3 Ways to Drop The Self-Sabotage-Agenda

“What’s harder? Accepting that you are happy and blessed or resonating with your trauma?”

This is a question that found its way into my notes at some point in 2021.

All of a sudden there was light at the end of the tunnel – after a dark period of loss and despair (Let’s call it “the year 2020”). I had a new job in sight and a relationship I was in (and still am) turned out to be a safe haven for…my chaos, my love and my growth….

Unwittingly I had arrived in a place where I am ‘allowed’ to flourish – in all shapes and colors.

“Yesterday it rained and today the sun is shining. One has to deal with that.”

This quote is written on the website of a coaching “agency” I had the chance to work with last year. I had the chance to get support by an art therapist within the framework of a ‘coaching & consultation for creatives and people who work in the media industry’.

The quote describes accurately the situation that I had found myself in last year. Even though things got significantly better, the self-doubt was lurking and fight-flight-freeze often the only response to stressful experiences.

“Yesterday it rained and today the sun is shining. One has to deal with that.”

The thing is: We humans tend to resonate with trauma and with worry more than we resonate with happiness.

It is incredibly hard to resonate with happiness if we have re-created and cultivated trauma-responses in our lives early on.

For example: If we are programmed to disregard our own needs or goals in order to protect or impress a parent and/or to harmonize the relationship dynamics within our family, most likely we will carry out self-destructive behaviours in our adult life. We might neglect our personal goals or our health.

Until we learn to prioritize ourselves…

How Far Did I Get With Displaying The Same Behaviours?

We all have developed mechanisms that help us to be accepted within our tribe, but there is a possibility that we have buried parts of ourselves and a whole lot of potential beyond these survival tactics.

There are Psychologists like Gabor Maté or Neuroscientist Bessel van der Kolk who devoted their work to understanding the dynamics of trauma. And how we can train our brains to move “through” the trauma.

I’m taking a short-cut here: What trauma research has shown is that trauma affects our brain physically and as a result it changes our behaviour.

The great thing about that: We are able to transform our coping-mechanisms to some degree – thanks to neuroplasticity.

And I experienced it first hand – basically by starting this blog (which still astonishes me!!!).

At some point I asked myself:

How far did I get with displaying the same behaviours over and over again?

Not that far – so why not try something else? The opposite, for example!

And this brings me to the first insight that helped me to change my relationship with self-sabotage:

1. Belief What Other People Are Telling You About Yourself

About two years ago I was in a state where I had no choice anymore. I had to ask for help.

The global crisis was incredibly aligned with my personal crisis: I reached rock bottom when the pandemic forced me to “go home”. Apart from travel life my whole idea about romantic love got smashed and my mom got cancer. I had no idea what to do next.

I knew one thing: I couldn’t trust myself, because I had been misleading myself very far off from my core… I did not know where I begin and where I end – boundaries still appeared to be a foreign concept to me.

How did this happen? Apparently I was constantly re-traumatizing myself! The more I learnt about trauma-responses, the subconscious and the biochemical processes in my body, the more I understood in which way I had created my own reality:

How do we create reality? We filter, segment and value the information that we receive – partly subconsciously.

I thought negatively about myself, because I never really learnt to prioritize my own needs. I always functioned as some sort of “emotional buffer”. Within my family and in friendships often times I found myself in the role of a rescuer – or mediator (best case scenario).

So, what did this do to my thinking? I filtered mainly the negative information out of every situation and every conversation that proved my self-image to be right. Subconsciously I programmed myself into thinking: “I am not worthy.”

This way my lack of self-confidence became a self-fulfilling prophecy… UNTIL: I had to ask for help, because I felt mentally and physically unprepared to deal with the changes that presented themselves in my life.

Slowly I opened up to coaches and therapists. I talked to my friends and other people who helped me to recover my own resources:

  • my determination towards growth
  • my willingnesss to learn
  • my resilience
  • my “spiritual tools” like yoga and meditation
  • my love for nature
  • and last but not least: My ability to relate to others and my compassion for all beings (connection to the planet).

Finally I experienced a sense of self-worth.

