October 2017

A comfort zone is not comfortable at all; it's fearful.

I'm guessing at one or several points in life you feel stuck. At home, in your marriage, relationship, work, career, health, money, environment, life purpose, spirituality, creativity and/or sexuality. When your body needs something it sends a signal. When you need food, you feel hungry. When you need water, you feel thirsty. When you need sleep, you feel tired. When you feel stuck in your life it's a signal that your human needs are not being met as they should.

Growing up my mom made me do all the things I didn't feel like doing! She made me go to school when I wanted to sleep in. Go to practice when I wanted to relax. Do my homework when I wanted to watch TV. Clean my room. Study. You get the picture. For most of us, that was the reality. Spoiler alert: You're not a kid anymore!

As an adult you won't magically feel like doing any more than you did as a kid. You will never feel like doing things that's really uncomfortable. Ever!

Why do you hit the famous procrastination button called snooze? Because growth and change is painful and uncomfortable.. but only at first. This often ends in settling for less than what you really want. You think life is ok as it is even though you want and wish for more. No! Life isn't ok. It shouldn't be just ok. Life is MAGNIFICENT! It's amazing! It's a miracle. This post was inspired by Mel Robbins' TED talk where I learned the scientific odds of you, yes YOU and all of us being born. It's 1:400 000 000 000 000 - one in four hundred trillion! That's not just ok. It's freaking incredible. Life is incredible! Do not settle!

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When you procrastinate, it haunts you non-stop reminding you of it until it's done. When it's finally done you feel free, energized, empowered and proud of yourself. I bet you've heard the cliché "just do it!" - well, that's exactly what I'm telling you to do. 

You know what you should do but is it enough just knowing what you should be doing? No. Action is what begins the process. "Just do it!" begins the process. Have you ever done something uncomfortable just because you wanted to do something uncomfortable? If so, I would love to hear about it. A sudden sense of feeling like it is most likely not what happened. You made the choice because being stuck brought more discomfort than making the changes you procrastinated for so long. You found the courage to "Just do it!". 

"You will make the change when the discomfort of remaining the same is greater than the discomfort of changing."

No one ever FELT like doing something uncomfortable; they felt like it because they didn't see any other ways to get what they really want! Had they gotten easier and more comfortable solutions they'd choose that. If you could take a pill and loose the weight rather than spending hours at the gym and eating dry chicken and veggies, you would. If you could make more money from your warm soft bed rather than working harder, you would. If you could get an easy way out, a shortcut, that's what you would do. Not to spoil the end of the story here, but the odds of that magical easy way out is around zero somewhere. It takes action, time, effort, attention, work and dedication to change something you're dissatisfied with. Those changes usually feel painful at first, but nothing is as painful as being stuck.

Have faith in yourself and your uniqueness. Be your own best friend! Don't belittle yourself by saying you can't do it. Don't wait for the perfect moment. Don't wait for when you're ready. If it's not perfect now, if you're not ready now and you don't feel like it now, guess what?! You never will... You never will.

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Does perfect suddenly arrive? I don't think so! Do you think the perfect time, the perfect business, relationship, book, product or way of life just happens? I certainly don't. I think everything in life is an ongoing process, which needs attention, focus, dedication, work and love to thrive. You have to allow yourself and dare to be in an uncomfortable state to expand and grow. It's your nature to grow. You've never seen a kid who can't walk fall down a gazillion times giving up on ever walking. It's not in your nature to give up! Nothing ever stops growing, so why should you?

"Don't let perfect get in the way of possible."

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As a matter of fact, a comfort zone is not comfortable at all. It's as uncomfortable as it gets because it keeps you from living the life you really want. Do you know why you're so scared of stepping outside that zone and making the changes? Because you're afraid that the results you so dearly hope for won't be the reality of the outcome. In other words, you're scared because it would be heartbreaking not to see your dreams come true if it doesn't work out. Therefore, a comfort zone is just a limitation holding you away of something greater. Comfort zone = Fear.

Remember; the odds of you being alive are one in four hundred trillion. Don't waste that by giving in to this fear and settling for "it's ok" when every day you get to live is a true miracle! Be the bold daredevil you admire and be the one you look up to the most. That's where the magic in life is. That's where the one in four hundred trillion exist.

"I can't do it." - Yes, you can. And how can you say that when you've never really tried?
"I don't have the time." - Make time. Time is based purely on priorities. 
"I don't know how to do it". - Educate yourself.
"It's too risky." - No, it just uncomfortable.
"I'm scared it won't work out." - Never trying is the only dead end.
"I'm not good enough." - You're one in four hundred trillion. You're a miracle!
"What if I get rejected?" - A rejection is only a redirection into something even better.
"What if I fail?" - What if you fly? 
"It's been done before." - Never by you.
"I don't have the money for it." - Get partners on board. It's better to own 50% for a success than 100% of an idea.

