Monthly Archives: June 2019

saying yes more

How saying more YES creates Joy!

Every Thursday I have my Mama Day, and today it was my Thursday with my lovely kids Noam (boy almost 4) and Misha (girl, 2). Although after several hours of being a lovely mindful parent to my lovely kids, the loveliness started to fade and turned into annoying children and annoying mom. You know the moment when you feel the kids are either hungry or tired and they are all over the place while wearing invisible headphones with loud techno music on?

Same goes for me. I start feeling more tired and uncontrollable and my tolerance level goes from 7/8 (on a good day) to let’s be honest 2 maybe 2.5. And today that happened around 11am. You see, while I was having my 1 minute toilet break these two monkeys started taking all the plates from the kitchen cabinet (luckily most of them were plastic) and putting them in the hallway on the floor. As you can imagine, after seeing everything spread all over the floor, my first instinct was to say (or shout), ‘What are you doing??? The plates will get dirty and we have to clean all of them! Why didn’t you ask me if this was ok’!

 Luckily, before the fear voice broke her silence I caught myself and asked, ‘So what’s the problem here? Aren’t they just being super creative’? So, I managed to twist the fear into an opportunity to create a Kitchen game. I took away the few breakable items they took and the game started. Both of them wore a Chef’s hat that we created by putting a diaper on their heads and towels all around; turning the two lovely monkeys into incredible creative and funny looking chefs. We played our chef game for an hour and the restaurant guest (me), who was extremely hungry and just wanted to have all the meals possible, would overeat but then suddenly get hungry again…and again…and again. It was really fun! 

When I look back on this moment, I realise how often I say NO to Yes moments. In saying NO I’m not only disconnecting with my kids, because a No is never nice to say, but equally important I’m missing out on a spontaneous and creative moment with my kids.

Especially when a person is tired or hungry it is so easy to go into automatic pilot, and I realized that often when I am on this automatic pilot, a NO is just an automatic reaction. I don’t have to think much or do anything complex if the answer is NO. But actually, a NO is doing the opposite, because you spend time explaining to your kids why you said NO. You have to deal with opposition from you kids, and eventually, deep down inside you are not being particularly proud of all the NO’s you throw out there because let’s face it, it’s not really something that brings your kids closer to you. I also believe that this does not only apply to kids. This definitely applies to many areas and relationships. It applies to all people in general. 

I would like to encourage you to pay attention to your NO’s, and see whether you can become more mindful when you throw them out there, does it really have to be a NO or can you use the NO-situation to create a fun and creative activity?

Eckhart Tolle

10 WAYS TO BE MORE IN THE NOW

(this is part two of a blog series. Read the first part here). 

Living in the NOW is one of the most effective ways to deal with an overthinking mind? I would like to share with you some tools I use to help me live in the NOW and hopefully you too can become a thought catching Zen master!

First things first: how do we become more aware of our overthinking mind? Any time you find yourself doubting, complaining or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at how you are reacting to the situation. When you are aware of your overthinking mind, you are planting a seed of change! The more you do this the easier it gets.

Once you are in this new space in your mind I suggest that you feel into the overthinker by acknowledging that he/she/it is there. You can, for example, say, ‘Hey, I see you’. By doing this you are acknowledging it…and whether we think so or not…we all want to be acknowledged on some level including our overthinking mind. Often by just acknowledging the thought, your overthinker will say, ‘Hey thanks for noticing me’ and then go away. However, sometimes it might not be as easy as that. Below are some suggested ways you can work through the overthinking once you’ve acknowledged it.

  1. Meditate.

A great tool that is practiced by many to live more in the now and be more aware of the overthinker is by practicing meditation. There are many meditations out there such as focusing on your breath, on your walk, on sounds around you, on your body, and more. All of them offer you the opportunity to be in the now and to observe your thoughts while being in the now. If you have never meditated before, no worries, this is your chance to quiet your mind. There are many apps out there that offer free meditations. I use Insight Timer and Buddhify. But there are many others out there so go have a look. 

