Never miss an opportunity to grow.
Always absorb information, listen carefully and learn.
Failure is painful, but it is crucial for your success.
You never stop growing as long as you don’t resign.
…is simple but yet hard to find. 😉
Today is one of those days of clarity and I decided to post this without hesitating. I just give myself ten minutes to write this thing down and then I gonna publish it. This is going to be incomplete, maybe repetitive but for sure it is honest.
“Uli, what do you want?” – Many people (including myself) asked this question within the previous years. Within the next few sentences I want to distill the essence of what I want. No blubbering – just straight talk (as straight as a hand-drawn line by a three year old ;D).
What do I want?
I want to breathe in and out consciously.
I want to be aware of the signals of my body.
I want to carry full responsibility for my health.
I want to explore my needs and live up to my own values.
I want to truly understand how I feel in every moment without blaming or judging myself for it. I just want to watch my thoughts and accept them without trying to change them.
I want to be able to make new encounters truly open and unbiased.
I want to look into the eyes of a stranger with real interest instead of superficial curiosity.
I want to be able to share my feelings with everybody.
I want to have the time of my life with random strangers without expecting to ever meet each other again.
I want to consider every situation, every encounter, every conversation, every walk through city or nature as an opportunity to learn.
I want to grow above me.
I want to reconcile my inner callings and my actions in my everyday life.
I want to find a way to not break, because the heavyweight of this system is dragging me down.
I want to live truly awake.
I want to appreciate every moment – even the darkest ones.
I want to love life in prosperity and in adversity.
I want to find a place, where I can live peacefully. A place where I can eat without worrying about the environment. A place where I can laugh tears and cry rivers. In child pose. On the ground.
I don’t want to make anybody responsible for my life apart from myself.
I want to live independently, but not lonely – side by side with people I love.
I want to work for a real purpose.
I want to do what really matters.
What I want is truth. The real truth. The Chris-Mc-Candless-style-truth. I don’t want fake anymore.
Nobody is living my life for me, so I do it as good as I can.
Love life <3
Allright, ten days without caffeine are over. What had changed in the meantime?
At the beginning of my challenge it seemed like an insurmountable hurdle not to drink a single cup of coffee for an entire week. I was already so used to have a coffee in the morning and the next one before lunch. In light of the fact that an existence without this dose was unimaginable for me, I easily renounced. It actually turned out to be just a small change of my morning routine, but the effects were mind-blowing.
What are my learnings?
- Ginger tea and a cold shower substitute coffee perfectly. The additional plus: It is actually much better for my health. Instead of “poisoning” myself I detox in the morning.
- Indeed the monkey in my head calmed down a bit. Well, I’m still hyperactive, but my mood and my ability to focus stabilizes without caffeine intake.
- My sugar consume increased a bit. At the middle of the week I bought chocolate cookies and I ate half of it at once – probably as a surrogate-satisfaction. But I will manage that. 😉
- Decaffeinated coffee is not toooo bad. Well…
How do I want to handle my consume in the future?
My most valuable insight: A life without coffee is possible. Yes, it is. I still love coffee and I can’t deny a good cappucino or italian espresso. But the experiment proved my addiction. One approach in my life is enjoying the good things thoroughly without abusing them. If you listen to your favourite song every and every day it gets boring at some point and isn’t it the same with coffee or any other addictive substance? From now on I want to be a pleasure drinker not an caffeine junky anymore.
Do you know this feeling of losing control over your time and energy? This feeling of being controlled by external forces? If not I envy you. These days I feel like I’m burning out a bit.
Jobwise but also socially a lot of commitments gnaw away my energy – finishing video projects in one job, long nights at the bar-job, mulled wine at the Christmas market ;), family meetings and so on and so on. Plus: I stress myself out in order to finish my personal goals for this year. The end of the year should be the time to hibernate or at least recover and reset, but somehow it is the opposite – busy as f***.
Of course it is up to me, but somehow I can’t help myself right now. Well, there is something I can do in order to reclaim control: Aiming for a life in the present moment!
Time to pull the handbrake – Another threesome is overdue! 😉
1. Breathing Actively
Yes, the good old breathe. Without it our whole body wouldn’t work. It doesn’t only provide every cell in our body with oxygen. It also relaxes us. If we pay attention to our breathe we become aware of our body. And as soon as we focus on our body we forget our daily and mainly trivial problems.
