Ean Weichselbaum

~Transcendence~

Category Archives: Awareness

Guided Meditation – JOY

Audio Version

IMG_5396Today I want to talk about a really simple, practical thing. A short guided meditation that can be done anywhere to relax and reconnect with the present moment. When you do it you can experience a great calming and centering effect. It is what I have found in a book called “How to Sit“, by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. This book really helped me to ease into a regular meditation practice and also motivated me to do my first 10-day-Vipassana-Meditation-Course in Austria. It is a great little book.

Let’s begin and start off with a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh:

The first thing to do is to stop
whatever else you are doing.

So as we do that we can become conscious of our breathing and then attentively read through this simple poem. We breathe in while reading the first line, then we breathe out while reading the second line. Reading the full sentences on the first go. When finished we do a second round, this time only reading the words on the third line. That’s it. You can really do this anywhere. Just by taking out your phone, writing it on paper, or memorizing it. Enjoy!

JOY

1 Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. (inhale)
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. (exhale)
In (inhale) / Out (exhale)

2 Breathing in, my breath grows deep.
Breathing out, my breath goes slowly.
Deep / Slow

3 Breathing in, I feel calm.
Breathing out, I feel ease.
Calm / Ease

4 Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I release.
Smile / Release

5 Aware of my body, I breathe in.
Relaxing my body, I breathe out.
Aware of body / Relaxing body

6 Calming my body, I breathe in.
Caring for my body, I breathe out.
Calming / Caring

7 Smiling to my body, I breathe in.
Releasing the tension in my body, I breathe out.
Smiling to body / Releasing tension

8 Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Calm / Smile

9 Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know it is a wonderful moment.
Present moment / Wonderful moment

For getting further into this I really recommend reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s book as it is very simple and useful. There is lots of information and guidance on making time and space for stilness and for nurturing awareness in a practical way.

So I hope you enjoyed this! Do write me or let me know in the comments if this was helpful to you or if you have feedback – it means a lot to me. As we move on from here and bring more awareness and calmness into our days, we can really begin to appreciate the little things of life more and more. Have a beautiful day.

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Simple Self-Acceptance


Sometimes we do not like certain things about ourselves. We judge. We say un-loving words and sentences out loud or in our head and then start feeling bad about ourselves. The problem with this behavior runs deeper than the apparent rejection of a single action or trait. The problem is the act of rejection itself. NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR FOR WHAT (yes caps is necessary). When we reject ourselves we create a cage for ourselves. We put up an invisible wall. We are locking away part of us and through that process we are impeding the natural flow of life. A natural process where events and emotions are coming and going. By judging we are resisting. The action or trait we criticize is solidified – we actually strengthen it by rejecting it, by putting energy and focus into it.

I suggest that instead we begin to find unique ways to accept what happened and move on, let it dissolve and allow for learning to happen. Effortlessly. When we watch our behaviour and start noticing certain things from a place of observation and acceptance the results can be amazing.

There is another dimension to it: it never feels good when we are rejecting or criticizing ourselves. It hampers our ability to feel good as we are and as the next step: to go out into the world and give what we have to offer. If we are constantly busy criticizing ourselves we have no resources to allocate to doing something loving and useful for others. On the other hand when we are loving with ourselves we can let this love extend out to others. Doing good becomes natural and an extention of who we are. If you put color into a bowl of water then it will take on that color. The bowl is the world and the color is us. Let us appreciate the beauty of that color and keep it strong. How we feel about ourselves affects SO many people, we can not even imagine. This is our responsibility.

What can we do?
As I stated in the beginning it is small things that affect the way we feel about ourselves. Tiny steps! Realizing moments of where self-acceptance is lacking and then giving it graciously, receiving it gracefully:

  • Find a phrase you like and then start using it day in day out. Use it often.
    “Yes, I have made a mistake. I still love you.”
    “Yeah, you have this or that flaw… and that’s just fine.”
    Acknowledge what has happened and then express acceptance towards yourself regardless.
  • Hug yourself if you want – anything to express that self-love to yourself. Expressing it physically is powerful. Another thing I like doing is touching my chest where my heart is and just making a few small circles with the palm of my hand. Small expressions of love are powerful.
  • Start writing a success-diary – Get a little notebook and every evening, write down 5 things you did well that day. Write in sentences or just list the tasks and accomplishments you feel good about. This is a great little habit. Just five things you did good or that you managed to do that day. Even if it is a small thing you can feel good about it. Keep focusing on the positive.
  • Right now. Write down 10 things you love about yourself or things you have accomplished in your life so far that you are proud of. Get a piece of paper and do it. Paper is stronger than digital. It only takes a few minutes and it really helps. Then evaluate how difficult it was for you to do that exercise – Did you get 10? Was it hard? If so it might be important to repeat this exercise some time later to keep putting your focus on the positive.