  1. Cultivate Awareness.

Another tool is to print one of these posters below and to hang it somewhere you will see it daily.  This is a form of subconscious positive affirmation. Just by seeing it daily you are planting a seed of change…subconsciously. How easy is that!

thought catcher

aware overthinker

  1. Visualize the good things!

Remember how often we overthink the future? All those scary and negative things that will happen in 1 day or 1 month or even a year? I don’t know about you but I’m no fortune teller and so it is impossible for me to predict the future. So, instead of thinking the worst, try and think positively! Think about all the things that could go right. Visualizing is a really good tool for this. For example, if you’re not looking forward to attending say wedding of an acquaintance, try and think of all the things that you will hate about this wedding, but then also think about all the possible good things that could happen. For instance, maybe they’ve hired an awesome DJ that played every single one of your favorite songs! Or, maybe you meet a great business connection or see an old friend you hadn’t seen in years. Or maybe the meal will be amazing, and the full-fat chocolate cake is calorie free! The trick here is to twist your thinking so more positive thoughts are in your mind than negative!

  1. Change your perspective.

What helps me a lot when I overthink, especially when overthinking the past, is that I try and ask myself,  ‘What would I tell a friend’? For example, I am worried about the fact that I shouting at my kids when they flooded the bathroom by putting a towel in the sink and left the water running.  After I clean up the mess, I start to feel guilty for shouting. This sends me down that emotional shame spiral. That is, until I become aware of it and I ask myself what would I say to Jennifer (who is a good friend) if she had done the same thing? I for one would not advise her to beat herself up over it! I would say acknowledge the guilt but move on. I would then probably remind her of all the great things she does as a mother and to be kind to herself. So, just as you would a good friend, show yourself kindness…be a good friend to yourself…not an enemy.

  1. Accept the situation or change it.

There are only two ways you can go when it comes to overthinking: the downward overthinking spiral OR living in the NOW. So once you’ve acknowledged those feelings asking yourself, ‘Will I accept the situation or change the situation’? Just like Eckhart Tolle says (yep him again): ‘All else is madness’! So think about whether you can accept the situation you are in? Think maybe in a way that you even choose the situation you are in? How would you handle that? And if you cannot accept it then change it. The most important thing here is to not overthink the situation so it will haunt you for hours or weeks!

  1. Explore the fear, then distract yourself.

Distraction in itself is a good one, but I would first suggest acknowledging and feeling into what negative emotions or thoughts you are having and tell yourself, ‘I see you negative thought’.  After acknowledging it try then to distract yourself! For example, listen to your favorite song that lifts your spirits and makes you dance (obviously nothing by Radiohead)! Or get creative. I love to paint! It’s my go-to feel good distractor. Do whatever makes you feel better. My feel good song is Jenny don’t be hasty by Paulo Nutini’s. I honestly can’t stop myself from moving to this song.  After a bit of distraction, those negative thoughts don’t seem so big.

  1. Will it matter in the future?

One very good tool is to ask yourself, ‘How much will it matter in 4 years’? This question is particularly good if the overthinking has gone on for a while and you’ve worked yourself into a good old negative rut! Again, first, try to be aware of the overthinker, then acknowledge the overthinker, and say, ‘Will this actually matter in 4 years’? The answer will most likely be that it actually won’t even matter next month or maybe even tomorrow? So, overthinker, get out of my head! 

  1. Timebox overthinking.

Give the overthinker a timer. We all have these worries and overthinking thoughts. What if we can acknowledge them by giving them a specific time to come out? For example, at 16.30 I will have my overthinking time, where I will allow myself to overthink for 5 minutes. This means that whenever my overthinker comes before or after 16.30 I tell him/her that it’s not their time yet, but that I reserved a special time for her/him. 

  1. Be grateful!

Gratitude is a great way to invite more positiveness into your life and ultimately decreasing your overthinking. You can make a daily or weekly list of all the things you are grateful for, hang it up, exchange it with a friend or colleague or whomever you think can handle all this gratitude. What I often do is when I lay in bed I name 3 things that I am grateful for today. I try to name small things like the hug my daughter gave me this morning, or that I was able to be aware of a fear today, or that I came home and my husband did the groceries. And this is a great way to acknowledge all the amazing little things around me!

