Tag Archives: wika

Day 367: Creating My Own Self-Image

This week I have been looking at shame and embarrassment particularly in relation to doing things outside the norm – looking differently, smelling differently, sticking out in some way and being different.

In my past, I have deliberately decided to do things against the norm. There has however always been a fear within me. It was also this fear that compelled me that challenge myself – because I did not want to be controlled by this experience. Though, in retrospect, I can see that it was not effective. By going against my fears, I were not able to change them long term. And now I am able to understand why that is the case. Because in going against my fears, I still do not understand them, and I am not directing them – I am instead trying to force them back by going into a opposite reaction.

Thus, the solution to living without the fear of being different is by understanding where this fear comes from. In my case, this fear is very much cultural. It is a part of my upbringing to not want to stick my neck out, to not want to be different – I have been taught that it is best to not cause to much raucous. And the underlying fear is that of fearing being judged by others – having others talk behind my back – having others dislike me and want to bring me down.

Let us take a look at this fearing of being judged by others. What is it really about? It is really a fear of loss – fear of loosing the positive way in which I perceive people see me. This indicates that I build my self-image on how I perceive others view me – thus in order for me to have a positive view of me – I feel that I need to have others see me that same way. There are a couple of reasons as to why that is simple not a practical way to design my image of myself; firstly – it makes me dependent on others – I have to continuously use others to assess me and build my image and idea of myself. Secondly, it makes me vulnerable to fluctuations, changes and movements in my world. If someone have some form of reaction towards me, it will impact and ripple and effect the way I see myself. That is not what I want.

If my self-image would be stable and sustainable – I would be stable regardless of how others view me – and my understanding/image/view of myself would be something that I create and see directly – there would not be a wall of perception that the information must pass through first. Most importantly, I would not be dependent upon anyone else telling me who I am – because I would know who I am. This would remove any fear of being different – because I would know who I am – I would know what I do – and there would not be that anxiety within me as to what others might or might not think about me.

Thus – what are the solutions that I can apply when I notice this fear is coming up within me?

What I see as important is that I remind myself who is the creator of my self-image – and that I make a decision in that moment to create my own self-image – to make sure that I do not depend on others to give me a view and understanding of myself – but that it is my own. To also understand that – the fears coming up within me are not created by anyone else but by myself – it is thus my relationship with me that is being uncovered and not anything else.

Practically speaking – I can take a breath, straighten my back, push out my chest, saying with my body language that I AM HERE – THIS IS WHO I AM – and then continue applying myself within what I was doing – and not accepting and allowing myself to be limited and diminished within fears and anxieties.

 


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Day 366: What is success to me?

What is success to me?

It is an important question, because unless I know and I am clear on what is success for me personally, then how will I be able to achieve it? It is not possible. I will instead chase mirages, success as defined and seen by others, and not live according to my self-honesty.

The question has arisen within me due to reactions that have come up within when I am confronted with friends, acquaintances, that I feel have begun to climb the ladder of success, and that has achieved positions of high stature. It could also be that they have achieved fame or notoriety in some other way. The reaction is still the same, it is that of jealousy and fear. Jealousy that I have not achieved their position, and fear that I might have wasted/missed my opportunities to place myself in such a successful point.

Thus, the fascinating thing is that my desire is not directed towards achieving their position from a point of wanting to have their experience, as could be the case if someone has a job that I would like and find interesting. My desire more has to do with gaining the position in order to impress upon and show others that I have been able to achieve such a position/standing of success. That is what it is all about, wanting the positive attention that I perceive someone is receiving in the particular position.

In analyzing this desire/jealousy and bringing it back to myself, I can conclude that I would not have experienced jealousy/desire if I would have felt that I am receiving a sufficient amount of attention/validation/confirmation in my current position. That begs the question, why is it that I feel I need my success/live/movement in this world to be validated by others? That is in-fact a serious limitation, as I will continuously only pursue that which I suspect I will be able to get my validation and attention. And when those things have subsided, I will drop my venture, and yet again go searching for a way to achieve the attention/validation/respect I feel that I deserve. I have played this loop out a couple of times.

The solution is to define my own success and to practice validating myself – to stop myself from comparing my life – what I do – my skills – my future – to that of others – as it will only ever cause me to go astray and miss what is important to me – what is my success. And there will obviously still be the temptation to continue in old tracks. Though it is clear that when I am constantly looking out there at what everyone else is doing, then how will I ever be able to focus at what I am doing? How will I be able to focus at where I want to go, what I want to do? It is not possible – hence the importance of letting others do what they are doing, and developing within me the skill of validating and recognizing myself.