There's no valid excuse as there's always an answer to why and how you can make the changes. Excuses are only procrastinations keeping you from what you really want. Away from your dreams and living them to the fullest.

It's all up to you. Growing up we never knew we had to be our own parents as adults. Just as your parents made you do all the things you didn't feel like doing, they also told you that you could do and be anything you want.

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Now what? What can you do to stop procrastinating what you know you should be doing, but just can't find yourself to actually do? I could write for days about this but I would suggest you start with Mel Robbins' 5-second rule. It's a game changer. She's my mentor and a true role model.
She's my hero.

Introspection - where do you point your finger?

While you know you're in terrible pain you might have a hard time pointing out exactly what it is that's hurting you. It's just everything about a certain situation or a person. You know that when he/she did this or that it hurt your feelings, so you think that has to be the cause of your pain. I'm here to tell you, it's probably not. It was just a trigger to what's already hurting inside of you.

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I bet you've been so hurt by someone you just wanted to cry, scream and yell at the person who hurt you to release some tension and to put the blame on someone. This sort on tension release feels good for a minute or two, maybe an hour or a day, but then it all comes crashing down again. The disappointment, the pain, the distress, the anxiety and all you want to do yet again is lash out on the same person. But can you think of one time you lashing out on someone actually solved your problem and permanently removed your pain? I certainly can't.

From a very early age you started observing and making conclusions about yourself affected by your environment and the people close and around you. These conclusions affect your identity today. You might end up making yourself become a lifelong victim as an adult based on experiences from your past. (I did for a long time.) Many of us do not know where the acute sense of failure and anxiety comes from when someone points out our faults or imperfections. And just as many are often in denial of their own existing fears and insecurities. Do you think you are indifferent to hurtful experiences from your past? If you think you are, you're not. You would know because it's a process to heal emotional pain. It takes time and effort. It doesn't just go away with time because you refused to acknowledge it and swept it under the famous rug. Unfortunately, denial and demons go well hand in hand.

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When you lack insight to your inner demons, distress and insecurities, almost every event is a possible trigger to the troubling elements of your inner life. You become what's called fragile and over-sensitive. It might be fear, worry, regret, guilt, humiliation, lost hope or disappointment residing powerfully within you existing in a hidden place so deep within it's out of range and reach for your view and understanding of yourself. When you lack this insight you put yourself in a position of a victim. And what is a victim? It's one without power and control and that's not a pleasant state of mind.

As a victim you often tend to foresee the ability you've got to locate the true cause of your emotional reactions. When you discover the true cause, the root as I like to call it, it will help you see past the agony and fury, calm your anger and find constructive solutions to get you out of the pain. It's called introspection.

As you're working on getting to know your inner life, know that you might lie to yourself on the way. We are MASTERS at self-deception. We lie to ourselves every day. Why? Because we think denial will spare us from the pain and that often seems easier than admitting and dealing with the pain. While I grew my introspection in the beginning I often gave my insecurities a wrong diagnose.

I always used to say; "No guy has ever made me feel safe and they always end up hurting my feelings!"
I struggled a lot in my romantic relationships. I had the image of every man being selfish assholes and that I would never be able to trust again, love again or even allow myself to let anyone get close enough to hurt me. So I thought I found my truth:
"They're all either fucked up or complete assholes. I'll just be alone for the rest of my life." FALSE!!!
That wasn't my truth. It goes deeper than that.
"My very best will never be good enough for anyone." CORRECT!!!
So simple, yet so hard to admit.

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Me blaming every guy for never making me feel safe and loved came from a broken hearted little girl inside of me, my inner child, frequently coming to the surface screaming for attention to be healed. I had to understand that to be able to feel safe and loved in a relationship I had to change my misperceptions and conclusions about myself created in my childhood. Deep within I didn't believe I was worthy of safety and love from a man based on me not ever feeling good enough for my father. No man could ever make me feel safe or loved. It was an impossible task, because within my denial, feeling unsafe and unloved was all I felt. That was the core of me. I didn't love myself, I didn't feel worthy of love, I was not safe within myself and didn't feel worthy of safety from a man. It was all a cluttered soup of endless heartbreaks from my childhood. Me blaming everyone else wasn't about them at all. It was all about me.

