Ich habe ein paar sehr schöne, erfüllte Tage hinter mir – Lichtfestival in Amritabha (was zugleich 20-jähriges Jubiläum des Seminarhauses war) und zwei Fotoaufträge. Was mich gerade besonders berührt ist, mit welcher Leichtigkeit unsere Verbindungen von Herz zu Herz spürbar sind. Egal, ob wir uns schon lange kennen, ein paar Mal begegnet sind, eine intensive Zeit miteinander erlebt haben – oder uns zum allerersten Mal gegenüberstehen.
Aus manchen Begegnungen entsteht mehr, andere bleiben einfach kurze Momente des geteilten Raumes, der sich dann wieder auflöst. Aber alles fühlt sich so echt an, so nah und so richtig. Am schönsten finde ich, dass ich das Gefühl habe, das geht nicht nur mir so. Dass wir miteinander verbunden sind, ist ja keine Neuigkeit. Aber gerade ist es so schön spürbar. Verbunden, nicht gebunden. Wenn das nicht die ganz große Liebe ist!
EN – Like I said, happiness is for sharing. These are the pillow cases I made from the fabric I’ve had for ages, and which I am very happy with:
DE – Wie gesagt, Freude ist zum teilen da. Das sind die Kissenbezüge, die ich aus den Stoffresten gemacht habe und an deren Anblick ich mich gerade so sehr erfreue:
I’ve found a bunch of pretty fabrics in the attic, which have just been lying around since they seemed to precious to use (a habit that I’m glad I ditched – beautiful things are for using, not to be left to a slow and invisible death in a box in the attic!). Seeing them instantly made me want to sew something. Then came the inevitable „I really should do something with these fabrics!“
1. Know yourself.
That’s how it goes, right? „It would be nice to do …“ turns into „I really should be doing …“ Add a „because it’s good for you“ and the whole thing’s dead. For me anyway. I blame the inner child. She rejects anything „good“ (or „healthy“) by default, not even to mention the „musts“. It doesn’t even matter that it’s fun things. So how to deal with that?
2. You don’t need to change your goals, just change the course.
I don’t know about you but I can never win over my inner child. And that’s really a good thing, since she’s actually me! The way I see it, it’s about finding a way to win myself over. I don’t need to want make myself want something else, I just need to use different words and phrases. In child language, things are simply how they are. I would like something made out of my precious fabrics, and I love being surrounded by things made by me. Not because that’s „good for me“, or „handmade“ or any other grown up word. The real reason is the one that is completely justified by kid logic: because. It’s just what I want.
3. Make it easy for yourself.
Maybe you think that should be enough motivation to get going. Ha! So not. It’s not just your inner child you need to get on board with your plans. There’s that couch potato, too. And words aren’t enough to get her going. With my sewing project I ended up booking a class. I know myself enough to know that when I sign up for something, I’ll show up. Especially when I paid in advance! The couch potato may not be completely sold at that point, but it’s a first step.
4. Don’t wait for the couch potato to disappear. Just bring her along.
My inner couch potato obviously did not feel like going to the sewing class when the day came. When I explained that she could just tag along, and not feel like going all the way there, and all the way through class feel like not doing anything, she finally caved. After two days of sewing classes (and yes, the couch potato me didn’t feel like going the second day, either), I had fixed the hem of a favorite dress which had been ripped years ago, made three pillow cases, and learned a ton of stuff about sewing technique. Plus I realized that I prefer my amateur way ignoring technique for the most part and simply do it the way I feel. Too lazy to be a perfectionist.
5. Be proud of yourself.
The dress may be repaired but it has been too big for ages, the pillow cases may be pretty but honestly, I could have saved myself the trouble and just gone and bought some for the money of the class. That is the inner critic’s evaluation of this outing. Of course she had to put her two cents in, that’s what she’s there for. That’s also why I don’t beat myself up over her judgement but I keep in mind that she always finds fault with everything. It’s her job. Luckily there’s that inner child, too. The part of me that adores everything I do, and that sees the good in everything. My inner child was excited that the dress could be worn again – whether by me or anyone else didn’t matter. My inner child loved the pillow cases, and found the priceless, of course – because it was I who made them exactly how I wanted them! Which store sells that?!
6. Share your genuine appreciation.
Genuinely appreciating what we ourselves created is really a way of acknowledging that something was not so much created by us but through us. Technically that’s gratitude. That is something entirely different from demanding others‘ approval, which stems from doubt. When we doubt that something amazing can come into the world through us, it’s because we are under the illusion that what we do is our work alone.
This is inner critic territory: we could make a fool of ourselves, come off as bragging, be crushed by others‘ judgement or on the other hand define ourselves by our accomplishments and become addicted to others‘ praise.
The inner child is connected to the truth: she just wants to show the world the miracle that worked its way into the world through her hands. Not because she’s wondering what the others think of it, or because she wants to „accomplish“ anything beyond her work. It doesn’t even cross the inner child’s mind that her own assessment of her work could be separated from the world’s, that her value as a being could somehow depend on her „accomplishment“, or that she could have any hidden agenda. She is simply amazed by what sprang from her imagination into this physical world. She wants nothing other than sharing her appreciation for that. Nothing to do with being „immodest“ or „show-offy“ or desperate to be liked. It’s a form of expressing gratitude.
And whatever we express gratitude for, we receive more of. That is good soil for future motivation. So let’s be genuine and share our appreciation. In all areas of life.
DE – Ich habe für den Amritabha-Blog einen Artikel geschrieben, in dem ich auf die erste Hälfte (!?) meines Aufenthalts hier zurückblicke und über das Thema Schöpfung aus der eigenen Vollkommenheit schreibe. Hier geht’s zum Artikel:
Hier die englische Version.
EN – I wrote an article for the Amritabha blog. It’s about the theme of this (past) new moon (Creating from Perfection), as well as a recap of my time here so far. (Can’t believe six weeks are up already!?). Here comes the English version:
The new moon cycle is coming to a close. „Creating from perfection“ is its theme, which, of course, is really a lifelong theme. It won’t stop and it’s been here the whole time. That has been a key for me, a returning insight over the past weeks: It’s all been here the whole time.
I have been thinking about how I still haven’t submitted anything on this month’s theme (all of us living here wanted to share something). It made me nervous – this is supposed to be my thing, right!? This morning I woke up early, even though I had planned on skipping both a.m. meditations, to finally sleep in for once. Suddenly – seemingly out of nowhere – I remembered the text I wrote on my very first day here at Amritabha. I had no specific intention with it, other than getting off my chest what was happening to me. And, lo and behold: everything really has been here all along.
Six weeks have passed, and as I was reading the text, I see that everything I have come to understand during my time here, everything I’ve learned at the inner child seminar I took, was already present in some way on that very first day:
„A little while ago I saw an interview with Agni, in which he talked about how people are so focused on their problems. He said that those problems would cease to exist if we focused on our potential instead.
That really struck a chord with me because it’s exactly what I do – I scrutinize myself, I examine everything I am doing wrong, all the areas that are „under construction“ in my life, everything I just HAVE to improve. It’s never enough. Then I remembered what I had discovered while going through my old blog posts a while earlier: that I had actually lived the country life I had dreamed of, that the idea that I had abandoned it before I really got started was just that – my idea, not the facts. And I’ve written and published books, yet I suffer from time to time because I supposedly never became an author …
Suddenly this thought popped into my mind: what if get to the end of my life, look back, and don’t find anything to regret. What if I find that there was nothing to regret all along, that I hadn’t done anything wrong, that I’d always been on the right track!?
What if the only thing I’d regret would be paying so much attention to that inner monologue. That voice that keeps telling me that it’s not enough. That I should be doing something else. That I should be someone else. That voice that keeps telling me that there is going to be something to regret.
This epiphany that I really don’t have anything to regret except for the lack of appreciation towards myself overwhelmed me, and I started to cry. Then I wrote a song.
Such a gift! It’s good to see what really needs to change in my life: it’s not my actions, it’s my attitude towards myself. No need to wait till I’m on my deathbed, I get to do that now, at the age of 34. It shows me what it means to be Here and Now and live life to the fullest. This is it. This moment right here.
When it comes to the energy required, it makes very little difference whether I am dreaming about writing a book (or a song) or whether I’m actually doing it. That moment I decided to permit myself everything that brings me joy. Not just planning on doing it and then putting it off. I decided to dedicate as much time as possible to things I enjoy doing. I didn’t want to get discouraged anymore by my thoughts and ambitions, and abandon a project halfway through just because „nobody cares anyway“ or because „there’s a thousand others who are doing it better than me“.
Maybe I’m not one of those who go all in and pour all their time and energy into one thing. Maybe I will at some point. Maybe I’m scared to lose myself. Maybe it’s easier for me to start low and do a little bit of everything every day. Maybe that’ll change things. Either way, the point is: DOING IT, without asking why, without trying to justify, just doing what I enjoy, for no other reason. Then I won’t have anything to regret.
And like I said: despite all my high standards I have always done what I wanted – I was just kind of careless about seeing to it that I do it out of and with joy.
That evening there was a darshan ceremony, or rather, one could choose between MaRa’s blessing and Agni’s darshan. I thought „Go where the fear is“. So I went to Agni. I had been putting myself under pressure about this, thinking „What if I shut down, what if I can’t open up and end up feel nothing?!“ I gave it a chance anyway. As I was facing Agni, my heart was beating like crazy, my fear was back, and I could tell it was the fear of myself, the fear of my own greatness.
As I sat down again, a question rose up inside me: „Can you forgive yourself for being afraid of yourself and your own greatness?“ That’s when the floodgates opened and tears started flowing. I went to the kitchen, made some tea and sat by myself for a while. More tears came when I could feel that it was never my fear that was the problem but my harshness towards myself. Every time the question returned – Can you forgive yourself for being afraid? – a new wave of tears washed over me. It was the only answer I could think of.
I felt helpless because I couldn’t decide whether that meant „Yes, I forgive myself“ or „No, I can’t“. I decided to take this as the wish to forgive myself, and the becoming aware of this wish. Maybe crying was the healing process, and I’d know it was finished when the question didn’t make me cry anymore. When there would only be knowing: I have already forgiven myself.
This is where all the paths in my life lead me: it is never my weaknesses, flaws, failures that are the problems. It’s the conviction that I should and could live without them, this battle against myself. I will never be able to win that one. At worst it will lead me to look back at my life with regret because all I will be able to see are mistakes and weaknesses. At best it will make me look back at my life realizing that there was no need for regret, that everything had been good and right, that I just hadn’t permitted myself to see it that way. I want to live in that awareness now, that everything is good and right just the way it is. For I am not living my life to be able to look back at it at some point and evaluate it. If that were the point, I could have stopped a long time ago. I want to live in the awareness that I am living for this moment. I want to shape every moment so that it holds the maximum amount of joy. That’s the kind of life I’d like to look back on. at some point.“
When I look back at the past six weeks in Amritabha, I see and feel a lot of joy. I don’t know what this summer would look like if I were spending it elsewhere. This much I know: Amritabha is a really good place to be creative, and to create from this state of perfection that is the present – with all our imperfections. I have been bringing more joy into my life, and I have been allowing more joy to come to me than ever before. It is easy. But guess what, that doesn’t make my problems disappear. Nope. Negative emotions come and go, even more often than I am used to. The inner critic is as diligent as ever, chastising me and pointing out my flaws. However, I am getting better and better at remembering that this is part of life. It’s all good, yet I don’t need to pour more attention into this part than necessary. I may keep directing my attention towards joy. That, too, is easy in this place and with the people who live here.
Thank you, Amritabha. Thank you, Fe San, Jaruh, Sina, Joshua, SoLa, Wandana & Samor. Words can’t begin to describe how much I enjoy being with you.
„It’s all here“, is what my Lemurian crystal keeps telling me. It’s an important message for me these days. I often feel that I already have everything I need to be happy. Of course, I don’t feel it all the time. Wanting, wishing, and striving for something – those are all part of us, too, and it’s completely natural.
However, it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that there is something strained and strenuous to the wanting I often feel. It comes from a place of not being good enough, and not from the pure joy of creating something. I see this as a great indicator for whether my actions are „good“ in the sense that they support what I am really striving for (happiness! spreading joy!). For it’s not so much the action itself but rather the intention behind it which determines the outcome. Anything I do out of a feeling of not being good (enough), of „just a little more, and then …“ – those only lead to one thing: more of the same feeling, more „not good (enough)“, more „just a little more, and then …“.
Gratitude on the other hand, meaning the appreciative recognition of what already is in this moment, is a very powerful tool for attracting more good.
For instance, I recently noticed how much I have always loved music. I still wouldn’t say I am a good singer, but somehow there was this moment where I could admit to myself that I do enjoy singing. Suddenly I find myself in here in Amritabha where singing Bhajans is a weekly occurrence. Moreover, this is exactly the form of singing that suits me, for when it comes to Bhajans it’s not about talent. It’s about devotion. It’s easy to excuse yourself from anything when you can say „Oh, I’m no good at singing“. It’s more difficult however to claim „Oh, I am not good at singing passionately“. And is it possible to do poorly at something when you are passionate about what you’re doing? I guess I’ll find out soon …
If it’s not about earning something through your achievements (your right to exist, e. g.) but about the joy we find in doing something, and yes, praising God with that joy, then this is true: not being able to do something is no reason not to do it. (Those words of wisdom are not mine, btw. It’s ALF who said that – a childhood hero of mine, and when I think about it, a true master of making joy and ease the point of living.)
It’s all here. We’re already taken care of. Thus, we are free to do everything from a place of joy, and free to devote ourselves to the task at hand without worrying whether what we do is good enough. Honing our skills and mastering a craftsmanship will then come simply from doing and the time we put in, from the appreciation of what we already have and know. It can never come from the pressure of forcing ourselves to do anything, or the sense that we are not doing well enough.