Wow’ we’re at the 6th step of the 7 steps to happiness. And of course we can be happy long before we get there because like love happiness is a verb. It’s our imagination in action and these next steps are to establish the flow so we can sustain it :-) for that we need to explore and discover our relationship with sacrifice.
Now sacrifice is one of those words like discipline that scares the bay jesus out of most people. It almost promises pain in just its utterance or is that just because i was brought up in catholic ireland:-)
At its essence sacrifice is an offering - that, there’s, a reframe if ever there was one. Which of course brings the concept of the stories we tell ourselves influence the stories we tell others front and centre. And where do stories begin but in our imagination so
Can you imagine that instead of giving up something you want you’re giving something away that no longer fits you and in the context of happiness you are giving away what you neither need, want or desire so you clear the path to your joy.
And this is the simple secret to sustainable happiness - cultivating a practice of doing more of what you love and less of what rubs you the wrong way.
And simple does not mean easy.
Us humans have a tendency to get in our own way, to over think and complicate things. As soon as we begin to experience that life is easy our ego will conjure 27,000 reasons why that’s not true. The ego wants to ensure its employment and doesn’t like to upset the status quo - yep the ego is striving and never arriving which is why we need to elevate our energy so we keep vibiing high
What was it that Rumi said
It’s not love we are seeking but clearing all the barriers we have built against it
So sacrifice is basically Marie Kondoing your life so you have everything you need and desire to make sure you’re happy. My mother might suggest you’ve no reason not to be. She’s a stoic for sure:-)
Our needs are simple - food, water, shelter. Our desires require more understanding but they’re only destabilising when we become attached to them unfolding in a really specific way. In my experience when I don’t get what I desire it usually turns out for the best. And something different or better turns up that I could not have imagined and almost always in a form I could never have imagined. Where I’m living right now is a total testament to that a beautiful loft on the stunning sapphire coast - who’d have thought. If I’ve learned anything it’s that I’m a master manifestor but not always on the same timeline or in the same location with the universe :-)
Breath into that for a moment .
Can you let go and let it be easy?
Could you trust that you have everything you need to fulfill your mission in every moment. That the answers are within, that love is within. That everything you need you already have.
Bet there’s a bit of resistance and releasing happening there:-) sure is for me - almost every time. But this is where peace is when we feel grateful for everything we have right now and it’s also where we make space for what’s next but more on that later.
At this point in the 7 steps - sacrifice is a no brainer you’ve discovered you are not who you think you are but you’re much clearer about who you are, what you value and what you need to do and how you need to behave to let this happen.
It’s an unfolding journey, as you explore and discover and refine and become the person you need to be.
Could you be in flow, tuned into your and the cosmos rhythms and cycles. No longer fearful of not being enough or not belonging, no longer resisting, no swimming upstream against the current here.
For me working with the lunar cycle is super helpful in this regard. As you track the new to the full, to dark moon - you very quickly come to realise how your unique energy waxes and wanes and how it changes as the moon travels through each sign. The moon changes sign every 2.5 days and so does your energy. I have learned I can be fired up and brilliantly productive for a couple of days and then I need some space. So I now assign tasks by energy.
Tony Schwartz who wrote The power of full engagement found that by integrating multidisciplinary findings from the science of high performance, that we're neglecting the four core needs that energise great performance: sustainability (physical); security (emotional); self-expression (mental); and significance (spiritual).
We’re not designed to work at high speeds or high intensity for long periods - we’re not computers/machines, we're best when we work rhythmically pulsing between spending and renewing energy regularly physically, mentally emotionally and spiritually
Organizations really screw with this by forever seeking to get more out of their people. They completely sabotage themselves and circumvent sustainable high performance. Instead they should create systems to assign tasks by energy to meet their four core needs so people feel inspired, liberated and fueled, to bring the best of themselves to work every day.
This is a new way of working that the yogis has always advocated, the pre industrial and mediterranean natures lived by. Global corporations like Google, Ernst & Young, Shell, Ford have experimented with this. Schwartz shows that by building specific rituals into our daily schedules to balance intense effort with regular renewal.
