It's good to be connecting with you again. I don’t know about you, but my life has been particularly hectic recently, and so I suspect, has yours. One of the questions I come across over and over again - and I know from everyone I speak to, that you do too, is the question of how to deal with all the demands that pour in on all sides for your time or money.
Of course the issue of Self and Others is going to be one key theme for my retreat in France in September. We are going to be working on your relationships with others. (I look forward to seeing as many as can come and we can accommodate there). But I can’t wait until then to begin to discuss this really important area. So here are a few thoughts, a broad outline, about how to deal with the needs of others.
Appeals on my time and resources range from the appeals of family and friends, to those from disaster relief abroad, to migrants and refugees from other lands. Frankly, most of us are overwhelmed by demands from others, to the extent that we switch off, or stop listening to the messages that bombard us. What to do? I have a few basics I turn to in those situations.
Please bear in mind that they are just “broad brush strokes”. But, I am offering these thoughts because so many people seem to be besieged with responding to the needs of others, in both their private and public lives right now. Special situations like the influx of refugees Europe is facing at the moment require much more in depth work. But this is the starting place.
We are all interconnected. That is a basic given, as members of the human race, ultimately what affects one must affect all in some way, at some time. Then difference must be respected. We are all different, in different ways, and respecting difference is another basic given. That means we need to respect that others are different from us, and try to understand that difference, unless it actually causes harm, according to generally agreed Western Human Rights.
I am not a supporter of relativism, in many cases actual standards matter. A legal framework that gives women an inferior place is causing harm; it’s not just a cultural difference to be respected. So a religion that casts women as second-class citizens is not a difference that attracts respect, rather it is a case for Western justice. But it is our responsibility to respect and try to understand the fact that, for example, someone else may dress, eat or behave according to different norms from our own. Then there is the importance of at least doing no harm, sounds simple but it isn’t - and doing good, if you can.
The next important rule is to look after yourself. No one is served if you are overwhelmed by demands or responsibilities. There was a sad case in Britain recently of an old lady who committed suicide as a result of being “hounded” - the word the press used, by numerous charities who had been the beneficiaries of her generosity and were pressing her for more funds. One can imagine that she felt she could not meet what she saw as her obligations. So rule number one is protect your wellbeing so that you can play a part in the wellbeing of the whole.
Then - you cannot fulfill everyone’s needs. Difficult as it is you have to make choices about the most sensible way of allocating your resources, that is your time, money and attention. How to make those choices is always challenging. It goes without saying that you have a duty, before all else, to look after your family, they are your responsibility. Amazingly there are charitable people who overlook this responsibility. Then, it is worth thinking about where and how you can make the most difference with your resources.
The next point is: Take responsibility for the help you give. Check carefully whom your help is being given to, and the results of that help. This applies equally to time and money. Just handing over money to a charity whose advertisements touch you is not enough. In the same way giving money to a needy teenager, so that she/he can buy a “treat” is not a solution to the child’s emotional problem.
Similarly, for example, in your private life, it is no use staying up night after night, (to the probable annoyance of others in your life) counselling a dear friend in need who does not change his/her behaviour or attitude despite your input. You are only supporting her/him in staying exactly where she/he is.
Things are just as tricky on an international level. For example, there is the question of aid. The debate about giving aid rages. It is worth researching this subject. Here is an article picked at random (the first one that came up for me on Google). It’s from the on line version of Spiegel, a German publication. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/time-for-a-rethink-why-development-aid-for-africa-has-failed-a-712068.html . The title says it all - why development aid for Africa has failed. The author points to many problems, including the self-supporting aid-industry, corruption and the failure to develop self-reliance in recipient countries. Self-reliance, responsibility is a key factor in all our lives. Of course I do not want to diminish the importance of giving aid. Giving of our surplus, or supporting the rights of others – the way of the Light - is a fundamental duty in life. It is awareness of Interconnectedness taking practical form. But we must question how Aid is given. (Huge subject).
When it comes to doing good, or at least doing no harm, remember that it requires conscious effort not to do harm. Are you sure the shirt you are wearing was not made by slave labour? Or do you have the wisdom to acknowledge that low wages may be better than no wages in a third world country? In our interconnected world it is more difficult than it has ever been to be isolated from global events, we are bombarded with information, propaganda, bias, politics, disinformation, and more that I am probably unaware of. It is hard to establish the truth as the foundation from which to make a decision and take action. It is hard not to be overwhelmed, or duped by an emotional response.