That’s why I started to breathe more thoughtfully. Especially in stressful situations a few rounds of deep inhalation and exhalation release a lot of tension.
I always imagine how clean air is flowing into my body. From my nasal wings the air flows into my lungs, where it spreads out into every tiny fibre of my chest. All of a sudden my chest is filled with fresh air which starts circulating through the rest of my body. It wanders through my arms into my fingertips and from my belly into my legs and toes. Every part of my body gets subserved with oxygen. Through this image I arrive in the present moment as my thoughts become obsolete. Just try it yourself.
2. Acknowledging My Location
Well, often the breathing goes hand in hand with locating myself: On the way to the subway I acknowledge my surrounding – the trees, the sky, the colours, the air. I try not to think about my tasks at work.
The other day I read something interesting about “stress”, which made me realise that stress is just an invention of the western society. In Namibia for example the word stress doesn’t even exist. They divide time into rooms. In every moment you are present only in one room. You only act, live, love or work in one room. The next action will eventually take place in a different room. But now you exist only in this one room, so there is no need to be bothered about the next room.
Everything, every action has it’s time and it’s space. If you brush your teeth you don’t tie your shoes. If you tie your shoes, you are not at the subway. If you are in the subway you can’t be bothered about your job. If you experience the present moment – the room you are in – you can’t be bothered about the future.
3. Remembering that I am Not My Thoughts
We were born with the absence of thoughts. When we were born we didn’t have thought in our head. Basically we were the essence of life, pure existence, true love or however you want to call it. We didn’t have all these doubts and questions in our head. Sometimes in stressful situations I really like to go back to this place in my head. It helps me to take things more easily. I try to see my thoughts just as something temporary that can’t effect my mood.
Just give it a try and drop all your thoughts. Remember that your thoughts are just something superficial you can easily leave behind. Feel the relief and the freedom. This is meditation too.
“That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.”
Hold on – this is a tough one! 😉 I already introduced you to the concept of the micro habit challenge a few weeks ago. The last time I challenged myself with three new habits, this time it is only one: I don’t want to drink caffeine for one week.
It all started, when a friend of mine told me to try Ritalin in order to work more concentrated on my projects. Methylphenidate – the chemical term for the commonly known Ritalin – is a central nervous system stimulant that is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – better known as ADHS. It kind of “mutes” your incentive system by decreasing your level of dopamine in your blood. A positive effect is that nothing can distract you that easily anymore – a negative side effect (besides the physiological effects) is that you don’t feel much at all anymore. (Can you imagine that kids are forced to swallow this stuff?)
Well, I’m into productivity and I don’t want to leave any stone unturned, but I don’t support the idea of abusing drugs in order to get more productive. ‘Wait a second…’ I thought to myself and I figured ‘I am already abusing drugs da fuck???!!’. Nearly everyday I have at least two to five high doses of caffeine!
Caffeine acts as a serious central nervous system stimulant as well. As soon as it reaches your brain it puts your body in a state of alterness – you feel more awake and your heartrate is increasing. At least for a certain time this might be useful, but when the caffeine level drops, you are even more tired than before and your body wants mooore.
Why do I want to reduce my consume?
- I noticed that the monkey in my head breaks free after too much coffee. Sometimes I can’t even focus on chores like washing the dishes.
- Usually I have a strong coffee in the morning. It puts me instantly in a good mood but it can instanly switch into anxiety or small panic attacs – especially if I’m not in the best mood. Sometimes I even get a bit aggressive.
- The crazy monkey in my head hinders me from going to sleep at times.
Of course – probably there are concurrent causes of these issues, but I believe that caffeine has a massive impact on my psyche. And because I like to adopt brutal measures I decided to cancel all sorts of caffeine (coffee, mate, green tea, guarana, energy drink,…) from now on for one week and see how it goes.
Now you might ask: “Why do you even drink coffee??” Well, mainly because I’m an addict I guess. But I also because I like it. If you don’t drink coffee this sounds like a baby challenge, but I am definitely a “coffee person”, so it is hard for me.
What happened so far?
