“Accept your journey.” My brain flung out this call in a moment of clarity the other day. The advice was actually addressed to a friend who is suffering from a broken heart. I wanted to encourage him to move forward despite his desperation. Quickly I realized the wisdom behind that simple phrase.
Accepting the journey means accepting the challenges and not questioning them. “Why me?” is always the wrong question. Why you? Because it is your journey. It’s your life. Everybody has their own battles to fight. Some of them might look more brutal, some more relentless than others. But everybody’s obstacles are custom-tailored to their individual power.
Way too often we are taking our own lives and our challenges way to serious. But they are actually a part of us, our life, our purpose. Challenges are not there to punish, but to instruct us.
Massive jolts are rattling my old believe patterns these days. It seems like finally I’m harvesting the fruits of my self-discovery trip. At the same time I’m paying the price with confusion and more questions than ever. What I miss is the fact, that this is my journey. This is what I chose. These are the consequences. This is my way.
Insecurity is what I bought with freedom, dependence on other people is what I ordered with being a nomad. Too many options lead to confusion. Aloneness is what I chose. And my destiny? Is already right here.
This is my path and my destiny. The challenges that I’m facing are the bumpy road conditions. If the road gets narrow it is time to slow down and not to speed up. There is no need to rush. Life happens at its own speed.
Instead of enjoying the journey way too often I’m rushing towards an unknown destination. I’m rushing and rumbling around – chasing what? In the meantime I see the so called “life” rolling by out of the corner of my eye. What if I miss important waypoints? It is time to slow down and take the time to actually look at the map, listen to the intuition (as long as it takes) and just enjoy the view for a moment.
In the meantime? I’m fulfilling my purpose. People expressing me their gratitude. My friends are showing me their trust. Strangers are opening up to me for no reason. I can SEE that I’m making a difference. I published 56 posts on this blog, but I’m still think “I’m not writing anything.”
The path of least resistance is a well-trodden one. Walking your own way demands dedication. I chose my own path and I gonna stick with it at all costs. Do I have a choice? I don’t think so.
“If life gives you a mountain, put on your boots and hike it.”
Did you find yourself now? Finally? After all? What else are you looking for? Why don’t you settle down?
I still don’t know how to answer these questions. But there is something I figured out over the years: There is no “me” to find. “Finding myself” is like finding happiness. The harder I try the less likely I will succeed. This is the paradox about the pursuit of happiness. Either it leads into the presence or it leads nowhere.
Through the years my quest of “finding myself” turned into the challenge of “accepting who I am.” Appreciating my own gifts is as hard as accepting my weaknesses as a part of me. As long as I disregard my nature every attempt to define myself (new) will fail.
The challenge is to bear the fact that I’m just flesh and bones. I’m a human being. I have to take care of my body (and reproduce eventually). I can make great decisions, but at the end they are determined by some higher force. Every action is determined by my nervous system and millions of chemical processes, which are taking place in my body every second. And these processes want to be maintained well.
My body is my physical home, the place where I’m supposed to feel most comfortable. If I won’t find stability inside of me there will be chaos radiating around me.
There is a lot of misinterpretation in the field of ‘personal-development’: There is the idea that there is something to ‘create’. The idea that we can transform ourselves into something better (some hyper human?). The idea that we are the creators of ourselves.
What we neglect is the fact that we are a part of nature. In reality everything is already here. We are already life, light, essence and energy – everything at the same time. We are already perfect. Our purpose is to grow and prosper – just like every other creature on the planet. Everything else doesn’t matter and is not in our power. What we really have to do is to reveal our true selves.
Alright, this is real life stuff right here. The threesome goes into the next round without mercy. This is the essence of this whole personal development thing on the spot: The willingness to learn, to adapt and to be open for change. What helps us to not stop learning? What keeps us on track on our journey of personal growth?
1. Being Patient
“I can’t do this.” “I’m too stupid.” “This is not for me.” “I will never change.” How many times in my life had this negative believe system prevented me from reaching my personal goals? It took me a long time to really understand that learning is a long process. I don’t learn a language within a day and for sure I don’t change my believe system within a day.
