Oh Cambodia!

I’m so grateful!

  • … for travelling.
  • … to have visited Cambodia.
  • … to have stayed in a yoga & meditation temple.
  • … that I found yoga & meditation for my life.
  • … that I meet beautiful people wherever I go.

Meeting new people is such a wonderful experience. When I travelled through Cambodia, I enjoyed this experience every single day. I stayed in a yoga & meditation retreat in Kep for 2 weeks. Check out Vagabond Temple, if you are looking for spiritual inspiration & growth, great yoga classes, guidance in meditation and meeting like-minded people from all over the world.

I also booked an Ayurveda detoxification package with sessions spread over 5 days, so you should be a guest for a minimum of 5 days. The package included 4 wonderful Ayurvedic massages plus a session with the founder of the retreat Kobi. My healer Maayan and me started with feet reflexology and seriously this woman has magical hands. I noticed fairly quickly how tight certain parts in my feet were, ouch!, but it all made sense, since these points related to my lower back and hamstrings and yes, they were tight. This session was incredible. Whilst I thought that Maayan was still massaging my feet, she suddenly stood next to me informing me that the massage was finished. What?! This showed me how deeply relaxed I was. For the afternoon she recommended to just be and relax and to take the afternoon yoga practice slow.

More being, less doing.

This is something so valuable I learned during my time at the retreat center. Not only Maayan mentioned this to me specifically to rest more, but also Pazit held an incredible Dharma talk about the topic More being, less doing. Why? Because most of us are so caught up with daily To Do lists, tasks & self-imposed responsibilities, social media and overall distraction, that we forget to simply be. Without looking at our smart phone. Without doing anything. Just being.

Just sit and be still.

Another aha-moment for me was when I visited Maayan the 2nd time for a full body Ayurvedic massage. She hugged me tightly and from her heart and asked me how I was doing. I replied: “Actually good.” She asked: “Actually?” Me: “Hm, no I’m really good.” This situation showed me that I was relativising my mood, although I felt awesome, freaking great, amazing. And so we started reflecting on this conversation and our impulse to relativise things. I instantly noticed for myself that I get the impression it’s more accepted in society to hold back, to be not that great, to moan. But if you say you are doing really great, then you are kind of weird. Different. Maybe arrogant. So, maybe that’s why we make ourselves worse, because we might also get more attention if we say “I’m okay.” Followed by the next question “Why, what’s going on?” as opposed to no question, when you say you are doing great. Well, at least that is my observation, as the entire blog is, just as a reminder.

We continued with a full body massage and again/still, my hip area was tight. I fully relaxed and even saw bright white and yellow lights. Maayan explained that the tightness probably comes from my will to push forward. Because I’m doing too much and being too little. She assured me that I’m still young and that I still have enough time to get to where I want to be. That it’s important to accept that life throws us back at times or makes us go left and right, but that we can continue our path anyways. Accept what is. Accept the throwbacks, meander and changes in life.

You will continue your path.

This inspiring conversation took me straight to my pink notebook wondering where the urge to do comes from. Am I afraid of dying before having fully lived the life that I always wanted to live? Do I do, because I want to live my dream life as quickly as possible, for as long as possible? Am I scared of regretting not to have done enough?

If you are following my blog since the start then you will know that I had my breakthrough in a Reiki session in Mexico, whilst travelling through Latin America for almost 6 months. And so it happened that Maayan and me included a Reiki session into my package. I would love to share with you my main learnings from this session.

  • Follow up on what you see in your dreams.
  • Follow your path.
  • Take care of yourself. Self-love first.
  • Do not absorb negative energies.
  • Go for it.

Go for it!

The last part of the Ayurveda package was with Kobi. After a few minutes of talking, we found ourselves in a very exciting talk about astrology and my sign (=Gemini). Kobi is an absolute expert in this field, so if you are into it and you visit Cambodia, schedule an appointment with him now. Again, details of this conversation would go beyond the scope of this blog post, but let me share with you my learnings which I’m sure will be so valuable for you, too, as these are independent from your astrological sign.

