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Ein Schmetterling auf einer Distel in der Ravennaschlucht.

Wanderung durch die Ravennaschlucht | Schwarzwald Urlaub | Teil 1

Die Wanderung durch die Ravennaschlucht war einer unserer ersten Ausflüge im Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021. Wir sind von Hinterzarten aus gestartet. So durchwachsen das Wetter in der ganzen Woche war, so war es auch an diesem Tag. Wir hatten schönsten Sonnenschein – und der Regenponcho kam auch zum Einsatz.

Früher hätte ich immer ohne Zögern gesagt, dass ich eher Meer- als Wald-und-Berge-Mensch bin. Aber ich glaube, das stimmt so nicht mehr. Ich fand Sylt letztes Jahr ganz toll, aber irgendwie empfand ich es als besonders wohltuend, dieses Jahr im Urlaub so viel Waldgrün aufzutanken. Die Wanderung durch die Ravennaschlucht ist für mich mit der schönste Ausflug in diesem Schwarzwald Uralub gewesen.

Birklehof Hinterzarten der alte Hof
Wenn man von Hinterzarten aus startet, führt der Weg in die Ravennaschlucht durch den Birklehof. Der Birklehof ist ein Internat und die Anlage ist sehr schön gemacht. Auch wenn für mich Internat an sich keine schöne Vorstellung ist, kommen beim Anblick dieser Gebäude doch sogar bei mir ein paar Hanni-und-Nanni-Fantasien auf.
Birklehof Hinterzarten  Informationstafel
Hinterzarten Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021 Wanderung durch die Ravennaschlucht
Das Wetter war zu Beginn unserer Wanderung Richtung Ravennaschlucht recht diesig. Aber auch das hat ja irgendwie seinen Charme, Wald und Nebel.
Jemand hat nicht nur seine Blumenkästen sondern auch die Fensterbank davor mit bemalten Steinen schön dekoriert.Wanderung Ravennaschlucht Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021
Jemand hat nicht nur seine Blumenkästen geschmückt, sondern auch die Fensterbank davor mit bemalten Steinen schön bunt dekoriert.
Schild Richtung Himmelreich und Ravennaschlucht. Wanderung Ravennaschlucht Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021
Hier geht’s lang.
So schönes Heidekraut im Wald.
So schönes Heidekraut im Wald.
Brücke auf dem Weg in die Ravennaschlucht. Wanderung Ravennaschlucht Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021
Brücke auf dem Weg in die Ravennaschlucht.
Wurzeln im Wald auf dem Weg durch die Ravennaschlucht. Wanderung Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021
Wurzeln im Wald.
Flusslauf durch die Ravennaschlucht. Schwarzwald Wanderung
Flusslauf durch die Ravennaschlucht.

Als wir aus der Ravennaschlucht heraus kamen, fiing es ordentlich an zu schütten und ich war sehr froh, mein Regencape eingepackt zu haben.

Unsere Wanderung führte uns nach Breitnau, wo das Lokal, in dem wir eigentlich essen wollten, geschlossen hatte. Stattdessen wurde uns die Sonnenhöhe empfohlen, ein Pflegeheim, das eine Caféteria hatte. Ich habe dort keine Fotos gemacht, aber der Fisch mit Tagliatelle und der Nachtisch (Panna Cotta mit Heidelbeeren) waren wirklich sehr lecker.

Das Pflegeheim Sonnenhöhe in Breitnau im Schwarzwald.
Das Pflegeheim Sonnenhöhe in Breitnau im Schwarzwald.

Und schon waren wir wieder auf dem Rückweg.

Mit Blumen geschmücktes Schwarzwaldhaus in Breitnau.
Mit Blumen geschmücktes Schwarzwaldhaus in Breitnau.
Ausblick von Breitnau über eine Wiese. Wanderung Ravennaschlucht Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021
Ausblick von Breitnau über eine Wiese.
Ein liebevoll angelegter Garten in Breitnau im Schwarzwald.
… mit einem liebevoll angelegten Garten im Vordergrund.
Üppiger Garten in Breitnau im Schwarzwald.
Was für eine Pracht. <3
Blauer Himmel, grüne Weide, grasende Kühe am Waldrand. Ein Anblick, der zufrieden macht. Mich jedenfalls.
Blauer Himmel, grüne Weide, grasende Kühe am Waldrand. Ein Anblick, der zufrieden macht. Mich jedenfalls.
Kühe im Schwarzwald
Hallo ihr da.
Kuh im Schwarzwald. Wanderung ravennaschlucht Breitnau Schwarzwald Urlaub 2021
Ihr seid aber niedlich.
Wiesenblumen im Schwarzwald. Ravennaschlucht Wanderung Schwarzwald Urlaub
Wiesenblumen
Hier ist schon wieder der Fluss vom Hinweg in der Ravennaschlucht.
Hier ist schon wieder der Fluss vom Hinweg in der Ravennaschlucht. Das sonnige Wetter macht gleich eine ganz andere Stimmung, auch in der Natur.
Fluss in der Ravennaschlucht. Wanderung Schwarzwald Urlaub
Ein Schmetterling auf einer Distel in der Ravennaschlucht.
Dieses Bild erinnert mich an eines meiner Lieblingszitate: „Leben allein genügt nicht, sagte der Schmetterling, Sonnenschein, Freiheit und eine kleine Blume muß man auch haben.“ – Hans Christian Andersen
Haus im Schwarzwald Nahe der Ravennaschlucht.
Wirklich sehr idyllisch hier.
Birklehof Hinterzwarten Schwarzwald
Schon wieder zurück in Hinterzarten, beim Birklehof.
Birklehof altes Hofgebäude
Anfangs- und Endpunkt dieser Wanderung. Naja, nicht ganz, aber jedenfalls habe ich hier die Kamera aus- und eingepackt. (:

Diese Wanderung durch die Ravennaschlucht war wirklich ein schöner Tagesausflug in diesem Schwarzwald Urlaub. Und irgendwie hat der Regen gar nicht gestört. Im Gegenteil, ich finde in der Natur im Regen sein auch ganz wunderbar.

