Radical Awareness

Recently I found out HOW FAR I had crossed my boundaries in the past years – basically since my adolescence.

I don’t remember the day when I forgot where I start and where I end.

“Who did traumatize you?,” some ex-colleague asked me a couple of years ago.

I didn’t know how to reply.
I didn’t remember consciously.

Now I can see it more and more clearly.

There is trauma stored inside of my body and my genes – conditioned through former generations and lifetimes.

The trauma manifests in my belief patterns and my tendency to end up in unhealthy (I don’t like the term toxic anymore – even though it is an accurate description) relationships.

I re-traumatized myself by not knowing my boundaries….

I knew that there is such thing as ‘boundaries’. What I didn’t understand ultimately was that I’m the one who has to set them.

What feels good for me? Do I feel esteemed by my partner or my friends? Do I enjoy doing what I’m doing? Do I enjoy where I am? These were questions that never occurred to me….

Either I was busy meeting my own demands or fulfilling the needs of others. But I never asked myself if I feel good? If the relationship or the friendship gives me what I need? I never allowed myself to have any demands.

Now I know that this is called codependency and now I know that there is a cure for this and the cure is called ‘radical healing’.

Finally I understood that not every human wants my very best.

How could I be so naive?

Well, luckily I learnt to laugh about myself. A good portion of humor helps me to accept my former blindness and keeps me from becoming bitter.

Luckily the universe presented me with the necessary lessons – as usual.

Finally the pain forced me into self-love.

I reached a point where I HAVE to set boundaries – if I want to survive.

A crisis is the most radical learning experience you can ever have.

For a long time I was talking about pain and fear on this blog, but I have to admit that I never fully allowed my pain.

There was always this last resistance.

There was always this fear of the fear. The fear of feeling the pain completely. I thought I must be strong. I am not allowed to remain in pain…. But some pain is persistent… It might takes months. Or even years?

What did I think?

Probably I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I thought I would break.

What I learnt now through emotional pain that manifested physically in my body is that the toxic thing is not the pain itself but the resistance…

The more I’m holding on to my feelings, the more I’m resisting to feel anger, grief or sadness fully the more painful it gets…

This is how anxiety attacks are able to drain my energy system.

This is how I become ‘unaware’.

This is how I get lost in ‘shortcuts’ (addictions).

What’s the cure?

The cure is radical honesty. It is that simple. Being able to be honest about my real feelings. I wish I would have known this when I was 16 years old.

The feelings won’t harm me. They will pass – no matter how long it takes. I have to allow them. What will harm me in the end is the disconnection from myself that is created by resisting negative feelings…

The good news is that there is a way back.

And the way back exists right in this moment.

To be more precise – the present moment IS the way back.

By allowing what is in this moment I reconnect with myself.

Ram Dass says: “Don’t be afraid of appearances”

Finally I get what he is talking about.

This is what I call ‘radical awareness’.

Radical awareness is the ability to be aware of what is going on internally and externally – without judging it, or counteracting.

Only now I understand HOW important the practice of awareness truly is for personal development – the personal path.

Awareness is the path to the path.

The more I become aware the more clearly I can see. The clearer I can see everything the more clears my path.

All of a sudden I can see the signs again.
All of a sudden my whole body relaxes into place.
Only by becoming aware of what is.

This is the way towards radical healing.

‘Investigate!’

This is something I blared into my notebook many times recently…

I didn’t understand how ‘intuition’ and ‘investigation’ are interlinked.

intuitio – ‘the immediate insight’

How do you act intuitively?

By being aware and by looking – constantly!

I have the impression we are mistaken intuition for a spontaneous reaction or something like that.

But in reality it can be covered up and what we think is our intuition is just an emotional reaction to an external trigger…

Intuition is a response in alignment with our needs.

Nowadays these needs are most likely covered up with… with what?

I’d say expectations, pressure, distractions, addictions,…..

So, sometimes we have to investigate in order to find what our intuition is trying to say to us again.

I got caught up in concepts.
I got caught up in my own expectations.
I got caught up in ‘adding up’ instead of ‘letting go’.

Until?

Until I nearly exploded (or imploded). This is pretty much the only way I can put it.

I got so tense.

I had to open my heart and my heart moved me towards forgiveness.

Radical Forgiveness

I forgive myself for my mistakes.
I forgive my parents.
I forgive the system.
I forgive my abusers.
I forgive men.
I forgive me.

My heart bursts open and all of a sudden there is space…
It was always there, but I always locked the doors. Ooohh, I barricaded them! And I didn’t even realize it. I asked myself why does nobody want to enter my heart?

I locked my heart so tightly and I threw away the key.
Until my heart got so big that it exploded the chains.

Yayyy.

My heart itself ruptured my resistance.

And what there is is love, more compassion than ever before, more beauty, more light….

This is healing. This is becoming whole. I can feel myself again, because I felt myself fully in my deepest pain.

I was left alone and what I found was that I am my best company, my best friend. I am my everything, so why would I need to be the everything of somebody else?

Radical Healing

Radical forgiveness is possible through radical awareness.

If I wouldn’t look at everything I wouldn’t see cleary.