I got rejected as a child and my main fear while growing up was - no shocker - the fear of rejection. Everyone who did reject me was an asshole in my eyes and I could get really mad, upset, frustrated, sometimes mean and say things I shouldn't have. None of them were complete assholes. Looking back at it I was one out of line and I was the insecure asshole. A girl who wasn't able to deal with rejection AT ALL because not only did the rejection hurt me, it awakened every hidden hurtful rejection experience from the past so they got the whole bucket of past anger, sorrow and fear. I took no responsible what so ever for my reactions and/or actions. I was completely out of balance.

When admitting the core of your insecurities to yourself it might be a tough one to swallow. Admitting to myself; I'm not good enough for anyone was stomach wrenching. You might realize how little faith you have in yourself, how little love you're giving yourself, how co-dependent and how fragile you actually are and it can be brutally painful. But when you finally do admit it and face your greatest demons you will unlock multiple limitations in your life; work-related, friendships, relationships, trust in yourself and your own voice, trust in others, trust in your dreams and ambitions. Just knowing your own insecurities gives you the opportunity to make the choice to grow and expand your sense of self, self-worth and self -love. It changed my life.

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Why is it undeniably powerful admitting to yourself what it is that's actually causing your painful aggressive reactions? Because if I had stuck with the false diagnose "I'll just be alone for the rest of my life" it wouldn't have helped with anything other than me reconciling with the thought of having to enjoy being alone, which I already did. It would only be a destructive pattern keeping me locked in a lie away from love and all the blessings falling in love comes with. My fear of rejection made me reject love. It made me become the one I was afraid of meeting, someone who rejected. My fear made me reject everyone who could possibly reject me, even though it wasn't certain they ever would. Now that's a bad spiral to be in - pushing away all that's good as there might be a chance for something bad. A correct diagnose on the other hand will help you in almost every part of your inner and outer life, as it did for me. The correct diagnose made me realize how shattered I actually was and it was the beginning of me putting all the pieces back together, to be whole again and become the one I really am.

Another great thing about growing introspection is that when someone hurts me today, it does hurt, but I manage to find the positive aspect of the pain. Because of the pain I may find that what I thought was healed still has some bleeding wounds or I find another dark unhealed area inside myself for me to get to know, work on and release.

If the goal while hurting is to be grateful for the people who hurt you as this gives you opportunities and choices to change and grow your introspection and the understanding of yourself, you always win. Very little can get to you over a long period of time if this is your focus. You will heal easier and rapidly because you get straight to the core of your pain and you'll learn that as you are responsible for your reactions and emotions, you are also in control. And that gives you self-power!

So now what? How can you grow your introspection? - Through changing the direction of where you point your finger when you experience aggressive reaction patterns and pain, and through expanding your self-awareness and through observing yourself.

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When you react to something do not act out in the heat of the moment,(!) stop and observe yourself. When you notice you're lying about your feelings to someone as it doesn't match what's really going on inside of you, stop and observe yourself. When you act out aggressively and thinking irrational thoughts, stop and observe yourself. When you're still hurting and a situation feels unresolved even though you had "a great talk" which was supposed to resolve the conflict, stop and observe yourself.

While you stop and observe, have a conversation with yourself and ask the questions below without having an answer mentioning anyone else but yourself. It's not always easy eliminating everyone else but by doing so you will get to the core and you will grow your introspection. This is how I do it.

I stop and I observe myself:

Why do I feel this way and what does this say about me?
What is secretly already hurting inside of me that yet again awakened?
What is my reaction telling me about myself?
What has happened earlier in my life that made me feel the same way?
What is this really about?
As this painful state doesn't solve any of my problems, what can I do differently to make it better?
Is this how I want to live my life?
Is this the kind of person I want to be?
Does feeling and reacting like this benefit others or me in any way?
What about this situation made me insecure?
What am I really afraid of?
Ok, and why am I afraid of that?
Ok, and why am I afraid of that? .... etc.

When you finally get to the core and admit that you are insecure and scared about something, which we all are(!), you are confronted with a choice.
1: Work on it.
2: Don't work on it.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you are responsible for the coming consequences because you have a choice. If you choose not to work on yourself and change you will at one point have to admit that you were not strong enough to make different and better choices for yourself and that's another painful truth. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Not acknowledging your issues and sweeping them under the rug will ultimately cause more damage to yourself and those around you, than letting your pain and fear see daylight and be healed as you acknowledge it.

When you get to the core of your pain there are many ways to deal with it, to process it and release it.

