Drop the rope.
There is nothing to control.
Sometimes you have to ride the wave.
Sometimes you have to plough the dirt.
Sometimes you have to dust off the ashes.
Friction is what prescribes the trajectory.
Resistance is what makes you grow.
Go ahead and rise.
This question had been nesting in my subconscious mind for the past couple of days (or even weeks).
What kept my head in the clouds?
Why was I unable to make a decision?
A subtle fear of the fear kept creeping in…
Desperately I was pushing myself.
Towards an answer.
I found myself trying to figure it all out.
Two days ago, spontaneously, I went to a writing meet-up.
During this meet-up called “Shut Up & Write” we dedicate one hour to focussed writing.
In the introduction round I was all fired-up. For the first time in a while I felt super excited about writing my heart out: “I will finally give it ago and do some stream of consciousness today.” I announced with a solar smile. I felt the urge to just hit the keyboard and go for it…
When the timer started, I was not able to finish even one sentence.
From one moment to the other I tensed up and could barely type a thing.
I started to reorganize some past writing – and I tensed up even more.
“What’s the point of all of that?”
The casual question for purpose made me close my laptop.
The next morning I had a conversation with my boyfriend. I was ruminating about career decisions and life in general.
He said: “While you think all these thoughts, watch your breath.”
“I am not breathing at all,” I countered with a trace of outrage.
“Right, if you look that closely at every moment you don’t have time to breathe – and you don’t experience the moment either. Just let it flow.”
He left me in awe.
Open-mouthedly I starred at the wall.
All of a sudden I understood what was missing the day before – at the writing meet-up… And all these previous days when I felt trapped in my own head – waiting for release that never comes.
The flow of breathe – not despite but united with my thoughts.
I took a breath and finally surrendered to the moment….
“What’s harder? Accepting that you are happy and blessed or resonating with your trauma?”
This is a question that found its way into my notes at some point in 2021.
All of a sudden there was light at the end of the tunnel – after a dark period of loss and despair (Let’s call it “the year 2020”). I had a new job in sight and a relationship I was in (and still am) turned out to be a safe haven for…my chaos, my love and my growth….
Unwittingly I had arrived in a place where I am ‘allowed’ to flourish – in all shapes and colors.
“Yesterday it rained and today the sun is shining. One has to deal with that.”
This quote is written on the website of a coaching “agency” I had the chance to work with last year. I had the chance to get support by an art therapist within the framework of a ‘coaching & consultation for creatives and people who work in the media industry’.
The quote describes accurately the situation that I had found myself in last year. Even though things got significantly better, the self-doubt was lurking and fight-flight-freeze often the only response to stressful experiences.
The thing is: We humans tend to resonate with trauma and with worry more than we resonate with happiness.
It is incredibly hard to resonate with happiness if we have re-created and cultivated trauma-responses in our lives early on.
For example: If we are programmed to disregard our own needs or goals in order to protect or impress a parent and/or to harmonize the relationship dynamics within our family, most likely we will carry out self-destructive behaviours in our adult life. We might neglect our personal goals or our health.
Until we learn to prioritize ourselves…
How Far Did I Get With Displaying The Same Behaviours?
We all have developed mechanisms that help us to be accepted within our tribe, but there is a possibility that we have buried parts of ourselves and a whole lot of potential beyond these survival tactics.
There are Psychologists like Gabor Maté or Neuroscientist Bessel van der Kolk who devoted their work to understanding the dynamics of trauma. And how we can train our brains to move “through” the trauma.
I’m taking a short-cut here: What trauma research has shown is that trauma affects our brain physically and as a result it changes our behaviour.
The great thing about that: We are able to transform our coping-mechanisms to some degree – thanks to neuroplasticity.
And I experienced it first hand – basically by starting this blog (which still astonishes me!!!).
At some point I asked myself:
How far did I get with displaying the same behaviours over and over again?
Not that far – so why not try something else? The opposite, for example!
And this brings me to the first insight that helped me to change my relationship with self-sabotage:
1. Belief What Other People Are Telling You About Yourself
About two years ago I was in a state where I had no choice anymore. I had to ask for help.
The global crisis was incredibly aligned with my personal crisis: I reached rock bottom when the pandemic forced me to “go home”. Apart from travel life my whole idea about romantic love got smashed and my mom got cancer. I had no idea what to do next.
I knew one thing: I couldn’t trust myself, because I had been misleading myself very far off from my core… I did not know where I begin and where I end – boundaries still appeared to be a foreign concept to me.