How can I heal if I don’t look at my wounds? How can I heal if I abstract? If I get lost in the process… I had lost myself in strategies. These were coping mechanisms to prevent me from seeing the truth.

I’m not sure yet if I need to know the origin of all these wounds.

I feel like I’ve overcomplicated this path tremendously with my intellectual understanding.

All I had to do was to become aware of my wounds. Fully aware.

The more clear I can see the more clear become the milestones of the path….

Don’t challenge reality.
Look at what you see.
Don’t be scared of your wounds.
Look right into it.
See things clear.

 

Love Yourself More

Alright, the process of renewing is continuing. I can literally feel the shell bursting. Before I started this article I thought “Okay, this will be short but intense.” – A fertilizer for my growth – a brief reminder of how far I’ve come. But there is so much more to it: Welcome to the story of my life.

“You don’t take yourself seriously” – A few months ago a friend of mine put a finger right into a wound. A wound I didn’t even know it existed.

“Love yourself more” – This is a phrase I heard a lot over the past few years. “Put yourself on number one”, only recently a couchsurfing host pointed out to me – witnessing my struggle to find my own priorities.

It made me think. Within the past five years I’ve tried hard to live my life up to my own believes. Maybe too hard? I’ve changed jobs, rooms, cities and countries. I’ve ended relationships. I’ve started new ones. I’ve tried new things, I’ve travelled, I’ve improved my physical fitness and so on and so on. Some of my changes you might witness on this blog.

“Do what you love.” – This expression too became omnipresent in our highly individualized world. Well, so I did! Everything was supposed to be good. But it wasn’t. I stressed myself out. I stressed myself out, because I was struggling to meet my own expectations. Was I happy in the meantime?

Of course not. I always felt like there is something missing. Even if I thought I had all I wanted, I felt this numbing anxiety. But where was it coming from? I had to dig deeper.

What I found was a hole – a hole I was always closing my eyes from. I filled it with a lot of things. Temporary pleasures like partying, alcohol or sex gave me a superficial satisfaction. Working hard gave me a feeling of purpose. But at the end even sports and physical challenges just seemed to be a substitution. But a substitution for what? Only when I started to observe the dark corners of my psyche the cover-up crumbled. The process is still ongoing.

The more honest I become with myself the more the truth discloses: Now I know that I was looking for love in the wrong places. I had to find it within myself. What I have been trying to pad was a lack of self-love.

I was looking for love in the wrong places

To be honest with you, it was only about five years ago, I was 25 years old and I didn’t have the slightest idea who I was or who I wanted to become. I thought I had, but I hadn’t.

Self-doubts were shadowing any future prospects. I couldn’t see myself or anything else clear. I didn’t know what I’m passionate about. I wanted to write, I wanted to hike, I wanted to travel, but I couldn’t find the motivation to do it. I was scared. I always found excuses.

Now I know that I felt obligated to follow a beaten track. A path that wasn’t mine. I thought I would have to find somebody to walk this path with me. Slowly it dawned me that I have to find myself in the first place.

I always had the feeling there must be more to life, but I couldn’t quite grasp what it was. In the past there was always something missing – with or without a boyfriend I was unhappy – neither physically nor spiritually satisfied.

A long time (actually all of my life) I thought I have to change. There must be something wrong with me. I must be mentally sick or something. The truth is that I didn’t take my personal needs seriously. That’s why I felt like shit most of the time.

Five years ago I did not know my journey will be about self-love. I would fight my fears and expand my comfort zone in the name of (self-) love.

Love is in the air and stuff. But how do I receive it?

How to foster self-love

So far so good – apparently I was looking for love. The question was how to cultivate love in my system? This is only partly an “How-to” guide, but more an arbitrary list of thoughts and assumptions that crossed my way during the last months. I’m curious what you have to add.

1. Stop lying to yourself

Before I started my journey of self-love I kept up an idealized image of my self. Disregarding my own nature I tried to be somebody else. Painfully I learnt that this leads only to physical and mental suffering.

Don’t try to be somebody you are not. Look into the mirror and see your true nature. Be true to yourself. Be authentic, but most of all be honest with yourself. Acknowledge your roots and be proud of who you are.

2. Stop looking for approval by others

A long long time I was aiming for acceptance instead of striving towards my own goals. I was hoping to find somebody to “fix” me and help me with my life. In the meantime I was living somebody else’s life not mine.

If you are looking for approval by others you are losing credibility. You give away responsibility for your well-being and slowly you are losing your self-esteem. Stop being a people pleaser and please yourself first.

3. Lower your expectations on yourself

Harder, faster, better, stronger – this is the slogan of our time not only when it comes to technology. Self-optimization became common courtesy, but the slavedriver is only in your head: The inner judge – your chatterbox – is the one who is convicting you for being insufficient.

Don’t get me wrong – self-discipline is required to make changes. But what you have to optimize is your way of thinking from “I have to become better” to “I’m okay how I am”. Self-criticism is the opposite of self-love.

So please, please you chatterbox in the back of the head – stop judging. Instead of heightening the expectations on yourself accept who you are: A human being and not a robot.

