Feeling fit

22 04 2015

 

 

Over the past years, I have gained some weight. 8 kilos to be precise. And that’s okay. I don’t mind having gained it; it served a purpose, and now it is time to let it go. I don’t need the extra weight to protect myself anymore, or the food to sooth me. I am ready to let it go physically and emotionally. Before I got pregnant, I was physically extremely fit. I had a really healthy diet and worked out and ran every day. Lean and mean was my motto. Then I got my daughter and getting back in the game proved to be not as easy as it had seemed beforehand. As much as I wanted to be fit again, it seemed I had lost the high level of discipline I used to have. I just seemed unable to motivate myself to diet or exercise. I knew I was healthy and I was unwilling to force myself to do anything I didn’t want to do. I didn’t fight it, and on a certain level knew it was a phase in my becoming.

When you keep a pendulum in a horizontal position and then let it go, it swings all the way to the other side, and it takes a while for the pendulum to hang motionless in the middle. Today, I see balance as a natural state, all we have to do is allow ourselves to let go of our need to control the outcome by controlling the how, allow ourselves to let go of the pendulum we are keeping in a certain position with all our might. When we let it go, it will sway all the way to the other side and then back, again and again and again until it has lost all the built up energy. This takes time. This is true for any area where we have forced ourselves to be a certain way. I had always reached my goals through sheer force. I was fit out of fear to get sick, I was lean out of fear to be fat. Today, I cannot motivate myself to things the old way anymore. And that is a good thing. In this day and age that is a really weird thing to say, because society seems to thrive on it. I don’t think that is true. I think it creates burn-out and depression and addiction and a whole host of other dis-eases. I think it is rather healthy on my part to not be able anymore to motivate myself to be someone I am not. I’d rather be aligned, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’d rather feel whole, perfect as I am, enough, than fit a certain picture anyone may have of me.

I want to lose weight, not to be picture perfect, but to feel lean and mean again. I love being a physical powerhouse. I love having an incredibly strong body, I love feeling healthy and ageless. I love nourishing my body with the foods it loves. I love hearing my cells sing hallelujah. I love feeling green on the inside. I love my skin being firm and healthy. I love feeling and seeing muscle definition. I love how my hair shines, my skin glows and my eyes sparkle when I am physically up to speed with all that I am. Having lived it makes it easier to manifest, because I know what feeling I am looking for, I only have to remember it to tap into it, to access it and feel it. Being able see it with my mind’s eye and feel it helps manifest it more easily than anything else I could do. Our body does not distinguish reality from imagination or memory, it doesn’t know if it is real, if we are regurgitating or envisioning something new. And it doesn’t care either. Our bodies will do anything to comply. Basically, what we believe to be true our bodies will do their utmost best to manifest. When what we ponder most of the time is negatively charged, our bodies will be flooded by stress hormones, which will keep us narrowly focused on the thing we fear, constantly triggering our body to release more stress hormones, a downward spiral. When on the other hand what be think about and believe to be true is uplifting and empowering, our body releases feel good hormones and not only do we see and feel the same world differently, we absorb different nutrients, our metabolic rate is higher, we are more likely to make better choices and are open to possibilities. In these past years, I have learned that, beyond a certain point, old school motivation doesn’t work anymore, because it is external and fear-based. If it works for you and you feel good about it, just keep going. As for me, I chose inspiration over motivation. To manifest a body that feels as powerful as I feel mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I will inspire myself on a daily basis by keeping in the forefront of my brain my vision and even more importantly how it makes me feel. I will focus my energy not on a certain diet or on the scale, but on how I want to feel by feeling it already. I will allow myself to be inspired to eat certain foods and let go of others, to feel when I need to eat and when I need to stop, to do certain exercises and not be bothered by others. I will not push no force myself. I will trust my body to follow my vision.

 

Picture by John Nyberg

 





The aftermath

15 04 2015

 

 

Last Monday, I wrote in my journal: Which joy ceilings are inhibiting my joy today? I got some really interesting answers to that question, the most interesting answer was ‘stumbling’ on a youtube video about adrenal fatigue, later that day. Something I never knew existed but which I fitted to a T. It appears we can wear out our adrenal glands during times of high stress. Now you have to know that I have been tired for quite some time. Again. At first I attributed it to my knee, then to family festivities, then to making over my living room, then to the pup. With the pup being here for over six weeks, I am still tired, even more so. At first I listened to the video with light skepticism, because in my mind I had not lived a traumatic or high stress incident before or during this time frame, but then a quiet voice in my heart said: but what about all those intense healing releases you have done, what about all the cortisol that was released during those episodes? Bingo! Of course, how could I have been so blind to the toll this was taking on my physical body? Being tired, for what seems the zillionth time in my life, was frustrating, because I knew I was healing more and more areas in my life and contrary to what I expected to happen, which was an increase in energy, I was getting more and more tired.

Fortunately, the remedy to adrenal fatigue is rather simple. All I have to do is take some supplements and within three to six months all will be well again in adrenal gland land. The big irony is that I was already taking most of these supplements. I stopped taking them because: one, I felt that they were too expensive, and on a certain level I believed I wasn’t worth that financial investment. And two, at the same time, I thought I had spiritually outgrown supplements. I, on my spiritual high horse, thought I had to be able to heal my physical body by merely redirecting my thoughts and emotions. Yes, you can laugh out loud, even mock me if you want to. What I know now is that we can heal our bodies in various ways. There is no wrong or right way. There only is what is right for us in a particular moment, sometimes that is allowing ourselves more sleep, sometimes it is taking a supplement or cutting out a certain food, and sometimes the right course of action will be to have surgery. Our soul will let us know what solution it is aligned with, what is the best option for us in a particular situation. We will know what to do when we listen to that silent knowing. Our bodies are self-healing, but for most of us that doesn’t mean we are above medical intervention, just like most of us cannot live from air alone. Maybe there will be a day in the future when that silent voice will tell me that my body has healed enough to let go of the supplements, and maybe not. I am at peace with both possibilities. Lack of physical vitality is a joy ceiling for me. And I have decided that I will do anything I need to do for my body to feel as vital as possible. As for living on air alone, I will leave it to the hermits in the Himalayas. I just can’t imagine good food being a joy ceiling for me. Maybe in another lifetime. Hopefully not.

 

Picture by Emy M





Energy anatomy

8 04 2015

 

 

When you are a frequent reader of my blogs, you have heard me talk about chakras before. I don’t refer to them often, but on occasion I do. Usually, I am hesitant to talk about the subject, not because I don’t believe in their power, but because of their popularity in the woo woo industry. Just google chakras and you know what I mean. Because of the high degree of sheer nonsense written about chakras, I did not feel particularly attracted to them, had even referred them to the new age bullshit bingo, long ago. Ironically, they found me in spite of their woo woo reputation.

