thank you for guiding me through my existence. I’m grateful for your patient mentoring and your steady navigation. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy the great pleasures of being human. I sincerely appreciate the freedom you provide me to discover my personal direction.
Every day you are giving me the opportunity to open my eyes and make the most of my day. Thank you for invigorating me with positive energy and showing me the beauty of nature. Thank you for every sunrise and every sunset and all the time in between. You remind me that everything is temporary – the darkest and the brightest moments.
I especially appreciate the chance you provide me to connect with other human beings. Thank you life for introducing me to people, who enrich my existence. People, who shine like the sun and warm my heart like a campfire on an August night.
Thank you for teaching me so much – day after day. Your are guiding me so patiently through all the windy roads. With the stones you place in my way you enhance my strength. Every challenge helps me to grow. Every obstacle is invaluable in the process of learning.
Dear Life, thank you so much for your flexibility and your endless generousity. Thank you for making me the human I am now. I’m looking forward for more great experiences with you as a teacher in 2018.
Today is one of those days of clarity and I decided to post this without hesitating. I just give myself ten minutes to write this thing down and then I gonna publish it. This is going to be incomplete, maybe repetitive but for sure it is honest.
“Uli, what do you want?” – Many people (including myself) asked this question within the previous years. Within the next few sentences I want to distill the essence of what I want. No blubbering – just straight talk (as straight as a hand-drawn line by a three year old ;D).
What do I want?
I want to breathe in and out consciously.
I want to be aware of the signals of my body.
I want to carry full responsibility for my health.
I want to explore my needs and live up to my own values.
I want to truly understand how I feel in every moment without blaming or judging myself for it. I just want to watch my thoughts and accept them without trying to change them.
I want to be able to make new encounters truly open and unbiased.
I want to look into the eyes of a stranger with real interest instead of superficial curiosity.
I want to be able to share my feelings with everybody.
I want to have the time of my life with random strangers without expecting to ever meet each other again.
I want to consider every situation, every encounter, every conversation, every walk through city or nature as an opportunity to learn.
I want to grow above me.
I want to reconcile my inner callings and my actions in my everyday life.
I want to find a way to not break, because the heavyweight of this system is dragging me down.
I want to live truly awake.
I want to appreciate every moment – even the darkest ones.
I want to love life in prosperity and in adversity.
I want to find a place, where I can live peacefully. A place where I can eat without worrying about the environment. A place where I can laugh tears and cry rivers. In child pose. On the ground.
I don’t want to make anybody responsible for my life apart from myself.
I want to live independently, but not lonely – side by side with people I love.
I want to work for a real purpose.
I want to do what really matters.
What I want is truth. The real truth. The Chris-Mc-Candless-style-truth. I don’t want fake anymore.
Nobody is living my life for me, so I do it as good as I can.
Allright, ten days without caffeine are over. What had changed in the meantime?
At the beginning of my challenge it seemed like an insurmountable hurdle not to drink a single cup of coffee for an entire week. I was already so used to have a coffee in the morning and the next one before lunch. In light of the fact that an existence without this dose was unimaginable for me, I easily renounced. It actually turned out to be just a small change of my morning routine, but the effects were mind-blowing.
What are my learnings?
Ginger tea and a cold shower substitute coffee perfectly. The additional plus: It is actually much better for my health. Instead of “poisoning” myself I detox in the morning.
Indeed the monkey in my head calmed down a bit. Well, I’m still hyperactive, but my mood and my ability to focus stabilizes without caffeine intake.
My sugar consume increased a bit. At the middle of the week I bought chocolate cookies and I ate half of it at once – probably as a surrogate-satisfaction. But I will manage that. 😉
Decaffeinated coffee is not toooo bad. Well…
How do I want to handle my consume in the future?
My most valuable insight: A life without coffee is possible. Yes, it is. I still love coffee and I can’t deny a good cappucino or italian espresso. But the experiment proved my addiction. One approach in my life is enjoying the good things thoroughly without abusing them. If you listen to your favourite song every and every day it gets boring at some point and isn’t it the same with coffee or any other addictive substance? From now on I want to be a pleasure drinker not an caffeine junky anymore.
Do you know this feeling of losing control over your time and energy? This feeling of being controlled by external forces? If not I envy you. These days I feel like I’m burning out a bit.
Jobwise but also socially a lot of commitments gnaw away my energy – finishing video projects in one job, long nights at the bar-job, mulled wine at the Christmas market ;), family meetings and so on and so on. Plus: I stress myself out in order to finish my personal goals for this year. The end of the year should be the time to hibernate or at least recover and reset, but somehow it is the opposite – busy as f***.
Of course it is up to me, but somehow I can’t help myself right now. Well, there is something I can do in order to reclaim control: Aiming for a life in the present moment!
Time to pull the handbrake – Another threesome is overdue! 😉
1. Breathing Actively
Yes, the good old breathe. Without it our whole body wouldn’t work. It doesn’t only provide every cell in our body with oxygen. It also relaxes us. If we pay attention to our breathe we become aware of our body. And as soon as we focus on our body we forget our daily and mainly trivial problems.
That’s why I started to breathe more thoughtfully. Especially in stressful situations a few rounds of deep inhalation and exhalation release a lot of tension.
I always imagine how clean air is flowing into my body. From my nasal wings the air flows into my lungs, where it spreads out into every tiny fibre of my chest. All of a sudden my chest is filled with fresh air which starts circulating through the rest of my body. It wanders through my arms into my fingertips and from my belly into my legs and toes. Every part of my body gets subserved with oxygen. Through this image I arrive in the present moment as my thoughts become obsolete. Just try it yourself.
2. Acknowledging My Location
Well, often the breathing goes hand in hand with locating myself: On the way to the subway I acknowledge my surrounding – the trees, the sky, the colours, the air. I try not to think about my tasks at work.
The other day I read something interesting about “stress”, which made me realise that stress is just an invention of the western society. In Namibia for example the word stress doesn’t even exist. They divide time into rooms. In every moment you are present only in one room. You only act, live, love or work in one room. The next action will eventually take place in a different room. But now you exist only in this one room, so there is no need to be bothered about the next room.
Everything, every action has it’s time and it’s space. If you brush your teeth you don’t tie your shoes. If you tie your shoes, you are not at the subway. If you are in the subway you can’t be bothered about your job. If you experience the present moment – the room you are in – you can’t be bothered about the future.
3. Remembering that I am Not My Thoughts
We were born with the absence of thoughts. When we were born we didn’t have thought in our head. Basically we were the essence of life, pure existence, true love or however you want to call it. We didn’t have all these doubts and questions in our head. Sometimes in stressful situations I really like to go back to this place in my head. It helps me to take things more easily. I try to see my thoughts just as something temporary that can’t effect my mood.
Just give it a try and drop all your thoughts. Remember that your thoughts are just something superficial you can easily leave behind. Feel the relief and the freedom. This is meditation too.
“That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.”