Drop the judgment

Inspired by my life & Gabby Bernstein

This blog post is not only for you to drop the judgment, it is also for me, it is for everyone.  It’s my reflection of life.

I’m writing this article today, as someone close to me has been judging another person close to me for the last three years. This created a feeling of being torn, of disruption within me. Now, this morning, the said judgment has been dropped. And I instantly felt such a big relief. Tears were shed. I smiled. And my heart filled up with even more love.

Stop the vicious circle

This incident made me realise stronger than ever just how quickly we judge others. And then once we realise we judged someone else, we judge ourselves for having judged. What a vicious circle!

I’m sure we all struggle with judgment every single day. That’s okay. However, let’s make an effort all together to show more love, openness and compassion to the people surrounding us and to ourselves! We won’t be able to change our behaviour within one day, but how about taking the first step?

The first step: Notice & feel

The first step for anything relating to personal development is always to be honest with yourself and to notice any judgment patterns that you may have. Notice, when you judge. Notice, what you judge. Notice, how you judge. Notice, why you judge. Notice the feelings arising. Feel!

The second step: Understand

The second step is to understand the associated feelings with judgment. This goes hand in hand with the reasons for judging. Very often, judging another person or behaviour makes us feel better, at least for that moment. In a way, judgment is a result of comparisons. Since we compare ourselves to others a lot thinking that others might be ‘better’ at something, ‘smarter’ or ‘prettier’, we start the judgment process, mostly to protect ourselves. Instead of accepting that yes, there are other people out there who might be ‘better’ at something, we almost automatically jump into the process of judgment.

‘She never managed this on her own.’ ‘He is only successful because of his parents.’ ‘I’m sure she had surgery.’ 

Sounds familiar? Why can we not accept others for who they are. Why can we not accept and love ourselves just the way we are. Why do not embrace our individuality? Why do we strive for meaningless competitiveness? Why are we so harsh on ourselves?

If, whilst reading this, you reflect on my words…

Stop judging yourself.

Life is not just black and white.

Begin with noticing. Continue with feeling. Go on with understanding.

The third step: Heal

In order to heal judgement, we need to start a transformation from the inside out.

  • Move to love. Accept what is for yourself and others.
  • Move to individuality & authenticity. Accept that everyone is different.
  • Move to your true self. Feel the relief once you’ve returned to your truth.

Be kind to yourself though and be clear that it’s difficult to be judgment free all the time. What counts is how quickly you notice judgment and move through the steps above.

I just know that this practice holds so many ‘goodies’ for us. Less tension, more ease and peace, relief, freedom, more love and compassion and most importantly for me:

Happiness from the inside out.

If you truly want to live a happier life, I invite you to to join my workshop Feel Understand Heal in Munich on Friday, 8th June, 6-9pm. Click here for details.

Let’s do this journey to love, light and happiness together.

Yours, Nina

 

 

More being, less doing

If you are following me on Instagram, then you’ll know that I’ve just returned from a trip through Cambodia and that I spent 2 weeks in a yoga & meditation retreat in Kep, in Vagabond Temple. I will write a separate article about my travels through Cambodia and the yoga retreat, but for now I will focus on one of my biggest learnings in the last few years. Something that was confirmed again during the yoga retreat. Something that will accompany me for life.

More being, less doing.

If I had to rate where I used to be on a being-doing scale, then I’d say 9 doing and 1 being, meaning I was constantly in action, in movement, restless. I felt like I constantly had to be productive, that I had to do something, that I couldn’t just sit there doing nothing.

I questioned myself during the retreat, why that is and thought, probably because it made me feel lazy and being lazy is not accepted in our society. Wherever we go and look, there is doing, action, activity, rush, hurry, pressure, so I’m not too surprised anymore that I wasn’t able to just be, but that instead I was constantly in doing mode, in fear of being unproductive, unsuccessful and lazy. Maybe this is a fear of not being good enough, too? A fear of not being seen? Of not being acknowledged? Of not receiving validation?

If you relate with my words, maybe ask yourself as well, why you do so much and why you are so little.

Now, being on my path of personal development, I have adapted the scale of being and doing. More being, less doing. It’s important to say at this point that doing is not a bad thing, we need to do in order to progress, but it is equally important for us to be, to process, digest and grow. The critical point is, as often in life, to be conscious about our being and doing and to find balance between the two.

Imagine that your head represents doing and your heart is being. When you do, allow your heart and your soul to follow. When you are, invest the energy you gain into doing.

Find silence when needed. Step into action when required. Then rest. Allow yourself to simply be. Listen to your body, it talks to you.

