The Sacred Centre

sharing – daring – caring – writing from the heart

Seventh Day – Departure to the unknown

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Farewells started early at 7am with one of my room mates and carried on with the other three hours later. I had caught up with taking some photos during the morning and surprisingly it felt like the most relaxing day of all. I got close to tears when the last of my room mates left but still the gates wouldn’t open. The longed for emotional release didn’t happen.

I wondered whether my own practice, however little and sporadic it might have been, since my last stay at Plum Village, had made more of a difference than I realised, meaning that I was already much calmer and more present than I had been during my first visit, despite my recent stressful experience. I also wonder whether this means that I will be able to re-integrate quicker back into the “real world” compared to the last time when I had difficulties to adjust.

Then thing is that we don’t always realise how deep we are into something – be it stress or relaxation. We simply carry on living. The only time we really notice how deep we have gone is when we experience the opposite. That’s how we measure success or failure. So without the bad we won’t know how good we are and equally we won’t know how bad we have got until we feel good again.

And even though I feel rather bad for having been so critical during my stay at Plum Village, I know that it was important for me to recognize and experience those emotions to be able to process them, so I would be ready to deal with them back in the “real world”. And where better to deal with such emotions than in the humbling embrace of a Buddhist community in the heart of Plum Village.

So forgive me if my past few posts made you feel uncomfortable but the point I’m trying to make is how stress and anxieties can impact on your life, how they literally suck the joy out of it and leave you in a bleak twilight state that can be very difficult to deal with. So if reading those posts made you uncomfortable, may I ask you to put yourself into the position of someone who struggles with day to day activities and try to understand that the discomfort you feel while reading is the same discomfort they feel most days while carrying on with their lives, just much worse. And it is not just a grumpy person or someone who’s having a bad day!

I will continue to write from the heart, because that’s what this blog is all about, even though it might not be the most uplifting of places at the moment. And what I find hardest is the fact that not many people are prepared to accept that not everyone can be cheered up with a joke or a cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop trying. These people need you to just be there for them and accept them the way they are without judgement or overwhelming advice. Just have an open heart and listen deeply. Increasingly more people experience stress and anxieties, so there might be a time when you may need support yourself and I bet that those who previously struggled will be there to return the favour because they understand what it is like.

So many people with such issues hide because they don’t want to be a burden or a nuisance, they don’t want to ruin their friends’ day, and they avoid contact because the dreaded questions of “how are you” isn’t an easy one to answer. So they either hide behind that smile while silently writhing in pain inside or they might say how they really feel and expose themselves to the unpredictable reaction of others. I myself didn’t fully understand how it feels until I experienced it myself. And I want to make others aware of it, to broaden their horizon, to create more acceptance and understanding and most importantly to come to terms with it myself. I hope to keep your company for a little while longer, for hope is all I have.

Love
Anna

Sixth Day – Rest

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Today was Mindfulness Day at Plum Village, where once again all the hamlets got together. My back had significantly improved since the Thai Massage and this morning I was able to sit much more comfortably during meditation. I did working meditation as allocated in the toilet block under the watchful presence of that lump in my throat. Why? What is it about cleaning that makes me feel so annoyed and upset? Is it too downgrading, does it make me feel a failure? It can’t be that bad, I used to be a cleaner myself!

After the optimistically painless start into the day I only made it half-way through the Dharma Talk DVD. I felt so tired, woozy, sick and had this panicky feeling of walls closing in. So, after a little while of fidgeting and fighting off sleep, I left, the walk of shame through the big hall filled with a crowd of monastic and lay people, and went to bed, breathing heavily.

I spent most of the day resting in bed, away from the many people that had come to visit, skipped Dharma sharing and the second lot of working meditation, but had a good talk with my room mate instead, who once again felt similar. It’s incredible how similar we are indeed. It somehow feels good, not to be alone with these awful feelings.

I felt I could go a little deeper during walking meditation later in the day. But overall I just want to go home now. This whole group commitment thing was getting too much. But I also realized once and for all that I could not live as a nun as I had previously thought I might one day, but really admire those who do and am grateful that they offer us the opportunity to find ourselves and to practice with them.

Lazy evening meant we had a lot of time to talk. Us three room mates sat under the willow by the frog pond with another girl and her boyfriend form the other hamlet. We laughed and spoke about things that mattered to us and the world. No preference, just like-minded people. Later in our room we kept on talking until nearly midnight. And there it was again – that feeling from childhood – the uncomplicated and fun pyjama parties, staying over at a friend’s house with no worries…other than knowing that tomorrow it will be all over again already.

A couple of days ago one of my room mates was talking about leaving Facebook, for all the same reasons that I have always wanted to leave. After my initial disappointment that I won’t be able to keep in touch with her in that easy non-committal way that Facebook offers, I decided it was time for me to leave too. And it felt so good! I actually look forward to going home and clicking the leaving button🙂

Fifth Day – Endurance

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I share a lot of similarities with one of my room mates. We both consider ourselves highly sensitive (read about The Extrovert Detox) and always aim for the same sitting cushion. Just like me she often feels like running away, not linking rules and even today felt the same irritation as me during meditation. We are both aware how easily we can pick up other’s emotions and mistake them for our own.

The “Mutant Message Down Under” revealed a few more insights to me. “There should be no suffering by any creature except what they accept for themselves. Each soul on the highest level of our being could select to be born into an imperfect body; they often came to teach and influence the lives they touched. All diseases and disorders have some spiritual connection and serve as stepping stones if we would only open up and listen to our bodies to learn what is taking place.”

“You cannot hear the voice of Oneness when you are busy talking. Clear your mind and thoughts and wait to receive.”

I wondered whether I should have just stayed at home with this book of wisdoms instead of travelling all this way to find peace at Plum Village in  France but realised immediately that you only learn by practicing, not merely by reading about it in a book.

After the alarm of one of our room mates had gone on and on and on this morning while she blissfully carried on sleeping, and not to mention the seemingly endless sitting mediation, we now returned giggling joyfully from a deep relaxation session which somehow resembled more a Chinese karaoke session. The singing just wouldn’t stop. Irritation arose and found release in laughter with each other. But the best was that the girl who slept through her alarm also managed to sleep through the relaxation! Unbelievable!🙂

And it was only 10am… What else would we have to endure today? I can generally be quite impatient and when I feel I need to go I will just go. Sitting through mental and physical pain and discomfort is challenging but it also tests your endurance.

Me and one of my room mates skipped working meditation. Just gave in to the feeling of disinterest and irritation. I don’t know yet what it means in the long run but it did make me feel guilty, neglecting the community. I almost feel like I lost interest. I don’t know if this is part of my current issue with anxiety and depression or the medication adjustment phase, or even just plain disinterest itself. Maybe I’ve stressed myself that much that I really can’t find my quite core again?

My reluctance to carry on participating here might actually make it easier to re-integrate back into real life again after. Maybe that is also an indication that I’m ready to tackle real life again instead of hiding from it. I also haven’t taken a single photo yet since arriving at Plum Village. It made the flow easier I suppose. Anyway I have everything documented already from my last stay three years ago.

I had a deep moment during walking meditation where we stood by a still water and I momentarily got lost in the mirroring depth of lush spring green trees and leaves on the water’s surface as fellow participants appear one after the other like shy deer.

Me and my room mates finally agree to wake up without the extra alarm, promising we would wake each other up if the bell didn’t.

Fourth Day – Fighting Pain

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I awoke feeling slightly ill, very heavy, not able to motivate myself to move a single limb, while I was very aware of a fist sized pain sensation in my back. I really much rather skip working meditation today but that also makes me feel incredibly guilty and such a failure. I always see things through, I never give up. But I worry, worry, worry about every possible outcome regardless…

The Mutant Message Down Under revealed that “souls were made in the likeness of Divine Oneness, capable of pure love and peace, with the capacity for creativity and caretaking of many things. We were given free will and this planet to use as a learning place for emotions, which are uniquely acute when the soul is in human form”.

The new back pain is probably just because I changed my sitting practice yesterday and used new muscles.

The working meditation wasn’t that bad after all, having been gently pushed to go by one of my fellow room mates. The process of allocating who does what was pure hell and I had to really fight the urge to leg it and hide. But I got what I wanted, the library, which was basically sorting books and was very calming on my mind. It’s funny, as with the veg patch, first you don’t want to do it, then you get into the flow and forget your surroundings, like some sort of trance and suddenly you “come round” and feel exhausted but also proud of your achievement. I wonder whether I will be able to the same at work next week.

Of course I tried to place a heavy burden of blame on myself for once again doing only the things I wanted, getting my way again, and knowing that if I hadn’t there would have been a very high chance of me disappearing in my room, hiding in bed.

Later that day I had an awesome Thai massage by one of the retreat participants who had listened to my dharma sharing the other day and needed to practice. It eased my back pain and made me feel a little fresher and clearer in my head as well. I can only recommend you try it out for yourself!

A beautiful moment at the frog pond, catching the last golden rays of the setting sun, while listening to the evening bell and song. The water was sparkling and glittering, flies danced ecstatically, the sweet scent of freshly mowed grass still lingered in the air, as three souls unite when my room mates cross paths and briefly join me in the present moment, sharing eternity with each other.

I feel easier, less tense and frustrated. Sitting is easier, just eating is still a bit cramped. I was humbled by the realisation that someone had gone through the kind trouble of peeling the kiwi instead of just cutting them into halves. I find myself getting too late to activities. Am more relaxed. I figured that you don’t necessarily come here to be relaxed but to learn to relax and then be ready relaxed for when you leave back into reality.

Third Day – Releasing Blame

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This morning was beautiful. Fresh air after the rain, golden sunshine. As I sat down to look over the frog pond, a light sprinkle of rain blessed us while the sun looked on. It was as if the rain wanted to be part of this beautiful experience, like a cosmic handshake or hug.

Last night us three in the room were talking and laughing and it felt so good, exactly what I had been missing. Like hanging out with friends you’ve known all your life and you’re finally catching up again, despite having known them a mere three days. It felt good in my heart.

All night I was dreaming, waking, sleeping, tossing and turning. Today is lazy day, two more hours sleep, breakfast, a long and gentle yoga session, shower. I’m wondering: Have I been on my own too long or too much so that I feel the only way is my own way? Is that why I feel like rebelling against rules?

In on of my dreams last night I cried a little after a silly girl said to me that maybe I shouldn’t go on a run with them since my bad mood would bring them all down. Afterwards I felt like saying that she “should” have been more supportive and could have helped me lift my mood instead of rejecting me. I didn’t cry for long, there were things to do, even in my dream world.

I’m reading “Mutant Message Down Under” by Marlo Morgan and am equally amazed as I am unsure of whether it is fiction or reality. The reviews are confusing but the simple truths of humanity, which we seem to have forgotten all about, are revealed by example of the life and believes of the Australian Aborigines. It might be an invented story but this doesn’t make it any less mind blowing and answers a lot of questions as well as offers advice, coinciding with my own thoughts and conversations with other retreat participants. As soon as I pick up the book, there is the answer in black and white!

In terms of dreams, for example, one member of the tribe realises after a dream about a turtle with only two legs on one side that his aches and pains had materialised because his job as tool maker, which he loved, had become less enjoyable with more self-inflicted pressure, so he was signalled a need for change. He had become one-sided, hence the two legged turtle, no longer balanced in work and play. He said: “When thinking became flexible, joints became flexible. No pain no more.”

There will be more working meditations this week and something in me is really going against it. I struggle enough with the early sitting mediations and worry that by pushing myself too hard I will get worse again. On the other hand I wonder whether it is a good opportunity to gently get myself prepared for work again. I do worry that I won’t be able to do my job when I return next week…

On jobs Mutant Message Down Under sais: “Business seemingly has become a hazard to humanity. It started as means to get better things, to express individual talent and become part of the money system. But now the goal of business is to stay in business. But business isn’t real, it’s only an idea, an agreement.”

The book describes how the tribal members believe that the difference you make in the world is by leading by example, by the things you do. That gives them the drive to be a better person each day. They say: “People are non-living when angry, depressed, feeling sorry for themselves or filled with fear. Breathing doesn’t determine being alive. It just tells others which body is ready for burial or not. Not all breathing people are in a state of aliveness. It’s okay to try out negative emotions to see how they feel, but it certainly isn’t a place one would wisely want to stay.”

I remembered yesterday’s dharma talk and the topic of blame. “We can’t blame others, no matter how much we feel we ought to.” Our emotions are within us and others merely mirror them. What we react to is ourselves. Just what to do with that blame? It’s easy to direct it at ourselves, but not advisable. Sitting with it is hard. A life without blame, or rather the prospect of it, appears to be happier. How does it feel to be happy, without anger or pain, I ask one of the girls: “Light, free” she sais after a few moments of thinking. “Happiness is peaceful” sais another. I wonder, will we get bored when we’re always happy? Do we create emotions to “entertain” us when we’re bored, like a theatre production?

I realise how much I have been blaming others: my father, teacher, technology, the world, climate change, other people, my boyfriend, manager, work, depression, the system, food, the weather, my genes, my body, myself. So what remains if I don’t blame any of those? A whole lot of nothing?

Again from the book: “The only way to pass any test is to take the test. All tests at any level are repeated until you pass.”

“Happiness is freedom from wanting!” Leaving the bookshop “just” with an ice-cream is a start.

After a long lazy day we practice beginning anew in the evening. Touching the earth I vow to release blame and express my hurts. There are still no tears but I feel lighter, happier after releasing attachment to blame. I’ve been tying too many knots over the years by swallowing hurts and blaming others for my pain instead of speaking up and clearing my emotions. Now I have arrived at the bottom and can begin to untie one knot at a time. Releasing the built up anger, becoming free and happy.

That night I write a letter to my boyfriend, saying how I admire him, regret how I made him suffer with my mood swings and not listening to him properly, saying how I also feel disappointed that he doesn’t give me his full attention when talking to him, wishing that we can become more aware of each other’s emotional needs. I feel relief.

Second Day – Anger Manifests

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We all spend the day at the Upper Hamlet, a long day with dharma talk, formal lunch and dharma sharing. Inside of me it was boiling and bubbling, my back hurt with a passionate burning sensation which stretched all along the whole length of my spine. I was fed up with sitting and being “happy”. The dharma talk fittingly spoke of a crying baby inside of us that needs attention.

A humble moment occurred when Thich Nhat Hanh, zen monk and founder of Plum Village who was still affected by his illness, was wheeled in during the dharma talk while a hall full of monks, nuns and lay friends sang “I have arrived, I am home“. His presence was immediately noticeable. He was only able to hold up one hand in half prayer pose but with his eyes full of energy he scanned every single face in the hall, going along the rows of people. I also spotted Sister Chân Không, who helped to set up Plum Village, among the group of monks and nuns during the welcome song at the beginning of the day, as if seeking refuge. I was very touched and humbled to be in the same room as those two inspiring individuals.

I was hoping to see one of the monks again that I spoke with the last time I was there but I couldn’t spot him in the crowd. We had shared from the heart our experience of not being recognized and accepted by our parents. There had been no change in my situation apart from a new sort of anger that was brewing at still being ignored by my father and I was intrigued to hear whether there had been any changes for him. Later back at the Lower Hamlet, a girl who attended one of the other dharma sharing groups said how touched she was by a monk in her group who shared with his mother who had come to visit him from the other end of the world and that both had cried. By her description of him I could assume that it was him, tall, big nose, still with his hair, slightly curled and combed back. I was saddened to think I missed him, the lump in my throat tightened. But then I heard we might still meet the other hamlets again for a day of mindfulness later in the week. That would be good, maybe the time just wasn’t right yet.

During dharma sharing I spoke from the heart how I had tried to keep up my practice since my last visit to Plum Village three years ago and how I felt like a failure for my stress related anxiety despite my knowledge and awareness of mindfulness and had come to Plum Village in the hope to find my flow again. But instead, I said, I was experiencing frustration and anger, feeling like I want to run away, but figured that since I was aware of these emotions I might as well sit with them and see what happens. The dharma talk also mentioned how our emotions are not us, that they are mere visitors in our house. So we can sit with them but we won’t let them take over our house.

It was interesting to hear others share how they were struggling, especially in their second week (even if mine was three years later). It seems to be that way. Also, when the need to share arises it appears to be common to feel your heart race or a pressure feeling in your chest. For me it was also accompanied by anger at what others were saying, which subsided once I had said what I felt and was able to listen to the others without that negativity inside of me. I felt a little lighter afterwards, as if someone had lifted the lid off the pressure cooker, even had a few more natural and less constrained conversations with other participants afterwards.

I want to cry, let it all out, but it just wasn’t happening! My 48 hours were up, where were the tears?

And after learning about non-attachment we merrily go into the gift shop and buy pretty and useful things we don’t really need.

The key to a happy and emotionally balanced life is to let the heart speak when it calls out. I wouldn’t be depressed if I had been able to speak up openly and clearly express my opinion, regardless of it being different to others. I need to start doing that. No point in silently agreeing with others only because you get their point. You can bring your own point across as well and calmly work on finding a middle point agreement that suits everyone.

I probably also tried too hard to be mindful, setting myself up for disappointment. I feel suffocated by the rules of meal times. They are all different and I’m just never quite sure when to wait, eat or get up. Earlier we were unsure because there had been no bell and it was already ten minutes after beginning of meal time and lazy evening. So when I observed a nun take food I thought it meant we could help ourselves. But when picking a plate I was reminded that the bell hadn’t yet invited dinner and the nun had some other reason for taking food. Felt like such a fool! And my internal magma was bubbling…

 

 

First Day – Irritation Rises

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While travelling to Plum Village I kind of naively believed to be travelling and arriving on my own until half the train got up to leave at the same station. And the girl that sat next to me on the plane also stood there! Having been to Plum Village before I found it easier to settle in and be. I slipped straight into my comfy yoga pants and poncho and looked forward to a wholesome week of calm, despite the strong headache I experienced on the evening of arrival.

However, as it goes, the first irritations already came to the surface right on the first morning. I woke up from the 5am bell, not having slept all too well, and was looking forward to laying in the dim morning light for a little bit longer while listening to the gong, when instead my room mate’s mobile phone alarm was going every five minutes for the next thirty minutes and persistent plastic bag rustling ensued from the other.

I had a rather enlightening dream though, which helped me feel really good about my unsure thoughts to look for a new job. In the dream I made that decision and announced it openly, which felt liberating and good, a feeling of relief that still registered in my tired bones when I woke up.

My irritation grew further during orientation, when a retreat participant with a persistent sniff sat right behind me. The meal time rules seemed to have gotten more complicated too, or did I just not realise the last time? Breakfast: noble silence, fill tables and only eat when table full with at least six others. Lunch: Noble silence, sit anywhere, only eat when everyone is seated at all tables, don’t get up for at least 20 minutes. Dinner: Noble silence, sit anywhere, start eating straight away. My back started to hurt from sitting unsupported, the Sister kept going on and on… Too slow, collection of mats at the end, too slow… but I’m also able to leave it be better than the last time.

