Mind, Soul

Why creativity matters and how to increase it ย 

This post is inspired by the wonderful book  “Big Magic” by Betty Dodson, who really opened my eyes about creativity. It is a life changing and witty book which I highly recommend to everyone, especially those who see themselves as not creative (as I did).
Many people think that they are not creative persons. Just because we don’t feel drawn to or posses a natural talent in the ‘real’ arts like writing or drawing, we label ourselves as uncreative. I have, of course, also thought about myself like that. For most of my life I told myself that I’m only an intellectual person. I liked history and science and somehow that meant that I could not be a creative person. Now that’s some stupid nonsense. But many of us fall into this trap.

The truth is that creativity is our human nature. Even when life was just a fight for survival, our ancestors somehow managed to find time for drawing pictures of animals into caves. 

We can’t be not creative. It’s simply not possible.

Everything we do is somehow creative. Gardening is creative. Dancing is creative. Baking is creative and so is literally everything that has some kind of ‘creation’. This creation doesn’t have to be special or even good, it can be utter crap as long as it comes from your heart.  

“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world” ~ Brenรฉ Brown

As humans we have the innate need to share and express ourselves. That is why I believe that we don’t only like to be creative, we have to be creative if we want to stay healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Creativity is a gift that comes from I-don’t-know-where and it needs to be expressed. It comes from our hearts and our longing for wonder and excitement. It makes us feel joyful and brings us to the present moment, which creates a lot of positive energy.
Feeding our souls with this kind of energy is exactly what we need to be happy. So if you really want a fulfilled life, you better let your heart run the show and start creating. 
But what should I create !?

Just create anything. It really doesn’t matter what. You don’t even need to be passionate about it. Most of us have multiple passions or none, so don’t worry too much about it. Just do what sparks your interest. That is enough. Some examples are:

  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Knitting
  • Painting
  • Story writing 
  • Blogging
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Making music
  • Decorating your house 
  • Collecting Post-Stamps
  • Making Videos 
  • Taking Pictures

The list goes on and on and on and on. There is something for you out there. Just try anything that you might like.

๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ

โญ๏ธ If you still feel uncreative and or/ unsure about what you want to do here are some tips to increase your creativity and follow your heart:
First of all you need to forget all those fears that are holding you back! They are nonsense and I’ll tell you why: 

  • I’m worried im not good enough/ not satisfied with the result.

Who cares, it’s not about that! It’s simply about doing something that you love for the sake of it! It’s just a game and the purpose is enjoyment, nothing else. If you create something beautiful in the process that’s great, but if you don’t that’s also great because the benefit comes from doing something and not from the result.

  • I don’t have talents/ no inspiration.

Bullshit ! I’m sorry (no I’m not) for saying it so bluntly but it’s true. I strongly believe that everyone has something to share. Even if you like building sculptures out of old milk bottles. It’s all good, as long as it’s fun. Just do anything that you are interested in. Even if it’s only a teeny tiny bit. Just see if there’s something you like and go for it. And if that’s not the right thing, drop it and try something else. Try everything. This whole world is abundant and you can choose to do everything you want. The world really is your playground.

  • I’m afraid of what other people think of me/my work.

Two things: Everything is completely subjective. Some people praise something that other people find absolutely shitty and vice versa. So someone is always going to critizise you. Even if you don’t do anything, so you might as well just follow your heart.

And second: Nobody thinks about you anyway! It’s a harsh truth, but it’s true. People are way to busy thinking about themselves. It may sound mean but in reality it’s wonderful! It means that you are completely free to do whatever you want with out needing to worry about the opinions of other people.

Still, I understand it’s not easy to get rid of this habit. So if you need more help and want to know how to stop caring what other people think about you, read this post.

  • I’m worried that I will fail

Don’t worry. You will fail, many times. And the only which will get wounded is your ego, which is really no big deal. It just feels uncomfortable, but if you put it into perspective is not a thing to fear. You gain way more than you lose, even if you fail. At least you gain experience and knowledge but most importantly you feed your soul when you exercise your creativity. So forgive yourself and move on. The next thing is already waiting for you.

If you have the courage to face your fears and start the creative process congratulations! It’s going to be a lot of fun. 

โญ๏ธ Here are some more tips to help you along the way: 

  • Discipline matters

To get good at something it is important to practice it and devote time to it. If you love a craft, show your craft that you love it by doing just that. Again and again. And it will love you back.

  •  Forget about perfection

You can’t attain it anyway. Perfection is impossible, because everything is subjective and perfectionistic standards are unattainable. The only thing that perfectionism will do is leave you feel insecure and unworthy which is dangerous for your creativity. So drop it and express everything you want with out feeling the need to make it perfect. 

