Since I try to post some words every Sunday (and it happens to be Sunday today), I am now sitting at the kitchen table, thinking of something to write. 
Often, when I search inside myself for inspiration, something bubbles up, like a little pocket filled with something that wants to be expressed. A thread, a line, a feeling charged with a promise.

But now, after having worked in the garden all day, there is nothing there. 
No theme, no intention, no deep thought.
My mind is filled with images of the weeds I pulled out, of the sun through the leaves, the cobwebs I removed from the windows. I can still hear the sound of a distant lawn-mower, the panting of my dog who followed me everywhere, birds, bumble bees, far-away planes high in the sky. 
So this is it.
A story of dirt, weeds, sun, spiders and air.
Nothing the mind can cling to. 

What a lovely, peaceful day!


Fear is a silent intruder.
It comes in through the backdoor without making a sound and suddenly seizes you in its icy grip.
Crumbling your foundation
bringing down your walls of safety
leaving your body in a state of panic.

An unwelcome guest, fear is!
Such a relentless force.
But then again,
a powerful teacher as well.

Fear forces you to go beyond your old ways, your set ideas about yourself.
It exposes your hiding places, your mind constructions.
It will find them all.
You won’t be able to wear your mask to the world any longer.
You won’t be able to pretend, or keep your true feelings hidden.
Your body is no longer able to cover up for you.

Fear forces you to surrender to your inability to control life.
Your inability to be someone you are not.
Your inability to hide yourself or believe in your own lies.

Fear, in the end, crushes your house of cards,
but when you are willing to lose it all,
it will leave you naked,
in the deep safety of your true self.


When you look in the mirror
and stop apologizing,
stop being the good girl
the nice guy
the trusted one
what do you see?

It is the face
your gut knows,
the unwavering one
your strength hidden
behind  your doubts
and confusion

It is your power
lulled to sleep
stripped of its claws
the dangerous one
the one you forgot
that’s calling you home


Ever noticed how life carries you like a meandering river?
How nothing ever stays the same?
How you can’t hold on to your fear
your agony,
your worried thoughts?

They will have to make place 
for the next thing to happen;
the postman delivering a package
someone telling you a story
the phone ringing

After that, you try to remember again
what was on your mind
before life distracted you
Ah… yes,

Or perhaps you dare
to let the sparkling river take you

leaving your thoughts unfinished,
your fear unguarded,
your grudge unattended

just like that

Just to sit for a while

So nice sometimes to just sit for a while.
In the garden. 
Or somewhere quiet.
In your own company.
Letting go of all these small burdens that somehow settled on your shoulders.
Letting go of roles you play, taking them a wee bit too serious.
Letting go of it all.

Perhaps it’s a women’s thing.
To focus on the needs of others and lose your center in doing so.
Which isn’t helpful for anybody.
And certainly not solving anything.

So this morning I sat down with my coffee on a bench in the garden.
Feeling like the possum with the babies on her back.
Bit like an overpopulated planet.

What a relief to let go.
Let go of my imagined responsibilities.
Of worries about things that are already in the past.
To simply be weightless and here.

And how amazingly life reacts when you are available again!

Available to the fresh morning air.
To the cat.
To the moment.
To myself.

Moving beyond the family bond

‘You need to diminish yourself in order not to lose the love of others’. 
This is a well accepted, toxic belief, passed down through generations, from mothers to daughters, fathers to sons.
It is the belief that you betray your kin by stepping out of the family bond that keeps you small and on hold. 
The bond I am talking about is not the free, loving connection between family members, but the hidden bonding that is forged by guilt and the need to cover up old, unprocessed wounding from the past. 
The loyalty towards your parent’s woundedness is a powerful one, urging you to not move beyond their unhappiness by stepping into your own, authentic power and freedom. It is like a silent contract binding you to the responsibility of healing your mother or father, of meeting their inner needs and easing their pain, feeling selfish and cold if you don’t. 
This bond is a strong one, and is still keeping you on hold nowadays because deep down you believe that the source of love is found in it. This belief, having its roots in early childhood, includes the idea that if you are able to heal your parents, you heal the source of love. When you heal the source of love, you will be loved and seen again.
Stepping out of the family bond, even when it keeps you trapped in feelings of guilt and powerlessness, feels like stepping into a void, evoking feelings of deep fear and not belonging, of doing something fundamentally wrong. Not only the family bond tries to pull you back into place, also cultural you are deeply encoded to never leave the clan, especially not the parents.
This is because we do not know that the source of love was never out there, but hidden in ourselves, hidden in the heart of our being. 
The source of love you are looking for is inside. You’ve heard it before, but it is meaningless until you are ready to move beyond old safety. 
Finding this source means letting go of the guilt you took up as a child and shift your focus, shift your center of gravity from outside to inside. It means listening to your inner needs and becoming an inner parent for your wounded inner child. This is not selfish, but an act of love that will set you and your loved ones free.
You cannot heal the inner wounding of your mother.
You cannot heal the inner wounding of your father.
Let it go.
You can only heal yourself by seeing through beliefs causing self loathing and feelings of unworthiness. Only you can come home in who you are, fully and totally. It is your natural state; you are meant to be home. You are meant to answer your inner calls, meant to meet your needs and enjoy your own, free voice. 
And once you do, you open the door wide to that inner source of love that was actually never yours to own. From this source love flows without a price tag, without limits or sacrifice, love that is not given or received by you but just flowing freely, as it always has and always will.