If you acknowledge being and doing of the same value, then you will feel more balanced, at ease and more relaxed, which ultimately leads you closer and closer to your true self.

Yours, Nina

Bursting knots

I already sensed last year that I’m on a good way to reveal my true self. To get really close to myself, to the person I really want to be, living the life I really want to live.

Now, this of course didn’t come overnight or by coincidence. No. I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to my personal growth. I’ve started working with a spiritually inspired life coach a year ago, I invested more time in Instagram to connect with like-minded people, to learn from them and to pass on my experiences, too. I started this blog. I went to a workshop from one of the top motivation trainers in Germany, Christian Bischoff. I listened to various podcasts about personal development. I read various books. I practiced yoga to strengthen my body and to quieten my mind. I started meditating on a regular basis. I started journalling in my pink notebook more actively again. I implemented a daily gratitude practice. I went to networking events. I arranged meetings with interesting and fascinating people outside of these networking events.

In summary, my personal growth, self-love and creating my vision has been key to me and still is.

Just because I’m writing the above in past tense, does not mean that any of these activities are completed though. No, the contrary is true and I tell you why.

On my way to where I’m now – a much happier, lighter, more positive, more saying yes to life Nina – I’ve been facing quite a few obstacles. Emotional breakdowns, tears, fights (with myself and others), ‘lost’ relationships, frustration, procrastination, sadness, fears, to only name a few. It is not the easiest of all ways to really dig deeper into personal development and spiritual growth. It’s not easy to reflect yourself so intensively, to question existing relationships, to question existing behaviours, to ask yourself what it is you really want, what it is you really need and especially what it is you really want from life and I mean from the bottom of your heart.

What do you really want from life from the bottom of your heart?

The process described above requires you to look at your life first, to be ready to change, to tidy up, to break habits in order to set yourself free, for the life that you want!

I can’t mark the day when my development exactly started, but for me, it’s probably the day when I had my breakthrough in Mexico. And this breakthrough was a feeling. That I want to change something in my life. That I want way more from life than what I had up until then. That I have so much more potential to live the life of my dreams. It was simply a feeling that my story is only just starting. If you are at a similar point in your life, and you are wondering about the feelings you are feeling, I can only tell you to feel them, to let them be there, not to judge them and to just go with the flow.

Flow for me means to follow my heart, to increasingly switch off my head, my mind, my thoughts, which usually want to keep us in our comfort zone, away from risks, away from any potential trouble. Our heart on the contrary leads us the way outside of our comfort zone. But this means risks, unknown circumstances, something new.

Stepping outside of our comfort zone, however, is where the growth is.

You need to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and you will only do that, when the pain around the current situation is too big to just hang in there. From my experience, especially in the last 2 years, I can only recommend you to keep going, to believe in what you stand for and to just run with it.

It will be all worth it, trust me! Here’s why I’m so convinced about this. Because now, all the seeds that I have been sowing in the last years, are starting to come into fruition. All the time and effort I’ve invested into my personal development and my projects, are now starting to pay off. Knots are bursting. This year 2018 is my year. I just know it and I already felt it coming on 31st December 2017, when I felt so content and happy that I wanted to hug the entire world.

Knots are bursting.

When my knots started bursting from the inside out, like limiting beliefs, restrictions I’ve imposed on myself and a lack of self-confidence in certain areas of my life, eventually things started happening for me. Things shifted. Opportunities arose out of ‘nowhere’, but these opportunities did not come from nowhere. They came from me, my efforts, and my sowing. They were the universe’s way to say Thank You for my consistent sowing.

Keep sowing consistently.

Of course, I had fall outs too, where I lacked motivation, where I was tired, where I couldn’t get out of bed, where I forgot why I’m actually doing this, when I thought why on earth am I on this way, why is this so hard, why do I do this. And yet again: I would always do it again.

Why? To set free. To live my dream life on the highest energy level imaginable, spreading love and positivity into this world.

Here’s to love.

Yours, Nina

 

 

Big Five for Life

My success story and hence realisation of one of my Big Five for Life already started when I was 17 years old. But I didn’t know anything about the Big Five for Life, needless to say that I didn’t understand then that I was about to get closer to realise my dream.

Back in high school, one teacher offered Spanish classes as an extracurricular activity. Since starting school, I was interested in languages. I like the idea of being able to talk to other people in their local language. I already knew German and English, so I signed up for the Spanish classes, with 100% enthusiasm. Only 6 months later my teacher organised an exchange programme to the beautiful and cosy town of Linares, Jan in Andalusia. I was really happy with my host family and my exchange partner Ana, who was 3 years older than me. Jackpot at this age, since I would be hanging out with 20 year olds. The family only spoke Spanish, nothing else, so I really had to make an effort to make myself understood. The result: after only 2 weeks in Spain (plus the 6 months before), I spoke enough Spanish to get by, to order drinks and food, to ask for directions or to introduce myself.

