selfcare

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.

Full Moon in Cancer - 1st January 2018

For the US and Canada, this Full Moon will be on January 1st, 2018, on a Monday (Moon Day!), such potent timing! For Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, this will be on January 2nd. 

The Full Moon is when the Sun and Moon are opposite to each other and the Moon reflects back the light of the Sun to the Earth. This is a time of harvesting and full bloom. Harvesting? This feels contradictory to the new beginnings of the year 2018, right? 

It is, and I will explain this in more detail below.

The Sun is in Capricorn, the sign of authority, hard work, perseverance and financial security and the Moon will be in Cancer, the sign of nurturing motherly love, and emotional security. 

These two ways of security can easily be mixed up and mixing an Earth sign (Capricorn) with a Water sign (Cancer) will give you... exactly, mud. Difficult territories to plow through, marshes to get lost in.

This confusing line-up makes you acutely aware where your insecurities and uncertainties are. Sun in Capricorn is how we show ourselves to the world. We act, make choices and set goals aligned with what we know others want from us (our parents, school systems, mentors, teachers, government systems, banking, social structures, churches). It is the way we are programmed to feel secure, safe and self-reliant because when we act in accordance with 'the rules', we are taught to be safe and guarded. It is the socially acceptable behavior we need to uphold to succeed in life.

The Moon in Cancer stirs our deepest emotions around emotional security. We want to be seen for who we really are, and unconditionally loved! But to show to the world who we really are is scary... we fear rejection, punishment, or the loss of jobs, bonuses, love, community... All leading to insecurity and confidence issues.

This creates so much tension! 

We want to be safe, but we also want to be authentic and loved.

However, as long as we are trying to externally validate ourselves, we will never be able to live authentic lives.

The challenge is to be your own authority. To love yourself unconditionally for who you are. To make choices for yourself that sustain YOU and create the life YOU want. To do the things that make you feel happy, relaxed, abundant, loved, healthy, special, open, effortless, alive, nourished... 

There is no authority but yourself.

You are in charge. You can choose whatever you want. You don't have to be afraid. This is what the Full Moon in Cancer wants to tell you, that is what you can access now. The harvest of your personal journey over the last few months shows you what is important to you and who you really are. The truth has surfaced and now you can make aligned choices.

You can create everything you are longing for when you know what you are longing for and what you truly need.

This year, resolutions stated at the beginning of the year are not as powerful as they could be. Ideally, intention setting is most powerful at the New Moon (just after Dark Moon).

During the next two weeks, now that the stressful busy holidays are over, take some time for yourself to think about and feel into your resolutions, plans and goals before you plunge yourself into the new year and burn out on restrictive resolutions (diets, sports regimes, socially 'acceptable' behaviour, not doing ...) that come from guilt, stress, fear, or 'shoulds'. 

The next New Moon will be on January 16/17th. To create intentions for this New Moon, aligned with your goals, your needs, and deepest motivation, you need clarity first. Only then your intentions and resolutions have transformative power. Make sure to add self-care rituals into your day as well.

New Moon in Sagittarius - 17th December 2017

On December 17th (or December 18th in the early hours of the night when you live across the pond in North or South America) the New Moon will be in Sagittarius, the Archer. 

Sagittarius is a fire sign, and is all about freedom, truth, expansion, and directness, pointing the arrow at the goal and going straight for it.

I like to call him Sag. I feel like he is a close friend of mine because Sag is my Sun sign. I refer to Sagittarius as male because the energy of this sign feels that way to me, but of course feel free to picture a fierce half-woman-half-horse shooting fiery arrows if that feels more natural to you!

Although this masculine striving energy is natural to me, I have learned the hard way that when it is not balanced with receptive feminine energy, it leads to burnout. 

Sagittarius reminds you of your freedom. The archer gallops away whenever he/she wishes, shooting the arrow from the bow and going after it. The Sun is in Sagittarius as well, and this combination will enhance your lust for freedom even more. 

This time of year, approaching the Holidays, we can feel closed in, as we need to do so many things. Christmas shopping, planning for travel, sending Christmas greetings, having family or friends over at our house.... It can feel like a cage you can't escape

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.
— Maya Angelou

It's not easy to navigate the urge for freedom and expansion during these busy times when we feel pressured by societal (and familial!) expectations. The friction caused by 'need' and 'should' could lead to conflict and heated situations, especially around the Full Moon, when emotions are heightened. Be mindful of your communication or postpone it a few days to gain some clarity for yourself first. It is important to share how you feel, but keep in mind the other person's feelings too. Voice your needs, without putting pressure on others. 