  • Try out different ways of creativity

Even if your the worst at it, just do something else than you would normally do. Simply because it’s fun. It can be anything, from gardening to inventing stories, to singing a song, anything that sparks your interest. It will definitely increase your creativity and you will have fun in the process. 

  • Take care of yourself

You’re way more likely to be inspired and creative if you feel confident and beautiful. So practice self love and put on that dress which makes you feel invinsible. It will make all the difference, trust me. If you want more tips on how to love yourself and care for yourself more, head over to this post.

And always remember: The outcome does not matter. It never did. The only important thing is that you enjoy the process. Period.  
Like Betty Dodson, the author of “Eat Pray Love” puts it: “What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant? What do you love even more than you love your own ego?”.
Go ahead and do that. And your life will be a zillion times more magical, fun and fulfilling.

Creativity is sacred and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.

Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise-you can make anything.

So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?

The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.” ~Betty Dodson

What is your favorite way to express creativity?

Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ

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Mind, Soul

Why it is important to break the silence

Having to life in silence with our problems is one of the worst things that we can go trough. It makes us feel isolated and alone. We feel like you’re the only one who suffers from this particular problem. We feel like it shouldn’t be that way and somehow everybody does it right apart from ourselves. That increases the pain even more because we feel ashamed about not being okay. 
It is only until we finally find the courage to open up to others that we find out that others go through the same thing as we do. This can be immensely relieving because we recognize that we are not aliens or stupid or unworthy and that there are people sharing our experience. Trough sharing our thoughts we find community and feel less alone. 
Knowing we are not alone or strange makes it easier to completely admit our problems to ourselves, which is the first step to healing. Without being able to speak out we have to suffer alone and in the darkness, which makes it incredibly hard to overcome it suffering. 
Breaking the silence takes a lot of courage. It is not easy to show the world what you tried to hide for such a long time. But it is an extremely healing act. Once your are brave enough to take this step, your inner wounds will start to heal. So gather all your strength and get yourself out there. 
If you still feel insecure and don’t think you should share your suffering, here are some important things you should remember:

  

  • You are never alone. 

We are over 7 billion people on earth, no matter how weird your problem may seem to you, someone else is experiencing the same pain. 

  • You will help other people by speaking out. 

There are other people just like you who feel isolated and alone. They long for you to share your problem with the world, so that they too can find relief and start healing. When you open up you don’t only heal yourself I but others too.

  • You can speak out anonymously 

We are blessed with innumerable options for opening up anonymously through the internet. If you are afraid of speaking to people you know, or just don’t have someone who you trust, you can find self help groups in all social networks, blogs or help-hotlines you can call. Just google your problem and you’re sure to find relief. Just stay safe and don’t turn to websites that romanticize your problem. For example there are many sides which basically promote anorexia and while these side provide community they are dangerous and will make your suffering even worse. 
โ—๏ธIf you feel suicidal there are helplines in every country, just check for your country on this side.

  • The closest people in your life  might just not know what’s going on

Maybe you are so good at hiding your suffering or your relatives and friends are just really busy so that they don’t even know what’s going on. If you have someone you trust it is important for that person to know what’s going on so that they can help you in your healing process. Having a close relative or friends who you open up to can be super comforting and will take you out of you isolation. Even if you feel like nobody will understand you it is worth trying because just the act of breaking the silence is very relieving.

So please folks, never stop yourselves from opening up. Someone cares. Your are not alone and never have been. We are so interconnected, you just need to reach out to someone to find help. And others will find healing in your healing too. So start today with speaking out.
I hope you are all feeling okay and if not, go tell someone!
Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ

Body, Soul

How to find out which style of Yoga fits to you

Right now there are a  zillion different styles of Yoga, most of them with funny names and undefinable meanings. Because of the sheer number of them it’s easy to get confused about which style would fit to you.

If  you want to find out your perfect style you have to find out what exactly it is you want to gain from your Yoga practice first.Try getting clear about the following questions before you read the guide:

Do you want an intense workout or do you just want to relax?

Do you want to calm your mind and relief stress or is it more important for you to build strength and flexibility?
While most Yoga practices give you all of these benefits, some target the strength and flexibility aspect more, while others focus more on relaxtion, so it is important to know what you’re up to.

If you are clear about what you want and want to find out which Yoga style is best for you, read this explanatory guide on the most popular styles of Yoga. 

  • Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is “the original Yoga” and very ancient. It describes all the asanas (poses) out which the new styles teached in the west are made of. Although in this way most Yoga styles are Hatha Yoga styles, there are also specific Hatha Yoga classes.
In Hatha Yoga we perform different asanas, suited to the student. The poses are hold for some time while focusing on the breath, before we release and adopt another posture. Because there is no specific sequence to be followed, Hatha Yoga classes are never the same and can target completely different objectives. 

