life journey

Is Meaninglessness a Malaise of our Times?

A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, often we discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope. What is it all about?

Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

About The Program – Calming the Storm

This program offers daily ways for you to overcome difficult situations, to help you to find the WHY that will energize and animate your life. In finding your own WHY, in discovering your meaning and your purpose, your pain will be lessened. You will discover ways to unfold meaning, as well as a personal calling through tasks that you can fulfill, relationships that you can strengthen and enrich, and attitudes that you can develop and cultivate.

This practical, inspiring, and potentially life-changing program will take you step by step through a process towards a more fulfilled and enriched working and personal life.

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Suffering Ceases to be Suffering – Viktor Frankl

Renewed Purpose (2)“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”
Viktor Frankl

See the online course: Calming the Storm to discover your own personal meaning.

Upcoming Personal Meaning Coaching Via Skype

See Meaning and Mindfulness for meaning, mindfulness and stress reduction resources and training. During 2016, I am launching Personal Meaning Coaching online via Skype.

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See Calming the Storm: How Discovering Meaning can Change Your Life on Avanoo, get it for 25% less on the launch promotion.

Calming the Storm Program 2

Calming the Storm

 

Calming the Storm ~ 30-Day Program

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I am delighted to announce my new partnership with Avanoo Avanoo (pronounced “Avenue”) comes from the words Ava, which is Finnish for “Open”, and Noo, which is Old English for “now”. So Avanoo means being open to all of your potential right now! It is also a road we travel as we move forward in life.

In 3 minutes a day, Avanoo offers dozens of personalized 30-day programs ranging from Happiness to Productivity from renowned experts on those topics.

The 30-day program has been launched on 19-11-2015 called: Calming the Storm: How Discovering Meaning can Change your Life.

See the link below for three previews. I would like to thank the amazing team for all the hard work in bringing this to fruition: Sara Dickinson, Daniel Jacobs, Prosper Nwankpa, Morgan Stanfield, Laura Forman, Jason Waldron and everyone who worked on the program.

Introduction

A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, oftenwe discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope. What is it all about?

Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

Calming the Storm

What’s Inside

Day 1.
This Too Shall Pass
Day 2.
Finding Something to Live For Is Critical
Day 3.
The Question of Meaning in Life
Day 4.
Love Can Come to the Rescue
Day 5.
Putting Your Focus on a Project
Day 6.
The Power of Your Mindset
Day 7.
Finding Meaning from Suffering
Day 8.
Turn Suffering into a Challenge
Day 9.
Is Fear Holding You Back from Your Calling?
Day 10.
Learning Self-Compassion
Day 11.
Suffering Can Be an Inspiration
Day 12.
Appreciating Life Right Now
Day 13.
Your Watershed Moment
Day 14.
We Are Whole as We Are. We Are All Right
Day 15.
The Call That Beckons Us to Find Our Destiny
Day 16.
Filling Our Unique Life Space
Day 17.
What Is Your Choice of Response?
Day 18.
Finding Something to Live For
Day 19.
Life Questions and Light in the Darkness
Day 20.
The Experience of Love: “The Salvation of Man”
Day 21.
Are You Your Own Best Friend?
Day 22.
Is It Ever Okay to Give Up Hope?
Day 23.
Going with the Flow
Day 24.
Good News! You Do Not Have the Heart of a Mouse
Day 25.
It’s Time for Self Transcendence
Day 26.
Igniting Humor
Day 27.
Access a Power That Is Uniquely Human
Day 28.
Relieve Your Loved Ones from Suffering
Day 29.
Do the One Thing That You Know in Your Heart Is Right
Day 30.
“I Broke My Neck, It Didn’t Break Me”
Photo by Carol Knox.

Upcoming Program Launch ~ Calming the Storm: How Discovering Meaning Can Change Your Life

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Upcoming 30 day program launch on Avanoo

Title: Calming the Storm

Subtitle: How Discovering Meaning Can Change Your Life

Categories:

Courage, Life Purpose, Mindfulness, Resilience

Full Program Description:

Introduction

A lack of meaning might be called a malaise of our times. When we encounter challenges in life, often we discover that we can’t find a center, a way to cope. What is it all about?

Studies measuring meaning and purpose in life have found that meaning in life mediates uncontrollable stress and substance abuse, depression, anxiety and self-derogation, among others. This meaning or deepest human value, this WHY, points us to reach beyond ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to unfold a deep fulfillment in our work and personal lives.