Zimtschnecken in der Auflaufform – Der schwedische Klassiker mit zwei Twists, die ihn schön saftig machen | Rezept

Falls du noch nicht weißt, was du am Wochenenede backen sollst. Wie wäre es hiermit. (: Das Rezept ist eigentlich das klassische Rezept für schwedische Zimtschnecken. Nur das ich diesmal ausprobieren wollte, was ein Zimtschnecken Rezept so richtig saftig machen könnte. (Naja, und ich hatte noch Hefe von der Bärlauchpizza übrig, die verbraucht werden wollte.) Hefegebäck schmeckt ja oft toll, direkt aus dem Ofen. Aber davon bekomme ich Bauchweh und am nächsten Tag sind die Dinger dann oft trocken und ich muss sie in den Dinkelkaffee tunken.

Also habe ich ausprobiert, wie es wohl ist, wenn ich das klassiche Rezept für schwedische Zimtschnecken zwar befolge, aber zu der Füllung noch Quark mische. Und die Schnecken dann in Auflaufformen (ein bisschen wie Dampfnudeln) backe. Keine so wahnsinnig weit hergeholte Idee. Aber meist sind es ja gerade die einfachen Ideen, die so genial sind. So auch in diesem Fall.

Das Ergebnis: die Zimtschnecken waren mehrere Tage lang schön saftig.

Für eine vegane und/oder laktosefreie Variante könnte man sicher mit Kokoscreme experimentieren (also, anstatt des Quarks).

Hier ein paar Bilder, für das saftige Zimtschnecken-Rezept einfach scrollen.

Zimtschnecken Rezept saftig mit Quark in der Auflaufform
Die richtig klassichen schwedischen Zimtschnecken sind meist noch mit Perlzucker bestreuselt. Das muss meinetwegen nicht sein. Ich mag sie am liebsten „nackt“.
ausgerollter Hefeteig für Zimtschnecken
Was den Hefeteig für die schwedischen Zimtschnecken so besonders lecker macht, ist der Kardamom. Den hatte ich diesmal leider nicht zur Hand. Aber in der Not … wird der Teig auch ohne Kardamom ausgerollt.
Butter für die Füllung der Zimtschnecken schmelzen und Zucker einrühren. Ich benutze am liebsten braunen Rohrohrzucker.
Butter für die Füllung der Zimtschnecken schmelzen und Zucker und Zimt einrühren. Ich benutze am liebsten braunen Rohrohrzucker.
Zimtschnecken Rezept saftig: Nachdem die Butter-Zucker-masse für die Füllung etwas abgekühlt war, habe ich für diese Variante des Rezepts ein Paket (250g) Magerquark untergerührt. Und den Zimt natürlich.
Nachdem die Butter-Zucker-masse für die Füllung etwas abgekühlt war, habe ich für diese Variante des Rezepts ein Paket (250g) Magerquark untergerührt. Und den Zimt natürlich.
Zimtschnecken Rezept saftig: Den Hefeteig mit der Füllung bestreichen und dann aufrollen.
Den Hefeteig mit der Füllung bestreichen und dann aufrollen.
Vor dem Backen noch ein wenig blass: die Zimtschnecken mit der saftigen Quarkfüllung
Vor dem Backen noch ein wenig blass: die Zimtschnecken mit der saftigen Quarkfüllung.

Hier jetzt also das Rezept für die saftigen Zimtschnecken mit Quark, welches auf diesem schwedischen Zimtschneckenrezept basiert. (Dass die in Schweden Kanelbullar heißen, weißt du vielleicht schon.)

Zimtschnecken Rezept – Saftig, mit Quark, in Auflaufform

Zutaten

(für 20 Stück, ich mache oft größere Schnecken, so dass es dementsprechend weniger werden)

FÜR DEN TEIG

1/2 Paket Hefe

50 g Butter

300 ml Milch

50 ml Zucker

eine Prise Salz

800 ml Mehl (ich benutze wie fast immer Dinkelmehl)

Trivia: Die Schweden messen beim Backen in Volumen nicht nach Gewicht, daher hier auch die Angaben in ml statt wie bei uns üblich in Gramm. Ich finde, das macht es einfach, weil man keine Waage braucht. Habe mal irgendwo gehört, dass die Maßangaben nach Gewicht akkurater sind. Den Grund weiß ich jetzt nicht mehr. Aber passt irgendwie, oder? 😉

FÜR DIE FÜLLUNG

50 g Butter

2 TL Zimt

50 ml Zucker

250 g Quark

Zubereitung

FüR DEN TEIG

Butter schmelzen und mit der Milch zusammen auf Körpertemperatur erhitzen. Die Hefe darin auflösen. Mit Mehl, Zucker und Salz zu einem gleichmäßigen Teig verkneten. In einer Schüssel mit einem Tuch ebdeckt ruhen lassen, ca. 45 Minuten (oder bis der Teig auf die doppelte Größe gewachsen ist). In der Zwischenzeit

FÜR DIE FÜLLUNG

Butter mit Zucker schmelzen, Zimt unterrühren. Etwas abkühlen lassen, dann den Quark hinein mischen.

Den Teig ausrollen, mit der Füllung bestreichen.

Teig mit Füllung „wieder“ einrollen. Die rolle entweder wie laut Originalrezept in 20 Scheiben schneiden – oder nach Gefühl auch in dickere Scheiben für größere Schnecken.

Der zweite „Trick“, um die Zimtschnecken saftiger zu bekommen, den ich hier ausprobiert habe, war, sie in Auflaufformen zu backen, anstatt wie üblich einfach einzeln auf dem Blech. Der Gedanke war, dass sie dann ja in ihrer eigenen Flüssigkeit backen, anstatt dass diese einfach auf dem Backpapier verrinnt und durch die Hitze verdunstet. Ich finde, das hat sehr gut geklappt, werde das öfter machen. Auflaufformen im Plural einfach deshalb, weil ich mehrere kleine zur Hand hatte. Man kann natürlich alles in eine große Auflaufform packen.

Die Auflaufform(en) dann auch noch einmal mit einem Tuch abdecken und die Zimtschnecken ruhen lassen, bevor sie dann bei 250° in der Mitte des Ofens ca. 8 Minuten (oder bis sie eben schön goldbraun sind) gebacken werden.

Fertig! Viel Freude beim Ausprobieren und Essen.

Alles Liebe,

Sarine

PS: Hinterlass gerne einen Kommentar hier unter dem Artikel, wie es dir mit diesem Rezept ergangen ist, oder wenn du selber einen guten Tipp für saftiges Hefegebäck hast.

Sarine mit Zimtschnecke

On the home within

deutsch

I have been thinking about how I wanted to make my blog a travel blog and post pictures of the places I’m visiting, and talk about my adventures. And I think that’s where a misconception entered the stage: I suddenly had this idea that I couldn’t talk about what was really going on with me anymore. Plus, after redoing my website so that it also serves to showcase my work, this had suddenly become „a serious place“, where I didn’t feel like I could just „put stuff out there“ anymore. But what stopped me above all was this thought „You get to do all these wonderful things and see all these wonderful places – you have no right to feel bad about anything, let alone speak about that. That is just complaining, and besides, it would worry your mom so much if she read this.“ So I kind of stopped writing.

Change – It’s never about the situation but always your perspective

As you can tell, something has changed, and as always, it’s not the situation but my perspective. Yes, this trip is a big deal, especially right now where it’s still shiny and new (although it’s really not, I have been living out of my backpack since February) so of course there are and will be pictures of the places I am visiting. However, and this isn’t much of a surprise to those of you who know me: it’s the inner journey that I am much more interested in. So in that sense, I don’t think this blog will ever change. It will always be about what I am going through because it’s the only thing I can write about with passion. Not because I am such an egotistical or narcissistic person but because my perspective on life is the only one I can speak about with confidence. Or, as Thoreau put it in his foreword to Walden:

„In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this [Walden] it will be retained; that in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.“

What happened to the Blog title anyway? Why I dropped Road to Walden.

My trip around the world – Why the beginning has been a shock

So, yes, I do get to do a lot of wonderful things, see all these amazing places, meet people who are truly kind and generous to me. And still, the beginning of this trip has been a shock. Simply because this journey is something different from what I thought it would be. When I decided to do this after my separation last year, I thought I wanted to explore the world, see some friends that I hadn’t in a long time, and figure out what I want to do with my life because all I knew was that I couldn’t continue the path I had been on. I had painted myself in a corner, and it was time to get out of it.

When I came to Amritabha, it was to get to know myself better, which I did. One of the big realizations I had there was acknowledging the truth that going on this trip also had a lot to do with running away from myself. I’ve written about this before, and I probably will keep writing about this because it’s what everything I am going through at the moment seems to revolve around. Credit where credit is due, I didn’t just have this realization that I was running away from myself. Jaruh, spiritual teacher and Amritabha resident, pointed that out to me. Of course that didn’t go down smoothly at first, I was deeply offended and rejecting the idea at the time. I wrote about that and why I changed my mind here.

Stop running away from yourself and find the home within instead

Once I was over being offended and able to see the truth of his observation, I thought, „OK, then I’m going to make this trip about not running away anymore. I am going to make this about finding the comfort and security that I’ve been seeking in other people and external factors (e. g. long-term employment). I know that this kind of security does not exist „out there“, it’s in me, and I am going to make this trip about finding it, so that I can feel at home wherever I am – and so that I will be able to settle in a place (and a relationship) eventually without burdening my future partner and my environment with the demand to make me happy and provide that security that only can come from withing.“

2016 | The year the seed for this trip was planted

Well, as always: be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And it might look very differently from what you might have expected. It usually does for me anyways. This reminds me of the beginning of 2016, when I read Agni’s prediction (I think it was his anyway) that this would be a year of healing. I thought „Oh that sounds great!“ I also wrote three words in big bold letters that I put on my altar, because they were qualities that I thought were desirable, and I wanted the poster to help me focus on them. The words were „Happiness – Courage – Trust“.

Healing sometimes means acknowledging pain

Guess what happened that year? It presented me with plenty of situations where healing did happen – by old pain finally coming to the surface, sometimes with violent force. It was a year that presented me with many situations where I needed to be courageous. It gave me ample opportunity to practice trust, because there was nothing else left. Much of what happened that year was a shock, and not at all what I had in mind when I wrote those words or heard the term „year of healing“: panic attacks forcing me to face the fact that I was burnt-out, my employer insinuating to my doctor that I was pretending to be ill, realizing that I needed to break up the relationship with the man I had been with for almost nine years and whom I had tied the knot with just three months earlier.

Happiness amidst the pain

And amidst all that, yes, there was happiness, too. Big time. I did the crystal healer training with Dauri Neumann. It was such a milestone for me: not only did I realize that I was so much more perceptive and able to follow my intuition than I had thought. It also showed me that that part of me is always working, always functioning, even when I was so overwhelmed physically and mentally that grocery shopping seemed like an insurmountable task even with a shopping list. This training also showed me that I hadn’t just „become“ a healer but rather that being a healer was a huge part of me that had already been there, I had just unveiled it.

Intuition | That thing that always works, no matter what the circumstances

In between the training blocks we were supposed to practice by giving healing. I have a tendency to doubt my own abilities but somehow I had no problem renting a treatment room at Butik Ametist, the local esoteric shop run by the lovely Therese. With just the right amount of trust and naivete I just created a Facebook event, asked Therese if she’d share it on her business page (which she did), and asked my spiritual helpers to send the people to me whom I’d be able to help. My first day I ended up giving five treatments back to back, realizing that four with a few breaks in between probably would have been better but hey: I was just so stoked that people actually were interested in what I had to offer. And that the whole time I could feel the same certainty that I felt during the training: this is me, I can do this. I cannot even remember ever having felt this way before in my life. I had always been the type who excelled while simultaneously struggling with self-doubt. Doing something while also feeling that I was capable of it – that had never happened. So, yes, this was definitely a big fat happy moment of that year.

My wedding | Not a lie, just different from what I thought it was

As strange as it may sound: so was the wedding. There was never a moment, even during the break-up, where I felt like it had been a lie or where I could see how something had felt wrong that day (or that week, we had so many friends and family coming pretty early that it felt like a week-long celebration). It simply wasn’t what I thought it had been. I think it was a celebration of all the love Peter and I had in our life at that time, and I think it opened my heart to accepting the truth that I was holding on to our love for the wrong reason, which was fear. Fear of there not being any love in my life except for this one. And between the fear that there might not be any other love, and the truth that we were just not compatible as a couple, the fear had always won. The wedding showed me how loved I was, am. Like I said, I think this was needed for me to be able to face the truth and let go.

Truth | Sometimes happy and painful are all rolled up into one

And that is maybe the most important „happy“ of that year: acknowledging the truth. I remember how in the middle of the pain and the shock of the realization of this truth that we had been in denial about, I could feel that finally all was well again. That while this was not how I wanted for things to turn out, that was exactly what had caused the suffering: putting all my energy into forcing something (or someone) to be something it wasn’t. Truth is happiness because truth is allowing people and things to be who and what they are.

Not living our truth is what makes us unhappy

I meditate on the mantra „I am happy, I am love, I am light“ in the mornings. And although I cannot claim that I feel this at all times during the day (well duh, if I did, I didn’t need to meditate), I believe 100% in the truth of this mantra. Happiness is at the core of our being. At the same time, we are here as very specific beings, with different qualities. What makes us live out that happiness is different for everyone. It’s when we deny ourselves to express our individual happiness (and most often we make others, especially our loved ones, the excuse for not living ourselves) that we „fall out“ of our truth, and that makes us miserable. When we broke up, we were facing the fact that we had been doing that for a long time. And that was already living our truth again, which is why I could feel how everything was well again at what might seem like the lowest point.

Coming full circle | What last year’s lessons have to do with today

As I am writing this, there’s part of me wondering „OK, where are you going with this? This is just another one of your rants, and how many times are you going to keep retelling yourself the story of 2016? What does this have to do with anything right now?“ And I guess part of it is true: I like to rant, I cannot for the love of me keep things short, I get side-tracked, and lost in details (it does help me get to the core of things, though). But aside from that, there are actual reasons for why all this 2016 stuff is coming up again:

1. Sometimes it’s not a question of love whether you can build a life together

It was pretty much exactly a ago that Peter and I broke up. In fact, right about now must have been the time when we went through the phase were we were constantly crying, talking about everything, and when I was wondering how it was possible that there could be so much love between two people and yet that didn’t change the fact that there was nothing to put back together, that this was still the end not a new beginning, at least not together.

2. Deciding to do things differently doesn’t mean you instantly know how to do it

Because even though I kept telling everyone that asked me when I was starting my trip, that it had already begun, I too, must have had ideas about the significance of the external journey, especially the part that was leading me farther away, to the other side of the world so to say. So now that that part has begun, I am confronted with the reality that so far I have been able to comprehend but maybe not feel right down to the bones: that it’s all one journey, my entire life. That the decision I made last year to leave the path of self-denial and misery was only the first step.

It might seem like I have come far since then but in some ways it’s mostly the physical mileage. Because taking that step didn’t mean that I instantly knew how to live any other way. It’s a learning process. Here I am, moving from place to place on the outside, and it’s making one thing very clear: you still have to take the steps on the inside. You will find yourself in the same kinds of situations no matter where you go for as long as it take for you to learn how to do things differently. This is where the running away part and the making myself at home on the inside comes into play. Because as wonderful and amazing everything and everyone is, I am being confronted with situations where I feel so out of place and home-less that it physically hurts sometimes.

3. When you desire a certain quality, life will probably not just hand it over to you but present you with the opportunity to do cultivate it yourself

This brings me back to the beginning of 2016, where I put those words happiness, courage and trust on my altar: life presented me with situations that helped me cultivate those qualities then, because I had wished for them. Life is now presenting me with situations that I believe are exactly what I need in order to find home within. There is no other way to find it than to be confronted with situations where it’s impossible to fool myself into believing that „I’ve found it out there“. I suppose finding myself in situations where the sense of not belonging is so strong that it sometimes hurts is just a way of making sure I’ll get there fast, so that I won’t be spending the entire trip being homesick and trying to chase an illusion that maybe there is a place after all where everything will feel right …

True isn’t always the same as Easy but Untrue always leads to Dis-ease

That’s where another aspect ties in with 2016: this is happy even though it doesn’t feel like a walk in the park at all times because I am being true to myself, just like I was then. True is still not the same as Always Easy but I’d pick True on any day of the week over the dis-ease that comes from avoiding it. True is hard sometimes, if it weren’t then why would we avoid it. But the hard part is really the fear of the unknown, it’s never really the unknown.

Change takes time, setbacks are part of the learning process

It’s still pretty recent that I quit looking for home and stability „out there“, and making my choices at the expense of True. So if that is how I’d been used to living for 30 plus years, it’s not so strange that I still catch myself from time to time blaming circumstances for my feeling of „homelessness“. It’s simply conditioning, that’s all. When I see it that way, I can appreciate what a big accomplishment it is that I can interpret my homesickness correctly. I know that whenever I feel it, it doesn’t mean I am missing a certain place. It means that I am not in touch with myself. I am fortunate to know how to re-connect with myself, and I am also fortunate to have people in my life who help me when I can’t get there on my own. In other words: I have everything I need.

Running away from myself & Life is beautiful wherever I am | There’s always two sides to the truth

One of my major anchors right now is another truth Jaruh pointed out to me this past summer: life is beautiful wherever I am, if I make it so. I like how the two most important epiphanies of this year (so far anyway) – that I am running away from myself, and that life is beautiful wherever I am – were brought to me by the same person. Thank you Jaruh. (See, even though I take notes from our conversations that say „I am a strawberry“ or „My mind is the center of my nothingness“, my heart remembers the important stuff.) I also like how they seem to contradict each other, because that’s what truth is – it’s always both.

Making life beautiful | Sometimes it takes a little help

So this is where I am right now: I haven’t been sharing much lately because the beginning of this trip didn’t feel quite as wonderful as I had anticipated. Even when I am so caught up in things that I don’t know what’s going on, when I just want to blame the world and when I really can’t appreciate anything, I still don’t want to put that out there like that because I know it’s not the truth of a situation. (Also I really don’t want to worry my mom. I felt pretty iffy just posting about the food poisoning.) Yet when I am in such a state I also feel like I can’t just post a bunch of „happy stuff“ when it’s not really what I am feeling. As little as I want to put out complaints or any „poor me stuff“, I don’t like the idea of creating the illusion that all is well when I can’t genuinely feel it.

