Are your fears or dreams driving your behaviour?

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Who is sitting in your driving seat? I recently realised that my fears are sitting in the driver seat of my life and not my beliefs/dreams. I thought I was allowing my dreams to drive my behaviour but after some deep introspection I realised that I was fooling myself. I made a conscious decision to start shifting my behaviour. To allow my positive beliefs to fast track me to my dreams, instead of allowing my fears to keep me in first gear. The truth is that if we live from a perspective of fear we live smaller, close down our creativity and are not as open to the flow of life.

The activity I did to get to this insight was that of writing down what I’m afraid of, without judging or filtering. Once I felt that all my fears were written on the piece of paper, I started a new page with what I believe in and dream of. I would like to share some of my fears and beliefs with you. I do believe that we are more alike than we tend to think. My hope is that in sharing my vulnerability with you, you may reflect on your own behaviour. That we can all shift from first gear to fifth.

I am afraid of…

  • Not having enough money and not being able to look after myself.
  • Not living fully, playing it safe and not taking enough risks.
  • Always saying that I will publish my book but never doing it.
  • Allowing my thinking to hold me back and not changing my bad habits.
  • Not bringing my true self to life and unlocking my potential.
  • Not loving (others and myself) enough.
  • Wasting time on things that don’t really matter.
  • Not being good enough, beautiful enough, and clever enough.
  • Not making my business a success.
  • Not listening to the wisdom of my body.
  • Settling for second best and missing opportunities
  • Saying no and disappointing others.

I believe …

  • I am enough (good enough, beautiful enough and clever enough).
  • The world gives me what I need and I’m now exactly where I need to be.
  • God loves me and has a purpose with my life.
  • If I keep myself open opportunities will come to me.
  • In eating wholesome and nourishing food than depriving me to be ‘thin’.
  • Accepting all of me, and that non-acceptance causes suffering.
  • In loving relationships and that it builds bridges.
  • In beauty and the magic it brings in my life.
  • In creativity and how it opens possibilities.
  • In living my life from a soulful place, connecting deep with deep.
  • In my body and that it holds all the wisdom I need.
  • In the joy of being alive, that I can enjoy and trust life.

Learning: Live from the trust that you can create the life you dream of.

Healing question: How will you live differently if your dreams, instead of your fears, drive your behaviour?

When days become dark

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photo: unsplash.com

We’ve all experienced dark days or periods in our personal lives and with our businesses. Reflecting back on those moments in my own life I realise how valuable they were. All of them accompanied profound insights and personal growth. I’m extremely grateful for them as they turned into soulful moments. It inspired me to write the following poem.

When a grey cloud moves over the sun.

When the lights are dimmed,

and it feels as if you can’t see ahead of you.

That is when the soul wakes up.

 

When a heaviness drapes around your body.

When slowness enters your step,

and you sense a tucking downwards.

That is when the soul starts to deepen.

 

When stillness surrounds your heart.

When you feel a dark emptiness,

and you experience a distancing from the world.

That is when your uniqueness emerges.

 

Be wary to allow ‘fear of failure’ to rope you up.

Sit in the space of uncomfortable unknowing a little longer.

Pause and take another deep breath.

Allow it to softly touch your soul.

 

Waking up the wonderful wisdom of your true self.

Opening up the space of acceptance within.

Breathing in the lightness of love.

Allow it to lift you into simple being.

 

When days become dark.

When you feel not enough,

and want to switch on the light to break the darkness.

That is the time to sit still and listen to the soul.

 

Learning: Dark moments can turn into soulful moments if we open ourselves for growth.

 Healing question: How can I stay with the uncomfortable unknowing a little longer?

First year of life: Love & trust as basis for safety

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Photo: Liane Metzler, Unsplash

I tried to imagine how it was during my first year of life. I could not remember anything but as I was thinking back I experienced a sense of safety. I am of the opinion that it is due to the love I received as a child and the knowing that I could trust my parents. In order to verify my theory I did some research on what some of the well-known psychoanalysts wrote about the emotional development during the first year of an infant’s life.

In our first year of life the brain already starts to write the emotional manual for happiness. We write this manual based on our experience of the world. Melanie Klein (a psychoanalyst) states that two things form our experiences; what our caregivers provided as well as our ability as an infant/child to make sense of it.

