What is community?

Community is such a big part of our DNA… It’s the feeling we all long for in one way or another. It is about being truly seen, being accepted, being loved. It’s about belonging to something bigger than ourselves, living our gift to others, and seing our purpose in the world unfold.

At the end of March this year, I spent one week in the North of Sweden in the middle of nowhere together with nine other people. The only thing that we knew about each other were, that we were all interested in native lifeways and learning about Sami culture and crafts. read more

Blessings and Curses

When a person I talk to is unhappy with a situation that happened to them, I love to tell a certain Zen story about a man and his son, showing that nothing is ever only as it appears in the beginning. That apparent blessings could later be seen as curses and vice versa.

About three weeks ago, something happened, that now I have my own real life story somehow similar to it! You can skip right to my experience if you know the Zen story….

Zen story

It might include some creative freedom.

One day, out of the blue, a man gets visited by a rich relative, who gifts him with a horse. So when he rode into the village, everyone said, what a blessing it is that he got that horse, because it can help with work on his farm and so many other things. But the man just said: We’ll see. read more

How to deal with reports of our negative impact in the world

I recently read two different articles that showcase how our thoughtless acts can have desastrous consequences for our wild animal brothers and sisters.

touching, viral bear video

One is about a bear mother and her cub, apparently fleeing from a drone filming them. The video went viral, because apparently it shows that perseverence gets you to your goal eventually. But all I could feel is the struggle of the little cub, and her fear. It did show the strength of that small animal that couldn’t have been more than a few months old. both physical and mental strength to handle such a situation.

And it reminds me that I can relate to the fear, but being paralized by that fear, I hadn’t really learned that strength most of my life. Being in that same situation, would I have been so curageous to follow my elder without hesitation, trusting that she knows the way? Would I have the inner strength to not even hesitate or think of complaining how unfair or undoable it is? And after the ordeal, traumatized by the experience, still not have resentment for that thing that threatened me?

While watching I felt all the wisdom that those bears had, that goes beyond words or intellect. And one of my own kind did that to them…

stranded wales

The other story was about two wales that had stranded on the north shores of Germany almost a year ago, and their autopsy now showed all the plastic inside of their stomachs. And looking it up again, I didn’t even find the article, but several other articles on other wales who died with huge amounts of plastic that they swallowed. And again, it is something, that people of my kind did or let happen, and I feel responsible for it.

feeling

And those reports are in essence nothing new. What makes this situation different is mostly myself. For such a long time in my life, I was so disconnected from my feelings and emotions, that whenever I heard a report of something awful, no matter if it was on other people, animals or “the environment”, my trained brain told me that this was something awful and that I need to feel sad or affected or shocked or something like that. But I never really felt the connection. And I would guess I’m not the only one out there.

But since I’ve been on my journey to really learn to listen to my inner voice and my feelings for a while, I slowly learned to really connect with these instances. Even though those emotions are not easy to feel and accept, I’m so thankful that I am finally able to actually feel them. Because the way I see it, it is the only way to sustainably change any kind of behaviour that would stop destroying our own home and habitat.

how to deal

So what can we do in that situation? – Well, if you can relate to not really feeling the connection, a good way to start might be to honestly acknowledge that state you’re in, and consciously decide that you want to change and that you’re ready to learn to connect with your feelings and stay on your path even if it’s hard or you’re scared.

If you can already really connect with a certain situation or more, and you feel overwhelmed, stay with the feelings anyway. Really connect with all aspects of the situation. What characteristics does nature show us over and over again? How do plants and animals deal with hard times and fear? Let them be your guide to grow your inner strength. Trust in it and be a role model to others.

is it too late?

There is also a lot of discussion of “it” being too late to turn things around. But is that really important for your decision? What if predictions are wrong? What if we could still influence the development in a way that is not so destructive and maybe even productive at some point? Wouldn’t you want to take the chance and still plant an apple tree even if you knew the world would be gone tomorrow?

The Great Turning

Well, I guess this is not a new concept. I still only have heard little and haven’t read Joanna Macy‘s books about deep ecology, the Great Turning and the work that reconnects, but it goes in a similar direction to what I just wrote about. There is also a wonderful talk of her on youtbe.

The way I see it, connection with yourself, others (not only humans but animals, plants  many more) and nature is a vital part of our way of healing.

How to learn to feel again…

Well, I will actually not tell you any steps of how to learn to feel again. Because I don’t actually have a clue! All I can do is tell my own story. And it goes like this…

There once was a little girl. She kept to herself and didn’t make friends easily. She felt awkward and like she didn’t really belong, because she was so different. But she was hopeful, so she had set out to find a group of other people who also felt like they didn’t belong, and formed a bond. This bond was providing her with a lot of feelings of belonging and happiness, and she felt understood. Maybe for the first time in her life.

But one day, out of the blue, they were gone. And instead there were people, looking the same, but acting very differently. Confused, she tried to find what she had done wrong, but couldn’t make sense of the situation. She searched high and low for a way to get back that feeling of belonging. Looking for other people, and at the same time too scared to experience the same thing again.

This is when she built a wall to ward off her feelings, because they had become unbearable. And to feel a resemblance of what it felt like to belong to a group, and feel “something”, she turned to the TV. She found a lot of shows and movies that invoked that feeling. But even though these feelings were created on the surface, there was no real connection.

Years went by without much change. The memory of that pain had faded into the subconsious and was magnified when looking at it from the conscious. And the solution with the second hand emotions seemed to be working just fine. So for years and years, she didn’t see any reason to change.

Until she did.

Questioning her own level of capacity, she started an investigation. Like a dog with a bone she slowly carved away all the layers of protection that she had built. Seeking in different areas like diet, fitness, mindset and more. With every step getting more focus on inner processes, while gradually also changing her outside environment and habits.

She stumbled upon courses and seminars, wanting to change something on the outside, and ended up with more and more experiences of feeling alive again. Finally having role models of expressing their emotions, and showing her that what she had been doing for such a long time was not a normal state of being. That it was more akin to being a walking dead.

Intrigued by what she saw being possible, she set the intention of wanting to really connect with her own emotions and feelings. But it was still a long way. Being there for such a long time, the wall that she had built had grown bigger and thicker, keeping more and more emotions out. And with that, the fear had grown stronger. Fear of being even more overwhelmed, because she could just see the huge wall, but not what lay behind it.

Slowly chiseling away on that wall, repeating her intention to want to connect and feel her own emotions and feelings, she had found a way! With every step she took, she collected all the courage that she could muster, and dragged along the fear like an anchor. And after some time, that anchor became a friend, so that now she can walk alongside the fear, holding her hand.

And her feelings? They are slowly but surely coming back to her, the more she’s working on dissolving that wall that she built. And the more she experiences feeling her feelings and being able to handle feeling them, the more she builds trust in her own psyche to only give her as much as she can handle. Slowly training her to handle more and more of her emotions, and building stronger connection to her inner voice, feelings and gifts.

Even though this is only one of many stories of how we can learn to feel again, it is a strong testament to the power of will, and our ability to change situations that seem unchangable.

Closure of the past and start of the new year – part 3: Rawly Nights

This is the third and last part of a three part series about nature connected rituals for the end of the year. If you want to learn more about the closure of the past and start of the new year, you will find that in part 1 – closing nights and part 2 – winter solstice. There is also a german version of this post.

The rawly nights (Rauhnächte) have regained their popularity the last few years. Many people are searching for instructions or guidance on how to spend those nights, what they tell us, which rituals can be used. This post should offer you an attunement and some ideas on how to do that. I do however also want to offer the perspective, not to have to follow any instructions, but to really listen to your inner voice of what is important right now. For this, you need to be really quiet and calm, but it might be worth it. read more

Closure of the past and start of the new year – part 2: Winter Solstice

This is the second part of a three part series about nature connected rituals for the end of the year. If you want to learn more about the closure of the past and start of the new year, you will find that in part 1 – closing nights and part 3 – rawly nights. There is also a german version of this post.

