|« Feb||Apr »|
We admire certain people who shape our lives by shaping our ideas, but what and who has influenced them we don’t know. We forget the articles, discussions, coincidences and books that influence us. Every person you look at today influences people around them, who then in turn shape how another person’s day or even life is going. For a big part we don’t even know where the goodness in our life is coming from. So why not be grateful to all every once in a while?
Willpower, a finite resource, is what we turn to when we want to make something happen or stop. We can endlessly criticize ourselves for not being able to resist food or for getting angry, although we know it’s not good for us. Yet willpower uses often more energy than managing the environment and the situation. So instead of getting angry for eating something when we are super hungry and vulnerable we can instead use far less energy, if we don’t let ourselves get that hungry in the first place. Whatever behaviour we are trying to start or stop, the environment plays an important part and it’s often easier to change than you might think.
It is easy to stop seeing what is always there. That’s why I love seasons: in nature, in TV and also more invisible seasons. What are your more invisible seasons? Mine are my priorities: how in some years I lived mostly in my head, my body and my heart. Do you feel that all these things balance each other out? Or do you go through these seasons of your being as well?
When we’re caught between a rock and a hard place our mind tends to think that we will never be able to solve the problem and that the only options available, are incredibly undesirable ones. This thought that it can never be better because we can’t think of a solution now is quite dangerous.
Everything is supposed to be balanced these days. work-life, energy, food and of course emotions. Balance is the path to happiness. Except when it’s not.
A musician is the opposite of the modern human in daily life. While we try to cram in information in our brain and cut everything down to the essentials a piece of music would be completely pointless, if it were consumed the same way. Just think what would happen if you would just cut out your favourite notes of a melody and lyrics and put them in bullet points: a complete and utter mess, no matter how diligently you worked.
Musicians on the other hand can’t just glance at the notes and highlight whatever seems the most important. A musician will not only practice until the piece can be played without mistakes. A musician will play until the song becomes an instinctual part of themselves. The truths I hold dear I want to approach like a musician. Not just practice until I can do it properly: live the truth again and again until I am transformed and it has become my instinct.
Not a lot of marketing slogans have shaped our culture as powerfully as the Nike slogan ‘Just Do It’ has. Yes often we might be too passive. Experimentation and risk-taking might often be the way to go. However we have become obsessed with the idea, that if we do nothing, nothing will happen. Actually doing nothing can give space to grow. Sometimes we do everything right, yet don’t see any results because whatever it is we are trying to do wants to grow, but simply has no space among the busyness and stuff in our lives. Or we have already done so much, put in such a concentrated effort, that doing nothing consciously is absolutely needed for our work to pay off or otherwise we might be taken aback, by how much fruit we need to pick come spring. The excess might go to waste. Do you know in what areas in your life space and just doing nothing might be the best answer?
We are often all too conscious of the many ways in which we feel that we don’t live up to our own expectations. But today, just for a few minutes, reflect on how far you have come. Go with whatever thought enters your mind, it doesn’t matter if it is about your self-development or whether you have become a better cook or worker. Whatever it is pause and enjoy how far you have come. You have come a long way. Thank yourself for that.
While the notion of planting seeds has been used to illustrate all kinds of growth we Westerners have a tendency to emphasize the hard work of planting and watering seeds. We completely ignore what the seed does, once it has been planted – it sits in a dark place, does not rush and somehow still achieves its goal. There is nothing wrong with hard work but there is something wrong with the belief that it’s needed all the time. To come back to the seed: it cannot grow if we keep churning the earth, putting it somewhere else each time.
Think about your own life. What has grown naturally without having to obsess over it? What has come easily to you, without having to constantly work on it? What can you allow today to just sit in the earth, surrounded by the nutrients it needs, confident that it will blossom at the right moment?
Van Gogh talked about how most of his contemporaries thought Rotterdam was ugly. In a letter to his brother he describes how he watched men work and despite the fact that the sky was grey, there wasn’t nice architecture and so on, it was beautiful, in his eyes.
One thing that keeps people back from embarking on activities and habits they know are good for them is this idea that doing something often needs tons of willpower. The more often you try to shape your thoughts in a more helpful direction = the more willpower you need = the harder it is. Actually the exact opposite is the case.