Speak the language of your inner child, listen to your inner critic and take the couch potato along for the ride – How to motivate yourself in 6 steps
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.
On being needy and recognizing our needs | The VBA Part 1
Something very nice happened to me: I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, by Katey from femenish.com. It’s a little funny because the other day when I checked out her blog, I saw that she had written a post on having been nominated for a blogging award, and how it was such a pleasant surprise for her, since she’d only been blogging for a month. That triggered me because I have been blogging for four years (on and off, but still) and I have never been nominated for anything! So I kind of just shut my computer before I even finished reading that post. If I had continued reading, I would have seen that Kat had nominated me.
I thought, „Oh, this is just your insatiable need for others‘ validation when you should be the one appreciating your own worth. Work on that instead of hoping that someone else will come along and tell you how wonderful you are.“ And I do believe that’s true, others‘ approval will never fill our need to feel good about ourselves and what we do, if we can’t also feel that within ourselves. But here’s the thing: I have a tendency to dismiss entire concepts pretty hastily when there’s really only bits that need adjusting.
When I received a message from Katey telling me that she’d nominated me, of course that made me happy, but I was still feeling conflicted about this. Part of me was going „These type of blogger awards are dumb, it’s just people telling other people how great they are in hopes of having others tell them how great they are. That’s what’s so annoying about social media, so little of what is shared is genuine appreciation or shared from wanting to inspire or be of service, most of it is just a cry for approval from others“.
Accepting that you need others, and that others do want to support you is a greater experience than trying to play the lone wolf
Usually that’s where I close that topic but that day a new voice spoke up, and suddenly the conversation in my head took on a different spin:
„People cheering others on, and wanting others to cheer them on – what is so dumb about that? It’s really wonderful actually because, guess what, if you’re waiting for the day where you become this island, where you don’t need anybody else anymore, nobody’s opinion affects you, you’re fully self-sufficient, that day will never come. And besides, why would you even want that? Being needy is part of the human experience, and yes, it’s great to be aware that others can’t fill the hole of low self-esteem, but whatever happened to kindness towards yourself? Maybe accepting your neediness and appreciating that others encouragement means something to you, and that it exists, maybe that is a much greater experience than that lone wolf thing you’ve been trying to pull off.“
Suddenly I could understand why the neediness I so often observed on social media had bothered me so much (and also: why I was seeing it everywhere). It was my own neediness, or rather: my rejection of the fact that I, too, need other people’s support and encouragement.
We can’t dump our issues on others but if we are willing to deal with them ourselves, there are ways for others to support us
I believe that it takes both: we can’t just take our baggage and dump it on somebody. That always backfires, either immediately when we are disappointed that we didn’t get the reaction we hoped for or in the long run. If we find someone who is willing to take our crap and bear it for us, we will eventually be forced to deal with guilt and a sense of powerlessness. But if we are willing to do the work it takes to deal with our own issues, then there are ways for others to genuinely support us. If we turn to others, not blackmailing them emotionally to save us but rather communicating honestly what we’re dealing with, that gives others a chance to be there for us, not as the hostage of our emotions but as our witness.
Being your own witness is the first and most important step. I also know that sometimes it’s not enough for me to see my own mess. I need for at least one friend (or a friendly person) to see it, too. Not to do anything about it – just seeing it, that is all the doing it takes. I don’t think we can or should get rid of that need. It’s usually the attempt to do so that turns us into that annoying needy person. The emotions we’re trying to bottle up (so that we don’t burden others) are forcing their way out and blow up in someones face. And sometimes we have to be ok with that, too.
Here’s to cheering each other on, and here’s to witnessing ourselves and others in all our glory and all our mess. Here’s to knowing that we need each other and knowing that we also have something to offer each other.
Thank you, Katey, for cheering me on with this nomination!
That’s rule #1 btw: when you’re nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, thank the person who nominated you. In the spirit of keeping things a little not so extremely long anymore, I divvied up this blog post on the VBA. So, if you want to know what this award is about, which 15 bloggers inspire me (that’s rule #2 btw), and which 7 things I want Katey to know about me (rule #3), I have two more posts coming up on each of those. I can hardly believe that this turned into such a big thing but it did! It took me several days just to write the post about which bloggers inspire me. My own „fault“ since I wanted to write a little about what inspires me about them – now I know why that’s not in the rules. It’s extremely time-consuming! But I this was the most important part to me, so no regrets for making that time.