About This Program

This program offers daily ways for you to overcome difficult situations, to help you to find the WHY that will energize and animate your life. In finding your own WHY, in discovering your meaning and your purpose, your pain will be lessened. You will discover ways to unfold meaning, as well as a personal calling through tasks that you can fulfill, relationships that you can strengthen and enrich, and attitudes that you can develop and cultivate.

This practical, inspiring, and potentially life-changing program will take you step by step through a process towards a more fulfilled and enriched working and personal life.

Long Bio:

Carol equips individuals to overcome challenges and life difficulties, guiding them to greater fulfillment and enrichment in their work and personal lives. Her work is designed to help others reduce their stress through meditation and mindfulness. Carol is a long-time trainer, lecturer, and business soft skills coach, focusing on: Train the Trainer, Stress Management, Conflict Management, Negotiation, Diversity, and Achieving Consensus, among other topics. She is a university tutor for training teachers in Life Orientation and Adult Basic Education.

Carol has a Master of Education, cum laude, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Psychology at the University of South Africa. Her research focuses on trauma and post-traumatic stress, and on the benefits of discovering meaning and practicing mindfulness in improving life circumstances. Carol has completed several courses on mindfulness and meditation, and has practiced meditation for more than 14 years.

Carol is the mother of three daughters and currently lives in a small town in the Western Cape in South Africa. She loves animals and likes to spend her time exploring the beauty of the West Coast. In her spare time she likes to write and has recently published her first audio short story: Belongings in the Sand.

Short Bio:

Carol is a long-time trainer, lecturer, and business soft skills coach, whose work is designed to help individuals reduce their stress through meditation and mindfulness.

Keyword Bio:

Mindfulness Coach, Writer, Teacher.

 

 

This Precious Human Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama ~ Each Day Recite This

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“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Image from a walk along Trappieskop in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town: Sitting feet on the rock looking down.

The UnValentines of Single People | How Does it Feel? | My Unness

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The unvalentine of year after year of single life. How does it feel to be uncoupled, unlinked, unrelated? Are you undone? For me I am definitely in a state of unness. Singleness by choice, a kind of pristine space albeit from time to time an alone one. This is the time, including the Christmas and New Year period, when this unlinkedness comes to the fore. It is not so much the lack of a link to a partner that causes from time to time a sharp ache, a sense of separateness so acute to be an actual heartache. The yearning is for a community, a relatedness, rather than a relationshipness. The bygone days of sharing, preparing meals, talking in the kitchen. Nowadays I no longer cook for myself. Some studies have shown that eating alone is not good for you. I find it depressing, so I would rather eat in a distracted way, while doing other things, almost in passing.

These simple, heartwarming moments can yawn like a chasm, like any Grand Canyon in their missingness. I do the stuff of meaning making, focusing on projects, meditating, increasing spiritual practice, but it is true that this unness does not sit as comfortably as at other times. I am especially aware at these times to try to focus on positive things, to steer away from undoings, to avoid certain spaces where couples and families congregate. How do you cope with the life phase of the fifties, when children are grown and you are alone? What do you do to get closer to fine?

Even a short walk on the beach helps me. I love to watch the people and the deep presentness of the dogs enjoying the sand, sea, air and of course the kelp. I sit and smile, pushing my hands and feet into the sand, a simple and great joy, looking out to sea and at the ghost mountains in the distance.

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And yesterday this sign made me smile too:

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Photos taken by Carol Knox

Image from Wikimedia Commons

The Unfurling of my Heart | A Young Woman’s Journey with Ayahuasca in Peru and the Amazon

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Do read the four beautiful experiences of this #YoungWoman, who journeyed alone to #Peru and the #Amazon. A journey of the heart. She encountered #LifeChanging experiences, #ReEnchantment, life meaning, with #Ayahuasca, in the most lovely, loving and life enhancing way. Do read these heart-rending and loving accounts of being true to yourself, facing your fears and living within the immediate experience of life. Someone who is trying to #actualize her #meaning in life.  A delightful read:

The Unfurling of my Heart 

“I embarked on my #journey alone with #courage and love in my heart thinking that not only would I be travelling to Peru alone but that I was going to have all my experiences alone.

I unexpectedly came across such beautiful and special people; I reconnected with my tribe and found my brothers along the way. Life is such a precious and sacred gift. Here’s to living with an open heart, being true to yourself, facing your fears, cultivating courage and love within your heart and living within the immediate experience of life, because that’s where pure joy dares to live.”

Image from free downloads at Creative Market

Not Lemonade – Acceptance the Route to Ease

Not Lemonade – Acceptance the Route to Ease

When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

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Here a lemon there a peach, a bitter pill a scented sheet, here a dark weapon there a white flag, a cool deceit an alluring feat, here a jarring lie there a sonorous truth, an uncouth word an honour conferred.

between all of these

lies

acceptance…

the route to ease.

