Tag Archives: self-help strategies

Compassion always works

13212853555_73526723f2_b
 
***I haven’t blogged for a while, but here’s something that has helped me SO MUCH with releasing old wounds and patterns and has improved my well-being and relationships that I think you should know about it, too:***
 
Here’s something that everyone should know: When you feel emotional pain, the most effective and fail-safe way to release it is to have compassion for yourself. This is a technique you need to practice in order to master it, but it is so worth it!

Here’s how to do this:

1. When you suffer emotionally, imagine that this pain is a part of you that has been hurt. Imagine this part as a child (= yourself), at whatever age comes to you. This child is suffering for some reason. Let it express what it feels: “I am …”, “I feel…”.

2. Do these feelings seem familiar from a situation in your past? When was the first time you experienced these emotions?

3. Ask it what it needs. Ask it what it desires.

4. Then simply be with it and transmit the feeling that the child’s emotions and thoughts are completely understandable, that it has every right to have them. Try to look at the child compassionately. You can’t fake this, but if you can’t do it at first (maybe because no one has ever had compassion for you), just looking at the child with a neutral feeling will work, too.

If you feel angry or impatient that you can’t do this, have compassion for the angry and impatient part of yourself. When you are scared, bored, whatever, have compassion for those parts of yourself, first.

If you find it difficult to do this, you can also imagine your emotional pain to be an animal – whichever animal works for you. Can you have compassion for the frightened horse, the angry dog, etc.? Or can you feel understanding for it, or at least look at it neutrally?

You can also ask for help from whatever higher power you believe in, or if you don’t believe in any, just ask nature (or the tree outside your house, or the potted plant in your room;) to help you. This practice is in fact easier when you are outdoors in nature, because there’s an energy in nature that makes it easy to believe that the trees, river, plants etc are looking at your compassionately (or neutrally, but they certainly don’t judge you) – this may also be helpful.

When you find the right approach for you and practice for a while, you will find that the pain is released and you feel a lot better, and/or you’ll have uncovered more layers of emotions (= more work). You don’t have to do all of the above; just pick what you feel most comfortable with.

Compassion is a skill that you can practice. It is very important that you have compassion for yourself first, because you will only feel resentful towards others when you give them your compassion but deny it to yourself. Eventually though, you will find yourself feeling compassion for others as a consequence of this practice.

Although this is very basic stuff, it’s counter-intuitive and I certainly didn’t come up with it myself. Credit goes to authors and coaches Martha Beck, Katja Sundermeier (who wrote an excellent book about this in German), Tosha Silver, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, but also to myself for working so hard to learn this.

The next time you are in pain, or shit happens (and it seems to happen a lot), you have an opportunity to practice this. I hope you do, as it is one of the most important and life-changing skills one can have.

Thanks for reading! If you have questions or remarks about this, comment away below!


Photo credit: “Scott Adams Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end” by BK. Creative Commons license: CC BY-SA 2.0. No changes were made to the photo.
 
 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

How to prevent an impending disaster, or: Stop banging your head against the wall! You can get what you want without all the blood.

6072966411_0510d162c9_b
Much suffering could be prevented if we made it a habit to simply set aside twenty minutes per day, or even per week, to question what we believe is true about a problem we have.

To illustrate this point: There was a time in my life when I had to find a job but was convinced that it had to be something that would give me certain status. I had no ambition whatsoever in my „chosen“ field (it wasn’t really chosen, I just fell into it by accident and then made it part of my identity) and but kept telling myself the opposite. I applied for „respectable“ jobs in my field, and got rejection after rejection – the human resource people who read my applications or interviewed me could of course feel that I wasn’t too eager. So I widened my search to include other respectable fields. After almost a year of feeling humiliated and suffering because I could not get what I wanted, it finally worked out and I got a position (in a totally new field) that seemed „cool“ enough for me, even if it was very badly paid. It then turned out to be a complete nightmare.

Why did I do this to myself? I did it because I believed my value as a human being depended on having a certain status, which I could most realistically gain through a „respectable“ or „cool“ job.

