I live on the slopes of the southern section of Table Mountain and have a great ‘up close’ view of the eastern facing mountain slope through my window as I am writing. At the moment the winter flowers are beautiful and a high winter rainfall this year has contributed to a lush green covering. In the summer dry conditions make fire a constant concern. Fire clears out dry dead wood and debris and the burned material creates a special type of fertiliser that restores vital nutrients to the soil. Many plants here in South Africa depend on the natural fires in our summer months to thrive.
We have a unique eco system here called Fynbos and the burning of the bush branches of such flowers as the Proteas shown above causes strong re-growth and a profusion of flowers. Also fire cracks open certain seeds and allows germination.
Order out of chaos
The rhythm of nature has cycles of destruction and reconstruction. Death and re-birth. These cycles are absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy eco system. The ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ was the ancients way of depicting this fact.
|Phoenix rises from the ashes|
We are not separate from nature. In fact, patterns in nature are duplicated within us because of the ‘as above so below’ principle. In our lives we naturally experience cycles of destruction and rebirth. To grow and truly evolve we have to create the new and let go of the old that has ceased to serve us. We have to make space for abundance consciousness by letting go of the consciousness of lack. We have to learn from our past and take that learning into the future re-modelled to create success.
There’s no failure only feedback
In NLP we say there is ‘no failure only feedback’. Each failure can be a stepping stone to success or a barrier. Each one of us chooses moment to moment which one.
I was thinking about my life and the ups and the downs. The times when the ending of a relationship or the walking away from a job had seemed an insurmountable challenge at the time and yet as I look back became a door to greater freedom, expansion and exploration. My ex husband’s Bankrupcy enabled me to discover my World Service. Waking up one day with your company, home, car and money suddenly gone makes you re-consider everything about your life. Leaving a job that drained my energy opened the way to setting up my own business doing those things I was passionate about. Leaving a relationship with a partner who refused to grow enabled me to escalate my own evolution. Stepping into the Unknown on occasions that warranted it has engendered courage and I believe Courage is a fundamental resource in life.
Truth is, fire happens on Table Mountain. And you can’t stop it. The Wildfire Service tries to manage it by doing small, low-intensity controlled burns in the hope that Mother Nature will accept these small offerings and never subject our mountainside homes to destruction. But it never works, Mother Nature knows best and we need to respect her boundaries and not build in her terrain rather than try to change her terrain to suit us.
The same is true in our lives. You’re here to evolve whether you know it or not. A friend of mine has had three motorbike accidents in the last 12 months and spent time in intensive care and recuperation after reach one. A whole year that could be either appreciated or cursed because it created time for reflection and rest. I wonder if he has learned the lesson yet. Your Higher Self is going to push you forward to fulfill your destiny – that is a given. You can go willingly and consciously doing a “controlled burn” along the way, or you can go kicking and screaming while your whole life gets set on fire.
Nature shows us that true happiness is not linear in nature. It is cyclical. There is no formula for being happy. Instead, there are ebbs and tides, ups and downs, quiet cycles and super-busy cycles. There is “fire” and then regrowth.
There has been a lot of discussion in the personal growth arena about the power and importance of being “happy”. However my feeling is that this must not become the ‘Holy Grail’ or a doomed to fail pursuit of the unreachable. There will be happiness and its opposite. The growth is in saying ‘this too will pass’ when the challenge cycle is happening. And to ask ourselves ‘what can I learn from this opportunity’.
Discovering your World Service
Learning is our only goal. Every experience is an opportunity to learn an important lesson. The sum total of our life lessons can be an indicator of what we are here to do.
I discern between the idea of Life Purpose and World Service. Life Purpose is what we are here to achieve for ourselves. World Service is our offering to humanity. Many clients ask me how they can discover their World Service and I suggest the following simple writing exercise which helps to reveal a constant thread or theme running through one’s life.
Take a piece of paper and draw 4 columns with the headings shown.
Negatively perceived events
Lesson being offered
Did I learn the lesson yet?
How can I take what I have learnt and use
it to help others?
Ideas on what my world service could be
based on the lessons I have learnt.
continue noting all events from the earliest to the most recent
List each perceived negative event in column one then honestly answer the questions in column two and three. Column four is the answer to ‘what is my world service’. Five is a chance note down your ideas on how to move forward to fulfil your world service.
It is worth noting here that once you have learned the lesson from each negatively perceived event then you will never be presented with a similar opportunity again. You’ve graduated. In this way you can minimise negative cycles in your life experience.
Happiness is ours by divine right as is abundance. However if we have unrealistic expectations of nothing but happiness we are in for disappointment. So please never chide yourself if you find yourself in a down cycle. Just work at making the time spent there minimal. The failure is not in being in cycles, the failure is in rejecting the natural cyclic way or refusing to go with the flow in an attitude of acceptance.
We are mistakenly conditioned to think of happiness as this end goal that happens after applying a certain “formula”. Think these good thoughts, add a little positive action, ask the right questions and (((poof))) we achieve happiness and never have to struggle again. Karen Curry.
Fear of the Unknown
Fear of the Unknown is our enemy in our pursuit of happiness. We have to work at letting go of fear and that will pave the way to more happiness in our lives. And for most letting go of fear is like setting fire to your life. What you will be left with is the bare essentials for a new beginning and the vital nutrients for growth.
So if you’re working on the “happiness thing”, be kind and patient with yourself and master the art of self resilience, self confidence, courage and trust in yourself. It’s the state of acceptance and flow that you maintain whilst swinging high and low through the cycle of change that creates the foundation for true happiness. Spending time actively engaged in those pursuits that enable you to fulfill in your World Service will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment and I believe these are two of the important factors that contribute to true happiness.
Lord Shiva – symbolic of divine creation and destruction
|Nataraja is the dancing form of Lord Shiva in Vedic/Hindu symbolism|
Nataraja (‘King of Dancers’ (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). In the words of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, “Nataraj is the “clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of…A more fluid and energetic representation of a moving figure than the dancing figure of Shiva can scarcely be found anywhere,”
In a marvelously unified and dynamic composition expressing the rhythm and harmony of life, Nataraj is shown with four hands represent the cardinal directions. He is dancing, with his left foot elegantly raised and the right foot on a prostrate figure — ‘Apasmara Purusha’, the personification of illusion and ignorance over whom Shiva triumphs. The upper left hand holds a flame, the lower left hand points down to the dwarf, who is shown holding a cobra. The upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ that stands for the male-female vital principle, the lower shows the gesture of assertion: “Be without fear.”
Snakes that stand for egotism, are seen uncoiling from his arms, legs, and hair, which is braided and bejeweled. His matted locks are whirling as he dances within an arch of flames representing the endless cycle of birth and death. On his head is a skull, which symbolizes his conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, the epitome of the holy river Ganges, also sits on his hairdo. His third eye is symbolic of his omniscience, insight, and enlightenment. The whole idol rests on a lotus pedestal, the symbol of the creative forces of the universe.
The Significance of Shiva’s Dance
This cosmic dance of Shiva is called ‘Anandatandava,’ meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death.
The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy — creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion.
According to Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: ‘Shrishti’ (creation, evolution); ‘Sthiti’ (preservation, support); ‘Samhara’ (destruction, evolution); ‘Tirobhava’ (illusion); and ‘Anugraha’ (release, emancipation, grace).
I rest my case.
Namaste until next time