  1. Follow your instincts and act.

Trust your instincts and throw the Teddy! I bet you’re wondering what that means. Well, you know how we all sometimes have great ideas, ideas that come from deep down, from our inner child, from our instincts. These ideas are often spontaneous and great, but how often does the overthinker come in and beat the shit out of this great idea? Well too often. So, I suggest that you challenge yourself and act on your instincts. To do this you must respond like a reflex: within 5 seconds and see what joy or maybe craziness this will bring to your life? An example, not so long ago, my brother-in-law threw my son’s teddy bear at me while we were cleaning up. My first instinct was to throw it back at him, and before my mind could come up with reasons why not to throw it back at him, I just did it and we had so much fun just throwing a teddy bear around. Then my sister and husband joined in, it got ridiculously fun that is until my son decided his Teddy had had enough and shouted, ‘Leave my Teddy alone’. You see this precious moment would not have happened if I would have not reacted quickly on my instincts. A possible missed opportunity…missed living your best life.

Conclusions.

I truly hope (and believe) that you will find several tools that will work for you. So go on and take the challenge and experiment with them. A great way of discovering what works is to keep a journal. Write down what fear you experienced and how you dealt with it? When you write things down it helps you to clear your head, make important connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and as a bonus, it might make you feel less stressed! And less stressed is exactly what we all could use now and then? 

Wishing you a lot of luck in your path to become a professional ‘Thought Catcher’! 

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears

Ta ta!

overthinking

WE ARE NOT WHAT WE OVERTHINK!

Thinking, especially our ability to connect the dots and our amazing memory is something that distinguishes us from animals and maybe some aliens? However, in this society, our species became so good at thinking that it is almost safe to say that we became obsessed with thinking and many of us turned into overthinkers.

I first want to address what overthinking is and why I believe it serves no good. In the second part of this article, I will highlight 10 ways on how to deal with overthinking so you can live a more mindful and less stressful life. 

What is overthinking?

Well, there are several definitions. To me, it means that we as humans analyse, comment, and repeat the same (negative or in some cases positive) thoughts over and over again. We don’t act, we overthink. This doesn’t serve a purpose because you basically go over and over the same thing and make yourself slightly miserable with negative thoughts.

When we examine overthinking a bit deeper we can break it into two main categories: the past and the future. Both categories of overthinking are likely to cause unnecessary worries, stress, and anxiety. Welcome to our overthinking society!

 Overthinking the past.

So, let’s dive into overthinking the past. This happens when we feel insecure about something that has been said or done to us or that we have said or done to someone else. Do you catch yourself saying things like, ‘Why did I say that to her’, or ‘What did he mean when he said that my hair looks nice today’?  Basically, overthinking the past is when you can’t stop thinking about an event, a person, something that happened in the past, or on a problem. Instead of looking for a solution, taking initiative and being active, you just keep thinking and cannot get it out of your own head. This doesn’t sound healthy right? And it’s not! However, it’s very likely that we’ve all experienced this at one point our lives, some of us more than others.

 Overthinking the future. 

The second form of overthinking is in the future. While many have been praised for this ability to predict economic, political, or cultural happenings, I believe that many of us should stop overthinking about the future; especially negative overthinking. We are not fortune tellers, and we shouldn’t even want to be fortune tellers, as life would become quite dull if we would know what would happen next. However, we humans like to have control over the future, and therefore we love to analyse the crap out of things. Oh no the weather forecast looks like shit! Our entire weekend will be shit! Or, oh no I have a headache! My meeting in 3 hours will be horrible! These are all unnecessary thoughts (overthinking) that cause us to feel miserable. If you just take a paracetamol now, your headache will be gone in 3 hours!

 What about overthinking the Present?

It is very possible to overthink the present. Take for example worrying or complaining about something like the way your hair looks today or when someone screams ‘asshole’ at you when you’re in their way. These moments are potential overthinking moments.  Take for example the naughty person that dared to scream ‘asshole’ at you when you were cycling to work. In that split second, you judge him, ‘Man he was an asshole’. This is a totally relatable reaction. However, if this experience comes back to you several times during the day, that is overthinking; your present afterthought just became a past overthink.  And from experience, this serves no good purpose.  So, while it is possible to overthink the present, people are more prone to overthink the future and past.

You are not your thoughts.