This year, the shortest day and longest night of the year is on the 21st of December. This doesn’t only mean that – according to the calendar – now the Winter starts. It means so much more. read more

Closure of the past and start of the new year – part 1: locking nights

This is the first part of a three part series about nature connected rituals for the end of the year. If you want to learn more about the closure of the past and start of the new year, you will find that in part 2 – winter solstice and part 3 – rawly nights. There is also a german version of this post.

On December 8th, the locking nights (Sperrnächte) started. They are the lesser known harbingers of the longest night of the year and the following rawly nights (Rauhnächte). But where does this tradition come from? And what do we actually do in that time? read more

Who am I?

For many years I’ve been struggling with the question of my essence. What is it that I’m really good at? What is it that makes me unique? What is my role and my purpose?

And after asking myself those questions for many years, I finally got clearer answers a few weeks ago, when I realized, that I was trying to put myself into predefined boxes, that didn’t really fit.

My process

I felt like a puppet on a string, until I had realized that I needed to let go of those ideas and definitions and openly look at what I do. That process of realization and anger (described in Puppet on a string), and now letting go and opening up, were the most important steps in my process of figuring out who I am.

I could tell you that I’m on my path to building my business that allows me to live my purpose and serve in the best way that I can. And since I’m building a business, I need to know who I am, what I stand for and what my services and products are.

But that’s just a story that I held on to for the last almost two years. I was grabbing onto that story so tightly, that I didn’t even realize what was actually happening to me.

I dove into different free and paid material about building your business, marketing, online marketing, how to grow your instagram, how to do facebook ads correctly, how to build up an online training, and the list goes on and on.

The Scanner’s curse and gift

Since I identify with being a Scanner or Multipotentialite, I jumped on any opportunity I could find to learn more. I wanted to understand everything. And with every offer, every webinar, they were targeting to a specific group of people.

One was for coaches, one was for trainers, one for influencers,  others were for — I don’t even remember all the “role definitions” I stumbled upon. And I could see part of me in any of those descriptions.

So subconsciously – being a good student and all – I tried to bend and stretch and change myself so that I might fit into one of those categories. Because I thought I needed to know “who I am”, in order to know what next steps to take, so that I could fit into those meticulously prepared courses. To be who “those people” wanted me to be to fit their offer.

But wait a second…

There was always that feeling of something being off. It didn’t feel right to call myself a coach. And it also didn’t feel right to call myself all the other definitons. And the more I noticed it and looked at it in more detail, the more I realized two aspects of it:

  • I had a certain idea, picture and feeling attached to any of those definitions, and they didn’t feel appropriate for my own offer.
  • Because of that idea, picture and feeling, I felt constricted to them and not be allowed to stretch not only the definition but also my own ideas, pictures and feelings about these words.
  • read more

    Puppet on a string

    Have you ever felt like you were torn into pieces from many different sides and helpless to step out of it and realize that it’s just your mind playing tricks on you? – Well, that’s how I felt really intensely for most of the day yesterday.

    Like I mentioned in my last post about purely being me, I’m really good at anticipating what others want and expect of me. But I didn’t realize until the last few days, of how it seeped into many different parts of my path to be self-employed and build up my business. I didn’t know at all how to handle that completely new process of being on my own, deciding for myself, what to do almost every single minute. No idea, how to really focus and build up a project like that from scratch.

    The Search…

    So, of course, I was looking for answers in a lot of different places outside of myself. Seeing patterns, following questions, mimicking other’s paths and figuring out how I would fit in those paths. I only realize now, how stressful that was that whole time. Always being on the lookout of what I missed in my observations, always afraid that it’s not a complete replica. So I guess that is a big part of why it never felt right to go online with it. It never really felt like my own expression.

    I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, to collect some new experiences of making myself visible to a broader audience, but it only got me so far. Like a child that can’t swim very well yet and is pushed into deep water, your first instinct is to just struggle real hard to somehow get back to the shore or some area where you can hold on to something or get out of the water. That’s all that I could do. It was frustrating, but at the same time, it also helped me to see the parts I still needed to learn and figure out, before I could just swim on my own.

    Who am I?

    I was wondering, if I’m a Coach, or a Trainer, or a Blogger, or a Writer, or a Consultant. Trainer for groups to go out into nature to connect with nature, or just facilitator and organizer for those events? Consultant for IT, for Online Marketing, for organizational development? I really tensed myself to figure out who I was. Even if I came up with more than one definition, I would have been fine. But I felt like I NEEDED to find an answer to the question of what I do. During my training to become self-employed and all the other programs (marketing, business,…) I stumbled upon after that, a lot of focus was to get your elevator pitch up and ready.

    All of those actions were very much focused on what’s outside of me. Even though I meditated on my vision and my dreams and what I really want to do and why, the motivation was still somewhat extrinsic. It was focused on what I need to be on the outside so that I fit into some pattern where people know what to make of me.

    stuff that just happens…

    All the while, I didn’t even realize, that I was already following my path. It was especially fascinating to me, that all the steps to follow my heart had happened incidentally, even though I was putting all that energy in those really stressful exercises to find out what that big faceless blob of “society” needed me to be. It felt like running around in circles with your feet tied together.

    So while I’m ripping away the strings, my next posts will finally reveal, what I came up with for the question of “Who am I and what is my message?”

    Purely me

    A few days ago I got a special gift: a grain-free superfood bar with the name “Purely Elizabeth”. It made me laugh and be thankful, but also reminded me again, how important it is, to be truly, purely myself.

    It seems that we constantly hear and read about being authentic and being you and being true to yourself. But what does that actually mean? I read a wonderful article about that topic by Manuel Harand (article only available in German), writing about his journey to his truth and it touched me deeply. For many years I’ve been on my path to be honest and tell my truth, not hiding behind white lies. But the painful realization is, that I’ve only been scratching on the surface, not really being completely honest to myself in that path. I touched on that in a previous article on vulnerability and expression of self. But it goes much deeper than that.

    In so many situations I automatically scan the situation and the people involved, in a matter of milliseconds flipping through all the different scenarios of what they might expect from me and how they might expect me to be. Not realizing for a long time that I was always hiding big parts of myself…

    I’m still really good at trying to figure out what others expect of me, and to do that and be that person. And for my journey, it’s not a good talent to have, because it keeps me from really discovering myself. What is purely Elisabeth? What is purely me? And can it be expressed in words?

    My journey to follow my wild heart is my path to my true self. And on the way I learned that there is no clear answer to that. I learned that being me is not a state but a process. Not a noun but a verb – as Tamarack Song would put it. It is not about arriving some place and saying: “Ah, yes. Now I arrived and I’m truly myself”. It’s in every single decision I make, every single thing I do and think and say.

    Every time I decide not to say anything – because of whatever wonderful and creative story I came up with why I don’t have to say something – I deny myself to be me. And it hurts. It’s so much easier to just go back into my old patterns and not deal with it… But since I found my voice to follow my wild heart, it is a really powerful reminder of my path. And it strips away all the stories I’m creating. It’s not about showing all the different versions of myself that someone else expects or wants me to be. It’s about figuring out, when I’m not honest to myself, then thanking myself for noticing it. And inviting all the emotions in, that come with it.

    So, after sitting on that article for a few days, worrying that the message might not be clear enough or on point enough or xyz enough, I embrace all of that, welcome it to be a part of me being purely Elisabeth, and will send it on its way. In its absolutely perfect imperfect glory. And after hitting the “publish”-button, I’ll take some time to care for all the emotions that came up…

    Can you relate? How much or how often are you purely yourself?