Acting this way is the equivalent of banging your head against the wall until you bleed to get what you want. It’s hard to accept that I suffered so much emotional pain as well as real financial lack and social exclusion, a total breakdown of almost everything I had thought I could rely on, and one of the worst times of my life because of something I believed and left unquestioned.

I keep thinking, what if I had known that many so-called roadblocks stem from thoughts in our heads instead of external circumstances? I could have stopped this disaster from unfolding earlier and made life much easier for myself. It’s too late now, but here’s a valuable lesson:
 

How to prevent an impending disaster: Question your beliefs

Think of an area in your life where you feel stuck or experience failure after failure. A feeling of utter frustration, total disappointment, intense hopelessness, and stubbornness (!) about something are indicators of stuckness. Think of this area now.

What is one belief you have that causes you to act as you do in this situation?

In my case it would have been: „If I accept a job that doesn’t require higher education, it means that I am less valuable than other people.“

Now, state the opposite of this belief, or make a statement that somehow contradicts the belief.

The simplest way to do this would be: „If I accept a job that doesn’t require higher education, it doesn’t mean that I am less valuable than other people.“

Then find three examples of how this is true:
„If everyone thought like me, many essential tasks would not be done (agriculture, many services, production of industrial goods etc. etc.) and society would cease to function. These tasks are valuable and it is not logical to consider them somehow „less than“ those for which you need a degree.“
„Most jobs I had didn’t require a degree – does that mean I was a less valuable person when I had them? Can the value of a human being fluctuate like the stock market, depending on what job they have? This doesn’t make sense, either.“
„Maybe I can contribute more value by looking for a job in an area that I really enjoy, no matter what level, instead of going after something I don’t care about, just to impress others.“

(This is a process I learned from Martha Beck. You can read more about it in Martha Beck’s books „Steering by Starlight“ and „Finding Your Way In A Wild New World“.)

This can be like pulling teeth, you really have to fight your inertia and resistance to doing it (only for twenty minutes, though), but it has often freed my mind to the point where I was able to adopt a different point of view and finally take action that moved me forward and away from the wall I was banging my head against.

Challenge!

I challenge you to set aside 20 minutes today, or this week, and do this very uncomfortable but interesting exercise on the area in your life that you feel most stuck in.

In the comments, let me know 1) where you feel most stuck, 2) what belief is most standing in your way, 3) and how you feel after doing this exercise.
 
 
photo credits: “Stress Reduction” by Eamon Curry: . License: CC BY 2.0. No changes were made to the photo.
 
 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

How to deal with shitty people, pt II, or: The Pray Rain Journal

In the situation I describe in „How to deal with shitty people, pt. I“, I didn’t regret saying no to a certain annoying person, but I also didn’t know how to deal with my anger, especially because I can’t avoid her and I’m afraid I’ll make my life miserable by getting infuriated every time I see her. (When I am angry at someone, this can go on for days, months, even years, making my life miserable and poisoning me – not a good way to live.)

This was the kick in the butt I needed to finally get me into seriously using my imagination to improve my situation. Releasing emotional blocks with the Emotion Code and learning to surrender my worries has been very powerful for me, but not enough in a) situations where I stayed angry at someone for a long time, and b) in situations that I wanted to escape but could not see a way out of.

Years ago I read about a thing called „Pray Rain Journal“ in this article by author and life coach Martha Beck. It’s simply a little notebook you use to write a page or so every day, pretending that you are already living, having and experiencing what you desire, even though you cannot imagine how you are supposed to get there. You really have to try and imagine it with all your senses and feel the way you would feel, and then write a short journal entry from that perspective.

How do I use the Pray Rain Journal to deal with shitty people?

Instead of just wishing for annoying people and situations to go away, you paint a picture of what you REALLY want, which is more and probably very different from just having the opposite of what you hate. In my Pray Rain Journal, I don’t write about how a certain annoying person is suddenly not so annoying anymore, but I rather feel for what I really desire, which is to live in peace, freedom and safety, and imagine what that would feel like.

