What is reality anyway?

23 04 2014

 

 

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

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





Unleashing our inner Sherlock

16 04 2014

 

 

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

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





Spiritual Stain Removal

9 04 2014

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

picture by Lukasz Brzozowski





The tables are turned

2 04 2014

 

 

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

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

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

 

picture by Krzysztof Szkurlatowski





Silent weightlessness

27 03 2014

 

 

 

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


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

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

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

 

picture by H. Berends

 





Sit Stay Heal

26 03 2014

 

 

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

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





There is no one youer than you!

20 03 2014

 

 

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

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

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

 

picture by bschwen

 





Letting go of things that don’t serve us

19 03 2014

 

 

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

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

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





On being an original

12 03 2014

 

 

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

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





The playlist

5 03 2014

 

 

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

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

 

picture by Nico van Diem

 





On becoming 3D

26 02 2014

 

 

These last months I have posted articles that had a high scare factor. At least for me. Having been an extreme people pleaser for so long, showing my true face felt (and still feels) unsettling. I realize now that I have played small not to alienate friends, even potential friends, because I was afraid my friends would not relate to who I really am.  What if they decide that they don’t like who I am beneath my social mask. What if they decide that they don’t want to continue our friendship? For a long time I subconsciously believed that such a decision on their part would be proof that who I am isn’t good enough. I now know that some friendships evolve right along with us and others don’t. Yes, loss of alignment does hurt, but that is okay. Grief is a process in which we need to learn and find the added value of that specific alignment within ourselves. I can have peace with that, today, because for the first time in my life the loss of  a friend wouldn’t diminish my self-worth in any way.

What I learned this week is that showing all that I am is liberating. To lower my mask, show my true face and have people appreciate me for who I really am feels beyond awesome. Interestingly not because it makes me feel validated, although that will probably be part of it too, I am human, but because it is empowering to be good enough no matter what others think of me. Through the process of daring to be real, I made the transition from a reality in which friendships are scarce to a reality in which they are abundant and always available. By releasing the need for certain friendships and certain people in my life, I’m inviting a  new reality in. A reality in which here will always be people who will love the person I am, no matter who I choose to be. A reality in which the Universe will align friendships, old and new, that reflect authenticity, courage and compassion, because that is what it takes to reach out and really connect with others through showing our perfectly imperfect selves, our real selves, not some image of who we think we should be.

In these amazingly complex human bodies that don’t look anything like those in the commercials, with our wonderfully unique personalities that don’t live up to the high standards of our perfectionist societies, and our personal preferences and desires that won’t get everyone’s mark of approval, we need to grow courage and compassion to embrace our humanity, to know that we are good enough eventhough we make ‘mistakes’ continuously, to fall head over heals in love with all that we have to offer, even when others think we are wrong or even bad, because, honestly, what others think is none of our business.

 

Image by Benton Y





Allowing my self-worth to grow

19 02 2014

 

 

After publishing Owning my self-worth, last week, I’ve been pondering exactly that. Who am I when you strip me of all I that I perceive myself to be, all that I do and all that I have? Suppose I am ‘reduced’ to a vegetable, a breathing, heart-beating vegetable? Why not pull the plug?

Interestingly, there at the core, I have no problem seeing my self-worth. So instead of peeling back the onion, this time I am building my case from the core. I must say I feel a little squeamish, because to do so I have to introduce the G-word. In the Netherlands, you don’t mention God unless you are very religious. Everyone else kind of shuns it. The thing is that other words to describe God don’t resonate with me, and trust me when I tell you I tried a few. The time has come to stop sidetripping.

When I say God, I am clearly not talking about the big man in the sky. God to me is the organizing principle that creates worlds. It is the always moving, never-ending, conscious essence that is in everything. It is the primal energy that created me and breathed life into me. It is the energy that recreates me every day of my life and inspires me to live, literally. That which is inspiring me to breathe and the I that is being inspired to breathe, are essential to me being alive. We are a team. I am part of it as much as it is part of me, and so is everyone and everything around me. I cannot see myself apart from it because in essence we are one.
What I learned growing up is that I am a child of God. That resonated with me and it still does. What I am saying today, finally out loud, is that I am not only a child of God, I AM God. I say finally, because I have known it for a long time, but never dared to say it,  claim it, because where I come from it is the ultimate blasphemy and the society I live in does not take well to this idea either. Yet to own my self-worth, I can no longer not say it  out of fear to alienate those I love, because I am denying who I am.

