It should have been a revolution. The research of neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett about emotions. Neuroscientists, therapists and psychologists should have shouted it from the rooftops and developed new methods, techniques and therapies in the past few years, based on this newly acquired knowledge. But unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth.
How is that possible? Is there too little money to be made? Is less attention given because the scientist is a woman? Or are psychologists, therapists and scientists afraid that otherwise they will have to completely overhaul their methods?
How emotions are made
I don’t know the answer, but I do know it needs to change. It’s like holding onto the idea that the earth is flat, when three years earlier someone discovered that the earth is round. Therefore: order Barret’s brilliant book ‘How Emotions Are Made’, read this article and share this knowledge! It is of vital importance in the fields of psychology, neurology, law and medicine, as well as in your personal life and relationships.
Emotions do not work or arise as we have thought for decades. In fact, they do not arise, they are constructed based on the concepts in our brain.
These groundbreaking insights came from the study:
Emotions are not reactions to external events
Newborns have no emotions
You cannot determine from the outside what emotion someone is going through
It is not true that certain parts of your brain (such as the amygdala) are responsible for your emotions.
Emotions are not located in a certain part of your brain (the reptilian brain)
Emotions are not universal, but culturally determined
The brain continuously predicts
The main job of the brain is prediction. We do this all the time, millions of times a day.
We perceive something, for example a transparent flat rectangle through which light shines, and predict: that’s a window. Or we see a person with a hat on and a pipe in the mouth and predict: that’s Grandpa.
The same also happens with sports; for example, we predict where the ball will end up and can anticipate in time. If we waited until the ball was already there before reacting, we would be too late. That’s how it works with reading; by predicting which words are there, we can read a sentence faster than if we were going through each letter.
Predictions determine our reality
We make predictions based on concepts in our brain. All previous events in our lives, we have generalized in our brain as concepts to be able to make decisions faster and thus use our body more energy-efficiently.
Through previous experiences, ideas arise about what a particular concept means to us. We have concepts about tables, chairs, plants and animals. But we also have concepts about less tangible things like love, honesty, marriage, success, rejection, shame.
When a new experience occurs, our subconscious searches for a memory with a similar concept. Based on the concept of what fits best, the brain makes predictions and fires an emotion.
These predictions are your brain’s best guesses of what’s happening in the world around you and how best to respond to it. If the prediction appears to be correct enough, observation and prediction are aligned. We usually make good predictions. The older you get, the more concepts you have in your brain, so the more likely you are to make a correct prediction.
Although it sometimes happens that we make a wrong prediction. Fortunately, otherwise we would never again be surprised or experience anything new. So your child can in a fraction of a second mistaken the neighbor – who also has a beard and pipe – for her grandfather.
Or you think you see a grass snake moving in the bushes, but it turns out to be the garden hose. If your senses are given a little longer to send information to the brain, they can correct the wrong prediction. But they can also adapt the data we absorb from the outside world to the forecast. In that case you might see a grass snake that wasn’t there.
We can only see what we believe
What we observe is also based on simulations and predictions. Barret explains in her book that only 10% of what we perceive is based on information from the retina (the lens in your eye). The other 90% are connections to other parts of the brain, which make predictions about what we think we see.
So our predictions determine what we see! If we don’t have a concept about something, we can’t perceive it. So in fact we can only see what we believe. So our brain constructs something based on everything we have experienced in our life and thus creates our reality.
Unbelievable right? But it gets even more interesting!
Emotions are predictions
It works the same way with emotions. Our brains are constantly receiving signals from our body from our internal organs, tissues, the hormones in our blood and our immune system. Like changing your breathing, the rumbling of your stomach and the rhythm of your heartbeat. These sensory signals from the body have no objective meaning.
Your brain uses concepts to make sense of both internal and external sensations in the world, all at the same time. Interpreting these sensory signals is called interoception, also known as our eighth sense.
For example, you can experience pain in your stomach as hunger or mistrust. But if you’re waiting for a doctor’s result, that same pain can also mean anxiety. Or if your ex just walks by with a new partner, you might interpret it as sadness or jealousy.
Emotions start with sensory feelings
Interoception is important for balancing your ‘body budget’ – your body’s energy needs. The brain constantly predicts how much energy the body needs to ensure that all systems in the body work properly. Based on the prediction from your body, an immediate adjustment is made in the body to prepare it for the prediction. Your blood pressure changes, your glucose increases, your breathing speeds up, etc.
We experience these changes in our ‘body budget’ as emotions. Too little glucose in your body can make you feel exhausted, lack of sleep can make you feel down, and lack of affection can make you feel lonely. These are all subjective interpretations based on your concepts.
When a neurological network collects this sensory information and predicts something based on our self-created concepts, emotions arise. So emotions don’t necessarily mean that something is wrong, but just that your ‘body budget’ is out of balance for a while. With negative emotions, our brain is actually letting us know that we need to replenish certain reserves.
The consequences of ‘wrong’ predictions
In her book, Barrett tells of a fellow student, she wasn’t attracted to, who asked her out. Nevertheless she decides to have a drink with him and as it gets a bit later in the evening, she is surprised to find that she occasionally blushes on her cheeks and feels ‘butterflies’ in her stomach. Apparently she likes the colleague more than she thought. Until she comes home and throws up. She interpreted the rumbling in her stomach and the warmth in her face as feeling in love, when in reality she was getting sick.
Another interesting example is the research that scientists did in Israel. They found that judges who had to decide whether inmates could be released early were significantly more likely to reject the request if the trial took place just before lunchtime. The judges appeared to interpret the signals from their abdomen not as hunger, but as a ‘gut feeling’ that it did not feel right to release the person on parole. Immediately after lunch, the judges released the inmates on parole as frequently as they were used to.
Imagine how many ‘wrong’ predictions we humans make every day with dire consequences for others and ourselves.
– Our emotions are constructed. Emotions seem to come from our bodies, but they are constructed by predictions based on our concepts. One prediction wins and becomes our experience.
– Our concepts determine our reality. Everything we have experienced in the past is programmed in that sense to happen again in the future. Because we make the same predictions again and the same emotions arise based on the same concepts. So you can end up in a continuous loop of the same kind of emotions. That is also how it is often difficult for people with negative thoughts and emotions to come out of this.
– Our emotions are dominating, because they arise from signals from your body, which ensure that the balance in the system is restored. If your body is out of balance, it can have fatal consequences. These signals therefore transcend everything else and are given priority to listen to.
– You can never trust your observations fully. We make lightning-fast predictions based on concepts mainly constructed by ourselves. So how can we be 100% sure of what we observe?
“Working with emotions is usually much more effective in coaching and therapy than working with your thoughts and limiting beliefs. Because your emotions control everything. It’s hard to change emotions on your own, but the concept behind it is,” explains Zafiris.
Creating new neurological networks
Neurons on one side of your brain tweak neurons on the other side of your brain without any external response. If at some point a connection is made, your brain can hardly take a different path and you experience it that way every time. For a new experience and emotion, it is necessary that you build a new neurological network.
And that is exactly what Zafiris achieves with his new method: “Creating an unconscious reminder appears to have a major effect on the creation of a new neurological network. As soon as such a network becomes active, the old one will disappear. In this way, very deeply ingrained patterns can be transformed once and for all.”
Want to know more about emotions?
I have guided several CEOs, entrepreneurs and high performing professionals with the RETEC technique and the results are astonishing.
Recharge your spirit and boost your mood with these 7 inspiring podcasts on purpose.
