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the meaning of life

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On dreams

Four years ago around this time of year I was standing in the backyard of a friend, crying my eyes out because it was just so beautiful. She was living the country life I wanted to have for myself – house on the countryside, growing her own veggies, a pantry stuffed with dried herbs, a fireplace, and nature all around.

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Peter and I were living in an apartment in Gothenburg at that time, not one of the worst areas, but not one of the nicest ones, either. I had been working as a personal assistant for almost two years, and although it could have been worse, it could definitely have been better.

I was crying that day because I knew I wanted this so badly – but I just could not see it happening. I couldn’t see how we’d get there. Peter’s health was getting worse, so in a way I knew we’d have to move to somewhere with less electro smog. Still, there was not a fiber in my body that believed we would get there.

Two months later we found our house. August 23 2013 we bought that house. We got a loan, even though we were both unemployed at that time. We moved in on my birthday, September 1. Two months later I got a job.

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It’s only been two months (that seems to be a significant time frame) since I moved out of that house, that dream. I am still grateful for the life I got to live there. It was not easy in many ways, and there were disappointments, hopes that were not fulfilled. But there were oh so many lovely things about it, too. I think appreciated a lot of them at the time, and I definitely do now.

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The house itself had so much charm.

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I spent the last few weeks on the couch in front of the fire place  soaking in the warmth, knowing that this was really special.

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I had a favorite spot in the woods, up on the mountains, with a breathtaking view. I don’t remember the last time I was there, because it’s not accessible during the winter (and before that I didn’t know I was going to be leaving so soon).

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There was a small lake nearby, and a bigger lake, with a sandy beach that was about 30 minutes away by bike. I loved both.

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In the summer we would eat our dinners by the barn that was rotting away on the inside but still a beauty on the outside.

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I gathered Meadow’s Sweet and made syrup from it.

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I thought two apple trees wasn’t all that much but even during the „bad“ season, there were more apples than I could take care of.

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I tried to approach the whole growing our own veggies thing the same way I started on our balcony in Gothenburg with two tomato plants: if I get two tomatoes, I’ll be happy. If anything comes out of this, I’ll be happy.

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I’m not going to lie: I was a lot less enthusiastic about the gardening part than I’d hoped I’d be. Then again, I have a record of having expectations that are too high. That is also something I learned: you get a new chance every year. Things are constantly changing but there is also a cycle that is comforting.

And yes, we did get the hang of it a little more each year. The first year we had  moldy fire wood and a broke fire place – and we didn’t even know it.

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The second year we had a nice fire place and good wood. Also, we added a second green house, and more space to the vegetable patch.

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We’ve had wonderful Midsummer celebrations, and last year our wedding. We’ve had Christmases with snow and real Christmas trees from the woods. We’ve had more friends visit us than we had at our apartment in Gothenburg.

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Like I said: it was a dream. I have been having other dreams since last fall. At first I had visions of them, then I was in a transitioning period where I had left the old dream but the new hadn’t really arrived yet. And suddenly I found myself in a similar situation like I was those four years ago. Not crying this time but doubting that the trip around the world that I had been thinking about would come about. I just couldn’t see it anymore. I was even considering moving to Frankfurt and trying to start a business (I was having some pretty good ideas, too). That was two weeks ago. Then a friend came to visit, and everything came into focus again. I am booking my tickets on Monday.

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More on abundance

I am still thinking a lot about the whole abundance thing. No matter what angle I look at it from, and no matter in what form or what area of my life I experience it, I always come to one conclusion: it’s everything. It’s the key to everything and anything we desire in life. It’s the one thing we should be putting all our energy into, the only thing we really can do to make sure all our dreams will come true: see to it that our mind is in a state of abundance. The rest will follow.

I had this realization for the first time a few weeks ago, when I saw an interview with online business coach and entrepreneur Mara Stix. As I understood her, the further up she got in her pursuit of financial success, the less her personal wealth concerned her. Once she had arrived at a level of income that afforded her the standard of living that she wanted, there was nothing that even more money could have contributed to that area of her life. Instead other things became a focus of interest, like how to expand her business, and how to manifest more and bigger things she would like to see in the world.