How did this happen? Apparently I was constantly re-traumatizing myself! The more I learnt about trauma-responses, the subconscious and the biochemical processes in my body, the more I understood in which way I had created my own reality:
How do we create reality? We filter, segment and value the information that we receive – partly subconsciously.
I thought negatively about myself, because I never really learnt to prioritize my own needs. I always functioned as some sort of “emotional buffer”. Within my family and in friendships often times I found myself in the role of a rescuer – or mediator (best case scenario).
So, what did this do to my thinking? I filtered mainly the negative information out of every situation and every conversation that proved my self-image to be right. Subconsciously I programmed myself into thinking: “I am not worthy.”
This way my lack of self-confidence became a self-fulfilling prophecy… UNTIL: I had to ask for help, because I felt mentally and physically unprepared to deal with the changes that presented themselves in my life.
Slowly I opened up to coaches and therapists. I talked to my friends and other people who helped me to recover my own resources:
- my determination towards growth
- my willingnesss to learn
- my resilience
- my “spiritual tools” like yoga and meditation
- my love for nature
- and last but not least: My ability to relate to others and my compassion for all beings (connection to the planet).
Finally I experienced a sense of self-worth.
It dawned on me: What if I trusted? What if I’d believe in the positive things people are seeing in me or telling me about myself? (Much, much earlier in my journey I had started to cultivate a diary of compliments, which helped me to collect positive things about myself. Maybe I should start this again.)
2. Make a Different Choice – NOW
I had nothing to lose.
Looking back this sensation gave me a never felt freedom amidst a personal crisis. A freedom that gave me an opportunity to choose a different direction and at the end a whole other way of being!
Today, I made the choice:
“I’m going to press the publishing button – no matter what.”
This is what I owe myself – a commitment to my own writing journey, my own growth (even if it hurts).
And this is also what I did in the darkest moments of my life: I made the choice to think positive. To trust into the universe.
Sometimes we need to make a different choice – just for the sake of it!
Just for the sake of “trying something new”. As simple as that.
In my experience this is the way to go in order to live a different life.
Sometimes any action is better than no action – in order to get out of deep discomfort, the writer’s-block or in order to change anything in life…
It can be the tiniest step, but it will be a step in a new direction – towards a new life!
3. Appreciate Your Gifts
Retrospectively my willingness to open up to possibility led me onto the path of becoming a professional coach! (I will share more about that “right on time”.;) How? I had asked for feedback. I received feedback that helped me to start valueing my abilities. And now I am starting to implement the changes into my life.
All of a sudden my brain created the following questions: What if I had something to share? What if other people could benefit from my life experience? What if I’d drop the self-sabotage-agenda?
When everyday is groundbreaking, what’s next?
In the absence of thought there is only peace.
I walk towards S-Bahn-Station Berg am Laim.
As many times before I pass the two huge chestnut trees in front of the house I live in.
I did not consciously notice the first one.
The second one lays its branches around my shoulders like protective wings.
A few meters ahead I cross the street and I pass the bus station as I did many times before.
“Something’s changed,” a thought appears somewhere beyond my mind.
There is a void.
But this time it’s different.
There is no fear gripping, no doubt holding my heart hostage.
My legs are moving effortlessly.
The weight of my backpack does not drag at all.
“There is ground beneath my feet,” I observe clearly.
I share my contemplation with my friend Antje.
“This must be this famous now.”
There it was – “the now” – unspectacular but nothing less fullfilling than a cup of morning coffee.
Earlier this week I had a discussion with another friend on “judgment”.
She proclaimed: “While you are tasting a wine, what’s the purpose of labeling the taste?”
Right, what difference does it make? Dry or sweet? Red or white? If you made “the best deal” or not? If you chose right path or not? If you made the right decision or not? If you catch the next train or not?
Of course it makes a difference!!
But does it help you to arrive?
I don’t think so.
And all of a sudden, there it is again.
The life vibrating through my veins.
The eternal force bringing me back home.
Creation itself is filling my lungs.
I am breathing clarity.
Inspiration is flooding my heart.
Ideas are sprouting like leaflets.
Compassion is unleashing my chest.
Haaaaaaaaaa……. There she is again. My friend, freedom.
“You got to become your own person before you can do your job on this earth.“
I don’t remember the exact words of Maor, someone I met briefly at a goodbye party of a friend of mine in Hamburg in 2018.