Some use themselves. Some use friends and family. Others use psychotherapists or psychologists. Some use spiritual leaders and healers. I've used myself through inner dialogs, writing, meditation - especially focused on "healing your inner child" and mindfulness. I've used friends and family, shaman and Theta Healing - I still am to this day. I chose to work on myself and change. As I mentioned, it changed my whole life. Not a little, not a lot, my whole life.

It's all up to you if you wish to get to know and balance out your inner life. Know that that's where you find your courage, your willpower, your strength, self-love, self-mastery and peace of mind. It's where you find your own Self. You don't find yourself in others, in approval from others, in others needing you, in others loving you. Your life is all about you! It's not about all the others and it's not about what happens outside you. You can't control and you are not responsible for all the circumstances you encounter in your life, but you are responsible for how you react to them and what happens inside of you. Encounters outside of you will affect the inside of you but it's up to you how you react to it and how it affects your life. You can be in total control by focusing on introspection, understanding yourself and taking full responsibility for your reactions and emotions. 

 
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Be the palm tree

In his silence all he could hear was his own sad sniffing. His face was filled with tears falling from his red swollen eyes. He closed the door behind him without locking it. He left a note on the dresser.

 

«Dear someone. What do you do when the future you predicted and the life you planned out so perfectly slips through your fingers? What do you do when it feels like you´re dead in the dark but your heart keeps providing life, even though every heartbeat feels like a struggle for survival. What do you do when the unbearable pain in your stomach defeat the presence of hunger? What do you do when you wake up every morning realizing you lost your dreams on the battlefield called reality? I'm lost in this whirlwind and I'm sorry.»

 
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His destructive thought patterns would clutter the most obvious rays of light sent his way. Every day as he woke up he felt a brief moment of no memories, no worries. Just a blissful emptiness. But then it hit him. Reality. It hit him so hard he couldn't breathe through the ache and endless tears. The pain was always right around the corner, calling his name pulling him back into his misery. He couldn't even remember when it all began, when his happiness went below zero and all of his dreams vanished. He could hear a voice of self-love trying to enter his thoughts but it drowned in the floods of a devil on his shoulder sending tsunamis of fear and hatred. He was so lost in his loneliness feeling no hope of escape. He could sit for hours crying tears of sorrow no one ever saw. Talking words no ever heard. No one knew what he was really going through. No one would ever really listen and no one had the time to guide him. He couldn't take it anymore. He got on his bike and went far into the woods.

"Is anybody out there?" He said, but received no answer.  
"Give me a sign! A reason not to give up!"

"Look around." A voice said.
"Do you see the sunflower and the palm tree?" The voice continued.

He flinched before he calmly answered.
"Yes..."

"I once planted a sunflower and a palm tree seed, each with their own purpose. I took amazingly good care of both. I gave them light. I gave them love. I gave them warmth. I gave them comfort and I gave them time. The sunflower struck sprouts within days. It grew tall and yellow in its entire splendor resembling the sun. The palm tree on the other hand was still in the dark, no sprout to be seen but I didn't give up on it. The year after the sunflower grew again to be even more beautiful than I remembered. But the palm tree - nothing. I refused to give up on it. Year three arrived, no palm tree. By this time the sunflower had a family. Two more to be seen. The fourth year of waiting for the palm tree to sprout my persistence on not giving up on the palm tree still showed no signal of life. But then, after five years of nurturing and refusing to give up, a cute little sprout saw sunlight for the first time. This sprout was as tiny as it could get. It seemed almost insignificant in its majestic nature surroundings. Six months later, that palm tree stood tall and victorious as the king of its surroundings. Like the magical nature around it bended their knee to their king, all looking admirably up at it.. It took the palm tree five years to grow its roots."

He listened carefully and the voice continued.

"Don't compare yourself to others. The palm tree had a different purpose than the sunflower. They are both beautiful in their own way. But you should know one thing. No matter the magnificent power of a storm or a hurricane, the stem of the palm tree never breaks. It can bend all the way to where it looks like it's about to break. But it doesn't. It will bend, it can be harmed, it might change direction and adjust to it's environment filled with storming knock outs, taking every punch as a victorious hero, but it will stand tall. If it falls over it will rise again towards the sunlight. When the storm has passed, an even greater strength resides within the palm tree. Strength like that takes time. Growing roots like that takes time. Know this; all this time while you've been struggling in the dark you've actually been growing your own roots, like the palm tree struggled to survive through dirt growing it's roots. Every plant has to grow through dirt before it sprouts and blooms. And just like the palm tree, you too are a part of nature. Everyone is."

He soaked up every words coming to him like it was a matter of life and death. And it was.