  • Letting someone read my astrological sign made me understand myself more, it gave me more empathy for me, my behaviours and my decisions.
  • Do not compromise on yourself. You are who you are.
  • Set your boundaries. Write down your red lines in the different areas of life.
  • Appreciate validation from others, but do not seek it.
  • Believe in yourself.

Believe in yourself.

Oh Cambodia! Thank you so much for having me and enriching my life so strongly and positively that I feel freer and more confident than ever before. Thank you to all of you wonderful people who accompanied me on this journey.

Love, love, love.

Yours, Nina

 

 

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Loving what is

Inspired by the fabulously smart Byron Katie.

Don’t we all know that we are better off when we accept those things in our lives that we cannot change anyways?

Don’t we know that we shouldn’t put any energy into things that we don’t believe in?

Don’t we know that by judging other people we actually judge ourselves?

I guess the answer is ‘YES’ on each of these questions. Yet, we find ourselves in exactly those situations over and over again.

We get angry when a situation or a person winds us up, although IT IS.

We feel exhausted, sad or misunderstood when – often for the sake of others – we invest our time, money and efforts into things that we don’t actually believe in, leaving us frustrated, because we didn’t say no, leaving us feeling guilty when we did, leaving us unsatisfied, because we didn’t invest our time into the things that really matter to us. And yet, IT IS.

We feel hurt, when we are being judged by people. And still, IT IS.

I’ve been wondering: If it is all so clear, then why is it so damn hard to love what is? Why do we spend so much time thinking, moving everything from right to left in our head, analysing, hoping, wishing for a change (in others)?

My answer:

Because it is a process.

And according to Byron Katie: Because you have to do the work first.

Any negative or restricting emotion, be it disappointment, fear, anger or sadness, derives from somewhere within us. Not from somewhere outside of us. This is the 1st step for improvement and for getting closer to loving what it is. Because IT IS.

We won’t stop projecting certain feelings into other people or situations, unless we are aware that this is what we do. We are responsible for our life and hence our emotions, feelings and actions. It’s not the responsibility of anyone else. This is in my opinion the 2nd step towards loving what is. Because IT IS.

We will repeat what we don’t repair. So, we should really look into everything that IS. To start repairing what lies within us, to then dissolve what lies within others. Ask yourself in the entire process:

Is this the truth?

Then you will be ready to start your healing process. And this healing process will lead you to

Loving what is.

Yours, Nina

PS: I’m in the middle of the process and it is worth starting. Send me a pink note, if you want to share your thoughts or comment on the article. 

 

 

 

 

 

Reveal your true self

Inspired and based on Patanjalis’ Yogasutra by Ralph Skuban

Reveal your true self by ‘vairagya’

I chose this topic as part of my yoga exams presentation. Whilst dealing with the Yogasutra in more detail, I realised just how much of a code of practice this book is for life. At least for me. This blog post is inspired by the book and Ralph Skuban, however, it only reflects my way of approaching the topic and is written in my own words.

The word ‘vairagya’/letting go is one of the most important words and statements in Patanjalis’ Yogasutra. Whilst it appears more than once, I focus on chapter 1, verses 12-16.

However, my starting point lies in chapter 2, verses 3-4, where it’s said that we humans suffer, because we don’t know, who or what we really are. Also referred to as ‘spiritual blindness’ or ‘avidya’.

If we are now conscious and mindful enough, we will probably seek getting out of this suffering and spiritual blindness with the objective to reach inner freedom. For me, this means being, who we really are.

Start walking as to reveal your true self. 

In the Yogasutra, this is a higher level of ‘vairagya’, it is ‘paravairagya’, a complete detachment of everything.

Where to start

I would recommend to start at the beginning, just like Patanjalis does in chapter 1, verses 1-11. He states to dedicate yourself to yoga, to self-realisation. Yoga is basically a way to heal, it means healing to the grounds of our being, through a process of cleansing.

One way to cleanse is by calming down and quieting our thoughts and mental patterns, which are continuously changing and evolving, making it even more difficult to quiet them. The stillness of our thoughts is referred to as ‘chitta vrittis nirodhah’. And once they become still, we will be at rest, feel peaceful and find inner peace.

How to find inner peace

In chapter 1, verses 12-16, there are some insights on how we can quiet our mind, and the most important finding for me is that we need to understand that we are NOT our thoughts, that we are NOT our emotions and that we are NOT our memories. We mustn’t identify with our thoughts, if we want to quiet our mind and reveal our true self.

Also, it’s beneficial to establish a ‘practice/abyhasa’ like a regular meditation and yoga practice, and most importantly we need to cultivate an inner attitude of letting go.

Vairagya

By practicing ‘abyhasa’ and ‘vairagya’, we will be led into stillness and hence closer and closer to our true self. With the help of letting go (‘vairagya’), we can find our inner light, our true essence again and we will start shining our (moon)light again, that has been hidden and covered with dust for a long enough time. We can begin to walk the way to our true self.

I love the image of a crystal here. We all are a crystal, but over time, our crystal, our true self, may begin to dust based on wrong identifications or at least identifications that we didn’t really question and hence accepted. The good news is we can start blowing off the dust, today, right here, right now. We are free to dissolve beliefs and limitations, that don’t serve as any longer, and we can create and absorb beliefs that well serve us. By dissolving our old beliefs, we approach our true essence of being, slowly, but surely.

We understand that our happiness does not depend on external factors, but only on what’s within us. We will break out of the prison that we built ourselves, we will break up accepted dogmas, we will free ourselves from living the life that others want us to live and will develop back into our true essence.

Yes, this is somehow rebellion, we rebel to get our lives back and to live the life we really want to live. However, that’s good rebellion, if you ask me.

Let go

To summarise, Patanjalis biggest calling is to practice letting go.

  • Accept what you cannot change.
  • Forgive as if it never happened.
  • Do not judge everything.
  • Let go of what is hurting you.

Imagine a full glass of water. Only by letting go and emptying your water glass, you can create space for new, beautiful things that make you lighter, freer and happier.

For me the most beautiful effect of ‘vairagya’ is that I will be able to love and serve even more, as I develop more empathy for others, more strength to support others and I gain clarity for my life.

A matter close to my heart

This is a topic close to my heart due to my personal experience. Through yoga and my travels to Latin America, I became more mindful and conscious about me and my life, hence I started to reflect and question the existing.

Knots were bursting and I started going my way to reveal my true self. I began blowing off the dust of my crystal and gradually saw parts of my true self again, my inner light that I had somehow forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind.

I’m still in the process of dedusting my crystal, but knowing that I’ve already broken open a few chains and limitations, makes me feel so happy and free that I would always walk this way again.

Yours, Nina

Give yourself permission

These 3 words mean a lot to me. They have touched me right in my heart. They left me speechless and wiser.

These 3 words stem from my Reiki healer whilst spending my last weeks of my Latin America journey in Mexico. What I am writing here is obviously very personal, however, I feel the urge to share my experiences & feelings with you, as I’m sure, many of you will resonate with them. And I’d be more than happy to know that I’ve given you at least one Aha-moment.

When I arrived in Tulum for my yoga retreat back in October 2016, one of the yoga teachers recommended a massage therapist with spiritual background. Only this description fully hooked me and I booked a session right away. In my 1st session, I honestly expected a full body massage with a bit of therapeutic and spiritual inspiration, however it turned out completely different and better than anything I would have expected.

Without talking to the Reiki healer about my current life situation, my emotional pain and my lack of orientation, he immediately sensed my pains and restrictions, just by moving his hands over my body without touching me. Only by feeling my energetic blockades in my body. He stopped in my chest and heart area a few times as well as on my hips. I’ve been experiencing severe hip tightness before my trip and I was hoping that this guy could help me.

