Seven Minute Experiment – Setting The Stage

Personal development is a matter of constant effort. It is a learning process that requires constant work.

I fell in love with this process, but recently I had been neglecting it a little bit.

Luckily the universe provides me with the lessons that I need to learn – over and over again.

I understood that these lessons are the process. There is no final solution. Or to put it differently: There is a constant solution.

These lessons are the solution. Or to use the words of Ram Dass and Timothy Leary “We don’t have a problem. We have a plan.”

Recently I’ve been a bit stuck. Trapped in my own perfectionism I was trying to force purpose. I was so busy ‘uncluttering stuff’ that I forgot to keep doing the work (which is part of the plan).

“Making an honest inventory.” “Writing my heart out.” – Helping me to grow. This is still the idea of growthbuddy.rocks. And on the way I’m trying to inspire a ‘growth-mindset’.

Right now I feel like I block my own progress with all the ‘intellectualizing’ and the pressure to finish hundreds of articles.

I’m working on articles about resilience and taking responsibility for oneself’s feelings while building up resistance against my own truth.

What do I mean by that? My own truth is my direct connection. It is my ability to connect with the world from a natural point – without trying to control or to be somebody.

I behaved like I arrived at this point. Like I mastered it. But in reality my confusion reached a new level and also my perfectionism and my addiction to predict the future was still holding me in chains.

I’m just a kid playing with the universe, with the world, with other people, with my own potential – without understanding the rules.

Once in a while it is good to get an outlook to the mountain without peak, but now it’s time to do my homework again.

Back To Work

I noticed it when I tried to finish my article about ‘taking responsibility for one’s feelings’:

I can’t feel feelings. In many situations I don’t know what I need. Probably because I am so distracted with organizing my life and stuff. And also because I’m so busy thinking of other people’s needs and what I can do for them. (Codependency)

I’m out of touch. Out of touch with reality. But mainly out of touch with myself. And this is why I can only express my confusion.

“The Seven Minute Experiment”

My work for now is it to get back in touch with my feelings. It is funny, because I’m talking about love and heart a lot.

In the last few days during yoga and at the climbing gym I found out that I have absolutely no connection with my heart. Well, not absolutely, but definitely I’m not acting ‘from the heart’. The muscles around my ripcage are so tight, there is absolutely no room for me. No room to enter. And this is the source of all other pain that I’m experiencing in my life.

As some of you might know I like challenges. It is time for another Micro Habit Challenge. This time it is more a Macro One:

Ha! And there we go. I was trying to define the difference between feelings and emotions. And I couldn’t. There are different definitions of it.

As far as I understood an emotion is something caused by the external. Some event we react too. This emotion can also access our deep rooted fears or desires and all of a sudden it causes a feeling within our chest.

Feelings are something we have learnt. Feelings that we feel are conditioned. For example some events trigger an old child memory and all of a sudden we feel a certain way in a certain situation without doing anything about it.

I don’t remember where I read or heard it, but apparently it takes seven minutes to ‘go through’ a feeling.

In the next 30 days I want to have a closer look at myself. This is really basic work and I’m hoping to get more clarity around the topics of ‘integration’ and ‘needs’.

Acutally I’m already a few days into the challenge. I started a diary for my feelings about a week ago. The starting date of the challenge is September 12th.

Trust in the uncomfortable.
Trust that everything that doesn’t belong to you will leave you.
Trust that everything that belongs to you stays with you.

 

Honouring The Past, Anticipating The Future or ‘A New Dawn’

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….

 

Learning to Unlearn

At the beginning of this blog in summer 2017 I thought this is all about ‘learning’. My aim was to expand my toolbox in order to be more productive, more balanced, more happy (Whatever that meant to me at this point in time.). I thought: “If I’d just learnt this lifehack.” “If I’d just be able to master my mind like successful person xy.”, everything would be perfect.

I failed adapting most of productivity hacks. I couldn’t develop these ‘healthy routines’ that supposedly would project an undreamt-of-degree of happiness into my life. Nothing improved. I might got slightly more stuff done, but my overall well-being hadn’t improved. And: I didn’t have the slightest idea how I wanted to feel.

“Why do you only think black and white?”, my therapist during this time called upon my lacking self-compassion. I didn’t have a proper answer. There was only this massive wall of perfectionism sealing off my potential. I could touch it, but I didn’t know how to demolish it.

I had to dig deeper. This was for sure. What I found was a lot of pain buried deep down under my obsessive will to ‘improve myself’. Under the pain there were my strengths downtrodden by my negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviours.

My mission was not to add something to my personality, but to reveal my individual traits. These characteristics are my weapons. These are the tools that help me to fulfill my purpose in this world. Happiness or let’s call it contentment is what comes naturally with accepting and integrating these peculiarities.

My task in this lifetime is to eradicate toxic habits in order to root up my real me. This requires commitment and courage. I can’t just ‘adapt’ other peoples methods of being productive, creative or self-disciplined. I have to develop my own strategies.