Of course, once I started my journal, I used it for many other areas of my life, as well. It doesn’t take long, but it leaves me feeling different, empowered, and with a sense that everything is alright and a certainty that my wishes will come true. When I feel like what I write is too good to be true, I work on the feelings and beliefs that caused this resistance.

Do this every day. I will, too, and let you know how it goes. While I may make a fool of myself in case it doesn’t work, I really have nothing to lose, and neither do you. Read some convincing success stories here to get you inspired. Happy pray-raining!
 
 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

How to deal with shitty people, pt. I, or: The importance of saying no

I recently said no to someone who has been draining me for months. This person is someone I cannot avoid, although I would like to, because she talks, talks, talks without taking a break to breathe and gives lots of unsolicited advice. I also had let her manipulate me into doing her favors which I didn’t want to do anymore. So I told her that and also tried to make it clear that I am not interested in having any sort of social relationship with her that exceeds saying „hi“ and „bye“.

Even though I expressed this politely, it brought on a whole storm of boundary-crossing, judgmental and overbearing comments, criticizing me, the way I live, my preferences and values, my saying no to her (how dare I!), plus some more condescending remarks about her pitying me for my lonely existence as a single woman who prefers to be independent instead of being open to others (= listening to her endless monologues) and letting them into my life (= doing her favors).

I didn’t regret saying no to this person afterwards, but it reminded me of how hard and uncomfortable it is to say no to other people’s annoying or even abusive behaviors, and their expectations, yet how important. For even though I was angry for days after the incident, I don’t regret standing up for what I wanted and ending this drain on my energy.

RULES FOR DEALING WITH SHITTY PEOPLE

I realize the situation with this annoying person would not have lasted so long and gotten so intense if I had considered the following (some of which I didn’t know until now):

1. While most people will understand social cues that are used to end a conversation, some don’t, and if you try to get out of a conversation with such a person POLITELY (by waiting for them to quit talking for a second), you may wait VERY LONG and waste a lot of you energy. Some people just don’t get it, so I think it’s okay to simply say „I’m sorry but I have things to do and need to leave now. Good bye“ and WALK AWAY, even if they are still talking with no intention of stopping. You do not need their permission to leave, and they certainly never asked your permission to waste your time with their monologuing. (This might backfire if you apply it to your boss or any other person who has some control over you. Just saying.)

2. The same is okay when someone gives you unsolicited advice, insults or manipulates you and doesn’t stop when you tell them to back off. End the conversation by walking away or shutting the door in their face.

3. I realized that my politeness toward that person came from an ingrained habit of „playing nice so they will like me“. But why try to get someone to like you, if you don’t even like them, and they „like“ you the way a parasite „likes“ its host?

4. Get feedback from other people about Mr. or Mrs. Crazy. You may find they are not too fond of them, either, which will make you feel more secure in trusting your gut instinct about that person.

5. Don’t try to argue with and convince a crazy person that they are crazy. It doesn’t work; instead you will get entangled in their sick thinking and end up justifying yourself to them, or apologizing for your „bad behavior“ (= not doing what they want you to do).

There will be a part II to this post because I found that saying no and understanding these five things wasn’t enough for me to feel good again. I didn’t only want to say no to a negative situation, but also use my power to create a new, more satisfying situation. That’s where it gets a little mystical, but being a reader of this blog, this probably won’t bother you…
 
 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

Being able to love yourself: no New Age crap, but an important piece of the happiness puzzle

A Flaming I Love You by Koinos Zoi Photography
Recently, I was feeling quite depressed and lonely, and longing for a romantic partner. Then, after many years of being haunted by this feeling, it finally hit me: the worst thing would not be if I didn’t find the right relationship, but if I did and still felt as if I were all alone in the world. Striving to get “there” (in my case, a relationship) would not save me from my loneliness in the here and now. I need to learn the skills necessary to being happy with myself, even when I’m alone.

