365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Taking off on too much coffee

DAy 151The mystery of indulgence

For those of you who have followed me for a while; you know that I took a sabbatical from any stimulants such as coffee, tea with caffeine and alcohol for two weeks.

It was – surprisingly – not hard to take this break and it did me really well. I noticed a shift in my sense of inner calmness, and I enjoyed my own company feeling wholesome. My energy level was good, despite not having any stimulants.

I reintroduced the stimulants again a week ago and have chosen to consume smaller doses of tea and alcohol to maintain the calm sensation. I normally do not drink much coffee as it often makes me a bit too wired.

I woke up feeling very tired from lack of sleep and since I had an unusually hectic program today with several meetings among them one long four-hour meeting as well as close to five-hours of driving, plus some important and pressing decisions to make, I felt inclined to have a cup of coffee to get me started. It did me well, so I went for another cup very shortly thereafter. When that cup also felt ok, I even went for a third cup after lunch and I can tell you, that this was not a very good idea. To drink that much coffee – for someone like me who only drink coffee from time to time, it meant going into a spin that felt horrible.

What was I thinking? Well, that’s it. I wasn’t really thinking. Was I avoiding something? Perhaps… It is known that pain lies at the bottom of any addiction, and that self-indulgence goes hand in hand with addiction. Was I hoping for a different outcome than what I was used to having in the past…? Isn’t that the sign of insanity, to make the same mistake all over again expecting a different outcome, according to Einstein? As I took the third cup I knew I was playing with fire, but I decided to go for it and deal with the consequences later.

Looking back at it now, I cannot understand what came over me. Why did I let myself loose connection with my body and mind and allow myself to indulge this way? What happened to my usual strong willpower?

When we do not get off to a good start in the morning or something challenging happens during the day, it can be easy to get off balance. If we don’t stop and connect with ourselves, but instead keep making wobbly steps, we will keep on going further off balance – instead of what we really need, which is to be gentle and kind to ourselves by bringing us back to balance and a state of wellbeing.

What effect does coffee and other stimulants have on you? Do you sometimes indulge instead of looking at your fear or pain?

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“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends….”

Day 119Are you making a difference “and helping your friends get by” with your expertise and knowledge?

Being a novice can many times feel a bit shaky. When we expose ourselves to any new territory, we have to face our fears and courageously explore them before we can relax into feeling adjusted and comfortable. New terrain forces us to learn new skills; and sometimes we might not even know where to begin. A project that for some of us feels exciting because it is second nature, can for a novice be loaded with fear. If the project we are about to embark on feels scary and uncomfortable we cannot relax, and therefore it is not as enjoyable. But with a little bit of help from a friend, the experience can all of a sudden be transformed into both fun and exciting.

We can truly make a difference to each other by extending a helping hand, and I have had the fortune in the past week to meet with several such good friends that have been totally engaged and willing to sit with me for hours to support me in the new cabin-building project I may soon embark on. I have done a couple of renovations in the past, but a building project where we begin from scratch is a whole new ballgame for me.

I take on this job seriously, since I am mainly responsible to design and create this meeting place and home where our girls and family can retrieve to and love for years to come. It feels exciting to design and create a cabin that will outlast my own life and that possibly future generations will also come to enjoy.

With the kind willingness of my experienced friends to help and assist me, I feel so much more at ease. Their new eyes, good questions, and advice have completely turned my confidence around. I am forever grateful.

So now in the shower I am singing, “Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends….” And looking forward to the next time I get the chance help a friend get by!

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Why you would want to grow your emotional muscles…

Day 110Today I am exploring one of our most attractive attributes

Strength is something most of us aspire to. Muscles make us feel confident and good about ourselves. Perhaps you are thinking that I am referring to physical strength…

I do think that there is a clear link between physical strength and confidence, but what I would like to explore in the upcoming couple of blogs, is emotional strength; muscles that we cannot see and, which therefore perhaps are less inspiring for people to work on and develop – especially for those of us that are very visual. We live in societies where there is so much focus on our appearance. Many of us forget to care about developing our inner strengths and aspects – and we forget to recognize how attractive it is to be emotionally strong.

Today I want to start by defining what I perceive as someone who is emotionally strong; someone who stands up for who they are, speak their truth, do not let other people sit on them, set clear boundaries without shouting, do not loose their temper, are collected and gathered and can speak firmly when necessary, treat people friendly and the way they themselves want to be treated. Emotionally strong people do not allow themselves to put up with demeaning circumstances for a paycheck, or for affection and love. They have self-respect because they have high self-esteem. People who are emotionally strong radiate poise.

Imagine a world where we would spend as much time exercising our emotional strengths as we do our muscles… I think that would be an awesome world to live in!

Tomorrow I will explore ways to develop emotional strength, partly inspired by Barbara Roux Levrat, to whom I listened to on this very subject today.

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How often do you experience fear?

Day 91

The destructive power of fear

Fear is an emotion that we all experience from time to time to a perceived or a real threat.

We dislike being the victims of fear, as it seems to have power over us. We loose our center and stability, because fear triggers our fight and flight response.

When we feel threatened, and we don’t see fighting or fleeing as an option, we freeze, which can be hugely immobilizing and destructive.

Tune into your body and notice the effect fear has on your limbs next time you feel fear and you cannot or do not want to fight. Notice if you feel weak and powerless. Notice also the impact fear has on your mind. It is hard to think clearly and creatively when fear is present, as our brain is wired to either fight or flight. You have probably noticed that it is hard to make decisions and that it is easy to forget things in the presence of fear.

When fear is regularly present, it is hugely harmful for both our body and mind. We therefore need to take a closer look at what and with whom fear shows up in our lives and what we can do to move out of fear.

We need to stop accepting living under circumstances where fear is constant and find alternatives out of the ‘danger zone?’

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Ageing and happiness

DAy 63Today it is 63 days since January 1st. We have 302 days left to live our dreams and goals and to create a special year for ourselves.

As I wrote the number 63 – it reminded me that my birthday is around the corner as I am born 6/3. In just a couple of days, I am going to celebrate my last birthday in my 40’s, which means that I have most likely lived more than half of my life.

The fact that I am growing older does not stress me or give me angst; on the contrary, as I grow I have woken up to the importance of living life well. I do not want to waste my time and life worrying, or complain about that life is too short, or that I look older. I choose to be passionate about living it well instead- it gives me a whole lot more energy.

I have been a seeker and student for the past 20 years or so on how to live well. It has taken me time to understand and learn how to enjoy life everyday; to find happiness in the ordinary. Today I can say that I do.

I feel truly grateful that I have found “my happiness recipe.” To live with inner peace with who I am and with those I love; and that I have deeper knowledge as to what I need to feel balanced, nurtured, and fulfilled. What more can I ask for…

This is one of my favorite poems by Dawna Markova

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.