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Change out of contentment

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I read a great article (German) about how important it is to let go of the „in order to“. Meaning, letting go of doing things that we think are necessary to achieve something. It’s a chase for the right job / partner / city that will finally allow us to be happy / be different /  focus on what we really want to do.

We „have to“ switch city/job/partner so that the life we really want can finally begin. It’s so easy to fall into this line of thinking that we mustn’t be content what actually is just because it doesn’t really match our idea of how things should be.

I caught myself a while ago thinking that if I allowed myself to accept my situation then that would mean it couldn’t change. This place I chose was only supposed to be a temporary thing from the start! What if I allow myself to find anything good here, and get so content that I won’t want to leave anymore?! That would be terrible because I wanted something else, right!?

Somehow I was still attached to that notion that change can only be born out of dissatisfaction. That is not true. In reality, we receive what we send out into the world. From my experience we’re usually just not very conscious of what it is that we’re actually sending out. It’s not so much the words or actions but the energy/intentions behind them. Loving change is great, life is change! However, if we initiate change out of a sense of discontentment, then the result will be more discontentment.

And vice versa: when we allow ourselves to find the gold in what we have in front of us, allow ourselves to see how this is exactly what we need, while also allowing ourselves to dream and wish for things, then change will come on its own accord. In the meantime we get to enjoy a rich and fulfilling life.

When my trip around the world turned out to be something different from what I had imagined, it took me a while to understand that what was going on was simply that my underlying quest (finding out what I really wanted to do with my life, finding the home within and out there) had been answered a lot faster than I had anticipated. Continuing the trip would only have meant holding on to the form I had started out with.

And still things turned out differently. All of the three places that feel like home to me suddenly seemed impossible. When I came to my grandpa’s house – to get the rest of my stuff, as I thought – this place seemed like a very doable quick fix. An empty house where I could focus on my business. Doesn’t get any faster and easier, right!? I was really sick of living out of a suitcase by that time, so I went for it.

As you know, things went differently. I was suddenly facing a reality that had nothing to do with my preconception. Nothing was easy. I was devastated, thinking „The only reason I came here was because I wanted to make things easy for myself! If I had known, that things would be hard anywhere I turn because it’s my inner barriers, I never would have chosen this place!“

I had somehow managed to make choices out of my wishes while at the same time still chasing ideas of how things were supposed to be in order for me to allow myself to be content. Ever since I understood that everything hasn’t been easy but I’ve been able to meet my own resistance with more compassion.

And that makes all the difference. It’s really all it takes to make a new flow possible. It’s because I don’t feel attached to anything around here, I am suddenly able to make decisions without the pressure of expectations regarding the outcome. For instance, when I saw that my favorite café in town was hiring, I just went and introduced myself. Just like that. Now I work there.

Not too long ago I would have let myself be stopped by the thought that it’s pointless to apply for a job in a place where I have no intention of staying. Let alone something I am overqualified for! And wasn’t I done with employment anyway? Wasn’t I supposed to just focus on my business? That, my friends, is discontentment at its finest. It makes life here and now miserable and almost impossible.

What I would have missed out on, if I had let myself be stopped by this line of thinking: balancing my own work with something where I don’t spend any time in front of the computer screen is a blessing! The time I am spending at the café is not time that I don’t have for my business. Honestly, when I have an entire day to myself, I don’t spend 100% of it being productive or creative. Most of the time goes towards worrying and procrastinating (amazing how in reality the time for being productive is always way less than I want yet always perfectly sufficient). I get to meet people, nice ones, too! I get to make use of my ability to make others feel seen and taken care of. I get to learn new things. That is contentment. Here and now. Not one fine day in tomorrowland.

And since there is my wish for other places, I can’t even fall for the illusion that this is The Job I need to „make sacrifices“ for. So I tried something I haven’t before: negotiating. I expressed that a different form of employment would be a better combo with my own work. I also decided to be honest about my concern: That I enjoyed the work but that I was still thinking about moving because I felt that home was somewhere else.  I never would have done that in the past but it was so worth it. And guess what: no problems.