A short while after I realized this, I “accidentally” found a website called Inner Bonding. Although the talk about “bonding with your inner child” turned me off initially, it brought to my awareness the idea that a connection to an energy greater than us isn’t enough for a human being to be happy (I’ve written about finding a spiritual connection on my blog quite a bit and it really changed my life). We also need to have a loving relationship to ourselves, talk to ourselves and treat ourselves in a loving way. While I’ve heard this a million times, I never really understood it with my whole body instead of just intellectually – until now. I think this idea (if practiced) is revolutionary as I don’t know anyone who fully embodies this and certainly never learned how to love myself, or that this is even important.

Have you ever thought about this in depth? How is your relationship to yourself? While I am taking good care of myself, I noticed that I relate to myself like an object; like a car owner relates to their car: they expect it to do its job and do what’s necessary to maintain its functionality, but that’s nothing but an annoying, if necessary task. (Okay, I know there are people out there who love their car more than anything and enjoy washing and repairing it, but I think you know what I’m trying to say!) That’s how I feel about myself often. It’s a strange and impersonal relationship to have to yourself…

I think how we treat ourselves has a lot to do with how we grew up, and while it’s too late to get what we need from our parents (who probably never got it themselves), I’m thrilled that it’s possible to become our own good parent! You can find more details about this on the website (many free resources, AND a testimonial from Alanis Morissette!!) or in the book “Inner Bonding” by Margaret Paul. Try it!

(I keep sending you to other people’s websites, which is something a clever businesswoman should not do. So if you don’t like the Inner Bonding website, you can always go here and book an Emotion Code session with me – it’s on a pay-what-you-want basis for now, and I love that!)
 
Photo credit: “A Flaming I Love You” by Koinos Zoi Photography. CC license CC BY 2.0. No changes were made to the photo.
 
 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

Time to course-correct (if you don’t like where you’re going)

 

“Life is a test. But sometimes we pick the wrong answer. No big deal, right? Well, unfortunately we often pick the same wrong answer over and over, avoiding any other possible outcome, and therefore avoiding the correct answer.”

“Therefore one of the most important skills we can develop is course correction. It’s direly important to understand when a mistake is a mistake, to learn from our indiscretions, to change course and move forward a better person.”

- “Course Correction” by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

 
It’s only May, but now is a good time to look back at and see what you have learned, where you would like to correct your course, and what exactly you are going to do to make this change happen.

Why now?

 
Answer 1, for the astrologically minded: On May 20, Mars retrograde and with it, a long period of astrological upheavals will end and all that you have worked on, learned and discovered so far is supposed to yield fruit. If you’re confused and some things aren’t clear yet, that should end at this date and you can finally make your dreams for this year come true. Best to do a status check before that.

Answer 2, for everyone else, or in case astrology is just superstition: If you have given some thought to how you would like this year to be, it’s only logical to stop at some point and assess what has happened so far. It’s time to correct your course, for if you continue doing things the way you do them now, you will end up where you’re going. In case you don’t like where you are going, it’s better to find out now and change it than be disappointed at the end of this year.
 

I’ve asked myself the following questions:

 

What have I learned so far this year?

 

I have learned that loneliness doesn’t kill me and actually disappears after a while. I have learned to live without the friends I had, and that I’d rather be alone with myself than lonely with them. I never thought it would take so long for me to find the right people for me, so I have had to learn patience, too.

I have learned that things flow more smoothly and successfully when I am happy instead of miserable and overworked. Who would have thought that hard work is only good up to the degree that it feels sweet? And that living in a way that creates a feeling of sweetness (which may be different for anybody) is legitimate and leads to things goign the right way more easily and quickly than depleting myself? To me, this is one of my greatest lessons of this year because everyone I know believes in the exact opposite. It’s an achievement to even think such a blasphemous thought, and even more so to live it!

