Unconditionally Yours

HeartPinkCloud

Unconditional love. A beautiful concept, but what does it really mean?

It is really very simple: It means to love someone or something completely and utterly, regardless of how the beloved party acts, behaves, responds or otherwise treats you back.

This can be fairly easy to do towards recipients that are easy to love like a cat, a cupcake or a small child. The real test for most lies in unconditionally loving adult human beings, ourselves included, being that no one among us ever will be perfect in every way thinkable to us.

The ultimate challenge is to love one’s romantic partner unconditionally, especially in a society where separating is always a viable option. Many would claim to love their partner unconditionally but how many really, really mean it? How many will keep loving their partner after having been betrayed in the worst thinkable way? If you are not willing to forgive any action from your partner, then (I’m sorry to break it to you) your love for your partner is based on one or countless conditions, and is therefore not unconditional.

“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is”Marianne Williamson.

Marianne Williamson sums it up beautifully here, I think. Every single person we meet is going to have sides that we are not too crazy about (or darkness, if you will) if we knew about them. Loving someone regardless of their dark sides is what I call unconditional love.

But doesn’t this mean that we would settle for less? Doesn’t this condone unacceptable behaviour? Wouldn’t forgiving betrayal set a poor standard for similar escapades in the future?

It could and it probably would if we were forgiving from a place of fear. Fear of not deserving a faithful partner, fear of being alone and fear of being abandoned. I am however not talking about forgiving someone for fear of these things. Forgiveness must come from a place of love, and more specifically love for yourself. You don’t forgive because someone else deserves it, you forgive because you deserve to be free of whatever was done to you.

LavenderFieldPinkSkyIt may sound paradoxical but loving unconditionally is the ultimate empowerment in the romantic department. Why? Because the other person has no power over your feelings for them. That power lies in you. You are the one who decides who and when to love. And when not to love. No one but you can and should be responsible for your happiness. When we humans realize that the complete power to decide our reactions rests within each and every one of us, that is when we find true freedom to be who we really are.

As a species we are diligently trained to react in very specific ways to a lot of specific things. And deviations from society’s norms are sadly not regarded as a sign of strength. If I hit you, then you should hit me back. Or at least yell, get pretty angry or possibly send someone in your place to reciprocate. If I say something nice to you, you are supposed to swell with joy or else you are arrogant. Who is really in charge in these situations? Well, it is certainly not you. I say, take your power back! Only when you decide if and how you want to react to other people and stop depending on default programming, only then will you be free of other people’s power over you.

To my future partner I want to say the following: My happiness does not depend on you, so you’re off the hook. I can never be happy because of you, but I will love to be happy together with you. Although I may not love what you are doing every moment of our time together, I will always try to see you as who you really are – not as you are in this moment. Quite frankly, I love you so much I don’t care what you think.

Terms and conditions do not apply.

Unconditionally Yours,

Kristian

Meditation Generation

MeditationOnMountainInSunshine

I meditate daily and have done so for more than a year. As promised in my previous post I will now share some of my experiences with meditation with you. What started as a remedy to feel a little bit better while going through some difficult stuff has become an amazing sanctuary that has surpassed all expectations from a year back. I really had no idea what would come of it or where it could take me.

So what is meditation really? There are several ways of describing it: -Cardio for your mental stamina. -Stretching for the soul. -Relief from the mind’s perpetual chatter. And much more.

My first real experience with meditation was in Hong Kong several years back when a friend told me about a meditation teacher she had heard of. For quite some time I had been curious about what meditation was and wanted to learn to do it. I did however not get a lot out of the two sessions I had with this teacher, which probably was not the teacher’s fault. I wasn’t really ready and besides, the style she taught was not something that really resonated with me. Meditation is not really a skill you learn, and so, there are no rights or wrongs. Each must find his own way.

With meditation really not being a skill anymore than lying down or relaxing, it is something everyone can discover or rather remember. Although being a natural state of the non-physical part of us, it is a state that most of us forget as we grow up and are assimilated into the hectic mindset of modern society. Meditation is re-connecting with your inner self, which quite frankly is an amazing resource that most people are more or less oblivious to. Meditation can help you access your intuition in a way that is impossible if your mind is active. I am not talking about hunches about doing this or that, I am talking about a reliable and consistent connection to your intuition, inner being, sub-consciousness or whatever you choose to call it.

