Don’t dream about the destination but enjoy your views.
Keep walking even though the trail gets narrow at times.
The conditions might change.
Intimidated by the fog you doubt the path.
You may have to double check your map – make small adjustments.
Sometimes you might have to go back and change the route completely.
Or you have to drop weight because the load gets too heavy.
The secret is to start every day with the first step.
It’s up to you either to resign – puzzled and paralyzed.
Or to keep calm, to settle within, to study the weather conditions. To adjust and equip and keep walking.
Don’t let the circumstances scare you. Be well aware and well prepared for change.
Let awe and admiration guide you, not dread and doubt or agitation.
This is perseverance. This is the path.
The longest two weeks of my life are coming to an end. Ok, I’m exaggerating. But man, this was harder than I thought. The idea was to get rid of my notes, but in reality I created so many new ones – of course – because the more I write the more I think and the more I think the more I streamline my insights.
The learning curve is steep, but through this challenge I definitely made the most progress I’ve ever made with any writing experiment. I literally wrote my ass off. But no pain no gain, right?
Nevertheless – I completely under-delivered. This was partly due to my perfectionism, but also because I was quite involved with editing projects and other work.
Instead of 14 articles I published only nine. Six of the 14 days I worked full-time. I visited my parents in my home village and I was living on a campground. I had a lot of social interaction, which drained my energy.
Nonetheless I used every free minute to write – in the subway, waiting for the bus, in the train, before going to sleep…. I spent nearly every spare moment writing.
I’m proud of what I have achieved in these two weeks. This challenge reached depths that I have never suspected and this is all that matters.
Killing the darlings fastly
The time restraint of the two weeks definitely forced me to steam down my insights. This made me think sharper. Due to the time pressure I had to ‘kill my darlings’ very fast. What do I mean by that for those who don’t write? I had to shorten and revise my articles faster and this helped me in the process of ‘detaching’ from my writing.
Writing is growth
I find peace while writing. I love the process of filling a page with my thoughts.
Publishing with the idea to have to revise it ten times afterwards doesn’t satisfy me and it doesn’t improve my writing either. “Learning years are not earning years.” I guess patience is key and as long as I keep going everything is fine.
Pressure shapes a diamond, but it contracts my brain. It is more important to develop a writing routine than forcing myself to press the publishing button. There are things that are just not ‘ripe’ yet.
There is no such thing as ‘finishing an article’. There is always something to add. There will be always ten new articles in the pipeline. And that’s good – as long as the ideas are flowing I’m going to write.
“Writing over publishing”
I wrote between two to ten hours per day, but if I’m tired I better get some sleep. My topics are too fundamental to just pour them out. The range of subjects expands with every article that I write.
It blows my mind what I’m learning from this challenge. Even though my perfectionism screwed up the quantity of my challenge. I’ve never wrote more within two weeks. I feel like a tiny barrier in my head broke. And this is all that matters. I will keep going.
What would happen if you would pursue the thing you are the most interested in? What if you would choose the one thing you really want to have learnt at the end of your life?
Just imagine it for a moment. How would you feel? And now imagine you wouldn’t pursue this goal?
Yeah, you might fail. Yeah, maybe you will loose all your money, but what if you wouldn’t ever have tried?
What is holding you back from doing it? Is the voice in your head telling you that you don’t have time? You are not good enough? You were never good at it? You don’t have money? You are too old? Your friends won’t like you anymore?
“Your thoughts become your reality.” Yeah right, we’ve heard this a hundred of times.
Only now I understand how fundamental this impact is. If I think negative about myself, if I don’t trust myself, if I continuously think I’m not good enough I will never achieve anything. I will never feel content or satisfied with myself.
More than that: Self-hatred is what manifests. If I don’t change these thoughts I will never manifest self-worth. This is something I have to generate from the core of myself.
You might ask: ‘What does self-worth have to do with pursuing your passion?’
Everything! I have an example for this: Since some time I’m offering coaching in the field of my profession. I give storytelling and video production workshops.
But the beginning was rough. I thought “I’m not good enough.”, “What if I don’t have an answer to all the questions?” The first time I was really fucking nervous. I thought I can never master this. I can never carry the audience. I can never teach anything.
