I can be in my body.
I can breathe into my body.
I can allow my body to relax.
I can appreciate my body.
I can be one with my body.
When the pain gets unbearable the mind gives up explaining.
The transformative energy of pain is what will eventually make you take action.
This is what I call healthy disillusionment.
All of a sudden you have to find solutions to problems where you can’t wrap your head around.
Instead to intellectualize you have to internalize your experience.
The more things don’t work out the more you have to go within.
The collapse of your construct of thoughts levels the ground for something new.
This is the power of disillusionment.
Disillusionment is the gateway towards inner truth. It is ‘the path’.
Every challenge you overcome will increase your dignity and your self-respect.
It is up to you if you face the pain in order to find your path or if you distract yourself.
It is disillusionment that brings you closer to your own needs.
So, be welcome, dive in and appreciate the pain.
I occupy myself.
I’m occupied with myself.
I’m occupied with being myself.
I’m occupied with being occupied with being myself.
I’m occupied with an image of myself.
I’m standing on top of Hirschgarten Bridge in Munich. The traffic is buzzing around me.
I’m typing the beginning of a new article into my phone. Interestingly about ‘listening’.
To be honest, I was not able to listen to anything at all, because I was so harassed by my thoughts or let’s say ‘haunted by my own demands’:
“It’s really time to finish a new article.” “You have to prepare the photo project.” “And when are you going to practice italian again?!”
The circus of my mind blasted. My brain clutter occupied all my senses.
In a few minutes I would meet my friend Patrick to have a chat about a photography project in cooperation with some founders from Munich.
All of a sudden my stomach is contracting. I feel like I’m completely hungover – without having been drinking anything.
Something else happened the day before that drained my energy: After my first ever full-body Thai Massage I cracked.
The Thai Masseuse: “Relax your muscles.”
Me: “I can’t.”
My body: “What the fuck are you talking about?!”
The massage was very painful. I expected that. But what happened four hours after the massage blew my mind.
I was writing on my computer at a co-working space when my lower abdominals started to burn slightly. I just took a deep breath to ease the ache.
A few minutes later I could feel a stinging pain circling around my navel. It started from my diaphragm circumnavigating my ribcage down to the core of the muscles around my pelvis.
“You have to move your body,” Patrick who I was working with tried to encourage me. So I moved – even though all I wanted was to lay down.
The pain started to hulk up. I was whining and shouting at the same time while my legs could barely hold my upper body.
It became unbearable. Instead of the U-Bahn I had to take a taxi home. The driver nearly hospitalized me. “Fuck no, they wont help me! Drive me home!!!,” I protested loudly.
In cold sweat and tears – after a lengthy traffic jam – I finally reached home.
I needed help.
The only person I could think of was Ralf – the only fitness trainer I know. Despite the fact that we hadn’t talked in ages I dialed his number.
With self-evidence he examined the pain with me. “Your body releases tension. Of course it hurts,” he scotches my concerns.
Apparently a muscle tension or better say ‘adherence’ released amongst my inner organs. Finally ‘loosened’ they fell into place again. “Actually the masseuse did a good job, if this is the result…,” Ralf lifted my spirits pointing out that this tension must have persisted for years.
Just by talking to him I relaxed – as good as I could. I nearly had to laugh about myself now.
You might ask yourself: “What does this have to do with ‘being preoccupied’?”
Through this experience I realized HOW much I’m gripping. How much I can not ‘let go’ of the image I have of myself.
Back to Hirschgarten bridge:
I’m standing there with my phone in my hand trying to ‘get something done’.
It is a beautiful day. The blue of the sky covers the city like a cozy blanket. The sun gives her warmest warmth possible on this early November day.
In the distance I can see the famous twin towers of Frauenkirche. I turn my face towards the sun to catch some UV beams with closed eyes.
When I open them again I can see the tops of the mountains at the end of the street southwards. As the traffic lights stop the cars next to me this view let’s me repose too.
Gentle release is crawling up my spine. It broadens my chest and opens my heart. Smoothly my body is warming up from head to toe – and so does the expression on my face. Even my feet are warm now.
