Tag: feelings

Books Can Change Lives

It took me years to find the books that changed my life in ways, nothing else has. I was a young mother with a 3 months old baby (said baby is today 44 years old) and had to seek refuge from a howling snowstorm with an older friend of the family. I still remember the scarcely furnished guest room. Over the bed, a little bookshelf was the only adornment in the room. I grabbed a book and read Breakfast at Six by Mary Scott. In German mind you, Mary Scott was famous in Germany! Go figure.

Our friend had a few more of her books and was friendly enough to let me borrow them. I loved the humorous stories of the life on a farm in the New Zealand backwaters. And forgot about it.  Continue reading “Books Can Change Lives”

Retirement: A Strange Kind of Bliss

I grew up on an island where most people were connected to everything to do with sea, fishing…and did I say sea? I remember the writer and poet Gorch Fock mentioned the proverb on many fishing vessels saying: “Ora et Labora”. Pray and work! I suppose that’s what I’ve learned and that’s what most people lived by. The ‘old folks’ had a hard life, working around the clock, either on land behind dykes that could easily give way to the powers of the sea, or those at sea, battling the elements. They prayed and worked and worked.

In a strange way, that’s what I did too. Not so much praying, I have to say, but working long hours, several ‘jobs’ combining motherhood with working in our own business and initiating a social life for the family. And when I didn’t work, I thought about how to improve my work in courses, reading, up-skilling. I rarely complained because that’s what I knew one did. I actually liked it. I felt useful and effective.

“…and then the prince bowed down and kissed Sleeping Beauty awake!” – – Oh, darn, the wrong story. What really happened was, the Retirement-Fairy knocked at the front gate…not totally uninvited!

8211987329_67a28165c5_oThis is – or better was – my retirement dream. Not necessarily living on an island in the Pacific – after all, one has to meet one’s shopping needs, – but what it stands for. Sun, warmth, barmy waters, quiet, peace, no dead-lines, no have-to’s.

And without much complaining, that is what I’ve got. I love it. I can follow my indulgences like reading, watching daytime TV, writing, going out for coffee, shopping, and my all-time favorite thing: Staying in bed till at least ….AM if not longer, sipping my tea or hot chocolate,  reading the news, checking up on people on facebook, listening to an inspiring TED talk, or acquaint myself with the trials and tribulations of 19th Century noble women through my cherished writers like Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer.

BUT then something unpleasant happened: the old training kicking in. Instead of enjoying fully this time in my life, reaping the fruits of years of hard work, I catch myself, ever now and then, feeling guilty. Not enough ‘Labora’! I should be doing something productive. Lazy is not allowed. The old rules and childhood ‘examples’ set by the adults around at the time, are powerful reminders that creep into my mind unnoticed. Even the fortnightly pension payment triggers odd thoughts. I never was paid for doing nothing.

A friend told me that this feeling of ‘I need to do something, be productive, contribute’ will go on for a while, and being officially retired since the beginning of this year, I am told I have a while to go. I look forward to it. What surprises me that I feel this way. I did not expect it. For years I envied retired people for their ability to just pack up and do what they feel like. But, even though in my logical mind I have paid my dues and done my duty, I hesitate. How puzzling!

However, knowing how the human mind works I know that I feel what I think. As long as the childhood training is invading my thoughts with uncomfortable reminders of not enough ‘Labora’, I will being caught with feelings of guilt. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to lay back and enjoy this time. It pays not to takes one’s own thoughts so seriously. Just because I think it doesn’t mean its true.

I assume it takes a while to shift gear and, like the seasons, have a season for resting and harvesting. I’ll have to keep this in mind and ward against ideas that might have made sense around 1900 in Northern Germany but are out of date and out of place today… for me at least!

There is a thought: I need to go shopping and get a bed-table for my breakfast in bed to make a more enjoyable; and I am going to download some more romance novels for my ipad!

 

 

Why Am I Passionate About the Three Principles?

Often people ask me why I am so passionate about the Three Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness. Obviously, understanding the principles is not a fool proof safe guard from life’s disappointments:

  1. The understanding doesn’t protect us from making mistakes,
  2. getting overwhelmed by strong feelings
  3. misunderstanding people,
  4. or becoming disheartened by circumstances in our lives.

We are human beings after all and subject to our limited ability to perceive ‘what’s out there’

and to keep our own stuff, our ‘diving bell’* out of any equation as much as possible.
However, understanding the principles is showing us the pathway to improved or restored
mental, emotional, and physical health. With increasing awareness of how the principles
work within ourselves and others we are able to
  1. be more often and longer ‘in the zone’ of peace of mind and well-being
  2. are more compassionate with ourselves and others
  3. get quickly out of low moods – or even avoid them altogether
  4. reduce or eliminate stress, depression, and anxiety
  5. are healthier allround
  6. enjoy warm and loving relationships
If you want to deepen or refresh your understanding of the principles, Raeburn House is
starting the courses on the 18th of February (there is no date set yet for the Relationship
course but hopefully that is clarified soon).
As some of you know, I have retired and will move to Wellington in April this year. Term
one courses are your last chance to come to one of my courses. It is not clear whether
Raeburn House is able to secure another Three-Principle-Facilitator to continue the work!