The big problem of our current society is that we are trapped in our minds and are therefore continually simulating past and future events. Many of us believe that what we think is true and identify ourselves with what we are thinking. Additionally, more often than not we take our overthinking selves waaay too seriously. Living this way restricts us from living our best lives. Eckhart Tolle, a bestselling author on the Power of Now says, ‘Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be’. 

Once I was able to grasp what he was talking about my whole life changed! So, whenever I hear myself overthink something and therefore get myself in a negative thought spiral, I can now laugh about it, because I don’t take my thoughts serious. They are in my head, yes, but that doesn’t mean that they represent who I am. So, who am I then? Well, if I can catch myself overthinking something, then I am the one who caught myself overthinking, right? So, I am the awareness behind the thought, the one that can catch it! I am the thought catcher! It is important that you get this because once you do, and you are able to take your thoughts less serious, you will be able to become more aware of the overthinking and live a healthier life in the now!

catching thoughts

Make the NOW the primary focus of your life!

So, what about the NOW? Eckhart Tolle (he seems to have figured this stuff out), has another amazing quote that says, ‘Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life’.  So the NOW is all we have. All we actually can control. So, many of us are occupying ourselves with the past and future in our minds and the now is not being lived. And that my friends is a huge shame!

Being in the now is the easiest and the most difficult thing out there. Easy because it is accessible for all immediately, and difficult because many don’t know how to access it.                                                                    

Read about 10 ways to be more in the NOW here.

School

Mom, I don’t want to go to school!

Today I feel like a super clever detective that linked two seemingly ‘unrelated’ things together! And guess what, it all started with a fear! While I was talking with my son Noam about him almost going to school and how exciting this will be, he said, ‘But I don’t want to go to school mam’. ‘Oh, really’? I answered. ‘But Noam, can you tell me why’? He replied: ‘Because there will be bigger kids and I don’t like bigger kids’. Well, my first instinct was to tell him that there will not be bigger kids, but kids of his age. So I said exactly that. I also said that it’s ok to be afraid and that it’s something new that he will have to go through. And I saw him feeling slightly better.

However, right on cue, the worry voice started. ‘OMG, what if he hates school? What if he comes home every day with tears in his eyes? What if he will get teased? He will cry everyday’? Detecting fear my calm Zen voice said, ‘HOHOH! How do you know that this will happen? Remember you cannot control the future? You can worry now and drive yourself slightly crazy, but at the end of the day, you are not in control of the future’! So, I recognised the fear and let it pass like a cloud. But then something else happened that brought this fear to a new dimension. A deeper dimension.

While I was biking to a client, I passed by a school and I saw all these kids running around. Some kids were in a circle listening to the teacher, while others were playing alone. This triggered something in me, and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking, ‘Omg this looks awful. They are totally being controlled by the teachers’. You see, I actually thought school is a horrible place and that Noam will totally be controlled or teased once he goes to school! And then magic happened! I realized that the fear for school doesn’t only come from my son, it is actually in me! I fear school too!

Then I remembered that every time I pass by a primary school I have this knot in my stomach. You know the one that just doesn’t feel right. I’ve never really given it power or thought before…until today. I must admit I had a challenging time in primary school. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 8. The upheaval of moving countries and schools was a very difficult time for me.  I’m convinced that my underlying fears and experiences for the primary school were causing these negative thoughts.

I then began to think. ‘What if I am actually, unconsciously passing my own fears on to my son? Projecting this fear onto him through my unconscious reaction to this topic? Could this be? Wow, this fear goes deeper than I thought’! So, I decided to confront this fear not just for myself but also for my son. And I will tell you how I did it.

How do you deal with a deeper fear?

So, the very same day, after meeting up with my client, I cycled by the same school I saw earlier that day and I stopped. I sat down and just watched the kids play. I remember thinking that luckily, I am not a man, so people won’t think I am some kind of pedophile watching kids. Which is actually a horrible thought, I know. But that’s a topic for another blog. 🙂

While sitting there I did a short breathing meditation; just following my breath, calming and focusing my mind on what I was about to do. After that, I looked at the kids and observed them. I observed them having fun, running, shouting, and playing. I also observed somewhat sadder kids. Or the ones that were playing alone. And thought, to myself that it’s ok. Maybe they don’t like school, but there will be a moment in their lives when they will realize that this moment maybe made them stronger human beings. Maybe it will make them more empathetic to others that are sad because they are able to recognise this feeling. I hoped that when they went home that loving parents were waiting for them and could listen to their stories. I also thought that maybe they are not sad, but just have a sad expression on their faces and that I am just seeing what I want or expect to see? 

