In my last blog I wrote that this is happy although it’s not a constant walk in the park. My coach gave me a picture that I like even better. She suggested that I am at a stage in my life right now where new spaces have opened up, I have entered a new room, and I don’t really know yet how everything works around here. It’s a very good picture because I am going through what feels like extreme mood shifts at the moment, which is the not knowing my way around here part. Sometimes I strike gold, and everything just works, sometimes … not so much.
After I wrote that last blog post, I felt so full of life and energy, that everything seemed to be humming. I recognized this feeling, it doesn’t feel like I am merely being euphoric, it feels like I am in the center of my being, like I am the most me I can be. Yet at this point, I am still not used to being so fully me. There’s still this part that doubts it, and that is basically just waiting for something to show up that it can interpret as proof that this isn’t real. Of course, when you’re waiting for something like that, it’ll show up. And then it’s easy to fall back into other old habits, like criticizing yourself, analyzing everything you’ve done „wrong“, how you could have prevented this, yadah yadah yadah …
This morning, when I was sitting with this question of when things had shifted yesterday, what caused it, what I should have done, and how I could get back to the top again today, it suddenly occurred to me that what I was doing was kind of like putting a kid in a corner for doing something wrong, and telling it that it has to make things right in order to be allowed out of that corner. Now I don’t have any kids but somehow I don’t believe that this parenting style actually works. So if I believe that, why on earth would I think this could work on me or anyone?!
Then I remembered what I do believe in: that the answer to getting out from under something is to get the right perspective on it. I returned to Irka’s analogy of me having entered a new room. And I remembered how I had answered her that I felt like I was taking my first steps on this planet, even though I know that technically I’m 34.
And there it was, the answer: when you learn how to walk as a kid, you don’t do it by analyzing what you do wrong when you fall. You learn how to walk by walking, and stubbornly insisting on doing so no matter how many times you fall. In fact, I feel like we should be celebrating our stumbling and falling to the ground a lot more. It means we’re walking, instead of sitting in a corner, too afraid to even try because we might not get it right the first time.
Here’s to walking and stumbling, to allowing ourselves to enjoy the highs of when we get it right, and to cheering ourselves on when we fall.
I have been thinking about how I wanted to make my blog a travel blog and post pictures of the places I’m visiting, and talk about my adventures. And I think that’s where a misconception entered the stage: I suddenly had this idea that I couldn’t talk about what was really going on with me anymore. Plus, after redoing my website so that it also serves to showcase my work, this had suddenly become „a serious place“, where I didn’t feel like I could just „put stuff out there“ anymore. But what stopped me above all was this thought „You get to do all these wonderful things and see all these wonderful places – you have no right to feel bad about anything, let alone speak about that. That is just complaining, and besides, it would worry your mom so much if she read this.“ So I kind of stopped writing.
Change – It’s never about the situation but always your perspective
As you can tell, something has changed, and as always, it’s not the situation but my perspective. Yes, this trip is a big deal, especially right now where it’s still shiny and new (although it’s really not, I have been living out of my backpack since February) so of course there are and will be pictures of the places I am visiting. However, and this isn’t much of a surprise to those of you who know me: it’s the inner journey that I am much more interested in. So in that sense, I don’t think this blog will ever change. It will always be about what I am going through because it’s the only thing I can write about with passion. Not because I am such an egotistical or narcissistic person but because my perspective on life is the only one I can speak about with confidence. Or, as Thoreau put it in his foreword to Walden:
„In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this [Walden] it will be retained; that in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.“
What happened to the Blog title anyway? Why I dropped Road to Walden.
My trip around the world – Why the beginning has been a shock
So, yes, I do get to do a lot of wonderful things, see all these amazing places, meet people who are truly kind and generous to me. And still, the beginning of this trip has been a shock. Simply because this journey is something different from what I thought it would be. When I decided to do this after my separation last year, I thought I wanted to explore the world, see some friends that I hadn’t in a long time, and figure out what I want to do with my life because all I knew was that I couldn’t continue the path I had been on. I had painted myself in a corner, and it was time to get out of it.
When I came to Amritabha, it was to get to know myself better, which I did. One of the big realizations I had there was acknowledging the truth that going on this trip also had a lot to do with running away from myself. I’ve written about this before, and I probably will keep writing about this because it’s what everything I am going through at the moment seems to revolve around. Credit where credit is due, I didn’t just have this realization that I was running away from myself. Jaruh, spiritual teacher and Amritabha resident, pointed that out to me. Of course that didn’t go down smoothly at first, I was deeply offended and rejecting the idea at the time. I wrote about that and why I changed my mind here.