I have discovered that writing and expressing myself creatively is what I would happily dedicate my life to even if I never got paid for it. In this context, I learned that what I really want is to be open and honest, no matter how embarassing and socially unacceptable it is. (I learned this by taking this free class. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention, Carla! :))

 

What have I achieved that actually feels like an achievement, as opposed to just looking like one on the outside?

 

When I wake up in the morning, I am in a good mood and looking forward to the day. For 25+ years, this wasn’t so.
I started doing a monthly budget, which is surprisingly liberating. (I learned how in this free e-mail course.)

 

Where have I gotten off course and how can I course-correct?

 

I have neglected making plans for a holiday. I have wanted to travel again for a long time and thought I would do it “later” or “someday”, but the truth is, you have to set aside or save up some money, pick a destination, put it in your schedule and make all the preparations. If I continue on my current track, I will go absolutely no place and then feel like 2014 was a monotonous blur of work and some rest. It’s so uncool and un-bohemian, but in this day and age, so much depends on time-management and planning!

 

Imagine it is December 31, 2014 and you are looking back at your year. How would you like to feel in that moment? What would you like to be able to say about 2014?

 

“I did my best and worked hard to deal with my messy life, reach my goals, let go of the attachment to outcome, and learn to live. Things didn’t go according to plan. It felt like my life was exploding, and what was uncovered was a love and freedom I couldn’t have imagined or planned.”

 
What do you see when you look back now? What will you see when you look back on New Year’s Eve?
 
 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

Talk to your subconscious (and get answers!) with muscle-testing. I’ll show you how.

As I explained in this post, muscle-testing is an integral part of The Emotion Code. We use it to find out which emotional imbalances are contributing to a person’s problem.

But even if you don’t practice the Emotion Code, muscle-testing can be a valuable and fun tool in your daily life.

What is muscle-testing?

Muscle-testing is widely used in kinesiology and is an integral part of the Emotion Code, as well. To my knowledge, muscle-testing isn’t scientifically proven, so read & try this with a critical and open mind. (I say this because it works for me and many others, but I don’t like it when people in energy work talk about how it’s all proved by „quantum physics“ etc. even though they don’t know anything about it.)

The basic assumption here is that the part of your mind that keeps your body alive and functioning, the subconscious mind, has stored everything you have ever experienced, even if you (with your conscious mind) think that you have forgotten those past events – be it a trauma or where you put , and you can get answers from it with muscle-testing. Muscle-testing works on the assumption that „your body will normally be drawn toward positive things or thoughts and repelled by negative things or ideas.“ [1] With muscle-testing, you can only get „yes“ or „no“ as an answer. The simplest way of asking your body is the so-called Sway Test. [2]

How to do the Sway Test

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your hands by your sides, in a place where you are undistracted. Now, make a statement that you know is true, like saying your name: „I am Julia.“ Or say a word that you feel deeply positive about, feeling into it without distraction. Give your body a few moments and see what happens. Your body will sway forward noticeably. It’s as if it wanted to get closer to or was attracted by the positive or true thought you have presented it with.

Now, say something that you know for certain to be untrue, like „I am John“ when your name isn’t John. Or speak a word or thought you feel very negatively about, like „war“. Feel the emotions that come up and let the notion of war fill your mind. In a few moments, your body will sway backward, as if it were repelled by that negative thought.

Don’t try to force it. Just let your body move if and when it wants to. It’s important that you stay focused on the statement you are thinking of and get out of the way for a few seconds so your body can give you an answer. [3]

For some people, this will work instantaneously, others need practice. Don’t give up! It won’t take that long to learn it. Hint: I have noticed that the sway test and other ways of muscle-testing don’t work well or at all when I’m dehydrated, so try drinking a glass of water and see if anything changes.

What can you use it for?

Apart from muscle-testing being an important part of using The Emotion Code, you can also simply play around with it by testing out statements where you’re not completely sure about your feelings: „I like the guy/girl I had a date with last week“, „I love my job“, „I’d like to go visit my relatives this weekend instead of just staying at home with my boyfriend, watching TV“. This can be really interesting, especially when you are trying it on areas of your life where you tend not be honest with yourself.

