Tag Archives: fear

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

BREAKING FREE

(Freedom by sculptor Zenos Frudakis )

We are always trapped by different things; ideas, judgments, emotions. Like invisible bonds they hold us in a place that is no longer relevant. We sense it, the entrapment, but we don’t know what it is or why and there is always fear of the unknown. There is a saying in probably every language: “You know what you have, but you don’t know what you will get”. It is like a warning; “don’t change your ways, you don’t know what will happen”. But let’s turn it around, let’s see it as an encouragement; If you are in a bad place, it might get better if you break free, even though you don’t know where it will take you. You will never know if you don’t try.

Sometimes the urge to break free is so strong it takes your breath away and this urge has to be acted upon. If not you will probably find yourself sick, stressed and depressed, suffocating under a weight that will not lift. We are not meant to be static, change is life. Most of us are afraid of change, not knowing what it will bring. This is the greatest fear of all and it is strong enough to keep us in a bad place.

We know that when we break free from whatever it may be, there will be a crisis both within us and with those around us. There will be rebellion, strife and estrangement from dear ones. We will feel lonely and misunderstood. Breaking free takes courage and it takes time. The first place we find ourselves in is loneliness. This has to be. It is a time of silence and contemplation, of understanding our need for individuality and finding a new life path. Then come impulses; people and happenings that fit with our new reality enter our lives and we are not lonely anymore. The world around us start mirroring our choices in a positive way, making us grow stronger.

There will always be a price to pay for breaking away from your “group”, whatever that group may be. And there will be abundant rewards once you face your fears and pass through them.

SENIORS & STRESS

Seniors are a growing but invisible group in society. More often than not do they come to the point of moving into a home where they can be properly looked after. This is an intensely stressful event. Some people choose to move into a home of their choice at the time of their choice, but they are few. Most seniors slide into a solitary life in their own homes until they can’t manage it anymore and then are moved to a senior home. At this point they often become confused, scared, depressed and angry.

From these negative feelings arise many problems; circulatory, emotional, sleep-disorders, appetite and digestion. Sometimes seniors deteriorate very quickly in a home; the older we get, the more loath we become to leave our familiar – and therefor safe – surroundings and when this safety is taken away the world falls apart. When there is also mental confusion, a move at this time in life can become a huge trauma.

AROMATHERAPY:

I have done some work in retirement homes using essential oils and the results are amazing! By using carefully blended oils in proper dosages a lot can be done. Together with massage they work wonders on stressed individuals. Massage can be as simple as stroking somebody’s hand, bringing peace to the person. There is no need for massage-training, all that is needed is care. Scents in diffusers also help with emotional balance and a stress-free environment.  Anxiety, fear, stress, confusion, depression, anger….all schoolbook examples on areas where essential oils are helpful.

  • Emotional disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Orange (Citrus sinensis), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), Petit grain (Citrus aurantium), Bergamott (Citrus bergamia), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). When severe: Neroli (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara var pumilla), Rose (Rosa damascena), Melissa (Melissa officinalis).  Massage, diffusion.
  • Sleeping disorders: Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata). Massage, diffusion.
  • Stimulating appetite: Lemon (Citrus limon), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Diffusion 20 min. before mealtimes.
  • Mental stimulation: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), Lemon (Citrus limon), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Seniors are frail in many ways, not least physically. Always contact a professional aromatherapist before using essential oils.

ORIGINAL CAUSE

Picture from http://www.hypnos-healing.co.uk

There is always an original cause for dis-ease, no matter how far in the past it might be. For any profound healing to take place, the original cause needs to be found and dealt with and no matter what the symptoms look like, it is not enough to make them “go away”. For each symptom that we make “go away” there will be another taking its place. Sometimes the symptoms mask the cause and hide it behind layers of problems and misunderstandings, shielding it from being reached.

Original cause is usually something painful, something we don’t want to remember or re-live, so we bury it, unconsciously, and as long as it is not resolved, it will cause dis-ease and imbalance within us. We will believe ourselves unlucky and unable to attain happiness, constantly being aware of the negative side of everything that happens to us. It becomes a state of mind and we feel exposed, vulnerable and victimized.

