taking care of us. No matter what the situation is we can get through it, we’ll get through it one way or another and come out just fine on the other side.
I reflected on this and realized the truth of it. For me, it changed my life, it changed my relationship to my experience of fear and how I deal with my feeling of fear whenever I experience it. And I’m telling you, with practice you can really use this technique to make fear disappear from your mind, from your feelings, from your heart. Sometimes all it takes is a few seconds of just really focusing on this reminder, and raising your consciousness to this idea of, “I’m not alone, and I’ve not been abandoned”.
If you don’t believe in the concept of God in the way that I do, that’s alright. I still encourage you to find other evidence in your life experience that you are not alone. That you can access help and support when you need it. So even if you feel alone in this moment, can you at least believe that you can find someone to help you?
Don’t give up hope… Focus on finding some help, some support, that can get you through this difficult time, that can help you feel not alone in this moment. Then your fear can lessen and at least you can bring it down to a point where it becomes very manageable.
If you find yourself struggling even with this, remember what I shared a week or two ago… Albert Einstein said, “One of the most important decisions that you make in your life is whether you live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe”.
…Like me, put in some real effort in your life to find what evidence you can that you do live in a friendly universe. Because if you can believe that you live in a friendly universe then you can believe that you can find the help and support that you need when you need it.
So, yes please do this to yourself and I assure you that if you really practice implementing these ideas in your life, it will change your life for the better. It will help just transform your relationship to how you see fear, understand fear, deal with fear.
Until next time, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha, Hola!
How Happiness is your Compass to Success
Samia Bano, is your Happiness Expert and author of “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace”. In this video series, she is sharing bite-sized lessons related to the theme of her book in weekly lessons.
Hello, Salam, Shalom, Aloha, Hola, Sat Sri Akal, Namaste!
So, in case you don’t know me, my name is Samia Bano and I am your Happiness Expert and author of this book – “Make Change Fun and Easy: How to Create Inner Peace to World Peace in 3 Simple Steps”.
I love talking about this topic of make change fun and easy. In fact for the last so many weeks, we have been talking about themes related to this topic. We have talked about how to be calm and relax in the face of adversity, and we talked about how to be happy in the face of adversity. And actually today, I want to take a sort of step back and think about why care about being happy? Why care about making change fun and easy?
One of the things that I have found in my work as a Happiness Expert is that there are so many people in the world who treat their mental health and their happiness, their inner peace, their contentment, sense of fulfillment in their life and so forth – they treat these things like luxuries. They have this attitude of, “If I have time one day maybe I’ll get around to taking care of my mental health and doing something about feeling more happy and peaceful”. A lot of people think they don’t have the time and it’s a luxury to focus on your mental health. They are the people who really want to be happy, they really want to be more peaceful and content and feel more fulfilled in their lives. But they are sort of going about trying to achieve this happiness in an unfortunately very unwise way, a way that is doomed to failure. For example, there are so many people who are striving really hard in their lives to get better jobs, so they can earn more money, so they can get more status, so they can get more things in their lives that they think will bring them happiness. That will allow them to be more peaceful and more happy. They wanna be more peaceful and they think that the way to get more happiness in your life and feel more peaceful in your life is by chasing after and achieving these other things, you know money, success, fame etc.
You define success in life by how much these other things you have. How much money do you have? How much success do you have? How much fame do you have? And so forth. And you think to yourself okay, when I have these things, that then I would be happy. And if that’s your mindset, I’m very sorry to inform you but you are seriously on the wrong track, you really are. Because, if you look at scientific research on what actually leads to happiness, you will see that this is not the path that leads to happiness. If you look at the spiritual wisdom of any tradition, you will find the same thing as the path to happiness, the path to peace. It’s not about how much money you have, how much fame you have, how much you know of any worldly thing you have. It really has something to do with it. I mean, not that, okay I will correct myself here, it’s not entirely true that inner peace has nothing to do with our worldly conditions and what we have in life and what we don’t in terms of our worldly achievements and things that we possess. There is a relationship but the relationship is not what we were talking about before .
So what is the relationship? That’s what I wanna talk with you about. I want to share with you one very important point today and we’ll deal with the rest of the aspects of the relationship between happiness and peace and joy and all these other positive emotions and worldly success and prosperity. But today, the point that I wanna focus on is how quite literally it is our happiness, our sense of happiness, our sense of peace, our sense of joy, these positive emotions. How do these positive emotions quite literally lead to success? Even in worldly terms, even if you are looking for success in terms of more money, better job, or better relationship it is actually happiness, peace, joy and other positive emotions that quite literally lead the way to success. And what do I mean by that? How does that happen? Why is that true? The short and simple answer to that is that our emotion, our positive emotions more specifically, are actually a compass that we have been given. Now, if you believe in God, you can be like, ah it’s God who has blessed us and gifted us with these positive emotions as the compass to success, the point towards true success in our life. And so the things that make you happy, things that make you more peaceful and feel more joyful , feel more content, more fulfilled, those emotions are telling you, they’re giving you feedback, “Hey! You’re headed in the right direction, in the right direction for success, in the right direction for true prosperity and so forth”. And on the other end of the spectrum, you know of when you think about what we generally label as negative emotions, whether it’s sadness or anger or hatred or jealousy etc. Those are in fact just signals letting us know that hey, there’s something wrong. And in the context of like, if you’re thinking about a path to success, a path to prosperity when you’re experiencing those negative emotions, they’re letting you know that you are headed in the wrong direction.
Even research in science and positive psychology and even general psychology shows us that this is the real function of our emotions. That they give us feedback on if you’re going in the right direction of if we’re headed in the wrong direction? And of course our emotions are extremely powerful motivators right, so when we’re heading in the right direction by generating these very positive feelings. Our brain, our heart is actually trying to encourage us to keep going in that direction; it’s giving us positive feedback. Because when you get that positive feedback, you’re more likely to actually continue to engage in those behaviors that are helping you head in the right direction or stay in the right direction. And similarly when you have negative emotions they’re very powerful in motivating you to grow in a different direction. So just think of it in that sense. Now if you are a more spiritual person, you know inclined to that perspective that I mentioned earlier that it’s God that has blessed you with these emotions, has gifted you with these emotions.
There is something I wanna share with you from a Muslim perspective. I’m a Muslim, in case you didn’t realize it, that’s right I am a Muslim. One thing that Muslims are taught is that God is the source of peace. That is actually one of the names through which we know God, the source of peace. So think about that, if God is the source of peace then anytime that you’re experiencing peace, what does that mean? It means you’re connected to that source. That’s how you’re able to experience peace because you’re connected to the source of peace . And if God is a source of peace then logically follows that the more peaceful you feel, the more deeply connected you are to God in the moment. Because the experience of peace, happiness, love, joy, any positive emotion or even negative emotion for that matter, it’s not an all or nothing thing. You know there are degrees to how much you can experience any emotion, there’s depth to how much you can experience any emotion. And so you know the extent to which you feel happy, the extent to which you feel peaceful, joyful, relaxed, calm, that’s the extent to which you are connected to God. And so by doing things that help you to feel more of these positive emotions. You’re quite literally connecting yourself more and more deeply to God.
As a person of faith for me there is no stronger motivation to keep pursuing and doing more of these things that make me feel more happy, more peaceful, more joyful, then knowing that these things are connecting me more and more deeply to God. Because as a person of faith, as a Muslim for me that is my ultimate goal, that is my ultimate joy. That is the whole purpose and point of my being as a Muslim. And so I’m very committed to making change fun and easy. Why? Because when I’m experiencing fun, when I’m experiencing ease then I’m also feeling happy, I’m feeling joyful, I’m feeling calm, I’m feeling relaxed. And so then I know I’m headed in the right direction not only in terms of, hey, this is going to lead to success in my life in this world but it’s also what’s leading me closer and closer in my connection, in my relationship with God. And that is the most amazing thing.
So that’s the main point I wanna make today. I’m so happy that you joined me today, thank you so much and please do share your comments. And if you gain any specific insight from what I shared today that touched you, please share that. And I will see you next time. And in the meantime, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha and Hola!
Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, and Holah and Sat Sri Akal!
Hi 🙂 My name is Samia and I’m your Happiness Expert and award-winning author of the book, “Make Change Fun and Easy”. And today I want to talk to you about “When to Surrender vs. Struggle”.
Because look, when you step out of your comfort zone and commit to living a courageous life, a life of following your passions, a life of following your dreams, your heart’s desires, a life of doing what you love and knowing .. and doing what you know is the right thing to do, you will run into obstacles and challenges…
Or rather you will run into circumstances or face circumstances that you perceive as obstacles/challenges…Because to call something an obstacle or challenge is a judgement that you have made. It’s your perspective on the situation that you are faced with. Do you realize that you are choosing that perspective? Do you realize you can choose a different perspective, and arrive at a different judgement as to what is happening in the moment?
It’s true! You can choose your perspective. You do choose your perspective.
I’m not saying there is something wrong with your perspective, it’s not like you’re seeing anything false or being delusional or anything like that.
No! It’s just that there is a difference between the circumstance that you’re in and your judgement of the circumstance. In the same circumstance you can form different judgements. You can arrive at different judgments about what being in that circumstance means to you or for you…That same circumstance you can judge as good or bad, easy or hard. Or even just let go of all judgments about the circumstance entirely. You can take on the role of just being an observer, and describe in an objective/factual way what you can see, feel, touch, smell, etc. at the level of your 5 senses. True or true? So the circumstance is what it is, and whatever the circumstance is, your judgment of it is different … It’s your judgement about the circumstance.