Most of us live crazy busy lives. Wanting to succeed on so many levels that we forget to feed our soul with inspiration, wisdom and uplifting stories. And ask ourselves: are we still on the right path? Are we listening to our deepest desires? Podcasts are the answer; they are easy to listen to while you’re on the move, during cooking, with your morning coffee or in your bed waking up.
But choosing the right podcast out of all those different options can be quite overwhelming and time consuming. That’s why we’ve selected 7 inspirational podcasts for you that help you align with your purpose and live your full potential. Enjoy!
My absolute number 1 podcast on purpose. I’m a big fan of Jay Shetty, a former Hindu monk and now a very successful life coach and author. Shetty has the ability to have in depth conversations that are always accessible and inspirational.
Shetty’s purpose is to make wisdom go viral. And that’s exactly what he’s doing, often with famous guests like Alicia Keys, Jane Goodall, Will Smith and Joe Dispenza.
2. A New Earth WiTH ECKART TOLLE & OPRAH WINFREY
For everyone who’s a fan (like me) from Tolle’s book ‘A New Earth’ or didn’t read it yet, this podcast is a must listen.
Fields talks with leading voices in art, science and culture, like Tim Ferris, Brené Brown, Matthew McConoughey and Tara Brach about love, friendship, kindness and everything else that gives meaning to your life.
5. Tony Robbins
Well known life and business strategist Tony Robbins can’t remain unmentioned. Especially the interviews with spiritual leader Sadghuru, Neuro surgeon Sanjay Gupta and author Steven Mitchell are worth listening to.
6. Brand on purpose
Want to learn how to lead a company with purpose? Entrepreneur Aaron Kwittken has interesting conversations with entrepreneurs and senior leaders on how to serve the greater good with their brand.
7. Purpose Talks
I love it when purpose talks over money. Or even better: when purpose and money go hand in hand. This podcast is very insightful and inspiring when you’re building a purpose driven business. Every session Izzy Ahrbeck, managing director of Business of Purpose, sits down with multiple purpose driven business leaders discussing one important business element.
Are you living your purpose? Do you feel strongly connected to what is important to you? Do you live your life according to your values?
People that feel they have a higher sense of purpose in life are more productive, more resilient, healthier and happier in life, several studies show.
Maybe you also long for more meaning in your life, you have the feeling you miss something but you don’t know what to do. The reason you’re not living your purpose yet, holds the key to getting aligned with your purpose.
That’s why we made a list of 7 reasons why you’re not living your purpose:
You don’t need a purpose
You don’t believe in purpose
You don’t know what your purpose is
You are not driven enough
You are afraid of losing something (money, comfort, status, safety)
You’d rather stay in the shade
You don’t know how to live your purpose
1. You don’t need a purpose
You have a pretty good life. You have a good job, a nice house, nice friends and a nice family. Actually, you have nothing to complain about. Except maybe that you work a lot, have little time for yourself and occasionally wonder: is this it?
There is one important question you can ask yourself to check if you are getting the most out of yourself in life. Step into the future and remember that you are about 80-90 years old. You are a wise elder and have come to the point where you are going to leave the earth. Feel what you feel when you are that age: what do you see, hear and experience? Now look back at your life, at the person you are now. What advice would you give yourself?
2. You don’t believe in purpose
You may not believe that people are here for a reason and that everyone has their own life mission. Or maybe it’s enough for you to focus and manage to create a good life for yourself.
Then take a look around you; to the trees, plants, bees, flowers, everything gives and receives. Everything has a specific mission. A tree, for example, removes CO2 from the air (with the help of sunlight!) and returns oxygen. Via the wood vessels the tree extracts water with nutrients from the soil and the leaves of the tree become food for insects again in the autumn.
We are also part of this ecosystem and it’s only naturally that we also give and receive from our origin. Just like the tree and every living being in nature.
3. You don’t know what your purpose is
It is not surprising that you do not know what your purpose is, many people have not found it yet or have an idea, but cannot fully capture it in words. Usually you have not found your purpose in an hour. Connecting with your life mission is a process that requires attention. Have you downloaded and my free mini workshop How to Find Your Purpose yet? Did you also do the exercises or did you skip them because you ‘ already knew that’? Finding your purpose is a process, so take your time.
4. You are not driven (enough) to live your purpose
We humans have a hard time moving. Often we only do something if we really want to achieve something or if we really want to get rid of something.
Moving TOWARDS something
If you want to achieve something, but you don’t succeed, you may not have a vision that’s attractive enough, or no pain that’s big enough. If it’s important enough for us, action will be taken. If you are very attracted to something new, it becomes easier to say goodbye to what we are still (anxiously) clinging to.
Think of the woman who only ends her relationship when she is in love with someone else. Or the man who only dares to quit his job when he has found a new one. Only when you really want to achieve something and it’s more important than what you ‘have’ now, you dare to take the step.
Moving AWAY FROM something
Another impulse for change is when you want to get away from something. That’s usually when something really starts to hurt. A bit of fat on your belly doesn’t matter much, but if you can’t fit in your jeans anymore, than you might think of changing your diet. Or: you’ve smoked your whole life, but only until you get a lung disease, you are willing to stop.
It can work the same way with purpose. Only when you are in touch with your true purpose and you feel how big and important this is to you, you’ll start moving.
Ultimately, it works best if you simultaneously want to go towards something and get rid of something else. So if you really want to achieve something, make your vision very big and attractive and make what you want to go away from very big and unattractive.
Make your vision BIG
For example, if your purpose is to bring out the best in people, than wonder what the world would look like if everyone was the best version of themselves. Don’t be afraid to dream big!
In my vision people would feel better and more meaningful. People would use their talents to make the world a better place, they would be more successful and want to learn from each other. There would be less struggle and balance of power and we would live in a peaceful, including and equal world, in which everyone lives their full potential.
Now make your own vision big. So big that that the spark in you becomes a fire that starts burning.
Than imagine what you don’t want. What if you keep doing what you’re doing now? If you’re not going to live your purpose? What would be the least attractive scenario? Perhaps you would get bored and look elsewhere for distraction. You would feel less fit and less fun for your environment, which would affect your relationships.
Make both these views very big and put them each on one side of a virtual timeline and step on that timeline yourself. Feel where you are now and where you want to move to. What is the first step you can take today towards your attractive vision?
5. You are afraid of losing something.
“If I start living my purpose, I can never make enough money and than we have to move and I don’t want that.”
“If I’m doing what’s really important to me, there’s no room for a relationship.”
“If I start living my purpose, I will be looked at strangely by everyone and I will lose my status.”
Does that sound familiar to you or do you have any other phrases you say to yourself that hinder you from living your purpose? Ask yourself: are these facts or is this the story you are telling yourself?
We humans are constantly looking for what we can lose in our lives and where scarcity can arise, because our brain is constructed that way. This is how we survive and protect ourselves. If you want more than just survival in your life, you will therefore have to make very conscious choices.
According to life coach Tony Robbins everything we do is related to these 6 human needs:
Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
Everyone ranks these human needs differently and the way you do this says a lot about the person you are. The top four needs in the list above shape our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs. The first four will give you short term fulfilment, the last two will give you long term fulfilment.
Most of the people are making up stories to meet the first four personal needs with as little risk as possible. But if you want to fulfil the other two needs, you have to take risks.
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
6. You prefer to stay in the shade
“I’m not worth it.” “I’m not smart/strong/good enough.” “I don’t deserve this.” We all have those thoughts from time to time. Thoughts and beliefs that hinder us from achieving our goal.
You may be afraid of failure or of being successful. You may also know deep down that you are a good singer, can help people with problems or write beautiful poems. You keep it only for yourself or your family. But it is the intention that you bring your gift into the world. Just like the tree stores CO2 and the bee pollinates plants. That means standing in the light, which is often more exciting than standing in the shadows.
