The Battlefield Is In Your Head Vol. 1 – and The “Do-Nothing-Challenge”

‘I feel raw like a carpaccio,’ I am contemplating the current state of my being.

Raw and juicy. Mmmhhh…

My current life situation provides a learning curve with a steepness I didn’t quite expect for the rest of this year.

I had no idea what kind of surprises the universe would hold in stock for me after experiencing a so-called ‘dark night of the soul’, which lasted for about five months.

After working a couple of night shifts in a row I am sitting in front of my computer. I’m catching myself ‘waiting for inspiration’ – whereas my body is screaming for rest.

What do I expect of my neurons? I should lay down and sleep, but of course I’m trying to finish an article I had been working on for way too long (as my inner judge proclaims). In the back of my head I’m beating myself up for not doing (more) yoga or practicing a foreign language.

Jep. My internal organs are contracting. A heavy weight around my ribcage is limiting the capacity of my lungs..

I know this feeling very well. My perfectionism is dragging me down. Anxiety drains my energy system.

“This is a potent time to be with…,” the words of Kendra Adachi, who assisted me in arriving in the present moment over and over again for the past couple of months, are flashing through my head.

She is right.

I am working a full-time job at a low-budget hostel after living a nomad life for the past couple of years. I’ve started a relationship with a man who massages my feet every day (and who I’ve known only for two months). Me and my vagabond soul are practicing ourselves in ‘settling down’… more or less voluntarily. (I still owe you a longer story of what had happened in the past eight months. As some of you might know – I’ve travelled to India and then I fell apart.)

I discover my own boundaries and I’m learning to set them where I still need to set them. I’m learning to receive. I’m learning to ‘not run away’. To make it short: I’m confronted with regular life in times of a global pandemic. Yay – great fun!

It’s a time of adaptation. More than ever before I can feel it – a new phase had ended and something new began. Where this new period of time will lead? I have no clue… But do I have to know the destination?

2020 has been profoundly challenging – for a lot, if not all of us…

I did my homework during lockdown and quarantine phases (partly self-imposed). I dove deep into the darkest corners of the blackness of my personality. I reconnected with my soul in the darkness. My physical body is still sympathizing with old patterns.

There is A LOT to integrate.

And I better take my time to do it – if I don’t want to scare the people away who are trying to love me (for a change).

Still it amazes me how accurately aligned this global crisis is with the personal crisis I’m going through…

‘Who do you think you are? Some sort of hyper-human?,’ I’m questioning myself…

Well, honestly, I do think I’m some sort of a transmutation or at least I consider my life as a research project – as you might have noticed.

Haha, it sounds like the same story as usual… but it is not quite…

I’ve asked for help and I’ve received it – in ways I have never expected. I’ve met the most inspiring and courageous souls that showed me my own strength and my own endurance.

The darkness became my friend in the end and finally it is my turn to actually apply the tools I had been gathering since I’ve started my journey in 2013 (or was it 2015? or 2017? :D)

‘Surrender or die’ – This is the short version of what I had learnt from my ‘dark night of the soul’. Dark night of the soul? Sounds more hip than just calling it a ‘depression’ or a ‘depressive phase’, right?!

I’m not even being pathetic here. It just wouldn’t be fair to call it a ‘depression’, because I was not depressed in the sense of ‘I couldn’t do anything’. I just lost track for a little while and remained paralyzed in a state of fear. I think that’s called trauma. That’s a difference. Argh, I didn’t mean to sound ironic here. It was really not fun. BUT… I FREAKIN’ DID IT!!! I SURVIVED AND I LEARNT A TON!!!

Anyway, probably I will dive into that further along the way… 😉

The challenge is to surrender. Surrender to the currents of life and trust that my life jacket will rescue me.

And how do I surrender? By doing nothing… First I wanted to call the challenge the ‘What-do-I-want-challenge”. This sounded too proactive and too ‘awwe, she is still searching’. Then I wanted to call it “Mindfulness-Challenge”, but come on?! “Do-Nothing-Challenge” sounds a bit more polarizing…

Another challenge? Well, the task is actually to destress myself. I want to give myself time to adjust…

I had attempted this challenge several times already. The task is to meditate for one hour a day for 30 days in a row…. And see what happens… I’m four days into this challenge and I’m already gathering some learning. By the end of the week I will give you an update.