Now, nearly two years later I did it five times and my perspective changed completely.
The other day one girl from a course last year honoured me with the best compliment I’ve ever received in my entire life: “I learnt from you because you are so passionate about it.”
What did I do? I helped her editing a video. Together we shortened a four minute clip to 40 seconds. She told me the way I did it was so inspiring – so calm, with patience and sure instinct.
This blew my mind.
How did I get there? Yes, I learnt the software in university. Yes, I did a lot of internships. What happened? I just liked it. I started to experiment. I edited as much as I could and over the years snipping moving images became a second nature.
But how did this happen? I liked editing, so I edited.
“Make your passion your addiction.”
Now that I write it down here it sounds like a romantic life story. But I tell you what: There are dozens of skills I haven’t started learning yet, because I think I’m not good enough.
How could I not understand this? It is just about doing it. Doing one step at a time. Of course you are not a Mozart from the moment you are starting to compose music and you are not a Picasso the first time you wield the paintbrush. But you are getting there eventually (or at least a bit closer).
Your mind will find thousands of reasons not to aim for the things you really want to do. Is it a lack of money or talent. There will always be something else to do. Something more convenient, something easier or socially more accepted.
The secret is to just get started, to do the first step, to make space for the things you like, to make your passion your priority.
And what happens if you do something you like? You feel joy. So why not make it your addiction?
Make Your Passion Your Priority
Yesterday I was speaking with some people about this topic. There was a guy who just went through a similar learning experience like me.
Our question was: “What do people do differently who are always on ‘doer mode’?” Or my interpretation: What do people do differently who immerse fully in an activity? What do they do to not have these big walls of self-doubt? How do they make the critic shut up?
The secret is that they just follow their intuition. They don’t listen to these voices in their head.
And – if we want to hear it or not – we have the choice if we listen to the voices in our head or not.
What would happen if you would turn all the “I should’s” into “I do’s”? Your life might finally moves into the direction you want. You might discover joy within yourself.
If anybody tells you “follow your passion” is bullshit please don’t believe them.
Go on! “Follow your bliss” as Joseph Campbell would say.
“Finding your passion is the natural outgrowth of healing.”Margaret Paul, Psychologist
Find your bliss or you will never find joy in your life. Be as passionate as you want. But be passionate. Make it your life mission. What else is this life about?
Life is about feeling alive. So do what makes you feel the most alive.
If you have other suggestions let me know. I’m open minded, but I prefer to do what makes me feel most alive rather than anything else.
“It is not a luxury to pursue this experience [passion], but a necessity. Without this special experience that gives meaning to our lives we tend to wander about, aimlessly looking for someone, something, or some substance to fill the void within us.,” says Margaret Paul. The author of the book I’m studying currently. It is called “Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child.”
When we are passionate we forget our problems. We are in the flow. We feel content. We get in touch with our true nature. If we manage to fully immerse in an activity there is no future and no past. We arrive in the present moment.
Is there anything healthier in this life than this feeling? I doubt it. By not pursuing our passion, we exist, but do we live? Come on…
Please double check your “I should’s”, your “I always wanted’s” and your “As a kid I always liked to do’s”.
It is up to you to fuel what you are passionate about.
If you can’t find anything it is might be a sign that you are caught up in self-hatred. Then this is might be something you want to deal with?
Go on. Aim for healing, but be nice to you. Give yourself time. Whenever you are impatient ask yourself, why you are in such a hurry to get through your life.
Be patient. Feed your body and nourish your soul and the rest will come.
Start with small changes. Surround yourself with people who do something completely else then you are doing. Get inspired. Don’t resign the battle.
Observe. Soak in the positive vibes of the people who found their bliss – without envy or resentment.
Just be happy to have the chance to be a part of it.
Go ahead and find your happy place!
“The ego is concerned with getting something while the inner self is creating. In this way creation is the motor for unconditional love. “
It was one of those early summer days in the beginning of June. I went for an extensive walk to cherish the long afternoons.
The sky was clear and the sun still gentile over the hilltop of this tiny village in Tuscany that I called my home at this point in time.
