By loving ourselves we unlock our potential.
By understanding our own gift and having the courage to put it out there we are truly making a difference.
It is not the time for false modesty now. It is the time to stand tall with everything we are.
It is the time to love ourselves more than we ever did.
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.
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.
- Do not consider your job as your passion. Just do it with pleasure. Do everything with pleasure.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have rules, have boundaries, but don’t freak out when they are being crossed. It means nothing.
- 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.
I breathe in deeply.
All negativity evaporates with my outbreath.
A warm energy flow climbs from chakra to chakra.
Every chakra – from root to crown – unites into one circle.
A warm golden wave lights up my whole body.
Love runs through my veins.
Every tiny bit of tension eases.
A tingeling sensation circulates from head to toe – embracing my entire being.
Every cell expands.
Every cell becomes love.
Every cell erradicates the last bits of resistance.
All the energy I have ever received transforms into light.
I imagine everybody can feel it now.
The love erruption.
Be love. Now.
What would happen if we would bless instead of pray?
What would happen if we would truly appreciate this miracle called life?
What would happen if all of a sudden we would feel nothing but compassion for one another?
What would happen if we would only trust?
What would happen if we would understand each other so well that words were not necessary anymore?
What would happen if we would create a language out of joy?
What would happen if we would give each other space instead of advice?
What would happen if we could reach through each other’s resistance and connect from the heart?
Would we set us free?
Would there be hope?
Since quite some time I’m trying to write an article about taking responsibility for one’s feelings. About three months ago at a writing meetup I’m attending every so often I thought ‘Okay, this article is nearly done. Just the final touch and off we go.’
Well, things turned out differently. An honest self-confession brought me to the realization: I don’t really have an idea about what I’m feeling, so how can I write about it?!
Yes, it sounds bizarre – to me too. How can I not know what I feel?
There was something going on, yes. There was anger. There was rage. There was excitement. But what did these emotions want to tell me? And is there anything that lies deeper?
So, I started off with the Seven-Minutes-Experiment. Now I have a slightly better idea about what I feel. But this is an ongoing process. Every day I have to remind myself to take the time to feel.
What I did find out is that there is not always a necessity to act. It is the opposite: I obtain peace of mind by non-acting. By just observing I’m automatically detaching from my feelings. Because feelings are like thoughts – they come and go. They don’t define me.
Okay, where to start? I might feel cold or tired, agitated, overwhelmed or nervous. By nature these feelings are not connoted in a negative or positive way. They just ‘are’.
Our mind likes to label our feelings. It marks them as good or bad. This way our mind creates its own version of reality. And this version of reality dictates how we experience the world, how we make decisions and how we interact with our environment.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important that we categorize. The problem arises when we overrate our own judgement and we identify with this perspective of reality.
This causes stress. The mind takes over. It judges and judges.
This way we create a barrier between ourselves and reality.
This is a difficult one. On the one hand I have to feel my feelings. Feelings are something natural. They give me a hint of what I need or what I am supposed to be doing in a given situation. They show me a direction.
On the other hand I have to be careful not to over-interpret them. Many times I would be better off by stoically ignoring them instead of labeling them and ‘acting out’ – verbally or ‘operatively’.
But let’s go a step back:
What Is The Difference Between Feelings And Emotions?
Oh boy, do I really want to open this jar? This is a huge topic. It is so complex and there are several approaches and even contradictory explanations of the relation between feelings and emotions. So, please research yourself if you want to draw a wider picture.
Etymologically the word emotion comes from the french word ‘to move’. Something is ‘in motion’ whereas a feeling is considered more as a state.
While an emotion passes quickly, a feeling can persist or better say reoccur over our whole lifetime when triggered for example by an emotion.
As you see – emotions and feelings are interconnected, but still something different.
The only way to really understand the difference between feelings and emotions is through neuroscience.
And this is pretty down to earth.
Emotions are a biochemical response – mainly brought on its way by the Amygdala and other subcortical regions of the brain. They originally helped us as a species to react quickly to possible danger or reward.
A feeling on the other hand is subjectively influenced by our former experience. They are processed in other areas of our brain, but as they are influenced by cognitive input it is hard to really locate them.
While an emotion is a physical reaction of the body to a stimulus a feeling manifests psychologically through our experience. This process is very complex. It can be more described as a psychological conditioning.
If you imagine a theatre play emotions would be the scenes whereas a feeling would be the genre.
You could say feelings ‘plot’ emotions on the canvas of our mind.
How Do Feelings Find Their Way Into Our Lives?
I summed up two perspectives:
Our background: What we have experienced as a child conditions us and our feelings. It determines how we act in relationships, what we think about ourselves and about others. It determines our whole experience of the world. Freud and his disciples knew that if we want to understand ourselves fully we have to go back to our traumatic experiences and feel the emotion that we faced during this traumatic event. This helps us to process and integrate the marks of our journey. Getting to know these ‘old’ emotions helps us to understand why we react in a certain way in a given situation.
Our needs: Rather our needs are fulfilled or not conditions the way we ‘feel’ about ourselves and the world. What are our needs? Yes, there is maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When we are tired, hungry or alone we lose our balance easily and we might react emotionally. Rosenberg extends or better say elaborates the list of needs even more: Next to physical nurturance every human has the need for autonomy (following own goals and values), the need for ‘celebration’ (celebration of the creation of life and its fulfillment, and also the celebration of losses, e.g. of loved ones), the need for integrity (authenticity, creativity, meaning and self-worth), the need for interdependence (community, appreciation, intimacy, emotional safety, contribution to the enrichment of life, honesty, support, trust,…), the need for play (fun, laughter) and the need for what he calls ‘spiritual communion’ (beauty, harmony, order, inspiration, peace).
With the definition of these needs and which feelings arise rather they are met or not Rosenberg lies the foundation for nonviolent communication: “The intend is to remind us about what we already know – about how we humans were meant to relate to another – and to assist us in living in a way that concretely manifests this knowledge.”
So what is there? We have a body and we have needs that make us feel one way or another. And we have things that happen to us that make us feel one way or another. And in the end we have our thoughts that influence the way we feel.
So far so good. Life should flow smoothly if we would just listen to our feelings. But a lot of times it doesn’t, because we distract ourselves.
How Do We Disconnect From Our Feelings?
A lot of times what we call ‘our feelings’ are just projections. We make other people responsible for not being heard, not being loved, for not being sufficient. More than anything they are often reponses of our old conditioning. Our little hurt self that wants attention.
Rosenberg explains: “Judgements, criticism, diagnoses, and interpretations of others are all alienated expressions of our own needs and values. When others hear criticism, they tend to invest their energy in self-defense or counterattack. The more directly we can connect our feelings to our needs, the easier it is for others to respond compassionately.”
At the beginning I thought: Okay, I’m aware of this. I will just change it. I don’t judge. I don’t re-act. I only observe and take the time to understand my needs.
I found out that this is easier said than done. As I explained earlier – there is a fundamental biochemical process going on in our body. We don’t change that easily.
Sometimes we deny feelings subconsciously. Most likely we deny the uncomfortable feelings, because our brain can’t be bothered with finding a solution for an unsatisfying situation.
Why? Because it wants to protect us from discomfort. We make ourselves vulnerable by confessing our deepest needs, because they might not be met. This is called coherence. Our brain likes convenience. It wants us to experience our life as ‘comprehensive’ as possible. This is why it prefers to stick to behavioural patterns that ‘work’. And a lot of times these patterns are not very useful.
Most of the time we are craving for something or we lack something and we are trying to find a ‘quick fix’.
A quick fix can be work, our phone, sex, drugs, TV or any other type of entertainment.
The problem is that these distractions lead us further away from ourselves. I don’t say they are generally bad, but they can be if they help us to avoid confrontation with our feelings.
“Avoidance is never an option in order to live a happy life,” said Margarete Paul, author of the book “Healing your aloneness”.
By avoiding our feelings we deny ourselves.
‘Not taking part’ can also be a form of denial. By avoiding new experiences we prevent ourselves from failure – but also from feeling ourselves.
Why Should We Better Connect With Our Feelings?
If you detach yourself from your feelings you will never fully feel yourself. You will never arrive in the present moment. You will never know what it means to be alive.
The more you become aware of your feelings the more confidence you get. If you are able to accept your vulnerability you have nothing to be afraid of. Social anxiety won’t be necessary anymore as you are not looking for approval.
Your nervous system relaxes if you are honest with yourself. Confess and accept anger or rage or sadness and automatically you will find release.
Additionally your body starts working in its natural power, because energy is being released.
The Real Homework
I found out that this is what it’s all about. I get to know myself by coming to my senses, by feeling myself.
Daniel Goleman, expert in emotional intelligence, expresses why this is so crucial for all of us:
“To understand human nature in general it helps enormously to first understand ourselves, which takes self-awareness. With emotional self-awareness, we recognize our feelings and how they impact us, which helps us, for example speak from the heart in a way that resonates with other people. Self-awareness also underlies effective emotional mastery, as well as empathy– we can only understand other’s emotions if we understand our own.”