And then I turned towards my inner child, The 10-year-old me. And I wrote down all the good moments I remember during primary school. The great activities we did, like camping in the wild, the amazing friends I had that were all from different nationalities and taught me all about different cultures, made me totally open to other religions, and made me curious to travel to other countries. My first kiss happened in primary school, and that was very scary but also a special moment.

And then I also wanted to confront the negative memories: like my scary and strict teacher who caught me borrowing (she called it stealing) a book with all the answers to a test. And how she punished me by writing I shouldn’t be stealing 100 times on the blackboard. I remembered the bully in the class that was in love with my sister, but the bully thought that he will get her attention by being mean to her. So, I had to step in and fight for her, as I was always the stronger and the more aggressive one. I remember all the heartbreaks that came with being a young teenager. I remember how, together with a friend, I made the final test which would determine which level of secondary school we would go to. This was totally forbidden but we did not get caught and I am sure because of this I had a higher score. I also remembered feeling different from the Dutch kids because of my Belarusian background and my very Russian last name Cheriakova. I so longed to be considered a Dutch kid.

So, I wrote these not so good memories down and just sat there and realized that all the good and the bad memories I had all in some way made me who I am today: a resourceful, creative and strong person. And I would really want my son to create his own good and bad memories of primary school because I cannot control his future, and it doesn’t help to worry about it either.  But most of all, I know that I will be there for him to support him with whatever bad or good memories he comes home with. 

The big lesson here is that some fears carry a bigger message, and you can spot them by simply being aware, and paying attention whether it is something that comes back now and then. Just like our Eckhart says, ‘Anything that you resent and strongly react to, in another is also in you’. For me, this was my son’s reaction to school. And I noticed that this was definitely in me! It was my own fear of school that I reacted to whenever my son talks about school. And only when I deal with my own demons from the past, I will be able to deal with his fears in a healthy way.

I would like to encourage you to pay attention to your own recurring fears. What is it that you react strongly to? Is it a person or something like being alone, pirates, people being arrogant or maybe it is shopping? Everything you react strongly to means that there is something behind it, something that might have happened in your past that is causing this strong reaction. Be mindful of that, as I truly believe that if you spot the fear and face it, you will be able to rise, grow, and be a kinder person to yourself and others. Good luck with it and enjoy it, as this means you are working on yourself and growing!

garlic soup

Fear of the garlic soup.

My husband decided to make pumpkin soup. While we (me and the kids) were eagerly waiting for the soup to be ready, we heard my husband shouting from the kitchen. ‘AAH SHIT!  I’m afraid I put too much garlic in the soup’. The smell that was wafting from the kitchen smelled nothing like pumpkin soup just a very strong garlic aroma. This doesn’t sound like a major problem, right?

Well, my mind would disagree. ‘OMG, he is terrible at cooking. I will just have to make it myself next time’. The voice continued, ‘Now the kids will have stomach issues and we won’t sleep because Misha (our youngest daughter sometimes has tummy troubles) will wake up 6 times in the night and it will be a horrible day tomorrow’!

WOWOWOW, fear voice you need to step down.

Once I was able to quiet all that noise I thought about what Eckhart Tolle says about the future and how we can’t control it so why worry about it. Worrying won’t change the future, so why worry?  So yes, why should I worry about the garlic soup that might or might not cause Misha to have stomach pain in the night?

So I let go. I played nicely with the kids until the soup was ready and we ate our garlic soup…which wasn’t even that bad (it wasn’t good either). And guess what, Misha didn’t wake up in the night! What a delight it is to be in the now and not in the future. What a change in perspective it is to be able to be aware of my thoughts, so they won’t control my present moments.

So how do you deal with fear?

Well first, you have to be aware of the negative thoughts. That is already a big challenge believe me! What helps me a lot next to meditation, is to believe and remember that we are not what we think, we are the awareness behind the thinking. This means that we are able to be aware of our thoughts, but only when we realize that our thoughts are not who we are.

