It’s all about ME

13 09 2011

 

 

Almost two weeks ago, while visiting my family doctor because of a debilitating tiredness I’ve had for some time now, she suggested I’d look into chronic fatigue syndrome / ME. I did. I found several different standards and according to all, I fit the profile perfectly.  So yesterday, I called my doctor to make a new appointment to deal with the physical side of what’s going on. That means getting a diagnosis, which will involve tests as it is a diagnosis of exclusion. There is no treatment, but I want to learn ways to go with my body, instead of against it. As I said, that’s the physical side, it is what needs to be done, but as far as I’m concerned that is not the interesting part of what is happening in my life.

I thought I had made peace with being tired, but being confronted with a possible ME diagnosis, feeling physically very ill and emotionally drained, I discovered that there were new layers to be uncovered. Although this illness and its symptoms are very real in my daily life, I choose not to see it as a physical problem. Unexplained energy loss has been an issue in my life for the past 20 years and no exercise, diet or multivitamin has had any significant results. I would be stronger and healthier than any person I’d know and still, out of the blue, get immensely tired for weeks, unable to even brush my teeth.

What is interesting is that, as I have been growing spiritually in ways that I almost cannot fathom myself, my tiredness has been growing proportionally. And although this may seem paradoxical, it makes perfect sense. See, before, the image I had of myself and my actual life were the same, there was no discord. But now, my image of self has changed almost  180º, yet my life has not. I’m still moving in the same direction. That’s two bodies moving in opposite direction, creating immense tension.

Have you ever held onto something, because you were afraid to let go, even while you knew that you would be alright, that you would be better for it? That’s where I am now. I’m in this boat and I’m rowing against the stream. I’m so good at rowing and I’ve rowed for so many years that I’ve actually managed to row upstream. The current is so much stronger up here and by now I’m rowing like a maniac not be taken by the current. I’m exhausted, I really want to let go of the oars, yet I’m so scared to be taken downstream that I keep rowing. Did I mention that I’m a control freak? I know I need to let go and allow the stream to take me, to close the gap between me and Me, but I’m afraid of what will happen when I give up this illusion of control. Fortunately, my body is caving in, and it is finally dawning on me that I cannot beat the stream of Life, there is only one way and that is down. It is called gravity.

I can honestly say that I’m excited to be on this journey. What an opportunity! What an amazing opportunity! I can’t wait to see what happens when I will let go and allow this stream of Life to take me. I will use this illness as an excuse to catch up with my Self, to become more self-ish, in the purest sense of the word. Isn’t it perfect irony that it will take ME to become Me? Makes me laugh.

photo by Christa Richter

 

 





Yes, we can CHANGE!

2 03 2008





What next?

15 01 2008

I have never seen life as clear as I do now. I’m on a new level. This a new ball game and there’s no going back. On arrival, I have had to change my outlook on life. I am changing my thoughts, my behaviors and my dreams accordingly. For the first time in my life, I’m taking action on what I already believe to be true. I have faith I will produce the results I set out to produce.

As a result my life is changing. Working toward my goals, I’m casting off anything that doesn’t serve my progress. I love blogging, but it took up too much time. Time I’m not willing to spend on it anymore. So I’m wondering how I can use my blog in a time-effective way to help me reach my goals and inspire anyone who reads it . I’m working on it…

For the new year, I wish you will receive what you’re asking for and find what you’re looking for. May you be blessed beyond belief.





First seek to understand

7 12 2007

You don’t want me as your car mechanic, and that is okay with me, for I have no ambition in that direction. Somewhere along the way, I have made a conscious choice not to develop that capacity. And for the moment, I have no desire in improving my knowledge in that area. Maybe some day, I will love to learn all there is to know about my car, but for now I’m perfectly fine with not knowing anything about it. I don’t perceive this as a weakness, it is just a wilfully undeveloped area in my life. 

You don’t want me as a mediator either, for I simply lack the capacity to understand other people’s perceptions when they do not fit my world view. And that is not okay with me, for I want to be able to understand your point of view and someone else’s as well, so I can create synergistic relationships. Yesterday, I realized that when growing up I simply had no role model who showed a sincere interest in how someone else viewed the world, who was willing to be changed by someone else’s ideas. In my life I have unconsciously perpetuated this old programming. Yesterday, I recognized this so-called shortcoming is merely an undeveloped area in my life. The difference with car mechanics is that here I do feel a deep need to change. I want to learn all there is to know about you, see and feel the world your way, to enrich my life by understanding yours. Today, I have decided I will invest all energy, time and money necessary to become an expert in making this perceived weakness my perceived strength.