So, if you want to make your life fun and easy, if you want to more easily magnetize the success and abundance you desire into your life, then it is important, even critical that you, I would say, that you let go of your judgments of the situation, and sink into your source of inner peace and happiness and wisdom, that is your spiritual heart, and just surrender…
Just surrender your judgements, your desires, your wants, everything of you, surrender everything of you to the guidance of your spiritual heart, and then move forward as your heart guides you…That is the essence of living a courageous life. That is in fact the definition of living courage — that you follow your heart, you do what your heart guides you to do.
So when should you surrender vs. struggle? Well when it comes to following our heart, living with courage, I say always surrender to your heart’s guidance, and never struggle. That’s right, always surrender to your heart’s guidance, never struggle against that guidance.
Because rest assured that your heart, your spiritual heart will always guide you towards living a life of following your passions, a life of following your dreams, a life of doing what you love and know is the right thing to do…and so no wonder when you surrender to your hearts guidance, and you live with courage, you find that you are able to achieve your greatest successes, you find yourself growing in love and abundance, you find your life filled with more joy and peace and happiness, and you find that change becomes fun and easy…great or great?!
So, that’s all that I really wanted to say to you. And you know I will tell you, doing this podcast or rather this live right now, this is something that my heart just guide me to do. And so I’m doing it, I imagine that there … that you really needed to hear this message, I don’t know why. But my heart was like, Samia, “Do this! Do this live and do it right now. Do it as soon as you possibly can”. And so here I am you see… and in this very moment you know living my heart’s guidance and it is you know living in that way … courage! Right now!
And in this moment living courage doesn’t feel like a hard thing to do. It doesn’t feel like a challenge of any kind or any big obstacle. This is me living courage, following my heart’s guidance and doing something that’s actually really fun and feels easy and feels amazing to do! So, living courage, following your heart’s guidance… it doesn’t always have to be a hard thing, not at all. It doesn’t ever have to be a hard thing, I think. So anyway, all right… I’ve said everything I wanted to say right now. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for being with me right now and listening. And until we connect next time … I wish you salam, shalom, namaste, aloha, sat sri akal and holah 🙂
SAMIA: Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal and Holah!
SAMIA: And you know what, we have a guest again and it’s Geoff… that you heard from last week. We had such an excellent conversation I brought him back! Geoff is a Transformative Life Coach at MindAxis Life Coaching.
So what we talked about last time is the importance of having a really strong and compelling vision for your life and how that really becomes the basis or the foundation that lifts you out of apathy, that helps you to practice the kind of discipline that you need in other aspects of your life to achieve the success that you want, and for you to feel the sense of empowerment in your life that you want. And it got me thinking Geoff, when we were talking last time, one of the things that I know in my experience, this happened with me actually… was that I actually developed a very clear and compelling life vision. I literally had dreams about it… I could see it, I could smell it, I could touch it and feel it. And I actually started doing what I could to start moving towards making that dream come true for me… and then something happened that put a full stop for a while on my progress and my ability to move forward towards my dream, and that was FEAR. I had such fear grip me… and there were so many insecurities that were underlying that fear… I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t know enough, I didn’t have enough money, knowledge, skills, etc. You name it! All of these insecurities turned into fear and it just made me just stop in my tracks. And until I was able to figure out how to move through that fear, and deal with that fear, transform that fear eventually, thank God, I couldn’t make any progress on living my vision. So what do you see in your experience in terms of when people have a really clear vision, but fear is still holding them back, what do you do?
GEOFF: Well I guess the first thing is to identify where that fear is coming from. So if you’re afraid of something, and fear is not a great feeling, but it is a survival instinct for humans… so in previous times you know if there’s a threat that fear keeps you going so that you can survive. But in the modern day there isn’t really a lot of survival threat. So that feeling of fear is then manifested based on past experiences, on things which we have experienced and we’re going to project into our future. That’s why I think the last time that we were speaking we spoke about what fear is. And to me fear is false evidence appearing real — something that happened in the past we project into the future and expect the same outcome. But if we have, as you were saying, grand plans, a vision that you want to work towards, then that’s going to hold you back because you’re going to expect that your past is going to replay itself in the future. So for me the first thing that you’d have to do, or anyone who’s feeling any kind of fear or limitation, is to recognize where does it come from? From what experience? From what memory? And work backwards from there.
SAMIA: Oh that’s pretty cool and interesting. Why is it important to go back in the past? Why not sort of stay focused in the present moment and just deal with it as it emerges in the present moment?
GEOFF: Because, unless you’re able to view what has happened in a different light rather than looking at it as something that holds you back, but rather as a learning experience, you’re going to keep repeating the same over and over and over again. Because unless you change your way of thinking, you’re going to have the same outcome every single time. And that comes to a famous quote by Albert Einstein… he says, “You can never resolve a problem with the same level of thinking that created that problem”. And it’s the same for fear. If you keep looking at things in the same perspective then you’re never really going to overcome it. And that’s a real struggle.
SAMIA: Yeah that’s true. That’s true. I definitely agree 100% with you that we need to change our thinking, and you cannot, just as Albert Einstein said… you cannot solve the problem with the same level of thinking that you are at. Can you give me an example of how looking back in your thoughts to understand an issue can actually help you deal with it in the present? Like in terms of what you were talking about?
GEOFF: Yeah, sure! I guess a big thing which I was afraid of for a long time, and I’m happy to be transparent about this, is that I was very afraid of putting myself into a public forum, into a public sphere. And this manifested in terms of a fear of public speaking, in terms of fear of literally standing out from the crowd. And I felt like this for a very, very long time… when I was young, this was the opposite. When I was a young kid I used to love standing out from the crowd. But over time I was kind of conditioned into a way of thinking that I shouldn’t. And a couple of years ago this came to a head especially when I needed to start taking charge in my life and putting myself in situations where I needed to stand up, like for example, in the workplace, or if I was trying to gain some kind of momentum in terms of like social gatherings or something like that outside of work. I realized that trying to keep yourself in a corner really isn’t the best strategy for life at all. And I couldn’t get past the fear every time that I tried to do something so simple as putting a post on Facebook… that would give me crippling anxiety a few years ago. And I was like, I can’t live like this anymore! I had to really put in some work and really think about where does this come from? Where does it really come from?
And it comes from my schooling days…And it made me think, “Okay this is how I need to be for my whole life”. But that’s not a conscious thought. That’s just a fear and you’re going to realize where it comes from… But then when you realize where it originates from, you realize, okay well that’s what happened back then but that does not determine my future, and you’re compounding on again and again another belief. And to me now, I’m very happy to speak in front of huge crowds, forums… in fact I love it because it’s what I originally loved, but I grew to become afraid of it because of past experiences.
SAMIA: Yes, I see what you’re saying… I think another thing that can be very helpful and healing about looking in the past is being able to look at the past, what happened, but now from this present perspective… Hopefully you can now look at what happened in the past more objectivity and form a new, different perspective on what actually happened…and that can also just change your relationship with what happened, and therefore eliminate the fear… So if I give an example from life…I shared last time that I’m a survivor of sexual abuse. And so I developed a lot of issues related to shame and blame and guilt… it wasn’t even outside people who were shaming, blaming and guilting me. I was shaming, blaming & guilting myself for a long time. Because I didn’t tell anyone else for years and years about what had happened, so they couldn’t even do that. I was doing it to myself. …How it connects to fear is that because of all the shame and blame and guilt that I felt, I developed deep fear around trusting other people and asking for help when I needed it, because I was like, “Oh no! If people actually know about the darkness inside of me, they will not be able to love me anymore, they will not like me anymore, they won’t want to help me anymore because I don’t deserve it, I’m not worthy” … because that’s how I thought about myself. And so it created this intense fear of asking for help.
And it wasn’t until I sort of shifted my perspective and I began to see what happened as… first of all I had to understand… what happened wasn’t my fault. That was a hard lesson to learn. But then I began to see what happened, the trauma that I went through, as an opportunity for me to learn other even more amazing important lessons, and to become an even better stronger person… it’s like, okay, yes I went through what I went through… but because of what I went through I’m now focused on learning about mental health, you know because I wanted to figure out how I can help myself. How can I stop my own suffering?
And once I began to see my experience in the context of what opportunities it was providing me for learning and growth rather than a tragedy or a trauma that I went through, it actually also really helped to eliminate my fears that cropped up around asking for help and so forth.
GEOFF: Yeah it’s really good when you can overcome it and look back because in the moment it is painful and does hurt. And that’s part of the journey, right. It’s not going to be roses and butterflies the whole way through. But when you look back on it you realize that hurt at that point in time translates to exponential growth in the future because you’ve invested in yourself in the past.
And imagine if you had not broken through that fear of not wanting to ask for help we wouldn’t even be doing this podcast because you would be trying to do it all on your own right, you wouldn’t be collaborating. And that’s… well that’s evidence right there that you’ve overcome that fear.
SAMIA: Yeah, and not only would I not be doing this podcast, I wouldn’t be doing much coaching, training, healing work either. Because if you’re a coach, trainer, healer, you know it’s one thing to have the skills of coaching, training and healing. And it’s another thing to actually be able to make money doing what you love. And honestly, if you’re going to have a real business, you cannot do business by yourself, you cannot. One of my business mentors, he was like, if you cannot take a one-month holiday and still have your business making money while you’re off taking a holiday, it’s not a real business. You’re just trading time for dollars. And you have actually just created a job for yourself. And you’re actually probably your own worst boss because you’re probably overworking and severely underpaying yourself. Because you’re trying to do way too much, and you’re trying to do more than anyone is actually able to handle in the context of having a successful thriving business. So you can’t really have a real business on your own, you need a team to work with, which means you have to ask for help.
