MindfulVision

My tribute to life with all its curiosities and miracles


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What if?

I was walking along a little trail today, when I noticed a dove sitting on the ground. It wasn’t until a girl walked up to it with gloves though that I realized it was injured and couldn’t move. “Can’t fly anymore”, she said and told me she was bringing it to the woods nearby so it can get some peace and nature can take its course. “Or can you take it to the vet?” she asked me. “Well, I do have a car”, I replied but felt some hesitation come up at the same time.
I guess she could feel that, too, as she didn’t respond but approached the scared bird carefully and picked it up instead. Now I could see the broken leg. Poor little guy. “This is breaking my heart” she said, “but I’ll let it find some peace now.” “Sadly this is also a part of nature’s way”, was all I could say in return, still debating internally if it was my responsibility or even my right to intervene. “Goodbye” she said to me, speaking for the bird, before she walked away. It was sad. I was sad. I thanked her, said my goodbyes to the little bird, while blessing it and sending love and light.

As I walked off I still didn’t know if that was the right decision. It didn’t feel quite right but taking it to the vet didn’t feel right either, otherwise I would have done it. I was already on my way to someone I am currently taking care of and honestly wasn’t ready or willing to take on any further responsibilities. What if I had taken it to the vet? What would have happened afterwards? Who would have taken care of it? Who would have paid for it? Writing this I realize that compassion doesn’t ask what if questions. Compassion doesn’t ask questions period.

But who’s to judge if just bringing the bird to a peaceful place to die wasn’t the most compassionate thing to do in that moment? Who’s to say if it wanted to be saved at all? Maybe it didn’t even want to be moved? It didn’t say: “Could you please take me to the woods?” And it didn’t say “Could you please rescue me and take me to the vet?” either. We don’t know and all the girl and I could do was act upon our intuition and do what felt right for us in that moment based on how we experienced the situation. May you rest in peace little birdie.

We tend assume that whatever is broken needs to be fixed. However, sometimes broken stuff doesn’t need and doesn’t even want fixing; sometimes it’s much healthier to just let it die peacefully…as harsh as that may sound…people, animals, relationships, (self-)concepts, illusions… Unfortunately this is one of the root causes for guilt at the same time. “I could have done more or something else. I should have done more or something else.” Aren’t we all familiar with these voices in our heads?

I am shushing you now and for good guilty voice! This is my official commitment and conscious decision to let my shoulding guilt die right now! Fixing it or keeping it alive is no longer serving me, in fact it never was and probably never will be. It just took me a while to figure that out 🙂 Regarding the bird I did what I could in that very moment and so did the other girl. And sometimes not acting is the best action we can take as long as we are respectful of everybody’s needs including our own.

It’s so easy to forget our own needs, to ignore our inner voice and the signals our body and mind are sending us, when we are busy trying to help others. However, a broken you can’t be of much help either way. Not for yourself and even less so for others. As much as I keep wanting to save the world I’ve come to accept that I can’t and that it’s not my responsibility either. But what I can do and am responsible for is to take care of, change and save myself. And what if that might actually be my contribution to saving the world?


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Life is what happens…

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while you are busy making other plans… I’m wondering if John Lennon actually knew how much truth this sentence really holds. At least for me, as there is no better way of putting into words what’s recently going on in my life and also in the lives of many others who are dear and close to me.

When I logged on to my account today I saw in my notifications that MindfulVision turned 1 a few days ago…and I was too busy to remember it myself. I feel terrible for having forgotten my “baby’s” first birthday. Of course I wasn’t planning on buying a cake and gifts anyway but I didn’t want to just let it pass unnoticed either. This blog is important to me and I started it with a clear vision, a mindful one. And here I am a year later too mindless to even pause for a moment to celebrate and remember it’s birth. I apologize to my blog (and to myself) and just put a reminder in my calendar so this won’t happen again.