I’m diving into the anonymity of the group of participants without feeling alone. Where else can one be with a large group of people from all  over the world without the need to talk or interact and without feeling left out? Maybe I’m excluding myself too much. It’s still early days, the group still needs to find itself.

I still feel rather restless, like as if I should be doing something, can’t stay down very long, get up and walk, slow walking. I’m somewhat in a hurry to I don’t know where. It must be my anxiety, though I always thought it is enthusiasm, curiosity drive. The lump in my throat came up during walking meditation but went again at some point. During the committed quiet time at lunch and while weeding during working mediation I felt trapped, angry, impatient and had a strong urge to run.

The last time I was here it took me 48 hours to unexpectedly cry. It was crucial for me in my process of letting go and I’m hoping it will happen again this time. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

 

 

Behind the Smile

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Lower Hamlet, Plum Village, France

Three years ago I spent a week at Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery in France, which teaches the mindfulness philosophy of Thich Nhat Hanh (read about it here). Ever since then have I been practicing to keep my calm but found it often difficult in the fast world outside the comforting surroundings of Plum Village, and the sense of peace I acquired during my week there soon dissolved like clouds in the sky.

A month ago I experienced work related stress and anxiety. Some might, and some did, say they saw it coming, I had been under a lot of stress at work over the past two years. I blame myself, because I took on so much, but there is also a lot to be said for the additional stress at work with unpredictable and often unmanageable workloads and also when our department moved on top of it all.

I also feel a failure for not being able to get on top of it and instead ending up unable to work, or even live, for that matter, despite everything I had learned about stress management and health and wellbeing. I went against my belief that we can heal ourselves with a healthy and nutritious diet, exercise, a positive attitude to life and whichever complementary or alternative therapy suits by taking antidepressants. I was always critical towards medications, the chemicals and side effects, and worried they might change me. But the stress and the anxiety had festered so much I already hardly recognized myself anymore, so taking pills couldn’t possibly be any worse. And it wasn’t. It turned out to be the best I could possibly have done since every aspect of my life slowly improved over the past weeks.

The physical, mental and emotional symptoms had become unbearable and are difficult to explain, especially since from the outside I didn’t look much different. It was the inner turmoil, the persistent unhappiness, constant worries, the tiredness, exhaustion and aching limbs, the acid cursing through my veins, the heart racing, that lump in my throat, the lack of focus and motivation, the deep sadness and feeling of loneliness, all hidden behind a calm smile, which only faded when nobody was watching. I didn’t know what to do, all my stress busting practices, meditation, yoga, walks, acupressure, acupuncture, psychotherapy didn’t seem to work anymore. Even worse, I was more and more unable to do them. I realised I was getting really bad when I stopped doing my usual daily yoga practice. So I summoned up my last strength and tried again to make an appointment with my GP.

At the moment I feel very good, calm, relaxed, at ease, happy. I have crossed the 4 week threshold of the adjustment phase of my medication relatively unharmed by side effects. I feel more peaceful within myself, enjoying time with my partner without fear and worries, being among people without panic, waking up without my heart racing, appreciating simple moments, having the motivation and will to get up and do things and not worrying too much about my return to work. I carried on with my daily yoga, meditation, acupressure and walks and am certain that without them I would either have gone down a long time ago already or would be much deeper into the illness and less likely to recover so smoothly and quick.

The thing is that we don’t always realise how deep we are into something – be it stress or relaxation. We simply carry on living. The only time we really notice how deep we have gone is when we experience the opposite. That’s how we measure success or failure. So without the bad we won’t know how good we are and equally we won’t know how bad we have got until we feel good again.

My second visit to Plum Village wasn’t as joyful as the first but brought on more of a struggle, which could be due to anxiety, the medication adjustment phase or simply because I had changed as a person. I will share my thoughts and feelings from that week with you over the next few days.

Until then
Anna

New York, New York

Ever been to New York? How did you find it? I consider myself a highly sensitive person with introvert tendencies. This is nothing to be ashamed of but means that I easily feel overwhelmed and need a lot of personal space to recover. How did I find it?

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It took me a good three days to physically arrive in New York, my mind, however, didn’t seem to arrive at all. A week later I’m back again in my humble little home and as I look out over the soothingly green hills of the South Downs I wonder if this trip to the city that never sleeps was just a dream after all.

What started off with an equally humble little settlement on a hilly island in the middle of nowhere some 400 years ago has somehow morphed into something some might refer to as heaven and others as hell. History saw a competitive nation evolve, first fighting the natives then each other, while one sky scraper overtook another in the never tiring battle to stand out as the biggest, tallest, best.

Look at an image of the first settlement: Dutch Colonial New York

To be fair, today’s inhabitants are very kind and surprisingly calm, besides the occasional shootings and stabbings that go on largely unnoticed by the masses of people walking past shiny glass facades and grand flagship stores, distracted by the many things New York offers, lost in their own world, while yet another tower has just made it to the top. I listened to many free speeches while on the subway, at first with moderate unease, later with fascination for the light-heartedness  of words of desolate individuals asking for money, yet with such humour in their voices. A living example for if you have nothing you have nothing to loose.

What does one expect when preparing for a week in famous New York, the base for many a movie location, the city of many possibilities? I made a list of all major and some lesser personal interests and spend the whole week ticking off that list without being able to properly arrive since the sheer vastness of the city was way too much to comprehend, especially for a highly sensitive or introvert person.

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Though surprisingly quiet and clean, even the constant sound of the fire engines and police cars act more like a lullaby, it is strange to have a hotel room on the 10th floor and still not be able to see the top of the building opposite. Being swallowed up by the millions of lights when arriving from the airport at night, I’m being regurgitated the next morning feeling shattered and confused that it is light outside where my body thinks it should be the middle of the night.

I legged it mid-day and run away from a group of friends, whom I had followed totally disoriented from one road in this maze to the next, until fight or flight mode kicked in when, trying to please everyone, they were too polite to make a decision on where to go next, when all I needed was a bit of space to breathe. So, liberated by a 7-day travel card, I disappeared into the closest subway hole, jumped on the next train and figured I would go for a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

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The fresh wind, water and plenty of open sky did help but even more so did the sight of the Statue of Liberty. In my early teens I was pretty obsessed with America and had painted the big sights onto the walls in my room. Now being here, gazing over to the real statue in the distance, I finally figured that I really must be in New York. Yet it still was so surreal, it was more like being in a miniature park, it didn’t look as grand as it does in the movies. I cried that day, simply because it was so overwhelming.

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Standing on top of the Empire State Building, gazing at the lights stretching out into the distance all around me, it still didn’t feel like it was real. When would I finally feel it, I wondered. Our hotel was near Times Square so we naturally passed through often on our way through the city and the place I thought I might like least became a welcoming and trusted oasis of lights. I swear the Starbucks there made the best soya hot chocolate! And there really is a Starbucks on most corners, something I could permanently and fatally get used to. The nearly constant wi-fi it provided across the city was also most useful!

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So what else did I discover? The rushing water at the World Trade Centre Memorial Site which drowns out most noise and creates a different atmosphere altogether. The first space orbiter “Enterprise” at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Taking Staten Island Ferry for a free ride past the Statue of Liberty. Bowling Green, the place where the Dutch bought Manhattan from the natives for $24 in 1626. The intricate Flatiron Building, awe inspiring Grand Central Terminal, neighbouring Chrysler Building, even more awe inspiring Public Library and simply stumbling over Wall Street. Rockefeller Centre Observation Deck for a great view of the Empire State Building and over Central Park by day, followed by a late “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (yes indeed, croissant and all) and a thorough exploration of Central Park including the Ramble, Reservoir and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain where scenes in One Fine Day and the Avengers where shot. But don’t trust those who want to charge you a hundred bucks to take you round central park in  those beautiful horse drawn carriages and drop you into the biggest tourist trap ever: The Cherry Hill Fountain is not the one featured in the Friends’ opening sequence!  

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Then, once you’ve seen all the typical big sights you begin to see the real New York. While looking for the house that acted for the location of the “Friends” apartment and Carry Bradshaw’s flat from “Sex and the City”, we discovered the neighbourhoods of Greenwich and West Village, which had plenty of pretty individual little shops and alternative foods so that I was even able to have my first gluten free American burger.

However, the best diner of them all to recommend is Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where all staff sing! Unsure at first, dragged there by personal recommendation, I afterwards rated it better than being on top of the Empire State Building, purely for factors of fun, leaving you with a warm heart and a silly smile. A cheap option for those who can’t afford a ticket to a Broadway show. Also excellent home made New York cheesecake!

Toward the end of the week I longed for calm and quiet and the opportunity to process all these experiences and impressions. You just don’t have time to process while you’re there! A few days have gone by since I returned where I looked at all the photos, got all excited spotting Manhattan Bridge in the “Brooklyn 99” title sequence and can’t wait to watch every single movie we’ve got that has New York in it.

So do I regret flying out? Of course not! This was an amazing opportunity to step away from the screen and see it for yourself. It can be overwhelming and I realised once again that I’m not so good traveling with a group of people. I’m better left to my own, discovering the city the way my heart unfolds. If you know how you tick you will have a great time!

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For those of you who are highly sensitive or introvert, just to stick a label on the box, or even those who have the stigma of depression attached to them and just can’t find any joy in what they see, make room to recover and tell your friends that you need your own space to discover and roam and enjoy the magic of the City of New York!😉

Read my previous blog posts on introversion:  The extrovert detox, Seeking solitude in a loud world.

Love

Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vision 2016

Do you know that feeling, when you are really passionate about what you do and feel life couldn’t possibly be getting any busier and yet it does and you come to that point where you suddenly stop caring about what you do and don’t want to do anything at all no more?

To stop caring, together with irritability, mood swings and tiredness, is  a sure sign you’re heading towards burnout. Those signs should be anybody’s wakeup call to stop and rest. Better even to not even get there in the first place. The irony in my case is that, being very passionate about helping others, I have put such a big effort into ensuring everyone else’s wellbeing this year that I simply exhausted myself in the process.

So here it is, my vision board for 2016. Be inspired!

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Similar to last year I (still) feel the strong need to slow down and do less. Last year’s collage was therefore very simple and calming and although I wanted something similar for this year I ended up with a collection of concrete reminders to actually calm down, most of which I found fittingly in this month’s edition of Psychologies Magazine.

One thing I would like to do is to learn more about helping others de-stress, without stressing myself of course:) There was an advertising for a stress course with a photo of a monk which spoke to me which is why I have included it in the collage. There was just something about the sense of discipline and groundedness it emanated that I liked.

There is a lot to be said about the “Power of a Rest Day” and knowing that “within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time” (Hermann Hesse) is very reassuring. There was an article in the magazine that went through the four seasons and I particularly liked those as focal points.

Winter: “remember you’re a human being – slow down and take time to be.”

Spring: “Gratitude – the need to spring clean. Clearing cupboards clears my mind.”

Summer: “Flower Power – Find a fragrant flower, close you’re eyes, take deep breaths and inhale deeply.”

Autumn: “Cherish your mid-point – don’t let achievements determine your sense of self-worth. I’m calmer if I stay balanced and remain at mid-point.”

Henry Thoreau put it best: “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” First thing to do when you’re feeling stressed and run down: sleep more and chill out! The HALT technique does just that. When you feel stressed stop and check whether you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired. If either of those are the case you can come up with a suitable solution instead of biting someone’s head off.

And last, but not least: the 10 Keys of Happiness: do things for and connect with others, look after your body, look at the world around you, learn new things and have a goal to work towards to, improve your resilience, be positive, accept yourself, be part of something bigger.

Finally the first line’s of a book by Lorna Gibb: “In the beginning there was me. Actually, no, that’s not quite right. In the beginning there was the idea of me.” You can be who you want to be, it all starts with a thought and a feeling!

So now that I have taken most of the magazine apart I feel I should by another copy to keep as a reference🙂

A Merry Christmas and a calm and happy 2016!

Love

Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The difference

As a German national, having been living in the UK for the past decade, returning to Germany for my annual Christmas fix leaves me feeling slightly at odds with the expected festivities and some of the seemingly rude or cold behaviours I encounter from my fellow kinsmen. Or is it just that I have been spoilt by the overly polite British?

From an intimidating glare of a towering middle-aged man in the supermarket, the irritated sigh of an elderly lady breathing down my neck in the cue, a passionate discussion easily misunderstood as a heated argument to those who don’t speak German to entering an office with a simple question and being totally ignored by three staff members behind their desks who rather get their mobile phones out and turn away to talk to each other until another customer enters, pulls a ticket and waits for the digital number to appear on the unlit sign with a beep, granting her time to speak to one of the ladies who had so purposefully turned away earlier. Really?! I could have stood there for eternity since nothing or nobody pointed out that I need to have a ticket to ask whether I’m even in the right place!

Next hurdle is the train ticket machine which is simply incomprahendable even to me as German and the only option to get help is to cue for 20 minutes while two people book their trip to the other end of the country.

I’m missing the human touch in so many ways. Why do we make life so complicated? Why can’t we just enjoy living but having to fight our way through this miserable maze of electronic devices? Why don’t we just talk to each other from one human soul to the next? When did we stop caring?

Granted, there have been incredibly kind souls too, like the cheerful staff at the fairtrade cafe or those humbling individuals at the medieval christmas market who actually appear to enjoy living the simple life.

But what really mad a difference to me today was a small group of foreign individuals who were singing from their heart and soul in town, especially the little boy who was drumming on a box, occasionally chirping in with his bright voice. At first I was apprehensive, as if still trying to protect myself from possible uncanny electronic attacks, but my heart soon did the only thing it does best: respond to the beat of the drum, the first sound we all hear while still in our mother’s womb, our mother’s heartbeat. It’s the one thing that connects us all, the one thing we all have in common, the one thing we all recognize, regardless of the language we speak.

I watched the pure joy on the singer’s faces ignight the smile on many a passer by and remind them, even if just for that very moment, not just what the real meaning of Christmas is, but even more so what it means to be a part of this world!

A merry Christmas to you all!

Love
Anna

When time allows

Have you ever noticed how slow time passes when you don’t check for time?

Having purposefully left my mobile phone switched off over the weekend I find myself swimming in a see of calm and peace with very little worry for anything other than making the most of each moment. And the moments keep coming. Every now and again I throw a casual glance at the kitchen clock when I happen to pass by and am left wondering why there is still so much time of the day left. This is a beautiful feeling and I am savouring every long moment of it.

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The need to check my phone for missed calls, messages, emails, the weather, news and facebook updates had become obsessive. And I don’t even like it! It’s the reward centre of my dear brain that urges my nervous system to act and find new stimulation to increase my happiness, and thus a lot of time is wasted picking up my phone and checking stuff. But instead of making me happier I felt increasingly more stressed.

I just finished reading “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom which has a crucial message about the invention of time: “Once we began to chime the hour we lost the ability to be satisfied. There was always a quest for more minutes, more hours, faster progress to accomplish more in each day. The simple joy of living between sunrises was gone. Everything man does today to be efficient, to fill the hour, does not satisfy. It only makes him hungry to do more. Man wants to own his existence. But no one owns time. When you are measuring life, you are not living it.”

So I urge you to claim back your time, stop watching it go by and start living it! Go out and brush through the yellow autumn leaves on the ground, listen to the wind in the trees, watch that squirrel jump about, smile back at the occasional burst of sun and for once, even if it is just for that one moment, forget that time exists!

Have a lovely day!
Anna

A Day in the Life of Birds

Today seemed to be national flying day for newly hatched birds. While one of the blackbird chicks was taking bold flying lessons across the garden under the watchful eye of it’s mother, calling it from one corner to the other, the second chick was toppling around on the ground, momentarily getting caught in the netting over my veg patch, jumping around in the bushes in a desperate attempt to get up higher while Daddy Blackbird kept looking for food, pulling up worms from the ground, like there was no reason to worry.

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Can you spot it? Right in the middle!

At some point they must have lost their chicks because the proud parents were yelling on top of their voices. A little while later the clamour started to get even louder when a crow positioned itself on top of the electricity line. When it jumped down onto the tree, accompanied by both loudly protesting blackbirds, I felt the need to intervene, marched into the garden, putting up a bit of a protest myself, and chased the crow away. A big rustle in the bushes revealed another crow and fearing it was about to eat one of the blackbird chicks, not sure they would do that sort of thing, I was about to start shaking the bushes when I noticed that it was also a young crow, just as clumsily trying to get up on top of the bushes. And while a big crowd of crows formed above me I wisely decided to withdraw and let nature have it’s way not risking having my eyes picked out.

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A few minutes later the noise was picking up again and I came just in time to see the baby crow land in the netting around my veg patch in a desperate attempt to get away from two vicious blackbirds angrily picking on it. After a successful rescue mission equipped with a towel, the baby crow was tossed up into the air and manage to fly to safety, whereas the blackbirds didn’t seem too impressed with me taking the enemies side. Still no sight of the blackbird babies since the morning.

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I saw it again, later in the day, INSIDE the netting of my veg patch, together with it’s dad. Just how they got themselves in there I don’t know. So off I went unravelling the netting so they cold escape, which they did rather flustered and the baby blackbird settled on a branch, where it spent the next 20 minutes as if unsure of what to do next.

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What it must be like to be a bird, I don’t know, but it is rather entertaining when one has nothing better to do on their holiday than sit in the garden and watch them. Though it becomes even more interesting when you begin to understand what the birds are actually saying ;)

Love
Anna

That moment where you finally stop and take a deep breath

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Amidst the confusion of suddenly having nothing major to do after two years of university did I find myself taking the first conscious breath in what seems a lifetime.

It is very very strange. I was soo looking forward to finishing, sitting here fidgeting in my chair in front of my computer writing the last few paragraphs on my essays, that I was rather surprised at the sudden feeling of sadness wash over me on the actual last day of university. Is it just again the concept of “endings” (click here to read all about it) that shakes me? That things won’t be the same? Some of us started a bit later on that day than others in the group but I felt the strong need to come in earlier at the usual time, because it would be the last time we all sat together in the canteen.

So now that it is over, two of the most stressful years of my life, that brought so many changes to myself and my practice at work, I am left in a dazed state of confusion, in desperate need to relax but unable to just stop. It is good to have that time to just sit and breathe without feeling guilty that I’m wasting time. But it also takes a lot of effort on my part to not just carry on and look for the next project to embark on.

Many times over the past year did I feel like writing about all the changes taking place and new epiphanies arising but simply didn’t find the time for it. And how nice a feeling to be looking forward to writing from the heart again, compared to clinical evidence based practice.

This is just the confusion stage, once I’m over it I can begin to listen to my heart again and share it’s story with you.

Until then

With Love

Anna

That New Year Feeling

As the end of the year drew closer I felt inspired to create a new vision board for the New Year.

I thumped through pages and pages of magazines with beautiful photos and inspiring quotes, following a feeling that I had for the New Year. It is a humbling feeling, much calmer and peaceful than the past couple of years. I will be finishing university in the summer and am looking forward to resting during the latter half of the year. And I have achieved quite a fair amount in the past year. New opportunities have opened, my role at work has changed fundamentally and I as a person have equally grown and changed. Now I feel the need to take some time to adapt to those changes, to re-centre and find my save ground again on which I can stand and feel safe while I figure out what kind of person I am now.

