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Spiritual Thoughts: Exploring the shadow self aspect

Whether you’re embedded in your spiritual practice, mildly spiritually conscious or just rolling through life, at some point, you have probably come across the term ‘shadow self’. If you are unaware of this term, it simply means the hidden aspect of ourselves, our darkness (not necessarily negative, but most perceive this as the negative and weakest part of themselves), and perhaps the subconscious storage of our underlying ‘issues’. For example, some people’s shadow self could be full-on rage, sadness or a deep inferiority complex resulting in the need to always please others. Regardless of what you think your shadow self is or how much you try to hide it, you cannot get rid of it.

One interesting and common practice in the spiritual community is the point to work with the shadow self to heal the aspects that tend to give rise to troublesome tendencies in waking life. There is no one way of doing this, although a common practice is meditation and journaling to nurture and let go of the perceived negative. Working with the shadow self often requires tremendous courage to face and address what’s under the surface. Most tend to go through periods of depression and anxiety. If these are not dealt with delicately and effectively, the process can be scary and often bring further detriments to a person’s mental health. This is why working with a professional in a safe and controlled environment is advised.

From a personal perspective, working with the shadow self is not a one-way system, and for each individual, the longevity of the work is different. Some may require a one-time session, while others go through the process many times before achieving a tangible breakthrough. However, life is a curve, and as we go through trials and tribulations, one may require regular check-ins and sessions. Some people refuse to acknowledge their shadow selves because they are not courageous enough to face what lies beneath the surface. However, from a personal perspective, there’s excellent empowerment once you face your shadow. Then as you advance in your personal growth, you’ll find it easier to deal with different situations as you are coming from a place of deep self-knowledge.

Are you brave enough to dive deep within yourself?

Until next time.

Thoughts on success: Make a dent doing what you love in this world

Many of you reading this post today have probably been told not to dream too big as a child. But as we move forward in time, people are waking up to realise their gifts and working to their highest potential. Some are realising that working a generic 9 to 5 job, making money living someone else’s dream is no longer fruitful. Whatever your circumstance is, today’s post reminds you that you are here for a purpose. It doesn’t matter if you think that someone else has already done it, or maybe you wonder if the market is saturated with the same talent. You are unique, and even if it was done before, others couldn’t do it like you. So do what comes naturally to you, roll up your sleeves and make a dent in this world.

Until next time.

~J

Spiritual thoughts: Solitude is a joy to experience

In a world that is digitally connected, most are disconnected from themselves. Being busy securing finances on the daily grind is now a part of everyday trends. I see it everywhere, from ideas on creating side hustles and passive incomes to how to manifest and live your best life. One of the positives, though, is that people are beginning to wake up and explore their purpose in this life. Some have handed in their job notice to create income working for themselves, using their talents. Some have jumped off the rat race, sold their belongings, and gone backpacking around the world. This post is not to say that you should do the same. Today, we are exploring the experience of solitude.

When we hear the word solitude, we may think that it is a way of shutting ourselves from the world, binging on Netflix and cake. Perhaps you may also think it’s sitting in a forest in the lotus position while chanting om. With balance, both scenarios are equally powerful because each of us is an individual, with our minds and spirits requiring various ways to process and heal our subconscious trauma. Just because someone is in the forest and the other is on the sofa, it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. One just needs to be conscious of how one desires to be in solitude for optimum empowerment.

On the other hand, some people avoid solitude because they are afraid of what may come up when they’re alone. You can’t hide from yourself when you’re alone, so to many people, the idea of facing the darkest aspect of themself is scary. One example is that someone who has been hurt in their past may choose to surround themself with people who aren’t necessarily good for them because they are scared of facing the hurt that will surface when they are alone. Likewise, an unhealed person or someone who refuses to take steps to heal will avoid feeling emotions or engaging in conversations and activities that may bring up their past hurt. They choose distractions. And just like a sponge, the subconscious self absorbs all that you experience whether you want to or not. Eventually, it gets heavy and weighs you and your close relationships down. This is why it’s essential to speak, process and heal from emotional trauma.

