My grand adventure

29 10 2014

 

 

There isn’t much to tell. Or actually there is, but I don’t have the language yet to do that. I am in the process of recreating my speech. I am learning to speak a new reality, and I feel like a beginner again. It feels a bit overwhelming, because I don’t know exactly how to go about it.
In the course I am doing, last week Jean Houston discussed the idea of accessing our inner experts. We all have a host of them, cook, mechanic, driver, psychologist, gardener, you name it, and we can access their knowledge and know-how when we are either learning something similar, a new skill or even when we are stuck and need a new perspective. As I was writing the first sentences of this essay, not knowing where it was leading yet, intuitively inserting what I am learning in the course, it hit me that I am actually very good at learning foreign languages. I have a master’s in French linguistics and literature and I have taught myself to speak and write English at the level that I do now. One could say I know a thing or two about learning languages. Not only that, I also am an expert in experiential learning and an expert on personal transformation. Thinking of it, I have done this before, not as radical as this, but I have. In these past years, I have slowly changed my speech patterns to reflect the new reality that was unfolding within me. Seeing ‘my problem’ in this light shifts the task at hand from daunting to fun.

I know far more than I thought I did, and I can use my expertise in the field of language learning, my expertise of the process involved and my understanding of this new reality in transforming my speech. For example, as a language learner I look for opportunities to immerse myself in the new language.  I read, watch TV series in the original language, I listen to radio shows in the language I am aiming for and I actively look for and create real life contact moments with native speakers. As an experiential learner, I know that I learn by doing, by making mistakes and then non-judgmentally finding a better suited way, I know how my brain works, how neuronal pathways get strengthened through sustained focus and wither through lack of focus. As an expert on transformation, I know the stages of transformation, I know how to begin with the end in mind, and I have tips and tricks to bypass pitfalls, which make the transformation smoother, easier. By combining the knowledge and strengths of my inner experts, this project doesn’t feel overwhelming anymore. I know what to do, and I feel empowered by that.

Interestingly, I feel like one of my favorite quotes, which comes from the movie Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin. It is the afternoon of an early autumn day, when Christopher Robin tries to tell Pooh that things are about to change as he will start ‘skool’ the next day. When Pooh, being a bear with very little brain, doesn’t understand what his best friend is telling him, Christopher Robin says: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” When Pooh and his friends can’t find Christopher Robin the next day, they go on a search. Their journey leads them through prickly bushes, a deep fog and even into the terrifying ‘Skull’. When Christopher Robin finds them, as he comes back from ‘skool’, his stuffed friends have all discovered an aspect of themselves that they had been blind to up until then, and it transforms their way of being. Just like Pooh, I discovered that I am smarter than I thought I was. It feels amazing. Thank you, Jean!

 





The next step

22 10 2014

 

 

Recently, I was talking to someone, and I found myself adapting to where they are on their journey by very subtly omitting certain things from my story and highlighting others. I instantly heard Marianne Williamson whisper into my ear: “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” I still play small, I still shrink in order not to loose friends and alienate people. But it doesn’t feel good anymore. There has to be a middle way that honors everyone involved.

The time has come to let go of my past, to stop referring to it. As much as it has made me into who I am today, it is irrelevant to my becoming. Once I stop mentioning it, it can no longer serve as a shield, as an excuse. On the love ladder there is no room for anything that isn’t rooted in love. If I want to go up, I have to let go of lack and limitation. The method I will use is the simplest I can think of, and a very effective one at that. I used it to radically alter my thinking and my self-talk. Anything I say has to be in the direction of my becoming. If I cannot think of anything that expresses love, abundance, or potential, I will choose to respond neutrally or not. I will become conscious of what is going on on the inside, and address that instead of giving advice or sharing my expertise. I will become aware of the fear-based habits and reactions that emerge, and let them go instead of expressing them. I choose to be focused in the NOW, to be all that I AM, in this moment and every moment on.

 

Picture by Felipe Daniel Reis





The perfect body

15 10 2014

 

 

In my life, my body has not always ‘cooperated’ in ways I preferred. There have even been times when I believed my body was against me, was hindering my expansion. I would work somewhere and my body would make it impossible to do that job any longer. That always felt like a huge relief and at the same time immensely frustrating, because I really wanted to work. I remember working as a receptionist, when I developed a sudden loss of voice, neither the specialist at the hospital nor the speech therapist could find anything, but for weeks I could barely speak. As they found someone else to do my job, and my service was no longer needed, my voice slowly returned. From the loss of function in my hands to the loss of function in my legs, to being completely exhausted at 10am, and a host of other ‘complaints’, I have lived it all.

Having been confronted with so many and often bizarre physical dysfunctions that modern medicine had no answers to, I have learned to look at my body differently.  Nowadays, when I am confronted with some physical issue, I look at it symbolically. What is my body trying to tell me? What wisdom is she trying to convey? Looking for the gift, I celebrate my body. I celebrate that she loves me so much that she is willing to cause havoc in a naturally smooth functioning system. I celebrate the ingenious ways in which she is communicating with me. I will ask her what she is trying to tell me, and the answer always arises, sooner or later. There is no doubt in my mind that the answers that come up are true, because of the truthbumps I will feel first and the peace that will invariably follow. After I have found ‘the gift’, the issue will no longer be an issue, yes it still may be painful, but it won’t bother me anymore. It will simply be a reminder of a wonderful gift, a reason to fully appreciate its presence.  And usually the pain and the ‘problem’ will disappear directly, soon after, or after I have done what I need to do, or learned what I need to learn.

In the West, we have learned to look at our bodies mechanically, when something isn’t functioning, we should have it fixed. Our bodies have become void of wisdom, of soul. I have learned that if we are willing to look at our bodies as part of all that we are, as vessels for Source Energy to flow through, vessels for God to live through, our bodies will speak to us. They become messengers of this divine Energy that is inspiring us to live our full potential. They guide us where to go, and where not to go, tell us where we are on our journey, and even foretell us what is in store for us. It has taken some time, but I love this physical body of mine. My body is perfect for me. In every moment, my body is perfect as it is, ‘flaws’ and all.

 

picture by Alex Bramwell





Perfect timing

8 10 2014

 

 

For most of my life, I lived a life rooted in fear. I have moved through the valley of death, as the psalmist calls it, and now am on the other side of the divide. Life is different here. Not just different, it is so different that it is in some ways unrelatable. I love it and at the same time feel somewhat lost. I know the old ways don’t work anymore, but I have not developed any new ways yet. This is especially true in the case of motivation. On the other side, my main motivator was FEAR, all capitals. I was always running away from something. I was basically powered by stress hormones. It required nothing of my side, it was a completely automated process. From the worst case scenario visualization, feeling it viscerally, to knowing that it would come true and then running like hell, trying to stay one step ahead of disaster. I could always force myself to go an extra mile. I could run for hours without taking a break. Actually, I could run until I collapsed from exhaustion. I can’t do this anymore, it simply doesn’t work. When I try it anyway, because I really want something and it is the only way I know how, the flow of energy is blocked within minutes.