“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? 





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…





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.





Seek, and you will find

25 10 2007

Have you ever experienced all the pieces falling into place? To me, it’s what I live for. Feeling my perception shift. Knowing I’m about to take a quantum leap. Knowing the world will be different when I get to the next level. There is a sense of anticipation. I do not know what to expect, but I know my life will change in ways I cannot  begin to imagine. I’ve learned it will be a change for the better.
It always starts with feelings of restlessness, like I’m out of sync with me. Things are changing and I cannot yet pinpoint how. I start noticing things I never noticed before, sensing connections I do not yet understand and finally it all comes together.
This is my lifelong quest: hunting for answers I do not yet understand to obtain a goal I cannot yet imagine. It’s about finding my holy grail. I have to prove myself worthy of finding it. I have to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually before it will be revealed to me. More than anything I believe that when I seek, I will find.





Peace of mind

19 10 2007

Recently, I went through the process of clearing from my head all the commitments I have made with myself and others.. This mental to-do list was taking up too much space and way too much processing time. In stead of tossing everything, I put it down in writing. In three separate lists: things I’m committed to at present, the next step I need to take to get these things done and things I might commit myself to someday. It is interesting to see how the mind actually quiets down when you get rid of all excess baggage. Apparently, the mind keeps repeating whatever commitment you have made to yourself, even the simplest of simple intentions as ‘check out that website’ or ‘sew button on pink shirt’ (which reminds me..), until it is done. Writing down al these to-do’s and checking your lists on a daily basis gives peace of mind, and even better it makes room for actual thinking. For that, I want to thank David Allen with all my head.





Home at last

18 10 2007

I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness from the age of seven. At the age of 27, I decided I was worthy simply because I’m alive. That was a huge step, but it has taken an additional eight years for my feelings to change accordingly.
Celebrating my 35th birthday, something extraordinary happened. Some of my friends didn’t show up. A few years ago, that would have been catastrophic to my self-image. It would have been proof that I wasn’t worthy. This year, I was surprised they weren’t there, that I had not heard from them. I missed their presence and  hoped they would still come. When they didn’t,  I sincerely hoped they had just forgot, that everything was ok with them and their loved ones.
When I realized what had actually happened, I felt a jolt of pure joy. All these years of hard inner-work had paid off. Of course, I had already noticed enormous shifts in my self-perception, but this felt like coming home. Home at last!





Be inspi(red)

16 10 2007

Today, I turned 35. I feel a deep gratitude for each breath I take. I feel blessed beyond measure for reaching this age. I’m still here, still healthy. So many people cannot repeat these words after me. They have either been infected with HIV or have died of AIDS already. Entire generations wiped out. Babies and young children dying of AIDS alone, because they have no parents to take care of them. Hospitals filled with people who do not get the proper treatment, because there is no money. While we live our lives comfortably, pretending everything is OK, people are dying on our watch. Take a moment to realize your blessings and be inspi(red) to act. Embrace the world and give life!





Big rocks first

15 10 2007

‘Most people go through life rather organically, whereas you have a whole set of rules you apply,’ a friend mused, referring to Thursday’s post. That is true, I’m an all or nothing kind of person. For most people, this is hard to grasp, they think I’m too strict on myself. As for me, it is about giving the right kind of energy. For instance, I want to age healthily. To attain this goal I need a healthy lifestyle and part of that is exercise. I decide to go running every day. Of course, I could start with once a week, but that doesn’t work for me. I need it to be an automatism to get up at a certain time, put on my shoes and just start running, rain or shine. This way, I do what matters without putting in the effort. I don’t have to think about it, I just do it. Same with meditation, study and, writing this post. In the bowl that is my life, I try to put in the big rocks first, than the pebbles, than fill it up with sand. This way, everything will fit in, whereas the other way around…  you just do the experiment yourself and find out.