It wasn’t until I got so tired I could not function normally, five years ago, that I started accidentally learning more about them as I listened to Carolyn Myss’ Energy Anatomy and with the help of a psychodynamic therapist healed not only my learned powerlessness, but also my sense of being separated from everyone else. After I worked with her, I started becoming aware of my energetic body, the flow of energy and the blocks that hindered the flow; dams may be a more appropriate word in my case. I learned to focus on the blockages and feel them. I learned that a block in the flow was energy that had stopped moving, and that when I placed my attention on it and felt it without judging, the energy would start moving again. I learned that when I kept at it, no matter how uncomfortable it felt, the block would dissipate, the energy would start moving through again and I would feel freed up. Think of it as a clogged sink drain. The blocks of resistance would be concentrated around what the ancient indian wisdom tradition called chakras and my experiences would match a lot of what it said about that chakra. I have learned that the chakras are linked to each other and some more than other; it is a highly logical system. As I was working on blocks in the area of my second chakra which has to do with our creative power, I noticed an energetic loop with my fifth chakra which is linked to our expressive power. And last week, as I was releasing old energy in my throat (fifth chakra), I also felt a release in my womb (second chakra). Which makes perfect sense, as creativity and expression are closely linked. Yesterday, focusing on my brow chakra (sixth or the third eye chakra), I also felt movement of energy in my heart (fourth chakra) and an interaction between the two, which again makes perfect sense, as vision cannot exist without trust and cannot be executed without courage (coeur meaning heart in French).

Looking back on my journey, I first descended into the abyss. The chakra elevator took me down from the head into my core and then it started moving up again. Going down was a slow ride in which I had to let go of the preconceptions I had about who I am, it was an unmooring, an untethering, an opening up to all that I am and a letting go of all that I had learned I should be. Going up is a much faster ride, it is a coming into all that I am, a falling into place, a becoming of all that I am and a letting go of all that is still hindering that. I unmoored from all I believed I should be and am mooring to all that I know I am.
I haven’t yet fully released all there is to release in the throat area, am still sore physically, yet I am already pulled into the energy around my brow. Tiring to say the least, but so very worth it. I know that I am coming full-circle. I am almost back up again, reaching the most upper levels of the chakra elevator. To be honest, I can’t wait for that to happen. It’s funny to see that talking about this process still feels uncomfortable; I talk about what I know to be true, yet, apart from my hard-lived experience, I have no proof. A knowledge that does not come from books, that has no scientific evidence (yet) to back it up, and yet I am the living proof that what I have done over these past years really works. Reaching my crown chakra and allowing it to be healed, will be a crown on my work. For over fifteen years, I have unknowingly worked towards it. It has been a slightly different career than I envisioned and the project took a bit longer than I anticipated, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I never imagined being me could feel soooooo good.

 

 





A lump in my throat

1 04 2015

 

 

Eckhart Tolle calls it our pain body, Carolyn Myss calls it our anchors, and Mario Martinez calls it our joy ceilings. Most of us have it / them, and for some of us they are dense, heavy or low. They are the unprocessed traumas, unchallenged acquired beliefs, the stories woven around them, and the emotions attached to them, we are not aware of. They keep us mentally, emotionally and vibrationally stuck in past experiences. They keep us small on all levels.
For the past years, I have been clearing my basement of traumas and beliefs, of stories, of feelings of powerlessness, of abandonment, of loneliness, of grief, of sadness and anger. Last week, I opened a box and was presented with even more sadness. It is dark in the basement, I can’t see how many boxes there are left. Maybe that’s a good thing, because I don’t know how much more sadness I can take.

Last Friday, I said to myself: ‘What if I admitted to not knowing what I want?’ What if I allowed myself to just not know what I really want?’ Those magic words opened a box that I have been avoiding for many years. I always knew it was there, but I never was ready to look inside. Instantly, my jaw clenched in a semi-open position and an uncontrolled wail started coming out of my throat. There was nothing I could do but to sit it out. It was so weird, and painful, and scary, and sad, so sad. After five minutes, my jaw relaxed and the wailing stopped, but the pain and the sadness just kept pouring out. They still are. I am taking it slowly, I can only take so much.
Not being able to express what I wanted as a kid, I started censoring myself, not allowing to want what I wanted, simply because I believed my parents wouldn’t approve, manufacturing desires they would not only approve of, but that would make them love me. I became very good at that. Ever since, all those years, I have been frantically trying to find the sense of direction our desires provide, always missing the mark. Not knowing where to look, not trusting myself on anything. Always trying new things, convinced this time it would work, but they never did. I tried harder than anyone I know. Always in vain. So much pain.
Today, my throat is sore, my voice is almost inaudible, my ears tingle, my mouth feels dry and my gum is sensitive. Sadness is only skin deep. I don’t know what I want. I’m scared of what it might be. Even though I have no clue what I want, I am afraid of my desires, they feel wrong and sinful – in the traditional sense of the word. Like Adam and Eve, I feel naked, vulnerable, exposed. I don’t even know if this life is the life I want. I am scared to death it isn’t. I am afraid I will hurt the people I love the most. I am so afraid that I want something so different from what I have now, that the life I want will be incompatible with the life I have. If I could close this box again, I would, but I can’t. No more playing small. No more pretending. No more false confidence. I really, really, really don’t know what I want. There, I’ve said it. And even though it hurts, it is liberating, freeing, to let go of a script I wasn’t even aware I was following. I am clearing my throat.

The pain and sadness we have stored in our bodies in our lifetime, at one point or another, is weighing us down emotionally. Feeling the pain, allowing ourselves to go through the feelings, memories, stories and beliefs attached to it, we loose emotional weight. Our pain body gets lighter, anchors are loosened and our joy ceiling gets raised. Letting go of lower vibrational experiences we stored in our energetic body, we raise our base frequency. And in raising this frequency, we more easily attract into our lives higher vibration emotions like joy and love, because we can only resonate with people and experiences that vibrate at our frequency, like attracts like.

 

picture by Steph P





The sins of the father

25 03 2015

 

 

I can tell you this, raising a pup is hard work. Apart from all the physical demands it brings, it activated some core beliefs that I held unconsciously, like “I do everything wrong” and “I only have one shot at everything I try”. Those two kind of highlight why I don’t like starting new projects and why I stop before giving myself the chance to succeed. For me, the most interesting though was “I am never ever going to make my dreams come true”, because while the other beliefs do explain a lot of context, they were easy to let go as I was not attached to them in any way The latter, however, really challenged me as I so much wanted it to be untrue. I so much wanted (and partly still want) to achieve professional and financial success. Yet with this belief anchored in the experience of it not being so and my ever-deepened need to make it so, I will never be able to make my dreams come true.
So, next to walking the pup, training her, cuddling her, and being licked all over, I started to work on releasing this belief – steeped in lack – of never ever going to make my dreams come true. I asked myself, could I accept that this is all there is, that it will always be this way? That hurt. And whereas I would have expected to feel this in my gut area, it was my throat that tightened. I felt like choking. And as I am writing this, I can still feel a strain on my vocal cords, as if I have a big lump in my throat. It felt and still feels like not being able to speak my truth, not expressing who I am.

Before I go any further, let me say this. I have said it before and I will say it again, I love my dad to bits and I appreciate his presence and how he has helped me to grow into who I am today more than I can ever express in words. And even though I no longer adhere my parent’s religious beliefs, I don’t hold any resentment towards it. Yes, it twisted me up big time, but any strong belief would have done that, because I was programmed to want love more than anything, even more than my own identity or my sanity. I simply was a very impressionable girl with a very authoritative and religious dad, and that created some very freaking awesome outcomes. Freaking awesome because it pushed me over the edge and landed me on a path of self-discovery and realization that I most likely would not have known otherwise. So even though it is the road less traveled, and I sometimes wished it were easier, I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is the perfect  path for me.