Or something like that could have been my response. To be honest, I don’t remember if I countered anything. But I do remember that I was desperate. I was desperately searching and looking. I was desperate for adventure, for feeling feelings, for feeling something.
I was craving life. I was terrified of never finding what I was looking for – without knowing what I was looking for.
I was collecting memories and acquaintances – but did I know myself?
In the meantime I numbed myself. I filled the void inside of myself with all sorts of things. (substances, pleasure, party,….), but I had no clue what was really going on within myself…
This ‘unclarity’ crumbled away over time – like a crust of mud.
What I have learnt is that the mud has to dry first. The dust has to settle. And then the path clears eventually. The seeds can spring and the blossoms bloom…
I have been stirring up mud for quite a while. And I am pretty sure that I will keep stirring up mud. It is part of the journey (my journey) – to experience it all.
There is this big Why roaming around in the spheres around “personal development” – and yes knowing the why can be quite helpful.
But the “Why do I feel like shit most of the time?” and not the “Why am I getting up in the morning?”
I did not want to question my feelings. Why? (Haha) Firstly: Because I didn’t even know this could be a good question to ask?! Secondly: I didn’t want to admit to myself in which areas of my life I had “lost it” or I supposedly “failed”.
“Find your why” – this has become an ever-lasting quest for a lot of people.
The realizations that I am sharing here with you stem solely from my personal experience. There is a huge probability that this self-development thing works different for you. Nevertheless I feel the urge to share this:
What I found out is that “the WHY” is not the holy grail… healing is!
What do I mean by that?
In 2015, when I was made redundant from my first work-contract, I was feeling the call too – the call that I translated into: “Find your why!”.
Over the years I have met a lot of people who put a mirror right in front of my face:
“You are lost.”
“You are the universe.”
“You have to prioritize yourself.”
“You need to find yourself first before you can make a difference in this world”
(Wo),man, I had no clue what this was all about.
Well, not no clue, but I was not able to deduce any action from all the mirroring I had (involuntarily) received from the outside-world.
Now I still don’t have a full picture, but I came to the understanding that I don’t need to have a full picture. I will never comprehend it all. This life is freakin’ unpredictable and I better embrace the unknown!
What is predictable is one universal truth: “Things WILL change” (I wrote about change many times in this blog. Actually every post is about change.)
And they did…. in my life over and over and over again. And I am more and more able to EMBRACE the unknown.
I was – and I still am lost – to some extent. But more and more this feeling of being lost transmutes into a state of floating (for some reason this is the word that emerged).
And I tell you: My mind is intervening – all the fucking time. Letting go is a permanent practice.
Thoughts, thinking patterns, limiting beliefs – they come back in circles, in arrays, in fractals, in seasons… (You choose which image works for you).
So. I faced a lot of (uncomfortable) truths about:
- My conditionings and where they are coming from
- To what extent I am influenced by toxic energies in my life.
- Where I am not taking responsibility for my own life.
The list is long….
What I have learnt over the years is that “the WHY” is slowly sneaking in.
I am growing into my why….
Our Wounds Are Our Gifts
But first things ARE first: If I close my eyes from the areas where my body and my being demands healing, I will not find any useful “why”. The “why” will be a sugarcoated lie that I keep telling myself until I collapse.
Well, I do want to be radical here. First of all I have to define what I mean by healing.
Healing is the process of becoming whole again.
This is not really correct. We are already whole to be accurate. Healing is more a “fixing of the holes”, removing the dirt, dropping the unnecessary baggage, standing up on our own feet…
The healing process is sometimes a refurbishing, sometimes it is a surgery, sometimes it’s a sudden removal or a complete turn-over.
We are thrown into situations that tear us apart.
This is part of the human experience. These situations are here to teach us….
If we are torn apart the first step we need to take is to find the pieces that belong to us. The next step is to put them back together.
As long as I am putting myself together – this is my “why”. My healing is my “why”.
I don’t say you have to wait until you are fully healed until you are finally able to share your work.
The opposite is the case.
There is beauty in all of our messy healing procedures.
And there are people who benefit.
There are people who will embrace your experience.
There are people who will love to hear your story. This is what humanity always did – listening to stories and learning from them.
I am not cheesy here, this is what it is – and always used to be.
There are people out there whose healing depends on your healing.
The work that you put in matters.
Nothing you do is self-sufficient.
You will show-up in a way that is beneficial for others. Sometimes it’s only one person in the room. Sometimes it’s an audience of a million…..
So, you don’t know your why?
Don’t worry about it. Rest. Heal. Your time will come.