And whilst we all hope that physical pain comes exactly from that same area, we all know, that we must dig a bit deeper in order to understand the real origin of physical pain. In my case, my hip tightness was caused by emotional pain. Heart pain. Pain that I had not released yet, but instead had put it into my hips over months. The Reiki healer explained that we often tend to store all emotional pain, especially heartache, in our hips. And when he said that I could feel his words right in my heart. I had goose bumps everywhere. I felt really hot and sweaty, as the energy started to flow again after a long period of time. And of course, it made sense after a broken 10-year relationship and another break up in Latin America that my energy didn’t flow freely anymore. I think it’s fair to say that this is quite a lot to digest. Don’t get me wrong now, I don’t ask for your sympathy.

This post is more about allowing ourselves to feel the pain we are feeling, whenever we do feel pain. We mustn’t hide it in order to be strong. No. We are allowed to be weak as well. It is okay to feel sad, emotional, hurt and lost. I realised in this moment that I had kept myself together for so long, as I felt like I had to perform and that with the feelings of pain I couldn’t do so. So, I basically became pain resistent to be able to manage my life, which had to continue. I had to manage my work and finances, I had to manage a move, I had to keep myself busy at least for a certain period of time. In a way there wasn’t enough time to take care of myself. Or in other words, I didn’t allow myself to take care of myself.

As the session with the Reiki healer continued that day, there was another big emotional moment for me. He said that I could feel that I am different and that I have a strong connection to something superior than me, but that I wasn’t allowing myself to be different, because of fear. Fear for rejection, fear for the reaction of others. Fear to stand out, fear to outgrow other people in my life. Fear to be the best version of myself.

He urged me to come back from my head into my heart and to give myself permission to trust my intuition and feelings again. A door I had left closed for some time.

Give yourself permission to be the best version of yourself.

This moment felt like game-over and reset at the same time. I felt caught and relieved.

That day (24/10/2016) was my breakthrough. I knew this was only the beginning of something wonderful. What started as a journey through Latin America turned into a journey to myself. And I’m so grateful it did.

Yours, Nina

 

Self-love

Self-love has truly been an affair of my heart, in particular for the past year. For me, self-love is strongly related to moving from my head to my heart, meaning being good to myself as much as I can.

In the past years, I was often stuck in my head and my heart didn’t manage to prevail. I always thought I’m so emotional, and yes I am an emotional person. But I also had to learn to accept my emotions, to feel all feelings I’m feeling and especially to allow for my heartache instead of suppressing it.

I had to re-learn trusting my intuition and gut feel more than anything else in the world, more than the kindly meant suggestions of family and friends, the expectations of society as well as the often heard don’ts in life. Don’t do this, don’t do that. This is too dangerous. This is not safe enough. This is insecure. This is not right for you. You cannot do this. You don’t have enough money. You are selfish. You are egoistic. You are a dreamer.

I could continue this list of limiting beliefs that I’ve come across in my life, like we all have, but the above are probably the ones I’ve heard most often. Looking back, it’s obviously a shame, that I wasn’t strong and self-confident enough to push back or not to listen. Although deep down these beliefs didn’t feel right for me, I still believed them and acted accordingly. Because, what can be so wrong about something that most people do, right?

With two break ups in not even two years and on the road traveling, I got to a point, where I wanted to reflect my life. I felt the urge to understand myself more. Maybe this only came up for me, as I had the time back then? Either way, I booked a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico and I’m so grateful I did. Because what happened there was magical and Tulum has become my magic place.

During the yoga retreat, I practiced yoga everyday, I meditated, I did a detox from social media, I ate very healthily (especially I discovered smoothie bowls), I solely focused on myself and my well being. I basically practiced self-love, and it came up very naturally for me. But I wanted to go a bit deeper and when one of the yoga teachers mentioned a Reiki healer, my attention was there. I arranged an appointment with him the next day and without telling him anything about my life, he noticed immediately that my heart was broken and that I still hadn’t released some pain from the past. This pain blocked me from moving forwards and from accepting myself for who I truly am. It has also caused my hips and groins to tighten up. The Reiki healer explained that we tend to put all our emotional baggage that we are not able to release into our hip area. Obviously, the tension didn’t build up in a day, but within the last couple of years. But suddenly it all made sense. Just him mentioning this triggered lots of tears, as I felt so relieved and understood.