Okay..Once you give yourself some love: can you actually allow it? How does it feel to receive self-acceptance or self-love from yourself? Really feel deeply inside and ask yourself: “Can I allow that self-love? What would happen if I accepted myself completely, as I am right now?” Imagine how your life would be in a year from now if you loved yourself more. 
Give yourself as much love as you think you deserve in any moment – plus a little extra. Keep increasing the dose constantly. The more accepting and loving you grow of yourself – no matter what you do or what happens, no matter how other people treat you – the happier you will become. You will also notice yourself becoming increasingly loving and accepting of others. Have a beautiful day full of little opportunities for loving yourself!

Audio Recording Of This Article

Showing Up

space2
Today I want to tell you about a little thing I learned doing improv theatre.

Imagine you’ve signed up for an improv class. You’re there, sitting in the audience. A little confused yet excited. Suddenly you hear your name being said. It’s your turn to get up on stage to play a little scene with someone. Your mind freezes. You’re like: “I don’t have any ideas…What am I supposed to do? I’m not a very creative person…” While your mind keeps chattering you get up. You calmly walk up until you’re standing there for everyone to see. Bare as you are in that moment. There’s another person standing next to you – equally clueless about what’s going to happen with and betwen the two of you. Then you enter into a state of silence. Your mind turns off. Your senses heighten. You can feel your blood rushing through your body, your heart pounding. You can hear all the little noises in the room You see the people, their attention resting upon you expectantly. There is a great opulence, but also an equally great emtpiness. Out of this emptiness it happens…

When I started doing improv it wasn’t like that at all. I felt blocked a lot of the time. Anxious. Questioning myself. Unsure of myself. Hesitant. But there is one thing that my amazing teacher Silke taught me which has really stuck with me in all aspects of my life:

  • Show up. Step in there. Even if you have no idea about what you are going to do or what is going to happen. Trust and take the first step. Everything else is sure to follow.

It’s the same principle I use for writing these articles. Most of the time I do not know what to write about. But I sit down with my pen and journal. I set aside time. I put the pen to the paper and write the date. I am open and receptive to whatever comes. Trusting and taking the first step lays the foundation for what’s to come – to come around you and through you. It sets the frame in which experience can manifest. If you are here reading this please do me a favor. The next time you feel doubtful or unsure – just take that first step, with faith. Even if your knees are shaking and your palms are sweating. I promise you – something is going to happen. And it’s going to be beautiful. Have an amazing day.

1song

1I used to be really really scared of dancing. As far back as I can remember it has always felt uncomfortable and weird to me. Even as a little boy and then as a teenager I was afraid of being judged by others and by myself. Afraid to look stupid. Afraid to “do it wrong”. It was something I avoided at all cost, something that made me feel stiff and numb inside. Something I dreaded.

Since I started doing improv about six years ago and then a few years later started going to five rythm dancing classes regularily my experience of dancing has changed quite radically. I found out that moving my body and expressing myself can be an incredibly fun thing to do – so far that it now is an indispensible part of my life. Something amazingly beautiful and deep, healing and envigorating, even therapeutic.

I feel like moving your body to music is something wonderful. If you’re just a little bit like I was then you might not really share this opinion. So that’s why I wrote this article. To give some suggestions as to why a little bit of dancing every day is so amazing and then: how to allow yourself to do it. Even though you might be really really scared. So let’s put our old opinions and views aside and try to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

What does dancing in awareness do for you?
I’ll explain what it does for me, because it will probably do something similar for you.

  • Dancing for me makes me feel free, it helps me to relax and open up. It allows me to show my emotions and to feel my vulnerability and also to feel my strength. I’ve had days where the few minutes I was dancing were some of the best moments of that day. Just standing in front of the mirror in a hotel room and dancing to some music I enjoy. Looking silly. Feeling a bit weird –  but hilarious and happy! Or sometimes really really sad and mellow. It’s all good.
  • Connected with myself and with the music. Expressing myself. Feeling like there’s room for me to be and to show my emotions. Room that I might not have felt on that day.
  • Dancing energizes me and makes me joyful. When I move then I feel alive. It’s also challenging – trying not to do the same movements over and over and to stay connected with the music while expressing my own emotions at the same time.
  • It’s also moderate exercise – gets me moving and gets some Oxygen pumping through my body and I feel awake afterwards.
  • It helps me to clear my mind. If some thoughts are circling through my head and I can’t seem to shake them off – dancing helps. It somehow puts those thoughts back into my body – and then they can flow and change and the dam wall is broken. The water of my experience of life is flowing again.
  • It helps me to deal with difficult emotions. For example when I feel sad or depressed dancing can do wonders for me! It’s just amazing how a few minutes of moving to a beat or to a melody can light me up 🙂 Miraculous even…

How to do it?

  1. Set aside five or ten minutes where you’ll be undisturbed – best on your own if you’re a little shy.
  2. Finde a nice spot where you have at least some room to walk around and move.
  3. Put on some music you like (headphones or speakers) and then start moving. It doesn’t matter HOW you move. It’s not a dancing contest. It’s only important that YOU enjoy it.

Now some concrete tips for finding the right movements and expanding your comfort zone. Try experimenting with the following:

  • slow/fast
  • fluid movements/hard movements
  • center of gravity
  • lots of stepping around/standing in one place only using the upper body
  • let one body part lead your dance – like all movements being started and lead by your head for example

The most important thing is to be supportive and nice to yourself. If you notice criticism creeping up – that’s a bad habit. Be like: „Okay I might look stupid, but that’s okay. This is my time for enjoying myself. Who cares?“. Put on a big smile and continue 🙂
It is important to make it clear to yourself that everyhing is okay. All movements are valid. Try to find those that you enjoy the most yet keep experimenting. You will notice your brain getting really active – it’s like giving yourself a mental workout as well when you keep it open and keep changing your movement patterns.

If you have a hard time starting at all then just start very very simple. Just shift from one foot to the other. Bop your head. Then try to really enjoy this simple movement. You don’t have to do complicated stuff. Focus on enjoying those movements even though they might be simple and do them 100%. Play all out. Nobody’s looking (hopefully right? ;). Give it all you got. You will be rewarded with a much deeper and satisfying experience than if you hold back. It might not be easy to fully go into it, on some days you might feel like you’re in the flow – on others not so much. Notice these fluctiations and keep enjoying yourself.

  • When you’re done reward yourself. Especially if it was difficult! Encourage yourself and cheer yourself on. Nobody else will do this for you. Take good care of yourself.

Since I made dancing to at least 1 song a day a ritual a little longer than a month ago, I have noticed myself feeling much more alive and vibrant. The biggest advantage is during and after dancing itself. It just feels amazing. Afterwards I’m almost always pumped and I’ve had some of the most productive periods of work after dancing. Overall I feel much more balanced and my body and mine feel synced.

Find out if you would enjoy to dance more often. If so then decide to do it. Set aside 5-10 minutes, find a private spot, put on some cool music and enjoy yourself. Do 1 song for 7 days as a start. What a great reward and what an amazing activity. When you have finished those 7 days look back on what has changed and on how your experience has been. Write me if you want – I’m excited to hear about your experience!

On Self-Love And Self-Respect

Growing up I had a terrible sense of Self-Love. I was a complete perfectionist, always beating myself up and never happy with the results I produced. This led to me feeling frustrated most of the time and not following through with projects because „I could never get it right“. I was afraid of not being good enough. Other people unconsciously picked this up and they too did not treat me as well as I would have liked. Not fun. If you are treating yourself poorly that is an invitation for other people to treat you poorly as well. Why should anybody respect you if you do not respect and love yourself?

Let’s imagine a different situation:
You love yourself. You have challenging but realistic expectations for yourself and you fulfill them most of the time. You respect yourself. You accept yourself. Suddenly someone treats you poorly. What do you do? Firstly you are not really that affected. Because you have your own love and respect. Secondly: you do not tolerate it. If you do not tolerate you yourself treating yourself poorly, why should you let anybody do that. Once you know how good it feels to treat yourself good and love yourself there simply is no way you are going for either treating yourself poorly or accepting other people’s bad treatment. It’s a no-brainer, once you have experienced on a regular basis how good it feels to be treating yourself amazing you just want to keep doing it. Nobody should be able to treat you as well as yourself. If you find someone who treats you better than yourself then you’re doing something wrong.