MagicFlowerOnWater1When  I meditate I generally prefer to use guided meditations that fit my mood and life situation at that time. There are several good ones to choose from, and I personally recommend the ones from Meditation Oasis simply because they are the ones I used in the beginning. They can be downloaded for free as podcasts from iTunes and there is one to fit your every mood: breath awareness, patience, grief, gratitude, opening of the heart, relief from stress, accessing intuition, Chakra meditation etc etc.

I prefer lying down when meditating but you can also be seated if you prefer that. Personally, I don’t like to meditate when I’m so tired or sleepy that I drift in and out of sleep, simply because I find it confusing when the surreality of the dream state is mixed with the consciousness of the meditation. There are however no rights and wrongs here, what is important is that you find a way that works for you.

So what does it feel like? Well, it is more or less an exercise in not thinking thoughts, but to allow the mind to go quiet leaving space for everything else that is inside of you to come forward. By gently focusing on your breathing or just enjoying the gentle stillness of the mind you can experience inner peace, emotional ease or just a comfortable feeling of well-being. By all means, thoughts will appear in a meditation. This is completely normal, especially during stressful or emotionally challenging times. The trick is to not follow the train of thoughts but to allow them to drift out of your consciousness from whence they came.

It is not about making something happen, or trying to induce a particular experience. However, when you get more and more used to meditate, extraordinary things can happen that could leave you baffled and eager to delve deeper into your inner self. To many this may sound scary, I have however never found anything that has not been to my benefit. (However, if you know that you have a lot of unresolved junk in your past, seeking guidance from a professional may be a good idea before trying to fix things on your own).

I think my most “tangible” weird experience with meditation happened a few weeks back. I had meditated for about 25 minutes, finished and went to watch TV afterwards. After about five minutes I realized that I hadn’t put on my glasses after finishing the meditation (I normally wear contacts) but to my surprise I could see everything clearly. Completely astonished I checked if I could see clocks and other stuff far away that I normally need glasses for. And I could! When putting on my glasses it was as if they weren’t mine; I couldn’t see clearly with them. This lasted for the rest of the day until I went to sleep and woke up with my regular -1.5 nearsightedness the next day. When telling my optometrist about this he had no good explanation as to what might have happened here.

Meditation and relaxation on an empty roadI know that many people are curious about meditation, but don’t quite know where to start and how to go about it. By all means, it is not a quick fix for anything, but instead offers a more soothing relief over time. It is however an exciting path where you can reap fruits in areas that you never imagined you would. Meditation could give benefits such as self-confidence, self-acceptance, patience, stress management, self-love, peace of mind and much, much more. Please don’t lose your courage if you feel you cannot get the hang of it straight away. Practice makes perfect and remember that continuity is of the essence here.

So if you feel like trying this, you are not alone. More and more people are discovering the world of meditation, and hopefully in not a too distant future meditation will be as normal as brushing one’s teeth or reading the newspaper. I am absolutely convinced the world will be a better place for it.

Meditatively Yours,

Kristian

Lose your mind!

ManInCropFieldInSunshine

I wish more people would lose their mind. Not in the traditional way of going insane, but as a way of escaping the ever-present background noise that the mind keeps filling most people’s heads with on a non-stop basis.

-Wonder if I’ll make rent in six months? -What did she really mean by that? -Do I look skinny in these jeans? -OMG. That’s ugly! -She probably meant that I’m not good enough. -What happens if I lose my job? -Why don’t banana sweets taste like real bananas? -What DID she really mean by that? -He is so pathetic!!! -I’m not good enough for that. -My boyfriend doesn’t take me seriously. -Because if he did he would do that and not this. -What did she REALLY mean by that? -Probably nothing good, anyways! 

Well, you get the picture.