Once you’ve recognised your negative thought (congrats) you enter level two: you can choose to accept the situation or change the situation. In my case, I decided to accept the fear and by this, I mean I recognised the fear but didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t change the situation. I could have for example made a new soup. But, I let it pass and just enjoyed the moment, celebrating my own little victory on my fear of garlic soup!

I truly believe that we all are capable of being more aware of our negative thoughts, which will empower us to say, ‘Hey Mister Fear, I see you but I choose to not take you serious’! Imagine what this can do in our daily lives, for our relationships with other people, and to our entire environment!

fear of forgetting fears

Fear of forgetting my fears.

This morning I had an amazing fear. Unfortunately, I forgot it as quickly as it came and that caused a lot of frustration. I started to blame myself, ‘Why did I forget to write it down. You should know better. If you don’t write it down immediately you will forget it’!

But then I thought, ‘But wait, this is exactly something I never considered was a worry or fear and here I am worrying about it’? This worry was in the past and it’s something I can’t control because it already happened. The only thing I can do is to not I let it capture me in this moment. So, I accepted it, thought of what I would say to a friend who would have forgotten something, and told myself that this happens to the best of us, that I need to trust myself that either it will come back to me or another fear will soon appear.

I laughed and started to sing that song,  ‘Have a little faith in meeeee, have a little faith in meeee.  And while John Hiatt sang to some girl to have faith in him, I think all of us can sing this to ourselves, that we should have a little faith in me, in ourselves! This totally helped me to relax, laugh even more, and trust myself!

So maybe you can also use a song when you fear something to help you relax or to laugh about your worries or fears or whenever or whatever negative thoughts appear?

rain will get us wet

Beeeh rain will get us all wet!

You might recognise this situation. You made a plan to go somewhere and then it’s pouring outside and all these voices in your head are telling you: ‘Nooo don’t go out there, beeeh, you will get wet’! Looking out the window my fears crept in. In 20 minutes, I was meant to leave for my mother’s house with the kids. ‘You will get totally soaked. The kids will get sick’. That inner voice was trying to convince me that while biking to my mom’s house all these bad things were going to happen…just because it was raining. Luckily my fear alert went on and then I thought of ways to flip these fears around.

What positive benefits could cycling through the rain possibly have, I thought. Well, the first one is that I teach my kids that rain is not as bad as it looks. This is one value I really want to pass on to my kids: there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing! I believe this experience of biking through the rain may teach them that rain, clouds, wind, and storms are as much fun as sunshine. I then thought about how much my mom would appreciate us coming to see her and seeing the kids. And then thought about how I must lead by example. If I had chosen to stay home after telling the kids we would go and visit grandma, they would see that mom is actually afraid of rain. So, I visualised our bike trip, all of us soaking wet but singing songs about the rain in the rain. And this was the best kick in the ass I needed to get the boots on and cycle to my mom’s. Because you know what, mommy is not afraid of the rain because mommy is a badass!

Once we were outside I told the kids to find the nicest puddle and jump in it! They did, 20 times. Eat that negative voice! Their happy faces were all I needed to see to confirm that what I am doing is the right thing. We then got on the bike and sang songs, just like I imagined. And we all arrived at my mom’s place safe and very happy….and yes, a little wet!

What do you do when it’s bad weather? Do you go out no matter what? Or does it stop you from doing things you want or planned to do? Just be mindful next time about your thoughts on this, and perhaps you can challenge yourself to see bad weather as an excellent opportunity to jump in a puddle!

Cars in traffic

Fuck these stupid cars!

Today after bringing my daughter to daycare I was biking home. And then suddenly at a crossing that I’m usually able to cross quite quickly there were so many cars that my automatic pilot went on and I realised that I was saying things like: ‘Fuck this, stupid cars, why now’? ‘Wow, wow, wow calm down’, I heard another voice say. ‘It’s not that bad’! I quickly picked myself up and flipped the negative voice and told myself to look around me. Look at the trees and the sky. Things I rarely take time to see. I also followed my breath for a little bit, as I was standing there, and then the unimpressed voice went: ‘Oh yes just breath in this ugly car exhaust, that’s healthy’. ‘Wow, wow, wow again! This negative voice is on a roll’!