Being in solitude is not just choosing to be alone to connect with oneself. Yes, it’s beneficial, especially when one is doing healing shadow work or aligning with one’s spiritual gifts. However, you can be around people and still revel in solitude. Some introverts have perfected the ‘my body is here, but my mind is at home’ that they seem to be super chill during a crisis because they have placed themselves in mental solitude that enables them to detach from their physical surroundings. We must be cautious, though. Being in solitude is helpful. However, choosing to hide away and detach out of fear is not always conducive. Yes, life is harsh, and sometimes we encounter people who viciously drain our energy, but we must stay empowered and strong to face our reality.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on life: Not all ‘friends’ are your friend

We indeed showcase different aspects of ourselves to different people. Some people see your funny side. Some see your stylish edge, while others may experience the empathic side of you. However, not everyone who experiences many sides of you is your friend. Today, in the age of social media and fading boundaries in employment, many people may consider you their friend if you follow each other on Instagram, Facebook or Tiktok. They get to see the sides of you that you wouldn’t typically showcase in a professional setting or around mutual acquaintances. This becomes a slippery slope for people to loop you into a friendship trap with ridiculous expectations. e.g. “You said you couldn’t hang out with me, but you posted yourself out with other people.” Sometimes, the irritation can be triggered when you agree to meet up with them for tea or coffee, but they want to take pictures to tag and post.

Another red flag is when someone claims to be your friend, yet they’re only around for the simple checkups or gossip. Sometimes, they ask if you’re okay; however, that’s as far as their friendship goes. They don’t want to dive deep into life experiences with you. These people often only want to be with you when you’re at your best and do not think twice about helping you find solutions to problems when you’ve sunk to your worst. So the question in all situations is, what do you consider friendship? Does it have the safe space and ability to communicate without judgement, or just have companionship for shopping sprees and clubbing? It’s subjective, though, depending on how you like to spend your time and your consciousness level.

So what do we do when we’re unsure? Well, realise the cold truth that not everyone is your friend, even if they claim that they are. Know yourself so well that you have an awareness of your needs and strong discernment to make the best decisions for you. Understand that people don’t even know themselves most times, so be wary when they claim that they know you so well. Likewise, when you feel a distance in your immediate friendships, understand that we are constantly evolving and that what worked for your friendships last year wouldn’t necessarily work for you this year. Finally, be patient because it’s okay to grow apart as everyone grows to find or reinvent themselves.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on Entrepreneurship: Productivity sometimes sucks

Day in, day out, you feel like you’re just going through the motions to gain visibility, producing products and content for your chosen business venture. Sometimes you wake up on Monday morning wondering how you can muster the motivation and discipline to push forward. You love what you do, but you just find yourself stagnant. We’ve all been there. Even the most influential and successful people have been there. It’s easy to lose productivity even with the saturated motivational content you find online. We are often caught in the need to be successful, productive and attainable because everyone in our field seems to be reaching their targets fast. So we feel compelled to compete. The truth is, our body and mind require time to process our progress. We also require quality rest. Sometimes sleeping for eight hours a day is not enough, especially when juggling a job, family life, social life, and personal growth. You are growing whether you like it or not, and just as seasons come and go, so will your motivation and productivity levels.

It’s especially not easy to balance it all when you are surrounded by people who are not aligned with your path. This is why you need to be cautious of who you let into your world because they have the potential to make or break you. This is not a post on how to gain your productivity and motivation back. Instead, this post is an opportunity to check in with yourself. Are you burnt out? Have you gone outside to breathe some fresh air today? Did you eat well and drink enough water? We’re often so busy with the daily routine, ticking tasks off the to-do list, that we neglect our needs. So if you’re here because you fear you’re stuck in a rut. Don’t fret. Take some time out and recalibrate your mind, body and spirit. Life is difficult at times, but you don’t have to choose to suffer.

Make the most of your day and acknowledge your wins, no matter how big or small you think they are.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on Success: Truth on Book Publishing Part 1

You have probably come across adverts and testimonials encouraging you to sign up for webinars and courses that teach you how to make money online. Some of them are often focused on utilising Amazon KDP and Audible. It is true that authors, whether self-published or traditionally published make a substantial profit from their books. However, these quickly make money gurus will hardly tell you that publishing, just like a high street business, requires hard work and endurance. It’s probably easier to open a business on the high street because people will see your building and be intrigued whether they visit it only once or often. Being a published author requires the ability to wear many hats, including marketing, unless you have a large budget to pay someone to do this for you. Now, don’t be disheartened by this post. I firmly believe that if you have a passion for writing, expressing your creativity or have a natural gift in a specific field, you will find a way to build it into a business. This post aims to open your eyes to what being a successful author entails. The ceiling of traditional book publishing is very high and made out of sturdy glass. The road of independent publishing is steep, with many unexpected learning curves.

