Category Archives: Personal development

GRATITUDE

The keyword to life is gratitude;

Gratitude for what I have

Gratitude for what I don’t have to suffer

Gratitude for what I survived

Gratitude that it wasn’t worse

Gratitude because it was lovely

Gratitude, no matter how small – even if you have to search for it…

…because gratitude grows, it fills your heart and it carries you through those dark nights of the soul…

…and because without gratitude all you have left is despair, anger, fear, grief and despair…

All those little learnings add up

14269677_10153579724000834_1955684473_nAfter each day I think about what I have learned. It’s important to me and I make it a point to learn something every day, no matter how small or mundane.

The willingness to learn is how you learn, you start paying attention to both your surroundings and what goes on in your head. You try new things and test your borders – just to see if you can.

Along the way you collect all the keys you need to live that wow-life that everybody talks about. It starts in the little things.

Every evening, think of your day; what made you grateful? happy? …and what did you learn?

Every evening you will find yourself one step closer to what you want and you set yourself up to win.

55 – The age of Freedom

I am 55 years old and I feel like my life just started.

When I was a child and a young girl I had such dreams but I was also extremely shy and insecure, so the dreams stayed just that – dreams, my fears were very effective. The few times I voiced my dreams, I was told to forget it. “That’s ridiculous”, they said, “You can never do that. What if you fail?” Does this sound familiar? Fear of failure became the name of the game. And I was scared.

I grew up and had children, 4 of them, and became a full time mother for the next 30 years. I used the time wisely by educating myself and getting to know ME. It forced me to face my fears, to acknowledge that I had taken the easy way out by listening to the negative voices in and around me INSTEAD of just going for that dream, even if I would fail.

One day the children were all adult and had left home, I had only myself to answer to and I realised that now, NOW is the time, this is my chance to dust off those dreams and make them come true!

The world around me says that I am too old, but this time I am not believing anybody but myself. I’m old enough to not care. The only voice I am listening to is MY inner voice. And she tells me it’s time to rock’n roll!

One of my most attractive dreams as a child was to be part of a circus. I wanted to ride ponies and do funky stuff.

Well, guess what? Now I am doing just that; I am part of a troupe that do pony-shows and fire-shows. I do mounted archery; shooting arrows from a galloping horse. If you can’t join a circus – create one!

I also want to do acrobatics in the air, I feel passionate about it. And though I am fit as a fiddle it is far from enough. Besides which, I have a fear of heights. Am I going to let this stop me? HELL NO! Aerial acrobatics? Sure it will take time, who cares? I have all the time in the world and I am on this exciting life journey.

The most important thing I did to this point was bringing up the children. Was I a good mother? I have no idea, but I was the best mother I could be and this goes for everything else I have ever done and will do. This releases me from those oh so painful regrets that I struggled with all the time, I was the master of regret.

So to all you people, young and old; life is an ongoing journey and you never really know where it will take you. Don’t let anybody dictate your rules. And don’t for a minute believe that age is an issue: On the contrary, the older you get, the more freedom and choices you have.

Here some pictures of what I did this magical 55th year of my life

The difference between letting go and running away

The one thing I learned in my turbulent life was to let go – of everything. I was moved between countries, between homes, between schools and every time all was lost; not only friends and places but also things. My magic boxes full of little insignificant treasures, my clothes, my toys. The first time I was displaced I also lost the person I loved the most, she who was peace and security to me, I never saw her again. I was just about to turn seven.

That was the first time I was displaced; I found myself in a new country without any of my belongings except a teddy-bear and a school-book. I struggled to understand, to fit in, to learn the language, to not be afraid. I locked myself in a shell and lived in a fantasy-world in my head. I was beaten, mocked and un-loved, waiting for the day when I could go “home”, to a place that didn’t exist anymore. A place which it would take another 35 years before I saw again.

The same scenario happened over and over again, albeit in the same country. I went to 14 different schools and never graduated. I collected new treasures and every time there was a move, an upheaval, the treasures were lost. Finally this became my reality. I stopped having treasure-boxes.

I learned to trust nobody, I learned to not get attached, I learned to live in my head and I learned to be safe in insecurity. It formed me and how I would live my life. I watched but didn’t join in.

When, as an adult woman with children, I finally settled down into a safe place I was happy. I thought I was settled – for real. But then the upheaval came again and I left for another country, another life. I couldn’t stay. In my new country I spent years waiting, unknowingly, for the day of yet another departure, because that was all I knew. Keep going, leaving, letting go. I am an expert at letting go.