Step into the light
To step into the light, you have to get rid of your limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are beliefs or decisions we make about ourselves or our model of the world that limit the way we live. It are thoughts, opinions and ideas that we believe are true and that prevent us from achieving our goals, following our purpose and living the life we want to live.
These beliefs are unconsciously created based on our interpretations of experiences in the past. And they will be inside the system within our internal world and shape our responses to the external world and opportunities around us.
Get rid of your limiting beliefs
Most beliefs are installed before we are even seven years old. The first seven years of our lives our mind is operating in a low vibrational frequency like hypnosis, so our mind is very adaptive to new beliefs.
Our beliefs – both supportive and limiting – and the stories we and others tell about ourselves have a huge impact on our lives. It’s up to you if you let your beliefs be the reason to stop you to take action or to fulfil your dreams or you change them to empowering beliefs. What do you choose?
Need some help transforming your limiting beliefs? Contact me for a free discovery session.
7. You have found your purpose, but you are not completely living it yet
No one said your living a purpose-full life is easy, otherwise everyone would do it.
If you have transformed your rigs and are completely connected to your purpose and you are not yet able to live your mission, see if you can turn one of these five buttons:
Mastery. Make sure you are good at what you do. Focus all the time you have to become the best you can on your path to your purpose. Energy flows where attention goes.
Discipline. Not everything about the path you’ve chosen is probably nice. You need to have discipline and show up every day, also when you don’t feel like it.
Strategy. If you tried it at times the way you thought it would work, change your strategy. If it doesn’t work again, change your strategy. Keep on changing your strategy until it works.
Persistence. You will only develop yourself and improve when you fail. Every rejection is an opportunity to grow. No matter what your abilities and talents are, hard work will always prevail. Find people that support you on this path and more important: become your own cheerleader!
Trust. Do everything you can and put the rest into the universe. Trust yourself and the flow of nature. When you step outside your comfort zone for your higher purpose, the universe will support you in miraculous ways. Just be patient.
Chances are you learned it differently, but if you really want to make decisions that make your life better, more vital and happier, it’s better to listen to your heart over your head.
You probably recognize that you are walking around with a question that you can’t figure out. Maybe it has kept you awake at night or the question has been lurking somewhere in the background for years.
Will I change jobs?
Shall I make a deal with my competitor?
Shall I move abroad?
Shall I take my father in?
Shall I sell my business?
MAKING DECISIONS WITH YOUR HEAD
Often we tend to make these kind of important decisions with our heads. Weigh the pros and cons. Dealing with priorities. Ask others for advice. And ultimately make the wisest choice.
A few weeks, months or years after such a choice, something starts to gnaw at you, maybe your body starts to hurt, you feel unbalanced and tired, sometimes even anxious. Inside you, a voice in the background screams, “This isn’t right!” But you don’t hear that (yet).
It is not customary in our culture to listen to your inner voice. You would rather let a stream of thoughts flow in your head again. While ignoring your inner voice for a long time can lead to chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia or burnout. Because you are constantly justifying with your thoughts what you feel. What you do and what you feel are not in balance. And your body tells you.
YOUR HEART SENDS MORE SIGNALS TO YOUR BRAIN THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND
If you want to feel vital, it is crucial to connect with your heart, your soul, your Self, your inner wisdom or whatever you want to call it. Your heart often already knows. While your head is deceiving you with all the information and beliefs stored there. Did you know that 80-90% of our thoughts are repetitive and useless? While your heart sends more signals to your brain than the other way around.
Like the brain, the heart has a network of tens of thousands of neurons. The heart can perceive information very quickly, without first having to process or reason it like your head. As a result, your heart sometimes ‘knows’ something faster than you could have imagined it. And this knowledge is not clouded by all kinds of thoughts that you make up later on.
MAKING DECISIONS FROM YOUR HEART INSTEAD OF FROM EMOTIONS
By listening to your heart, I don’t mean listening to emotions. That you choose for a life with your mistress because you are in love or your hormones are playing up. Or quit your job because you don’t feel seen. Emotions are based on patterns, events and beliefs from your past. They have nothing to do with the voice of your heart, your Self, your inner knowing. This voice is not afraid or eager and does not want to accomplish, convince or shout. This voice is clear and mild.
HOW YOU (DON’T) LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE
It is therefore much more efficient to learn to make decisions with your heart and then determine the strategy with your head. Or align your heart and head so they can work together.
But how come we continue to follow that stream of thoughts? Often there is little room to turn inward. We are distracted by what is happening in our outside world: we still have to work, cook, pick up the children from school and go to a networking drink.
STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
In addition, it may also be that you prefer not to focus your attention inwards. Because what if you find out that you are not so happy at all? Or would it actually be different? Then it may be necessary to take action. And what consequences does that have?
Do you dare? Do you dare to listen to your inner wisdom, to live outside your comfort zone? Beyond what is expected of you and what is the safest choice? Do you dare to live your full potential?
GIVE ME A CALL or download the free mini-workshop ‘Finding Your Purpose’ by filling in your details below.
No internet, no phone connection, no electricity and in a complete lockdown with a 6 year old. This is how we survive the lockdown (and digital detox).
We’re living in the middle of nature in this beautiful green valley close to the small Portuguese city of Aljezur. Since two weeks we went into a very strict lockdown with the schools closed as well.
On top of this we ran out of internet data (only to be upgraded in 14 days) and we don’t have any telephone connection in the valley. That means we’re totally shut off. Talking about survival during a lockdown. Well this is it.
Last year I decided to go on a transformation quest. Three days and three nights without food, phone, internet or distraction whatsoever, alone in nature. Sleeping in a hammock outside, staying for 72 hours in a circle of a few square meters. It changed my life forever and strengthened my connection with myself and nature.
At that time I consciously chose for this transformation ritual, nature retreat and digital detox and I was well prepared physically, emotionally and mentally. This time I wasn’t. It just hit me.
I know this whole ‘back to nature thing’ is what I wanted. And I indeed love living in this green paradise. But the extra digital detox makes it quite challenging. So I’d like to share some insights with you from our lockdown up till now. Maybe it can help you during your own lockdown time.
Hereby 5 things we’ve learned, that might also help you during lockdown:
Get your anger out!
The first few days we whined, got angry, cursed and tried to connect our phones a trillion times in a trillion different spots, we ran up the mountain to catch a flare of 4G for 3 seconds and we ran down again. Cursing. Oh, did I mention we also did Dry January? F…#$%
But seriously, getting your anger, negative feelings and all that shit out is a good thing. Don’t hold it inside your body, because you feel you can’t complain, because other people have an even worse time than you do.
Let it all out, complain, scream, cry. Just make sure it doesn’t last longer than a few minutes at a time. Did you know that one single emotion actually only lasts for 90 seconds?
After that you start to ask and tell yourself things, which makes it worse and last longer. The best thing you can do is feel the emotion and than let it go. Emotions are just emotions. And we are so much more than our emotions!
Accept you’re screwed
At the moment we accepted our situation, we got more innovative and creative, which resulted in new solutions and inspiration. Accepting the current situation you’re in, doesn’t mean you don’t want to change it or agree with it.
It means for now you accept all the feelings and thoughts that come with it and accept the situation as it is right now. “This is what it is, right here, right now, in the present moment.”
This is not an easy task. If you manage it, though, it will create peace and space in your mind. Resisting what you don’t want, costs a lot of energy. Energy you can better use to create what you do want in life.
Don’t act normal
This is not the time to act normal. This is not the time to become a perfectionist. This is a time to be tender and mild to yourself and others. Combining work, household and home schooling isn’t normal, so you don’t have to act normal either.