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“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi – Dreaming, waking, sleeping, devoting. – This is it (Thich Nhat Hanh). – “Be present where you are.”

The end result of ripping through magazine pages was the above vision board. I felt the need to use my native language German for it, something that I have not done so far. It was this Christmas that I had seen most of my family in Germany, some of whom I hadn’t seen for six or more years. It made me more aware again about my roots and my origin.

There had been a rift within our family for a few years and for Christmas my brother and I had written “Love Letters” to family members based on Thich Nhat Hanh. The idea is that when we acknowledge the good in others it might not only help them see it too but it might also break down old habits and create change where there had been old patterns preventing communication between individuals. It partially worked and we sincerely believe that whatever seed we planted with this that it now can grow until the time is right.

The small circle of “This is it” on the collage is also from Thich Nhat Hanh representing the arrival in the present moment where one only breathes and smiles. It goes together with the big yellow  “Be present where you are”, to fully emerge and participate in every moment. This leads me onto the many roses on my collage which I felt really drawn to. I have plans to plant some more roses next year and I would like to have plenty of time to “smell the roses”.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” by Gandhi will be my mantra for the next year. Instead of preaching to simply be what I believe in. For me this notion is a much calmer and more humbling perspective than my last few years of actively breaking down convention to create positive change.

The big Buddha face in the centre is a painting by a lady called Maurah and it simply spoke to me with it’s calm presence and air of “this is it”. The smaller Buddha figure underneath holds the teaching mudra, which is another aspect that I feel drawn to in my life. To live and teach by example, not only by theory but by practice.

Dreaming, waking, sleeping, devoting – going for a welly boot walk by the sea, following the never ending circle of life. To arrive within myself, to breathe, to smile, to walk slowly. It  surely sounds like a beautifully mellow 2015😉

Happy New Year to you all!

Love
Anna

Universal Thoughts

So I happen to see a TV programme with Professor Brian Cox in which he analyses why we are here and where we might have come from.

He touched thought provoking topics like if the stone that supposedly hit the earth and caused a halt to the life of dinosaurs never actually did hit the earth, would dinosaurs still be alive? And would that mean that we would have never come into existence?

He explains that for anything to come into existence the conditions need to be right. He mentions another theory of the creation of our universe which says that before the existence of our universe there was just a sort of waving energy or frequency and one day one wave dropped a little lower than usual and that caused the molecule at the tip of that wave to transform, causing what we might call the Big Bang and henceforth our universe began to expand.

Two questions arise to us with human consciousness and the will to know the answer: what was this energy and where did it come from? If all our existence is based on a mere coincidence, a mere blip in a chemical solution, no purpose, nor higher force or deities involved, then what is our purpose in life?

This thesis is probably not going to make any change to atheists. However, those who believe in a guiding force, a higher purpose and a paradise or place to go after physical death, they will likely find this topic a little difficult to digest.

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I am somewhere between atheist and believer. I believe that there is an energetic link between everything in our universe and that there are certain laws at work that make life possible and that we can even work with that energy on a subtle level. But I don’t believe that a bearded man with a long frock is the one and only who has created it all. I much rather believe that this energy has a consciousness of its own and can take on any form or shape that is suitable.

And this is why I am really excited to hear Professor Cox talk about this energetic frequency that was already present before our universe came into being.

My belief that I am somewhat guided in my life purpose and how I witness that I seem to be at the right place at the right time with incredible, almost unbelievable outcomes and opportunities at times, and at the same time see how others seem to be less fortunate and run from one accident into the next, this new take on our existence has slightly changed my perception of my life purpose.

Instead of following a life purpose I am quite likely simply matching that very frequency that surrounds and permeates our universe and beyond. And because it matches it simply creates wonders in front of me. Another factor is that I don’t push for results. I let them come into existence naturally. So if you feel that you are never getting anywhere, least of all what you want, then maybe you are not acting in the best interest of your life. Life creates when the conditions are right. So my suggestion would be to be grateful for what you have, to be patient and wait for the right moment and to be willing to make the best out of any moment of your life.

So what do we know about the time after our life? Not much, maybe we simply become part of that never ending energy again. And maybe we keep some of our consciousness when we go there which would explain why we sometimes meet those that had gone.

Too big a topic and way too much uncertainty about the wheres and whys and what ifs. Again it is you that decides what you do with your life. Do you want to maintain a sense of purpose and live happy? Or do you rather do what you want to do and force your way through a miserable way of living?

Sit back for a moment and think. The choice is yours😉

Love
Anna

Thinking – A Forgotten Art

After helping out a fellow student of mine today he asked me why I was so clever. I was just as much taken aback as flattered to hear him say that. Without thinking much about it I replied that I wasn’t really very clever, just interested, with an open mind. In actual fact, I said to him, when I was much younger, my school teacher was adamant that I belonged into a school for special needs, because I was quiet and she didn’t think that I was very clever at all.

He laughed and said that when he was younger his teacher send him home to write lines of “curiosity killed the cat” because he had asked too many questions. I myself had numerous occasions where I was told to stop asking silly questions, only because some people couldn’t do with my heightened interest or 10-step-ahead thinking procedure.

So there we were, so called mature students, that were unable to gain access to higher education when we were younger (at least this is true in my case) based on a belief that we were either not clever enough or not supposed to find answers to our probing questions.

And how sad is that?

A little unrelated yet fittingly so, I also found myself thinking how much we are actually prevented to think on our own in general. Watching the white prints on the station platforms at each stop on the way home, reminding us to “mind the gap”, a thought occurred to me: instead of the well-meaning warnings that are ever increasingly popping up everywhere to prevent accidents and harm, there will come a time again where accidents will be on the rise because we have stopped assessing our surroundings for danger, a natural process that we do without thinking, and assume that if there is no sign to warn us of any danger, there surely can’t be any either.

So why are we being stopped from thinking?

What do you think?😉

Love
Anna

The Essence of Who We Are

Today a cheerful little colleague of mine felt the need to tell me of how much she thought I had changed over the past years. She said that when we first started working together she wasn’t sure whether I even liked her. To her I appeared quiet and reserved and didn’t respond much to her at all, like I had put up a façade. Now she feels that I am so much more confident and open, and we have actually grown quite close.

My heart both hurt and rejoiced while listening to her. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t get on with her at all back then. She was like a whirlwind that had lost it’s quiet inner core, something that is really difficult to deal with as a solid introvert like me. Yet, over the past years I have warmed to my surroundings, gained my confidence, had grown up. My colleague on the other hand had noticeably calmed down and one day we happened to meet at a level that we both felt comfortable at. I now lovingly call her “Chiquita” because she not only stems from Brazil but is also much older than me albeit looking half my age. It hurts me to think that my behaviour might have upset her back then.

Some say that people never change. And it may be true that the essence of a person, their genetic blueprint, always stays the same. However, on a behavioural level, or even from heart level, we are able to change, adapt, learn, adjust and warm, as well as harden, to our surroundings, depending on what we encounter.

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Having analysed the development of compassion over the past year (read “Compassion in Practice“), wondering whether compassion can be learned, I grow more and more confident in my thesis that compassion grows together with your heart: the more you nurture it, the more it will grow. As long as you remain true to yourself and respect your surroundings you have as much the chance to change for the better and develop compassionate values as anyone else, regardless of their childhood issues or “wrong” upbringing.

Who decides what’s right or wrong anyway? What norms are we measuring society with? Wouldn’t we all be much happier if we had the chance to develop according to our own soul’s calling instead of letting society tell us which of our behaviour is acceptable and which is not? Just don’t go about hurting others and cause damage. What I’m much more referring to is the gender and age specific stereotyping which is probably enough to destroy compassion for self and others even in those with the best upbringing and early childhood experiences.

Life has so much to offer, why don’t we let it? Why won’t we learn to let life guide us and let our heart decide what’s good for us? Speak up for yourself, especially if you are not being respected as the magnificent human being that you are. Apply some common sense. Anger and spitefulness won’t get you anywhere. Whatever you gained by force or took without permission from another was never yours to start with and will only ever bear a negative memory. Happiness won’t settle until you follow the true calling of your heart. So whoever you are, whether you are already following your heart or have served many sentences, you can change direction any time.

And as I watch the big orange sphere of the sun disappear behind the horizon, I am filled with a deep sense of connection to everything around me. I feel truly grateful for my life and the many opportunities that came my way and shaped me into the person that I am now as well as the many versions that I resembled in the past. Only you will know who you want to be. Who will you be tomorrow? The choice is yours.

Love
Anna

Beyond Words

Writing for me is coupled with emotions, an urge to express myself and my feelings, something that can often be difficult to put into words. However, the process of finding words to describe emotions has been hugely beneficial in that it made me look at myself and help me understand the connections between my feelings and the way I react to them. Often I found myself looking for more information on topics I was writing about and even learned a thing or two on the way.

And I can certainly say that I have changed a great deal since I began writing a couple of years ago, even believe that the writing process helped me to lay some issues from the past at rest. After the initial burp of endless blog posts I have calmed down a little. As if I have found my inner peace at last. I don’t seem to get outraged so much no more, often don’t even feel like writing about thoughts that pop up. I find myself smiling at them and watch them flutter away like butterflies.

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Reading through some of my past blog posts I find a lot of wisdom and am often surprised at the almost accidental knowledge and insights that I unearth while writing. Whether anyone else has benefitted from my posts I won’t know for sure, but I am greatly reassured by the vast knowledge that is seemingly hidden within me, be it inspired from a higher source or simply just hidden from view, only available when the present moment requires it.

Recently I have become very angry and upset with the electronic developments of our time. What good are they to humanity in the long run, especially since we are depleting the planet of its natural resources to fund them. We’re getting way too dependent on them and won’t be able to live without them, which makes me very sad. I got so angry with Facebook and mobile phones that I came to the point where I silently made the decision to cut any electronic related hassle out of my life. I even refused to write another blog. Easier said than done. Because how can I condemn all the other users of electronic gadgets but still use it myself? And where was all the anger coming from anyway?

The funny insight came after I had calmed down a little and I realised how threatened I felt by a device or system that wasn’t actually posing any direct threat to me. It was just my own dissatisfaction with the development of machines and the thoughtless use of consumers using them that upset me. Once I had acknowledged that I took a deep breath, dropped the anger and allowed for the clever gadgets to co-exist without interrupting my peace of mind. For it is presently not within my capacity to prevent humanity from using any electronic equipment and revert to prehistoric living standards. All I can do is find my own peace of mind and live a happy life which maybe others will take note of and begin to make small changes themselves. The secret is to take advantage of today’s clever gadgets with a mindful approach but to not be sucked into their mindless maze of activities and waste precious present moments of your life.

Ask yourself: Am I taking a photo or am I living the moment?

It is so important to find peace of mind, and yet so difficult to actually achieve it. Years of practice doesn’t sound promising to most and albeit it is necessary if you want to permanently achieve mental calmness, so the process starts with the very first minute that you simply close your eyes and take a deep breath. Note the thoughts that arise, smile at them and let them move on with the wind and the clouds. If a persistent thought won’t leave you in peace, maybe consider writing about it and find out what it tries to tell you.

Happiness is a peaceful mind, not a Facebook update ;)

Love
Anna

Changing the World from the Inside

Contemplating the first Gene Key I was well and truly surprised by the accuracy Richard Rudd’s book “Gene Keys” describes aspects of my life as if he had known me since I was born. This extra knowledge provided by the Gene Keys made the ground beneath me stronger and offered me a supporting reassurance that I must be on the right path. For some background info on the topic please read my introductory post on “The Key to our Genes“.

My first Gene Key is the 49th with the fascinatingly apt title “changing the world from the inside”.  This is my so called “Life’s Work”, a calling that has already made its way into my conscious awareness, having done a lot of work to raise other’s awareness of their Sacred Centre, their Inner Self for the past couple of years. It seemed quite natural to me to pursue this idea, the calling to help others find a still point and begin to heal from within. However tough a journey, I couldn’t possibly ignore it.

I further learned that the 49th Shadow of Reaction is one of the most powerful of all 64 shadows and has a big influence on human behaviour. It can lead to the ability to emotionally cut yourself off from others, something I am only too familiar with. This behavioural trait has descended along our genetic history with the original purpose being to enable us to kill for survival.

Richard Rudd sais that it was our ability to kill that created our need for spirituality, to justify the killing of others. All reaction comes from a one-sided subjective belief of good and evil. If you carry on seeing your own people as good and others as evil you will remain a prisoner of this Shadow.  Reaction is the key. All issues arise from a reaction to others, it can’t occur without relationships.

The fuel of Reaction is the fear of rejection. One of our greatest fear is being cut off from our feeling of unity, our connection to our wider family or even our God. This is mirrored in an unconscious memory of being separated from our mother at birth. However, being separate from one another is an illusion and we are all in fact a single world tribe emerging from one Mitochondrial Eve.

The Gene Key taught me that with increased awareness we begin to stop our ancient reaction pattern and learn not to react to our fear of rejection so that this fear is losing its grip on us. We are interconnected through our auric field and will come to understand that there is no possible rejection or abandonment.

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The biggest insights for me from the Gene Keys are the need to change the world and at the same time cutting myself off from the world by emotionally detaching myself from others out of fear of rejection and hurt, which after all doesn’t appear to stem from my abandonment issues with my father but actually from the disconnection from my mother’s body at birth, a perfectly natural occurrence in everyone’s life and yet an event that could potentially lead to an unconscious fear of rejection.

Richard Rudd sais that the very same ancient energy that we used to kill at a lower frequency will at a higher frequency cause destruction of all things at a lower frequency. The purpose of the 49th Gene Key is to bring this explosive new energy and awareness into the world at a collective and cultural level. Which explains my immense power and strength to change things for the better and also to set up the Awareness Spa, to raise exactly that mentioned awareness, and frequency. The Gift of the 49th Gene Key is to resolve conflicts and at the same time implement radical changes and ideas based upon a grand vision of the future, based on a deep goodwill toward all creatures.

And grand future visions do I have aplenty! And kicking and pushing boundaries I have done a lot as well. And the truth is, however tiring and sometimes pointless it seems, I can’t get enough of it. The visions are imprints that emerge from the collective unconscious and more and more people either raise their frequency naturally or are born with their Shadow neutralised. Whichever way around I do it, I have plenty of inspirational material emerging from my unconscious.

The same energy we used to kill actually gives birth to our total freedom. Insight comes with the understanding that the world in its current from cannot be fixed. The only way to start a new future is to start from scratch. This might be harsh but the 49th Gene Key is set upon a far distant goal which can only be accomplished with a new beginning – a rebirth. This depends on us following our visions. The rebirth of consciousness cannot take place if we cannot create the waves of the new revolution at all levels of society. Only because we can’t fix the world doesn’t mean that we cannot make it a better place. Our vision of the perfect future is precisely what creates the necessary frequency shift. It will happen because it must happen.

Richard Rudd exclaims that every human being that has reached true enlightenment has experienced such a rebirth. They force the physical DNA to mutate prematurely so that the human form can accommodate the future awareness. If you have the 49th Gene Key in your profile you are potentially one of those. Isn’t that a beautiful thing to ponder on?

It surely is, and powerful it is as well. This force that I have been carrying with me for so long, suppressed still as child but even then already coming to the surface in unexpected bouts, has taken over and is pulling me along this exciting path of changing the world. Changing it from the inside, the “quiet revolution”, a shift in frequency that will happen because it must happen. A big task, often daunting, but at the end of the day a higher purpose that I was born with.

Things I ought to change in my life in order to change the world are the tendency to shut myself off, to exclude others from myself. To draw from the realisation that everyone around me is interconnected with my aura, benefitting from my radiance just as much as I can benefit from that insight into the collective unconscious pool of mystical truths. I always knew that I was a born fighter and believed that this strong current of energy within me was a result of fighting my way through oppressive beliefs and other’s patronising opinions. But now I would even consider that this energy was with me since the day I was born as part of the 49th Gene Key “changing the world from the inside”.

Do you want to share this journey with me or even recognize yourself in it? Order your free profile from the Gene Keys website and discover your own genius!

Love
Anna

The Key to our Genes

I listened to this very insightful man talk about Gene Keys (www.genekeys.com), a unique geometry consisting of our 64 genes, based on our date and place of birth in our moving universe, that can offer us clues to ourselves, our being and behaviour, as well as our purpose in life. I was instantly hooked.

Having gained a little insight into my genetic past last year (My Mitochondrial Past, Incarnation vs Mutation, The Call of Life), the question of how much awareness our genes have beyond our knowing and whether they have any influence on our spiritual development as much as our physiology, has neither settled nor encountered a satisfactory answer. Richard Rudd and his hologenetic profile might be just the answer I was after.

Anna Hologenetic Profile

So that is my profile. And when I began to read about the 49th gene, my heart began to pound. According to the book, my Life’s Work is to “change the world from the inside”. That very first line was enough for me to believe that I was onto something incredibly worthwhile here. This simple sentence not only confirmed all my efforts over the past few years to help humanity find their “Inner Self“, but also encouraged me to carry on changing the world for the better, however insignificant my steps and progress may seem.

The profile consists of three phases: discovering your genius, opening your heart through relationships  and releasing your prosperity through simplicity. The Gene Keys won’t serve you the answer but encourage you to find your true calling and illuminate your life’s path by contemplating on life and your reaction to it. To help me find my way and maybe even enlighten yours a little, I will share my contemplations and insights while I work through my hologenetic profile with you here.

And if you would like to share that journey with me, then get yourself on the path and download your free profile now and order the book as soon as you can. You can download your free profile from his website to give you an idea about your own geometry, but you will need his book to understand the message behind your genes (www.genekeys.com/gene-keys-book). And I highly recommend it! It’s a bargain!

Looking forward to this exciting little project🙂

Love
Anna

First Impressions

A fairly high-ranking individual from our work place once described her experience on the first day of starting here. Since nobody knew who she was she was treated accordingly, with little attention and getting mostly ignored. I know that I myself walked past her a few times one day, because I was busy, because I didn’t know who she was, because in my eyes she didn’t seem to be very important.

Why would you only pay important people the respect you think they deserve? When is someone important enough to warrant your immediate attention? What is it that signals our brains how to react and who to pay attention to? Is it their appearance or our past experience?

I felt bad that I was just as guilty of ignoring her, although I usually pride myself in greeting anyone I meet with at least a smile and ask if I can help when someone is clearly looking lost. Could it be that our important lady didn’t look lost enough? Did she maybe have a subtle demeanour of reassurance about herself, the kind that only she knew about, the power to sack you on the spot, yet which nonetheless seeped through and radiated a sense of not really needing directions?

This humbling experience made me even more conscious of the fact that you just don’t know who you have in front of you. And it really doesn’t matter whether it’s the Queen of Timbuktu or a street dog that crosses your path. Anyone deserves a certain amount of respect. And ever since I have made a double effort to treat everyone with the same respect – not anyone any more or anyone else any less.

