In this series of EQ we will provide practical steps for understanding the language of one’s emotions. This complex topic I hope to put across in a simple way and so to provide you with many helpful tools for personal growth.
Paradox of Change
Whenever I think of coping with change, my thoughts almost inevitably turn to my grandmother. Born in 1917 in Blackpool in United Kingdom, her Mom was sent over from Belgium as a pregnant woman to escape World War 1. Her life was remarkable. She was sent to an orphanage in Belgium at the age of 3, fell in love with singing, at 18 she heard the German’s were coming to capture young girls. She set off back to United Kingdom with her music books and a suitcase. She sang for British naval troops where she met my Grand Father who then decided to travel to Africa (The Congo) where they successfully built two hotels and had two children. They had to flee in minutes from war in 1960, with two young children. Moving south to Cape Town, my grandfather ran the Sea Point swimming baths until he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in 1964. My grandmother then ran a business and raised two children on her own. Raised under the harsh and somewhat century changes including the apartheid time in South Africa and sadly died of cancer in 1993 just before Nelson Mandela was elected president.
When my brother and I were little we loved the stories my grandmother told. Her early family life was such a radical departure from our own we’d beg her to tantalise our imaginations with the amazing contrasts of her life. Just when we were enjoying the reality of a man landing on the moon, she would tell us how her and my grandfather had taken to the seas from Liverpool to Congo in Africa and travels to South Africa which took months. Only three generations later we thought, “All that time just to go halfway around the world when even the moon can now be reached in just a few days!” Also while I was foolishly fantasising about handsome princes, she’d tell us how her own mother – on a flimsy promise had travelled from England alone.
Also my grandmother enduring a bummy 1500 km ride at the back of an open truck through Afirca’s rather unwelcoming and dangerous bushveld. Since her passing it still fascinates me that the world she left behind – filled as it is with space-shuttles, laptops, and cellphones – was completely unimagined by the little girl born in 1917 in a little town. I often wondered how she coped.
Even in our short lifetimes, technology has dramatically shifted our reality. I can clearly remember the days we had to use pencils at schools and calculators where only for super business people.
Our beliefs, values and opinions, previously rooted in generations of cultural history, are also fast being rewritten by what we experience around us. For instance, not so long ago it was frowned upon to keep hopping form one job to another. Now in one lifetime it’s thought we’ll now only have many jobs but these will be wrapped up in five different careers.
THE HUMAN SPRIT
This is an important issue because some stability is essential is we’re to cope with the ever increasing pace of change. Given today’s reality, we’ll only find this security in ourselves. These are our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual requirements. All four work as a system which when balanced makes us happy. Balance here is a simple concept. It means making sure our real needs are met. This releases our natural energy which is our source of personal power; and being happy is the key that unlocks this life-force within us.
Academic qualifications, money, status and the desire for lots of worldly possessions have eclipsed our physical, emotional and spiritual energy.
If you doubt this, ask yourself whether you’re any happier or healthier that your parents were or theirs before them.
We may be wealthier or more intellectual but our stressful lifestyle plays havoc with our health and interferes with most of our relationships. It even confuses our NEEDS.
While out shopping the other day I happened to overhear someone in all seriousness say. ‘What I really need is a new pair of boots!’ This tendency to confuse our needs and wants is a symptom of being out of balance.