When I returned home, I was sure to continue learning Spanish, but my dream had grown bigger. I was inspired by my teacher who spent 6 months in Argentina plus I was driven by the idea of speaking several languages.

So, my dream suddenly became clear: I want to travel through Latin America someday. I want to improve my Spanish skills and most importantly I want to feel this feeling again. My inner joy like a child, that swings back and forth, a feeling of warmth and openness, that I experienced during my exchange programme, a feeling of extensiveness and independence, and trust that

Everything is possible.

And so one of my biggest Big Five for Life was born: Travelling through Latin America. I didn’t have any idea, when or how, but it was crystal clear why and that I want to do this.

I’m fast forwarding to my time as a student of business administration. In 2005 I had the opportunity to study in Wales, which I grabbed instantly. Why? I felt this feeling again. Of course I was there to improve my English skills, but the university also offered Spanish classes, and so I signed up again, studying Spanish for another 8 months. I mean who says that I couldn’t learn two languages at the same time? Right…!

I moved to London in 2012, as my boyfriend at the time worked in finance, and because I simply wanted to. I had this feeling of travel pleasure again, the desire to experience something new. Of course, it was also my plan to find a job in London as marketing manager, but what drove me most was the desire to speak a different language, to dive into a new culture and to meet new people. It was simply exciting.

After 2 years in that job and a feeling of having settled into the job, I felt the urge to learn something (new) again. And there it was again, my thoughts about Latin America and Spanish. I asked for recommendations for Spanish schools on Facebook and one school that was recommended most was Instituto Cervantes. Said and one. I called the school, arranged an appointment for a level test, and started my classes only a few weeks later. I pushed through all classes, once a week, every Monday, after work, even in summer.

In 2014, my boyfriend and me broke up, but since I was happy in London with my job, my friends and everything else, I simply wasn’t ready to close this chapter. So I stayed, against the exceptions of family and friends.

Do you know this feeling, when you know? When you intuitively know what is right for you? I felt exactly this feeling. I simply knew that my journey wasn’t over. Not here, not now.

Trust your intuition.

In June 2015 I got together with my new boyfriend from London, who was my colleague at the same time. Only a few months later, we were told that our company would be sold to a German company. I saw a big potential for my career at this company, since I was the only one speaking German and English fluently and understanding both cultures. However, during the acquisition, I realised that I didn’t want to continue working for this company. And still, my thoughts were going in circles for weeks, what to do next, back and forth. But suddenly there it was. Clarity. About quitting. Moreover, I was 100% sure that this would be the moment. I long had this dream to travel through Latin America, but still there were always reasons against it (in my head), why this wouldn’t be possible, for example due to a relationship, a job, not enough money, not enough time etc. But in this moment there weren’t any obstacles any more. Not even my relationship at the time was an obstacle for me. I took my boyfriend aside and talked him through my dream of travelling through Latin America and that the timing just seemed perfect. I told him that I swore myself that next time I’d quit a job, I would go on this journey. And he liked the idea.So we both quit our safe and well-paid jobs in London in February 2016.

Our research started. Which countries, how long, when to start, which Spanish school.

I just couldn’t believe that my dream of travelling through Latin America would finally (at the age of 34) become true, yet at the same time it felt so natural, as if was meant to be. I was so much looking forward to this journey and my travels kicked off on the 5th June 2016. Me, Nina, with my 15kg backpack, on her way to the first stop, Havana in Cuba. The return flight was planned for the 26th September, so we had just under 4 months of travelling and adventure ahead of us. The adventure came, but differently.

We travelled from Cuba to Guatemala, where we stayed for 2 weeks in Antigua in a Spanish school. We continued to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I really wanted to go to Mexico, but my boyfriend wasn’t so keen on it, and since it was more a feeling than anything else, I couldn’t really argue why I wanted to go. We then travelled to Colombia, to Ecuador, and here we visited a Spanish school again in Montañita, a surf town, where we spent 2 weeks in a hotel right at the beach. Next stop was Peru and on the peak point of this country, Machu Picchu, our relationship also arrived at a peak named end.