Healing is expansion.
Healing is the arrival in the present moment.
Healing is union with yourself.
Healing is completion.
Healing is meeting yourself where you are at.
Healing is doing one step at a time. Patiently.
“The why” can become a trap if you don’t take the time to really acknowledge where you are at right now.
And I tell you, I have been there. I am still rushing. I am still wondering very frequently: How do I set boundaries? How do I know what I want? How do I know that I am still on the path?
Then I remember to walk hand in hand with my heart.
This is what the hard times do to me.
There is this potential or let’s say a potential for potential stored within ourselves. This little seed that is resting there somewhere in our subconscious or in our brain.
When you heal you are able to reveal what wants to be revealed. And this is how you follow your purpose.
The hard times force us to walk hand in hand with our heart.
Let’s shed our old skin. Let’s forgive and heal.
Curiosity is rising inside of me. There is only clarity. There is nothing I can see. The appearances of life don’t matter beyond the realm of my mind.
I arrive in my body. And I do it with delight. I feel a sense of care for myself. There is a pure source of love within my heart and my breath is the key to that door that I had locked with distraction.
I feel compassion for my old self. I let the anger fade like the clouds in the sky on that stormy day. The wind is blowing away my resentment towards myself and the world. No doubt is blurring my sight as I allow time to pass. And this is what I do – sitting and waiting and entering that state of bliss with all of my being. That chamber of excitement – bright and colorful placed inside of me is bringing me to life.
At the bottom of my heart I can be at rest. There is only peace. There is nothing to run from and nothing to run for. Because everything is already achieved.
I am earth. No need to “earth” myself.
There is a common ground within myself. This is why I feel compassion for the entire planet and not only for the people who are close and dear to me.
Non-judgement is the true nature of my being if I allow my thoughts to drop like snowflakes on an icy winter-afternoon. Thoughts can be fun, but they can also cause a lot of turmoil.
All of a sudden I am able to tap into that powerful being that I am. And I knew it all along. I feel grateful that I am finally able to hold my own hand. I finally found my tools – within.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight.”
This truth revealed itself to me several times.
Sure, I can comprehend that intellectually.
But incorporating the patience to bear that truth – that’s a different story….
I AM IMPATIENT. With myself. With the world around me. With the people who are “waking up” right now in this world. I don’t want to be impatient. I want to have compassion.
How do I want to have patience with other people if I am my hardest judge?
“You should be more confident.”
“You should be somewhere else in your life.”
Yeah, I’m claiming myself to be empathetic. But when it comes to my own development I bounce my head against the walls of my own resistance. “Resistance to what?,” you might ask… My resistance to feel what really wants to be felt in the very moment.
Writing this down raises a smile on my face. Warmth is softening my chest. “Take it easy,” an internal voice whispers into my awareness.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Mary Anne Radmacher
Honestly, this quote moved me.
How much time do I give myself? To evolve, to learn, to remember, to integrate?
How many times do I rush into a decision?
How many times do I not listen to my exhaustion?
What this whole pandemic thing (call it whatever you please) teaches me is: PATIENCE. And I am so freakin’ grateful for this – even if it’s the hardest lesson I have yet to learn.
What I learnt over and over again from my past is that life does not follow a chronological timeline.
I can manifest. I can picture my brightest future. As soon as I take steps new challenges arise. New insecurities show up.
Surprise, surprise – the body is striking. The mind is rebelling.
And here you are: “Wait a minute? I have asked for this, why is it that hard?”
Because we grow in sections.
Friction is a companion on our journey.
Challenge will never leave us.
Challenge comes when we least expect it and, surely, when we most need it in order to make our own decisions.
They are here to test us.
When universe asks: “Are you serious?”
Do you go all in?
All in often times means not to push hard. It means to pull back. To take rest. To cry. To sleep. To recover. To re-cover what you have buried beneath new layers of life experience.
Something you considered as healed may re-inflames.
And then it is up to you to open your eyes to reality. Will you take the time to heal? Or will you distract yourself again and not move on?
The best advice I can give myself these days (as a fire sign) is: SLOW THE F*ck DOWN. Do you. Keep clear. Don’t overdo. Move along, but do it in your own pace (or slightly slower.)
Is there something you have overlooked in your enthusiasm?
Is your body asking for something else than your busy mind does deliver?
Is there anything at all that needs to be done right now?
Do you remember to breathe?
Breeeeeaaaathe through discomfort.
Move through hardships with grace.
Accept the challenge.