Stop running away from yourself and find the home within instead
Once I was over being offended and able to see the truth of his observation, I thought, „OK, then I’m going to make this trip about not running away anymore. I am going to make this about finding the comfort and security that I’ve been seeking in other people and external factors (e. g. long-term employment). I know that this kind of security does not exist „out there“, it’s in me, and I am going to make this trip about finding it, so that I can feel at home wherever I am – and so that I will be able to settle in a place (and a relationship) eventually without burdening my future partner and my environment with the demand to make me happy and provide that security that only can come from withing.“
2016 | The year the seed for this trip was planted
Well, as always: be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And it might look very differently from what you might have expected. It usually does for me anyways. This reminds me of the beginning of 2016, when I read Agni’s prediction (I think it was his anyway) that this would be a year of healing. I thought „Oh that sounds great!“ I also wrote three words in big bold letters that I put on my altar, because they were qualities that I thought were desirable, and I wanted the poster to help me focus on them. The words were „Happiness – Courage – Trust“.
Healing sometimes means acknowledging pain
Guess what happened that year? It presented me with plenty of situations where healing did happen – by old pain finally coming to the surface, sometimes with violent force. It was a year that presented me with many situations where I needed to be courageous. It gave me ample opportunity to practice trust, because there was nothing else left. Much of what happened that year was a shock, and not at all what I had in mind when I wrote those words or heard the term „year of healing“: panic attacks forcing me to face the fact that I was burnt-out, my employer insinuating to my doctor that I was pretending to be ill, realizing that I needed to break up the relationship with the man I had been with for almost nine years and whom I had tied the knot with just three months earlier.
Happiness amidst the pain
And amidst all that, yes, there was happiness, too. Big time. I did the crystal healer training with Dauri Neumann. It was such a milestone for me: not only did I realize that I was so much more perceptive and able to follow my intuition than I had thought. It also showed me that that part of me is always working, always functioning, even when I was so overwhelmed physically and mentally that grocery shopping seemed like an insurmountable task even with a shopping list. This training also showed me that I hadn’t just „become“ a healer but rather that being a healer was a huge part of me that had already been there, I had just unveiled it.
Intuition | That thing that always works, no matter what the circumstances
In between the training blocks we were supposed to practice by giving healing. I have a tendency to doubt my own abilities but somehow I had no problem renting a treatment room at Butik Ametist, the local esoteric shop run by the lovely Therese. With just the right amount of trust and naivete I just created a Facebook event, asked Therese if she’d share it on her business page (which she did), and asked my spiritual helpers to send the people to me whom I’d be able to help. My first day I ended up giving five treatments back to back, realizing that four with a few breaks in between probably would have been better but hey: I was just so stoked that people actually were interested in what I had to offer. And that the whole time I could feel the same certainty that I felt during the training: this is me, I can do this. I cannot even remember ever having felt this way before in my life. I had always been the type who excelled while simultaneously struggling with self-doubt. Doing something while also feeling that I was capable of it – that had never happened. So, yes, this was definitely a big fat happy moment of that year.
My wedding | Not a lie, just different from what I thought it was
As strange as it may sound: so was the wedding. There was never a moment, even during the break-up, where I felt like it had been a lie or where I could see how something had felt wrong that day (or that week, we had so many friends and family coming pretty early that it felt like a week-long celebration). It simply wasn’t what I thought it had been. I think it was a celebration of all the love Peter and I had in our life at that time, and I think it opened my heart to accepting the truth that I was holding on to our love for the wrong reason, which was fear. Fear of there not being any love in my life except for this one. And between the fear that there might not be any other love, and the truth that we were just not compatible as a couple, the fear had always won. The wedding showed me how loved I was, am. Like I said, I think this was needed for me to be able to face the truth and let go.
Truth | Sometimes happy and painful are all rolled up into one
And that is maybe the most important „happy“ of that year: acknowledging the truth. I remember how in the middle of the pain and the shock of the realization of this truth that we had been in denial about, I could feel that finally all was well again. That while this was not how I wanted for things to turn out, that was exactly what had caused the suffering: putting all my energy into forcing something (or someone) to be something it wasn’t. Truth is happiness because truth is allowing people and things to be who and what they are.
Not living our truth is what makes us unhappy
I meditate on the mantra „I am happy, I am love, I am light“ in the mornings. And although I cannot claim that I feel this at all times during the day (well duh, if I did, I didn’t need to meditate), I believe 100% in the truth of this mantra. Happiness is at the core of our being. At the same time, we are here as very specific beings, with different qualities. What makes us live out that happiness is different for everyone. It’s when we deny ourselves to express our individual happiness (and most often we make others, especially our loved ones, the excuse for not living ourselves) that we „fall out“ of our truth, and that makes us miserable. When we broke up, we were facing the fact that we had been doing that for a long time. And that was already living our truth again, which is why I could feel how everything was well again at what might seem like the lowest point.