So, I sort of ignored it and actually laughed about it, because isn’t it funny how this negative voice in my head is trying to get me in a bad mood? Maybe it has good intentions like trying to get me home as quickly as possible and the cars and traffic are obviously in its way. For a big part of my life this negative voice was quite prominent. So much so that it was indistinguishable from my normal internal voice. But now I do notice it, and I believe it doesn’t serve me at all. So, I choose to laugh about it and let it pass. It is amazingly empowering to realise how everyone has a choice to either follow the negative thoughts and deal with its consequences like being stressed out OR to say, this is just a thought, I will let it pass. And then the trick is to be present, to enjoy the road, the traffic, the trees, the sky, your breath or the sounds. Use these beautiful senses of ours to just be in the now. I will try to use the traffic as a way to be in the now, this will be my challenge, every time I get into a traffic jam, or stop for a red light, wait for a bridge to open or to close, I will look up, see the sky, and take a couple of good deep breaths, and just try to be in the now. Are you with me?

I don't feel like talking to her

I don’t feel like talking to her.

 

Today I didn’t want to talk to a person that I worked with and that I actually wanted to involve in a project of mine. I messaged her a week ago asking to discuss this project but then I somehow told myself, ‘I don’t feel like it, it’s going to be a negative talk and I would rather postpone it to some other day’. And there it was! Bam!!! Me being aware of this negativity self-talk! YOOHOO! So basically, I asked myself WHY. Why am I afraid to talk to her? And there it was. I had a fear that this person might judge me because I hadn’t contacted her for a while. That she might tell me to fuck off with my ideas and plans and that she wouldn’t help me.

But then I decided to challenge myself and call her ASAP. This is what happened: she picked up and we had a good conversation, she did tell me that she was a bit worried that I hadn’t called in a while, but also happy I did. I gave her my sincere apologies and we discussed a project I wanted her to be involved in and she agreed.

These are for me the moments when my fear can spiral and create more negativity. Taking this example; I could have believed this fear and insecurity, and I could have avoided her, believing that she didn’t want to work with me anymore. Moreover, this might have turned into me not daring to contact her at all, and I would have had to miss out on a great person in my life because I followed my fear. So, whenever you feel something negative towards another person, or you catch yourself making up excuses why not to contact someone, just think about it a bit deeper and asking yourself why you are doing it? Try not to fool yourself with the answer, because at the end of the day you only grow when you are honest with yourself and your thoughts. Is it a fear or an insecurity talking? Maybe think of the worst thing that could happen to you if you did what you are afraid to do?

 

My son will be so unhappy!

I caught myself today in a long dialogue with myself in my head. Two voices were the main characters: one called ‘Guilty’ and the other one ‘Give me a break’. And they were discussing the topic of my son Noam going to his grandma’s in Switzerland for 7 nights. Both my husband and I have fears about the trip. It’s a long time for him to be away from home. My Guilty voice fears that, ‘This will cause Noam to have attachment issues forever as you are abandoning him and he will hate you forever, you bad mom’. Then the ‘Give me a break’ voice answers back by saying, ‘He will have a great time at grandma’s, dont listen to this crazio! And what about ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’? Followed quickly by Guilty, So you want to traumatize your son so much that it will nearly kill him? How dare you, bad bad mom’! Good thing I caught this one before it got too far along because potentially it would make me feel bad for days, maybe weeks. So I thought about it and the important lesson Eckhart Tolle voiced, ‘You have no idea what the future looks like, so stop worrying’. It makes sense right? I can of course worry about whether my son will have an awful time at grandma’s and miss us so much that he will be completely traumatised, but will this really happen? Will it?  To be honest, I have no idea. It could happen but I have no control over it. So why am I worrying about it? Once I understood this I had two choices: I could either cancel the trip or prepare my son for the trip as much as possible. I decided to push Guilty to the side and prepare my son for this trip by explaining to him that it will be 7 nights, we can even make a small calendar so he will feel more empowered. I will also record some bedtime stories, so his grandma can play them and he will have my voice in the evening hopefully making him feel a bit closer to home. And yes…this also makes me feel much better! So Guilty…park it! Masha is driving this bus pretty damn well.

So, whenever you hear the guilty voice in your head, try to make a choice: accept it or take action…or both! This will give you a chance to not let yourself be controlled by negative thoughts and take action.