While I don’t need to convince myself or anyone else that I am intending to stay for very long, I still get to unpack my inner boxes so to say, and accept the fact that I am here now. And it’s ok to nest a little on the outside, too. I went to IKEA a few days ago and got some office supplies, throow pillows and picture frames. Up until now I’ve been telling myself „No, don’t start piling up stuff that you need to move, you’re not staying!“. But the fact is that that only made me feel more out of place than I already did. If I already don’t feel at home, it’s all the more important to have a little oasis that is me, and that is home!

And when it comes to what to fill our lives with: the things we really want to do with our life are very rarely tied to a specific place. Or any other prerequisites. No „in order to“, either. Photography, writing, drawing, being creative, healing – those are the things I want to fill my life and this world with. Just because. Of course, I am focusing on making my heart’s desires my business. The trick is just not to fall for the illusion that joy is only worth living when we’re being paid for it. That’s bs, it’s the „in order to“ illusion.

Just like making it dependent on one’s mood, fears or other emotions. I can’t, I don’t want to, It’s impossible – those three will always be there. They are truly the beginning of everything we desire from the depths of our heart.

The right life is not the perfect life (= the one where circumstances are ideal). The right life is the one where we opt for our heart’s desires – and the circumstances that come with it (or, as Elisabeth Gilbert puts is in Big Magic the „shit sandwich“ that comes with it). Simply the one, that makes us face all the can’ts, don’twanttos, impossibles. Again and again.

Under my umbrella| When nothing’s easy

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Hey you!

I am slowly coming out from underneath that rock I’d withdrawn to. I came back to Germany with my head full of ideas, and I was so excited to register my business here. It was a very special day for me. And all just to undo everything a few days later, plus deactivate everything I had put up on my etsy shop. That was hard.

And yes, there is this part of me that would like to see itself as the victim of circumstances, that would like to tell you a story of all the injustice I have endured, a story of who is to blame for what, and why I it’s not my fault that life ist just not going the way I want it to right now.

And there is this part that doesn’t want to say anything at all. That wants to just pretend nothing happened, and wait this one out until I have a sunnier story to tell.

Fortunately there’s also this part of me that knows that I am really not interested in either of those two alternatives. The part that knows that I am really interested in being myself and sharing that with you. Not justifying but not hiding either.

The world out there is not to blame – it’s just a mirror

That is also the part that calls bullshit when I feel abused by others. The part that knows that life can throw some nasty stuff our way but that the truth remains: all that stuff comes from our inside. The world out there is just mirroring what’s going on in here. When I remember that, life suddenly becomes a different game.

You can’t choose the weather but you can choose whether you go outside or stay in

That is also the part of me that wants to continue to share my story after a period of withdrawing from it. The part that feels that you don’t need to pretend that it’s not raining but that you don’t need to leave the house without your umbrella, just to prove that the weather is terrible.

That’s the point, right? We don’t control the weather (or the circumstances) but we get to decide whether we want to leave the house or not. Whether we spend our energy insisting that rain is terrible or whether we spend it figuring out what to do with what life is offering us at that moment,

Ignoring barriers is more painful than acknowledging them

My inner barriers that revealed themselves over the past couple of weeks are reminding me that sometimes there is no easy way. Sometimes all we can do is acknowledge that. Ignoring this fact is more painful and also less meaningful than embracing the situation. Instead we should be patting ourselves on our bruised little head, telling ourselves „It is what it is. I am having a hard time with this, and that’s ok.“ Being kind to ourselves often takes down huge parts of the barrier. It’s the umbrella in the rain so to say.

I know I am not alone with this. When I scroll down my social media feeds (which I have to admit I don’t do very much these days), I see that many of you are dealing with something similar. It’s comforting reminder: we’re all in this together. That’s the umbrella we hold for each other – when we share what we’re going through.

Sending you hugs and lots of LOVE,

Sarine_signature01

PS: Photo credit to the lovely La who took this winter fairy pic of me. That’s a pretty good umbrella, too: just go out into the woods with your bestie and act like the fairy (and/or elf) you really are.

Tadaah! – Get your very own personalized crystal oracle

Ok everybody, this is it – I have reached the point where I admitted to myself that spending more hours trying to create the perfect banner for my etsy shop would just be plain old procrastination. „Perfect“ lives in Nevererverland, at least when it comes to looks.