Feel good about what you have accomplished on a day instead of focussing on what you haven’t. Just be kind and easy: let the kids watch a movie when you’re working, eat pizza two days in a row and skip that meeting.
For instance don’t try to work 8 hours a day, it’s much more efficient to work 4-6 hours super productive with a few breaks than a lousy 8-10. And see what else you can do differently in a far from normal period.
Leave your home
Spending time outside is always a good idea. What I mean with spending time outside is not only playing football with your oldest, lugging through the snow with a sled or doing a phone call while walking in your backyard.
I mean consciously spending time in nature. Like forest bathing, meditating or skinny dipping. Or you might as well go on a transformation quest for 72 hours in wild nature without any food.
Last year everyone’s world and way of living changed completely. The first thing we do when things change, is try to hold on to the past and do anything possible to go back to how it was before. Without us having to change the rules we know so well.
That means we try to do everything how we used to do it, but then with a screen between us. We keep on following the rules we’ve always followed. But they’re not suited for this new situation anymore. And chances are they don’t create a better world or a happier heart.
So which rules do you follow?
“I have to work 8 hours every day” “I have to do this job, otherwise I don’t have an income” “I have to attend every meeting” “I have to proof myself” “I have to take care of my family” “I have to succeed” “I have to make sure my kid doesn’t miss out on school” “I have to make my kid/husband/parents happy” Or… ?
This challenging time – in which the game has completely changed – asks for a set of new rules.
Every time I put my feet in the sand and hear the calming sound of the sea, every time I walk through the green lush forest and smell the sweet wet wood, a calmness is coming over me. I feel deeply connected to myself, to what is important to me, and sometimes even to my higher purpose.
Do you recognise feeling more connected when in nature?
You’ve been struggling with so many thoughts for days that your head almost explodes. Then you go out for a walk in nature and in no time your head clears up. We immediately promise ourselves to take walks more often, but after two times we forget all about it 😉
Make a conscious walk in nature without your phone, kids or other distractions. Preferably barefoot! Become aware of your surroundings, the rain drops on your skin, the wind through your hair, the sight of all those green lush plants around you, the sound of the birds high up in the tree, the feeling of your bare feet on the soil and the sweet scent of wild flowers. You can do this by yourself or with a group and a forest bathing guide. Eefje Ludwig from The Forest Bathing Circle is a very knowledgeable forest guide.
2. MEDITATING IN NATURE
When we meditate in nature, we become part of this realm of wisdom. Studies found that being in nature enhances our meditative state. Mindworks is a non-profit organisation that provides guidance and training in meditation practice. You can download their free app here.
Get your hands dirty! Gardening – especially with your bare hands – is good for the mind, body and soul. Sow wild flower seeds in your garden, create a beautiful green balcony or a tiny edible garden or take some plant cuttings and bring them inside.
4. NATURE RETREAT
During a Nature Purpose Retreat you fully recharge in nature and at the same time you dive deep in your inner wisdom and explore your purpose, your challenges and your next steps. Junglebirds organise Purpose Retreats in the beautiful wild nature of Portugal.
5. TRANSFORMATION QUEST
Are you up for some profound connection with nature? Join a Transformation Quest and immerse yourself in the wild for a couple of days and nights, without food, phone or other distractions. We organise these – on the traditional indigenous vision quest – inspired transformation quests in the beautiful wild nature of Portugal.
How nature can help you heal and reconnect with yourself
The need to grow is in people’s nature; developing themselves and being compassionate towards others. But in our hectic (digital) lives we can lose connection with our true nature.
Every day we struggle with thousands of stimulants and seductions. This makes us react continuously; consuming and striving for financial growth. In this constant endeavour for more, we can lose our empathy. We can lose our contact with nature. We can lose ourselves.
We work too hard, have busy social lives, we have children with all kinds of needs and we run to the gym to keep ourselves ‘fit’. At the end of the day we feel stressed and exhausted. We cope with the stress by drinking alcohol, eating too much or binge watching series. Then we go to bed too late and wake up tired with a headache. We take a few aspirins and start all over again.
Results of disconnection with nature
After a while we feel tired all the time, we get feelings of depression and our body refuses to go on. Our doctor gives us a description or the phone number of a psychologist. This often results in the label: BURNOUT.
Only then we start to realise we need to change. We’ve lost our energy, our love for life and the connection with ourselves. And we don’t know how to retrieve it.
Therefore it’s super important that we make time to spend in nature. Actually, that we make a habit of it. I’ll guarantee you, if you consciously spend time in nature on a regular basis, you’ll be surprised how much you benefit from it!
By restoring our connection with nature, we restore our connection with our own true nature.
It seems we forgot the importance of nature
We lost sight of how beneficial it is for us to spend time in nature. We live or work in a big city and sit inside behind the computer all day. And when we come home, other screens lie in wait to seduce us. We barely spend time outdoors and we hardly have any knowledge of our natural surroundings.
Along the way we’ve forgotten the power of nature.
British research showed:
33 percent of people can’t recognise an oak tree
25 percent of children believe that lions and crocodiles currently live wild in the UK
33 percent of parents say they don’t have enough knowledge about wildlife to pass on to their children
With thedigital representation of reality becoming more and more part of our lives, we tend to forget the importance of nature and how we could benefit from it.
The wisdom of nature is endless:
1. Nature provides medicine
A lot of medicine were derived from natural sources such as trees, plants, bacteria, and fungi. Did you know that antibiotics, codeines, aspirin and morphine all were extracted from trees? The bark, leaves, fruits and seeds of trees have been used for eras as medicinal remedies for cancers, asthma and other diseases.
2. Connecting with nature improves our health
It’s scientifically proven that spending time in nature helps us to:
cope with pain better
reduce our blood pressure, blood glucose levels, muscle tension, heart rate and production of stress hormones.
increase our work memory performance, antioxidant level and inflammation
boost our immune system.
produce NK cells in our body that fight cancer cells
Walking barefoot – also known as earthing or grounding – in nature especially is beneficial. Studies are showing that the health benefits come from the relationship between our body and the electrons in the earth. Reconnection with these electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.
3. Nature improves our mood
Nature has an enormously positive effect on our mood. Nature can reduce feelings of anger, fear, anxiety and depression and increases feelings of belonging and meaningfulness.
4. Nature inspires innovation
By observing nature, we can find solutions to human problems and inspiration for new inventions. This is what Biomimicry deals with. One of the many examples of design imitating nature is velcro: this invention is inspired by the clinging of burdock burrs on clothes.
5. Nature sparks creativity
Spending time in nature can reboot our mental system. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, just twenty minutes a day outside is all you need in order to allow your brain to reboot. When we give our brain and mind a new (6D) perception of the world, it stimulates our creativity.
6. Nature helps us reconnect with ourselves and our purpose
If you reconnect with nature, you reconnect with your own true nature – and the other way around. Research showed that when people have a sense of purpose in life they are more likely to live longer and healthier. Being aligned with what is truly important to you can also make you feel happier and more motivated.
The healing power of nature
Before we start talking about healing, it’s good to get an understanding of what it means.
The Oxford Languages Dictionary says: “The process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.” And yet curing means: “Relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition.”
This is an important distinction. Shaman and Ph.D. Alberto Villoldo believes that when you have a serious (chronic) disease, you need to go to a Western doctor to cure you from your symptoms. For instance when you have a tumour in your body or you’ve been bitten by a snake.
But when you want to heal, a different process is needed. You need a bigger, more holistic view to know why you became ill and what you can do to prevent it in future.