When I say that I AM God, these words fill me with both awe and humility. I am celebrating the long-lost daughter who finally chose to come home, me. You see, however hard I tried, I can not see myself apart from God, I cannot see my life apart from God. God is the energy that both brings me to my knees and exalts me. I am happiest when I sing God’s praise, not so much in the traditional sense, but by acknowledging my every breath, by seeing every person as a reflection of God, everything in my life as an act of God, perfect and whole. A healthy sense of self-worth, a healthy sense of value to me is knowing that I AM God’s abundance flowing through and to me, because I can feel that in every cell of my being, in every bone. I can only truly value everything when I allow myself to see through the eyes of God. When I don’t enter God into the picture, I am this arrogant, small-minded and incredibly judging person. To me God is not only in the Gap, God is the Gap. She is the great paradigm-shifter. Only She can turn fear into love, and give me peace. I am worthy in a way that surpasses my own understanding. And I feel loved and worthy every time I allow my connection to All that is, to that which I lovingly call God, to shape my reality. This is the foundation on which I will build my self-worth, for it is the thing that is most real to me.

 

picture by Subhadip Mukherjee





Owning my self-worth

12 02 2014

 

 

Some things take time. Five months ago, I wrote an article called Shame won’t kill me. It was about walking through my deep-seated fear of failure, which was essentially a fear of not being worthy. In these past months, I have started living a more authentic life, doing the things that I love. Three weeks ago, I finally surrendered to Life, in the sense that I gave up my need to control and decided to let Life’s Flow determine where I go, trusting that things will work out for the best. As a result, I started to create opportunities for Life to flow through me. I set a time to write and a time to paint. What happened was miraculous, a kind of magic, where words just flowed out my hands on ‘paper’ with ease. It felt great.

Interestingly, after a week I started getting physically tired again. And at first I thought, “Okay, hitting a physical boundary, need to take better care of myself and maybe even take a step back.” Until my husband said, “Well, I don’t know, with you it’s always some limiting belief that is messing things up.” I mumbled something along the lines of ‘how did you get so wise?’, because of course he was spot on.

Next day, I took the sleep my body needed and after breakfast instead of sitting behind my desk I went straight to bed again, not to sleep, but to get still. And as always when I listen to that voice, Life helps me uncover what is holding me back. Still sitting in bed, I felt inspired to watch a seemingly unrelated video on youtube, a video from the goodlifeproject.com, an amazing series of interviews by Jonathan Fields in which he interviews all kinds of people about their life and asks them what living a good life means to them. In this video he talked to Kate Northrup, entrepreneur and author of the book Money, a love story. At a certain point in the interview she talks about considerable credit card debt and how she was able to turn that around after she realized that “my lack of financial consciousness and my unwillingness to take the necessary actions to pay attention to my money is in direct correlation to my lack of self-value, and it is a way that I am keeping myself  small and plain.” It was as if a light went on inside my head. Most of my life, I have been uncomfortable with money. Not anymore with money persé, but still very uncomfortable with me making money. Listening to Kate I realized that my discomfort to receive money for my work is because I believe I am not adding value. OUCH! That is a painful ‘truth’ to discover. While letting that pain emerge and sitting through it, I wondered if I was still feeling unworthy? The answer was “No, I don’t”. I have let go of that longheld belief, but, big but, I have not yet embraced my worthiness, my value. On an intellectual level I can see that I DO add value, but I do not feel it yet. The time has come to integrate that knowledge, to feel it, know it and be it. I now understand that a healthy sense of value is not a quality some people just have and others don’t. Like many other things it is a habit. You can train yourself to see you own worth. You can become habituated in recognizing the value you add, whether it is in a smile, a good-timed cuddle, a healthy meal, a wel-written article or a painting.

