No one is fine

I’d like to invite you to take a break and sit back for a moment. And listen.

As I did a short while ago when I realized that, somehow, the things I once used to love had lost their appeal to me and that life, in general, had lost its spark. What was happening?

All I had done the weeks and months previously was work hard, invest all my energy in my job, driven by the constant urge to become better or, actually, perfect. Because nothing less than perfect felt like deserving to be there. Which, looking at it now, seems to be the perfect way of making myself feel like a complete failure. Like I can never be good enough. Like, I suck.

When hitting rock bottom like that, surprised by the intense emotions I was facing, it began dawning on me that this state wasn’t actually just tied to my current work situation or anything that had gone wrong there. Being completely honest to myself I kind of knew that these negative feelings had always been there, that I had been carrying them with me like a default backpack I had got so used to that, most of the time, I wasn’t aware of it anymore.

 

Take the time to peel a few layers*

But I still wake up shaken by dreams
And I hate to say it but the way it seems
Is that no one is fine
Take the time to peel a few layers
And you will find
True sadness*

And I don’t seem to be the only person experiencing this. I might be overgeneralizing here. Still, looking around me and talking to other people I got the impression that everybody seemed to be carrying a similar burden of guilt, self-doubt or remorse with them. What I found was that, in fact, “no one is fine”*. And almost everybody I talked to seemed to be hurting deep down inside.

I am a great fan of introspection. In fact, my best friend has told me several times that she thinks I’m overdoing it. Maybe she is right. And still, I believe in the healing power of listening to the voices inside ourselves and learning from them. It has benefitted me more than just once.

So this is what I did. I sat down and peeled a few layers. And there I found it: true sadness. Over the idea that I might not be enough. That I don’t deserve to be loved. That I will never make it. And like a forsaken child I sat there with these feelings just washing over me.
I don’t know if you believe in the idea of the inner child. To me, it makes perfect sense. And so I started to recognize these emotions as reminders from past times and situations I had long forgotten and which had left a mark that is still hurting. My inner child crying out. But why does it still have to hurt? And how are we to heal this pain?

I still don’t really know what to do with this sadness that likes to pop up time and again. All I know is that if we do not face or at least acknowledge what is going on inside of us we end up stuck at a certain point, sometimes without even knowing what stops us.

And couldn’t these very feelings, or the inner child crying out, be signposts pointing to parts of ourselves we have been neglecting or turned a blind eye to?

I for my part am glad that my sadness has revealed its true face to me. And who knows, maybe, together, we can end up finding true happiness one day…


*Quotes taken from the song "True sadness" by The Avett Brothers
Image Unfair by Runar Pedersen Holkestad CC BY 2.0

 

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Let it be your fantasy

I’ve been nothing but a puppets hand
But nothing ever comes
Without a change*

 

I have a new alarm sound.

And a new life.

Meanwhile I am celebrating my first month in my new position as a freelancer.

And guess what: I survived! And much better than my fears would have let me believe in the beginning.

Truth be told, the first weeks were a mess. There was such a lot to do, organize, and, above all, to be learned that, more than once, I felt like just breaking down under the weight of it all and giving up.

There were moments when I seriously questioned the decision I had made and started doubting everything. And yet, there I was, without any safety net. And: absolutely free.

Time for some motivation, I thought.

Which I found in that song by Grouplove.

I have set it as my alarm which now wakes me up every morning. And the effects are amazing. Once my alarm goes off my spirit is being kindled immediately and I can’t but get into a good mood.

Been wondering, I take a chance
That chance is circumstance
Cause nothing ever comes without a change*

The song keeps reminding me of something I had almost forgotten amidst all the stress and pressure: that if I want my life to change, change is what I have to do. And that taking a step without knowing exactly where it will lead might in fact yield wonderful results.

And also that, by means of my thoughts, I am the creator of my own life.

So I might as well create it according to my dreams. And make it my fantasy.

Welcome to your, welcome to your
Welcome to your world, my girl
Let it be your fantasy, oh yeah
Welcome to your life, yeah, yeahA
It could be a fantasy, oh yeah.*

Which life are you choosing to create today?

 


* All quotes are taken from the song “Welcome to your life” by Grouplove

Hold your own

So life has sent me a friendly reminder.

It is almost ironic how so often when I have written about a certain topic that has been on my mind life seems to throw it back in my face just a little more fiercely.

Are the details in the fabric/ Are the things that make you panic/ Are your thoughts results of static cling?

So, talking about safety and sticking to it… I happened to come across the latest findings about my heart condition recently. And what I read was devastating. I know I am no expert in statistics, but what I read just made me feel as if I had long exceeded my expiry date and I started wondering why I was still here. It felt as if life must have made a mistake and that it was only a question of time that this error would be corrected. And all the safety I had clung to before in this light appeared to be just vain. That was quite a blow.

Hell, no reason, go on and scream

Although I have drawn my lust for life and energy from the knowledge of life’s being finite, having these studies bring death, or the option of it, so close to me that it was almost palpable was a completely different thing and I felt overwhelmed by a fearful emotion so big that it didn’t seem to fit into my body.

Only rarely do I seek help in moments of crisis, and usually if I do, there is someone around. But this time there wasn’t: none of those I reached out for was available.

I had no choice but to face this moment of existential forsakenness on my own.
And in this time of crisis, I turned to this particular song

Because it gave me comfort and encouraged me to keep going. And because it told me exactly the things I would have wished my friends to tell me:

Calm down
Deep breaths
And get yourself dressed instead
Of running around
And pulling on your threads
And breaking yourself up

And this helped. And step by step the days got better.

If it’s a broken heart, then face it

I want to share this song with you to remind you that the dawn does break eventually. However dim the light might be, it is there. And maybe you are stronger than you think. Just hold your own and hang on a little longer.

My friends got back to me the next day and since then have supported me by simply being there. Like that song had before, when nobody was available. And so, somehow I survived.

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
And everything, everything will be fine
Everything.

 


 

If music just isn’t enough, there are plenty of other things you can do in times of crisis. I loved this article by Annie Wright:
101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much

 

Image "At the break of dawn" by Abhijit Kar Gupta, CC BY 2.0

My share of epiphanies

It is the time of year some here refer to as „Raunaechte“, or, as Wikipedia told me, “the twelve nights”. Many consider it a time of increased openness to the messages of the universe or your inner voice, or whatever you wish to call it. A time of epiphanies, so to speak.

As far as I am aware, there has been constant debate as to the actual beginning of the twelve nights; many, however, have it that it starts as early as at midwinter. So, basically, now.

And, quite fittingly, I have already been blessed with my share of epiphanies already. As soon as I started to get back in touch with myself, and while I was still pondering on the question if anybody really cared about what I did, all of a sudden I have been receiving all sorts of positive feedback and notes of affection. And I am deeply touched by learning that I seem to have actually had an impact on people’s lives. And that I have been inspiring others by my way of being. People I wasn’t even aware took notice of me.

And this makes me grateful. And, to quote from one of my favorite authors, so I am glad.

So today I just want to say thank you. And to remind you that you matter. Because you add this certain sparkle to the world only you can add.
Each single one of you.

So here it is, Merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
it’s only just begun!

Happy Christmas to all of you beautiful people out there.

Climbing uphill

I will not be the girl stuck at home in the ‘burbs
With the baby, the dog, and the garden of herbs
I will not be the girl in the sensible shoes
Pushing burgers and beer nuts and missing the clues
I will not be the girl who gets asked how it feels
To be trotting along at the genius’s heels
I will not be the girl who requires a man to get by
And I…

Before I went on my last trip to Tel Aviv a very sweet friend of mine told me that by traveling you always travel to yourself as well.
And she turned out to be right.

Heading off for Israel I had no idea how this trip would confront me with questions eventually touching on the very essence of my being.
Most notably, one idea popped up on several occasions, and that was the notion how we seem to be depending on the goodwill of others in everything we do – even – or especially – when we decide to follow our dreams.

And, quite fittingly, this is the song I brought from Tel Aviv.

But are we really?

My experience in Tel Aviv made me wonder: do I really depend on these people or do I rather make myself dependent by thinking that I am?
And I realized how this went even as far as to my adopting the idea these people had of me and of making the way I perceive myself subject to how they saw me. Which eventually put me in the situation the girl in the song experiences when she starts questioning everything she does and bashing herself.

And then something beautiful happend. When I was forced to let go of certain people I in a way had felt dependent on, and once the initial panic had subsided, a certain feeling of freedom gradually started to prevail. And I got to learn that I wasn’t dependent at all.
Granted, it took me a while and some cups of that amazing coffee they have in Israel, to remind myself that I am certainly not defined by the way others see me; and to tell myself, like that girl in the song, that

I am a good person.

But when I finally got to the point of letting go of what those seemingly important people thought of me, it felt as if an open range of possibilities opened up in front of me, giving me room to do whatever I felt like doing; and to find my own definitions and set my own standards independently.

Which I did while exploring and enjoying this beautiful city of Tel Aviv; and while, funnily, feeling like I was always walking uphill.
Looking back, I smile at this and prefer to regard it as asymbol for actually climbing uphill.

And so, together with this amazing song, I brought this feeling back with me. And I am grateful that my trip reminded me that

I am a good person
I’m an attractive person
I am a talented person
Grant me Grace!

 

 

Let us make a change

“The time has come for you to see
That love is something else you practice it to be
The line is long
For you and me
That leads us to the very debt of our hearts
We’re still on the surface deceiving ourselves
Inside we hate,
And want to see our best friends fall?”

After the events of last week I am still trying to grasp what has happened.

Many people have given their opinions on Facebook and elsewehere, and what was there to analyze has been analyzed.

And still I am paralyzed and speechless: How could we possibly just move on with our daily business after what has happened?
In the face of the events in Iraq, Lebanon and Paris, everything I had been working on suddenly seemed to be meaningless, useless and a complete waste of time.

So I am posting this one instead and sharing a song that covers many of the thoughts I’ve been having these days.

“You talk about peace/Put it in your mouth/The same mouth you use to declare your bombs”

You might call me naive, tell me about all sorts of constraints, musts and “cannots” – still I just don’t get why the sole answer to the attacks so many people can think of seems to be yet more war and weapons. Instead of cultivating humanity, and practicing love and forgiveness.
In fact, I think that these are the days when we should be reminded over and over again of that quote by Martin Luther King.

“Let us make a change why can’ t we turn the page?”

This is what I will stick to. Of course, we can’t stop living our lives. Somehowe it will go on.
But I hope that at least some people will take last week’s events as a reminder of how urgently this world needs kindness.