So you have written your manuscript, and you want to put it out to the world. Great. Now you need to make a decision. To self-publish or not? If you choose to explore the traditional publishing route, this will take time. First, you need to ensure that your manuscript is as clean as possible. Then, you need to submit your work to a literary agent who is the gatekeeper of the publishing doors. Most publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscript submissions for consideration without an agent. So, you need to do your research and compile a list of literary agents to submit your manuscript for representation. This process is relatively slow as literary agents read loads of manuscripts each month, and with a growing saturated market, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from them for months or not at all. However, once you break through the first hurdle, the literary agent will work with you to ensure that your manuscript is as perfect as possible, and they will find a publisher to turn your work into a book. Then you get paid. An advance. That’s the basic process of traditional publishing.

The self-publishing journey is simple. However, it requires a robust view of self-discipline, faith, and learning aptitude. You can write mediocre stories and upload them to a self-publishing platform; however, if you want to compete with traditionally published authors and have your books picked up by bookstores, you need to learn to finesse your work. As a self-published author, you need to learn the basic formatting and etiquette for paperback, ebook and audiobook. Once you have a manuscript, you can hire an editor and proofreader, a cover creator and a marketer to maximise your chances of hitting higher rankings once you publish your book. You need to research the genre and topic for your book, especially if you’re writing non-fiction. However, if you take a quick look on Amazon, you will also find the most popular fiction. If you cannot afford to hire the help you need, start learning to edit and format your manuscript. There are plenty of videos on youtube and websites from successful authors and other professionals. You can also learn to create your book covers on canva by watching Youtube tutorials. Research metadata to include in your book and during the publishing process, use the correct keywords to improve your book’s visibility on the platforms you have chosen to publish. Don’t forget to purchase ISBNs, although self-publishing platforms provide one for each book, highlighting your books as ‘independently published’. It’s not uncommon to have your book not generate interest from the audience when you start if you don’t already have an online community. This is why you need to learn how to use the power of social media and networking to market your book. Don’t expect Amazon or other platforms to market your book for you.

Once you publish your first book, I advise you not to wait for sales to write and continue doing the work. Start writing your next manuscript, draw in an audience and connect with them, set up your author website and profiles, learn as much as you can about the self-publishing business and find a strategy that works for YOU. Then rinse and repeat. Being a self-published author is not easy, but it’s rewarding, especially when you start seeing tangible results. Just make sure that you write books that you enjoy and would make people want to read. I will write more on self-publishing going forward, and I hope you found this post useful.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on Money: Financial security is important

Some say that money is the root of all evil or that you do not need money to be happy. This post is not to reinforce or go against this message but merely to shed some light on the importance of financial security. Money is a tool, and with the declining state of the world’s economy, people require this tool now more than ever. Money doesn’t only pay essential bills and support families in the present. When you have financial literacy, you learn how to leverage it in savings and investments to provide security for years to come. Hence you end up working less while enjoying more of it in the future. However, money can also be a pitfall for those who use it compulsively, buying and spending more than what they can afford, for example, buying expensive luxury items, paying for nights out on credit cards and taking out unnecessary loans. These could quickly become a liability in debt.

There are various ways to leverage an income which you can research. The idea of working hard and playing harder in the context of finance is quickly becoming redundant. This is apparent with people promoting awareness of minimalism and ways to spend money consciously. It is essential to know your financial health whether you are in a relationship, living with family or alone. When you take the time to assess your earnings and spending, you can make a financial plan that works for you and will benefit your future. If your financial status is chaotic, you will continue to fall into traps. And some companies take advantage of people who are already in financial traps.

Having financial security allows you peace of mind, which could positively impact your mental health. Losing sleep over money woes and being anxious about whether you can pay your bills on time is unhealthy and could lead you into haste decision making that will further cause a detriment to your mental health. If your financial health is poor, organisations and services are available to provide support and advice. You have to muster the courage to find them and ask for help. Having financial security is imperative, especially when you have goals such as buying a property, saving for your family or even if you want to treat yourself to a vacation.

So take some time to look at your finances, create a plan that works for you and stick to it. Life comes with many sacrifices, but you won’t regret them when you reap the benefits in the future.

Until next time.

~J