Challenging times accompany me while writing this blog article. We are currently in the midst of an unexpected exceptional situation. The whole world has stood still for the past few weeks and months. It happened what no one could have ever imagined. Shops, restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons and many more businesses were closed overnight. What appeared to be impossible to many companies up to that point became a new reality and many employees were sent to the home office.
Only the so-called “systemically relevant” professions performed more than ever before under high pressure. This situation, however, posed a balancing act for everyone. Because honestly: What feeling does it trigger in you when, what you do every day with a lot of hard work and ambition, suddenly becomes irrelevant or worthless? In the midst of a performance-oriented society, you no longer were able to perform and were suddenly thrown back on yourself with these challenges. This particular phase has led to confusion in many places. The fact that almost no distraction could be consumed from outside was particularly demanding. Your underlying fears become often quite uninhibited.
How well can I grasp this? Few years back I was faced with a similar situation. When my mother died, I also lost my job through which I defined myself very strongly. With the thought “a misfortune rarely comes alone” I was withdrawing home like a snail.
During the pandemic, many people found something that I unfortunately could not do at the time. During these hours of reflections, many people discovered the beauty of our nature on their doorstep. Creative solutions were developed overnight, and people learned to appreciate new qualities in themselves and others. A lot of positive outcomes emerged. At the same time, a pandemic is just as little a source of infinite joy as my losses back then. In a very short time, many people fell ill with an unknown virus, and some died. Relatives mourned for their loved ones, strong insecurity, speculations and misunderstandings prevailed.
The good is often very close
My conclusion of this state of emergency is that it brings out the best and the worst in people, makes it visible. It reflects how our society deals with farewells of people, situations as well as loved traditions. Back then, for me, this accumulated loss was an important part of the process of letting go, which painfully challenged me for many hours. Nevertheless, it was infinitely important and valuable for my further development. Since I discover certain parallels to what has happened in many people’s lives in the past few weeks, I would like to share my challenges as well as my learnings with you here.
Letting go is a big word, closely followed by recognition and acceptance. These powerful terms scared me for a long time. In this country, they are usually hardly associated with desirable emotional states. You will be shown from all sides how great and desirable it is to search, find and hold happiness.
What is happiness?
It seems like happiness is an overarching goal and an emotional state that can hardly be achieved. But what if it is different? The great happiness is hidden in the little things and moments? In those you often hardly notice because of the “faster, higher, further”. Is it hidden in the changes that you so often shy away from?
It is quite possible that the thought of something new triggers resistance in you. Due to the way the human brain works, this is completely normal. It works with the mental data of past experiences. As you can well appreciate this warning system, in the time of sabre-toothed tigers and the like, had absolute raison d’être and saved lives. But is this danger still real today, or could it be that you have become blind to recognise your real moments of happiness?
How about, if your happiness is already around you? Allow yourself new routines, courage to enjoy your coffee differently than usual. Cooking your favourite food from your favourite restaurant at home. Getting up at 5 a.m. and enjoying the sunrise. You can easily find out whether the happiness is already omnipresent, hidden behind all these little “new” things. With this you allow your brain new experiences. True to my new motto: “Just doing it could be a good thing.”
Resistance is futile
After a long struggle to learn to let go I have now made my peace with it. I try to put an end to the judging and categorisation of my feelings and thoughts. By being mindful and putting my self-care first, I manage to do this very well. This decision has had a huge impact on all areas of my life. My life has become much more rounded and coherent. Caring alone is a good thing, but it is outwardly focused. By looking at yourself and putting yourself first, you can even support your environment more consciously than ever before.
Without judgement, feelings now receive your absolute attention. You courageously try to admit, embrace and accept these feelings as part of yourself. They become part of your continuous learning path. You become a creator in your life. These moments of clinging and holding on support you because they draw your attention to how your current focus is. They fill your days with moments as valuable as the happy hours. The light-filled moments often seem all the brighter thanks to the knowledge of the dark phases of life. The informative, lonely and thoughtful hours usually do not need a concierge to look after them. They are easy to care for and it is enough if you open the door for them. If you let them lean a little, they usually leave the house independently as soon as the time together is up.
A brief summary of my experience with farewell processes:
- Be sincere to yourself
- Accept unpleasant things
- Look behind the scenes of your feelings
- Appreciate the gifts of life
- Listen carefully to your feelings
- Enjoy the basic trust
- You only live once
Act instead of waiting
Passivity is difficult for you? Then I would be happy to give you an exercise on how to deal with blocking thoughts.
Write your thoughts down on a piece of paper, read the lines carefully and burn them. This can be done indoors over a candle or outside by a campfire. Personally, I hear the mantra “Ra Ma Da Sa”, which helps to build new thought patterns and actively accompanies your own change process. Before the farewell ritual, you should preferably take a relaxing walk to organise your thoughts. Afterwards I recommend some exercise in the form of yoga (there are now many good online courses such as this one from Christine Raab or with SeelenSport, the great concept from Katrin Biber, which supports exercise during the mourning process.
Letting go creates space for something new
In nanoseconds, thousands of your thoughts whirl through your head. As long as they are floating around freely, they can confuse you. As a daily companion, it is therefore advisable to hold your thoughts. A transcript helps you to be clear and focused. “What am I here for and what is my job?” These answers are all already within you. By consciously perceiving them, you create a new truth and a life full of opportunities and gifts. You are giving yourself valuable time for transformation by not making comparisons and reflecting.
If you find it difficult to find the beginning when writing, feel inside and see where you feel joy. Your answer is always hidden there. You can find these if you write without judging your thoughts. Anchored in the current moment, you begin your first sentence with: “I allow myself …”. There you use the first thing that goes through your head with a happy feeling.
It is advisable to check your notes from time to time and ask yourself: is the text still valid for me? If the answer is negative, you can take corrective action and adjust the direction at any time. It is easy to find out whether decisions and thoughts are guided by the heart or by the head. If you write the relevant points on a piece of paper and you hold the various options to your heart, your body will respond positively. If you look forward to it, then you got the right hidden answer.
From old to new
I have heard from many people that the lockdown finally slowed them down. Everyday life in our society is fast paced, almost hectic. Time seems to run through your fingers and it often seems as if you are playing catch-up with the hours. But do we need a pandemic to change that? For me, with a pandemic there is a risk of a temporary reduction in speed. But how can you ensure to keep your foot off the pedal in the long term?
A trial with journaling can have positive effects. The modern form of the diary, in which you also write daily or at least very regularly, helps to create clarity. You usually ask yourself specific questions and concentrate on possibilities, goals, wishes and insights. For example, what you’re thankful or proud for, what you’re looking forward to and much more. The big advantage here is the concentration on the positive things in your life.
By writing and reflecting daily, you come closer to yourself and your innermost truth. With this technique you also help yourself to better understand the voice of your heart. It is quite possible that this will overwhelm you at first. You have been trained over the years to neglect your feelings. Be mild and give yourself time to digest these new impulses. Treat yourself to regular and conscious breaks, say no when you feel like it and start at your own pace to stand behind you and your true values. As I sorted my thoughts for this article, I encountered the following quote from Deepak Chopra. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, I share it with you here:
“Sorrow is pain we hold on to”
Letting go is like disposing of old shoes that no longer fit you. This allows you to leave limits behind, return stressful topics to the owner and consciously decide for a new phase of life. I wish you to say “Yes” to yourself, very consciously and with all your heart, and to set the bar high for a higher quality of life.
Leben ist tödlich