This definitely is another milestone on my journey. I am celebrating not only this particular occasion, but this journey of self-exploration and self-healing. I have come such a long, long way! As I am writing these words, I can feel the value my journey has added to not only my life, but to the lives of the people around me. It humbles me and at the same time it feels incredibly good. I am SOOOO ready to feel more of this. I feel blessed to be living this. I am loving the unfolding of my life and am eager to live more of ME. I must say that I am very excited about the road that lies ahead. Things are really getting better every step of the way, my way.

 

image by Christian Ferrari

 





It’s a kind of magic

5 02 2014

 

 

 

It is Wednesday, I have just done my two hours of writing. I have one and a half hour left to write my blog and I have no clue what to write about. So I let my fingers hover over the key board and trust that the words will come. It is what I have been doing this last week and it has been a miraculous proces. I feel a buzz at the top of my head and the story flows out of my hands. I am doing the formulating, the writing and yet I am not working alone. The story somehow develops itself. I will sit down, I will have an inkling of an idea and that’s it, what happens next comes as a surprise.
In eight days, I have written almost 13.000 words. Wow! And that in only two hours a day. I am learning to trust the proces. Interestingly, the effort is not in the writing, the effort is in allowing the magic to happen. There are moments when I feel stuck, but that is only when I don’t trust enough, when I don’t allow the flow to come through me, when I am forcing.
Where this all will lead, I don’t know, and I don’t need to know. I am at peace with that. I don’t even know if the writing is any good, and that’s okay too. I trust that somehow this all will work out. I trust that the Universe does not put a flame in my heart, provides oxygen for it to burn and then does not light a room with it.

 

picture by Marchecco





Shifting gears

29 01 2014

 

 

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle

I once was this extremely disciplined kind of person. If I said I would lose weight, I did. If I said I was going to run for 30 minutes at six am every morning, I did. If I said I would stop eating sugar, I did just that. I lost over 23 kg (over 45 pounds), I could run for two hours straight, and I did 300 crunches as part of a daily work-out. When it came to health, you could say I had reached a level of excellence.
I had a set of unnegotionable habits, which I had trained to perfection. When the alarm went off at 5:55 am, I would automatically sit up, put on my running gear and get out. And as soon as I closed the front door behind me, at exactly 6 am, I would start to run. I would be awake at 6:02 am. Creating habits came easily to me. Frankly, I did not understand other people’s struggle with them. Like the Nike slogan, I thought ‘Just Do It!’
Creating habits came easily to me, because I had an incredibly strong motivator. I was motivated by the deepest of fears, the fear not to be loved, not to be good enough. Failing was not an option, because I had to prove to everyone, and most of all me, that I was not a failure, that I was worthy of love. The thing I had more than anyone I know was will-power. The problem with will-power is that it is an exhaustible source of energy. Because of my fear, I could almost completely deplete it and literally drain myself to the point that I had little to non left and as a result developed  some kind of illness that got me out the running for long enough to recharge myself, so I could start the cycle again.

In the process of transformation, I lost my main motivator. And ever since that fear was gone,  the will-power trick didn’t work as it used to work, I simply couldn’t use brute force anymore. I felt steerless and as if I would never be able to implement new habits again, because every time I tried, I failed. Today, I discovered that this idea was completely ungrounded. In these past years, I successfully rewired my brain in many ways, I have mastered new ways of thinking and new ways of being. And yes, I used willpower to get there, but I did not use brute force, all I used was a pure desire to be that which I knew I already was. Love had become my main motivator, all I had to do is recognize how I can use it to move forward.
Today, a new friend asked me if I am a perfectionist and for the first time I could honestly answer that I am not, ‘but,’ I said, ‘I do have a very high standard.’ And while I said that I understood that I can finally discern the new ways from the old ways. I am ready to get back in the arena. I am ready to be a powerhouse again, to have strong determination, laser-like focus and a willingness to get out of my warm and o so comfortable bed at six in the morning in order to feel on top of the world at seven. After years of preparation, I am ready to shift gears, to make my dreams come true, the new way.