GEOFF: Absolutely, absolutely! I mean at the very beginning you work on your own, and then once you get busy you start to outsource, and once you outsource then you can get different team members in. But at the beginning, I think it should be important to say that at the beginning you do want to work on your own because then you can save capital and use that to grow a team. But if you have a team at the beginning then that might not really work out too well because they might be underpaid or things like that…
SAMIA: Yeah, you know in the beginning you may not have a team that’s on your payroll. But you still need a team, for example… I remember this from my early days when I started coaching, training, healing… I come up with a great idea for a product or a service or some event that I want to do and then of course I need to spread the word about it, right? And so if all I’m depending on is me to spread the word about whatever it is I need to spread the word about, I don’t get very far. Because I only know a relatively small number of people, and not even all of those people are interested in what I have to offer in that particular moment and context. And so I have to be willing and able to ask for help from other people that I know and be like, “Hey! Can you help me spread the word?”, you know? And these people are not on my payroll, but I need their help nonetheless…
GEOFF: Yeah for sure. That’s more like friendship, or like having close connections that you can share out your business to, or share your idea to, and I guess that’s like a team in a sense. But also like they’re just your friends and family, so like it’s just word of mouth in that sense.
SAMIA: Right, right. But I’m using the word team in this context in a loose, broad sense. I think our friends and family are definitely a part of my team, the way I define my team… My family is a part of my team even though they’re not participating in my business… The fact that my family is there to help me and support me in so many ways — mentally, emotionally, spiritually… like my mom. She makes delicious meals for me, and I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat for dinner because I know my mom’s making a delicious dinner. And the time that I save from not having to make my own dinner, I can invest that in doing more work to move my business forward. And so even though my mom’s not part of my business team, she’s nonetheless part of my wider support team that’s allowing me to actually do the work I do, and do it much better than I would if my family and my friends weren’t a part of this broader team that I have around.
GEOFF: Oh yeah! I definitely understand that. You’re right, it makes such a difference if you don’t have to prepare your own meals or if you don’t have to do your own laundry and things like that. I live on my own, so I still do things like that. It’s extra for me. But if you don’t have to do that, I appreciate that a lot…
SAMIA: It’s a great blessing in my life! I know a lot of other coaches, trainers and healers who started their practices and unfortunately they couldn’t keep going because they didn’t have the same level of support that I do with my family and friends.
I actually still live at home…my parents and my brother and sister. I’m not married, I don’t have, you know, kids… So my family is my parents and my siblings. And I experience it as a great blessing to be still living with my family. During my early days as a coach, trainer, healer, when I didn’t have a lot of money, I didn’t have a lot of clients… if I wasn’t living at home I don’t know if I would have been able to sustain doing this work that was giving me little to no money. It took me one, two, three years actually to get to the point where I was like, “Ah yes! I can actually sustain myself with the work that I’m doing”. So in the meantime it was such a blessing for me to have a team in this broader sense in my life, because it really allowed me to keep going.
GEOFF: Yeah, I think you’re very fortunate, that’s great, that’s great! It means that you’re able to invest your mental and physical resources towards what you really wish to do with your time because you don’t have to do a whole bunch of living admin and things like that… That opens up new availability to invest in learning, or invest in your business, or whatever it is you would like to do that gives you a greater platform, which I think is pretty awesome.
SAMIA: Yeah, so in your situation…. do you have any tips, tricks, techniques to share with other coaches, trainers, healers, etc. who are listening to us, who might be in more of a position like you are where you’re living by yourself and so you do have to manage more things on your own? What are some things you do to manage all of that and create a good balance between your work and not-work work?
GEOFF: Well, the key thing is I’m pretty effective with my time. So I don’t just do things for the sake of it… So if I need to do my housework or my cooking or whatever, I do it in one go rather than like continuously. And if you take that apart, when I look at my work day, I work like a good 12 hours a day. And that’s completely fine because I have a lot of things I do. But the key is to incorporate exercise into your day. So you’re going to exercise for at least two hours regardless. It doesn’t matter what it is, two hours for me…
SAMIA: I do two hours of meditation, but I only do half an hour of exercise.
GEOFF: Exercise is meditation.
SAMIA: That’s true! it can, it can be.
GEOFF: It is. Because when you’re exercising you can’t really be doing anything else, right? Because you’re busy and I like that.
SAMIA: Well, I don’t know about that one because how many times are we doing exercise, but our mind is not actually relaxed because you’re busy thinking about other things… just the other day I was walking for exercise… I came back feeling physically okay. My heart rate was up, and I got some good stretching, etc. But unfortunately, that particular day I had things on my mind… there was something that I was worrying and stressing about…and I wasn’t able to mentally and emotionally relax while walking. And so even though physically I felt some benefits from walking, mentally and emotionally, that time, walking was not a very meditative experience for me. And I actually had to come back home and do one of my ritual forms of meditation to really, finally calm my mind down. And then I felt so much better!
GEOFF: It depends on how hard you exercise as well… like walking is great. But I find that walking really makes me think as well, sometimes thinking so much! I’m just like you have to start running now, because otherwise my brain is just gonna go overdrive. So if you start running hard then you can’t really think. You can just focus on getting to your checkpoint, your next checkpoint or whatever. And when the gyms are open, I’m at the gym doing the same. So there’s always different checkpoints so your mind isn’t in overdrive. If you are physically straining yourself and then once you finish that, your mind is very relaxed… If you do very light exercise then your mind goes into overdrive because it’s a balance, right…If your body’s busy, your mind can’t be, but if your mind is, then your body isn’t busy. So they work in tandem like that.
SAMIA: I definitely hear you, and I agree with you about the level of challenge. It has to be the right level of challenge. No matter what kind of activity you’re doing, if you’re at an optimal sort of level of challenge, it will naturally keep your mind focused on working on whatever that point of challenge is. So that’s an excellent point…but then you said something about… what was the last thing you said? About how your brain and mind work in tandem? Can you repeat that? I felt like it was really important but I missed it.
GEOFF: Yeah… what I’m saying is that when your body is in physical exertion mode your mind can’t be, because your mind is focused upon maintaining your physical exertion… Like say, for example, if I say, “Okay I’m going to run a kilometer “, then my mind is entirely focused upon this because if I’m not that fit then it’s going to be hard for me to run a kilometer. And likewise, if your mind is busy like say for example, if you’re busy on your computer doing something or doing a task for your business, like right now in this podcast my mind is engaged. Therefore I’m just sitting. I’m focusing upon this. So you can’t have too many focuses at once. Like you can’t run a kilometer at full speed and also be thinking about a million things… it just, it doesn’t really work that way you know. You can only have so much mental direction, or mental energy rather.
SAMIA: Right! Now I agree with you. Our mind’s capacity to focus is actually limited. And that… What do you think about multitasking? What are your thoughts about multitasking?
GEOFF: Multitasking is a great way to get very little done across a whole bunch of things. So I used to be a project manager and I used to basically have a whole bunch of things to do every single day. There were so many different things, so many different emergencies, just all kinds of different things from many different people. And oftentimes you have to multitask because everything is urgent right. If you’re in projects, everything is urgent. And I found that…sorry?
SAMIA: I said it can certainly feel like that!
GEOFF: Yeah, it does… Yeah, everything is urgent because everyone needs it now. So if you’re working on many different things, you have an objective you need to do for the day, and oftentimes you never reach an objective… like say if I needed to get this amount of documents approved, it just wouldn’t happen. Because everything is urgent at the time. And therefore multitasking is a great way to get nowhere. But if I didn’t have all these emergencies popping up and I could just focus on what I needed to do, then my objective would be complete. And I find that singular focus is very powerful over multitasking because your brain loses energy towards what it needs to focus upon.
SAMIA: Yes I still agree with you. I am no fan of multitasking. I don’t think it works. I think it’s just a big illusion in the sense that we think we’re doing a lot, we feel like we’re staying busy and being productive. But actually there’s a lot of research that shows it seriously compromises your productivity. There’s so many different little experiments that you can do for yourself and see…
I remember one of the experiments is that you are given two different things to write. So one is like a sequence of letters, it could be a sentence or something. And the second thing is a sequence of numbers. So now the question is, if you’re writing and you have to write both the sentence in letters and the sequence of numbers, and basically you need to, in the end, have it be in a certain pattern, then how can you most effectively and efficiently execute? Should you keep switching back and forth between number, letter, number, letter, number, letter? Or do you just stick first to only doing the numbers or only doing letters and then moving to the next thing?
So in the second scenario where you just focus on one thing, one pattern at a time, that’s like a single point of focus. And in the first scenario where you try to move between number, letters, number, letters, alternate, that’s like your brain’s trying to multitask. And it’s a very simple experiment but it very clearly shows the time difference between the first strategy and the second strategy in terms of how quickly people are able to finish the task, and how effectively they’re able to finish it in terms of making the least number of errors. The results are stunning. It takes way longer when you are just switching between the two patterns, and you make way more mistakes. There are lots of other examples also, but that’s one of the examples that came to mind.
GEOFF: Yeah well it makes complete sense. Because in the same way which I used to do in project management, my brain used to have to switch between so many different things. Because we were doing trials, and we were doing clinical trials, so this is basically testing different treatments on different patients. And there’s so much happening you know especially in healthcare. But I find that I especially like learning from that experience. So when I work for myself now, I only ever singularly focus upon one task, I don’t multitask.