What is success to me?

To me success is to care for myself and others. It is to choose a direction in life based on where I am able to best support myself and others to be the best they can be. Success to me is also to challenge the status quo and to contribute to a change in how the system operates. Further, it is a success for me to dedicate myself to my process of self-creation – to stick to this process, to continue to develop myself, to expand, to move and to walk it until it is done.

When I live these words in my life – that is success to me.

 


Day 365: Solutions Instead of Defeat

Today I listened to the following interview on Eqafe: Interview Request – Polar Bears, Ice Melting, and Manifested Consequence. And as is always the case with Eqafe interviews, they assist and support me in opening up new insights and realizations.

When I listened to this interview, what opened up was the point of how I tend to feel defeated when I look at the world and the problems we are facing. It is not only because of how big the problems are, but because there seems to be only a minority of people that cares about finding solutions, and a majority that prefers to live in ignorance. There is however a alternative to defeat. That is changing my focus, from seeing the problems, to instead seeing the solutions. And I find this to be true not only in regards to world problems, but also in relation to my own personal issues – I often forget about the SOLUTIONS.

It is as if our minds are addicted to the problems and to the experience of defeat. We like to find the problems, to talk about the problems, to become stressed about the problems, and to give up in the face our problems. Finding solutions to the problems, that is secondary, and many times, nonexistent. That is the case with environmental issues such as the melting of the ice caps or global warming. We become stressed and emotional, and then we give up – we accept defeat and that it is too late to do anything, that is, before we have even begun. The proper response would have been to USE that stress as a motivation to get off our asses and start doing something about it.

And with regards to our personal issues. When a point opens up that seems to be too big, we easily accept defeat. Or, when we have tried a couple of different solutions, we stop pushing tell ourselves that it is no use. And then we come up with a justification as to why we are not continuing to push. This has happened to me several times – I will face a difficult point – and when I notice that it is going to take a lot out of me to change the point – accepting defeat is not far away. Though, I do have examples from my life where I have not accepted defeat. In those moments, what I have done, is that when I have been at the brink of giving up, I have taken a deep breath and re-focused my attention. I have then again looked at what it is that I want to achieve, and why I want to achieve it. I have reminded myself of my goals – and after pausing for a moment – I have moved myself to continue.

The trick has been to move beyond the point of feeling defeated. And this way I have been able to learn many skills that I initially perceived as impossible for me to acquire. One example is playing guitar. When I began, I could not fathom that I would one day be able to play the songs of my favorite bands. But I kept on practicing, I kept on looking at tips for how to improve on my technique, and then, at some point, I was suddenly able to play the songs I wanted to. It was a process of accumulation, where I day in and day out practiced a little, grew a little, moved a little – and in time – those small moments accumulated into a big change/movement – I learned to play guitar!

In this process of moving beyond defeat, solutions are essential. If I keep my focus on the problem, I will create more of it, get deeper into it, loose my sense of clarity and direction. I might even forget what it is that I WANT to happen, what is my goal? And then all I do is to try and find ways to cope with what is happening, instead of actively finding ways to definitively solve the problem. Understanding the problem is only the first step, the rest of the steps is about establishing a solid and sustainable change – and that is where the focus should be: What is that I want to create?

I will continue to practice this point of moving past defeat and creating solutions. Especially when a emotion comes up within me, presenting me with a problem, to then convert that emotional energy into a movement within me to instead look for a solution to the problem that I face. To not accept and allow myself to get stuck in a quagmire but to keep on moving – to keep on expanding – to keep on CREATING.


 

Day 364: A Well Made Moment

I have been listening to two Eqafe interviews that have had a great impact on me – all covering the topic of what it means to create a moment with care, consideration and attention to detail. You can find them here:

The basic principle that is discussed is the difference it makes when life is approached from a starting point of aiming to make the best out of every moment; hence the term ‘A well made moment’. I had the opportunity to apply this principle today while I was doing some carpentry and painting.

With painting, the furniture I was working with had many details and I noticed that I wanted to move faster than what was practically possible. In order for the paint brush to effectively reach into the small cracks, and for the paint to fully cover the shape of the furniture, I had to be patient, move slowly, and be methodical in my approach. Hence, each time I noticed myself wanting to speed up, I took a breath and deliberately slowed myself down. The result turned out great because of my patient and thorough application. I covered the furniture with a even layer of color.

