After rain comes sunshine and that’s how it works for me regarding overcoming my depression, burnout or whatever name I want to give to it, as well.
Although the climb up, the climb of getting closer to myself, can feel like a climb where my own thoughts can stop me or bring me down with the force of water which falls down on me like a waterfall, it remains very important to realize that I am stronger than the force of all that water. And so I keep trying, over and over again. Or as Dory in Finding Nemo can say it so beautifully; “when life gets you down, you know what you have to do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
So I kept swimming. And climbing. And, not long after my depressive slump, I was dancing around the bathroom again. Because, let’s face it, life goes on and the rapidly multiplying process of stacking toothpaste residue in the sink as well.
To provide myself with the right energy and to get myself moving with pleasure, I decided to play the song Spicks and Specks by the Bee Gees. What I didn’t expect, however, was that it would be this song that would bring my body to a standstill very quickly.
“All of my life I thought was yesterday” sounded through the speakers, or at least that was what I thought at the time, because actually they sang “All of my life I call yesterday”, but despite what they sang, the message I heard had already come into my conscious mind.
Damn, I thought to myself, there is a very strong grain of truth in those words when I compare them with my own life. How often do I let myself be guided and suffered by my story from the past when I dare not to look at the endless possibilities of the future? After all, every day is a blank page that can be filled with the most beautiful dreams.
It reminded me of a piece of text from the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle which I read a few months ago and which has been dormant in my mind in a fairly prominent way ever since. She talked about how important it is that we begin to live from our imagination rather than our indoctrination. How important it is that we begin to live from what our subconscious shows us when we dare to dream about what can be instead of what needs to be.
“What is the most honest and beautiful story you can imagine?” is the question she asks and this question brought me back to the dream that always manifests itself from my subconscious the moment I think about what pure happiness means to me.
My most honest and beautiful story then manifests itself as a dream where simplicity prevails, but contains a lot of depth for me. A dream, a snapshot, where on a wonderful summer day I hang out the clean laundry outside in the garden and where there are children playing and laughing around me.
The serene snapshot is not in itself a very special event and is even an image that has already been a reality quite often in my life.
The difference between the thoughts of my dream and the memory of reality lies not in the visible world, but in the invisible world of my inner personality. Because as I picture myself standing in the garden, I feel how my inner world would feel like if I could make my dream come true. In fact, that feeling is my dream.
My dream is not about a change in my visible world, my dream is about a change in my inner personality. When I change my inner personality, my experience of the visible world will change automatically.
Just as I manifest myself to the outside world, the outside world manifests itself to me.
What Glennon Doyle calls “the dream of the most honest and beautiful story from our imagination” was what I used to call “my core” and after reading Glennon’s book I started calling it “my heaven.” My own achievable piece of heaven on earth that I can manifest as a reality from my subconscious.
When I look back now at one of my blog posts from a year ago, I see that I was already trying to realize my dream at the time.
“Unconditional self-acceptance, unconditional self-love and daring to make decisions without fear. These are my New Year’s resolutions for 2020.” (2 ~ New Year’s Resolutions)
And when I look now at where I am at the moment and how much I have already grown, I can say with sheer sincerity that I see, notice and feel that my dream is increasingly manifesting itself as a reality. Both in my inner world and in the visible world around me. It is like a pop-up book that is slowly being unfolded and where the print becomes more and more visible.
Yet, despite all the growth, I am not yet where I want to be. The inner emotional world from my dream is not yet grounded enough to be fundamental and so, as always, I have continued to look for new opportunities to challenge myself to get closer and closer to myself.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
One of the most life-changing tips I have received in recent months came from the book Awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins.
Tony Robbins came into my life after a friend pointed out a YouTube video showing Tony Robbins as a public speaker and my first reaction was: “Who is this man and why haven’t I ever heard of him?” and so I Googled him. Tony Robbins turned out to be a No.1 New York Times best-selling author, and even though these kinds of titles always gave me a bit of the heebie-jeebies, I decided to listen to his audiobook and even after I finished the audiobook, buy his book.
I decided to use Tony Robbins’ book as a workbook and I also decided that I would fill it up as much as possible with highlighters and notes.
Fast forward 5 months later, I’m on page 25 of the book.
However, the reason I am only on page 25 comes not from boredom, running away or setting wrong priorities, but simply from the fact that I already found the first tip so powerful and valuable that I chose to apply it really consciously in my life.
“Step 1. Raise your standards. Every time you genuinely want to make a change in your life, the first thing you need to do is raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was to change what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate and all the things I wanted to become.”
And so I started doing the same thing.
At first, as Tony Robbins described in his book, I made three rows for myself. One row with what I would no longer accept, one row with what I would no longer tolerate and one row with everything I want to become. The more I worked with these new standards consciously, the more I came up with the idea of no longer categorizing all my new standards, but simply writing them down point by point in a book in which I could always write down new standards.
I created my own heavenly book, my own new testament with my own new standards. Standards that came from my imagination instead of my indoctrination.
My now 27-point list of new standards is made up of a variety of the most diverse standards. From simple standards that just serve as a daily support to standards that challenge me to go beyond my emotional barricades. No matter how difficult or easy it is to handle certain standards, they all have in common that I really feel more empowered when I follow them and the reason they work so empowering is actually very nicely described with the first new standard I wrote down for myself, namely:
“I always follow my standards and always place them above any self-sabotaging needs.“
The moment I consciously let go of my self-sabotaging (or trauma) needs, I am very close to my own pure, powerful and authentic being. The moment I consciously let go of my self-sabotaging needs, I stand very close to myself and that creates a very strong empowering feeling full of self-esteem, self-assurance and self-love. Letting go of my needs and following my standards makes me feel grounded.
In addition to writing down my new standards, I also started writing systematically in a journal. I wanted to deliberately work on and towards achieving my standards and writing about it on a daily basis seemed and turned out to be a perfect way for me to be able to think about it in a very conscious way, to be able to think about it and to be able to work on it.
“Every night I write in my diary” I wrote down as one of the new standards and so I started to write a new chapter in my personal diary every night.
I started by writing down how the day had gone. I wrote about which standards I had achieved, which ones I had not achieved and what I wanted to do in future to make them achievable.
By writing down which standards I had achieved, I was shown very clearly how empowering following my standards was for me. It showed me how valuable it was for me to follow them, because with every standard I had achieved I felt proud, grounded and very close to myself and my own strength.
By writing down which standards I had not achieved, I was able to analyze and see my own behavior in a very conscious way, and why I did not achieve some of my standards. I could see the emotional obstacles or fears I had encountered and it was precisely because of this that I was able to adjust my strategy for the next day.
By writing down what I could do to make my new standards achievable, I created a visualization about how I wanted and could act differently next time. This visualization eventually created a role model in my mind that could always show me the right thing to do in the moments I felt blinded by fear and or other emotions.
A visualization that helps me, step by step, to achieve my dream.
By following the dream of my heaven, the print of my pop-up book slowly begins to manifest itself in the possibilities of my life.
I notice in everything that I am getting closer and closer to myself.
I follow my dream, my heart, my choices and my ideas and that alone feels incredibly liberating.
This is me, this is my dream and this is my story.
“She dared to utter her inner whisper out loud. She dared to appeal to her imagination to tell the story she had to tell with her life. She figured out what it would look like if she let her specific version of truth and beauty come to life. She searched for the blueprint with which she was born, but which she had forgotten.”
Glennon Doyle – Untamed