This doesn’t mean it’s your fault when you become sick or that you can heal every disease yourself. It means it could be a good idea – after having a doctor examining your physical condition – to also look at your mental, emotional and spiritual condition, as they are all connected.
Alberto Villoldo spent more than 30 years with Indigenous people in the Amazon. In his book Grow Your New Body he explains that in the West doctors and hospitals ‘flourish’ and earn money when people are sick.
This is in contrast to Indigenous cultures in which the medicine man is seen as doing a lousy job when people get sick. It’s an interesting perspective.
When I’m talking (or writing in this case) about the healing power of nature, I’m talking about the process of becoming healthy in a broader perspective; on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. Nature can play an important role in this.
Apart from all the physical benefits, nature also has a huge impact on our well being. Nature enables us to reconnect with ourselves and our life’s purpose. And research has shown when we make a meaningful difference we feel happier and more fulfilled.
So hereby a few more reasons to go outdoors!
6 ways nature helps us reconnect with ourself:
1. THERE IS LESS DISTRACTION IN NATURE
When we walk in nature we usually face little distractions. No computer, video, advertising boards, shop windows, buses or traffic lights. You’re less distracted by the triggers of the outside world, which makes it easier to go inwards.
2. OUR SENSES ARE FULLY AWAKENED IN NATURE
In contradiction to our mind, our body and senses are always in the present. The warm sun on our body, the amazing beauty of a butterfly; in nature our senses awaken and make us present. By tuning in on our senses we are able to reduce the volume of our inner thoughts. We go from a state of ‘doing’ and ‘thinking’ into a state of ‘being’. And being in the present enables us to go inwards and connect with our inner wisdom. This way we make use of the wisdom of nature.
3. NATURE DOESN’T JUDGE
Everything and everyone in nature is accepted for what they are; a huge tree, a tiny tomato, a prickly hedgehog, a grey mouse, a black sheep, a red rose. There are no judgements. This helps us to connect with ourselves without judgement as well.
4. EVERYTHING IN NATURE HAS A NATURAL RHYTHM
Nothing and no one is in a hurry. Everything and everyone in nature moves at its natural pace. Nature invites us to move in our own natural way as well. Just like it’s supposed to be.
5. YOU CAN’T CONTROL NATURE
The rain, falling leaves, the cold temperature: it’s just what it is. We know we can’t change it so we accept it. When you stop fighting and resisting and start accepting, the thoughts and emotions in your head can fly away or just be. This creates space to connect with what is underneath or behind all that.
6. WE’RE PART OF NATURE
All living things in nature are in one way or the other connected, they all depend on each other for their existence and well-being. Us humans are part of nature and nature is a part of us. That can make us feel ‘whole’ when we are in nature.
If you want to heal; get in touch with yourself; your inner wisdom and your higher purpose, reconnecting with nature is a great medicine. In my free e-book Discover Your Purpose I give you more insights on how to reconnect with your purpose.
Let me take you through the first steps of discovering your purpose and learn how to transform it into performance.
I will share insights and knowledge about the concept of purpose and ask questions that will give you a clearer view on your skills and gifts. I will help you overcome fear or obstacles and give you tools to leave old patterns behind in order to create your ideal life.
“I’m concerned about all human life. I found it sad for humans not knowing who they really are. That’s why I call it the illusion. This is the change of times…” – Chief Nowaten in the wonderful movie Down To Earth.
Are you a successful entrepreneur or professional and do you feel there’s more to life?
Do you want to live life to the fullest, but do you feel stuck, tired, and out of flow? Do you know what you want in life but are you afraid to pursue it? Do you suffer from stress and anxiety?
In this mini-workshop, I will help you to:
1. Understand what ‘a life purpose’ is 2. Go on an inner journey 3. Connect with your spirit 4. Transform your limiting beliefs 5. Clear the way 6. Take action
UNDERSTANDING WHAT A LIFE PURPOSE IS
Have you ever wondered why you are here on earth? How do your talents, skills and passions come together and make the world a better place? Then you’re looking for your life purpose.
But where on earth do you look for it? How do you start? And what does a purpose in life actually entail? Do you fully understand what a life purpose is?
If you want to find something, it is quite useful to know what you are looking for. So to start this journey, we first need to get a better and clear understanding of what purpose actually is.
The Dictionary says this about purpose:
1. Purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
2. Purpose is a person’s sense of resolve or determination.
This is what 5 inspirational leaders believe about purpose:
Richard Branson: “Purpose spurs passion which fans the sparks that light the fires that fuel change.”
Alberto Villoldo: “Having a destiny means living to your fullest human potential. You don’t need to become a famous politician or poet, but your destiny has to be endowed with meaning and purpose. You could be a street sweeper and be living a destiny. You could be the president of a large corporation and be living a life bereft of meaning. One can make oneself available to destiny, but it requires a great deal of courage to do so. Otherwise our destiny bypasses us, leaving us deprived of a fulfilment known by those who choose to take the road less travelled. Eagle allows us to rise above the mundane battles that occupy our lives and consume our energy and attention. Eagle gives us wings to soar above trivial day-to-day struggles into the high peaks close to Heaven. Eagle and condor represent the self- transcending principle in nature.”
Eckart Tolle:“There is no substitute for finding true purpose. But the true or primary purpose of your life cannot be found on the outer level. It does not concern what you do but your state of consciousness.”
Tony Robbins: “Make it big and attractive. This is going to help you make decisions, this is going to motivate you to get out of bed early in the morning and go to bed late, making you connect with people in a different way. This must be emotional and intense.”
Simon Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.”
It’s interesting to take a look at the ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘What’ in Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Strategy, as this can also be seen as ‘purpose’, ‘mission’ and ‘vision’:
Purpose guides you. Your purpose statement articulates why you do what you do, why your organization exists, and why you serve a higher purpose (your cause).
Mission drives you. Your mission statement is how you accomplish your purpose; your mission is what drives you every day to fulfil your purpose.
Vision is where you aspire to be. Your vision statement is what you will achieve in the future, the results you want to reach for, the measurable impact you want to make. Your vision reminds you what the difference you make will look like, what change will happen.
5 insights for a deeper understanding of purpose
To get an even deeper understanding of purpose, I’d like to share some insights with you:
1. Your purpose works like an internal compass
Your purpose is why you are here on earth. It guides you like an internal compass. People often immediately link it to a certain profession or role, such as singer, entrepreneur, mother or yoga teacher.
They start by looking for the form and get lost along the way. Because that role or job often doesn’t turn out to be as fulfilling as they had imagined.
They don’t realise purpose has not yet been moulded into a form. Purpose gives direction, focus and meaning to your life. The form can change, as long as you follow your compass.
For example, your purpose could be to enable refugees to live a dignified life. You can enter this in various ways; by volunteering on Lesvos, starting a company together with refugees, writing a book or work as a fundraiser for an NGO.
So your purpose can be shaped into various forms. The form you choose depends on your gifts, skills, experience, passions, possibilities and the market.
2. Finding your purpose is an inner journey
Sometimes your purpose seems far away, while it’s so close. Because it’s already inside you. You only need to create the space to remember it, to dare to feel it, to ignite the fire and to let go of your obstructing beliefs.
Normally if you are looking for something, it’s a good strategy to consult others about it. In this case it works slightly differently. You want to focus your attention inwards instead of looking for answers outside yourself.
I will help you connect with your spirit in the next chapter. A coach could also help you by asking the right questions, address your unconsciousness and transform your beliefs. Remember though: it’s YOUR journey.
3. Your purpose connects you to the source of life energy
When you feel more connected to yourself, you also feel more connected to nature. Do you recognize this? It often works the other way around as well: if you feel more connected to nature, you feel more connected to yourself.