Balancing emotionally intense experiences with practices that fuel resilience; moving between deep focus on urgent demands and more strategic, creative thinking; and balancing a short-term focus on immediate results with a values-driven commitment to serving the greater good. This is also the premise of Design Your Life the book by Bill Burnet and Dave Evans and the basis of my own daily practice working with the lunar energies and kundalini yoga which inform my moon deck offering. Working this way you begin to truly embody that we too are nature.
This is the space where we find flow. Flow is when a technique has been embodied
You can’t master the flow until you know the practice
Then you can allow yourself to enter it
You are now in devotion in your discipline because you have lived the benefits of it. You respect the process and
You relax into it and let the posture/process do you
At the beginning of anything we are learning we are trying to grasp it all, analysing trying to understand it
First phase is resistance
Then mind and emotional body is stimulated and you are aggravated as it upsets your status quo because there’s chaos before calm - cleaning house
What follows is clearer which allows true creativity to emerge
Creativity is the juice of happiness as you’re balancing your Mars and Venus.
I notice this when working with clients. They want the results, the outcome but no one wants to do the work. Yet once we enter the work and they experience the benefits of the practice and they witness their their patterns, their narrative and see how it has been keeping them stuck they begin to loosen their grip and trust the process.
So in the discipline of freedom model to create your success and freedom
You first begin to understand who and what you are an instrument for and choose how you want to tune and play your best game.
Freedom is the choice to discipline yourself.
We understand discipline very well in relation to sport, the military and in the give to get model.
Less so in the context of accessing the imagination and channelling our creative force to design, shape our lives to deliver our dreams.
Every designer works within constraints imposed by the context of the industry, product, market. Artists work with the constraints of their materials. Entrepreneurs work with the constraints of available capital and other resources. All are pushing beyond their comfort zones in their unique creative expression.
Years ago when I worked in book design. We were working on a photographic book. No two made the same choices when juxtaposing images. A different book would have been produced by each designer.
Necessity surely is the mother of invention and negotiating how to direct your attention means sacrificing one thing for the greater good of another. It’s a continuous conversation as you refine your vision and mission. It’s vital to funnel and focus because where your prana - life force energy goes flows
Sacrifice is the devotion to your chosen disciplines - yamas and niyamas
In my experience the most suffering occurs when I’m in resistance with reality. When I’m pissed off that something isn’t happening as i expected or fast enough. When i feel I’ve done the work but I’m not seeing the results yet. A project isn’t proceeding with the speed that I wished. have i mentioned I’m a fiery aries? A cardinal sign that initiates that pioneers but isn’t always great at finishing things and so I have had to discipline myself to complete projects. To not start yet another thing before I complete what I’ve previously committed to.
And what we resist persists right. You want a boyfriend but you keep expecting him not to show up. - guess what happens he doesn’t. You want more clients but you don’t ask for the business. You want more money but you give your services for free. To receive we must behave as though we are already in that position. To be loved be loving and feel loved. To be prosperous feel and behave as though you already have more than you need. To be valued value yourself.
Here is where we dive into what we are willing to let go to become your greater self, becoming better just a little every day. You’re joining the incremental movement, marginal gains of 1% each day.
We can’t do everything and be everything so what will you do with your one wild and precious life. What will be your single focus to be so good they can’t ignore you.
There was a moment in parenting where people would say 'Quality over quantity' My sister used to say if you do the quantity you get the quality. This is the essence of the planet Saturn, the essence of a daily practice using the principle of compound interest. What you do everyday is whom you become. Saturn teaches us the power of constraints to create focus and freedom.
By paying attention as you parent daily you learn what works and what doesn’t.
So when someone ask you what you do you say I’m a freedom and success mentor for creatives, leaders and entrepreneurs who know what got them here won’t get them there.
Abraham Maslow gives us his take on following your gravitational pull which will allows you to enjoy your choices which is a common quality of allpeople who enjoy success and fulfillment
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at ease with himself. What a man can be he must be
Caroline Myss talks about choice being our greatest power.
Where will you put your focus?
