Doubt kills – 5 easy ways to conquer self doubt.

our morning dog walk we stopped on the cliff edge to watch the waves pounding the rocks below. We had noticed a ship on the horizon. Handing me the binoculars he asked me ,”could I still see it?” Yes the ship was turning away from us, but it was still there.
“I’ve no doubt he answered.”

That set me thinking can we live life without doubt?

How my life would change for the better if I had no self-doubt.Doubt that kills opportunities and possibilities that are ready to open out within me.
So I thought of the times self-doubt had killed.
Self doubt stopped me getting a job. Having passed the interview to work with the artist employed by the State of Victoria.To work with his team( a dream job for me still in art school) his team were commissioned to create murals or mosaics to be placed in
government buildings, covering walls external and internal. I doubted that I was worthy of that much money, that I was as good as the other artists I have met during the interview.

Years back during my Yoga teacher training Shanti the CEO OF THE Shanti Niketan Yoga School, had been asked for “Yogis” to appear in a television advertisement being created for the wool board. Young bodies dressed in wool,yoga teachers would show off their product in refined stretchable wool. I doubted if I was attractive enough for television,
if I performed my yoga postures with enough elegance and Grace. So I declined.
Not realising that often other people see us with greater clarity.

Doubting myself I did not finish my high school education. Not smart enough, couldn’t fit in with the curriculum, felt alienated and isolated more than I felt at home and achieving.

Doubt Affected my new relationship, when I saw that it was becoming serious I doubted if once more I could hold a relationship, was I was worthy of a loving relationship? Speaking on the phone to girlfriend Pam who suddenly commented “Yes I guess you think you’re not good enough and you doubt your ability to love. That your love is not great enough and that you are unworthy of such a good man.” My friend had vocalise my internal dialogue, had brought my fear to the surface and had noticed that my doubt would kill off this budding relationship.

Thinking on ideas on how to change /overcome self-doubt
I found this article in zenhabits and I have “pressed” it complete.

5 Great Ways to Conquer Self Doubt
This is a guest post by Alexandra Levit, career advice columnist for the Wall Street Journal

Go back in time: The first step to overcoming self-doubt is to recognize that it’s there in the first place. Think about the circumstances that are leading you to feel insecure, and see if you notice any patterns. Are there particular situations (for example, dealing with a new boss, speaking in public) that prompt you to feel this way?

Defeat the doubtful thoughts: In one column, write a doubtful thought, and in the opposite column, write facts that dispute that doubtful thought.For instance, suppose you are afraid to invite a new colleague to lunch because you’re afraid you won’t have anything to talk about and she won’t like me. Statements that refute that thought might be: “We can spend at least an hour talking about the office culture here and what she did before this” and “She will like me because I’ve made a sincere overture to get to know her better.”

Keep an event journal: If you are a person who experiences a lot of self-doubt, then it’s time for a test. In the course of a single day, write down all of the things – simple and complex – that you accomplished without a hitch. These can be things like “ran productive staff meeting” or “had great talk with Brandon over coffee.” Then, write down the things that didn’t go so well. You will inevitably notice that the list of things that went well far outweighs the list of things that didn’t, and this will hopefully allow you to see your doubt in a different light.

Call on your cheerleaders: Often, our loved ones can see our lives much more objectively than we can. Being a natural introvert, I sometimes doubt my intern personal skills, and when someone doesn’t respond to me in the way I expect, I am occasionally get paranoid. It always helps to call one of my Best friends so she can assure me that I do in fact have a lot of wonderful relationships in my life..

Celebrate your successes: When a situation in which you doubted yourself turns out better than you expected, don’t just nod and smile and move immediately on to the
next thing. Take a moment and reward yourself for a positive outcome. Do something you enjoy like going to your favorite restaurant or eating a delectable dessert. “

I found my life changed immensely once I started to meditate.
I would add a sixth way to conquer self-doubt and that is the daily habit of meditation.

Taking the time to cement positive emotions in your mind will hopefully make the doubt disappear more quickly next time.

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Meditation is positive and has it’s own reward. Healing disease?

I was rinsing some woollen sweaters in the laundry and gazed out of  the window to see our 80 plus,year old neighbour up the ladder trimming his cyprus hedge.Collecting gardening gloves and pruning shears we hurried to help out. I was hoping to get the neighbour from the high hedge. Leigh was given the other ladder so he could tackle the six foot high hedge from the other side.