I believe the secret to making dreams come true is in being the perfect vessel for Life to flow through, to be open to receive Life and create opportunities for that to happen. It means both mind over matter and Spirit over mind.  The first being the ability to master your body and direct your mind any way you want to. And the second to give way to the Great Spirit and follow inspiration wherever it leads, to be childlike in the department of faith. Mastering these traits is a matter of training and habituation.
What I will do is simple. Every day, I will walk at least half an hour, I will sit behind my computer for two hours straight and stand before my easle for one hour with the intention of Spirit to flow through me. That’s it. And after each success, whether I have walked fast or slow, whether I have written a thousand words or none, finished a painting or haven’t even dipped my brush in paint, I will celebrate and reward myself any way I want, because I am on my way to wherever this wonderful Life is leading me.

 

photo by Sky_24

 





Mastering the art of allowing

22 01 2014

 

 

I started an art journal. I had heard about art journaling and seen plenty of examples, but I could not see myself do that. Somehow something changed last week and the idea of starting an art journal all of a sudden became very attractive. So I went to the thrift store, bought an old stitched hardbound book and got going. I did not buy a very pretty, very new art journal, because I figured that would most likely activate my fear of failure and my need for perfection. An art journal is a visual exploration, and, whatever way you use it, it is not about perfection, but all about messing about and intricately messing up as well.

When I paint on canvas, I design the lay-out, determine the technique and then fill the canvas. I am in control. There is nothing wrong with that, but … In the art journal, I start with an empty page and have either a vague or no idea what I am going to create. And then through a process of sensing preferences, I allow the page(s) to fill. What colors to use, what media, what forms and eventual words. I let them come to me. And when something doesn’t work out as I intended, I don’t panic, I just see it as a way to get to something new and unexpected, or I let it be.

This art journal is not only teaching me a different way of working, it is helping me grasp a different way of life, a life in which I relinquish control, in which I trust Life to lead me. It allows me to feel the difference between forcing and allowing, to sense the subtle differences between my way and the Universe’s way. To me, this journal is a means to mastering the art of allowing, a way to bypass the mind, to relax and simply enjoy the process of co-creation. It is amazing what an old book and some paint can amount to.

 

 

 

 

 





I surrender

15 01 2014

 

 

When I dream, I dream big. Always has been that way, no one-dollar-dreams for me. Not believing they could ever come true, I did not particularly like my dreams. So I stopped dreaming. Instead of dreaming big, I learned to be perfectly content with the life I was leading, to love the daily grind. As I started to love my life, my life started to change. Unbeknownst to me, the love I had invited into my life started peeling off my old skin, the old beliefs that had fitted like a second-skin, that had unconsciously been limiting my way of being for as long I had been living. With the shedding of my outgrown beliefs returned the desire to dream again. As usual my dreams were bigger than life. Gone was the belief that they could never come true, born the knowing that in God’s mind everything is possible. Yet, I had no clue how to make that happen. The key would be in surrendering my ego to God, or the Universe if you prefer, I knew that much, but my mind knew it was not ready.

Last week, after over more than one year of trying to make things happen,  I finally realized my mind will never be ready to let go of the control it perceives to be real. So I told it off. Every time it tried to manage the how, I told my mind it was none of its business. That led to migraine-like headaches and overwhelming tiredness. I was kind to myself and resolute in how I addressed my mind. I told it, “you will do an absolutely brilliant job helping me achieve my dreams. You are essential to the process, but you are not leading.” After three days, the physical symptoms subsided, as it would with any addiction the body has to get out of its system, and I felt more quiet than ever. Relaxed in not knowing the unknowable, trusting that all will be revealed to me in perfect timing, as long as I am open to receiving inspiration and willing to act upon it. The self-organizing principle, the evolving consciousness I still call God, the Source of Life of which I am a physical extension will lead me, will present me with all the opportunities and resources I need to fulfill our dream through me.

 

photo by Kelsey Johnson





Here’s to an exceptional New Year!

8 01 2014

 

 

For most people, the New Year comes with New Year’s resolutions. And as much as people bash them, I love them. I love how they inspire us to see our lives in a new light. I love how on that first day of January everything seems possible. That most resolutions croak before the end of January has more to do with the direction of our focus than anything else. The thing most of us are focused upon while creating a New Year’s resolution is the thing we don’t want. Whether we want to lose weight, quit smoking, or get out of debt, our attention remains focused on weight, smoking and debt. And where our attention goes, our energy flows. We need to understand that a New Year’s resolution is not about fixing what is broken, because nothing is. We are whole and perfect. We are not our weight, nor amount of cigarettes we smoke, nor the debt on our balance sheet. These are creations of the past. They do not determine who we are, or what our lives will look like in the future, however near or far. Somehow the start of the New Year reminds us of what we know deep down, that every moment we are offered the opportunity to recreate our life, to be more of ourselves.

