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.

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.

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.

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.

It happened again!

dishwasher-clipart-free-clip-art-images-SsODq5-clipartIt happened again, and I am happy it did. Why? Well, since I’ve posted the The dishwasher challenge blog post I became aware of a lot of things related to the point of forgetting to close the lid of the dishwasher.

When yesterday morning my partner just informed me she just turned on the dishwasher I did not experience the same f**k moment as usual. True, the situation is slightly different as it was not me to find out that I did not close the lid. I actually was surprised by the neutrality of the tone my partner communicated this fact. As a normal household communication, no emotions attached.

My partner also could see what caused me not to finish this task as we had a small emergency where we found out the dog had peed on the floor just before I was to finish my routine.

Still to investigate is my reactions to this specific situation of not having closed the lid. I felt a quick but noticeable relief when my partner was apparently not upset when she found out and she concluded that she also did not check if the dishwasher was running before going to bed. So the questions I see here are:

Why do I feel a relief when I open the lid in the morning and I hear the reassuring click of the soap dispenser lid flipping open?

Feeling a relief implies I had a fear related to the act of opening the lid of the dishwasher. What kind of fear? Fear of being judged and being seen as incompetent, not fit for the simple task, not accountable, not to be taken seriously. A lot of self blame and self judgement going on here.

Why do I wait to close the dishwasher lid in the first place? Am I afraid I am forgetting to put in a last glass or cup?

Interesting point I am not really able to answer. Something deep inside cautious me to wait until I am very sure EVERYTHING that needs to be in the dishwasher is IN the dishwasher. But what is everything and what happens if something is left out because a family member forgot to bring it to the kitchen? NOTHING! The worst case might be I or someone else has to clean it by hand.

Why is the possibility I will forget to close the lid higher when I am distracted from my routine? Am I too much on an automatic pilot and not really ‘here’?

Another question that requires me to observe myself. Ever tried to observe yourself when you are semi awake and doing your routine on an automatic pilot? I wish you luck! So, if I start observing myself, implicitly making sure I am monitoring thus aware of what I am doing, I am solving this part of the problem. Voilá!

Why do I feel I need to come up with excuses when it happens? Am I ashamed I let it happen (again)? Do I want to hide the fact I might not have done all I could? Did I fail on taking my responsibility on this simple task?

Tricky one. It requires me to be really self-honest. And yes, I am ashamed of myself, at least that is what I am creating as an image in my mind. Ashamed because I failed. I, the caretaker and father figure of a family, the strong foundation of the whole system, I FAILED! “Don’t be so hard on yourself” I hear myself saying. But that is what happens in my mind. I am using this very thing to have an excuse to judge myself and to tell myself I am worth nothing as I am not even able to perform this very simple task in a constant and reliable way. What a mind f**k!

So, wrapping up, I am good in self-judgement and telling myself how bad I am where the whole issue can be solved by accepting this happens and taking my responsibilities by making sure I am always aware of what I am doing in every moment. Actually I am asking myself to be the best I can in any given moment. Sound as mission impossible? To me it kind of does, yes. But I know what I have to do. Find out why I see it as impossible to be the best in any given moment as this should be the norm, that what I   should be able to do all the time without any extra effort.

The truth is I am creating all kind of mental restrictions that limit my ability to live my full potential. Memories, experiences, thoughts, feeling and emotions, all are part of an intricate system that is compromising the real me and waits to be unravelled and debunked in a process of learning to know myself and my origins. This is my process to freedom.