By choosing for something you naturally choose against something else
I’m recording this at the Taurus New Moon 20 May 23. Taurus is ruled by Venus and it wants us to get clear on our values so we do this human being thing well. We get to choose our values - where and how to spend our time, energy, money and thoughts. Time being the only non-renewable so its important to be extra careful that you spend your time intentionally and wisely. Money, energy and thoughts are all currencies that will ebb and flow through the cycles of your life. There are times when you can make a lot of money because you have compounded your skills, expertise and talents into a really valuable package that people will pay for. At times your investments yield well and there will be times when learning, health, relationships or fun is the focus, and your income may be less. Taurus wants you to build the foundations and frameworks so you can recession proof your resources and ride these cycles of creation.
What you really want to develop is your subtle energies so you become a self sensory human being and you are so tuned in you know what to do and do it without overthinking and worrying how it will turn out. You’ve learned to trust your choices.
I work with the zodiacal wheel in astrology where each year you will travel through the 12 houses. The houses are areas of life. We move from Aries season with focus on self identity with the mantra I am, to Pisces who focuses on the collective unconscious and the dream world creating a path for moving forward with the mantra I dream.
The 1st, 5th and 7th focus on relationship with self and others on your path and purpose,
The 2nd, 6th and 10th houses focus on income, service, reputation - so building resources to fulfill your path and purpose.
The 3rd, 9th and 11th houses, on the need for pleasure and enjoyment.
The 4th, 8th and 12th on the psyche to find liberation and enlightenment from the world. Individually each year you will have what is called an annual profection which is your focus for the year. Mine is in my second house this year which is about setting up the flow of income and resources.
Book an astro blueprint session if you want to learn how to work with your unique astrology.
I’ve learned working with the cosmic flow makes everything easier
This is the spiral of success I teach in my Inside Out Business and Branding program where we incrementally increase our capacity for greater prosperity and freedom by strengthening our nervous system to hold more power, confidence, responsibility, money, resources, commitment and conviction to our vision.
Each year we spiral outwards and we build the foundations and frameworks that support us to integrate all aspect of ourselves as we take the small daily actions that compound to move us from surviving to thriving, fear to love, scarcity to abundance, limiting beliefs to openmindedness, carelessness to mindfullness, self-sacrifice to self-care, form living other people dreams to living our dharma, our purpose.. In the context of this conversation moving us closer to the life we love to live. And like a seed we have to root before we can shoot. Any plant is only as strong as its foundations.
Overnight success that is sustainable is built on years of preparation through practice.
In business and branding this means establishing your credibility and authority in your chosen area of expertise.
My teacher used to call this qualifying yourself. In business and in all your relationships its showing - not just telling others what they can rely on you for.
I met this gorgeous surgeon in India once who speaking of her own son said. Good looks and charm will get you to 35 by then you’ve got to have built some substance. Substance such as skills, qualifications, experience. This substance proves to others they can rely on you to deliver what they pay you for. It also builds your confidence and conviction that you can walk your talk. It gives you magnetism, the power of presence.
In every moment there’s a choice to serve the moment or the master.
Get the cup of coffee or finish the podcast first. Our ego will try all sorts of trickery to stop us doing what we need to do to keep the promises we have made to ourselves and this is imhe is where we need to be our most vigilant in our discipline aka self-awareness with the question - did i just get in my own way again
In my own life i will keep a commitment to others almost without fail but I observe how i still break promises to myself daily which pisses me off because i know it impact on my business and personal growth and if i’m playing catch up/not meeting my own goals. I get stuck and i’m limiting my freedom. And there will always be more and I’m ok with that. After all where’s the fun in it if i was doing it all so perfectly.
And it’s mostly the little things - It might be hitting the snooze button one more time, leaving the dishes until the next morning - rare but it happens, half finishing the article I was writing, not paying that bill by its due date - automate everything you can - got to love technology for that. Not honouring the time I’ve blocked to listen to a course I’ve committed to taking. Letting work spill into self-care time or vice versa.
But it’s also the intangible things like speaking badly to myself. I’ve had an ongoing conversation for decades with my body that I need to lose a few kilos. I mean what’s the point. Either commit to do it or love just my body as it is.