It takes actually a lot of time and it always starts with the first step. A steep learning curve can be frightening, but by doing one step at a time we automatically learn. It’s like climbing a mountain. (Sometimes it’s the mountain without the peak.) We don’t fly to the top. Physical effort is needed and in the meantime the view is our reward.
Patience is crucial for this learning process. Don’t expect to be perfect at anything from the very beginning. Mistakes are not only okay, but necessary to improve and to internalize learnings. This is simply how our brain works. Perfectionism is preventing us from learning.
A couple of weeks ago I published “Fail Fast, Learn Quick” if you feel like diving deeper into this topic.
2. Talking To People
Nowadays every person is exposed to different cultural influences through the media, through work and social relationships. This makes everyone of us a very unique human being. The good thing about being highly individualized is that we can learn a lot from each other – from actual skills to habits through to different ways of interacting with each other.
Every person has a different worldview and every conversation is the opportunity to learn something new. Every encounter with another person can be valuable if we are open to listen closely and ask questions with real curiosity.
3. Embracing the Unknown
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you’ve always got.” – After all it is really important that we are opening up to the unknown. Facing new situations, new skills or experiences unbiased and with a positive attitude is the base for personal development.
Sometimes we might face a situation that we never thought we would master. If we maintain a positive mindset in these situations we are going to grow. Considering different perspectives as mentioned before helps us to gain understanding for foreign circumstances.
“You will learn in spite of yourself; that’s the rule.”
Carlos Castaneda from “The Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”
More than one year ago I published my personal “Not-To-Do-List” , but somehow I withheld the counterpart. I can already tick off a lot of the items. The pursuit of happiness is bearing fruits.
Things I Want To Do
1. Being happy.
2. Being proud of myself.
3. Talking about positive stuff.
4. Exploring my own desires.
5. Living up to my own values.
6. Living the moment.
7. Seeing the good things in every moment.
8. Walking slow.
9. Eating mindful.
10. Focusing on one thing at a time.
11. Being confident.
12. Loving myself.
13. Positive self-talk. (Whatever that is, but it sounds good :))
14. Not smoking.
15. Reading before I go to sleep.
16. Changing my perspective/considering another point of view.
17. Drinking more green smoothies.
18. Stop hesitating.
19. Making decisions.
20. Being committed to my own dreams.
Things I Want To Think
- “I’m strong.”
- “I can handle it.”
- “I can achieve everything I want.”
- “I can learn everything I want.”
- “I am loved.”
- “I have all the time in the world.”
- “I have a lot of positive energy to share.”
- “I’m happy.”
- “I’m beautiful.”
- “I love myself.”
- “Today is a great day.”
- “Life is great.”
To be continued….
Alright, it is time to revive the threesome. I’d like to call it writing exploration. What do I explore here? There are a lot of insights that I want to integrate into my life myself. In order to manifest my discoveries I need to write them down here. This growthbuddy is here to help me and hopefully you too. The other day I watched a talk that inspired me to write this article. I condensed the most valuable insights here.
1. Make timetravel a routine
What do you have in mind right now? Are you consumed by negative thoughts? Do you feel stress or tension inside of you? Take a moment to recognise what is going on inside of you. And now think about something really really positive. Some event that made you really happy – no matter if it was in the distant past or recently. Go back to this emotion and smile. Was it this amazing sunset at your last holidays? The birthday of your daughter or your son? Extensive dancing last Saturday?
Be as happy as you were in this moment. Take a moment to really go back to this place and enjoy the feeling. It’s the best if you do this with your eyes closed. But really take a couple of minutes to dive into this experience that lifted your heart higher.
Wow – that was intense. But isn’t it interesting? You were able to relive a feeling only with your mind. Imagine you have all these positive memories in your head. Like in a house with a very sunny balcony, where you spend a warm autumn afternoon, there are these positive thoughts in your mind where you can always go back to. So why go back to the dark and damp basement of your mind all the time?
