Perception

Do you love what you do?

In order to explore this question in more detail, I went to a workshop hosted by Do Work You Love. The workshop was about visualising my dream job as part of my dream life as well as planning the first action steps to achieve this goal.  This process was supported by a big poster named Canvas, comprising information and knowledge from different areas, such as personal development, business development, coaching and psychology.

The canvas looks at different areas in your life, such as

  • Who do you want to be in the future? How do you want to live?
  • Which role does the job play in your life?
  • How does the job need to be in order to achieve self-realisation and to use your skills and strengths accordingly?
  • What are your immediate next steps in order to get closer to your dream job and dream life?

After an introduction of all 8 participants, we teamed up in pairs of 2 to become sparring partners or dream life buddies for the next 6 weeks in order to support each other, but also to challenge each other on our visualisations. We worked on the Canvas for 2.5 hours by talking about our dreams and by asking each other questions. When the workshop was about to end, we did a final round to talk about our experiences during and after the workshop. When it was my turn to talk, I said something like “Well, my topics seem to repeat themselves, and I don’t seem to make much progress. I feel like I’ve been working on the same stuff for a while now.” When I shared this with my workshop buddies, they clarified – against my own perception – that I actually made progress and that topics didn’t repeat themselves, but that I developed them and moved them into a new dimension (e.g. more frequent, bigger etc.). The workshop organiser listed the ‘projects’ I had already started and that I was currently working on. It was only then that I realised how much I had already achieved in 2017, but that I didn’t give myself enough credit for it. I didn’t acknowledge my achievements sufficiently. Just to give you a few examples: I currently do my yoga teacher training, I hold yoga classes on a regular basis for friends and friends of friends, I have launched my blog, I have established an Instagram account called ninaspinknotes and only recently I have set up a fan page on Facebook for the same account. I read books about yoga and personal development, I listen to podcasts and I network with people to seek and give inspiration.

Hence, how can I say that I’m not making any progress? I’ve learned the following from this workshop and the feedback, thank you!!!

There may be a discrepancy between self-perception and perception of others.

Acknowledge yourself, your progress and your achievements.

After this workshop, I decided I wanted to go a step further concerning self-perception versus perception of others. I wanted to understand how I’m perceived by other people, and to reflect on what I like or dislike about the results, to understand discrepancies between self-perception and perception of others and to confirm my strengths whilst working on my perceived weaknesses. So, I used a questionnaire from the workshop and sent it to friends, family and acquaintances. It holds questions about associations with me, about emotions felt, which colour/animal or furniture I could be and what I could do more or less of. I gave people about 1 week time to get back to me and up until now I have received 20 responses.

The feedback was lovely, interesting and touching. Luckily, there was a good match on my strengths and potential for improvement, which means I am pretty well aware and have a good self-perception, yay. However, I also received a few comments that I wanted and needed to understand in a bit more detail, so I can make sense of it. A few comments to work on in the future, as they repeat themselves. And some comments to simply take note of.

Obviously I am me, with all my experiences, emotions, feelings, character and personality, and it’s not like I will become a new person based on the feedback received, but I think it’s essential to reflect on ourselves in order to grow, to improve. Hence, my path of self-reflection included being brave by asking others for their honest and direct feedback, but at the same time to trust my intuition. . This means that I can make use of my strengths even more, just by having moved them more into my conscious mind, and to be more aware of my ‘weaknesses’ or things to do less. At the end of the day, it’s like Anais Nin says:

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Everybody sees the world through their own filter, and very often we are mirrored by other people. For example, if we dislike something about another person or we get annoyed about someone’s behaviour, we most likely hold this characteristic within us, too. Or it could be something we’d like to have, hence the annoyance about someone else having it or living it. If criticism gets to us, then we should probably think about the reasons why, because it is very likely it has got to do with us. If that is the case, we can and should solve this limiting belief for us first, as otherwise we will always doubt our capabilities. Once we have solved these limiting beliefs within us though, we are free, we feel good and we can simply enjoy…life!

Yours, Nina

Yoga Teacher Training-Episode 3

Here we go, I will give you my insights about episode 3 of my yoga teacher training. No, episode 3 didn’t take place at the beach, but I wanted to feature an image that I love, with a mood that I love, in a place that I love, for something that I love doing. Yoga.

Day 1: Episode 3 (have you read about episode 1 and 2 yet?) started on Friday afternoon, kicked off with a 90 minute yoga practice. We obviously didn’t know what peak pose we were working towards, but all we knew pretty soonish is that it’s going to be hard. We did lots of hamstring and hip flexor stretches, so suddenly it became clear. Peak pose = Hanumanasana (Splits). Whilst I’m aware of the all the benefits this pose has on offer, I’m simply not there yet, I’m still coping with the steps before, and I’m afraid I cannot see any benefits as yet. Now, I must say that my hips and my groins have been feeling quite stiff for the last months, so anything hip opening related is quite hard work for me at the moment. However, I’m confident that with the yoga teacher training, the right stretches and support through my osteopath, I will be able to ‘heal’ this part of my body and eventually, it will losen up.

After the sweaty asana practice, we had a break and did some revision of last week’s poses. We repeated the Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) assists plus added on the assists for Trikonasana and Parsvokanasana. Loads of input, but endlessly valuable. I’m so grateful for all I’m experiencing during my teacher training, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Day 2: I’m getting up at 7.30am, so that I have sufficient time for a good breakfast, since this day starts with theory instead of yoga practice, so I might as well have a big bowl of porridge. We read about inversions, such as handstand, headstand and forearm stand, so that in the afternoon we are ‘ready’ to go into our inversion practice. I must admit that I’ve been super excited about this part of the YTT. I have of course done these poses before, but I have never really learned it in that much detail, so I was curious to find out more about my body, my physical reactions as well as my feelings afterwards.

I always thought that I’m quite tight in my sternal and shoulders, and that I’m not able to open this body part properly during the inversion training. However, it turned out I did pretty well. I was beyond excited, trust me, to find out that I’m actually capable to do these asanas. And again, we talk about limiting beliefs. Limiting thoughts. Limiting emotions. I’m glad that generally speaking I like trying new things. The same in this case. After the warm up, I was keen to know, keen to try everything. And I absolutely loved the inversion training. It is challenging, yes. But it’s majorly fun and exciting. It is literally a change of perspective. And honestly speaking, we should all have a change of perspective way more often.

Take down your limiting beliefs. Embrace change instead.

After this challenging and exciting day, I’m heading home, feeling exhausted, yet so happy and grateful. And ready for a hot bath. Sleeping at 10pm. Fabulous!

Day 3: The training commenced at 9am. Since I went to bed early, I felt really good when the alarm went off. Plus I have a new morning routine that I’m looking forward to, because it means I can relax in bed for another 15 minutes. I do some stretches directly in bed, like child’s pose (Balasana), stretches for my hip flexor and cat-cow pose. It is nice and I can only recommend you a similar morning routine, especially when you feel stiff when waking up and also when you are struggling to get out of bed. Find something that excites you and puts you in a positive mood in the morning. A couple of months ago for example I danced for 5 minutes to feel refreshed and bright. I switched on my favourite song on Spotify and off I went, ahem danced. Just as a suggestion, it does help me, so it might help you, too. Back to the YTT. We started with a 90 minute practice again focusing on warming up our lower back, shoulders and chest, so that we can go deeper into more inversions and also backbends. Glad we focused on a different body part, since I could really feel my hamstrings and my hip flexor from the Friday session, phew.

The second part of the session consisted of corrections, assists and some theory by working through our script. We then went into groups of 4 people to do practice-teach of Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (shoulder bridge) and Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). We learned some techniques on how to teach these poses to a beginner class, for example by using the wall, and tools such as blankets to really support the shoulders. Most of us in the group said that they have never learned it like this before, so it was indeed helpful and very valuable to look into these poses in more detail. Thank you, Nella!

We finished the weekend with a beautifully relaxing Savasana and a strengthening meditation speaking to ourselves:

I trust myself and life that all I need to know is already within me.

On this note, trust yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself.

Yours, Nina

Brainwashed?

This blog post is inspired by a conversation I had with my sister on the phone, she lives in Frankfurt with her family. Lovely Katrin, I’m dedicating this post to you.

My sister and me haven’t been chatting for a while, so there was loads to catch up on, but also I wanted to talk with her about Christmas. All these last years, my sister stayed in Frankfurt to celebrate Christmas and I would be with my parents in Munich. However, this year, it was important for me to bring us all together.

And yes, there are always ‘problems’ to overcome, like who sleeps where, who brings what, what do we cook, etc. We all know that these are no real problems though, hence the quotation marks. These are ‘problems’ we create in our heads, we make things way more complicated than they are, and there are various reasons for why we do this.

However, one thing became super clear to me in this conversation. There were only two options.

Option 1) We really want to be together for Christmas. In this case, we can work the rest out and everybody just needs to relax a bit.

Option 2) We don’t want to be together for Christmas. In this case, let’s just be honest with each other and say so instead of looking for ‘problems’ and making things difficult.

One big learning I’ve had over these last couple of years is to talk ‘Tacheles’, haha, this is German and basically means, that you should speak the truth in an honest and straight-forward way. Of course, we should all keep in mind not to offend someone. But rather than making things complicated and talking about non-existent problems, let’s just be honest with each other and make things work, one way or another.

Back to the Christmas story. I mentioned exactly the above points to my sister. And suddenly it was like a big knot in her head popped “Hm, yes you are right”, she said. The next day she called my parents to organise what needed organising. I was so pleased.

In that same conversation, we talked about relationships, children, time for ourselves and how we are sometimes not too happy with how things are splashing along. Within seconds, I was fully switched on. I’ve been dealing with these topics for the last couple of years really. And in these last few months specifically, I’ve been looking into the subject of resilience, de-conditioning and re-conditioning and how one can let go of old identities and beliefs. In doing so, I came across a lovely quote from Jean Houston, which I will translate into English for this post:

Development involves letting go of a small story to become aware of a big story.

I realised in the last couple of years that I paid too much attention to the small stories in my life, that I gave them too much room. I was simply busy dealing with external things, maybe I was trying to escape…? But then suddenly – triggered by two broken relationships within a short period of time – I had my Aha-moment. I became aware that I can choose freely how much time and space I’m giving to certain things in my life, how much suffering I’m accepting in my life, how many good things I let into my life or even attract into my life and I can also choose freely how I react in challenging situations.

And then I realised:

This is my big story. Personal development.

The progress of letting go and re-conditioning certain identities and behaviours in my life to my true self by giving myself permission. I didn’t really understand that there was one piece missing until such time that I was already right in the middle of my personal development. And suddenly it became clear what a wonderful change I had accomplished for myself and my life.

I’m still en route, but this route feels so much more beautiful and aligned with me.

And now I want to explain the title ‘Brainwashed’ of this article. When my sister and me talked about the topics mentioned above, I realised just how calm, focused and clear I was. At the same time I felt full of love for myself, for her, for my path and for hers. And she responded with a little laugh (as she probably doesn’t know me like this):

Have you been brainwashed, Nina?

And I replied ‘Yes, but I brainwashed myself. With personal development.’ To live a more fulfilled and happier life. A life that is right and true for me.

If you can relate to this article, look no further, but at yourself and walk your way. It will be worth it.

Yours, Nina