Okay, but let’s get back to the original topic. There have been many reasons that kept me busy, worried and distracted and required my presence and attention, which eventually led to other people, events and things not receiving the attention they would have deserved (e.g. my blog’s b-day). I don’t want to go into much detail about all the unexpected events and twists and turns. After all I still have that book project on my mind and might use some of the stories for that 🙂 However, I do want to share some of the valuable lessons I learned from them:

  • Family and friends are priceless!
  • I can’t control external factors, people and their reactions. But I can control MY reactions to whatever happens.
  • Always be grateful for what you have right NOW.
  • Just because I currently can’t think of a solution that doesn’t mean there isn’t any.
  • ALWAYS trust your gut feeling!
  • NEVER assume to know what another person might want/think/need.
  • Happiness is possible even in difficult situations.
  • Always be aware of and honor your boundaries, values and needs.
  • Be grateful for LIFE!
  • Sometimes a simple smile makes all the difference.
  • Authentic and compassionate communication is the key.
  • Always speak up if something doesn’t feel right.
  • The truth might hurt – a lot. But holding on to illusions will eventually hurt a lot more!
  • Miracles do happen!

There is no way I could have imagined a year ago what life had in store for me in the past 365 days. And even today I have no clue what’s going to happen a year from today or even tomorrow. But I do know one thing: I will keep making plans. And if life happens to interfere with my plans again, I am prepared to sail with the winds. I survived the storm before and I sure will again! And what’s the fun anyway if I’d know exactly what’s waiting for me next 🙂

 

 

 


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Snail Mail

photo-8A few weeks ago I went for a walk when this little snail crossed my path. It caught my attention so I figured it had a message for me. At the time I didn’t really know what it was, however, I took a picture as a reminder. Everybody knows that snail mail tends to take its time so I was willing to wait for its message.  And today, at 4:04 AM to be exact, it was finally delivered by Insight Express – and it even came with free shipping 🙂

At times life can be chaotic, hectic, unpredictable, exhausting and challenging. That’s what I’m currently experiencing. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining because although I am facing a lot of challenges I am also learning incredibly valuable life lessons along the way. And one of them is finding my own pace and attitude toward all these challenges, changes and  demands.

As long as I can remember I used to pride myself on being resilient beyond belief. I took on whatever came my way just because I wanted to prove (mostly to myself) that I can do it. Limits and boundaries were an unknown and it didn’t even occur to me why anybody would need them. I don’t remember ever turning down a favor or a task that I was asked for. I wanted to be supportive and I am sure I was but more than anything else I was boosting my ego by taking on everything that came my way. What seemed like one of my biggest strengths at the time turned out to be a weakness in disguise.

I was so busy taking on more and more responsibilities, projects and favors that I forgot to take care of one of my core responsibilities: self-care. Each electronic device needs frequent recharging to keep running. My computer currently shows 11% remaining battery life and I already get nervous. Why is it so hard to take care of my own battery?

Life sent a not so gentle reminder my way! I was facing multiple very challenging situations at once and finally hit a point of emotional and physical exhaustion. An unknown feeling for me until then. I was irritated and really didn’t know what to do with it. And although I was very tempted to keep pampering my ego by ignoring the signals I didn’t. Instead I paid attention and made a conscious choice to slow down and adjust my pace. Life is a cycle so I know that there will be times when I am back to my energetic and active self. However, this version of me will be much more effective when rested and fully recharged. As we know partially charging doesn’t serve any battery life 🙂

So here’s the essence of my snail mail wake up call: Even if  it takes a little longer to reach a destination that delay is still better than collapsing at the finish line!


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Embracing the VOID

With aloha!A lot of changes have been rumbling through my life lately. An inner urge was calling me to take a trip to Hawaii recently; I listened and set out to look for that “life changing thing” I was hoping to find along the way. Although that ONE thing I had hoped for did not cross my path, many other things kept happening, allowing for a smooth transformational process that I didn’t even realize happening until it was already complete. One that has brought wonderful blessings my way and still continues to do so. While traveling I received messages regarding my purpose, finally allowed myself to see and hear my own truth and to live in alignment with my values, needs and integrity for myself. Never before have I experienced so much clarity about who I really am at my core and what it is that truly matters in my life. Embracing my roots as a strong foundation for authentic self-expression.