Last week, after I wrote my blog I was thinking it would be nice if there were something to help me navigate this new reality. That same evening, I heard a talk by Jean Houston. I had heard about her, but never had heard her speak yet. I was enchanted, I loved her style, but most of all I loved what she was talking about. At a certain moment I felt a bolt of lightning; she was talking about the exact same thing I was wanting to learn. And she was giving an online course on the subject too. I had found my guide. What an amazing manifestation. It took another day for me to spend that kind of money on myself for something so completely intangible, but I did. Today, at 5 pm PST, the first lesson of seven will start. Fortunately for me, they have a recorded session I can listen to tomorrow, because getting up at 2 am is not conducive to learning anything as far as I am concerned. I am very excited about benefitting from Jean’s 50+ years of experience. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the depth and richness of her vast experience, and to learning new skills and meeting new people. I have no expectations about the outcome, it know this is what I have to do now and I know it will be the perfect experience for me now. I am completely open to all it can bring and will bring.

 

image by Melodi2





A perfect reflection

1 10 2014

 

 

This morning, I witnessed the most wondrous thing. Now you have to know that I believe that everything that grabs my attention in the outer world is a perfect reflection of what is going on in my inner world. Let me elaborate on that a bit. We and everything around us basically are clumps of energy. Energy vibrates. Everything vibrates at its own frequency. Objects that vibrate at the same frequency resonate. The world we experience is made up of people, events and experiences that resonate with us. In this sense, we create our own reality.

Yesterday, I was looking for an answer to a question. I wanted to know where I am on my journey and what step to take next. I usually try to do too much too soon, and I wanted to take a different route this time. This morning, as I was sitting in my bed, drinking a cup of coffee, writing in my journal and intermittently staring out the window, I got my answer. We have a huge triangular window in the bedroom and in the upper corner, a group of geese entered my sight.  They weren’t flying in their usual V-shape, but were sort of scattered. As I watched, they stopped going forward. Most of them were suspended in mid-air,  clapping their wings not to go down, as the rest of them were rearranging themselves. From my view point, it looked chaotic, but they seemed to know what they were doing, because all of a sudden, they started moving forward again, a perfect V emerged and then within seconds they organically altered their course.

I was mind-blown. What I had witnessed was the perfect reflection of what is happening in my brain. The old isn’t working anymore, the patterns that used to control my life are suspended in mid-air, they have to give way to a new leader. At the moment, new patterns are finding their place, reorganizing the whole. On some days, this process feels chaotic, awkward and frustrating. My old self wants to get moving, it doesn’t particularly care in which direction, as long as it is moving. On most days, however, I trust the process, this new emerging self knows that I am not ready yet and takes the time it needs to do what it has to do to prepare for the next stage of the journey. Like the geese, I’m suspended in mid-air, clapping my wings, allowing the new self to take form. I don’t know how or when, but I know that everything I need to do in order to move in the direction of that new self will reveal itself to me, be it a  flash of insight, a person, a situation or event, or a perfect reflection in the outer world.

 

image by mirofoto





The paradox of perfection

24 09 2014

 

 

In this world we are bombarded by messages that we should be, do and have both better and more. And as we feel inadequate, never good enough, after years of being standardized, these messages resonate with us. And we start chasing the perfect life. Out there. And sometimes we do get what we want and sometimes we don’t, but no matter the result, it never brings the sense of fulfillment we were hoping to find in the first place. We will never be, do or have enough unless we feel that we are enough as we are. Until we feel that we are perfect as we are in every moment, that life is perfect as it is, in every moment, we are chasing someone else’s dream.

Until recently, I was unable to accept my reality as perfect. I said life was perfect, but it would be even more perfect if I had published that book, would be speaking in front of large audiences, had exposed my art in a gallery. See the incongruence? I didn’t, my blind spot. Everything I did was rooted in filling this gap. I can tell you, it caused a lot of stress. As a result, I have quite some unfinished books and paintings. Even when I started with the intention of just having fun, it soon became a means to an end, a must. This sapped all the joy out of it. Instead of joy, I would feel increasing amounts of resistance. Inspiration stopped flowing, and my creativity would dry up. It was frustrating, very frustrating. Apart from writing this blog, I would not write a word. And apart from using my pencils for coloring, I would not touch any artistic medium. I would look at them longingly, but not touch them, because I had no clue what to do with them anyway.

This week for the first time in a long, long time, I felt like painting again. I felt like finishing a painting that has been sitting on my easel for months, and I had an idea for another painting that made me happy. For now, I will not do anything about those impulses yet. I will just observe them and allow them to grow. I will practice not doing a bit more, not doing and feeling enough at the same time. I am learning to love myself and my life as it is, just for the sake of loving it. There is no destination I need to reach, no outcome I am trying to force. A revolution! There is just the perfection of this moment, no matter what it looks like. Until now, when I asked myself, what if your life will always be like this? I would feel stress, intense stress. Now, that stress is almost completely gone, I can feel some traces of it, but that’s all.

I am starting to not only see, but also feel the perfection of this life. I love all that I have been and all that I have lived. I love all that I am and all that I am living. And I love all that I am becoming and will be living. I finally get the seeming paradox of loving life unconditionally, regarding life as perfect no matter what it looks like, and creating a better life at the same time. I never got that. I never got how loving my life as it is, would make it better. It is simple, so simple. The energy we invest in this moment determines the return on investment we will get in the next moment. I don’t know what my future looks like, how it will unfold (and for the first time I feel okay about that), but I do know that when I regard life as perfect, it will be perfect, now and forever. My life is perfect, for me, in this moment. Every moment. End of story.

 





The tale of two wolves

17 09 2014

 

 

There is this wonderful Cherokee tale. You might have heard it. It goes like this: An old Cherokee tells his grandson: “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, and ego. The other is joy, peace, love, hope, kindness, truth, compassion and faith. and truth.” The boy thinks about it for a minute and asks: “Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man replies: “The one that you feed.”

I believe that what I give energy to grows. For years, I practiced being aware of what I think and believe, and focus on positive thoughts. Only recently, I started practicing being aware of what I really feel, and started focusing on what feels good to me. I already understood that focusing on the positive side of life brought me more positive experiences. And for some things that was easy, for other things not so. With those things I kept struggling. What I understand now is that I overstretched my beliefs on those subjects.
Our beliefs are not as static as we may believe them to be. Of course, on the intellectual level, we either believe something or we don’t. When it comes to the heart level, things are not as black and white. Ideas have a feeling tone. Something our heart doesn’t want to believe feels off, period. When ideas feel uneasy they are on the outskirts of our belief system. They are either long-overdue, in that case we need to let them go, or they are  too avant-garde, and don’t concern us yet. Somewhere in the middle is our belief set point. It reflects perfectly where we are now. But most interesting to us are the ideas that feel good. The ideas we want to believe, that are perceived to be believable and that we can easily be persuaded to believe. Our heart is excited about their potential and our mind is reassured by what seems to be a solid body of evidence.