Our neighbour was delighted to see us, not to hand the job to another but

It was for him an opportunity to talk. I was then more worried he would loose concentration and step off the ladder.

So often another author puts my thoughts so clearly.
Professor Kurt Tepperwein in his book Think and Heal says 

“Be kind to the people around you, take time to listen to their worries. Let them talk to you about their dreams and their needs . Try not to think too much of your problems. Instead focus on helping others as much as you can, you might be surprised to find that by helping others, you can actually help solve a lot of your own problems, especially when you realise every positive act  carries its own reward.This is because positive actions liberate positive forces in the person performing those actions. When applied judiciously and with awareness, this principle becomes a source of well being and health.

As long as you keep concentrating on your own problems and worries, they will remain a part of you. 

“It is only when you can see a health problem, (or any other problem, )”for that matter “objectively  exactly for what it is , i.e. as disturbance of your inner harmony, that the power of positive thought can work to your advantage. 

So when you can gain an objective( no emotion or feelings involved) view of your problems they must disappear of their own volition. 

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Stategies for a spiralling mind

Sense beauty all around you.

Sense beauty all around you.

“Practice creative anticipation, that power of positive expectation. Have confidence that you can draw the best not the worst too you.”
From the book Positive thinking everyday – Norman Vincent Peale.


I arrived at mums to find a profusion of boxes, plastic and cardboard overflowing, motor cycle helmet, motor bike, cardboard, things boxed in profusion. and a strange man doing Tai Chi in the backyard. Scattered boxes and furniture piled in the garden shared by mum and her neighbour.
They’re leaving. It seems mum’s neighbour’s sons and ex-husband were moving interstate. Odds and ends, disused and unused pieces have been brought back home to their mum. This morning at breakfast mum commented that now the neighbour had no daily access to her sons would she become dependent on mom and an age 90 this is not a happy prospect. Mum has started to think she would need to prop up a lady who has suffered depression. Mum’s mind spiralling………..

After class I noticed a young woman waiting in the corridor. New students often arrive to meet me and ask would meditation or yoga suit them or to discuss a particular health issue. This young lady came to tell me her mother, a long term student of mine, was hospitalised with Cancer. Could I help her mother? Of course, so it was arranged that I visit her mum at home between her hospital visits.
Our weekly mediation sessions, Alisha ( name changed for privacy reasons) turned into relaxation sessions with Alisha lying on the couch.  Time spent with her reminiscing,thinking over her life. As a young woman her parents had sent her from a tiny village in the mountains in Italy, to bring her brother home from Australia. Arriving by ship she was met at the wharf by brother and his Australian girlfriend and a group of their friends. This young woman realised she had no influence over her elder brother who had readily adapted to the new life in Australia. Soon Alisha was working and dating one of her brothers friends, the daughter I met was from this future marriage.

Alisha was now torn between the duty to parents so far away, remember contact with them was only by letter and often took weeks, and the young man back in the village who she was “promised” to.
After each relaxation session she spoke of these times
Her regrets were causing her mind to drag her into a dark place. Even though there was nothing she could now to influence the past.

Both mum and Alisha had very valid reasons for worry and concern, each is written with a broad brush, Family, health or directly linked with concern and compassion for a loved one,
And yet each one if followed on that track of thought will bring the owner of that mind in a downward spiral. It is an exhausting spiral if started, that saps our strength and energy leaving us tired and often feeling betrayed.

We must make the choice in each moment whether the mind will spiral upward or the mind will spiral downward and so we learn to observe which way are we going at this moment in time.

The strategy: For Alisha and Mum was to stop a wandering mind , is to use your five senses.

If sitting- feel the chair beneath you, your back pressed into the chair.

Close your eyes, feel the sun on your shoulders.Relax them.

Listen to the sounds around you.

Perhaps you can re taste your last hot drink, toothpaste on tongue.


We worked on dwelling only in the present. Observe the mind in the moment.

No time for this . Just take a deep breath.It steadies the body mind.

Friends are good for this observation process. As just by a phone call Carol commented to me this morning that I sounded tired.
I have not followed my meditation practice this morning and find the mind is flitting like a bird in the branches of a tree. Hither and thither, not stopping to observe, is it a downward spiral I am engaged in?

Try it for a day watch the mind and it’s ways.
As the Buddha said” Like your shadow the mind never leaves us.”

We must decide how it will lead us, in an upward spiral

to more laughter and creative living or downward to regret and depression.

