A moving life

This blog post refers to the great German podcast of Benjamin Bulach “Finde deinen eigenen Weg” / “Find your own way”. It was so much fun. Thank you, Ben.

https://soundcloud.com/benjamin-bulach/folge-5-ein-leben-in-bewegung-mit-nina-sadlowsky

I came across a post on Facebook, where Ben was looking for people to interview in his podcast, people with a different CV, people who changed their direction in life. I found that very appealing, which is why I instantly wrote Ben, that I’d be more than happy to support him and tell my story in his podcast.

Since the podcast has been recorded in German, I will do my best to write a summary of the podcast episode here, in English.

B: How did you know that what you’re doing is not right for you anymore?

N: In my first marketing job, I realised that I hardly had any time for myself, I had headaches quite often, my shoulders were aching, so I had quite a few physical signs that I was not at my best. And I thought at 28 years old, that can’t be right. That is not the life I want to live.

B: And how did you then realise that you want to change directions? 

N: That actually took some time and a U-turn. At the time, I thought the issue was the job and it certainly was from a stress level, but I also realised when I changed my job then, that this was not right either. Whilst my first job was too intense, the next one was a bit too boring. It was a long dream of mine to be an actress, and hence I applied to various acting schools in Germany and I got accepted by all 4 schools that I had applied to. So, I felt reassured that my feelings were right and that I held a potential that was waiting to be unleashed. So, I quit my job and visited an acting school in Munich.

But, I also realised that the job issue was only one side of the medal, but that in fact I missed my boyfriend at the time, as we were having a distance relationship. The topics love and relationship were apparently bigger than I thought.

B: Ok, and how did your environment react when you decided for the acting school?

Well, there were some people who were really excited for me and encouraged me to go ahead with my plan, but then there were people, especially my family, who raised concerns over leaving my safe job in marketing and about my financial situation. I heard the word Must a lot. You must have a job, you must work, you must must must. And I suddenly thought “Do I? Must I?” I started questioning things.

B: And then, how did you realise that the acting school suits you more than the classical marketing job?

N: Well, that is an interesting question. I did the acting school for only 5 months in the end, as again I missed my boyfriend at the time and when he decided to move to London, I moved to London, too. I think looking back I just needed the acting school as a way to break out, to leave the marketing world behind for the time being. And it really was the kick off for me to feel myself properly again, to get an idea of who I really am and who I really want to be. I also realised that sitting in an office the entire day is not what I want. I’m naturally someone who likes moving and exploring. And the acting school gave me the opportunity to explore myself and to unfold my personality in many directions. So maybe the acting school served as a kick off for my personal development.

B: Were you always someone who needed to feel herself?

N: Yes, definitely. Since age 4 I’ve been dancing the ballet, jazz dance, and Latin dances. I always moved and I need movement in my life. Movement helps me to feel myself and be in my highest alignment. Without movement, I am not in flow. But I love flowing.

B: And then when you lived in London, you decided to travel a bit further, right?

N: Yes, that’s right. My boyfriend and me broke up at the end of 2014 and 6 months later I was in a new relationship with my colleague. By the way, I worked in a marketing job back then that I really loved, until we were sold to a German company. So, after 3 years in the job, I quit and I said to my bf that I always wanted to go travelling through Latin America when I’d quit my job next time. And he replied that he was in and so we planned our adventure together. After 2 months of travelling, he broke up with me. I was shattered and thought I was in the wrong movie. It woke me up, not gently, but it did. I started thinking about me, my life, about the reasons of what had happened. My sadness quickly converted into anger and that intense feeling helped me to overcome my sadness by redirecting my anger into positive energy. I then decided to continue my travels alone; my first thought was indeed that I will be doing that on my own and that I won’t let someone destroy my dreams.

B: What helped you most in that situation?

N: Basically the fact that I can trust my intuition. I had a strong feeling that my travels were only about to start, but of course there were voices telling me to come home, and also there was my inner voice speaking to me, but I simply knew, that my first thought and gut feel was right and that I needed to travel on my own. Of course I heard my head and my heart constantly fighting, but my heart voice won. Luckily!

B: What were your main insights from your travels?