SAMIA: Yeah, talk about an excellent tip for making change fun and easy! Don’t multitask! Insofar as you have the power and the ability to create your own culture and environment for how you work… create a culture and environment where you’re able to focus on one task at a time and don’t multitask.
GEOFF: Yeah! It’s great to not multitask. But I think for a lot of jobs people don’t really have that opportunity especially when you have things popping up all over the time it just can’t be helped.
SAMIA: I know, I know. And that’s actually another one of those things like last time we were talking about how our society actually unfortunately has some really incorrect, unwise ideas about what success is and how to achieve success. And I feel like this is one of those issues also. With work culture, in most places, in most environments, most companies and offices, and for a lot of people even in the way that we have our personal life set up, we have a built-in culture where multitasking is the norm. And it’s even seen as an amazing superpower and it’s like, “Yes! Learn to multitask and do it even more and better”. And I think it’s just that people are missing this information and knowledge that you and I have been able to tap into. You’ve seen the research, how multitasking doesn’t actually work… and we’ve given it a try, and tried the other way, and found it to be true. So yeah, I agree with you, if you’re stuck in a culture that doesn’t support focused action then you do the best you can with what you have.
GEOFF: Well I think that’s the difference between working a job and working for yourself. Working for yourself you can choose how you do it. Working a job you don’t. Working a job is a role and you’ve got to complete your tasks, your deadlines and that’s where the difference comes in.
SAMIA: Yup, yup… that maybe motivation for anyone who wants to start their own…start their own…
GEOFF: Business? Yes, for sure!
SAMIA: Thank you so much for coming back and talking with me again today, and sharing your amazing advice and wisdom and perspective with us. I’m so grateful and… hey everyone, if there’s one lesson that you can take away today, well there’s many amazing lessons you can take away from today, but one of them is focus.
As much as you can, focus on one task at a time. If you have a compelling life vision already, focus on that. Don’t do a million different things in your life. Focus on doing what you can to live in integrity with your life mission and vision. And if that’s something that you find yourself struggling with…hey, Geoff’s here to help you. I’m here to help you. So please feel free to connect with us. We will put our links in the chat below. We’ll look forward to seeing you again! Take good care :).
GEOFF: Thanks Samia, it was great being here again today :).
SAMIA: Thank you Geoff 🙂
SAMIA: Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal, Holah and Bonjour! So welcome… welcome everyone again and welcome back Geoff :). I’m so excited you’re back for the third time because we have such amazing conversation, I love to have you back. So welcome, welcome back.
GEOFF: Hey! Thanks for having me back. It’s good to be back.
SAMIA: Yeah, I know right! Okay, so you know one of the really interesting things we started talking about last time and then we were sort of running out of time and so we didn’t get to dig deeper into… is you mentioned, you know we were talking about how… you know you can create better balance in your life because you have so much to manage you know. You have your work, i.e. professional work. But then you also have to take care of things at home and family and all that kind of stuff, so how do you manage everything? And one of the most excellent tips that you were sharing was that you exercise every day for a couple of hours no matter what happens, and that is your something that really helps to ground you. And I shared like, oh I don’t exercise for a couple of days, a couple of hours a day. But I actually do meditate. I practice different forms of meditation a couple of hours a day and I do exercise a little bit, 30 minutes… but yeah, like for me you know meditation is a major practice that I utilize to help ground me, keep me centered. And I realized you know that really this need to engage in self-care is so critical. When we’re talking about creating change and doing you know like… especially if you are a change maker and you have a big dream, big vision, that you’re working towards creating change in your life and in then the world, you have to take care of yourself. So Geoff, will you share some more of your thoughts and wisdom around that?
GEOFF: Yeah! I think… you know in such a busy world when there’s so many things that everyone needs to do… there’s work, there’s, you know like, taking care of your life which is…you know, there’s so many criteria you have to meet. But at some point you have to invest time to play the long-term game in that sense. So like if you, it’s I guess, I liken it to lighting a candle you know… if you burn the candle too fast then there’s no candle left. But if you burn the candle slowly then you’re able to last for a longer period of time. So if you continuously floor yourself every single day and you don’t leave any time for your criterion that keeps you going longer like for example your health or your mental state, which in this term I would be like you know your meditation, or my exercise, or like reading, developing, and you know just constantly you put yourself into doing things without actually getting something back in terms of your health or your wealth, or your wisdom for that sense, then you’re kind of looking at a short term burnout. So the only way to go to the long term is to be able to I guess want to be patient, but also learn how to incorporate things where you gain time back. So when you talk about self-care you’re basically talking about allowing yourself to feel like a human and feeling like you’re validating what you’re doing you know. And it’s pretty much recharging your batteries and giving you more focus for what you plan to do in the future.
SAMIA: Yes! Definitely the long term… long term approach I find is oftentimes the critical missing piece in how our lives… you know that like so much of what we do, we’re just thinking about okay what do I need to do right now to just survive through whatever is happening? And in that process of just trying to survive in the now you know you end up taking a lot of actions that are actually going to be hurting you in the long term. But you’re like, “I don’t have time to deal with that, I don’t have the capacity to deal with that”… because everything feels urgent, like an emergency has to be dealt with right now. This was also something we were touching on last time that we live in this culture that creates a sense of this kind of urgency for so much.
GEOFF: And like when we’re talking about urgency it’s so… it’s so true. Because everything is like instant you know. Like it wasn’t like this when I was growing up and I know it wasn’t like this when you were growing up too. Because now we’re constantly connected to our phones or our laptops, all of our work is technological based. That’s for pretty much like every industry or every person in their personal life. And because of that you’re kind of wired to want to receive things instantly… you’re wired to have things now, you can’t wait for like a longer period of time. You like need it now to feel like it was worth the effort you put in, right. So/and because of that kind of conditioning, of like how our society has become, it’s very difficult to play the long-term game because everyone’s so used to getting things now.
SAMIA: Yeah, yeah! I mean okay I just had a thought about the climate crisis. We’re like in the climate crisis because we’re so short-term in our thinking. But I won’t go there because we’ll really veer off topic… There’s something else that you mentioned earlier that I would love to bring back the conversation. You said something about being patient, can you tell me more about that?
GEOFF: Yeah, patience is something that I struggled with a lot when I was younger, you know. Because the same way which I was telling you about how we’re wired to our phones and we need things now, well also the fact that you know I am ADHD as well, like I was wired to get things now, straight away… But as I grew, I understood that you know you don’t get things instantly. And if you do, they’re probably less in quality than something that would take longer to obtain. So patience for me… yeah I know patience is a different definition for everyone, but patience for me is like consistently doing something even when you’re not sure when the outcome is going to happen, but you’re certain it’s going to happen because you’re consistent working towards it, and you’re bidding your time until you know that your efforts are going to produce a result.
SAMIA: That’s interesting, I… what you’re describing, I usually associate with the idea of perseverance…
GEOFF: I guess so yeah.
SAMIA: Yeah, with patience, I actually have a very interesting relationship with the idea of patience. I’ve recently in the last year actually been getting more insight into like a new understanding actually of what patience can be like, and how we can practice patience and….actually one of the forms of meditation that I practice every day now, the teacher that I’m learning that from… he talks about like really aiming to live every moment of our lives in joy and gratitude you know. Like that’s the goal that we want to strive for – live every moment in joy and gratitude. And it’s like… well how do you do that? Especially if you’re struggling with something and you know like from a spiritual perspective, patience is part of the answer. It’s actually part of the starting point of how you deal with struggle… you respond to it with patience. And what I’ve been realizing over the last year is that there… patience is not an all-or-nothing game. It’s not like you’re either patient or not patient. There is actually depth to how patient you can be. Like you can practice deeper and deeper levels of patience in a given situation. And so at a… at the more let’s say bottom level, or rather surface level of how you might practice patience you know… I know like for me I associated that with this feeling of, I just have to grit my teeth and get through something, and that meant I was being patient… like you know there’s something else that I wanted, that I wasn’t getting. Or I was going through something that felt like a struggle, and I was like, “Okay I just have to sort of get through this”, and that meant being patient. But that’s not living in joy and gratitude. And if you have that kind of attitude, you can’t be in joy and gratitude. So it’s like how can you practice patients at a deeper level? And so then you know I started thinking about, “Oh switch your perspective”… that’s also something we’ve talked about in one of our previous conversations you know. You begin to switch your perspective on what the situation is. And if you begin to see it as a learning opportunity, as a growth opportunity, then you can practice patience at a deeper level. Then you can breathe, relax, don’t panic, this is a learning opportunity, you know… growth opportunity…
GEOFF: But there’s like… there’s like different ways of being patient. They’re in a sense of like you got to define what you’re being patient for. Like I mean you know you could stand at a bus stop that isn’t operational and you could stand at the bus stop for weeks and no bus is going to come you know. That’s a form of patience because you’re being patient. But you haven’t done your research, you don’t understand that the outcome might not happen that way. But then there’s also patience where you have defined the outcome and then you just got to put in the steps. So as you talk perseverance, yeah like you persevere through patience. I guess when we combine those ideas is where you can go towards a long-term thing. Because patience is really good, but you have to be… but what are you being patient for I guess is what you really have to define. Otherwise you start to lose patience very easily.
