“The Problem is the Solution to Your Evolution”–Ini Anana

Whenever we find ourselves unable to embrace our circumstances or struggles, we must ask ourselves “what am I resisting?” Consider the personal skill or trait you are avoiding or not embodying in your resistance to the situation. Are people taking advantage of you so you can learn to speak up for yourself? Are your interactions with your children or family strained in order to teach you the compassion that you are also lacking towards yourself? Were you humiliated to force you to stop caring about what others think? Your resistance to this particular quality is also essentially fighting/resisting yourself and limits your capacity to be good to yourself. Without developing this aspect of our character, we are choosing to impact/cater to the actions/opinion of others at our expense. If you live the rest of your life without nurturing this all important trait, you’ll never be good to yourself and subsequently will never be happier, more fulfilled or empowered than you are right now.

Expecting others or life to be perfect simply because we lack the courage to be good to ourselves will keep us stuck and living below our potential FOREVER. I’ve been given a new inspiration to develop a self-compassion workshop and would you believe that I’ve been experiencing the very situations that require me to be compassionate to myself instead of worrying about the perceptions of others. In the past however, I would have chosen to be distressed and pondered why life didn’t love me enough to make everything easier and perfect 🤷🏾‍♀️. Rather, I said “how’s this a good thing for my goals”? The reflection revealed that I may have taken the basics of self compassion for granted due to my committed spiritual growth, thus my current experiences is taking me through the “practical” and elementary knowledge to incorporate into my teachings. This approach opened my awareness beyond the immediate predicament, raised my vibration and propelled me into taking aligned actions. When you consider how your challenges are beneficial, it gives you a sense of control over them. Have the courage to ask the questions that will move you forward because your progress can’t occur against your willingness.

You are courageous and powerful, lean into your truth and potential.

Love in Action: Lessons From Our First Craft Sale.

When I began to write about our family’s first craft sale experience this past weekend, it didn’t take long for the principles of love to emerge and this revelation gave me the idea to start a new series of blog entries that explore my views about love during our everyday moments. I hope to use these stories to highlight the fact that love impacts every component of life and discuss the endless opportunities where we can utilize our ability to love to improve ourselves and circumstances. To summarize my definition of love, I believe that we could all probably agree that love can be described as an exchange because we ‘seem’ to  feel and show it. If love is intangible and can also be exchanged, then I also agree that love is energy. Extrapolating from the scientific premise of energy, I assert that love is our ability to overpower the force of negativity/ego in every interaction.  Similarly, if we accept that our main goal in life is to be happy then we can also assume that our true self enables us to satisfy this purpose, while the ego opposes it. We experience unhappiness due to our unmet expectation of perfection. Therefore, it is our ego that demands perfection of ourselves, others and our circumstances and becomes unhappy when this does not manifest. Subsequently, ‘choices that stem from the defeated ego’ becomes the force that opposes our ability to love.  As I recount the events and lessons from our recent craft sale, I hope it leaves you more convinced that love doesn’t occur only between lovers or those you care about but there’s an opportunity to embrace the energy of love  in every aspect of how we live.

Breaking new ground in the craft world.

A couple months ago, my husband began making larger sized scrabble tiles, adding a new element to his hand crafted reclaimed pallet wood artwork. He quickly generated multiple sales from Kijiji and it was through his advertising that he was solicited to participate in a school’s fundraiser craft sale. We immediately decided that this was a great opportunity to showcase his artwork since he planned on participating in markets and trade shows soon. We had high hopes that this novel décor item would be a hit with craft sale goers. He went to work preparing his inventory and it unfolded into a family affair, with his parents cutting/sanding the wooden tiles in their shop at their country home, my husband drawing/stenciling the pieces, I waxed his finished product and one of our daughters refined the flaws with a fine point pen. We worked so hard that both my husband and I came down with a terrible head cold the day before the sale, but the show had to go on. We got up early that Saturday morning and with our sweet Fraya in tow, we were off to the big event. We quickly discovered that one must arrive earlier than early to get the first pick at the premium tables near the entrance, we selected the best from what tables remained and it didn’t take long before we were set up and ready to sell. And with baited breath we waited and waited and waited some more. Our first sale came a couple hours later, which felt quite anticlimactic amidst our growing disappointment. Though we were both thinking it, my husband was first to express his discontent about the minimal sales considering the tremendous amount effort he invested in preparing the inventory. There we were, with our long faces and innocent Fraya oblivious of our deflated spirit, we were still holding on to hopes that maybe we would lure in buyers with her sweet smiles, squeals and giggles. We tried adjusting our pitch and became more vocal with every passer by, greeting them more passionately, but all that was to no avail. And when the sense of discouragement settled in deep enough for me to feel unhappy, I recognized that this was an opportunity to consciously apply the principles of love.