It dawned on me: What if I trusted? What if I’d believe in the positive things people are seeing in me or telling me about myself? (Much, much earlier in my journey I had started to cultivate a diary of compliments, which helped me to collect positive things about myself. Maybe I should start this again.)

2. Make a Different Choice – NOW

I had nothing to lose.

Looking back this sensation gave me a never felt freedom amidst a personal crisis. A freedom that gave me an opportunity to choose a different direction and at the end a whole other way of being!

Today, I made the choice:

“I’m going to press the publishing button – no matter what.”

This is what I owe myself – a commitment to my own writing journey, my own growth (even if it hurts).

And this is also what I did in the darkest moments of my life: I made the choice to think positive. To trust into the universe.

Sometimes we need to make a different choice – just for the sake of it!

Just for the sake of “trying something new”. As simple as that.

In my experience this is the way to go in order to live a different life.

Sometimes any action is better than no action – in order to get out of deep discomfort, the writer’s-block or in order to change anything in life…

It can be the tiniest step, but it will be a step in a new direction – towards a new life!

3. Appreciate Your Gifts

Retrospectively my willingness to open up to possibility led me onto the path of becoming a professional coach! (I will share more about that “right on time”.;) How? I had asked for feedback. I received feedback that helped me to start valueing my abilities. And now I am starting to implement the changes into my life.

All of a sudden my brain created the following questions: What if I had something to share? What if other people could benefit from my life experience? What if I’d drop the self-sabotage-agenda?

 

“The Why” is Not The Holy Grail

“You got to become your own person before you can do your job on this earth.“

I don’t remember the exact words of Maor, someone I met briefly at a goodbye party of a friend of mine in Hamburg in 2018.

“Hm.”

Or something like that could have been my response. To be honest, I don’t remember if I countered anything. But I do remember that I was desperate. I was desperately searching and looking. I was desperate for adventure, for feeling feelings, for feeling something.

I was craving life. I was terrified of never finding what I was looking for – without knowing what I was looking for.

I was collecting memories and acquaintances – but did I know myself?

In the meantime I numbed myself. I filled the void inside of myself with all sorts of things. (substances, pleasure, party,….), but I had no clue what was really going on within myself…

This ‘unclarity’ crumbled away over time – like a crust of mud.

What I have learnt is that the mud has to dry first. The dust has to settle. And then the path clears eventually. The seeds can spring and the blossoms bloom…

I have been stirring up mud for quite a while. And I am pretty sure that I will keep stirring up mud. It is part of the journey (my journey) – to experience it all.

There is this big Why roaming around in the spheres around “personal development” – and yes knowing the why can be quite helpful.

But the “Why do I feel like shit most of the time?” and not the “Why am I getting up in the morning?”

I did not want to question my feelings. Why? (Haha) Firstly: Because I didn’t even know this could be a good question to ask?! Secondly: I didn’t want to admit to myself in which areas of my life I had “lost it” or I supposedly “failed”.

“Find your why” – this has become an ever-lasting quest for a lot of people.

The realizations that I am sharing here with you stem solely from my personal experience. There is a huge probability that this self-development thing works different for you. Nevertheless I feel the urge to share this:

What I found out is that “the WHY” is not the holy grail… healing is!

What do I mean by that?

In 2015, when I was made redundant from my first work-contract, I was feeling the call too – the call that I translated into: “Find your why!”.

Over the years I have met a lot of people who put a mirror right in front of my face:

“You are lost.”
“You are the universe.”
“You have to prioritize yourself.”
“You need to find yourself first before you can make a difference in this world”

(Wo),man, I had no clue what this was all about.

Well, not no clue, but I was not able to deduce any action from all the mirroring I had (involuntarily) received from the outside-world.

Now I still don’t have a full picture, but I came to the understanding that I don’t need to have a full picture. I will never comprehend it all. This life is freakin’ unpredictable and I better embrace the unknown!

What is predictable is one universal truth: “Things WILL change” (I wrote about change many times in this blog. Actually every post is about change.)

And they did…. in my life over and over and over again. And I am more and more able to EMBRACE the unknown.