This was a moment of grounding.
This moment on the bridge reminded me that everything I need is right here. I can perceive the magic of the moment if I stop being occupied with ‘doing me’.
What do I have to do instead?
“Relaxxx,” the Thai masseuse would say.
“Open up to the moment.” “Allow yourself to be present in order to heal.” This is the advice I would give to myself.
Why is this all so fundamental?
I’m taking myself so serious that it hurts. Already during the massage I could feel the spots, where energy channels are blocked in my body. I understood how much I’m physically inhering my body. The clinging of my mind manifests in my physical body.
This is the opposite of surrendering to the moment.
I will never increase my productivity in a state of stress. I will never find connection with myself or anybody else in a state of stress. I will never be happy in a state of stress. And on top of it: I will never ‘be myself’ or ‘in my full power’ in a state of stress. Lao Tzu said: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
And most fundamentally: Stress is the root cause of illness (dis-ease). If I compromise my relaxation I’m jeopardizing my health. There is absolutely nothing more important than my body.
I’m struggling with stress ever since. Already in the first grade I remember my sweaty feet. Nobody cared about it during this time. But now I have the power to care for my stress-level myself.
My body showed me several times that I have to relax. In the past I suffered from heart-burn. There were times when I could only eat grated carrots and apple because my body wouldn’t digest a thing without making my throat burn like fire.
A couple of years later I could barely move my chest, because my muscles had built a so called ‘armoring,’ how Wilhem Reich, the initiator of body-oriented psychotherapy describes it.
Since years I’m carrying these tense muscles around. Yoga, meditation and targeted exercises help me to constantly release this tension.
Maintaining my health – more than anything else needs to be my priority. But not in a way of “I have to eat healthy”. “I have to quit smoking.”
No, fuck no. Well, of course smoking is bad, but I don’t want to make my non-smoking my addiction. Otherwise I will become occupied with ‘trying to eat healthy’ or ‘being a non-smoker’.
It is more important to listen to the signs of my body, to allow myself rest, when I need it, to listen to what my body really wants instead of being occupied with what I think I need to want.
A couple of months ago I wrote a similar article. Please check it.
What you think is your ‘goddamn right’ is your prison.
What you think is your desire is your addiction.
What you think is your self-expression is forcing your will on others.
Will I finally shatter my resistance and surrender to the battle?
Trust that things end when they are supposed to end.
Trust that the right beginning is just around the corner.
Trust that everything happens at the right time and things will fall into place.
Trust that you will have the perfect solution for every problem you are facing.
Trust that everything is already done.
I’m standing there – embracing the rush.
Love is running through my veins.
A stranger smiles at me – twice.
Another stranger is glancing gently.
It is this moment when I realize that I have found what I had been looking for.
Finally the fire in my heart is burning beautifully.
Where there was repulsion there is passion.
Where there was tension there is lightness.
Where there was envy there is compassion.
Where there was emptiness there is love.
A massive burst erupts the shell.
There is nothing to achieve.
There is nothing to detest.
There is nothing to desire.
All of a sudden I realize that there is no resistance left.
There is only “surrenderance”.
I breathe out everything. I give my lower belly another press to get rid of the last trace of resistance. And then I release my muscles completely.
“Germany is one thing: various,” says the advertisement of the German Government in the subway.
A tear is generously watering my eye.
I realize how much my perception had changed.
I practiced to see.
I practiced to learn.
I practiced to surrender.
All of this became a part of my life. I co-exist. I create energy from a magical place within.
I can easily breathe away the tension. The mentor is within myself.
Have I learnt to utilize my tools yet?
I can see beauty everywhere I go.
My ego is not being busy ‘getting’.
I can fully perceive. I can fully immerse if I’m fully perceptive of my environment.
How can I be fully perceptive?
By not taking things personal.
By not being busy fulfilling needs.
By observation instead of judgement.
By opening the heart and shutting down the mind.
By dropping prejudice, disbelief and compulsive behaviour.
What can happen?