Today I went to all the different departments at work to distribute a leaflet for a regular gathering of a certain grade of employee. The multitude of different reactions I got from every single department still goes through my mind. Mostly I encountered the expected initial few moments of being ignored. Some I had to tap on the shoulder after waiting patiently a few more moments, others decided to see me and ask if I needed something. Some reacted stressed, others disinterested. A few looked at me suspiciously, a few others were really open and interested. One barked at me what it was I wanted now, another wasn’t quite sure why I was talking to them.

I was at all times open, friendly, smiling, asking for the kind of employee I was after. The difference in reactions was astounding, interesting and most of all exhausting. Such is the human genius I suppose. I like to think what it would be like if I was someone with a high influence that would deserve an equally high level of respect? And again, why don’t I deserve that kind of respect as a simple enthusiastic individual on a mission to unite a workforce of employees and to help them have a voice? Are we humans really that ignorant to separate low-ranking from high-ranking people and treat them accordingly?

According to what?

May I suggest you stop judging others and start respecting them instead? The world would definitely be a much better place that way.

Love
Anna

Personal Development

Yay, I won the Personal Development Award at our annual staff awards ceremony! That is a real honour and something I wasn’t expecting at all. It almost feels like I have taken someone else’s award, because surely somebody else would deserve it more than me? And yet, I have indeed come a long way. I’ve worked tirelessly on improving myself and the world around me, at work as much as outside of work. But I only did what I felt needed doing and where my passion was directing me. I didn’t do any of it to receive an award.

Being given this award meant more to me than “just” being honoured for my work achievements. It takes me back, once again (I whish I would just get over it), to my non-existent father and my teasing and misunderstanding teacher who both instilled in me the believe that I am not only not worth knowing but also that I likely won’t achieve much in my life. Thankfully I was also born with a fierce will to survive and grow, the latter of which was ironically fuelled by the constant let-downs of my teacher and the lacking acknowledgement of my father. I spent the majority of my life proving myself to the world.  This award to me is the acceptance and acknowledgement that I was longing for for the past 30 years. Am I ready to accept it?

The winners of all categories were given a yellow lanyard that had “Trust Staff Awards Winner 2014” written all over it and it was suggested to wear it at work because we could all be proud of our achievement. Putting it around my neck the next day at work gave me a minor panic attack, almost like as if I was on my way to the executioner who was going to hang me with it. I was unable to wear it. Why this irrational response?

Something in me can’t accept it, can’t deal with the hype around it, doesn’t feel worthy of it, worries that it won’t be as well received by others and that it will make me look like being above my colleagues. It was as if all the sudden acknowledgement was too much in one go. I was used to quietly get on with things and when it came to present changes to others I was easily defeated by their opposition to change and my little suggested improvements often fell on deaf ears by fellow colleagues. It is interesting to note that it is more management that liked my ideas. For staff it presented just another new addition they didn’t really have the time or desire to get into, which is another factor why I felt insecure about my award.

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I’m not really much of a talker, more a doer. I have done so many things in my life, all driven by my thirst for knowledge and interest in how the world ticks. And when I realised that I wanted to work more closely with people it was as if I had found the key to my purpose in life: to help others realise their potential and to assist them back to health as much as possible for them to continue with their own life purpose. Another acknowledgement came unexpectedly from a patient a couple of months ago. He said that he always wanted to have a daughter, and if he had had one he would have wanted her to be like me. The realisation of the overall meaning to me only really set in on my way home: why do I wait for acknowledgement from my father if I’m being acknowledged by so many others?

When I realised that I wanted to work with people I was working as a Housekeeping Assistant at a General Hospital. I didn’t have any care experience and therefore no luck of working in healthcare at the hospital. Instead I worked a year as a Care Assistant at a Nursing Home, which kindly provided me with an NVQ2 in Health and Social Care. This was my ticket back into hospital. There I worked for a year on the bank and accepted an offer for a permanent position on my favourite ward. Three years later, after increasing my hours from 24 to 36, I was offered the Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support. And before I even finished that I was already applying for the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care Practice.

All of this was offered to me, based on the good work I delivered. And to be accepted at university, for the first time in my life, in a language that is not my mother tongue, whereas my teacher was adamant that I would be better suited for a school for special needs, is quite extraordinary to me. And then I was nominated for a Personal Development Award. Is it maybe also because I would have been the only one of 200 to raise my hand at the awards ceremony when the guest speaker asked who gets out of bed in the morning feeling happy and looking forward to the day? I didn’t raise my hand by the way, because, you know, that is embarrassing😉

But it was also that very same embarrassment that stopped me from wearing my lanyard. And what morale can we draw from this? That it really doesn’t matter what others say around you. That everyone is perfect just the way they are and that we should all strive for the best in all areas. And to not wait until you have enough time or are paid to do something that you feel passionate about but to simply grab an idea and make something of it. This is how change happens. It starts with an idea, a feeling, the sense to do something. So go for it! Don’t let yourself be held back by past hurts and let-downs. Let them be the reason to change!

To change and a better world!

Love
Anna

When Happiness Returns

Suddenly I felt this pure happiness wafting through my body. Like as if a window had been opened in a stuffy room to let the fresh spring air in and awaken the sleeping mind. I admit it had been a while since I last felt it. We’re probably talking a good 5 years. My goodness, what had happened that I spent all that time semi-unhappy?

What kept me going those past years was that last memory of a sunny morning that I woke up early in my little studio flat, refreshed after sleeping sound through the night, went for a run along the seafront and settled with a good read on the sofa. I had a little patio on which I grew as many vegetables as possible in pots, even a little apple tree. And I felt happy, really happy. And ever since have I tried to get back to feeling happy just like that.

The decline followed on after a big depression which was the result of an emotionally abusive relationship, the shockwaves of which would follow me around more or less for most of those years. The foundation was fear. The fear of either living a life under the control of someone, which I didn’t want or living with the consequences of leaving the confines of control and be subject to harassment. I chose to break free but from then on didn’t sleep properly, couldn’t eat properly, got an adrenaline rush every time I heard a noise outside or spotted someone in the streets that looked like my ex and my menstrual cycle was all over the place as well. This naturally is a disaster recipe for unhappiness.

I have come a long way since then and sensing that glimpse of happiness made me realise how much work I had done on myself and on my surroundings. It would be great to assume that happiness is something that is freely available, but I don’t think it is. And it may also be interpreted differently by everyone. What happiness is to you might not be happiness to the person next to you.

Opening up to a new partner was hell for me and I only got through it because he was so patient and understanding, something I will be eternally grateful for. What I have learned over the past years is that if a relationship has no mutual respect and understanding for both parties, neither will be happy and sometimes the only way to be happy is to get out, however hard it may be.

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Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to find lasting happiness. This means to give up something you like or release people from your life who get you down. My sacrifice was to move in with my new partner into a small second floor flat along a main road to safe money for a better place. There were always people shouting and suspicious groups of people hanging out outside and I missed my connection to nature and to grow my veg. Together with my fear of commitment based on my last experience this meant another dip in spirits. But now I have been rewarded with a lovely little house and beautiful garden in a really quiet area with views onto the magnificent green hills of the South Downs. And here it was that suddenly my happiness perked up. Totally and completely 100% undiluted happiness.

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My menstrual cycle is still a bit out of sync but thanks to acupuncture treatments as well as my own applied acupressure, healing, meditation and yoga I’m not as affected mentally, the ups and downs of which were the biggest obstacle to happiness. Food is also still an ongoing battle because I find that there are more and more things my body reacts to with tiredness, fatigue, aches and pains.

So, to keep your spirits up and be truly happy it is crucial to be with people who appreciate and value you, who listen to you and who understand who you are and what makes you tick. To release people from your life that cause you unhappiness isn’t an easy one. When I was in that situation I read somewhere that by raising your own happiness, to be yourself, to not let yourself get down and to surround yourself with people who contribute to your happiness will quite likely lead to the natural disappearance of those who don’t contribute to your happiness. The Law of Attraction says that you get more of what you put out. It sort of worked like that for me. We’re all annoying at times, we all have our ups and downs, but if you can reflect on yourself and acknowledge those around you, to laugh with them and sometimes even without them on your own, just for the sheer joy of it, then you will have found happiness.

If you then support yourself and others with a simple diet that is full of fresh ingredients, swapping common sugar with natural sweeteners (read my “Sugar Hangover Diaries” if you would like to know more) and enjoyed with “gusto” you will find that your body will be a good vehicle from which to shine your light of happiness. We well and truly are what we eat and food has a big effect on us, how we feel, how we act, how we present ourselves, which I belief isn’t nearly given as much attention as it deserves. We’re all such individual personalities that one rule doesn’t fit all of us. So what I find important is that you figure out who you are, what you need to be truly happy and to give you more of what you need, not only in food but also in people around you and the space you live in. It all starts with the simple thought of what you want.

You can change and create your life just how you want it. Down to the very T🙂

Love
Anna

The Extrovert Detox

I was born an introvert, quiet, highly sensitive to my surroundings with the purpose of changing the world for the better. These might be at odds and you might wonder how a quiet introvert can possibly take on the challenge of changing the world. The answer lies in the adaptability of life, the life choices I make and the actions I take on the way.

Being highly sensitive means that I take in more than others of clues and information that I encounter every single waking minute of my life. At night I have vivid dreams that seem to overcompensate for the quiet life I choose to live. Because of my highly sensitive nature I can often feel overwhelmed. A simple conversation or group activity can leave me feeling mentally exhausted and ready to hide somewhere alone, just to try and recuperate.

Being like that, however, also has its positives. It means that I spend more time thinking and evaluating what I encounter. I read more, learn more, study more. A self-confessed know-it-all, this is the best preparation to challenge the world to change its thinking. Mainstream doesn’t work with me, not very often anyway. I tend to question, wanting to know the whys and hows and what ifs. Often this approach hasn’t gotten me very far in discussions with others because they either couldn’t understand the complexity of my question or didn’t know the answer. All too often I was told not to ask such silly questions.

Self-doubt has been, and still is with me most days. But again, it helps to evaluate myself, my behaviour and the reactions from others. One might say that it is a lonely path I chose, an idealistic freedom fighter on the way to unknown territory. The fact that only about 20% of the world population is introvert makes it harder for us to prove our validity and to explain why we choose quiet solitude over crowded parties. The majority of people loves to go out clubbing and listen to loud music and to talk exuberantly as if there was no tomorrow. And they have come to understand that most people like that sort of thing. That’s what today’s mainstream marketing is aiming at. At the extrovert fun and action loving people.

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This makes it even harder for introverts to stand up for themselves and say it is okay to be like I am, because all through their life have they been told that it is not. That they were too quiet, that they were geeky, that they were boring together with plain weird and not worth wasting time on. But if you ever spent that time on that quiet person in the corner, you will not only find a really interesting personality but also a friend for life that you can trust and who will listen deeply, offering good advice and who would will inspire you to be more like them and less like the actual boring drunken people who scream and shout before stripping off and jumping naked into the pool. I suppose it adds a little excitement to your life if that’s what you need.

Evaluative question: why am I writing about this? Maybe because I feel so misunderstood by society. My whole life have I played some strange copy of Jekyll and Hyde in a weak attempt to adapt to people around me. And whereas there were times when I enjoyed drinking and exhausting laughter I remember mostly that this were times where I wasn’t truly myself. But it is a long and arduous trek to accept that you are simply different and don’t want to play this game no more.

I have all but given up table sugar and changed my diet to a great deal to avoid food groups that I don’t agree with, which was a battle of its own. And I am now ready to give up on that false reality of pretending to be extrovert and wholly accept my introvert and sensitive nature and not so much avoid extrovert groups but more so make choices to participate in activities that I feel happy with and to not just do what others expect of me because it suits their idea of fun.

There have already been times where I declined going for a drink or to a club and had to undergo the exhaustive discussion to explain why I didn’t feel like it without offending anyone. I was often lost for words. The more true to myself I become, the less I begin to worry about the complexity of words. A gentle smile, a grateful word a gentle decline. Not a problem, if you learn how to.

This whole topic on introversion and high sensitivity have been much clearer to me after reading the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain and “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. It was almost as if I was reading books about myself. All the confusion about who I was and who I was supposed to be settled and merged into a much stronger version of my quiet self. “Quiet” even explained that it is possible to grow out of being shy and to adapt a much more dominant mannerism, something that I had already observed in myself.  The more you practice something that causes you stress, the more your nervous system, particularly the amygdala, will calm down.

Reading this reaffirmed to me that it is indeed possible as an introvert to conquer the world. When I was younger people said about me that I was shy. I didn’t like it, but not knowing the difference between being shy and being a highly sensitive introvert I accepted my shyness, maybe even hid behind it at times when I couldn’t be bothered to do something. In recent years, however, have I morphed into this outspoken individual that reaches for as many stars as she can reach and doesn’t stop at a barrier. Instead she carefully dissembles any barrier and carries on with her quest to the infinite answer.

The important clue in this is that you can do anything, however shy or introvert you may be, as long as you are standing up for something that is close to your heart. It’s almost like as if your heart itself will give you extra power to succeed. Try it! The next time you have to do that presentation or lead that talk or whatever else it may be that makes you feel insecure and causes you to go blank and trip over your tongue, make sure there is something in that talk that really inspires you and that you feel will create a positive change in the listeners. And don’t forget to breathe, as this is vital for your brain function😉

Read my associated posts on “Seeking Solitude in a Loud World” and “Dizzy Bliss vs Forgetfulness“.

To a happy and quiet life!

Love
Anna

Accepting Grief

The days rushed by without coming to a conclusion whether I should take the trip to the continent for my Godmother’s funeral. And when the day came I was still struggling between the stress of travelling on short notice and the worry I would feel that I had missed out on the last opportunity to spend time in my Godmother’s surroundings.

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So this morning I went up onto the rolling green hills of the Sussex South Downs and flew a small kite as my very own little memorial service to an inspirational individual who has had a big impact on my spiritual growth. To the kite I had attached Tibetan prayer flags and a little bundle of flower petals. The weather couldn’t have been better, blue sky and a warm spring sun. A soft wind blew my prayers and flower petals towards the East, towards the continent where the funeral was being held.

I had also draped my little stone Buddha in flowers and petals and attached the prayer flags to the bushes around it. I felt thoroughly happy with it. It looked joyful. The celebration of a new beginning, not the mourning of an ending. That works for me. Though, once again, I wonder, how much it matters what the person that has passed on thinks of it. How much is their own belief paramount to my belief when it comes to dealing with the passing of a soul?

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This does kind of prove my thesis that it is much more about those who stay on. And I see in my own behaviour how important it is to come to a closure, however trivial it might seem. The feeling to do something extraordinary and beautiful for the passing soul is quite common. And little rituals like this can make the transition a little easier. I took the day off work as well. It just didn’t feel right to simply carry on with the ordinary when something out of the ordinary had happened. I felt that I needed that day to fully come to terms with it. My closure.

My little kite excursion felt like something my Godmother would have been up for. And I’m more than convinced that she thoroughly enjoyed it too. I don’t class myself as religious. I simply picked up a few ideas here and there and feel comfortable with some Buddhist practices. “You don’t need to be a Buddhist to practice Buddhism” I was once told by a Buddhist monk.

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Acceptance, as part of the five stages of grief, is coming to terms with the passing and to move on. Does taking part in a belief system make it easier to accept death? Or even, does it help to carry on living our life and to fill the hole a passing soul has left? And getting back to my thoughts on denial: do we need faith and religions to come over the denial phase, the inability to accept that someone is simply just not here anymore? Would we break if we didn’t have anything else to look at than an empty hole? Is that why I decided to feel their presence after their passing, or do I just happen to sense them anyway?

I don’t think I will be able to answer that question any time soon. I need to experience more, learn to listen more deeply to other dimensions of existence.

Love
Anna

P.S. It would greatly interest me to hear form any atheists out there who have undergone bereavement and to learn what their thoughts and emotions were.

Understanding Grief

The last few months I found myself increasingly more so occupied with thinking about death and the influence it has on those who live on. I came to the understanding that it isn’t only about those who die, but also, maybe even more so, about those who stay on after. Because it is them that have to deal with the gap the passing of an individual leaves.

More and more did I develop compassion when caring for my patients at work, opening up, becoming vulnerable, to be able to understand what others feel. A couple weeks ago did I attend a training session on end of life and advance care planning. A week ago I was talking to someone about my personal, insignificant, experiences with bereavement. A few days ago I received the news that my godmother had passed away.

It felt a bit like this was all a cunning plan. Another piece in the puzzle to understanding human feelings and behaviours. And although the news were sad and accompanied with the old lump in the throat, I still feel like I didn’t have much time to think about it properly. Almost a little too sober.

But then I have to say that there are different rules at play. A good 30 years ago, my godmother had been given about six more months to live, if at all. She dedicated every single minute of her life to helping others. She was very ill, sometimes gravely, for most of those 30 years. Still, she loved what she was doing, loved to help. She was deeply connected with the subtle world, the energetic dimension of our existence. She made good use of it, since her physical body wasn’t always very helpful, extending her sense of helping others by mere thought when unable to leave her bedroom due to another bout of illness.

Explaining this in more detail would take me away from what I try to discover. But it might help understand why I feel this deep connection with her despite the fact that I haven’t seen her all that often in the last few years. We lived in different countries. She in Denmark, I at first in Germany, now in England. When I was a child my mum and I visited her about once a year. It got less as I grew older. The last time I visited was two years ago. We spoke on the phone last at Christmas. She had sent me a book she had written.

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I do miss her. And I’m asking myself whether all my past recordings of sensing those around who have passed on are a mere denial of the fact that they have simply been and gone. Talking about the different stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Denial is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.

Whatever I think, whatever I want to express, whatever I want to write it is not happening. Tears have started to well up unexpectedly but not come out properly. It is building up while I’m trying to make sense of it. The situation is made more complex by the fact that “normal” grieving just doesn’t fit in here. I know that she is still around, I can feel her. I know that she is able to do an even better job now than she was ever able to while still in physical form. It is just that the communication is a little more tricky now.

The day I found out, I was at work, and after putting the phone down a trusted colleague came in and I told her. She hugged me and I felt understood. I was called away to another phone call straight after for someone to meet me. Then I had another meeting, with the chaplain (completely unrelated to talk about their work and bereavement!) and when I got back to work my boyfriend suddenly appeared saying he was in the area and popped in to say hello.

Now, this is a very untypical few hours to spend for me at work! And may I say that it really does feel like my godmother had her say in the running of it. To send another phone call straight away after I had received the news (I only very rarely get phone calls at work), as if to say that I shouldn’t start worrying and simply carry on. So typical of her! The meeting with the chaplain ( which had previously been cancelled) was another way of giving me the opportunity to talk should I feel like it (I didn’t). And then to send my boyfriend in the area (who was on work duty himself, and only did this about three times in 5 years) felt like yet another sign of ensuring I had someone there to make me feel supported. When I arrived home after work, a book I had ordered on my brothers recommendation was waiting for me. It is written by someone who was diagnosed with cancer and talks about the travels and experiences he had for the years to come. Very apt in line with her own life.