I was – and I still am lost – to some extent. But more and more this feeling of being lost transmutes into a state of floating (for some reason this is the word that emerged).

And I tell you: My mind is intervening – all the fucking time. Letting go is a permanent practice.

Thoughts, thinking patterns, limiting beliefs – they come back in circles, in arrays, in fractals, in seasons… (You choose which image works for you).

So. I faced a lot of (uncomfortable) truths about:

  • My conditionings and where they are coming from
  • To what extent I am influenced by toxic energies in my life.
  • Where I am not taking responsibility for my own life.
  • Codependency.
  • Addiction.
  • Rage.
  • Fear.
  • Grief.

The list is long….

What I have learnt over the years is that “the WHY” is slowly sneaking in.

I am growing into my why….

Our Wounds Are Our Gifts

But first things ARE first: If I close my eyes from the areas where my body and my being demands healing, I will not find any useful “why”. The “why” will be a sugarcoated lie that I keep telling myself until I collapse.

Well, I do want to be radical here. First of all I have to define what I mean by healing.

Healing is the process of becoming whole again.

This is not really correct. We are already whole to be accurate. Healing is more a “fixing of the holes”, removing the dirt, dropping the unnecessary baggage, standing up on our own feet…

The healing process is sometimes a refurbishing, sometimes it is a surgery, sometimes it’s a sudden removal or a complete turn-over.

We are thrown into situations that tear us apart.

This is part of the human experience. These situations are here to teach us….

If we are torn apart the first step we need to take is to find the pieces that belong to us. The next step is to put them back together.

As long as I am putting myself together – this is my “why”. My healing is my “why”.

I don’t say you have to wait until you are fully healed until you are finally able to share your work.

The opposite is the case.
There is beauty in all of our messy healing procedures.

And there are people who benefit.
There are people who will embrace your experience.
There are people who will love to hear your story. This is what humanity always did – listening to stories and learning from them.

I am not cheesy here, this is what it is – and always used to be.

There are people out there whose healing depends on your healing.

The work that you put in matters.

Nothing you do is self-sufficient.

You will show-up in a way that is beneficial for others. Sometimes it’s only one person in the room. Sometimes it’s an audience of a million…..

So, you don’t know your why?

Don’t worry about it. Rest. Heal. Your time will come.

Healing is expansion.
Healing is the arrival in the present moment.
Healing is union with yourself.
Healing is completion.
Healing is meeting yourself where you are at.

Healing is doing one step at a time. Patiently.

“The why” can become a trap if you don’t take the time to really acknowledge where you are at right now.

And I tell you, I have been there. I am still rushing. I am still wondering very frequently: How do I set boundaries? How do I know what I want? How do I know that I am still on the path?

Then I remember to walk hand in hand with my heart.
This is what the hard times do to me.

There is this potential or let’s say a potential for potential stored within ourselves. This little seed that is resting there somewhere in our subconscious or in our brain.

When you heal you are able to reveal what wants to be revealed. And this is how you follow your purpose.

The hard times force us to walk hand in hand with our heart.

Let’s shed our old skin. Let’s forgive and heal.

 

A Moment of Bliss

Curiosity is rising inside of me. There is only clarity. There is nothing I can see. The appearances of life don’t matter beyond the realm of my mind.

I arrive in my body. And I do it with delight. I feel a sense of care for myself. There is a pure source of love within my heart and my breath is the key to that door that I had locked with distraction.

I feel compassion for my old self. I let the anger fade like the clouds in the sky on that stormy day. The wind is blowing away my resentment towards myself and the world. No doubt is blurring my sight as I allow time to pass. And this is what I do – sitting and waiting and entering that state of bliss with all of my being. That chamber of excitement – bright and colorful placed inside of me is bringing me to life.

At the bottom of my heart I can be at rest. There is only peace. There is nothing to run from and nothing to run for. Because everything is already achieved.

I am earth. No need to “earth” myself.

There is a common ground within myself. This is why I feel compassion for the entire planet and not only for the people who are close and dear to me.

Non-judgement is the true nature of my being if I allow my thoughts to drop like snowflakes on an icy winter-afternoon. Thoughts can be fun, but they can also cause a lot of turmoil.