Coming full circle | What last year’s lessons have to do with today
As I am writing this, there’s part of me wondering „OK, where are you going with this? This is just another one of your rants, and how many times are you going to keep retelling yourself the story of 2016? What does this have to do with anything right now?“ And I guess part of it is true: I like to rant, I cannot for the love of me keep things short, I get side-tracked, and lost in details (it does help me get to the core of things, though). But aside from that, there are actual reasons for why all this 2016 stuff is coming up again:
1. Sometimes it’s not a question of love whether you can build a life together
It was pretty much exactly a ago that Peter and I broke up. In fact, right about now must have been the time when we went through the phase were we were constantly crying, talking about everything, and when I was wondering how it was possible that there could be so much love between two people and yet that didn’t change the fact that there was nothing to put back together, that this was still the end not a new beginning, at least not together.
2. Deciding to do things differently doesn’t mean you instantly know how to do it
Because even though I kept telling everyone that asked me when I was starting my trip, that it had already begun, I too, must have had ideas about the significance of the external journey, especially the part that was leading me farther away, to the other side of the world so to say. So now that that part has begun, I am confronted with the reality that so far I have been able to comprehend but maybe not feel right down to the bones: that it’s all one journey, my entire life. That the decision I made last year to leave the path of self-denial and misery was only the first step.
It might seem like I have come far since then but in some ways it’s mostly the physical mileage. Because taking that step didn’t mean that I instantly knew how to live any other way. It’s a learning process. Here I am, moving from place to place on the outside, and it’s making one thing very clear: you still have to take the steps on the inside. You will find yourself in the same kinds of situations no matter where you go for as long as it take for you to learn how to do things differently. This is where the running away part and the making myself at home on the inside comes into play. Because as wonderful and amazing everything and everyone is, I am being confronted with situations where I feel so out of place and home-less that it physically hurts sometimes.
3. When you desire a certain quality, life will probably not just hand it over to you but present you with the opportunity to do cultivate it yourself
This brings me back to the beginning of 2016, where I put those words happiness, courage and trust on my altar: life presented me with situations that helped me cultivate those qualities then, because I had wished for them. Life is now presenting me with situations that I believe are exactly what I need in order to find home within. There is no other way to find it than to be confronted with situations where it’s impossible to fool myself into believing that „I’ve found it out there“. I suppose finding myself in situations where the sense of not belonging is so strong that it sometimes hurts is just a way of making sure I’ll get there fast, so that I won’t be spending the entire trip being homesick and trying to chase an illusion that maybe there is a place after all where everything will feel right …
True isn’t always the same as Easy but Untrue always leads to Dis-ease
That’s where another aspect ties in with 2016: this is happy even though it doesn’t feel like a walk in the park at all times because I am being true to myself, just like I was then. True is still not the same as Always Easy but I’d pick True on any day of the week over the dis-ease that comes from avoiding it. True is hard sometimes, if it weren’t then why would we avoid it. But the hard part is really the fear of the unknown, it’s never really the unknown.
Change takes time, setbacks are part of the learning process
It’s still pretty recent that I quit looking for home and stability „out there“, and making my choices at the expense of True. So if that is how I’d been used to living for 30 plus years, it’s not so strange that I still catch myself from time to time blaming circumstances for my feeling of „homelessness“. It’s simply conditioning, that’s all. When I see it that way, I can appreciate what a big accomplishment it is that I can interpret my homesickness correctly. I know that whenever I feel it, it doesn’t mean I am missing a certain place. It means that I am not in touch with myself. I am fortunate to know how to re-connect with myself, and I am also fortunate to have people in my life who help me when I can’t get there on my own. In other words: I have everything I need.
Running away from myself & Life is beautiful wherever I am | There’s always two sides to the truth
One of my major anchors right now is another truth Jaruh pointed out to me this past summer: life is beautiful wherever I am, if I make it so. I like how the two most important epiphanies of this year (so far anyway) – that I am running away from myself, and that life is beautiful wherever I am – were brought to me by the same person. Thank you Jaruh. (See, even though I take notes from our conversations that say „I am a strawberry“ or „My mind is the center of my nothingness“, my heart remembers the important stuff.) I also like how they seem to contradict each other, because that’s what truth is – it’s always both.
Making life beautiful | Sometimes it takes a little help
So this is where I am right now: I haven’t been sharing much lately because the beginning of this trip didn’t feel quite as wonderful as I had anticipated. Even when I am so caught up in things that I don’t know what’s going on, when I just want to blame the world and when I really can’t appreciate anything, I still don’t want to put that out there like that because I know it’s not the truth of a situation. (Also I really don’t want to worry my mom. I felt pretty iffy just posting about the food poisoning.) Yet when I am in such a state I also feel like I can’t just post a bunch of „happy stuff“ when it’s not really what I am feeling. As little as I want to put out complaints or any „poor me stuff“, I don’t like the idea of creating the illusion that all is well when I can’t genuinely feel it.