And this is where I am now: totally FREE but puzzled by the realization that literally EVERYTHING is possible now! But what does that mean? Sure, I said this many times before – to myself, to friends, to coaching clients. But this is it: endless possibility and I am blown away. Excited, puzzled and confused. Wow, I never knew how challenging it is to really embrace the option of endless possibility without getting trapped in any sort of self-imposed limitations!

Little did I know when I set out on the quest to myself  that it would also lead me to the hardest thing I ever had to do: letting go of  love – for love – for now. I did. It hurts. A lot. Yet it was inevitable and all I can do for now is trust that this is happening for a reason. You can’t lose true love. You might not share your life any more, but that deeply rooted connection at soul level will always be there. And suddenly the concept of endless possibility entails so much more. I am always capable of love regardless of location or the physical presence of my loved one(s). My capability of love is ENDLESS. Of course it is wonderful to be with the one(s) you love. This is not possible for now but I am free to love endlessly anyway. And I do. Always. Letting go of everything to enter the VOID – the only state of mind that allows for endless possibilities to emerge so we can truly experience what “everything is possible” really means.


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Nothing endures but change – Part II

I’ve been on a journey for a while now. I set out with no specific goal but I had high hopes: hopes of finding myself along the way, hopes of reclaiming ease and joy as my guides and most importantly hopes of reigniting my long-lost passion and zest for life. After about two years of being “on the road” it’s time for a little check-in with myself.

I’ve come a long way already – a way full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. And this is the essence of life’s most valuable lesson: We live in a world of change and duality! There is no day without night, no summer without winter and no joy without pain.

We tend to favor the joyous times in our lives, when everything just seems to be easy and falling into place without stress or worries. Of course those are great times but would we really enjoy them as much if we didn’t also know the down side, the “dark times” of struggle in and with life?

Feelings of frustration can actually tell us a great deal about ourselves. When we feel stuck and not at ease with ourselves and our lives our soul is trying to talk to us. Sure we can ignore this little voice and pretend everything is fine and nurture the belief that life is a struggle we need to deal with.

But what if we started talking to the voice and instead of just ignoring its yearning let it be heard and ask questions like:

  • What are you trying to tell me?
  • What am I not seeing?
  • What are you longing for?
  • What brings me alive again?

If you allow yourself to be open and honest – not only with your questions but also with your answers – this “dark place of numbness” has the potential to become a source of inspiration and a chance to tap into your hidden potentials and passions. Always keep in mind: Even in the middle of the longest winter, spring is just around the corner!

Treat your numbness, fears, worries or whatever it is with compassion and they can be loyal companions guiding you to a life in ease, purpose and self-determination.


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A Cage of Thought / Ein Käfig aus Gedanken

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Only a life in freedom is a life well lived!

I’m super thrilled and delighted that my guest article on dogmas and limiting sets of beliefs was published on the German blog “Geist und Gegenwart” today!

You can read the entire article here: http://www.geistundgegenwart.de/2013/03/glaubenssaetze.html

To all my English-speaking readers: Sorry, for now it is available in German only but I am happy to provide translation support 🙂

Thank you Gilbert!

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Ich freue mich riesig darüber, dass mein Gastartikel zum Thema Glaubenssätze heute auf Geist und Gegenwart veröffentlicht wurde!

Den kompletten Artikel gibt es hier zu lesen:

http://www.geistundgegenwart.de/2013/03/glaubenssaetze.html

Vielen lieben Dank Gilbert!


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The cage is the limit

Polly the Parrot is quite a jolly fella. Colorful and chatty she is roaming her cage day in, day out. By doing what comes natural to her and what she knows best [parroting] she brings joy and entertainment to her “owner” Paul. Little does Paul know that in theory he is entertaining himself because after all Polly is just repeating whatever he says – but that’s a different story.

Besides her repetitive qualities Polly has another ace up her sleeve: her great memory. This allows her to memorize all of Paul’s favorite words and phrases so she can recite them without even being asked for it. Quite an impressive parrot super power in Paul’s eyes, bringing him even more delight and joy.

Polly is a clever and quick learner so it didn’t take long for her to figure out that parroting pays off either way! Praise and attention are a given…but an outstanding performance is sometimes even rewarded with an extra treat. “Good job Polly! You’re a truly great parrot!”

Polly never questions any of this. Why would she? After all she’s a parrot and this is what she knows: Repeat what others tell you and it will result in praise, admiration and food. That’s what a parrot’s life is all about.

But what if Polly woke up one day realizing that her (self-)constructed identity was nothing but a mere illusion? She could just take notice of it, ponder for a second and then go on with her daily routine of pleasing Paul in exchange for attention and food…

Polly’s choice is a different one though – she takes a stand for courage and steps into her power. Settling for ordinary mediocrity is no longer an option! So she spreads her wings, breaks the cage of limits and parrot beliefs and finally lives up to what her soul has already been telling her for a while: I’M AN EAGLE!

The true nature of man is the one of the eagle, hovering without limits between heaven and earth […] But most people have turned into parrots. They sit in their cages unable to fly and repeat what they have been taught for the simple reason of  being liked and fed.” ~ Matt Galan.


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Of ducks and driftwood

ImageThis post was inspired by the two little fellas to the left. The other day I was going for a walk along the river, which I usually do to organize my thoughts when I have a million things on my mind. While I was taking my stroll I noticed two little ducks in the water so I stopped and watched them for a bit. Although I’m not an expert on the mating habits of ducks, I am pretty sure this was the duck version of a couple – male and female. Lets call them Donald and Daisy for simplification purposes.

Daisy was swimming close to the shore pretty chill and content, whereas Donald seemed to crave the excitement. The shore wasn’t enough for him so he kept paddling into deeper waters and at times was too far away from Daisy for her to even see him. But Daisy didn’t care. She kept doing her thing and explored the shore in her own time. Turns out there was no need to worry for her because Donald kept coming back at all times. And after each return they kept swimming together for a certain distance until they parted again until reuniting…

Why is it so hard for humans to do the same in a relationship? Once we fall in love with someone we come to think that we need to be physically and mentally close to each other at all times. As soon as a distance emerges between us we start questioning the whole relationship. In situations like that life tends to send us temptations – I call them “life’s special offers” – they usually appear out of the blue and would provide an easy fix for our problem at hand. Many people love sales and special offers so they go for it. After a while they realize that there was a reason for the bargain prize: bad quality, limited durability or it breaks right away…They regret the “purchase” and want to return the “item” but usually the warranty is up so they are either stuck with the faulty person item or without it because they disposed it right away. And this is when most people start regretting quick fixes and previous impulsive decisions.

I think we can learn a lot from the two little ducks: Even if one of them maneuvers the waters much quicker, it would never leave the other one for a faster piece of driftwood. They trust that the other one will catch up at some point and enjoy the times when they swim side by side. And this is what people should do as well…instead of fussing about the differences and problems there might be in a relationship, the focus should be on similarities and trust. We put so much energy into “making things right” again according to our own definition and before we know it our ego and inner control freak is turning our relationship life into a living hell. If we’d just have more trust in life and would let go of the things that are not controllable anyway, we’d be much more peaceful and could save our energy for relevant and changeable visions and missions. Just because our pace of life doesn’t always go hand in hand we can still have a good foundation to build on. And when the time is right, our pace will come together again and we can enjoy a swim together… Two people will never have the same heartbeat…they can still dance to some groovy beats!

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau


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Blown away…

“The true definition of madness is repeating the same action, over and over, hoping for a different result.” – Albert Einstein

This is one of my favorite quotes and also the reason why I haven’t published anything here for a couple of weeks. I started this blog at a time in my life when I had no clue at all where I was heading.

For the last couple of years my life somewhat resembled a ride in a hot-air balloon. I got on somewhere and didn’t even know when and where I was going to touch the ground again. As a result I just followed the winds. I hovered on soft winds and enjoyed some calm rides with pretty views but also had to make it through storms when I couldn’t even take a peek outside my little basket. Ups and downs took turns and the years went by with me constantly on the move but heading nowhere.

At some point I ran out of gas and my little hot-air balloon started sinking and finally landed somewhere. As I turned around and checked out my whereabouts it was pretty obvious that I didn’t like it at all.  Oh well but I gave it a shot and thought maybe I might like it at some point if I just gave it enough time. Turned out I didn’t so after a while I refueled my hot-air balloon and went on the next ride. Anything had to be better that this place so I just took off and trusted the winds again until – you might have guessed – I ran out of fuel again at some point…Believe it or not but I did this about 5 times until I came to realize that this balloon was taking me places but not once did it take me to a place of my choice: first of all I didn’t even have one and even if I had one I would have had no idea how to get there.

And this is when I understood the true definition of madness 🙂

Instead of catching the next blast to start yet another aimless ride, I took some time to think about where I wanted to go next. For the last couple of month I have been planning my next “journey”, considered a couple of options, revoked my choices and looked for new ones. Overall a very intensive time with ups and downs as well. I may not know all details about my destination yet but at least I am aware of the direction in which I’m heading next. I kept myself busy for a few weeks planning and preparing so I can get back on my hot-air balloon. But this time I’m bringing a compass and maybe even a map 🙂


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Nothing endures but change. (Heraclitus)

There is a little tray in my shower, which is actually way too small for all the things I keep on it. Since we moved into this appartment I’ve been developing a “stacking method”, which allows me to make all my showering utensils fit anyway: shower gel, shampoo, face wash, conditioner and a razor…Of course I also came up with a special order according to bottle sizes and shapes to come to the perfect arrangement. It worked for a long time and I was quite happy with my little set up. About a month ago I switched shampoos. Not a big deal as one might think but it shook my little tray arrangement to the core. Of course the new shampoo differed from the old one in shape and size…but I didn’t care and kept the order that I had been working on for so long to finally make it fit – more or less. I managed to put everything on there but I just couldn’t get it to stay! So every time I took a shower in the last couple of weeks at least one of the bottles (mostly the new shampoo) fell down but usually at least the face wash – sometimes everything else – dropped as well. As a result I found myself picking up all my shower utensils anywhere from one to five times while showering. The shampoo (and face wash and shower gel and razor) kept falling and I kept picking it up…over and over again. Of course with every time I reached for the things on the ground I got a little more furious, impatient and annoyed.

While taking a shower today the falling down routine started again and when I was just about to get down to pick up my shampoo it hit me: The new shampoo just doesn’t fit with the old order! Why had this taken me over a month to realize? So I took “action” and changed the ‘face wash behind shampoo order’ to ‘shampoo behind face wash’ and with a little change like that I had not only restored but even improved stability on the tray!

My little shower story got me thinking. The more I thought about it the more it resembled common life issues for me. We grow up in set structures with predefined values / aims and we start to arrange our lives accordingly. At some point these structures or values might start to shift due to external circumstances or maybe because we start questioning our old beliefs and start developing new ones. Either way one or several parts of this little ‘puzzle’ go missing, change shapes or new parts come into the picture. So what happens? The entire ‘puzzle’ arrangement changes and some parts just don’t fit anymore but we try EVERYTHING to make them fit anyway. We try so hard that we start bending pieces or leave them out because we want to keep the old arrangement. We liked the old ‘puzzle’, we had known it for a long time, it was pretty to look at and most importantly we knew every little detail by heart – no (unpleasant) surprises. The more we try to use the new parts for the old puzzle the more we break it; the pieces we have at hand are just not made for the previous order.

Unless we switch perspectives and accept change as a good and necessary thing that keeps life flowing we are stuck with a stubborn attempt to keep the status quo. Once acceptance takes place and we look at the new situation from a different angle we realize that the new ‘puzzle’ is just as pretty as the old one – maybe even prettier. It didn’t take any effort to put together because for the new ‘puzzle’ we had everything we needed: perfectly fitting pieces. But as long as we desperately fight change and try to keep things as they are we will find ourselves in an endless struggle.

Change is a scary thing for a lot of people. I never thought I was one of them because I usually crave new experiences and unknown situations. However, my little shower incident today made me realize that there is (at least a little) fear of change in everybody, even when it is just about keeping the order on your shower tray!

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin