Fifty Shades of Grey

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Fifty Shades of Grey Phenomenon

When the Fifty Shades of Grey book came out it caused a sensation and, at the time, became the fastest book to sell a million copies.  I believe it has now, at the time of writing, sold One Hundred Million copies.     For anyone who doesn’t already know, Fifty Shades of Grey follows the erotic relationship between a newly graduated girl and a billionaire business guy.     After seeing and hearing all the hype surrounding these books I felt I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and so I duly ordered myself a copy.

Not all that long ago women were literally given away in marriage and became the property of their husbands.   The man was deemed to be the head of the household and women had little or no say, they were expected to ‘know their place’.   Domestic violence was not deemed to be a criminal offence, my own mother had a pretty rough life at the hands of my father.

In my lifetime women have become more liberated and learned to stand up for themselves in achieving goals within their own right.    I include myself in this.   I have watched as women fought for equal rights in the workplace.   I have seen how women have been able to renegotiate a place of equality within their relationships.   As a woman myself I have felt immensely proud of the progress women have made in overcoming the sexist views of men and indeed society.     I then read Fifty Shades …..

It seems to be mainly women who raved over the book at the time it was published.   As a liberated woman living within a society of other liberated women, I find that really surprising. When I hear comments to the effect that Monsieur Grey is a ‘real man’ I wince.  

I am not a prude or inhibited about sex, it can be wonderful and I like it, but I do have a very real concern about the type of sadistic sex described throughout the book and the assumed fascination in sadistic sex as the high level of sales seems to indicate.  Whatever two consenting adults get up to in the bedroom is usually considered by them to be normal.  We all see life through our own unique filter and see our own behaviour as normal .. as ‘how it should be’.   Within my consulting room I hear so many differing accounts of what is considered to be normal that I have become unshockable.  The thing I find disquieting about these books and now the film is women’s apparent acceptance of being made sexually submissive to a dominant man through sado-masochism.

You may be thinking that the books and the film are only a bit of fun but if you take away the billionare’s billions then all you have is an abusive and controlling man.   The books suggest that because this guy is rich that gives him the right to power over others.

In my profession I have to deal with enough of the darker side of life.   The line between eroticism and abuse is a very fine one and it’s all too easy to step over it.  With that in mind, the story that is played out in the books and is now brought to life in the film, is one that, if taken up by many men, will create a living hell for many women.   The male character in this particular story is much in need of therapy in order to resolve his own abused childhood.

In my view the books, and now the film, are not helpful and may well put the cause of women back a generation, maybe even two.

For me, making love as an equal partner will always be better than the control exerted by S&M.

In the words of John Lennon  “All you need is Love”.

Be happy

Jacqueline

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PEACE for Christmas …..

PEACE at Christmas Time

In this season of purported goodwill to all mankind, who in their shared humanity profess a need for peace on this earth of ours, I find myself  thinking back one hundred years to the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914. The Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare.    It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured. When humanity can be found in such brutal conditions and in the hearts of opposing troops then surely this clearly demonstrates that peace is an attitude.    Those soldiers in the WWI trenches went against the orders and expectations of their Officers and found within themselves a common humanity.   Within the existential angst of the nonsense of war they found empathy and actively chose to take a break from hostilities. The soldiers’ compassion for each other was allowed to last for only one day.    In my consulting room all too frequently I hear of seasonal benevolence fading into resumed battles as the season of goodwill slips quietly into a new year. Peace is an attitude, it can be expressed as a deed, an expression, a look, a touch…. it is in anything that uplifts another person.    Could the world not be a better place if human kindness and goodwill to all were practised as a choice on a daily basis ?

Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year to all.

Jacqueline

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Positivity Challenge ……. banish those negative naggers …..


Put Yourself on a Negativity Free Diet

It’s not easy to be  positive every second of the day.   Negative thoughts can always find a way to sneak up on us from time to time.    The trick is to catch them as they arrive, to interrupt the current thought and turn it into a more positive one.   As you become more aware of their arrival it is easier to stop them taking over your thoughts.   The more you practice catching their arrival and replacing them with a positive you will notice that their arrival decreases.     I liken negative thoughts to a sceptic wound – left unattended it will fester and make you ill.    When you attend to the wound and ingest antibiotics into your system the wound will begin to heal as soon as the antibiotics take hold.

Here are a few tips for eradicating negative thinking

Choose Your Own Reality (Yes, you can)

It’s important to realise that the way you react to the outside world becomes your reality. When something happens you can to choose to see it as either a positive or negative experience.   Which ever one you choose you will react accordingly and that viewpoint will become your reality.   Losing your job, Finding yourself living alone, A neighbour’s selfish  action might be viewed as a an absolute disaster or it could be viewed as the opportunity to move on and find new experiences and a better, brighter future.   You really can choose your response to any given situation.

Exercise; it Produces a Natural High

When you exercise the increased energy output naturally releases positive chemicals into your body.   This is an excellent way to maintain your positive attitude.  I used to run to the sound of my favourite music but you don’t need to be a long distance, or any other distance, runner, or to be doing very strenuous exercise each day – a walk around the block with or without your favourite music ringing in your ears will help.

Download Some Positivity to Your Brain

As we have just read, exercise downloads its own positivy into your brain.   However, for those who really detest exercise there are other alternatives out there.   There are countless inspiring books, podcasts and videos which can be downloaded to encourage positivity into your life.  Tapping into others’ positive thoughts and experiences may help you to look at problems in a completey different and positive way.   You don’t even need to set  aside time to listen in, you can do so whilst commuting, cleaning up, walking the dog or just sitting with your feet up.

Recharge Your Batteries

A vital step in maintaining a positive attitude is to take some time to recharge your batteries.  This could be anything from taking a couple of hours to watch a favourite uplifting film to taking a month’s holiday.   Take a day out from the world and treat yourself like your own best friend.    Whatever you choose to do, a break in your usual routine will produce a feeling of caring for yourself and a more positive mindset.

Watch / Listen to Less Newscasts

It’s always useful to know what’s going on in the wider world, however, the media always loads towards the negative.  I find it so sad that it seems to be negativity which enthralls. Repeatedly listening to the same negative message will set up a negative mindset.   Find out what’s happening in the world by all means, just limit your daily input.

Take on an Attidude of Gratitude

Learning to have an attitude of gratitude is all about being thankful for the good things that we already have in our life.    When we are grateful for what is good in our life, we are leaving little room for negativity to take hold of our thoughts.   You will find that the more you practice being grateful, the more things arrive in your life to be grateful for. 

Make a list of all the things in your life for which you are grateful, you may be surprised by just how many there are.   Me ?   Well, I’m grateful for the food I eat, the logs which keep me warm, the true friends I have in my life, the simple fact that the sun is shining today, the peace and quiet I enjoyed whilst writing this blog …. and much, much more.

I’d love to hear what the ingredients are in your negativity free diet, please let me know via the comments box below.

Think positive

Jacqueline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nelson Mandela ….. may he rest in peace


Nelson Mandela …..

A man whose courage won out against all odds and made the world a better place for so many.

We can all help make the world around us a better place by practicing kindness, having respect and patience with ourselves and with others and standing up for what is humane.

Let’s be the change we want to see in the world by offering to others the humanity we would like to receive for ourselves.   We may not have the celebrity of Nelson Mandela but we can make our own corner of the world a better place.

Be peaceful

Jacqueline

 

 

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Be Kinder to Yourself …..

In order to feel balanced we require our individual needs to be met.    When our needs are not being met it is easy to become resentful and miserable.  
Your needs are just as important as anybody else’s and sometimes you need to put your own needs before the needs of others.    Taking care of your own needs isn’t being selfish, it’s what I call ‘Selfing’.    Practicing Selfing regularly will enable you to value yourself whilst taking care of those who need you.    
 

Ways to begin Selfing …..

Start spending time with people who uplift you.     
These are the people who encourage you and  make you feel more alive, who love and appreciate you just as you are, unconditionally.
 
Start being polite to yourself.       
If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself  sends out a message to others and sets the standard for how they treat you.  
 
 Start living in the present.   
This moment is the only moment guaranteed to you.  This moment is all we really have.  Yesterday is a memory, Tomorrow is a projection of your thoughts.
Practice being in the moment, focus your attention on whatever you are doing in any given momemt.    The present moment is safe because, within it,  you are coping.   
 
Start listening to your gut feelings.  
Follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say whatever you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
 
Start paying attention to your stress level and take short breaks.    
Give yourself permission to slow down.     Breathe deeply.   When you’re at your busiest, a short break can rejuvenate your mind and increase your efficiency.
 
Start concentrating on the things you can control.   
Devote your time to changing the things that are within your control.    Wasting your time and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is pointless and only leads to increased frustration.
 
Start appreciating your current wealth.     
Wealth is not all about money.    Henry Thoreau said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”   Even when times are hard it helps to keep things in perspective.    Remember the everyday things you do have.  You are not starving.    You have access to clean drinking water.  You don’t sleep outside.   You have a choice of clean clothes to wear each day.   You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.   You can read and write.   There are Some who would  say that you are incredibly wealthy.   Remind yourself to be grateful for all the things you do have.   
 
 
When you learn to become your own best friend life becomes easier.
 
Jacqueline
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You Can Spend Spend Spend ….. What Will You Do ?


I was sent the following by a friend who felt I would be interested in reading it.  I found it a very interesting and thought provoking concept.   I pass it forward to you to take from it what you will.

Imagine that you have a bank account that credits your account each morning with £86,400.    It carries over no balance from day to day.   Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance that you failed to use during the day.    What would you do ?   You would of course draw out every penny.

Each of us has such a bank.    The account name is Time.    Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds.   Every night it writes off as lost every second that you have failed to invest to good use.    It carries over no balance.   It allows no overdraft.    Each day it opens up a new account for you.    Each night it burns the remains of the day.    If you fail to use the day’s deposits the loss is yours.   There is no drawing against ‘tomorrow’.    You must live in the present on today’s deposit.    Invest well in order to get the utmost in health, happiness and whatever is important to you.

The clock is running.   Make the most of today.   

Be happy.

Jacqueline

 

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Summer Solstice – A Time for Change ?

Here comes the Sun 

Inspired by the power of the sun, civilizations have celebrated the first day of summer, the summer solstice, for eons.    Our biological system is linked to the rising and setting of the sun.   Circadian rhythms affect us in ways with which many of us living in the modern world have become disconnected.

Midsummer is a time when there is more sunlight each day and our energy levels are boosted both physically and emotionally.       By dint of the increased energy the summer solstice brings, this is an ideal time for making resolutions to:  kickstart new habits, improve human relationships and, to let go of negativity.

Do you feel a biological difference in your energy level and mood at this time of year ?    Do you feel like your batteries are fully charged between the summer solstice and the winter solstice ?   Now is the time to create daily habits that will become hardwired into lifestyle changes.   Changes that will help to keep your spirits buoyed as the days become shorter.

New Year’s resolutions are difficult to keep and usually don’t last.    Midwinter is a most difficult time of year to create new habits.   The odds of creating lifestyle changes that last are highest when your energy levels are at their highest.    When you resolve to change habits of mindset and behaviour in Midsummer they are more likely to stick because it is much easier for them to become hardwired in the brain.   

If you would like to share your aspirations … please do so via the comments box.

Jacqueline

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What If …..

Whilst reading I came upon these words by Oriah Mountain Dreamer below and I was moved to share them …

PRELUDE:

 What if …..
It truly doesn’t matter what you do but how you do whatever you do ?
How would this change what you choose to do with your life ?
How would this change how you want to spend your precious time on this earth ?
 
What if …..
Your contribution to the world and the fulfillment of your own happiness is not dependent upon discovering a better method of prayer or technique of meditation, not dependent upon reading the right book or making the right sounds, but upon really seeing and deeply appreciating yourself and the world as they are right now ?
How would this affect your search for development ?
 
What if …..
There is no need to change, no need to try to transform yourself into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving or wise ?
How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better ?
 
What if …..
The task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature ~ gentle, compassionate, and capable of living fully and passionately present ?
How would this affect how you feel when you wake up in the morning ?
 
What if …..
Who you essentially are right now is all you are ever going to be ?
How would that affect how you see and feel about your past ?
 
What if …..
The question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am ?
How would this change what you think you have to learn ?
 
What if …..
Becoming who and what we are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practices that offer us the warmth and encouragement we need to unfold ?
How would this shape the choices you make about how you spend today ?
 
What if …..
You knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait ?
How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance ?
 
From ‘The Dance’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

 

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HAPPY 2013 – How Do You See It ?

So, the Mayan prophecy didn’t wipe us all out and the human race has now entered into a brand new year.    What will you write on this brand new page of your self-scripted life history ?    How do you decide how the next chapter will flow ?

I keep a journal each year and have signed off my 2012 journal with a contemplative review before commencing my new 2013 entries.    I avoid making New Year resolutions as they can so often feel like setting ourselves up for failure.    New Year resolutions are loaded with the danger of giving us a negative self-image.  

Instead, I opt for a focus on the year ahead and my 2013 journal begins with an emphasis on the coming days, weeks and months.  What would I like to have achieved at the end of 2013 and how would I like to be feeling ?   This gives me a positive sense of direction and an energetic motivation to achieve what I want for myself in 2013, I may not yet have any clue as to how I will actually achieve what I want, but I do know that I’m heading down the right path with positive potential for success.

What would you like to have achieved at the end of 2013 ?   And, how would you like to be feeling ?  

Jacqueline

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PEACE … Just Imagine ….

 PEACE at Christmas Time

In this season of purported goodwill to all mankind, who in their shared humanity profess a need for peace on this earth of ours, I find myself thinking of the World War I Christmas Truce…

The Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare.    It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

When humanity can be found in such brutal conditions and in the hearts of opposing troops then surely this clearly demonstrates that peace is an attitude.    Those soldiers in the WWI trenches went against the orders and expectations of their Officers and found within themselves a common humanity.   Within the existential angst of the nonsense of war they found empathy and actively chose to take a break from hostilities.

The soldiers’ compassion for each other was allowed to last for only one day.    In my consulting room all too frequently I hear of seasonal benevolence fading into resumed battles as the season of goodwill slips quietly into a new year.     

Peace is an attitude, it can be expressed as a deed, an expression, a look, a touch…. it is in anything that uplifts another person.    Could the world not be a better place if human kindness and goodwill to all were practised as a choice on a daily basis ?     

Merry Christmas

Jacqueline

 

 

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