What I found out was that my bad habits and my thinking-patterns are not my own. I adopted them. I’m conditioned to think in a certain way. I’m conditioned to judge, to react, to be afraid. The good news is: I have the power to change.

But how? How do I unlearn? How do I re-condition? By pausing. By observing and by questioning my behaviour and my thoughts. The following to-do’s are not necessarily consecutive, they are interdependent. You will understand why:

1. Observe Your Behaviour

The first step in our process of unlearning is to observe. By observing we create a gap between us and our actions. Things change aggregate state as soon as we look at them. Habits lose their power as soon as we catch them unattended. They move from a subconscious level to consciousness.

This is something we can integrate into our daily life. “Again I wasted my energy for some stupid shit.” So what? This realization is the type of observation we need in order to create a gap.

It doesn’t only apply to actions, but also to thoughts. If the immoderate perfectionism is lurking, we just ask him what he wants. And there it is again: The gap. As soon as you look right into the eyes of your perfectionism it loses its power.

2. Detach From Your Conditions

If I keep telling myself “Stop this stupid perfectionism” I’m narrowing this gap again. I become a victim of the characteristic that I want to eliminate.

By punishing myself my mind becomes my enemy again. My whole body gets tight. I’m falling into subconscious behaviour.

The only option is “to let go”, to detach from it. To not see it as my trait, but as something that occurs every now and then. This way I look at my supposedly mistakes and surrender. If I take them lightly I don’t get trapped again.

3. Question Your Desires

Questioning became my tool to explore my needs and get to the core of my being. I found out that I can’t know what I want, but I can feel it – if I ask honest questions and take the time to find the answer.

To stay with the example of poisonous perfectionism: I asked myself. “Why am I such a perfectionist?”. The answer is that I’m not allowing myself mistakes, because I’m afraid to not be lovable. So, the desire under my desire to be perfect is to be loved. This reveals a complete different need. My need is not to be perfect, but to be loved.

More and more it becomes obvious why all my attempts to live happily failed. By following all these notions and desires blindly I distracted myself. I cured the symtoms, but I didn’t try to heal myself.

4. Connect With Yourself

I didn’t question if what I wanted was what I really wanted or just what I was told to be wanting or what I thought could fix my lack of self-esteem.

I wanted to become somebody instead of accepting who I am. I was not able to connect with myself and find out about my real qualities. It is not possible to find purpose anywhere else apart from at the very core of my being.

5. Alter Your Habits

There is always this thin line between not being too hard on myself and becoming the person who I want to be. But after all it is inevitable to start walking on the tight-rope of self-improvement.

In order to unlearn there needs to be the willingness to change. That’s the only reason why we should look at our behaviours, question them, detach from them and finally connect with ourselves. The next step is to do what is good for you – for your real you. And then DO IT. Alter it. Don’t do what doesn’t serve you anymore….

Through this whole procedure we reach a complete new layer of consciousness. This is how we are diving into the unknown – how we connect with the divine of our existence.

 

The Urge To Create

“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.

 

Why Gratefulness is a Practice

… and three ways to practice it.

“You don’t know why you do it, but life will reward you. It’s like going to the gym,” Adriano is annotating my – at times exhausting – nomad life style. I still have to smile about the metaphor as my lifestyle is not at all healthy at times.

I learn a lot during travelling – about: being happy with less, appreciating privacy or a space to live in, valuing a fully equipped kitchen, absorbing hugs from people I just met a few moments earlier… These are a few of many things travelling taught me. But what do I benefit the most from? Probably it is the skill of ‘being grateful’.

‘Be grateful’ might sounds a bit platitudinous. It is one of the phrases that got exploited by our ‘cultural narrators’ (I have to admit, I stole this expression from school of life.)

Nevertheless it is so important to cultivate this well-quoted ‘gratefulness’ in order to live life properly. Recently I found out that it is actually a skill to be grateful.

First you might have to think about things to be grateful for: “Today I had a coffee and a really good chat with a friend, my boss or the taxi driver was in a good mood, the weather was good…”

Appreciation grows exponentially.

If you practice being grateful everyday, you will notice more and more things to be grateful for. Appreciation grows exponentially. It’s like a perpetuum mobile that keeps moving as soon as you prompt it.

One day, you don’t need to tell yourself anymore to ‘be grateful’. It becomes your natural trait.

What happens when you are grateful? Life loses its tightness automatically. You are beginning to appreciate the huge miracle you are a part of. It is here. It is you. You are beginning to appreciate the beauty.

When you know good things will come float into your life, you will walk through life only with curiosity. But you need to initiate it. You need to get in touch with the core of joy in order to cultivate it. At the beginning you need to search for the beauty. But as soon as you find it, you can nourish it – like a plant that grows inside of you.

Alright, but how do we practice gratefulness? Here we go with the not-so-threesome-style threesome.

1. List of Gratefulness

Write down what you are grateful for regularly. Maybe you even start a small book only for things to be grateful for. It can be the tiniest things, you will see how this will change your whole perspective on your day.