Therefore I am very happy that I am back to being what feels like myself again – happy. It means that when I remind myself that „Life is beautiful wherever I am, if I make it so“, ideas start coming to me of how I can „make it so“. That just didn’t work when I was in this state of shock at the beginning of this trip. It also means I feel like sharing again.
I would like to thank my mentor Irka because this was one of those situations where I was unable to pull myself out, and she was the person who helped me gain perspective and create rituals to help me re-connect with myself – and stay in touch. I love working with Irka because although I hired her to help me start my own business, I firmly believe that you cannot separate different areas of your life. I believe that it’s all connected, and I believe that in whatever area of life we are striving for success, being well is the foundation for everything. I love having a coach who knows this and who is able to see the whole picture and work on all levels. Thank you, Irka!
When I decided to let go of Road to Walden as the title of this blog, it was not because I thought the search had ended. I will always be on that road, which is the road to the home within, while also aware that that destination is right here, right now, on this road.
I decided to change the title because apart from the many wonderful things that Thoreau’s Walden represents to me, it also represents a notion which I am leaving behind at this stage in my life: the notion that the quest for happiness (= home) is about finding out how little you need to be content with. I still agree that happiness isn’t in „stuff“, and yes, it is true that so much of what we do in order to afford a lifestyle we think is necessary to make us happy leads us to the exact opposite („lives of quiet desperation“ anyone?).
Yet at this point I feel the question of how little I can live with isn’t all that interesting to me anymore, even though some part of my mind is still playing that game („Will I run out of money on this trip before I can access new sources of steady income?“ is one of those classics on repeat in my head some days). The way I see it now, the two don’t have to be connected, although my brain is still pretty wired that way. I am not interested in tying finical wealth and worldly possessions to judgement anymore. It’s possible to have very little „stuff“ and money and be happy. It’s possible to have very little and be unhappy. It’s possible to have a lot and be happy, and it’s possible to have a lot and be unhappy. At this point I feel like an experiment on how little it takes for one to be happy is not really the interesting question.
I know that might sound strange because it is exactly what I am living right now, not owning more than I can fit into my backpack, proving to myself everyday that yes, it’s very possible to be happy with very little stuff (and yes, some days: not so happy, for all kinds of reasons). As always, it’s the intention behind it that counts. I do believe that while it’s true, happiness isn’t in material objects, rejecting them for that reason is not changing the game – you’re just playing on the other team. Chasing wealth and objects just for the sake of it is just as uninteresting to me as it is rejecting them just because you know they won’t make you happy. Because guess what: joyless asceticism isn’t the road to happiness, either. I imagine that if you feel empowered by experiencing how little you can make do with, then that can be a joyful and thus valuable experience, and that is definitely part of this journey, too.
At this point however I am most interested in the notion of non-attachment. I am interested in enjoying all that life has to offer, including material wealth, without making it my golden calf. I know that is something very „now“ (The Secret/the Law of Attraction), and that just really wasn’t on the menu for Thoreau*. It felt like Road to Walden wasn’t really including this aspect which has become a focus for me in all areas of my life.
The idea to change the title to www.sarineturhede.com was triggered by the process of revamping the site overall in order to showcase my work better but the actual reason behind it was that I wanted to mark for myself that this is my path now, the one that’s still inspired by others but where I am the pioneer after all.
* Although who knows – he only lived at Walden Pond for about a year and not his whole life, so I maybe the question of how little you could live with wasn’t a lifelong quest for Thoreau, either …
DE – Hier könnt ihr meinen aktuellen Beitrag zum Amritabha-Monatsthema – Begegne deiner Kraft – auf deutsch lesen. Und hier auf englisch:
EN – Creating from a state of perfection the theme of this past new moon cycle here at Amritabha. Meeting and accepting our power is the step that follows organically. My own being, and the power that wants to be expressed through me become visible when I ask myself this question: „If all the ifs and buts in the world didn’t matter, what would you want to do?“ So far it always turns out that all the ifs and buts really don’t matter. The path becomes visible when we decide to walk it.
It’s all here
A little recap: Creating from a state of perfection means recognizing that we already have everything we need in order to manifest our heaven here on earth. Whatever it is we carry within is „good enough“. We don’t need to wait for a better version of ourselves or the world. If that is true, all our flaws and apparent mistakes can’t really mess up the creative process. They don’t keep us from expressing our being, or from living our heaven on earth.
There are no wrong choices, there is only „What do you really want?“
Thus, bad choices or mistakes don’t really exist, not in the sense we usually think of them anyway. If there are no mistakes, no bad choices we put a brake on our creative process for as long as we aim to „make the right choice“ or „avoid the wrong choice“. I’ve been having a very clear sense that this isn’t working anymore for a while now. It’s a voice inside that calls me out whenever I’m trying and make a choice that way. That voice tells me: „This isn’t going anywhere. You need to ask yourself: what do you want?“ For me this is the voice of the Divine Mother by the way.