Absolutely nothing if I stop controlling and finally allow imperfection.
I have to replace motives with sympathy, moral with truth, intention with action and hesitation with trust.
It is the recovery of authenticity.
Where does it all start?
It starts with a fire within.
When are you going to understand that the world owes you nothing, but you owe something to the world? – Your excitement.
I lack the understanding of form. This is why I lack the understanding of symbolism. This is why I lack the understanding of boundaries.
Because form – in a sense of entities, in a sense of personalities or roles – doesn’t exist according to my understanding of the world.
This is why I CAN’T define myself or the other. I see through them. I see through me. I see them through me and me through them.
I see myself as a means of transport, a flashlight, a catalyst….
There is nothing to define. There is might be not even something to reflect? There is only to discover. But what there is to discover is not ‘something’. It is it – many before me named it – awareness, consciousness, oneness, ‘the way‘. In the end this is ‘us’.
My thoughts mask my consciousness. My thoughts are trying to define. This way they are closing my eyes.
Lacking the form is a good start. Probably this is something that distinguishes my way of thinking from the thinking of most beings. But the mask is there.
Expansion means to get rid of this mask, get rid of all thoughts. A beginning would be to not believe them. To not do what they are telling me. At a max these thoughts want to point in some direction.
Do you want to come with me?
What is there? Fear? Anger? Doubt? What are you the most afraid of? What seems to be the biggest challenge of your life? Define it. The more precisely you can define it the more shockingly will be the impact. The impact on and of what? The impact on your belief-system by dropping this fear.
The thing you identify has to be the thing to fully let go of.
If you never got in touch with any form of meditation you might have issues with this, but you will get there.
Imagine this challenge, this fear. And now let go of it. How? Drop it, push it over the edge. It doesn’t belong to you. It is only a thought. So let go. Dive into trust instead. Completely.
I imagine this trust as a warming and comforting bathtub. The doubts and threats and dangers are imposed, constructed, dictated. They are trying to hold us back from diving into the soothing bathtub.
What’s the water in the bathtub? It is the essence itself. It is pure love.
If we are ready to immerse into the unknown we are going to experience it.
Resistance and disbelief are the fences. Prejudice and self-hatred are the bouncers at the doorway to paradise.
Paradise how I understand it – a place of unity, a place of wholeness, a place where true innovation is possible.
If we discharge our mind from its responsibility true innovation will be possible.
If we don’t believe our thoughts the unbelievable will be possible.
All we need to do is to get rid of our resistance and dive into trust.
An update of my “Seven Minute Experiment” is long overdue. Honestly – this is much more than a Micro Habit Challenge. My whole world literally comes crashing down on me – in a good way. I’d like to call it a healthy disillusionment.
What did I do? I started a small diary of my feelings in my notebook. Everyday I write down which emotions I felt on this day. In moments of extraordinary joy or pain I take the time to sit for seven minutes with these feelings. Afterwards I’m documenting it.
This helps me tremendously to get a better understanding of what is going on inside of me. It helps me to get a realistic image of my emotional state – this is the healthy disillusionment. I’m starting to face my reality.
It is crazy what kind of process this experiment had started. And how something so simple can be so fundamental. Actually I have to go a couple of steps back. There was a challenge that I called “Am I ready to stop judging?” The answer was “no”. But the only person I’m judging is myslef. And I found out why.
Yeah, there is a lot of perfectionism and blaming going on. But most of all. The reason why at times I feel so detached from myself is a lack of connection with my gut feelings, my core, my inner child – however you want to call it. A lot of times instead of recognizing what I actually want in a given situation I rather judge what’s best. My mind makes a decision before I can even listen what my inner self wants to tell me.
As soon as I take the time to listen I’m accepting these feelings as they are – without judgement from the mind.
I’m trying to sum up some insights:
Boost Of Positive Emotions
When I started this experiment I thought I would go through all my negative emotions. The idea was that I would ‘sit with the pain’ and see how it evolves. What I realized was that I don’t allow enough space for my positive emotions. Once I’ve started to allow myself the seven minutes in moments of exuberant joy I’ve started to raise my energy level. Even thinking about these moments now boosts my energy level.
