My recent seven posts covered seven different life principles – responsibility, play, choice, energy, creativity, love and consciousness. These life principles are all connected to each other, and they are a beautiful journey to consciousness.

This is why I decided to create an eBook to invite you to enjoy this spiritual journey – from Scotland to California, to Scotland, to Italy and back to Scotland. Correct – Scotland dominates the journey – it’s my spiritual home.

Ready to begin the journey? Download your copy here. That’s what “Life Principles” covers – in a nutshell:


Responsibility:
Being responsible for what we do – for our behaviors, decisions, actions and reactions, is an essential part of self-leadership. Understanding what responsibility means that’s where our journey begins…

Our point of departure is in Oban, Scotland.

Play:
Based on responsibility, we recognize that our life is a journey with unlimited potential to grow. It depends on our ability to understand that winning and losing is always an opportunity to learn.
Enjoy the nature, the power and the beauty of water – Isle of Staffa, Scotland.

Choice:
Understanding that we always have a choice, understanding that our life is the result of the choices we make and that choices have consequences – that’s the third stage along our journey to consciousness. Enjoy a peaceful place, I love very much – Halfmoon Bay, California

Energy:
How to get into your own energy and how to focus your energy to create movement – that’s the fourth stage along our journey.
Enjoy a beautiful, peaceful but energetic moment with seagulls in motion – Callander, Scotland.

Creativity:
We are all born creative. Creativity is a human nature. Let’s see how to unleash your creative potential.
Enjoy the beauty of this lovely hydrangea, which lives in one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen – Arduaine, Scotland

Love:
Let’s get rid of all the misconceptions about love. Let’s understand that love is an intrinsic quality, speaking from the irrational wisdom of the heart. Let’s discover that love is a state of being…
Enjoy these beautiful corn poppies – Il Cerreto, Italy.

Consciousness:
What can come after love? Consciousness…Developing your own consciousness is probably the biggest gift you can make to the world.
Enjoy a peaceful and spiritual place, this is where my soul is at home – Lendrick Lodge, Scotland.

Download your copy here, enjoy the journey – and let me know your thoughts!

 


Consciousness is defined in many ways. “The state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings,” that’s how Oxford Dictionaries define the term. Merriam Webster defines the term as “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself.” Both dimensions are important to consider, an individual’s environment and his/her inner world.

Additional definitions focus more on consciousness maps and levels and their distribution across societies. Today, let’s focus on the individual perspective.

Consciousness occurs when you develop awareness regarding your thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions. Consciousness means that you recognize “your” perceived reality differently. Because this perceived reality is just a mirror, a projection of your inner world. The conscious person knows that every change begins from within. It is based on understanding yourself, followed by changing yourself.

Developing consciousness is a journey. It begins with getting aware of all our mental and emotional actions and reactions. It’s about noticing and observing those reactions, but without any positive or negative judgment. That’s one of the core elements of meditation, wherever you sit or walk in meditation. I tried to meditate for a long time with different techniques, and I wasn’t very happy, until I learned this simple truth. Notice your thoughts, say hello to them, but don’t get involved with your thoughts when you are in meditation. Notice that your mind is working like crazy, sending all these different thoughts your way. And be aware that your mind wants to control. Always. Use your awareness and don’t allow your mind to take control all the time. Master your mind, but don’t let your mind master you. Develop this mental switch that puts you in meditation mode. That’s the best way to uncover and to understand your unconscious and often automated reactions. It’s a discovery process to develop a deeper understanding how you are functioning.

Part of the consciousness journey is also to recognize that many (past) disappointments are just a result of not being conscious enough, of not being aware, of not knowing and not understanding yourself. Whenever fear or anger comes back, take them as a “wake up call” to continue your discovery process. Working with fear or anger like this is an opportunity to become more conscious, to get a deeper understanding and to learn more about yourself.

Only awareness and understanding of your (up to now) often unconscious behaviors and emotional reactions, leads to a more conscious and more effective behavior. Then, you can reach another state of mind, a deeper level of consciousness that allows you to act more consciously, rather than to re-act automated to certain situations.