So here are some simple and actionable tips for developing your sense of Self-Love, Self-Respect and Self Acceptance.

  1. Reward yourself regularily for little and big successes. Good job! Well done!
  2. Forgive yourself for failures. Really learn to fully forgive yourself. The price you have to pay for not forgiving yourself is simply too high. Forgive. It. Feels. Good.
  3. Learn from your failures (also called learning experiences). Develop a constructive mindset.
  4. Find more and more things you love about yourself. Make a liste every day. Think about 3 things you love about yourself right now.
  5. Do something good for yourself every day. Find out what feels amazing to you and do more of that. Eat something healthy, really enjoy a shower, go for a walk, meet with friends, say something nice to yourself. Feel how good it feels.
  6. Value your opinion about yourself over other people’s opinion of you. Not easy? Practice. You are the #1 authority on your life. You write the script. Everybody else is just an actor in your movie.
  7. Have clear rules for when you have succeeded. By YOUR definition, not by other people’s. If you say something is a success – it is. Period. Even if your boss or your friends say otherweise. Your reality. Once this is firmly established you can gently open to feedback and start learning. From a strong stance and with you valuing your opinion over other people’s.
  8. Make it easy for yourself to succeed. Set attainable and clearly defined goals so you know when you have succeeded. Create many little opportunities to succeed, like making your bed in the morning as you get up. Little successes create momentum.

Trying even only of of the above will help you to be on the way to developing more Self-Love, Self-Respect and Self-Acceptance every day. Enjoy the increase in your quality of life. Yes!

Good job reading this and hopefully now thinking about implementing some of it. Investing time and energy in constructive and practical self-development is a great habit to cultivate. As is consciously practicing Self-Love. Have an outstanding day because you deserve it!

Breaking free from stress

Earlier today I was sitting at my desk in front of the computer:

cat on laptop - just browsing

I had a long list of things on my mind (and on paper). Things I felt I HAD to get done by the end of the day. I felt torn apart by the sheer amount. Thoughts about prioritization rushed through my head. But there was something a lot deeper going on. Something that took my breath and joy away. It would be a ridiculous understatement to say that I “did not feel good”. One of the things was taking time to meditate. Funnily enough the very thing that should help with this kind of condition I had placed in the future as well. The goddamn meditation was actually making my suffering worse. It just became another thing that I had to get done. All the plans were towering around me and shouting at me why I wasn’t making any progress. I felt full of anger and disappointment. It was just enough.

angry cat in front of a computer

I then managed to get up, away from the computer (turning the damn thing off). Always a great first step. Still my emotions did not change. I felt like my whole life was at stake. Everything depended on me being productive – NOW. Being productive like five people all on my own. Then it suddenly came to me.

I said “F*ck it all. I don’t give a sh*t about *insert your outcome and goal here*”. I let it all go. I just let go in that very moment…

Suddenly a feeling of deep calmness came over me. That moment I realized that it in fact on a deeper level it did not matter at all if I achieved my goals. If things went a certain way or not. If “I” was a certain person with certain skills and so on. All that was really important was that I was here now. Who- or whatever “I” was. That did not mean that I stopped caring about my goals. But by pushing them away harshly they somehow returned to their proper place. It became clear to me that I “wanted” those things, outcomes, skills, experiences and so on – but I did not “need” them. Because needing them equaled suffering.

Just by letting go of needing to have it happen in a certain way – all the pressure was alleviated. It suddenly felt ridiculously good. All that outcome-dependancy had shown me how ridiculous it is to be outcome dependent. Not enjoying the doing itself. I had lost connection with the present and with my emotions. Because I did not want to feel them: they were hurtful and not pleasant. The peculiar thing about this kind of emotional state is that by pushing the emotion away – one can not transcend the state. One has to go through the unpleasantness to arrive at peace and breath yet again. Fully taking in the irritation and suffering as part of what is at that moment. Observing it without judgement. If you start doing that – amazing things will happen.

It’s great to be really driven and motivated. Next: being independent of the outcome while still believing in it. Working at it. This combination then makes the whole experience even more enjoyable!

PS: Writing a blog post was on my list as well 🙂