One day I realised that I didn’t want to do it again. I didn’t want to be a displaced person. I wanted to form attachments, I wanted to watch the future unfold around me, in one place. I just wanted peace. I wanted to build something that was mine, create a small niche in the universe where I co-existed.

I made a decision to stay and form that future right where I am. It was scary, it still is. I am not sure how long it will take before I find peace in my decision, but it has to be done.

There is a lot of talk about the importance of letting go, and it is important to know how to let go. But it is also important to learn to stop and be part. To accept and take responsibility for that. Because if you are an expert let-go’er, you never catch up with yourself. You end up living your life on the bylines, watching life rather than living it, never fighting for anything because it’s easier to walk away. Peace comes from within and no matter where you are, it is there.

I might be displaced again in the future, but today it is no longer part of my plan. I am thawing inside, unlocking my heart to let life in. I am still expert at letting go, but now I do allow and  fight for that which is important to me. I am starting a new magic box of treasures. Almost 50 years have passed since that first little death of trust and I am re-structuring my soul, having dreams, taking part and being there.cropped-hagen.jpg

THE MAGIC OF SMILING

Smile!

Smile!

“When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”

So the song goes and it’s absolutely true. Smiling is contagious; other people who meet your smile will start smiling as well. Isn’t that a beautiful thing – that we can light up our world with such a simple action. A smiling face sends a message of peace and friendship, it opens to connecting with other people. You’d much rather deal with somebody who’s smiling and you have probably experienced how a grumpy person suddenly became a great deal friendlier when you smiled at them.

Smiling is so much more…

When you smile, the muscle-movement sends signals to your brain, making it release endorphines, the “feel-good-hormone”. The same goes for crying, that’s why you feel relief after a good cry. If you think about it; a picture of somebody crying can sometimes look confusingly like they’re smiling. So even though you don’t feel happy, you will feel better by pulling your face into a smile…Isn’t that great news! It might only be a grimace, but the endorphines will blow some life into that smile, making it wider as you feel better.

If you feel bad or low, try a smile and I can assure you that you will feel, not great, but better. Try using the vowel “e” and keep it long; “eeeeeeeeeeeeeee” and there you have it!

Research also shows that the impact is higher if you watch yourself in a mirror.

Besides, when you smile you use a lot of facial muscles which actually will make your face look better in the long run. As we age, our facial expressions become etched into our faces; worry, anger and disapointment can become your “default” look as well as happiness. Smiles will turn your wrinkles into something attractive and beautiful as you age…

Essential oils to bring some smiles into your life:

Citrus-oils, especially Bergamott, Orange and Mandarin brings sun into a grey feeling.

Ylang-ylang; very good when there is anger involved. Uplifting and euphoric.

Geranium; a great emotional balancer, especially good for irritation.

May Chang, also called Litsea cubeba. Has a sweet citrusy deep scent. Makes tensions fade away.

Lavender; Calming and clearing to the head. Can help dispel negativity.

The best way to use essential oils as mood enhancers is by inhalation:

  • 1-2 drops on a tissue that you can carry around, I usually stuff it in my bra, then I have the scent wafting up to my nose.

  • In an aromalamp or diffuser, be careful not to overdose…A little goes a long way. If you get a headache or in any way feel uncomfortable, breath some fresh air and lower the dose.

  • In a bowl of warm water.

Essential oils disperse into the air with the help of heat and movement (like using a fan). The amounts of drops you use depends on the space you want to scent and your own preference. Always start low, you can add more oil if you want to.

Remember: After 3 minutes your system has adapted to the scent and you can no longer smell it. Don’t add more oils, go outside and breath or smell fresh coffee to clean your “scent-palate”. Another good trick is to inhale through wool, that also helps neutralize your scent.

Wood Horse

Happy Chinese New Year!

Wood Horse

Wood Horse

After two years of introspection and hard work, laying bricks for the future, this year will bring action. Victory, adventure and production are key-words for this coming year. I have laid my bricks carefully and painstakingly, and SMACK on the day the Horse year started, the results began coming in. Every day there is news and positive signs for the future. The Horse is an animal of great speed and endurance, it might be a good idea to keep your eyes on the goal so you don’t get side-tracked.

Love the Horse ❤

Learning from children

I found this very interesting article that I would like to share with you. Dr Stephen Cowan is a pediatrician since 25 years and in this article he writes about “the larger picture” of having children or living with children.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10250/11-things-i-wish-every-parent-knew.html

FatherAndSonPlayingOnPath900-850x400It is a very eye-opening read, go check it out.