Don’t distract yourself – just get started
I am also noticing that it’s becoming impossible to base my decisions on calculations of any potential outcome. Regardless of whether they might be positive or negative! I have been putting myself out there on social media a little more lately, with blog posts and pictures. Sometimes part of me doesn’t really feel like sharing because I feel like too much of a mess to want to be seen. Other times part of me really wants to post something because it’s nice to be seen, to get recognition and praise. The point is: even though I don’t want my actions to be steered by these motives, they still need to have permission to exist. If I waited for the moment when I’ve „finally risen above“ all that, I wouldn’t be able to do anything!
As the Divine Mother puts it: „Maybe you have all these reasons why you shouldn’t do this. And maybe you have all these reasons why you want to do that, which you think aren’t „pure“ enough. Don’t let yourself get distracted by that. The question is still the same: what do you want to do? Then do it.“
No more excuses – make a decision, and then follow through
That is what facing your own power and accepting it means to me: figuring out what it is we carry within, what it is that wants to come into this world through us – and then make that decision to manifest these wishes. When we recognize that there will never be that perfect moment in time, the right choice, that perfect version of ourselves, which we think we need in order to start creating our heaven, then we’re suddenly out of excuses. No reasons left why we shouldn’t manifest our dreams and visions.
Does that mean that fear is out of the equation? Of course not. Not accepting our power and not expressing our true self is safe: that way we may not be loved for who we really are but at least we cannot be rejected for it either. We’ve been there enough times to know: never again!
Express your true self with all its aspects – it’s the only way to make an impact
But times have changed, right? These days I only feel drawn to people who are authentic. Those who don’t have an answer to every question, but who are brave to admit openly when they are clueless or desperate when facing a certain situation. Those who are not interested in convincing me of their flawlessness. Those who dare to simply be themselves. The visible success of these people is proof enough for me to understand I am not the only one longing for this kind of honesty. It speaks to all of us, and we know perfectly well when someone is trying to sell us „authenticity“, or rather when they are trying to sell us something under the guise of authenticity. I am convinced that this is the age where we can only truly touch others by expressing our true being with all that encompasses. That by the way is one of the wishes of my being: to touch others.
Amritabha makes you face your power
Amritabha is supporting me when it comes to accepting my power, recognizing my being, and expressing both. That is an understatement, actually: I feel like I don’t have much choice. Ever since my arrival it has become more and more difficult to be in denial about what really is part of me, and to see what is just some sort of old „program“ that kicks in sometimes. The inner child workshop which I took here has contributed a lot there. But I also feel very clearly that it is this place itself that encourages this growth. Not so strange after all, since Amritabha is a temple of creation. I am still very happy to have the opportunity to spend an entire summer here. I couldn’t have dreamed up these past seven weeks. Can’t wait to see what the remaining six have in store for me.
Love and light
PS: It doesn’t have to be three months. If you’re curious what Amritabha might have in store for you, there are many different ways to find out. The château is open to the public every day, and we love to have company. The daily meditations are public and free as well. If you’d like to spend a little more time but still be independent, you can book the guest room (via airbnb or directly at the office – +33 3 89 73 24 60 | firstname.lastname@example.org). And then there are all those wonderful seminars and events. Check out the Amritabha event calendar for details – or follow us on facebook to keep track. Last but not least: if you’re thinking „I want what she’s having!“ – the three-month Amritabha experience – contact Fe San (email@example.com |+33.389.732460). Just keep in mind that not every journey is the same. <3
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?
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.
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.
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.
So. I guess I’m blogging again. Yay! How terrifying! There has been an ongoing internal debate over the past weeks (months?!) on that issue. 1. whether or not to blog at all, 2: if so, why and why now, 3: what and what not, and finally: how to begin.
In case you are a more result-oriented person: 1. Yes, 2. Because I want to, because now’s a good time 3. Whatever I want to, 4. Like this.
In case you are
a womaninterested in the journey as much as the destination, lhere’s a more detailed version:
1. Yes or no?
When I noticed the wish to blog again, two sides of me emerged: one wanted nothing more than to get started, it even felt that it was absolutely critical that I start immediately, that any delay would be terrible, and that I absolutely must go ahead. Right. Away. The other side felt like I had nothing to say, nothing to share that could possibly be of any value to anyone. And the internet is already full of people who do that.
Also, the side of me that felt hesitant was concerned about the obvious risk in the instant nature of blogging, or social media in general: you think it’s a great idea to share something you’re going through – and then you realize it’s not. Because you don’t get the reaction you weren’t even aware you’d wished for, or maybe you didn’t want to any at all. Or maybe you did and nobody said anything. Bottom line: All that happens is you add drama to your pain.
