The walk of life

walk of life

Almost 10 years ago I was introduced to Desteni. at the time I was quite happy with my life but I was not very at peace deep inside. I was looking for answers on many questions linked to living a satisfying life. This searching had been the driving force behind wanting to achieve specific goals in life. One of the main factors at the time was a general discontent about human society in general causing me and my partner to look for a way out of the daily stress of life in a small and overpopulated country. We started fantasizing about living in a remote place and as off-grid as possible. We actually realized part of this fantasy by moving to a sunny country in a house in the mountains. Where we originally planned to buy a house to renovate we ended renting places and running out of money. In six years time we learned to accept the reality of what we were living and finally decided to move back to the overpopulated country, back into the matrix, just for the matter of surviving in this society we so badly tried to escape.

Looking back I do not regret any decision I made as it has been an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about myself and how I interact with the world around me. The challenging situations where making money was becoming more and more difficult I’ve learned to be humble and self-honest. Where at first I had the tendency to hide the fact I was living on very little money, I started to share my situation with others in an open and factual way. To my surprise people were willing to help even more that I would expect.

The process I walked over these years allowed to understand better what was triggering specific feelings and emotions. This allowed me to better understand my fears, frustrations, angers and also happy feelings. On top of understanding I learned how to take care of repeating patterns by applying self-forgiveness, a method where I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed a specific identified feeling or emotion based on a specific trigger. Identifying triggers and cleaning up these connected patterns has allowed me to see and understand much better the essence of life. I learned to see that moving away from a situation I did not like was not the solution. I had first to understand who I was in a specific situation, understand what triggered my feelings and emotions and change myself to ensure my starting point is a self-honest point and not a memory or a desire based on a fantasy.

After all these years I made a lot of progress and become a better version of myself with the ability to be a stable point in a hectic society and act as a reference and resting point for people I interact with on a daily base. I have still a whole path to walk as there are many points I need to address and clear so I can stop patterns and free myself from the consequences and the enslavement caused by following these patterns.

My big actual challenge is to slow down. While living in a fast paced and stressful environment it is easy to allow myself to be carried along with this hectic rhythm and end every day with the impression I am a prisoner of the responsibilities and tasks I have to perform in order to earn the money I need to survive, to sustain my family, to keep everybody happy and keep up with with my DIP lessons. Sometimes everything feels as something I am forced to do and all I want is to rest as the pressure causes me to feel tired. I know the tiredness I feel is only partly real, most of it is created by the feeling of having to do things against my will. Quite tricky.

By identifying that the tiredness I feel is not real I already took the first step in the process of changing myself. Step two now, is to identify what causes this feeling of pressure. Not very easy as it is a multi-dimensional and multi-layered and complex set of memories, experiences, thoughts, feelings and emotions. The only way to unravel this is to pick a point and work through and clean it up. A process that can take years. The nice part is that every resolved point immediately shows results and helps you to go for the next point in more effective way. The path is not linear of course, it has ups and downs.

While I am slowly working through my step two points I am applying what I have learned to live so far by being a living example for others and by doing so I am contributing to a better world, even if it is on a very little scale. The stories on this blog are all related to how I am walking this process and I share them so anyone can read and maybe recognize a situation and see what I did to change myself so the next time I am facing the same type of situation I will be prepared.

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We want more holidays!

BeerAlcoholCansBottlesPA1512111.jpgWith the holidays still fresh in my memory I was surprised by the news about a lobby for a new national holiday: Carnival. “What?” Was my first reaction, “We’ve got already so many mandatory and official holidays, why one more?”.What I hear is: “We want more alcohol!”.

A satirical news item on this topic stated that drinking on Ascension Day is not that cool so having a Carnival day to do so is much more practical. This only reinforced me in my opinion that a lot of people look forward to specific events, happenings, parties and opportunities just to drink and get drunk. I guess that getting drunk is in this context is synonym to having fun.

I know I have prejudices on people wanting to drink alcohol in any opportunity just because it makes them feel more at ease. So, I wonder, what is the problem here? Are we not able to socialize when fully aware and conscious of ourselves? Are we afraid of not being able to fit in with other (drunk) people and miss an opportunity to have fun without the restrictiveness of our sense of responsibility and maybe to suppress or ignore that tiny bit of fear we have?

