Living life through another culture is an intriguing way of coming to know yourself and the world around you. Whether it is in Africa, France, Asia, Ireland or Timbuktu. Your life as it is and its possibilities go with you wherever you go. There is no escaping the self or the possible self. Becoming aware in this way about how you consciously live your life and how the rest of us experience you is a way to transformation should you choose it.
If you have developed any sense of self-awareness about your life to now you will realize who you are being in the new situations. Very quickly your thought processes, identity, attitudes, behaviours, habits, reactions and actions are challenged. You awaken from your own cultural comfort zone and perceptions of the world around you as you engage with your new community and culture. You begin to know who you are being, what, who and where is important to you and how you spend your energy and resources everyday to direct your life in a meaningful and joyous way between birth and death.
The entrenched prejudices, judgements, fears, limitations, attitudes, moods, controlling behaviours, self-obsessions, limiting beliefs all come to the surface when you are challenged in a new environment; in friendships and relationships where ever you go or are. You are challenged to define who you are and what it is to be a person of honour with integrity, respect, humility, compassion, honesty, humour, imagination, creativity, communication and a loving nature in all that you are and do. These characteristics are the most difficult for people to uphold as they live this human adventure between birth and death with all its good and bad experiences. We hold each other accountable personally and publicly to at least strive to be that person of character. To feel and continue to live life with enthusiasm, curiosity, wonderment and possibility for you and those you share the planet with is an amazing sense of humanity when it is activated and lived each day.
It’s interesting in The Possible Self, TPS, workshops how people reflect on their life-story and begin to see how unconsciously they are living their lives. The idea they had in their mind about their life was very different to the story they discover about themselves. They see how their present mind-scape limits them at times by applying limitations to their thinking, actions, behaviours, habits and patterns. It can be their own personal culture, their family culture, and or their country’s culture that have shaped these limitation. And the total opposite is also discovered in that their culture/s are un-limiting, and the scope for their life is even more than they thought it was.
When they consciously become aware that change is what is always happening in every moment of their life they realize what potential and possibility they have to enjoy and grow their lives in various ways particular to their own situation in life. They realize the wealth of experiences they have had good and bad that prepares them to exercise any changes they chose to make. They accept their story of life to now and spend time exploring various options they have to live their life from now on. They visualize the various options and live through them in an imaginative exercise applying the resources and energy they have to make them happen. Eventually it comes down to choosing. We have but one life-time. We know what we have achieved and experienced to-date. We know the numbers of years we have left and the various chapters we can live through. We get to know what we can do with the resources, energy, health, family, friendships and relationships that matter in our lives.
TPS clients fine tune their intentions and plan a way forward that gives them the most joy for the rest of their lives. They get to know for the first time that no matter what happens in the flow of their life that it is their attitude that brings enjoyment in every moment. An attitude based on the characteristics we mentioned in the previous paragraph. An attitude with some principles of behaviour that gives meaning to their life. When they live with this attitude of character they attract the same characters to them no matter where they travel, live, go or are. It’s an attitude that gets us to step-up and not live half-lives in our very privileged first world. You may change nothing in your life but your attitude and it seems like that you have gone through a transformation; from being a caterpillar to butterfly. Seeing the world on the ground and then the air. You feel lighter, controlling nothing but managing what is important to give purpose and joy to your life. What you radiate to the world around you is a positive energy that can only do good in all that you do. And of course you wear one of those amazingly infectious ‘real smiles’
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“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lou Holtz
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” Vincent van Gogh
“Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.” Rumi
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” George Lucas
“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections
©Copyright Áinne Burke 2013