Back to my vocal cords. Back to not being able to fully express myself, to what is holding me back, to the pain I stored there by not expressing who I AM in order to be loved. Like most kids, I learned very early on in life that I was not able to speak my heart and mind in front of my parents. I imagine most parents get from mildly upset to sad or angry, like my mom would. My dad, on the other hand, would simply say that it wasn’t so. As a young kid, you don’t question your parents, they are your superheroes. Later, I would ask, ‘but dad, couldn’t it be this way?’, and the answer would invariably, authoritatively, be ‘no, it is this way.’ No doubt, whatsoever. I stopped asking. I remember being 26 or 27, sitting in the car with my dad, having a conversation, I can’t remember the topic, but I do vividly remember not agreeing with my dad and mustering up the courage to ask for the first time in a very, very long time, ‘but dad, couldn’t it be different?’. The answer was ‘no, it is this way.’ Mustering up more courage. ‘I believe it to be different,’ I said for the first time ever.  Both of us, dumbstruck. ‘Really?’, he eventually asked inquisitively. Even more courage. ‘Yes, I believe it to be this way.’ Silence. ‘Mmmm, you might be right,’ he then said. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. It was like discovering the world had always been upside down. My dad didn’t need people to agree with him, he needed people to see through his act and challenge him. I had been sacrificing my voice for nothing. He still loved me, and if possible even more. Ever since that day, I regularly give him a piece of heart, allowing him to get out of his mind-made cage, if only for a moment. He never says it, but I can feel in his hugs that, on some level, it is appreciated.

It was a big step towards freedom. Subsequently, it took me about 15 years to get from becoming aware of my own lack of expression to being able to release the adopted beliefs that limit self-expression and the pain that they have accumulated over the years. The thing with adopted beliefs, especially when adopted early and held for a long time, is that they tend to generalize. Not only did I stop expressing myself and doubting every single idea I had, I also, unconsciously, started adopting other people’s beliefs over mine, especially my dad’s. The sins of the father will be visited upon the children. One of the meanings of sin is to miss the mark or to fail. Without being aware, I adopted my father’s limiting beliefs and allowed them to limit me. Living his beliefs I was missing my purpose, yet at the same time they instilled in me a deep desire to live the life I was meant to live, a life of reconnecting and healing, a life lived through and co-created with Source. Full circle, no sin, just grace. I believe Source is expressing itself through us, creating and recreating itself in every moment, just as we are. I intend to live that fully.

 

picture by Miguel Ugalde





Unconditional self-love

11 03 2015

 

 

Downstairs, in a crate, there’s a puppy, our puppy, Caatje ([ka:tj!] for phonetical buffs). We’ve had her for one and a half weeks now. She is a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e, and a handful. Boy! Even though I prepared well, I wasn’t prepared, at all. The thing I hadn’t expected was the mental load, the amount of space having a puppy takes up in my mind. Not to mention all the old fears that went rampant. Being confronted with this entirely new situation, where I do my best but most of the time have no clue what I should do, triggers fears I thought were gone but apparently left some residue.

Last week, I wrote about finding unconditional self-love. This week, I explored what that means to me and how I can have it in my life more than just occasionally. Because finding it doesn’t necessarily mean dwelling in it indefinitely. Finding it is the first step, being able to access it at will is the second and remaining there, well at the moment, that still sounds like fairyland. And that’s okay – being happy for no reason felt the same not so many years ago. This week, I took time to reconnect to myself every day, I wrote in my journal and I learned that I could access this space of unconditional self-love when I focused on it. Af first, I fell into my big-goal-setting trap, wanting to dedicate a substantial time every morning to this, but all it did was make me feel like I was falling short, not enough. And I wondered,

“Why is this idea of being enough as I am so hard to grasp? Or is it? What if I just allowed it to percolate? What if I allowed myself to just be enough, BE enough, to be in that space of enoughness, to sit in that space where I am loved unconditionally, to allow it to fill me up? What if that is enough? What if it will grow through the practice of it? What if all I have to do is give myself permission to be sucked in the experience of unconditional love, and let it take hold without me having to do anything? It is easy to be sucked in, because this enoughness, this needing-nothingness, this being-loved-for-my-beingness feels beyond anything I could ever describe, it feels so good! What if instead of making it a big daily thing, I allowed myself to BE enough in the moments when I feel I am not?  What if I gave myself what I am craving most whenever I feel emotional unrest? What if I allowed myself the peace I have been looking for so long, whenever I need it. What if I accept that I have found it and stop looking for it? What if I just practice feeling unconditional self-love whenever I feel out of kilter? What if that is all I have to do?”

Indeed, what if that is all I have to do? And what if this sweet puppy is exactly what I need to practice feeling unconditional self-love? I love how this little puppy, in all its frolicking dogginess, is constantly pulling me out of my comfort zone. I love how her presence alone gets me out of whack enough to go find that space where I am loved no matter how many mistakes I make. Who knew that having a puppy could do that? Who knew?

 





Self-acceptance

4 03 2015

 

 

I am very good at creating to-do lists and schedules. They usually are of the need-to-do-way-more-than-can-be-done and the lots-of-very-boring-tasks kind. I can honestly say that I am a master at that. Having told that, you probably won’t be surprised that I am very good too at setting completely unrealistic and no-fun goals, and then not one but ten at a time. I would always do things drastically, like as of next week, every day, I will get up at 5.30am, walk for at least an hour, exercise for half an hour, eat no sugar, work for x hrs, clean one room a day, do one laundry, keep every surface tidy, blah blah blah. And I would do it, keeping at it for about two weeks, before I collapsed from sheer exhaustion.
Last week, Monday morning, having brought my daughter to school, I made some coffee to start the day and was ready to make a to-do list, when a soft voice in my head whispered. You are allowed to do nothing, remember. I felt relief, and in that moment that same voice said, ‘what if you got your diary instead’. The last entry was a month ago. It was quite high-powered, and felt a zillion light years from where I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I love feeling up and at it, but again I walked into my own trap, the I-really-need-to-start-creating-results trap. I really can’t remember how often I got stuck in that one before, but we could call it a theme. The theme usually ends with my body throwing a tantrum and me feeling completely deflated.

So there I was, sitting at the dinner table with a cup of coffee, my diary and a pen. And after I stopped laughing at my own stupidity, I wrote
“What if, instead of all the big blah blah, I will commit to writing in my journal every morning, to honor an ‘hour’ of power, in which I realign. Nothing fancy, nothing out there, just this here. A time every day, no matter how busy I am, or believe I am, to reconnect to all that really matters to me. A time dedicated to the Source that dwells within me and my connection to it.
What if, every day, I just allowed myself to feel and see Source’s presence in my life, to feel peace and see beauty, to feel and see the perfection of everything, to come home, to feel loved unconditionally, to feel heard and seen, to be perfect as I am, to not need to be or do anything, simply because I AM Source and Source is me.”