"You will reach the same height and strength as the palm tree. Your time will come. Appreciate the darkness you're growing through. It is within this time you grow your unbreakable, untouchable, unmistakable, indestructible and unshakable roots to who you're supposed to become; a man who is as magnificent as he can be."

He started to see a great glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.
He asked.

"How big and tall do you think I can get?"

He quickly got an answer.

"How big and tall does a palm tree get?"

"As big and tall as it can?"

"You understand now. Give yourself and the world the gift of growing as big and tall as you can be, my friend."

He sat down, pulled up a piece of paper and a pen and wrote. "Be the palm tree. Stand tall. Be victorious." He came home with a life saving story as he answered his own suicide note.

"Dear someone. (I'm someone!)
What do you do when the future you predicted and the life you planned out so perfectly slips through your fingers? (It's only your seed being planted in the dark.)
What do you do when it feels like you´re dead in the dark, but your heart keeps providing life, even though every heartbeat feels like a struggle for survival? (You're about to rise!)
What do you do when the storming pain in your stomach defeat the presence of hunger? (You stand tall!)
What do you do when you wake up every morning realizing you’ve lost your dreams on the battlefield called reality? (You go for victory!)
I'm lost in this whirlwind and I'm sorry. (It's ok. I'm your friend and I will never let any storm break you! Be the palm tree. Stand tall. Be victorious. Sincerely, you.)"

All he needed was someone to actually listen. Someone to guide him. Someone to encourage him. Be that someone for others. And for yourself; be the palm tree.

 
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Placebo, mindfulness & meditation

We base our entire world on knowledge. Knowledge is power. Lack of knowledge is lack of power. BUT, the scientific knowledge we've been operating with for many centuries are actually found not to be valid today. Which means we've been operating with misperceptions and misbeliefs about our physical and mental existence. If you have a misperception, that misperception can kill you. You're lying to yourself if you tell yourself that your illness, pain and suffering controls your life.

We may look at an anorexic girl and say; "That girl is killing herself. There's nothing left of her. She's only skin and bones." But what this girl sees when looking in the mirror is a whole other story. When she looks in the mirror she sees an over-weighted bloated person. Which is a misperception, because she's not. Right? And what does this misperception lead to? This misperception is going to kill her if she takes it too far. There is nothing wrong with her biology or her body in general; it's her perception of what she believes about her body that is wrong. It's the integrated belief system within her mental state that's wrong. But there's always a way out. Once something is integrated wrongly you can always reverse it, restructure it and put it back together the way it's supposed to be. The only way to do so is to practice to use our minds in the process. 

The belief that illness, pain and suffering control our lives is a belief making us victims. "I just can't control it anymore. There's nothing I can do about it.” That irresponsible nature leads us to destroying ourselves, sometimes even killing ourselves. Science says; "No, illness, pain and suffering does not control your life! Your mind controls your life!" Your mind is acting through epigenetic control. Epigenetic control means that if you change your mind and your perception you change your biology. In other words; you're the master of your life. If you let the illness, pain and suffering control you, you let yourself become a victim. As soon as you let yourself be a victim you let go of your the minds power. Our minds not only shape our mental world, the science of epigenetics totally reveals that we can use our minds as the shaper of our physical world and physical health.

Think about this for a minute. You are an individual. What does individual mean? Split the word: in - dividual. This means you're not capable of separating yourself. You're inseparable. So the perception of having to divide the mental and the physical health is certainly a misperception. You might not believe me when I say mental health affects your physical health. But if you don't believe me, please explain the endless scientific reports proving placebo to be as real as day, existing only in our minds.

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The word healing is to many a scary and very "spiritual" word. But healing does only mean a process of becoming healthy again. Imagine how great it would be if you could use your mind to heal your way out of pain and suffering. Well, you can! The placebo effect is harnessing the healing power of the mind. Placebo is easier for us to wrap our minds around because it's scientifically proven to exist. "Placebo" and "healing with our minds" are the exact same things. It's not a spiritual hippie term. It's just a change of words.

Don't get me wrong here. In no way am I saying that actual illness only exists in the mind. I am saying that your mental health affects your physical health. Mindfulness practice and meditation trains you to perceive and relate to your life in a way where you can control your mind to not let the physical be in control. Mindfulness will help you in your healing process. It might even speed up the process because, again, the science of epigenetics reveals that you can use your mind as the shaper of your physical world and physical health. Where do placebo, mindfulness practice and meditation connect? It all exist in your mind.
Coming soon: "How to practice mindfulness and how to meditate."

 
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