 

Gaslit

If you lose focus, what do you think?
If your eyes are shut, what do you see?
If your senses are numbed, what do you feel?
If you keep on running, how do you ever reach home?
If you can’t feed yourself, how do you want to nourish others?
If you are walking on eggshells, how do you root yourself?
If you are crawling in darkness, how are you going to reach the light?

The illusion can’t sustain itself forever. These are the rules.
When you finally hit rock bottom, you get the chance to stand up for yourself.

 

Play It Lightly

You are the one who judges yourself. You are the one who overcomplicates your life. You are the one who is projecting. You are the one who pulls the trigger. You are the one who is using other people as an excuse. You are the one who is using force. You are the one who is building up the walls. You are the one who has expectations. You are the one who ducks down.

Do you remember?

“Get the fuck out of your head,” this has been my message from the universe – not only on this mornings’ walk, but all the past two months…

The ‘lockdown’ forced me into my head. My body forced me to get out of my head.

To be fair – for me it was not really a big difference as I chose to retreat or ‘cocoon’ for the past five months. (I have learnt this term recently from my beloved youtube mentor “The Heart Alchemist” Christina Lopes.) Finally I had an excuse to stay at home.

It’s been rough. My thoughts became so heavy that I literally had to start running. I was in ‘fight and flight’ mode nearly every single day of the past two months.

Panic attacks and emotional flashbacks – from more than one lifetime – shook my bones. I ran and I cried. There were days when my tank of tears was empty. There was nothing to cry anymore.

So, I started walking and drumming and singing instead….

After travelling India for two months I had spent two months at my parents house. My nomad life forced me ‘home’ – how ironic, isn’t it?! And this was probably the hardest journey of my life. I had to look at my old wounds. I had to look at it all. The wounds of my whole family…

Healing became essential. I was forced to train my thinking. I was forced to transform grief into gratitude, frustration into positivity, anger into love…

Now I know: I have to do it! I have to turn everything that doesn’t feel good into love.

I always thought this is a hard thing to do, but in reality I was only looking for excuses and for shortcuts. I didn’t understand that this is a skill that I already inherit.

My addictions had taught me a lot about ‘excuses’. It is the time now to become addicted to love.

Go and play your roles lightly again.
Go and be happy.
Move on.
This is just an illusion.
Don’t ask for permission to love.
Don’t be somehow, but be who you are.
Understand that you are a physical body that consists of biochemical processes. Take care of this body. The vessel of your soul.
As simple as that.

“This is not about the destination. If it was, what would you do when you get there?,” thank you Sarah Beth Yoga for making this morning an even more remarkable one…

This morning rattled me. Yesterday I was in a state of paralysis. I thought now it must be the time to go to the psychiatric clinic. My past two months were that way, but now the momentum is coming back.

The shift becomes so obvious, I can’t be scared anymore.

The astonishing fact: I asked for it.

I asked for every single lesson. There is always something to learn. Always. I don’t know what my life would be without these lessons? What would my life be without change? Would it be a life?

I’m not talking about physical change here… I’m talking about the change of perspective, the change of habits, the change of thinking. Because this happens when you learn. You rewire your entire brain… This is why I always travelled. It was never about seeing places. It was about learning.

Why not go for a walk in the middle of the night instead of lying in bed sleepless? Why not using your energy appropriately? Why not singing it out instead of being angry? Why not running it off?

This world is a playground and we are here to play. Of course we have to work fucking hard. Me too. Everybody does. But that’s what it is all about.

This is an incredible opportunity to learn. This is seriously the only thing that keeps me going. The moment when I understood this changed my life forever. The moment when I understood how much I love learning.

I don’t remember if there was a moment, but I know that there was always this force in my life. This force that told me that there is ‘something else’ to life. Something ‘more’.

Up to now I didn’t even know what I was talking about.

Now I know that this is all about awareness. This is all about being able to sense, to appreciate what is happening around you. This is the oldest practice of all times. The practice of being present.

When I went for a walk this morning I asked for guidance. Where should I go? I passed a field and I saw a spider hanging in the grains, hidden in a tiny cobweb. The spider was holding on to the grains with her acrobatic legs.