We still travelled to Bolivia together, but it was clear that we couldn’t make this work, regarding our communication, our wishes as well as our idea of relationship and partnership. Nevertheless, the end came kind of as a surprise to me and it therefore hurt and it was an end full of tears. But in all this emotional drama, I knew, I had to leave this place asap in order to create space, to have air to breathe. So, 2 days later (mid-August) I was on a plane to Uyuni, to see the biggest salt flats of the world. And to feel this feeling again. My Why.

Whilst approximately 95% of friends and family suggested to come back home (but what was that home, London or Munich?) I felt deep inside me, that my journey was not over yet. That this journey would continue. That it had only just started. And so it was.

What is it that YOU want?

The adventure was bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. In the following days I decided to continue my travels as originally planned, but solo. It was my dream, one of my Big Five for Life, remember? I simply couldn’t stand the idea that a break up should erase this dream. No Way! It simply didn’t feel right to stop my travels, actually I felt the opposite. I suddenly had this deep trust, despite the heartache, that everything was happening for a reason and that it was right and important for me to make this experience. For me, my journey and my path of life.

Trust your intuition.

So, I decided to continue my travels on my own. In my pace, and with a feeling of floating, to simply live into the day. And my journey began and with it the fulfilment of one of my Big Five for Life.

From Bolivia, I flew to Chile and spent two wonderful weeks in Santiago de Chile. Due to the emotional chaos that I was in, I had somehow forgotten that my return flight to London was in 2 weeks already. And there it was again, the dilemma, that we all know.

Heart says, head says.

My heart spoke clearly, but softly to me to extend the journey, but my head, also shaped by the opinion of others, requested to fly back to London on 26th September, as it had all been planned.

My heart won! I was getting warm. I called the travel office and asked for flight options  to somewhere nice and warm, with sun, sand and sea. I just knew what I needed for my heart, my soul and a relaxed finale of my journey. Guess what I booked? Mexico. Yes!

But first things first, because from Chile I first travelled to Argentina. Since I had extended my trip for another 7 weeks, I took my time to explore this beautiful country a bit more. I met a nice woman in Buenos Aires who invited me into her casa in La Rioja.

And I felt this feeling again: warmth, openness, and freedom. When I spotted a swing in a giant garden, I was so happy and I started swinging like a child. Playful and content.

I spent my last 4 weeks in Mexico. Mexico and especially Tulum has become my magic place. A place of reflection, of inner peace, of sheer pleasure and the journey to myself. It was most likely the most important journey in my life. An experience I would have never made, if I had given up on my dream of travelling through Latin America.

And in the last weeks I gained even more clarity whilst sitting at the beach of Tulum: I move back into my hometown Munich. I want to deepen my yoga and meditation practice. And I will finally write a blog, inspired by my (inner) journey.

And these visions became reality. I live in a beautiful flat in Munich, I’m doing my yoga teacher training and I launched my blog, this blog. My heart project. The name Nina’s Pink Notes is based on a pink notebook that was my loyal companion during my travels.

Today, I’m very grateful for my experiences, because they showed me how important it is to trust myself, my heart and my inner voice. My experiences made me stronger, wiser and brought me on a more beautiful and authentic way.

If you are currently in a situation and you don’t know what to do or decide, let me tell you one thing. Really trust your intuition and follow your heart!

Yours, Nina

 

When wishing for the pause button

As the year 2017 came to an end, I reflected and reviewed my big and small wins and well as what I failed at, what I could have done better. No worries, I’m not going to write this all down here, but I think it is important for every single one of us to complete that bit of work. Not to beat ourselves up, but on the contrary. Because I noticed that I actually achieved a lot, there were loads of small wins, that I didn’t give myself enough credit during the year. Btw, I’m not only talking about projects, but also shifts in my mindset, changes in my behaviour and actions taken. Of course I also recognised my failures, but the good thing is, you can only learn from them, you can make things better next time. Just be conscious of yourself, your behaviours and actions. Be mindful of those behaviours and actions you’d like to change and then just think “Oh, I was just about to do it again” and then act differently. Break that habit!

Be mindful and break that habit.

After I reviewed my big and small wins, I also pictured my 2018. I wrote down my vision for 2018 at the end of last year. My vision relating to various aspects in my life, like my job/work situation, health & fitness, love, relationship and my ideal set up to live. I thought to myself “Well done, Nina” until I had a call with my coach on 2nd of January to dig deeper into my vision and my associated goals. Despite my daily gratitude, yoga and meditation practice, there were still a few challenges and limiting beliefs that needed to be melted in order to reach my true vision – speaking from my heart. And we did. After the session, I went back to my vision and it sounded too rational in a way, so I re-wrote it completely. I moved from my head to my heart. And I was brave enough to listen.

Move from your head to your heart. And listen. It will reveal the truth.

My coach also asked me what I wish for my spiritual growth in 2018. And here we go. I have a little story to tell to answer that question.

I’m writing the 31st of December 2017. I wake up with a content feeling. The sun is out and it’s already 12 degrees outside, yes really. I jump out of bed (and that day I literally did!), I quickly changed into my running gear and 20 minutes later I was out of the door, direction Isar river in Munich. The second I stepped outside, I was just feeling so happy, so calm, yet excited about life, so grateful, so whohoooo, a feeling difficult to describe. My almost ecstatic feeling even intensified when I started running and moving my body, feeling the sun on my skin and in my face. I couldn’t do anything about it (and I didn’t want to), but I was running around grinning like a Cheshire cat. Even now whilst writing this, I have to laugh.

And whilst I was fully enjoying the run, the sun, the movement, and simply my own company, there was this second of thinking “I want to hold this feeling.” This thought instantly moved me from being in the here and now to longing for something. I tried to hold on to something beautiful and let’s be honest, if there was the possibility sometimes in life to hit the Pause button, we might all happily use that button.

When wishing for the pause button…

Interestingly I find that the topics that I’m engaging with, suddenly appear everywhere in different shapes and forms. One appearance was in a yoga class. The teacher opened the class with exactly that thought.

We try to hold onto things we like and we try to get rid of feelings we dislike. But how about letting go of all likes and dislikes? How about loving what we love in the moment we love it? How about enjoying what is in the moment the enjoyment is present? How about accepting what we dislike in the moment we dislike it? How about accepting suffering (dukha) as part of our lives to be able to fully enjoy the pleasures (sukha)?

…makes you fall out of the here and now.

So, to bridge back to the question, what do I wish for my spiritual growth in 2018?

I want to let go of all likes and dislikes to be in the here and now, at all times.

Yours, Nina

What do you want?

I had booked a 5 day yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico, with the intention to become calmer and to move out of my head and into my heart. The retreat took place in the hotel Yoga Shala, which turned to be one of my favourite places to stay in Tulum.

The retreat greatly combined yoga with meditation and coaching input. One day, we spent the entire morning looking at different areas in our life. The task was to dream the best imaginable scenario in each area and to write down a few sentences.

The areas we looked at were:

  • Truth – Communication – Listening
  • Intuition
  • Connection to Higher Power
  • Sexual – Sensual
  • Will – Power – Self Worth
  • Love – Heart

I still have all my (pink) notes from that day. Looking at them now approximately one year later is so powerful. And I notice one thing amongst them all. It’s all about connection. It has been back then and it is still now with an even stronger feeling.

For me, the first point was majorly about having enriching, inspiring and authentic conversations with people where I can be the best listener without any expectations or boundaries. Where I’m truly present in that moment. This is still true for me now. I’m still practicing paying full attention during a conversation though, as sometimes I can still be distracted.

Intuition was all about connecting with my heart and my gut feel, as it will speak the truth, always. This is still true for me now and I’m getting better each and every day, but there are still moments where I overhear my intuition and just go with what I should do instead of what I would like to do.

Connection to higher power was about being my own Goddess and feeling amazing with myself at all times. This is not my truth anymore. I remember that I was lost on that one during the session, as I’m not religious, and I simply didn’t know what I wanted to be connected to. So I guess I just wrote something. However, I do know now. I feel connected to the universe and the more I trust myself, others and the world, the better my life seems to develop.

Sexuality and sensuality was strongly linked to love during the retreat and it is still now. I do believe that the moment you indulge sexually, you indulge emotionally. Because we all want to feel connected, we all want to feel loved.

Will, power and self-worth were all about being heard as much as possible and being able to express my authentic me. This is still true for me now. If I can express myself, I feel great, I am authentic and I love myself.

Love was probably the most relevant area for me. And it is still now. I want to become an endlessly loving person that gives love, but doesn’t expect it back. A person who is able to let go. At the end of the day, we all live for love!

Now, it’s your turn. Make yourself comfortable with a beautiful notebook and a nicely coloured pen (mine are pink of course) and write down a few sentences to each of the areas, without thinking too much, just write down what comes to your mind first. Let your heart lead the process.

Once you have completed this, continue with the following questions:

  • What do I want?
  • Why? Which feeling would I like to feel when I get what I want?
  • What will happen for me, if I create this change in my life?

Your answers will guide you to your purpose of existence. If the answers are strong enough, they will be your key motivation to live the life you really want.

Yours, Nina