All of a sudden I am able to tap into that powerful being that I am. And I knew it all along. I feel grateful that I am finally able to hold my own hand. I finally found my tools – within.

 

Remember to Breathe

“Change doesn’t happen overnight.”

This truth revealed itself to me several times.

Sure, I can comprehend that intellectually.

But incorporating the patience to bear that truth – that’s a different story….

I AM IMPATIENT. With myself. With the world around me. With the people who are “waking up” right now in this world. I don’t want to be impatient. I want to have compassion.

How do I want to have patience with other people if I am my hardest judge?

“You should be more confident.”
“You should be somewhere else in your life.”

Yeah, I’m claiming myself to be empathetic. But when it comes to my own development I bounce my head against the walls of my own resistance. “Resistance to what?,” you might ask… My resistance to feel what really wants to be felt in the very moment.

Writing this down raises a smile on my face. Warmth is softening my chest. “Take it easy,” an internal voice whispers into my awareness.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Honestly, this quote moved me.

How much time do I give myself? To evolve, to learn, to remember, to integrate?

How many times do I rush into a decision?

How many times do I not listen to my exhaustion?

What this whole pandemic thing (call it whatever you please) teaches me is: PATIENCE. And I am so freakin’ grateful for this – even if it’s the hardest lesson I have yet to learn.

What I learnt over and over again from my past is that life does not follow a chronological timeline.

I can manifest. I can picture my brightest future. As soon as I take steps new challenges arise. New insecurities show up.

Surprise, surprise – the body is striking. The mind is rebelling.

And here you are: “Wait a minute? I have asked for this, why is it that hard?”

Because we grow in sections.
Friction is a companion on our journey.
Challenge will never leave us.
Challenge comes when we least expect it and, surely, when we most need it in order to make our own decisions.
They are here to test us.

When universe asks: “Are you serious?”

Do you go all in?

All in often times means not to push hard. It means to pull back. To take rest. To cry. To sleep. To recover. To re-cover what you have buried beneath new layers of life experience.

Something you considered as healed may re-inflames.
And then it is up to you to open your eyes to reality. Will you take the time to heal? Or will you distract yourself again and not move on?

The best advice I can give myself these days (as a fire sign) is: SLOW THE F*ck DOWN. Do you. Keep clear. Don’t overdo. Move along, but do it in your own pace (or slightly slower.)

Is there something you have overlooked in your enthusiasm?
Is your body asking for something else than your busy mind does deliver?
Is there anything at all that needs to be done right now?


Do you remember to breathe?

Breeeeeaaaathe through discomfort.
Move through hardships with grace.
Accept the challenge.

 

Don’t Set Rules, Set Intentions

Don’t set rules, set intentions.

There is this voice inside of me that gives me commands every now and then (or if I am able to listen).

This morning I was able to listen.

I woke up happy. I woke up with a sense of excitement for the first time in a long time.

It was nearly 8 o’clock already. Way too late for the ‘ambitious’ Uli to start the day.

But my eyes were not burning. I felt a sense of gratitude. I was at ease – physically and mentally, with the world and with myself.

My window was open and I heard the rain dripping outside. The rain of an early January morning of the year 2022.

The past two days I was in a very dark mood. “The old” came creeping back up. “The new” was not yet to come. The fun fact is: the new does never come. Well, it does. But we can’t see it at first.

A friend of mine told me in a voice message yesterday: “You seem to be on your way. You seem to grow organically.”

And yes, maybe, only maybe, I am able to agree on this today.

So, what do I do?

In times of crisis. (And boy, I went through patches of crisis within the past over 24 months. Actually I found out that I was at my “lowest” in 2018. So it would be 48 months to be more precise. 😉 Ha!)

What do I do in these periods of crisis? Or the moments of anxiety?

I set intentions!

I did this so many times. During my lowest times I prayed every single day, every hour, sometimes I prayed every single minute of the day. I prayed for release. I prayed for a sign.

The thing with sings is: They never come when we (supposedly) need them the most. So, there is not really a point in asking for signs – every time we are in doubt.