Doing it anyway| Amritabha new moon theme: Accepting your power
Accepting your own power is this new moon cycle’s theme here at Amritabha. And it’s really got me going on all levels. It figures, since you can’t accept your power „just a little bit“. Either you’re doing it or you’re not. Daring to accept your power doesn’t mean everything will run smoothly once you made that decision. That’s the challenge: when you dare to do that, it means that you accept entering a situation without being sure of its outcome. Those who dare to do that don’t do it in the spirit of „I know how to do this 100%“. We do it in the spirit of „Maybe I don’t have it all figured out but I’m doing this anyway“.
What if I don’t have it in me?
During my stay here at Amritabha, I scored an amazing writing job. I was stoked. Up until the moment when it was time to finally sit down and get started. I freaked out. What’s worse: my mind just went blank. Yikes! I was admiring this person whom I was supposed to write for so much that I ended up putting myself under a ton of pressure. This just has to turn out GREAT! What if I can’t do it? What if they are wrong about me, and I just don’t have it in me?! Gulp. This. Is. Not.Working.
Ideas don’t come from me – they come through me
Suddenly I remembered: I can do this. That’s why I got this job in the first place. Of course it’s not going to work if I’m panicking. The only thing that does work is this: reminding myself that it’s not actually my mind that has to make all this up. When I write – no; when I write well – it doesn’t come from me. It comes through me. It’s ideas, sentences, thoughts that are floating out there in the space surrounding me, waiting for me to catch them. The only thing I need to do is be aware of it, open myself to the process, and allow myself to become the channel for these ideas and words. It’s simple yet challenging. This approach only requires one single thing of me: unconditional trust in my intuition. The certainty that whatever it is I am perceiving is exactly what wants to be said.
Clearing myself, opening up, being present – I want to live my life the way I give crystal healing
I discovered this technique, this understanding of the creative process, during my crystal healer training with Dauri Neumann. Somehow I just had this trust in myself there. It was easy for me to accept that I couldn’t plan the sessions ahead or prepare them in any other way. The only thing I could do was clear my mind, open up, and be present – to the recipient of the treatment, to the healing that wanted to come through me and the stones, and to the assistance of the divine. That was a very powerful experience, and I thought „I want to live my life the way I give crystal healing“.
This approach comes pretty easy as long as I’m writing for myself. I’m free, don’t have any particular point in mind I want to make, I can just allow myself to see where my writing is going. That copy job had different prerequisites, so my mind started rolling this film like I’ve trained it to do for years: You should know your stuff better! I can’t say anything meaningful until I’ve done more research! You have no idea what you’re doing! So far you’ve always managed to get by but this time they’ll call your bluff! And so on. It was a total blast from the past, the high school and university years. My performance was always excellent, and still I always panicked at some point when writing my papers.
You don’t deliver because of the stress but in spite of it
Back then I thought that this pressure, this stress was the part of the process that made sure I delivered. I think differently now. I did not deliver because of that fear of failure. I delivered in spite of it. The way I see things now, I was afraid because I didn’t know where my thoughts really came from, and why they were good. How could I possibly be sure it would work the next time? For my thoughts didn’t come from my intellect back then, either. They came through it. It was the same principle at work there, even if I wasn’t aware of it: thoughts were buzzing in the air around me and I just caught them. Of course you need to dive into in a topic, do your research. However, if I’d been aware back then of the learning/writing process the way I see it today, I probably would have trusted my instinct with more ease, when it came to determining what was enough information.
The message of listlessness: this isn’t going anywhere
That feeling did exist: it entered the stage as listlessness. I thought I needed to make myself read more (it was never enough!). I often failed at that. That brought on the guilt: You’ve done way too little again! There were few moments where I could acknowledge the thought that I was reluctant towards work because it was not really meaningful. It was only serving one purpose: soothing my conscience, so that I could assure myself I’d done enough.
Accept your doubt just as much as you accept your power – that way you’ll be able to get it done
This look at the past that this writing job granted me was an opportunity to break the spell. Not only do I know now that I want to live my life the way I give crystal healing treatments. I am finally convinced that it’s possible.
