Grow like moss.
Absorb the nutrients.
Receive what is being fed.
For about two weeks I’ve been trying to make sense of it: The Headless Buddha.
…It was one of those moments when I was caught up in a spiral of self-doubt and self-flaggelation, when I re-discovered my heart.
In despair I was challenging the youtube-oracle.
I discovered a talk on “The trance of unworthiness” by Tara Brach, a teacher I really value for her compassionate pursuit:
“We can only meet ourselves with compassion,” she concludes the human striving for liberation.
Finally, I’m swallowing the medicine.
Suddenly I’m placing one hand on my heart and one on my belly.
I’m holding myself.
This is when I understand:
My mind deteriorates my self-esteem.
My mind strangles myself with reproaches.
Meeting myself with compassion – that’s the least I can do!
It is that simple.
And so I am lying there on the couch. One hand on my heart and one on my belly. My eyes filled with tears of relief.
I breathe and I cry.
That’s all it takes.
I remember the teachings of yoga I had received.
I let my body do the work.
A couple of moments later: All anxiety vanished.
I find myself going for a short walk.
What happened next still blows my mind:
I’m walking slowly towards the nearby park, contemplating the Buddhist teachings of impermanence – “anicca, anicca, anicca…,” echoing in my head…
When I gaze towards the bushes, suddenly, I see a headless Buddha standing there right at the framing of the sidewalk!
It is one of those decorative candle bearers a lot of people have standing in their bathroom or on the wardrobe.
Its head is accurately positioned where the candle is supposed to shine.
Immediately the omnipresent quote: “If you meet the Buddha, kill him!,” comes to my mind.
What does this quote, apparently firstly stated by Linji Yixuan, signifies?
Back home I immediately start researching:
“Killing the buddha” asserts ‘to quiet all concepts’ – about Buddhism, spirituality and ‘the path’ in general.
It’s about finding the teacher within.
It implies the actualization of emptiness by self-observation and unbiased contemplation.
The next thing I read is the word Kenshō, which is widely translated as “seeing one’s true nature”. Accordingly to Wikipedia it is often used interchangeably with the word satori, which signifies ‘comprehension’ or ‘understanding’.
It is often being mistaken for ‘enlightenment’, but this is not what it is. It is one step on the path, one realization of the non-personal nature of our lives….
I remember the moment on the couch earlier. The moment of surrender that lifted a weight off my shoulder and my chest.
It was the moment when I finally understood that this body is solely a vessel. It’s a precious vessel, because it maneuvers me through my physical experience here on earth.
My mind keeps me in chains, while my body sets me free.
There is so much more to say about that! There are so many terminologies and symbolism to study, but for now that’s all I’m able to share here – my personal encounter with the headless Buddha.
Recently I understood how “optimizing” my life had become an obsession.
“I have to work through this.” “I got to master that.” “I got to become stronger, more confident, a better communicator and so on…”
I did become more confident. I did grow. For sure I made progress.
But at what cost?
I just came back from a short but intense retreat with my community of Becoach Academy.
“This time we want to invite you to a more holistic approach,” Isil, one of our coaching trainers, welcomed us.
What that meant was that we collectively worked through our topics of 2022. We contemplated what came to fruition and what we let go of.
We visualized what we want to take with us into 2023.
We let intuition and body intelligence guide us through dance and the elements…
The result was a very emotional, honest – I want to say “raw” – exchange. It was heart-opening for all of us.
It was beautiful. During the whole process I understood that I don’t have to have New Year’s Resolutions in order to have an “intentional” 2023.
Layer after layer I could feel pressure dropping off my shoulders.
“You are an inspiration,” some of my fellow retreaters proclaimed.
I did not feel like it. I felt raw and vulnerable.
Yes, I was authentic.
More than ever before I came to the realization that I don’t have to become someone. All I need is to be MYSELF in order to inspire others.
All of the years I tried to prove myself. Mostly, myself was my harshest critic: “You got to be more professional.” “You are too emotional.” “You should be somewhere else in your life.”
During my coach training the feedback was relentless.
Relentless in the sense of facing myself in a SAVE environment over and over and over again.
And what I received was not harsh feedback, it was confirmation. The confirmation that I am OKAY. The confirmation that it is all a process. The confirmation that it is totally fine to NOT be okay.
In our society (or let’s narrow it down to the “self-optimization”- bubble) we are obsessed with improvement….
This brought me literally to my knees.
How? I forgot to walk. I was projecting a version of myself to the future that I could not possibly meet in a lifetime. Why? Because I AM HERE.
My path is right in front of me….. I just have to make one step after another. And I have absolutely NO CLUE where it is going to lead me.
And that’s the beauty of it. That’s the uniqueness. This is how I bring novelty to this world. By being me – walking on my own path.
This morning I did not follow a routine. I did some stretching. Made a cup of tea. Watched the squirrels playing around the oak tree in front of the kitchen window.
I am not where I thought I would be at the beginning of 2023.
I told my boyfriend: “You know, I had so many resolutions about my morning routine”.
With a warm smile he responded: “What about listening to what you need this morning?”
I went for a 45 minute walk in the morning sun.