Therefore I am very happy that I am back to being what feels like myself again – happy. It means that when I remind myself that „Life is beautiful wherever I am, if I make it so“, ideas start coming to me of how I can „make it so“. That just didn’t work when I was in this state of shock at the beginning of this trip. It also means I feel like sharing again.

I would like to thank my mentor Irka because this was one of those situations where I was unable to pull myself out, and she was the person who helped me gain perspective and create rituals to help me re-connect with myself – and stay in touch. I love working with Irka because although I hired her to help me start my own business, I firmly believe that you cannot separate different areas of your life. I believe that it’s all connected, and I believe that in whatever area of life we are striving for success, being well is the foundation for everything. I love having a coach who knows this and who is able to see the whole picture and work on all levels. Thank you, Irka!

On suffering

I used to be a hard worker. I thought that all my accomplishments were made of blood, sweat and tears. That stressing out and not resting until I was completely exhausted was a necessary part of the process. That that was basically what got me the good results. Yet there were times where I didn’t study as much as I thought I should, and I still got good results. And although the thought occurred to me that maybe I really didn’t feel like studying more because it wasn’t necessary, I never trusted that part of me. I thought I was lazy – and lucky, if I got good grades despite my „laziness“!

I think differently now: I believe that everything I have ever succeeded at was not thanks to hard work. I think I succeeded despite it. Of course I can’t know how things would have turned out if I’d done things differently. But when I look back at all the things I have done because I thought I had to, it turns out they were not that important. And the things that were important happened even when I did things that could have jeopardized them. More on this in my post On Control. I do know that it was doing too many things for the wrong reasons, the main one being that misguided work ethic, according to which work equals hardship. Eh, it was not just work, I was under the illusion that basically everything worth having requires sacrifice. Except when you believe it, it’s not an illusion. It’s your reality.

Fortunately, even going down the „wrong“ path eventually gets you on the right track. Like Eckhart Tolle says: Suffering is necessary until you realize it’s not. Up until a year ago I thought that as long as I was suffering all was well (I always thought that if I was unhappy, I wasn’t done adjusting to whatever it was that made me unhappy …).

I have always had a voice in the back of my head that wouldn’t shut up when things were at its worst. That voice kept saying that this cannot be the way life is supposed to be. I want to be happy, that voice insisted, and I cannot accept a life where there is no way for me to be happy. For the most part, I managed to negotiate with that voice, reminding it that I was happy, just not in some parts of my life. But that, of course, was normal. Last year everything just kind of crashed and it felt like there was nothing left. That was when there was no bargaining anymore with that voice. First health, then work, then marriage. Once you allow yourself to see that basically all areas of your life have been ruled by the belief in sacrifice and hardship, you can’t help but admit that the only lesson is this: you cannot go on this way. That is when the suffering finally becomes unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong: there have always been moments of happiness in my life. I am not ungrateful. That is what made it possible to negotiate with that voice in the back of my head in the first place. The ability to make lemonade can be a bitch, though. Because in reality there is more than one choice. Life may be handing you lemons, and maybe you enjoy lemonade. But the thing is: you could also pass on the lemons altogether, trusting that life will offer you something else.

I’m not going to lie: there are a lot of days when my head is having a difficult time trusting that I will be fine if I follow my gut instinct on what I want and what not. (I am having one of those days right now.) But I’ve done it enough times now to know it’s worth it. I never have to wait long for the proof that it is the right thing to do. Same goes for the opposite: whenever I catch myself making a decision based on the fear that I have no other options, I can almost physically feel how this is only setting me back on the path that I have just left. And I am not interested in going in circles.

On pioneers of happiness

When I look around, I see plenty of people who are proof that it’s not only possible to combine love and success. I see that it is exactly the pursuit of their passion that is being rewarded. I am not talking about celebrities, I believe those are another story. I am talking about pioneers of happiness. I am talking about a woman building tiny houses and Hobbit Holes and renting them out via airbnb. I am talking about a family who turned their suburban backyard into an urban homestead where they sell their harvest, host classes and concerts. I am talking about opening our minds and creating our own sources of income instead of trying to pick from the menu of available jobs, and trying to fit in.

Don’t get me wrong: If you are happy with where you are, and that happens to be a career „off the menu“, then I am not saying that is wrong or less worthy! Remember, I am all about happiness these days. If your life makes you happy, you’re already where you need to be. It takes all kinds of people. It is those of us who cannot find our happiness in the available selection that need to start understanding that the fact that we will never be able to find it there does not mean there isn’t any happiness for us in the world. OK, I am obviously talking about myself here but I believe I am not the only one.

Here’s what I think: if you’re like me and your kind of happiness just doesn’t seem to be on the menu, the key to finding it is looking at what you feel is missing in the world. Stop waiting for someone else to fill in those blanks. That’s what you came for! I believe that we carry the blueprint for the place where we fit in within us. Why would we feel like there are things missing in this world if not to take on the task of filling in those missing pieces?

That was one of my biggest misunderstandings ever since I left the beaten path (school, university) and tried to find my place in the world: I kept trying to fit in, trying to find a work place where I’d be happy. I was always trying to be that person that I thought was needed. I either couldn’t make that work or if I did, it left me exhausted. I was at times deeply unhappy because I felt like I didn’t recognize myself in the world. I stayed at work places that didn’t feel right because I couldn’t see myself being happy anywhere else, either. I thought I was too picky, unwilling and/or unable to adjust. Until the thought occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t here to have someone else assign me a spot. Maybe I should create my own space.

This idea both fills me with relief and it terrifies me. I do not come from a line of entrepreneurs, I am used to doing as I am told. While that may have worked in school and at university, I find that it does not work anywhere else. At the end of the day, you eat the proverbial elephant one bite at a time. I believe that the way to start is by following happiness to see where it leads us. Since what makes us happy is highly personal and individual, that means entering uncharted territory. There may not even be a destination that is defined from the beginning of our exploration. However, there are those who are doing it already. Whenever we lose faith in our mission, we can turn to those pioneers of happiness. Not to do as they do but to get the encouragement and inspiration we need to for our own journey.