I keep walking ’till the sun comes up

5 10 2007

Several years ago, I wrote a mission statement for my life. When I look at it now, it is clear I didn’t understand exactly how to write it; how powerful language is. But most of all I didn’t ask myself how I could make it true. I didn’t make a plan to make it work. I didn’t understand a mission statement is a sort of living will, it not only ensures that I am aware of what I want in life, it provides a plan to act on. These last weeks, I’ve been thinking about creating version 2.0., but I didn’t know exactly how to handle it. This week, while reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done, I learned exactly how to make it happen. All I needed were the right questions to ask myself and some knowledge on how I process information. Read the rest of this entry »





I’ll be all I can be

4 10 2007

A man who lost both his legs in an near-death accident, climbed the Kilimanjaro. A woman who was overweight for her entire life, lost over 300 pounds. A boy who was born without legs, ran the marathon. These people can break our limited perceptions of what is possible. Their accomplishments awed me, but I didn’t understand, and therefore dismissed these  stories to the realm of the amazing. It never occurred to me they were showing me I could do great things too.
All my life I’ve limited myself by thinking ‘I can’t do that’ or  ‘I would never be able to do that.’ Yesterday, I shifted gears. I changed my obsolete mantras for a brand new one: I can do this, I just have to figure out how.’ However impossible it might seem at the moment, I’ll be all I can be. I don’t know how I’ll get there, but I will. I believe that when I’ll keep the end in mind, keep believing in myself and just keep going, I, too, will accomplish great things.  





The beam in my own eye

27 09 2007

I could get so frustrated by people’s behaviour. Why was he always late? Why did she never return my phone calls? Why was the person in front of me driving slowly? Their perceived lack of consideration could make me so angry. On some level, it even made me feel as if I didn’t matter. Until I learned that I was late on some occasions, I did not always return phone calls, I drove slowly when I was relaxed. Apparently, what irritated me with others were my own unrecognized (bad) habits. I was baffled. From then on, whenever I got frustrated or cross with someone, I realized that I must be culpable of the same ‘crime’, so I investigated how, when and why I did or had done the same. What I have discovered is shocking. The evidence I have uncovered is rather discriminatory. So for now, all I am willing to say is that I have become very, very, very tolerant toward other people.





No wild-goose chase

21 09 2007

I believe it makes a huge difference if you’re being called a ‘stupid cow’ or a ‘genius’ on a daily basis.  How can you not believe these words if you hear them over and over again. It becomes a part of you, literally marks your personality. Knowing this, I made a conscious choice to speak to my baby in positive phrases only, from birth on. I thought I was doing rather well…Only, I had forgotten one little detail. As it seems my method was not fool proof, there was a loop hole I had not thought of. Nor did I see it, until it was pointed out to me. What I had completely overlooked, was one very crucial point: I lead by example. And there I wasn’t doing too well. Whenever I was making a sandwich and took the butter out of the fridge, but forgot the cheese, getting dressed and came downstairs realising I didn’t put on my shoes, sitting in my car and noticed my sunglasses weren’t in my bag, I would call myself ‘goose’. I said this over a zillion times a day. I said it so often, I didn’t notice it anymore. It had become a bad habit. A potentially dangerous habit, that is. Had I not caught it early on, it would have raised my daughter instead of me. It would have taught my daughter it is ok to belittle yourself, despite al my efforts. And that is not ok with me. Ever since, I’m on a goose chase. Every moment of the day, I try to lovingly eliminate geese from my vocabulary.





What makes sense to me

20 09 2007

I know christians as well as atheists who stick to their principles with ardour. They have taken a stand and will not budge. Not when there’s evidence pointing in the other direction, not when an inner voice whispers there might be an other side to their truth. It is their way or the highway.
I was one of them. I was afraid to see the evidence and to hear that inner voice, because I feared my life would collapse if the foundation was taken away.  It did, but under the remnants I discovered another foundation. I discovered me.
The real me doesn’t know for sure if there is a higher power, what it is like or if it affects my life. What I know is that I feel it’s presence in everything. Maybe, my mind is playing tricks on me. I don’t care. It may not be logical, but it makes sense to me to believe I am a spiritual being having a human experience, to believe I am part of something bigger, to believe the journey continues after this life. I may not believe everything that is written in the scriptures, but it makes sense to me that a higher power cannot be captured by human vocabulary. You may think I’m fooling myself. You may think I’m no true believer. Maybe.
I ask you to consider that your beliefs are … well… beliefs, that whatever you believe, you have chosen to believe. So, until this great Mystery is solved,  I choose to believe what makes sense to me. I listen to my heart and follow that inner voice …





Closed path

19 09 2007

I thought that my voyage had come to it’s end
at the last limit of my power, - that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.