Since years I have been trying to develop a morning routine. It never really crossed my mind that it is supposed to serve ME and not the image that I have of me.
I believe the “best” routine in the world can be detrimental if it undermines our needs in this very moment.
Here we go 2023 – more flexible than ever with a warm smile of compassion towards myself AND my inner critic.
Everything is okay.
There is a subtle realization triggering my mind. It is around accepting mistakes.
What happens if you catch yourself making or having made a mistake? Are you committed to camouflage it? Do you stick to an old story of ‘being a failure’? Or are you willing to learn? Are you open to receive the lesson that is being placed in your way?
This is so sensitive, so subtle.
There is a thing about admitting mistakes… They can drag you down. Or they can lift you up.
The thing about that, and that is a hypothesis, is: Our reactions to perceived failure are conditioned.
What’s the cure for that? It just dawns on me now. It is my own recipe for (self-)reinvention that I discovered during a deep personal crisis: Do it differently! Go the other way – wherever that is…
Well, to be accurate here: The first step is to become aware of the automatic pattern. To shine the light on the reaction to ‘mistaking’.
What’s the first thought when you understand that you made a mistake? Do you feel ashamed? Do you blame yourself? Is there even shock? Paralysis? There might be a trauma present.
Or are you owning it? Are you ready to move on and learn from it? If so, great, go on.
If you are struck by self-doubt and resentment. I got you covered:
In this case a question to ask could be: “When in my life did I first feel that ashamed/afraid/worried?” “What made me feel that way and is that thing present in my life right now?”
Another question could be: ”In which way does it serve me to feel or think that way? Does it serve me at all to feel or think that way?”
If you reach a point where you are able to ask these or similar questions: Congratulations! In my experience awareness is the first step to change. It is already “the change”. Actions will follow.
A full-on awareness of a “self-alienating” pattern will leave traces in your way of thinking. It will leave a strange taste. The knowing that “there must be a better way” – a way that is more aligned with who you are – sneaks into consciousness.
And this is the starting point of a new you (and me).
It is uncomfortable.
Resentment comes up. Sadness about the harshness of your inner judge. Grief about the energy that you have wasted. And that is totally fine. More than that: It is part of the process of befriending your mistakes and transforming your life.
What’s the difference between ‘easing in’ and ‘letting go’?
I will keep rephrasing them. Renaming the unnamable. Reshaping the intangible – the power of manifestation.
What’s the difference between ‘easing in’ and ‘letting go’?
The difference is the feeling beyond those words.
Everything that requires action has the potential to cause resistance.
To ‘ease in’ represents ‘non-action’.
It is a principle in every martial art form and in a lot of (if not most) ancient teachings.
Do I have to elaborate this any further?
I don’t think so.
Happy new moon everyone.
Let it fade.
Let it die.
Let it be.
Let it fly.
Enjoy the moment for what it is.
Things change in an instant.
You can’t hold on to this.
Opportunities are endless, life is vast.
Time is fluctuating, so please human,
launch into the present and release the past.
It is finally the time for some stream of consciousness from the verge of (in)sanity.
I’m going through an interesting phase of my life right now. A couple of weeks back I would have said “I’m going through hell”. But this is not true. I’m still on the surface – probably more grounded than ever before. Later on (within the next twelve months;) I will give you a bit more insight.
For now I would like to share a bit more intuitive writing here. In times of doubt I level up my inner dialog. It is the most valuable tool for a reality check. There are these mantra-like sentences that come flowing out of me into my keyboard – the result of years-long-learning:
Release everything that doesn’t belong to you. You are not supposed to carry all this luggage. Why are you over-complicating your life? Why are you holding on to anger, rage and frustration? Does it belong to you? Why are you still trying to carry the whole world on your shoulders instead of proceeding your way – lightly not with lightning speed.
Go grow your roots to resist that storm! Trust me – it will pass. You are allowed to let it all go… What has passed is gone – forever. You are not responsible. You are not in charge for every single event.
When are you going to understand this? How are you planning to continue if you travel with this heavy baggage?
Don’t be afraid of losing your love. Don’t be afraid of losing your will. Don’t be afraid of losing your hope.
Don’t you feel how your heart opens? Don’t you feel the expansion of your chest if you let it? Why are you suppressing it? Why are you holding your heart in chains? Why do you still control?
You are contracting. Can’t you feel it in your body? You are taking on too much. Are you crazy or what? (just kidding, of course you are)
You are taking things on and on and on and onto your plate. WHY? Your to-do-list is getting longer and longer, but is this what you have to do? When are you going to take care of yourself? I’m not talking about a vacation…
When are you going to trust in life? When are you going to trust in your abilities? You keep talking about trust, but deep inside you do know that you are not there. You don’t trust. You are still trying to control. Trying – because it is impossible to control.
“But it’s not me,” you are starting to scream. “It is my conditioning,” – “Ahahaha,” the universe is laughing out loud….
Don’t you see that this is the point??? THIS is your fucking problem. This is where you are not responding to your abilities. You did pretty good my dear. You gave up a whole lot of bullshit already. You gave up things and even people. Unfortunately you gave up a little bit too much. But don’t worry about that. You will keep g(r)o(w)ing.
