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Posts Tagged ‘curious’

Wherever you go, there you are

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book “Wherever you go there you are” is one of those books I haven’t put back on the bookshelf after I finished reading it. From time to time I just re-read one of its short chapters. Sometimes as a reminder, inspiration or to regain some simplicity in my life.

Over the last few years I have gradually integrated mindfulness in my life. This practice helps me live my life fuller and more aware. It fosters my curiosity and opens a door to all my emotions, feelings, thoughts and visions in my life. The more mindful my way of living becomes the more freedom I feel I create wherein I can make choices and welcome changes.

I want to share with you a few things I have learned

1. Become aware of what is going on in your body and your mind.

2. Get in touch with the many aspects of your life. The dark faces, the pain, the fear, the happiness, the joyous moments, habits, assumptions, judgements, struggles, your beliefs.

3. Acknowledge that what is happening is happening.

4. The more you practice mindfulness the more you will see things clearly and you will be able to position yourself differently in relationship to them.

5. Let go: Holding on to your struggles, your likes and dislikes, hold you back in discovering and expanding your possibilities. Allow things to be as they are for you to find your own way.

6. Find your moments of simplicity: Even in a life where you have to manage family, work, children, friends, etc.
Choose to do one thing at a time. Start with small things. Do them mindfully.

7. Stop what you are doing: From time to time, take time out to observe what you see, hear, feel, what is happening around you.

8. Ask yourself “Where is my mind right now?” Do this a few times a day. You will be surprised how often your mind is not here, but visiting other places.

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf”

Swami Satchitananda in “Wherever you go there you are”

You might also want to read:
Video: Mindfulness with Jon-Kabatt ZInn

Do you know who you are?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


“Be authentic, be true to yourself” – an advice I often hear. People tell us to be authentic when we make new friends, start a new relationship or need to make some changes in our life. However, what does it mean, being authentic. How do you know you are true to yourself?

The thing is we are not just one real self, but have many different parts.

Those parts play out in varying degrees depending on the roles and the situations we are in. Imagine, you introduce yourself at a business networking meeting, or get acquainted with other parents of your child’s new school.

Which words would you use to describe yourself in those different situations and roles? You will probably notice that some words seem to be more dominant than others and some might even be in conflict.

Take the following example. A parent is so happy for her daughter to work in a job she enjoys. However, at the same time she might feel a sense of loss and disconnection, because her daughter is now thousands of miles away.

The problem is when we identify ourselves to just one part we get stuck in a problem, a situation or behaviour that is not helpful to us.

Realising, that ‘you’ consists of many parts, is the first step to make changes and get unstuck.

The more you are curious about the different faces of yourself and become aware of them the better you will be able to create a balance. You will be able to nurture parts that were more passive and therefore change the dynamics.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”

Carl Rogers

You might also want to read:
Conversations with my pink elephant

Image: Some rights reserved by Benimoto

Believe in your abilities

Thursday, July 8th, 2010


For years I had admired the people who made the step and created their own business. I just could not imagine doing that for myself, although I was playing with the thought. Just thinking about it was a safe game – no risks attached. However, nothing ever happened, I was safely working in my job while dreaming of how things could be different.

What I was missing was the confidence that I could actually do it. People who believe that abilities can be developed, will experience more success in life. In her book “Mindset”, psychologist Carol Dweck, describes that people who have this growth mindset find it easier to adapt, to overcome difficult times in their life and find it easier to make changes.

I certainly did not believe that I had it “in me” to set up a small business. Obviously, this has changed. But how?

I started by getting to know myself a bit better. To learn about the different parts of me. The fears, the beliefs, my ideas, my anxieties, my happiness, my dreams, my values and so on. In this process I realised that I had developed many abilities in my life, which opened countless possibilities. For instance, I moved to different countries, adapted to new cultures, learned new languages and learned how to manage the loneliness that often comes with those changes. And I know there are still so many things I want to learn and I need to learn about myself.