Here is a previous post of mine about acceptance: Acceptance as a tool to overcome a crisis in living

Image Creative Commons Attribution

Freedom and Suffering

stones purchased image

I would like to share with you today, a video by Christoph Eberhard sharing the ideas of Viktor Frankl on freedom and suffering. He reads from: Man’s Search for Meaning. I strongly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in meaning or for those who have existential questions. I really like the simple way that Christoph presents and shares these ideas. Here are some wonderful quotes from his video page on Vimeo:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl

“Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.” Viktor E. Frankl

“The way in which a man accepts his fate and all he suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life.” Viktor E. Frankl

“Life is not a void to be filled. It is a plenitude to be discovered.” Christoph Eberhard

Balanced stones image purchased.

From the Top – Who is to see, who is to know?

From the Top – Who is to see, who is to know?

Today, write about any topic you feel like — but you must reuse your opening line (at least) two more times in the course of your post.

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Who is to see, who is to know? I am me, but I keep the grit, struggles, angst, from the eyes of others. Usually I only share with my daughters and until recently, I didn’t share the whole extent of the minutiae of my life, until asked a direct question, or more to the point, several questions. Who is to see, who is to know? It is a kind of a fierce privacy that I have erected around struggle. I do not wish to reveal a vulnerability, or show the underside. Starting this blog was a way for me to write about life experiences, a way to make them real, a way not to deny, a way to look at some of the unfolding. I have always believed that one has to speak something to make it real, to be able to heal. Who is to see, who is to know? A dear person I have not seen for many years has recently also asked me a direct question. This is not what I have come to expect, even from friends. It’s a kind of squirming discomfort. He knows me well. I did reveal some of my struggle, but now I feel somewhat distressed and feel the need to pull away. I do not wish him to worry on my behalf. Who is to see, who is to know? Maybe I just need to sit with this discomfort? Sometimes I feel that I see too clearly, that I have none of the scales or veils over my eyes that others have. Maybe those who see, are the one’s who need to know? Maybe we are all somnambulists, barely able to see one foot in front of another?

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Long Exposure – Epiphanies and Meaning Unfolding – Lived Experience

Long Exposure – Epiphanies and Meaning Unfolding – Lived Experience

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

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My daughter Amber. I had a call from her this morning. She talked about the incredible challenges she experienced in B. She is one of the organisers of a debating tournament. She explained how she really felt a deep spiritual understanding of how the world works. How she got through immense problems while feeling she was: “just able to keep standing in her skin”. She talked about how she was challenged as an individual to the very boundary of her being, her exhaustion, pushing through and becoming far beyond what she thought was possible. She learnt what she is capable of as a human being, while actualising the following Franklinian values and sources of meaning, achieving a self-transcendence: the creative value, doing something in the service of others – “we experience meaning only when we make use of our gifts and fulfill our unique calling in contributing to society” ~ Paul Wong. Goals or projects that are future oriented; experiential value, relating to other people, life and nature with openness and appreciation, strengthening herself, others and her personal relationship. Finding meaning through love and loved ones; attitudinal value, which applies to finding meaning in times of suffering – in helping others and becoming what she had to become when confronted with very difficult circumstances, including helping someone who was seriously ill – transforming suffering, revising life goals, positive meaning and lessons, spirituality ~ Paul Wong.

In Amber’s own words:

“…i love you all, and i am proud of you all, and i can’t wait to work to move forward with this as the foundation that has spread so strongly among us through the toughest of circumstances.

you have changed how i view debate, and the world, and myself, and i cannot thank you enough…”

She is very blessed to have had this opportunity to really work on a deep level in her experiences in this situation, which when confronted with it, she became for others. How extraordinary to have had this opportunity to really extend herself. I am deeply happy for her, to have had these challenges so young and to learn so much about herself. She talked about how the spiritual teachings she has been exposed to at a young age, (Buddhist teachings from Geshela’s and teaching in India when she was 13), had given her a kind of inner bedrock of strength to work from. I wept when I realised that the teachings I have exposed her to, have had a profound impact on her life, in ways neither she nor I could have expected. I am grateful to all my precious teachers, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for enabling me to be a vehicle to bring the Dharma, (dharma is the universal truth common to all individuals at all times, and it is regarded as one of the primary sources of Buddhist doctrine and practice), to my daughter, who has brought it to her partner, through lived and challenging experiences. She was protected.

Image courtesy of Carol Knox.