What happened next was extraordinary. The idea felt like oxygen to my soul, my muscles relaxed and my tiredness dropped. And in that moment, I realized (again, only with more clarity to it) that there is nothing I want more than to connect to this Source of Life, that my deepest desire is to feel ‘the peace of the Lord’. And instantly, I felt the sweet embrace of unconditional acceptance. I felt such tender love, such deep care. I knew what it meant ‘to give your burden to the Lord.’ It is interesting to see that I revert to the language that I grew up with, even though I lost my religion a long time ago. I felt like a small child putting its hand into its parent’s hand, trusting that everything will be all right, trusting it will get wherever it needs to be. It was a powerful experience.
I am not promoting a belief in God or a higher power, but I would love for you to know that somewhere inside of us is a place where we are loved unconditionally. I don’t know what it is or where it is, for all I know it is just part of our imagination. I really don’t care where that feeling originates. What I do know is that it is real, that it is beyond anything I have ever experienced, and it is better than anything I could ever make up. What I do know too is that I am no different than you; if this is available to me, then it is available to you. And no, you don’t have to become a mystic to find it, or do special things to get access to it. It is a space with many doors. And your door will open the moment you are ready to accept yourself as you are. Ask yourself, “what matters most to me, what do I crave more than anything in the world”, and then give that to yourself. As the ad says, you are worth it.

 

picture by Andrey Gorshkov





The other way

18 02 2015

 

 

We live in a word that goes fast, really fast. And the world wants us to go fast too. We need to be productive and efficient, not to get side-tracked, to keep as many balls in the air as possible, and we need to let it seem easy. On the other hand, we believe that life is a struggle, and that things don’t go easy, we have to make sacrifices to make our dreams come true. But what if that just isn’t true. What if our expectation makes it so?

We are all deeply indoctrinated by today’s culture of productivity. It almost is the new god, and I am no longer willing to bow to it. What I have found lately is that I want to realize a lot of things, but that the thing I crave most, most of the time, is time to think and read and do nothing and meditate and release and sit with my eyes closed and sleep and be alone. These notions seem incongruent. How can you realize your dreams without laser-like focus and massive action? I don’t know, but I do know that I feel a lot of resistance trying to make things happen through what is perceived as the way to producing results. What if there is nothing wrong with me?  What if I just feel the need to do things differently. What if there really is another way? What if I stopped trying to make things happen?

This week, as it is a school vacation, I gave into reading and doing nothing, I allowed myself to sit quietly with my eyes closed and do nothing. What if I learned to accept that part of myself? What if I stopped fighting it, and stopped feeling guilty over this non-doing. Part of me finds this very scary. What if I get stuck in doing ‘nothing’? What if that is all there ever will be? I have big dreams, and sitting still and doing nothing does not seem the way to go about that, yet it is what every cell in my body is screaming. Maybe it is time to heed that voice, that other part of myself. Maybe it is time to surrender even more, to learn to trust the wisdom of my soul, to allow my life to be organized by the counterintuitive principles of the universe. It feels like a free fall, letting go of all mores and relinquishing control.

I am perfect as I am. This perfection is not being free of imperfections, it is a cosmic perfection that includes all my perceived imperfections. I am perfect for being me. I am unique, like my thumb print. There never has been and there never will be someone exactly like me. This is what self-acceptance is, not to simply accept our perceived flaws, but to embrace and celebrate our uniqueness. It is the courage to do things our way, no matter what anybody else is saying or doing. It is knowing that our soul won’t lie to us. It is trusting things to work out perfectly, even if we don’t know how, because our soul tells us so. My soul tells me that expectation is key, that I need to expect without a doubt. I don’t know how to do that yet, but I will follow the trail of bread crumbs and start doing things the other way, my way. I will leave my guilt behind me, and read and meditate and release and do nothing with a vengeance. I expect things to work out for the best, because my soul tells me so.

 

picture by Maja Piskorska





Red hot anger

11 02 2015

 

 

If you met me in the past weeks and still like me, you either are a serious people lover, a masochist, or someone who knows me for a long time and knows that I was not my usual self. I mean, I did not even like myself. Releasing on the subject of self-value and self-confidence, I had hit on a massive block of anger. Red hot anger. And where it usually is hidden very nicely under layers of denial and my desire to be kind, it had risen to just under the surface. It was palpable, not only to myself but also to others. Rather unpleasant, always on the verge of erupting. Last Sunday, I could no longer push it down, nor did I want to, but I was not ready to face it either, or willing to explode, so I imploded. Which meant that I allowed the anger run free through my body and mind. Not pretty, not effective, but the best I could do at that moment. Needless to say, I had an interesting Sunday. My anger was directed towards my husband, who was running a 30K that day, which was both the provocation of my anger and lucky for him. Of course, he could feel that something was very off, but I told him not to worry about it, I might be angry because of something he did, and my anger might be directed at him, but he wasn’t the source of my anger. I would process it and then I would share.

It took me the whole day to get to the point where I was ready to go to the source of my anger. I am  not good with anger. My primary emotion is sadness, which I know how to handle. Anger on the other hand is something I have learned to suppress. Anger feels very threatening to me. And after what happened during releasing I understand why. After sitting on the couch most of the evening, venting internally, not able to concentrate on anything else, my husband silently tucked away in a corner, doing his best not to attract my attention in anyway, I said I was going to bed. What I meant was that I was going to release. Something I usually do in the safe space I call my bed.
Releasing this anger was one of the most intense things I ever did. In the process, I discovered that red hot anger is not just an expression, nor is the Dutch saying “je gal spugen” (litterally spit your bile which means to speak your anger). The region around my belly button was so hot you could fry an egg on it, and it was cramping and stinging involuntarily. The energy between my hands was so hot it was actually painful to my hands, and I had to resist the urge to break the interaction. Then there was this horrid taste in my mouth which took me some time to recognize as bile. Yet all this physical releasing was  nothing compared to the emotional part of the process, the raw anger that I felt. There was such power behind it, releasing it was a scary experience. Somehow I felt like I had landed in a live version of The Exorcist. Brrrr!
I felt the anger I had stored for not having been heard, for not having my emotional and physical needs met when I was too young to provide that for myself. I felt anger for my voice not to matter, for it not having been valued, for me not having been valued for who I am. For the first time in my life, I felt the intense anger directed toward my father for not being able to provide the emotional safety and support I had needed as a child. And I felt the anger I held for myself for being so impressionable, for perpetuating the pattern, for not seeing my value, for allowing people to treat me the way they did. And then it subsided. I went downstairs, I gave my husband a hug and went to sleep. I have never slept so peacefully. I felt cared for, watched over. But that wasn’t the end of the process. Yesterday, after watching a masterclass with Harv Eker, when I layed in bed, I noticed a heightened energy around my belly button. I played with it and released whatever needed to be released. This releasing was impersonal and more of a simple energetic adjustment than anything else. And then this morning, at breakfast, after I won our daily game of egg tapping, I felt a giggle rising up from my toes, bubbly like champagne, I just laughed and laughed and laughed uncontrollably, until it subsided minutes later. It was bizarre and logical at the same time. The pain was healed, the process done.

Most people are uncomfortable around this subject of sitting in your pain and allowing it to flow through you. Some because they are afraid of what will come up, because they don’t know if they can handle it and others because they believe that you should not focus on any negativity. To the first group I will say that your psyche will only process what you are ready to process. Remember that I have been doing this for years, and I never got anything that was too big for my plate. To the second group I will say that you have been falsely led to believe that ignoring negativity is the same as positivity, it is not. True positivity is being able to deal with what is happening by facing it compassionately and honestly, instead of sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will pass quickly. Whatever negativity you notice in the world is present within you. Without addressing it effectively, it will keep you back and limit you, until you are ready to feel the pain it is causing you and release it. Any perceived negativity within or without is a misalignment with your true nature, a limitation of your full potential. It is a conflict between your ego and your soul. It is an opportunity for growth and an invitation to expand. Take it.

