HI-JACKED by TECHNOLOGY

Holidaying with family can always throw up certain challenges, but keeping my parents off screens was not one I was prepared for. It had been a while since I’d spent a lot of time with my folks so it took me by complete surprise. Walking along the beach with my sis, she points out Mum & Dad busy on their screens under the shade of a tree.  At first I think, well – that’s not so bad. If they weren’t on screens they would probably be reading a book. In fact they could be reading a book on screen as far as I knew. “No..” my sis says… “you have no idea how bad it’s got". 

Wow. I stop still in my tracks and think of the implications of my parents on screen. Does it mean that they are connecting more with people in cyber space than in real life? Is it taking away from the experiences they might have with their grandchildren and us? I shrug it off thinking that it’s hot, they’re tired and want to stay out of the sun and it’s all ok.

It wasn’t too hard to convince them to get off their screens and play a game of Finska with us all and in the end we all enjoyed ourselves.  The only thing that played on my mind was that I had to drag them into the present moment and take them away from wherever they had travelled too online.

We then all head home after a successful trip to the beach. We all settle in and before you know it – boom… they are back on their screens. I offer them a drink and they both don’t look up but say it’s a little early for them. I stand bewildered that their choice is to be on screen. I try and make conversation but quickly realize that they are engrossed in their online life. I shrug it off and join my siblings on the verandah for an afternoon beverage.  Pretty quickly I notice that my parents and all the kids have gone on line. Scattered through the lounge room they all have their phones & tablets.  It then strikes me. Am I part of the generation caught in the middle? Quite often my sons will make me feel like a royal pain in the butt for nagging them to get off a screen and go out and play and experience the world, but I never thought I would be thinking the same thing about my parents?

So – what is the attraction? I think Dad is attracted to connecting with people his own age with similar interests.  Mum says it’s about keeping up with her family in Singapore.  All fair and valid reasons. What I fear for my generation and the next is that perhaps humanity is going to forget how to exist in real time.  We will lose our ability to truly connect with each other face to face.  Our hearts and minds will be busy thinking and caring about people who don’t really matter in that space and time and by doing this we rob ourselves of experiences and opportunities with those around us. It sometimes hurts seeing my parents distracted from reality when they could just as easily be tinkering in the garage or cooking in the kitchen and attracting a different kind of attention or even teaching new skills to those around them. But now that the older generation and the younger generation are being sucked in by technology what will be left? Do I have no choice but to join them? It certainly feels like an uphill battle.

LIFE COACHING CHILDREN

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Getting our two boys to bed on time is always a challenge in our household. When they were younger there were so many wonderful choices of great books to read but I've been struggling for a while to find a story that both of them enjoy or that can keep their attention. Recently, the boys have asked to have a chat before bedtime. At first I felt this was a usual ploy to allow them to stay up later, but to be honest I really enjoy this special end of day time together. For a change they are still (ish) and want to just be with me. Very special. 

It was yesterday whilst listening to a podcast that I had an idea. All this great information that I'm hearing every day from podcasts like "where there's smoke", "dear sugars" and now "the one you feed" - why not pass on some of this information to my children? Especially information that I know will help them. It also got me wondering why we no longer have fables or stories designed to deliver a good message about life and how to live. This is something I want to research more. I remember hearing stories in my childhood that really did help mould my more positive attributes.  This is how I wanted to lead our bedtime chats.

Our first "coaching chat" was borrowed  from 'the one you feed' podcast created and produced by Eric Zimmer and Chris Forbes.  Their podcast is based on an old cherokee Indian parable. 

An old Grandfather told his grandson: "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and bravery."

The boy thought about it, and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?"

The old man quietly replied, "The one you feed."

After reading this to my sons I asked them what they thought it meant. They both understood it very well after we discussed some of the meanings of the words which they were unsure of. By the end of our chat I felt they had learnt something new about themselves and how much control they really have over who they are and who they become. They also both went to sleep quickly and soundly which is a rare treat in this household. Maybe try it with your kids. 

ROLLER COASTER

We all experience the same physical feelings. It’s what we do with these feelings and how we build on them that will ultimately create the outcome.

For instance.  My identical twin sister and I are lining up to go for a ride on a roller coaster. Standing there I have butterflies in my stomach. I look over at my sis and recognize that she is feeling nervous as well. These butterflies start to flap harder and harder as the line moves on and we get closer to our turn.

“Oh man….” I say to my sister, “This is so exciting – it’s gonna be so awesome! I can’t wait to go on!”

My sister looks hopelessly at me … “Marnz – I don’t know if I can do this… I’m scared shitless, listen to all the screaming, it doesn’t sound like fun. I don’t think I can do it.”