Last fall I had a vision of something I should build. It was as if the idea rained down on me after I had emptied my mind. While I was completely aware of the magnitude of that project, I was also overcome by a certainty that my mind wasn’t just making this up. I just knew that I had conceived this idea because it wanted to be manifested by someone. And If that idea saw me fit to be that someone, then it would also see to it that the means for its manifestation would be provided, regardless of whether or not I could see how at that point. I could not see anything at all about how to get there.

Since then, I have mostly practiced to let the idea go, to be open to any signs without trying to force things. I didn’t want to feel like I was just waiting for the right time to manifest this project. Therefore I have been focusing on being happy, doing whatever makes me happy. At the end of the day that’s what determines what kind of life I have. For the most part, that worked well, but there were definitely some days where I did wonder what anything I was doing had to do with that vision, if I hadn’t missed the exit and was headed in the wrong direction after all.

When I watched that interview with Mara Stix, it was like a switch was flicked. Suddenly I understood that I had been doing exactly the right thing, and why my personal happiness was essential to the whole project. Because how are you going to manifest something big and joyful, that requires a large amount of resources (both when it comes to material and labor) if not out of a sense of abundance?!

We need to be in a state of abundance on the personal plane before we can help abundance to manifest elsewhere. There is no other way. Actively inviting (and permitting!) abundance to flow into all areas of our life then is not just a mind-game, something fun to do, it is deeply meaningful.

For me this insight is very important when it comes to dealing with that voice that says it’s selfish to let your actions be ruled by what feels good, what seems like it would be fun. That you can’t have both – happiness and success, love and wealth. That voice may have served us and our ancestors in the past. Life was tough, we had to work hard in order to survive, pursuing our passion often came at a price. We know how to do that. And it is clearly still possible to live that way, if that is what we want. I see lots of people doing it, and I thought it was the way it had to be up until about a year ago.

When I look around, however, I see that times have changed. Something else is possible. We can rest in the certainty that our survival is secured. It’s time to find other life missions. Let’s start by following the signs happiness is putting up for us.

The interview with Mara Stix (in German) is part of a series of money mindset interviews by Linda Benninghoff (MyMoneyMind). They are available for free when you sign up for her newsletter.

A path into light

It’s been two years on this day that I completed a seminar on finding yourself, and your purpose in this life. My expectations, which were pretty high, were surpassed. I gained a lot of insights about myself and life in general during the seminar. To this day these insights keep unfolding even more, my understanding of their significance deepens – or sometimes I even notice how something I realize now was already there, then. I just wasn’t able to „read“ the sign.

Shortly before the seminar, I read about Ayahuasca ceremonies. What I read reminded me that there is always more than one way. That there is never a single event in your life that everything else hinges on. Yes, there are significant moments in life, and yes, some of them set you on a very specific path. But you only ever know the path you’ve actually walked, so you’re mostly not aware that things could have gone differently, and you’d still be on your path. In fact, life finds ways to open doors for you when the one you (thought you) were supposed to walk through unexpectedly closes.

I realized that I could have chosen something other than this seminar, or that if I were suddenly unable to attend, there would be more ways for me to discover my life’s purpose. When my head has an idea about the significance of an upcoming event, it tends to put a lot of pressure on me and overload everything with expectations. It felt good to suddenly be able to approach the experience with a kind of „light-headedness“. It also made me realize that while, yes, I could have chosen something else, I did in fact choose this.

The seminar I am talking about is The Path Into Light®. If it is part of your journey, too, you may find something in my writing that speaks to you. Or maybe you’ll stumble upon it a few more times elsewhere. If it’s not part of your journey, then nothing anyone could possibly say about it will convince you otherwise. You’ll still be on your path, and that is the point.

That’s what amazes me so much about life: that we all are in it together, just existing at the same time on this earth connects us so deeply. Yet we are all free to have very different experiences, to be on our own path, to be like no one else. Earth is the place where all of that fits in the same space.

Thank you, La, for guiding me on my path into light with so much ease, confidence, and laughter. Thank you, Agni Eickermann, for having paved this road. There may be many paths that lead into light. This one is the fast track.

On blogging again

So. I guess I’m blogging again. Yay! How terrifying! There has been an ongoing internal debate over the past weeks (months?!) on that issue. 1. whether or not to blog at all, 2: if so, why and why now, 3: what and what not, and finally: how to begin.

In case you are a more result-oriented person: 1. Yes, 2. Because I want to, because now’s a good time 3. Whatever I want to, 4. Like this.

In case you are a woman interested 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.

3. What?

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?