What we do need to do is to take action.

What I learnt is that the voice of intuition is sometimes the faintest, the quietest in our blasting brain. What is blasting is: the self-doubt, the “shoulds”, the self-sabotage (an article on the topic of self-sabotage is in the pipeline).

We will always find hundreds of reasonable reasons to not do the step that we want to do, the step that is beneficial for our own growth.

What I got to learn throughout the past years of nomading and roaming around is: THERE IS NO WRONG STEP. There truly isn’t. I know it sounds pathetic. It is pathetic, but it is (for a change) a narrative that serves our personal development.

We can never predict the outcome. Who crosses our path is beyond our control. Who is going to help us is beyond our imagination. But guess what? THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO WILL UNDERSTAND AND SUPPORT YOU. If? (Yeah, right. What are the ifs here?) If you change your thinking? Yes… What else? If you KEEP MOVING.

And it does not matter in which direction you go. Because there will be new intersections. New decisions along this path – over and over and over again.

There is no point in overthinking the next step.

What we can do is: We can set intentions. And this is what I did in the past couple of days when I was so down, so discouraged. I did not know how exactly to get out of my “old ways” of being and thinking. I still have no Idea. I have no idea how to “not be too hard on myself”.

Nevertheless, even if my mind said ‘shut the fuck up and squeeze your butt’, I wrote an intention into my notebook: “Prioritize yourself.”

This morning I prioritized myself by sleeping in and going for a long morning walk (Of course this is not always possible, but every now and then… why not?)

Words truly become seeds, if we let them….

 

Sacrifice

Just now in the subway a word came into my head: Sacrifice.

I know the word, but am I familiar with it?

Years ago I met this martial arts athlete in New Zealand. He introduced me to his secrets of success: determination, loyalty and sacrifice.

I got it. He had to train hard in order to be a successful fighter and he doesn’t have time for much else – apart from his pals and family.

But honestly, for me it was always hard to grasp. ‘To sacrifice’ always sounded slightly pathetic to me.

This morning I took a shower and I knew my day would get better if I’d turned the tap on cold.

I did. And interestingly I felt nothing.

Well, not nothing. But I did not feel the need to control.

I didn’t control my breath. I didn’t tense up. I didn’t move around tipoeing.

Automatically my heart started pumping my blood a little bit more intensely. My breath speeded up. I inhaled deeply and exhaled strongly.

My body took over. Within a minute I was wide-awake and I had a smile on my face.

In this moment I realized that sacrifice had been a part of my life ever since. But it didn’t feel like it, because subconsciously I always knew that my thoughts, my perception of myself, my limitations and the world around me is just an illusion.

The image that I have of myself is not true. What I think I am capable of is not true. Or let’s phrase it differently: What I think I am not capable of is not true.

I realized how much I had been trying to control my body during these cold showers.

Why? Because I did not trust in my body. This morning I found out that it is completely unnecessary to distrust, because my body knows better than me.

The same thing happened to me the other day when I did over one hundred sun salutations for the first time in my life while during a yoga challenge I attended. I did not know that I was capable of such a physical task.

I set the intention in my mind to let go of control. I said it out loud: “Okay, body, it is your turn.” – and all of a sudden another intelligence took over. The intelligence of my body.

What does it have to do with sacrifice?

Everything. These experiences showed me what happens if I am willing to truly step out of my comfort zone. People who know me are aware of my ‘Aries’-nature: Avoiding challenges is not my thing.

Nevertheless there is a whole other layer of ‘control’ that I didn’t really grasp.

By sacrificing my need to control I am gaining self-confidence, trust in life, in my actions and in my body.

The more I am willing to let go of convenience the more I ‘prepare’ myself for… Yeah, for what?! I prepare myself for making uncomfortable decisions, for listening to my internal voice, for stepping up, saying ‘yes’ to things that scare the shit out of me….

One definition of the noun ‘sacrifice’ according to Merriam Webster dictionary is: “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else” – as simple as that. In religious terms it means ‘to offer an innocent being to the gods’ (I could make a huuuge topic out of it, but I won’t.) What am I offering? I am offering my victim mentality, my hesitation and my self-doubt in exchange for self-responsibility and energy.