 

Image by Juan Perez





Some thoughts on releasing

4 02 2015

 

 

In our home, we have a ventilation system that sucks out stale air and blows in fresh air. Last year, we felt it didn’t work that well and we decided it needed to be cleaned. Apparently, we were long overdue and some of our pipes were clogged. So they put a sort of reversed vacuum on it and blew out all the stuff that was blocking the airflow. The results were nothing short of amazing.
Most humans have a clogged energetic system. Built-up thoughts, emotions and even altered physiology are blocking the energetic flow. We are the only species who add insult to injury by resisting what happens to us. We create an emotional story of why it shouldn’t have happened to us, and in doing so we add a lot of energy to the trauma. What we give energy to grows. By adding energy to the trauma, we make it grow in such a way that it not only affects our thoughts, emotions and beliefs, but also our biology.
Part of our transformation process is that we release what is clogging our system. We let go of old thoughts, emotions, and beliefs in order to live life fully. What we need to understand about this process is that there is no one way to go about it. However, there seems to be a pattern in which I go from thoughts to emotions to beliefs.

Releasing thoughts is the easiest and least sustainable. Only releasing thoughts will lead to a relapse where we think the same thoughts we were thinking before. Releasing emotions is more effective and asks for courage, because we allow the emotions we did not express at the time of the trauma and every time the trauma recurred to surface and come out. This can be very painful, because the pain feels as real as it did at the time of the trauma, and scary, because when we surrender to the process, not interfering in any way, we feel very vulnerable. Purging our emotions is a very healthy thing to do, but if we don’t change the deep-held beliefs that cause our emotions it only gives temporarily relief. Releasing the beliefs takes focus and determination. Beliefs are part of our biology and releasing them is a very physical process. We have to focus on our intention to release the belief that has been written over the original coding, on our energy and on the parts of our body that feel highlighted. As a result our bodies can move and twitch uncontrollably. It can even feel as if something else is working through us. All we have to do is stick with it, until it subsides. When it has subsided, we may feel exhausted, excited and everything in between. We may even feel as if nothing has happened. There is no wrong or right way to feel. What I have learned is that things usually change subtly and over a the period of a few weeks, especially when we have worked on the deepest level.

There is no set period for this releasing process. It may take weeks for me to go from one level to the other, or it may all happen in a day, like it did yesterday. And it isn’t linear either, I can go back and forth between the different levels for a prolonged period of time before it feels done. I have yet come to like it, but I keep at it, because the results are nothing short of amazing.

 

image by Guenter Kirchweger





I know

28 01 2015

 

 

I have been struggling with a lack of self-confidence my whole life. I can tell you that self-doubt is paralyzing. It invariably leads to sub-par outcomes. All my life, I have heard people say, “You just have to have a bit more self-confidence, believe in yourself.” As if. They really believed their advice was helpful. All it told me was that they had no clue what they were talking about. All it did was add to my self-doubt.

Some people go through life with natural self-confidence from a very early age, they somehow are unimpressed by what other people think and say. All I can say is that I wasn’t that way at all, I was a very impressionable little girl. There are three areas in my life where I have no to very little self-doubt, as a mom, as a cook and as a mystic. Interestingly, these areas came along later in my life, and the effort I put in yielded immediate positive results. With every other thing, my efforts either remained unnoticed or unvalued. To this day, I mostly feel that I have nothing of value to offer. I know it isn’t true, but it is what I have come to believe about myself.

Being very driven, wanting to share my story with the world, wanting to impact other people’s lives for the better, feeling that what I have to share has no value is somewhat of a challenge. Fortunately, I am in the business of undoing beliefs, of pinpointing them and releasing them. I will not be ruled by beliefs that don’t serve me. I will not live a life defined by the impressions of other peoples’ limited beliefs. I know I can change my life. I have confidence in my abilities to transform my emotional caterpillars into butterflies. I know that one day I will have released all the old beliefs that keep me crawling. I know that one day, having released just one more old belief, the pull of the butterflies lifting me up will be greater than the weight of the caterpillars keeping me down. I know I will fly.

 

picture by Andreas Krappweis





Spiritual Fuzz

21 01 2015

 

 

I have grown fuzz. Yes, fuzz. Spiritual fuzz to be precise.

“Each night when you go to sleep, the interfaces between your muscles grow fuzz, potentially. And in the morning when you wake up and you stretch, the fuzz melts. We melt the fuzz. That stiff feeling you have is the solidifying of your tissues. The sliding surfaces of your body aren’t sliding anymore, there’s fuzz growing in between them.”
- dr Gil Hedley, The Fuzz Speech (short, fun and educational video)

I recently experienced firsthand what happens when fuzz is allowed to build up our bodies. Because of an injury, I wasn’t able to stretch my knee properly for a few months. When I healed my knee, I still couldn’t stretch it. After seeing The Fuzz Speech, I started stretching my knee a bit more every day to remove the fuzz and restore movement. I am almost able to fully stretch my knees again without any discomfort.

As you may have read last week, after an extended stay in the city of Happiness, I have redefined my destination and have started moving in the direction of Awesomeness. After just a few days of being on the move, I am feeling tired. Mind you, I am not doing anything drastic, just doing things differently. Adding a little extra action to my day, focused on what makes me feel awesome. Over the years, by protecting old emotional injuries, I have grown fuzz between the sliding surfaces of my spirit. I dread taking action. I have lost ‘original movement’. It creates stress and as a result I became less action-oriented. I have created “an inhibition for the potential of movement” and as dr Hedley says, I now “need a more systematic exploration of that place to restore” the mobility that used to be there.

Most people shy away from things that feel uncomfortable simply because it feels uncomfortable. We, as a species, don’t like discomfort. Yet when we have grown fuzz, and who hasn’t, in order for us to restore the original movement we lost, we must break the fuzz bit by bit until we gain full mobility again. And as I learned recently, that doesn’t feel comfortable at all, some would even call it painful. The question we need to ask ourselves is, will the benefits of regaining our original mobility outweigh the discomfort of introducing movement again?

The answer is always YES! In his video, dr Hedley says that aging is the solidification of our bodies, the reduction of our range of motion. I say that what we call adulthood is the solidification of our spirits, the reduction of our range of possibility. We stop dreaming, we start saying that we are a certain way, that life is a certain way. Wrong! We are who we define ourselves to be. Life is what we define it to be. I choose to let go of all the fuzz, of all predefined soul-draining concepts I have about myself and about life. I AM AWESOME! I am leaving the comfort zone, because the benefits of becoming all that I can be far outweigh the discomfort of breaking some spiritual fuzz.

 

image by Redster





Awesome!

14 01 2015

 

 

It’s been a question that’s been on my mind a lot this last year, how come I cannot get back in the game? Usually, the answer to a question is so simple that we overlook it. This was no exception.