It’s also fun to use it with decisions that won’t make a big difference in your life. Martha Beck describes how she uses it in grocery stores to pick the fruit and vegetables that her body desires: She simply buys the ones her body sways towards! [4]

Warning: What not to use muscle-testing for

Muscle-testing is a great resource but it’s not 100 % reliable, especially when you’re testing stuff you are emotionally invested in (you might sabotage the test result). So don’t take the result as the ultimate truth and don’t use it for the following things:

  • Making important decisions („Should I get a divorce?“) – It’s a complex question (and what does „should“ mean anyway) that you need to use your heart and head for.
  • Finding out if X is the perfect mate for you. It doesn’t work, I’ve tried. (The guy who I got a yes on once is SO not the perfect guy for me!)
  • Winning the lotto („Is 5 among the winning numbers this week?“) or in betting, gambling, etc. Muscle-testing helps you get answers from yourself about you, but not about the future (it’s not even decided yet).

Have fun practicing and swaying, and let me know what the experience was like for you!

Until next week,

Julia x

Sources:
[1] From: The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for Abundant Health, Love and Happiness, by Dr. Bradley Nelson, 2007, p. 33
[2] From: The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for Abundant Health, Love and Happiness, by Dr. Bradley Nelson, 2007, p. 28-33
[3] From: The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for Abundant Health, Love and Happiness, by Dr. Bradley Nelson, 2007, p. 33-38
[4] From: Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want, by Martha Beck, 2012, p. 75-76.

 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

One week into practicing mindfulness: It works.

Remember the Bell of Mindfulness (a browser plugin that regularly chimes a bell to remind you to breathe mindfully) I wrote about last week? Some of you tried it and found it helpful, and so did I.

It’s surprising how much such a tiny bit of mindfulness practice can do, and also how easy or how hard this practice can sometimes be. Here’s how I did in my first week of (attempted) mindfulness since my childhood:
 
I have caught a glimpse of what mindfulness is. The mindfulness bell I set to chime every 15 minutes, so I used it a lot during my many hours in front of my computer. The first few days after discovering it, it was easier to breathe mindfully every time the bell chimed. Then I started to find it annoying and caught myself ignoring it, feeling stressed and unwilling to stop whatever I was doing for even a few seconds. Realizing the craziness of this perceived lack of time (“I can’t spare three seconds just for doing nothing and breathing!! I have stuff to do!!”), I got on with it.
 
Even this very imperfect practice has brought me benefits. Important to remember for the perfectionist in me & you!
(Something else that helped: 1) Watching some talks by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who teaches people mindfulness and the practical steps to inner peace and becoming a source of peace for others. 2) Putting “time in nature” in my schedule every day and sticking to it most days. No more suffering from “nature deprivation”.)
 
 

Hunger for silence

Already after the first day of trying mindful breathing and mindful eating (meaning, just eating, without reading or surfing the internet), I felt a hunger for the silence I experience when I am in the present moment. I sat down and meditated, just because I wanted to and felt the inner need for it. I can’t empty my mind of thoughts or anything – I just sit in silence, which feels wonderful.
I also voluntarily continued eating some of my meals in silence – very out of character for me!
 
 

Everyday last week, I have experienced some moments of peace, freedom, quiet joy.

Sometimes when standing in a park, just listening to and looking at the plants and animals around me. Sometimes in meditation. This peace and silence made up maybe 5 to 10 percent of my experience. The rest was: being stressed from drinking too much coffee, or from drinking coffee and green tea at the same time (great idea…), overwork, too much time spent in my small flat, numbing myself with music, internet, food. The usual.
 