As an infant our ability to make sense of things is very basic. According to psychoanalytical theory the ‘ID’ is the original system of personality. The ID wants to reduce any tension or pain. Its main aim is to satisfy the need for food and pleasure.

When the baby is hungry it wants to be fed to alleviate the suffering/ pain that is caused by the hunger. When the desire is satisfied the baby feels loved.

During our 1st year we live in the reptilian level of consciousness. Our life is only centred around day-to-day survival activities such as search for shelter and fulfilment of instinctual needs. According to Erikson if our basic emotional and physical needs are met in that stage of our lives, we develop a sense of trust. We start to build our ability to trust others and ourselves. The love we receive from our caregivers strengthens our bond with them and provides a sense of security that enables us to develop emotional healthy pathways in the brain.

However, if our desire for security was frustrated and our need for love not met, it may result in mistrust towards others. We may later in our life have an inability to trust. We may even fear forming loving relationships with others.

Therefore, some of the first notes in our emotional manual for happiness, is:

  • If you fulfil/satisfy my needs, I can trust you. If I can trust you, I am safe.
  • If my needs are met, I am loved. If you love me, I am safe.

The problem with these early notes, as Thomas Keating accurately indicates, is that ‘it starts out as needs, grows into demands, and can finally become ”shoulds’’. The result can be that the notes later in our adult life can look like this:

  • You should satisfy my needs before I can trust you.
  • You should meet my needs otherwise I can’t love you.
  • If I can’t trust or love others and myself the world is not safe.

The good news is that as adults our level of consciousness is more developed than when we were infants. We can change or rewrite our manual. Love can be reborn. Christene Caldwell writes:

‘When I accept myself, love is reborn. When nothing will make me abandon myself or hurt myself, love is present – I am loving myself in the same unconditional way that a parent can love a child. If I did not get this unconditional love the first time around, I must discover and re-create it in myself.’

Not every baby that is born in this world is privileged enough to experience the necessary love and trust. Many babies don’t experience the world as a welcoming place. Which in turn may influence how they behave later in life. The question I’m pondering on is how does knowing this change the way I behave towards others? Maybe a portion of the answer is in accepting everyone as they are. Maybe then love and trust can be reborn. And we can all start to build a safer world together. A world where it is safe to be vulnerable.

Learning: By loving and trusting others and myself I create a safe space to be vulnerable.

Healing question: How can I give myself (and others) the necessary love and trust in order to feel safe?

The whole tree: branches, roots and all.

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If you follow my blog, you already know that I decided to reflect and write about my life. The plan is to unpack every stage, see it from different dimensions, open to the truth, allow myself to live and feel through every aspect, especially the unlived ones. The purpose is to set free, heal, simplify and clear the way. Stephen Levine wrote that      ‘Caring enough for our life to enter it, to explore and heal it, even the hard personal truths that burn are beautiful because they are the truth.’

I was very enthusiastic to start and thought that the first few years would be easy to write about. Was I surprised to find out that it was not easy at all! It was extremely hard. I got stuck at my birth! I started to ask myself the following questions (which are always good questions to ask when you start a new project):

  1. What makes this ‘life review’ exercise important to me?
  2. How committed am I to working on this?
  3. What are the internal and external barriers I’m facing?

I became aware of feelings of ‘fear of rejection’ or ‘fear of stigmatisation’ in the back of my mind. My mind wanted to disguise the painful shadows whereas my heart wanted to forgive, be grateful and set it free. While working through the questions I came across the following writings:

  • ‘Each tree grows in two directions at once, into the darkness and out to the light, with as many branches and roots as it needs to embody its wild desires.’ John O’ Donohue.
  • ‘When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending. Owning our stories is standing in our truth. It’s transformative in our personal and professional lives and it’s also critical in our community lives. ‘Brene Brown

We tend to look at other trees and wonder why it is so easy for them to have so many branches when it feels as if we only grow roots. The reason is we only show the world our branches. If we do share, we tend to show a part of the story, a root, and not the whole root structure. That can be misleading. Instead of encouraging others it can be discouraging.