In these past weeks, I was stuck in a recurring situation. It had happened in the past on a regular basis, and now it was happening again. Only this time, the situation seemed to get worse over time instead of better. Nothing serious, just a minor physical ailment. A seemingly non-cooperative knee.
It took some time for me to get annoyed enough to make time to review my thoughts and beliefs on the subject and how I felt about them. I sat down and did a brain dump. I wrote down every thought I had on my knee. I categorized them in the feeling tones ‘good’, ‘neutral’ and ‘uneasy’. The power of what I did next just blew my mind. In my note book, I started to elaborate on those ideas that that felt good. I free wrote about how and why they make me feel good. I included good-feeling ideas about my knee, my body, my health, my love for my knee, my body, my health, and myself.  I let all these good-feeling ideas, the thoughts and the emotions that come with them flow on paper. I did not censor myself. I just allowed myself to feel good about those subjects and where I was in relationship to them. Once I got going, it felt so good that it got addictive. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I let go of the idea that I have a weak knee, and am continuously focusing on the belief that my body is whole, always gravitating towards health.

It has been less than a week, the infection in my knee is gone, the swelling is noticeably less, I can move it freely, it is pain free, I can walk and bike again. Every day, I am regaining mobility and functionality. However, the miracle isn’t about the knee, it is about a shift in focus. It is about me letting go of old beliefs and fully embracing newer, better-feeling beliefs. What happens when we focus on better-feeling beliefs is that we are reprogramming our belief set point. You have to know that our brain can’t really distinguish between what goes on on the outside and what goes on on inside. When we focus on beliefs that feel good, when we think about them and write about them as much as we can, they become practiced. They become our new ‘neutral’. And the beliefs that first were too avant-garde for our mind to believe, become accessible by associate, and move into the realm of what feels  good and is believable.
What is so great about this is that we don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as you perceive it to be, and our perceptions are ruled by our beliefs. When you allow our beliefs to evolve into beliefs that feel better, that represent who we are now, and we do that consistently, the world we perceive will change accordingly. The beliefs we feed win, they manifest. When we ask ourselves which beliefs we do want to manifest, what we do you want our world to look and feel like, we set ourselves up for a better experience. When we feed the beliefs that feel good, we are creating a world that feels better.

 

picture by Me Me





Trusting my gut

10 09 2014

 

 

After I got better, after having been ill for some years, I assumed that all I had to do was to get my life organized again and get rolling again. What I did not understand, until now, is that apart from the parts of my life that I was genuinely loving, I had no life to get back to. Almost everything I had built my life upon was in the process of undoing itself. My life was mostly built upon what I had been taught was good. Even in the years before I got sick, as I was rebuilding my life in a way I believed was my way, my thinking and feeling were still contaminated by my socialization. I had been conditioned so strongly that, on the intellectual and feeling level, I could not separate myself from it.  So everything I did, even though at the time I firmly believed that I was making a conscious choice, was somehow influenced by what I was raised to believe and feel. Gaining consciousness is a process. It is how I became conscious. It probably is Read the rest of this entry »





The challenge

3 09 2014

 

 

Remember last week’s essay What do I want? Whenever we express an intention, we will be challenged to come through on that intention. This week, my challenge came in the form of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Unless you have been living under a rock those past months, you will know that this challenge is about throwing a bucket of ice water over yourself in order to raise awareness for ALS. As I heard a dear friend nominate me in his video, I felt a huge drop in energy, I actually instantly felt sick to my stomach. My body screamed ‘NO!’. There was nothing rational about this ‘no’. It wasn’t even about not wanting to do this. This ‘no’ wasn’t about the bucket with ice water or about not wanting to raise awareness for ALS, because I have witnessed what ALS does and it ain’t pretty. I really do wish health to everyone, and most of all hope, hope for a cure, for a better life, for a better future. We all need hope.

The only logical thing I can come up with is that I have felt pressured to do what other people wanted me to do for the greater part of my life and that nowadays my inner-being protects me by revolting to anything that makes me feel pressured. Whatever reason there may be, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I have promised myself to listen to my body, to follow its guidance. In a way, it would be so easy to throw a bucket of ice water over myself, record a video and put it on social media, because I do care, and also because I do not want to let my friend down. But that would mean that I would consciously negate my body signals, something I have done for too long, something that has led to burn-out, depression and illness. I cannot do that anymore. I have promised my body that I will listen to the best of my abilities and follow her guidance. And that is exactly what I am going to do. I do not have the luxury to not listen. Trust is gained, it takes years to build and only seconds to break.

 

picture by Joachim Aagaard Nielsen





What do I want?

27 08 2014


 

For the past twenty-five years, my predominant question has been ‘What do I want?’ Where other people did seem to have a pretty good idea of what they wanted in life, I simply seemed unable to fill in the blank. I remember five years ago, on a summer vacation in Tuscany, sitting next to my tent, rereading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, trying to come up with thirty things to do, thirty things to be and thirty things to have  before I die. I remember looking at the empty page before me in a kind of muted panic, and then jotting down things for the sake of filling that page, because, honestly, I was unwilling to admit that I was clueless. Yet, everything I came up with felt like something someone else had thought up, not me. And this left me even more clueless than before.

In these past months, I discovered that when other people expressed a preference, I automatically would go blank and start facilitating, even when I felt strong resistance. Most of the time, I just wouldn’t know what I wanted and just went along with whatever was most convenient to others. Usually, for my personal preference to break through I needed high contrast situations, and for me to actually express them even more contrast. I have been conditioned to suppress my own desires to the point that I find it hard to even identify my own preferences in the simplest of situations. Somehow, I learned very early on that it was better not to have personal preferences than to have them denied. To make things challenging, I live with two people who have very easily crystallized preferences. It has taken me a long time to understand that my preferences are unintentionally marginalized because in their world there is no such thing as not knowing what you want. Most of the time, I only know what I really want after the other has not only expressed a preference, but is taking action toward realizing it, or to complicate matters, after it is set in motion. That, of course, leads to a lot of stress, not to mention frustration, dissatisfaction and resentment.

Understanding how this process works for me has already taken a lot of stress out of the equation. Instead of instantly going in to facilitatory mode, I am learning to say that I need more time, that I don’t know what I want yet. I am learning to ask myself ‘What do I want?’, same question, shift in emphasis, different outcome. I am learning what it feels like to want or not want something. I am in the process of becoming aware of a rise or a drop in my energy levels, learning to register expansion or contraction, to feel lightness of heaviness. Of course, I know what these sensations feel like, but in this specific situation I have never allowed myself to let them seep into my awareness. The mind can be likened to a dog. When it has been trained through pain, retraining takes time, but most of all trust. I am gently training myself to pay attention to the signals my body is sending, to trust them by listening to them as well as I can. Every time I listen to them, I show myself that my feelings and personal preferences are intrinsically valuable, which in turn motivates my body to send clearer signals. This is what self-love looks like.

In Surrendering to Summer, I intended to gain more clarity on what I want and more focus on what feels good to me. It did not quite come in the package I was expecting, but in the end I got exactly what I asked for. What a gift!

