Power is Playfulness or How To Spread Light

Do you know these people who set the room on fire with their energy? It can be a colleague, a friend, a friend of a friend, a family member or somebody else you met personally. They spread such a lightness. Their mood affects the whole group.

Intuitively they seem to respond to every (social) situation. They seem to express themselves naturally – in a way like nothing can interfere with their peace. A welcoming aura surrounds them that draws you in…

What do they do differently?

I ask some counterquestions:

When was the last time you started singing in the shower as loud as you can? When was the last time you were smiling at a stranger? – Not just a friendly smile, but a smile from the bottom of your heart? When was the last time you were happy for no obvious reason?

How many days do you spend caught up in the bubble of your head? How many days are you putting up a mask?

The core of our being supplies us with energy. And this energy manifests in happiness, appreciation or expression of excitement.

This energy radiates from the core of our being – if we let it. But a lot of times we don’t let it.

So what about these people who are like a warming fire on a winter’s night?

The energy that radiates around them is the energy of a kid climbing a tree. They act out their inner child – with grace and wonder. They are never getting out of touch with their playfulness.

They don’t only express their excitement (verbally or with their behaviour), but also their vulnerability. And this is what creates trust and in the end encourages people to be themselves too.

They are the real role models – the ones who demonstrate confidence without being manipulative.

Love circulates around them.

If we want to manifest love we have to stop creating walls that disconnect us from our environment and ourselves. 

Our mind is always trying to protect ourselves. We are trying to ‘fit in’. This is how our society is organized. We have to fit in. We have to adapt. We can’t follow our own rhythm.

But this is what moves us away from a purposeful and authentic life. And this is the root cause of all problems.

‘Owning your power’ means to be able to celebrate our singularities in any given moment – without a self-regulating voice in our head that tells us how to behave.

To surrender to the moment equals to surrender to yourself.

We have to encounter ourselves and the world around us with kindness and admiration of what is.

This is spreading the seed of unconditional love. This is how we create a sanctuary for the ‘un-loved-ones’ – everybody who is craving connection.

“Breaking the ice” means melting the hardcover.

If we keep sustaining our hardcovers we suspend ourselves from life.

With vulnerability and approachability compassion is possible.

This is how we connect with each other on a core level – by sharing this little spark inside of us.

Let us be the people who shine the light and set the world on fire. 

 

About The Physical Aspect of ‘Being Preoccupied’ – A Personal Report

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?

 

My Peace is My Priority

I found a treasure in my heart and I will never let go of it again.

I’m taking my teachers serious. I treat my body as a temple.
I’m communicating clear.

All the lows are temporary.

What other people think, want or do is none of my business.
Nobody apart from myself knows what I need.
Nobody apart from myself has to understand me.
I’m not responsible for other people’s feelings nor am I responsible for their decisions.

My inner joy is my strongest force.
My playfulness is my power.
My love for life is stronger than anything else.

I don’t need to be perfect.
I don’t have to take advice.
I can just sit and smile.

With ease I welcome every situation and every encounter.
I’m pioneering my life according to my own rules.

Society is the last thing that can impose pressure on me.
As long as I feel joy I will guide my own way.
Nobody can take the life away from me apart from life itself.

I’m owning my experience of the world.
I’m owning my power.
I’m a child and I’m able to adjust to every situation.

I accept life as it is.
I’m finding comfort in the eye of the storm.

I’m not turning blunt.
I will feel even more.

 

The Emergence Of Excitement or ‘Can You Feel The Burn?’

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.

 

Inverse Resistance

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.

 

Honouring The Past, Anticipating The Future or ‘A New Dawn’

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’ve 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….

 

Writing Transformation Challenge 0.1

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 To Your Life If You Turned All The “Shoulds” Into “Dos”?

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. “

 

The Magic of Observation

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.

 

3 Tools That Help Me To Reveal Toxic Thinking Patterns

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.