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The Riviera Woman - Articles by Anne Naylor
The only online magazine for English-speaking women on the Riviera
Do you find it easy to keep an open mind? Or are you someone who likes to hold firmly to your point of view? Do you tend to panic in a crisis, shutting down your options?
The Chinese cryptogram for crisis has the meanings of both "danger" and "opportunity." While we need to be aware of danger, prolonged dwelling in fear and doubt weakens us. Taking a deep breath in the moment, relaxing and being open to opportunity will help you in taking one step at a time. Sometimes, that is all we can see to do.
An open mind can best be found in the very young (those under, say, seven years old) and the very old -- although I am no longer certain what "very old" means these days. What about those of us in between?
We grow accustomed to our reality being a certain way, but what if that way is not as good as it could be and we have been making do with something lesser? What if you have been accustomed to living in a spacious house, for example, but now need to "right-size"? You could find that a smaller home fits your needs better, and that you enjoy the freedom of releasing excess.
If we allow ourselves to keep on our blinkers of the past, then we cannot be open to the gifts of the present and opportunities of the future that are coming towards us.
How does this help, practically speaking? Are you ever tempted to blame yourself or others for the discomfort, uncertainty, doubt and fear that you presently experience? Could you or "they" have done better? Possibly. But then when we truly know better, we do better.
Blaming whatever happened in the past closes our mind to what may be possible now. Our challenge is to allow the space, the openness, for our inner resources to handle the difficulty that comes forward, to be seeing our circumstances in new ways.
For the human spirit, no mountain is too high to climb, no river is too deep to cross. Never underestimate the capacity of the human spirit to bring about new solutions where there seem to be none.
In her recent article "Rethinking Our Conception of Leadership" Agapi Stassinopoulos tells the wonderful story of Mr Vasilio's stool, which speaks to me of the value of keeping an open mind and a caring attitude:
This summer I was in Greece working on a documentary on the Greek gods. For one of the shots, we were at a lovely vineyard that was taken care of by Mr. Vasilios. At some point during the shoot, we needed nails to hang something on a beam in the courtyard, but we didn't have any nails. I asked Mr. Vasilios if he had any nails. He said he didn't, but then he looked up in the air, paused and said, "Nails...hmmm...let me see." He looked down to the right where there was a little stool, pulled it apart and, to our amazement, produced six nails. Mr. Vasilios wanted so strongly to serve our need in that moment that he saw nails where none of us could see them. But of course, he was the caretaker of the vineyard. Day after the day, he was harvesting and taking care of the land. Caring was in Mr. Vasilios' DNA.
Opening your mind does not have to be difficult or hard to do. Gratitude for what you have presently is one mind-opener. A friend wrote in her recent blog addressing the profound loss of her beloved husband to cancer that "adopting gratitude opens my heart and becomes the gateway for goodness to flood through."
My own challenging times invite me to dig deeper and open to more of my spirit, to let go of attachments that may be in the way of a solution that is beyond my mind, and to surrender to what I know of the world as being a friendly place. Out of pride, you could feel shame for admitting the loss of a career, a lifestyle, a certain status and hide from those who would love to support you.
Please forgive, forgive, forgive. By forgiving yourself, others or feelings about the situation you are in, you reclaim your spirit over and above the shortcomings you see. It is that spirit within you that can restore your peace of mind, lighting your way forward and out of any dilemma you may be in. This spirit is one that cares.
We have eyes in the front of our heads. Our bodies are designed best for forward movement. If we were meant to live in the past, we might have eyes in the backs of our heads.
You cannot change what happened in the past, even one day ago. You can change your attitude about it. You can choose your thoughts and actions, now. You can create the future you want to experience.
Keep your eyes open for the wonderful new inventions and ingenuity that are being demonstrated. This one caught my eye recently: