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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Sadhu Saturday

I love meditating! Do I ever get bored while doing it? No, never! Do I ever feel like getting up before the bell? Oh yes! But whenever I am tempted to do so it indicates an insight of some kind: an instant flash of clarity, a sudden thought that provides a missing link or an idea that is so inspiring that I want to start working on it right away. Resisting, however, is the real meditation challenge.

When I started meditating I thought the ultimate goal was to clear my mind of all thoughts while sitting. I tried. I tried hard. And I got frustrated with myself many many times. Today, a little over 2 years later, I still don’t manage to clear out my mind. But I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter so I adjusted my goal from “Clear out all thoughts NOW” to “Be aware of any thoughts, feelings and emotions that show up”. Nothing more, nothing less. Be aware, don’t judge, don’t engage and let them pass. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I’ve also come to accept that and I rarely throw angry meditation fits anymore 🙂

In case you wonder how all this is related to Sadhu Saturday bear with me for a minute. Sadhu Saturday was actually one of the inspiring ideas that hit me in my meditation today. In July 2012, I was on a 7 day meditation retreat with Ajahn Brahm. I had no idea who he was at that time and it was a mere coincidence that I stayed at the Zen monastery when he was there for the retreat. I could write an entire book about this retreat but that’s not the point here. In a nutshell: That retreat changed my life! Ajahn Brahm is an incredible person and teacher and these 7 days of meditation, talks and Q&A sessions enriched my life in so many ways. And I learned a new word: “Sadhu”, which is Pali and saying it three times is an expression of happiness.

While meditating earlier, memories of this retreat popped up and I remembered that I bought one of Ajahn Brahm’s books, which includes 108 stories for welcoming life’s difficulties. I devoured the book when I first got it and it really helped me to deal with some major difficulties I was facing at the time. As life is currently offering me quite a few opportunities to welcome its difficulties, I figured it can’t hurt to take a look at the book again. I grabbed it from the shelve and randomly opened up a page. I do that a lot with books whenever I am looking for inspiration or “signs” and always open up the right page at the right time. Today the story “The Trial” brought me some valuable insights on anger and forgiveness. It talks about how being angry is like running a trial against a defendant who is not allowed to defend himself. Unjust. But we need this unjust trial to convince ourselves of the wrongdoings of the other, which then justifies our anger. And once we have internal permission we can enjoy our outburst of rage to the fullest. We are furious! We seek revenge! And most of all we are 100% sure that we are right and the other person is wrong. How could he/she! But what if we really asked: How could he/she? If we approach this question with curiosity and non-judgement it might not be so evident anymore who is right and who is wrong. And who’s the judge of that anyway?

I wasn’t angry at all when I opened up the random page earlier. In fact, I had just tweeted even before my meditation that I was feeling extremely calm and peaceful. So when I opened up the story about anger I was questioning whether this was really the right page at the right time. But as my random book flipping served me well in the past I trusted that there is a message for me. And suddenly it triggered a thought: Who’s to judge if resisting the urge to engage with a thought is the real meditation challenge? What if it only serves as my justification to hold on to some of my anger? I am certainly reevaluating my take on that.

“Sadhu Saturday” might turn into a recurring post series, as there are 108 stories and insights to be shared 🙂 Please let me know what you think about that. However, if you don’t want to wait or are looking for instant ways to welcome life’s difficulties, just get the book, do some random page flipping and get curious about the message it has for you. Happy flipping and…

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

English version:

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 11.42.14 PM

Who Ordered this Truckload of Dung?
Ajahn Brahm



Deutsche Version:

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Die Kuh, die weinte
Ajahn Brahm


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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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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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Unintentional Intentions

Thank you life for being my constant reminder of the many lessons that are still waiting for me to be learned. And thank you lessons for being my patient teachers along the way.

A little orchid in the living room triggered these thoughts today:
Most of our actions a geared toward a specific and desired goal or outcome. If we hit the target we are happy, joyful and satisfied. Missing it, however, usually results in a sense of failure, disappointment and sadness. Sometimes the chances of hitting the bull’s eye are within our control; more often they are not. We get caught up In something that might be well beyond our scope of influence. Either way we get attached to whatever it is we consider the “ideal outcome” and identify ourselves automatically with the success or failure a particular action brings. A heavy burden of responsibility that might not even be ours to carry. What a waste of energy!

But what if we’d focus on doing whatever it is we do just for the fun of doing it instead? Not only are we releasing a lot of stress that’s related to making certain ends meet, we also open up to a whole new world of surprising – and possibly even better – results. This brings me back to the orchid. A few days ago I accidentally broke off a branch. Ouch! Not only was it in bloom, it also had a few new buds that were about to burst. I felt terrible and stuck the branch in the pot, hoping that at least the blooming petals might survive a few more days. That way I was also hoping to feel a little less guilty. This evening when I looked at the orchid I couldn’t believe my eyes: the petals were withering already. However, the buds that I was expecting to die off immediately had already started to open up and will probably be in full bloom in a few days. So unlikely and yet so beautiful! I thought I had killed a part of my plant but instead it is even more alive now than it was a few days ago!
My lesson learned:
Detachment from outcome allows for magic to happen and makes life a lot easier!

“When you learn not to want things so badly, life comes to you.”
Jessica Lange