Thursday, December 6, 2012

Disempowering Your Shadow Self

We like to think we are awake and in control of our lives, right? That we are sitting in the driver's seat of the car called Life and driving it where ever it is we want to go, masters of our destiny, creators of our fates (within reason). But what if it is not "Me" who is doing the driving? What if we are being driven by something that is not "Us"?

In childhood and adolescence we have experiences that shape us, and then other things happen to us as time passes, too. Situations, people, random events can effect our inner worlds, how we feel about ourselves, perceptions we have of "how things are". Without even knowing we are doing it, we make decisions, and develop ways to protect ourselves from emotions that hurt, situations we perceive as threatening, and start to react to present situations based on past experiences. Patterns start to emerge, the results in our life start to reflect our ways of being, our responses, and then maybe we step back and take a look at our lives one day to realise how we are behaving and who we have in our lives does not actually reflect our core view of who we think we are...

Confronting! So who are we being then?

One school of thought proposes that sub-personalities, aspects of ourselves, can dominate us. Reflections of the mind and primal responses, they are not doing the bidding of the heart, which is possibly why, upon reflection, or in response to a critical situation where we might suddenly see our way of being more accurately, we can be so surprised to find that how other people see us is so different to how we wish to see ourselves, or feel about ourselves.

Another school of thought calls these aspects "the Shadow", or "shadow selves", and the viewpoint here is that until the light of consciousness is shone upon the Shadow, the Shadow rules us, and we remain unaware of our patterns or "default settings".

Is it a horrifying idea for you that some other self, not your true self, might be running your life? Some shadow or aspect you have never even seen? Seeing your shadow is no less confronting - and can create huge questions and feelings of helplessness - "Now what?".

Well, the only thing you can really do is keep looking - look closer, become more aware of when head starts to dominate heart, and at each moment - even in the middle of a huge row with someone - choose to follow heart not head, not ego, not that often-flawed instinct for self-preservation that makes us say or do things we regret later.

The idea of mindfulness is not new. Modern philosopher Ekhart Tolle has written books about it, including The Power of Now; spiritual teacher Sally Kempton offers suggestions for how to achieve a more heart-connected state, and avid meditators suggest their practice as another method for facing and subduing the Shadow self. 

You see, you can't really make it go away. It's part of you, but it doesn't have to be the dominant part of you, and it doesn't have to lead you into places that do not serve your highest good: away from connection and intimacy and positive expression, and towards drama and conflict and isolation. It is possible to become more mindful of when we are being reactive and living old patterns and stop, and listen instead to the often quietly spoken voice that comes from our hearts.

The Peace Pledge
Are you more generous when you are hungry? 
Any Kindness I Can Do

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Peaceful Thought For Today: Quote Saint Terese of Liseaux

A peaceful thought for today:

“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

- Saint Terese of Liseaux

Beautiful, Perfect, Broken
The Peace Pledge 
Hafiz - Sufi Poem: What About That Moon? 


Animals Can Teach Us About Peace

Humans are great at creating drama and upset for both themselves and others. This is not true of everyone, of course, and many people do not realise they are addicted to drama, perhaps as they are addicted to TV or soft drink or potato chips. I have been following a lovely Facebook group about animals called "Help For Animals" and each day I get an interesting picture and story (or two!) about animals living their lives and sometimes how they have helped humans or humans have helped them. It is very inspiring; heart-warming.

What that page does highlight for me is that animals have emotions and experience states of comfort (peace) and distress and that we:
1) can learn from their abilities to live a simple, peaceful life and their desire for harmony, ease, community;
2) have a responsibility to care for these creatures who are less powerful in our world, voice less, and so often at the mercy of our humanity and compassion.

They too have children, partners, friends, things they enjoy doing. They feel heart-ache when a partner or child dies, experience discomfort when it is cold, wet or too hot, get stressed out when a fellow animal (or human) is in danger or they are whisked away by a flood, value their freedom and autonomy, enjoy cuddles and affection from their kin or us.

Given the choice, animals seem to choose peace and comfort - take the image of a cat or dog curled up for a snooze in the sun. It seems odd to me that we, humans, so often choose drama and conflict over peace. Perhaps we are not as smart as we think and could benefit from a closer observation of the ways animals live their lives when they have choices, which, sadly they do not always have. Unlike us.

Pic credit: Help For Animals. Thank you. Original picture can be found here.

Contrast Leads to Clarity
A random selection of peace and feel-good quotes
The Peace Pledge 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meeting Abigail Disney, Heiress and Peace Activist

I had the great privilege of meeting peace activist Abigail Disney at a fundraising event at the end of last year. Granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company with his brother Walt Disney, Abigail is heiress to an immense fortune and, after much soul-searching and loneliness as a young woman growing up, she has now committed to "supporting female voices and international peace-building through non-violent means".

