Liliane Grace, creative writing, author, keynote speaker, The Mastery Club 

Liliane Grace, creative writing, author, keynote speaker, The Mastery Club 

Kids and Money and Keeping Our Word

‘Riches, my boy, don’t consist in having things but in not having to do something you don’t want to do, and don’t you forget it. Riches is being able to thumb your nose.’ - Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

I was at a business networking event recently when I found myself chatting with Jay, an Indian businessman who shared with me the following story: 

Jay's son had discovered that his friend received 50c for doing the dishes. After telling his mother, she asked, ‘Do you want 50c too?’ 

‘Yes, okay!’ their son replied. This was easy!

‘All right,’ she replied. 'But after this, breakfast will cost you $2, lunch will cost you $2, and dinner will cost you $2. Do you still want to earn 50c for doing the dishes?’

He was now not so excited about it. She concluded by telling him, 'You can do things for love or money. Choose…’

Apparently their son never asked for money for household tasks again. 

It’s an interesting story, and one that raises all sorts of complex and values-bound issues: Do we ask our children to contribute without return because they are part of the family and are benefiting from the family wealth without earning any of it? Or, since doing chores is the most they can contribute while young, is it therefore only fair to share some of that wealth with them in cash – an acknowledgement of their form of contribution? 

My husband and I struggled with this issue for many years when our children were little, sometimes creating elaborate reward and payment arrangements, sometimes not giving pocket money at all. Our bottom line was that our children always save 10% of whatever they earned or received, and they did become pretty good savers. But we oscillated back and forth as we considered different aspects of this ‘love or money' issue.

There are many traps for the unwary when raising children, especially in the realm of money, and one of them was described to me recently. It brought back lots of memories of times I had said or done ‘the wrong thing’ and we had all suffered as a consequence.

A young boy challenged his parents at basketball with the following: ‘Will you give me $200 if I get this ball in the hoop?’

No doubt he was joking (albeit hopefully) but his parents said yes. Why they said yes, I don’t know, since he was already a basketball player and had a reasonable chance of scoring. 

He aimed… and the ball went though the hoop… and he claimed his $200. And that was when it grew sticky.

Uncomfortable about losing $200 so easily, his father said, ‘Double or nothing!’ and their son shot again… and missed.

Now what might be the natural outcomes of this situation? 

-> A son who no longer believes there is any point trying since there is no reward for effort… 

-> A son who no longer trusts his parents… 

-> A son who no longer respects his parents' word…

Respect is an interesting issue. We want our kids to respect us but we can’t demand that respect; we must command it. Or at least, we can demand it, we can jump up and down and get hot under the collar, but it won’t be a respect worth having. The respect that we command is the one to go after, and the chief way of achieving that sort of respect is by living honourably.

Living honourably can be difficult, especially when we are dealing with cranky kids and one hundred things at once and we’re not on our game, but it's wise to create an internal alarm that goes off whenever we are not living honourably. Dad being flippant about that $200 wasn’t a great start; not keeping his word was a fairly disastrous development. 

I know because I’ve met the son. I’ve witnessed his lack of respect for elders, his lack of effort in applying himself to anything, and his lack of interest in life. He is capable of many wonderful things and his parents are undoubtedly well-meaning. Ultimately, this experience will be one of the challenges on his path, an opportunity to question and reflect and create his own set of values and honourable behaviours… or not.

'Riches, dear reader, don’t consist in having a flawless life but in finding the gift in every experience we are presented with. Make sure you remember it! Riches is being appreciative of everything.' - Liliane Grace

 

I'd love to read your thoughts about kids and money and the issue of respect when parenting.

God Doesn't Throw Fish - How My Son DIDN'T Lose His License

You’ve probably heard the proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.

It’s a good one. It makes sense at an everyday human level, but if we delve a little more deeply, it’s actually telling us how the universe works. You know that guidebook everyone says we didn’t come to earth with? Well, that proverb is your guidebook.

Re-read it like this: ‘God/Life doesn’t throw fish (= rescue you, solve your problems); God/Life provides you with the experiences that will teach you how to fish (= how to be resourceful and powerful in your own life).