That’s not surprising, if you assume that everything is part of a whole and life energy of humans and nature comes from one source. When you reconnect with your purpose, you’re also in contact with your life source and thus with the universal source.
That is why people who live their purpose often have inexhaustible energy. And people that experience a burnout or are out of flow could gain a lot from getting in contact with (their) nature again.
4. There’s an “inner and outer” purpose
Spiritual leader Eckart Tolle speaks of an “inner purpose” and “outer purpose”. Flow arises only when these are connected.
Your inner life purpose is about being okay with the present moment. Being completely ‘in the moment’ and accepting what is there. This is about your mental state of BEING. Your external goal is about DOING.
Many people are looking for what they should DO with their lives. In the now they ARE discontent, burned out, irritated and looking for what they can DO with their lives to “become happy”, “be meaningful” or “find their purpose in life.” That often doesn’t work.
There is only the NOW, the future is not there. The future is actually a postponed NOW. If you are dissatisfied now, it is difficult to create a future where you are happy.
If you are satisfied with what is now and fully accept the present moment, it is easier to extend that NOW. Because it’s only a matter of time before the NOW becomes the future.
5. There is no shortcut to your destiny
Connecting with your purpose is an adventurous journey in which you plunge in with all your heart and soul. It’s a journey that you can make by foot, car, bicycle, airplane, tuktuk or on the back of a jaguar.
All the vehicles will bring you different challenges and a different view. No vehicle will give you a fast and easy pass to your destiny. It’s a journey without a shortcut to the destination, but of which the journey is part of the goal.
Sometimes it will look like you are there until you discover you were only just starting. That’s perfectly fine. And it might even be the purpose.
The first step on this journey is to accept where you are at the present moment. If you don’t accept that, all your attention and energy goes to fighting it instead of setting course for your destination.
And the more you resist it, the more it will bounce back in your face. Imagine what happens if you try to push a ball under water: it will push back up with even more force.
Step 1: Your current state.
Stand up and become conscious about your thoughts, feelings and senses. In what state are you right now? What’s going on in your body, is it tense or relaxed? What do you feel? What do you hear, see, smell, taste, sense?
Step 2: Accept the present moment
Accept completely how you feel in this moment. It might not be your ideal state, you might even be sad, anxious or angry. That’s all fine. Just accept that this is it for now.
Do you have permission to fully accept this? If not, give yourself permission. Just say: “I give myself permission to feel/be/think this way.”
Step 3: Use a resource
If this is challenging, think of a situation in which you’ve completely accepted something small, like the rain, forgetting something at home or having a bad hair day.
Take that feeling of acceptance and put it on your current state. Now completely accept your current state. What does that do for you?
Step 4: Future pace
Imagine bringing this acceptance into the future, to all these moments that you really need it. What will this change for you?
2. GO ON AN INNER JOURNEY
Discovering your purpose starts with getting to know yourself a bit better. You could call this your inner journey.
Many people define themselves by their roles or the relationships they have with others: a friend, mother, sister, son, boss, employee. Without a clear idea of what is important to you or the person you’d like to be, there’s a risk you live your life for others instead of yourself.
In order to create and live the life YOU like to live, it’s crucial to know your talents, your skills, values, passions, pitfalls, purpose, mission and your bigger vision.
EXERCISE: EXPLORING YOUR PASSIONS
These questions will help you explore your passions. Find a quiet place (ideally in nature) without distraction, get a pen and paper and start writing down your answers.
What did you want to become when you were younger?
What did you think that would bring you at that time?
What else did you want to become when you were younger?
What did you think that would bring you at that time?
What else did you want to become when you were younger?
What did you think that would bring you at that time?
When do you feel ‘in flow’? That you’re totally focused on what you’re doing and completely forget a sense of time and space?
Experience this fully for a couple of moments. How does that make you feel? Who have you become? What are you doing this for?
Recall another moment or activity where you felt ‘in flow’.
Experience this fully for a couple of moments. How does that make you feel? Who have you become? What are you doing this for?
Take a look at your answers. Are there words that you wrote down more than once? Write down the 5-10 words that are most important to you.
Intuitively put them in order of importance. Look at the top 5 and write down what these words mean to you, one by one.
EXERCISE EXPLORING YOUR GIFTS
What was the most difficult challenge you faced in your life?
How did you survive? What have you learned from it that could be valuable for others?
Which obstacles/problems/challenges do you see in your life that keep coming back?
Which strategy have you tried that wasn’t successful?
In which aspect of your life do you (almost) always succeed?
Which strategy helps you achieve that?
What do people come to you for?
Write down 5-10 of your talents.
3. CONNECT WITH YOUR SPIRIT
In this hectic world we tend to let our head make the most important life decisions. Often, a few weeks or months afterwards something inside starts to ache and we feel out of flow. After a while we can even start to feel burned out or anxious.
Our spirit cries out: this is not right! And even then it’s still hard for us to listen. Because in our culture it’s not common to listen to our heart, which very often results in chronic pain or burnout.
If you want to reconnect with your true nature, it’s crucial to connect with your heart and spirit instead of your mind. Your heart knows.
Sit under a tree or in one of your favourite spots outside and immerse yourself in nature. Take a pen and paper and start writing what comes to mind. Don’t stop until you feel you’re done.
THE TRANSFORMATION QUEST
If you want to further strengthen your connection with yourself and nature, a Transformation Quest is an intense and beautiful way to do it.
The Transformation Quest is inspired by The Vision Quest, a rite of passage and age-old ritual in which indigenous people retreat to nature to discover their purpose in life.
It is traditionally a solitary pilgrimage marking a period of transition, preceded in many cultures by fasting and meditation. During a Transformation Quest you immerse yourself in nature from 1-4 days without food, phone or other forms of distraction.
The Transformation Quest is a journey without paved roads, train tickets or booked hotels. A journey through the jungle of your thoughts, across the river of your emotions, beyond the mountains of your beliefs, in the deep caves of your soul. A journey that will transform your life and initiate a new beginning.
You can read more about the different Transformational Quests I offer here or you can contact me directly.
4. TRANSFORM YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
Now that you’re connecting with the inner wisdom and the flame burning inside of you, more doubts and questions may arise:
Some doubts related to you limiting beliefs could be:
I’m not ready yet.
I’m not good enough.
I can’t do this.
How do I pay the bills?
I have to take care of my family.
What would my dad/wife/friends say?
During Covid19 I’d better sit still.
Other people are much better/skilled/knowledgeable than I am.
These might sound like valid arguments to you. Though chances are these are all limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are beliefs or decisions we make about ourselves or our model of the world that limit the way we live.
They are thoughts, opinions and ideas that we believe are true and that prevent us from achieving our goals, following our purpose and living the life we want to live.
How beliefs are created
These beliefs are unconsciously created based on our interpretations of experiences in the past. And they will be inside the system within our internal world and shape our responses to the external world and opportunities around us.
Most beliefs are installed before we are even seven years old. The first years of our lives our mind operates in a low vibrational frequency like hypnosis. Our mind is then very adaptive to new beliefs.
If a teacher at school would constantly tell us: “You’re not good at spelling”, our unconscious mind would absorb that and accept it as the truth. It would become a belief.
And then when we’re 30, 40, 50+ years old we still think we’re lousy in spelling and live our lives based on old beliefs.
Beliefs have a huge impact
Our beliefs – both supportive and limiting – and the stories we and others tell about ourselves have a huge impact on our lives.
They make us believe we’re worthy or worthless, afraid or brave, self-reliant or dependent, loved or hated. And these beliefs create your behaviour, your dreams, your reality and therefore your life.