At the end of the day, conflicting feelings arise no matter what I do when I do it for the first time (or the first time after a long time). And there are always valid points to both sides. (Coming up: a post on how I deal with these conflicting feelings.) For now let me just say that at the end of the day it’s a good idea to be aware of all your emotions involved in a decision – and then to make a choice and do what makes you happy. That doesn’t mean the other side disappears but you can make active choices on how to handle that side of you.
2. Why, and why now?
I realized that my reason for not blogging had been that for a very long time I was afraid that being visible in that way would trigger emotions within me which I could not calculate beforehand. It was a good thing I listened to that feeling for as long as I did feel vulnerable, and people’s reactions (or lack thereof) to what I would have shared only would have caused drama.
Eventually I came to the point where protecting myself by not putting myself out there didn’t feel good anymore. I understood that, yes, if I do allow myself to be visible, I make myself vulnerable, and that will stir up emotions in me regardless of any external reactions. But I had begun to feel unhappier about not allowing anyone to see me. I realized that I would feel a lot better about just doing what I feel like, and there was even curiosity as to what kind of emotions that would trigger, and how I would deal with them. I simply came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to avoid any potential emotions anymore if that meant not doing something I really enjoy. Because no matter where I go, they are always there with me anyway – emotions, thoughts and ideas of how I/things „should be“.
There is a middle ground. It’s possible to face my doubts without forcing myself to tackle anything I’m not ready to take on. To be honest without unnecessarily exposing myself. To write and share what moves and engages me without navel-gazing. To be spontaneous and following anything that intrigues me without being random and all over the place.
What is the thread connecting it all? I’ll write about what I wish someone would have told me. My earlier mission statement(s) for this blog still passes the test of time: I want to live my life deliberately, and I want to document and share that journey. That is the thread tying it all together, it’s what I’ve been interested in ever since I was fourteen, read Sofie’s World, and understood what it meant to be self-aware. Then came Thoreau’s Walden, and the notion of living deliberately impressed me equally. And a bunch of other books and experiences that are too many to list here (that’s maybe another post – or a gazillion).
My idea of what deliberate living means have changed. For a while I even attempted to follow Thoreau quite literally (although he was never expressly the reason behind the path I’d chosen): living on the country side, growing my own veggies, being close to nature and contemplating what the necessities of a good life really are. I came to the conclusion that for me they were something else. I think Thoreau would have approved because deliberate living is just that: not blindly following someone’s concept of how life should be but coming up with your own.
For me that means whatever makes me happy. I still want to fill my life with as much awareness as possible. Being aware of one’s self is crucial in the pursuit of happiness. At the end of the day, happiness is the meaning of life. Of mine anyway.
What not? I will not share anything that I know still has an emotional grip on me. True, there are no guarantees, comments (or the lack thereof) can hit you unexpectedly. But that is a risk I am willing to take. In fact, that can be a good thing, if you want to know where you still have buttons to push. And I do! (Have buttons, and want to know where they are.)
A way that works for me to put myself to the test, regarding where I really stand on an issue – in this case, whether I think it’s a good idea to share stories about my personal development in a public forum – is asking „How would I feel if everyone did this?“. I have to say: I would love that! It’s in fact the number one thing I am interested in. Not interested in what cause you think I should support, not interested in what political party you support or hate, not interested in what ongoing atrocities you think I should be aware of. If I am following you on a social media platform, I am interested in you. Pictures of and by you, and your perspective on life. I appreciate honesty in social media. That includes pretty pictures, words of wisdom and encouragement. That also includes descriptions of how people deal with the not so pretty stuff. At the end of the day, social media profiles show less of how someone is than how they want to be seen. And I appreciate people who dare to show their shadows as well as their light. I was waiting for someone to ask me to be one of those people, respectively to give me the permission slip. Then I realized, that none of the people who do claim their space do so because they were „tapped“ – they just do it, and that’s all there is to it!
4. How to begin
That’s the one my mind can easily get stuck on, a good place to look when I don’t know what’s keeping me. Often it’s simply that I overburden the beginning with significance. The point, of course, is really just to jump in anywhere. Maybe that was one of the best lessons my philosophy studies taught me: there is no „easy“ place to start, you just start anywhere. In the beginning it’s all uncharted territory but the more you dare to venture out there, the more you learn how to be an explorer.
This is the story of how my head came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to blog again – and also what it deems worthy of sharing. And I can appreciate it’s job . It’s not like I have a choice anyway, my mind is debating, rejecting and glorifying stuff all the time, so I might as well involve it in a productive process. You know, like those dogs that need a lot of exercise or they’ll trash your home.