This morning I had a choice: Do I want to remain in the passive, supposedly ‘cozy’ state of the early morning or do I want to wake up fully, gain clarity and start my day active?

It is interesting, because my example shows how we can actually make use of our ego. Our ego is our means of transport. This is something a lot of people don’t speak about. At least I find that it is not emphasized enough. The ego is not only bad.

Our ego is our messenger. It transmits the spark. The idea is to catch fire, recognize it and carry it through – burning down our resistance – willingly.

How do we do it WITHOUT ego? We don’t. What we do is, we make use of our ego and then we shift gears and allow our subconscious or our body to take over.

This, again, requires trust. The willingness to cross that line. The desire to cross that line of self-pity, fear and anxiety and trust that the grass is greener on the other side.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time to feel comfortable. There is a time for remaining still and hibernating in our cozy cocoon. But also there is a time to step up, step out, move ahead, go your own way, make an effort for the greater good (in the end).

Sometimes we have to sacrifice comfort, friends, relationships, jobs and even the connection to our family (is it responsibility or just the feeling of duty?) in order to become our own person.

Sometimes we have this deeper knowing that there is ‘something else out there’. In my experience it is well worth it to listen to that tiny voice and disregard ALL those voices telling you that you can’t – the external and the internal. YOU CAN! You can do whatever the f* you want.

What I found out over the course of the past years, especially the last year, is that there always is something else out there – as long as we have this slight feeling, this intuition, this quiet subtle voice of our heart, our soul, however you want to call it. Even if the voice is quiet, the voice is right! GO for it!

We are allowed to grief all the things that we sacrifice, but we are also allowed to welcome our new self. Our stronger self. Our real self?

Surf the wave of change.
Commit to your own growth.
Take your goals seriously.
It is your life and you choose what to dedicate your time to.

 

How to Think More Colorful

This was supposed to be a threesome, but it turned out as a wholesome!? 😉

Here we go:

I’m experiencing mood-swings at the moment between gratitude for being alive – especially (!) in those turbulent times (chaos makes me move…) – and between heavy anxiety and doom mood that is nagging my energy.

Oftentimes I am easily irritable. Other times I start laughing for no reason – for minutes… To me it sounds manic, but the fact that I can phrase it seems to display a decent level of emotional intelligence. (Even though, to be really honest with you, I am not sure anymore how much of an advantage that is, but probably I will figure it out on the way;)

During the night I’m grinding my teeth, because my stirred-up mind is strenuously “sorting things out”. (Without telling me what it is actually doing?!)

When I wake up I still feel the cortisol and adrenaline levels in my cells….. F*ck…. I don’t know about you, but to me the energies right now feel INTENSE – and my physical body responds alike.

I find release during the morning walks or during my casual little meditation in the early sun facing the urban greenery in the park nearby.

Yes, these are my tools.

But I can’t silence my mind forever…

On a lot of days the black and the white of my thinking is narrowing my field of view like stone walls in a dungeon.

In those moments I feel trapped.

“Just make your thinking colorful,” I figured the other day. But HOW?

This question was roaming in the back of my head for days.

I tend to think black and white a lot. When I really think about it, my thinking generally appears to be more black than white.

Luckily, there are mornings like this morning today….

At 8 am I went to this little post shop café a few streets away. I have never been there – until yesterday, when I forgot my ID-card that I needed to pick up the small parcel I was awaiting.

I had to return this morning, so I combined it with my little walk. And what can I say? Some small incidents renewed my energy!

“Buenos dias,” I greeted this South American man accompanied by his son and his dog at the traffic light of an intersection. Surprised they asked me for my name. We continued speaking in german.

“We are going to join a soccer game now. You should enjoy the sun today, too.” – “I will,” I replied with honest happiness radiating from my heart – and probably from my face.

Our paths split, but I continued walking with a smile on my face. A few meters ahead I met another man waving at me from the doorstep of his bar. A bar most people just pass by while I was strolling delightfully; occasionally gazing the environment. There was enough time for another friendly encounter. This time it was just a smile.