The more I became aware of all those skills that I have developed throughout my life, the more I knew I was also able to learn what it takes to set up business.

Recently I came across this quote by the beautiful writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It reflects how I see and experience life.

“… human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

What have you learned about yourself in the last week, last year?
What did you bring into existence in your life? How did you make this happen?

You might also want to read:
A fresh sheet of paper
Conversations with my pink elephant

Image: Wesley Fryer

5 ways to get unstuck

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010


Last weekend at the beach this surf rescue car got stuck in the deep sand. There was no way this car was moving again without using some tools for digging. A few passersby were offering their help, but the strangest thing happened. The surf lifesaver didn’t talk to them or give them any instructions on how they could help him to get the car moving again. Those helpers left one by one, with the result that the car was still stuck in the sand, going nowhere.

This reminded me of people who get stuck and find it difficult to take actions that would help them to get going again. Whether they are in an unsatisfying job, in an unhealthy relationship, or they are stuck in habits, on ideas and beliefs. It is not that they don’t try to get out, it is just that the strategies they use don’t seem to work and therefore keep them where they are. Sometimes all is needed is a new perspective – a new point of view…

Let’s do a short exercise. Take the room that you are in right now. Stand up and take a good look around. All seems probably familiar to you. Now put your head down, like you would want to touch your feet with your hands. In case you are a yoga master you can do a hand stand. Now take another look at your room. How does the room look like to you? Maybe a bit different, up side down, the corners seem to have transformed or you even discovered something new in there?

This is what happens when we take a fresh look at something we already seem to know. One of the ways to get a new perspective is to ask a friend for help. Though effective, many don’t consider this strategy as their first choice.

Find out how you can involve a friend and four other ways to get yourself unstuck:

Ask a friend for help
Some people might say, that they don’t want to be viewed as someone who is complaining all the time. Asking a friend for help is not complaining. On the contrary, you actually tell that person what you need from her/him. When we complain, we don’t let others how they can help us.
There are three things you need to do to make this work:

    - Make sure the person you ask is willing to be open and honest.
    - Whatever her/his response and comments, don’t try to defend your point of view. Just listen and be open.
    - Be specific about what you are experiencing and how your friend can help you. Sometimes expressing your experience in words is all it takes. Other times you might want to hear your friend’s feedback.

Create a temporary change
Sometimes when we are stuck we seem to dig ourselves deeper into the sand the more we dwell on it. It helps then to just stop what you are doing and do something else. Take a walk and enjoy what you see or close your computer, turn off your phone and enjoy doing nothing for 10 minutes.

Let go
Holding on to narrow views, to wishes, to an idea, an event or even conventions can result in getting ourselves stuck. Start to become aware what you are holding on to and write those things down. This will allow you to understand which views, ideas, or beliefs keep you stuck. Then you can start to…

Find new points of view of the situation
As discussed previously, we limit our options simply by the narrow way we see it. Look at the situation that you are stuck in, like you would observe a box. Take it in your hands. Play with it, turn it up side down, to the side, further away, closer by, look at the colours in different lights, and so on. Now be just as curious with the situation that you are in. It is not always easy to actively see things that we so long kept hidden. Try it anyway. What do you have to lose. You might find a way out. Start observing and describe what you see.

Make an assessment
Write down where you are now and where you want to be. Be honest to yourself, and just write it down with the intention of changing it. It is not about wallowing in it but to learn to be honest to yourself, no matter what you are thinking or feeling.

You might also want to read:
Who is on your support team ?

New experiences, new possibilities

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I realized my job was to awaken possibility in other people.

I was moved by this talk by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. His passion for new experiences and possibilities just swept me away. If you need something to inspire you, watch this:

Since 1979, Benjamin Zander has been the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. He is known around the world as both a guest conductor and a speaker on leadership — and he’s been known to do both in a single performance. He uses music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues. (ref.: http://www.ted.com/speakers/benjamin_zander.html)

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