 

picture by Joana Croft





Surrendering to summer

16 07 2014

 

 

 

Over here, summer school break has started. 6 whole weeks in which life unfolds at a different pace than in day-to-day life. This summer it is my intention to use this period as a time to learn to focus on what I love, no matter what is going on around me. To consistently focus on my well-being first. I want to focus on Life Energy flowing through me and to me. I want to raise my vibration. I want to love Life even more. I want to be more focused. I want to be more appreciative. I want to enjoy the process of watching my life unfold. I want to let go of resistance. I want to be able to focus on things that make me feel good. I want to open up to all that is lined up for me. I want to get up to speed with the things that I want, without effort. I want to experience ease and flow. I want to practice having fun more. I want to practice going with the flow more. I want to embrace life as it is more. I want to feel peace and joy and excitement and eagerness. I want to practice focusing my thoughts on things that please me. I want to practice focusing my energy on things that I want. I want to feel pure desire, unresisted desire. I want to breathe Love. I want to create Life. I want to feel Go(o)d. I want to be all that I am. I want to trust more, I want to love more, I want to be more of me. I intend to be all that I am by releasing anything that is keeping my cork from floating. I will consistently choose feeling the best I can, I will at all times choose being happy over being right. I will love anything I do and do anything I love. I will love life and I will live love, no matter what it looks like. I will consistently steer my thoughts in the direction of things that fuel me and inspire me. I will be open to anything Life offers me and love the life that flows to me as a result. I will surrender, surrender, surrender and love, love, love, until it is the dominant pattern in my life. I am the creator of my life.

 

Image by Craig Toron





The Love Loop

9 07 2014

 

 

Last week, I was thinking about a present for someone, but could not come up with something fitting. Until hours later that day, when my eye fell on a book in my bookcase, and seemingly out of nowhere his name popped up instantly. Apparently, this was the present I had been looking for. There have been times, not so long ago, where I would have neglected such an impulse and moved on, but nowadays, I honor them. Even though I had no idea why this book inspired his name and giving it was way outside of my comfort zone, I gave it anyway. As he thanked me for the book something interesting happened, I felt nervousness wash through me, fear. And I wasn’t able to stay present and accept his gratitude open-heartedly. Miraculously, I had picked the right book, he was genuinely pleased, and instead of celebrating the awesomeness of that co-creation, I felt awkward and clumsy. In that moment, I was acutely aware of the fact that I Read the rest of this entry »





The Love Ladder

2 07 2014

 

 

There is an analogy by the late Stephen Covey that I really like. In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People he asks us if our ladder is leaning against the right wall. So that when we climb it, we won’t invest our energy in the things that don’t matter to us, only to find out at the top.
For the greater part of my life (I know I use this phrase a lot), I invested most of my energy in fear-based thoughts. I was at the top of that ladder, and was getting ready to jump when I got sight of the wall I wanted to be on. Instead of jumping, I started descending. It has taken me 15 years to descend the fear ladder. That is a long time. Logical, as I had invested so much energy in climbing it. I had become really good at thinking fearful thoughts, and I had not learned how to think thoughts that weren’t rooted in fear. Going down the fear ladder, I did the cha cha cha, two down one up, and sometimes even two up one down.
Fear was my most practiced response. In our brains, our most practiced response looks like a freeway. The response we are trying to create doesn’t exist yet in our brains, we are literally creating pathways as we go. Creating a new response is like carving a path, cutting through the undergrowth with our machetes, going back and forth making sure it doesn’t get overgrown again. And as we do that the existing freeway is deteriorating and the new path is getting well-trodden. It is hard work. Because as much as we want to you can’t go from one response to another in a heartbeat. That would be like driving a 100km/h and trying to put your car in reverse. It doesn’t work. First you have to stop the car and then you can put it in reverse. The more speed you have, the more time it takes.

For some time now I have been at ground level, cha cha cha-ing between two walls with two different ladders. At certain moments going up one and at other moments going up the other. I am becoming really good at doing the cha cha cha and I am learning to appreciate how it goes back and forth. I am learning that going back and forth is a natural motion, that it can be a forward motion, that it can be an effective set point changer. When we see the steps backwards as a means of becoming even more aware of what we do want, then they become part of the dance instead of simply going in the wrong direction.
Stephen Covey made the analogy with regards to what we do with our lives. That did not work for me, as I was clueless to who I was. Understanding this analogy at the level of thought and energy has made so much more sense. I revel in understanding that you cannot go from one end of a continuum to the other in a single step, that a journey is very rarely linear, that we will relive every part of the journey as often as we need to to identify the thought that got us there, so we can practice a different thought, a better-feeling thought. And that it is in practicing better-feeling thoughts and getting used to the feelings that go with it, that we move forward. I am getting better at that every single day. I am getting that even the days that don’t feel like I am getting better at it  are adding to this expansion. And understanding that makes all the difference.
I celebrate the journey that landed me here, because wow! what a journey that was. I am very excited about where I am now. I am neither impatient nor patient. I know the trajectory of my journey. And I am really looking forward to where I am heading, to climbing that new ladder and exploring new heights, anticipating every step. I have no clue what the view will be like, and I don’t care, because I know that this time I will be climbing the ultimate ladder, the Love ladder.

 

Image by Asif Akbar





Learn to fly

25 06 2014

 

 

The upside of having been neurotic for the greater part of my life is that I can recognize neurotic behavior from a distance. I can tell you this: we live in an ever more neurotic world. It seems neurotic is the new normal, or maybe it always was this way, maybe I just was so immersed in it that I did not see it. I was fearful of a wide range of things. My fears kept me from living the life I wanted to live. I saw problems everywhere, and focused on them with fervor. I had a very fixed sense of reality and wasn’t aware of how I was limiting myself. I was constantly worrying and always stressed. Does any of this sound familiar?

Everything is either rooted in fear or in love. With love, I don’t mean the mushy, meddling kind, the I-love-my-kid-so-much-I-worry-about-her-all-the-time kind of love, or the I-love-him-so-much-I-don’t-want-him-to-leave-me kind of love. That’s not love, that’s a control issue. That’s fear disguised as love. Love will not worry, not fear, not stress. Period. Love will trust that all is well. Don’t get me wrong. This trust is not passive, it is not fatalist. This trust is active, it is following our heart even when it doesn’t make sense yet. It is understanding that we are all geniuses in our own way, that nothing is impossible, that there are no dead-ends. It is knowing that we have great power, that we co-create this life experience, that we give meaning to our own lives.

There is a quote circulating the internet. A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s wings. We have forgotten that we have wings. Somewhere along the line, we have come to believe we can’t fly. But the fact that we don’t use our wings, doesn’t make us flightless, it just makes us move through life less effectively. Ever seen an eagle climb a tree? My point exactly. We have wings. The great news is that we don’t need to grow wings, we only need to use them.  We may need to grow some muscles, but we have wings. We can fly, we can soar.

I had forgotten my true nature, I had forgotten that I have wings, that I can fly. As a result I felt deeply unsafe, and had an equally deep need for control. Things are changing. I am moving to the other side of the spectrum. I still have fears, but I don’t attach (much) weight to them anymore. I can see them, I can feel them, (if necessary) face them, (mostly) ignore them, (usually) not give into them and choose a (more) deliberate response, choose a response rooted in love, choose to trust even when it doesn’t make sense yet.

Have you ever seen baby birds? Before they can fly they will stretch their wings and hip on the branch, mimicking flight behavior, until their wings are strong enough. Then they will just let themselves fall of the branch and fly. In this neurotic world, this is our choice: are we going to sit on that branch fretting about whether and when it will break, or are we going to face our fears, focus on love, exercise trust, jump of that branch and live?