A few meters further I entered the post shop to successfully pick up the parcel – another two big smiles of the guy behind the counter and the woman in front of the coffee-machine that served me a tasty “latte”.

I sat down in the fresh morning air, chatting with the man on the next table about this and that.

Do you know what? It made my day. This real-life connection to my surrounding. This appreciation of what is. This acceptance of where I am right now at this point in time.

“What if you were okay? What if you were where you are supposed to be at this point in time? What if you already are who you have desired to become for so long?”

These questions popped up in my head a couple of weeks earlier. They reappeared this morning.

I realized that I have colorful thoughts!

They are written in my notes. They are printed into my memory system. My head (and my notebook) is actually full of it. And I can create more of those thoughts just by acknowledging what is, just by witnessing my existence with all its appearances and by making the most of the tiniest moments….

Namaste.

 

Meeting Patience Halfway

“How to develop self-compassion?”

This question in itself imposes pressure on my already beat-up brain. I carried it along for quite some time. This morning the answer revealed itself to me. 

Today at 7:06 am I woke up slightly tense. 

When I opened my eyes my first thought led me to my to-do-list: I have a video edit to finish, some udemy course about content marketing to work through and of course a huge pile of unfinished articles that demand my attention.

“It is Sunday… Relax!,” one (not me) could say.

I can see the azure blue sky outside of my window. I was planning on going hiking today, but I dropped this plan, because of my to-do-list mentioned above.

Eventually I get out of bed. Mechanically I’m rolling out my yoga-mat, but I realize how much I am craving fresh air. I have to say luckily going for walks and runs in the morning became my non-negotiable habit during the pandemic. Otherwise I would have gone insane. And certainly I still find pleasure in it…

It is 8 am when I step outside the door. The sun is beaming so bright that I can barely see. I sigh with awe when I pass the huge chestnut tree in front of the house. Its white blossoms glow in front of a light green background. The first shiver of gratitude unleashes my chest…

It is more silent than usual. I don’t see a single car until I reach the entrance to a little natural reserve next to the railways of the suburban train close-by.

What used to be a freight yard is now protected territory in the middle of the city, reserved for the rare “blauflügelige Ödlandschrecke”. It still amazes me (and gives me hope) that a huge building project for a residential area was discarded to preserve the habitat of a cricket.

As I walk along the path I find myself completely alone, which is very unusual at this time of the day. Usually I meet at least one dog and its owner.

For a couple of minutes there is no sound but the wind in the aspen and the beech trees that frame the concrete path. (Sidenote: They erected a bridge-like path across the whole protected area in order to preserve the natural floor which is inhabited by all sorts of animals,  for example lizards and insects.)

I pause and for a moment I enjoy the silence. When I gaze towards the bushland around me I notice a small snail.

“What does her world look like?,” I think to myself and I feel my stress-levels dropping. I realize how blessed I am to be able to take in this beautiful morning – a golden hour.

…A few days back I thought to myself “What if I was there?”… “What if I was where I always wanted to be?”

“Your bar will always rise,” my boyfriend, who is a trained musician and definitely an artistic soul, reminds me on a regular basis witnessing my constant striving to be better.

I agree. I’m always waiting for the perfect thought. The final phrase that says it all. The sentence that makes every future word obsolete. 

Hahaha, writing this down here makes me laugh. Just hypothetically: What if I found it? What would I do afterwards? Would I stop writing and finally go sailing around the world? Would I start building a house and start a proper garden? I don’t know. Maybe.

I remember the day when I decided to start writing in English. My whole ‘writing endeavour’ began at the common area of Tasman Bay Backpackers, a wonderful hostel on the South Island of New Zealand

“You should write in English, so everybody you will meet along the way can read it.” – “Me? Writing in English?,” I countered with a sense of being ‘caught in the act’. It seemed impossible to me.

“Do you think you will learn it, if you don’t start?,” Vincenzo, the ‘Italian grumpy guy’, who generously shared his morning coffee with me, replied in his straight-forward manner…

Looking back at this moment in time in November 2015 gives me goosebumps. If somebody would have told me that I will have started another blog about personal development and have posted close to 200 articles by May 2021, I wouldn’t have believed it! 