People see sacrifice as suffering but really its in service to your greater self and your bigger vision. There are cycles and seasons in everything. Nature shows us this again and again with its resilence and adaptability. Everything that is born will die. You will continue to change as you live. There is no stasis in nature and the wisdom lies in knowing what to sacrifice and when.
I split with my husband after the realisation that no matter how much I loved him and showed him this in every way I could - sharing time money, energy, intimacy, experiences, resources, it would never be enough beause he didn’t value himself. He loved me too but there came a point where it was my sanity or the relationship. I chose me.
It was like filling a bottomless well and then the thought occurred to me. Imagine if I put all those resources into me and I was pretty ok already how great could i be and of course the question that followed in hot pursuit was why have you been willing to give it all away for all these years. Do you have lower self-esteem, less self-respect and self love than you think you have? At the time this was a totally new conversation for me.
Oh sweet divine mother of god didn’t that bring me to some deep dark shadowy places like the myth of the descent of Inanna where she entered through the 7th gates of hell. and so I began this huge journey of learning to love myself, learning to sacrifice looking good for others to being good for myself- not to but for myself and of course the irony is once you fill that cup you have so much more to share with others to help others fill their cup too. And this is sacrifice which really is another word for discernment. I mean how many music festivals have you gone to pretending to have the best time amidst the mud and the crushing moshpit, the overpriced drinks and terrible food. How many parties have you been to smiling like a botoxed miss piggy thinking I’d rather be at home steam mopping my floors.
You see when you get to this point you will sacrifice anything to be who you have committed to be and there’s no pain in it because you have your single point of focus on your mission and know what needs to be done and you do it.
You’ve moved from playing an finte to an infinite game
The things that used to distract you like the big night out aren't even on your radar anymore. Some friends stopped inviting me to things when I started living a more yogic lifestyle. Getting up early doesn’t marry well with partying hard. We shared other experiences.
High heels and endless designer labels aren’t needed for online business - except of course on instagram in those ubiquitous faux, faux faux overly styled immaculately groomed rented airbnb perfect lifestyle shoots.
You become discerning with your time, energy, resources, money and thoughts. You have clearer YES and NO which is the purpose of branding - less decisions and clearer one when you have to make them
You spend your time cultivating the relationships and experiences you value so you get the results that matter to you.
I love design and my nickname since forever has been stylish eilish so I’m not giving up on beauty in all its forms. I love natural fibres like cashmere, cotton and silk but have a way smaller wardrobe and much fewer shoes. I still have more than I need. There's no minimalism here, - what we’re talking about is choosing your distractions by practicising discernment. My latest love is cashmere pants for winter. Wow! and if you haven’t discovered ugg boots for indoor slippers. Go buy them now.
And of course there’s occasions for high heels and getting dressed up but there’s no fomo. You are proactively choosing where and how and with whom to spend your attention. Where prana goes flows.
We’ll talk about mind training in another episode - that’s a big topic. I’m so not a believer in mindfulness as most people teach or talk about it. Tell yourself not to think about that coffee and watch how that sucker pervades your thoughts.
Can you see that by committing you choose the vision of whom you want to become - your future self as its called in the vernacular these days and by practising the behaviours and adhering to the values of this person you build your character and you choose its archetypal projection - how you’ll show up - not how your mother said you should or your teacher or how you imagine your boss wants you to but as your powerful essential self. Can you see that as you move towards that north node we spoke about earlier you are stripping away like Michelangelo removed what was not needed until the statue of David revealed itself to him. You’re letting go of others beliefs, projections, conditioning patterns, and everything that is not essentially you.
Through daily practice and action you build your self-esteem and self-respect as you turn your self-doubt into self-confidence. If you were the observer of your good self tracking your progress you might even be impressed by your progress and proud of who you are becoming. During this process you are sacrificing habits that don’t support the accomplishment of your goals, that don’t become this future self you are building moment by moment. So this dignity you have earned by disciplining yourself to choose to follow your chosen devotions in health, work, play and relationships are delivering for you and the best thing is the more you practice them, the others fall away and your new behaviours replace those habits, that were keeping you stuck and these new ones, what we call in KY ‘promoting habits become normal.