I like to see signs in things like that. Especially when they accumulate like this in a short space of time. She was always the one I thought of asking when something strange and unusual happened that nobody could explain. She was the expert in that field. Understanding and reassuring. We didn’t have enough contact, but both knew full well that the connection we had was always there. Tight and strong. And it still is.

I find it difficult to make it to the funeral. Travelling from England to Denmark on short notice is a bit of a trek. Driving is long and flying I find uncomfortable. On top of that is the university commitment, which I could skip for a few days. The unconventional thing is that I don’t need to go to someone’s funeral in order to…whatever you do at a funeral….say goodbye? I don’t need to do that. But I long for feeling her surroundings one more time, as if she was still there. Waiting for me, welcoming me, making me feel at home.

Is this what bereavement is? That this comfortable sense of belonging is broken? I worry that I will regret not going to the funeral. There will only be one. I whish life was easier than that.

As usual, I’m probably making more of a fuss about this than I deserve. I also realised that the older I get, the more these experiences will occur, the more I will learn about them. I suppose this is all part and parcel of life. A never ending cycle.

Love
Anna

Personal Profit

With an alleged 18% rise in births and an expected 10 year housing crisis, I see the planet suffocating by concrete buildings, streets and many billion feet. Having established that I thrive of simple solitude (Seeking Solitude in a Loud World) and also having been driven to near insanity in the supermarket today while “hunting” for food (just don’t go shopping at the weekend!), the idea of overpopulation is frightening to me. If I was in charge, which might not be such a good idea after all,  I would put a ban on births for about a year, or lets say, to not completely suppress a person’s personal need to bear children, set an allowance of total births.

By now, those of you who are well into business and financial stuff will start getting nervous, seeing that this means that there won’t be enough young earners to pay your pension when you decide to begin the solitary part of your life after having wasted most of your waking life working your butt off.

To vaguely quote the “insightful” newspaper commentator on the birth rate rise: “In the short run this might mean a lack of school places, but in the long run this is a small price to pay in the name of prosperity.”

Yikes, the upward spiral again. There doesn’t seem to be a stop in sight for humanity, ever. Until our planet has enough and simply collapses. Humans are the worst that could have happened to our planet. Comparable to a disease, selfish, egotistic, self-destructing and vengeful. I realise more and more how much I hate Homo Sapiens, which ironically in Latin means “wise man”. But it seems that our wisdom has taken the better of us and has taken the wrong turn. And on the way it has forgotten that it can turn around and take the other route after all.

soul

Sadly for today’s profit driven society this would mean a loss and is therefore not an option. So it is left to those idealistic individuals to fight for their right to turn around, which is a tough journey, sometimes takes many years, but will in the end be worth it, with the personal profit (better health, healthy soil, fresh food, permaculture, renewable energy and the like) being invaluable.

To me, turning around and changing is what makes up the essence of life. Simply just following others up the spiral and cashing in on others success is not healthy for your soul. Your soul wants to live. And money making, however useful it may seem, is not what your soul longs for.

And just to clarify: when I say that I hate Homo Sapiens, I don’t mean this to be an insult, I even include myself in the mass. For being “not bothered” when I should, for not speaking up when it matters, for not being truthful to my own feelings, for not living as fully as I would like to and finally for fearing of being seen as a fool for breaking out of the system and turning the other way.

Now then, “wise wo/man”, what does your soul yearn for?

Love
Anna

Misophonia – The noises that turn inside

Having spent most of the day unsuccessfully hiding away from the irritating noise of my partner’s computer game I now have turned my music up in order to eradicate the loud crunching of crisps. For those of you who haven’t heard of Misophonia or in fact experience an overload of noises as highly unpleasant, will likely think that I must be a rather annoying person. While this might still be true, I am no hypocrite in assuming that I don’t create noise myself, I have only recently found out about this relatively new condition with relatively little that can be done about it.  I would like to bring this topic up for others who might have similar experiences.

The first time I can recall as an increasingly major irritant was my mum’s eating, possible around the age of 10. There was just something about the snacking noise and the way she sucked air through her front teeth that made my limbs all fidgety and I grew increasingly restless at mealtimes and other occasions when she produced any such noise that I often had to get up and pretend I needed to do something or go fetch something or if that wasn’t an option I tried to chew louder than everyone else. I even told my brother once in secrecy, repeating my mum’s annoying chewing noise and gesture, which seemed to take the edge of my physical sensation and told him not to say anything. His eating didn’t bother me at all.

Then I remember staring at granny’s yoghurt pot which wouldn’t empty quickly enough to put a halt to the horrible scraping noise the spoon produced along the walls of the pot together with the clicking noise when making contact with her teeth and the slurp upon licking the spoon on withdrawal only for the whole scenario to repeat itself. I felt disgusted and suppressed the felt need to hit her, or myself… an overwhelming sensation of electricity in my body after certain noises produced with her mouth…

At school I remember a girl sitting in front of me in class who had a habit of opening and closing her hair clip with an irritating click, with her disgustingly thin fingers. I had a hard time concentrating on the lesson, clenching my fingers under the table and fidgeting silently in my chair.

Chewing gums should be banned anyway. Who invented them and for what purpose exactly other than to irritate humanity senseless? The noise, the constant noise. The movement, constant jaw movement, mouths opening, tongues exposed, weird pulled faces. The amounts of times I have asked people to stop chewing only for the answer to fire back a less than empathic: “I can do what I like!”

When I had the chance I would arrange for the TV or some music to play so that the noise of eating wouldn’t be too overpowering. The older I got, the more I noticed the accompanying sensation of arousal together with a trigger noise. This made me feel very insecure and I worried that maybe there was more wrong with me than I had thought. How was I supposed to explain to anyone that I not only was very sensitive to people’s eating but also was I feeling it in my genitals? I didn’t know what to do about it.

At some point I remember realising that I seemed to focus on certain noises or movement after I had noticed them and found them to be annoying. It was almost as if I began to look for more of it. I tried to find a way as to not focus on it but found that difficult. So the more I noticed it the more overwhelming sensations I endured. Soon I began dreading approaching mealtimes and even events that were days or weeks away, where I knew that a certain trigger would await me.

The closer I am to someone, as in a partnership for example, the more likely I am to exert physical violent acts like slapping, pushing, pinching together with angry looks and annoying comments of how loud they eat or breathe. The need to say or do something grows so strong that at some point I can’t help but say something. As soon as I expressed my outrage and anger I feel guilty and silly for making the other feel bad about something that they can’t help. Everyone makes noise while eating. Though I do try and eat as quietly as I possibly can, so that I don’t sound as much of a hypocrite.

I often feel overwhelmed by noise or people and withdraw, literally shut down, sometimes even more literally simply run away. I get annoyed easily with tiny things. The mere rustling of a sweet rapper… Even though I may feel exuberantly happy, as soon as a certain trigger noise hits my nervous system my mood goes straight down. It takes a little while to perk up again, usually after some time spent in peaceful silence.

This might go hand in hand with my recent blog about introversion, or it might be an extension of it. Who knows. I believe that awareness of one’s own feelings and perceptions is the first step to dealing with any condition. I do hope this blog will help those who have similar experiences and those who have to deal with others who have this condition.

Check out www.misophonia-uk.org for more information on the topic.

Love
Anna

Conditioned Laziness

There I was, awake again at 6.30am, mentally alert yet physically knackered after two twelve hour shifts and a feast of duck pancakes the sauce of which clearly contained too much sugar for my body to cope with.

I have been waking up at that time most days as far as I can remember back, regardless of how many hours of sleep I had. It’s dangerous to try and fall asleep again, and if it happens I can rarely count those days to the productive kind.

My granny’s words still ring in my ears from the days when I was much younger and stayed at hers some weekends. “Child, it’s only 7am! Turn around and sleep a little longer.”

But I had ants in my pants and had to get up, whereas my granny would grudgingly roll over and continue snoring. I still remember the excitement in view of the early morning kid’s cartoons on telly. I didn’t have those at home and my mum was convinced that TV wasn’t something children should watch excessively. Nor do I think this today.

At granny’s was different. She fed me white bread with lots of butter and honey for breakfast, made a gorgeous green salad with her special home-made yoghurt dressing for lunch and pasta with butter and peas for dinner. I was able to play in the garden to my heart’s desire and I was given sweets which my mum strongly attested to. And the first couple of early hours in the morning of watching cartoons were only a sweet beginning to a day with the best things yet to come.

Only on very rare occasions have I been able to recreate that feeling of contentment that I experienced as a young child at granny’s house. And it usually involved a kid’s programme on telly together with bread or rolls for breakfast. Shows you how easily we can condition ourselves to happiness!

So if there wasn’t any kid’s cartoons on telly, would I not be able to achieve happiness again ever? Not that today’s cartoons anything compared to the good old ones anyway!🙂

Today I went as far as looking up some of the twenty odd year old cartoons on the internet and watch some while I was having my breakfast. Whereas I felt kinda happy in a truly lazy way, I also realised that the cartoon wasn’t all that easy to watch at all with an adult mind. It was almost horrific watching two sisters, one probably around 11, the other around 16, having to move into an orphanage after their parents went missing abroad.

Watching this lovely cartoon that I had fond memories of as a child, with an adult mind, now at the age of the parents in the cartoon, it was a whole different story! Well isn’t that interesting?

So while humanity may spent a lot of time as adults wishing to be young again, without all the hassles, responsibilities  and worries we face as adults now, we might miss out on the potentials we have as grown ups, to take our happiness into our own hands and to begin recognizing our conditioned past, as we were taught as children, or even taught ourselves, and break free from it to create our own happiness right here and now.

Having been without telly most of my life I am capable to live without it for the reminder of my life. The problem is if it is there and someone else is watching, then I quite easily find myself curling up on the sofa giving in to the dormant state of laziness.

And from time to time there is absolutely nothing wrong with it😉

Love
Anna

Seeking Solitude in a Loud World

This moment I feel complete. I have dug up my vegetable patch in bright sunlight while a strong wind had ruffled my hair. Now I’m sitting in serene stillness at my big window, a wide smile spreading across my cheeks, rosy and cold from the wind, as I look out over the adjoining gardens toward the green rolling hills of the South Downs. This beautiful stillness is accompanied by the occasional scream of birds, flittering beneath the open sky, and the creaking roof boards caused by the wind that is blowing huge white bubble clouds across the wide, blue sky.

That’s all it takes to give me a sense of peace. And I think it is one of the advantages of introversion: one doesn’t need much to be happy.

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Seeking solitude to recharge batteries is something introverts long for. Yesterday I conquered the town centre with a big list of things I needed to do. I came home feeling totally drained and agitated. Too many people, in the way, not looking, not aware of their surroundings, pushing, bumping, stressed.  This is another reason why I feel less and less inclined to go out for a drink with others. It gives me the feeling of being trapped in a cage and prodded with sticks by loud people who laugh at me.

And I have more recently come to the conclusion that this is not just a social phobia, insecurity or seriousness (“you’ve become so serious”), but simply a way of life that doesn’t suit me. As society has developed, introverts have more and more been misunderstood, pushed aside, moved out of the way and simply not listened to by loud extroverts who can’t comprehend quite solitude and misjudge those who are quieter than them as being of lesser value, lower IQ, simply not worth their while.

Why? Only because louder is heard better? Because pushing forward into the limelight is seen as stronger? Says who?

Reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain puts this into perspective and analyses just what happened that the world has become such a loud place in which the quieter people are generally ignored. She looks at schools, universities, big companies, who all claim that putting yourself out there, showing initiative and work in big groups is the way forward. But she also talks of many quiet interesting individuals, who made a massive contribution to the world, because being introvert, they took the time to sit and think on their own, giving them the opportunity to change the world.

Bill Gates, for example is said to have been just that, a quiet introvert. And this is really not an insult, as it may sound. It is something to be proud of, something that generates a lot of clever ideas, as opposed to the loud group work brainstorming, team-work exercises, which generally seem to create a lot of great ideas, however, if compared to the work of individual people, it doesn’t generate nearly as much.

So if you are of the quiet type, don’t stress yourself by feeling you have to be louder to be heart. Whatever it is you are doing, as long as you give your best, you will succeed. And for those of you who belong to the louder population, don’t write someone off straight away because they sit quietly in the back row. Try to listen to them, hear their story and I’m sure you will be amazed.

Love
Anna

The Half-Life Epiphany

Let me explain why the stories outlined below make me think about a topic that might at first not be obvious.

Yesterday’s newspaper told me that asthma is now the most common chronic disease in childhood. Together with increasing numbers of babies surviving a premature birth, childhood asthma is set to become a major problem. On the opposite page I read about Syrian refugees, women, children, elderly, who are trying to escape a life of suffering. Another article right next to it talks about a 21 year old Syrian soldier who got shot and lies in hospital with a shattered leg.

May I begin with the thesis that prolonging life at all circumstances, defying our natural tendency to die at some point or another, is once again our priority, despite the fact that life is what it has always been and always will be: a cyclic event of living and dying that only the universe can bear witness to, if only it was able to give us the reassurance we crave.

“Half-life is used to describe a quantity undergoing exponential decay, and is constant over the lifetime of the decaying quantity.” (Wikipedia)

Our population is growing fast, very fast (watch this if you want to get an idea of it). At some point we will run out of space. Maybe by then we will be going “outa space”. A thought occurred that if you survive your birth and other possible illnesses during your life you stand a good chance to be shot or encounter a similar danger to your life at another point (every watched “Final Destination”?). And the truth is that we could encounter the other side at any point in our life. For some it takes longer, others get there earlier. We won’t know. And we shouldn’t, because we would be spending all of our life dreading that one unavoidable point at the end of our life instead of simply living it.

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To come to the point, I do not mean to be pessimistic and all doom and gloom. Quite to the contrary, I believe that if we were to open our eyes fully and learn from early on about the significance of life and death, as a joint responsibility of our existence, that we will have a much more comprehensive understanding of our purpose in life. We might even be living our life much more responsibly, valuing each other, acknowledging death when it knocks on the door, grief deeply instead of suppressing our sadness but also appreciate the impact those around us have on us together with our responsibility towards our planet.

But we don’t talk about death. We simply close our eyes when it comes to this fundamental, essential, obvious part of our life cycle. But the thing is, the more we close our eyes to it the less we are able to see ourselves, our future, our unique purpose in life. We will spend our whole life living in semi-darkness, denying such a vital part of ourselves access to reality. A reality that we are living every day of our life. Why close your eyes to it?

Don’t just live in half-light believing that someone with a defibrillator will surely come running when your heart gives up, because the truth is that your heart simply gives up because it can’t stand the twilight of your existence anymore. It was never allowed to live fully, enjoy the sunshine, good honest food free from chemicals and hidden fats, dancing in the rain, denied to feel emotions to the full, to discover the world without fear or stress and to have a proper good nights sleep. It yearns to be free, it yearns for happiness. That’s why it is giving up on your half-lived existence.

These words are not meant to offend anyone, nor are they true for everyone who might read this. But in essence I hope they will wake you up from your half-life state and make you want to live your life to the full. Right here and now.

Because it is worth it!😉

Love
Anna

The Wonders of the Conscious Universe

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That’s what I’m thinking after listening to Jim Carrey (yes the actor) talking about conscious thought, the present moment, happiness and that he is a Buddhist, Islamist, Christian and anyhow, that it didn’t matter anyhow since it was all the same.

A proper wow-moment for me.

Watch it for yourself:
http://www.social-consciousness.com/2013/03/jim-carrey-the-power-of-consciousness.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfWN5EW5eo4

Last night I picked an oracle card as a little guidance for the moment, having had a very low point again a couple of weeks ago after a disagreement with someone. But despite the worries and feeling shaken by it the incident wouldn’t touch me as deeply as similar events had done in the past. It was like as if I had matured in some way and was able to deal with the situation from a more detached angle instead of drowning in it with my heart and soul.

In the video Jim talks about negativity going through you, without taking hold of you. We only hold onto negative emotions as long as they serve us. The reason why we react with upset to them is so that they can be resolved by dealing with them. The more we deal with them the less they will appear in our life.

He then spoke about intention, that with intention we create our universe. The oracle card I picked yesterday suggested that I wrote down my intentions…

One of my biggest intention, the one that drives me most, and equally gets me down most (as it did two weeks ago), is to save the world. At the end of the Jim Carrey clip it said: We all want to change the world, but most of us don’t know where to begin, concluding that it is our emotions and consciousness that make the difference.

During the clip it was also mentioned how the magnetic field created by the human heart during certain emotions has a tremendous influence on our world, the climate, people, everything. Such is my amazement that I have been actively working on helping people to become more conscious of their heart space (The Sacred Centre) for the past couple years now, to open it up and connect with their Inner Self, that it feels incredible to hear this confirmed and to realise even more so the importance of it.

Especially when we get together with others to focus on the same intention. That’s when we really have an influence over the world.

So I have been working on myself, my own development and have inspired some people on the way. Only now, that I have reached another threshold, am I able to hear my visions and intentions confirmed.

Such is the wonder of the universe we live in😉

Love
Anna

Why the Difference?

I feel tired from the world’s hectic upward spiral, always achieving, increasing, improving (you get it) and yearn for some time out. Last year I spent a week at Plum Village, a Buddhist Community (read all about it here). Now I am looking for something similar closer to where I live.

This does prove to be difficult, since different groups have arisen that have different ideas about the Buddha’s teachings. Surely, one man, one message? Right? Sadly no, as you can also observe in many other religions, who essentially follow the same message but have given their “God” or practice a different name.

The arising confusion is understandable, yet frustrating, when all one wants is a safe place to retreat to for a long weekend away from every day’s stressors. “No, we can’t allow you to our Mindfulness Retreat since you haven’t got any experience with our type of Buddhism.”

Blimey, my daily meditation practice, my mindful approach to life, my interest in the essential Buddhist sutras all in vain, or so it seems, since no begging is getting me any closer to attending this desired retreat. Okay, they suggested the introductory retreat to me, but do I want to be introduced to a system that in turn won’t let me in anywhere else? What is this?

Now I’m feeling insecure in approaching other retreats, not sure what to expect, or even what is expected of me. Surely, thoughts like that shouldn’t precede the attendance of a retreat.

Things like that is what separates the world from itself. A phrase from the recent “Walter Mitty” movie won’t leave my head: “TO SEE THE WORLD, THINGS DANGEROUS TO COME TO, TO SEE BEHIND WALLS, TO DRAW CLOSER, TO FIND EACH OTHER AND TO FEEL. THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE.”

Walter Mitty2

It actually left such an impression on me that I made it this year’s New Year’s Resolution. To travel, have adventures, be inquisitive, learn something new, meet new people, re-connect with old friends and to be present with all my heart. What more of a purpose could our life possibly have?