NLP developer, author, coach and ‘changing beliefs’-expert Robert Dilts even compares limiting beliefs with ‘thought viruses’ that can ‘infect’ our minds, just like a physical virus can infect our bodies with all its consequences.
Changing our old beliefs unfortunately isn’t that easy. Dr Bruce Lipton, one of the leading stem cell biologists, discovered that the conscious and the subconscious mind learn in different ways.
The conscious mind is the creative part and can change quickly. The unconscious mind is the habit mind, it likes repetition and resists change.
Therefore transforming beliefs that are stored in the unconscious mind is a big challenge. You could use hypnosis, constant repetition of behaviour and several brilliant (NLP) techniques that can influence the unconscious mind.
You can do this yourself if you have the relevant knowledge and understanding – although it can be challenging to consciously change your own unconscious mind.
Besides that limiting beliefs always have a positive intention. That’s why you have kept them up until now. To change them, you need a different approach.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten”- Tony Robbins.
Therefore I believe it’s very helpful to do this together with a qualified coach, who has a different map of the territory. But hey, that’s just my belief, so don’t take my word for it… 😉
EXERCISE: DISCOVERING YOUR BELIEFS
The first step towards change is to become conscious of your beliefs and which ones serve you and which ones don’t.
Step 1: Limiting beliefs
Write down all the beliefs and patterns that don’t serve you anymore and stand in the way of achieving your goals.
Step 2: Supportive beliefs
Write down the beliefs and patterns that work well for you and that you’d like to keep.
Step 3: New beliefs
Write down the beliefs and patterns that you would like to install and implement in your life.
5. CLEAR THE WAY
After discovering and transforming the beliefs and patterns that don’t serve you anymore, it’s time to leave them behind. A ceremony or ritual that makes changes on an unconscious deeper level can consolidate this.
Shamanic ceremonies have been practiced since the beginning of time. Shamans used rituals as a way to step out of their everyday life. To connect with spiritual life and lift the veil between the visible and the invisible realms. Rituals were aimed to restore wholeness and improve the communal and individual well-being.
If you dive deeper into the work shamans have been doing for thousands of years everywhere in the world, you see the similarities with people practicing Neuro-Science, Neuro-Semantics and Neuro-Linguistic programming.
It seems shamans were the first neuroscientists. They used their knowledge about neurology and the unconscious mind in meaningful rituals to heal and initiate change.
Our ancestors lived in harmony with the natural rhythms of nature. Working with the cycles of the moon is an extremely powerful way to do that.
The tides on this earth, the oceans, animals: everything follows the moon’s gravitational pull. In that way it would only be natural if the moon would influence us humans as well. Especially as our bodies consist mostly of water.
So just as the lunar phases change the tides, you can feel changes happening inside of you as well. Therefore the full moon is a perfect moment to initiate change in your life through ancient rituals.
Healing and transformation
Fire is known as the most rapid form of healing and transformation. It provides the way to let go of your old story and drama, to renew and to be reborn.
Like professor and shaman Alberto Villoldo explains:
“Through fire ceremony, you honour your lessons and old belief structures by placing them in the fire and turning them over to Spirit. By releasing these old patterns and beliefs into the fire, you heal deeply at the level of the soul without having to experience them at the literal and physical levels.”
The fire ceremony will not make instant magical change happen, it rather creates an opening to transform your habits and patterns and manifest a new dream.
It’s your intention that gives the ritual strength and transformative power. The limbic brain changes through the power of ritual.
Traditionally, shamans performed this ritual with a group of people outside around a fire, but it can be just as meaningful as a solo ritual indoors. If you have the chance though, find a nice spot in nature.
To make your ritual a bit more vivid you could light some incense, bring some hot cocoa and turn the music on in the background (better yet: sing and dance!) A simple ritual will do fine as well, as long as you’re focused on the task.
EXERCISE: BURNING OLD BELIEFS AND INSTALLING NEW ONES
Step 1 Release
Write down on a piece of paper all the beliefs you wish to release.
Step 2 Welcome
Write down on another piece of paper the outcomes you desire in your life. Make sure you are specific.
Step 3 Tear
Tear the paper into strips, one for each belief or outcome.
Step 4 Light
Light a candle or make a fire. Make sure you do this safely and keep water next to you.
Step 5 Burn
Read the beliefs you wish to release and throw them into the flames, one by one. Watch the fire. Does it burn easily or not? Do the same with the outcomes. Be aware of any emerging feelings.
Now that you know what motivates you and what your preferred outcome is, it’s time for action!
Have you ever wanted something really bad, like losing some pounds or meditating every day, but you never started? In that case, either the goal wasn’t clear and positive enough for you, or there were still some beliefs sabotaging you.
Do you feel fear? That means you’re on the right track. If you wouldn’t feel fear, you’d be still in your comfort zone. And you will not change or grow in your comfort zone.
Have you heard the story about the lobster?
Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski explains in the video below that the lobster is a soft animal that lives in a rigid shell that doesn’t expand.
So as the lobster grows, the shell gets very confining, making the lobster feel pressured and uncomfortable.
The Rabbi says that if they had doctors, lobsters would probably get some Valium and get on with their lives. But the lobster doesn’t have that option. It gets so uncomfortable in its shell that it decides to do something about it.
The lobster disappears under a rock formation to protect itself from enemies, sheds its shell, and grows a new one that fits better. This happens several times as it grows bigger. Each time it’s the discomfort that encourages the lobster to grow a new shell.
Is your shell tight enough and uncomfortable enough to make a decision and grow a new one?
EXERCISE: CREATING A VISION
Real motivation isn’t about money or a dangling carrot in front of your nose. Real motivation comes from the inside. Is your vision big enough?
Step 1: Your vision
Take a deep breath in and relax. Sit back and lift your head slightly, then close your eyes. Imagine that you’re fully living the life you love to live, doing what you are good at, enjoying every moment. Living in your ideal world, in which everyone lives their full potential.
Step fully into this moment. See what you’re seeing. Hear what you’re hearing. Smell what you’re smelling, Taste what you’re tasting. And feel what you’re feeling. Just imagine yourself living this ideal life in your ideal world and make this feeling big.
Step 2: Your metaphor
Maybe there’s a word, symbol or movement that comes with this state. If it’s a word, say it out loud and write it down. If it’s a symbol, draw it. If it’s a movement, make it.
Step 3: First small step
Stay with that feeling and ask yourself: What action can I take today that will eventually lead to this vision? Make it small and easy so you know you’re definitely going to do it.
Now that you’ve taken the first action, you’re one step closer to your goal. The process of real change starts. All the ingredients are here to create a concrete timeline that leads to your vision.
Need some help? I use my knowledge from NLP, Neuro-Semantics,and Shamanism to help you find the answers that are already within you; transform your limiting beliefs, and take the next steps to create the life you desire.
I’ll offer you a FREE 30 minutes discovery session. Not only NOW, but whenever YOU are ready.
GIVE ME A CALL or download this mini-workshop as an e-book by filling in your details below.
Two month ago our yurt was devastated by a huge forest fire. I’m still very grateful that we’re all safe and my husband and our 6 year old son could save some of our emotional belongings.
I was doing groceries for our son’s Birthday party (at least we had ingredients to bake a cake!) at the time. I just came back in time to get him away from the helicopters and the fire he was making vivid pictures of with my old phone.
In the weeks after I went through feelings of pain, unfairness, angriness and confusion. Although it was sometimes hard to give myself permission to experience these feelings as I had people in my close environment suffering from much bigger losses.
And for years I worked closely with refugees who lost much more than their home. Who was I to complain? Soon I discovered those thoughts and feelings didn’t help me heal.