The denial of love

Could it be that loving yourself is the portal to that abundant, unconditional source of love we all have inside us? That source that you came to look for outside of yourself but that was always waiting to be discovered right here, as the essence of your own being?

Somehow you seem to have learned the opposite; that you need to turn away from your own self in order to be a loving person. 

You learned to make yourself unimportant, silencing your truths and aspirations, making yourself invisible in service of needs that were not your own. It is still a widespread, deep embedded belief in our culture that it is a good thing not to pay too much attention to your feelings, your longings, especially not to your inner woundedness, but to simply carry on instead, be strong and not a bother to others. 

This kind of loving is in fact a deep denial of the nature of love itself. It has a price, it urges you to sacrifice something precious, installing a feeling of shortage instead of abundance, of shame and guilt whenever you pay attention to your inner needs and dreams.

How can something that is loving for you be unloving for someone else?
How can being happy and powerful stand in the way of someone else’s happiness and strength?

How to take care of yourself

How can you take care of yourself?
By taking care of yourself. 

Not the “taking a hot bath and have piece of chocolate because I deserve it” kind of care, but real care.
Listening to your inner hurt, your small and big fears, your feelings of unworthiness and believing you are unlovable. Listening and understanding, being there for yourself by gently holding those feelings and let them speak up. What is your hurt about? What made you feel small and invisible today?

In this quiet, sincere attention your fears will come to rest. You will realize the untruth of your inner child’s beliefs, beliefs forged so long ago but that still trick you into feeling guilty, ugly or ashamed.
Sit with yourself like you would sit with a wounded child. Offer her or him safety, respect, and as much love as you can muster. No longer invest in taking sides against who you are, criticizing your moves and expressions. This healing will never come from outside. No person, no circumstance, no achievement will ever be able to fill this gap inside. Only when you begin to listen and care for your own woundedness, choosing unconditionally for who you are already, can you rest in your self.

It may take time and dedication, but when the gap closes, incredible love and ease flow in, not because you are finally good but because you finally love who you are. Your story falls away, your anxiety no longer holds. It was always your own self hatred that created your inner suffering. Without it, your natural state, one of ease and clarity, begins to shine effortlessly. This is perhaps the greatest freedom you will ever experience.

Find it now

There’s a deep longing in all of us to feel connected, to feel that warm reassurance of being together andnot alone. 
We have this longing because we feel somehow separate from others, drifting, on our own little island, with a hurting heart. We long for warmth, for natural beingness, for being part of that big body of existence, rich and fluid and alive. We long for being ourselves, without questioning each step we make: are we doing things right, are we meaningful and loved enough?

It is like we cut ourselves loose, severed our hearts, head and limbs from something life-giving, and drifted into space, away from the mothership. We feel lonely, we do not know who we are, and believe we somehow are supposed to manage this life on our own.
It is a painful illusion. We feel separated, and reach out to feel connected again. But the gap that we try to bridge, that gap of hateful beliefs about ourselves, will keep us right where we are, hungry for scraps of love and validation that are thrown our way.

Truth is, we are connected already. We are inside the mothership, safe and sound. We never left. We are warmly embraced and inspired by each other, from moment to moment. The painful illusion of separation is indeed an illusion, held in place by the mistake that we are unlovable in our core.

What do you believe about yourself this very moment?