Original cause may be something that at the time was profoundly hurtful or scary, but in the light of today turns out to be very small and when it is revealed we are surprised at how deeply we were impacted. There are no measures for what is large or small trauma; the only measure is the impact it has on the person. Suffering is personal and can not be judged. Once original cause is found and dealt with, the symptoms are alleviated. Finding original cause is much like peeling an onion, the more it is buried, the more layers need to be gone through. During this time profound healing takes place – step by step.

Original cause is also present when there is disease or illness, sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic. It might have been extreme stress, high pressure or an accident. A physical trauma may be resolved by intervention but the risk is that the emotional trauma stays. Over time the trauma deepens and one day there is distress or disease within the body system. We are entities made up of body, mind and emotion; when there is trauma to one part, all the others will feel the impact and any part might show symptoms of the trauma – there is no separation. All trauma creates fear and fear makes itself known in many different ways.

LETTING GO part 2

The touchiest subject to let go of is personal trauma. It is as if this gives us the right and excuse, not only to suffer, but also to be pitied. Personal trauma is the most difficult thing to get past, especially when it occurs in childhood – such as abuse. At that point in time we are truly victims and helpless; there is absolutely nothing we can do about it and that is a devastating position to be in. But we do grow up and as we mature we are not helpless victims anymore, we can start changing things, we find that we have choices and the power to decide over ourselves. At this point we can either choose to stay in our trauma and accept a less full-filling life, always having somebody/something to blame, OR we can decide to take charge and get past the trauma and on with life, turning our experiences into something creative instead.

To start a process you need to realize there is a problem. Trust me, EVERYBODY hangs on to something and the first step is to find out what this is. Think about what recurring thoughts you have about stuff; “my mother didn’t love me”, “I am sick”, “It won’t work”, “I can’t do it”, “I need it”, “I deserve it”, “If not for …I would be fine”, “I don’t have”…. Sounds familiar? I thought so.

  • Look at what areas in your life are not functioning, where you procrastinate, what you are afraid of.
  • Break it down by asking WHY, for each answer ask why again.The why’s will take you through the different layers to the original problem or belief.
  • Write it down.
  • Pro & Con: How would your life change if you let go?
  • Then look at HOW you can change it. Find somebody who can back you up.

As a starting exercise, try this: The next time you are in a hurry (read stressed) and get caught in a traffic-jam, let it go; Sit back, turn on some nice music, breath deeply and congratulate yourself on this little moment of peace. Letting go is not only an emotional or mental sensation, it is also physical; there is an actual feeling of warmth and unraveling in the pit of your stomach, a sensation of space around your being. We all know this feeling of release. Remember that time you did something scary? Like jumping off the 3 meter board into the water? That amazing sensation of release once you get past the fear and actually jump. This is how it feels, no matter what you are releasing, this instant moment of trust and freedom.

Every time we allow the fears from our past to stop us, we suffer pangs of regrets – always ending up thinking about how it would have been if we had “done it anyway”. Regrets are debilitating in energy, it never ever moves forward, but keeps us forever caught in the web of the past.

Remember: “The horse is dead, let it go!”

MOTIVATION WHEN STRESSED

(picture from “The Independent”)

Part of motivation is actually stress; that’s what gives the “kick” to get going. The “good” stress as it is called. But what happens when that “good” stress swamps you? Everything falls apart and instead of giving a kick to get going, it either paralyzes you into either non-action or makes you inefficient. Problem is, we seldom notice it happening, one day our heart is just not in it. And when we are stressed, seriously stressed, how do we find the motivation to deal with it? The very nature of stress is the complete opposite of motivation. It is fine to talk about stress-management and techniques – I do it all the time – but I have also realized that this is not always the solution, since motivation is lacking. We need to learn about stress and our own reactions to it to be able to handle it; nip it in the bud, as it were.