๐Ÿ‘ The main focus of Hatha is always to strengthen and stretch the body in order to achieve the best state of health possible while balancing mind and body. Therefore, Hatha Yoga is beneficial for everyone.  

You simply have to try out different classes because depending on the teacher, it can be too easy for some and too strenuous for others. That’s why I recommend trying out different teachers before you commit to one class.

  • Ashtanga

Ashtanga Yoga is a style that was popularized by Pattahbi Jois (search for his teachings on YouTube, they are amazing) in the 70s, but relies on an ancient system. It contains 7 complete Yoga sequences in which the asanas (poses) are linked by vinyasas, meaning that you flow from one pose into the other, which makes it more intense. Ashtanga Yoga is a difficult practice, containing many difficult asanas, but it is really nice to see how you evolve trough this practice because the sequence stays the same and you follow it strictly. This means that you practice the same flow every time which leads to fast progress. 

๐Ÿ‘ Ashtanga Yoga is perfect for you if you want an intense workout and like strict guidance. It’s good for the ambitious Yogis, who like to make progress and be able to see where they are on their Yoga journey. Because it’s so repetitious, it can also relief stress and calm your busy mind.

๐Ÿ‘Ž I would not recommend Ashtanga to those who just want to relax, as it is very physically demanding.

  • Power Yoga

Just as Hot Yoga is the “westernized” form of Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga is actually a less strict form of Ashtanga Yoga. Benefits and contraindications are the same, but the sequence and asanas are different and it is not that strict.

  • Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhry about 30 Years ago and is one of the most popular Yoga styles right now. During Bigram Yoga, 2 Pranayama (breathing exercises) and 26 asanas are performed in a specific order. All of this happens in a room heated to 40 degree Celsius, which will have all parts of your body dripping with sweat. Literally, all parts. (Did you now that the inside of your ears could sweat?!)

These are the different Bikram Yoga poses :

๐Ÿ‘ Due to the heat Bikram Yoga increases your flexibility immensely and prevents stretch-related injuries. It is also very good for detoxing and losing weight, as you sweat everything out. Heat is also proven to have a calming and stress relieving effect, which makes Bikram Yoga a good choice if you want to rebalance yourself.

๐Ÿ‘Ž It is not recommended to try Bikram if you have any illness that will make you faint due to heat, or if you are just in general too sensitive to sustain physical movement in a hot environment.

  • Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is actually very similar to Bikram Yoga, they just don’t stick to the sequence developed by Bikram himself, so they had to invent a new name but the benefits stay the same.

  • Vinyasa 

Vinyasa Yoga  or Vinyasa Flow Yoga is all about movement. In Vinyasa, you link all postures fluidly together with the breath so that you achieve a flow during the whole practice. 

๐Ÿ‘ The flowing movement is amazing to restore balance between mind and body and really get you into a meditative space. Thereby, it is a great practice to relief stress and relax.

Furthermore, the constant movement makes Vinyasa Yoga a good workout which strengthens every part of the body, a good cardio workout and provides a good stretch.

Because Vinyasa Yoga can be practiced in so many ways it is suitable to everyone.

  • Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is also called restorative Yoga. In Yin we hold the different poses for a long time, mostly between 2-5 minutes. In this time we focus on “breathing into the stretch and letting go.
๐Ÿ‘ Because we hold the asanas for so long, Yin Yoga is an amazing practice to build flexibility. Furthermore, it is extremely calming and helps with all kinds of stress related problems. In addition to that the deep stretch can help to release stuck emotions, as they are stored in tight parts of the body, as for example in the hips. Therefore, it’s the best practice to go for if you want deep relaxation.

๐Ÿ‘Ž As you see Yin Yoga is very calm and thus not suitable for those who want an intense workout.

There are far more styles than those that I have listed here, but they all provide wonderful benefits for your whole being. I invite you to try out different classes and see which style you like most. You don’t even have to stick to one style, you can switch and change your practice as you like. In the end the most important thing is that you enjoy it and have fun! So start practicing and see what wonders Yoga can do for you!

What is you favorite style of Yoga? Do you like to visit classes or do you prefer to practice on your own? Let me know!
Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ

Mind, Soul

How traveling can change your lifeย 

Just to make it clear, I’m not talking about the comfortable type of traveling here. I’m not talking about the all-inclusive, laying at the-pool-all-day kind of travel. Yes of course, that’s also amazing and maybe to relax is just what you need, but it’s not going to change your perspective.

I’m talking about the long-term, bare bones, backpacking type here. Where you have nearly no privacy, just little comfort and no consistency at all. At first it simply sounds thrilling and fun, like a great adventure. And it is, definitely.

But there’s also a different side to it. The hard, uncomfortable part. That’s the part where you grow.