Most of my life, stress hormones were racing through my body, creating a downward spiral in which I felt progressively stressed, powerless and tired. Most of my stress was concentrated around the things I believed I had to do and how I had to do them. I had no self-confidence, which manifested in extreme fear of failure, which I tried to mask with perfectionism (which, by the way,  I did perfectly), and eventually it stopped me from doing anything. Today, I am a different person. Gone is the stress, gone the fear and gone the perfectionism. I feel great, I am relaxed (most of the time), I am at peace and feel comfortable in my own skin, and there is little to nothing I feel I have to do. I love my life. Yes, I want to do things, but even there I am pretty relaxed; I just haven’t figured out how to go about it.

The answer to my earlier question is easy. For over a decade, I have actively sought a way to be happy. In my mind, being happy equaled being at peace, which to me was being without stress. Having finally found that, the absence of stress feels so good physically, that no horses can drag me away from here. Unfortunately, my mind is conditioned to relate stress to action and peace to very little action. Yet, over the past year, I have discovered that while being happy equals being at peace, being at peace does not equal being without stress. To get back in the game, I have to recondition myself to react differently to stress. Stress is part of this physical environment. If handled healthily stress is a good thing, it leads to strength, growth and resilience.

Having arrived at my destination (happiness), and having discovered what it looks and feels like, I really want to get moving again. To do that I have to redefine my destination. I am heading for a new destination, it’s called Awesomeness! Every day, I will ask myself, what do I have to do today to feel awesome tonight? To me, awesome feels like joy, ease, flow, health, abundance. It feels like  moving, doing, exploring, writing, speaking, contributing, and adding value. Every day,  I will say to myself that  I AM AWESOME! and sing to myself that I fucking did it! (check those videos out, they’re worth every minute of your time). These are my new affirmations. And I can’t wait to see how they will enrich my journey.

Like everything in life, happiness is an ever-evolving concept, it will be different tomorrow than it was today. The essence of happiness is being able to evolve right along with it. That is the game.

 

photo credits go to my awesome daughter





Happy 2015!

7 01 2015

 

 

The first article of 2015! I love writing. Writing helps me access my higher self, it helps me gain a clarity that often baffles me. I want to thank you for reading my articles, I love that you do. I want to thank those who comment on my articles whether on the site itself, on Facebook or on Twitter. I love the interaction immensely, and every week look forward to it. Over the years, many people have told me that my writing resonates with them, that my words help them shift perspective. There are no words to describe the thrill this gives me.

My intention always is to share my becoming in such a way that you can recognize yourself in my story and take away from it what helps you grow more into who you truly are. This blog has been a catalyst for my own growth and as a result I have grown in many ways. I have become kinder, more open to life. The need for life, for you and myself to be a certain way has lessened. I am being all that I can be in this moment, and I know that you are too. We are sharing this experience we call life, and I feel blessed to walk this path with you. Thank you!

May we celebrate last year, the highs and the lows; may we see that they all contributed to who we are now, to all that we are becoming. May 2015 be the most wondrous year ever; may we graciously expand into newer versions of ourselves and easily let go everything that is between who we are now and who we are growing into. Namasté.

 

Image by Philip Pena

 





Merry Christmas!

24 12 2014

 

 

I am sucker for Christmas, somehow more and more each year. Growing up in a christian family, it was one of the highlights of the year. Then, as I lost my religion, I lost that sense of meaning and celebration. Yes, I decorated my home, we cooked a great meal, but I did not feel the spirit of christmas. Basically, it was just a day as all other days, just better dressed. Today, it still is just a day as every other day, but with the big difference that nowadays every day is a day infused with the spirit of christmas. This year even more than ever.
Here I am, on Christmas Eve, sitting in my PJ’s, in my candlelit living, laptop in my lap. Last week, I talked about manifesting our dreams, about pulling them into being. When that happens in a way that defies logic, we usually call it a miracle. This week, I want to tell you about my miracle and how it came to be.

Last Monday, my love and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Every five years, we celebrate in style by going on a city trip. This year, we wanted to include our daughter and booked a 5-day trip to Paris and Disneyland Paris. We decided to surprise our daughter by letting Paris be an activity card in her advent calendar and Disneyland another. I loved the preparations, there just was one thing that bothered me, a lot.
During our summer holiday, while running I made a wrong move and hurt my knee. During the last months, I limped on good days and sat on the couch on bad days. I went to see a physiotherapist, but that did not work, even made things worse. Unsure what to do, I meditated on it and knew in my heart that going to a doctor would alleviate the outward symptoms but not address the underlying issue. I had to ‘fix’ this on a different level.
The more Paris approached, the more difficult it became to believe that I would walk the streets of Paris with the loves of my life. I wanted it so much that my mind contracted. As a result, my knee worsened, which led my mind to contract even more, which worsened my knee. It was a downward spiral. Three weeks before our departure, I limped more than ever and at a certain point wasn’t able to normally climb or descend the stairs anymore, walking to the end of our street was too much and standing for more than five minutes in a row quite painful.
Then one Sunday, less than two weeks before our departure, I broke down. I told my love that I was going to ruin our Paris trip and I didn’t know what to do anymore. He just hugged me and told me that I could not ruin it even if I tried. The three of us being in Paris together would be amazing, and everything else would sort itself out as soon as we got there. Then I mustered the courage to ask two dear friends to help me envision walking the streets of Paris with ease. And later that week, I asked you to imagine me laughing, having fun. You did, and it worked miracles.

That week, I was able to let go of the anticipated guilt and fear of not being able to walk in Paris. I decided to focus on feeling good. The first thing I did was to get my mind off my knee, and off Paris. I watched Mister Bean videos for two hours straight. Feeling better, I decided to just enjoy the season. This is my favorite season of the year, and no knee was going to get between me and the spirit of Christmas. I very consciously worked on feeling better and better. That evening, after a series of tapping (EFT) I was high on love and I envisioned the thing I wanted most, to walk the streets of Paris with ease. In advance, I felt gratitude and appreciation for being in Paris with the two people who are dearest to me and showing my daughter one of the cities that I love most, and the exhilaration of running up the stairs of Montmartre. I let it sweep through me, and made it as real as possible. Then after I was ready tapping, I knew with every fiber of my being that it was done. I just knew it.
The next day, still limping, but relaxed and feeling awesome, I needed to go to the shed to get the christmas tree stand and when I got out of the shed, I tripped over a large bamboo stalk with my limping leg, and I felt a short snap in my knee, it hurt. Stress hormones washed through my body and I started to get angry with myself. At that moment, I was able to stop myself. I dropped everything I was doing and sat in a chair for an undefined amount of time, tapping and releasing stress, until I knew again with absolute certainty that everything is always working out for me, that the Universe is conspiring for me. I let go of needing to know how I would walk the streets of Paris with ease and I accepted the mysterious ways of the Universe. And again, I knew viscerally that all was well. When I got up, the pain was gone, and something in my knee was different. I could not yet fully stretch it, but I could walk more easily and I could even lay it flat without hurting it.
Last weekend, I walked the streets of Paris with ease. I strolled through the Louvre museum, climbed the stairs of Montmartre, stood in line for the Eiffel Tower for well over an hour, walked kilometers to get from metro to metro, And if that wasn’t enough, I stood in line for some awesome attractions in Disneyland Paris. Mind you that one and a half week earlier, I had not been able to walk small distances, let alone climb stairs. Literally awesome.