It’s really time to allow myself to share with you what is deeper than the perfect look, something I am very proud of as it is today: my personalized crystal readings. I have been doing them for myself for a while now, and sharing them on Instagram as @sarinescrystaloracle. Very excited to be doing them for you (or someone special to you) personally now!

So without further ado, here it is!

A part of me cringes at the idea of adding a phrase that’s meant to encourage you to buy this as a Christmas gift. But dangit, I do love getting and giving Christmas presents, and I can’t think of anything more fun AND useful than the gift of self-discovery. So if I weren’t doing these oracles myself, I’d be my own best customer, haha.

Joy to the world!

Sarine_signature01

 

 

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.

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.

Love always

Sarine

On Beauty

I used to have mixed feelings about beauty. Both when it came to myself but also when it came to the question of whether or not it really could be found in everything that exists on this planet. Whether or not it was OK to find it in everything. What part does perception play in the process? What is beauty anyway? Does it even matter? What do you think? Here’s how I see things now:

Beauty is a question of perception

A few years ago a close friend told me about her decision to undergo plastic surgery. The notion that the perception of ourselves differs from others‘ perception of us was not new to me but still. Somehow the conversation struck a chord with me, and it made me understand first hand what that really meant. This friend of mine is one of the most beautiful women I know. If she could see herself through my eyes she would not find the surgery necessary, I thought. Clearly her own perception of her had to be different from how I saw her, for I had no doubt that the surgery was a good thing for her (and it still seems to have been the right thing to do for her to this day).

I guess this hit a nerve because it brought up the question what the status of my own self-perception was. I was by no means planning on undergoing surgery but to say that I was happy with my looks would have been a lie. In some ways my friend was being a lot more honest than me. For I was unhappy with my looks but far to proud to admit (especially to myself) that beauty/being happy with my looks mattered.

Others‘ perception will never win over the voice inside

Is plastic surgery the answer to our discontentment with our appearance? I don’t know. I think that’s up to each and every one to answer for themselves. What I am sure of is this: Others‘ perception of us will never be able to beat the voice inside us. It’s that voice that determines how we see ourselves, and thus: how we present ourselves to the world. If surgery can convince that voice for good, then it’s definitely a positive action. I just know this wouldn’t work for me. That voice of self-doubt would just move on to the next thing that needed to be changed. It is her nature: doubting and criticizing.

There is more than just one voice inside us – which one to we trust?

To be specific: it is the voice inside that we put our faith in which determines how we feel about ourselves and how we present ourselves. Since yes, there’s that voice that tells me not to get any ideas, that no way am I among the beautiful ones. There’s that other voice, too, though. A voice that only speaks of beauty when I look in the mirror. In other words: a dangerous voice, a seductive liar. What would happen if I ever fell for her?! Just imagining the humiliation if anyone found out I thought I was beautiful when really I am not is too much …

One body, so many different images. If it’s true about my friend, why wouldn’t it be about me? What if the liar in me is not a liar? What if everyone but me could already see my beauty, and I were the only one holding on to a different truth? Or, what if the only reason others couldn’t recognize my beauty was that I keep placing my trust in that voice that only believes the worst of me? If there isn’t just one single truth about my body, shouldn’t I be able to choose? What’s keeping me from choosing anything but the best version of my self-image?

Beautiful Women Vs. Intelligent Women

The reason why I was unable to accept my own beauty at the deepest level was this: I was convinced that there were two kinds of women – intelligent ones and beautiful ones. Intelligent women didn’t necessarily have to be ugly but they definitely couldn’t show that they cared about their appearance. That, I thought, would have been shallow, and being shallow meant being dumb, right? Respectively, beautiful women could definitely be „surprisingly“ smart but not THAT smart because otherwise they wouldn’t be so shallow and put so much effort into their looks, right? … (The fact that all of my girl-friends were living proof of the contrary somehow didn’t count. There were obviously two different sets of rules – one that applied to me and another for everyone else.)

Jealousy – a hint at what we are denying ourselves

A little later I noticed that I had become jealous of a certain type of women. I had understood at this point that jealousy always shows up when we are seeing something in others that we are denying ourselves. So what was it with these women that bothered me so much? Easy: they were the kind of women who dared to be both. Intelligent and beautiful. They were women I had been following via social media, who touched me deeply with their writing. Not only could these women write, they were also posting pictures of themselves, showing off their natural beauty. They were not overdoing anything but there were little details in their style that left no doubt about two things: these women were aware of their own beauty, and they were letting the world know that they knew.