Though, creating a well made moment is not limited to carpentry or painting. This principle can be lived in all areas of life. Regardless of where I am, or what I do, there is always an opportunity to do what I am doing in a way that is best. Such a simple thing as cutting a slice of bread, it can either be done with precision, or carelessly. Driving the car to work, it can either be done with attention and consideration, or negligently. Talking with someone, it can either be done with presence, attentive listening, genuine participation, or on automatic pilot, just to get through the interaction.

Living to make things well made, that is challenging and requires us to push through those resistances, and that urge within, to skip the corners and do it the easy way. However, it is worth it, because there is a satisfaction and fulfillment in creating moments/things in the best way that they can be.


Day 363: Putting Some Color In Daily Living

Life is a lot about routines. It is a lot about doing the same thing over and over again with very little variance – unless – it is done differently. And this is what I want to pursue the coming week – create variance/exploration in the small and mundane – in that which recurs day after day, week after week.

What I have realized is that it is not possible to escape routine – it is a cemented part of daily living. We have to eat, we have to shit, we have to sleep. And then you have to survive, and there are many routine actions connected to survival; working, cooking, cleaning and so on. Then there are a few breaks from the routine. There are moments that can be spent on a hobby, on traveling and exploring, on moving out from the routine – though – seen as a whole – those moments are few and far in-between.

The main stream opinion is that routines are bad, limiting, confining, and that we need to escape them from time to time. Because the general view on routines are negative, a lot of people live out their lives in a fight against the routine that floods their lives. We sit by our desks at work the entire week longing to go somewhere else, and then when Friday arrives, we finally feel FREE – and we go out and party to break the monotonous daily struggle. Alcohol and other drugs are used to feel free, excited, special – something MORE than what we normally experience throughout the week.

In this blog however, I am going to advocate a different solution to routine. Firstly, I want to stress that routines are not bad. It is not the routine in itself that makes a moment uneventful and unexciting. Routines are merely, a part of life, and actually, they offer opportunities for us to practice and create INTEREST – real INTEREST – in the sense that we literally have to decide to be interested and present in what we are doing.

Secondly, it might be that it is exciting to do something different and live without routines, though routines do have a quality in that they bring stability and clarity. With a good routine, we can put our attention unto more important things. An example would be, that if we have a good routine when it comes to waking up and preparing for work, then we can instead put our attention/effort into being aware of the environment ad being more physical and grounded. Routines thus, are effective in establishing a solid structure, that can be used as a support to start developing internal living skills, such as presence. Having routines also makes life predictable. And while that might not be good every time, it is supportive when it comes to relationships and communication. Because with a good routine established, everyone involved knows what to do and what to expect – there are no surprises.

Thus, routines are cool – however – there is a problem if we accept and allow ourselves to become mentally and physically limited by our routines . When we do not allow ourselves to test something new, or when we are faced with something new, but we stick to our routine anyway, that causes problems, instead of being flexible and tackling the new issue with a new solution. Routines must not become a comfort zone and that can easily happen when we begin to trust our routines more than we trust ourselves. In such instances it can be scary to push beyond a routine and try something different – here its important to remember that it was us that created the routine and as such we are also able to create something new in its place.

For me lately I have faced the point of judging routines, and feeling limited, confined and held back by them. Obviously, this has to do with the point that I have recently become a father. My baby is very much bound and supported by having routines – which is why I have adapted and begun to create more of them. It is challenging in the sense that life without routines feels exciting, fresh and rejuvenated. Life with routines on the other hand can easily feel stuck, uninspiring and trite. What I have realized is that we do not have to experience routines like this. We are able to use the supportive stability and structure that routines offers while at the same time being inspired, refreshed and new. It is all a matter of changing our approach – our STARTING POINT to life – to routines as a matter of fact.

An example would be the following: I wake up on a Monday morning. My routine is to get out of bed, make breakfast, shower, dress and get to work. It is basically the same every day. However, each of these moments in my morning, even though I have lived them countless of times before, offers and opportunity for me to create something new. Let me take the first moment in my morning, get out of bed. That can be done in many ways. What I have done as of recent is to remain in my bed for a while after I have and give myself a moment to feel my body. To breathe, relax my muscles, and prepare myself for the day to come. To check in with myself and decide upon what words/expressions that I am going to push/pursue in the coming day.