SAMIA: Ture, true! Yeah I think you really said something very important, where it’s like you have to… it’s what are you being patient for and you know because… oh my gosh now I’m thinking about survivors of domestic violence…. So for four years I was working as a crisis counselor on a domestic violence hotline. And so you know I spoke to literally hundreds of survivors of domestic violence. And one of the very unfortunate things that happens when you’re stuck in an abusive relationship is that people give you very, very bad advice on how to deal with being in that kind of abusive relationship. Most people don’t recognize abuse for abuse. And a lot of the time the advice that you’re getting is — not everywhere, but like now I should be more specific. but in like certain parts of like the Indian community, Pakistani community that’s more conservative, traditional, there’s this mindset of you know anytime there’s trouble in the relationship between husband and wife we’re told, “Oh you have to be patient, you have to be patient, you know just kind of be gentle, be compassionate, be empathetic, be patient in the situation and things will get better over time”. And before you know it, like 10 years have passed, 20 years have passed and people are still stuck in the abusive relationship. And things are not getting better…they’ve only been getting worse. And you’re still being told to be patient. And that’s just really sad, that’s just really sad. That’s a serious… there’s something very wrong…wrong with that kind of patience and the practice of that kind of patience in that kind of a situation.
GEOFF: Well that’s more of like a way to keep them quiet you know. It’s more of a way of just saying look it will get bette,r we’re going to get better. But like that’s an outcome that you can see. But then that outcome is not within their control; they’re kind of leaving it to other circumstances to come into play for that outcome to happen. So that’s the thing where patience… like you’ve gotta like…. like say for example if you’re just driving without having any destination. You can be patient, you drive all over the land, but you wouldn’t get to where you wanted to be. But if you had a map you just had to sit in the car and be patient until you get there, right… So it’s the same concept. It’s like you have to have a destination and then you have to drive, or in this case you know put in work or put in something and be patient while you put in that something. Otherwise if you stop the car you’re never going to get there, right. So that’s just an analogy that I would use to explain my understanding of patience.
SAMIA: Yeah! Going back to the idea of self-care and you know needing to engage in self-care especially as someone you know who has a life vision that you have crafted for yourself and you’re trying to work towards that… like the word that’s coming to mind right now is resilience… like you need to be resilient. And of course being patient is a part of how you achieve resilience. Also self-care is an extremely important part of how you achieve resilience… What else do we need? Well, first of all maybe if you first tell me what you… how you define resilience, and then we can talk about how else can we achieve it.
GEOFF: Yeah, resilience is something that I think is really important for the human condition, for growth. Because it’s good to you know, get coached, or it’s good to you know like read a book or watch a couple movies for inspiration… but if you’re not prepared to… prepared for good times and the bad times, then you’re probably not going to be able to enjoy either one of them you know. And you’re definitely not going to enjoy the good times if you can’t recognize that bad times are necessary. And resilience in… I guess, in a lot of cultures, is quite weak. Because as we were talking before everyone is so conditioned to receive things instantly. You order something online, you can get it within two days, right? So when everything is instant it’s hard to be resilient for things that might push your character to the boundaries of what it can actually take. So over time you have to start building practices. And well, first of all, before that, what you said before is good, it’s like having a vision for what you want with your life is important because then you have something to work towards. But at the same time also if you’re not able to take the bad times and the good times and combine them into an experience then you’re not going to be resilient to last until the long-term goal happens for you.
SAMIA: Yeah, how did you define resilience? Did you define resilience? You cut out…
GEOFF: Yeah, so to me I guess to summarize what I said, resilience would be being able to maintain your character and your fortitude through good times and bad times and recognizing that you can push through… you can push through and you refuse to give up- that is resilience. It’s basically just like refusing to give up.
SAMIA: One of the definitions that I love for resilience is the ability to bounce back. So you know it’s like human challenges… you might have a fall, but to be able to get back up, to be able to bounce back from whatever that hit or fall was… Because you know it’s like no matter how… how amazing you are in terms of you know, for example… I’m a Happiness Expert. I have lots of skills in terms of how to create and maintain my happiness. And I do lots of things every day to create and maintain happiness and grow in my happiness. But no matter how awesome and amazing I am in that practice and that ability, I still get hit with things that are unexpected at times and I’m not immediately able to respond to them in the, in the best ways. I find myself feeling stuck or you know finding myself like having that fall without you know having that ability to immediately get up. It can take a while sometimes to recover, you know. But the… so it’s one thing to have this/these like sort of happiness skills that you create and maintain in a general context, and then resilience is actually its own skill set. It’s like when you fall, when you have that fall and you find yourself struggling to get back up… does that distinction make sense for you in your framework and way of doing things?
GEOFF: Well yeah. I think resilience is quite universal in that sense. It’s… it’s like you just said… it’s if you like to summarize everything… you’re not giving up, you’re not giving up even when things push you down. Or whenever you feel elevated you know like every kind of extreme emotion has a middle line and you’ve got to learn to thread that middle line. And resilience is being able to I guess understand that not everything’s going to go according to the plan. But that’s where you’re just going to stick to it. But obviously like there are times when you have to learn when the plan isn’t going to work out, then you’re going to jump ship. There are always times like that too. But if you can see that things just require a little bit of extra tweak or effort or this or that, then you can keep going and that’s completely fine.
SAMIA: Yeah and sometimes what you need to be resilient is to jump ship. Because if you’re on a sinking ship for example and you don’t jump ship you’ll just drown with the ship. So sometimes to be resilient you have to jump ship and to know the difference, to have the ability to know the difference between when you actually need to jump ship and it’s the wiser, better choice, verses when you just need to stick it out longer on your current path, work harder or whatever. How do you… how do you suggest people make that distinction? Like how can you figure that out when you’re struggling with something in a moment when you’ve been struggling for a while? How do you know if you need to jump ship or just keep working harder at it?
GEOFF: Well I’ve always been good at like kind of seeing these kind of things. But I normally look at reflection on my past because you know like most events happen in a kind of manner where you can kind of pick up different attributes. So like I’ll give an example… So recently I was living in Melbourne and I was you know trying to life coach, and do like big seminars in Melbourne. And the day I arrived in Melbourne was the day in which it entered into lockdown. Like I literally got off the plane and I was on my phone at the airport and it said we’re going to lock down in four hours. So I had to go to my apartment and basically like sort myself out in the next four hours before the lockdown happened. And it was a total lockdown as well you know. I wasn’t like a half all stone lockdown. So that was cool. And then it got better. The city opened up and then we entered into another lockdown. But this one was really bad, so the lockdown is not going to end basically until probably December this year. So it came to a point I think it was two weeks ago where the cases were really goin up, talking about covid cases by the way, so the cases were really starting to pile up. And I saw that basically the city was going to be in lockdown for the foreseeable future until like December and I thought to myself all right, I can stay here or I can go to another city. I can just leave, I can just go to another city because I was like I can remain in lockdown for the remaining four months or I can just leave. So to myself there’s a fork in the road. There’s like one pathway, it’s like okay, “I am leaving Melbourne even though I really wanted to come and live in Melbourne”, but on the other hand I’m like, “Okay if I stay in Melbourne then it’s not going to work out the way I wanted to anyways”. So that’s when I knew, “Okay it’s time to jump ship because I’m not going to be gaining any favors from this experience because it’s actually setting me back”. So I decided, “Okay see you later Melbourne” and booked my flight back to a different city. And that’s a perfect example of what we talked about just there. It’s like if the cards aren’t lining up and you know they’re not lining up, it’s time to leave.
SAMIA: Yeah! When I… when I’m struggling with decisions like that oftentimes you know I find it can be a little confusing to figure out which way is the right way to go when I’m trying to figure things out with my brain. Because I am like one of those people who can find pros and cons to everything. And so sometimes I can really overthink things. Actually I do that a lot. And so actually my favorite technique of making decisions now is just to relax, relax my mind and I drop straight into my heart. And I’m like, heart, you tell me, tell me what to do, what’s the best thing for me to do. And I find that an amazing, amazing way to make decisions, especially the tough decisions. Because I’ve come to really trust my heart’s guidance, my spiritual heart’s guidance, and yeah that’s my strategy.
GEOFF: For myself it’s my gut instinct. I guess it’s kind of the same thing we’re talking about there. I’m not too sure about my spiritual heart. I don’t really know too much, but I might talk to you about that at a different time. But I follow my gut instincts, so wherever that you know it kind of tells me I need to go… I mean like it’s good to rationalize like you, always do pros and cons. And I definitely vouch about that because that’s your mind kind of like sorting out all the ideas. But when it comes to like, okay like, “Do I really do it or don’t do it?”… that’s when you got to follow your gut, that’s the key.
GEOFF: And actually I’ve looked into the… I’ve looked into some research on this, about the gut feeling and what that is. And it’s a combination of your mind picking up… well this is on research, I don’t know how effective it is… but like it’s your mind picking up different variables in the world around you and when they don’t align with how the situation is meant to be, so like say somebody was telling you a lie and you had heard before the same story, like they’ve told the story two weeks ago, and they tell you a story again but it’s different, your gut feeling will tell you that you can’t trust it because your mind picks up different inconsistencies. And that feeling… you’re feeling in your gut where you’re like, “this is a bad idea”, or “you shouldn’t do that”, that’s because your mind has picked up the inconsistency.
SAMIA: Right, and sometimes you’re not actually consciously aware of those inconsistencies because they’re processed subconsciously. And so/but the feeling that’s produced, that’s very visceral. And actually that’s one of the functions of emotions, why we have emotions… is that our emotions are much, much harder to ignore. Like with our thoughts you know we can overlook things, we can ignore our thoughts, we can manipulate our thoughts… but when it comes to our feelings, they are definitely much, much harder to ignore. You can try to suppress a feeling for a while. But actually the more you try to suppress a feeling, in general it will come back, it will come back even stronger. Because our emotions are not really meant to be suppressed… and our brain doesn’t like it when we are suppressing our emotions, especially the negative emotions because they are part of our survival mechanism. You know it’s like if you’re feeling fear, if you’re feeling stress, if you’re feeling anger, anything like that, it’s your brain trying to warn you that there’s something wrong. And so the more you try to ignore the brain’s warning the more desperate it gets to make sure that you listen to the warning and take appropriate action to protect yourself and the brain from the danger that it’s perceiving. And so it really is not a good idea to ignore our feelings. I do find though that sometimes you know we can be very mistaken about what our feelings are actually telling us to do. You know you can get a certain feeling and it makes you act in a certain way because you think in the moment that is what you should do. But you end up in even more trouble and then you know you realize, “Oh my gosh I misunderstood”. And you know maybe you don’t even realize even later. But oftentimes you’ve misinterpreted your feelings. Like I mean, if I give a concrete example… anger is one of the emotions that can really get us in trouble in this way. Let’s say you find yourself feeling really angry at someone and in that moment of feeling anger you might, you know, react with violence towards the other person. But that’s not a good idea and it can get you into even more trouble. But in the moment you know you just react with violence because of that anger. But if you properly understand how to manage your anger and the function of anger and so forth, then you know you can actually realize that violence is not necessarily the solution… the anger wasn’t trying to move you towards it…it was just trying to warn you that, “Hey someone’s crossed a boundary…violated some boundary of mine, and you need to take a stand to protect that boundary”, you know.
GEOFF: Yeah! I definitely agree with that one. Because acting out of, well I mean I know I was saying before you follow your gut feeling. But like that’s different from like an emotion in the sense it’s not a raw emotion… like a raw emotion as you’re talking about, that in terms of anger, yeah if you act out of it then you know you’re not really calculating the consequence, you’re just doing what you feel like in that moment. And like that’s fine if you’re say a child because you know children haven’t learned how to I guess behave with other people yet you know. They just do what they do, right. But as an adult there are conventions of behavior which are not just ingrained into people, it’s ingrained into society. And when you act out of emotion a lot of the time it basically means that you put yourself on the back foot. But there are times when emotion is really useful like acting out of care, acting out of concern. But then emotions are a wide spectrum. There’s many bad… there’s… I wouldn’t say bad emotions… but there’s emotions that are unhelpful and there are emotions that are helpful. You can’t say there are bad emotions because you own them, right? You can’t delete them. But they are helpful ones and unhelpful ones. So I guess learning to focus on ones that are helpful to you and reinforcing them is going to be better in the long term.
SAMIA: Interesting! So the reason I brought up the example about feeling anger is because oftentimes like for me, the gut feeling is accompanied with/by risk… that feeling is accompanied with a strong emotion… Like okay, if I might give another example… so let’s say like you know as a female person I have a hyper sort of sensitivity to safety concerns in terms of like especially if I’m out and alone and in the dark. I mean these are a lot of triggers like as a woman, as a female person, I have been conditioned since I was a tiny child, that I’m in danger of being hurt and being abused, especially in a context where I’m alone, when it’s dark and so forth. And that’s one thing. I mean there are all these emotions there. And I’m not saying those are gut feelings at all… there are times you know when you actually get…so I might be like in a dark place by myself and feeling completely calm and normal. And then suddenly I had a feeling of being afraid or being worried and I’m not exactly sure why, you know. But if I listen to that feeling I’m like, “I’m getting out of here”, and I do! I think that listening to that feeling in that moment is like really important because you know, even you know there have been so many instances, so many times when I haven’t listened to that feeling when it popped up, and I got into serious trouble. And then later I realized, oh, actually my brain was picking up on… my subconscious brain was picking up on this, this and this signal because of which actually the fear and the stress and the worry popped up in my mind all of a sudden. And if I had ignored my feelings you know that’s why I either got into trouble, or because I didn’t ignore the feeling I was able to protect myself from something… You know, so like for me oftentimes that gut feeling… It is accompanied by strong emotions also.
GEOFF: Yeah, but I think in that case… well I know from what you said, that is very common. I have some female friends that have told me the same as well… I’ve read about it online also, and so it’s a common thing right when you’re walking down the street you might feel a sensation of needing to protect yourself, because as you’re saying that it’s not… that’s not just how society has conditioned you, but that’s just how it is. You know like that’s just like a reality that in a lot of places in the world. It’s not very safe for women to go, and that’s a reality… but also coming back to the idea of emotion, like that emotion is necessary. But that is a survival mechanism. That fear, like there’s different kinds of fear. And like being afraid of doing something you’re scared of is very different from being afraid for your existence, like being afraid for your survival in that sense. Like if you feel a need to protect yourself or to like get the heck out, that is not just an emotion, that’s like literally you saying, “Okay, to preserve my life I need to leave, and need to do it quick”. So that’s a different thing, and that’s 100% listen to that, because like if you ignore that… well you know like I think there’s a lot of stories on people who have ignored that.
SAMIA: Yeah, I think one of the… in that kind of scenario, like one thing that’s to be distinguished… there’s a sense of general anxiety you know that sort of like always might be there for you. Because, it’s not just like that for women by the way. Like I know for example a lot of African-Americans in the United States, because of all the racism you know they also have to live with, there’s this certain level of ongoing hostility and you know just stress that comes from living in a racist environment. I know people, you know like other categories of people who, like Muslims who who are living in Muslim minority countries and dealing with the constant stress of islamophobia and being targeted because of our faith you know… So there is a certain, more like generalized level of stress or anxiety that you’re feeling all the time in certain contexts. But when we’re talking about like distinguishing… distinguishing this kind of emotion from the gut feeling that’s tied to your survival instinct, it’s like… it’s like I was saying it’s like my… the distinction I will draw is that, number one the intensity of that gut feeling that’s tied to your survival instinct is way, way, way, really way, stronger than the general level of anxiety and stress you might be feeling all the time. And secondly you know, there’s this idea of “in the presence of danger”, that it like you know, you don’t feel that heightened sense of anxiety or worry all the time. It happens for some reason, there’s some trigger and suddenly you’re feeling that heightened sense. And so anything that triggers a heightened sense of anxiety, stress etc., you need to pay attention to that. There’s something, even if you don’t immediately understand why you’re getting that significantly heightened sense of anxiety etc., there’s some reason for that. So you need to do something different until you figure it out…and in the meantime, you know, maybe just remove yourself from that space, just to be on the safer side, until you can figure out what in the world triggered that strong emotion.
GEOFF: Yeah and… yeah it’s hard to do in the moment, but if you take some time to reflect, you can normally kind of isolate what led to it. And then there’s always deeper things and deeper triggers. That’s the thing, the human mind is so complex, there’s so many different things like a memory from like 20 years ago might impact my decision today. If you’re not I guess cognizant of how that’s happening, or you’re not trying to be aware of your thoughts and where they’re coming from…and that’s where emotions come from, and that’s where it’s a… it’s fascinating… We could do many, many discussions on how the human mind is so complex right. It’s almost impossible to characterize, but like that’s the beauty of what we do right. We look at how the human condition changes and how we can.
SAMIA: Yes, yes! Yeah, yeah. I just feel like, you know, figuring out our emotions and what they’re actually trying to tell us can be a very, very tricky thing for our mind, it’s just…. I just see that over and over again, like so many times. Like you get in trouble because you’re not able to properly understand where your emotions are coming from and what to do with that emotion, how to manage it, how to respond to it in the best ways…
GEOFF: Yeah, and I mean, but there’s not really a best way to respond. I mean you can’t really characterize the best way to respond to your emotion. But you can find the best way to act it out. Like if you’re angry, well I mean there’s ways to get rid of it, right. I mean you can take it out on other people, or you can go and exercise, or you can meditate… there’s many different things, different ways to skin the cat. But then there’s like if you’re joyful, you don’t just keep that to yourself. You normally share with other people. Why is that? But the thing is… is like there’s no best way to respond to your emotions internally, but you can regulate it, you can go through it. But at some point or other you have to understand how your emotions are impacting the world around you and keep that in check.
SAMIA: Okay, okay. Any other… any other thoughts you want to share right now?
GEOFF: I think we’ve talked about a lot of interesting topics, Samia. We’ve talked about you know, emotion, we’ve talked about resilience, we’ve gone on a whole… whole journey here. But I think it’s really interesting because I feel like we’re covering a lot of bases on the human experience, so I’m enjoying it! I think we’ll save more discussions for another time because there’s a… there’s a lot more there.
SAMIA: Sure, sure! Sounds good, I’ll be happy to have you back 🙂 Okay so then everyone, thank you once again for joining us. And until we see you next time, I will end as we began… Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal, Holah and Bonjour!
SAMIA: Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal and Hola!
SAMIA: We’re back today and I have an amazing guest, my friend, Diane from Sexuality & ADhD Solutions… did I say that right Diane?
SAMIA: Okay, great! Awesome! And actually I’m going to ask you jump right in and tell us something about yourself, and about the work that you do. And I know something very interesting about you — you used to be a missionary and went from being a missionary to a sex therapist and coach. So maybe you can share something about that journey with us too.
DIANE: All right! Well first you missed one “Bonjour!”
SAMIA: Ah, oh good one, bonjour!
