Put Your Raft Down!

Amazingly, I turn 60 later this year. When I was a young girl, my mother used to tell me how fast time disappeared in adulthood. It wasn’t something I could comprehend and when we are young, we tend to live ‘in time’. However, she was right.
 

At this particular place in time, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. What do I really want to do in the next chapter of my life? Travel, of course. Lead an active lifestyle, of course. I’m not a lady who lunches or competes in golf although I do love to do both from time to time. No, not me.  If only it were that easy.  I am looking for intellectual stimulation, spiritual growth, creativity, fun, community and to be of service in an impactful way. Work that will align with my top values. I am looking for my life’s work, not a career as that ship has sailed. It’s the direction I wish to walk with the wisdom I have acquired over the years. In short, I’m in search of my calling.
 

After I left the financial sector, I walked many roads – from philanthropy, to marketing video business cards, trust protector, seed investor, participating on a couple of boards, and coaching. Some things I enjoyed more than others but there has always been a feeling deep within me that I am not doing what I was meant to do.
 

Coaching clients are few and far between where I live. The population is small and largely provincial in their thinking about the coaching industry.  And I just haven’t had the desire to market my coaching wares in other markets or build an online presence because frankly, I didn’t like the direction my coaching was taking. I was being lumped in with life coaches when in reality I am a mindset and performance coach.
 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a life coach.  They are very much needed but the work isn’t for me. It was never my intention.  Naturally when we train our minds, a better life follows. One needn’t be a life coach for that.
 

My desire was to make quantum shifts in people’s thinking so they could excel at whatever it is they want to excel at.  I never wanted to discuss people’s love lives.  I wanted to teach people how to take themselves from good to great using the tools of NLP and Hypnotherapy because Neuro Science works. And I did do that sometimes.
 

Last year, I stopped coaching except for a select few.  I stopped blogging.  I needed quiet time to clear some health issues which included dealing with some of my sorted past, and contemplation to determine the direction of my work.
 

Late last year, I did one of the best things I could do for myself and hired an executive coach/spiritual guru.  Her speciality is self-mastery.
 

Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees and I too get caught up in my own bullshit so I needed someone strong, who could call me on my stuff and get me back in touch with my soul.  I don’t think I’ve been listening to the me inside of me in a meaningful way for a long, long time now.  I was too busy building a life.
 

Last week, to end my non-productive pattern of pushing myself in all sorts of directions only to chase my tail, my coach instructed me to be kind to myself and slow down. I’ve got some ongoing health issues that stem from a weary endocrine system that need some TLC.  I’ve lived a BIG life.  My mind says ‘go’ and my body says ‘no’.  I effectively need to continue to get over me for a while.  LOL.
 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have pushed and pushed myself towards having a better life. I had a thought that turned into a belief that turned into a conviction and set me on the trajectory to attain ‘good life status’.  This is a long-established thought pattern within me that began when I was 6 years old.  #Gratitudeforsuchathoughtatayoungage
 

It’s time to release this pattern as it’s no longer serving me.
 

https://pamelapitcher.com/my-story/
 

Since I’ve moved to the UK, I have had the sails knocked out of me and found myself flailing over rocks and being pelted by waves. I was left grasping for air, clinging to the raft that was my old life.
 

Being the person that I am have continued to push and push – creating workshops, learning to walk again after reconstructive foot surgery, studying NLP and Hypnotherapy, recovering from a ski accident which resulted in a multi fractured pelvis, learning to stepmom,  grieving my mom, saying enough to my brothers’ emotional abuse, forever seeking to be a positive change in the world, fundraiser, walking the Camino, etc.  Apparently, I’m still pushing.   That’s why last week, my coach told me in no uncertain terms to put my raft down.
 

One of the Buddha’s most famous teachings is the Parable of the Raft. In it he likened his teachings to a raft for crossing a fast-flowing river.
 

A man is trapped on one side of a river. On this side of the river, there is great danger and uncertainty; on the far side is safety. But there is no bridge spanning the river, nor is there a ferry to cross over. What to do? The man gathers together logs, leaves, and creepers and by his wit fashions a raft from these materials. By lying on the raft and using his hands and feet as paddles he manages to cross the river from the dangerous side to the side of safety.
 

The Buddha then asks the listeners a question. What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river thought to himself, ‘That raft has served me well; I will carry it on my back over the land now?’ The monks replied that it would not be a very sensible idea to cling to the raft in such a way. The Buddha went on, ‘What if he lay the raft down gratefully thinking that this raft has served him well but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?’ The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude. The Buddha concluded by saying, ‘So it is with my teachings which are like a raft and are for crossing over with—not for seizing hold of.’
 

In the early stages of life there is a lot of raft-seizing. We find a truth or a piece of the truth, and we make it absolute. My truth was: “I’ve got to work hard to make it out of this emotional pain.”  I built a really big raft.
 

I don’t need it anymore. I’ve crossed the river. I know my calling will come without having to push.  I’ve FINALLY laid my raft on the ground and lightened my load. My 60’s are going to be awesome.

Do You Cha Cha?

Do you do the Cha Cha?