We are all receivers of this endless stream of thoughts that go through our minds in most of our waking moments. When was the last time you can remember being awake and not thinking about something? Some may wonder if it is even possible? By all means, thinking can be a lovely pastime if you’re daydreaming about something nice. But it can be far less pleasurable if the thoughts that keep running through your head are worrying, frightening and upsetting. The trouble is that most of us are not able to consciously select our thoughts but are rather victims of whatever the mind decides to throw at us. And the mind often does this as a default response to outside events over which we have no control.

So what is the mind? Is it who you are? Is it your soul and your spirit? Is it your identity? Not at all!! Far from it, actually!

Albert Einstein once said: The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. (In this context I speak of the “mind” as only what Einstein calls the “rational mind”. I don’t regard the intuitive mind as a part of the mind at all). I think that Einstein sums it up wonderfully here: the mind is but a servant that humans are equipped with to use as a tool to solve cognitive challenges. However, in most people this servant has taken over its master and is now running the show with so much nonsense bulls**t and with such clamour that the sacred intuition is more or less drowned in its noise.

Glow of the mindYour mind and the thoughts that accompany it are not who you really are. The thoughts you keep thinking turn into beliefs that to many create their identity as they know it. But again, beliefs are just thoughts you keep thinking. And if you stop thinking that thought, that belief will dissolve. Then who are you really?

So how is it possible to make this never-ending stream of thoughts stop? Can it be done? It is relatively easy to do this in short moments. Whenever you stop and completely take in the present moment, whether it be a beautiful view, a tasteful treat, a kiss from a lover or just by studying the shape of your finger, there are probably no thoughts in your head. If you are completely focused in the here and now it is impossible to have an active thought. And vice versa: Whenever you have an active thought it is impossible to be completely present.

German author Eckhart Tolle describes this concept of the mind thoroughly in his bestselling book The Power of Now. I think Tolle goes a bit too hardcore for my liking in advocating using the mind solely for practical purposes, leaving the rest of the time to live exclusively in the now. His concepts are however definitely helpful to anyone with a desire to tame the rampant mind that exists in most people’s heads. If you can control your mind there is no reason to worry, judge or even fear. Yeah, that’s right. By taming your mind you can more or less eliminate fear from your daily life. Think about it, what do you fear that is present or imminent here and now? Unless you are seated in a car speeding at a 150 km/h with no breaks or a madman is pointing a gun to your head while you are reading this, I am guessing that all of your fears are somewhere in an imagined future. And the projected future of the mind is actually nothing more than fiction in the present moment. So is it sensible to miss out on here and now because you are fearing something dreadful that will probably not happen anyway at some point in the future?

Taming the mind and putting it in its place in a lasting way is not something that is done overnight. After all, most of us have been taught to think like this through our whole lives by others who also were taught the same thing through their whole lives. However, the benefits of striving to regard the mind as merely an obedient tool are immense. Our thoughts can be extremely powerful, and when used right thoughts can create a life that will blow your mind. Literally. True happiness is never found in other people and objects. Happiness is found in how you view these people and objects. Among other places.

LavenderFieldSunset

Many might worry what happens when the familiar chattering of the mind stops. Silence? Emptiness? Not at all. In the absence of the steady stream of thoughts that most of us are used to you will find inner peace, freedom, emotional ease, well-being and most of all love. You can discover a connectedness to deeper levels of yourself, your intuition or to something far bigger than yourself, depending on what you choose to believe in.

There are several paths to releasing the grip of the mind and taking your power back, and I think that the most effective gateway is through meditation. In my next post I will share my experience with meditation, and again there are countless approaches to this. Each must find his own way.

Mindlessly Yours,

Kristian

The end of an era

Maya prophecy

December 21, 2012 has come and is soon gone without any sign of armageddon thus far. Seriously, did anyone really expect cataclysmic events of biblical proportions to unfold because the Mayan calendar had to end at some point and that point was now. Our calendar ends every year in Champagne-fueled disasters that for some may make January 1 feel like doomsday, but every year the world moves on more or less as we know it. Thank God.

I do not however think that the end of the Mayan calendar is an omen completely without its significance.

“The world is changed, I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air” -marks the opening of the Lord of the Rings-trilogy. Maybe our world has not changed dramatically yet but I do feel (or rather hope) that we are standing on the threshold of great changes.

Anyone who has the ability to be honest and to think a thought through to its conclusion must see that humanity cannot and will not go on forever on the track we are now on. It just doesn’t add up. Sooner or later we will cause our own downfall and extinction unless the world of man changes. Dramatically. We cannot go on hurting, molesting, killing, robbing, torturing and hating one another. This happens on all levels of human relationships and it is rampant. From bullying in primary schools, cheating on one’s spouse, pocketing what isn’t rightfully ours and mundane raping and pillaging, up to the global political scene where nations are at war with each other creating disasters affecting millions upon millions. Not to mention what we are doing to our home, the only planet we have access to in the foreseeable future. Earth can be a gloomy place indeed, and to far too many their life experience here is an existence that falls nothing short of descriptions of hell found in the scriptures.

YogaWomanTreesSo how is the world changing? I believe that humanity is slowly but surely waking up to a mindset that is completely different from what we have seen in all of our years up till now. This change has been described as entering the age of aquarius or as the awakening that many are experiencing through the New Age or New Thought movements that are attracting new followers in all corners of the world every day.

These movements may sound like hippie-mumbo-jumbo to many. I mean, floating around believing that love is the answer to every problem, that your thoughts create your reality, that there are no coincidences and that everything actually could and should be well. What’s that about? I mean, shouldn’t these annoyingly harmonious people just wake up, smell the stale coffee stench and take the world for what it is? A harsh reality where you need to stand your ground and fight to get the life that you want? Or perish in the attempt, like good people have been doing for millennia already?

I don’t have the answers or truths for anyone but myself. But I am grateful that life has shown me a path where I have the opportunity to more and more choose how I want to view the world. And that I am able to and willing to question the so-called truths that we take for granted in life. If you hit me, do I have to hit back? If you do something hurtful to me, do I actually have to get hurt? If you betray me, do I have to get angry or upset? If I love you and you don’t love me back, do I have to feel sad?

To me, this is what the end of an era is all about. It doesn’t really matter whether the Mayans actually were predicting this shift in human consciousness or just coincidentally got bored of writing the calendar at this particular point in time. The world is slowly changing, with more and more people leaving the chains of dogmatic religion, and destructive and codependent mindsets to embrace ways of thinking, living and loving that do not limit themselves or others. New people are added every day. Until the 100th monkey effect takes care of the rest and makes the change inevitable. Well, or that’s the master plan. More or less. The old ways may have served us well in getting us out from the caves to where we are now. But now I believe we are ready to take our existence to the next level: Introducing Humanity 2.0.

This slow transition is  the significance I see for the new era that we are entering.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas!

Spiritually Yours,

Kristian

Shining lighthouses

Lighthouse

Lighthouses don’t go running around an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there, shining.  -Annie Lamott

Many of us have an almost innate urge to help (read: save) others from toxic relationships, difficult life situations, destructive addictions or just simply themselves and their (in our humble opinion) faulty judgement. We want to give them much needed guidance and help to get back on the right path. I hate to admit that yours truly is no exception.

So why do we do it? The motives are of course plentiful and not all of them are based in an unhealthy desire to control our surroundings to fit our idea of what is right and good. Watching someone you care for facing difficulties can be truly painful and trying to help is often the most natural thing to do. But what do you do when the stray person declines your help? Do you just mind your own beeswax and get on with it?

silhouetteBeing at the receiving end of someone’s good intentions may not exactly be a confidence booster. We all want to proudly showcase that we are in control and to display the best possible façade we can (even though the cracks may be visible from space). After all, who likes to admit defeat? That they actually cannot do something alone? Receiving help gracefully is an art not mastered by the many.

But does someone’s refusal to accept your good assistance mean that you should just walk away? Leave them be?

Unless related by blood, walking away is perfectly OK in Chinese Confucian tradition. As a matter of fact, it is not just OK, it is the right thing to do and complies well with the Chinese attitude of not interfering with the internal affairs of others. By all means, observe it and talk about it. But get involved? Hell, no! What happens in other people’s houses, businesses or countries for that matter is their business. Not yours. Gossiping about it is however very much allowed.

