When you hit rock bottom, lick your wounds, do some push-ups and keep going.
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.
Burn your agenda.
Drop your weapons.
Keep sharpening the knife.
Don’t force your power.
The fire of creation is what purifies your soul.
Real bravery is being in the eye of the storm.
Fight the fight, but fight it with dignity.
The higher the highs the lower the lows.
The brighter the light the darker the holes.
The deeper the pain the greater the gain.
There is a treasure within ourselves.
We just have to find it.
The truth doesn’t come smoothly. It comes hailing down on you.
If it doesn’t hurt it is not the truth.
The truth isn’t a pre-cooked dinner of your mom. It’s raw. You will not find a recipe on how to prepare it.
Because there is nothing to prepare.
If you walk on the verge of insanity everything is about balance.
Sometimes a tree needs to grow deep roots in order to find the right nutrients.
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.
This is another type of challenge right here. I’m tired of all the notes in my notebook. I’m tired of scrolling through all my endless drafts. Something worthwhile needs time, yes. I got that. But by rewriting an article a hundred of rounds I might lose my original idea and in the end I risk improving for the worse.
Many times I don’t publish only because I think: “That’s not good enough.” “Somebody said this before.” “I can do better.”
Of course I can do better. But when is better good enough? A lot of times I feel like the more I’m trying to improve the more I’m destroying my own writing. I feel like I’m loosing messages that could be worthwhile for somebody.
The other day I went to a writing meetup in Munich. I always like the exchange with other writers. Only now I realize how important it is for my motivation to hear about the broad experience of all these novel authors, script writers, ‘conceptioners’ and comic scribblers.
This time I met Marie from France again and we were talking about a phenomenon: Every so often a book doesn’t get published, because the author changes his or her mind. “I heard this from many publishers.”, Marie contemplated. “You better publish quickly before you can change your mind.”, she encouraged me to silent the judge before it can execute.
The suspicion is close that I’m not brave enough. “I have the feeling you are hiding yourself.”, a couple of weeks ago a friend and potential work partner pointed out to me. And yes, it is true – I am hiding. I’m afraid to publish.
But this blog here is not about me. There are millions of people going through the same things like me – they suffer from anxiety, depression, a broken heart, insecurity, self-doubts, pms, every topic that I address … I have to stop considering my writing as ‘my baby’.
It is my baby in a way, of course. But why am I writing? I’m writing because I want to change perspectives. I change my perspective by reading books, listening to lectures and talking to people. Realistically I’m nothing more than a catalyst of what I read and what I experience in the real life.
These experiences are not unique to me. What is unique is the way everybody processes these experiences. I’m doing it in this way here. Writing is my therapy, creativity is my valve.
I most likely experience real freedom while filling an empty page with my own words. Unfortunately a state of flow is still rather an exception than a rule.
Being a writer is a gift and a curse – however I need to put myself out there in order to fulfill the purpose.
Why do I call it “Writing Transformation Challenge”? I want to develop my own writing style. But by polishing my articles to a point of unrecognizability I kill my style. With this challenge I want to see if pressure makes the diamond…
The goal is to publish a post every day the next 14 days. Day one will be tomorrow.
Okay, another week of this micro habit challenge had passed. I have to admit that two weeks are a bit short to really understand what is going on. But something is going on – and it is something big.
I figured out that I’m mainly judging myself – and not other people. What gnaws away my energy or leads to confusion are the voices in my head that are telling me what to do, what to want and how to act. Yeah, it is probably not even one voice, but many. (And yeah, I’m seeing a therapist;)
Instead of asking myself what I really want from a situation or – and that is very painful to admit – from my own life I’m already assuming things that I should want. Or after a situation I judge about myself and tell myself how I should have behaved or reacted.