I realised that my roots are just as important as my branches. I also realised that if I want to live out of /in line with my truth (which is my mission in life) I need to be able to stand in my truth (which is my whole story). I need to be courageous enough to show the world (not that the world is reading my blog) my roots. It is my roots that give me the strength to grow and live in the light

To be seen

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Have you ever looked at someone with your whole body instead of just your brain?

I’m not sure if you noticed but we tend to look at others with our brain. We conditionally or unconditionally determine how we see others or the situation. Instead of just allowing ourselves to look at the situation and see if for what it is. Not for how we think it should be or how we want it to be. We make it personal and look at it with a greedy eye, judgemental eye or inferior eye, etc.

A week ago I did a ‘gazing’ exercise with people I’ve never met before. How the exercise works is that for about 5 minutes you sit in pairs and look into each other’s eyes without saying a word. It is not the same as the game kids play when they look at each other and see who is the first to look away. The purpose of this exercise is to learn how to really see each other.

I experienced how one can see others by utilising ones whole body. I saw the fire of courage burning behind their eyes. I sensed how my heart opened as I saw their loving-kindness. I felt their pain in my chest knowing that I can’t fix it but I can hold it for them by seeing it. I experienced a tingling in my hands as I saw the gifts that they bring to the world. I felt my tummy turning with joy as I saw their unmeasured potential. As I saw them I came home to myself. After the ‘gazing’ exercise it felt as if we knew each other. There was no longer a need for words.

John O’Donohue writes about gazing in his book ‘Anam Cara’, ‘to gaze into the face of the other is to gaze into the depth and entirety of their life…when you really gaze at something, you bring it inside you.’ He later continues and states that ‘vision is central to ones presence and creativity. To recognise how you see things can bring you self-knowledge and enable you to glimpse the treasures your life secretly holds’.

I want to encourage you to give yourself the gift of looking lovingly upon yourself. Give others the gift of looking at them with your whole body. Let them be seen. Let them feel seen. You may never see them again.

Rest in the knowing that each gaze is a homecoming to your true nature.

Step onto your magic carpet

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My wonderful husband took me to the Disney World, Magical Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida this week. What a magical experience it was! The day was filled with colour, fantasy, inspiring stories and positive messages such as ‘Never stop believing in your dreams’, ‘Dreams do come true’ and ‘The magic lives inside you’.

It was my first time on a roller coaster. If you are someone who fears being out of control and wants to work on letting go of the need for control, I can recommend riding a roller coaster. After the first turn you realise that you need to face your fear otherwise it is going to take away the thrill and joy you get from the ride. The experience reminded me of Brené Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” that focuses on vulnerability. She writes that ‘…we all numb our feelings…our sense of vulnerability…numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotions. Numb the dark and you numb the light.’ I realised I had to allow myself to be vulnerable in order to experience the freedom and joy of flying through the air.

As a young girl my favourite Disney movie was Aladdin. I dreamed of flying through the air and seeing the world on a magic carpet. I knew the lyrics of the theme song ‘A whole new world’ by heart. My favourite parts of the song was where Aladdin sings to Princess Jasmine that with his magic carpet he will show her:

A whole new world

A new fantastic point of view

No one to tell us no or where to go

Or say we’re only dreaming

After a few turns on the Magic carpet princess Jasmine tells Aladdin 

when I’m way up here, it’s crystal clear …

I’m like a shooting star

I’ve come so far

I can’t go back

To where I used to be

When I heard the song again at Disney World (after 13 years) it was as if everything was all of a sudden crystal clear to me. My dream came true! I am on my own magic carpet ride. I was grateful for the life I had been given. Yes, my life was not always easy. The carpet ride had taken me to very dark places in the past but also to beautiful places beyond my imagination. After being at those places, I can’t go back to where I used to be…

We all have a magic carpet inside of us. All we need to do is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, have the courage to step out of our ‘comfort zone’ and onto the magic carpet. Yes, the ride will not always be easy but we should not allow the fear of failure or tragedy hinder us from experiencing joy and stepping on the magic carpet. Brené Brown’s research indicates that ‘…every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give into those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen – and they do happen –we are stronger.’

The more you step onto the magic carpet, the stronger you become because you’ve allowed yourself to see and experience a whole new world. After that you can’t go back to your old way of thinking. You’ve seen new horizons to pursue. Walt Disney said:

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”