About six years ago, when I ended an unhealthy relationship, I started off with my journey of self-discovery.
The following years were only about ‘toughening up’. I thought I have to get stronger. I thought I have to toughen up and this is the only way to get through this life.
I was wrong. What I had to discover was my vulnerability.
Through a lot of painful experiences I finally realized that I have to do my real homework. I have to learn to manage my emotions, I have to deal with my feelings instead of numbing them.
Stop creating yourself. Be who you are.
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.
Sometimes we are so afraid of the pain that we forget to live.
Sensory input is beyond perception. I’m not observing, I (sur)render.
Out of body, out of mind I’m hovering.
Above the ground or elsewhere my energy field absorbs.
All matter blows up like a balloon.
A new force draws magnetically.
I’m submerging through the grid of masks.
My consciousness expands impulsively.
The boost disassociates me from the rest of the world.
My internal materializes within another dimension.
Involuntarily I convert into a canvas of reality.
I am lived.
I become life and everything that is and ever will be.
Is this embodiment of the light or incorporation of the shadow?
Good morning human,
who? Yes, you!
How are you today? You don’t know? You look worried. What’s up? Is the future scaring you? Don’t worry it does only look threatening from the distance. And what are you carrying on your shoulders? Oh, it’s the past. Drop it, it’s too heavy. You don’t need it as long as you stay with me.
Why don’t you leave it where it is? It will get heavier and heavier. You can’t move on like this.
Please human, why can’t you see that you have everything right here?
And why are you in such a hurry? Yeah right, slow down a bit. Take a look around. It’s nice here in the present moment. Can you see the blue of the sky? The green of the trees? This planet is here – for you too. And what are you doing? You are creating your own reality instead of appreciating this one.
The light breeze that plays in the tree tops. It is the same breeze that gives you your life energy.
I invite you to take it all in. As deep as you can. Every moment you are invited. You want to meet me more often? Don’t forget to breathe, because it is your mean of transport.
My door is always open for you. I’m here for you.The past is gone. You can remember her, she is a close friend of mine too. But we never get to meet.
And the future? Well, I’m paving your way. If you walk with me I will guide you. You want to see a map? Well, maps are something you invented. You don’t need it. All you need is to trust me.
I will hand you the right tools, I will prepare you. I will show you the direction. But only if you take the time to stay with me.
What’s up? I can see you rushing again. Only by watching you I get dizzy. You are getting lost.
Please take a moment to inhale deeply. As deeep as you can. And now again and again and again.
Here we go. Do you notice something?
Stay present, stay here.
Where are you going.
I’m always here for you.
“I don’t have this urge to create.” This is how a conversation I’ve had at a New Years party started off and swiftly ended.
After all this product designer and I didn’t have that much in common. “You need some sort of pain in order to create something.” This we both agreed on in our short examination of “What makes a creative person?” Whereas an artist I spoke to the other day disagreed strongly when I asked her about her growing pain during creation: ”Art doesn’t have to hurt. Only because you are creative doesn’t mean you have to suffer.”
I would love to agree with Chandra, but I can’t. This incoherent incomprehensible unrooted urge to express myself doesn’t let me sleep at night. This is suffering. Maybe the ‘creatives’ are just a bit of masochists.
In order to create something there must be some sort of discomfort. Something that pushes us towards the finishing line of a project – is it a job deadline or a personal goal we are aiming for. There needs to be some sort of necessity to create. If it doesn’t hurt at least an unease needs to be eliminated.
‘To create’ something means to build, design, construct or initiate something that hasn’t been there before. Some sort of invisible hole needs to be ‘filled’, a gap closed, a thirst quenched.
You can only create if you are willing to go beyond the existing. ‘A creative’ is brave enough to face the unknown.
Everybody is creative in one way or another. It’s a human trait. Life itself demands a level of creativity: When we are communicating we have to read between the lines, we have to ‘make sense’ of the world around us. We need to be creative when we cook, when we want to date someone, when we want to book holidays, when we post something on instagram. (pahaha!)
Creativity in the sense of ‘doing something with an artistic merit’ is commitment to walk into the unknown. It is ‘not being afraid of the empty page’. It is ‘not stopping to create’ until the creator is satisfied. Creativity is dedication.
It is an inexhaustible force that won’t stop pulling until we are done or something close to done.
For me this doesn’t go without any sort of pain. Sometimes the pain is hard to stand, but there is only one way: to keep creating.