The word ‘resolution’ tricks us into believing that we need to be resolute, that we have to plot a course of action and resolve the problem, which is not true because there is no problem to begin with, only a lack of appreciation. The thing about resolutions is that the way to fulfill them seems completely backward. If you want to lose weight, you have to take your focus off your weight. Instead, focus on being healthy, inside and out, body and mind. If you want to lose weight, you need to lose the guilt and shame first, because they are adding to your weight. Stop feeling shame over your body, over your weight, and stop feeling guilty about eating. Instead appreciate your body for all it does for you. Appreciate your legs for carrying you around, your heart for pumping blood through your veins, your lungs for extracting oxygen. Appreciate your eyes for being able to see beauty, your ears for providing the sensation of sound, your mouth for being able to taste all those amazing flavors. Appreciate the food that is available to nourish you, love the food that you prepare, love the colors, the textures and most of all, enjoy while you eat, everything that you eat. Appreciate. Appreciate. Appreciate.

My New Year’s intention simply is to appreciate more, to love more, and to find more reasons to feel great. I say New Year’s Intention, because contrary to resolutions, intentions leave room for the Universe to step in and open doors that weren’t there before. Because when we ask, it is given, no exception. When we ask,  the Universe will conspire to make it happen, no matter what we asked for. All we need to do to allow God’s Grace to flow into our lives is to focus on that which we truly want (health, financial freedom, a loving relationship, a healthy environment, world peace), and find ways to appreciate everything we experience, no exception.

I am wishing you a truly remarkable 2014, may it be your best year so far. Happy New Year!

 

image by Nimalan Tharmalingam





Merry Christmas

18 12 2013

 

 

I always did the best I could. In my old world, that meant I made it work, I worked my ass off, doing things I didn’t want to do because they ‘had to’ be done.

Today, I am still doing the best I can. But in my new world, that has a completely different meaning. It means I love the life I have as best as I can, I am present and show up as often as I can. There are no dos or don’ts, no holy commandments, no deadly sins. Every moment is a new moment, and every day a new day.

I don’t know if the old ways of being will, one day, die completely, but I do know that the new neural pathways will become wider and gain more power every time I choose to do what I love and love what is happening.

I don’t have to be better or do better. I just have to love. Nothing big, nothing fancy. Just love this moment, right here, right now, as best as I can. And from that love, I will be born anew every moment, every day. Merry Christmas!

 

photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert





The art of patience

11 12 2013

 

 

As I am studying the anatomy of a wholehearted YES!, this week I am comparing the areas in my life where I am living success to the areas where I am not yet living my potential, and how I go about them differently. The thing that struck me most was that in the areas where I am successful, I am very patient, I can hold a vision for a long period of time and there is a knowing that all is going to work out just fine.
Interestingly, in my quest for a ‘job’, the opposite has been true. Most of all, I had no patience to let things come to fruition. I didn’t take the time to get the blue print right. In my haste to accomplish something, I started building before I knew what the prospected end result and the cost would be. Looking back, there are many unfinished buildings. They all started with the same amount of enthusiasm and then died a sudden or slow death. I have come to the place where I am okay with that. I have no regrets, but I really want to do it differently this time. I want to navigate around the pitholes that got me down in the past. I want to look back and not only ‘have no regrets’, but feel the exhilaration that comes with the creation of success.

I once heard a lecture by John Cleese on creativity, where he argued that creativity is as much determined by Read the rest of this entry »





Yes!

4 12 2013

 

 

I always knew I  wanted to be a mom, yet I never had the biological-clock-ticking-thing. One day, my husband and I looked at each other and asked ourselves the question, do we really want to add an unknown element to what we are having? And we closed our eyes and projected ourselves 10 years into the future. We both felt we weren’t alone anymore. Then I asked myself the question if I could say yes, unequivocally, to whatever would happen, including every joy and sorrow I could imagine, from an easy conception to no conception, from a great life to a possible death. And without any fear, expecting the best, whatever that may be, I said yes.