Consciousness is a life-long journey, a rewarding journey, but not always an easy one. It often feels like a twisting road. The more you develop your consciousness within yourself, the more relaxed you will become and the more clarity, ease and inner peace you will achieve. Relaxation means to be at ease with yourself, it means to be at home. You have gained a lot more distance, you know how to collaborate with your mind.

Based on this clarity and deep relaxation, a new power to act and to create is growing within you. Relaxation and action are now two sides of the same coin. These two sides of the same coin – focused action and complete relaxation – are a specific state of consciousness. This state of consciousness enables the highest qualities of human behavior. That means a level of human behavior which is based on the principles of responsibility, choice, play, energy, creativity and love.

Be aware that your journey of consciousness is a life-long journey and your key to personal growth.

There is no silver bullet – only consciousness!


Love is the most beautiful and also the most challenging topic to write about. Why? Because there are so many misconceptions, so many false interpretations about love out there. Sorting them out in one blog post is almost impossible. But to shed light on a few dimensions that are essential and inspiring – that’s what I’m trying to do here.

Common Misconceptions

Most of the time, love is connected to a relationship to another person. This belief is closely connected to the idea of the “perfect man” or the “perfect woman”. Finding this perfect person, happiness seems to be guaranteed. This is what daily trivia and many Hollywood blockbusters are all about…

Let’s uncover a few false belief systems.

Happiness comes from within, it should never depend on another person. If you cannot be happy with yourself, how should you ever be happy with another person? Instead, happiness is a state of being, it’s an attitude. It’s being aware of the fact that most of the time, it’s not what happens to us. It’s more about how we respond to what happens to us, and that’s our choice. Happiness comes when our heart, our mind and our actions are well aligned. Therefore happiness doesn’t depend on another person.

“Love has nothing to do with the other. A loving person simply loves, just as an alive person breathes and drinks and eats and sleeps. Exactly like that, a really alive person, a loving person, loves.”
– Osho

Love is not something to be projected to another person. Instead, love is an energy flowing within us. It’s a natural function. We are born with love as we are born with trust, but we need to develop both on our own.

Demanding perfection is another misconception. Look around how many people take others for granted, showing no gratitude, no awareness at all. Another attitude that’s based on false belief systems, how men and women should behave in a relationship and in a certain society. Those stories were told to us, over and over again. What’s the good thing with that? Stories can be changed. Develop a new level of awareness and appreciate what a person who loves you, is doing for you. Nothing is self-evident. Love needs a climate of gratitude, love needs a non-demanding atmosphere to grow.

Another false belief is to focus on how to get love. It’s closely related to the perfect man and perfect woman belief. How to get to this person? Why not changing the approach fundamentally?
Why not start giving?

“That’s how love grows. Give, and don’t wait to see how much you can grab. Yes, it comes, it comes a thousand fold, but it comes naturally. It comes on its own, there is no need to demand it.”
–Osho

Getting rid of those misconceptions is a “must have” challenge at some points in our lives. Those challenges come in iterations, triggered by people and life events, we were subconsciously looking for – to grow. These are experiences we have to make. Often, we discover ourselves in the other person in different forms and shapes. People who love are often a mirror for each other – a mirror that can be pretty challenging from time to time, a mirror that allows us to grow to a next level of understanding. Growth only happens, if we are open to it. Growth only happens, if we learn from what we see in the mirror. Every time you will learn a bit more, and you will get a deeper understanding. Now and then, that’s a painful way to grow, but a necessary one. The pain of growth is decreasing in each iteration, and the joy, your overflowing heart of love is increasing. A beautiful journey of personal, spiritual growth.

Growing this way, love is experienced and practiced differently. It becomes a state of being, it becomes a practice that goes way beyond relationships to other people, it’s becomes the core value of being, of living your life. Then, you are love. Two fundamental consequences can experienced along this journey:

Love transforms

As mentioned above, love is not something to be searched for in another being to combat loneliness or unhappiness. Instead, love is in your heart, but it needs to be unleashed, it needs to be liberated from misconceptions. Love has a tremendous transformational power. It allows you to touch your inner completeness. It allows you to find the key – for whatever you are seeking for – within you. That’s discovering aloneness, which means nothing else than to be complete.

“Real love is not a search to combat loneliness. Real love is to transform loneliness into aloneness, to help the other.”
–Osho

Love’s transformational power is so essential to understand, because it connects all areas of our lives. Love is our life energy that connects the dots between the personal life and the professional life.

Understanding love as being love is what enables creativity, and personal transformation. Being love is the prerequisite to your creativity, to develop your creativity to another level, where creative energy is just flowing through you. And that doesn’t come from many activities, it comes more from meaningful actions. That includes to accept that some things just happen and that not everything can be planned, done and controlled. This is what our mind always wants to do – to control. Let your heart lead your mind, but not the other way around. If so, your mind could control too much, your mind could prevent you from experiencing this amazing journey of personal, spiritual growth of being love.

Love strengthens freedom

Finally, experiencing love as being love – love and freedom are two sides of the same coin.

“Love allows freedom; not only allows, but strengthens freedom. And anything that destroys freedom is not love. It must be something else. Love and freedom go together, they are two wings of the same bird.”
–Osho

Experiencing love as a state of being, as a transformational energy is key to what we need to change in this century. Experiencing ourselves as spiritual beings, getting rid of love misconceptions is essential to master this century’s challenges, regarding all aspects of our existence on Earth.

We need leadership that allows playfulness, leadership that leverages people’s individual creativity, leadership that engages people to drive transformation towards a better future. We need leadership that is based on authenticity and integrity, we need leadership that leverages the power of communities and networks. We need leadership that is based on freedom, not on driving fear. This kind of leadership should be based on love…

Stay tuned – next time we will talk about consciousness!

 


“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
– Steve Jobs

For many years, I considered myself as not creative at all. I was raised to fit into the system, to be good, great and perfect. Making failures was not an option for my parents. Not an ideal environment to discover my creative potential. Whatever I created as a kid, I didn’t want to show those creations to anybody. I was afraid, it wouldn’t be good enough. As a student, I developed a passion. I tailored almost all my clothes on my own. I educated myself how to do it. As soon as I mastered the basic skills, I enjoyed creating beautiful dresses, nobody else had. Did I perceive myself now as a creative person? No, it was only craftsmanship.

I had lost my creative confidence during my childhood. The fear of being rejected hold me back. Then, when I started my spiritual journey more than ten years ago, I got my confidence back, the confidence in myself, step by step. I experienced this:

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
–Rumi

A few years ago, a special friend connected me to Seth Godin. Wow! Now, I could connect all the dots. “Tribes” and “Linchpin” were a real breakthrough. Now, I was able to transfer the power of creativity in all aspects of my life. It was at the same time, when I found my professional passion, when I started to use my creativity in all aspects of my work. It was about the same time, when I started writing…

We all have creative potential. It’s a unique gift we all have deep within us.
Creativity is part of human nature.