In Catholicism however you are given a totally different licence to act. The Sin of Omission says that the bystander of injustice is as guilty as the perpetrator. Knowing the right thing to do and failing to do this is in other words not just morally questionable; it is in fact sinful. And helping someone, albeit unwilling, would probably be classified as the right thing to do by the righteous. That there in most cases exists no universal truth for what is right and wrong is of course highly irrelevant.

I don’t think that either of these extremes offers much help when it comes to helping the ones close to you if they don’t want your involvement. I think it is very important to be honest about one’s motives to do this. Who are you actually trying to help? Are you trying to help someone solve a problem or are you in fact trying to help yourself feel better about yourself? Are you trying to show yourself off as the saviour of unfortunate loved ones? That many people are trying to help others in order to avoid looking at their own problems may be a well known phenomenon. However, admitting that our unfortunate friends in fact are tools primarily used to deal with our own pain or boost our own egos may be hard for most of us.

Nobel Peace Price Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi once said “If you feel helpless – help someone”. Noble indeed, but seen in this context this excellent quote is not without its flaws. What is your motivation? Is it to actually make a positive difference in someone else’s life? Or is it to feel better about yourself? Really?

Many people’s noble intentions may be rejected by the recipient with the result that the generous helper may get upset, insulted or both. After all, we are only trying to help. Again, who is this really about?

Marshall Point Lighthouse at sunsetThis is where the metaphor of the lighthouse comes in and beautifully sums up what I believe to be the more loving approach. I believe that when someone you care for needs help, the only thing we can do is to gently and steadily put our hand out and let them know it’s there. That’s all. If they choose to grab onto it, then that’s wonderful. But if they don’t grab it right away or even push it away we can still keep it out there. Close enough for them to grab onto if they change their mind, but far enough away to give them space to find their own way. We don’t help people by forcing them to fit into our perfect picture. We help them by standing by them with compassion, not pity, as they face their own consequences, make their own experiences and paint their own picture of the world.

Loving our friends, family and partners only when they act the way we want them to, is not love. Loving them in spite of their human flaws is. We love them for who they actually are and not for whom we would rather have them be. This is unconditional love.

Till next time: Love before you help!

Kristian

It’s nothing personal

Dreaming of the Sun.“Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality”.

I remember the first time I read these words ten years ago in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Recommended to me by a tarot lady. At the time I was working in a trendy Notting Hill restaurant in London and on Saturday nights the owners had hired Sanya from the Balkans (believe me, she looked and sounded the part) to do after-dinner readings for the guests. You know, Sanya to the rescue in case the date got boring. An excellent idea actually.

Nothing others do is because of you! I was baffled. How could this be? This went against everything I thought I knew. Isn’t it my behaviour that decides how others treat me? Isn’t it the way I look that decides whether people are attracted to me or not? And isn’t it so that if someone likes me I should feel good, and if someone doesn’t like me I am supposed to feel bad? This is how the world works, right?

Imagine that you walk down a busy street and give the finger to three random people. The first person laughs at you while number two asks you what the hell your problem is. Unfortunately for you the third person pulls out a gun and shoots you dead. You did exactly the same thing to three different people, but got three completely different responses.

This example should make it pretty obvious that you by and large cannot control how other people in fact will react to you. Experience makes you able to predict, but still you can only do the input, the output is entirely out of your hands. It goes without saying that flipping someone the bird is not a very nice thing to do and most people don’t like it, but their actual reaction is not because of you. It only depends on them and where they are.

I am sure everyone has talked to their friends about who is hot and who is not. Probably more often than not you and your friends don’t all fancy the same person. And thank God for that. While one friend may be head over heals about a guy, another may think that although he may look ok he’s not their type. The person in question is the same, but different people react differently to him based on their personal taste, preferences and priorities. All things that can vary individually to each and every person. The it’s-not-you-it’s-me-excuse may actually be true more often than we think.

Not taking other people’s opinion of me personally is truly liberating. It has however taken me a long time to be free of this. Years actually. It is only when I speak to people who are truly upset about other people’s opinion of them that I realize how far I have actually come. If someone tells me that someone else thinks this and that of me my instant reaction is normally nothing more than a shrug and who cares? Yeah, really! Because I don’t.

