Design your life

Do you schedule personal development time into your everyday life?

When you intentionally make time for yourself, you are making time to design the life that you want. I’ve been on my journey of personal development for 2 years now, whereof the last 12 months were more focused, hence more productive and overall got me first results. Bam!

I’m so grateful to have been accompanied and supported on this journey by my lovely connection coach, healer and spiritual catalyst Ollie Trew, based in London. It was only when I started my coaching sessions with him, that I realised that I can do anything I want, that I must allow myself to be myself and create the life I really want to live.

Once I’ve embraced the change this ‘work’ will bring with it, my life began to improve. Slowly, but surely. I got rid of habits I didn’t need anymore and instead established a growth habit. My thoughts changed to the positive, my approach to challenging situations improved, my perspective shifted. I understood that I can choose every single day who I want to be and what life I want to live.

You can choose every day who you want to be and what life you want to live.

Scheduling time for my personal development meant that I was finally focusing on myself again. I started practicing self-love. Only when I was able to spend time with myself, I got to know myself and started walking the way of becoming the best version of  myself.

Make your personal time as important as everything else (if not more), because it will lead you to a natural balance from the inside. Once you really know your worth and your time’s worth, you will surely think about who to spend time with and what activities to say yes to, because you will instantly review it against your vision, if the activity is serving you or not. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should become unsocial and not go out anymore or spend time with your friends, but you might want to check upon the intensity, the frequency and its impact on your vision.

If you truly have a vision that you are working towards based on your goals and milestones, then it will be inevitable to review your personal time vs. the time spent elsewhere. Hence, as part of your life design, you might want to look at your time design.

I want to be honest though. This is not always easy. You might feel bad about rejecting certain people or activities for the time-being, you might feel ‘alone’, since you will be spending quite a bit of time on your own, and maybe the words ‘egoism’, ‘preferences’ and ‘negligence’ might fall. Some days it will throw you off, some days it won’t. Just accept it as part of your personal growth, as a sign of self-love.

Accept the consequences of your personal growth as a sign of self-love.

Time design

I’m still experimenting with that. Generally, on Sunday evenings I write a schedule for the week, just like back in school. What are my tasks, projects and goals to get accomplished this week. Are there any fixed dates, for example for my blog, where I publish a new blog post every Friday morning. Or my yoga classes, that I hold Mondays and Wednesdays etc.

I used to block hours, e.g. 9am-12pm for my blog, 12-14pm break, 14-16pm yoga, 16-18pm  reading, 18-20pm teaching a yoga class, 20-21pm social media promotion, etc. I have days where this works perfectly, but also where it doesn’t. Reasons vary: I’m not in the right mood for reading or I don’t feel creative enough to write my next blog post. So apart from the fixed dates, that approach doesn’t always work for me. Now, I’m trying a more flexible approach; I’m still scheduling the fixed dates in my diary, as well as setting out my weekly goals, e.g. ‘Pre-write 5 blog posts this week’, ‘Submit 1 article to John Strelecky & Friends‘, or ‘Plan up the yoga classes for April’. But I’m allowing myself the space and flexibility to complete these tasks whenever I feel like it, as long as I get them done. For me this leads to a higher level of satisfaction, whereas a very strict schedule seems to cause procrastination at times, especially when I’m not in the right mood for a specific task. On the other hand, I’m wondering if this enables me to perform at my full potential or if I’m operating only at half of my potential.

One last note: WhatsApp. Whilst I love this app, as it enables me to be in touch with my friends who are spread across the world, it’s also a very time-consuming activity, so use it wisely. I used to have my phone on silent anyways, but whenever I walked past my phone, I would check my incoming messages, emails, Instagram, etc. One thing led to another and suddenly I’ve lost 30 minutes of my valuable time. So, now, I have switched off my WhatsApp notifications fully, and if somebody needs me urgently, they simply have to to call. Done.

Owl or lark?