However, the true reason is undebatable, undeniable, completely illogical, and beyond rejection and/or praise: I enjoy doing it. I cannot count the number of blogs I have started and deleted over the years since I was 18 or so. They never made me any money, they never changed the world – but I’ve always had so much fun writing them! When you find yourself enjoying something in and for itself, regardless of external reward, you have to trust that you found the best way to spend your life (or as much time of it as possible).
I have found myself coming to this conclusion over and over again, and sometimes I still keep forgetting it. That writing (and sharing that writing) is that for me. The thing I can do no matter what, the magic process that opens up a space where I am the most me. Just out of curiosity: What’s that thing for you? Is it always there with you, or do you also forget/doubt it? What happens when you do? How do you re-discover it? Do you make any conscious efforts to re-discover it, or does it just sort of come back on its own accord?
A lot has been going on. It’s hard to put in words, I have been re-writing this sentence several times now. Part of me wants to tell the whole story, another part doesn’t think it’s relevant for anyone but me (maybe that’s true, or maybe that’s just the part talking that is reluctant to show itself for what it is).
Waking my demons
The short version is: The circumstances in my life – less than two weeks away from unemployment, a long week at work coming up involving travel, and spiritual growth – have awoken an old demon: my eating disorder (binge-eating). It hasn’t been this bad since university, in some respects it’s even worse. For several weeks now it has been a daily struggle („struggle“ seems like a euphemism since I haven’t had much fight in me it seems), I have even gone and bought stuff I craved, which I never ever have done before.
Practical remedies for when you feel weak
I think I know what the underlying issue is here: and old karmic trauma, the memory of which I recently conjured when I made a wish. I do want to get into that at some point but right now I want to focus on the symptoms. For while I believe that my best chances of overcoming this self-destructive habit is by dealing with the issues I am trying to distract myself from with it, I also feel a need for something more hands-on, a lower obstacle. Because honestly: sometimes the advice „Well then just don’t give into these cravings, and you’ll find out what’s really the issue“ is just not practical. If it were easy, or if I felt that strong, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.
This is the part I want to share with you not just because it helps me writing about these things but because I think that the information I came across this afternoon is helpful to anyone with an eating disorder/an unhealthy relationship to food (just out of curiosity, are there any people left who have a healthy one?).
An Ayurvedic approach to eating disorders
I remembered some of the Ayurveda books I read also mentioned eating disorders as symptoms of dosha imbalances (I wrote about Ayurveda and its terminology before, click on the category „Ayurveda“ or scroll down to the relevant links if you want to know more). So I tried to find books with an Ayurvedic perspective on eating disorders. Once again I am grateful for the internet, and people sharing their work there so generously. I found a very informative article (please note that all facts I’ll be stating are from that article, unless otherwise marked):
It uses a lot of Ayurveda terminology, so I am trying to make this a sort of easy to understand summary. I encourage you however to read the original article in any case. There are lots of cases to illustrate the technicalities, and also because I will (for obvious, selfish) reasons mostly be going into the things that pertain to my situation, since those caught my eye.
Some basic insights
Let’s start from the beginning:
- Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia, overeating) are related to stress and/or food allergies.
- How we react to stress in our eating habits depends on our individual constitution (dosha – Vata, Pitta or Kapha).
- Bad choices regarding food may stem from lack of education (meaning: we just don’t know any better than to eat they way we were taught as children), and for some (especially Pitta) they are a way to cope with trauma.
I am a Pitta-Kapha (right now with a severe Kapha imbalance, I’d say). For me, just recognizing myself in a lot of the symptoms stated in this article helps. Heck, just reading that
- Vata types are prone to anorexia/bulimia and tend to forget to eat,
- Pitta cannot skip meals and has a tendency to sugar addiction,
- Kapha easily puts on weight and is inclined to overeating
is huge! It takes away the feeling of personal guilt, and shifts the perspective to „This is how I as a Vata/Pitta/Kapha person react to stress, now let’s see what can be done about that“.
There is no „one size fits all“ solution
I have been praising Ayurveda for its individualistic approach in probably every article I wrote, and I find myself wanting to stress this crucial point once again: what is great about Ayurveda is that it does not claim to offer a universal solution. What is good for you always depends on who you are, therefore any „‚one size fits all‘ approach“, as Alakanda Devi puts it, is bound to set you up for failure. Unless, of course, you just happen to be the right person for the method but I’d prefer finding the right method for me …
Like increases like
Although there are no universal remedies, Ayurveda knows of certain universal principles. One of them is: like increases like. Often times like is also attracted to like, which is highly relevant when it comes to eating disorders. For according to Devis article, some eating disorders are the result of food allergies, and once recognized as such can be (relatively) easily cured.