 

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

-Upanishads of the Vedas

 

These words have been quoted by Margaret Thatcher and Mohandas Gandhi because they are powerful.  For me, the first three words are the most powerful of the bunch.

 

WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS

 

People think they are their thoughts.  People think what they think is true when really it may be true for you alone and not necessarily a perspective shared by anyone else.  We think what we think based on our past conditioning and no two people in the world think the same way.

 

A good exercise to learn how you think is to listen to your inner self-talk.  When you listen to your inner chatter, are those thoughts serving you?  Do you say empowering things to yourself that will ensure you have a great day or are you hard on yourself?

 

We don’t have to accept what the voice in our head is telling us if we don’t like it.  We can choose not to give it power.  After all, it’s just our brain having a thought and a thought is a thing. Things can and do change.  We can change HOW we think.

 

Some people think they can change their lives through positive affirmations. They are a popular new year resolution.

 

However, positive affirmations don’t work if the voice in our head is countering the affirmation.  For example, a popular affirmation is: “Every day and in every way, I am getting better and better.”

 

Sounds good, no?

 

What if as we say the affirmation the voice in our head says something along the lines of, “Who am I kidding; my life is never going to change no matter how many affirmations I try. I wish I could meet that special someone…find that job … get that dream house…

 

BOOM, right there you have countered positive momentum in your mind and also turned your state of mind over to an external event, neither of which are going to change your state of mind to an optimum level. One step forward; two steps back. Cha Cha Cha.

 

Just as it’s good to exercise our body, it’s good to exercise our brain to achieve results both personally and professionally.  The natural tendency is to slip into reliving the past or worrying about the future both of which can produce unnecessary anxiety and worry.

 

When you catch yourself having a negative thought, simply stop and focus your mind on something else that makes you feel good.

 

Listening to music is a wonderful gamechanger.  Put on a favourite tune and step lively into your future. Everyone around you will benefit. Watch how others’ reactions change when you change your thinking.

 

Greetings from Athens!

Greetings from Athens! As I stare out at the Acropolis from my hotel room on Vasllisis Sofia Drive I remain as ever amazed at how people think. I’m attempting to fill a group workshop and I’m getting more requests to work with individuals 1 on 1 and no takers for the group workshop. I believe it’s because people are frightened to be judged by others in the group. Sometimes, being a confidence coach has a negative connotation attached to it even though I know confidence is in high demand.

 

As I contemplate other’s thinking patterns, I think it’s apropos to be in Greece, the ancient home of some of the world’s great thinkers such as Socrates for example. He was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy who died 399 BCE. He was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock.

 

An unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

 

Plato was another philosopher and founder of the Academy in Athens. It was the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He passed in 348/347 BCE.

 

Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself.” – Plato

 

And last but not least,

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Pride or Pain?

It’s been raining hard. I have mud all up my calves, my hiking shoes are filthy, my feet ache, my big toe nail on my left foot has turned purple and I have blood blisters at it’s base, I’ve developed blisters on my right foot and hand, I walked 25 km today. I am on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain and I’m about to take a glorious hot bath – after I shower down my legs of course. Who wants a muddy bath?!

 

For those of you who do not know, the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in NW Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried.

 

It is difficult to define where exactly the Camino starts as pilgrims used to start their journey from home, but over the years, different ‘ways’ have emerged. The French Way is the most popular and it usually starts in the French Pyrenees.   There is also the Northern Way, the Original Way, the Portuguese Way and the Finisterre Way. We met someone who began his pilgrimage from Geneva.

 

One of my compadres (friends) tells me that when it comes to discussing physical challenges, that one can discuss the pain or the pride. Today is the third time he attracted bed bugs, which is very common on the Camino. Despite this and the other hardships he has endured walking over 700 km, he says he will only discuss the pride of his adventure. I am obviously not of the same mind.

 

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Dare to Detox?

As a confidence & clarity coach, I write my blog to help others with their mindset. This month is a little different. I am going to focus on the physical and share my detox story with you. I am writing this month’s somewhat lengthy blog from Bodrum, Turkey where I travelled to embark on a 9-day detox program at The LifeCo.

 

Nobody can deny that when we feel fabulous physically, it only enhances our self-confidence.”

 

I have been on detox programs in the past, but I have never felt the need so great as now. It’s been a tumultuous year both physically and emotionally and it’s time to get off the roller coaster ride. I feel the need to be grounded and heal my body and rest my weary mind. I am an over-thinking empath, the combination of which can be exhausting. Physically, I have been anguishing with an underactive thyroid for some time now. I need a good cleanse inside and out.

 

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Do You Want Peace & Happiness?

They say gratitude is the best attitude. If you’re not feeling happy or positive, sometimes it can be difficult to feel grateful yet gratitude is the way out of a funk. It’s helpful to understand the neuroscience behind it.

 

According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre, regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the grey matter functioning and makes us healthier and happier. When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less reactive, and less resistant. And gratitude is the most effective practice for stimulating feelings of happiness.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet and peace activist who has a Mindfulness Practice Centre in France called Plum Village. Some of his wisdom:

 

It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available – more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future to get more.”

 

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