Think about it. If you wanted to teach someone patience, would you put them in circumstances where everything easily and quickly went their way, or would you put them in circumstances where they were going to have to work for what they wanted, were going to have to persist and wait and thus develop patience?

The latter, right? It’s obvious, albeit annoying! We want the fish!!!! Right now, in our laps! Instead, a rod is shoved into our hands and we’re pushed out into the weather.

When we resist the rod, we literally make a rod for our backs – if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphors! But hoping/praying for a solution isn’t the answer either; the answer is to take the rod and use it – to learn how to bait the hook and balance ourselves in the boat and wait for the tug and distinguish between what is useful and what is not and be strong enough to reel in the good stuff…

Life will see to it that we receive the challenges that cause us to grow in the right direction – and grow enough to solve the problem ourselves.

A couple of years ago my son called home to let us know that he had been pulled over by the police because his P plate was missing from the rear window. It had been on, he assured us, but the windows had been open since it was a blowy summer day, and the thing had fallen off in the wind without him realising it. He had explained all this, but the young cop wasn’t interested and gave him a ticket.

Jeremy was understandably upset, especially as the demerit points put him in jeopardy of losing his license, which would affect his work, and because he hadn’t been driving irresponsibly at all; the cop was just making a petty point. But the more he thought about it, the more he saw the beauty and the order in the experience, and his insights truly generated magic.

As a teenager, Jeremy couldn’t wait to get his license and have the freedom of the roads; as a 21 year old apprentice mechanic doing a forty-five minute commute to work, he was totally over driving and spent the time feeling irritated by road rules and stop signs and red lights and other drivers and the drivel on the radio. Faced with his ticket, he suddenly realised that the universe was effectively saying, ‘You don’t want to drive? Okay, don’t’.

From that point on, he was completely non-resistant to the lesson. If he was going to lose his license, so be it. If he was going to have to move closer to work, ride a bike, so be it. He didn’t become passive – he wrote to the officer in question asking him to reconsider, but was ignored; however, having contested the charge, he was summoned to court for a hearing, and that was where the magic happened.

The Magistrate was surprised to see him there and explained that there was nothing she could do about his points, especially if he pleaded guilty to the offense, which he was doing. However both she and the Police Prosecutor were impressed by his demeanor. The Prosecutor took it upon himself to cancel the ticket, which meant no points, no fine; not only that, but the officer who had charged Jeremy would probably be ticked off and the Police would foot the court costs. We left in a daze.

This was God/Life at its best: instead of tossing Jeremy a fish (magically making the traffic flow, ensuring that he always followed all road rules, sending a reasonable cop), God/Life gave him a rod (a lesson-opportunity to step up in responsibility and see how he was the creator of his life; to recognise the cause-effect dynamic at work in that experience).

It was his own thought that had called in the experience, and when he acknowledged that, there was no longer any need for him to have the rest of the experience. Since he didn’t resist it, since he surrendered to the lesson, it transformed right in front of him. The fish turned into a prince. (Sorry, another mixed metaphor. Fish, frogs… you get my point…)

All those hard experiences and lessons and challenges are God/Life teaching us how to fish, or how to create a rich and fulfilling life where we are able to sustain ourselves and be masters instead of victims. When we perceive the opportunity in the lesson, we are able to transform it into something that will enrich the rest of our lives.

Happy fishing!

My New Year’s Resolution to 'Under-Achieve'

I don’t know about you but I arrived at the end of last year feeling quite tired and burnt out.

Over Christmas/New Year, I was tackling so much less that I began to deeply relax… and a digestive issue cleared up all by itself… 

It occurred to me that it would be a grand idea to not set out to be SuperWoman this year by taking on so very much but to instead be more realistic about how much I am likely to be able to achieve in a day and deliberately only tackle that much; to deliberately 'under-achieve’.

You know how we can do things in a blink in our minds? I’m a great one for imagining I can get ready in far less time than I actually need because all the little components (morning prayer ritual, exercise, eat, shower, dress, pack food, pack bag, check emails, etc.) typically take longer in the realm of matter than they do in the realm of mind. So I’ve often found myself running late. It wasn’t until I began, in my mind, to ‘over-estimate’ how much preparation time I would need that I began to arrive on time.

I also reframed being early. I realised I had the subconscious notion that if I was early I’d be wasting time (sitting around twiddling my thumbs when I could have been ticking something else off my list…) so I related the idea of arriving early with feeling relaxed and 'sophisticated’. I don't always pull it off, but when I do it feels much better.

Anyway, here’s my intention for this year: to deliberately tackle less and deliberately value and respect my body’s need for ease and my mind’s need for calm.

Interestingly, there’s a profound spiritual truth at the bottom of this decision, and that is trusting in Divine Order. When we are rushing around trying to do a million things we are subconsciously stating that we lack time and we lack the trust that things will flow into our lives in an orderly fashion; we are acting as if we need to 'make it' happen. 

I know that I had fallen into this pattern yet again by the end of last year, and I was becoming distracted by too many tasks that 'might' deliver results. I was putting my faith in the restless external rather than in the changeless, eternal, ‘inner’ principles from which everything flows anyway. 

There's another principle that might appear to be contradictory, and that's the idea 'If you need something done, give it to a busy person', but it's not actually contradictory at all because we are much more productive when we are in a calm, 'eye of the storm' state rather than rushing around like a headless chook...

So here's to valuing and upholding that calm, relaxed and trusting state this year, and returning to it whenever I've lost the plot... Watch this space! :-)

 

If you found this blog interesting, my ebook or articles Living With Grace includes several other articles along similar lines that might interest you, such as 'Birth and Death of the SuperWoman' and 'Going with the Flow… or the Lemmings’/ You might also be interested in my blog re language patterns and forcing results, ‘Bali Belly Insights’, and in Chapter 36 of The Hidden Order, 'SuperWoman Learns How To Create Time’.

‘You are so like your mother / father!’

How do you feel when somebody makes that comment? Do you squirm or smile? Do you feel as if you’ve been criticised or as if you’ve received a compliment?

For the moment let’s not get distracted by the ‘facts’ regarding how upstanding and admirable or how despicable and revolting your parents actually are; instead, pay attention to your response to being tagged with the same brush.

I’ve had a very intense relationship with my mother over the years. She’s been my greatest inspiration and my greatest disappointment. Her character traits have caused me more upset than almost anyone else, and simultaneously, more opportunity for growth. I have criticised her for her choices, her behaviour, her treatment of her own mother, her treatment of my sister, her relationship with her grandchildren… and I’ve observed the degree to which she has become that which she has condemned, fulfilling a timeless universal law. I’ve experienced deep sadness and grief over her apparent losses and failures; aside from feeling her own disappointment, they meant she was crashing from the pedestal I had placed her on. I’ve also experienced superiority and arrogance about those same choices and behaviours because I would never behave that way!

Here's another question: how do you feel when you catch yourself saying or doing something that one of your parents do or did, especially something that you swore you would never do? Does it generates a warm, fuzzy feeling or an uncomfortable, disturbed feeling?

I’ve noticed that there are broadly two groups of people: those who are proud to be like their parents and those who are horrified, but when we delve a little more deeply, we find that both responses usually betray a ‘one-eyed-ness’; those who are proud are blinding themselves to the traits they don’t admire, and those who are horrified are blinding themselves to the traits they might admire.

Aside from that, when we consider the age-old teaching ‘I Am That’, we realise that we embody all of our parents’ traits, whether we aspire to do so or not. This has little to do with the fact that they are our parents; we embody those traits because we are each a mini-Universe; we contain not only all of the chemical elements of the cosmos but also every single human trait. We embody those traits in either expressed or repressed form, and here’s where our parents come in. They are the ones whose behaviour, when we were children, influenced us to form the beliefs and emotional reactions that would determine which human traits we would express and which we would repress.

Whatever our parents modelled for us, we modelled on – we created templates for behaviour based on how they interacted with us and with their world. We either welcomed their example or we resisted and resented it, whether consciously or unconsciously. If we resisted and resented it, we very likely committed ourselves to becoming just like them. As the old adage says, ‘What you resist, persists’; we are destined to do whatever we condemn until we love and appreciate that behaviour or experience.

