empowerment

How to make your resolutions work

The year is almost over!! To me, it isn’t really hard to say goodbye, it was a difficult year in many aspects, but also a year that taught me so much about myself! Who I am, what is really important to me, what I needed to change. And I found out on a very personal level that change isn't easy (wanted or unwanted). And it's even harder when you don't have the energy to experiment new things. 

What I also found is that real change can only come from within, supported by our deepest motivation. It all starts with a wish, a desire, a longing... but for what? I learned that having clarity on what I want, and more importantly, what I truly needed, was pivotal to turn things around.

So, I'll start the new year with much more clarity on the things I would like to accomplish, and what I want to bring into my life. That empowered mindset makes me much more confident that I will reach my goals.

I stated some powerful resolutions that are aligned with my heart, body, and Soul.

What are resolutions? Wishes and dreams, goals and plans. In short, resolutions are about changes we want to make.

Having navigated many changes in all areas of my own life, as well as supporting my patients in their journey after a diagnosis or illness when I was still in the medical field, and working as a project manager on implementing complex operational changes, I have seen up close what worked and what didn't work when it comes to change.

I would like to share some thoughts about resolutions with you, to explain why they usually fail and how to approach things differently.

When you ask people about their resolutions, you usually get 3 types of response. 

  1. Well, I should quit [X] so that's what I'm gonna try. Between the brackets are things like [smoking, drinking, shopping, spending, eating chocolate, overeating, ...].

  2. Well, I should start [Y] so I'm going to do that. Between the brackets are things like [moving, running, eating healthy, being there for my family, a project, ...].

  3. Resolutions? I don't have any because they don't work anyway.

The core feelings behind those responses are:

  1. guilt

  2. guilt

  3. cynicism, defeat

Not very positive. 

This is exactly why resolutions like this usually don't work. They are stated while we are in a restrictive or judgemental emotional state. We believe we are doing something wrong and we try to fix ourselves. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with ambition, setting goals and trying to be the better version of ourselves. But, it's important to know what that version is and whether it suits us.

Usually, the wish for change comes from a sense of urgency. Things go wrong, we don't like the results we are getting. And that leads to stress. Our systems are built to eliminate stress immediately. And the way we are wired, it leads to behavior that temporarily decreases stress -> eating, drinking, smoking, shopping, checking our phones, ... 

Oops. 

The things causing us stress, are the same things we go to as a temporary stress release. And we know it. That's where the guilt creeps in, the 'shoulds', the inner critical voice. We punish ourselves with restrictive measures (causing stress) and we call it a resolution - "I am going to be a better version of myself without this behavior. I should ... "

We humans have stress on a daily basis and we have needs on a daily basis. We want to feel safe, supported and loved. However, during our lifetimes we taught ourselves to get positive feelings through external things. Self-soothing is a lie... We don't self-soothe, we externally-look-for-soothing. We fall into the trap of feeling good for a short while though unwanted and destructive behavior, causing stress and in the long run, not giving us what we are longing for.

It's a vicious cycle. Or a downward spiral. See how this will never work?

How would it be when we were able to shift our perspective and look within to find what we need? To give the love, care, and support to ourselves? To break the cycle in a different, lasting way? To spiral up an up towards the things you truly want?

When you create change by adding restorative practices, you will decrease stress and enhance relaxation. This creates so much more space to invite new things into your life! 

To create lasting changes, you need space and clarity on your deepest motivation and your true needs.

To help you state powerful intentions that are aligned with your heart, body, and Soul, and the energies of the January New Moon, I created a 9-day online program, the WinterLight Wellness Week.

You can find more information about WinterLight HERE.

Super Blue Blood Moon in Leo - 31st January 2018

On January 31st, 2018, a special celestial event is happening: a Super Blue Moon ... and a partial Lunar eclipse will coincide! 

Blue Moon means that it's the 2nd Full Moon in one month, in this case, in January. In March, this will occur again. The 3rd Full Moon in a season of four Full Moons is also called a Blue Moon (normally there are three Full Moons per season). Although it's a matter of calendar technicalities, it is also said that Blue Moons can create portals towards change, and are about making choices at a crossroad. 

In the summer of 2013, I participated in a nature-based course during a Blue Moon month (in August) and there were so many breakthroughs! 

The Moon is called a Super Moon when she is closer to the earth. She will be up to 14% brighter, larger in size and her energies will be enhanced accordingly. While the Full Moon phase is all about heightened emotions, vivid dreams and visions, and all of these can be much clearer. Dreams can be longer, and more detailed, complete ideas and visions can be received. You may experience mood swings that are more pronounced. Just know that your emotions are a compass, nothing to fear. In fact, it's easier to feel into what aligns with you then when you are feeling flat. 