Which brings me back to the beginning. In considering all the calls on my time, I try to make sure that I keep up my own strength - which can be difficult, but I recognise is essential, and I do not look to be the solution for others. Rather I look to help them become their own solution, in a manner that works for them. In taking that stand I am very clear that I am not following some political dictate, but I am following the principles of Light: that we are all interconnected, to respect difference, and to do no harm.
Plenty to think about! I hope you find the articles about my retreats and how working with me can help to find balance in the professional sphere thought provoking or heartening as well.
The fact that you care so deeply about your relationship with others, near and far, is enormously heartening to me, and evidence of the power of the Light, and its eventual triumph.
Travel well, go well, be well
With love and best wishes
In the Newsletter this time:
Working with Michal, Friends Speak:
In the newsletter this time, Friends write abouthow Michal’s work has helped with finding balance and inner strength in a complex professional world and the long-lasting transformational effect of the retreat experience.
Jacqueline, a Project Manager, describes how working with Michal has helped her to find balance and enhance her own innate strength and vision, in her complex and demanding professional life.
I stumbled across Michal on the web six years ago. I had not heard of Michal, nor did I really understand what energy was but it resonated within me. Six years on my life has fundamentally changed and the changes are sustainable and deeply enriching.
I work in a multi-faceted, challenging, fast-paced environment within the financial sector with a multitude of complex characters to manage, problems to be solved and timelines to meet. One of the many gems of Michal’s work is that it brings balance and the desire for authenticity. Having a balanced state of mind has changed my perspective of life, beliefs and values and, naturally, my behaviors have followed suit. I can be firm and take tough decisions without being cruel, I am empathetic, but not a walk over, my vision and clarity has been enhanced, my intuition is strong and growing stronger each day and I grow more trusting of my innate qualities. Of course these qualities have always been there but working with Michal has facilitated my ability to connect with them.
The complexities and frustrations of knowing my place in the corporate hierarchy no longer exist, I don't need to reinforce where I sit in the hierarchy, nor do I need to employ political tactics to maintain my place, nor do I need reassurance of who I am. I can claim it from just being authentically me. Yet I have professional respect for the hierarchy I work in as well as the people within it.
Despite all the change that has taken place, I feel there is a deep reservoir within me with an abundance of qualities and knowing to tap into. It is reassuring to know that this will be ignited and, equally, that the process will be supported by working with the different mechanisms Michal offers -- the Circle Group, the forthcoming retreat and the monthly LEAP meditation.
While I have just written about changes in my professional world, the changes have permeated every facet of my life. I have a deep love and appreciation for life and all it has given me – the light and the dark! To Michal I offer my sincerest thank you and I feel extremely lucky that she popped up at the top of Google’s search results!
In September of this year, there will be a long anticipated opportunity to join Michal on a retreat in Normandy, France. Felicity remembers the process of deciding to join a retreat and the exhilarating experience of the retreat itself.
I am feeling happy and excited as I have just made my travel arrangements for the retreat with Michal in France this autumn. As I was booking my ticket, I remembered when I had been working with Michal for only a short time and there was an opportunity to join a retreat with her. My daughter was a small child then and I live far away, how could I leave her and my other responsibilities for something that felt so self-indulgent? I was gripped with indecision.
I dithered around a bit trying to make up my mind, then talked with Hilary, the retreat organizer who was really helpful, then finally took the plunge and committed to going. What a fantastic choice that turned out to be! The retreat filled me with such amazing energy, the personal contact and learning from Michal was extraordinarily powerful, transformational and inspiring and being with others who resonate with Michal’s work profoundly uplifting. Even though the growth and learning is not always comfortable, I came away with the clear understanding that this was the best thing that I could do, not only for myself, but for everyone else in my life – a wonderful and positive learning on interconnection. I returned home glowing, happy and ready for a new phase of growth.
I have never had any indecision since about whether to attend a retreat with Michal, and the results have always been as good. I look forward to seeing all of you who will be there in September and for those of you who may be on the fence, I say “go for it!”
If you are interested in signing up for Michal’s transformational online course, The Soul’s Path, the next opportunity will be on May 14th and June 14th. The course aims to awaken your ability to sense energy both within yourself and in the environment and teaches you how to interpret that energy, develop your intuition, and to use it to enhance all areas of life. For more information
Wishing you a happy and peaceful summer.