The Four Wings of Personal Growth Lessons on self-love, self-awareness, self-care and self-empowerment

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Follow your dreams!!

Last night I was feeling unsure about a project I had been working on for a few months.  I was questioning whether I was on the right track and looking for a sign that I was meant to continue and actually accomplish this goal of mine.  Truth is I was having some serious doubts.  After being very enthusiastic for months, my inner gremlins were taking over.  So, I decided to check in with my higher self and ask “Am I meant to do this?  Am I being delusional?”

Now first of all, let me tell you what I mean when I say higher self.  To be honest, I’m not quite sure what that part of me is.  All I know is that when I am confused or unsure, I will ask it for guidance and for some reason unbeknownst to me, if I completely let go after asking, I usually get an answer. I often ask my questions just before bed because I find sleep clears my mind enough to let me access the answer by the next morning.  Quite by surprise though, but not unusual, this time I got an answer within minutes of asking my question.
The answer was this…

Joanne, there are no guarantees’ that pursuing this project will give you the expected outcome but if you don’t do it, you will never know.

I bet you are thinking…Wow, I wish I had access to that kind of wisdom!!

All kidding aside.  I know the answer is simple but there is a bit more to it than that.

When we are compelled to act on something from our gut, to start a new project, to set a goal for ourselves, we never know exactly what the outcome will be.

That’s why it’s important not to make it all about the outcome.  First of all, if you have a strong desire to do something, something that comes up again and again, in my opinion that is a cue to act. Those passions and dreams that seem to pop up out of nowhere are a gift from the universe.  And girl (or guy ;)), you should grab on to them with a big smile and a thank you!

We are not born with a life map.  That would defeat the entire point of LIFE!!.  Life is an incredible opportunity to create.  Victor Frankl said that we should not expect life to give us meaning but rather that life asks Us, to give It, meaning.  How do we do that?  Well the seeds of that meaning are in those desires and passions that knock on our heart’s door saying, “Hey you, you need to do this.”  “This is important!” “I’ll just keep showing up until you pay attention!” “Helloooooo!!!”

When we act on those dreams and those goals, we have no idea whether they are going to turn out exactly as planned.  And the process can even get pretty scary and messy at times. But that is the beauty of being human. And given the chance, acting on them, allows us to learn and grow into the best possible version of ourselves.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What Do I Believe In?

What Do I Believe In?

I believe in the power of love.  I believe that pure love transcends our thoughts, beliefs and emotions.  I believe in its power and that it is always there for us to tap into. I believe love transforms.

I believe in the strength and courage that resides in each and every one of us.

I believe in the inherent value in all human experiences.  We learn, we grow…

I believe that our actions and intentions towards creating a purposeful life are supported by the universe.

What do you believe in?

Joanne J

Sunday, January 6, 2019

How do we cultivate empowerment in our lives?

Do you have an internal or an external lotus of control? The more we take responsibility for what we can and cannot control the more choices we have and the more empowered we become. We cannot expect to change other people and we have little control over the weather but the more we take time to expand our awareness around our choices, our attitudes, our emotions and our behaviours the more we can tap into the power we do have to make things happen in our lives.
People with an internal lotus of control believe that what happens to them is largely a consequence of their own actions. People with an external lotus of control believe that what happens to them is a result of outside factors. An external lotus of control can sometimes make an individual feel victimized by the world and by his or her circumstances. For sure there are many times when things just happen without any action on our part. The key is to identify our predominant tendency in this area and balance that out to “our advantage”.
The self reflection involved in the coaching process can help you develop awareness about your own beliefs and attitudes around control.

The Dragons In Our Way

Let me introduce you to Shawna, the heroine of our story. Shawna lived in a beautiful village in the valley of Cardura. She was one of a half a dozen young women in her village who had been vigorously trained as a warrior of courage, truth and honour. The village people had worked very hard to create a community where everyone supported each other. But a tragedy had befallen the village. The adults had become ill from a rare and mysterious disease and the very survival of their community was at stake.
There was a gathering of the wise elders of the village and some of the younger and remaining healthy we’re invited, including the fearless warrior princess. The elders told of a gentle wizard living miles away who held the secret and medicine that could heal the villagers. They informed all present that the medicine would surely save their village. But, the journey to the wizard was fraught with dangers and many hardships.
Fearless and passionate about saving her family and neighbours, Shawna was the first to offer to take the journey and find the wizard. After much debate and discussion as to whom would be the right person to take the journey, it was decided that it would be the young princess.
Early the next morning Shawna prepared the supplies she would need and began the two hundred km journey towards the home of the wise Wizard. She would have to make the entire journey afoot because the rough terrain would not allow the journey by horseback. Given her strength and training, she estimated it would take her four days to make the journey to meet with the wizard.
She spent the first day of her travels walking, climbing and hiking through the thick unforgiving vegetation of the jungle. It took much strength and determination to chop and cut through the thick branches and vines that continued to create obstacles for her as she slowly but surely moved forward. Moving through the forest that first day, proved to be so challenging that she had already fallen behind her four day estimated arrival.
Her second day of travels would prove to be no easier. After leaving her campsite in the wee hours of the morning and walking but a couple of hours, she found herself at the edge a wide and raging river. Not one to let a challenge dissuade her, Shawna spent the rest of the morning and the better part of the afternoon, building a raft strong and sturdy enough to get her across the river. After three hours of battling the river’s current and steering the raft towards the river bank she finally made it across. Exhausted by the day’s extreme demands, she set up camp for the night and fell into a deep and well-deserved sleep.
Upon waking the next day, she felt very rested, enthusiastic and determined that she could make up for lost time. But her optimism would, once again, be put to the test. After a few hours of easy trekking through open fields, she came upon the edge of a huge ravine. As she explored the area, it became apparent to her, that there was but one option for making it across. She would have to descend the dangerously steep slope to the bottom of the ravine, and then attempt the vigorous climb back up the other side. The bottom of the ravine could barely be seen through a thick fog that had settled around the trees and she could not venture to guess how long this feat would take her to accomplish.
But our courageous and determined heroine would not let anything stand in her way and by the end of that third day she had begun setting up camp on the other side of the ravine. Shawna was at this point elated by the fact that she could reach the wizard’s home by early the next evening. She began to prepare a fire for her meal and settled into an evening of relaxing and anticipating the joy of finally meeting the wizard who would help save her family and friends.
After finishing her dinner, she lay back against a log she had pulled up and started to drift off into a dreamy, lovely state of sleep. But her blissful somnolence was brutally interrupted by a sound so loud it shook the very earth below her. She barely had time to look up when a huge creature, she had never seen the likes of before, swept down towards her, grabbed her by the shoulders and lifted her off the ground. Whatever this creature was, it travelled at an incredible speed and within minutes Shawna found herself thrown back onto the ground exactly at the very spot where she had started her journey 3 days before. As she looked up, she was able to get a better look at her capture and she immediately realized what it was. The elders had spoken about it, but she was never really convinced of its existence. But there it was, the great Cardurian Dragon, rarely witnessed by humans and feared by many.
Anyone else would have given up and gone back to the village claiming that the idea of reaching the wizard was an unreasonable and impossible task. But Shawna was passionate and determined to do whatever it took to save the people of her village, whom she loved with all her heart. She refused to give up and with that mindset, she bravely stood up and took that first step towards beginning her journey once again. It was made a bit easier this time by the fact that she knew the terrain and had an idea of what to expect. By mid-afternoon of the third day, she was back were her first attempt had ended, on the other side of the ravine. This time she would not set up camp because having made the trip somewhat quicker she could continue on to the wizard’s castle before the end of that day. But lo and behold, exactly in the same spot reappeared the Cardurian Dragon. Once again, she was completely caught off guard by the aggressiveness and swiftness of the Dragon and she was swept up into the air and dropped, for a second time, exactly at the very spot where she had begun her journey.
Now the story goes that Shawna attempted that journey at least 6 times. And each and every time she was swept up by the dragon and brought back exactly where she had started. You see she kept telling herself that winners never quit, and that success is often just one more try away. Wise and thoughtful advice that had often served her well in the past. She was not one to accept defeat and she had worked hard to develop the skills and mindset to accomplish her goals and aspirations. So, what was she missing?
For weeks, she had been nothing if not brave and courageous, but her efforts had continuously led her right back to where she had started. As she pondered her situation and what to do about it she remembered something her wise grand mother had once shared with her “Shawna there are times we need to act and there are times we need to stop and listen for guidance.” That guidance, for Shawna, had always come from what she knew as her higher self. And when she needed a particular answer, she would stop, ask the question and let go. Inevitably and always, the answer would come.
So that is what she did. She set up camp, asked her question and let go, knowing guidance would come. Her question was a simple one, as powerful questions often are,” Wise self, what can I do differently?” After asking her question, Shawna let herself fall into a deep and restful sleep. In the early hours of the morning, she was awakened by the hoot of an owl sitting on a branch just above her head. Still groggy from her dreamy slumber, she looked around at the morning mist, barely able to make out the silhouettes of the tree surrounding her. And then, there it was, from where it came, she could not have said, but it was as clear as the hoot of the owl...two simple words “the dragon”.
“The dragon!! Of course, the dragon!!”
“How could I have not realized this?”
“I have tried time and time again to avoid him. I hid in the bushes. I camouflaged myself. I travelled in the dark. I did everything not to face him.”
“But that is not how I will get to where I want and need to be. I must once and for all face this dragon!”
The next day, Shawna started off once again on her journey, with a renewed conviction and a deep knowing that this time there was no stopping her. After having crossed the ravine, she was ready and waiting for the Cardurian Dragon. Grateful for the knowledge she had acquired on her prior attempts, she knew exactly where he was going to be and exactly when to expect him. Now as he swooped down towards her, she did not hide or try to outrun him. She bravely stood her ground and met his gaze with her own. Her eyes reflected the determination she felt in her heart and the bravery residing deep within. As if sensing her inner strength, the dragon suddenly slowed down and with a gentle thud landed a mere few feet in front of her. As she continued looking steadily and intently into his eyes she felt emerge a deep connection and understanding between them and she knew in that moment that he was no longer a threat. A look of admiration revealed itself in the dragon’s eyes as he expanded his great wings and flew away into the horizon.
Days later there was a great celebration in Cardura. Shawna’s neighbours and family were all very grateful and proud of her for having saved the village. But, truth be told, no one but Shawna would ever really understand and appreciate the debt of self-knowledge and wisdom she had acquired on her journey….and no one needed to.
My hope in sharing this story is that we will all be reminded of the following...
That failing over and over again is not a sign of weakness.
That missing or running away from the obvious challenges in our lives happens to the best of us.
That asking the right questions, at the right time, can take us in new and unexpected directions.
That from this process can emerge great self-knowledge and wisdom.