The Lunar Eclipse is happening in Leo at the same time as the Blue Super Moon and this forms a powerful gateway into the next Eclipse season. The Moon will pass the Earth's shadow and will appear red (also called a Blood Moon). This can be seen in the early morning hours of the 31st in North America and in the evening of the 31st in Australia and New Zealand. 
Eclipses are always powerful, and when we are aware of them we will begin to see how they are portals for change as well. 

Leo is the sign of leadership, authority and shining your light in the world, in a playful way. This Full Moon will remind you. There may be reasons why you didn't step into your power yet. We all have blockages that keep us smaller than necessary. Use this Lunar Eclipse to shine a light on the shadows that are cast on your personal leadership. Which thoughts and beliefs do you have around stepping into the world on your own authority? It's time to release them in order for you to grow towards your fullest potential. 

While success has been defined before as getting rich, working hard, climbing the 'social ladder' fast, and striving for more, the paradigm is changing. It's time for a new definition of success. The old ways were leading to material gain and external polish, and it may seem attractive. But in reality, this way of living ultimately leads to burnout, because it demands us to push and achieve ALL the time. The new paradigm leads us towards pleasure, joy, and fulfillment. To do what you love, what you are meant to be doing here in your lifetime, to live your purpose and enjoying it, that's the new definition of success. 

Try to create things in your life that direct you towards joy and pleasure. What lights you up in this moment? What is the smallest thing that you can introduce into your life that helps you to shine from within? How can you choose love every day, every moment? Where can you introduce a playful mindset?

Start with that.

There are two gateways to change happening simultaneously (the Blue Moon and the Lunar Eclipse) and these energies are very present (Super Moon). 

It's time for choices.
Do you want to crash and burn? Or do you want to lead from love? 

Feel your emotions, receive the visions, dream the dreams. Be aware of the thoughts that are connected to how you feel and what is holding you back, and evaluate whether you are living from love or from fear, so that you are able to consciously decide what you want to express and attract. 

Let us step through the Super Blue Moon Eclipse gateway into the new paradigm.

#metoo - witnessing sexual harassment in the medical workplace

#metoo - witnessing sexual harassment in the medical workplace

The Truth must be uncovered to heal the wound. In this blog post, I recalled my experiences with sexual harassment in the medical workplace, inspired by a medical colleague who walked away from the healthcare system years ago (Dr. Lissa Rankin).

Suffering, blame & responsibility

This morning this quote caught my attention, it was discussed on another blog that I follow and because I'm in the midst of meditating on this subject for my yoga practice and in my personal life, I decided to share my own thoughts about it.

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Blame yourself for your poor life. I don't think I would ever say that to someone... Although I know I said it to myself more than once. It seems rather harsh and uncompassionate to blame ourselves for the things that happen to us. It can't be true that suffering, physical or mental illness, trauma, disasters, or poverty are all our own fault. To just say: "Well, think positive and all will change", that's just not right, is it? To deny the existence of suffering by only focussing on and sprinkling light and love on everything is a way of spiritual bypassing and avoidance of the pain. And however I feel blessed in so many ways, and most of us are, nobody can escape suffering.

The truth is, we ARE the creators of our lives. Although we can't decide what happens to us, we can choose how to feel, what to think or how to (re)act. In every bit of suffering also lies a gem. Sometimes it's very very small. Seeing the smile of a child after losing everything. Feeling the warmth of the sun at a bedside window of a sick loved one. Remembering the one time we felt truly held. Noticing a flower grow on the ruins of a burnt down home. Helping someone in a troublesome situation.

Those are the things that make us truly happy, that enrich our lives.

This is often forgotten in our world and herein lies the greatest source of suffering. Because deep down we know that we are the directors of our lives. But somehow, we feel disempowered, small, weak, sick, fragile, victimized. And we know deep down we are not to blame for life happening to us as well. So we choose to seek the cause of the suffering outside of us and not changing perspective. This is where we give our power away.

Instead of 'blaming' ourselves for not changing our reactions to the suffering we experience, we turn our blame towards others and make them into the very source of our suffering. This is polarity and this leads to separation, disconnection, and conflict.

We shouldn't blame others for what life throws at us. However, we are permitted to set boundaries when we are treated badly or when the behavior of other people is hurtful or leaves us scarred, shattered or destroyed. Likewise, when we are the blamed and made guilty by people who are seeking a perpetrator for their drama or life events, boundary setting needs to happen. This is key to protecting your sovereignty and your personal power. You don't have to take everything in out of gratitude for the lessons that are learned. To protect yourself and out of self-love and self-care, you shouldn't be forcing yourself to look for the gem in a garbage bin. 