7 years ago, after an easy pregnancy, my daughter was born. There was no pink cloud, but from the moment she was born, I was confident. I knew how to be a mom and trusted that inner-voice completely. Although, I was a mom instantly, it took some days to bond to this tiny bundle of life. I did not worry about not feeling smitten, I just assumed all would be well. And on day four, looking into her eyes, there it was, a love that was different from anything I had experienced before, and it filled me completely. In that moment, I felt the depth of my ‘yes’ and knew this was a sacred bond. I knew I had invited her into my life and she had answered my calling. Now I had to step up to the plate. To me, there is nothing ‘normal’ about being a parent, it is not something you become in the logical order of things, nor is it not a ‘right’. Being a parent is a privilege and an honor, because there is nothing ‘normal’ about that tiny bundle of life, it is unique, there has never been a human being like it and there never will be, a speck of potential and it is entrusted to our care.

I want to honor my ‘yes’. I want my daughter to feel safe. I want her to feel confident, because she knows she is cared for. I want her choices to be rooted in Love, not because fear is absent, but because Love is rooted more strongly in her. Above all, I want her to know how to stay true to herself, remain centered and feel great. The greatest challenge as a parent is to know what Love looks like in each moment, and, even more, to not get in the way. Fortunately, I have a great teacher. She is only seven years old, but I couldn’t wish for a better mentor. I am a lucky mom to have such an awesome daughter.

 

 





Uncovering my inner Roo

27 11 2013

 

 

I love Winnie the Pooh! Ever since I read A.A. Milne’s books and was rolling on the floor laughing, literally. tears rolling down my cheeks. Where I used to just love the humour, over the years I have come to appreciate how all characters are aspects of our psyche, and how spot on they are. I used to be equal parts Piglet, Eejoor and Rabbit, with a bit of Kanga and Tigger, which was a rather unhappy mix: insecurity, gloom and  fear, with some motherly caring and and a hint of unchanneled excitement. No Pooh to be present NOW, fortunately no Owl either, but also no Christopher Robin to put things in perspective and bring compassion to my life or Roo to add childlike innocence and enthusiasm. Nowadays, I would describe myself as equal parts Christopher Robin and Kanga, some Pooh, and bits of Piglet, Eejoor, Rabbit and Tigger. Today, I am on an ‘expotition’ to uncover my inner Roo.

When it comes to family, I know very well what excites me, and I know how to foster that and create upward momentum. For other areas in my life, I have learned rather well to inhibit what excites me, especially anything that could lead to a monetary reward.  Anything potentially ‘work-related’ and I feel clueless.  This is where it gets interesting, because I understand that in using the word ‘clueless’ I add to the momentum of my idea of cluelessness. And when I focus on being ‘clueless’ my minds opens the whole scala of concepts that are related to cluelessness, which opens a whole array of emotions that are tied to this feeling of cluelessness. And before I know it I am sucked in and see my reaction to the word clueless as evidence of my cluelessness, while it merely is a consequence of my focus.
Enter Roo. I really want to learn to redirect my focus from the feeling of ‘cluelessness’ which is just powerlessness in one of its many disguises to an expectant  innocence, in which I don’t know what will happen, but am confident that everything will work out for the best. I want to be excited about something and dream big, even if in my mind this seems seems impossible. Innocence is a heart-set, not a mind-set.

When it comes to family, I know how to combine innocence with great expectations, and even more importantly I know how to keep the fire roaring in the daily grind. I would even say that it becomes easier and easier, because I know better and better what it feels like to have an awesome familiy life. Confidence, excitement and intention fueling  each other.
With anything work-related, I never had that combination. Instead, there were equal parts insecurity, fear and gloom and a touch of excitement. They too fuel each other, but lead to an opposite momentum, that is sure to kill any fire any time. In the past months, I have come to a neutral kind of loving what I do, and being alright with not knowing what is going to come from it, but there is no fire, no burning yes inside. I have come to the conclusion that I want to be excited about my work. I have gained enough discernement to know that excitement is not something I have to find in my work, it is something I have to find within myself. So next to writing, painting and having an amazing last month of the year with my family, I am going to explore what excites me, what lights my soul, sets my heart on fire and excites my mind. And once I know what resonates with all of me, once I know what kindles childlike enthusiasm and inspires great dreams, I am going to learn to bounce upward like Tigger and forward like Roo. I am going to foster my excitement. From a cinder I will create a roaring fire by adding daily intention, and confidence. Because what I have learned is that it is not important to feel confident about what you do, but it is very important that you know that whatever happens you will be allright. I may not know how to go about things, but I know that I am cared for, Life provides for me, I am going to be allright.