Reconnect with your true purpose
In the past months I guided more than 20 people on their journey to reconnect with their true purpose. A journey full of overcoming obstacles, fears and limiting beliefs. A journey full of discovery, growth, transformation and joy.
The most important for me in these coaching’s is to give people the tools to write their own story, to dream their own world into being. No matter how impossible it seems.
Creating the life you want to live
Now I’m challenged myself to keep on creating the life I want to live. Instead of letting fear and security rule. I try to do that by being in the present moment.
Like Eckart Tolle says: there’s only the NOW. The future is only an extended NOW. So you can only be present and make sure you’re okay with being in the NOW. And create the life you want to live right NOW. And then before you know it the future is NOW.
The fire made me humble and taught me some great lessons.
Hereby I’d like to share with you these 7 lessons I learned about healing and transformation:
1. you create your own reality.
You can’t control the elements in life. You can only live in harmony with it and go with the flow. What you CAN control are your feelings, your thoughts, your words and your actions. They create your reality.
2. Be in the present moment.
My son doesn’t focus on what he had before or what he won’t have in future. He only focuses on what is there. One hour after the fire in which his home and toys burned, he asked: “Mom, are you still gonna bake me a cake?”
3. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling.
Talk to people that really listen. Hold space for your feelings and let them be there. Cry, scream, do whatever you need.
4. Don’t play the comparison game.
Don’t compare your own problems/trauma with others. No person’s suffering can be measured against any other person’s suffering.
We all experience stress and trauma differently.
If you downplay what happened to you, you suppress your feelings. This could make them stronger. Think of what happens when you push a ball under water… It comes back up with force.
If you on the other hand make it bigger or hold on to the pain, it will become bigger and harder to heal.
5. Become conscious of what you focus on.
I can very vividly visualise our home, our perfect bed and the soft sheets on it, Mika jumping out of his selfmade tree house bed yelling: I am awaaaaaake! I hear the birds waking me up in the morning, the smell of the blossoming flowers, the sun on my skin… And then I miss it so much it hurts.
Therefore in the first two weeks when it was still painful I didn’t focus on that all day. And I learned through NLP to ‘change the movie’ I was looking at, so it could transform feelings of pain in feelings of bittersweet memories of joy, love and gratitude.
6. Practise being grateful.
Although it might feel you have nothing left to be grateful for, it can help you to practise being grateful for what is still there. Gratitude rewires your brain, which leads to an overall increase in well-being, making you more positive, stronger and more resilient to stress.
This podcast gives some amazing insights on what being grateful can do for your health.
7. Write your own story.
Don’t let other people or circumstances write your story. If people say to you: “Oooh no that’s so horrible what happened to you, you must feel…” Decide for yourself how you feel, write your own story, one that helps you and gives meaning to your life.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These are tips for people that experienced ‘trauma’ themselves and are open to discover and heal. So not for family and friends, from my experience they can better avoid advising. It’s so much more important and valuable to LISTEN and ASK how you can help.
Do you also like to change the movie you’re playing in or looking at?
7 tips based on my own experience on how to start living your purpose.
I know it’s a crazy time to start talking/writing about this, because it’s crisis and you need to earn money, stay healthy, take care of your family and don’t take any risks.
But what if this is the time to change? Now that the world fell still and we have time to rethink how we’ve done things up till now. What if this is the time to do things differently and reconnect with your life’s purpose?
Have you always wanted to:
Start a new business?
Become a coach/teacher/speaker/writer…?
Publish a book?
Transform your life?
Live your purpose?
But you don’t know where to start. And you say to yourself: “I’m not ready yet.”
You have done studies, courses, self-work, you’ve talked to experts, read a hundred books on the subject and still you say to yourself: “I’M NOT READY YET”.
You found yourself some pretty good arguments to back this up, like:
“I don’t have enough knowledge yet.”
“I don’t have enough money.”
“I first need to write new texts for my website.”
“It’s not the right time to start (especially now with the world upside down!)”
“I still have to do that one course that will give me the right certification.”
I have used all of them myself in the past year.
Until I found a way out and began listening to my inner self, to my true nature.
How do you know it’s time to connect to your purpose?
For me it started in March 2019. I was a social entrepreneur, working long hours, doing something I liked, for a very good cause. But I felt stuck, tired and out of flow.
I missed that what made me really thrive, what made my heart beat faster and made my spirit alive. I missed living the life I’m here for. I missed the connection to (my true) nature.
Hereby 7 tips based on my own experience on how to start living your purpose:
1. Find a coach
I found a wonderful coach in the shamanic CEO Gregory Reece-Smith (who also happened to marry my husband and me a couple of months later in Portugal). In one of our first sessions he told me I could be a messenger between the spiritual and the physical world. That struck me.
2. Connect with your heart
I knew instantly that it was true, I had felt it all my life, but I hadn’t done anything with it. Many pieces of the puzzle fell into place. One of them being the jaguar, an important shamanic symbol and the animal I had tattooed on my ankle after I encountered two in the Bolivian jungle. I always felt jaguar around me ever since.
In the months after that transformative coaching session, I was guided by Gregory in the way of a shaman. I learned a lot from books and courses from Alberto Villoldo and Sandra Ingerman and my own journeys to the other worlds. Gregory encouraged me to start coaching people and I did, using my knowledge from NLP and Neuro Semantics.
Still, “I wasn’t ready yet” to fully go for it and use my shamanic wisdom. I needed more trust and confidence in myself. What better could I do then be on my own for a while, trusting on myself and nature? The Vision Quest called me.
4. Go on a transformation quest
I decided to do a shamanic vision quest on the amazing land I live on at the moment. So last March I went for three days and three nights in the forest without food and communication. It was a tough, intense and amazing experience that brought me many insights.
Everything in nature called me to heal myself, to heal others, to heal the world. And my first response was: “I’m not ready yet.” FinalIy I made time to investigate that belief. I asked myself a dozen questions, like:– How do I know I’m not ready yet?
Is this believe true?
How do I know it’s true?
What do I believe about not being ready?
What positive intention is behind this belief?
5. Explore your limiting beliefs
I discovered I was afraid of not being good enough. I was afraid other people would see me as some kind of weirdo talking to trees and plants. I felt insecure about what other coaches and shamanic practitioners would think. I compared myself to others.
More important: I continuously confirmed my belief of ‘not being ready’ with all kinds of so called proof and arguments.
As Shaman Alberto Villoldo says: “Like a jaguar who escaped danger and quickly clambered up a tree, where it remains, hissing at anyone who comes near.”
6. Transform your limiting beliefs
The real question was: is this belief helping me? Is it empowering? Is it making my life better? NO! So I transformed it into an empowering belief. I overcame my fears and I brought the jaguar down from the tree. It was then that I realised I’m ready when I say I’m ready.
7. Take the first step
When I came back after three days it wasn’t just me that was changed, also the world wasn’t the same anymore. The Corona Virus forced the whole world on a vision quest. I could have used this again to say that now is not the right time and I’m not ready yet. But now is the time. For me, for you, for the world.
So: I’m ready! Are you ready to live your purpose?
I guide you on a journey to discover your true nature and give you the tools on how to convert this into performance.
Discover what kind of leader you are, and how to become wiser so that you can lead the meaningful and happy life you are meant to lead.
The test is developed around the WISDOM COMPASS, a brand new tool based on research in the fields of psychology, neuroscience and ancient wisdom.
Take the test NOW and find out directly which are the precise areas you can grow in to become a wiser and more impactful leader!
Pssst: A leader is anyone who inspires and motivates people to join them towards a greater vision. A Wise leader makes choices based on the common good and has a purpose aligned with what the world needs today.