But I am so happy I discovered this, and that it works so well and quickly! If you’re interested in giving mindfulness a try, here are three very simple and practical actions/ideas that I found supremely useful in my beginner’s mindfulness practice:
 
The practice of stopping: Thich Nhat Hanh mentioned in a talk that the practice of stopping is a big part of mindfulness. It brings us back in the here and now. I did this very literally and just stopped moving and even breathing (yes, I’m a bit of an extremist) sometimes during the day, just observing what was going on around me. When I did this, I imagined stepping into my own body – my mind is usually two steps ahead of me, always rushing to get to the next place, task, distraction. So stopping caused my mind and body to be in the same place for a few seconds – in the here and now. When I did this, I had some wonderful moments of peace. They didn’t last long, but they made me so happy! :)
 
A variation on mindful breathing: In mindful breathing, you focus on your breath. However, following my own breath is about the most boring thing there is; I can hardly stand it, and my mind wanders off immediately. So instead I focussed on the split second between my outbreath and inbreath, and imagined sinking deep into my body in that short moment of not breathing, surrendering (to the moment, the energy that is everywhere, life, whatever you prefer). (This tip I got from a teleclass done by Dr. Lissa Rankin and Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen.)
 
“Selective watering”: This one is also from Thich Nhat Hanh. He says your happiness depends entirely on the seeds you have in your mind, and how strong or weak they are: the seed of mindfulness, the seed of love, the seed of anger, of fear, etc. Your mind is your garden and if you keep watering the seeds of violence by watching violent movies etc., that violence will grow in you. On the other hand, if you practice mindfulness (and you needn’t even take extra time to do so), you become more peaceful inside and are able to handle your emotions better. He says this method of “selective watering of the seeds”, as he calls it, brings effects very quickly, and that finding inner peace and joy through this is simply a matter of organizing your life around watering the constructive seeds, and refraining from watering the distructive ones. He’s so practical! I like that man.
 
If you want more, there are videos of his talks on his website, and here is a series of talks he gave at an Israeli-Palestinian retreat in 2003, which I found very helpful, impressive and relaxing (because he himself is a great example of peace and mindfulness).
 
Thank you, and keep breathing,
 
Julia

 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

What loneliness has to do with not organizing your time

Every now and then, I think I’ve got it: The solution. The formula for a good life. Those formulas (formulae?) never work perfectly, though. Either because I don’t put them into practice as much as I should, or because they simply aren’t perfect themselves. Maybe it’s also crazy to look for perfection (I know it is).

But I just want to write down and share what I have discovered so far. It may or may not apply to you.

Here are the things I do to live happily and successfully (not saying that I’m always happy and successful – obviously not):

Meditate daily
Energy work, daily
Help other people, several times a week (okay, I do it for money, but it still counts as „helping people“)
Sports, five times a week
Organize my day as much as I can

Here comes the big BUT:

 

Good relationships aren’t optional.

 
I think one thing is missing, and that is support by other people, and real friendship. I get plenty of support by people online (you know who you are – thank you!!), but as I wrote in my previous post, I don’t have a full social life at the moment. I feel like as much as I do to keep myself sane, enjoy my life and move closer to my dreams, having really good, close relationships is so crucial that it can’t be replaced by anything else. This is currently the place where all my efforts go out the window: being alone too much makes me fragile emotionally, which I think is a close neighbour of „crazy“.

 

So what to do against loneliness?

 
There’s an interesting connection with my business here. I have focussed too much on going with the flow of what I feel like (taking action, playing, resting), but I noticed (maybe it’s a bit late to notice this at age 31) that this only works when I have proper organization/time management and a mid-term strategy in place. I’m not naturally talented at this, but have learned some methods of doing it, anyway. Without that structure, I end up spending too much time surfing the internet, lying in bed, or eating…leading the Homer Simpson life.

 

What does organizing your life have to do with finding friends?

 
It is slowly dawning on me that I will also have to use organization and have a strategy in order to find my people. They tend not to just show up at my place, so I have to get out, but wandering through the city aimlessly doesn’t do it. I really have to sign up for stuff, make plans to go places where I will meet like-minded people, and follow through. Oh man. These things were easier when I was still a child, being forced to spend time with the same people for years. It was almost impossible not to become friends with people then.