“So, this is your little home?,” I smiled at her.

All of sudden I realized that I am already there. I am able to see the small things. I feel a rush of love when I see the sun rising over the fields – the fresh morning breeze in my ear… Even writing it down here brings tears into my eyes. This is how moved I am by the beauty of nature – time and time again.

But there are the times when I forget about it. There are the times when I’m eaten alive by my fears and my self-doubt. Indecision paralyzes me in these moments – desperately waiting for a sign that never comes when I expect it…

On these days I get so anxious that I don’t want to see people at all if I don’t have to. On these days I forget that I am in control of my life. I am in control of my happiness. Nobody will make me happy. Nobody will make a decision for me. Nobody will be happy for me…..

But some people are a little bit more happy, when I am happy. So, why not just walk around and be happy?

How To Play A Role Lightly?

So, what does this have to do with playing roles? Everything! Because the roles are the masks that keep us trapped…

“How to play a role lightly?”

Ram Dass printed this question into my notes. I’ve been collecting notes on this question for quite a while.

Only today when I watched this spider it came crashing down on me how everything is related so smoothly: My negative thinking patterns are my roles.

Or actually it was the opposite: It felt like all the roles were taken from me?.

I had this sensation quite a lot in the past two years, but more and more I can cast it into words.

More and more I can look out for ‘patterns’ to drop – because this is a massive process. It’s truly like peeling an onion.

I was blaming myself for my massive ups and downs, for my heavy emotional flashbacks. Slowly it dawns me that every breakdown is another layer…

I’m learning my tools and they are so simple.

This is what fills my heart with gratefulness nowadays and it manifests my desire to get this knowledge out to everybody who needs it. I want to make the knowledge accessible. (“Hm, maybe sharing more on social media would be a step, right?”:)

So, what is a role? A role is not only the role you play in society (mother, employee,..) or a role you play in your head (author, artist,…:), it can also be a trait or a feeling. What do I mean by that? For a long time I didn’t realize how much pressure I put on myself by assuming that I am ‘depressed’ or I am not normal or ‘I am an over-improver’. These anti-mantras became my personality traits.

You become your thoughts. You become what you think about. It is worth it to consider this – every single day.

What do you identify yourself with? What is the first thing you are telling yourself in the morning? What definitions and standards are you holding on to? Are they yours? Are they helpful or not? Do you need them?

Now that I took the time to spend so so much time in my head the voices become clearer and clearer…

The judge became louder and louder – until I’ve started to scream back. More than that: I’m laughing at her. I’m laughing out loud when the huge, dark, negative thoughts come and cloud my view.

Of course I’m not ‘fully there’. I guess we are never fully there – and this is the beauty of it. It’s a neverending process.

Because if we were ‘there’ what would we do, right? What happens when we reach the destination?

It is better to enjoy the journey – and travel lightly. That means playing everything lightly.

…and because a list might comes handy, I have worked up my notes about “How To Play A Role Lightly” a little for you.

  1. Do not consider your job as your passion. Just do it with pleasure. Do everything with pleasure.
  2. Do what needs to be done. Do the best job you can, but don’t get lost in perfectionism. “Doing” is an outside experience, while being is an inside experience. What does that mean? You do things in the outside world, but inside you remain quiet.
  3. Stop being driven by deadlines and results. Just ‘do’ one step at a time and detach from the outcome. It takes the stress away. Otherwise you will get lost.
  4. Have rules, have boundaries, but don’t freak out when they are being crossed. It means nothing.
  5. You have nothing to prove and nothing to lose. Keep it easy.
    Know that you are capable of transforming every negative event into a positive one. Rewrite your story easily.

When you realize that what you do doesn’t define you and what you say is without meaning, then you are truly free.

 

Enjoy Your Crisis

Enjoy your crisis.

Be proud of it.

This is what your soul called upon.

This is not the time to give up. It is the time to build up your strength.

The crisis is not the challenge – it is the preparation.

Now, drop your convictions.

Drop the story that you had been telling yourself.

Keep up the work. In hard times it is even more crucial.

Transform your despair into love. It is possible. This is what you are here for.

You won’t die.
Your soul won’t die.

Chaos is expansion. Devote to it.

You can save your physical body only by surrendering.

Give in.

Feel it all. Yes. ALL. Don’t stop.