How do I prove myself I’m right? Very simple, very challenging: I’m doing it. With my fears, doubts, and my resistance. It helps to remember that all they want to do is play. You can do it anyway.
Open yourself to the wonders that want to come into the world through you
That’s what I mean when I talk about accepting your power: opening up to the wonders that want to come into this world through us (the small ones just as much as the big ones). Trusting that we are provided with everything we need to manifest them. Not to waste our power fighting our doubt but keep trusting. Trusting that our power is sufficient to both manifest our dreams, and carry that doubt.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a real eye-opener for me when it comes to the creative process. I was especially inspired by Gilbert’s description of how she deals with fears and doubt. It makes it impossible not to love them. According to my not so humble opinion this book is a must-read. Not just for artists but for everyone who wants to live a happy and fulfilled life.
No regrets | Half-time at Amritabha
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:
Nichts zu bereuen – Die innere Reise von Sarine
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.
Lemurian Crystal Healing | Part 1
With everything that I had going on up until the last minute of my stay at my grandparents‘ house, I suddenly arrived in Landskrona, Sweden, realizing that I hadn’t spent a single thought on the Lemurian Crystal Healing seminar. The one that I was going to participate in. Like, the next day. Usually I spend money on things (including knowledge offered in seminars) I feel I am lacking. So naturally, there is anticipation, there is hope (that this one might be The Thing That Finally Makes Me Happy or The Answer), and therefore also hesitation (what if this is not The Thing That Finally Makes Me Happy or The Answer?).
When I signed up for the Crystal Healer training with Dauri last year, I didn’t know much about crystals or crystal healing, wasn’t even particularly interested in the subject. I signed up simply because I felt it was important (The Path Into Light had shown it as part of my path). Therefore, I had expectations – that it would help me grow, that it was an important part of my journey towards myself, towards becoming the person I wanted to be. (My expectations were fulfilled in ways I could not have imagined, by the way.)
If you think that choice was based on very little, this time I had even less: the Lemurian Crystal Seminar was not something I had foreseen at any point as an important piece of the puzzle of my life. I just had the feeling I should go. When I arrived, I realized something rare: I felt complete. I have been content with myself for a while now, and the periods of me truly feeling at peace with myself and my life keep getting longer and longer. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am perfect – but I feel happy with who I am and where I am headed, and underneath everything I do I feel a certainty that my life is flowing in the right direction on its own accord right now.
This raised some questions that I can’t say I have ever asked myself before: What is the point of healing when you feel whole already? What is there to gain when you feel like nothing is missing? What could possibly be added? The answer is: so much more.
The reason these questions surfaced was that during the seminar we, the participants, gave each other treatments to practice our own techniques. When it was my turn to receive healing, I kept finding myself not knowing what to ask for. And time and time again my healers treated me to incredible gifts.
One of the most significant insights for me this weekend was that the more I allowed myself to accept my state of wholeness, and (I have to admit this one still feels a little difficult to say out loud) my greatness, the easier it got for me to perceive the others‘ wholeness, their greatness, and what incredible healers they were.
We seem to talk about the importance of loving ourselves a lot. I know I have. But we don’t seem to know what we are talking about. Well, I should speak for myself: I had no idea what I was talking about. This past weekend helped me I understand at the deepest level that self-love has nothing to do with narcissism or egotism. On the contrary, as long as we don’t love ourselves, we are constantly burdening others with our craving their approval (or rejection, depends on how you’re wired).
I know what I am talking about: the list of things I have done in my life just because I wanted someone’s respect/attention/praise is long. And it’s not that I never got others‘ approval. I have the grades from high school and university to prove it. Interestingly, all the praise I ever got was never enough. When I was 18, I entered the competition of an acclaimed German paper with an essay. I was among the ten finalists. Wanna know what conclusion I drew from this? I was convinced that I was no good at writing because, you know, I didn’t win. (They even quoted from my essay during the award ceremony. Nope, not good enough …)
This past weekend showed me what self-love does to our relationship with others: It turns out that when we are in that state where we are at peace with ourselves, when we can see what beautiful and powerful beings we are, we suddenly don’t need others to give us what we are denying ourselves. Thus others are suddenly free to be more than a supporting role in the drama that is our life. We are free to see them as the beautiful and powerful beings they are. We are free to interact and communicate on a much deeper level. Our interaction stops being a negotiation, there is no agenda tied to what we have to offer each other. Instead there is light and lightheartedness to our interaction, and ironically it is exactly our not depending on the others‘ acknowledgement that allows us to feel truly seen for who we are. What greater gift could we possibly have for one another?
Thank you Dauri, Sejana and Tshira for sharing your light with me – and thank you for making me feel seen at the deepest level.
As some of you know, I have lived a pretty secluded life over the past few years. House on the Swedish countryside, no internet at home, limited cell phone use, long distances to my friends and not very travel-friendly (or super travel-friendly, depending on how you look at it – pretty much every outing was a trip in its own rights).
I am grateful for the experience. It taught me to appreciate and value things I didn’t use to pay much attention to – or that I even used to avoid. Being close to nature. Being alone with myself without any distractions. Stillness, both on the outside and within me.
On my good days, I could appreciate the gift that this period of my life was, even then. On my bad days, I hated that I didn’t have a choice.
If I allowed myself to give up my resistance and surrender to what it was I would have wanted to distract myself from, I always came out on the other side being thankful for it. I don’t know if I’d had the strength to make myself do that if I’d had a choice.
More often than not I was glad to have an excuse to switch my phone off and not be available all all the time. I found that I am not as adverse to being outdoors as I thought I was, moreover: I discovered the deep feeling of connection to all living things that you only experience when you find yourself fully immersed in the beauty of nature. There’s no cell phone plan for that.
Having gone through those experiences, especially through my own resistance, I can see how I benefit from them now that I am in a different place, where I suddenly do have all those choices I wanted so badly back then.
I can actually feel the need to go outside and find a place where I feel close to nature because I know now that these are places where I connect with myself. I can feel the need to turn my computer and phone off at a certain point during the day. I am not afraid anymore of missing out if I’m not connected to social media 24/7. I understand now that when the feeling arises that I am losing touch with myself, the answer is never to be found outside of myself, in distraction. I always find it by turning inwards, towards whatever shape that feeling comes in. It may be triggered by my mind getting hung up on something someone said, or something I read somewhere that struck a chord.
Therefore I continue to be grateful for knowing the place where the lack of choices forced me to turn to the only thing that was left: facing myself. Now that I am in a place again where I have many options, this makes it easy for me to choose.
Facing ourselves, tackling that resistance even when we technically don’t have to, when we could distract ourselves, is always worth it. For all the things we try to avoid seeing in and about ourselves lead to great treasures.
On living truth vs. speaking truth
For the most part of my life I have been hasty in my actions. I always thought that if I don’t do things right away, that means I will never do them. Or – another classic – if I don’t do them, no one will.
Last year I was finally able to see that that sort of reflex-like compulsion has nothing to do with acting on your gut instinct, let alone going with the flow. The real gut instinct kind of impulses don’t even give you time to consider – you just find yourself doing what needs to be done, and your actions come easily, there is no fear, you’re so engaged in the task that the mind doesn’t have time to fret over what will happen if you don’t do this or that.
First there was a situation at work, a meeting, where I felt that there was a huge gap between the content of what was being said and the truth of the situation addressed. Really, an elephant fit snugly into that gap. The „If I don’t say how I really see things, then I am responsible if this continues“-reflex was beginning to kick in. At the same time, I suddenly knew with absolute certainty that if I did speak my truth, the only thing that changed would be that I exposed myself to people who were not interested at all in changing the situation.
I said nothing, and for a while I felt like I was going to pass out or have a heart attack. Then that feeling passed, and suddenly I was completely at peace. With everything. Myself, my work place, the world. Literally everything. For the rest of the day, I could see everyone and everything for who and what they really were, and I had nothing but love for all of it. The shyness and awkwardness I normally felt when entering an office full of people was gone, I could joke around with anyone, and everything I said came straight from my heart, sans detours via the mind.
I didn’t understand it at the time but this is how I interpret the situation today: If I had said what I thought I had to say that day, it would not have been me living my truth. It would have been me looking to others to confirm what I myself wasn’t able to face. Which they could not have done. So when I realized that speaking up wouldn’t have gotten me the reassurance I wanted, that was the moment I had to do the job myself: acknowledge my truth.
The second situation was also work-related. A colleague said something that I suppose was well-meant advice but it pushed a button, and I felt „I need to blog about this because everything about what she said is just so backwards, and I cannot let that fly! If I don’t make a stand and say how wrong this is, then it’s my fault that people thinking like that rule this world!“ Thanks to the no internet at home situation, I was yet again stopped from acting on my compulsion.
When I turned to my friend and healer La for advice, she suggested that I write it all down just to get it out of my system. She also recommended that I don’t publish anything as long as I am emotionally involved. That, my friends, is some of the best advice I have ever got, and I can not stress its value enough. I found that writing alone was medicine for my bruised ego. There was nothing that sharing my rage could have improved on. Through writing I reached the core of what was really my issue here. Again, it was a truth that I had not been able to accept myself, and therefore I wanted to direct my anger at someone whom I wanted to assert it for me. Which she didn’t do.
This situation taught me that it’s not always a good idea to share everything on your mind instantly. There is greater benefit in working through the rough stuff in a protected environment, alone or with someone you trust one hundred percent.
The most important part about truth is that we ourselves understand and acknowledge it. Only then can we live it. And truth wants to be lived more than it wants to be spoken. That might sound a little strange coming from someone who spends so much time on finding the right words to express her truth. For a while I did in fact struggle with the point of my writing when I understood that words really aren’t that important. Then I realized that for me writing is a big part of living my truth. Regardless of whether or not that means anything to anyone. When my writing comes from my awareness that I do it mostly for me, not to convince anyone of anything, I can do it with ease. Those who „get me“ do so no matter what. Those who don’t will always have an opportunity to find wrong both in my words and my actions.
Eckhart Tolle writes about that phenomenon in The Power Of Now: that words/language can be used as signs pointing to the truth but that they themselves never are the truth, never can be. If that is the case, there is no need to burden my head with the struggle to find the perfect words. Instead I may trust that when I write from the heart and keep the editing to a minimum, I am producing the best kind of signs. You know, not the ones that point you to my truth but the ones that point you to your own.
A path into light
It’s been two years on this day that I completed a seminar on finding yourself, and your purpose in this life. My expectations, which were pretty high, were surpassed. I gained a lot of insights about myself and life in general during the seminar. To this day these insights keep unfolding even more, my understanding of their significance deepens – or sometimes I even notice how something I realize now was already there, then. I just wasn’t able to „read“ the sign.
Shortly before the seminar, I read about Ayahuasca ceremonies. What I read reminded me that there is always more than one way. That there is never a single event in your life that everything else hinges on. Yes, there are significant moments in life, and yes, some of them set you on a very specific path. But you only ever know the path you’ve actually walked, so you’re mostly not aware that things could have gone differently, and you’d still be on your path. In fact, life finds ways to open doors for you when the one you (thought you) were supposed to walk through unexpectedly closes.
I realized that I could have chosen something other than this seminar, or that if I were suddenly unable to attend, there would be more ways for me to discover my life’s purpose. When my head has an idea about the significance of an upcoming event, it tends to put a lot of pressure on me and overload everything with expectations. It felt good to suddenly be able to approach the experience with a kind of „light-headedness“. It also made me realize that while, yes, I could have chosen something else, I did in fact choose this.
The seminar I am talking about is The Path Into Light®. If it is part of your journey, too, you may find something in my writing that speaks to you. Or maybe you’ll stumble upon it a few more times elsewhere. If it’s not part of your journey, then nothing anyone could possibly say about it will convince you otherwise. You’ll still be on your path, and that is the point.
That’s what amazes me so much about life: that we all are in it together, just existing at the same time on this earth connects us so deeply. Yet we are all free to have very different experiences, to be on our own path, to be like no one else. Earth is the place where all of that fits in the same space.
Thank you, La, for guiding me on my path into light with so much ease, confidence, and laughter. Thank you, Agni Eickermann, for having paved this road. There may be many paths that lead into light. This one is the fast track.
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 womaninterested 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.
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?