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Love entails self awareness

Unhappiness is always the trigger that we are confronting the force of our ego and as I made the connection between our expectations and the current state of our progress, I asked my husband why he felt disappointed. He explained that it seemed like he may have wasted his efforts preparing for the sale and there was also the implicit doubt of whether his work was desirable to buyers. I remarked “so we basically expected the sale to go perfectly by making lots of money”. Since he also made the connection with our unmet expectations of perfection, my husband jokingly replied “is that too much for my ego to ask for?” Being aware that our disappointment stemmed from our defeated ego, we re-evaluated how we wanted to proceed. We now had a strong incentive to change our outlook because behaving in a sullen manner would give momentum to the force of our ego, which we understood would indirectly block the flow of love in our circumstance. Discussing our bleak outlook forced us to examine the source of our negative emotions and subsequently revealed how the principles of love could apply to this situation.  In turn, we became more conscious of the outlook we wanted to adopt and more deliberate in our choices. Utilizing the principles of love was the pause button, which allowed us to rewind, examine the details we missed before coming to the right conclusion. Therefore, the principles of love fosters self awareness because we gain clarity while scrutinizing the source of our unsettled emotions . This has proven to be the only way to identify if we are confronting the force of our ego and subsequently recognize it as an opportunity to change the presiding outlook and our course of action to permit the flow of love.

Defeat is just a perception

My husband and I addressed our looming sense of failure by realistically considering our tangible losses. And naturally, there were none to minimal losses and at that point we were only $20 away from recovering the cost of our table rental. I quipped to my husband that we weren’t less intelligent than before the start of the sale since its always natural to feel a bit foolish during defeat. Nothing was physically absent from our lives because we did not sell a lot of inventory so why would we concede to the feeling of failure. In many instances one can only discover that the sentiments of their defeated ego is just a perception by deliberately rejecting it and not acting in the spirit of these emotions. Over and over, I’ve recognized that ‘nothing actually changes’ in the capacity that we feared. Yet we often choose to behave according to the sentiments of our defeated ego (limiting the flow of love) because it provides the comfort akin to leaking our wounds without the healing.

There are alternative outcomes

The conscious exercise of choosing the energy of love affords us the realization that there are multiple outcomes to every interaction, and we can choose the version that reconnects us with happiness. When our ego’s expectation of perfection is not met, the negative emotions we feel lead us to believe that there’s only one possible resolve. Proceeding in the spirit of our defeated ego signals our acceptance of it’s perceived outcome while selecting a different course of actions acknowledges that we are willing to create a different resolution. For example, we typically choose resentment when people disappoint us because we accept that their intentions ‘must’ be bad, we may choose anger when we do not get our way because we accept that control is the ‘only’ means to happiness and we choose detachment when we feel vulnerable because we ‘assume’ that we are unappreciated, etc. My husband and I endeavoured to uncover the advantages of our experience at the craft sale as we applied the principles of love to our situation. We decided that it was beneficial to attend a smaller sale to debut his art as an introduction to the learning curve of such events, where there were less costs at stake. We also recognized the generated potential for future sales as a couple dozen people took his business card and a few more requested to have custom work completed. The best part of this story is that soon after we chose to embrace the energy of love, our luck immediately turned around. Coincidental or not, we had the remaining four out of five sales after our choice to reject defeat but the greatest victory was realizing that our initial disappointment was not the end of the story. Similarly, in other situations, the perception of our defeated ego conceals the alternate outcomes that can afford us freedom from the ego as well as happiness.