More on abundance

I am still thinking a lot about the whole abundance thing. No matter what angle I look at it from, and no matter in what form or what area of my life I experience it, I always come to one conclusion: it’s everything. It’s the key to everything and anything we desire in life. It’s the one thing we should be putting all our energy into, the only thing we really can do to make sure all our dreams will come true: see to it that our mind is in a state of abundance. The rest will follow.

I had this realization for the first time a few weeks ago, when I saw an interview with online business coach and entrepreneur Mara Stix. As I understood her, the further up she got in her pursuit of financial success, the less her personal wealth concerned her. Once she had arrived at a level of income that afforded her the standard of living that she wanted, there was nothing that even more money could have contributed to that area of her life. Instead other things became a focus of interest, like how to expand her business, and how to manifest more and bigger things she would like to see in the world.

Last fall I had a vision of something I should build. It was as if the idea rained down on me after I had emptied my mind. While I was completely aware of the magnitude of that project, I was also overcome by a certainty that my mind wasn’t just making this up. I just knew that I had conceived this idea because it wanted to be manifested by someone. And If that idea saw me fit to be that someone, then it would also see to it that the means for its manifestation would be provided, regardless of whether or not I could see how at that point. I could not see anything at all about how to get there.

Since then, I have mostly practiced to let the idea go, to be open to any signs without trying to force things. I didn’t want to feel like I was just waiting for the right time to manifest this project. Therefore I have been focusing on being happy, doing whatever makes me happy. At the end of the day that’s what determines what kind of life I have. For the most part, that worked well, but there were definitely some days where I did wonder what anything I was doing had to do with that vision, if I hadn’t missed the exit and was headed in the wrong direction after all.

When I watched that interview with Mara Stix, it was like a switch was flicked. Suddenly I understood that I had been doing exactly the right thing, and why my personal happiness was essential to the whole project. Because how are you going to manifest something big and joyful, that requires a large amount of resources (both when it comes to material and labor) if not out of a sense of abundance?!

We need to be in a state of abundance on the personal plane before we can help abundance to manifest elsewhere. There is no other way. Actively inviting (and permitting!) abundance to flow into all areas of our life then is not just a mind-game, something fun to do, it is deeply meaningful.

For me this insight is very important when it comes to dealing with that voice that says it’s selfish to let your actions be ruled by what feels good, what seems like it would be fun. That you can’t have both – happiness and success, love and wealth. That voice may have served us and our ancestors in the past. Life was tough, we had to work hard in order to survive, pursuing our passion often came at a price. We know how to do that. And it is clearly still possible to live that way, if that is what we want. I see lots of people doing it, and I thought it was the way it had to be up until about a year ago.

When I look around, however, I see that times have changed. Something else is possible. We can rest in the certainty that our survival is secured. It’s time to find other life missions. Let’s start by following the signs happiness is putting up for us.

The interview with Mara Stix (in German) is part of a series of money mindset interviews by Linda Benninghoff (MyMoneyMind). They are available for free when you sign up for her newsletter.

On control and powerlessness

When we don’t live our light, our shadows step in. One of mine comes in the form of eating disorders, which I have struggled with since I was 15. Depending on my life situation, they are a more or less dominant part in everyday life. I am only now understanding in what ways they have served me.

I have always been terrified of that part of me. Not only did it seem uncontrollable, it seemed to be controlling me. I used to try and fight that part, not understanding that it was no accident that that only made it worse.

What I know now:
1. The eating disorder kicks in when I feel like I am not in control of things – more specifically, when I cannot accept that feeling of not being in control. Suppressed fear of control results in actual (self-induced) loss of control. Sounds simple but I could not see that connection until recently.

2. There is no winning in fighting. I can only lose if I try to wage a war on myself (or anyone else for that matter). As long as I hate that part of me that seems so out of control and destructive, it will control me. That is not winning.

3. Only when I allow myself to see that this dis-order is the (misguided) attempt to serve an actual need, am I able to find ways to truly fulfill that need without self-destruction. When I started to search for a way to live with myself, to live with my eating disorder, that was when it started to loosen its grip on me.

That meant accepting two things: 1. I am not in control of everything (and sometimes of nothing at all), 2. I am terrified of that feeling. Yeah, it’s the second one that is the biggie. What happens when I binge-eat is that I try to suppress and mollify those feelings. At the same time, this creates (more) suffering. In that sense the destructive nature of this habit is doing the exact same thing that I am trying to avoid: forcing me to face my truth – the fact that I am full of fear of not being in control.

The fear of not being in control naturally comes from experiences where my own powerlessness seemed to threaten my life or at least my well-being. My childhood like many others was full of those experiences  (I also believe this is a theme we all have spent numerous lives exploring). Who does not have a memory of a situation where you found yourself at the mercy of others who were unable or unwilling to use their power over you with kindness?

The truth is this: there is nothing we could have done in those situations. That is the real misunderstanding, the origin of this need for control: the belief that if only we had done this or that, things would have turned out right. When it comes to abusive relationships where one experiences being at the mercy of the other, there is in fact nothing one can do right within that relationship. As a child we can hardly walk away from that. That’s what second chances (karma) are for.

As an adult I drew a work situation into my life that gave me a chance to re-live that feeling of complete powerlessness, of not being able to deal with a person who did not only not care about my well-being but who was perfectly willing and capable of throwing me under the bus if it served her agenda. When the scenario in my mind was at its worst, I felt like Alice in Wonderland who didn’t know whether the Queen of Hearts was going to invite her to a round of cricket or call her henchmen to decapitate her. It took me a while to get through the panic and see that my life was not in fact threatened. That my mind was reacting to an echo from the past. That this time I could in fact walk away, and that that was the only thing I could do right.

As I wrote in my post on How to deal with conflicting emotions:

Our ego is a lot less in control than it likes to make us believe. When I look back at my life, I was hardly ever aware of the significance of the events that really shaped its course. The things that seemed important, which I worked myself up over, turned out not to be. The things that were, were never entirely up to me. In fact, I could even “mess them up” and “somehow” they worked out anyway – because that was the way things were needed to be for me to stay on my path.

For the most part of my life, I have poured my energy into all the things I had no power over: the milestones that were already set, the situations and people I could not change. It’s only in the recent past that I began to see where my power is truly effective and needed: that it’s all the little things in between, the ones that aren’t the game changers but the ones that „fill out the space“ between the big events. I’ve come to believe those are my life. Or rather, they determine what kind of life I am leading, whether it’s happy or not.

With all that in mind, I’d like to re-adjust what I said about acceptance of not being in control. I don’t want to accept the fact that I am not in control of parts of my life. I want to embrace it. I want to enjoy the fact that a burden has been lifted from my shoulders – because that is what this really is, when you walk around thinking that you have to fix the big stuff all by yourself. One false move and you’ve ruined everything! Who wants to live like that? Not me.

So what to do with all that freed up energy? Put it into making sure all the small stuff in between is as light and happy as possible.

How to deal with conflicting emotions

Recently, I have been through quite a few emotional roller coasters. Since my intuition and I have become pretty good friends, I was able to accept this state even when I didn’t understand what triggered this process at first. Nevertheless, my mind wanted to know. It always does. Here’s the answer I’ve come up with, and what I’ve found to be a good way to deal with conflicting feelings.

The major change in my life has been that I have made some decisions that broke my routine. Well, actually, there hasn’t been much of a routine, that’s the thing: I ended my life as I knew it, and after a period of regrouping I am now at the point where something else is starting to fill the space. Since I have been making a conscious effort to shape this new life, of course, the new that is coming or about to enter means a great deal to me! Somehow I just hadn’t factored in that that is enough to trigger all kinds of emotions.

I finally realized that there is nothing „wrong“ about this process, there is no mistake. Whenever I am engaging in something I care about, I always have seemingly conflicting emotions. I am never only overjoyed. I am never only terrified. As long as I am not indifferent, there is always both – excitement and anticipation at the prospect of change, but also fear and anxiety over the possibility that things might not turn out the way I wish for.

I wrote „seemingly conflicting“ because I believe that those emotions are not in fact conflicting. They are two sides of the same coin. Whenever I feel like there is something to win, naturally part of me is afraid of not winning = losing. I have done enough things I didn’t really care about either way, so that I can confirm that that is the best recipe for complete loss of energy. So that is not the alternative I am planning on applying.

Then what to do without becoming the figurative stoic that says „I knew I had fathered a mortal“ when confronted with the death of his son? Because I definitely don’t want that kind of indifference, either.

Here’s what I’ve found works for me:

1. Accepting that I have feelings and ideas about how I should feel. On everything! It appears to come with the being human gig. It’s only when I step into that trap where I try to deny or fight my feelings that things get ugly, and they end up controlling me.

2. Therefore, the number one priority is to allow all my thoughts and feelings to be heard. I make a point to check how it would make me feel if I listened to any of them. For instance, when the prospect of doing something makes me really happy, but there are some concerns, I accept the concerns but go ahead anyway. Either with a plan on how to tackle the concerns or with the confidence that any problems will be resolved if the need arises. They’re probably not even actual „dangers“ but just my fear’s way of saying „Don’t go there!“.

However, when I realize that the thought of not doing something I had set my mind to actually fills me with relief, and the reasons for doing it are mainly ideas of of what I am „supposed to be doing“, it’s safe to say that it’s a good idea to lay low. Maybe it’s not the right timing, or maybe I the underlying idea of why I should be doing this is misguided. This is the part where it’s helpful to trust that gut instinct, even when I can’t see all the whys at that time.

I believe that I came here into this life with a plan, where the most important milestones are already decided upon. Our ego is a lot less in control than it likes to make us believe. When I look back at my life, I was hardly ever aware of the significance of the events that really shaped its course. The things that seemed important, which I worked myself up over, turned out not to be. The things that were, were never entirely up to me. In fact, I could even „mess them up“ and „somehow“ they worked out anyway – because that was the way things were needed to be for me to stay on my path.

3. The real challenge then is to achieve that balance where I accept that I have feelings but where I also trust that they are not the complete picture. Yes, of course achieving certain goals makes me happy. And yes, sometimes I experience loss and it feels awful. But the thing is, that is not the totality of life, there is a happiness that is not tied to any achievements or fulfillment of desires – or loss thereof.

This moment right now is something I’ve once longed for: having alone time, being able to use my cell phone and my computer at home (long story, another time). And it’s also something I’ve once been afraid of because I got here losing things and people on the way.

There is nothing wrong with having goals and desires, in fact I am only now beginning to (re-)discover their importance. The happiest life is the one where we can gracefully combine the two: setting goals, acknowledging our heart’s desires, and setting out to achieve them with the confidence that we in fact already have everything we need to be happy right here and now. Anything we set out to do is all about experiencing a variation of happiness, not earning the right to be happy if we achieve a certain goal.

Everything we need along the way will be provided for. No feelings (our own or others‘), mistakes or accidents can jeopardize what is truly meant to be ours. Detours are part of the road, getting lost is, too. Whichever path we choose, it will lead us closer to home – our true self.

On blogging again

So. I guess I’m blogging again. Yay! How terrifying! There has been an ongoing internal debate over the past weeks (months?!) on that issue. 1. whether or not to blog at all, 2: if so, why and why now, 3: what and what not, and finally: how to begin.

In case you are a more result-oriented person: 1. Yes, 2. Because I want to, because now’s a good time 3. Whatever I want to, 4. Like this.

In case you are a woman interested in the journey as much as the destination, lhere’s a more detailed version:

1. Yes or no?

When I noticed the wish to blog again, two sides of me emerged: one wanted nothing more than to get started, it even felt that it was absolutely critical that I start immediately, that any delay would be terrible, and that I absolutely must go ahead. Right. Away. The other side felt like I had nothing to say, nothing to share that could possibly be of any value to anyone. And the internet is already full of people who do that.

Also, the side of me that felt hesitant was concerned about the obvious risk in the instant nature of blogging, or social media in general: you think it’s a great idea to share something you’re going through – and then you realize it’s not. Because you don’t get the reaction you weren’t even aware you’d wished for, or maybe you didn’t want to any at all. Or maybe you did and nobody said anything. Bottom line:  All that happens is you add drama to your pain.

At the end of the day, conflicting feelings arise no matter what I do when I do it for the first time (or the first time after a long time). And there are always valid points to both sides. (Coming up: a post on how I deal with these conflicting feelings.) For now let me just say that at the end of the day it’s a good idea to be aware of all your emotions involved in a decision – and then to make a choice and do what makes you happy. That doesn’t mean the other side disappears but you can make active choices on how to handle that side of you.

2. Why, and why now?

I realized that my reason for not blogging had been that for a very long time I was afraid that being visible in that way would trigger emotions within me which I could not calculate beforehand. It was a good thing I listened to that feeling for as long as I did feel vulnerable, and people’s reactions (or lack thereof) to what I would have shared only would have caused drama.

Eventually I came to the point where protecting myself by not putting myself out there didn’t feel good anymore. I understood that, yes, if I do allow myself to be visible, I make myself vulnerable, and that will stir up emotions in me regardless of any external reactions. But I had begun to feel unhappier about not allowing anyone to see me. I realized that I would feel a lot better about just doing what I feel like, and there was even curiosity as to what kind of emotions that would trigger, and how I would deal with them. I simply came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to avoid any potential emotions anymore if that meant not doing something I really enjoy. Because no matter where I go, they are always there with me anyway – emotions, thoughts and ideas of how I/things „should be“.

There is a middle ground. It’s possible to face my doubts without forcing myself to tackle anything I’m not ready to take on. To be honest without unnecessarily exposing myself. To write and share what moves and engages me without navel-gazing. To be spontaneous and following anything that intrigues me without being random and all over the place.

3. What?

What is the thread connecting it all? I’ll write about what I wish someone would have told me. My earlier mission statement(s) for this blog still passes the test of time: I want to live my life deliberately, and I want to document and share that journey. That is the thread tying it all together, it’s what I’ve been interested in ever since I was fourteen, read Sofie’s World, and understood what it meant to be self-aware. Then came Thoreau’s Walden, and the notion of living deliberately impressed me equally. And a bunch of other books and experiences that are too many to list here (that’s maybe another post – or a gazillion).

My idea of what deliberate living means have changed. For a while I even attempted to follow Thoreau quite literally (although he was never expressly the reason behind the path I’d chosen): living on the country side, growing my own veggies, being close to nature and contemplating what the necessities of a good life really are. I came to the conclusion that for me they were something else. I think Thoreau would have approved because deliberate living is just that: not blindly following someone’s concept of how life should be but coming up with your own.

For me that means whatever makes me happy. I still want to fill my life with as much awareness as possible. Being aware of one’s self is crucial in the pursuit of happiness. At the end of the day, happiness is the meaning of life. Of mine anyway.

What not? I will not share anything that I know still has an emotional grip on me. True, there are no guarantees, comments (or the lack thereof) can hit you unexpectedly. But that is a risk I am willing to take. In fact, that can be a good thing, if you want to know where you still have buttons to push. And I do! (Have buttons, and want to know where they are.)

A way that works for me to put myself to the test, regarding where I really stand on an issue – in this case, whether I think it’s a good idea to share stories about my personal development in a public forum – is asking „How would I feel if everyone did this?“. I have to say: I would love that! It’s in fact the number one thing I am interested in. Not interested in what cause you think I should support, not interested in what political party you support or hate, not interested in what ongoing atrocities you think I should be aware of. If I am following you on a social media platform, I am interested in you. Pictures of and by you, and your perspective on life.  I appreciate honesty in social media. That includes pretty pictures, words of wisdom and encouragement. That also includes descriptions of how people deal with the not so pretty stuff. At the end of the day, social media profiles show less of how someone is than how they want to be seen. And I appreciate people who dare to show their shadows as well as their light. I was waiting for someone to ask me to be one of those people, respectively to give me the permission slip. Then I realized, that none of the people who do claim their space do so because they were „tapped“ – they just do it, and that’s all there is to it!

4. How to begin

That’s the one my mind can easily get stuck on, a good place to look when I don’t know what’s keeping me. Often it’s simply that I overburden the beginning with significance. The point, of course, is really just to jump in anywhere. Maybe that was one of the best lessons my philosophy studies taught me: there is no „easy“ place to start, you just start anywhere. In the beginning it’s all uncharted territory but the more you dare to venture out there, the more you learn how to be an explorer.

This is the story of how my head came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to blog again – and also what it deems worthy of sharing. And I can appreciate it’s job . It’s not like I have a choice anyway, my mind is debating, rejecting and glorifying stuff all the time, so I might as well involve it in a productive process. You know, like those dogs that need a lot of exercise or they’ll trash your home.

However, the true reason is undebatable, undeniable, completely illogical, and beyond rejection and/or praise: I enjoy doing it. I cannot count the number of blogs I have started and deleted over the years since I was 18 or so. They never made me any money, they never changed the world – but I’ve always had so much fun writing them! When you find yourself enjoying something in and for itself, regardless of external reward, you have to trust that you found the best way to spend your life (or as much time of it as possible).

I have found myself coming to this conclusion over and over again, and sometimes I still keep forgetting it. That writing (and sharing that writing) is that for me. The thing I can do no matter what, the magic process that opens up a space where I am the most me. Just out of curiosity: What’s that thing for you? Is it always there with you, or do you also forget/doubt it? What happens when you do? How do you re-discover it? Do you make any conscious efforts to re-discover it, or does it just sort of come back on its own accord?

How to play Monopoly with a chess board

Lots of epiphanies these past few days. Things that have been a great source of frustration suddenly stopped bothering me, and all that is left is a sense of peace and freedom. Talking things over has helped. Sometimes. And sometimes it helps more to press the mute button and just look at what actually is happening.

It’s like playing a game. With other players. We all agree that we are playing Monopoly. After a while, something feels off. We talk about it. We resume our game. But after a while we notice, things are still the same. Off. We talk some more. We are really going to make an effort this time to get things right! Repeat.

How do we handle this situation? We could keep going anyway, either in the hopes of locating our error or because it’s just what we do: Keep going. We could quit. Or we could stop for a minute to focus on our discussion, and take a good look at our game. We might just realize that we’ve been trying to apply the rules of Monopoly to a chess board all along.