Abigail is a passionate documentary maker and is busy telling some of the beautiful, heart-warming stories of successful peace-making that have been occurring around the world that mainstream media ignore. She told us how shocked she was when she left the USA and travelled to other places to discover how much good stuff was going on out there in the world that never filtered back into the States - and set about changing that.

In the course of the evening we watched an excerpt from her doco Pray The Devil Back To Hell, the inspiring story of thousands ordinary Liberian women of all ages, both Muslim and Christian, who, during the Liberian War, staged a sit-in outside the Presidential Palace (for years) and, though confronted by guns and tanks, insisted on peace - and got it.

She - and her film-making partners - also takes on other controversial issues that are not palatable to mainstream American television such as the impact of the Internet on children's perceptions of their sexuality.

Being in the presence of so many strong women that night at the Sydney Women's Fund / Australian Women Donors Network event, and meeting Abigail, was very inspiring for me. We even had a video address from Australian Prime Minister Hon. Julia Gillard.

Coming together to share stories and hear about the work other people are doing in the area of peace and for the service of humanity is very motivating. It's not everyone's cup of tea - we all have a different mission and journey here on planet Earth - but for me, it was quite a thrilling night. I've posted a picture of me and Abigail below.

Whatever your calling, and however you are getting along with it, I hope you will stay true, follow your heart, and do the very best you can to express yourself - there is only one YOU and the world needs what you have to offer. Be courageous.

Peace and blessings.

The Peace Pledge project 
See the World Peace Flame 
A Few Kind Words

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peace and Feel-good Quotes

My inner journey and my work on The Peace Pledge are taking a lot of my energy and spare time. There is a nagging sense of guilt in me for not posting here more frequently. I sometimes find that when incubating an idea or going through an intense period of life experience / growth that I am not grounded enough to catch my thoughts on paper and reflect them back. Perhaps when we push through the other side of various experiences we are in a better position to see them more clearly.

So, for now, I just want to reach out and share a random selection of peace quotes that may be beneficial for you.

I hope your journey is an interesting and happy one.

With love

Random selection of peace and feel-good quotes

“There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle” - Robert Alden

"If half a century of living has taught me anything at all, it has taught me that nothing can bring you peace but yourself." - Dale Carnegie

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” - Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story

"Inner peace is not something that happens to you as some external or future event. Inner peace exists within you right now and it will be gradually uncovered as you decide to flow and accept the events and changes that life brings. In the degree that you embrace those changes, will you have inner peace." - Gabriela Pinto

“Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud.” - Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter


Maya Angelou - Touched By An Angel
The Peace Pledge on Facebook
Champions for peace

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Peace Pledge

Thought you might like to take a look at another peace project I have been working on - it's the reason why my posts to this blog have been so erratic of late! I have recently created a website to promote inner peacefulness called The Peace Pledge. If the link doesn't work you can find it here:

There is also a Facebook page: and within six days of launching it had 2500 page likes! It is now tracking close to 21,000 "likes". Pretty cool, huh?

Kind of exciting to discover there are so many people in the world striving to be peaceful and live peacefully.

World peace flame
Creating a more peaceful world
Champions for peace

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You have now been touched by the world peace flame

How many people do you interact with in a lifetime? If you have 10 good friends, 500 peers or acquaintances, and another 1000 people you bump into at the shops, the market, on the bus, etc. each year it could be many thousands.

People talk about pebbles in a lake creating ripples that bounce from shore to shore. I also like the idea of light pushing back darkness. Turn a light on in a dark room and the whole environment changes. You see things you couldn't see before. You know where things are. You have a whole heap of knowledge you can then not UN-know, even if the light goes off.

I found myself in the centre of the city recently, observing and participating in a beautiful ritual to consecrate a specific area for peace. The idea was that with each drop of water that the fountain sprayed out it would help to spread an essence of peace into the central business and shopping districts. The organisers were very high level and community leaders and representatives from a huge spectrum of philosophies and religions were present. It was quite a magical, unified vibe.

For me, one of the most impressive aspects of the event was that they had managed to get hold of a candle lit from the world peace flame, and then shared this little flame with everyone who attended.

As we each took our candle up to be lit it struck me that many thousands of people had also lit candles from this flame. Who did it make us to have been brought into that circle, close enough to feel the heat from the World Peace Flame?

I have posted a picture of my little candle here. Now you, too, have been touched by the reflected light of the world peace flame... so who does that make you? Are you, too, destined to be an ambassador for peace in your world of hundreds or maybe thousands?

Contrast Leads To Clarity
Creating a more peaceful world
The Peace Pledge on Facebook
Champions for peace