Become aware of your thoughts, of the sensations in your body.
Where do you believe love is to be found? In the way other people look at you? Out there somewhere? In the future? In the past? In some unreachable place that is definitely not your own home? 
Find it now, here, in your belly, in your heart. Fill yourself up with it, claim it, hold it, be it. Stop pretending that you are any less than love and clarity, and come home to who you are.

The willingness to meet painful feelings

Loving yourself is not just about reminding yourself you are lovely.
It also means being willing to meet your painful feelings.

And that can be quite challenging ;-)

Because sometimes our painful feelings are clear, but often they seem to float just under the surface.
The reason is that we all have our ways to dismiss our own fear, our feelings of unworthiness or shame. It is like an automatic reaction that kicks in when we start to feel less than somebody else. Or threatened in some way.

We tend to ignore our hurt, get cynical and angry towards others or get lost in the belief that we are a total failure. In fact, we build a wall around our hurt in order not to feel it so much.
It is not such a good trick, because we still feel shit and now forgot why.
So what is the loving thing to do when you do not know why you feel bad? When you are caught in a “I don’t feel good but let’s soldier on” mood?
Listen harder. Take your time, allow all your feelings to speak up, also the ones that dismiss your hurt.
the irritation that wants your sadness to be quiet
the self hatred that tells you you are a failure 
the anger that tells you it is the fault of so and so
Come to clarity about why you feel shaky, depressed or lost. 
Dig up that toxic belief that you mistakingly kept on believing and that’s keeping you feeling small and worthless, even today. It always lies at the bottom of our suffering.

I am not lovable
I have no right to be here
I am a burden to others

And when you found it, all you need to do is open your heart to that unloved spot and fill it to the brim with your compassion, your warmth. Take care of it, finally, and embrace it with all your love. It will feel so good!

Glowing heart

See that glowing heart under the surface?

Perhaps faint and muffled, covered with unbelief and worn out thoughts. 
Perhaps hidden by a layer of dust; countless grey particles of discouragement and self-doubt.
Perhaps buried under stories of self loathing and shame.
When we do not focus on our love and goodness, on our innocence and purity, on our joy and happiness, we will not see it.
Our hearts stay out of sight, tucked away under a colorless blanket of disbelief.

So shift focus. Right in this moment.
Focus on your heart, that never stopped being perfectly alive, shiny and bright.
Focus on your inner brilliance, your inner warmth.
It is your birthright, your true nature.
It may hurt to shift this focus. Because you will also become aware of the stuff that covered it for so long. And in becoming aware of it, it’s easy to get distracted, to get lost in what you didn’t get and feeling powerless and sad because of it.

Then focus again. 

Find that glowing heart under the surface, that source of brilliance that you are. In its light, old beliefs will melt, simply because they cannot hold themselves up any longer.

Saying no

What about saying no?
Say no to things that do not feel right, that bore you or are not of interest to you.
Say no to that party that you do not feel like going to, say no to people that bring you down. 
Say no to people that suck you empty.

Say no to your mother when you feel no.
No to that party of friends you never felt you belonged to.
No to things that do not speak to you.
Say no when you feel you need a break.
No to your children when you need time for yourself.
Say no when your body says no.
Say no because you can.
Be true to truth, make it priority.
Enjoy no.
Your true self will love it.
Your inner child will be delighted.
From there every yes is a full and radiant one!

Escaping the unbearable now

We all have escape routes to keep away from something we do not want to feel. We keep busy, runaround or numb ourselves to escape the unbearable now, even when we don't know what we are running from...

The wish to escape
I don't know about you, but I have had many moments in my life that I wanted to escape. Escape my own mediocracy, escape from feeling stuck or having the feeling I wasn't "living my potential", as the saying goes.

Change of scenery
Escaping the unbearable now for a brighter future is something the mind loves. It is thrilled to point out the promise of a change of scenery, and all the goodies that will be available for you once you have arrived there. It is just what you need! A change! The drastic visions that come to mind fill you with adrenaline, numbing the humiliation of feeling unable to be the person you want to be.

When life seems dull...
For some of us it is hard to be in the now when the now carries no promise, no light in it. When life seems dull and predictable, and you feel trapped in its continuum like a grey mouse in a treadmill. This may sound a bit melodramatic, but I know that's how it used to be for me. I needed a new plan, some inspiring story to keep me going. I even thought this was because I was full of creative ideas that needed expression. This may have been partly true, but in time I started to recognize most of these plans as being a little too bright, serving merely as an escape from the not-so-special-and-bright beliefs I deep down had about myself. 