I try to convince her “What are you talking about Nits? This is going to be so much fun!!! Look at everyone getting off the ride. They love it! C’mon Nits – you can do it – just hang in there, it will all be worth it.”

So, whilst I’m busy turning my butterflies into feelings of excitement my sister is busy turning her butterflies into feelings of fear.

The initial feeling for both of us was the same. The feeling you get in your stomach starts to grow the moment you decide to go on that ride and it escalates to the point where you’re either strapped in and ready and excited to go or you’re left standing on the side lines, fearful and watching. 

I made the conscious decision as soon as I felt my very first flutter to be excited; my sister chose to feel fear.

So – what does this mean? 

We can harness our physiological responses to either work for us, or to work against us.

The next time you physically feel a negative emotion, be it fear, anxiety, loneliness – whatever it is, think it into a positive state and it will be so. Turn fear into courage, anxiety into calm, loneliness into time alone and ride the roller coaster of life on your terms and not on the whim of your physical self. 

FEAR OF GETTING OLD… mid life awakening.

People talk about a mid life crisis. I prefer to call it a mid life awakening. 

Let's look at the facts.

You're turning 40. Your heart starts to beat a little faster when you think about that. You start to analyse everything in your life, your career or lack there of, your relationships, friendships, marriage, your family. What you've achieved compared to what you thought you would achieve. You measure every area of your life. You notice in the mirror that youth is definitely starting to sneak out the back door. Physically you start to change, this has been happening for a while but it's only now you really notice. Your skin is becoming blotchy and lacking lustre, your flesh is starting to go soft and get dragged down by gravity, even your hair is someone else's. But how many of us concentrate more on our external changes rather than our internal? I think here lies the problem. Of course we are ageing, it happens to all of us. We're all going to end up as little old wrinklies, there's nothing we can do about that. The great news is is that we have absolute control of who we become on the inside. Think about how great life can be when we're not distracted by our outward appearance, when our focus isn't about what we look like and who we can attract but more about who we are and how we can help. When there's no external to worry about and we can switch all our attention to the internal. That after all is where all real beauty lies. I know many of us have met stunningly beautiful people who had zero charisma and before you  know it they no longer appear beautiful. Meet someone who shines from the inside and that beauty will never die.

So… mid life awakening is how I see it, purely because we begin to really understand what is important for us and what's not. What really needs my attention and what doesn't. So Boris next door on his 40th birthday goes out and buys a shiny red sports car, good on him. If all his life he's realised that a shiny red sports car will bring him great pleasure than what the hell…. he's ticked off one of his life goals which is important to him. Marjory an old friend who always loved to party and be the centre of attention decides to set forth on a 6 month alone hike through the Andes - some will say - mid life crisis…. but how can her own pursuit of happiness be a crisis? It most certainly is an awakening, an awakening to the fact that yes - life is short, yes - we only have a certain amount of time on this earth so now is a good time to embrace it for all it can be, without the paranoia of youth. 

Below is a video that shows elderly women at their best. Embracing life. Grateful for the gift of waking in the morning, knowing that they have another day to live, what a gift! Perhaps we need to adopt this way of thinking before we're 99.

LAY OFF YOUR HORNS

I consider myself to be a considerate and good driver. Having lived and driven in London for 10 years at the very least turns you into one. If people drove in London like they do in Sydney it would be constant grid lock.

This morning because of inclement weather I drove my boys to school. Twice I got beeped at in the space of two three minute drives, for no reason apart from the fact that whomever honked was in a massive rush. Not only were they speeding but they were driving aggressively which is never a good way to be and most definitely never a good way to drive. In both cases the honker was in the wrong and if I had a chance to catch them up I'm certain I would have seen a bit of blush in their cheek.

In Sydney the road signs are a little unclear. There are plenty of no right turn arrows that are easy to see and then underneath them it states, for vehicles over 6 meters etc. This clearly doesn't apply to cars and it being the only access I have by car to my corner of the world at that time of day doesn't leave me much choice. This person kept their hand on the horn the whole time myself and another car were waiting to turn. I seriously wanted to get out of my car and (shove their car horn up their ass)…ok…I need to work on that….I wanted to nicely point out that we were able to turn right and just to go around.

I often wonder what that persons life must look like. How they have so much aggression inside to have to release it in such a way. Whatever happened to good will and kind gestures? Why is everyone always in such a rush these days? I think it's time for us to all take a deep breath, get our hands of our horns and rather than feel aggressive, let people in when there's a jam and maybe even give them a little smile. After all we're all just trying to get somewhere. If that fails let's all pretend that we're all going through some massive crisis, which seems to be the only time humanity reaches out and looks like they care for each other.