Then with preparing and eating my breakfast. Here, what I have done is that I have covered myself with a blanket and eaten the breakfast in the sofa and pushed myself to relax and enjoy my breakfast. A moment of silence, breathing and preparing myself to go out into the world. At work, I have pushed myself to start taking walks each day after lunch – as a way to stretch my legs and support my general well being. And this is something I have had to will myself to do – because my tendency have been to feel that I do not have enough time to go for a walk. It is interesting how the mind works in this regard. The only thing that is seen as adding to productivity is that which is seen to have a direct connection with manifestation of a project/task. However, all of the soft values, such as feeling rested, replenished and rejuvenated, stretched and content in my body, those are not seen as important. That is obviously a mistake. For me, I can clearly see the difference in how I am a lot more efficient when I am rested and refreshed, compared to when I am stressed and strained.

Routines thus, they are meant to be redirected and walked within awareness. Supportive habits could be one of the most empowering things that I have experienced. Things that I do on a daily basis that supports the well being of me and others. Hence, I will not judge routines anymore, but rather learn to live with them and make the most of them.


Day 362: Organic Expansion

This past week I have been trying out some applications at work to assist and support myself to achieve more of a balance between my mental/intellectual participation and my physical movement. The reason for this is because of how I feel when I get home from work. I usually experience the time at work as blurred, as if I have existed in only one form of expression – a tense, focused and driven movement – a bit like a strained guitar string playing a one note song. And I admit that at my work, that expression is required at times. I have to be focused, fully and intensely HERE. However, if I do not give myself moments of letting go – that one sided and strained movement starts to tear at me – causing me to feel much more exhausted when I get home than what I would be if I had more balance.

Thus – to support myself with this point I have committed myself to a daily walk after I have eaten my lunch. It is only for a short time, some 15 minutes. However that break gives me the opportunity to BREATH fresh air, to MOVE physically, and to do something DIFFERENT – and that supports me to stabilize myself – and it is something I will continue to do.

And this also brings me into the topic I want to open up in this blog, which is Organic Expansion. Now, for a long time I held the idea that in order to become successful in this world, I have to hold unto and strive to achieve mastery in one or a few well selected areas. I would pursue specialization – and at the same time build a fear within me of losing time in other areas of my life that I did not consider to be relevant to my chosen area of expertise. This caused me to not spend time on for example, taking care of my home, taking care of close relationships – and also – it made me resistant when it came to trying out new hobbies, interests, or simply going for opportunities that opened up in my life, unless obviously, they suited my initial goal/plan/direction that I had decided for myself. I have realized that this way of aiming for specialization quells EXPANSION.

Expansion I have found can be found in the most unlikely of places. Self-expansion cannot be planned – it is a decision that is made in a moment while participating/interacting in this world – and it can be lived/applied in any context/area of our life. And EVERY TIME – when I have expanded myself in one area of my life – it have assisted and supported me to grow and expand in other areas of my life as well. I have realized that it is faulty to view my life as compartmentalized, between for example, my professional life and my leisure time. They are one and the same, in the sense that, what I developed within and as myself in my professional life, will equal and one come through in my leisure time, and the other way around. And because of this, it is really no ‘waste of time’ to spend time and effort developing myself in areas of interests that are outside of my initial goal of what I want to become good at and specialize in.

Because self-expansion cannot be planned – it unfolds organically. And what I mean with self-expansion cannot be planned, is that I cannot decide that for example, I will study two hours about subject B, and then expect that I will be able to expand, only by committing to those two hours of study. I can sit down and study for 8 hours, or drive myself ferociously to achieve a goal, though if I am not PRESENT and HERE – I will not be able to see and participate within the moments of expansion that unfolds organically as I move myself through life. This also implies, that SELF-EXPANSION and GROWTH, is not the same as material success in this world. The fact is that we can become very wealthy, without having grown one inch as an individual. And self-expansion is about personal growth and empowerment.

Thus, the key to self-expansion is to be PRESENT and HERE in the movement of the moment. A moment of expansion could for example open up as I go out to wash my car. I feel bored because of the repetitive movements and the simplicity of the chore and go into thoughts – thus not being HERE and PRESENT. If I would however go out and wash my car, and push myself to be AWARE – I would start to notice the small things. Where the dirt is located on the car, the consistency of the dirt and how the dirt effects the condition of the car. I would start to see the small issues and scratches on the varnish, spot the initial stages of rust. Further, I would be able to experience the movement of my body, and practice ergonomics and body awareness.