Lesley, participant from last terms self-confidence course is interested to set up
a discussion group of people who would like to meet and discuss their understanding of the Three Principles to keep things fresh. If you are interested to participate send me a note and I forward her details to you.

* The diving bell is one of my favorite metaphors for how we get in our own way. To
know more about it, you’ll have to come to one of my courses run by Raeburn House
or get my book(s).
Credits Photo: Title: 255871551752875   Owner: alleyntegtmeyer7832

How can I stop negative Feelings?

I am running about 15 courses each year, basically addressing how we think, feel, and behave often in ways that don’t serve us – instead getting us into some form of trouble. And each time we unpack how negative feelings, feeling bad, stressed, or depressed actually harm not only our physical body but our relationships, our careers, our mental, and our emotional health, I am asked the same question over and over again: Then how can I/we stop negative feelings?

So let me turn the question around to see if I am making sense: What happens to your when you look at the picture below?

Title: Cut lemons     Owner: Helen in Wales

You saw the picture and …….? Salivated! Could you have stopped it? I don’t think so. You saw the lemons, your personal mind went into your memory bank confirmed “it’s lemons” and associated smell and taste and your body reacted to these recalled thoughts. This is not much different with all feelings we have, either negative or positive. All we are dealing with is THOUGHT. We ‘think’ lemons and our body reacts. We think we are lost or abandoned, we react with fear (unless we are Indiana Jones, then we might get excited).

Can we stop feeling fear? No, not as long as we are thinking fearful thoughts. That’s just how we are built. Only when our mind gives us the ‘All Clear’ signal will the fear subside.

You can’t stop negative or bad feelings you have. When you become conscious of them they are already there. You have already thought them and thereby brought them into existence. All you can do is to know they are just thoughts and not take them so serious. That might be easier when you look at the lemon above than when you are lost in the jungle, but the principle is the same. We always feel what we think.

The next question would then come as predictable as the night follows the day: How can we stop thinking these unhelpful things. That will have to be covered in future posts, because we need to do some groundwork about thinking first.

Those of you who want to know more about it (all in one place) can read up on it in my book Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting Loving Relationships or the 2nd in the series: Delicious Mind, Body, and Soul: Recipes for Pampering Yourself Back to Health. Both are available as downloadable kindle version and now also as paperback.

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Interview: Relationships and the 3 Principles

When you feel passionate about something you probably like to talk about it. Well, I certainly do. So it was a great day for me when Donna K. Fitch, author of ‘Second Death’ interviewed me about writing the book ‘Delicious Love Forever’, what made me write about relationships and combine my understanding of the 3 Principles and recipes.

We had lots of fun – You can listen to the 2-part interview (each about 15 minutes) by clicking on the links below!

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Photo by Beverly & Pack

Part 1

Part 2

The Positive Mind: Virtual Book Tour

photo (1)We all know that those of us who have a positive attitude to life, other people, and our work, will be significantly happier and more content than those who see problems, obstacles, and unpleasantness wherever they look. Now, there are many ways to achieve that. How to achieve a positive mind based on the Three Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness is the topic of a new blog-post I have written for my colleague PaTrisha-Anne Todd from Coaching Leads to Success.

The piece is actually an excerpt from my new book Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting Loving Relationships.  This book is  filled with common sense, wisdom, and simple concepts based on the premises that we all create our own, personal reality through the 3

principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness. Following these, readers are encouraged to (re)-discover how get in touch with their innate ability to create a positive state of mind and lasting, loving relationships. This is enhanced with some delicious recipes, and tackles at the same time the root cause for relationship problems. Solutions are offered people can easily try out for themselves. Indeed, a holistic ‘meal’ that feeds mind, body, and soul! Continue reading “The Positive Mind: Virtual Book Tour”

I Am Who I Am: A Reflection On The 3 Principles

I woke up this morning with the thought “I am who I am” on my mind. A peculiar thought for me at 6AM in the morning. Intrigued I started reflecting what that might mean for me and everyone else for that matter. The bible tells us God said to Moses: “Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you”. ‘I AM’, no qualifier, not quantifier, just “I AM”. No more and no less. As if anything more would be limiting, taking away from, not doing justice to the speaker. And by doing so it can become everything.

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So, here I am who I am (we are who we are). Not what you think about me, not how people judge or put their cherished expectations on me, not even what I think about me and my cherished expectations of myself. I am not a sinner nor a saint, not a mother, a teacher, a therapist, a lover, a cook, a wife, a sister, a daughter, or a philosopher. I am much more than that! I am neither clever nor dumb, soft nor harsh, beautiful or ugly, fat or thin, kind or malicious. I am all of that and none of that. That complexity is what makes us human beings so exciting as well as scary to be around. For the ‘Other’ we are what they see in us, but that’s not really who we are, it’s only the bit they recognize, the tiny bit that was revealed to them or they became aware of.

We are an expression of nature or in other words ‘the life force’ I like to call it MIND, others call it other things like ‘God’ that breathed life into us and gave us the power of THOUGHT, the ability to think and make sense of the world around us and within us. The third principle is CONSCIOUSNESS, our ability to become aware of and bring to life what we think.

Who AM I? Who are we? We are the sum-total of how we used Mind, Thought, and Consciousness to come to an understanding of ourselves and our world. Everything that ever happened to us or around us, we interpreted and we came to conclusions what that meant about us and about the world. How safe is the world? How safe are people? Is Life benign or malignant? We all are a product of how well we used Mind, Thought, and Consciousness over our life span.

How I have used the 3 Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness over time to make sense of my past and my world has made a difference when I hesitated to cross certain ‘bridges’, not trusting the bridge, the people, or myself. I am sure I missed many opportunities to create something positive that way. How I used the principles to make sense out of my world has at other times enabled me to cross bridges with verve that sometimes lead me to a ‘better’ place while at other times left me ‘stranded’. Like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ – it was a pleasant walk, a very pleasant walk, but it didn’t lead anywhere.

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I am who I am! Not how I have made sense of my past, or achievements, or disappointments. These are just thoughts. They are not reflecting reality, they reflect my current thinking of a certain time. My past was my past. It really happened. But how and what I think about it has been changing over the years many times depending on my state of mind. When we can see that our thoughts are just thoughts, not reality based evaluations about us or the world but fluctuating all the time, we become free. Then everything is possible, then “WE ARE WHO WE ARE – I AM WHO I AM.”

Am I at peace with myself? Yes and No. At times, when my mind wanders to pleasant moments, attached pleasant feelings flow through me and I am happy and at peace. When my mind wanders to moments of unmet needs, discord, or conflict, unpleasant feelings wash over me like a tidal wave. At those moments I am not at peace. If at those times I know that these moments are just echos from the past, unpleasant thoughts that I now remember and that cause unpleasant feelings, I can let them go and they become a passing thought, soon replaced by another, and then again by another, and inner peace is restored fairly quickly. If at those times I forget that my unpleasant feelings are just passing through thoughts of my past, if I give them a life of their own, let them into my house and cherish them for an hour, a day, or even longer, inner peace will take its sweet time to come to me, usually taking longer than I would prefer.

This will go on and on as long as we live. Nobody escapes this law of nature, these 3 Principles. However, what I do know is that when I am surrounded by people who respond in a caring, supportive, respectful, and loving way my thoughts usually wander into hopeful, uplifting realm of possibility and creativity. When surrounded by criticism, disinterest, or even disrespect, my thoughts wander more easily to negative and painful realms, awakening difficult and unpleasant feelings. At those times I need a lot of energy to hold on to ME and wall up against the negativity which leaves me with less room for creative life choices.

I am who I am – and life’s circumstances do not determine my well-being, but the way I think about these circumstances do. However, just like a fish is more alive and agile in clear, healthy water, so am I – so are we. It pays to check regularly the quality of the water we swim in to make sure we swim the best we possibly can.

Only One Step to Happiness: End of Story

rel ships happyOver the last 20 years positive psychology and positive thinkers have suggested that by simply following a number of steps ‘Happiness’ is in our grasp. Who would not like the idea?  But wait a minute …. if there were only 3, 5, or 7 steps to Happiness, would people not have achieved it by now? People are not stupid – at least not the majority. So what is wrong with the picture?

Happiness is not a commodity, a trade-able good that can be acquired by following a prescribed formula – like how to start your car’s engine. Continue reading “Only One Step to Happiness: End of Story”

The Art of Listening

woman-listening“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  This quote from Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change) describes succinctly the problem most people have when communicating. Most courses and trainings refer to ‘active listening’ as a desirable practice, yet it teaches people to listen to the words, the content, and then repeat it back to the speaker.

In contrast, deep listening as I understand it is listening for the meaning behind the words, is listening for the feeling that the words are pointing it. In a way, it is listening with a sense or curiosity WITHOUT checking with our own mind whether it makes sense to us, we can relate to it, whether it is stupid/reckless/naive to name just a few examples. If we would listen that way (checking with our own mind) we would only listen to our own thoughts about something and not to the other person. Continue reading “The Art of Listening”

Auckland Three Principles Group for Sustainable Wellbeing: Why not to look back

2011-05-Monster-MAC-Bike-punctureThe Auckland Three Principles Meet-up Group (check out here their website)  is a place to learn about and deepen your understanding of the Three Principles as formulated by Sydney Banks and practiced today in many countries by a growing number of facilitators / coaches / counsellors in a wide number of contexts: business, personal growth, prisons, schools, families, sport, and high performance activities.

We had an interesting meeting last Friday during which we explored how people sustain their well-being. I would like to share one topic that comes up really frequently and … hence again last night as well: Why it is not useful to look back!  It is easy to say “don’t look back – you are not going that way”, but people seem to get caught in trying to understand the thoughts that caused their distressing feelings. Continue reading “Auckland Three Principles Group for Sustainable Wellbeing: Why not to look back”