Hm, okay, here we come to the difficult question: Who is the judge in my head and how can I make him shut up? (Thanks, Alan Watts;)
Well, first I thought this is a very tough question. I could study this question from all perspectives – from a psychological, a spiritual, a neuro-scientific point of view. But in reality it is that simple: I just tell this speaker to shut up. I have to jam the judge.
And this is what I’m doing right now. As soon as a thought arises I tell my brain to shut up. This sounds a bit weird – to me too. I’m trying to understand with this blog and on this whole life journey where the pain is coming from and then I’m telling the voice inside of my head to shut up instead of listen to it? It is a bit of a contradiction.
But only on the first sight. Since I’m able to think it seems I’ve been thinking quite a lot. I gave my mind the permission to define my status quo and my mind doesn’t do a good job. It was a long process to come to the conclusion that my thoughts are might be not very helpful when it comes to live and prosper.
My thoughts are telling me so much bullshit that it is more work to separate the wheat from the chaff than turning them off completely and switch into ‘doer-mode’.
I reached a point where I’m going this far: Every thought is a judgement.
I was listening to Krishnamurti the other day. It was one of those casual super chill sundays when the way between bed and couch is the largest range of motion of the day (Well, I have these days potentially at every weekday.).
Krishnamurti asked: “When was the last time you looked at a mountain without calling it a mountain?” – Honestly I didn’t know this challenge is going to get this deep. By putting something in words we are already judging.
We project our definition of reality on the outside world. This definition is based on which language we speak, which senses are accessible to ‘make sense’ of reality and if we ‘feel’ comfortable, angry or sad. We are MAKING sense of the world by judging.
Our thoughts are created by the words we have learnt. These words define how we see the world. But is this the world or is it just a paper cut of the world?
Imagine you are a lizard. What would the world look like for you? You might live on a clearing of a forest. The furthest you see is to the edge of the woods. Would you say a lizard is not fully alive? Would you say a lizard needs more to be alive? No. The life is right there. The lizard is alive. The life is within the lizard. And so it is in us.
There is definitely no truth behind our words if we are telling ourselves that we need to do more, be more, be better, be stronger…. At the maximum there is interpretation of what could be useful for us (Whatever that means.).
And what does this have to do with judging? Everything. Judging is interpreting our behaviour or the behaviour of others and valuing it according to ‘our’ worldview.
When we judge we are clamping reality into the vice our own worldview. We trap ourselves if we are only listening to our mind.
Of course – on many levels the ability to judge helps us to live. We are able to cross a street without being hit by a car. We are able to buy food that keeps us alive. We are able to drink water when we are thirsty, because we are able to connect the dots.
We interpret the signals of our body subconsciously in order to satisfy our physical needs. But which needs do we fulfill if we interpret every signal that our mind flungs out? The need to impress? The need to prove something? How many times are these needs really our needs? And are these needs crucial for our survival?
I can answer this only for myself with a clear ‘no’. The only secret is to let life be as it is – imperfect, full of struggle, but at the core pretty basic: live, love, sleep, eat.
Okay, now I got a bit far off. Back to the challenge: I figured out that this type of examination on a “conscious level” helps me to cement all these ideas in my mind. My subconsciousness does the rest. It conveys the idea of “not knowing” to the core of my being.
This life is not about following an ideology, but about observing my own point of view. The problem is that we are getting lost in concepts instead of thinking for our own self. We are trying to fit ourselves into the right box. And this is how we are getting lost in confusion. Because all these boxes don’t fit properly, because they are only cheap replicas of reality.
If we look at things, including ourselves, like we look at it for the very first time of our life these things get a complete new dynamic. So the key would be to recognize every second, every moment of our lives as a unique moment that passes. And in this moment we need to do what feels good for us.
We only struggle if we interpret all the time, if we take things personal all the time, if we want more or if we put everything that we see in relation with our own life.
It absolutely doesn’t matter what other people do or think and when I say other people I mean ALL people, the whole society, the rest of the world…. Even what you tell yourself doesn’t matter. Without judgement there is no struggle.