We don't have to blame ourselves for what happens to us like there is no sense in blaming others. Both lead to more suffering and separation. But we can blame ourselves for only looking at destruction, pain, negativity, difficulty and lose track of the things that really matter to us, which is very personal and can't be defined by conventions, myths or societal rules.

When caught up in drama, caged by rules, not free to change direction or perspective, hearts close. We lose love and connection, to self and others, and that loss is the greatest suffering of all.

To heal from this, it is necessary to change perspective, see the gifts and express gratitude for what you have in your life, and to set boundaries to protect your sovereignty.

That's how we can be the poet to call forth our lives' riches.

Paradigm

Apart from some traumatic events that were quite raw or graphic in nature, there were a few other pivotal moments in my years of medical training that I remember vividly. One of those moments was a lecture on Ethics and Philosophy in my second year of med school which was considered extremely boring by my peers, and to be honest, I thought it was pretty dull too. It was about the role of science in medicine.

*yawn*

Until an unfamiliar word was mentioned. Although I consider myself having a large vocabulary, I had never heard it before. As the Ethics professor spoke on the topic he used the word paradigm.

I believe the context was something like this: "Science as we know it has its rules, regulations, and guidelines to ensure that what is discovered matches the idea of science itself, which is that the truth only exists when we can prove it, using those rules, regulations, and guidelines. When we are not able to prove something, or when we can prove it but it doesn't match the rules, it, therefore, can't be proven. That is the paradigm of science. If we think about the fact that paradigms can change, it is foreseeable that science as we know it, will someday become obsolete, or at least challenged to a large extent."

par·a·digm

(păr′ə-dīm′, -dĭm′)

n.

1. One that serves as a pattern or model.

2. A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregularverb.

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

This woke me up in a second. What if everything we were taught could change when the rules changed? I couldn't wrap my head around it but this concept of changing paradigms stayed with me over the years. Later, when I was working in science, doing research, reading and writing articles, and people around me were arguing the relevance of their research or trying to convince (or destroy) others with their point of view, it helped me to see the bigger picture. It gave me the perspective and the ability to see science (and 'truth' for a lot of colleagues) for what it was: a temporary set of rules we were working in agreement with until it changed. It made life as a Ph.D. researcher a whole lot easier.

At this moment in history, we live in a world of environmental, economic, political and humanitarian crisis. We see old systems fail. Global warming due to the excessive and disproportionate use of fossil fuels requires investment in sustainable energy sources. The financial system is still trying to overcome the inflation of loans and credits leaving people and organizations bankrupt. Politics is heavily influenced by money and power and lost the connection with the people and core values entirely. While globalization happened and planes can fly us everywhere, we face the largest refugee crisis on the planet. The call for a paradigm change is everywhere. The old systems are dying and we need new structures to be able to continue the evolution of humanity. Today I read about this word 'paradigm' every other day, it seems. We need a new paradigm and it's already happening.

This is also the case in healthcare. People are getting older, but not always healthier or enjoying more quality of life. We have the technology to 'fix' a lot of diseases but it doesn't heal people. We are so disconnected from nature and from our own bodies that we do the wrong things, the things that make us sick, and we forgot how to heal ourselves. Healthcare professionals are trying the best they can, with limited resources, with ever more patients to treat, with less budget from the insurance companies or governments, and the ideological drive of 'helping people' or 'healing others' is worn out, leading to massive amounts of care providers with burnout, mental illness like depression, PTSD, anxiety, addictions and even suicide. We need to acknowledge that the current healthcare system is failing, in order to find other ways. The paradigm needs to shift.

There are many layers of human existence that we are just beginning to understand. Intuition, energy fields, energy systems in the body. Research in the field of quantum physics is showing us that the concepts of energy and matter, consciousness, and manifestation are connected. Concepts the ancient Eastern doctors, yogis, and shamans of the world already knew about thousands of years ago. Ideas and techniques that were abandoned and destroyed, because the patriarchal societal structures of ancient Greece, and later the Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam, were threatened by the innate power these concepts provided to every human being. Submission was forced upon the people, in order to control them for the sake of money and power. And it made humanity ill, in many ways. We need the old ways of healing so desperately. Knowledge of herbs, energy healing, meditation, shamanic journeying, the body-mind connection, spiritual healing, the power of intention and manifestation ('magic'). Not with the purpose of going back in time, in this day and age it's needed for progress and evolution. Western medicine has brought us so many technological and biological progress if we are able to connect that to the field of energy, quantum physics and natural healing this will lead to a huge step in the evolution of medicine and healthcare.

I'm looking forward to it, I'm convinced it will come in the next 50 years. The paradigm is changing. And it's changing fast.

The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in the most primitive form - this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness. The Cosmic religious experience is the strongest and oldest mainspring of scientific research. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

- Albert Einstein