DIANE: My first language is French 🙂
SAMIA: Ah excellent! I will add that on to all my greetings from now on.
DIANE: Thank you! All right, so thank you so much for having me on the show. I just wanted to say what a pleasure it is to be here and I hope that your viewers get a lot out of this podcast. If they have any questions I’m always open to questions. They can send them even after… I’ll be happy to answer them.
DIANE: Okay, so the journey has really been a life journey for me and along the way I did become a missionary. It was in about 1988 that I started studying, maybe even a little before that, 86 maybe. I started studying and went to Alabama to study theology and became a missionary, traveled a lot of the states. And then we were placed in Quebec because Quebec is the more French part of Canada. Ontario has a lot of French, but not solely French like Quebec does. So we were placed there and we established a couple of churches. And I did a lot of translating materials and working with the women and the children. And I loved that work. But at some point you know things changed in our life and my husband decided he didn’t want to be into that kind of work anymore. He needed a change and he needed a lot of changes. We ended up the next year splitting up, and eventually divorced. And I had never considered that I would be a divorced woman. So I had to think of what I would do. So I actually had four kids now. And I had to think of what I could do. So I went back to school and became an elementary school teacher. So that was what I actually was doing, and there were a lot of things that I struggled with. And my children struggled a lot in school. And they weren’t like just your average struggles. They were things like I really had a hard time with the paperwork. So hard, like organizing how they wanted the paperwork because you’re having to do it a specific way for the government… after five or six years, it just became so overwhelming to me that every year I had to go through this. And I would have to take a three-week burnout leave just from doing my paperwork! And in case you don’t know, in Ontario we have to make a year plan of how we’re going to teach our curriculum throughout the year by the end of September, usually beginning of October. Then we have to make a monthly plan, and then a weekly plan, and a daily plan. So there’s a lot of organization and work that has to be put on paper… And so anyway, long story short, through the years I realized I had ADHD. I was almost 40 then. And my children had ADHD, and two of them also were autistic. But we didn’t learn that till they were adults. But it created a lot of different dynamics in our house. And being now that I understood that I had a different brain, ah, now it made sense… like everywhere I went all my life, I always knew I was different. I always knew that I had to be on guard. I had to watch not to talk too much. I had to be careful not to just be spontaneous and have fun, not to laugh at things… it was like things to me that were a lot of fun and light, and I wanted to go, and I had all this energy… I had to always tone it down because people didn’t seem to understand me, and it seemed like they couldn’t handle all my energy.
DIANE: Or they would love my energy and they would constantly be pulling off me and then I would be drained because I had no boundaries right.
DIANE: Yeah! I had no clue that at some point you can say no to people and you don’t let them too far into your space. And that’s a huge thing with ADHD… a lot of times we have no idea of how to put up boundaries or say no. We just want people to like us, we want to make people happy. So a lot of times we get bullied. And then there’s the opposite end of ADHD… where because ADHD seems to be a totally different perspective. So you might be all one or all the other. So you’ll have the people who feel insecure and they’re scared all the time, and they’re afraid they won’t get liked or stuff, so they bully… so you could have one or the other… And sometimes you could be the bully and other times you’ll be the bullied one, that can change.. Getting through this, realizing that we all had ADHD, I thought this is great… Now I know what it’s called, I’m gonna find a therapist to help us and we’ll be okay, right?
It took me 12 years to find help.
SAMIA: Oh my God!
DIANE: But then my kids had grown and they didn’t want to hear anything about it. They already had had their struggles and they were doing the best they could. I was beside myself because I thought, “Wow, this has been so hard”.
DIANE: You know it’s been so hard… so that’s how it started you know from being a missionary to having to do something else.
DIANE: And then you know getting into teaching and seeing a lot of the little kids in school had issues similar to me and my kids, so I knew there was something.
SAMIA: So you talked a little bit about how you discovered that you had ADHD and then you did a lot of learning around how to help yourself with that. How does all of that connect to your being a Sexuality Coach?
DIANE: I’m glad you asked. Well… when I learned that there was help out there I thought, well, I’m going to take the course to become an ADHD coach, but I’m going to do it to help me and my kids… At the same time though I was out of work and I was struggling… And I talked to an employment counselor who said, “You have a lot of education, you’ve been a teacher, you have a lot of experience and you’re 50 now”, (because I was 50 now). She says, “A lot of places will not hire you, so why don’t you start your own business?” And I said to her, “I don’t know what I would do for my own business and I have ADHD”… I didn’t know if I could run a business because I had read books, but I didn’t have any solutions. I didn’t know how to change anything or how to put systems in place to manage my life. I was still struggling. So I talked to these people. She wanted to put me in this business program. So while I got my ADHD certification to be an ADHD coach I took this business course and I decided I would start an ADHD business. Because I thought, “Wow! 12 years to find help, this is ridiculous”, you know. If you have heart disease you go to your doctor. He sends you to the Hearts’ Association, they will teach you how to eat, what to do to keep your heart healthy and you can have a support group. If you have cancer, they send you to the Cancer Center, you can get support and help… If you have diabetes, same thing. But if you have ADHD, “Oh you have some kind of mental disorder, we don’t know much about it, go read some books”.
SAMIA: Yeah, that’s terrible.
DIANE: Like how crazy is that?!
SAMIA: It’s crazy.
DIANE: And you’re left by yourself to figure it out. So that’s why I decided when I took the course, “Okay I’m gonna start a business in this”. And you know the year after I started my business and I had clients right away. I actually thought as an ADhD coach I’m gonna go to the mental health association, I’m gonna go to some addiction centers, I’m gonna go to the jail, because these are where there’s a lot of people with ADHD who have been misunderstood and they’re stuck in situations that really they could get help and get out of.
DIANE: But nobody wanted to work together. And I tried to explain to them… they were people with ADHD struggling with self-control, they will not be able to follow your program until they learn to control themselves and their ADHD. So if we work together I could come in once a week, and in the morning and in the afternoon I would run a small group of five or six people and we could do this all the time. Well, nobody wanted to work as a team, but everybody wanted to send me clients. So I had to open an office and start seeing people… So I love that, but it really evolved… like it’s been almost 10 years now and it’s evolved a lot… So when I started I only worked with adults because there were some small things in place for children and I thought people could get help. I wasn’t even open for a few months and I had parents calling me and calling me and saying, no, there isn’t any help. Because I was living in the North of Ontario and Sudbury then, and they were like, “There’s nobody who does what you do, you have to see our kids”. Now I have a very soft spot for kids. I have worked with kids all my life. So I was happy to change and work with adults, but eventually some people actually came to my office and said, “Please see my kid”, and I started working with kids again. And I realized, no, there’s not a lot of help for kids either… the help there is, isn’t always good help.
DIANE: Some people claim to work with ADHD but they really don’t even know what it is. So it’s important to ask whoever you’re going to work with, “What do you know about ADHD? Do you know what it is?” And make sure they give you a clear answer that you understand. Because if you don’t understand what they’re saying, they may not understand either… they’re just telling you stuff that they’ve read.
DIANE: Ask them; what experience do they have with ADHD? Do they know people in their family with ADHD? Do they have ADHD? How did they start working with ADHD? And what’s their program like? Because we don’t work well in normal programs. My programs are non-conventional.
So anyway, to get back to your question, I really started working with kids and I was still working with adults… I saw a lot of people who struggled in the workplace, and a lot of kids who people thought were lazy, or defiant, or just difficult, or too quiet… They didn’t understand it’s because their brain is not activated. The ADHD brain has centers that are sleeping and you need to wake them up, that’s all you know. So if you don’t know how… and I’ll tell you, the worst thing for the brain is sugar… all the juices people give their children, it’s all sugar! You’re killing your kid’s brain. If a child has ADHD, no sugars. It should all be vegetables and healthy eating, lots of greens, raw and cooked. Try different recipes with different things. I always say go to the bulk bar and get just a spoonful of different spices and try different things… Sometimes the simplest ways are the best. I just steamed vegetables. I eat them raw, or I steam them. I love them that way. Anyway, that’s just a little aside for a tip but, yeah…
So as I started working with the kids I would go into people’s homes to assess if their house needed to change systems. You know sometimes the way you organize your house just does not work for an ADHD brain.
SAMIA: Can you give an example of how you could reorganize it?
DIANE: Okay, one place that I went into, this is a simple example, but it happens often.
When you came in they did not have the big entrance and they had a system of, you know, all the mitts went over here and all the scarves went over here because we have winter here..and the shoes go there. And if it’s raining, there’s these umbrellas go here… But it was so small, it was all packed. So what would happen, these three kids would come in and try to put things there. But it would just be shoved in and then things would stay wet. They didn’t know how to get them out. So I looked at that and I thought, okay this isn’t working. So they had a bench here with two holes in them. So I thought we could actually add to that and make four holes. And so what they started doing was, we got four baskets. So all of the mitts went in one basket, and all of the scarves in the other basket, and then if they had other things in one basket… but all the wet stuff went in one basket. So mom knew this is wet, she could wash it and stick it in the dryer, or she could hang it… I had her buy these hooks that she could hang on a closet…so she could hang the mitts on there and the scarves. But it was… at least she knew, if it was wet, it was in one basket. So when she got home she could just grab that and throw it in the dryer or hang it up. This way it didn’t smell when you came into the entrance, it didn’t smell like wet clothes. And also they had to keep it neat. It was easy to throw the mitts in here, or the scarves in there, and if it’s wet it goes here right. And so sometimes it’s just something like that that makes it very simple.
