How to cope with unexpected challenges while house sitting in Vientiane

21 Jan

Unexpected challenges

We all know that life can throw its challenges.

But how do you respond to those unexpected challenges that rock the very ground you stand on.

Those challenges that hit your emotional vulnerability with maximum intensity.

When you are in the middle of a crisis it’s seems there is no way out of it.

You can feel hopeless and succumb to that negative analytical mind.

But It is important to remember that what ever the challenge -Your response to it will either empower you or break you.

There is nothing worse than making a challenge a past disaster.

There can be lots of struggle, lots of pain, lots of loss but it is possible to come out the other side with inner strength, security and confidence.

I am not saying it’s easy and I am not putting a time limit on it. It is, a self learning process.

Three weeks in to a four month trip around Southeast Asia, my travelling companion returned home due to a family bereavement.

Needless to say this unexpected change in plan threw me into panic. I never intended to travel solo through Asia, yet what was the point in returning home.

I wanted to continue and have the wonderful adventure but I realised something else was unfolding before me — aloneness.

Now I love time on my own. I am a introvert. But this was more. This was travelling in countries I have never been before, where I don’t speak the language, know no one, and too old to be in a backpackers hostel.

How should I deal with this challenge?

By acknowledging and moving through the different stages to peace and balance.

This might help you.

1. Acknowledge and accept how you feel.

Sit with your feelings and give expression to them. It’s ok to be anxious sad frightened. We  need time to grieve and recover. Let it pour out.

Don’t deny your vulnerability.  Treat yourself to the wisdom of self compassion, and leave all self judgement alone.

2. Nuture yourself.

Take things gently and seek appropriate support. You might share the problem with your friends, family, therapist, a support group and ask them for help. I asked my friends and family to keep in contact via social media and skype and it helped me through the rough patches.

I also took advantage of Monk Chatting. In Chiang Mai you can go to a temple and chat to a monk.

When dealing with unexpected challenges it is important to reach out for comfort and support.

3.Accept that all things change.

There are no guarantees in this life. Life just happens whether we are ready or not. But we can learn to be resilient and bounce back with courage and positivity.

My Buddhist monk shared the principles of impermanence and non attachment. How many of us are in the business of grasping and expecting life to go one way and should it not deliver the goods we fall apart with suffering.

4. Is there a lesson or opportunity in this challenge.

All our challenges can be overcome with the right mind. It is so easy to be trapped in our negative thought stream. It can take us down the river without a paddle and the trip can feel so real, it’s hard to get out of it.

But if you are slightly aware of what’s happening you are half way there to jumping off and getting on to solid ground.

Solid ground represents living in that mind of peace, balance and wisdom.

In this mind you can reconnect with your innate well being.

In this mind you gain authentic insight.

insight that will allow you to grow and make positive changes to your life.

5. Follow through with commitment.

Make a commitment to yourself that you will implement the insight gained from this  challenge .

Move into the energy of that new insight.

Live from that increased strength and confidence.






The Wisdom of forgiveness – from a Hanoi cafe

26 Dec

the wisdom of forgiveness

The wisdom of forgiveness has not reached the masses . If it had we would be in a different world.

Our world finds it hard to forgive.

We hold on to dark memories and difficult emotions that hinder the healing process.

In Northern Ireland we continue the forgiving process with peace and reconciliation programs. It is a slow process because those most effected by our years of violence and brutality cant relinquish their experiences of it.

People are not aware of what to do with their pain, anger, rage, loss, disappointment that comes from grief.

We usually look outside ourselves for answeres.

We can point the finger at the wrongdoer. We can blame them for ruining our life or taking something we loved and needed away from us. Many children in Northern Ireland lost brothers, fathers, sons, uncles, and have lived lives without them.

Of course you are going to live with this everyday of your life.

But the facts are, you have to resolve this within yourself. And resolve it even if the perpetrator is not brought to justice.

Wisdom in a Hanoi Cafe

I am travelling ib Southeast Asia and the first stop is Hanoi and what a city to begin your travels. It is chaotic, manic and wonderful all at the same time.

I would imagine that you  either hate Hanoi or love it deeply, but one thing is for sure you need to experience it.

In a small cafe I met up with two Americans now living in New Zealand who had lived in Hanoi for 10 years and loved the place so much they regularly returned.

As a complete novice to Hanoi and Vietnam I was interested to hear all their info, and of course talked about politics, the vietnam war, etc etc.

And the Americans shared a little gem.

Travelling through Vietnam not long after the war, a Vietnamese shop owner recognized their accent and said The Americans are finally coming back to our land. My two friends took this to mean, the guilt that America was experiencing wasnt the anger the Vietnamese were experiencing.