Nevertheless: This whole judgement thing is so freakin’ hard. Just now I am facing the toughest challenges ever. This cage in my head is not created by me. I’m conditioned. I can change it to a certain extend, but I can’t escape from it completely.
But what I can do is ignoring it or – even better – using it for higher purposes. But for this I have to dig deeper.
The question is: Am I really prepared to look deep down into the nature of my own psyche? Am I willing to keep walking into the dark corners of myself? Am I willing to keep changing?
Another challenge is coming to an (happy) end. To be fair – it turned out to not be such a big challenge at all as I’m quite involved in ‘real life’ at the moment. I think I have to make the challenges a lot harder from now on.
So what did I learn?
- I’m actually not as distracted by social media as I thought. Haha, it seems I had a bit of a negative image of myself here. I didn’t really have to change much. All I changed was, as I said – investing the time I spent in social media in other stuff (learning languages, writing, talking to people, reading, going for a walk…) But it turned out: I’m doing these things anyways and flightmode is my best friend.
- I turned the 30 minutes ON social media into – what I called – “The 30 minutes of mindfulness”. I’m very ill-disciplined when it comes to exercising or meditating regularly. So I decided to leave it open and just set my alarm a little earlier to make sure I have time for any of the above. I either do some chanting, meditating, some yoga or any other type of stretching or workout depending on how I feel – maybe I even go for a walk around the garden or block – depending where I am. It forces me to observe myself before really getting out of bed. “How do I feel today?” is a good question to start on. Also it helps me to set an intention for the day. “How do I want to feel?” – My answer is mainly quite simple: “good.” What does this have to do with social media? Actually nothing. But! I realized repeatedly:
- Tadaaa: I’m happier WITHOUT checking instagram every couple of hours or minutes. It’s such a relieve for my – anyways – strained brain to not to see all these perfectly curated pictures. And also: Without feeling the need to reply to every message whatsoever…
- Also: In a way this exercise was a good reminder to keep cultivating self-love. Questioning is my tool and I’m the master of my mind not the the victim of my devices.
Well, what do I do now? I just continue doing the things I do instead of not-doing.
The first week of my challenge is over and probably this is the most successful micro habit challenge so far. Okay – maybe I didn’t challenge myself enough then.
I found out that social media is not my problem anymore, woohoo. My problem are in many ways not the things that I do, but the things that I don’t do. So, instead of ‘being on social media’ for 30 minutes I decided to do something useful instead. I have to address the problem slightly different…
What did I do?
- Quickly I figured out that my thumb has this stupid automatism. So what I needed to do was to remove the apps (Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp) to another screen of my phone. É voila – I haven’t touched instagram since roughly one week. Apparently it is not that urgent.
- I figured out that instead of saying: I reduce my social media time, I simply have to find a useful substitution. So what I’m doing now is: I invest the 30 minutes in practicing italian right now. I placed all the ‘useful’ apps like my notepad and duolingo on my homescreen now. Facebook I check only every now and then for a few minutes a day.
- My biggest let’s call it ‘time invest’ is actually sharing my life with my friends on WhatsApp. This also holds me back a little bit from living in the now. So, what I do now before sending a message, I ask myself, do I really need to share this? A lot of times my initial answer is no. Plus: If I want to tell somebody something, I think about the message a little longer and might even write an e-mail. This whole ‘instant-reaction’-thing bothers me since a very long time anyways.
Why am I doing these challenges?
Already by looking at my behaviour I change it. The so called observer effect doesn’t only apply in quantum physics. By surveilling my actions on my phone I change my behavior automatically. This way with a little bit of discipline it is probably possible to achieve everything.
It’s a little bit like quitting smoking. Already the question: ‘Do you really have to smoke now?’ potentially triggers a series of positive alternative actions. ‘Why not go for a walk instead?’ or say ‘hi’ to the stranger at the bus station, where you are standing right now. Life could be so simple, if we’d just live it.