 

Image by Juha Soininen





Getting up to speed

18 06 2014

 

 

We all set intentions, consciously and unconsciously. We may not know it, but we do. We set intentions when we intend for things to happen in our life. Some intentions are more powerful than other intentions. The power of an intention is determined by the power of the desire that fueled it. The great thing about intentions is that Life always meets us half-way. All we have to do is set the intention and then Life creates the right circumstances for us to fulfill it. The only thing is that the right circumstances are not always desired circumstances. Conscious intention-setting is a powerful way to invite change into your life. When we set intentions consciously, we are most likely to recognize the circumstances that help us fulfill them. Although, in my experience, most of the time, while Life keeps its end of the agreement, I am blind to it. Usually because I did not expect the right circumstances to be disguised the way they are, or simply because I perceive them to be wrong instead of right. Last week, I set the intention to be more loving. I literally asked: How can I be more loving?

Later that day, I was driving on what I consider to be one of the worst pieces of freeway in the Netherlands. Only four lanes, extremely crowded and loads and loads and loads of international trucks equipped with both speed limiters and drivers that nevertheless feel the need to overtake trucks that only drive 1km/h slower, even though there is an abundance of signs telling them not to. Over the years, I have become a lot more relaxed behind the wheel, most of the time I don’t get too stressed over the behavior of other drivers, but not that day. That afternoon, Read the rest of this entry »





Unapologetically me

11 06 2014

 

 

My life does not look like that of most people. For a long time that has bothered me, because somehow most people have a hard time categorizing me and apparently that bothers them enough to be uncomfortable around me. It bothered me because I just really wanted to be liked. So I tried to make people feel comfortable by playing small, consciously or unconsciously.

We all do it, playing small to fit in, trying to be more alike to be more easily liked. I can tell you that it doesn’t work. It is my experience that people won’t be fooled, they will simply notice the incongruency and feel uncomfortable anyway. The only thing we can do is be ourselves, completely and unapologetically ourselves. Because as Dr Seuss said: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. And that really is all there is to it.

So, my life does not look like that of most people. Big deal! How could it? The moment I chose not to kill myself, the moment I chose to live, the moment I chose to become as happy has humanly possible I chose to take the road less traveled. And here I am, on a road less traveled. It kind of makes sense. For the longest time, It felt as if I was walking that road alone, and now I see there are plenty of cool people here. And guess what, their life doesn’t look like that of most people either!

For as long as I can remember I craved connection. Now I am connected, to me. And apparently, that is enough. I love people, I do, more than I ever thought was possible, and I feel our connection, but I don’t necessarily need to play with anyone that crosses my path anymore.  And I really do not need to make them feel comfortable. Connected, yes. Perfect as they are, yes. Comfortable, no. Don’t get me wrong I don’t feel that I am any better, because I am not, but I do feel that it is okay to be different. I finally have accepted that I am different. My story, my interests, my likes and dislikes, they are not average. I am no longer interested in fitting in. And I no longer fear being different. All I am interested in is being me, unapologetically me.

I will not be everybody’s cup of tea. And that is okay. It doesn’t feel comfortable yet, but I don’t need you to like me, and I don’t need you to make me feel special, because I like myself, or even better I love myself as I am.  And I know for a fact that I am special. And that you are too. I am just being me, unapologetically me, and I invite you to be you, unapologetically you. And if you like me and I like you, than that is a bonus, a perfect compliment to an already perfect life.

 

image by Darren Deans





The foundation of trust

4 06 2014

 

 

One and a half week ago, on an early Sunday morning, we received a call from my mother-in-law, that my father-in-law had had a stroke. In the stroke, the flow of oxygen in the right hemisphere of his  brain was cut off for what probably was a prolonged period of time. As a result, the appearance of the man we love so dearly has changed. As my daughter put it very aptly “I miss my granddad.”

To be a by-stander, to not be able to do anything but give love and facilitate healing feels unsettling, but then this is life. This is life. Although we would like to believe otherwise, all we can do for others and ourselves is to give love and facilitate healing. It is only at a time like this that this truth lies bare, unhidden by the illusion we prefer to see. Truth always facilitates healing. It never forces, always leaves the choice to us. Are we willing to step up to the plate, or do we choose to cover the truth that is revealed to us with the illusion of control again? No matter the situation, I choose the first. And as harsh as it may sound, this situation provided me with exactly the right impulses to help me grow more in to all that I am.

This week, I discovered that the basis of my ‘trust’ fund was wobbly. It was built on sand instead of rock. As the week progressed, I got more tired, more stressed. What stood out most was that I started eating licorice, and couldn’t stop. On Monday, my husband and I had a minor falling out. It was no big deal, yet I felt such stress that my body started shaking and all I wanted to do was curl up and be comforted by someone that made me feel completely safe. No one fitted the profile, the person who makes me feel safest just left the building with a thundercloud over his head. It was only then that I realized I felt Unsafe and Unsupported. Capital U. Core beliefs. In the first weeks of my life, my body and mind were imprinted with the message that I am unsafe, that I am unsupported. And ever since, my body and mind have repeated that message to me, over and over again. At core, I believe that I AM unsafe, that I AM unsupported. Trust does not thrive on these beliefs.

So yesterday, I did what I do when I discover an ineffective belief, I let it go. I let it go by literally breathing into the pain and getting the stale energy that is stored in my body to move again until it is felt and released. It was the first time I reached so deep into my body. Amazingly, while I was releasing being unsafe my sixth chakra was activated, and while I was releasing being unsupported my crown chakra was activated. This energy system of us is so beautifully designed, and so logical. We cannot trust the inspiration that is flowing to and through to us when we believe we are unsupported. We cannot envision great things to happen through and to us when we believe we are unsafe. Just like we cannot create abundance when we don’t dare to express ourselves, or own our power when we don’t love ourselves.

One of the great mystical Truths is that we are One. This means that what is done to one is done to All. I believe the best way to give love and facilitate healing to others is by healing ourselves. When we heal ourselves, the whole gets healthier. When we heal ourselves, we allow others to heal more easily, because only when we are unhindered by disempowering beliefs, we can be fully present in every moment, and love everything and everyone with the same, undivided attention. This is what it means to allow the Universe to flow through us without interference. To let Love flow without expecting anything in return. We cannot do this unless we know that we are all safe, unless we know that we are being supported, always. Only then, we can trust that everything is working out for the best without needing to see physical proof. I know that all is well. My physical eyes may not see it, but I won’t be fooled by them when my heart tells me otherwise.

 

 

picture by Puiu Adriana Mirabela





Let go, and let God

28 05 2014

 

 

I don’t know when or where I heard the expression for the first time. It was years ago and it was Dr. Wayne Dyer who said it. Let go and let God. As with most things that resonate and stick, it was just the beginning of a journey, where I first understood it intellectually, then embraced it emotionally, then experienced it physically and now am starting to live it. And at every point in the journey, the meaning of the words changed slightly and the truth became more apparent.

I recently heard a story of a retired couple who on a Friday lost all their savings. The wife loved checking in on their accounts. That Friday, their accounts were empty. She called the bank so they could reassure her it was a mistake and all would be solved. Yet the banker said there was no mistake, their funds had evaporated, he was truly sorry. The wife panicked, and her husband said to her: we still have our ‘trust’ fund, don’t we? That weekend, they let go and let God. On Monday, the ‘evaporated’ money had mysteriously reappeared, a computer glitch it seemed.