N: Definitely that I realised that I can trust my intuition and my heart. Hence, I am now able to shorten the inner conflict of head and heart. If I listen … Also, courage. I was quite courageous during my trip and that’s definitely something I want to keep up, as I think it is incredibly important to be brave, to be open-minded, to be communicative, simply to approach people I don’t know (yet). It is a beautiful feeling. And finally, I realised how important it is to live your true self and this is hence my last insight from my travels, that I want to keep going on this path of personal growth expressing my true self. To focus on what I want and what I need. Self-love is the key word in this context. It’s essential to practice self-love as only then we can spread love and serve others.

B: Talking about self-love, I would also like to talk with you about yoga, meditation and physical work in general. I personally find it quite difficult to be still and meditate and since you are a lively person, too, how did you ease into it? How did you start?

Yes, indeed, that’s not so easy. I actually got in touch with meditation for the first time when I visited a yoga retreat in Gran Canaria in 2015. I just couldn’t sit still, not even for a minute. I couldn’t bear the stillness. I got hot & restless, I had to move all the time, it wasn’t nice to realise that I wasn’t able to sit still. It made me think. And so I started meditating for a minute and gradually increased my meditation time. But I had my real breakthrough in Mexico at the end of my travels when I visited another yoga retreat. The combination of the sea, the sand, the beach and the right people surrounding me helped me to let go and to run along with it. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to travel to Mexico now in order to find their way into meditation, but it means to give it a try, and not to overwhelm yourself. Just start with a one minute meditation and gradually raise it to 10/15 minutes, depending on how long you wish to meditate for. The most important thing is to do it daily. Rather meditate every day for only 5 min than trying it once a week for 15 minutes. It won’t work. It’s difficult to sit still for 15 minutes, if you never meditated before and if you are a lively person by nature. So, you need to be patient with yourself and practice. I can now meditate for 15 minutes and longer and yes, of course I have days where my thoughts are still wandering, too, but I notice it quicker and hence I can bring my focus back to my breath way quicker. It also helps visualising that you observe yourself from above, how you sit there on your mat or cushion. It gives the mind something to do, which means you can focus on your breath. Worth trying.

B: And how does yoga and meditation go together for you? How are these two connected?

N: They are strongly connected. Yoga is meditation. And actually I only found my way into meditation through yoga. I’m a person who needs to move first before being able to rest and I’m sure many people can resonate. Practicing asanas on your yoga mat is meditation and everything else around you dissolves. Now after years of practice I can also rest without the physical exercise.

B: Great. What are your plans now relating to yoga, meditation and coaching?

N: Meditation is something I’ve really incorporated in my life. And yoga is so much more for me than the practice on the mat, it’s about being mindful and connected with yourself. Of course, I want to continue teaching yoga, I would like to hold yoga retreats and workshops globally. In April, I will furthermore start a coaching education. Hence, my goal is to combine these themes and to complement them with essential oils as well. I really want to build my own business doing what I love. Living a life that I love.

B: Imagine you would meet your younger self, little Nina. What would you tell her?

N: I would tell her to trust herself. Listen to your heart and switch off the voices outside, as best as you can. Trust that your decision and the ways you are attracted to have their right to exist. Everything makes sense looking back, everything has its positive side. Trust me. Sometimes we need triggers to leave our comfort zone, and whilst it might hurt at the time, these triggers can catapult you to a totally different level. Also, look inside yourself, find silence, find peace, switch off, spend alone time, don’t fear alone time. Give your emotions the chance to come up.

Just imagine you are a crystal and the crystal is completely covered in dust, and gradually you blow off the dust, bit by bit, layer by layer and your true self is being revealed.

B: That’s a wonderful picture, thank you. What would you recommend people how they can find silence if they simply don’t know how…

N: That is difficult. But I’d say one approach is if you really want to change something, then you will. For example start by taking 30 minutes every Sunday, which are just for you, reading, drinking tea, sitting in a cafe, taking a bath. Whatever it may be, do it for yourself and alone. Or sometimes if a change is triggered by external factors, then listen to yourself and your body what it is you need and acknowledge it accordingly. For example you feel tired and exhausted then take some time out, a day, a few hours or whatever you can do to find back to your inner peace. Don’t lie to yourself and really listen. Our body speaks to us and most people are great at hiding and covering up the symptoms and feelings, but exactly then it’s so important to have access to yourself and listen to what your conditions and emotions are telling you. And if you do listen, beautiful things will be revealed.

B: Like you know my podcast is called Find Your Own Way. And of course, there are always different paths to take. What paths do you want to take?