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Focus on the gains

The most problematic aspect of the ego’s need for perfection is the fallout when these demands go unmet and we inherently become preoccupied with the conditions that are lacking for our happiness.  However, as we actively negate the emotions of our defeated ego, we begin to look for criteria that validate the choice to be happy despite the ego’s outlook. As we highlighted the benefits of the sale, we acknowledged the fact that we made great contacts with other vendors who shared their expertise willingly and recommended upcoming handmade sales that are more suitable for my husband’s inventory. My husband also felt grateful that he created sufficient inventory to participate in future sales with less preparation going forward and we gained tremendous insight about the workings of such events. And a less related gain was the pleasure our neighboring vendor derived from holding and playing with Fraya. We learned that she works as a nanny in addition to her Arbonne business and it left us feeling content that our presence at the sale somehow allowed her to enjoy her passion for children during the sale.

Driving home after the sale, my husband and I both felt an uncanny sense of success from an event where we did not sell as much as expected. Thus, examining how the principles the ego and love apply to every circumstance is an opportunity to choose freedom and happiness. Once we begin to appreciate that love is not a cliché ideal reserved for stereotypical relationships but it’s an energy that we can enable in every interaction (with ourselves, others and the universe) then we are able to use it’s flow reap abundance in every facet of life. My husband and I chose to show ourselves love when our defeated ego wanted us to concede to failure and in turn we experienced greater love for ourselves, each other and everyone we interacted with that weekend.

Update:

As of today February 16th, we have generated residual sales that matches our total income at the craft show  and we anticipate much more. This is tangible evidence that the science of love is the Law of Attraction because it enables you to recognize the opportunities to generate what you seek.

XO

Ini A.

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”

Enabling Older Children To Experience Personal Failure: How It Helps Them Win.

“There are two lasting gifts we can hope to give our children, one is roots; the other, wings.”–Hodding Carter Jr.


“What’s the point of being on the best team, if you don’t get to play as much…I’m just going to stay put and improve myself with this team”. When my son made those remarks a few days ago, it immediately gave me the incentive to write this post. He was responding to rumors that several of his teammates plan to leave to another team that has a better chance of advancing to the U16 Nationals soccer tournament. As you can imagine I was impressed by his insightful and mature reasoning, yet two years ago, I would not have envisioned his ability to display such logic. That’s because two years ago, he himself was bouncing from club to club determined to be on the best team. He insisted on this pursuit against my rational persuasion but I realized that it was an opportunity to grant him greater ownership of decisions that ultimately only affected him. So, I dared to allow him to fail, because I recognized that it was the only means for him to learn certain important life lessons. And fail he did, after making one of the top club soccer teams during the outdoor season, he was subsequently cut from the roster when the team accepted fewer players during the indoor season. My boy was heartbroken and it was the type of sadness that us parents never enjoy seeing in our children. I scrutinized my decision to allow him to leave his former team as we now faced the prospects of him missing an entire indoor season. Yet, my son’s gradual growth from such scenarios confirms that the teenage years is an appropriate time for parents to give their children wings to navigate some of their own decision making that may cause personal failure. My classification of failure does not refer to a child’s sense of personal hopelessness about circumstances that are out of their control. It is our job as parents during such occasions to take all necessary steps to restore our children’s confidence and positive outlook. Rather I am defining failure as the repercussions in personal matters that the child is inherently more invested in than the parents. Empowering my son to make choices where there’s a potential of failure enables him to learn important life lessons about perseverance, self reflection and personal accountability.

The sky is never really falling.