I’m Actually Quite Happy
Through ‘watching out’ for my feelings I get a better – and more realistic – image of how I feel today and in my life. Also it made me realize that I’m not as depressed as I thought I am. And if I have negative emotions, anger or rage these seven minutes help me to see the source of the pain. Actually I have moments of joy and pleasure (from the small things) every day.
Feelings Are Normal
It might be a bit early to point out but I can feel my emotional intelligence increasing. The better I understand myself the better I’m able to understand what other people go through. In the end we all go through the same stuff in our lives. Looking at my feelings helps me to integrate moments of loneliness, confusion or pain without judging them.
Arrival in the Now
As soon as I observe I arrive in the presence. This doesn’t only apply to things, but also to emotions. It is incredible which aspects of my life are changing through watching my feelings.
Personal development is a matter of constant effort. It is a learning process that requires constant work.
I fell in love with this process, but recently I had been neglecting it a little bit.
Luckily the universe provides me with the lessons that I need to learn – over and over again.
I understood that these lessons are the process. There is no final solution. Or to put it differently: There is a constant solution.
These lessons are the solution. Or to use the words of Ram Dass and Timothy Leary “We don’t have a problem. We have a plan.”
Recently I’ve been a bit stuck. Trapped in my own perfectionism I was trying to force purpose. I was so busy ‘uncluttering stuff’ that I forgot to keep doing the work (which is part of the plan).
“Making an honest inventory.” “Writing my heart out.” – Helping me to grow. This is still the idea of growthbuddy.rocks. And on the way I’m trying to inspire a ‘growth-mindset’.
Right now I feel like I block my own progress with all the ‘intellectualizing’ and the pressure to finish hundreds of articles.
I’m working on articles about resilience and taking responsibility for oneself’s feelings while building up resistance against my own truth.
What do I mean by that? My own truth is my direct connection. It is my ability to connect with the world from a natural point – without trying to control or to be somebody.
I behaved like I arrived at this point. Like I mastered it. But in reality my confusion reached a new level and also my perfectionism and my addiction to predict the future was still holding me in chains.
I’m just a kid playing with the universe, with the world, with other people, with my own potential – without understanding the rules.
Once in a while it is good to get an outlook to the mountain without peak, but now it’s time to do my homework again.
Back To Work
I noticed it when I tried to finish my article about ‘taking responsibility for one’s feelings’:
I can’t feel feelings. In many situations I don’t know what I need. Probably because I am so distracted with organizing my life and stuff. And also because I’m so busy thinking of other people’s needs and what I can do for them. (Codependency)
I’m out of touch. Out of touch with reality. But mainly out of touch with myself. And this is why I can only express my confusion.
“The Seven Minute Experiment”
My work for now is it to get back in touch with my feelings. It is funny, because I’m talking about love and heart a lot.
In the last few days during yoga and at the climbing gym I found out that I have absolutely no connection with my heart. Well, not absolutely, but definitely I’m not acting ‘from the heart’. The muscles around my ripcage are so tight, there is absolutely no room for me. No room to enter. And this is the source of all other pain that I’m experiencing in my life.
As some of you might know I like challenges. It is time for another Micro Habit Challenge. This time it is more a Macro One:
Ha! And there we go. I was trying to define the difference between feelings and emotions. And I couldn’t. There are different definitions of it.
As far as I understood an emotion is something caused by the external. Some event we react too. This emotion can also access our deep rooted fears or desires and all of a sudden it causes a feeling within our chest.
Feelings are something we have learnt. Feelings that we feel are conditioned. For example some events trigger an old child memory and all of a sudden we feel a certain way in a certain situation without doing anything about it.
I don’t remember where I read or heard it, but apparently it takes seven minutes to ‘go through’ a feeling.
In the next 30 days I want to have a closer look at myself. This is really basic work and I’m hoping to get more clarity around the topics of ‘integration’ and ‘needs’.
Acutally I’m already a few days into the challenge. I started a diary for my feelings about a week ago. The starting date of the challenge is September 12th.