I regularly find myself in situations where most of the people around me are drinking and have no problems in having as much fun as they have with the advantage that I am sober and fully aware of what I say and do. Sometimes it gets harder to have real conversations with people and I usually do not tend to stay until very late as the fun to interact with people fades away at the same pace people’s awareness is fading away.

In my case, not having chosen for alcohol fumes to filter my fears and social anxieties, I had to face these in full awareness. The result is that it took me a long time before I was able to be self confident in any social situation. I had to go through many challenges related to fear of judgement and feeling unfit for handling interactions in specific situations. I would rather avoid going to social events and parties than having to face these points of uncertainty and fear.

Thanks to a process of self discovery that allows me to discover the real person I am with all the shortcomings and skills, I’ve been building my self confidence up to a point that I am able to participate in any kind of social event just by being myself with the flexibility to have a lot of fun and to discuss serious topics alternately. A big help in this process is the DIP Pro course that helps me to systematically work through many layers of awareness and allowing me to take absolute responsibility for who I am .

Jealous!

If a couple of days ago you asked me if I’ve even been jealous I would have answered that I can not really come up with any example. Immediately followed by several examples of why I am quite a content person and see no need in being jealous of anyone.

Well, if you recognize this kind of situations where you are convinced emotions like jealousy, envy, anger, frustration are not something you experience… you are in big trouble! Big, big trouble.

I’ve gone through denial of several emotions and had to find out that I was wrong. I have been suppressing these emotions big time throughout my whole life until I worked, step by step, through my exercises of my DIP Pro course. At first I started to have problems in answering questions about these emotions as I lacked any reference in my day to day life and in my memories.

I learned I was a master in suppression and I skillfully managed to suppress tons of memories related to emotions and feelings. Slowly, actually very slowly, with a lot of excuses and procrastination, I finally had some great realizations. I discovered I had experienced a lot of these emotions. I had been angry and frustrated but just did not want to admit I was, just because that meant I had to take responsibility for these reactions and emotions.

But now about jealousy. I learned to recognize quite a few emotions and also learned how to deal with them without having to go into suppression. Jealousy was a different thing. Weeks and weeks I started to monitor my experiences during the day hoping to find that tiny little piece of jealousy. No chance! I was still convinced I was that one person on the planed left untouched by jealousy. Such a unnecessary and spiteful emotion. Until…

I was going through some old memories about my youth and while describing a memory of seeing my brother playing keyboards I suddenly remembered that I was kind of disgusted by the fact he was having a great time playing his stupid fantasy music on this stupid organ. Bang! I discovered the definition of jealousy! Okay, so that is jealousy… having all kind of negative or even positive opinions on what someone else owns or is able to do.

What I discovered was that I was suppressing my emotions and memories about my emotions. By opening myself to accept that having emotions is OK I now started to be able to recognize emotions on events that took place ages ago. And this allowed me to discover and define jealousy for myself. from now on I will be able to see when I am jealous and with the skills and tools of the DIP Pro course I can effectively stop this emotion by understanding the triggers and debunking all layered reactions.

As of now, I am looking forward to experience jealousy to practice what I have learned and see how I can manage it effectively.

My new year’s eve

Fireworks_1.JPGWhile outside I hear incessant explosions, some far away, some closer, some just a ‘pang’ others a loud ‘boom’, I decided to write about what this all is doing to me.

First of all I am wondering why some people like it so much to buy lots of fireworks and then light them, not only at midnight but also several days before NYE. I know I should not wonder as I will not understand what drives others to participate in the fireworks madness. But, a point that causes me to feel anger and frustration about is the fact that groups of youngsters have a tradition to wander through the city while throwing firecrackers in any given moment they think is the right one. Not to mention that strong fireworks, mostly illegal, can cause interesting effects when thrown into waste bins and other containers. The damage to private and public properties due to fireworks last year was 13 million euro. Mind blowing! Why do we allow this to happen?

I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone that likes to light fireworks. I played with very light fireworks myself when I was a teenager but never liked the explosive ones but always liked (and still like today) the nice and colorful fireworks. Understanding what the drive is for someone that likes the hard bangs is a little harder. I can see that it can give some excitement, a rush of adrenaline. But my fun would be spoiled quickly as I see the consequences of causing explosions that can startle and scare people and animals even up to causing permanent illnesses with horses for instance.