Today is actually already day four of my challenge. I want to continue until the weekend with this challenge. So far I already feel the positive side effects of my cold withdrawal: I was in a better mood today. My midday low was not that heavy and my mood didn’t drop the bottom in the afternoon as it every so often does. And: It is nearly 10 pm and I’m sitting here writing this article.
I keep you updated by the end of the week…
It’s just one of those days. It’s one of those days when the fog is lifting and you can finally breathe again.
It’s one of those days when you see the truth behind your contradictions. It’s one of those days when you acknowledge your strengths and you accept your weaknesses.
It’s one of those days when the whole world is sorted. You finally arrive in the presence. You finally get to feel yourself again. You feel like life is right in front of you. You just have to grab it. Nothing can stop you anymore.
It’s one of those days when you are endlessly happy. This feeling of joy warms your chest. You are as happy as a child awaiting christmas or its birthday party.
It’s one of those days when the mosaic of your experiences, the snippets of your memories, the fragments of your emotions create one picture. Every failure makes sense, because every stumble led you in the right direction – where you are now. Your inner judge stops judging your frailties.
It’s just one of those days of relief – when anxiety yields security and monochrome turns multi-coloured.
In these moments of clarity you breathe in the energy of the universe. Try to conserve it in your emotional memory as an island of peace. The next time when you feel down, when the fog of self-doubts is clouding your clear sight again, you can come back to this peaceful gem in your chest.
Love life <3
My perfectionism disables my productivity – the fear of failure makes me powerless. Paralyzed I scrape around – unable to get started.
When decision making becomes a torture every idea turns into a burden.
When opportunities become obstacles, openness closes doors.
I don’t see the wood for all the trees, because my senses are occupied by self-consciousness.
There is no way forward – as long as I don’t “make way”. Unfortunately nobody can help me with this.
Deep inside of me I know that I have to push through. Deep inside of me there is wisdom beyond that pain. The pain that is part of humanization. The pain that demands to be felt.
But from time to time and often enough I ask myself: Why? Why do I ask all these questions without answers?
Yes, I’m struggling.
Yes, I’m lonely at times.
Yes, I don’t know, where I’m going.
But at least I’m free.
Our human nature had turned into a monstery “thing” headed by technological progress, productivity and consumption. From early on we are programmed to act “economically”. Productivity became our purpose, “consuming” our occupation and “being busy” our obsession – Thinking became a rarity.
We consider ourselves to be safe as long as we “fit in”, but in reality the system oppresses us. It oppresses us until we feel nothing but fear – let’s call it “glorified slavery”. Our inability of feeling something else than fear makes us unable to make our own decisions.
We live in fool’s paradise. Instead of learning to think for ourselves we are getting lost in diversion. Like an addict we jump head over heels from one temporary satisfaction to another not noticing, how we are already trapped in a vicious circle.
We fill our lives with a lot of responsibilities, but we forget to take responsibilty for our own life. Instead of listening to our inner voice we are only listening to the call of duty. We are working at least eight hours a day for dubious purposes, we are saving money for our pension hoping for a happy end, but do we live in the meantime? Are we truly alive?
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
We disregard our nature. This way we will never reach our full potential as a human being. What do I mean by that? I’m not talking about our economical potential. I’m talking about our potential to spread love, care for each other, to make each other smile, to ease each others pain.
Between industrialization and digitalization we lost one essential thing: Love. We lost our ability to truly love and truly be loved.
There is not one person, one government, one country, one continent responsible. We are responsible – it is up to us. Do we want to keep on carrying the destructive heritage of our forefathers? I don’t.
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
Let’s share our knowledge and become experts of life again. Let’s rediscover our senses and finetune our intuition. Let’s update our consciousness instead of our mobile phone apps. Let’s cherish our human relations, patch our social network (in the real world), stop exploiting our planet like there is no tomorrow and finally cure our own lives.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
R. Buckminster Fuller
We can only change the world, if we change ourselves first. It all starts with positive thinking. This is the reason, why I’m willing to change my destructive behaviors. Self-destruction is the beginning of the end. A new world order arises from positivity not from productivity.
Let’s stop following the beaten track and leave our own footprints.
Red eyes – blinded.
Faces like wax.
Lips pressed to a pale line enclosing fears.
Back bended dragging a heritage.
Distracted by diversion we are sliding into non-existence.
Soul-destroying lovelessness is soaking up our energy.
Iced-hearted we are burning out – collectively.