Einstein appears to have said: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I know this to be true. The glasses through which we choose to see life determines not only what we see, but what we live. Of course, maybe it was ‘just’ a computer glitch, but I choose to live my life as if everything is a miracle. Choosing to see miracles, my life is is abundant beyond measure, because I get to live miracles.

We are vessels of God (or whatever you call the Life force that inspires us to take our first breath), and trust is the carrier. It is as simple as that. When we trust, we allow God to work through us. There is nothing else we have to ‘do’, just be still and trust that all is going according to God’s plan. I have learned through experience that, whether we are aware of it or not, our perception of reality influences what happens next. I have learned that when we love, when we see beauty and perfection, when we trust God to work through us, we create a miraculous reality. I am a mystic, not a physicist, but it looks like our awareness either disrupts or harmonizes the basic fabric this universe is made of. Trust harmonizes, fear disrupts, we get to choose.

 

Picture by Gloria Cheng





System reset

21 05 2014

 

 

I wish I could tell you what healing feels like. I wish I could tell you how it affects one’s life. But I can’t. Even after having healed several parts of my life, I am still speechless. The miracle of healing is a system reset. The old parameters simply don’t exist anymore. The past has happened, and I can remember it, but memories that stood out have lost their sting, becoming just another memory in the stream of memories that is my past. The beliefs and consequent suffering that were attached to them are gone, and I cannot remember what my life felt like prior to the healing. I cannot remember the pain.

I wish I could tell you what it feels like to all of a sudden stop doing things you have done for a lifetime and start doing things that before you shrieked away from. To be relaxed where before you were stressed, or to know that everything will be allright where before you were sure the heavens would come down on you. I wish I could tell you what it feels like to be emotionally light, to not be tied to the past anymore or worried by the future, to be free-floating in this moment. To be able to feel fear, see it for what it is and choose grace instead. To have no shame left. But I can’t, it is indescribable.

The thing I can say about miracles is that they are the result of a shift from the mind to the heart. When we stop giving attention to the mind and start giving attention to the heart, we go from a mind-perceived world to a heart-perceived world, or soul-perceived world.  When we shift from ‘why did this happen (to me, to us)?’ to ‘how can this help me / us heal?’,  and are willing to forgive and love for no other reason than love, then healing happens and miracles occur.

 

photo by Whrelf Siemens





Spiritually savvy

14 05 2014

 

 

Yesterday, I was listening to a seminar by Caroline Myss and she shared an image I want to share with you. She was talking about the distribution of our life force, our energy, and said that we should see ourselves as energy investors, bankers, and that with every investment we make, whether it is a thought we give energy to, a memory we go back to, an emotion we fuel, a relationship we invest in or an action we spend energy on, we want to make sure that we get a good return on investment. Do we spend our precious life force on the things that give back more energy than we invested in them, things that make us feel alive, things that make us soar? Or do we spend our energy on the things and people that drain us, that take our precious energy supply and give nothing back or too little to sustain us.

In order for us to spend our energy wisely, we Read the rest of this entry »





I am cherished

30 04 2014

 

 

When, as a kid, we did not get the things we needed most to grow into an emotionally healthy grown-up, we have to provide them for ourselves, now.

It is where I am at this moment. I am in the process of creating an inner sense of security, of abundance, and of strength. I am slowly learning that I am all that I need. Not just intellectually, but taking it in emotionally and physically. It is through reassuring my inner child, through giving what she needs most and through letting her explore the world at her pace.

I am perfect as I am. I am enough just as I am. I don’t need to do anything to earn my right to be here. I don’t need to act a certain way to be loved. I don’t need to justify my business. I don’t need to do anything to prove myself or my worth. I am worthy, because I am. It is that simple. I am enough. All by myself.

I am cherishing the potential that is growing within myself. From the outside, life seems to stand still, but I am no longer fooled by outside appearances. I am filling my cup to the point where it will start to overflow.

 

Image by Gabriella Fabbri

 





What is reality anyway?

23 04 2014

 

 

I grew up, and I guess most of us did, with the idea that we should do what is deemed ‘possible’, ‘attainable’ and ‘realistic’. Yes, we should be realistic at all times about what is attainable. And we are lucky when we attain what is possible.
Where I am standing now, I can’t believe I ever truly believed that. What a BS! Somewhere along the line we confused reality with mediocrity and realism with generalism. Reality, realism and realistic talk about what is real, and that differs from person to person. Just because our reality looks grim through our lens, doesn’t mean someone else’s reality is looking grim as well. The reality of an entrepreneur who is filing for bankruptcy is a different reality than that of Donald Trump. Or is it? Did you know that Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy five times? The first of which was a personal bankruptcy with a debt of over 900 million dollars, or at least that is what I read in Forbes Magazine. There is something intriguing about Donald Trump as he seems to view reality differently than most us. Same with Oprah Winfrey, Russel Simmons, Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs.

People say that Steve Jobs suffered from a Reality Distortion Field, a term coined by an Apple employee with regards to how Steve Jobs viewed ‘reality’. I say we all ‘suffer from’ a reality distortion field, Jobs’ field just was an extraordinary one. Like that of Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Russel Simmons and Bill Gates. You see, what is missing from their ‘field’ are Read the rest of this entry »





Unleashing our inner Sherlock

16 04 2014

 

 

Last week, I lightly touched upon the topic of ‘undeservingness’. Most of us, if not all of us, have feelings of undeservingness. Unconsciously of course, because no one in their right mind would believe they were not deserving of love and abundance, in the widest sense of the word. I know that I was kind of shocked to discover that one of my deepest beliefs was that I deserved to be ignored, to be rejected, because that is what I learned in my earliest days. I also believed that I only deserved to survive, that life is a struggle.
I believe that feelings of undeservingness block the flow of go(o)d. We receive what we believe we deserve. Now we may think we deserve everything, but thinking happens in the head and deservingness is housed in pelvic area. How do I know that? Because that’s where I feel the pain and the blockages, when either I get conscious of a feeling of undeservingness or when I am releasing feelings of undeservingness. My body is not unique in the sense that it has a different physiology or that the link between my emotional body and my physical body is different from everyone else’s. I may be more aware of it, that’s all.

Now how do I release these dysfunctional beliefs? First, I become aware of the fact that I have a belief that isn’t beneficial. The rule of thumb here is very easy, when I don’t feel relaxed, I am stressed, and stress is caused by a belief that isn’t working for me. When that happens, I put on my Sherlock hat, get my magnifier and go on a clue hunt. I will ask questions and listen intuitively. A good question to begin with is “Why am I feeling stressed?” I will listen to the answers that come up and trust my intuition to pick the right answer, usually it is the first, the one that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Then I will ask four more whys. “Why is [first answer] making me feel stressed?” Again, I let my intuition decide what answer is correct, even if it doesn’t make any sense. And then I ask: “Why is [second answer] making me feel stressed?” I don’t know why but Read the rest of this entry »





Spiritual Stain Removal

9 04 2014

 

 

These past weeks, I have been using the spiritual equivalent of one of those miracle stain removers to release stubborn spiritual stains. It is called present awareness. I can testify that it really works, it can even remove accumulated dirt of a lifetime.
When we talk about deep held beliefs or deep seated beliefs, that is exactly what they are.  Our beliefs are literally held between our reproductive organs and our pelvic area. They don’t just sit there, they are attached to our tissue. The weight of our deepest negative beliefs holds us down, lowers our frequency, determines what we attract into our lives. To up our frequency and attract into our life all the things we want, we have to release our deep held beliefs. To release them, we actually have to detach them from the surrounding tissue.