And there I might have the whole point that explains why I am not a fan of all these hard noise producing firecrackers and fireworks! I am aware of the consequences! Does this imply that everybody that does like this is not aware of the consequences. For sure most will be if asked to be brutally self-honest. But for the sake of having fun or for that great feeling of freedom and maybe just because it is a tradition and everybody else is doing the same.

Interesting point here is that as I am aware of the consequences I defined for myself what is acceptable or not within the context I am living in. Of course it is not as simple as that. There are many different ingredients to the mix that creates my definition of acceptable behavior. And then there is the sauce over the mix that is influenced by personal memories and experiences. I might also suppress or limit myself by using the awareness of consequences and use those as an excuse to avoid doing specific things. It is a delicate point where is really easy to judge behavior of others and guess why they may act in a specific manner.

I started with wondering why people would do things like wandering around and throwing firecrackers randomly. The only way to find out is to ask. My question my cause nasty reactions as it is an attempt to have the other look at the why of their actions. Nevertheless I think that it would be a start if I can trigger people to start becoming more aware of why they are doing specific things and define for themselves whether that is good or not for them and for their environment.

For me, becoming more aware of myself, my reactions, the trigger points, memories, inherited behaviors, opinions and so on has been a very enriching journey that allows me to understand better how I am wired so to say. If you are willing to start discovering yourself have a look at DIP lite or DIP Pro.

A cool X-mas tree

While walking back from the city’s shopping center with some new clothes I bought for my employer’s X-mas party, I walked straight towards a huge pine, decorated with thousands of lights.

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X-mas tree sponsored by CoolBlue on Rotterdam’s central station square

Seeing the tree triggered memories of the day before when my daughter and I came back from a walk during lunch time and she proposed to have a closer look at the tree and the boxes below.

I only now realized that if alone I would not have decided to have a closer look, just because there is no time to do it or I just wonder why I should and quickly discard the idea and continue with my walk.

In a split second, my first reaction in seeing the tree has been to come up with an excuse and a suppression, just to make sure I would not allow me to walk over to the tree and have a closer look. On more than one occasion in the past week I’ve looked at the tree and just walked by and it needed my daughter’s suggestion to change my path and have a look.

What I realized now are several things that went on. While in the past week I tried to ignore and suppress my curiosity and allow myself a small moment of fun I accepted almost naturally to do it just because someone else has been suggesting to do it. In other words, in the rush of everyday I would not allow myself to have a small moment of distraction or fun while when another person suggests to do what I have been suppressing I immediately agree to do so.

So, why doing it for another and not for myself? Sounds like a self-sabotage kind of action. And if I look back at more of this same kind of moments I see I’ve been doing this regularly. I also see that I have had times where I did allow myself to explore more of the things I came across on my path and that this has been pushed away by a constant feeling of rush. The rush of a father of a family that needs to keep going on to earn money to sustain his family. This father thing is an interesting construct and one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.

The fact I had this realization and could see what has been going on in myself and that I was able to look back at events happening the day before in detail is quite something. The DIP course helps me becoming more aware of what is going on in my mind and identifying the triggers and having the tools to change myself effectively so I will not repeat these patterns that are not really supporting me and actually slow down or limit my real abilities.

Setting expectations

shutterstock_240715315Recently had a meeting with a person about an email I sent to him a few days earlier. To give some context, the mail was a reaction on a specific situation and contained a couple of strong statements about the way expectations were set and work that was not executed as agreed.

I understood that the receiver of the mail had taken the points personally and he had called for this meeting as he wanted to discuss the statements and the tone used in the mail. During the meeting, where also a third person was present as an observer as requested by the receiver, I started to explain the context of my critical comments and the point in time that had triggered me to give these comments. The whole message could be boiled down to setting expectations and lack of updates to reset/adjust the expectations.