My action steps/strategy for this week:

1. List three places (like clubs, courses, etc.) where I could meet people I might like.
2. Find out cheap options of joining these clubs etc.
3. Signing up for at least one event where I will meet my potential future friends.

More on the results of my efforts another time. I hope you don’t feel like these are totally obvious ideas that every idiot has implemented in their lives. (I do feel a bit idotic publishing this post.) Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to comment!

Julia

 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!

What goal do you want to serve in 2014? (And what goal are your really (unconsciously) serving?)

Yesterday, I read a brilliant text about where to start if you want to change a system: “Places to Intervene in a System” by Donella H. Meadows. It is actually written with regards to changing national and global (economic, social, etc.) systems; but since a system is simply “a set of two or more interrelated elements, which can be subdivided into parts” (Meadows: p. 7), human bodies, minds, and lives count as systems, too.

How to change your life 101

Over the years I tried to change my life in different ways – sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much -, so I was eager to find out if there were some basics that I had missed. According to the author of that article, the three most powerful leverage points to use if you want to change a system, like your life, are:

1. The power to transcend paradigms.
2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system and its goals arise.
3. The goals of the system.

The goals of the system? The moment I read this, it occurred to me that I didn’t know what my overarching goal in life was. (And that this would be a fabulous topic for my next blog post.)

Whether you know what your overarching goal is, or not, you can’t NOT have a goal. Even if you were sick in bed, or depressed all year round, you’d have a goal: to survive and get better. It’s obviously better if you are AWARE of what your goal is, because then you’re in a position to change it if you don’t like it. Anyhow, here’s what a goal does:

“If the goal is to bring more and more of the world under the control of one central planning system (the empire of Genghis Khan, the world of Islam, the People’s Republic of China, Wal-Mart, Disney), then everything further down the list (…) will be pressured or weakened to conform to that goal.” (Meadows: p. 11)

So if your goal is to make money / be safe financially / have as much fun as possible etc., all your actions will be aligned with that goal, or if you have other, conflicting, less important goals, they will be WEAKENED, which I think means you won’t put in as much energy as is necessary to fulfill them.

To change your life, you don’t try to change your lesser goals. Instead, you go for the top: “The big leverage points are the goals of entire systems.” (Meadows: p. 11)
 

Know your goal in 2014 and stop living like a headless chicken (if that’s what you’ve done)

I’m writing this now because it’s traditionally the time of the year when people think about how they have live the past year and how they want the coming year to be.

Living a life that satisfies you is much easier when you

a) know what your real goal is (the one the feels really good to you), and
b) know what goal you have been (unconsciously?) serving up to now – out of confusion, fear, laziness or simply because you have never thought about what the whole point of your existence is.

When I look at how I’ve lived my life this year, I would like to say that I had a big plan, knew what I was doing all along, and that my goal was to “fulfill my purpose in life” or some lofty thing like that. Without having had too much time to think about it, I’d say that my (often unconscious) goal this year was to have as much time as possible for myself to do as I please while not being bothered by other people.

Is that the primary goal that I want to serve in 2014? No. First of all, I want to be conscious of what my goal is. And “being left alone” isn’t the right goal for me, because it led me to stay home too often and to be lonely more than I could handle. I realized this year I can have great fun with other people, really enjoyable times, and that most of the people I meet are nicer, more interesting and less annoying that I tend to expect (although I do have a few exceptions in mind). In spite of everything I have achieved and learned, I don’t want to continue serving my old goal.

What is YOUR new goal? I still have a few days to think about mine, but I intend to know what I’m doing in 2014, and not waste my efforts, time and energy so much on something I don’t really want and that doesn’t make me happy.

Have a happy new year,

Julia

P.S. Remember I said that changing the goals of a system was only number 3 in the top 3 of places to intervene in a system? I’d like to write about the other two in future newsletters. For now, determining a goal for 2014 is enough work for me (and you).

 

Want more of this? SUBSCRIBE HERE to get my weekly newsletter + a free e-book on how to help yourself with energy work!