I passed a field of barley. Effortlessly the ears were dancing in the wind. In awe I watched this spectacle.
The ears were not thinking about the direction they were moving. They seemed to be touched by the essence of life itself.
I noticed the trees swinging in conjunction with the grain. The sun was showing her last warm rays of the day. It seemed like the whole environment was in peaceful communion.
Watching this organic play soothed my turbulent mind. All of a sudden I was projected into the present moment.
And this is what observation does. It maneuvers us into the presence.
What happens when we observe?
It forces us into the now, because the object we look at can only be in the now.
Observation doesn’t allow yearning for the future or longing for the past.
Registration doesn’t allow judgement. We detach from opinions and assumptions. It holds us back from overinterpreting.
What happens if we look long enough?
We are able to create a gap between us and our reality.
Looking longer allows us to get a new perspective on something.
If we look deep into the things we discover something new. We discover the details. We discover the edges of something – or the softness.
We discover the things that are invisible. And eventually the blur clears. And this is how we reach a new layer of consciousness.
We get to see the world how it really is. By observation we see the real connection, the real relation of things – without unnecessary entanglements.
We are giving up the power of our mind. By giving up this power we start to not-control things anymore.
We finally get to relax. But first we need to sit still. Without stillness we will never be able to create this gap that allows us to be the observer.
The registration of ‘what is’ directs our actions in the right way.
By observing we find out that we don’t have to react all the time. It is a way of meditation.
We can go with the flow just like the cereal ears.
Inspired by Nyanaponika, buddhist monk for 57 years.
We are throwing ourselves out there.
We are growing deep roots while reaching out for eternal connection.
We challenge the current state by challenging our own convenience.
With reverence not with resistance we are breaking down our own walls.
We rip ourselves apart to give you a clear sight to the core of human nature. Mind-stretching and heart-opening we elevate the planet’s vibration.
Questions are our weapons, discomfort our means of transport and unconditional love our fuel. Our vulnerability is what makes us invincible.
We are the lonesome warriors fighting for existence.
With every barrier we break the battlefield extends. What we conquer is our consciousness – layer after layer.
There is no way back – only forward.
Let’s team up and be the change.
Growing personally remains a matter of observing our habits and altering them. If we want to change, we need to break with our conditions and reveal our true needs. “Habit needs unconsciousness to be repeated. Where consciousness enters, habit falls.” Again I refer to Thích Nhất Hạnh here.
Habit has no power anymore as soon as we are aware of it. But how do we break the chains of habit and practice ‘change’ persistently? How do we get our willpower back?
There were so many things that I wanted to quit or change in my life. I read dozens of articles and books on self-improvement, on how to establish healthy routines and foster positive changes.
More and more I found out that if I want to live in a new way, I have to find out what are the old ways?
Simple, right? I have to avoid unhealthy behaviours. But what are these toxic behaviours? Smoking? Eating sugar? Drinking too much coffee? Yeah, these are the obvious ones. But what else is there? How many times have I found myself ruminating negative thoughts and mistakes? How many times do I still make others responsible for my feelings?
To get to the core of my toxic ways ot thinking I really need to have a closer look. How can I develop compassion for myself, if I don’t know me (well enough)? There are some easy steps that help me with the process of becoming more self-aware. I would like to share them with you in this threesome.
1. Practice Being Alert
Survey your behaviour – especially in conversations. I found out that a lot of times I take things too personal. This is a way of giving away my power. It is proof that I have problems with ‘staying with myself’. It is a sign for lacking self-awareness and at the end self-love.
It sounds familiar to you? So, what can you do instead?
Listen more than you speak. Watch yourself and see how your feelings resonate with the words that are spoken. When do you react emotionally? When do you get angry? When do you take things personally? Instead of plain reaction – get in touch with your emotions and desires. Ask yourself why you act like this? What would be an appropriate reaction?
By being aware of our reactions we are learning to review our thinking from a higher perspective. This way we can identify unhealthy thinking patterns.
2. Slow Down
Eat slow, walk slow, breathe slow, be slow. Abandon rushing from your life and everything will change. All of a sudden you will notice things that you’ve never noticed before. You will understand everything better.