Over the years, Christmas has regained its meaning, richer and deeper than before. I have learned that the love we celebrate at Christmas cannot be found outside of ourselves. We are it. God is longing to be born through us, not just some of us, but all of us. We are pure potential waiting to be born. This Christmas may you give birth to the miracle that you are. Merry Christmas!

 





You’ve had it all along

17 12 2014

 

 

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I dutifully work on releasing old belief patterns that aren’t serving me (anymore). During our lifetime, we all have collected a whole series of beliefs that prevent us from being all that we can be. Some of these beliefs were introduced in a big way, but most of them snuck in through the backdoor; we started believing them because everyone else around us believed them. Sadly, humans have a very limited view of themselves; through the ages, we narrowed our sense of potential. It is time for a new Renaissance, a time in which we throw off the shackles of our self-imposed self-image, a time in which we rediscover a completely renewed sense of self, a revolutionary shift in consciousness.
We live miracle-filled lives, but we don’t see that for the simple reason that we don’t focus on the extraordinarity of our lives. We are living, breathing miracles, we swirl through the universe on a spinning blue ball. There is nothing ordinary about our lives. To live miracles, we have to get into that space of awe, into a space of appreciating the magnificence of this thing we call our life. And to consciously co-create miracles, we have to get into a space of joy, into a space of feeling and knowing that we are the miracle.

Consciously or unconsciously, we are creating our reality. We do this through our sustained focus. What we give energy to grows. When we are ready to take the next step in our evolution, when we start taking responsibility for our focus, when we are willing to focus on beauty, on goodness, on peace, on love, on whatever is working, when we are willing to see miracles wherever we cast our eye, we become miracle workers. I don’t mean this in an airy-fairy kind of way. This is a serious intention, this is hard work. In order for our lives to change, we need to do some serious neuro-reprogramming, in which we consciously build new neural pathways. Our brains work with the simple premise that the pathways we use get bigger (what we give energy to grows) while the pathways we don’t use wither. What we want to do, irrespective of logic, is build pathways that make us feel good, that inspire awe and give us joy, because miracles defy logic. It is when we feel joy, awe, appreciation and love that our creative powers soar. We all know that. We deliver our best work when we feel great. The same holds true for the creation of every other aspect of our lives. When we are in that space of greatness and we visualize whatever we want to achieve, we pull it into being. That is step one of creative process. The next step is to trust that all is done on our part, that all we have to do is allow it to come into being by trusting undoubtedly that it will. What I learned last week is that the most challenging part of the process is to let go of any belief that it won’t, to remain in that space of centered trusting that everything is working out for me, even when the contrary seems to be true. Yet in that same week, I also learned that when we are able to side-step our fears and disbeliefs, when we are able to take full responsibility for our focus, and consistently focus on feeling great, miracles do happen. And when they do, we see a glimpse of our true power and we understand that it isn’t the manifestation that is the miracle, but our creation of it. Thank you, for supporting my intention last week. Our shared focus on well-being helped me get into that space where everything is possible. And from there, I was able to easily and effortlessly manifest the thing I wanted most. I am awe-struck. It is like Glinda the Good Witch of the North says in the Wizard of Oz: “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas. You’ve had it all along.” We all have this amazing power to realize our dreams, we just have to learn it for ourselves.

To be continued. Next week. With photos.

 





Nothing is more important

10 12 2014

 

 

 

I am learning a new way of being. I have been stumbling and falling. I have been wanting it too much. I know that forcing only is counter-productive, and yet I did it all the time. It was so interwoven in my psyche that I usually only saw it once I  overexerted myself. The object of my wanting was not big, nor was it important in the greater scheme of things, but it was something that I wanted so badly that I was pinching myself off. I was being extremely narrow-minded about it.

It was a small thing and yet the battle that was going on inside of me was of epic proportions. It is what the Harry Potter series is about, and the Lord of the Rings, and the Northern Light Trilogy. It is the battle between fear and love. This past year, I have been surrendering to love, but my fear wouldn’t have it. The fear that lives in all of us wants to control our reality, it wants things to be a certain way, our way, or else. Love, on the other hand, is all about faith and trust. It tells us that when we let go, when we surrender, our life will be better than we could ever imagine. I have been swinging between these two ways of being, one moment I felt ease and trust and the other I felt worry and fear. We cannot fear the object of our wanting not being realized while at the same time trusting that it will come into being in perfect timing.
Over the years, I have learned that love is very effective. Love is alignment with all that we are, it creates oneness and from that space of oneness synchronicities that benefit all. Fear on the other hand is very ineffective and counterproductive, it focuses only on our small selves and all the drama that goes with it. It creates separation and a whole range of dis-ease.

On Sunday evening, I received amazing help from some dear friends, I slept like a baby and when I woke up on Monday, I felt at peace, relaxed and at ease. In the morning, I felt inspired to do a powerful prayer, and after that I felt invincible. Then, somehow, my mind introduced the idea of doing that prayer again, and before I knew it I was thrown out of that circle of peaceful knowing and frantically trying to make it happen through prayer. Now you have to know that prayer only is effective when it comes from a place of faith where you know that when you ask it is given, a place of trust and celebration. Prayer is not effective, even counterproductive, when we ask from a place of neediness. And that is exactly what I did that second, and most certainly that third time.
Yesterday, after a day of trying very hard not to hit myself over the head, trying to hide my head in the sand and pretending that all was well, I felt miserable. Out of it was born the strong desire to feel better. So I did a guided meditation for general well-being, and I felt inspired to do some tapping (EFT). Boy, that felt good. After a few rounds, I had released so much anger and pain and fear that I was feeling high. I slept like a baby again. Today, I am leaning towards feeling good.  I am learning what a powerful focuser and creator I am. It truly is astounding. I am celebrating my creative powers, I am accepting my responsibility for the life I have created up to this moment. I choose to create with love from now on.
From this moment on, I trust that, one way or the other, everything is as it is supposed to be. I will take care of myself. I will focus on feeling good.  I will focus on allowing well-being. I love this time of the year. I love Advent and I love Christmas. I love the anticipation and the celebration. And as much as I celebrate on the outside by decorating my home and preparing amazing dishes, my Christmas always is about the spirit of Christmas. This year more than ever, Christmas is a celebration of the incarnation of Love. We all are Mary pregnant with Christ. Love is gestating inside of us. I am in the process of bearing Love. And the timing could not be more perfect.

For quite some years now, it has been my intention to feel good no matter what, to love life unconditionally, to live unconditional love. The time has come to fully live it. I want to ask you to support me in my intention by closing your eyes, for a minute or so, directing your attention towards me, and in your mind’s eye seeing me laughing, having fun, feeling joy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what I look like or laugh like, directing your attention is all that matters. Thank you! It is appreciated beyond words. If you have an intention, a desire that is meaningful to you, please share in the comments, it would be my pleasure to support you. I strongly believe in the power of shared intentions. It is a two-way street, it enhances the well-being of both the asker and the supporter. May we all be seen for who we truly are. May we all feel supported in what is meaningful to us.

 

 

 

 





First creation

3 12 2014

 

 

When I first read Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, I was struck by what he called first and second creation. He likened it to creating a blue print of a house and then building it. I had never thought about it before, but it made such sense. It is obvious Covey knew the secret to building a great life, but he did not tell us all he knew about it.