There are many factors that make life on the road challenging:

  • Loneliness
  • Having to life on a budget 
  • No comfort
  • No consistency
  • No security
  • Being unfamiliar with everything around you
  • Lack of privacy
  • Lack of regularity
  • Having to adapt to new things all the time

But in my opinion this is exactly why traveling is definitely worth it!

It will get you out of your comfort zone, there’s no way around it. While you travel, many of your usual defense mechanisms  fall away. You can’t just retreat back to your private space and hide under the blanket. Your favorite comfort food might not be available. Comforting routines and activities (working out, watching movies, cuddling with your boyfriend..) that normally protect you from yourself are not available.

As a consequence, you are confronted with everything that you would rather hide from. Negative mind patterns, habits and behavior come to the surface. It’s not a comfortable feeling but it’s really cleansing. Furthermore it’s a wonderful opportunity to release all of this negative baggage that is holding you back. You don’t need it anymore, you can just throw it away.

If you then take some time (which you will have to take as it can get really uncomfortable) to consciously work through it (try realeasing your negative emotions and mind patterns) and not retreat to alcohol or exzessiv partying you will feel way lighter and grow immensely.

 So as a matter of fact, traveling forces you to evolve, which can be quite nice, especially if you are already feeling relatively settled but feel that there’s something else that you can’t yet grasp. Traveling is a sure way kick all this rotten garbage out. You just got to make sure you do it with awareness and compassion for yourself. Then you can count on some pretty nice aha-moments.

So to illustrate all this theory let me tell you about what happened for me. One month into traveling I got sick. So eventually all my familiar habits that I used to cover up my insecurities and confusion fell away. I could not eat comfort food because it was simply not available. Drinking alcohol and smoking hurt me so much, that I didn’t even bother trying. There were no parents or boyfriends to comfort me and tell me that everything would be alright. I could not excercise or watch funny movies. Nothing saved me from myself. My shield completely fell away and I was forced to meet negative mind patterns and emotions that had been stuck in myself for a long time. I felt really bad for some days, I was confused and sad. But I never lost hope. I knew this was why I wanted to travel and that I’m only going to grow because of it. And I was right. I used the methods to release negative emotions described in this post and found out incredible things about me.

I had many destructive mind patterns going on that held me back and made me struggle, but I didn’t realize them to this point. Once I noticed them, I could release them and felt way more confident, happy and balanced. So hooray to traveling and I’m looking forward to al the things that I’m going to learn through the next challenges!

Have you already experienced similar things? What did you learn through traveling ?

Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ

Mind, Soul

How to release negative emotions

A few days ago I had an emotional breakdown. The nagging feeling inside just got stronger and stronger and my usual defense mechanisms stopped working. So I decided to get my sh*t together and work through it. Easier said than done. I told myself ” just get over it already and think positive “. But of course that didn’t work. I feel that in the spiritual world we often get too hard on ourselves when it comes to experiencing negative emotions and fear. We feel like we’re not really spiritual enough when negativity succeeds in getting us down. 

But in my opinion, personal growth can only happen when we are gentle and honest with ourselves. Falling down is human. Losing control sometimes is okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. In fact, truly experiencing negative emotions can be very beneficial for you spiritual growth/mental health, because it makes you stronger and helps releasing old blockages. 

So here is the way I found most useful when it comes to dealing with negative emotions:

Feeling your way through the discomfort 
In order to release emotions, they need to be felt. Completely, without thinking or judging. To suppress or act them out will only make them stronger and they will come back again stronger. 

How to truly feel an emotion:
It is actually easier than it sounds. Let go of the story and the thoughts that you tell yourself by not labeling the emotion. Just concentrate on the bodily sensation. No words are needed. Scan your body and feel where the emotion causes you to tense or tighten your muscles. Does your chest feel heavy? Do your face muscles tense? For me personally, I feel fear mostly as a heavy sensation in my chest and a tingling in my arms. Just breath into the sensations and try to stay aware, not running away with your mind. Stay there till you feel how your body releases and the negative emotion loses its power. This can take time, so be gentle with yourself. If you feel overwhelmed by the practice release it and try again. 

Don’t judge yourself if you don’t succeed in releasing the emotion. Even if you were just able to feel your darkness for a second, you will already get great benefits. It’s a learning process.

Don’t expect immediate relief, just stay present and curious about what comes up and see how the feelings change. Over time this practice will become easier and feel lighter, as you learn to stay present with your discomfort, without trying to get your “quick fix” (food,sex,television…). These defense mechanisms may give you short term relief but will only sow the seed for even worse feelings. So try to stick with it and find the courage to show up for yourself, even when it gets really uncomfortable. You can do it!

It may seem hard at first but I found that it is the only effective way to create lasting change and truly release emotions. And never forget you are not alone. Everyone experiences negative emotions and fear. So let’s get out of that together.

If you tried this method, does it work for you? Or do you have a different approach that works better for you?

Namaste ๐Ÿ’œ