Start smoking you become a smoker, run and you become a runner, meditate and you begin to trust your intuition, your creativity and your essential self, lead and you learn to trust yourself more deeply. Yes what you practice you become. Yes, the more you turn up to proactively serve yourself, the more you build your self esteem self respect and others trust you. You’re qualifying yourself building your expertise and credibility. And you’ll find others will begin to ask you how you did this and can you help them too.
It’s the I want what she’s having phe-nom e nom
You’ll know when you are presented with possibilities of what your choices are. This means you spend less time and energy deciding and more on being and doing what turns you on and moves you closer to your vision.
Please remember that there is no dogma but your own dogma so you are choosing your commitments and this will change as you become more of who you are. And this is not a giving to get scenario. This is a giving to yourself to become who you truly are at your essence. You are letting go of the choices you have been conditioned to make to please others, to fit in. You are letting go of the shoulds and the coulds in favour serving the part of you that does not die - your greater self. You are choosing self care so when you serve you are serving from a full cup.
I do a daily practice to cleanse my energy and my mind before I begin my day. This means that I sacrifice time in service of my spirit. I make it a priority to come to stillness at least once per day so I encounter my essence and remind myself of who I am at a spirit level. This practice cleanses my subconscious which is stirred up through the asanas / movement and breathwork. I can then enter my day with joy and love, clarity and boundaries about what I will devote my time, energy, resources and money to.
And in the course of the day there will always be something or someone that pulls me in one direction or another but I’ve learned and am still learning to bring myself back to my centre so I choose where to focus my attention. Believe me this is a practice, and I like what Elizabeth Gilbert said that the reason they call it a practice is you have to keep on doing it. My teacher when asked as a master, why he still got up for sadhana - his spiritual practice. He answered to remain a master.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote build your dreams or someone else will employ you to build theirs.
And if you have followed the previous steps you have been divining and incrementally refining to become clearer and clearer on the nuances and subtleties of your energy and your values so you will willingly sacrifice to protect your peace of mind to create your happiness.
I want you to be clear that my choices and values will not be yours. My choices and values will unlikely be my partner’s but there needs to be alignment or else there will be constant friction. If you take anything away from this episode it’s about not giving yourself away - not self-sacrificing for peace and quiet, being afraid to upset the applecart but sacrificing so you do what’s best for yourself, so you can then do your great work in service of others.
Today we have the new moon in Taurus, Jupiter the great amplifier has moved into taurus where it will stay for a year. Find where taurus is in your chart and consider what seeds you want to plant under this benefic energy. Jupiter is asking you to imagine how you can stretch beyond yourself, beyond what you presently know and have experienced. It is only through imagination we can become our greater selves. We have to let go of our imagined disabilities and self-imposed limitations. Jupiter will amplify whatever energy you bring to it.
Jupiter holds your greatest possibilities, your wildest dreams, your greatest fears, your deepest feelings. Work with this New Moon to commit to your aims or goals, your purpose, discern and call in what resources you need to fulfill your mission and explore and discover what pleasure and play you need to enjoy the ride that will deliver your liberation. Let me know on instagram what this is for you. And if you need help and support to keep you accountable along the way I have some 1:1 spots open. Check out my website to see what others say and what’s changed for them. Until next week enjoy this beautiful expansive energy with mercury direct. Get into action Go go go
So the questions to ask what are you willing to devote and dedicate yourself to yourself to build over the next 5-10 years
What do you value enough that you are willing to sacrifice time, energy and resources now to build the future you want to live into?
What will you give up in the moment to serve your master vision?
What habits will you sacrifice and what habits will you begin to cultivate?
What can you build that is so unique to you that people immediately resonate with so they feel they OMG i’ve been looking for this and I need this
You should make yourself so happy, that by looking at you, other people become happy.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
There are two ways to work with me. You can join my moon deck, which is a monthly offering to work with the lunar cycles. or book an Astro business blueprint session to explore my one-to-one coaching, to give you insight into what makes you unique and how to work with that instead of resisting it. How to work with the planetary cycles and the energies of the year.