Your path had been radical. And it is going to continue radically.
What do I mean by that?
Now your path is called radical healing – and nothing else. No people pleasing, no ‘being brave’.
You are living the adventures of other people’s dreams, but this is not your life. Pa! Here it is – the bitter truth.
“Okay, okay, I got that one. There is no need to yell at me in that arrogant manner. Tell me instead: How do I do it? This radical healing thing… ,”
First of all: You don’t DO it. Secondly: You’re gonna stop defending yourself completely and one hundred percent. There is absolutely no defending anymore. But you will realize how easy it gets. Now it might seem hard to impossible. Now you can’t imagine yourself ‘not defending’ yourself.
“But….,” I can see the constant concern in your head.
You will just stop it – automatically. It caused you so much pain in your life. You wasted so much energy by defending. What you defended was your mask, your story, the image you had of yourself.
Basically this is what caused you all the pain that you have ever felt in the past. You were ALWAYS trying to please others. You kept defending yourself – non-stop. Yes, it was involuntarily. But now that you know it, you have the opportunity to do better…
These days you wish so badly that you wouldn’t ‘know better’, right?! You would wish to continue the well-trodden path.
Well, that’s unfortunate, because the path is gone. There is no maintained path anymore – there never was! You made it up….
There is only the path you follow by walking it; and guess what – you have absolutely no choice but walking it.
The ironic bit is – this is not scary at all! You chose the path. Your soul chose it and you are totally capable of walking it. You have the abilities – even though you are still closing your eyes from it. You prefer to be groping in the dark. You prefer to predict the unpredictable. You prefer to waste your energy on examining uncertainty.
Do you sense the paradox?
Don’t focus on your limitations. Integrate your feelings. Allow your excitement to pass. Rest whenever possible. Don’t chase happiness, but chase authenticity. Always choose yourself. No matter what life gives you, believe in yourself. Shine. Show your beauty beneath your sadness. Don’t ever be desperate. Just breathe. You can master every challenge. Your strength is beyond what you can ever imagine. Trust in what others see in you. The more you show your true self, the more others can see your true conditioning and this is what you truly are. Trust that what you can see is the reflection of your challenges. These challenges are your work. Smile at all your challenges. Welcome them with open arms. Like old friends. You have been knowing each other for all of your life. Be happy whenever they show up. They are your life. They are your process – nothing more and nothing less. They are the path.
Never give up improving yourself. As soon as you stop trying to get better you stop living. This will to improve yourself is your life force. This is your excitement. Your source of energy. The right person will come who will notice. The person will come who pays attention to what you are. There will be somebody. There will be more than one person who appreciates you for all that you are. Life will reward you for your patience. Trust in that. This is your life’s journey. Remember, you do one step and the universe does three. It is taken care of you as soon as you set your intention right. And what is the right intention? It is based in trust and appreciation. You can only set an intention from a place of absolute appreciation. Gratitude is the fertilizer for your life journey. Everything relies on that. You can achieve nothing without appreciation. Everything becomes a fight and a struggle if you choose your direction from a place of fear.
Failure and mistakes. Trial and error. They are a part of this. They should never lower your trust. Never. It is the opposite. You should be grateful to have them. As I told you, they are your guides. They are part of the plan.
Order and disorder lead to expansion. Without them nothing moves. Nothing within the universe and nothing in your life. Disorder forces you to move towards your pattern. The perfect imperfect pattern of your life. Chaos is a life force. There has to be chaos. There has to be confusion. There has to be struggle. There has to be fear and anxiety. They are the motors of transformation.
Just trust that life takes care of you. You are here to help. You can easily stay positive. You can easily stay connected. Your fears are fundamental. Your joy is fundamental. Every aspect of your nature is fundamental. Your whole being is funda-fucking-mental for the proceeding of the whole universe.
Please live your life with all the ups and downs. There is one thing that you should never loose and this is your momentum. Keep moving. Every push you get, every notion, every rage, every excitement – this is your momentum. Every sensation is here for a reason. They are reminders that you are still alive and you can make a difference. It makes you move. Your melancholy, your sadness, your desire, your imperfection. This is all that moves you. It is here to make you grow above yourself. And this is where you want to be. Beyond yourself. Beyond the definition of your so called personality. Your willingness to be a better person, to be your true self, makes you become a human. It instantly makes you who you want to become.
It is the time to trust. Trust that the right means will come into your life; trust that they are already in your life. Trust that your ego will be shattered. Trust that all your resistance that holds you back will be shattered.
It is already shattered if you allow it now. The ego makes space for love, acceptance and silence. This silence gives you the opportunity to finally listen to what life is trying to tell you.
When the ego is gone you can easily sit with your power without trying to control anything. You don’t take things personally anymore, because they have no impact. Your frequency responds easily to your surrounding. Intuitively you recognize what belongs to you and what doesn’t. Everything that doesn’t belong to you won’t be there anymore. Just relax.
Let go of everything – every minute of your life. Surrender. Surrender to the present moment. Surrender to what is.
Repeat those mantras that serve you – permanently.
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 pain.
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. 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: 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 have 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?
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….