When we had set up the Awareness Spa Mini Retreats last year (www.awarenessspa.co.uk), we welcomed everyone, and still do, to come and join us for a day of mindfulness and relaxation, to simply take the time off and let go. This can be tricky to do in your own home (there is always the dishes to wash or to hoover and by the way, the windows really need cleaning, and oh, it’s time to prepare dinner…).

Despite leading this day retreat and it feeling like being on a retreat myself, so it is nonetheless hard work, which is why we have slowed down a little bit in terms of content. And oh how I wished someone else would offer something similar for me to attend, without the organisational aspect.

I won’t give up that easily on my search for a retreat, even if I simply set off on my own again into the unknown, as I have done numerous times before (as you can also read here).

Happy discovery😉

Love
Anna

Compassion in Practice

And once again did I find myself closely accompanied by death. Maybe it really is time to make friends with him, for the more compassionately I engage with others, the more they open up and tell me about their thoughts about dying.

For a long time have I hidden myself closely behind a wall, keeping a distance that I thought to be safe. Safe, as in not getting involved emotionally, to keep up my appearance, to not loose control and to not accept that one day I will indeed shake hands with death.

Compassion is something I have been reading into lately as part of a university project on the fundamentals of care. There is so much about it in the news at the moment, especially after many an inquest into neglect and failings of care standards, that I began to wonder why some people are naturally compassionate and others weren’t. And if the government proposes a more compassionate approach in care, how can anyone ensure that those working in care will suddenly release their zest for compassion and become better people? Surely that isn’t the case.

I wondered, can compassion be learnt? Looking into past research that had been done on the development on empathy, the foundation for compassion, I learned that it is the sense of connection to our mother as infants that aids the development of empathy (Goleman 2009). So, if that connection wasn’t there, research suggests that it might be the reason for psychopathy, the inability to feel for others (Lang, Klinteberg, Alm 2002).

However, some research also suggests that we are much more resilient and are able to pick up on and learn empathic behaviour through later life experiences (Clarke 1976). My conclusion is that it is likely not possible to learn compassion, however, with the right mind set and under the right conditions, compassion may be developed. But it needs personal awareness and the ability to reflect on yourself and your actions in order to change your behaviour.

Being compassionate on a busy NHS ward can be difficult. Compassion needs time, which isn’t always available. But once you take that time and fully engage with your patients, listen to them actively, acknowledge their whole being, not just the condition their in with, you will get a lot back in return.

But you also open up to the other side of life. After a life of pretty good health, with his mind still fully active, now with persistent bleeding in hospital, this 95 year old said to me: “Maybe it’s time to give in now.” He had a good life and lived it to the full and knew all too well that his body would likely not carry on in such good condition for all that long. Earlier he had told me that he has been writing into a diary every day for the past 30 years but had accepted that this was not possible now that he was here in hospital. So I went to get him some paper and a pen and suggested he carry on writing, it might put his thoughts into perspective.

A little bit later in the day, when checking on another patient of mine, he indicated that the doctors had just told him that there is nothing else they can do for him. “Them doctors were so blunt”, he said to me. I thought maybe that they were just very busy, but no, he insisted that blunt was the right word. He worried about his wife, who was of course terribly upset by the news. He then turned to me and said: “I want to go home to die.” I tried to make him comfortable, set up the radio for him which he appreciated and the last look I remember of his deep blue eyes was filled with exhaustion as much as sadness and gratitude. He passed away within two days. We couldn’t get him home in time.

Sometimes it is not the grandiose gifts and efforts that make up compassion. Quite often it is the small things, to enable someone to carry on writing, or to set up the radio for someone who needs to escape the world for a little while. I am glad I was there to do this and hope it helped. And I am saddened by the thought that some people don’t have the awareness to do something similar when the need arises.

Somehow I hope that just by me writing about it, someone might be able to develop compassion, to begin to feel for others, to develop the awareness to go that little extra step.

To sum up the essence of compassion, lets have a think how we can be more compassionate, especially when working in a care environment. Building on simple empathy, seeing the world from someone else’s view, treat others as you would want to be treated. Encourage independence. Caring with compassion doesn’t mean to take away someone’s independence by smothering them with your well-meaning care.

Listen actively to what the individual has to say, make eye contact, stop what you are doing for a moment. And when it all gets too much, time running away again, staffing low again, stop for a moment and take a deep breath, remembering that our brain needs oxygen to function properly and that to be able to emphasize we need a state of calm. And smile, even if you don’t feel like it. Chances are you might brighten someone else’s
day.

Leading by example means you act compassionately and others are more likely to follow suit observing the difference you make rather than lecturing them about it. And last, but certainly not least, help build a strong and positive team. Together you can make the client’s stay much more endurable and feel supported yourself at the same time.

There is certainly much more to learn about it, this is just a brief glimpse of my insights that I wanted to share with you. I hope you gained something from it.

Love
Anna

A Matter of Life – Life and Matter

The more I learn about the function and basic building blocks of our material body, the more I realise how fragile and yet fascinatingly complex and clever our material body is.

And yet, some functions are so unbelievably fascinating that it is hard to ignore the thought that there must be more to this, that this can’t possibly be “just a coincidence”.

Take a basic human cell for example. We have about 100 trillion cells within our body.  There are more atoms in one human cell than there are visible stars in the sky. Something I had outlined before here. The cell nucleus contains our DNA, our physiological past of a few million years.

A really good animation of “The inner life of a cell”.

Our cells are constantly working to regenerate our body and fuel it with a chemical reaction involving oxygen and glucose. There is a constant exchange of gases going on, diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a living organism we are characterised by breathing, eating, elimination, reproduction, growth and movement. Yet there are still some processes that have no rational origin other than the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Like the sinoatrial node, for example, our natural pace maker. I have written about it before. Feel free to indulge in it here.

When you begin to realise how easily this bodily cage of ours can stop working, we can either go down the route of depression and worry until the end is near, or hope for the best and carry on. Yesterday I read the following interesting facebook update:

“Every night we go to bed, we have no assurance to wake up alive the next morning, but still we set our alarm for tomorrow. That’s hope.”

How true this is. How much we simply trust that our body is going to carry on regardless and hope for a better tomorrow. Most of us don’t give it a second thought how we treat our body. Are we naïve? Is naivety what drives us to carry on living? What do we need to believe in, in order to do this thing we call living on this planet? What are we hoping tomorrow will bring?

And why are we carrying on prolonging this life by all means? What is so special about it that it deserves all our attention, even if it is way after our bodily sell-by date? Today I learned that in cases where someone is declared brain dead, it is possible for the heart to carry on beating for a week or more, providing there is a constant supply of oxygen available. Once again, the sinoatrial node still triggers, despite at a lower rate but consistently. Why? Does it maybe follow a different energetic impulse altogether? One that can not be perceived by the standard human senses?

I sometimes get flashes of being removed from my physical body. This is a weird sensation. But it puts my physical hull into a different perspective. The sense that the essence of who or what I am is not necessarily dependent on the matter that we call life, but merely something likened to a special suit that helps me to wander atop the earth and interact with others on here. Although I may not be quite sure why I chose to do this. Sometimes it can be very hard indeed to come to terms with the limitations of a physical existence in a body consisting of 26 elements of earthly matter.

Some people are absolutely sure that there is absolutely nothing going on anymore after their death. Once again I believe ignorance to be bliss. However, will it give those non-believers the full satisfaction of a life lived to the fullest? I can’t help but wonder what the point is in just one such thing as a single experience of life. My urge to explore these possibilities is driven by a hunger to know and understand, not just the need to believe in more. Such a pity I likely won’t know until I get there myself. But I’m sure life would loose a lot of it’s fascination if we all knew what would happen after.

And they cycle of thought continues🙂

Love
Anna

A little Analogy on Change, Health and Evolution

A curious idea occurred to me. It began with the thought that never ceases to amaze me when I see how quickly the human body repairs itself. How all the cells muck in together and start working to bring the body back to a normal state as best possible.

This thought becomes abstract when I relate it to my place of work with the accompanying irony that I work on an acute surgical hospital ward.

Recently there have been major changes to our working environment. Some departments, including us, have been moved, others, luckily not us yet, have been axed entirely. Staff are understandably shaken and stressed with the uncertainty this brings about. Even though the main aim of all this is to ensure safe staffing levels, mostly these changes are seen as a personal attack to each individual member of staff.

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However, sometimes I wish that every single member of staff would simply just muck in and contribute their best to the whole, just as the cells in our body do when they try to get their systems back on track, maintaining homeostasis – total balance despite surrounding chaos.

Just imagine our bodily repair systems refusing to work, crossing their arms, stamping their foot and saying: “We are not going to do a single thing if you keep upsetting our work!”

Our health would rapidly decline. Unfortunately, so does my place of work. Staff morale and support are at its lowest, not many are prepared to take responsibility for anything outside their narrow view of a job description. Most blame others for mistakes instead of looking at themselves. They run against walls and closed doors, which seems to infuriate them even more, ears and eyes closed to any suggestions of change.

It somewhat amuses me, if it wasn’t so sad to see the mental  toxicity that comes with it. The constant bickering, slacking each other off, blowing news out of proportion, making it more difficult for themselves and for others. They seem to have lost the connection to themselves. The only way to stop bashing their head against walls is to simply change their thinking. This may allow them to see the door that has just opened. If only it was that easy.

At the centre of all this sits a vulnerable adult who really needs your help and relies on your support because his body is undergoing a tremendous amount of repair work. And it does this all on its own, while you are kicking and screaming at the injustice around you instead of pulling yourself together and focus on the individual who is in your care.

So the moral of this little analogy may be that we are only as strong as our will. We can achieve tremendous things, if we want to. At the same time we need to understand that the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain. Change is inevitable, just like human evolution.

If a creepy crawly at the very early beginning of our human evolution had refused to change, we would probably still be crawling along the floor. And I’m sure that a lot of those crawling creatures found it very daunting to change their habits. And so it is for us to this very day and likely will always be that way.

When you understand this and take in the change of perspective this offers, you can make the decision to use it to your advantage. Going with the flow wherever it may take you. Or let it be your disadvantage and drown in sorrow, a choice I personally would not recommend😉

Love
Anna

The Running Horses and University

Now it has happened. I have run away with the horses and trampled everything in my path.

All this from a point of eager excitement and sheer joy to be going to university for the first time in my life at the humble age of 30.

With all this joyous excitement I could not understand how others on the course would not feel the same. Least of all was I able to emphasize when one of them said that they were stressed already, two weeks before university had even started!

I came to my senses only after reporting my eager curiosity to a friend, relaying how I can’t understand that people are stressed before even starting a project and figuratively outlined that I might have to slap them if they carry on like this for the whole course.

The responding figurative slap came straight back at me with my friend, equally just about to start a new course, saying: “I also feel stressed and worry that I won’t be able to manage.”

Oh this made me feel so sad and the figurative slap brought me straight down from my running horses.

How could I be so insensitive??

Me, who things she knows it all and has understanding for everything and everyone, emphasizing, feeling, being open and receptive. Possibly I’m just an egotistic dreamer.

I suppose that ideally I would want other people to become mini versions of myself, which is impossible.

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Weirdly, I seem to cope best in crisis situations and have more trouble coping in mundane, everyday routines. Everyone is different, everyone has different coping strategies.

My enthusiasm to start university was further curbed by the first two days of introduction, where the emphasis appeared to be lying on the fact that most people in the course were scared out of their minds and worried, worried and worried about everything.

This seemed to be unintentionally reinforced by well-meaning course leaders who repeatedly asked if we were still worried followed by the supportive “don’t be”. So in the end even I, bold and brave as I am, began worrying that maybe I didn’t worry enough. Maybe I was too naïve thinking that this would be fun and interesting.

In the end I almost got angry, a very interesting emotion. Observing it arising was a little surprising and I’m still not quite sure what to do with it. Maybe I ought to channel it into creating more positively inclined future induction processes.

After all, I have come to the understanding that one of my tasks in this life is to pave the way, push through closed doors and widen horizons. In the end it doesn’t really matter whether I get acknowledged for it or receive a higher position because of it, but more so that I was the one who made it possible for others to get further. Like I’m the one who gives you a step-up to get over a high wall.

And actually, that sits with me quite well. I’m strong enough to take it. I just got to try and rein my horses in every now and again ;)

Love
Anna

Dizzy Bliss vs Forgetfulness

I am nearing the end of my two week annual leave. The first half I spent excitedly exhibiting photos and decided it would be a good idea to spend the second week nurturing my soul, resting, slurping linseed tea (look here for why) and taking on Maya Fiennes “Journey through the Chakras“, the box set of which I had bought over a year ago, had received twice by mistake, given the surplus away to dear friends and never gone further than the heart chakra.

As my skin got smoother from the linseed tea, I ignored the arising anger after the base chakra workout and the dizziness from the sacral chakra routine while my body got more toned from the exercises and even though I still have the last DVD on bliss to go tomorrow I am already feeling pretty blissed out today.

On top of all this did I down a glass of warm water for breakfast each day, which turned into an intricate green consistency by adding wheatgrass powder, the effect of which I’m not quite sure but it had been sitting in my cupboard for a while now, similar to the yoga DVDs, and I was secretly hoping it would have some cleansing effect on my liver, which, according to my acupuncture lady, is pretty exhausted.

Fair and square, you know you had a good resting holiday if you are looking forward to seeing people again. So I joined a group of colleagues for a drink one evening. My peaceful state of bliss wasn’t so much shaken as that it simply rejected the stories of the last time everyone got drunk and the excitement of doing the same again tonight.

Not only did I feel like an alien invader to an unknown planet but at the same time I also felt like the biggest spoil-spoil for being all sober, trying to hide my insecurities behind my rather small glass of orange juice, defending my lonely position of non-drunkenness with lame excuses that I simply didn’t want to feel hangover and ill anymore. Also didn’t I want to revert all the good I had done to my body, most of all my liver, over the past few days.

I did have a shot because everyone had one and I thought it would be fun, but once everyone had put their empty shot glasses back on the table, ensuing a moment of silence in which the sweet strawberry-red liquid burned it’s way along our oesophagus, just about causing a heat sensation in my thighs and upper arms together with a very short moment of euphoria, nothing else happened.

Most of the people got more and more glass-eyed, hugging each other wildly and I simply wanted to go home, seeing that 10pm was way past my bed time. Did I really turn into a boring young adult that can’t see the fun in drinking anymore? Or did I simply find another tool to cope with the stresses of life so I didn’t feel the need to drown my sorrows anymore?

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What is it people try to hide or forget when drinking themselves out of this world? The last time I got drunk was when I had come out of an emotionally abusive relationship and didn’t give a shit about anything. I was emotionally dead, or rather, didn’t want to feel anything. Looking at my colleagues, one after the other, I could see a similar pain in them. Maybe I made this up but I could understand why they felt the need to get drunk, to hide “just for tonight”.

And I also saw that they didn’t know any other way. Other ways offer themselves, but once again it is up to each individual to embark on another way. It can be challenging, they will need to want to change. Not everyone wants to do that.

And all the while I am well aware that to some this may sound like some boring spiritual talk, I did find another way, I did find myself and don’t need to hide myself, though I very much would have liked to on this evening.

I am somewhat socially awkward, avoid situation in which I might feel uncomfortable. For me, sitting on a table at which everyone is drinking alcohol and ask why you don’t, recounting their past moments of drunkenness doesn’t count to my most favourite situations.

On the other hand, meeting interesting new people during the week of the exhibition was fantastic. I learned so much from and about these people without actually talking about anything other than random, sober, moments in our life.

But whether forgetting about my past hurts with my dizzy bliss caused by Kundalini Yoga and Linseed Tea is any different than the forgetfulness caused by excessive alcohol consumption and group hugging I’m not sure, other than that your body suffers subsequently more during the latter, though hugging is generally considered nurturing to the soul.

I personally prefer a method that is least invasive and causes least stress to my body, the vehicle that is supposed to carry my mind forth as long as possible to make a difference in the world. Do what you like as long as your heart is in it! If that means loosing yourself in an illusion of yourself, then so be it. Only you yourself can get you out of it by a mere choice of heart.

Love
Anna

A Button Society

And no, I still cannot simply ignore these strange embodiments of seemingly ordinary people that appear to be powered by small hand-held devices. They seem to otherwise be detached from their surroundings yet carry out every-day tasks as normal.

As if on auto pilot do I see them pushing prams, walk dogs, go shopping, exercising in the gym, walk along footpaths or through parks, sometimes holding an equally surreal being on the other hand, driving cars and even riding bicycles with their gaze transfixed on the small screen in their hand.

What is it they have that I don’t have, I wonder. Am I missing out on something here?

I daren’t say that it might be them missing out. Not noticing the change in weather or even the seasons. Not seeing the smile on other’s faces, nor the frown when suddenly stopping in their way. And then they suddenly look up and talk, eyes glazed, staring into nowhere, yet talking as if an ordinary person.

It reminds me of the quirky movie “The World’s End” with the notorious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. There the world is being taken over by alien robots, which kindly gave the world internet and mobile phones, yet in the process hollowed them out and turned their brains into blue gloop, all in the face of eternal youth.

I wonder if we would be happier filled with gloop instead of a self-functioning brain and proceed to conclude that it is hardly happiness, more a bland neutral state of interbeing. How boring.

Why is it then that there are so many people psyched up about computer games, a complete illusion that does technically not exist. Do they give them something real life can’t? Please don’t let me get you down simply because I can’t comprehend.

It’s just that I have come to understand the difference between essential living and non-essential living. The first can live on its own, the second depends on an array of electronic devices, a tangle of cables, artificial electricity and some surreal invention called the world wide web.

All clever stuff, don’t get me wrong, just maybe don’t rely on it too much and base your whole life on it. Because what will you do if one day it won’t exist no more? What will you do while pushing prams, walking dogs, going shopping, exercising in the gym, walking along footpaths or through parks, sometimes holding an equally surreal being on the other hand, driving cars and even riding bicycles?

Would you feel bored? Or would you be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and variety of the world and people around you? And would you be able to use the absence of distractions to find inner peace?

Would you know what to do when someone smiled at you in the streets? Would you know how to talk properly to someone? Would you be able to live with the consequence that you won’t be able to quickly call up your best friend? And would you be able to cope with the fact that you quite likely won’t even be able to get to your best friend at all unless you started walking now and maybe get there in a few years?

It’s a scary world we live in, either way or the other.

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The other day I went into town for a few errands and I managed to go into several shops, buy things and leave without talking to a single person. This was greatly thanks to self-checkout tills. On the other hand, when I went into a games shop to pick up the latest release of a computer game for my dear boyfriend, I found myself staring dumb fold at a shop assistant who had asked me something that simply didn’t register in my mind nor did it resemble anything I have ever had to do with.

Oh boy, I had stepped into a completely different world and felt accordingly alien while cuing patiently, yet mortified. No, I am not saying that one is better than the other, just that one depends on so much electronic equipment to sustain itself. We live in a “button-society” where I can’t just go to the canteen at work and buy a small bowl of stew to top up my lunch because there is only one button on the till that charges for meat stew with rice and vegetables and it went beyond the comprehension or capability of the person operating the button to simply charge me half the price.