As my example shows, the key to self-expansion is not setting up and moving towards goals, and while that practice is cool when it comes to supporting movement and direction, it is the most important ingredient when it comes to self-expansion. And that is because self-expansion is a organic process that is actually accessible in each and every moment – it is all about WHO WE ARE and whether we remain perceptive and receptive to the small points of expansion that are in our lives every day.

Hence, what I have decided to do, is to do things that might seem irrelevant and unnecessary at first glance. To spend time on projects and interests that I resist and to not judge anything that comes into my world as a waste of time – because I know it is not what I do that determines the outcome – it is WHO I AM.

 


Day 361: Organic Growth

There is a time for planning AND there is a time for organic movement. That is my insight for this week.

The way I tend to approach at least some parts of my life, is with exactitude in planning, preparation and execution. Everything should be considered and thought-out beforehand. And the underlying idea is that when everything is preemptively directed – that will bring the best results. However – I have found that this is not necessarily the case. On example of this is nature, specifically, trees.

If you look at how a tree grows, it is in the moment. The branches and roots will stretch out in search for optimum nutrition. That movement might be genetically planned in the design of the seed. However the actual growth of the tree happens organically. When the tree is young, there might be a water shortage. Hence the tree will focus its energy on growing its roots deeper into the ground to reach water. This shapes the tree, making it shorter and with less foliage than what would have been the case if it had instead focused all its energy on growing its branches towards the optimum position for receiving sunlight. Though, if it would have followed such a stiff and inflexible plan, the tree would have most likely died. Because it was able to improvise and grow organically according to its environment – it survived.

Then, many years later, the water shortage comes to an end. The tree now wants to focus on expanding its branches and foliage. Unfortunately for the tree, it has two big tree neighbors that blocks most of the sunlight coming directly from above. Instead of trying to outgrow its neighbors, the tree then grows its branches in such a way where it seeps up the small portions of light that moves past the foliage of its neighbors. The movement is yet again organic – in equilibrium and alignment with the trees environment.

The growth of a tree is flexible, organic, sensitive, receptive and balanced. It grows with common sense – moves on the opportunities that arise and redesigns its direction according to its environment. And as a whole, a tree looks magnificent – perfectly positioned and aligned with the rest of its neighbors.

Compare this organic growth with how us humans tend to move. Most of us decide upon a goal – a dream we want to realize for ourselves. It could be striving to achieve a certain income, enter a profession or become admitted to a education. Regardless, we tend to hold unto our goals stiffly and stubbornly – and when things does not move our way – instead of bending – we break. Because that is the problem with a person that has a stiff mind – he breaks when enough pressure is applied, while a flexible, soft and organic person is able to move around the obstacle. The tree did not stubbornly hold unto a goal of wanting to grow its foliage when there was a water shortage – it moved WITH its environment and was thus able to survive.

Hence – I have this week seen this pattern within me. One example of this is how I have had the tendency to structure/dream projects in my mind. Last summer I dreamed of creating a small carpentry studio in one of the unheated houses on our property. I arranged it and planned installing electricity and heating after a while. However, I did not have the funding or the time to install electricity and heating. This week I realized that there is actually a room on the property that already have heat and electricity installed, that I could have utilized instead all along. I had not however and the reason for this is because I got stuck in a ‘box’ like way of thinking. Where I only saw my initial goal – instead of expanding my thinking and instead of looking at the pictures – looking at the general process/movement that I want to facilitate. The room that is available, it cannot be aligned to fit my dreams of how my carpentry studio should look like – though it facilitates my interest in carpentry more effectively – because it gives me access to heat and electricity so that I am able to work even though it is dark outside. If I had moved myself organically, from moment to moment, I would have taken notice of this room and set up my shop there.

With this blog I want to emphasize the importance of MOMENT to MOMENT living. I want to emphasize that it is not the image/picture that is important – it is the process/movement. If we have an interest in photography – it is not the camera that is important – it is that process/movement of engaging in our interest. Hence if we cannot afford the camera we want, then instead of getting stuck, thinking we cannot advance ourselves within our interest, it is to instead find ways to facilitate and move with what we have at our disposal – to be creative and not break. There is always a lot more that can be done than what we think. The difficult part, that is to break free from our stiff and inflexible goal-driven mind – to instead see the opportunities that are here.