“If you win time you win it all,” says Buddha and his disciples.
By paying better attention to our environment we automatically pay attention to what is happening inside of us. This doesn’t only give us the opportunity to act appropriate but also to arrive in the ‘now’. This is meditation – being slow.
3. Find the ‘Why’
I really need to understand the benefits of quitting a bad habit before I can alter it. For example: Theoretically I understand why eating sugar is a bad thing, but as long as I never find out what happens if I stop eating sugar / start meditating / going for a run in the morning I will never establish this habit.
I think this is why it is so hard to adapt the habits of ‘successful people’, because these habits might don’t suit our real needs. Journaling is might be helpful for people who like to write. But for some it is maybe not, because they get even more caught up in there strange thinking patterns.
We have to ask why in both directions. Why do we cling to negative habits? What can we do instead? And why / how changes a new habit my overall well-being? In any way we need to be open to ‘try something new’ every once in a while, if we really want to change our lives.
My dreams are shattered by your rationalism.
But at least I can see clearly now.
Your arguments damp my fire like water cannons.
But thankfully you hold me back from burning out.
Your honesty cripples my self-worth.
But finally my masks are falling.
You cracked my heart like a walnut.
But ‘There is a crack in everything and this is how the light gets in,’ right?
Now I’m shining like a 300 watt light bulb.
Can you see it?
Yesterday I fell asleep before I could post anything. The casual pre-tooth-brushing-five-minutes-nap turned into a six hours pass out. I woke up when the dawn was already breaking.
But now I’m happy, because it inspired me to post something more meaningful.
The topic of my heart turned out to be healing. Cultivating self-love, spiritual growth, personal development, overcoming pain, reclaiming compassion – in the end it all comes down to the same thing: Healing.
Yesterday night after a two days storytelling coaching job I’ve decided to have a piece of pizza and a glass of red wine at this tiny pizza bar near Rosenheimer Platz in Munich. “What’s this?,” with childlike curiosity the guy behind me in the queue pointed at the pizza ‘salsiccia spinaci’. The spark in his eyes resonated with my wave-length. Unhesitatingly I sat down on his table to share a moment of company.
Immediately he opened up and told me the story of his past weeks. “I just came back from fusion festival,” he reminisced and reassured unintentionally that we belong to the same tribe.
It turned out that he just dropped his medicine studies. Becoming a doctor collided with his worldview. According to him being beneficial for humanity and working in the – irritatingly called – ‘health sector’ is a contradiction in this society. “We learn medicine for 70-year-olds,” he complained with a last trace of disillusionment. “Modern medicine is more about ‘interfering’ with the human body than about maintaining health,” he summed up.
You decide to be sick.
I could totally comprehend what he was saying. Taking responsibility for our own bodies should be something we learn in school, but instead we rely on a dubious system to keep us alive when we are sick.
“You decide to be sick, ” he advocated for our ability for self-healing. Through his words I found myself releasing a lot of tension that had built up during the past weeks of traveling and working.
Things like meridian lines, qì or kundalini energy are referred to in human history since decades. So, why would I not feel what is happening inside of my body if I learn to pay attention to it?
Dis-ease is what’s causing illness. And what is the state of health? ‘To be at ease’. Only when we find relaxation we find health.
I soaked up every word of the conversation – well aware that this encounter was a once in a lifetime one.
I smiled at the universe pondering the lessons of my past months: Healing takes time and not constant action. By re-acting all the time, by planning, by overdoing I’m ruining my (karmic) energy and in the end my physical and mental health.
“When you change your perspective things change automatically.” Briefly we’ve started talking about politics, but this quote applies one to one to the good old habits.
There doesn’t have to be a direct cure for everything. As soon as we are making an effort to change a small thing, e.g. what we eat, how much we sleep or how we work we eventually find great results:
Things fall into place automatically. We find the time for the things we love, our stress-level drops and in the end we might even become healthier.
I need a practical example for this: Since I’ve started to seriously reduce processed foods and industrial sugar my overall ability to focus had improved tremendously. Automatically I’m getting more stuff done (like this writing experiment). THIS is healing on a higher level.