For example, Kapha types are often (or more often than other types) allergic to wheat, gluten, and cow dairy. The „like increases like“ and „like is attracted to like“ explains why someone can be craving food that is actually bad for them. Various readings and nutrition experiments have led me – time and time again – to the conclusion that I am better off skipping sugar, dairy, and carbs (mainly wheat/gluten). Yet when I have cravings, I want ice-cream, cereal with lots of milk, and bread with cheese. Now I know why. (I kind of want to put sugar in a separate category because it seems like it works more like drug. Some say that refined sugar isn’t good for anyone, especially not the amounts we are used to consuming nowadays, others say that only certain people are more sensitive to its negative effects – either way, I’m it, I guess.) I know that cutting out the foods that are bad for me does not help with the psychological aspect of my eating disorder – but I imagine that for someone whose problems with eating are the result of an (undetected) food allergy, this information is really a big piece of the puzzle.
I think my Kapha is out of balance …
Even before I read this article I had been observing myself and recognizing certain tendencies which just seemed to have „excess Kapha“ written all over them:
- I have been feeling very tired, pushing my getting-up time gradually to way into the Kapha or even Pitta phase of the day.
- I have been feeling heavy, and at the same time craving foods with that exact quality (peanut butter with honey turned out to be my no. 1 poison, not to give you any ideas …), which made me feel even heavier – both principles, „like is attracted to like“, and „like increases like“ working at their utmost here.
- My cravings and the binges have been at their worst at night, between 6 pm and 10 pm, which is the second Kapha cycle of the day (despite the knowledge of the different dosha cycles, I had not been able to connect the dots previous to reading Devi’s article, so thanks for that!).
- I have been lazy, not exercising at all, basically the thought of physical labor could make me feel exhausted.
There is a lot more in that article but this seems like a good place to stop for now.
Now that I have realized all this, what am I to do with this?
First of all, like I mentioned in the beginning, just having this information and recognizing myself in the symptoms/cases described makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off me. Apart from dealing with the underlying issue, which may seem daunting and hard to grasp at times, there are „hard facts“. There are factors that contribute to me going on binges, and factors that can make it easier to withstand them. Those seem more tangible, easier to change, even when I don’t feel strong enough to deal with the big picture.
Once again, it’s the little things – baby steps.
Like being aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily just a question of willpower and discipline whether I can withstand cravings at night but that the Kapha dominance during these hours is a contributing factor. So I prepare myself for the risk, and find something to do to take my mind off of food – like writing this post.
I am reminded of the impact that sugar, wheat, and dairy have on me – not only on my physical well-being but also emotionally. This makes me feel motivated to try and make more deliberate choices about what I eat. I try to focus on what is good for me, and what I enjoy eating instead of thinking of it as „All the things I’m not allowed“. This is a tricky one since I am never oblivious as to whether what I eat is good for me or not …
Exercising helps reduce Kapha – as with everything, I am going to try and set the bar as low as possible, and raise it gradually (I tend to set my goals to high, get frustrated by failure, and respond by giving up completely). Going for an hour long walk every day seems do-able.
I want to try and see my cravings as something positive: after all, they are undeniable hints of something being awry. In my quest to find out my what my issues are, what it is that I am so afraid of to surface that I need to stuff it down with vast amounts of food, there is one fail-proof way of finding out: not giving in to the cravings, and seeing where that leads me. Like I said before, this is the hardest part.
I want to get better at asking for help. Both friends and the universe in my morning meditation.
Going to see to it that I get back to getting up early again.
More practical advice
Here’s another site with a few more hands-on things to do, e. g. different yogi techniques, which I want to try:
- Sweet Ayurveda Treatment to Stop Emotional Eating & Lose Weight – I know I’ll feel silly doing this even when nobody’s around, but it’s worth a try, right?
- Healthy Ayurveda Diet To Burn Fat & Lose Weight – OK, that title does not sound good, and I am not so sure about some of the advice but still, I’m definitely in need of some Kapha reduction.
- 5 Healthy Weight Loss Tips from Ayurveda – More weight loss stuff. I am actually proud of myself for not even having tried hard to not make this the focus of this post (gee, that was a lot of negatives). And the fact that I am finally at a point where weight loss isn’t my main concern anymore (although claiming that it isn’t a concern at all would be a lie, sadly).
- 6 Safe & Natural Weight Los Solutions – again, dumb title, not so sure about some of the advice (drinking hot water with honey? From what I understand honey has the same effect as sugar, so probably a red flag for me) but most of it sounds pretty good to me, especially the meditations and yoga exercises.
- 11 Guidelines for eating healthy | Guide on how to eat right – This is straight up Ayurveda, you can probably find this in every book on the subject. I should print these out and put them up somewhere to remind myself. Very basic, very true – often times hard to abide by because we’ve overwritten this common sense (for that is really what this, or anything Ayurveda, is) with other rules.
Other relevant links
Ayurvedic Diet – A good overview