Whatever brings a naughty smile on to face

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I don’t know so much about the pleasure of being bad without hiding it. A while ago I began to feel, that this was an essential part of me, that was waiting to be discovered. The sensation was growing stronger, day by day, though I didn’t know how to approach the subject. I mean, you cannot just leave your house, desperately trying to be bad and not feel bad about it, being in your forties.

I know how to play according to the rules. I know what it means to make a lot of effort to be a good person. I know what it means to be a fair teacher. Usually a teacher for personal development, sometimes a German teacher.

I do also know, that whenever you really want to learn about something, life provides you with opportunities. My chance showed up in the last class of an intensive German course.

We played a game. Day 16 of 16.  Two students and I. We would play in order to practice the declination of adjectives in the third and fourth case, the most demanding thing out of everything, that we had been studying over the last four weeks.

First round. A board game, where luck decides the winner. The winner was Alex.

The plan was to play the game once and then continue with other stuff. But the fact is, that I hate to lose. It’s a weakness that people who know me well  know about me. It is one of the things  that I would like to be different. I would love to be a person that is okay with losing , who doesn’t feel bitter, left out, powerless and full of the need to get revenge. I find it embarrassing to be like this and usually I try to hide my emotions, which usually doesn’t work so well either.

At this moment something clicked and I heard myself saying:

“Now we are going to repeat the game and I will change the rules, because I want to win. From now on you will have to go back one square each time you make a mistake.  This will make sure that I will win because I am the teacher and I am a native, and this means that I won’t make a mistake. “

I suppose, I had this delighted smile on my face, because I felt true joy and couldn’t wait to start playing again.

They stared at me and were not sure, if I was serious, but then followed my instructions.

The level of concentration was tremendous. They gave everything. Part of the game was to invent phrases. Alex asked me for the word “cruel” in German. The word is “grausam”.  He chose the sentence “I know a cruel woman. “He had to decline the world “grausam” after deciding which case was needed for the word “Frau”. He said the sentence without the tiniest mistake and looked at me, leaving no doubt which woman he was talking about.

We laughed a lot.

In the end I won because  of luck. They hadn’t made one mistake in the entire game and I was so proud of them. I couldn’t imagine a better ending to the course.

I am still smiling whenever I think of this class.

This naughty smile inside is worth any trouble. It asks for more fun, for further breaking of rules, for more weird behavior and more laughter. It isn’t afraid of embarrassment and it doesn’t take anything too seriously. It is contagious though.

So what about you? What would awaken the naughty smile in your heart? Which rules in your personal life need to be bent or broken? What is the small, naughty thing, that you will do today?

Another courageous person

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I met Frida for half a year every Friday in the train. We taught German outside of Barcelona. She is young, bright and seems to be always in a good mood.

“The fear that I encountered mostly in my life has been the fear of losing people. What helped was thinking a lot about this – until I realized, that my life doesn´t end, if somebody abandons me.”

“Sometimes in Yoga I am really afraid of doing the handstand. I never force myself to do it.  I trust, that it will be different another day. And usually it is.”

In the boxing ring with limiting beliefs

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The existence of limiting beliefs is indubitable. They seem to be everywhere – fixed mindsets about who we are, about other people and life in general. Their actual content is not so relevant.  “I am selfish. I am stupid. I am not loveable. Life is hard. I have to work harder. I should be self- sufficient. Others don’t see me. I am old. I am too young.” These beliefs can be about almost anything.

There are many methods we can use to deal with these limiting beliefs in order to free us from them, to broaden our perception, to stretch our small minds. I have tried many of them, both working with clients and in my own life, and I am aware of the fact that this learning will never end.

Having said this, I rather enjoy the process of learning and I include the body in the search for an attitude towards beliefs rather than a solution.

Since limited beliefs are very solid and fixed, my approach is a flexible one. I don’t oppose them with positive thinking and I don’t try to prove them wrong. Instead, I prefer to get to know them. So, the first thing is to put a question mark at the end of a fixed phrase. “I am selfish and should care more for others,” becomes “I am selfish and should care more for others?” This little question mark changes the atmosphere, the mood, which is created by the limiting belief.

And here the investigation starts. There is no need to answer the question immediately. The best thing is to stay with the question for a while, to observe, to be open to finding answers in unexpected places. To look at the words and try to understand them on a different level. What does “being selfish” mean and what could be good thing about it? All kinds of questions are welcome. One of my favorites is, “What would your life look like without this belief?” because it opens a whole new world of possibilities.

Dealing with a belief through curious investigation is a good tool but it doesn’t work for all beliefs. Some of them seem to be very resistant. The reason is that beliefs are more than thoughts. They are strong feelings that are experienced in the body.

This is why it is effective to pay attention to your body while focusing on one of your strong beliefs. How does “I am stupid” feel in your body? How does it make you breathe? How does it dictate your posture? What does it do to the tone of your muscles? Identifying the belief in the body and letting it go, breathing into it and feeling it dropping away is a powerful way to diminish the power of this belief – in your body, mind and life.

Finally we will look at the beliefs that have resisted all our efforts. You investigated, questioned, identified it in the body, but it still sticks to you in its righteous way, not letting go of you, forcing its perception on you. This might happen because you are living through a difficult, painful or frightening moment in your life, or perhaps you made a mistake, one that you think you could have avoided, or maybe it’s because there is a wish in your heart that just won’t come true.

The scenario is you and your limiting belief in a boxing ring. Your nose is bleeding and your body hurts and the belief is smiling, almost sure of its victory. “You are unworthy, inadequate, unlovable, and you are proving it constantly,” whispers the voice in your head.  You are running out of arguments. You start to think that you deserve to lose. That the limiting belief is what is true. You stop defending yourself.