Nowadays when I’m accused of being like my mother, I remind myself to allow and own that trait, to find how it serves me and to defuse the charge I have on expressing it. As ever, I’m deeply grateful to Dr John Demartini for his Demartini Method that teaches one how to ‘equilibrate’ such charges.

Actually, I don’t need too many reminders of how like my mother I am; I have even mimicked some of her physical ailments, which of course means that I have taken on her model of the world and her beliefs in that area, since the mind and body reflect each other. It’s not just ‘genes’ that determine our physical tendencies; it’s adopting a parent’s view of the world and lifestyle that determines which ills we adopt because our attitudes literally switch our genes on and off. (Research the growing field of Epigenetics to find out more about that!)

You know what? I’m grateful that our world’s laws are so clear and ‘unviolable’ and reliable that we know where we stand. Imagine how horrific it would be to live in a world governed by chaos and randomness, where we didn’t know at any moment what would be the outcome of a particular action? At least, in this world, we know that every effect has a cause; that nothing happens out of the clear blue sky. We call in our experiences – they come into our world because they are resonating with us because of the thoughts and emotions we are entertaining. Nothing can come into our world without us calling it in and literally co-creating it. We can’t be the victims of anything at all.

If we’ve been privileged to study universal laws, we know that there is a Hidden Order at work, a principle known as the Law of Conservation, which tells us that nothing is ever missing, it’s always present although we might not be recognising its current form. And if what we resist persists, then that clearly points to a purpose to life, which is to love and appreciate and honour each of our many experiences so that they can flow into and out of our lives in a useful, harmonious way.

So yes, you are your mother and your father; you are every person you love and every person you hate. You are the cosmos with its stars and galaxies – you contain these vast spaces and all those chemical elements, and you are the tiniest microcosm as well – each tiny particle of your being is a busy mini-universe. As (I believe) the Oracle of Delphi said, 'Know who you are, be who you are, love who you are.'

 

If you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this topic, consider reading my 'personal development novels' for the whole family, The Mastery Club and The Hidden Order, or buying a copy of my collected articles, Living With Grace

Being Negative Is Good For Your Health!

Try my ‘Two-Handed Meditation’ to help you Deal With Festive Season Madness

You might instinctively react to the statement that ‘being negative is good for your health’ with a ‘No way! Being negative causes depression and other destructive states of mind, whereas being positive is a creative, optimistic state that is productive and encouraging and hopeful!’ – but if you are familiar with earthing and ions you’ll know that ‘it ain’t necessarily so…’

Most of our modern world activities, especially those involving computers, generate positive ions, whereas the earth generates negative ions. Generally speaking, positive ions cause stress and dis-ease, and negative ions create feelings of relaxation and generate healing.

Interesting, isn’t it? We’re so quick to be positive about the positive and negative about the negative, yet both of those concepts have both positive and negative manifestations – the Law of Polarity itself! You’ll never get a one-sided anything, and so positivity itself is not purely positive, and neither is negativity purely negative.

If you travel further down this road, you’ll soon find that positivity and negativity are also only surface appearances because the longer you sit with something that appears to be negative, the more you find the blessings and benefits in it, and the longer you examine something that appears to be purely positive, the more you’ll find the cracks and flaws in it.

I discovered this when I instigated my ‘Two Handed Meditation’, where I hold out both hands, palms up, and deliberately give thanks for all the ‘positive’ events in my life, imagining them sitting in the palm of my right hand, and then give equal thanks for all the ‘negative’ events in my life, imagining them poised in my left hand. Funnily enough, I’ve usually barely started with the negatives when their benefits become apparent: ‘This’ challenging person is teaching me courage or self-trust or assertiveness or patience or encouraging me to reflect and step down from an arrogant position; ‘that’ challenging health issue is typically inviting me to take more care of myself. Very useful!

On the other hand (literally!), ‘this’ lovely, supportive person is quite possibly keeping me small and dependent, and ‘that’ physical freedom and health could be causing me to take my flexibility and range of movement for granted… The ‘Two-Handed Meditation’ experience is very grounding and gratitude-generating. Give it a try!

Speaking of ‘grounding’, have you read Earthing - The Most Important Health Discovery Ever by Clint Ober, Stephen T Sinatra M.D., and Martin Zucker? This wonderful book explains exactly how the positive ions generated by our modern world cause us significant dis-ease, while the activities and negative ions generated by the earth beneath our feet are profoundly healing.

‘We humans, as all other living beings, are electrical creatures on an electrical planet, and the ground beneath us is more than something we just stand, walk, play and build on.’

It turns out that our Earth has such a significant negative charge that it can quite easily overwhelm the positive charge we build up in our bodies through disconnection from the earth and exposure to electromagnetic frequencies. We’ve become disconnected from the earth by wearing rubber and plastic-soled shoes, walking on wood and asphalt, and also by saturating ourselves in EMFs. We ‘ground’ ourselves by making skin contact with the earth, whether directly through the soles of our bare feet to grass/dirt or to concrete, since it conducts the charge, or through a range of earthing products (see below).

Grounding or Earthing gives rise to a whole host of healing experiences. Being ‘earthed’ or ‘grounded’ helps people to relax, sleep more deeply, require less sleep, and heal from a broad range of illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure and arrhythmias, lumps, allergies, arthritis, back and joint pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, digestive issues, electrosensitivity, sleep apnea, varicose veins and bad circulation, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and mixed connective tissue disease.

It enables athletes to recover much more rapidly from aches and pains and injuries/wounds, and all of us to ‘de-stress’ and energise. It balances our hormones and our emotions, helps to calm children with autism and enhance their ability to connect, and might even assist with fertility. It counteracts jet lag and can relieve fatigue for long-distance drivers; it is the ultimate ‘anti-inflammatory’ and anti-ageing tool, and it won’t cause any ‘side effects’! And it’s good for our pets too.

(You’ll find more info at www.EarthingOz.com.au or www.earthinginstitute.net as well as a range of products you can buy such as ‘grounding sheets’ for your bed and ‘grounding mats’ for working at the computer. I’ll be ordering mine too!)

The Law of Polarity is so profound and so powerful that every time a judgement is made in one direction, the exact opposite is birthed simultaneously. In other words, as I explained in The Hidden Order (Chapter 52), when someone becomes committed to peace, someone, somewhere in the world, is simultaneously becoming committed to war.

When my editor and master of metaphysics, Tim Marlowe, pointed this out to me, I was staggered. It sounds crazy and wrong, doesn’t it? But it’s a principle of this universe that is designed into the system to maintain balance and homeostasis. No matter how ‘positive’ and ‘good’ something looks to us, there’s always another, deeper, aspect in the opposite direction. The Yin/Yang symbol warns us of this dynamic via the dot in each half of that symbol.

If we align ourselves fiercely with one polarity we are simultaneously producing an equal amount of the opposite, even if that idea utterly offends us! The particle and anti-particle are birthed in the same moment; it’s a law of physics.

You can see this balancing effect on a large scale in the world today in the fascinating dynamic where, on the one hand we have the push towards computer-based inventions and artificial intelligence and digital ‘short cuts’ and high-powered shakes and potions, and on the other hand, a push towards the simpler life as more and more people embrace ‘slow food’ or ‘earthy’ raw food, yoga, massage, meditation… It’s also apparent in the irony that, as we ‘progress’ and ‘evolve’ away from dirt-floor shanties, bare foot living and unprocessed food to high-rises, high heels and the high life, we are simultaneously causing breakdown in our physical, mental and emotional health…

We can’t cheat the system, and when we understand the principles it becomes quite fun to go looking for how they manifest.

By the way, if you’re like me, you might have felt offended that femininity is associated with yin energy and negativity and masculinity with yang energy and positivity. It didn’t seem fair! But knowing that negativity harbours great gifts and is the source of deep relaxation and healing kind of redresses the balance, don’t you think?

Since you’re at your computer or device reading this, check out Earthing by Clint Ober et al, and then go outside and sit with both bare feet on the grass or the soil or even the concrete (it conducts ‘the charge’). Hold out your two hands, palms up, and generate some gratitude for both negative and positive experiences (charges) in your life. While you’re at it, our beautiful and gentle Mother Earth will be grounding you, drawing the stress-generating positive ions out of you and saturating you with healing and relaxing negative ions. Mmmm…