 





I intend to feel great

20 11 2013

 

 

For so long I have been chasing things like being a good person, being healthy, being happy, being successful, making money, having a career. But those things don’t matter any more. Yes, I love having most of the above, but I am no longer striving to have them. All I want is to feel great.

There are still (many) days when I fall back into old habitual patterns of thought and behavior, when I put a lot of effort in the things I want to accomplish. When I don’t set the deliberate intent to feel great and I unintentionally let  life’s whims rule how I feel. Those days are characterized by feeling off and waning energy. I now see that being ruled by life is the ultimate way to give away my power. If there would be a root of evil, it is this, to give away my power. For it prohibits Life to flow through me, and leaves me powerless, without energy.

If there would be sin, which I don’t believe, it is to live unintentionally, to not be master of my thoughts and emotions, to be prey to whatever life presents to me, be it fortune or misfortune. From now on, I intend to feel great no matter what. I intend to wake up feeling great and keep that momentum going. So if you feel me zoning out on your story or if I react to your story with less empathy than you are used from me, it is not because I don’t love you anymore, it is just that I value feeling great over getting caught up in your energy, because in the end it will do us both no favor. When you are feeling down, I will most lovingly do my utmost best to stay centered. This way, I throw you a proverbial rope and all you have to do is take it and climb up. Because yes, all I want is to feel great, but what I want even more is for us both to feel great.

 

photo by Pontus Edenberg

 





On avoiding snowballs and finding light switches

13 11 2013

 

 

What I have noticed this week is that with the gaining of focus there is the development of momentum. This is amazing when I am feeling great and it is awkward when I am feeling not so great, but it works both ways. You know how it works. One minute you’re feeling great and the next something ticks you off and somehow within minutes the ‘evidence’ is piling up and you are getting angrier and angrier, or sadder and sadder. And as much as you want to think a different thought, you are no longer in control, you cannot stop it anymore. Think in terms of a snowball rolling off-hill, amassing volume and speed. You can catch the snowball when it is the size of a small ball, any bigger than a basket ball and it will sweep you off your feet. Read the rest of this entry »





Wouldn’t it be great…

6 11 2013

 

 

I used to be a very good focuser. True, I focused on the wrong thing, but still I was a very good focuser. By default, we focus on what is active within us, for me that was pain, lots of pain. Giving my attention to what was hurting me, what had hurt me, and I was, no surprise, continuing to feel hurt.
After my daughter was born and I chose to actively care for her in the first few years, I learned to focus in this moment, to be really present now. That little bundle of life made it so easy for me to feel good. As a result, I was so open to life, so appreciative of life that I have no words to describe that state. When I started working again, my energy got mingled up again with that of others, and somewhere along the way old pain was activated and in my misconception I intently focused on it in order to work through it. I wanted nothing more than to move through the pain, but as I focused on it I just added to it. And I added so much that my body said, ‘enough!’ I got ill. In an ingenious way, my body short circuited my focusing mechanisms. I was unable to hold a thought for more than a two to five seconds. Had trouble processing language. And at some days could not even focus my eyes. Although it led to some weird scenes in our home, and made life overly complicated in some areas, what it mainly did was to get my focus off the pain I had kept activating. What happened then was that I started feeling better, and I noticed that although I didn’t have a long enough attention span for words and thoughts, I did have an amazing attention span for feeling good. And I learned to focus on that, and once I learned that, things got better and better.
Once my body healed, I got part of my focus back. And In the past years, through contrast, I discovered Read the rest of this entry »





What do you see?

30 10 2013

 

 

What if the way you see the world is exactly what it is: the way YOU see the world? What if your brain filters only that which resonates with you?