N: I have definitely visualised my future life. In terms of business, I want to build upon yoga, coaching, meditation and essential oils. From a private point of view, well I’m single at the moment, but I do wish for a beautiful relationship with a guy who is on a similar way or is at least open to accompany me on my way. I also see that I’ll have a house by the sea and that I work from there. Nina sitting by the sea, with her husband and her laptop writing articles, her blog, teaching yoga, and so much more, with the picture of living a dream of freedom, happiness and love. I do know that there will still be obstacles along the way, but I also have the confidence that I will master them, based on my experiences, my knowledge and my growth. There will always be obstacles, but it’s important to know that we all have the capabilities to overcome them and succeed.

B: Thanks so much, a beautiful picture to finish on. It will be very interesting to see where you stand in 10 years time. Thank you, Nina, for being here. Dear listeners, I hope you’ll find your dream picture, too. All the best for you. 

N: Thank you, Ben. Ciao.

 

When in doubt, travel

I’ve always been in love with traveling, but this developed into a whole new dimension when I travelled through Latin America for almost 6 months last year. Now, I perceive traveling as a gift.

But first things first. I lived in London for almost 5 years and had a job that I loved, as a marketing & communications manager for luxury hotel amenities. It was all good until our company was sold and they started changing responsibilities, hierarchies and ways of working. A few months later I decided that I wouldn’t be happy in this new set up and that after 3 years in the same job, it was about time to leave. Plus I always had in the back of my head that the next time I quit my job, I would travel through Latin America, a dream and vision that I’ve had for many years.

My boyfriend at the time decided to quit his job too and so we started planning our 4 months trip together. Wow, I was so excited to burn the bridges behind me, well not all of them, but definitely a few, like giving up a well-paid job, leaving my nice apartment in London and of course leaving my friends for the time being. But the excitement about being free like a bird and exploring the world was definitely bigger than the fear of leaving something behind. Dare to be brave!

So, in early June, we left London and flew to Cuba, our first stop. Unfortunately, after approximately 3 weeks my boyfriend at the time and me already got into a fight and although I don’t remember what it was all about, I do remember, that I felt like I cannot fully express my opinion, my thoughts and feelings. We continued the journey and got into more discussions, majorly due to different perceptions and interpretations of situations and probably also due to a lack of communication. We spent amazing times together, but when in Peru, we seemed to have reached the peak of frustration, so after a horrible fight, we broke up between Peru and Bolivia.

I was in shock. I simply didn’t realize what had happened and how we got from planning a trip together to breaking up on that trip. I also thought “Why me?” and “Why again?” and felt really sorry for myself. On the other hand, I felt strong and self-confident and kept thinking that this guy simply didn’t deserve me. When he suggested to me to cancel the trip and fly back to the UK or Germany, all alarm bells switched on. This suggestion felt so wrong. It was MY idea, it was MY trip and I didn’t want to give up on MY dream and vision, because of a broken relationship. No, I was stronger than that and so I accepted the break up and switched into pragmatic problem-solving mode.

First question that arose was where to go next and when. With regards to where, I decided to more or less stick to the original travel route and hence flew from La Paz to Uyuni to visit the awesome salt flats Salar de Uyuni. Regarding when, well the sooner the better and so a couple of days later, I was en route again, this time alone.

So this is when my solo travel trip through Latin America started. When in doubt, travel!

Yes I was confused, yes I was sad, yes I was shocked, yes I felt sorry for myself, yes I was angry, yes I was in doubt. But somewhere between all this uncertainty, fear, and sadness, I felt extremely confident, strong, brave and positive. Because deep down in my heart I trusted and knew that this had happened for a reason, for something better & bigger.

And life showed me indeed that the best was yet to come, if I only embraced this change.

What we can learn from this experience:

  • That it’s important to never give up on our dreams.
  • “When in doubt, travel” is true, since it gives us time to clear our head, to find back to our heart and to feel at peace with the world.
  • That it is important to talk, talk, talk. Expressing our opinion, thoughts and feelings is critical to happiness, as we can only be happy when we are true to ourselves and stick to our values.
  • Self-love is key.

Thank you for being here and reading my story. I really hope that my posts help you to find light in any sad situation that you might be facing. Stay tuned, as I will continue to share my journey to myself with you.

Yours, Nina