To feel free yourself it is not necessary to put a chain on someone else. 

Sagittarius can be a little selfish, only seeing his own needs. He just aims his arrow at his goal, runs after it and that's that. Problem solved. This way he loses sight of easier solutions within closer reach. Stay in touch with your surroundings and look for alternatives when you are faced with a problem that is stemming from a discrepancy between your needs and the needs of someone else. Stay away from assumptions and conformities. A joint solution is closer than you think when you communicate clear, direct and open

Sagittarius is always searching for the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth. Over the last few months, uncovering uncomfortable truths and secrets was ongoing business. You might have seen that in the news (#metoo, politics, choosing corporations over environmental issues), your personal situation, at work, with relationships and more. 

Right now, the cosmic energies are lining up with the center of our galaxy, the Galactic Center, bringing a Universal Truth to the surface.

This Universal Truth calls you to evolve to a new way of living, that is in alignment with your Soul.

You mail feel friction or discomfort when you are living out of alignment with your Soul's truth. There are so many people living lives out of alignment nowadays, rushing and pushing, causing extreme stress, burnout, and total numbness. 

By listening to your inner voice, you will be able to make decisions that are in alignment with your Truth that is already vibrating through all the layers of your Being. When you don't listen and act on it, symptoms arise. I invite you to be open to the possibilities, to let go of conformities and beliefs you picked up along the way that keep you out of alignment. Your inner voice knows your Truth. Sagittarius will point the arrow there. 

If you fight it, you will feel it. 

 

Full Moon in Capricorn - 9th July 2017

On Sunday July 9th 2017 the Moon will be opposite the Sun (a.k.a. Full Moon) at 6:08 CEST. I'm going to warn you, this one will be intense....

The astrological sign of this Full Moon is CAPRICORN or the Mountain Goat. Capricorn is all about structure, order, responsibility, perseverance and ambition. Don't say to a Capricorn it can't be done, they will show you. Never think a task is too boring, they will complete it. Nothing can stop a Capricorn from climbing up the mountain, step after step, rock by rock, it gets there.

But let's not forget we are humans. And going to far, for too long, or too high, will cause imbalance and thus we may slip. Like me. I'm a Capricorn Rising (which means that Capricorn was the sign on the horizon at my time of birth) and I am very familiar with the Cappy energy of pushing through and completing seemingly impossible tasks and navigating extremely difficult life situations through discipline and structure. But when losing balance, we slip.... in my case leading to burnout. I wrote a blogpost on how to recognise burnout because it's something that happens to so many of us nowadays and it's my mission to raise awareness.

So, how will the energy play out during the coming Full Moon in Capricorn? Well, the Full Moon is always bringing emotions to the surface and there is a need for expressing and releasing them. And that's not really a thing that Capricorn is at ease with. Capricorn is controlling and repressing emotions because it considers feelings a nuisance, a blocking factor on the road to results, and messing up plans and ambitions. With the Sun in Cancer (related to our inner Mother, need for nurturing care and expressing emotions) opposing the Capricorn Moon this can create great inner conflict and polarity. This Moon is also called Thunder Moon, and that says it all...

Two weeks ago during the New Moon in Cancer we set intentions around the theme of nurturing, compassion and self-care. We are going to need this over the coming days.

It is important to process and release the intense emotions that are coming up during this Full Moon weekend. You might feel blocked, it may help to take some time on your own to meditate and feel.
Due to the controlling mode of Capricorn, and the repression of emotions that comes along with it, be careful when connecting to others. It's not unlikely that repressed emotions and inner conflict will try to find a way out. Protect yourself and the people you love by creating some Sacred Alone time. This enables you to navigate and release your emotions rather than acting out and hurting others. It will also protect you from people who are not honouring your personal boundaries. Remember, you are not alone in this, everyone is probably going through the same thing and polarity is never the answer.

Keep an eye on the well-being of children in your life. They are often an easy projection screen for the adults around them who are going through conflict and focussed on boundary setting. Children should not be the victim of these interpersonal dynamics, they deserve our nurturing, unconditional love and care, always.

Journaling might be a good way to unblock your feelings and to tune in to forgiveness. Some journaling prompts that could be helpful are:

  • Where have I been too hard on myself or others?
  • Where am I over controlling the outcome?
  • Do I feel controlled by others? Where do I need to set boundaries in a loving way?
  • In what areas are rules or ambition blocking connection to others?
  • Where can I be more forgiving towards myself and others?

Try to bring as much balance as possible into your life, in order to prevent a rough nosedive from the cliff. This is especially important in work - career versus home - family related imbalances.