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! 😉

 

What Would Happen To Your Life If You Turned All The “Shoulds” Into “Dos”?

What would happen if you would pursue the thing you are the most interested in? What if you would choose the one thing you really want to have learnt at the end of your life?

Just imagine it for a moment. How would you feel? And now imagine you wouldn’t pursue this goal?

Yeah, you might fail. Yeah, maybe you will loose all your money, but what if you wouldn’t ever have tried?

What is holding you back from doing it? Is the voice in your head telling you that you don’t have time? You are not good enough? You were never good at it? You don’t have money? You are too old? Your friends won’t like you anymore?

“Your thoughts become your reality.” Yeah right, we’ve heard this a hundred of times.

Only now I understand how fundamental this impact is. If I think negative about myself, if I don’t trust myself, if I continuously think I’m not good enough I will never achieve anything. I will never feel content or satisfied with myself.

More than that: Self-hatred is what manifests. If I don’t change these thoughts I will never manifest self-worth. This is something I have to generate from the core of myself.

You might ask: ‘What does self-worth have to do with pursuing your passion?’

Everything! I have an example for this: Since some time I’m offering coaching in the field of my profession. I give storytelling and video production workshops.

But the beginning was rough. I thought “I’m not good enough.”, “What if I don’t have an answer to all the questions?” The first time I was really fucking nervous. I thought I can never master this. I can never carry the audience. I can never teach anything.

Now, nearly two years later I did it five times and my perspective changed completely.

The other day one girl from a course last year honoured me with the best compliment I’ve ever received in my entire life: “I learnt from you because you are so passionate about it.”

What did I do? I helped her editing a video. Together we shortened a four minute clip to 40 seconds. She told me the way I did it was so inspiring – so calm, with patience and sure instinct.

This blew my mind.

How did I get there? Yes, I learnt the software in university. Yes, I did a lot of internships. What happened? I just liked it. I started to experiment. I edited as much as I could and over the years snipping moving images became a second nature.

But how did this happen? I liked editing, so I edited.

“Make your passion your addiction.”

Now that I write it down here it sounds like a romantic life story. But I tell you what: There are dozens of skills I haven’t started learning yet, because I think I’m not good enough. 

How could I not understand this? It is just about doing it. Doing one step at a time. Of course you are not a Mozart from the moment you are starting to compose music and you are not a Picasso the first time you wield the paintbrush. But you are getting there eventually (or at least a bit closer). 

Your mind will find thousands of reasons not to aim for the things you really want to do. Is it a lack of money or talent. There will always be something else to do. Something more convenient, something easier or socially more accepted.

The secret is to just get started, to do the first step, to make space for the things you like, to make your passion your priority.

And what happens if you do something you like? You feel joy. So why not make it your addiction?

Make Your Passion Your Priority

Yesterday I was speaking with some people about this topic. There was a guy who just went through a similar learning experience like me. 

Our question was:  “What do people do differently who are always on ‘doer mode’?” Or my interpretation: What do people do differently who immerse fully in an activity? What do they do to not have these big walls of self-doubt? How do they make the critic shut up? 

The secret is that they just follow their intuition. They don’t listen to these voices in their head. 

And – if we want to hear it or not – we have the choice if we listen to the voices in our head or not.

What would happen if you would turn all the “I should’s” into “I do’s”? Your life might finally moves into the direction you want. You might discover joy within yourself.

If anybody tells you “follow your passion” is bullshit please don’t believe them.

Go on! “Follow your bliss” as Joseph Campbell would say.

“Finding your passion is the natural outgrowth of healing.”  

Margaret Paul, Psychologist

Find your bliss or you will never find joy in your life. Be as passionate as you want. But be passionate. Make it your life mission. What else is this life about?

Life is about feeling alive. So do what makes you feel the most alive.

If you have other suggestions let me know. I’m open minded, but I prefer to do what makes me feel most alive rather than anything else.

“It is not a luxury to pursue this experience [passion], but a necessity. Without this special experience that gives meaning to our lives we tend to wander about, aimlessly looking for someone, something, or some substance to fill the void within us.,” says Margaret Paul. The author of the book I’m studying currently. It is called “Healing Your Aloneness: Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child.”