After he was released from that team, my son did not know how he was going to live if he couldn’t play soccer and he felt more helpless because he burned bridges with his former team. The spoiler alert is that he did not miss that indoor season and made it onto another  club team but not without learning the intricacies of determination. The most critical component of perseverance is establishing your next desired outcome and I recall asking my son “do you want to play soccer” to which he of course said yes. Once he affirmed his intention to play, I then encouraged him to only focus on brainstorming how to bring this to fruition. In other facets of life, we must also employ this same intentional mindset as we decide to move forwards after unforeseen setbacks. It didn’t take long for him to recall that one of his previous teammates had joined the team half way through the season after asking to attend a couple practices. We did not know that coaches often choose to keep a smaller roster for this very reason and so I began sending out emails to several teams requesting for my son to attend a practice with a prospect of being brought onto the team. The approach worked and he found a new team. As we continued to discuss the lessons from this event, he understood that there’s always a way to move forward and interestingly came to the most profound conclusion, stating “mom I feel sorry for kids who have to feel like for the first time when they are older with something that’s really important”. Yes, HE said those words and it was the biggest reassurance that I am making the right choice in giving him more freedom to experience failure. As they mature into adults we would all want our children not give up after rejection and  it’s beneficial for them to become familiar with how to create possibilities after failure while they are still young.

Reflecting on what went wrong.

Learning from mistakes has proven to be a meaningful occasion to help my son develop insight about his choices; our follow up discussions provides him a safe landing place as we utilize his new awareness to improve his outlook on life. Once he was accepted onto another team, I asked my son how he felt about his decision to hop teams in the first place. He explained that he sincerely thought that being on a better team would make him a better player. However, being one of the more novice players on the team (at that time) he received less playing time and became more tentative during game situations, which may have contributed to his subsequent release. He later admitted that as a relatively new club player, it would have been preferable for him to remain on a team focused on player development than winning. I honestly do not believe he would have gained this insight without the fallout from his attempt to seek greener grass elsewhere. We often do not recognize the tunnel vision of our goal setting motives until we discover the multiple influences that impact our desired outcome. Previously, I could not convince my son that becoming a great soccer player entailed more than being on the best team but he gained that insight independently after his expectations were not met. As we continued to talk about this experience, I explained that its important to consider the various factors of each option in any decision and we are now in the habit of creating a pros and cons list in these situations. Hindsight is 20/20 but insight also offers us a broad viewpoint and I am beginning to see proof of my son’s ability to understand his role and responsibility in creating favourable conditions for his own success.

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Been there, done that.

I asked my son why he doesn’t feel tempted like some of his teammates to leave his current team and he responded “because I’ve already been there and done that”. He followed up with an explanation that at his age division most teams have been cohesive for many years and are loyal to their players. Therefore, even if a team expands their roster during the upcoming outdoor season, they would likely release new players before their veterans going forward. If you have children in sports then you may be familiar with the politics of player loyalty, which is a discussion that’s beyond the scope of this post. What I find commendable about my son’s current outlook is his desire not to potentially repeat the same mistakes as before. He knows what it feels like to regret a choice and feels responsible to avoid the same outcome. Failure helps us to become accountable by making us aware of what to do differently to avoid similar set backs. Of course, there is a balancing act of also recognizing when it’s appropriate to step out of our comfort zone and take new risks that challenge us and enable us to thrive. I believe that one’s motivation for pursuing or abstaining from certain goals typically reveals whether it is the prudent choice. And in his case, his motives for remaining on his current team enhances his self development more than the alternative. From bad relationships, wrong career choices to poor judgement of character, we often learn to do better going forward after we understand where we went wrong and enabling older children to implement this skill will be valuable to them as they get older.

Allowing our children to fail is difficult because it contradicts our innate parenting instinct, which desires the very best for our children. Yet success is a continuous journey of getting up after we fall and it is important for children to develop this ability while they are gaining a greater sense of identity as teenagers. If one insists on keeping all the balls in the air for our older children, they will indeed succeed in those moments but unless we plan to micro manage them forever, we must eventually allow our children to experience disappointment and help them to grow from it.

How are you navigating the domain of allowing your older children to make choices that may disappoint them? Is it easy or challenging? I would love to hear about your experiences.

XO

Ini A.

“Steeping joy, brewed with all that life has to offer”