Many years ago I had a break-down from stress and of course I didn’t see it coming; I was having the time of my life and things were going well. Being much in demand, I kept adding to my agenda indiscriminately…does it sound familiar? One day I crashed and everything fell apart. I emptied my agenda and just tried to make it through the days. Even though I was a therapist and had all the know-how to handle my own situation, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I didn’t do “all the stuff” to help myself, even though I consciously knew I should. Over time I taught myself to deal with it. This was before stress had become a serious issue, and there was not much help to be found…I just had to figure it out.

When stress is breaking us down we don’t breath, meditate, exercise, eat properly and so on. Even though we know this is what we should be doing we seem to be incapable of doing it, so we take another cup of coffee and force ourselves to push harder to “get on with it” without any motivation for it at all. When the head-aches, back-pains and stomach-pains set in we reach for the pain-killers.

So how do we break this bad circle? How on earth do we find the motivation to deal with our stress? Especially when it seems that the world is caving in on us. This is the inner stress; the invisible enemy that doesn’t really show on the outside, the night-time demons; the angst, fear, sleeplessness, churning thoughts, night-mares, depression and hopelessness. Stress-management starts here; in realizing what you are feeling, when and why. Only then can you start doing something about it. Stress always creates angst and we find ourselves battling invisible fears. The reason I call it “the night-time demons” is because it always happens at night, when we are not occupied. At night they become larger than life, tearing us apart and in day-time we run faster than ourselves to keep these “demons” at bay. This creates a state of chaos in our emotional systems, and we can see no solutions. But there are always solutions.

Start slow, this takes time:

  • Every time the “demon” kicks in, get out of bed, turn on the light and look at it: The first question is: “what can I do about it right now?” The answer is usually “NOTHING.”
  • Drink a cup of tea, don’t lie in bed tossing and turning, this exacerbates the angst. Better to realize that you are not going to sleep anyway and do something instead; Write lists; what can I do tomorrow? The next day? Maybe I can talk to my boss, teacher, banker and ask for advice. This is a creative process and it helps your mind to relax.
  • Change one thing to the positive; like exchanging coffee for herbal tea, take a short walk or pay attention to your breathing. Do this at least once a day. Just one little thing that is manageable. Over time you add to it.
  • Cut something out, give yourself a break; Find one thing that you do every day that is not absolutely necessary and cut it out. Again, over time, add to it. One thing at a time.
  • Write yourself into your agenda; Your time to do nothing or do something you want. When in stress we have the feeling that we need to explain or excuse ourselves; you are accountable to nobody but yourself. If your agenda is booked, you say no to other stuff…this goes for your time as well. Nobody has the right to question why you are busy, it is nobody’s business but your own.
  • ASK FOR HELP! I can’t stress this enough. We all need a helping hand sometimes, and there are always people who are prepared to help us when we need it. You are not alone.
  • CRY (if you need/want to); it helps to balance us within when we are “poisoned” by our own stress-hormones. But don’t feel sorry for yourself, remember; you put yourself here in the first place.
  • SAY NO! Don’t add anything to your schedule unless it is for your personal self. You are busy healing yourself; make no mistake about it – this is work.

It is all about self-respect. If you do not respect yourself, how are you going to respect anybody else? You will end up resenting the people around you – even your closest ones. It’s like in the airplanes; First you put on your oxygen-mask, then you help others. So get that oxygen-mask on!

Robert Fisk: The crimewave that shames the world – Robert Fisk, Commentators – The Independent

Robert Fisk: The crimewave that shames the world – Robert Fisk, Commentators – The Independent.

This article is very long, and I read it all. The killing of women for “honor” is something we know about, it happens all over the world – even in the well-to-do western world. In the article crimes against women are listed; they are all to do with sexuality (even imagined) and freedom of choice. I ponder over this relentless need to control women – what is it really about; power? control? fear? Probably all of them.

Many years ago I met an African man who told me about his tribe; the children all carried their names from their mothers (… son of …) because, as he said, the mother is the only real guarantee to where you come from. There are also other tribes in Africa who condone honor-killings and female circumcision – where lies the difference between, sometimes, neighbouring tribes and why?

Female circumcision is another human rights crime. Again, what is it really about? And most of all; where does this blood-lust come from? This has nothing to do with religion, that is only an excuse.