STOP WORRYING AND START DREAMING

Make what you want a reality. 

As I’ve mentioned in some past posts I’m about to start a new business. I have been working towards this moment for a few years now and finally, in 2014, I will be launching James Houston Design – a website where you can purchase my photos, homewares and visualization tools and products. A great friend of mine from Australia is moving to New York to help launch the branch and run the company. It’s an incredibly exciting project and I can’t wait to see it become a reality.

However there are those moments when doubt creeps in and you start to talk yourself away from a great feeling to a negative one that leaves you feeling somewhat defeated. Having done work on my HEADSPACE over the years to reinforce the belief that I am the creator of my own reality, I know that all I have to keep doing is connecting to a great feeling and thought about what’s to come. Feel it before you see it! I have been listening to Esther Hicks, doing a lot of meditation and reminding myself to feel my way forward.

Back when I was a kid at school the teachers would always get on my case for daydreaming and now it’s almost like we need to start doing more day dreaming than day worrying. Daydreaming is a great way to connect to that result you are trying to achieve in your life. I know this sounds simple and, honestly, it really is. The main challenge is just reminding yourself to realign with feeling forward, and therefore feeling good, when things get off track.

I also find ‘gratitude walks’ can really help. Simply go for a walk and just recite to yourself everything you feel grateful for. Breathe deeply and feel the gratitude for your life. Nothing will propel you forward faster. Remember ‘feel’ your way forward.

THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY

Are you still making the same mistakes or do you just love the drama?    

As we travel through our life journey we are often confronted with challenging situations that we have experienced before. And often our reactions, and results, are exactly the same.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Why is it that we repeat the same mistakes over and over? No matter how bad it made us feel last time, or how much of a drama it was, we quickly throw away all common sense and just jump right back to where we were.

To make matters worse we tend to talk about the negative outcome (which, realistically, we could see coming anyway) to anyone who will listen. This is a pattern that can quite literally last a lifetime and can be very destructive, particularly when it comes to relationships and careers.

About nine years ago I found myself in a string of dysfunctional relationships. For several years I was in denial about one fact – the common factor in all of those relationships was actually me, not them. I committed to seeing a therapist for 12 months and at about the 10-month  mark I met an incredible person, who I have now been with for over eight years! It’s my longest and most healthy relationship to date. One thing I also found helpful at the time was to write down what I was looking for in a partner in terms of personality traits, the kind of relationship we would have and how I felt in it.

This same approach can be applied to any area of your life that you feel isn’t really working. Are you going from job to job, diet to diet or, like me, from date to date? We are all human and we all make mistakes. It’s just up to us how we handle them and what lessons we walk away with.

It’s important to note that there are a lot of people out there who love to listen to your drama and really feed that negative energy. You share with them and they share with you. Although sometimes satisfying, it’s actually a very destructive conversation. It holds you back from moving forward to new possibilities.

You really need to start to listen to, and trust, your inner voice – the one that has seen you go down certain paths before. When you are confronted with a negative situation, go back to that previous time you experienced it and ask yourself: ‘How did I handle it and what was the outcome?’ and, ultimately, ‘How did that make me feel?’

It’s tough at first but try it and see how you go. Remember, any pattern can be broken and a new way of thinking can be established. Get out your affirmations and remind yourself of who you are, what you want and, most importantly, that you’re worth it.

THE REAL COST OF BEING RIGHT

What are you willing to lose?

Being right is something we all love to be. Whether it’s an argument, a conversation or even when offering someone advice, it’s like we are chalking up points on an imaginary scoreboard. But when you aren’t right, how easily do you admit it? Or do you argue your point and justify your opinion regardless?

I’ve always been a bit of a control freak. Over recent years I have been really working on letting go, and trusting the universal flow of my life. It takes work. A lot of work. But being conscious of how you interact with people offers incredible insight into who you are and why your life may not be as enjoyable as it could be.

I’m the oldest of five siblings and I grew up believing that I knew more than my younger brothers and sisters due to my age and perceived experience. I know I even made things up on many occasions to bolster my argument. Ultimately, focusing on being right can cause so many problems in your relationships with other people. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is it really worth it?’ Having the ability to let go of a conversation before it becomes a ‘right v wrong’ situation is the only way to really diffuse a potentially negative engagement that will make you feel awful in the end.