  • Creativity is a gift:
    It’s your decision to unwrap the gift or not. If you decide to do so, unwrap it with love, gratitude and joy. Be always aware that what you unwrap is just the potential. It’s up to you, how to leverage your gift and how to integrate creativity in all aspects of your life.
  • Creativity requires playfulness:
    A playful environment, ideally in nature, when mind and thoughts can ramble, helps to create the best ideas. Capture them, always. You will be surprised how many of those ideas will help you to solve a problem or to unlock a stagnant project. A playful situation helps also to question the status quo. Questioning the current state can unfold a whole range of new ideas. If you want to read more about playfulness, check out these previous Sand Hearts posts here and here.
  • Creativity is action:
    Don’t wait until all final reports and data are available. This moment will never happen. Trust your gut instinct and begin to develop that new idea, that new product or begin to write the book you have in mind or to launch your own blog. Whatever it is, creativity is first of all about action, beginning and making the first step in the right direction and to keep moving.
  • Creativity requires confidence:
    “That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.” Tom Kelley, Creative Confidence.
    Creative confidence needs to be discovered once, which is a kind of initiation into a new life. As soon as this confidence is established, it’s all about practice – practice to improve, reinforce and strengthen your creative foundation. The more you practice, the easier it gets. The secret is “to unlock your creative thinking as a bridge to creative confidence.” I highly recommend to read this book: Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley. It’s extremely well written, contains lots of encouraging stories and practical tools to boost your creative confidence.
  • Creativity takes courage:
    Courage is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. In reality it means whatever you are passionate about – do it anyway. There will never be a perfect moment without risk. Your courage makes the moment perfect. Courage is to trust your creative confidence and your ability to connect the dots between elements that were not connected so far. Learn along the journey what works and what doesn’t. The learning you will get from failures will equip you with the right skills and the right mindset to achieve a next level of creativity. Courage allows you to see a learning opportunity instead of a problem. That’s how your creative potential will unfold. In plateaus, in batches. Courage is the driving force to boost your creative potential. Courage drives creativity. Courage and creativity drive innovation.

 

Be brave.
Start creating.
Be the creator and the creation at the same time.
Create art.

Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.”
–Seth Godin

 


“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

Energy – a term with many associations. One of the energies in our body is called “prana”, which is the Sanskrit word for “original life force”. Prana is responsible for the body’s life, heat and maintenance. The other energy is the energy of our mind, consciousness. Consciousness is a constellation of attributes of the mind such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, and the ability to perceive a relationship between oneself and one’s environment.

Getting into your own energy

Feeling your own body and mind energy is a prerequisite to use your energy in a mindful and focused way. There are many ways to improve your own energetic level, here are five basics:

  • One element is healthy food – local, fresh, organic, avoiding convenience food and processed food. Food creates energy in your body. So, be conscious, what kind of food you eat, because it determines what kind of energy you can expect in your body. There is no way to have a high positive energy level by eating junk food.  What goes around, comes around.
  • Another element is breathing. There are different breathing techniques that help you to work with your own energy flow across your body. Breathing, observing your own inhaling and exhaling process, helps to stimulate the energy flow across all chakras. A healthy body is often described with flowing energy across all chakras.
  • Additionally, watch your thoughts. Are they rather positive or negative? How do you approach your challenges? As opportunities to learn, to change and to grow or as big problems that make your life worse. Be aware that negative thoughts create negative energy, not only for you but also for the people surrounding you. And guess what – nobody benefits from your anger, including yourself. The opposite is the case, it takes even more energy to get out of a negative state of mind.
  • Furthermore, surround yourself with people who have a positive energy, who believe in your vision, your strength, courage and passion. That doesn’t mean to surround yourself with yea-sayers. Not at all. People who believe in you, people with positive energy, can and will challenge your approaches if they want you to grow. Often, they bring out the best in you. It’s a great way to challenge your own approach, to think in a different way, to learn more about another perspective and to look at your approaches from a different view point. It’s a way to grow, to get better every day.
  • Last but not least, keep your body in good shape. Only a strong and healthy body can support you to achieve your aspirations from an energetic view point. It’s the same with the mind, continuous training keeps both in good shape.

Now, let’s focus on the energy of our mind, on consciousness. Dr. David Hawkins worked on consciousness almost his entire professional life. His consciousness model distinguishes different levels of consciousness. It helps to develop awareness on your current state and it also provides ideas for your own development. Check out his consciousness model, and listen to this short video, explaining the different levels.

Focus your energies to create movement

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
–Socrates

Once you are in a state of great energy, and you achieved a certain balance between your life force prana and the energy of your mind, consciousness, it’s up to you to make a decision, in which direction you want to use our energy. What is it you want to accomplish? How does your vision look like? What is it you are passionate about? What excites you? We discussed thoughts about responsibility, play, choice in other blog posts a few weeks ago. All the three set an awareness foundation for today’s post on energy.

Be clear where you want to go, how your vision looks like and what the major milestones look like to get there. Think also about the different plateaus you may need to accomplish towards your vision. Accept the fact that iterations will happen and that they are necessary to learn and to grow. But you will never come back to the same situation again. It will always be a different situation, because your energy, your consciousness and the situational context will be different. Clarity about your vision often comes in a playful state of mind, or in nature and in situations where your mind is pretty calm – the perfect way to get great ideas and to feel deeply within yourself what it really is you want to accomplish.

Be focused, and be aware of distractions and how much time they consume. What is necessary for you to relax? What are joyful distractions you don’t want to miss? And what are energy sucker kind of distractions with no value, but lots of time consumption? Make your decisions, in a conscious way.

Focus on your vision and work towards the next milestone, the next plateau. Everything else is second priority.
Focus is what helps you to keep you on your journey.
Focus is the force that helps you to put all your energy in creating what you want to create, on building what you want to build.

 “Energy and focus create movement”
Peggy Dylan, Founder of Sundoor – School of Transpersonal Education

 


One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes … and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
–Eleanor Roosevelt

Facing tough situations in life, it’s always easy to blame the difficult circumstances, the bad world, and all the people surrounding us. “How could that ever happen?” “How could they treat me like this?” “I didn’t do anything wrong”, “It’s their fault” or “It’s not my fault.”We all know these statements, and the list goes on and on…

Let’s be honest: Blaming other people, blaming the circumstances, the entire world or both for our experiences, for specific situations we may find ourselves in, doesn’t help anybody. It’s only creating and distributing negative energy. It doesn’t bring us any closer to a solution or a better future state. Blaming shows that we are in a victim mode and that we don’t take responsibility for us, our life and our past choices. But that’s our Responsibility.

We made the decisions in the past that are root causes for our today’s situations.  Even if we made a decision that seems to be wrong from today’s perspective – it was exactly the right one when we made this decision in this specific situation in the past. It was exactly what we wanted at some point. We cannot live our life backwards, but we can change the direction today for the future. We always have choices – and the most important one is the choice to look inwards, to listen to our heart to get a deeper understanding, to learn more about ourselves and about others – before we make our decision, before we move on, in a conscious, responsible way.

Situations, however painful they might be, have always one element in common – our individual and unique perception. Other persons involved may have another perception, that’s their unique view-point. Let’s not lose time and energy in judging other people’s individual perception and criticizing their view points. They are as they are, and nobody sees the colors as you do. But we all see colors. And we all name those colors, but sometimes slightly different. There will always be differences, at least nuances. Accept it and don’t judge other people’s perceptions. It doesn’t help us to get out of a painful situation, it only takes energy we could spend more wisely elsewhere to make a different choice next time. Additionally, judging another person’s individual perspective as wrong takes us also the possibility to remain open-minded and to gain a deeper understanding about their individual view-point.

Let’s be aware that our situations in our lives are the results of our conscious and unconscious choices we made in the past. Even if at some point, our decision was not to decide anything. Then, the decision was made for us, probably not as we expected it to be.

Let’s be aware that we always have choices and that those choices are unlimited. If we perceive them as limited, then we defined some limits, didn’t we? Limits we may perceive are often other people’s values, beliefs and principles how we should live our lives. Let’s be conscious, that this is not necessarily our story. If those values and beliefs don’t serve us anymore, let’s get rid of them. Living a responsible and conscious life requires that we define our values, our core beliefs and our ethical principles in a conscious way.

The past is over and the future didn’t yet begin. Today, you have the choice to change situations or you have the choice to accept them as they are. Today, you can choose to go another way, you can choose to develop new concepts, new life and work situations. Or you will choose a specific current situation again – as it is – and accept it completely.

The more conscious we make choices in our lives, the more conscious  we live our lives. We have the right to choose our way of living, and we respect other people’s right to make their own choices, too.

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Trust in your courage and strength.
  • Enjoy the freedom of creativity.
  • And Make your choices – built from love.

“We need to teach the next generation of children from Day One that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.”
–Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

 


“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
― Alan Wilson Watts

“Realize it is play” – let’s think about that for a moment. Let’s become aware that all our actions are a play. A play, a game is defined by principles and by rules, as any sport. Principles could be for instance fairness and appropriateness. Rules define what it takes to win, what winning means and how winning looks like. Principles are the foundation of rules. If principles are not respected, there are rules that make you follow those principles next time.

One of the basic characteristics of a play is, that we don’t know the result beforehand. We don’t know who will win and who will lose this time. Our curiosity, our enchantment only remains alive, if we keep this level of uncertainty. Imagine you would know the results in the beginning. That wouldn’t be a play, it would be a boring happening instead. Knowing the results in advance leads to stagnation, to situations without any potential to learn and to grow.

Both, winning and losing are essential parts of our plays in life, of our personal learning and development process. Winning and losing is what shapes our own journey, sometimes it pushes us directly on the next plateau, sometimes we need to take another loop to get there. No right or wrong, it’s just our unique journey.

Winning is a confirmation of our actions. Losing are our stimuli to learn, to unlearn, to relearn and to grow. Losing also incorporates a great potential to reinforce and to push our own creativity to the next level. Consequently, winning and losing are equally important. Seriously, both are equally important.
Based on this view point, we are always winning. We can win the play, or – if we lose the play – we gain experience and we can leverage our own potential.

The only way to lose is not to act at all. To avoid an action, because one is driven by fear, because one doesn’t want to make a mistake and one doesn’t want to take a risk. That’s the best way to make the biggest mistake ever: Not to act at all.

Inhale these ideas with every breath you take. You will lose fear as your permanent companion. Instead, your mindset will change over time to wisdom, ease and inner peace. That’s your foundation to inner happiness, to act in a positive way, driven by curiosity and courage, driven by the willpower to learn and to grow. Fear won’t stop you any longer.

  • Keep your playfulness
  • Keep learning, unlearning and relearning
  • Boost your own creativity
  • Integrate that in your leadership style and transform your world to a more compassionate place.

 


“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”
—John C. Maxwell

“Responsibility” according to Merriam Webster is defined in different ways: First, as the state of being the person who caused something to happen. Second, as a duty or task that you are required or expected to do. Third, as something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.

When we take total responsibility for ourselves, it covers a lot of different things. It means being responsible for our own thoughts, our own emotions and our own actions. Consequently, it also means that unaccomplished expectations, we may have about specific situations and/or other people are a main cause for our (perceived) problems and disappointments. The other side of the coin: It’s our choice and our responsibility to solve those issues.

We cannot change the weather and we cannot change other people. But we can inspire them to change themselves, which is one dimension of leadership. But it’s always our responsibility to decide how we respond to our environment, how we respond to situations we find ourselves in, how we deal with other people’s behavior. Let’s accept the fact that other people’s behavior has often much more to do with them and their story than it has to do with us. Don’t judge other people for their behavior, even if it’s hard not to do so. You didn’t walk in their shoes, so you will never completely understand their story, even if you know their story pretty well. And vice versa, they didn’t walk in your shoes, which is why they will never completely understand what their behavior really means for you.

Not judging others is an absolutely worthwhile journey – for yourself. Because it doesn’t help you to blame others for their behavior. That’s only assuming no responsibility for yourself and shifting responsibility on to somebody else. Once you have arrived in a non-judging mode, you can see much clearer how a situation really looks like from different perspectives. And you gain a lot of freedom – freedom to decide on your actions and reactions and on your behavior. That’s your responsibility! This is where the buck stops.

Responsibility is the price of freedom
–Elbert Hubbard 

It’s up to you to stick to your behavior or to change it, slightly or radically. It’s up to you to decide on your actions and reactions based on your values, core beliefs and life principles. But don’t ignore your values, core beliefs and life principles. Be authentic, be yourself.

This principle of responsibility is not only the key to success for our private issues and our business challenges. It’s also true for the bigger picture, to master the challenges of the 21st century.

Accepting full responsibility for your own actions and reactions, for your decisions, behaviors and attitudes means being able to lead yourself. This is the prerequisite to lead others, in a changing economy, in a constantly changing world, in a complex environment, where the only stable element is – uncertainty.

Be responsible for your own playfulness
Be responsible for your own creativity
Be responsible for leading yourself

Lead yourself. Lead others. Drive transformation.

 


There are times in life, when you have to make tough decisions and big changes to live your vision, to do what you really want to do.

Big changes are never easy. Everything that’s worthwhile doing, is not easy to do. Big changes need time to figure out what it really is you want to achieve in your life. That requires time for yourself, time to be alone, to be in silence and to be in nature.

There is no linear process to get to these answers. It always happens in iterations. The answers you will get will also change over time, depending on your current situation and your current state of mind.

Living your vision may need many different steps and loops to get there. Along your journey, you will figure out that all these different steps are an opportunity to learn, to unlearn and to relearn. Even if life puts you in pretty dark places, from time to time. These are gifts, too. For different reasons. Maybe you needed these experiences to make your next step or to get more clarity about yourself or to step away from keeping things calm and safe. Often these experiences pushed you directly in the right direction.

Once you made a big step, a big change, it will always impact your entire life – regardless if the change was primarily made in your professional life or primarily in your private life. Be aware, that there are no isolated lives and therefore no isolated changes. Whatever you change in one area, it will impact all other areas of your life. But the degrees of impact will be different, of course. We are as human beings complex systems and we are living in a complex world. That means that everything is connected to everything. We have to accept this uncertainty and to get familiar with it. Trust yourself, your capabilities, your inner voice and your journey. Everything else is not under your control.

Whatever your specific change is, it will always be a lot of work. Once the decision is made, focus all your energy on that change. Ideally, you will experience an energy flow that helps you to achieve the first big milestones. If you feel this kind of flow, you know that you made the right decision at this point in time. Focus on immersing yourself into the situation you changed. Be a linchpin, be creative, be innovative, be passionate and challenge the current state. Always. Come up with better ideas and even smarter new approaches. Think differently. Act differently. Lead differently. Don’t re-create. Create new. Take it to the next level. Never forget to ask the question “why”. Always question what you see, learn and experience. It will take all your energy in the beginning and that’s exactly what it needs to make a difference, a significant difference.

Being very focused on the first big milestones and achievements is key to success. It’s important for your own state of mind and for your inner happiness. Take time for yourself, observe yourself and listen to yourself. If you don’t do that, life will eventually force you to take this time. For example, you will miss your flight for whatever reason and you will be forced to stay one more day wherever you currently are. Don’t be angry. Be grateful. Recognize the bigger picture and the gift in this situation. Be grateful for the gift and take your time – to say THANK you to yourself for the decisions and the changes you made and the first milestones you achieved.

Whatever your specific change was, there are always different things that could be improved, that could be better and be even more perfect – if you look backwards. But we cannot live our lives backwards, only forwards.
Don’t let these thoughts win. Not today, that’s for tomorrow.

Today, say thank you to yourself, be grateful that you made decisions and started a change. Be grateful for your courage, your boldness, your passion, your compassion, your focus and the first successful steps along your journey.

Say thank you to yourself.
Celebrate yourself. You are worth it.

 


Enjoying beautiful and very special trees, that’s always balm for my soul. It opens a space for deep awareness, for another level of connectedness and inner happiness.
Exactly what I needed today…

I was looking for trees in literature and suddenly – I stumbled upon this absolutely beautiful and brilliant piece of art on the beauty and the wisdom of trees from one of the best writers ever:
Hermann Hesse.

I hope you will enjoy the story as much as I did – listen to Hermann Hesse’s amazing art:

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” 

― Hermann HesseBäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Related post:

A few playful thoughts on trees and connectedness