4. Accept your flaws and shortcomings

I’m still working on examining my strengths and weaknesses. During this process I learnt something essential: When you are able to give yourself a warm smile as soon as you discover weaknesses then you are able to transform them.

What you consider as your negative traits are might be ulterior talents or advantages? As soon as you take a look at your personality characteristics these supposedly negative attributes convert into your personal gifts.

5. Appreciate your individual gifts

In order to love yourself more you have to honour these personal gifts. You have to say yes to your uniqueness. Take a moment of appreciation and gratefulness – it is worth it. Believe in yourself. The world needs you how you are.

6. Give yourself time to heal

This is a tough one. Up to today I’m asking too much of myself. Most of my life I was busy beating myself down for not meeting my own expectations.

Over and over my body told me to stop, but I wasn’t listening until recently. I found out that I need the time to lick my wounds and recover from life-changing events like breaking up with my boyfriend or changing my environment rapidly. Allowing myself to heal is essential in order to achieve anything in my life.

Walk your own pace and household with your energy. Take your time to make the steps that are required to become the person you want to be. You only have this one life – so why rush?

7. Take your personal needs seriously

If you don’t take your needs seriously you end up suffering. Imagine a dog who can’t go for a walk or doesn’t get fed? Will he lead a happy and healthy life?

We can only nurture one another (friends, partner, family or even society) if we satisfy our own needs first.

I was standing in my own way by not taking myself seriously until I realized, that only I know what’s good for me. As soon as I started listening to my inner voice I found out about my personal needs. It is important to mute all the distraction and start listening.

8. Be compassionate

I don’t say you should feel sorry for yourself. No, actually self-compassion is the opposite of self-pity. Self-compassion is being warm, kind-hearted and friendly towards your inner self. When you are able to put a warm smile on your face, when you encounter negative feelings, fears or unsatisfied desires, then you are starting to love yourself. It is being supportive like you are to your friends.

9. Relax every day

Take a break. Go for a walk. Do some yoga. Meditate or just breathe in and out consciously every day for five minutes or an hour. Carve out this time for yourself. It will help you to clear your vision. (Note to my distracted self.)

9. Trust in the Process

Like every plant, every animal, every river and every cloud you are a part of nature. It is already taken care of you. Don’t worry too much. Just trust.

What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.

~ Alan Watts

 

My Personal Not-To-Do-List

Things I want to stop doing….

  1. Asking myself “What the fuck is wrong with me?”
  2. Being nice to everybody.
  3. Feeling responsible for everybody.
  4. Being unorganized and not sticking to my personal plans.
  5. Being online all the time.
  6. Being available for everybody.
  7. Eating half a jar of nutella or “rewe bio-nuss-nougat-creme” or any other chocolate spread. (Am I still a teenager?!)
  8. Feeling sorry for myself. (Bathing in self-pity, yay.)
  9. Apologizing for no reason.
  10. Trying to please everybody.
  11. Not listening to my intuition.
  12. Being fucking indecisive all the time.
  13. Doing too many things at the same time.
  14. Comparing myself with others on facebook or instagram.
  15. Comparing myself with others in real life.
  16. Forcing other people to listen to my “problems”.
  17. Giggling to cover my lack of self-confidence.
  18. Waiting for the man of my dreams.
  19. Hoping that the man of my dreams is waiting for me.
  20. Falling asleep drunk in the subway.
  21. Falling asleep sober in the subway.
  22. Using my smartphone in bed.
  23. Using the elevator.
  24. Let the smartphone lay under my pillow.
  25. Being caught in my own spiral of negative thoughts.
  26. Asking myself: “What’s happening next year?”
  27. Thinking to myself “I’m not good enough.”
  28. Considering myself as a victim of society, who can’t change anything.
  29. Getting drunk instead of climbing a mountain.
  30. Seeing obstacles instead of opportunities.
  31. Questioning my needs.
  32. Doubting my desires.
  33. Hesitating.

A list of things I want to do is coming up soon…

 

To be continued….

 

 

It’s Up To Me

It’s up to me if I drink tea or coffee.
It’s up to me if I use the elevator or if I walk the stairs.

It’s up to me if I get wasted or if I go to bed early, because I’m fucking tired anyways.
It’s up to me if I buy a new phone or if I keep using the old one.
It’s up to me if I book an all-inclusive holiday or if I invest in experiences.

It’s up to me if I smile or if I put on the grumpy face.
It’s up to me if I communicate or if I just don’t stop bullshitting.
It’s up to me if I speak or listen.

It’s up to me if I let society set my goals or if I’m finding out, what this world really has to offer.

It’s up to me if I’m working on my own deficiencies or if I keep bathing in self-pity.
It’s up to me if I’m waiting for this fucking prince on his fucking horse or if I take responsibility for my own life.
It’s up to me if I listen to my inner calling or just to the call of duty.

It’s up to me if I swim with the stream or if I find my own flow.
It’s up to me if I complain or if I take action.
It’s up to me if I “do what men have to do” or if I learn to think for myself.

It’s up to me if I dream my life or if I’m living the dream.

EVERYTHING is up to me.