It doesn’t take as much as I thought to become the human I want to be IF I’m willing to honestly change my point of view, question what I thought was ‘me’, if I’m willing to seriously try new lifestyles…
Through these changes I rattle the fundament of my thinking patterns and eventually the truth reveals.
By nature our body will heal if we choose to.
When we are planting a seed we just need to water it. If we are looking at it all the time and try to convince it to grow faster nothing will happen, but we will stress ourselves out.
Our body is a living entity of organs, chemical processes and microorganisms. It is a part of nature. An autonomic system of nerves and neurotransmitters takes care of it. I don’t need to ‘be aware’ of it all the time. It is better to let it be sometimes. By nature our body will heal if we choose to.
“We grow when we are sleeping.” – I woke up with this sentence in my head this morning. It really made me smile as normally I would have been disappointed that “I got nothing done” last night. Instead my body decided to get some rest before I could even tell him to do so.
There is a built in regulation system that protects me if I let it. By trying to control it all the time I hinder it from doing its job.
I can’t believe it took me such a long time to understand the connection between my stress level, my immune system and my productivity.
Again it became obvious to me: If I want to grow I need to let go.
The map is laid open.
The land is free.
There is only love and security.
I’m a part of the net, a part of the whole.
There is no way to take control.
There is only life – no questions no doubts.
So I lift my head up – up into the clouds.
Okay – as this is a writing experiment I’m going to be brave today on “Day Two” of my “Writing Transformation Challenge”. Straight out of my notes from this morning:
How to do the work? How to look at life with compassion and fearlessness?
It means to look at ALL situations as part of THE enlightenment (process). More precisely: All situations ARE enlightenment.
The transformation takes place if we use all situations.
It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold. It doesn’t matter if we sleep alone or in a room with 20 people. It doesn’t matter if we call anything material our own or not.
The transformation takes place as soon as we are no longer afraid to lose it all.
Uncomfortable situations are our means of transport in order to accept / embody our non-being / detachment. But for this we have to give up our comfort.
We have to lose our necessities, our desires, our pride. Because all these things are trivial. They are rooted in our ego. And our ego keeps us trapped.
As long as we are wanting to ‘receive’ we only feed our ego. Why? Because this is the wrong focus.
We receive nothing before we are connecting with the warmth of compassion, the warmth of unconditional love, because this is compassion. We receive when we give. And I mean really give – without expecting any reward.
When we are able to shine our light even though we just went through the deepest emotional pain, this is when we reached unconditional love.
We are able to shine our light when all the masks are falling. If we are unmasking all the lies we are telling ourselves.
As long as we are looking for protection we cling to our desires and we are closing ourselves off from compassion – the true source of energy.
Of course I’m writing this all from the perspective of a westerner. I have in fact nothing to worry about. But exactly because of this I have to be willing to give it all up. It is my obligation to go further, because other people can’t. They are born into oppression, poverty or starvation.
Compassion for all beings includes compassion for our own selves.
You may ask: But how can I be compassionate with myself?! If this is your question (as it is mine) you are still a victim to the wrong ideals. You didn’t take the time to find what nourishes you.
You are still ‘not there’. You haven’t opened the door yet. The real door is still closed and you are hoping for ‘release’ from the external.
This release doesn’t come as long as you are lying to yourself. As long as you chase and rush and hustle you get blinded by superficiality.
I chose the path. I saw too much. I felt too much. I can’t ‘go back’.
This is why I reply ‘I really don’t know’ when somebody asks me ‘What do you want?’.
I’m not doing this ‘for fun’. I’m not running away.
What I know is that this is not about me.
It’s about us.
Getting in touch with our fears is something we are forced to. We are facing loss, illness and physical pain. From the moment we are born we are used to suffering.
The secret is to re-discover the compassion that connects and comforts us all – behind the pain.
The pain is only one side of the coin. The other is compassion.
‘To free ourselves from all fear we must touch the ground of our being and train ourselves to look directly into the light of compassion.’, says Thich Nhat Hanh.
The real question is not: How to overcome the pain, but how to find compassion beyond the pain?