The cool thing is that we only have to intend to release that which is blocking us and be willing to be present with whatever arises. That is simple, but what is simple is not always easy. The things that block us, the things that arise are painful. Most of us have become so effective at avoiding pain, that we have forgotten that we are built to withstand pain, that processing pain in a healthy way creates resilience,  strength and empathy. Most of us fear pain so much that we are willing to do anything not to feel it. It doesn’t take a genius to see that our approach isn’t working. Our unwillingness to get real, to actually feel pain, has led to world wide suffering on all levels, and even the consequent denial of that suffering.

The spiritual soaking of my beliefs isn’t what I consider to be a fun experience, but it is a very necessary one. It is intense and painful, emotionally and physically. To release it, I have to feel it. Feel it and stay present, feel it and not get attached to it, feel it and be compassionate, yet feel it fully and completely. To feel it, I have to activate the feeling and with that all that is resonating with it becomes active too. This is helpful because it helps me to release a cluster of emotions, and it helps me to recognize and understand patterns that allow me to focus on the belief that is the root of the pain. It is helpful too because the strong activation of the lower frequency that matches the negative belief I am processing attracts people and situations that add fuel to the fire, which allows me to dig deeper. There is nothing I would want to more than this at this moment, but it is hard work. The irony of it all is that I am doing the most important thing in my life and my ego keeps telling me that I am lazy, that I don’t deserve to do ‘nothing’.

Last week, I processed ‘rejection’. This week it is ‘undeservingness’. These are big themes that I have carried with me a life time, they are deeply entrenched in my psyche and my body. Last week, I asked two dear friends to support me in this releasing process by sending healing energy. The effects were amazing and really helpful. I want to ask you to help me in this process by sending me healing energy, wrapping me in love, praying for my well-being or whatever your practice is to support me in the coming days. It would mean a lot. And don’t be shy. Let me know in the comments down below or on facebook. I would really like to hear from you. Thank you!

 

picture by Lukasz Brzozowski





The tables are turned

2 04 2014

 

 

I don’t know if I ever told you about the ‘pain body’. It is a concept coined by Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth. As soon as I read the term, many years ago, I knew what he meant without further explanation, and I knew mine was heavy and dense. When we don’t adequately deal with negative emotions as they occurr, we store (part of) that pain outside of our consciousness. The totality of that pain, plus the pain we absorbed from our loved ones and the part of the collective human pain we carry, Tolle calls the pain body. What struck me about his description was the idea that the pain body is a separate entity that can overtake us, that it needs drama to survive, and will do anything to get it. Tolle says we can only dissolve our pain body through Presence, being here now. When I read those words for the first time, that was kind of out there. Be present was hard enough as it was. Being present when confronted with emotional pain, that was something I had no clue how to do. As I read the chapters on the pain body again this morning, I was amazed at how I had ‘forgotten’ what I had read and at the same time have become so much more conscious of exactly what Tolle talks about in those pages. And how I have found a way to actually be present and dissolve the pain body that lives within me successfully.

Last Thursday, as I was experiencing silent weightlessness, the tiredness I had been experiencing for over a week was gone. In the afternoon, I received a message that triggered feelings of rejection. Exit silent weightlessness, enter emotional heaviness, restart the releasing process. On Sunday, the tiredness  was back. On Monday, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I was angry and frustrated with my body. I blamed the tiredness on working in the garden on Sunday, but part of me was confused; it just wasn’t logical. Somewhere in the afternoon, I recognized that my frustration with my body fitted the theme, that I was basically feeling rejected by my body. And while I was at it, I released that too. This morning, while reading about the pain body, the light bulb went on in my head as I suddenly realized that the bouts of extreme tiredness I experience are nothing but fierce resistance of the pain body. This pain body that is attached to me does not want to be dissolved, it will do anything to survive. It will do anything in its power to prevent me from being Present.

As soon as I understood the pain body’s game for survival, determination flooded my body, and the tiredness was gone. This pain body, I will not claim it, not call it mine, will soon find out that it has lost both its power and its fear factor. You see I don’t care about drama anymore, yours or mine, or pain, or a non-cooperative body. I know what pain is, I have felt it in all its dept and I am not afraid of it anymore. From now on, I will allow every suppressed emotion to come up when it does, and feel it as it is. I will fully and completely accept all that I am feeling. I will allow myself to feel everything and not get attached to it. I am turning on the Light. I will shine the light of awareness on anything that is not part of my true self. I will release and release and release. I don’t care if it is all I do in the next weeks, months, I will release everything that triggers any negative emotion. I will release and simply love everything about myself, because the Love I have for myself is stronger than this ego’s desire to control. The tables are turned. This pain body is going to be loved to death, it just doesn’t know it yet.

 

picture by Krzysztof Szkurlatowski





Silent weightlessness

27 03 2014

 

 

 

To fully appreciate this post, please read yesterday’s post first.


In the musicals I loved to watch as a kid, with Gene Kelly, Fred Astairs, Ginger Rogers and Judy Garland, when things got together, the music would lead to a crescendo and from that on to a grand finale. Somehow I still expect there to be violins when big things happen. Interestingly, in real life, the opposite is true.

When I woke up this morning, everything was silent. It was still early, there was no traffic yet, but the silence had nothing to do with anything outside of me. It took me some time to figure out that I am experiencing the absence of internal noise. This stillness includes the absence of movement. It is as if the pendulum that normally swings from one side to the other has halted in the middle. There is no feeling attached to this state. I feel energetic and yet have no need or desire to do (except now write). There is a no-thingness, an is-ness, an emptiness that I find hard to describe. It is neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. It just is. Silent weightlessness probably is the most accurate description I can come up with.

Tomorrow things will be different again, and in two weeks, when my body has adapted to the changes brought about by the release of all the amassed emotions, things will be different again. So today, instead of chasing the illusion that things need to be done, I will simply do what I feel inspired to do and feel the sacred space inside of me. I will breathe in and breathe out and feel all there is to feel. Because this experience is as much part of the healing as was the releasing I did over the past days. I breathe in and out and feel my whole body, pulsing in the rhythm of my heart. There is joy when I tap into this silent weightlessness, peaceful joy. A deep knowing that all is well.

 

picture by H. Berends

 





Sit Stay Heal

26 03 2014

 

 

I am still taking things slowly, not because I want to, but because my body dictates rest, a lot of rest. I am trying to take it as it is and use my time for reflection. I don’t want to. I want to do lots of things, but not think and feel. I feel a lot of resistance. I could say that I have done enough soul searching, that I want to get some action, but unfortunately I do have more discernment than that, so I go past the resistance and stumble upon anger. Buried under the layers of guilt I released is anger. I would have expected it to be the other way around, but it isn’t. Inside of me is raging anger, directed toward myself. I don’t know how to process anger in a healthy way, all I ever did was suppress it. While I am feeling this all-consuming rage, the word forgiveness pops up. But I don’t know how to forgive myself for the things I feel angry about either. So I do what I always do, I breathe.