Rabindranath Tagore





Don’t cheat yourself out of a choice

18 09 2007

“I’m a woman, I should be able to bear children.” I heard a woman say who is physically unable to have children naturally or through IVF. I am deeply sorry for her, not only because she cannot fulfil a lifelong dream, but also because she is not willing to let go of that dream. She feels cheated by nature, by God and she’s angry about it. I can understand that. She believes giving birth is her birthright. She cannot accept this is beyond her call. She is fighting a fight she cannot win and is depending her happiness on something she cannot control.
In everything, she sees reminders of the children she should have. She says she feels stuck. I am not surprised and am afraid she will for the rest of her lifeif she doesn’t drop the ‘shoulds’. Been there, done that. Different subject, same should. I can tell her it’s a dead-end. Instead, I have learned to see my life as it is, to change the things I can change and accept those I cannot. I have learned that in some circumstances, my power lies in how I cope with them. I have learned that choosing a different perspective changes the way I feel about them. I have learned this choice is my birthright. I have chosen to count my blessings, become pregnant with hope and have given birth to happiness. With all my heart, I hope she will too.





Reality is superceded by our limited perceptions

15 09 2007

‘Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvres in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battlship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.
Lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you to change course 20 degrees.”
Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”
The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”
“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees”
By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”
Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”
We changed course. ”

Frank Koch – Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute
as cited in The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey





Smiles instead of hairdos

14 09 2007

While I was riding my bike, I saw this woman walking behind a stroller. She smiled at me. She looked happy. I smiled back somewhat automatically, because all I could think of was her hairdo. So eighties!
As I had passed her it struck me that because I had been passing a judgement on her, I had not been able to reciprocate her kindness. This holier-than-thou attitude blocked my vision. I didn’t  see her as she really was, because I was focussed on what I thought she should be like. It blocked my empathy, as this experience was all about me. Being judgmental impedes humanity. From now on I’ll focus people’s forte. I’ll concentrate on  smiles instead of hairdos.





Breaking the spell

13 09 2007

This week, a friend came by my house unexpectedly. It was a mess. He walked through my living room a few times, sighing with relief. He was so happy my house could be a pigsty too. I felt horrible. As my friend was celebrating the mess in my living room, I was doing my utter best to convince him this was not normal. Everything would be normal within an hour, clean and tidy. Although he clearly felt more at ease with me now he knew I was only human, I was trying hard to uphold this image he had had of me. I was under the spell of perfection.

For most of my life, I’ve been under it’s magic charm. I was led to believe that if people got to know the real me, they would not love me. So I desperately tried to live up to this self-created picture perfect image. Up to the point where I could not separate myself from the image I had created. I was all tangled up. I had to learn I could not please every one, had to learn I did not want to live up to everyone’s expectations. The best I could do was doing my best at being me. In doing so, I somehow have broken the spell and slowly have got to be me again. But sometimes I stumble upon a part of me that is still living under that vicious spell called perfection. When I spot it, I look my demon in the eye and murmur my counter spell over and over again: perfection is boring, perfection is boring, perfection is boring, perfection is…





The sun can shine as bright as it did back then

7 09 2007

I was this investigative, independent toddler, the happiest kid you can imagine. I can still vividly remember playing in the sand pit making mud pies, riding my bike, walking to school. In those memories colours are bright and it seems as if the sun is always shining, even on rainy days, as they too were special. At the age of 6, we moved from one side of the country to the other. I was eager with anticipation, but no one had prepared me for the changes life was about to bring. As the new school year started, I literally felt dislocated. All of a sudden, I deeply missed my former life. I did not learn how to cope well. I had a hard time making new friends. My self-esteem and everything else went spiralling down.

It took me more than 20 years to realize the sun could shine as bright again as it did in my memories, that I could be happy again, that I could be me again. I had been reliving on a daily basis what had happened to me between age 7 and 11. I learned that I didn’t have the right coping skills back than. As sad as it was, I couldn’t change that. What I could change, however, was the way I coped with my past in the present. This was a turning point in my life.

Everyone responds differently to life’s challenges. Some have learned to cope better than others. But every day offers new opportunities to sharpen those skills, to see the bright side of life, to be happy, to be you.