We loose our individuality, being reduced to a mere number in the system. When I need to check someone’s blood sugar level at work I not only have to first scan a barcode that is dangling from my ID card but also the other’s barcode on their ID bracelet and then the barcode on the test strip. I can also do bladder scans, avoiding the old scanner because it is way too complicated for I have the choice to use one that can be operated by, you guess it, a simple button. And then there is the heating that can not be regulated as and how needed but is controlled by a computer somewhere in the basement. Even when I want to order a photo in a certain size and go into the shop to ask for help because I couldn’t find the size I wanted online, all I got was a friendly shop assistant that was eagerly pushing buttons on the “self-service point”. And it only took her 10 minutes and several nervous sighs to find a size close enough to the one I wanted.

This is not me being picky! This is society being controlled by norms and guidelines that simply don’t fit. So the half-decent result is a reasonable product that we get to keep for a regular amount of money until it is deemed not worthwhile or not good enough anymore, considering it was actually never what we wanted in the first place. So it ends up littering the earth we walk on because it is cheaper to buy another half-decent product than fix a broken one and near to impossible to get one we actually really like.

Once the world collapses, and I rather wish it does it sooner than later so I can get on with it, “essential living skills” will be needed. These include gardening, arts and crafts, hands-on therapies, interpersonal skills, musical instruments etc. Anything that can be used without plugging it into walls, or people, for that matter. Anything that enables you to simply sit, breathe and smile. And as a side-effect we will likely be developing other senses, understanding premonitions, and probably even enable us to communicate at distance without hand-held devices.

Noticing how quickly we destroy this magic planet by eradicating anything it has on offer and then suffocating it with the end result, I wonder how many planets in our solar system and beyond have been populated and destroyed accordingly. Once we have exploited this planet to its fullest extend, we either carry on on another planet, or we simply survive as “life force” and begin yet another cycle of evolution, also likely on another planet, as simple single cell organisms.

Unless we learn form our mistakes and begin to work and live with the world around us instead simply just on it, this process will never change for eternity. And I am fully aware that this is a process that may take a long time, maybe even more than eternity, but it begins with awareness, the preparedness for whatever is to come and the readiness to act on the essential stuff that we really need.

Happiness can not be man made. It has to come from within yourself.

Love
Anna

Wasps and Signs

On one of my low tide walks, the first rather chilly one of this season, nonetheless barefoot, blinking into the golden morning sunlight, I happen to spot a wasp drifting in the waves, frantically crawling along the moving water surface in search for something to hold on to.

At first I stepped over it, glad that I didn’t step onto it and avoided being stung. To mind came the wasp infestation we had at work, millions of them everywhere.

But my heart went out to that tiny creature, emphasising how I would feel amidst a torrent of water, though my physical structure would not permit me to crawl on the water’s surface. How cool would that be?🙂

So I held out one of my shoes for it to grab hold of, which it did, but kept being blown off again by gusts of wind. When I finally had safely deposited it inside the shoe, it kept crawling out, facing repeatedly more blows by the wind, throwing it back out onto the water.

I was desperately trying to help it but there was either no common sense in the wasp to stay safely out of the wind or it was driven by a need that was out of my awareness span. Maybe neither of it applied and it simply did whatever it did for the sake of it.

My heart sank with the poor wasp as I realised that there was no way of keeping it save if it kept doing its own thing. And it hit me that this so translates into my repeated attempts at helping people or improving working environments or any area in life that I see could need some help, only to realise that most people simply don’t want to be helped. Or don’t know how to let themselves be helped, like the wasp.

It was mentioned that there is a lot of drunken wasps around at the moment because their work for their queen is done and yet there is still a lot of fruit around which is beginning to ferment. So the wasps get tipsy on that🙂

So in the end I don’t know if that wasp was maybe too pissed to “think” straight. And would it have behaved different if it wasn’t? Maybe it would never have ended up near the water edge. It would have either been strong enough to face the wind or instinctual enough to not go into the wind in the first place.

Compare that to us humans. Aren’t we all just drunken wasps, washed away by the strong current of todays consumerism, shiny gadgets, colourful wrappings and funny advertising? Driven to the edge of extinction by seemingly unfulfilled needs that make us want more of everything. Is it pure greed or do we really believe that we would be much happier if we had it all?

And how many tiny creatures are trampled on every day because we don’t think anything of them? Because they aren’t big enough to count as worthwhile, or because they annoy us. Likewise, how many people in lower positions face the same fate every day?

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A
Sign
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it’s up to you which way you follow😉

Love
Anna

The War on Television

To begin with a few snippets from The war on Syria is just a television series by Jon Rappoport.

“Can war exist without television?”

“Ever since television came in, there’s been nothing but television. All other reality was banished. People just don’t realize it yet.”

“I’m afraid television is a fragile medium. Any number of events could cause it to go offline. And then where will we be? We’ll sink into a great Void.”

“Suppose, as you say, the war is real. But suppose it isn’t on television. Nothing about it, the debate, the lead-up, the attack…none of it is on television. Therefore, none of us know anything about it. See? So I ask you, would they stage the war at all? What would be the point if it wasn’t on television? The so-called message we’re sending, the punishment for Assad using chemical weapons, the muscle-flexing. It wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t play.”

“In other words,” he said, “we all have a disease called television. We don’t know how sick we are.”

“Exactly,” I said.

I stumbled across this blog by recommendation and would like to draw comparisons to my own reality, in line with my recent blog “A Sense of Universal Responsibility“.

Okay, I’m not usually talking about war. And I’m not usually watching the news, or much telly in general. Because I don’t like seeing or hearing anything about war, or any of the rest of the drama going on in the world. I like to sit in my own little bubble, pretending that everything is fine. I well know that it isn’t fine, that the world is in a mess and that I better had do something about it.

Just what?

Surely, wouldn’t it be that first crucial step to not watch so much TV? Maybe I do the world a favour already by acknowledging it in all its real existential glory, without a screen inbetween, without the acted reality displayed 24/7. By actually putting out that thought of a better world, instead of focusing on the continuous negative reinforcement. This includes newspapers and magazines too.

The sad thing is that I have well felt this “void” described above myself on numerous occasions. It feels like a good friend has parted, like the end of a really good holiday, going back to a mundane 9 to 5 job, a dull Monday morning at school, the end of an era…

And none of the above are the actual reason for that void but the mere end of a box set of some series that had become part of my life for a short period. And when it ended I am stuck with the memories of something that wasn’t real to start with, humming the theme melody, missing its company on cosy evening nights, wishing I knew what would happen next if it was to carry on.

Why?

“What’s so different to a book?” Is it the actual imposed images, picked from someone else’s’ fantasy, compared to your own? To be rained on with images instead of setting your own scene?

In the end I ordered another box set, just to fill the void. Oh dear.

The same I notice in others, especially on my hospital ward, where not every bed has a television set. A lot of patients throw a right hissy fit at the fact that there is no television, panicking right from the start that they won’t be able to “survive”. So it’s not the surgeon that helps the survival process, nor the nursing care, it is in fact the television. Which one is the illusion?

Granted, there might not be much to do in a hospital bed, especially if you feel tired and can’t concentrate on books. I admire those patients who come well prepared with crossword puzzles, card decks, piles of books and the odd knitting sets.

I know it can be difficult to be still. Especially if you are unbeknown to meditation. And I had proposed before whether we couldn’t have some cards or games around to offer to patients that were clearly bored out of their minds. The answer was that it needed to be wipeable but generally was a potential infection risk …. so back to “sterile entertainment” via TV set, patients zoning out in front of the telly like slaves to the system, getting fidgety if they can’t use their TV or mobile phones, like drug addicts in for another fix.

Then I had to go into my bank earlier and was really trying to ignore the impossibly ginormous screens behind the cashiers, the news reporters with their twitching bodies, imposed expression of saddened sympathy, moving in tact with their “sterile” voices, echoing some formal words that mean nothing, together with the flashing news bands rolling along the bottom of the screen as if desperate to try and catch a glimpse of your attention. Of course its all bad news… of course its Syria they talk about…

Then the cashier flags up some offer on my account and arranges to speak to an advisor. After telling her that I really don’t care about mobile phone or computer insurance, that I would actually feel much happier if I didn’t have any of those “gadgets” at all and wouldn’t feel so harassed all the time, to which she seemed to agree saying she feels similar, she then hands me an iPad asking to fill out a customer survey. Did she even listen while she was hammering on the keyboard of her computer with her long red nails?

So then in the evening I watch a DVD, who would have thought, and what is the girl asked in the interview?

“How do you feel about the war?”

Smiling calmly she answers: “I don’t watch television.”

Pure bliss😉

Love
Anna

The Sacred Centre Explained

 “In the centre of our heart, no bigger than the size of your thumb, is a secret dwelling, the lotus of the heart. Within this dwelling is a space, and within that space is the fulfilment of all desires. As great as the infinite space beyond is the space within the lotus of the heart. Both heaven and earth are contained in the inner space, both fire and air, sun and moon, lightning and stars. Whether we know it in this world or know it not, everything is contained in that inner space.

Never fear that old age will invade that space; never fear that this inner treasure of all reality will wither and decay. This knows no age when the body ages, this knows no dying when the body dies. This is your true Self, free from old age, from death and grief, hunger and thirst. In this Self, all desires are fulfilled.”

The Cahndogya Upanishad

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I don’t think anyone could put this into any better words. This part of you, or rather inside of you, holds the answers to a lot of your questions. You may call it your “Inner Self“, “The Lotus of the Heart”, or as I have done “The Sacred Centre”. I even came to understand it as “The Buddha Within“, which may be a little too religious for some. I might be greatly influenced by Buddhism, purely due to its open and all encompassing nature towards all beings. Though religion has nothing to do with the Inner Self, which lies within you regardless of whether you belief in something or not.

Whatever you may want to call it, it is a part of yourself that is personal and individual just as you are yourself. By recognizing this part of yourself, not to be confused with the ego though, you may notice a change within yourself, however subtle or big, which can grow to give you a whole new perspective onto life. So you may call it “life changing”😉

Since this is a personal experience, no two people will feel the same, which can be confusing at times, especially if you attempt to share your exciting new take on life with others, but also shows what a magnificent and interesting individual you are.

How do I know all this? Well, I experienced it myself and went on to find out more about it. And the more I read, the more didI find about the importance of the heart. All I would like to do is make you aware of this part within yourself, which you may have already noticed at times, yet didn’t have the full understanding or awareness what precisely it was that you were feeling.

An easy and natural way to connect with your Inner Self is to sit quietly and simply follow your breath as it enters and leaves your body. A simple exercise that some may call meditation. Again, whatever you want to call it, the idea is to come to a point of stillness in which you may be able to hear your Inner Self.

There is so much more to be said, a lot of which I have expressed in my blog posts. Last, but not least, I would like to encourage you to discover your very own Inner Self and to question my view and find your own.

To quote the wise Raimon Panikkar once again: “The seat of our responsibility lies not in the good or bad example we set, not in the good or bad effect we have on others, but in our very being. The seat is inside us, it is ourselves.

Aware of our intrinsic responsibility in our very being, we do not frantically run to influence other people or “convert” them to our ways by extrinsic means. Instead it is the purity of heart that counts and the transparency of our lives.”

Trust your intuition!

Love Anna

Recommended Blogs:

That miraculous Inner Self

The Buddha Within the Sacred Centre

Smile Breathe Walk

The Breath of Life

Reaching for the Stars

Universal Mysteries and Rubber Ducks

What makes you Happy?

What makes you Happy?

The question is not whether to believe or not believe, or whether one religion is more true than another, or whether confession is going to make you a better person, or if there is a life after death…

The simple truth is that we all strive for some form of happiness.

For some this may mean a big family, others prefer a nomadic existence in isolation. A child gazing up to a balloon, an athlete winning a gold medal, getting that job, laying at the beach in the sun. There are those that want to earn loads of money to live a splendid life when they retire and those who have learned that possessions alone don’t bring about happiness.

Another simple truth may be that most people don’t intend to cause harm, they just don’t know that what they do is bad because they either grew up believing it is acceptable or can only see the benefit for themselves and lack the insight necessary to see that their benefit may harm others. Apart from a few psychopaths who really simply don’t care.

And among all these questions – polarities – of what is considered right and wrong and who actually decides who is right or wrong, lets just decide we are neither right nor wrong, we simple follow different ways to our very own happiness, which are all acceptable, as long as they don’t harm anyone else.

“When the thought of someone’s decapitated head upsets you, that is love”

it says in the silly movie “The Dictator”. Silly, and slightly wrong, yet quite true in view of our universal responsibility, which I had previously mentioned here.

As Raimon Panikkar put it so aptly:
Our responsibility is based on the response we give to ourselves, to our being, because our being is constitutively related to all other beings. We have responsibility towards others (legal) and to ourselves (ethical). We are not just responsible for our actions but also for our thoughts.

The seat of our responsibility lies not in the good or bad example we set, not in the good or bad effect we have on others, but in our very being. The seat is inside us, it is ourselves. Aware of our intrinsic responsibility in our very being, we do not frantically run to influence other people or “convert” them to our ways by extrinsic means. Instead it is the purity of heart that counts and the transparency of our lives.”

With that in mind I breathe in deeply and breathe out unhindered, cherishing the moment, the pure act of air entering and leaving my body, being grateful to be able to sit, walk, smile, knowing that I am an incredible individual with many talents.

These talents of mine don’t need to be forced onto the world. They merely exist inside of me to filter trough the masses as and when needed. Timing is crucial, as a mere demonstration of a talent could be misunderstood and lead to confusion in those who are not yet ready to learn from it.

When you learn to follow your breath, you will intrinsically know the right timing and be in tune with the universal ebb and flow of life.

Ultimate happiness lies in the breath of the present moment. Here I dwell in serene calmness and smile as I watch the world go by.

There is way too much noise and information out there. Put aside your phone for a moment, switch off the telly, close the iPad and stop the music. Listen, breathe, smile. Close your eyes and simply be.

And it is okay not to talk about it on Facebook😉

Love
Anna

A Gentle Nudge

Cringingly I remember the moment in class when I was about 12 and tried to open up the possibility to a class mate that God or the devil could potentially be female.

My word did that go down the wrong way!

Against me stood many books and paintings in history that clearly showed that they were both male. So why would I want them to be female?

Not so much wanting to, more thinking that they could take any form they like. It was the beginning of my understanding that there is a much more subtle world around us that is different to just being male or female and could certainly be mere energy, a cloud of atoms, at its most.

I have always been different, keeping to myself, busying myself with my own interests, exploring other ways and digging in holes that opened up new dimensions. My class teacher certainly couldn’t cope with the way I was, a quiet little girl, not very bright in her eyes, a failure at maths and geometry, way too overburdened with an additional foreign language, which is why she suggested I would be better off in a school for kids with special needs.

Heyho, nothing wrong with me, said the school psychologist, just a bit lazy. Or, in my own words, just not interested in maths🙂

I decided against the holy communion because I didn’t like the fact that angels had to have fluffy wings like in the pictures and that I didn’t see why I should honour that bearded man on the other pictures, whereas I had seen and felt beings of light around me that were nothing like that – though some of them do have wings after all.

Never mind. I was born a fighter, coming into the world against all the odds of my father’s request of abortion to having the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck twice and not wanting to breathe at first. But after my first breath was taken, there was no stopping me.

This sense of having a special task in this life has been with me as long as I can think back, however, what exactly it is wasn’t always that clear. But maybe that is what life itself is – the discovery of yourself.

Along came indigo children, light workers, Superman, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Buddha, the Dalai Lama … the world is certainly not lacking in heroes … just who am I?

I jumped form one branch to another, never falling off the tree, but never quite sure on which branch to settle. I am lucky to be blessed with insight and the ability to see truth in both sides of an argument – though it can at times feel more like a curse – not being able to settle on one point, feeling like a traitor, split between friends and foes alike.

The sense to help has always been strongest, just that there is soo many ways to help. It took yet another change in profession into healthcare to somewhat satisfy that urge and give it a scope to work with. Ironically the one profession I did not intent to do after having watched my mother and grandmother working in the same field.

But it turns out to be the only job I have done so far that well and truly fulfils me and gives me a purpose to wake up to every day of my life. Just one tiny thing was still missing. Just how could I incorporate my knowledge and awareness of the alternative approach to life, which is not acknowledged in general medicine?

I had set up a complementary business next to my main job, addressing the Inner Self, the Sacred Centre, helping with Subtle Energy Healing and Acupressure Massage, but I don’t have enough time to fully commit to it. But it is there, and when the time comes it will all mould together into one big perfect piece of history. I might be an indigo child as well as a light worker but certainly am no Superwoman (well, only apart from the flying ;)).

I am neither nor – I am the bridge stretching from on to the other, a guide that leads you, a foundation that carries you, a walking living library that is available for questions.

It is not up to me to heal you, but I can help you heal yourself. Awareness of the Sacred Centre can be the beginning of that healing process.

And as I sat quietly, breathing in and out, aware of the Buddha within myself, my heart lotus opened it’s petals and radiated warmth outward, heating up my entire chest. I was wondering if I could maybe use this to warm the hearts of others and bring about a change of hearts just by being there, with them, without words, just with a smile. Would that be my next learning curve?

I have definitely come a long way since my above mentioned account of trying to make someone else see my side!

And it’s really not about the money. Really not – despite how many people have told me to value myself and to not give of myself for free. There is a reason why I have been supported with a good job that offers me free education, even sending me to university (all this in a foreign language – would love to know what my teacher thinks), so that I can spend my free time offering the world a little bit of my wisdom, as and when it needs it.

I have noticed so many times in my life that if you are true to yourself and listen to the gentle nudges of your Inner Self, that support will materialise. It might not be in form of a pot of gold, but certainly recognizable in the shape of whatever it is that you need most at the time.

Trust yourself!

Love
Anna

Truly Petrified

Ever been so petrified you turned into stone? Nowhere near enough as the petrified piece of wood that I am holding in my hands.

I can’t quite get my head around it. This brown lump that looks like a piece of a small tree trunk with the only difference being the smooth polished glass-like surface and the stone-like weight is said to be something in the lines of a mighty 250 million years old. Or as close to this daring assumption of a piece of history that quite likely stood on earth before even the dinosaurs did.

Humans only dared setting their foot on earth a comparably insignificant 200 thousand years ago. That’s like what? A fossil tree that’s 1200 times older than humanity or 1200 years for every year of humanity. Bless my boyfriend’s capability to at least try to calculate this for me🙂

Now I wanted to know what the earth looked like at the time of the tree. According to the BBC, it would fall roughly inbetween the Permian period, 290 – 248 million years ago, a mainly arid supercontinent with low oxygen levels, and the Triassic period, 248 – 205 million years ago, which was characterised by heat, vast deserts and warm seas and at which time the supercontinent of Pangaea is said to have begun breaking apart.

Apparently there wasn’t much growing on the planted back then other than conifers in various forms and shapes. Is my piece of fossil wood a conifer?