I know good friends who have fallen out for years over a ‘who’s right and wrong’ confrontation, and families that have been broken up over a silly situation or argument. It went on so long that in the end nobody could be really clear who said what exactly. The goal is to not harbor ill will against anyone. Even if you think the other person is in the wrong, sometimes it’s better to avoid the confrontation, and let the situation diffuse, rather than going at it like a dog on a bone.

I too have gone to crazy lengths to prove a point. There have even been times when I think I have let something go, but I have often had a final dig. I know it’s wrong and it proves to me that I’ve still got work to do. Now, this approach of avoiding confrontation, or making your point, doesn’t mean you are in the wrong and the other person is right. It’s more that you care more about how you feel, and your vibration, than you do about being right.

Try and catch yourself next time a situation comes up where you feel you are right. Try to diffuse the conversation and move on. Remember, being aware and taking responsibility for what you are saying and doing is the only way to change habits, and to be more consistently happy in your life. Give it a try.

 

‘THE MAKING OF NATURAL BEAUTY’ web series compilation

If you missed The Making of Natural Beauty web series, we have merged all 12 episodes in to one edited version. Check it out on The Houston Effect YouTube channel. If you love it, share it! Your support will help bring awareness to the environment, and raise funds for environmental nonprofit, Global Green USA.

CHILD’S PLAY

Reconnect with a life less complicated

It’s so easy to become consumed by our own lives. We forget to take a look around and see what’s going on in the world. With all the digital devices we now have to keep us constantly stimulated, updated and “connected”, we actually miss so much of what’s happening around us.

There are several things I love to do to get inspired and to get out of my own headspace. When I take a spontaneous walk around the city I always come across people who are living their dreams and trying to make it happen – whether they are busking, exercising or rushing to work, I love that inspired energy and getting out there amongst it. When was the last time you went to see a live performance? How about an inspiring documentary film or incredible sports match? Taking a break from your own life is a wonderful thing to do, especially when you are getting frustrated or buried in your own bullshit.

What are some of the things that you have experienced in your life that really get you inspired? Taking yourself back to that time, place or experience is a great resource emotion that can be tapped into whenever you need a motivational fix.

Remind yourself that life is not a competition. We are in this game of life together and being inspired by your friends and fellow man is an incredible gift. Any time a friend of mine kicks a major goal I win too. Inspiration is cheap and can be found in so many places – you just have to keep an eye out for it.

Recently I came across two young skater kids busking in Washington Square Park, NYC. Using two plastic buckets as drums, they sat on the street and played for hours. I watched them enjoying their moment and got lost in the realisation that I really overcomplicate so much of my life. Bringing life back to the basics, and enjoying each day, is a key to happiness and such a valuable thing to remember.

Kids manage to embrace each day with an open mind and an excited outlook. It’s amazing how much we can learn if we take a moment to get out of our own adult ways and embrace the child within.

CHANGING IT UP

Confront fears and embrace new frontiers

My cousin Sally heard about my appendix and stomach issues. She emailed me a description of what appendicitis and stomach issues mean according to author Louise Hay. If you get a chance to read her book, You Can Heal Your Life, she gives a great breakdown on where all our ailments and physical issues stem from.

According to her book, my specific issues relate the following:

Appendicitis
Cause: fear, fear of life and blocking the flow of good.
Mediation: “I am safe, I relax and let life flow joyously”

As for stomach problems it’s similar.

Stomach
Cause: dread, fear of the new and inability to assimilate the new.
Meditation: “Life agrees with me. I assimilate the new every moment of every day. All is well.”

This gave me a lot of insight into where my issues had stemmed from and how to help myself get through this time. The fact that I just signed with a new Agent, launched a new project, am about to launch a new brand and company next year, and sold our apartment, has obviously brought up a whole bunch of fears and doubts.

I looked up fear in the Wikipedia dictionary and it came up with this:
‘Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism …’

What stood out for me here are the words ‘perceived’ threat. Basically it’s something that ‘I’ am creating in my mind; my perception or point of view is causing me to be fearful. I considered why I was fearful about all this change when, really, it should be exciting. Fear is a state of mind and I need to affirm that there is nothing to be fearful of. Change is a positive thing. The focus needs to be on what great things can come from change rather than a ‘perceived threat’.

Consider change in your own life. Consider when you have been confronted with your own fear and have taken a chance. Those are the times you need to reflect on because they remind you that life is about embracing change and new frontiers. It’s time to embrace possibility.

WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT?

Sometimes it takes a wake up call to wake you up.

As I look at my life I am grateful that I have never had to deal with major illness, or had an extended period of time in hospital. That was until last month. I was having some stomach issues and started on a journey to try and resolve it, and to start feeling healthy again. After almost a month of seeing doctors, listening to opinions and trying various Eastern medicines, I had a CT scan. A 4cm mass was discovered in my abdomen. I have spent the last five days in hospital on an antibiotic IV drip to contain the infection and to do more tests to see exactly what the mass was.

I don’t think anyone is ever really ready to handle this kind of a situation. I was trying to put a positive outlook in to play, telling myself, “Don’t worry, it’s not a tumor, but if it is I will deal with it”. Fortunately the final scan identified that issue as a perforated appendix. A cyst had also formed behind it and was too close to my vertebrae to be drained or removed. Spending five days in hospital in a state of limbo you get a chance to look at your life and see what is really important to you. The people and family you love in your life, the great memories you have and, above all, your health. These are things we so often take for granted and unfortunately it’s often too late before we realize how valuable they really are.

I truly believe the universe only gives us what we can handle. Sometimes the cards we are dealt don’t make sense at the time but, reflecting back on them at a later time, often provides us with insights into why certain things happened. Insights that help us grow, develop and change. I’m still on the mend but know this last month was a pivotal point in my growth. Ironically I looked back on the post I wrote a few weeks back, The Butterfly Effect, and it’s interesting how my stomach pain evolved to a perforated appendix, and what a massive impact it had on my wellbeing.

I’m grateful to be getting back on track. Hopefully this was the turning point, or evolution, that I had been working towards. Let us all be grateful for the people in our lives that we love and enjoy this time we have.

MY FAVORITE NEW YORK ESCAPE

Whenever I need some interior inspiration this is the place I go.

There are a few places I love to go in New York to get ideas – and to get lost in. One is ABC Furniture, and the other is Andrianna Shamaris.

Andrianna has been a friend of mine for several years now. I first met her when I was furnishing Ananda and I purchased several amazing pieces from her store. Andrianna imports from Indonesia but actually designs most of the pieces by incorporating modern elements and shapes into the Indonesian classics. 

If you get a chance, drop in to her store in New York and say hello. Or even just check out her website for more inspiring pieces. It’s definitely one of my New York favorites! 

BUTTERFLY EFFECT

How often do you shed your skin and evolve?

Life is a fascinating journey. As we get older we learn from our experiences, our curiosity and the life lessons that get thrown our way.

I see life as a constant evolution of our being – a shedding of old skin, old beliefs and old bullshit. Like the butterfly that leaves the cocoon behind or the snake that sheds its skin. It’s all about renewal. Unfortunately, as we get older, our fears hold us back from evolving and learning as often as we did in our youth. Remember how quickly you adapted to your surroundings when you were an infant? Or how hungry you were for information and excited to learn something new? You asked a million questions and nothing was off limits to your curious mind.

What are you like now? Are you someone who looks at growth and change once a year when the New Year’s resolution list appears? Or are you someone who considers your own personal growth at the start of each week, or maybe even each morning when you wake up? Some people may look at their milestone birthdays as a time to reflect, and to consider what the next ten years will look like.

The more you can consider your own personal growth the more conscious you are of how you are doing and how you can move yourself forward. I know it sounds crazy but, honestly, if you are trying to have a breakthrough in your own personal growth you need to treat it like going to the gym or a job. It’s something that needs your commitment and attention. Life is moving way to fast to not consider doing some work on yourself.

Personally, I hold blocks in my stomach and I’m doing a lot of work right now to help confront and clear them. It’s been painful but I just stay focused on the end result and see the blocks clearing.

I love the image of the colored wings of a butterfly breaking free from the dry, plain cocoon. We are all incredible creatures and even though spiritual growth can be confronting, and sometimes painful, it’s worth the work.  Break through to a vibration that is closer to who we really are.

“NATURAL BEAUTY” – AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE

“In this project commercial photographer Houston combines two abiding interests: gorgeous people and the environment. Drawing on his Rolodex, the beauty and fashion shooter depicts models and celebrities including Emma Watson, Christy Turlington, Adrian Grenier, and Elle Macpherson…”

American Photographer Magazine, July/August 2013 issue