It is so tempting to forward project our mind …..”When I win the lottery I will be happier, when I meet the right person my life will be full of joy.We sometimes backward wander in our minds, what if I had taken the the chance to work with …….., instead I took this job. All useless and often destructive.

Stop. Feel the sun warming your shoulders or listen to the rain, clear the mind of clutter so you can live in the moment, a form of meditation. Or our mind is like the clutter of boxes left in the backyard.








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Meditation brings the best out in you.

Bread won't rise

Bread won’t rise.

“My students are complaining the muffins and cakes aren’t rising. I keep telling them it’s because everything is so dry we have not had any rain in months and because the earth is dry and the air is dry the materials that you use to create a chemical reaction between flour and the yeast is not occurring as it normally would.”

Janine is one of those school teachers who mould your life for the better.



interested and always finding new ways to teach her food technology.

Her comments she set me thinking how meditation affects the one who practices the discipline and the atmosphere around them.

Meditation changes the atmosphere around us, it influences those who share our life, just as the cake will not rise and the bread does not come to its normal height because the flour is affected by the dry atmosphere, the lack of rain. Our lives are affected if we do not have stillness, calm, peacefulness if there is a lack of these within our lives we cannot rise to our best and our greatest. Our full potential is never realised. Something is lacking the flavour is going and gone.

I encourage you to find a meditation teacher, shop around, as the more formal types of religion drop away we realise the journey is to be made by the individual. Teachers come and go in our lives and some stay in our hearts forever.

Germaine Greer on her convent education: “The nuns bought out the best in me and it needn’t have been brought out – it could have stayed right where it was.”

Nikki Gemmel speaks of her convent upbringing of one particular nun sister Philomene Tiernan.

“It felt as like there was a still centre to her being; A conviction that she was strongly, joyously here, In this place doing exactly what she wanted to do in life. She glowed with contentment. Chatting;warming and stilling with her presence.”

In her article “a life less ordinary”

In the Australian Weekend Magazine August 16-17 Nikki continues speaking of the nuns.

“Many whom I’ve come across having an intriguing core of stillness. They’re not completely a part of this world, not swallowed by it like the rest of this, have the strength to be something else.”

Mine was not a convent upbringing, my yoga teacher Shanti Gowan’s guided us through the steps of meditation. Born in India,with her connections, I was lucky to have sat at the feet of many travelling monks Shanti and her husband hosted in their home. And today so many excellent teachers have written books on the meditation experience and how to embrace this

inner light,and powerful presence.

I invite you to explore this inner well of eternal peace. You will be surprised how you can bring peace and grace into the lives of many.

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Meditation to help soldiers with PTSD

Post Traumatic stress syndrome is finally being taken seriously by both the military and the wider population.

Triggered by a terrifying event or series of events people return home to find they  do not belong, their family are confused and emotionally battered as they watch a loved one reel between anger, hostility and the extreme of being numb to all around them. They cannot sleep and no longer manage to engage in life.

Movies are made and people are seeing the results of ‘living off your nerves”Just as constant physical pain wares away at a persons Adrenal system, the lack of sleep, and the worry have been shown to cause emotional dis-ease, a constant state of anxiety arises, for the soldier for the Doctor/ medic, drill seargent,what ever capacity a soldier served in, theirs is the burden  of Post traumatic Stress.

Sadly many returning service men and women do not seek treatment as they feel it may affect their career. They will be seen as weak, unable to cope with stress. Solidarity, holding together, mutual dependance, community of interests, feelings and action.

Often when we try to manage or overcome pain we are actually entrenching the suffering, remember “What we resist persists”.Learning to reach out to Yoga or Meditation will break that cycle. It is better to find something that moves you away from pain.

Diane Callan  founded Wellness for Warriors in 2009 to teach military families

 about integrative lifestyle solutions such as yoga, chiropractic care,

acupuncture, and nutrition has seen the benefits first-hand. “I personally believe that when you are able to  experience or elicite peace of mind from within you can share that with your spouse, your family, your community and the world.’ she said


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Beach picnic and meditation

Footprints in the sand

Footprints in the sand

"To see a World in again of sand."

“To see a World in again of sand.”

Sitting in meditation this morning and not being able to concentrate, my mind was running in circles.I decided my mind needed more space. There are many ways to achieve this. One is to physically place your self where the horizon is vast and open,with little to hem in your vision. ( city dwellers can gaze at the sky or the velvety darkness of night, sometimes spangled in stars.)

Spontaneous decision, instead of walking our dog on the familiar route lets breakfast on the beach.Our dog sensed a change in routine as he followed me round as I cut sandwiches, boiled water put fruit and yoghurt into the backpack, informing my man let’s get dog treats we are beach breakfasting. Ever practical he packed the ground sheet while I was searching out the folding dog water bowl.

We arrived to an empty beach, the very early morning walkers had left their footprints, the swimmers, well it was windy,what I hadn’t factored in was the rising wind, you know the wind that whips the sea to white caps and blows the sand, skittering along the beach into every crevice including your cup of hot water.

Sitting on the ground sheet gazing out to sea I could feel the tension dropping away. Good practice for stilling the body to prepare for meditation.It was too windy to do anything but sit still, look ,listen and be part of the spaces around me.

Remember like the footsteps in the sand, blown away, the beach wiped clean each morning, the transitory nature of things, this moment will never come again.
We tend to think that everything is permanent, unchanging,the person you are will be different from the time you started reading this article to the time you finish it. This beach beneath me, the sand once a mountain or worn from the surrounding cliffs.Even it’s original colour is no more, sun bleached and sea-washed

The water once a mountain stream in the far Himalaya’s, having travelled in the form of snow, ice melt and evaporated to rise as clouds and fall into the endless ocean now flowing as waves to this shore.

“And there are the particulars of the moment that only exist, right now. The combination of sounds and colors and shapes and smells around you will never exist in this particular combination ever again. The way your body feels, the thought that pops into your head in the next moment, will never exist again, ever.”Leo Babauta expresses -this capturing the moment beautifully.

This body, it’s cells constantly dying and renewing,The Sages told if I could only see myself truly in all my magnificence I would fall to my feet and worship the light within.

Or the eternal beauty from the poem by William Blake
(Fragments from “Auguries of Innocence”) Poetry lover’

To see a World in a grain of sand
and a Heaven in a wildflower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

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Chasing Happiness when it is living inside you.

Relax Happiness resides inside you. says the ancient teaching.

Lying on the mat in my yoga class I always melted when my teacher said the words “You already have enough,
you already know enough,
you already are enough.”

But sharing this is often fraught with difficulty.
Shanti was reminding her students that the keys to happiness are already with in us, though we need to make the effort to turn the key. Shanti also reminded us that life is a journey and that we cannot sit on the fence and expect everything to be handed to us.
Have you ever thought what is it that makes you happy?
I encourage you to think on this, the laughter of children, sun on your back
Lying on your back and looking up at aster filled sky, walking on the beach, bare foot on grass, listening to music, creating whether it is with paints textiles,dance or movement. Doing some yoga in the evening. Quietly drinking a cup of coffee, as you feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Reading a good book, walking with your children in the park. Joining the fundraiser so that you can help others, visiting an older relative/neighbour. Perhaps your team at work have worked long and hard to achieve something. Savor the moment. Have you finished your studies, completed an exam. Celebrate.

You see each time we create A breath a moment of joy and expand it outward, we’re sending out happiness and changing that world for the better

But why? you may say if happiness is already within us, there’s nothing we need to do. I can be happy Reading my book, all day. Someone is happy slouching in front of the television all day, these temporary moments do not make for long-term happiness. I speak of a state that is always bubbling just below the surface of our life. We can be swept up in a temporary hail of emotions and anxiety but our equilibrium swings back to happiness. Happiness is like a rare perfume. Spill just one drop, its essence and its magic fills the room around and lightens the hearts of those who inhale it.

Leo Babauta’s blog explains you don’t need to do anything to be happy you have happiness from within, and you can go about your day and have just about anything happen and you’ll still be happy.

Leo Babauta explains it as the choice of two forms of happiness.

“Choice number one if you sit there and watch TV or do absolutely nothing, and you’ll be happy. Lets call this choice number one.

Or you can take actions to make others happy, to relieve their suffering, to see that they have the tools for happiness already. Focusing on the happiness of other’s. choice number two.”

He further explains
“Now with either of these choices, you’ll be happy. You can do either, and it won’t necessarily affect your happiness. But with choice number two, you’re increasing the happiness of the world.”

He argues that choice number two is better

“And this choice, to dedicate your time to helping others, relieving their suffering, making them happy……. This is the motivation you can use
For doing great things, for building something useful, for creating and working and being a good parent.” A good teacher A good human being.

“Not about increasing your own happiness, but the happiness of others.”
And like the rare perfume, some of it, well all of its essence will wash over you and sweeten your life.

You are inspiring, you are positive,remember you change the world around you.

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