Also, I’m exploring whether I’m more of an owl or a lark when it comes to my productivity & creativity phase as well as sleeping patterns. I like the idea of getting up at 6am every day and having loads of things done by mid-day already. The reality however is that I might go to bed later one night, hence I cannot get out of bed the next day, which leads to frustration and procrastination. Plus sometimes, I get writing late after a yoga class, simply because I’m in the right mood or something evoked a thought that I’d like to capture… And then it’s rather hindering to have a very fixed time schedule.

Experiment, experiment, experiment 

If you are currently thinking about time design, then experimenting would be my best advice to you. Ask yourself, when in the day you are most productive or creative, whether you are an owl or a lark, if you prefer the night or the morning hours to get things done. No matter what type you are, avoid procrastination by all means and design your time purposefully to design the life you want.

Make your personal growth a must

Amongst all experiments though, one thing always – each and every day – finds a place in my schedule and that is time for myself and my personal growth. This can be reading, listening to a podcast or audio book, taking a relaxing bath, meditating, practicing yoga. The list is long, but do make it a must.

Why?

To constantly grow and never stand still.

Start designing your life now, so that you can jump for joy!

Yours, Nina

PS: I’d be very curious to hear your approach to time and life design, so please leave your comments. Thank you!

Freedom – Am I free?

Freedom. Happiness. Love.

These 3 words are my key goals, my why, for being on this journey of personal growth. This article is dedicated to the all important word freedom. But what does freedom actually mean? What does it mean for me? Am I free?

I have stumbled upon these questions more than once now. Probably because I’m on this spiritual journey. Probably because I’m questioning existing beliefs, behaviours and limitations. Probably because I’m curious by nature.

I have always been. 

Yes, I’ve always been curious, but looking back now, I feel like there was one kind of curiosity that was accepted in life, and another curiosity that wasn’t. Because it was too questioning. Too rebellious. Too scary. Which means that over time, I’ve reduced the amount of questions asked, I didn’t challenge the existing as much anymore, I basically lost my natural curiosity about life. I lost who I have always been.

However, it would be unfair to say that it is fully our society’s fault, because at the end of the day I accepted the existing, I accepted certain beliefs, I accepted specific behaviours as well as limitations. Most likely though, the acceptance wasn’t a 100% conscious process, but I trusted that the existing was right, good and I guess normal. Because why would you question something that seems to work? The answer is you wouldn’t, until you do, which is when you realised that things don’t actually work. Well, for me at least.

I’ve been at this point several times now, but my breakthrough to dig deeper and to really question the existing happened whilst travelling through Latin America, especially when I was in Mexico. Ever since, I’ve embarked on a journey, on my inner journey.

Destination: Myself. 

I understood over the last years that my inner journey with the destination ‘Myself’ has long been overdue and is absolutely essential to the pursuit of freedom.

Whilst we are of course influenced by society, our parents and upbringing as well as by politics etc., it is still our choice – especially when we grow older – which influences we actually accept or reject within our value system.

We are free to choose.

This means we can choose every moment who we are and who we truly want to be. But we will only experience true freedom, once our mind is truly free, allowing us to be, truly and authentically.

True self against Troublemaker

However, our true self often faces our difficult self. I like to call it ‘Troublemaker’. We are scared, our thoughts limiting and our self is less wild. Love is increasingly replaced by fear. We’ve lost ourselves.

But don’t we remember what our true essence is? What our purpose of existence is?

True essence

Our true essence is to enjoy life, to play like a child on the playground, to explore, to be happy and to love.

I am craving that life again, a life of freedom, of happiness and love. I got an amazing taster of life and my true essence whilst travelling through Latin America and I simply cannot go back. I want to get to the bottom of my true self again. I want to let go of all limiting beliefs, I want to express my feelings, I don’t want to live my life on other people’s terms, so that I’m being liked and accepted, I first and foremost want to like myself.

Because I’ve understood: If I like myself, I can dissolve everything that does not serve me any longer. I can blow off the dust of my very own diamond that is my true and authentic self.

And then I can go and get my freedom back, visualising everything I’ve always dreamt of.

PS: Do you see the yellow reflection on the picture? On the left side, right where the heart is? No more words needed…

Go and follow your heart.

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

 

 

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