My healing process was about to start and should continue.

This moment was my biggest moment of self-love, as I realized the following:

  • I’ve always felt that I was a bit different and unique in way, but I didn’t allow myself to really be, out of fear for the reaction of others.
  • I’ve always felt a spiritual connection to something bigger than me (I’m not religious, so I’d say I believe in the Universe), but I was not in the right environment to truly live this spiritual connection and I simply didn’t do (responsibility).
  • I’ve always been a person questioning behaviors, reactions and situations, but very often I was scared of challenging other people for fear of rejection and being regarded as too critical or arrogant.
  • I’ve always felt I was ahead of the game, but I was afraid of overtaking people.

This resulted in me simply adapting to pre-defined standards, without understanding why I should do it this way. So, for many, many years I lived a life without being truly true to myself.

However, only if we dare to be brave and be ourselves by practicing self-love, we can walk the way to happiness!

  • Love yourself so much that you allow yourself to be yourself.
  • Love yourself so much, that you live your true self.
  • Love yourself so much, that you allow yourself to be in your highest alignment.
  • Love yourself so much, that you truly believe you can be everything you want to be.

Yours, Nina

Reason why

You might wonder why I started this blog.

I first had the idea to write a blog on 30th December 2014 after my 10-year relationship ended. I instantly knew that I needed a holiday. It needed to be a destination far away, a country I have not been to before, and I needed to do this on my own.

I decided to travel to beautiful Mauritius, setting off to new shores. Two days into this friendly and peaceful environment, I thought, sitting by the beach, that this is the perfect opportunity to start writing. About how, for the first time, I travelled completely on my own, to capture all amazing moments in pictures & words and to heal, day by day, week by week.

Fast-forwarding to my return to London 2 weeks later, I realised that everything I wrote into my notebook felt way too personal and intimate, that I wasn’t ready to share this yet.

Turns out the reason was I indeed wasn’t ready. Life held bigger plans for me. As you might know, we always get exactly what we can handle, not less, not more. Very obviously I was able to handle way more.

In June 2015 I got together with my new boyfriend. Yes, it was a rather short single break, but sometimes things simply happen and I just felt in flow.

It has been my dream to travel through Latin America since age 17 and when we both quit our jobs, I knew I had to finally make my dream come true. So, we decided to go on this adventure together, 4 months of travelling, from 5th June until 25th September 2016.

Jumping to end of August 2016, our relationship ended between Peru and Bolivia. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. But I was shocked. Another break up in such a short period of time? In South America? Really? In my head, I already titled this experience, which felt like the stupidest movie ever “Nina left in the middle of nowhere”.

Despite all confusion and heartache at the time, I heard my heart talking to me very clearly. It said that I should keep following my dream, that I should continue my travels, that I shouldn’t give up and that life holds so much more for me.

Fast-forwarding to Santiago de Chile in September 2016. I sat in my apartment planning the next stops in Argentina, when it suddenly hit me that my return flight was only 2 weeks away. I felt nervous, yet calm at the same time, a feeling hard to describe. And yet again, I knew the answer. The answer was already within me. My heart told me to extend my journey, to give myself more time to digest, to continue my healing process and to figure out the next step (moving back to London which had been my home for 4.5 years or back to Munich, my hometown).

So, I re-arranged my flights to give myself more time in Chile and Argentina plus I built in another month in Mexico. Fast forwarding to the end of October in Tulum I was fully relaxed, peaceful and in a very happy place, when I suddenly pictured Munich. And I knew this is it, this is my next step. Tulum has become my magical place. It forms the origin of my spiritual journey, of self-love and personal development and hence deserves the first entry on my blog.

In this very moment, I also knew that I wanted to share my experience of travellingyoga and how I started my healing process with as many people as possible. So here I am.

You are my reason why.

Read more about me here.

Yours, Nina