While explaining the context of my mail and the reason I reacted in that specific way I felt the same anger and frustration I felt when writing the mail. This came specifically when I pointed out the exact sequence of events that I identified as unacceptable. I was aware of my emotional reactions and was able to explain why I reacted in that specific way as there has been a long build up of events that eventually led to a climax. The fact I found that only after my call done at a for me random moment led to immediate (but still late) action by the receiver was for me the proof of the other having failed in their task.

What I can see now is that I reacted in an impulse and as a consequence I had to justify my reaction as I had personally attacked the other claiming he had not done his work properly. What if I had taken a breath while having the reaction and instead of reacting in the context of “I’ve got you this time and I am going to let you feel you are incompetent” I could have reacted stating the facts and asking how such a situation could have happened and how it can be prevented in the future. I am sure the result would have been more constructive as now the other party is cautious when communicating with me and this might lead to not getting all the relevant information as they might fear my reaction a second time.

Looking back at the meeting I can see that the message I wanted to get across was different than the message I wrote down in my mail. The mail pointed out my frustration and was pointing to the incompetent actions. The real message was that I wanted to have a different way of communication with triggers that would lead to better understanding the situation and allow me to relay the information to others effectively. I can see my emotional reaction was leading in the opposite direction where the other party might decide to give less information instead of more. During the meeting I had to work hard to restore the relation and to point out what the actual goal of the message really was.

From this experience I’ve learned that when I react to something, especially in situations where there has been a long and constant buildup of frustration, to first take a breath and slow myself down. Then assess the reaction, point out the trigger point, understand why I reacted and eventually look at how to prevent a buildup of frustration in similar situations in the future. Although it is the other party that was not performing as agreed, it is not to me to blame them but to give feedback while pointing out the terms of our mutual agreements, leaving the other enough space to take their responsibilities.

Temporarily out of order

IMG_20170704_112140My right arm is in a sling and to be considered out of order. I will share here my experiences of living with a physical limitation. It will be for a while, but nobody knows for how long exactly.

While during the first couple of days I was living through the aftermath of the accident as a new experience, I am now entering a phase where the situation I am in starts looking less compelling. I know the best and most constructive way to move on is to slow myself down and focus on doing everything that is beneficial to the healing of my body.

So, I mainly focus on slowing myself down by living my moments breath by breath. I realise while doing simple things like peeling a banana or scooping a spoonful of yoghurt from a bowl, that until now I’ve been doing these movements on an automatic pilot, barely aware of what I was actually doing, just focusing on the goal, the result.

Although it might sound strange, I am glad to have this opportunity happening to me, as it kind of forces me to slow down and be more conscious of the things I do in my everyday life. I’ve said to myself that we should not take everything for granted, but never actually lived that statement. Now, on a small and personal scale, I am living this statement. When I struggle to put on my t-shirt and when finally done I find out I’ve put it on backwards, I take a breath, check how my physical is doing and start the process of taking  my t-shirt off and on again with focus and consideration for my limitations, pushing myself to be creative in finding the best way to do what I am doing.

I might have allowed myself to get frustrated and with that I might have compromised the whole situation for myself. But I could not imagine myself pushing through movements that would jeopardise the healing process, nor I could see myself waiting half dressed, as a victim of the situation, until someone came home to help me.

By taking a simple breath and allowing myself to slow down in that very moment I allowed myself to consider all aspects of the situation and define the best way to proceed without compromises. This approach that is simple and also quite challenging from a mind perspective, will contribute to me healing swiftly and will leave no room for possible regrets on actions that in a moment of frustration might have influenced my healing.

In general, being in a condition where some activities are just not possible to perform, the biggest challenge is not to be tempted to do them anyway. The temptations might seem very legitimate. I decided to bake pancakes for lunch the day after the accident. I managed but I was exhausted and did movements I should have avoided. The reason I decided to do it was driven by a feeling of guilt towards my partner who is the primary person to compensate for the tasks I am not able to perform. But the reason my partner was already very busy and tired should never be a reason for me to jeopardise my own situation. The best way to approach these situations is to discuss together the limitations and the possibilities and so agree on the priorities. This prevents unwanted consequences and frustrations that might escalate and lead to more unwanted situations.

My goal for the next days is to take it day by day, checking my healing process and do whatever I can to contribute to my healing. I am in the luxury position I can focus on myself and by doing so I make sure I will be available to do my tasks and contribute normally again soon.