Recently I heard the wonderful Sharon Snir give a talk about love and miracles. It was an incredible morning, and I came away inspired and with a profound sense of connection to all of the people who had sat in the room listening with me. Sharon spoke about cultivating magical elements in our lives, and here are some of the thoughts she inspired:
1. Recognising our oneness – We imagine that all of our problems are unique and that no-one can possibly understand what we are going through. Sharon does an exercise where we think of the ultimate solution to our most pressing problem, and then we share this solution only with a stranger in the room. Almost everyone reports that the solution they heard was, in fact, part of the solution to their own private, urgent concern. The joys and worries in our lives are universal. This is both humbling and exciting. There is a profound – if mysterious – connection that all of us share.
2. Be kind – Much of what we continue to learn about success and about life concentrates on the need to be harsh, critical, cynical and critical of other people’s points of view. Anyone who watches reality TV will be aware of a bizarre new mantra: “I didn’t come here to make friends.” Really? I want to go everywhere and make friends. That is what my life is about – connection, caring and helping other people to lead fabulous lives. I didn’t come here to make enemies. Kindness is central to the recent work of Stephanie Dowrick, and you can see my post about it here.
3. Be grateful – This is an idea I came late to. I am a bit of a world-class grumbler, and have been known to pen a stinging letter of complaint. But when I really examine my history of complaint I can see one thing and one thing only: it never, ever made me happy. There is very little magic in whingeing. The book that probably alerted me most to the importance of gratitude, and the empowering practical ways we can incorporate it into our lives, is Rhonda Byrne’s appropriately named The Magic. It’s well worth checking out.
4. Forgive – Yeah, I know – everyone says it. But it’s a big one. To be frank, I am still working really hard on forgiving some of the people in my life who I view as having hurt me. It’s a gradual process. But I can honestly say that the really big acts of forgiveness I have succeeded in have been incredibly liberating, not just for me but for all the people around me – not least the person I was angry at. So take it in small stages. I may not completely have forgiven, but I certainly don’t wish the people with whom I mentally and emotionally struggle any ill. And that’s a big step all on its own.
5. Cultivate a sense of wonder – Said it before and I’ll say it again – our culture rewards cynicism. We view people who are trying to be good and happy with contempt, and we scold, criticise and belittle anyone who tries to avoid negative patterns of thought and behaviour. “Face up to reality,” we say, “and wipe that smile off your face - it’s not good for everyone, you know.” It’s not, but I can try to make it good for me. In fact, that’s all I can do. The world is filled with wonderful people and things. Be on the lookout for them. And don’t let the grumblers get you down. You don’t even have to answer them. Shower them with good cheer and they’ll disappear soon enough. Create wonder, not argument.
Sharon Snir is a psychotherapist, healer and author who has recently published The Little Book of Everyday Miracles. You can read my review of it here.
You can hear a fascinating live interview with Sharon on SBS radio here.
Sharon is the founder and creator of a system of learning, called The 12 Levels of Being. She gives regular lectures, seminars and workshops in Australia, Asia, Europe and in the United States. Sharon has written three books. The 12 Levels of Being, published by Shekhina books in 2007, Looking for Lionel –How I lost and Found my Mother through Dementia, Published by Allen and Unwin in 2010, and The Little Book of Everyday Miracles, published in October 2012 by Allen & Unwin. She has her own on-line weekly radio slot, a small private practice and is on You Tube.
You can learn more about Sharon at www.sharonsnir.com