2. Gratefulness as a Reward System

Let gratefulness be your reward system – appreciate your own achievements. Every time you finish something during the day take a moment of appreciation. For example if you tick off a task of your To-Do-List, this can be a reason to smile. It can be the smallest task. But if you take a moment every time you accomplish something, you will automatically gain gratitude. A positive side-effect is a rise of motivation as you honour yourself much more.

3. Minute of Appreciation

It took a while – but nowadays I’m trying to use technology as my tool (and not my undertaker as it used to be due to self-diagnosed social-media-addiction.) Set a daily alarm for a “Minute of Appreciation” (or three or five minutes, it is up to you.). Only one minutes a day will help you to activate the flow of gratitude. It doesn’t matter which time of the day it will be. In the morning it will boost your energy level, but also it can be a good way to balance the afternoon low. Or even before going to sleep it can be a good fertilizer for positive dreams.

All this – of course – is perceived from the perspective of a spoilt western european. But funnily I learnt the most about appreciation/gratefulness from people who have the least.

 

Micro Love

It’s a strange title for a big thing like this. Macro love would be adequate. I knew it since a long time, but I learnt it just recently.

As far as I understood romantic love is not the answer to all questions, because impermanence takes it by surprise. There is no relationship that can light up all the dark spots in a human soul.

Cool, nevertheless there are more than enough moments when I’m wishing to have somebody to walk beside me – someone whose path merges with mine.

But how could I be so blind? The love is all around me. It is just right here. Accessible in every moment of my life. If I’m open for it I receive a huge amount of love – everyday, not only every now and then.

It’s the small moments.

Recently I’m lucky enough to receive a lot of these moments – generosity, physical affection, good company, guidance,…  I don’t really know why. Last year was such a pain, but magically this year starts off with an endless flow of bright moments. I still fall into holes, but they are not as deep anymore. I can see my path always glowing – if not beneath me at least beside or in front of me.

Back to this micro love thing. There are these people who light up the whole room when they enter. They tickle out our brightest smile with their mere presence. I recently found out that I meet these kinds of people over and over again – sometimes for a day, sometimes for a week, some of them might stay for the rest of my life.

It doesn’t have to be an encounter with a person of the sex of interest or with a person at all. It can also be this sunrise that causes a wave of goosebumps all over your body. It can be the warmth of the morning sun on an early spring day. Or a good nap, a long hug, an intense smile of a stranger. You get where I’m going here.

These micro moments are macro love – the essence of our life. The love expands in our whole body and lets us shine as soon as we let it light up our soul.

 

Learning To Live

Life is too short for contemplation. To live properly means to live now. Living in the now means to surrender to the moment instead of yearning for future fulfillment. The pursuit of happiness leads either to the present or it leads nowhere. It is that simple.

To live now means to release all energy that gets tied up in our mind, trapped by ‘decision making’ and finding the (right) answers to the (wrong) questions.

Because there are no questions. There is no such thing like ‘the right moment’ or ‘enough time for….’. There is only this one moment. And we got to live it. Now.

Have you ever tried to relive a moment? To recapture an experience? At best it’s a reenactment, a play, but nothing more. We can’t recall life.

Being present means letting life happen without any attempt to take control or judge. Good luck with this. There is so much energy wedged in the urge to ‘control’. We punish ourselves by always aiming for something. We have to understand that we can only live as long as we flow with the spirits. Life is like a wave of energy that conveys us into our true power. All we need to do is to trust.

Living now means simply to live – right now and now and now.

It is the pure reception of what is and not re-action to every impulse of our ex- or interior. It means self-awareness, but not continuous self-consciousness.

The only absolute truth is that nothing ever remains the same. So, why be caught up in thoughts and plans instead of just living the life?

To be fully present is an artform in a world of confusion. In reality it is so simple – just like dancing.

 

Overdoing Life

I admire people who target one goal at a time and just go for it. For me every day is a new beginning. I want everything at once everyday. I exhaust myself with constant input. My goals are changing constantly. My dreams are chasing each other like clouds in the sky.

Is this insanity? Or is this detachment? I’m not quite sure. For sure it doesn’t get me anywhere – where I’m wishing to be. And THIS is attachment. The idea of having an idea, where I want to be. Haha, take this life.

My perception of time is completely off. What is possible within a day, a year or a lifetime? I really don’t know. There are these moments that change everything. These moments are out of my control. But I can control which direction I’m heading.

Yeah, yeah – My energy resources are limited. I only have this one life. I need to stay grounded. I’m aware of all these things. I’m not stupid. But the concept of ‘making a living’ seems so foreign to me – so ‘made’ up.

I don’t know how all these people ‘do’ life? To me it just happens.

Am I ‘overdoing’ it or is everyone else?

 

Learning To Fly

Sometimes I feel like a bird who has wings, but doesn’t know how to use them.

Maybe this is all about learning to fly?

Spreading the wings is might be the hardest part.

So, what can I do about it? I will just keep practicing.