The Purpose of Beauty

No doubt about it, they both exist: the part of me that sees all my flaws, that keeps telling me not to get any grand ideas about myself, and the part that sees all the good in me, including my beauty. Only one of the two parts allows for a light-hearted, joyful existence. And that’s what it’s all about after all, right?

I am not only concerned with my own beauty, though. Beauty in my surroundings (or lack thereof) affects my well-being just as much. Up until now I have felt ambivalent about this aspect of beauty as well. I always thought that this desire for beauty on the outside was a sign of lack of balance on the inside. Surely beauty couldn’t matter that much?

The other day I was listening to one of Insha Holz’s power animal meditations (they’re in German but check out her world love meditations, they’re in English, too). It was the one where she led us to the holy white butterfly, who opens us for the world’s beauty and our own. During the meditation Insha said something that changed my perspective on the whole beauty thing: where we see beauty is where we find God. Within beauty there is God – that thought had never occurred to me. I knew instantly that it was true.

Recently I have often felt that I have gotten pretty good with getting in touch with myself. But what about God? Why didn’t I feel anything? Where should I look? When I heard that God was to be found in beauty, I suddenly understood why beauty mattered so much to me. Why it was so important for me to see beauty in me and in the world, and what it was I felt when I saw beauty. The joy and the lightness. Beauty is harmony, peace. Hi there God, so this is is where you’ve been the whole time! Suddenly it didn’t seems so pointless and dumb anymore to seek beauty in the world and in me, and to acknowledge it.

Whether it is out there in the world or inside us: they both exist, the ugly and the beautiful. Everything that’s wrong and everything that is good – just as it is. The holy white butterfly helps us to recognize beauty, the good. In other words: she helps us to find God. In the world and in us. Thank you dear Insha for bringing us together.

PS: When I look at the world through the eyes of the holy white butterfly, it looks and sounds like „Welt der Wunder“ by Marteria. How about you?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBD2ZFDFXto?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent]

On rejection and connection

ENGLISH – May was an eventful month for me externally but also emotionally. I thought I had been prepared. Since it was my last month in Sweden, I was almost planning on spending that hour I had at the central station on my last day in tears.

But life is full of surprises, and the big meltdown came a week earlier instead, during my weekend in Stockholm. I had had the strong feeling that I should go. First I thought it was to meet up with a friend. That fell through but the feeling I should go to the capital one more time remained. I decided to make this weekend a little practice in spontaneity and solo traveling.

I thought that the whole logistical side of it, the planning as little as possible, would be my big challenge this weekend. It turned out to be the easy part. I got a hotel no problem, and the couple who drove me up to Stockholm asked if I wanted to go back with them on Sunday. Those had been my main concerns beforehand, no matter how many times I told myself that the worst thing that could happen would be that accommodation and transportation would be expensive if I booked them last minute.

It was only on Saturday that I realized that the real challenge with this trip was something entirely different. After having walked around all morning and early afternoon (which is my way of connecting with a place), I decided to go back to the hotel, take a nap, and then maybe head out again towards the evening. As I was lying there on my bed, a thought suddenly appeared: what a strange weekend, ever since I left the house on Friday, it’s been as if I were invisible.

That thought triggered an emotional wave that I hadn’t been prepared for. That’s when I realized that I had come with expectations, too: That I had had this strong feeling I should go to Stockholm because there were people waiting here for me. Encounters that were somehow significant, and wanted to be made before I left the country.

That’s what usually happens when I am going somewhere by myself: I end up meeting new people, and I don’t even think it has anything to do with me in particular, it’s just what happens when we’re untethered from our everyday life and any roles we might (think we) have. It’s the traveler’s spirit that opens us up and makes us easy to approach. But this time: nothing.

The couple I came to Stockholm with didn’t really talk to me. When I tried to start a conversation, all I got was monosyllabic answers. It didn’t bother me much at the time, since I’m generally more uncomfortable with forced small talk than silence.

That car ride in the beginning of my trip tied in with everything else that far: the only people that had talked to me were waiters and waitresses at the cafés I’d been to, and even those interactions could hardly count as conversations, they were always kept to a minimum. I even recalled one specific situation that hadn’t paid much attention to at the time: I had been standing in line at a store, and the cashier was being super chatty with the customer before me. When it was my turn, all he said was something like „That’ll be 35 kronor“. That was all I got from this person who had just been über friendly and social!

Seeing how everything that had happened up until that point had made me feel completely invisible or unwelcome at best, really hit me. At first it only hurt, and I didn’t understand what was going on. My instant reaction was to question myself: what had I been doing wrong, what kind of weird vibes was I sending out to make people feel that they didn’t want anything to do with me?!

It was only in the evening that things started to make sense. I began to understand that this wasn’t a mistake when another thought entered my mind: there is only one place that has had the power to make me feel so completely invisible, lonely, rejected. And that’s Sweden. That’s when the fog started to clear: this was exactly why I had to come to Stockholm one more time, and this was also why my plans to meet up with a friend here had fallen through.

Up until this point I had mostly been thinking I was leaving Sweden because I just didn’t have the feeling I should stay, and that I was drawn to other places now. The thought had never occurred to me that if there are places and people that we fit in and connect with effortlessly, that the opposite is also true: there are places where we can try as hard as we want but we will never be able to force that sense of belonging.

I had been able to see this about other areas of my life: that my belief that life is hard had attracted both relationships and work places into my life that fit that belief set. Somehow I had managed to overlook the fact that the belief in the necessity to struggle also had made me choose a place where that was true for me as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel a deep love for Sweden and I have many pleasant memories from my time here, and I am grateful for everything. Just like I have many pleasant memories and much gratitude for the work places and my relationship that I let go of last year. That’s the thing that made it impossible for me to question anything but myself for so long: there is good to be found in every person and every situation. That will always be the case because life is complex. Yet all the good things will never be able to make up for when something essential is off. There is no judgement in that. It just what it is. And when it comes to loneliness and feeling rejected: that was something that had also always been there for me, from the very beginning when I first came to Sweden. I just hadn’t really wanted to acknowledge that. That weekend made me do it.

The truth as I see it is this: there is a place where we belong (maybe there are several, maybe it changes throughout life). Life gives us signs to point us there – including other places telling us „This isn’t your place“. The thing is, though: we need to choose what to do with these signs. We are free and able to choose something that is not right for us.

That is what hurt so much: the realization that I had been stubborn to insist on making something work that never could. Like I said, I’ve had this realization twice in the past year, with work and with my relationship. And every time I had one of these insights, I thought „OK, I get it now, I can see what I’ve been doing“.

Clearly, I have more blind spots than I thought. So as much as there was relief in seeing that it was not anybody’s fault, and that it was not me sending „weird“ vibes that made me unapproachable, I was mainly feeling the pain that I had suppressed for as long as I had insisted on playing the struggle game. The pain of being rejected and insisting on trying to fight that rejection.

For me, it’s wanting to be liked by everybody that triggers this kind of behavior: if there’s someone (or, apparently: a place) who doesn’t seem to like me, I tend to not want to accept that. Instead I start to try to figure out ways to change it. But the truth is: we are no blank sheets of paper. We come here with different qualities, and that means that we are good matches with some people and places who in turn have their unique qualities. Other combos are just not great. There’s nothing to be done about that and it’s nobody’s fault.  And it’s not rejection in the sense that we aren’t loved or lovable.

Like I said, there is good to be found in everything. The pain I felt that weekend was part of the healing process. It was probably important, too, that I had false expectations, because would I have gone otherwise? Not so sure … However, there was not only pain this weekend, there was a whole lot of good, too: it was above all an opportunity for me to see how much I enjoy my own company. Maybe that’s confusing (or maybe it’s just confusing when trying to put it into words) but I was not only feeling lonely and rejected, I was also feeling very content with being who I am and with being with just me. That means a lot to me.

And then, on the way back it finally happened. I met a fellow traveler in every sense of the word. Her name was Hidaya, and we talked, played each other music, sat in silence, and it was all there: that instant connection where you know you get each other. We met up one more time later that week in Gothenburg, and I am sure it wasn’t the last time. And this, too, is part of my Sweden experience. It’s one of the many gifts I’ve been given. Thank you. For all of it.

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 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.