Living, loving, learning

30 11 2007

One year ago exactly, while giving birth to my daughter, I was born. It was one of the most powerful moments in my life. Never before had I experienced, something as raw, something as pure. Never in my life had I had such clarity, stamina or focus. It felt as if my consciousness expanded and I was joined by all those women from time immemorial who had gone through the same rite of passage. I could feel their energy, tap into their wisdom. I was not the first nor the last to experience this pain. I was but a link in the chain of life, a fortunate link.
A year has passed. It has been the best year ever. My daughter is this vibrant girl, full of energy. I am deeply grateful for her loving presence. For her open mind and ingenuity. For the joy she exudes. But most of all, I’m grateful for the lessons she has taught me so far. That I am giving, loving, patient and powerful beyond measure. To be in the moment, not to worry about the future or fuss about the past.  She is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. She has given me life.





Blog break

21 11 2007

On the road, it is adviced to take a 15 minute break after two hours of driving. After posting 87 consequent blog entries, I need a break from blogging. These last months have been great. Publishing my thoughts and not wanting to break the cycle has forced me to focus on where exactly I was in life and rethink where I wanted to go. It allowed me to clear my mind and get real. Sunday, I felt like I hit a plateau. I started noticing surges of restlessness. For me, a sign I’m stuck in a pattern and need to make some readjustments in order to move forward again. That’s what I’ll be focusing on in the week ahead. I’ll be back from my blog break November 30.





Unexplored territories await

20 11 2007

Giving birth, my life turned upside-down. My life had been centered around healthy eating, running and exercise.  All of a sudden, everything was different, life was centered around this tiny bundle of new life. Life was different, but oh so good. Slowly, life returned to normal, except for those healthy habits. Eating healthily and exercising daily had been key in generating discipline. Being able to control my body had enabled me to control my mind. With my eating and exercising habits, discipline had gone out the back door too.

In order to create discipline again, I started making small commitments to myself and making good on them.  Today, I am ready to start doing those dreaded crunches. I’ll envision how strenghtening my core will strenghten my mind. I can do this, I have done this before. What happens after I’ve reclaimed my discipline, I don’t know. Unexplored territories await where new found purpose meets self-confidence and willpower. I almost can’t wait to see what life will bring.





Are you heading in the right direction?

19 11 2007

On the road, when you follow the direction signs you get to wherever you’re heading for. I have discovered only recently the same principle applies to everything in life. Nowadays, instead of saying where I don’t want to go, getting me nowhere, I simply state where I do want to go and automatically find the direction signs pointing to my destination. 

Imagine the brain as a radar. When I state “I don’t want to eat chocolat chip cookies anymore.”, this leaves my brain with too many options. The brain needs a focus, so it takes the only information it has got, and starts scanning my environment for chocolat chip cookies, causing me to see them everywhere and think of all the places where I can buy them, making it very likely I will eventually eat the cookies I didn’t want in the first place. Having eaten those cookies, I Read the rest of this entry »





A rose

18 11 2007

rosa

is a rose is a rose is never just a rose…





“My life…

17 11 2007

is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Gilda Radner





Honestly?

16 11 2007

Being open to change is all about honesty. I need to be completely honest with myself in order to know who I really am. Honesty comes at a price, though. The price is pain. Then, why bother and submit myself to continuous self-examination? Why make life complicated?

I have learned that however painful uncovering the truth may be, it is less painful than hiding that same truth. Hiding doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Deep inside, I knew I was not being completely open, and I was constantly trying to cover up. Ever tried to keep a beach ball under water? All it wants is to surface. Keeping the truth about my life under the surface took most of my energy, and finally wore me out.
I have learned that when I have the courage to see life as it is, not as I would want it to be, I’m rewarded with a deep sense of peace, as if a weight is lifted from my heart. The reward outweighs the pain always. And with every lie I uncover, my sense of self increases and the pain lessens. Where I once was unhappy, I now feel at ease with myself. I am proud to be me. All the energy I freed up, I can spend freely now. I am happy and healthy. My life has never been better, and I know the best is yet to come. 

So ask yourself in all honesty, what does your beach ball look like? 