Trust in the uncomfortable.
Trust that everything that doesn’t belong to you will leave you.
Trust that everything that belongs to you stays with you.
The red of the early morning sun brightens up the facades of Munich.
It is 6:28 am.
The Olympiaturm shimmers in the distance.
A heavy warmness soothes my heart and my whole body.
Tears roll down my cheek.
What a great miracle is this life?
And I’m a part of it. I’m a part of something much bigger than myself.
A humble gratitude comes over me.
As the day is dawning it dawns me what an incredible opportunity this life is?
All these challenges. All these obstacles. All the confusion invites me – like this day is inviting me – to keep exploring.
Opportunities open up every single day in my life.
It is up to me to only focus on the obstacles or to focus on the possibilities.
And what is possible? Basically everything that I can imagine and everything that I want to afford.
Everything I’m willing to pay the price for.
Why would I spend so much time deciding which direction to go? There is only forward. Okay, I might take detours. I might ‘waste’ some time.
But hey. I’m trying new things nearly every day. I’m getting more and more inventive when it comes to ‘making a living’.
Maaaaan, I thought I lost it. I was looking for my excitement for months.
Yesterday night I was sitting at the campfire at my favourite campground in Munich. This year and last year I spent a couple of weeks at “The Tent”, but for some reason this place feels like home.
There were some italians sitting next to me. “Di dove siete?”, I started a one hour conversation with this couple.
“Why do you speak italian?”, the german guy next to me asked me.
In this moment I realized what I had learnt in the past two years. Not only italian language skills, but essential knowledge about life.
I am so fucking grateful for every person who dipped my nose into my own truth.
“You have to take off your mask.” “Put yourself on number one.” “You are lost.” “Breeaaaathe in and out and in and out and in and out.”
More than ever before I realize that this is all the process of non-stop-learning.
Most of us think there is a goal. Most of us think there is something to reach – on a spiritual level, but there is only the expansion of our own consciousness and the daily work.
I read a headline on Medium the other day. It said something like “Get Out Of The Start Up Porn”. I haven’t opened this article, but I can liveley picture its content.
We are creating the perfect business in our head.
We are creating the perfect relationship in our head.
We are creating the perfect amount of money on our bank account.
We are creating our dream job.
“I did the most when I didn’t have money.”, Nicolas, a talkative italian guy told me in the kitchen of ‘The Tent’ a couple of weeks ago. “It stretches my inventive spirit not to have much money.”, Kunal, a soccer street performer, reflects his situation.
“Yeah, but it also limits your imagination of what is possible.”, the german “But” replies.
Well, I get it. Money is a means of transport, a source of energy. We can’t survive without it. But does it really set us free?
I doubt it deeply. The happiest people I have ever met, the ones that unwittingly infected me with their life energy, they didn’t have money or they are not ‘doing it for the money’.
Money is not their major propulsion.
What are they doing? They are just following the invitations. They are not trying to create their dream life – they just live it. Now. They play the game. They follow their excitement. They actually take the opportunities instead of contemplating about them.
This is what it is all about. It is about taking opportunities and they are paving the way. It is about honouring the miracle of life – every single day.
I have to follow my own vision. I have to believe in my own survival strategies. Yes, I need help, but what I really need is trust and excitement in order to stay motivated.
Today’s morning sun was my invitation to keep going, to keep learning, to keep encountering, to keep listening.
Every opportunity that I have in my life is exclusive to me. I am invited to follow my own path and so are you to follow yours….
You can’t challenge reality.
No matter how hard you try. You can’t control the world.
All you can do is to accept what is. Accept whatever situation arises.
Welcome every moment with open arms.
Become one with every sensation. Become one with joy and delight. Become one with loss and aloneness. Become one with your fears and your desires.
This is how they dissolve.
This is how you reconnect – with yourself and with the planet.
You can’t change the circumstances. You can’t change other people’s minds.
You can only adapt and ease in.
Release all tension. Relax all tightness.
This is how you will find relief.
This is how you free yourself.