I feel the heavy pounding of my heart, the adrenaline pumping, my blood racing, and I Read the rest of this entry »





There is no one youer than you!

20 03 2014

 

 

I am always incredibly optimistic when it comes to my energy levels. Nevertheless, my body rarely agrees with me. After last week’s redoing of our laundryroom, my body’s energy supply quickly exhausted. It is Thursday now, and all I can do is sit on the couch. Today, I will have to choose my activities carefully. I want to do so much, my head is buzzing, yet my muscles are aching and I have trouble focusing my eyes, which always is a sign that I have crossed the line.
On days like these when I am confined to sitting on the couch, yet want to do so much, when I can only do things I love so much that they don’t cost a lot of energy, and then only in moderation, I struggle with feelings of grief and guilt. Grief for not being able to participate as I want to and guilt over being ‘lazy’. It is absurd, I know. Yet, in a society that values busy-ness over health and status over authenticity, it is something everyone who is not living a ‘mainstream’ life has to work through. We have been brought up with the idea that if you want to do better, you have to work harder. I still have that mantra in my head, but I understand now to which degree it is an untruth, and a very dysfunctional at that too.

In these past years, I have talked about ‘living my best life’, ‘being my best self’ and ‘doing the best I can’, I will not use these terms anymore, because they set me up for failure. In my mind, ‘best’ is associated with ‘the best’, it is associated with winning and working harder, or worse trying harder. For me, and I guess that I am not the only one, this unconcious idea, this socialized version of success is a recipe for disaster. I am the ambitious type, even when I play a game, I want to win. I love being good at stuff, I love excelling, I love being active and doing things to the best of my ability. So yes, the idea of living my best life resonates with me. Things is it resonates with the fighter in me, and consequently the loser in me, because they are both on the same continuum. Using words like ‘living my best life’ not only activates the image of living a great life, but also the idea of failing when I fall short. ‘Being my best self’ implies a right way of being and a wrong way of being. ‘Doing the best I can’ in my head translates to that I can always be better and do better and that challenges the belief that I am perfect as I am, it makes me feel imperfect.

From now on I will live a life that is true to me, my choices and my actions will reflect my true self, and I will be as true to myself as I can be at any given moment. I am enough whether I am sitting on the couch or bursting with energy, I am perfect as I am, I cannot fall short. And so can’t you!

 

picture by bschwen

 





Letting go of things that don’t serve us

19 03 2014

 

 

This past year, we have been living in a state of chronic clutter. It was driving me crazy. So last month, I analyzed the situation and made a plan. It turned out we had too much stuff and too little space. As every organizational guru can tell you, in order to live in an organized home, every item does need to have its own place. In our home that wasn’t the case anymore. And although I do have some organizational talent, my husband and daughter definitely haven’t. If things don’t have their own clearly defined place, they’re lost. With a busy husband, a growing-up daughter, my own ambitions and fluctuating energy levels, that posed a problem. Especially, because my energy level is negatively correlated to the level of clutter in our home.

Last weekend, we  built additional shelving, hung two coat racks, and even a shelving unit just for bags. Today, our mud slash utility slash laundry room is an organizational heaven. As we only put back what we really wanted to keep, we were left with four boxes of stuff for charity, three crates for my daughter to sell at the children’s flee market on King’s Day and a shelving unit that doesn’t fit our needs anymore to sell on E-bay. As we all know, purging begets purging. So yesterday, as I was looking at every item in my living room through the eyes of a purger, asking myself if it could stay or had to go, my eye fell on a tray of orchids, in their resting state, waiting to bloom again. I love orchids, they are my favorite plants. When they are in bloom. In their resting state, they are, what can I say, not exactly a sight for sore eyes. And as I don’t particularly enjoy the process of getting them to bloom again, I decided to say my farewells. I put them on the counter with some other stuff to be tossed, when my mind started racing. “Couldn’t I keep them?  Couldn’t I put them somewhere else, less visible?” Now you have to know that I don’t have a track record of bringing orchids to bloom again. I am not even particularly well at keeping them in bloom. “Maybe if I tried harder they would come to bloom. I should keep them, really, I just should do my best and make them come to bloom. It would be a waste to throw them away. Buying new orchids, when mine are done blooming is unsustainable behavior,” the voice in my head ranted. “Maybe I could keep them,” I kept thinking.

This morning, I decided that I will not throw away those leafy orchids. I will Read the rest of this entry »





On being an original

12 03 2014

 

 

Last week, as I was exploring the topic of playfulness in my life, or better the lack of it, I created a list of things that get my juices flowing, things that make me feel alive. Looking at that list, searching for patterns, I saw, to my big surprise, that most activities included the presence of other people. This was kind of unsettling, as I considered myself to be more of an introvert than an extrovert. The list, however, was telling a different story. As I was investigating how to introduce into my life more interaction, I started feeling a mix of acute fear and pain. And I remember thinking to myself: Isn’t it ironic that the thing I need to feel alive is the thing I fear the most?

As I allowed the pain and fear to wash through me, three things became apparent. We can only be truly playful when we stand in our power. To stand in our power we need to fully reclaim our authenticity. And to reclaim our authenticity we need to forgive ourselves. When I talk about forgiving the self, I am not saying I did anything wrong, nor am I saying that I need forgiveness for what I have done, in the traditional sense. Forgiving the self is the process of Read the rest of this entry »





The playlist

5 03 2014

 

 

I suck at playing. I do. I really, really, really do! I know that, because I have a husband who is really, really, really good at it. At the end of the day, when he asks me which fun things I did for myself that day, he usually gets a blank look. Recently, he started asking me to list five fun things I will do for myself during that day, and usually I come up with only one, if I do. It made me realize I don’t even know which fun, yet often seemingly useless things give me lasting pleasure. But I do know that when I don’t engage in such activities during the day, I will feel depleted at the end of the day, even if that day was filled with things I love and value. So finally, after years of intending to feel good, I am asking myself which trivial things actually make me feel good. I nailed the big things, I know what it means to feel fulfilled, to live a life that reflects my love and my values, but I found that I am rather clueless when it comes to the small stuff. I’m no psychologist but I guess it comes from years and years of shying away from things that weren’t useful. Not to mention the guilt I would feel when doing something that could be considered frivolous.

Nowadays, I don’t feel guilt anymore, or maybe a little, but doing something fun, just for me, still feels uncomfortable, and extremely so. It is also infused with the absurd fear that I will get stuck in doing frivolous things forever. Rationally, I know that is not true, that when I am reading a good book, I get more done than when I am not, but still this fear  prevents me from getting immersed in a good book. I guess I’m not alone in this and I’m figuring it is just another muscle I have to exercise.  So that is exactly what I am going to do. I’m going to make a list of things I find attractive, but that up to this moment I deemed unworthy of my energy, and I am going to do them, religiously, until I get what works for me and what doesn’t, until I crack the code and understand how doing these seemingly useless things are useful in keeping my energy soar. I know that my husband is slapping his knees when reading this, but I can live with that. I am so going to prove that I can do this too. I don’t know if it is possible to beat him at his own game, but I am sure going to try.

 

picture by Nico van Diem