Life Challenge

15 11 2007

It has been 8 years since I started my Life Challenge. At the time, it felt as if my life didn’t fit me anymore. I had grown out of it years beforehand, but had not had the courage to fit on a new life. I had become sick with stress and knew deep inside the only way to heal would be to leave my old life behind and find a new life, more becoming of me. For me, it meant letting go my notion of God and everything this encompassed, a life that revolved around sincere bible study, prayer and church. It has been the scariest thing I have ever done.
By letting go, I entered a new realm, where I did not recognize anything at first, I did not know where I was going, where my foot would land with the next step, I stumbled and fell, had bruises all over and felt disoriented and confused all the time. But wonder, oh wonder, I was not afraid, because divine energy was surrounding me. The God (for lack of a better word) I was walking away from, was walking with me. It was the same God I had always known, but different. After some time, my eyes got used to this new and wondrous world, imaginable and unimaginable at the same time. I now recognize what is behind me, but I have no clue what is in front of me. I’m ok with that.
I’m learning God happens when I’m willing to leave my old life behind me every day, just as Life happens when I’m willing to surrender to this divine energy in everything I do. I take one step a time, trying to be open to every challenge that comes into my life.  Living my life to the best of my abilities. Have you entered the Life Challenge yet?  





Many miles

14 11 2007

The feet of the heron,
under those bamboo stems,
hold the blue body,
the great beak

above the shallows
of the pond.
Who could guess
their patience?

Sometimes the toes
shake like worms.
What fish
could resist?

Or think of the cricket
his green hooks
climbing the blade of grass-
or think of camel feet

like ear muffs,
striding over the sand-
or think of your own
slapping along the highway,

a long life,
many miles.
To each of us comes
the body gift.

Mary Oliver





A complaint free world

13 11 2007

I guess everybody knows someone who’s always complaining. She just goes on and on and on. Nothing ever seems to be right. How I ‘d wish she would just stop whining. Yesterday, someone burst my bubble of holiness.  I may not have been complaining about the weather, I sure was complaining about her whining. I honestly believed I did not complain so often. I was shocked to see how much I actually do. I may not complain out loud, but it’s not the verbal expression that makes the complaint, it’s the thought itself. In this short period, I have learned it can be very subtle, it can come in a myriad of disguises, but they all have in common a sense of victimization. This feeling of being wronged diverts my attention from all things good and beautiful. That is not how I want to live, it is not who I want to be.  So this morning I went to A Complaint Free World and ordered my purple bracelet. I invite you to do the same. Be the change you want to see in others.





Change starts at home

12 11 2007

Last week, after having lost a board game, I realized that playing that game, not only meant playing by the rules. If I wanted to win, I had to accept it would be a win/lose situation. I didn’t want to lose again, so I used every trick I could think of to beat my opponent’s ass.  Which I did, by the way. 
As much as I love winning, I discovered I have a deep need for the other to win too. I understand a game is just a game. It is not about winning or losing, it’s about the people I play with. In life, it is no different. In life too, it is about the people I interact with. I can’t afford to win if that means other people will lose. I realized, for me to succeed in the long run, I need to create win-win thinking in every area of my life. An ambitious project, but fortunately change starts at home…. 
How I can spark in my board game partner the same sense of excitement in winning together as he has in wiping me of the board? Mmmm, I wonder how I can win him over…





Warm your heart

11 11 2007

orange dahlia

When storms have left your heart barren, when life feels cold. May these orange flames warm you, may they open your spirit to all that is beautiful. 





Spreading a little link love

10 11 2007

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.”  Eileen Caddy
 

I want to return a favor, repay kindness, give some joy and laughter to those who named my blog on theirs. To my dutch readers: verbreed je bloghorizon, ontdek nieuwe bloggers, breng eens een bezoek aan een eerste-generatie-duizendpoot op StukjeS., de nieuwsgierige, filosofisch mijmerende Mo-online of neem een kijkje in het leven van een sara op Ditjes en datjes.





What I write I leave behind

9 11 2007

People hold on to painful past events long after they happened. I have learned that in order to move forward, I have to let go. Letting go is about acknowledging I cannot change the past, but I can change how I  feel about it. It is about forgiveness, accepting a part of me that is not to my liking or was ignorant at the time the event occurred. Writing this blog is about moving forward. I can only write publicly about having messed up, if I have let go of the shame and guilt that were caused by it. When I forgive myself, I lose all attachment to a painful event. Therefore, it doesn’t feel personal to me and I can share it freely.
When browsing my site, you may experience some discomfort. My writings seem too personal, too intimate. Instead of clicking away, look inside what is causing those feelings of embarrassment. What do you have to let go? Which part of you needs forgiveness and acceptance? Become aware of your feelings, forgive yourself and move forward.





Where will it lead?

8 11 2007

What I choose to do or how I choose to react directly influences what happens next. Different reactions trigger different chains of events. Choosing A will yield different outcomes than choosing B. An eye for an eye, a smile for a smile. Whatever I choose to do, there are always consequences. What I put out in the world, will come back to me, positive and negative alike.  It may take time and I may be repaid differently than I envisioned, but I have faith that one day all my hard work will pay off.
You may wonder where this comes from? Writing a weblog is fun, but, and I don’t want to sound melodramatic, the proof is in the reading. The man in my life and I started a weblog at about the same time. His blog is already generating 30 to 50 times as many views a day as mine. It makes perfect sense. His blog is about Excel. It has a well-defined target group, addresses a specific need and offers asked-for solutions. My blog, on the other hand,  has none of the above ingredients and is very personal in addition. Have I chosen a chain of events that will mainly lead to my own personal growth and few readers or do I have to be patient, trust my gut there is a need for personal growth and introspection, and have faith the right people will come my way. I ‘m trying to figure out what lesson is in here for me.
In the meantime, if you know people who are interested in living their best life, spread the word about this site… If on the other hand, they are in desperate need of Excel tips and tricks, then Zo Werkt Excel is the best place to go.





A question

7 11 2007

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.

Robert Frost





A good return on investment

6 11 2007

I have been depressed for years. Being depressed, I did not feel like doing anything, and the less I did the less I felt capable of doing. There were days when coming out of bed was daunting, going to the store to buy food would equal climbing Mount Everest. Until I recognized how doing little or nothing had reinforced the state I was in. To get better, I had to do things.
So the years that followed, I was mainly being busy not to do nothing. Most days, I was continuously doing things from the time I got up to the time I went to sleep. On other days, being tired of being so busy, I mindlessly sat in front of the TV or read some boring book. Until I recognized how being busy to be busy left me numb. To feel fulfilled, I had to do things that are important to me.
So these days, next to doing things that just need to be done, I do a little nothing everyday and ideally spend the rest of my time on things that matter to me. It is not easy, sometimes even daunting not to turn on the TV, but I have learned that, even when feeling tired, giving energy to things that fuel me gives me more energy. I don’t know how, but the energy I invest comes back to me morefold. I can honestly say I have never felt so good in my life.





Use your imagination

5 11 2007

I have discovered why I postpone things like certain phone calls. It is not that I habitually tend to give priority to those things I like better. I’m actually very good at delaying gratification. After putting my daughter to bed, I work my ass of to get my kitchen and living/dining clean and tidy, before I have that craved cup of coffee. So what is the difference between cleaning and making a dreaded phone call? It is not that I like cleaning better, for I don’t, but I’m motivated by how good it feels to sip my coffee overlooking an organized living. Up to now, I did know intellectually discipline only goes so far. Now I understand. To consistently do things I don’t like, I need to be able to motivate myself; to see the big picture beyond a single action, to imagine into detail how I will feel when I have successfully handled that phone call.





Unique beauty

4 11 2007

waterdrops salvia officinalis

The waterdrops on these purple leaves of sage inspire a sense of amazement. The unique beauty of each drop opened my heart and mind to a new realm of possibilities.  





‘You can do anything you want to do.

3 11 2007

What is rare is actually wanting to do a certain thing: wanting it so much that you are practically blind to all other things, that nothing else will satisfy you… I know I have said a lot when I say ‘You can do anything you want to do’. But I mean it… Blunder ahead with your personal view… The real work of art is the result of a magnificent struggle. ‘

Robert Henri in The Art Spirit





Just do it!

2 11 2007

Have you ever sat at your desk playing office, doing things that did not matter, just because you dreaded a phone call you had to make or a paper you needed to write? Something similar happened to me yesterday. The worst thing was I knew I was just fiddling around to avoid what I had to do. I was feeling awful. Finally, it hit me: I had better felt miserable while doing what had to be done. Then I would have been halfway and finished in the time I had reserved for it. This morning, as a result, I got up early to write this post, so I will have some extra time later to finish what could have been done yesterday.





On letting go

1 11 2007

These last weeks, I have been confronted with traits I don’t particularly value in people I do love dearly. It was eating me. How could I let them see they were on a road to nowhere? How could I let them see the world differently. Basically, I wanted to solve their problems. Until I discovered there is nothing I can do to solve this problem. There is no problem to begin with. Nothing has to be solved. This problem exists only in my mind. I have to let go of a wrong and right way of doing things.  Albeit I see they have so much more potential than they’re showing and would want their lives to be better, I have to let go of how I think people should react to life. I have to remember that even if they don’t see it themselves, they are still great. But most of all, I need to recognize these notions of good and bad exist only in my head.