When we are passionate we forget our problems. We are in the flow. We feel content. We get in touch with our true nature. If we manage to fully immerse in an activity there is no future and no past. We arrive in the present moment.

Is there anything healthier in this life than this feeling? I doubt it. By not pursuing our passion, we exist, but do we live? Come on… 

Please double check your “I should’s”, your “I always wanted’s” and your “As a kid I always liked to do’s”.

It is up to you to fuel what you are passionate about.

If you can’t find anything it is might be a sign that you are caught up in self-hatred. Then this is might be something you want to deal with?

Go on. Aim for healing, but be nice to you. Give yourself time. Whenever you are impatient ask yourself, why you are in such a hurry to get through your life.

Be patient. Feed your body and nourish your soul and the rest will come.

Start with small changes. Surround yourself with people who do something completely else then you are doing. Get inspired. Don’t resign the battle.

Observe. Soak in the positive vibes of the people who found their bliss – without envy or resentment.

Just be happy to have the chance to be a part of it.

Go ahead and find your happy place!

“The ego is concerned with getting something while the inner self is creating. In this way creation is the motor for unconditional love. “

 

Cracked

My dreams are shattered by your rationalism.
But at least I can see clearly now.

Your arguments damp my fire like water cannons.
But thankfully you hold me back from burning out.

Your honesty cripples my self-worth.
But finally my masks are falling.

You cracked my heart like a walnut.
But ‘There is a crack in everything and this is how the light gets in,’ right?

Now I’m shining like a 300 watt light bulb.
Can you see it?

 

Beyond Pain Lies Compassion

Okay – as this is a writing experiment I’m going to be brave today on “Day Two” of my “Writing Transformation Challenge”. Straight out of my notes from this morning:

How to do the work? How to look at life with compassion and fearlessness?

It means to look at ALL situations as part of THE enlightenment (process). More precisely: All situations ARE enlightenment.

The transformation takes place if we use all situations.

It doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold. It doesn’t matter if we sleep alone or in a room with 20 people. It doesn’t matter if we call anything material our own or not.

The transformation takes place as soon as we are no longer afraid to lose it all.

Uncomfortable situations are our means of transport in order to accept / embody our non-being / detachment. But for this we have to give up our comfort.

We have to lose our necessities, our desires, our pride. Because all these things are trivial. They are rooted in our ego. And our ego keeps us trapped.

As long as we are wanting to ‘receive’ we only feed our ego. Why? Because this is the wrong focus.

We receive nothing before we are connecting with the warmth of compassion, the warmth of unconditional love, because this is compassion. We receive when we give. And I mean really give – without expecting any reward.

When we are able to shine our light even though we just went through the deepest emotional pain, this is when we reached unconditional love.

We are able to shine our light when all the masks are falling. If we are unmasking all the lies we are telling ourselves.

As long as we are looking for protection we cling to our desires and we are closing ourselves off from compassion – the true source of energy.

Of course I’m writing this all from the perspective of a westerner. I have in fact nothing to worry about. But exactly because of this I have to be willing to give it all up. It is my obligation to go further, because other people can’t. They are born into oppression, poverty or starvation.

Compassion for all beings includes compassion for our own selves.

You may ask: But how can I be compassionate with myself?! If this is your question (as it is mine) you are still a victim to the wrong ideals. You didn’t take the time to find what nourishes you.

You are still ‘not there’. You haven’t opened the door yet. The real door is still closed and you are hoping for ‘release’ from the external.

This release doesn’t come as long as you are lying to yourself. As long as you chase and rush and hustle you get blinded by superficiality.

I chose the path. I saw too much. I felt too much. I can’t ‘go back’.

This is why I reply ‘I really don’t know’ when somebody asks me ‘What do you want?’.

I’m not doing this ‘for fun’. I’m not running away.

What I know is that this is not about me.

It’s about us.

Getting in touch with our fears is something we are forced to. We are facing loss, illness and physical pain. From the moment we are born we are used to suffering.

The secret is to re-discover the compassion that connects and comforts us all – behind the pain.

The pain is only one side of the coin. The other is compassion.

‘To free ourselves from all fear we must touch the ground of our being and train ourselves to look directly into the light of compassion.’, says Thich Nhat Hanh.

The real question is not: How to overcome the pain, but how to find compassion beyond the pain?