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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.

 

Recommended reading

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.

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?).

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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.)

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Dauri

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.

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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.

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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.

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Sejana

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.

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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).

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Tshira

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 …)

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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.

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 abundance

I have been thinking about money a lot lately. Or rather: I have been observing the way I think about money, and how I handle money.

Three things have triggered this sudden interest: First off, I am at my grandparents‘ house, and a lot of family-related issues have surfaced since my arrival, the importance of success, prestige and financial wealth being a dominant theme. Second, I have come across the blogs of two women who talk about how to deal with money issues in a way that really speaks to me (Mara Stix and MyMoneyMind – both in German). Third, for the first time in my adult-life, I don’t have an income. I am currently living on my savings. Some days that feels like the greatest luxury, other days it terrifies me.

The money mystery

Not all of the insights that keep coming are new, but what is new is that for the first time in my life I am taking an active interest in my financial situation. I am realizing how much my avoiding the topic has been connected to my fear of lack of control. I have mostly lived with the feeling that I can afford everything I really want to do – which is not a bad place to start. However, since I avoided thinking about money, I always felt a powerlessness, both regarding my income and my expenses. It seemed like a kind of magic: if I went into my savings because I wanted to travel, money suddenly appeared (often only after I bought the tickets). The times I did try to take responsibility, I thought tracking my expenses was the best way to gain control – but suddenly all I saw was money running through my fingers like sand, and I hated the feeling of having to think over every cent I spent. It made me feel poor, even though technically I wasn’t.

I wasn’t able to connect the dots, so I thought that it was best for me not to actively think about money – I thought that was the part that made it „disappear“ because whenever I just did what I felt like, I was fine! I honestly thought that thinking about money was the problem. I am taking the liberty to blame my German heritage at least partly for that – just look at German expressions and proverbs about money, and you’ll understand: money stinks; stinking rich; Money isn’t something you talk about, it’s something you have; … the list goes on, not everything translates well but you get the gist.

Family business

This is also where family history comes into play: like everything else, my family’s values and ideas about money shaped my own values and ideas about money. Since I avoided thinking about money, I naturally was blind to how my family’s way of handling money had shaped my own view on it.

So here are the facts: I have never been actually poor. Even as a kid, my parents (and my grandparents, too) had savings accounts for us, so as an adult it was a given for me to keep it that way. I have gone into these savings whenever I wanted to travel or if I really wanted to buy something that my regular income didn’t cover. I have never spent any money I didn’t have, meaning, I have always made sure my credit cards had their limit at the amount that the balance on my account covered. I have been fortunate to have parents who paid for my university studies. The only time I went into debt was when I bought a house with my boyfriend. And even then, we would have had the means to pay cash, and that was the main reason we felt comfortable taking the loan. (Before you get the idea that I am loaded: houses on the Swedish countryside are ridiculously cheap, at least in the less populated areas, for obvious reasons – lack of jobs, schools, etc.) Since I no longer own that house, I don’t have that mortgage anymore, either.

All that sounds pretty good, right? Then here’s the real question: how is it possible for someone like me to have money issues? How could I for even the fraction of a second be under the impression that I am poor – let alone for longer periods of her life? The answer, as the a fore-mentioned blogs reminded me, is that wealth has less to do with your bank account balance than your state of mind. The Secret, anyone?

Abundance and scarcity – It’s all in your mind

According to the law of attraction, what you think is what you get. When you experience yourself as being in a state of abundance internally, abundance is what you get externally. Same goes for scarcity, of course. That explains why money always „magically“ appeared, when I decided to spend it on something that wasn’t a necessity for survival but just something I knew I’d enjoy. You can only make that kind of decision out of a sense of abundance, with the confidence that you’re provided for, that the money you’re spending on something fun won’t be missing when it’s time to pay the rent. The law of attraction is also the explanation why money suddenly seemed to be disappearing whenever I focused on money: the only way of focusing on money I knew was looking at the expenses. Naturally that created a sense of scarcity, which in turn invited scarcity into my life.

In the past few days I have been observing myself, and experimenting with some of the insights I’ve had.

How much money does it take to feel rich?

I started tracking my expenses shortly before I understood that the focus on them can produce the scarcity-mindset that leads into panic. After giving it some thought, I decided that I’d continue anyway because I wanted to know how much I need to live comfortably. Of course, the sky is the limit but sometimes it helps to have an actual number. It feels easier to think, „OK, I need X€“ thank thinking „I need a lot of money“. What was even more surprising: My X turned out to be not even a crazy high number. I have only been tracking my expenses for little over a month but I am seeing that I’m nowhere even near that number, and I have been making an effort to not be cheap. That was one of things I had promised myself: if I was going to live on my savings, I didn’t want to do it feeling like I can’t afford anything. I mean, savings are finite, so I obviously need a new source of income at some point. I’d rather have short while of fun with my money than a long period of dreading every cent I’m spending of it. From that perspective, keeping track has calmed my mind tremendously, and has reduced that aspect of lack of control. Just goes to show that it’s not what we do, it’s how we do it that makes all the difference.

Napkins, prayers and wedding dresses

Speaking of intention: I found that when it comes to spending money, how I feel about it has often very little to do with the actual amount.

The other day I found myself fretting over buying paper napkins. I was standing in front of the shelf thinking „Yeah, but I don’t really need those. Sure, these are prettier but I still have napkins at home, better use those up first.“ Then I realized: I was acting as if this were a life-and-death-situation when in fact it was napkins – that cost 99c! Also, the reason why I still had napkins at home was that I never wanted to use them because they were depicting a scene from a children’s book in which a teacher is chastising his student. (I’d really like to meet the genius that thought „Hey, this’ll make for great merchandise – how about some napkins!“. No wait, I don’t.) I came to my senses and bought the happy napkins. Really, they have hearts and birds and little doodles and it even says „Happy“ on them!

The next „exercise“ was more legit: taking my wedding dress to the dry-cleaner’s because I was planning on selling it. I learned that depending on the dress, it was going to cost somewhere between 75 and 140€. If you consider how my mind felt about the napkins you can do the math and figure out how it felt about that … Was I even going to get that money for the dress?! Heck, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to sell it at all – not because of the dress but because I don’t consider myself to be a good sales-person (that’s another story for another time). Then it occurred to me that this was just what I needed as incentive. If it costs that much to clean it (and I knew I wouldn’t have the guts to only pretend I cleaned it and sell it as is), there was no way that I wasn’t going to sell the dress. So the same mind that almost wasn’t going to spend 99c on napkins was suddenly ok with spending up to 140€ not knowing whether that would turn out to be money down the drain or an investment. (Still not a life-and-death-situation, though.)

As I approached the dry-cleaner’s with my dress the next day, I noticed how much I was worked up over the whole situation. Of course, it was more than the money – I clearly hadn’t really come to terms with the whole decision to sell my wedding dress … I stopped, took a deep breath and prayed. More specifically, I prayed for help to let go of my fears, to stay with love, and for the whole situation to resolve itself in the best way possible, regardless of my fears. This is what happened: when the lady at the dry-cleaner’s saw my dress she said: „OK, this may have been your wedding dress, but here it’s an evening gown. That’ll be 17€.“

Do I think that was an answer to my prayer? Maybe. OK, I do. But I am not sure that that prayer was my prayer. Maybe the fact that I had made a deliberate choice to be fine with the cost and not fret over it was that prayer already. Maybe that was the step that was enough to tell the universe I was ready, that it was OK to come and meet me (more than) half-way. Maybe that prayer on top was just for me and my fear. Maybe it got me an additional discount. I don’t know.

I have been doing a lot more things since then: taking my beloved cat wrist watch in to get fixed (it was so cheap that the cost of fixing it was absurdly disproportionate to the original price). Buying a new pair of glasses AND sunglasses even though I don’t „need“ them (everything is relative – I’ve had my glasses for 9 years, and besides, some might say that there are more decadent things to own than a second pair of glasses). Buying a bunch of flowers for the house (my no. 1 quick fix tip for creating spaces with a sense of abundance when a place is lacking that feel). Eating out (I haven’t felt like cooking or doing the dishes lately, so I decided that it’s time to take a break at least some days).

The luxury of not buying something

As I am conducting my little experiments, I notice several things:
1. I can afford everything I really want because none of the things that I find pleasure in turn out to cost as much money as my fear wants to make me believe. For instance, I have no desire for objects that are mere status symbols. I tried on two pair of sunglasses that looked almost identical. Both were brand names but one was about half the price of the other. Of course I didn’t get the expensive one, just because it had the Michael Kors logo! I don’t think I will ever define wealth as the ability to afford brand names for their own sake. (Which is not to say I judge people who do – if it makes you happy, it’s cool. It’s just not me.)

2. When my mind is in a state of abundance, I actually buy less of certain products. I used to buy a lot of groceries in bulk – because it’s „cheaper“ that way. I bought stuff just because it was on sale. I bought things „just in case“. All of these types of purchases come from the scarcity mindset. The amount of money you spend on those can just as easily add up to a small fortune – or even a large one. I love having an empty fridge because that makes it easier for me to eat whatever I feel like on any given day. If the fridge is full, I feel burdened by the „task“ of taking care of its content before it goes bad.

3. When I am in a state of abundance, I suddenly have to focus more on what I really want. I wouldn’t buy a pair of glasses that cost a fortune when I don’t feel like they’re „totally me“. However, I have probably spent a fortune on things that were not „totally me“ – just because they were cheap. Abundance then is not just being able to afford „expensive stuff“ – it is also being able to afford not buying something that doesn’t feel 100% right. In that sense, I can feel rich not buying something. It is about living in the awareness that I am provided for, always.

You may have noticed that my focus here was purely on the expense side. That’s because the income side has been even more „magical“ in the bewildering and confusing sense to me. I am in the process of changing that but not quite at a point where I have anything ready for sharing yet. If things keep going the way they are right now, that is going to change.

On choices

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.

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.

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.