Escape route
Don't get me wrong, being inspired and having ideas is fantastic and necessary for your well being. But when they become an escape route, and you find the messy, boring, confronting side of your plans hard to bear, there is something out of balance. That's what I noticed in myself: whenever I felt stuck in exercising my idea, I came up with a new plan, simply changing the scenery. And it worked... Until it didn't. Until I realized I was fleeing from something that I was actually longing for: resting in being my self, including all my imperfections.

Walking on quicksand
I believe the longing for this sort of escape towards a more special and livelier momentum has its root in the assumption that being where you are now is somehow unbearable. You need to keep looking at the horizon and not look down. You need to keep moving. It is like walking on quick sand: once you stop you will sink away in the deadly embrace of what is below. It will drag you down and you will be lost in something dark and gloomy, or so you think you will be. 

Escaping what we don't want to feel
This escaping can take on many forms, like not being able to sit down and do nothing, making endless future plans, being a workaholic, moving to another location (preferably to the other side of the planet) or disappearing into oblivion (another planet altogether). Some people feel the need to escape the unbearable now by driving to the airport and take the first available plane they can catch or clean their house incessantly. 

We all have escape routes
When you think about it, we probably all have escape routes, one way or another, to keep away from something we do not want to feel. We move, plan, eat, drink, forget, keep busy and leave. That's how we do it. And as long as we do not suffer too much from it, we will continue doing so. When you do suffer from it though, it may be helpful to muster your courage and look at what is below and face that quicksand underneath, ready to swallow you. What is so unbearable? What are you running from?

Childhood programming
The thing with escaping is, that we obviously feel we have no other solution but to leave. In other words, we feel powerless to deal with the situation or the emotional state we're in. 
Are we really that powerless?
Or is this just an old imprint, programmed in our childhood, seen from a child's perspective? 
Can we rewrite the idea of being powerless and having the need to escape, now that we are grown-ups and can take care of ourselves?

Parental messages
Being a little boy or girl, we had to cope with the messages, hidden or overtly, that we got from our parents or caretakers. Messages on how to behave, what was "good" and what was a no-go zone. These messages may have been reassuring and warm, but also may have been emotionally or physically threatening, leaving us with a feeling of being unsafe and unloved.

Imprints of powerlessness
A child is too young to stand up for itself or understand emotions in a broader context. This is why painful feelings, experienced when we are very young, are often combined with the idea of being powerless, of not being able to cope with these 'big' emotions: they seemed too painful, too unsettling or too unsafe for a small child. 

Imprints that are still active
As adults, we still carry these imprints with us. Even though we might have learned to deal with many situations in powerful ways, some imprints of powerlessness and fear may still be active in our daily lives. 
What we escape even now is the imprint of being in danger and unable to rescue ourselves. So we keep running to stay safe! Until we stop, turn around (or in this case look below) and have a proper look. We may then find that the imprint is is based on old beliefs that serve us no longer.

In my case for example, I discovered that making new, exciting plans was my escape from the negativity of my mother. Being a child, I couldn't bear the weight of her depression, so I turned to light and loving things, away from what I felt as difficult and dark. Later in life, I still acted on this imprint, as if I would be swallowed by darkness if I had no inspiring idea to save me. 

Becoming powerful instead of powerless
Of course these imprints are powerful but at the same time they are changeable. Powerful because these (traumatic) imprints are emotionally strong. Changeable in the sense that once you start facing it, you realize it was just a child"s perspective. And that you are capable of becoming powerful now instead of powerless, by understanding the emotion and being more able to deal with it. 

Transforming the imprint
Not only did I find out where my need to escape came from, I also realized I had disconnected from my own negativity and anger in my attempts to stay safe. With that, things started to change. My weakness became my strength in a way. Times of frustration in which I felt trapped, attacked or misunderstood became important invitations to stay and not leave. They offered an opportunity to discover that I was not threatened by these emotions anymore. 

Over time, I could allow myself more and more to feel angry or moody, which was quite a relief. The initial restlessness was transforming into becoming more present and grounded. I did not need the light to save me anymore. (Although I must say I still have my preference ;-))

It may be interesting to investigate what you may be running from, and perhaps discover some treasures in yourself that you have been running from up till now.

This blog was originally posted on Ekhart Yoga's blog