How did they know the wisdom of forgiveness.

Vietnam is a Buddhist country. If you  listen to the Dalia Lama he is always speaking of compassion.

One of  his monks shared with him that he was frightened because he was in great danger. The Dalia Lama being concerned asked him what sort of danger and the monk replied he was in danger of losing his compassion for theChinese.

Imagine if we lived with that one intention – to be ever vigilant to remain in a state of compassion.

As Robert Holden states ” Forgiveness is more than a reframe, positive thinking – forgiveness is an act of grace”.

The wisdom in forgiveness is achieved when we have the grace to understand “correct mind”.

Correct mind brings us peace security strength confidence.

1. Forgiveness is a gift that releases you from the hold of hate

2. It is a sign of inner strength

3. It keeps the balance for confident creative action

4. It overcomes the suffering of the problem.

5. Moves us into the present.

Our incorrect mind leads us to suffering.

Our feelings will demonstrate this correct or incorrect mind.

As another year ends let go off all negativity and embrace the wisdom of forgiveness.







4 Steps to Achieving Your Personal Freedom

7 Dec

How much Personal Freedom do you enjoy in your life?

When I look back on my childhood I realize just how little personal freedom I was given. Now you might say there is only a certain amount of freedom you can give a child and yes I would agree but I am talking here about the freedom of being a person in your own right, not a commodity to be trained and conditioned according to the family rules, the parental beliefs and all the ancestry baggage families act out.

If we weren’t facilitated to grow into our own personal freedom way back then – we have to decide now – do I get SMART or do I continue to live with the old habitual restrictions, that will never manifest into anything close to my full personal potential.

What would you like to do?

I know what I want.

The answer seems obvious.

I want one hundred percent authentic personal power and freedom.

That doesn’t mean we become uncaring selfish, self centered pains in the butts.

Quite the reverse, we become conscious, compassionate, emotionally intelligent and resilient individuals.

From my experience there is a massive difference in dealing with an individual who is grounded in their own  personal freedom to someone who is disconnected – unconscious –  defensive and projects all their difficulties onto their past or to present day circumstances.

It is time to wake up and claim your life back.


 When you do this for yourself you do it for the entire world.

It is time to  Step up and Claim Your Personal Freedom.

Take responsibility for yourself..

Nothing will change  until you realize you are the change that needs to happen. Once you make that change everything opens up.

No man can hope to be completely free who lingers within reach of familiar habits and urgencies – Richard Byrd

Invest in yourself – you are the gem that will appreciate in value over time.

Let go off old beliefs – habits of reaction – old behaviors that no longer serve you well.

We all have a tendency to over analysis, berate ourselves, criticize, judge – complain. Let it all go – release the stress and burden of doing and thinking incorrectly.

Let go of people importance – rules – imported blueprints, instead this is the time to create your own way of doing your life.

You are the artist of your own life – you hold the paint brush

Think for yourself

Research tells us we make our decisions in the subconscious rather than consciously. Imagine all your thinking is coming from old conditioning and old experiences.

When we become more self aware, we can become vigilant of this old conditioning and eventually have the discernment to change it.

It is this automatic thinking process, the monkey mind, the critical voice that keeps us from our personal freedom.

This voice has no power. But take responsibility for it and release it. Give it no attention – ignore it.

When we can differentiate between the old stuff and a new vibrant wonderful experience, we can truly say I am living from my authentic personal freedom.


 Live from your personal freedom everyday.

 We are what we think, as we desire so do we become.

By our thoughts desires and habits we either ascend to the full divine

dignity of our nature or we descend to suffer and learn. J. Todd Ferrier.


Personal Freedom is an inner condition that requires continual cultivation and re-tuning.

Every day there will be challenges. It would be easy to retract – return to the old conditioning and fear based existence. But if we want to taste the excitement the wonder, the growth of our true self then we are called to be courageous, to fight the old and embrace the new.

Personal Freedom is valuing yourself, living with personal responsibility and autonomy.

Its standing up and declaring who you are and you are a fabulous wonderful individual a unique essence in the world with unique gifts and qualities of creativity and knowledge that those around your table whether in work, or at home need to see and experience.

So many people live under the shade, be courageous to lift your head to the light.

Daily commitment to your personal freedom.

The old ways are strong and well bedded into that subconscious mind so everyday make a commitment to yourself.

To day I move closer to my personal freedom.

In every situation I will have the freedom to be the best authentic expression of who I am.

I will find courage to know myself better and to live with integrity and honesty.

I will follow the  motivation and intention of my personal freedom each day.

I will remain true to my true self











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