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