How we feel depend on where we are in our head. What I realized over the past years of self-exploration: I can actually control where my thoughts go if I really want to. And it is actually not that hard.
2. Cultivate positive thoughts
A long long time I thought. “I’m just a pessimist.” “I’m paranoid.” “I’m different.” Until I found out that it is only me who focusses on negative thoughts. I’m actually addicted to negative thinking. “THIS is inanity.” – I thought to myself. But this time I didn’t say it with the bashing voice in my head. No, I actually understood that this is not insanity, it is just the wrong conditioning. I always felt like a slave to my thoughts until I figured that I just have to change them. Now that I write it down I can’t believe I didn’t understand that earlier. I just took my own thoughts way to seriously all the past 30 years. And this became my reality.
Okay, it is easy to change my thoughts from negative into positive once. But how do I manifest positive thinking as a mindset? Well, how do I get better at anything? Yes, by practice. It is just like going to the gym. I need to exercise positive thinking. As soon as a negative thoughts hit me I acknowledge them. I say “hi” and then I switch to the warm soothing voice in my head. This voice reminds me that there is a lot of positive stuff happening in my life.
Like our home we need to clean, maintain and sometimes refurbish our mind. A bed of beautiful flowers stays beautiful as long as we care for it. I always thought positive thinking is rocket science. I need to study it. But fortunately not – I can just do it. I can just think positive.
3. Create your happy place
Okay, this one is a bit over the top, but for me this metaphor helps me to survive my vivid travel life: I made my mind the most wonderful place on the planet. Well, sometimes it’s still messy, haha. But having a cosy home in my head helps me to bare my own presence. If I really think about it, where else would I feel really at home in this messed up world apart from “in my head”?
Sounds crazy? For me too!
Boooom – there it is: The here and now. The essence, synchronicity, timelessness – however you want to call or not call it. A sudden energy-flow captivates my body. Within a fraction of a second a harbouring warmth unfolds from my core. I breathe in and out. Something is bursting and broadening – all of a sudden I feel nothing but complete.
I ask myself, how could it NOT be there in the past as I’m obviously a part of it – a part of the omnipresent miracle of life. This staggering big soul revolving around itself within this universe. Nothing more and nothing less.
With eyes wide open I can actually see my surrounding. I can move within my full range of motion. I’m not alone. And I realize that the presence was right here all the time. E-V-E-R-Y S-I-N-G-L-E moment it was there. The “now” was just right here behind this heavy, dusty, filthy curtain of thoughts, doubts and hesitation.
Now the gloom of insanity is lifting. From a place of fear I’m lifting off into my own power. From absence I launch into presence. The doubts are still there but they are crystal clear. If they narrow my field of view I can just look through them. They don’t define my reality anymore.
Life sent me on this quest. Now it reveals its secrets.
Every step, every struggle, every pain had a purpose. At the beginning I had no idea what this is all about. At the very beginning I didn’t even know that this was about something. ‘The mountain without the peak’ seemed inapproachable.
Luckily life equipped me with tools: My breath is my means of transport that conveys me to the present moment. With my feet I’m able to attempt the climb up the mountain without a peak – one step at a time. There is nothing else to do.
All of a sudden I realize: “I am at the right place at the right time”. – I always was. I am working hard for my dreams. I am actually fulfilling these dreams RIGHT NOW. And I have been fulfilling them since I took my first footstep outside of my comfortzone. I thought I need to choose. I thought I need to decide. “I just have to work harder.” For what? There is nothing to achieve, because it is already there.
Without the slightest idea I catapult myself far out there. Violently and relentlessly. I keep facing the challenges. I keep resisting the temptation of loosing it.
Going crazy is not an option. I roll. I fall. I’m moving on. That’s all. That’s what I’m here for.
I close my eyes. I let it happen. I surrender. There is no safety net, no false bottom. No, there is only the free fall, raw emotions – everything is out of my control. But the path towards the (no-)peak is here in front of me. How could I not see it?