It was the Permian mass extinction that ended the Permian period and preceded the Triassic Period, nicknamed The Great Dying, since a staggering 96% of species died out. All life on Earth today is descended from the 4% of species that survived. Did my fossil tree die during that time? Truly petrified at the sight of a massive mass extinction?

Petrified wood derives from a tree that has fallen onto the ground and is then quickly submerged by mud and henceforth cut off from oxygen, delaying the natural decaying process. As the tree slowly decays, it’s cells fill with water and as the water evaporates, leave behind mineral residues which in the end replace the organic tree matter with solid stone.

Different minerals will influence the colouring of the fossil tree. Silicone is much more likely to retain the original colouring of the tree as opposed to calcite, which turns the wood white.

I have to say that I am truly honoured to hold a piece of stone in my hand that has existed for soo many, many years. It is beyond my capability to think that far back. I only just began coping with the 60 000 years since my prehistoric ancestors left Africa to populate Europe, but 250 million is quite a bit more.

And after all this petrified wood has witnessed, it ends up in a shop for a mere £21. Hardly worth the amount of time it has sat and waited to be dug up. It reminds me once again how small and insignificant we humans are as a race, as a population that believes it knows it all and uses that knowledge to destroy the planet, an entity that has lived for 4.5 billion years … a number too big for my boyfriend’s calculator to show … or a rough gestimate of 23 000 years for every human year. Please don’t lynch him should the numbers not match a 100%😉

Amazing what one can learn in an afternoon🙂

Please, please, please humans, don’t destroy this wonderful planet with all its wonders and miracles! It would be such a shame!

Love
Anna

A Sense of Universal Responsibility

An email arrived with a link and suddenly I found myself listen to thoughts and feelings of mine being expressed by someone on a YouTube clip, which was strange at first, yet also somewhat reassuring and prompted me to write about a topic that had been on my mind for the past weeks.

A few weeks ago I was exposed to Games of Thrones for the first time. I didn’t know what it was, had never heard of it and quite frankly didn’t even care about it. So the box set, lent to me in an act of goodwill by a friend, had sat on the shelf for over a month when I finally thought I might as well see what it is about.

I finished the whole first season in less than a week and was left wanting to know more. The second season was kindly handed over soon after by the well-meaning, though surprised, friend.

However, I seriously wonder why I am so keen to watch it. It has incredibly strong acts of violence which I find really upsetting at times and the affection on display is very much porn.

What hooks me though is the interpersonal relationships, the hearts of the people, the injustices with hope of justice and the developing characters, their life-stories unfolding in front of me without having to do much more than sit and watch.

So does it sell because it has violence for the hard men out there, sex for those who can’t get enough and an actual storyline for those with an intact thinking apparatus? Does it fill some gap in felt experience that otherwise would never be felt?

So that above mentioned YouTube clip arrived by email on an unrelated topic, yet it opened with a battle scene from Games of Thrones

And having meant to write about the above for the past weeks, the YouTube link acted like a hit with a pole, though a gentle one, since I’m not really that much into violence😉

Watch it below, I’d like to know what it brings up in you!

 

My emotional response in regards towards any kind of violence everywhere on the planet is unsettling, be it a mere play on TV or factual on the news. And comparing my experience of peace at Plum Village, I wonder if it will ever be possible to live in complete peace.

Sadly, I doubt it.

To top Game of Thrones, I merrily went to see Kick-Ass 2 last week and after the “violent but kinda funny” first movie was somewhat appalled at the sheer brutality of the follow up. The constant splattering of blood and breaking of bones didn’t leave much space for anything else  and left me somewhat distressed instead. It’s not like I didn’t know what to expect, with Kick-Ass it is the “funny side”, the “cartoon effect”, that lets it get away with it. But maybe I should have leave it be after the first one.

In the end, most TV violence can be put aside for “not being real”. But what does your brain “see” as real? Can your unconscious mind really completely differentiate between “real” and “unreal” violence when it is quite clearly happening in front if it’s very eyes?

I notice myself how much I had already got desensitised to violence from the first episode of Game of Thrones to the end of the first season. After many beheadings and endless gut-wrenching scenes, in the literal sense, not the poetic, throughout the series I noticed how little my felt experience alarmed when Jim Carrey’s head got twisted off his neck in Kick-Ass 2.

On an interesting note, Jim Carrey actually stepped back from promoting Kick-Ass 2 after “a change of heart”. Does he feel similar to how I felt after watching it?

It worries me to think that violence will simply more increasingly be seen as something that happens without sending a much needed alarm message to our conscious brain telling it that it is not acceptable. We laugh about it, “maintaining the funny side of it”, thinking it isn’t real.

How do you feel if someone is being murdered right in front of you? Or if you are the one “having to do” the murdering? Is it just as acceptable to kill to defend yourself as it is to defend whatever it is you are representing? (remember the “duty” of those in charge during the Holocaust)

The bigger question here would be that of responsibility: “How much do we feel responsible for something that happens outside of our view, either far away or with participants that are not personally know to us?”

In the book “Understanding the Dalai Lama”, Raimon Panikkar talks about “Universal Responsibilities”:

“Why should I be responsible for a murder committed in a distant island by an unknown “fellow” for reasons totally incomprehensible to me? Is this distant person actually my fellow? Or have we fellowship only with our family, clan, caste, nation, religion, culture?

The only rational answer is to say that willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or not, we belong together and are not isolated individuals, unconnected monads, independent being. In a word, universal responsibility implies a certain type of universal solidarity. Individuals can only be linked by external ties, like a common interest. The moral responsibility which flows from a common goal is limited to the means used in the acquisition of that goal.

If power lies exclusively with the people and I am the people, and I have not voted for the constitution (of a country for example), why am I obliged to obey that law? Individuals feel united only if there is a common purpose or if there is a threat form the law, the police or the army. No wonder that our planet has more than 40 million in the armed forces. They “enforce” law and order because there is no sense of responsibility.”

So this somewhat lengthy account of mine that began with a mere unexpressed emotion and ends with an interesting account on Universal Responsibility by a very wise man is only an expansion of the awareness of my very own responsibility towards humanity.

If I don’t agree with violence then I shouldn’t apply violence and maybe shouldn’t merely sit and watch it either. Just, would it make any difference to humanity if I did carry on watching it on TV?

Ask yourself😉

Love
Anna

Let me share a few more quotes by Raimon Panikkar with you:

“His Holiness suggests we should include in our responsibility the entire ecosystem of our planet and soon of our solar system.

Humanity as such is responsible for its own destiny.

I am responsible if I have in me the capacity to respond to the summons of what makes me precisely responsible. Human freedom is an essential ingredient of responsibility.

We have responsibility towards others (legal) and to ourselves (ethical).

We should not understand universal responsibility to mean a single universal moral code. Each culture may have different visions and interpret and justify this responsibility in diverse forms.

We are not just responsible for our actions but also for our thoughts.

The seat of our responsibility lies not in the good or bad example we set, not in the good or bad effect we have on others, but in our very being. The seat is inside us, it is ourselves.

Our responsibility is based on the response we give to ourselves, to our being, because our being is constitutively related to all other beings.

Aware of our intrinsic responsibility in our very being, we do not frantically run to influence other people or “convert” them to our ways by extrinsic means. Instead it is the purity of heart that counts and the transparency of our lives.”

Happiness and Mobile Phones

Ok, so I can’t help noticing the poor disoriented individuals that are wandering the streets day and night, assiduously tapping on small devices that seem to be attached to their hands.

Has the Mars-landing already happened?

Can you really not enjoy your time on earth while you still can?

Is it really more important to tell the whole world how happy/angry/excited/disappointed (you get it) you are feeling and that you are indeed walking/sitting/dancing/watching a movie (why do I bother) instead of actually enjoying that moment to the fullest?

What value has a moment that has been captured to live forever on the www compared to a moment of pure joy in your life that wasn’t actually lived?

 

It scares me a bit. Is it the same fear that gripped the generation of my grandparents when the little box appeared in their living room that enabled them to watch men jump on the moon? Or the unthinkable event of humans learning to fly in monstrous contraptions?

When they said things like “Everything was better in the old days”, did they feel overwhelmed and worried what else the future would come up with?

It is truly fascinating what humans have achieved over the past 100 years compared to the 100 years before that. Just what is it all good for? Why is it so important to be better/faster/more efficient at absolutely everything we do? Is it money?

Well in that case you might as well say goodbye to your happiness right now!

Last week a colleague conveyed to me how one of our patients had said to her that he has so much money and so many houses, he doesn’t know what to do with it all. Now in his eighties, what he has worked hard for all his life had become a burden.

He didn’t have any children and only married fairly recently because his life-long work didn’t give him enough time for it. Now he has just spent a few weeks in hospital due to ill health, sitting in a chair next to his bed all day long, muttering curses to himself.

Visitors come at times but he exhaustedly said to me after: “I wish they didn’t come and stay that long. But then I have so much to sort, they have to. I’m glad I brought my suitcase in because I have so much paperwork to deal with.”

So what did all his hard work, all his money, all those houses bring him in the end? Even more stress, more annoyance and the regret that he didn’t get married and have children earlier in life.

“The more you have, the more you have to lose. Happiness is freedom from wanting”.

 

Well aware that I’m being nostalgic, I can’t help but think back to a time without mobile phones, without internet, where you arranged to meet somewhere and that’s what you did. There was no texting of “will be late” or “sorry can’t make it”.

I somewhat think that we become less reliable because we have the chance to easily opt out without standing someone up entirely. It seems to be okay to not show up as long as you can text 5 minutes in that you actually won’t be coming. Least to mention all those that got dumped via text, threatened by anonymous callers, constantly worry they break their brand new iPhone and never have reception when they really need it.

I have great respect for a friend who claims he has a mobile phone, thought he isn’t entirely sure where it is and blatantly refuses to use it. It can be irritating at times if you want to get hold of him, but then he sais himself that he doesn’t always want to be gotten hold of.

I dread the moment I will be needing a new phone, unless I’m being lurked in with the promise of a free upgrade (evil marketing), because I truly just want a device to make and receive calls from, not a camera (got one thank you), fast internet connection (actually doesn’t work at all cos updates are not updating…), mp3 player (would get one if I needed it) and really, really don’t care about apps, games or any of the other possibilities these mini computes have on offer!

And isn’t it just sad, possibly even selfish, that we nowadays demand of everyone to be a mobile phone call away just in case we need them? And even worse, if they are not answering, we either break into a rage, think they possibly ignore us on purpose or worry that maybe something happened to them?

So tell me again, is this what you understand under happiness?

And however marvellous the internet is in connecting us with someone on the other end of the world, it also at the same time overloads us with information that we can’t always handle. It send us a little loopy to say the least.

We become agitated, feel the need to check our inbox and “social networks” frequently, even if on the loo, just to satisfy the reward centre in our brain which is now continuously longing to be stimulated and create the warm sensation of acceptance in society, to be acknowledged, to sigh with pure joy that someone likes our status or left a comment.

In all honesty. Really?

This is mere idolisation of the term “happiness”, a mere phantasmagoria!

Great word, isn’t it?

It bothers me greatly that people at work don’t just walk the corridors with equally bland expressions on their faces while staring at their little lit display of wonderment but also while sitting behind desks, standing in corners or store rooms and one can’t tell if they are “just checking” on their latest “social updates” or actually researching an altogether important aspect of their work – like one of our newly started junior doctors did the other day.

Am I overanalysing this by saying I think it is rude to ignore other people over a little electronic device that has the power to zap your attention to any part of the world you would like?

But actually, hey you outdated people with your hand-held devices! You are like soo behind! Haven’t you seen those glasses yet that you can check up on all this stuff with the blink of an eye?? That way people won’t even notice that you’re not actually listening!

Seriously!

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I try to advertise my little business and in this case, the internet is a brilliant way of free advertising, if it wasn’t full of it! It seems that it is full to the brim with advertising without actually reaching those potential clients that would really benefit from my work. Someone recently admitted that the only reason he went back to facebook after deciding he didn’t want to be part of it anymore was, wait for it, his curiosity to catch up with the latest gossip!

One of the reasons I hated sport’s festivals at school was the competition. The internet leaves me feeling similar. I just don’t want to have to compete, needing to claim the most likes, having to be there because everyone is, having to take part to show I exist, needing to be there to not miss out on anything potentially important.

At times I well and truly feel overwhelmed by the sheer possibilities technology has on offer. And then to feel the pressure to having to use it, just to keep up with everyone and everything tips my point of happiness and turns it into sheer desperation and the wish arises inside of me that everyone would simply shut up sometimes. To just leave it be.

To not update my computer when I’m just working on something,  to not stream endless and mindless reality shows on TV when I look for proper entertainment, to not send me texts that I might be owed money for an alleged accident I never had, to stop spamming my email account with stuff nobody wants to see, to stop complaining about your allegedly pitiful life on facebook and if you have been out clubbing and end up walking past my window at 3 in the morning pissed, please, for the greater good of humanity, do not sing out loud deliriously nor start a fight with anyone, especially if you are missing a great deal of your clothes!

Imagine the peace😉

Love
Anna

A Subtle Difference

As a world nation with different ethnic backgrounds and even more diverse believes and outlooks on life, we get it pretty wrong at times.

We look what others have and compare ourselves to their looks, their money, their success and downfalls, their strengths and weaknesses and somehow end up thinking that we are either better or worse than them, creating within ourselves a believe that separates us from our very own self and thus creates war not only within our own hearts but also between nations.

I myself notice far too often a sensation of inadequateness when I look at other’s success. And sometimes I look at others and see what they are lacking that I have already found for myself.

We are quite quick in judging others, usually within the first few seconds of meeting someone have we come up with an idea of what this person is like. This is a natural reflex of our brain trying to understand what’s going on and assess potential danger. Just how wrong we often are only emerges should we choose to get to know someone better. And by judging others we ultimately judge ourselves.

However, a simple solution is at hand: If you were to realise that you are in essence part of those around you, you can learn to love yourself even more. Genetics suggest that we are all to some 98% chimpanzee, and currently we are estimated to decent from only 7 mothers. Bring in the soul aspect, the one consciousness that combines us all, and you have an idea why we are essentially more the same than our small differences suggest.

You might have noticed how similar individuals from other ethnic backgrounds appear at first glance and we are quick in identifying an Asian origin by their eyes, but its only when getting to know them more that you realise that there are many subtle hints that sets them apart from each other and separates Asians into Chinese, Nepalese, Japanese and so on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So by assuming that we all still simply originated from chimpanzees and taking into account that we all started off in Africa to populate the word, it might help you to see a little bit of yourself in any member of the world population. And if you then love someone, like your partner, family, friends, your own love will reflect back to you from your own particles that connect you with these people and all you have to do is accept that love.

This goes back to the well know thesis to “love yourself”, but by believing that I should love myself as an individual, I may be in danger of isolating myself form the collective consciousness. But by recognizing myself in everyone around me, I can become whole.

The question to ask yourself is why you either feel inadequate or better than others. What caused you to believe you should prove yourself to be better than others, and why is it that bad if you are not the best? When I overhear someone complimenting someone else, I immediately take it to mean that I am clearly not good enough otherwise they would have said it to me instead. On the other hand I find it hard to actually take compliments, thinking that I don’t deserve it and worry that others won’t like me now because they think I am somewhat better.

None of it makes any sense, yet it registers within me as a failure. Realising this is the first step to begin the healing process. The subtle difference is instead of “wanting to be the best” you should simply “just be the best”. Honour the present moment instead of hoping for the future. Instead of looking for perfection within others, look for it within yourself. Instead of starting a war because you disagree with someone, sit together and discuss it peacefully over a cup of tea.

If only it was that simple, the world would be a much better place. So spread the word and hopefully we will all soon be drinking tea together😉

Love
Anna

Life, Visions, Doubts and Passions

Insights come in the most unexpected ways. It might be a coincidence that this post comes while chopping up mushrooms for my risotto. Dish of the day, huh?😉

After reading someone’s blog I left the comment:

“Life is based on visions – and you decide what your life’s vision is!”

and following on after the author’s comment to keep it in mind the next time doubts would creep in I concluded:

“Doubts are necessary because they make you re-evaluate your visions.”

And suddenly I wondered what had happened to my own vision. Maybe a little re-evaluation of my own little business wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

This comes after re-evaluating the Awareness Spa Mini Retreats, which I am part of, deciding to take a step back and simply hold the space, inviting people as they come and show interest. We all felt such relief after a year of constant advertising, which was three times as exhausting than actually running the retreat once a month.

I have changed. I now embark on another new step in my life which gently forces me to stop and do something different for a while. I am starting a two year university course in clinical health care as part of my employment.

It has been a passionate of mine to set up a little complementary business next to my main job. I have attended many interesting courses, met even more interesting people and took part in arduous networking meetings with little understanding of what I was supposed to talk about nor what it actually was that I wanted from it. It was all a great learning curve. So instead of spending my time advertising and feeling disappointed that I don’t get much response, I will now concentrate on university and let happen whatever will happen.

It’s almost like I have been creating different identities of myself in recent years, creating different blogs for different audiences because I didn’t feel that one could cope with the other. But I see now how beautifully they all work together. It’s an amalgamation of who I am as an individual, and of a life that I am proud to be living.

My previous website was build with simple HTML to keep my web design skills up but it got more and more difficult due to time and bothersome techniques to even update a single sentence, whereas I could spent hours blogging about a topic I felt passionate about here on wordpress. So I chose to transfer some of the content from my website onto my blog site since I am on here most of the time anyway.

First part of the amalgamation has been done. Now I can relax.

A passion to help is great – just that you can’t help if someone doesn’t want to be helped.

People rather have you fix their problems for them instead of genuinely wanting to solve them with your help.

Symptom control is impossible in the long-term unless you change something in your life. If you’re not happy to change your life, you might have to live with the symptoms.

I actually feel like I can be even more open in expressing myself through my writing now that I don’t have the burden of attracting potential clients. Too much have I been indoctrinated by several different codes of conducts relevant to whichever course I went for to behave and talk in a certain way.

Whereas I fully respect a professional appearance and a non-discriminatory approach and to refrain from practices that I am not qualified in, I also felt like I couldn’t fully be me, unable to breathe, stifled by the code and conduct’s suggested demeanours and crippled by my insurance’s terms and conditions.

My passion to help is joined by my passion to teach. So what better approach could I choose than simply be myself and lead by example. If someone would like to understand more about what I do they can ask. And I will be more than happy to fill them in.

I draw inspiration from my own experiences and thoughts as well as what I observe in the world around me. I don’t mean to offend anyone with my thoughts, they are merely expressions of my Inner Self, hence the term “The Sacred Centre”, in case you were wondering.

I refer to the Sacred Centre as the Inner Self that lies within you, in the centre of your chest. Seeing the world with your heart, not with your head will put a smile on your face. It brings you one step closer to the rest of the world, one step closer to yourself.

Writing brings clarity into my mind. With each story I share it feels like I am getting closer to finding inner peace.

To a new future filled with fun😀

Love
Anna

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