SAMIA: Yeah… and just to make sure I’m understanding you correctly… if you have ADHD, are you saying one of the things that can be helpful is to have more space organization? So there’s separation between where you put different things, and that makes it easier for someone with ADHD to process?
DIANE: Well, I’ll tell you what, keeping everything consistent is the best thing. Especially if your kids have ADHD, you need to have it well organized and keep everything always at the same place. If you skip things around or if you don’t have it organized, the kids are chaotic in their brain, there’s already like a tornado in their brain, and now you’re adding chaos. Because it’s like they don’t know where what is, they don’t know where to put it, and they won’t remember.
DIANE: The short-term memory doesn’t work very well with ADhD. So you’re not going to remember where you put things two minutes ago. At school you’re not going to remember what the teacher just said unless she puts it on the board and she gives you some kind of a paper or something, you’re not going to remember. And you know I hear teachers all the time say, “I already said that, I’m not saying it again, I said it twice…”. Okay, but I need you to say it a third time, and it shouldn’t be a big deal, the brain is not retaining.
DIANE: And again you can activate the brain so it will retain. But if it’s not retaining in the moment, and you don’t know how to activate it, you’re gonna have to repeat, repeat, repeat… That’s why I always say, if you have a kid with ADHD, get a white board. Whatever you want him to do, write it here, and never more than two or three things. I see parents with these long lists of things to do… oh! I can’t even do that!
SAMIA: That’s true for almost everyone! Even I can’t deal with that.
DIANE: No. And I think instead of the big board … hang on, I have a… I often say just get these little boards… And you can put one in each room. And in each room you put one or two things you want your child to do, that’s it. One thing in each room. Then they know in this room this is what I have to do, in this room this is what I have to do…one, two at the most. Not more than that. Your ADHD child will struggle; he may even have a hard time with one or two. So be patient, compassionate… your child can’t do something… “Oh my goodness! It looks like you’re having a really hard time getting that done, what could I do to help you?”. You don’t scream, you don’t criticize, you don’t blame, you don’t accuse, and you definitely never compare! You’re gonna kill your child.
DIANE: How do you like it? Do you like it Samia if I start comparing you to other people, or criticizing you, or telling you that you’re not doing your podcast right Samia, do it differently…?
DIANE: You might like that…
SAMIA: No! No! It’s terrible, terrible… comparison.
DIANE: Yeah, people do this to each other and to their children all the time.
SAMIA: I know.
DIANE: If you have ADHD you’re going to take it way worse. You’re going to think that you’re good for nothing, and you’re going to want to die. I can tell you, I talked to a lot of kids. In their brain they’re thinking, “I’m worthless!”. So stop. I call them the ABC’s. No ABC’s — no ACCUSING, BLAMING, CRITICIZING or COMPARING. Don’t do it to yourself. Don’t do it to your partner. And don’t do it to your children.
DIANE: No ABC’s.
SAMIA: I love it.
DIANE: That alone, I’ll tell you, that alone will change your life.
SAMIA: Oh yes, absolutely, absolutely! You know I learned from one of my teachers the three C’s to always fast from. Meaning don’t do the three C’s… And our three things were COMPARING, COMPLAINING, and oh my gosh!… I’m forgetting my three C’s.
DIANE: Was it CRITICIZING?
SAMIA: Yes, there we go! You got it!
DIANE: I like adding the complaining, yes. And you know if you wanted to, you could add ASSUMING to the A’s. A lot of parents assume things about their children — well, you’re like this, you’re like that, or you’re not doing it because you’re this, or you’re lazy, or you’re not wanting to do it. It’s not true! If your child has an ADHD brain they want to do things, but their brain is not awake so they can’t do it.
SAMIA: Yes, that’s right.
DIANE: A lot of times they’re upset at themselves. Don’t get more upset at them… teach them to love themselves… even if they can’t do it right away… ask… “Well, what would you need right now from me to help you do that?” And help them! Buddy systems work. Help your child. You had this child. Get off your butt and help your child. I see a lot of parents who never want to help their kids. Then you shouldn’t have kids… kids need help.
SAMIA: True, true!
DIANE: And now if you’re a parent with ADHD, because ADHD can be genetic, there’s going to be a whole other dynamic. I know because as the parent with ADHD sometimes I just didn’t understand what was going on. But I would ask questions. I didn’t want to upset my kids so I’d ask some questions. “I don’t understand why you’re doing that, could you help me understand?”.
DIANE: And don’t ask them “why?” Don’t say, “Why are you doing that?” Because when people ask you, do you know? You’re upset about something. Or you’re having a meltdown.
SAMIA: That’s right!
DIANE: And people say, “Why are you upset? Why are you doing this?”
DIANE: They don’t know! They’re just little kids.
SAMIA: Yeah, yeah! And that is language of blame, it really is. It’s like when you say, “Why are you doing that?”…behind that “why?” is the assumption that there’s something wrong with you and that’s why you’re doing this. And that’s a very, very, not-good idea. You know this is something we talk about in trauma informed care. Like even when we’re dealing with survivors of abuse and other trauma… don’t ask “Why?” Ask, “What, what happened to you?”…”What’s going on?”
DIANE: And, “How can I help you?”
DIANE: What and how are your best ways to start a question. So “What can I help you with?” Or, “what are you thinking right now, what are you feeling?” Really asking… They don’t know about their feelings. A lot of people with ADHD, they’re all in their head, they don’t understand their feelings. So ask them, start to teach them. Go to Google, print out a Feeling Wheel. They’re the best tool you can have. They start you with the basic feeling then they explain it more and then even more so you can get to the root of what they’re really feeling. Because that’s where you’re going to understand better.
SAMIA: Yes! Oh, you know what, what we’ll do is, we’ll put a link to a Feeling Wheel in the notes. Awesome, awesome! We will include that as a resource in the notes for this episode.
(Access the Feelings Wheel here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mWYXdm3fJ7yQsGIyZzArFBRKzTyh5Omu/view?usp=sharing)
DIANE: So I’m going to continue now. See, I keep stopping and getting… just the different things, but I… you did ask me to elaborate a little bit.
SAMIA: Yes, and I love it! Thank you 🙂
DIANE: So, as I was working with kids and getting in the home, I saw parents who were not happy. They were not connected, they were not satisfied with their own life. And they had a hard time dealing with their kids because they were unhappy. So I started working with the parents more. So you’d buy my program and I would have so many sessions with the parents, and then some in the home or some with the kids, right. But the parents are at the core of everything in the home.
DIANE: So if they don’t understand, or if they’re not happy, it’s going to be hard to help that child.
SAMIA: That’s right.
DIANE: So I started realizing that I needed to work more with the parents. So I started working more with the parents. And I noticed that a lot of them were not sexually satisfied. And that was a big problem in their marriage or in their relationship… However when we talked about sex, a lot of it came down to bad communication. They never talk about how they like to be touched. “Do you like to be touched softly, do you like to just have somebody hover, or maybe you want to have your energy played with and you don’t even want to be touched?… Some people don’t get aroused by touch. They get aroused by not being touched, just by someone playing in their energy… Some people like light touch, some people might like to be slapped or pinched or scratched. And these are not things that we need to make people feel ashamed about or feel humiliated. There is only your thoughts, your feelings and your desires. And there is no wrong there. There’s just, “How could we figure this out?”…
SAMIA: Yes, yes I agree… just like with ADHD… no complaining, comparing and criticizing.
DIANE: No. And no accusing or blaming.
DIANE: No accusing or blaming. It’s talking about my thoughts, my feelings, my desires, and then what are the options. Look at three or four different options. You don’t have to always stick with the same thing.
DIANE: If your partner tells you something that they desire… if you say, “That’s disgusting, I’m never doing that!” Do you think your partner will ever want to talk to you about private things again? You have to be a real grown-up now. You have to be mature enough to hold a safe space for your partner no matter what they say… you want the truth… well you got to be able to handle the truth…
SAMIA: Very true!
DIANE: After doing this for a few years and taking some workshops I decided to become licensed as an Erotic Blueprint Coach. Because that goes deep, deep. Because a lot of times when I’m talking about the erotic part of people, I realize there’s trauma there… So now in the past year I’ve been doing trauma courses, and I’m doing some trauma work… I do a lot of brain conferences, brain research, brain stuff… I’d like to follow that… They were saying just recently… one of the latest researchers says that every single child has been traumatized at least once in their life.
DIANE: So that means as adults we all have something we have to deal with.
SAMIA: That’s right! That’s right! And there are so many different kinds of trauma you know. That’s a really huge area of education that’s lacking. I mean there’s mental, emotional abuse, there’s spiritual, financial abuse… There are, unfortunately, unlimited ways in which people can hurt each other. And we don’t recognize the seriousness of how much that hurts, and how that hurt impacts us and impacts our relationships through the rest of our lives.
SAMIA: Yeah, you know I’m just keeping my eye on the clock Diane. And what I’m thinking is, let’s end our conversation for this episode here, and next time let’s pick up right here and talk more.
DIANE: I love it!
SAMIA: Yes… next time we’ll talk about recognizing signs and symptoms of abuse and how people can hurt each other, and… like you I also have a real heart for working with kids. I’m actually a survivor of child sexual abuse myself. And so I would love to talk with you about how to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse and trauma, and how we can help people who have experienced abuse or other forms of trauma… For today I will wrap up with my usual greetings. And I this time I start with Bonjour, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal and Holah!
DIANE: Thank you, bye 🙂
SAMIA: Bye 🙂