Appreciate it all.

Let go of it all.

Let go of the blame, the anger and the guilt.

Hold on to nothing.

Celebrate the unanswered questions.

Be shattered.

In between the pieces there is a little gem called silence.

Allow silence and peace will overtake your stirred-up mind.

If you wait long enough bliss will come and invigorate you.

I promise you.

Be patient.
Take a break.
And another one.
And another one – if you need it.

Let everything die that wants to die.

As long as it takes…

 

Magnitude 8.5

The awakening is like an earthquake at the bottom of the ocean and you are like a vessel on the surface.

The bigger the eruption the greater the impact.

You really learn to sail on these rocky waters.

Don’t stop breathing.

Keep quiet and steer.

Trust your inner compass.

You know the tools. Be ready to apply them.

 

3 Simple Ways To Develop Self-Discipline

Yay, the threesome is back – ‘just in time’ in ‘these days’.

What is the secret to personal growth? More and more I come to the conclusion that it is all about consistency. The consistency of doing one step after another.

Self-discipline became a fundamental component of my life. Not only in order to circumvent procrastination or to regulate over-thinking, but in order to basically get anything done.

Of course – change doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes there are these massive fall-backs.

At the beginning I didn’t get this straight. I couldn’t establish discipline. It frustrated me. In the end it even increased my anxiety – the thing I wanted to learn to manage.

Until I understood that this whole personal development thing is not a straight line. I had to learn to set my intention right. I had to learn to focus. And I had to learn to get up – again and again and again after every single fall-back.

Also I had to learn to household with my energies, because I pressured myself so much.

It’s like running a marathon. If you burn all your energy at the beginning of the race you won’t be able to finish.

There are these punchlines circulating in social media: ‘Change comes in an instance.’ Yes. It does – but only after a long training period. You might read these quotes by inspirational speakers (Is this still a term?) like Tony Robbins or Simon Sinek (just as an example). But did you ever study their whole story?

Every success story is a rocky road. No matter if it’s the story of a company, an artist or a thought leader.

It is the incremental change that paves the road to self-mastery.

For me personally everything in my life became an act of balance. I can cope with the adversities of life only (and just about), because I made the decision to practice self-discipline at the beginning of this blog in 2017.

Before that I was not able to make a living.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but seriously my life was a mess. Slowly (!) the fog is lifting and there are things that I can share confidently with you now…

1. Timer

Let’s start very practical. I established meditation, yoga, writing and language learning in my life – step by step. On this path the timer became my best friend. For some time I used a method called ‘pomodoro method’ to keep me going. Check out this threesome to find some more inspiration.

2. Cold Showers

Probably you read this already – maybe even on my blog. In my opinion cold showers are still highly underrated. I mentioned it earlier as a trick to reduce stress. It doesn’t only support the immune system, but it also helps to develop self-discipline.

If you manage to turn the tap on ‘cold’ in the morning every challenge of the day becomes easier. Additionally to that cold water can function as an antidepressant. How? Apparently a cold shower triggers our peripheral nerve ends. This trigger could drive forth a series of impulses that help to rewire the brain. My theory is that you receive such a shock moment that you forget about all your worries.

3. Practice ‘Delay of Gratification’

What do I mean by that? We are animals and as we can train our dog we can train ourselves.

This is indeed as easy said as done – if you are committed to change.

For example: If you don’t want to relinquish chocolate completely from your life, but you want to reduce sugar and at the same time you wish to exercise more – then set yourself some rules.

You are allowed to eat a piece (or a whole bar) of chocolate if you go running for 30 minutes.

My example now would be: I finish this article right here and then I will make my third coffee of the day and listen to music.

What else?

I don’t believe in super tough measurements anymore. This was one of my major lessons after my numerous self-imposed micro challenges. I can’t just apply the productivity tools of others. But what really helped me to integrate my own tools was the practice of self-discipline.

Add-on:

There is a thing that startles me a lot right now: Some people seem to expect ‘change’. Some people seem to wait for the moment when ‘things get better again’. But only very few individuals understand that it is about us – especially in ‘these days’. It is about us to take positive action towards a better world. And this requires some sort of discipline – especially in times of chaos.

 

New Years Thoughts

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.

 

Purification

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.