Having a blueprint isn’t enough when creating a great life. When my love and I were in the process of buying our first home, seventeen years ago, we got a luxury folder with not only the layouts of our prospect home, but also artist impressions of both the outside and inside, and even a VHS tape with an animated tour through our soon to be home. We were sold.
In that same way, if we want something, whether it is a new car, a job, or health, we have to sell it to ourselves by making it as tangible as possible. We want to tell it, draw it, imagine it, picture it, sing it, feel it, dance it, live it, be it, breathe it. We want to make our first creation so alive that it evokes the manifestation of it.

Our first creation is faith-based. Only when we have lured ourselves into believing beyond a doubt that our desire will manifest, it will be pulled into being. During first creation, we must find ways to distract ourselves from our doubts long enough to become pregnant with possibility. First creation is a work of the heart. We must find ways to activate our heart energy often and become so infused with her truth that our doubts no longer have power over us. Our hearts will tell us that, no matter how impossible it may seem, it is always possible. Our hearts will inspire a love so strong that we will be able to move mountains
In first creation, there is no making it happen, there is no going out there and doing it. First creation is about making it so real on the inside that its creation will follow effortlessly on the outside. This is the stuff miracles are made off. Most of us don’t make it to the miracle part, but we can become powerful creators nonetheless. Once we shift from trying to make it happen to becoming it and then allowing it to happen, our lives will change dramatically.

 

picture by Macin Smolinski





Life is fun

26 11 2014

 

 

I spent this whole morning writing an article with the intention of publishing it today, until in the last paragraph I discovered that it takes some infrastructural changes to my website before I can post it. So here I am, on a Wednesday afternoon, kids in the house, things needing to be done and I have nothing to put on my blog. Whoa!

Not so long ago there would have been a sense of not measuring up. To my amazement, I am sitting behind my desk, laughing. I can only see the humor of it. Of course, not posting a blog is not a biggie, but it is a commitment I made to myself, a commitment I want to honor. Yet, this is life, things have a tendency to go differently than anticipated. That’s what happens when we’re willing to put ourselves out there. As always, I do want to post something that adds value. Today, that added value comes in the form of being able to relax into what is happening.

This Universe works in mysterious ways, and I’ve come to trust that whatever happens is perfect. It may not be what I preferred to happen, but I have learned that somehow in the grand scheme of things it always is better than what I set out to do originally. Timing is everything, and this Universe is the master of perfect timing. So, I took a deep breath and relaxed into this present moment. And when I do, no matter what is happening around me, joy and peace are available, always. The kids decided to go play outside, I just wrote an essay of 300 words, and apart from some technical stuff, next week’s article is ready to be published. Best of all, I feel great. Life is fun.

 

photo by Ned Horton





Take off your invisibility cloak

20 11 2014

 

Visibility Cloak

 

 

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry gets into a bit of trouble. Doesn’t he always? Hogwarts hasn’t even started and we find Harry, on the floor of a train car, paralyzed by a spell, bleeding out of his nose, under his invisibility cloak, alone, while the train is preparing to go back to London. Apart from the bleeding nose, that was me. As a baby, I was taught that I was both invisible and inaudible, and that left me paralyzed for the first 40 years of my life.  And I didn’t even know I was wearing an invisibility cloak, I just experienced not being seen or heard.

Now, it seems to me that, at core, we all believe we are invisible to some extent, and as a result we attract into our lives all sorts of situations that reinforce our sense of invisibility, making it part of our being. Imagine that no one can see or hear you, what use would it be to put yourself out there, what purpose would it serve when no one would notice? There is only one thing worse than being invisible and that is getting the confirmation that you are indeed unnoticed. This fear is paralyzing. It prevents us from doing what we really want to do, from being all that we are.

For as long as I can remember, it has been my desire to shine my light for all the world to see. We all want that. It is human to want to be seen and heard for who we truly are, to be acknowledged. Yet in order to be just that, we need to consciously put down our invisibility cloak. We need to let go of the fear of invisibility that is cloaking our light. The secret to being visible, heard and acknowledged is knowing that you are. I am in the process of putting down my cloak. I am training myself to not only see the proof of my visibility, but to feel it, to internalize it, to make it my own. There is no doubt in my mind that the more we see ourselves for all that we are, the more we allow our light to shine. We ARE God expressing itself physically. We ARE the Universe in miniature. Not even Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak can obscure that.

picture by Okay Yaramanoglu





Training our dragons

12 11 2014

 

Ever seen the movie How to train your dragon? It is brilliant! In the movie, we meet Hiccup, a young, inventive Viking, son of the village leader. Their village is a village of dragon fighters, as they are continually raided by dragons. Hiccup, clandestinely, joins the battle and when he downs a dragon, he cannot bring himself to kill it. Instead they become friends. Hiccup learns that dragons are not bad, just misunderstood. He learns to ride the dragon and together they train to become one in flight. Of course both the villagers and dragons don’t take easily to this new reality, but the example of this boy and his dragon transforms the relationship between the villagers and the dragons.

We live in a world where we are taught, like the villagers, that we are surrounded by danger, and we have learned to fight it, fight it hard. But instead of going away, the dangers we perceive become stronger. And in order to win, we fight harder. But somehow our battles seem futile, the enemy gets stronger and stronger. We have been indoctrinated by the survival of the fittest. And most of us interpret this to be survival of the strongest, or survival of the toughest, which both are legitimate interpretations. But these are not the only meanings of fittest. When we look up fit in the dictionary, we also find “Of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose: having the requisite qualities or skills to undertake something competently.” In the light of evolution this seems to be more fitting. When things don’t work the way they used to work, the fittest develops new skills and qualities, she or he adapts.

Like Hiccup, I did things differently then the people in my village. At a critical point on my journey, I understood that in order to kill the dragon, I had to kill myself. I was unable to kill myself and instead I befriended the dragon. Now I am learning to ride it, and boy what a thrill that is. I do believe that when we stop trying to kill our dragons and dare to look them in the eyes, we will discover that they aren’t the enemy, our fear of dragons is. When what we are doing isn’t working, it is time to face our fears and find a different way to approach our dragons. What I have learned is that what we resist, what we are unwilling to allow, becomes stronger, and what we befriend, what we are not only willing to allow but appreciate, becomes cooperative. I have learned that there is a different way to perceive our problems. I have learned that when we allow them, are willing to intimately know them without the hidden goal to ultimately destroy them, appreciate, and then train ourselves in riding them, our problems change into opportunities, and in doing so we change our reality.

Our perceptions govern our reality. Our perceptions are governed by our beliefs. Beliefs are nothing more than deeply engrained thought patterns, some handed down from generation to generation. It is time to let go of beliefs that aren’t working anymore. It is time to perceive differently. It is time to adapt. Until now we were taught to either survive or die. Survival instincts lead to us to kill whatever we believe is between us and winning, for winning is surviving. That old adagio isn’t true anymore. If we want to live fully and survive as a species, we have to shift paradigms, we need to reprogram ourselves to the new motto: thrive or die.  Thriving is very different from surviving. It is a reality in which there is no separation between ourselves and the dragons, where we take care of each other and synergistically create a world that fits everyone’s needs. We cannot thrive until we befriend our dragons, and train ourselves to ride them. It is time to adapt, to develop new skills and thrive.

 

 





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