You take another blow to the head. This one wakes you up. You are able to see how hard this fight is for you and you are compassionate towards yourself, respecting yourself for fighting, no matter the outcome. This brings an incredible amount of energy to your body and you hit back like you never did before.

You might be highly sensitive

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Are you sensitive to loud noises, bright light or strong smells?

Are you drawn to beauty – art, nature or beauty in small things?

Are you quickly aware of other people´s emotions?

Do you need time alone to avoid being overwhelmed?

You might have a trait, called “Highly Sensitive”, like around 20% of the population do.

80 % of my clients are highly sensitive. I refused to dive deeper into this subject for a while, because I don´t like labels, still aware, that I scored in all the possible tests extremely high. In the end I gave in, because it was obvious, that my life could have happened so much smoother, if I had known about my trait. And first of all – I saw, that my clients learned so much faster, once knowing about their trait. I could see the instant relief in them and the beginning of appreciating who they were.

I stopped wondering, why this type of clients learned so fast, because it was evident. My work could be described as a sensual way of learning. Touch is used to connect the client with his or her senses, allows the nervous system to relax and the mind to calm down. A big part of my work is about the client finding his or her inner and outer resources in order to confront difficult situations in life and highly sensitive people learn very fast this way.

The so called “being overwhelmed” or “over aroused”, an experience, which makes you feel, that everything is too much, can be detected as a whole body experience and the client learns tools to calm down the nervous system in a very efficient way.

Vulnerability and sensitivity are not the most popular character traits in our society. This means, that some highly sensitive people have learned to reject who they are and try hard to be different in order to be accepted and adapt to their surroundings. Learning to allow to be sensitive and vulnerable needs courage, but feels for many highly sensitive people like coming home.

If you got interested in the subject, feel free to contact me, or read more in Elaine Aron´s webpage. http://hsperson.com/

 

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Personal interviews

In 2015 I interviewed people about “Personal courage.” It was a beautiful experience for all of us.

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Laura:

I talked to Laura about “Personal Courage” in April 2015, shortly before she left Barcelona to travel around the world. Right now you might meet her somewhere in Mexico.

“As a child I wanted to be an archeologist like Indian Jones, travelling and having adventures. Later on l understood courage as being hard and persistent, to stand situations. This had nothing to do with Indianer Jones.

I ended a relationship, which I could have easily continued for much longer, but it didn´t make me happy. This was very scary, because I thought I wouldn´t be able to manage on my own.

The difficult part was getting to the point of taking the decision. Fear seemed like a big mountain. Once the decision was made, everything fell into place.

A question, that I ask myself often is: Do I see myself in the same place in ten years? In ten years, being in the same place – would I regret having stayed for ten more years? It is a question that helps me to see if I have to move on.”

 

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Jaume:

Jaume is my favorite cook. I adore his creativity and passion when it comes to food.

When I was talking to Jaume last year, he had just left his job with the plan of creating a business out of his passion.

I found it especially interesting how he talked about the starting point of taking a decision, that requires courage. In his opinion it makes a difference, if you leave a situation, because you go for something better, or if you run away of it without confronting your fear. In case of just running away, you will meet the same thing in future situations. He also talked about just staying in a situation without facing your fears, which he sees almost as not living.

Shortly ago he has opened his business. It’s called Ffloda, an amazing place for people, who love cooking as well as for the ones, that would like to learn how to spend less time in the kitchen, while still preparing delicious and healthy meals. Have a look at: http://ffloda.com/

 

If you don´t have butterflies in your belly, if your belly doesn´t hurt anymore, if you are not excited anymore, means you are dead.

If you are in a situation, that makes you afraid and you don´t face your fear and run away, you will meet the same thing in the future.  Not facing your fear, not taking decisions and just staying means not living.

I left my job two months ago to start my own business.  I was surprised, when people told me, how courageous I was to leave my secure job for creating my dream job in my age. I hadn´t thought a lot about my age when I took this decision.

I don´t want anything big. My business will be small and stay small. I want to get my hands dirty, working, not growing bigger and managing other people work for me.”

Can we learn to be courageous?

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One of the definitions of courage says, that it is the ability and willingness to confront fear and pain.

Willingness seems to be a personal decision, but from my experience this decision is easier to make, if our ability to deal with fear and pain is highly developed.  If we are more skilled, it is easier to be courageous.

I look at courage as something personal, on a very deep, intimate level. What frightens me, doesn´t make you afraid in the same way, what you need courage for, may seem easy to me. Courage as a personal experience means most of the times to take the very next, small step, that brings us closer to who we are and connects us to the people and the world around us.

We don´t need to be heroes:

We might think, that we have to overcome fear in order to be courageous, which leads us many times to harm ourselves. We might train ourselves to do things in spite or fear, but suffer through the experience.  Or we might be so scared, that we avoid fear and pain and suffocate, living a life, that feels safe, but lacks meaning.

My teaching about daring takes a different path. It means a sensual learning of paying attention to our body and our surrounding in order to react accordingly. It means enjoying excitement and moving towards interesting, fulfilling things and moving away from danger. Our minds may be confused about the distinction but our bodies usually aren´t.

Although courage sometimes takes us to life changing decisions, daily life is about small things like daring to say something, that others won´t like, struggle with the fear of being alone, postponing the acts, that frighten us like answering a mail or facing a difficult task at work. It´s about enjoying to play the guitar in front of people and about saying no, when we feel a clear no in our guts, although this “no” might not be appreciated by others.

It is a life time lesson. You will learn about courage throughout your life, if you chose to and if you don´t.  If you chose, take the joyful way, it will work better.