Last week, a friend posted on Facebook a picture of a lounge with the question where she was. To me it just was a lounge, a rather nondescript lounge, but a lounge nonetheless. Curious as to where it would be, I scrolled through the comments, where one of my friends had commented ‘One where you can smoke.’ Huh? Back to the picture, and there out of the blue, like magic appeared ashtrays on the tables. Really chuncky ashtrays. And I, having an eye for detail, had not noticed them. And I wasn’t the only one, other non-smokers had not noticed them either. It was not part of our world. It did not resonate with us, until someone directed our focus to it.

Our brains skim and scan through masses and masses of information, and make sure we get the information we want, by highlighting information that matches with that which is activated within us. Suppose you just decided to buy a new car, a Toyota Corolla. There are many of those, but you never noticed them, until then. Or a Tesla Roadster, there aren’t too many of those, but once you decided to buy one, you see them everywhere. Because in your brain the tag Toyota Corolla or Tesla Roadster gets activated. This is an unconscious process. The new car will probably where off pretty quickly, although I must admit that I still see my car driving everywhere. However some tags are active for a long time. Read the rest of this entry »





Creating a heart map

23 10 2013

 

I thought I had worked through being bullied, I did, until last week. I was bullied between the ages of 8 and 11. The low point: being thrown at with dog turds by several kids. One of them was my best friend. She was, she really was, in the periods that she didn’t bully me, which was most of the time. Being bullied by my best friend has rather screwed up my concept of friendship. It is over 30 years later, and I still find myself struggling with it. Read the rest of this entry »





A fresh start

16 10 2013

 

 

Today, I am turning 41. Again it has been an amazing year, full of leaps and shifts, and so very different than I imagined it to be. Somehow, in retrospect, every year comes with a theme. Where the previous year was centered around healing, physically, emotionally and spiritually, this last year was all about discovery. What do I want? What do I really really really want? It was about learning to discern between my own voice and all the other voices that have shaped me, between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic pressure. It was about learning to let go of expectations and the shame of not feeling good enough, to find ways that work for me, to put emphasis on the process and letting go of the result. Read the rest of this entry »





Let’s go fuzzy – the art of intention-setting

9 10 2013

 

 

We live in a society where success is equalled with the ability to set and meet big goals. So for years, I set goals, and very hard tried to meet them. That has proven to be an interesting be it not very effective experiment. Focusing on a goal is like looking through a tube, it creates constricted awareness. A narrow perspective tends to lead to an inflexible mind, which sees problems rather than opportunities and is resistant to anything that is outside of its scope. Setting big goals is imposing preconceived ideas on a future that is  not only unknown, but unknowable. However big the goal may be, it is a  very limited way of looking at Life. Read the rest of this entry »





Staring at my garden

2 10 2013

 

 

If you have ever taken a meditation class, you probably will have heard the instructor say that you should picture your thoughts as clouds that float in and out of your consciousness. My first instructor was young and probably rather inexperienced and she did not quite explain the goal of meditation or dismantle the most persistent myths that exist around meditation, like the idea that when you meditate your head should be empty. She had said something about emptying your mind, picturing a blue sky and if (not when) we had thoughts we should let them float out of our sight.  I remember trying to picture a blue sky and it kept filling with white clouds, masses of them. And very soon I was not picturing a blue sky anymore, I was just very busy chasing these clouds out of my picture. It was a very frustrating and tiring 15 minutes.  I tried for a few weeks and then decided this was not for me.

It wasn’t until years later that Read the rest of this entry »





Mind the gap!

25 09 2013

 

 

 

I have been wanting to use this title for a long time. If you have ever been to London and taken the subway, you will have heard a deep voice speak these words every time the doors open. How cool is it to be reminded of one of life’s greatest lessons on your daily commute?

What I have learned is that when you let go of old beliefs and the emotions that are attached to it, it has a kind of domino effect. Some effects show right away, but most effects take some time. In my experience, there is a period in which the brain and body sort of recalibrate. What will follow among other things are a greater sense of peace and well-being, more clarity.
So far, the ‘some effects’ have been pretty awesome already. What I have noticed is Read the rest of this entry »