And what got me here? The first step. And a lot of patience…

Back to the walk: When I saw this tiny snail amidst these bushes crawling towards her next destination (a dandelion:), I realized that I am exactly where I need to be at this very moment…

The other day I got triggered because a friend said to me: “If I were you, I would go to Italy.” She referred to my previous travels.  

I felt some resistance rising. Something inside of me always wants to travel, yes. But not right now. Right now I want to integrate everything that the past six years of nomad life had taught me. Only now, I understand how much my life had shifted and how the limitations of the past year had helped me to explore my needs…

I can’t deny it anymore. I grew. I learnt a ton. I planted seeds that keep growing – in my notebook and in my soul. They need time and compassion….

This morning the snail taught me that it is fine to have modest plans for the day. It is okay to not ‘make the most of it’. It is okay to do some work and chill in the park for the rest of the afternoon – or for the rest of my life, if this is what fills my cup.

I named the snail Patience.

Happy Sunday! 😉

 

How to Push Through Apathy

“Change doesn’t require motivation. It requires discipline.” I stumbled upon this quote by Mel Robbins and it hooked me. The past couple of weeks I have been struggling a lot – even though things are ‘getting better’ according to the general public, I have been confronted with a lot of anxiety, sadness and confusion.

Recently I have become impatient more often – not to say cranky, enraged or just plainly mad! Briefly: I’ve been doubting my sanity.

“How long can I handle this?” – It is easy to get stuck these days in a downward spiral.

On many occasions it was easier to not ‘do the work’. It was easier to blame the circumstances instead of taking responsibility for my own actions. But I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t find a way through…

What I learnt at the very beginning of the ‘pandemic’ (Or maybe even long before?) was that my mind doesn’t present answers to me that soothe the troubled waters of my psyche. 

My body does – if I listen. And my body wants to scream and shout a lot at the moment…

But yesterday my body forced me to move inward. It forced my heart to soften, my tears to clear the wounds that are flaring within me from the loss and the dissatisfaction of the past well over twelve months…

“Be the change, but be patient,” I recalled my own speech from the beginning of 2021. 

This morning I woke up at 6 am and I remembered: I have a choice. Either I seize the day, do my work, keep getting stronger. Or? Or what? There was no other option, but to move forward – to take another step.

Will my mental health become stable by itself? Hell, no! Will anybody apart from myself take care of my mental health? Probably not.

I got up, cleared my space and I went for a run. And no, I didn’t feel like it after a day of nearly only crying. But I knew that I had to do it in order to hold my head straight.

With every step my sight got clearer and the weight that I carried fell off my shoulders. By the time I reached the lake in the park close-by I had a smile on my face.

This threesome works as a reminder to myself. A commitment to my own power.

Writing it all down is my leap out of the apathy that I am facing right now.

So, how do I move through apathy?

1. Movement

Surprise, surprise. I get my body moving! “If you want to scream and shout. Dance it all out.” If you can motivate yourself to do one step, you can probably do the next one too. As soon as you start moving your body your muscles and all of your cells get flooded with oxygen, your breath gets deeper. The responses of your nervous system start to change and so does your way of thinking.

2. Do Things Differently

The other day we had no electricity at home (and in a big part of the city) and honestly: It was the best thing that could happen. It forced me to change my routine and to get out of my head (my computer). It forced me to change my perspective completely. “Let’s go and have breakfast,” I agreed with my partner and we left our ‘home office’ behind. It sounds like such a small incident, but it was a big thing as we were both suffering from some sort of cabin fever and inability to move on with our personal projects. Our cabin fever was gone. The phenomenon is called a pattern interrupt. 

3. Change Your Point of View

What paralyses you? What do you have to worry about right now? Is there truly something to worry about? Do you really have to take things personally? The other day I was paralyzed because of one message that I received. It triggered some painful memories inside of me. After a while I realized that I chose to take it personally. I can choose to step back. I understood that it is just words. They have nothing to do with me if I don’t make them about me.