I remember talking to a friend a while ago who was doing really well at work. Unfortunately he was feeling down because some of his colleagues were jealous of his success and wouldn’t talk to him as much any more. I remember asking him why on earth he was feeling down about this. There is absolutely no doubt about who has got the problem here, and it was not him. He could rise above this, but their pathetic reaction made something that should have been a wonderful thing bittersweet instead. What a waste!

Of course with this way of thinking it doesn’t matter whether people think good or bad thoughts about you. Neither is personal. While this may be liberating for the bad stuff, it can feel like a bit of a waste on the good stuff. Shouldn’t you feel good if someone says something nice to you? Sure, by all means. But it is still not really because of you, it is because you happen fit into their image of what is good. The key is to feel good about yourself regardless of other people, only then can you be free to really be yourself. And still, I am pretty sure that most people find it a lot easier to believe the bad things people say about them compared to the good things. So believe the good things if you want. If you are like most people, chances are you’ll forget them soon enough anyway. Just a hunch I have.

Not caring about what others think of me is of course not a carte blanche to behave badly. I still want the best out of life and I know that this normally happens when I’m on good form with the world around me. Moreover, treating people inferior to how I myself want to be treated doesn’t feel good. And I’m all about feeling good!

I don’t need tarot cards to recommend The Four Agreements to anyone though. A great read that I can warmly recommend to anyone.

What other people think of me is none of my business. 

Personally Yours,

Kristian

Pointless worrying

SmilingTreeLogsWithDaisies

Don’t worry, be happy is the title of an extremely annoying tune that was big in my 1980s childhood. Surprisingly, the more I learn about life, the more true the message of this cheesy song becomes: The less you worry, the happier you will be. But is it really that simple?

Over the weekend my family gathered to celebrate my father’s 60th birthday, meaning I got a chance to catch up with family members that I don’t see very often. As you do, you talk about what goes on in your own and their lives and as in all families life is not just smooth sailing. Everyone has their problems to deal with, big and small, which is completely normal. What is also normal is that a huge part of people’s problems actually lies anticipating obstacles and then worrying about them. What might happen? What’s the worst case scenario? You know, just in case.

It is impossible to worry about something that is happening right at this moment. If you have a genuine problem right now, like a car speeding towards you, your only real option is to deal with it. Worrying is not to deal with problems. It is to spend time and energy focusing on something that you at this very moment cannot or will not deal with. Worry is without exception focused either in the past or in the future. Everyone knows that you cannot change the past, it is over and done with. Finito. Worrying about it will not change anything at all. Not even a little bit. So why worry about it? Really?

I do however believe that for most people a majority of their everyday worries lie in the future. What problems may arise? How am I going to deal with this and that tomorrow and next year? It could be illness, money problems, relationships, career and the list goes on and on. Our worries become vivid projections of the mind that can be both scary and unsettling. The good news is that right at this moment this is only fiction. It is not real. It only exists in your mind and absolutely nowhere else. I read somewhere that only 8% of worries actually come to pass, with the remaining 92% being forever left in the imagination. I have no idea how someone has landed on those numbers, but somehow I don’t think they are completely off. Because isn’t it so that most of our worries thus far have never manifested themselves in reality?

The Dalai Lama teaches that if you have a problem that is solvable then there is no need to worry, and that if you have a problem that you cannot solve then there is also no need to worry. That simple. This is beautifully summed up in this simple flowchart:

Worrying is not going to change anything. Trying to carry tomorrow’s sorrow today only ruins today and quite frankly does not make tomorrow’s sorrow any less painful. There is no discount. Guaranteed. So then again, why do we keep worrying?

The point is that worrying never adds anything positive to anything. It only steals happiness from today without making the potential unpleasant situations that may arise in the future any less painful. Humanity seems however to have accepted worry as a completely normal activity of the mind, and to most people life would be incomplete without it. The habit of worrying is so deeply rooted in us that very few even stop to think if there actually is any point in doing it. And truth be told: It is completely pointless.

Some people think they have to worry to care for someone. I have news for you: Worrying about someone rarely leaves the recipient of the worrying thoughts feeling any more uplifted. As a matter of fact the contrary is probably more often the case. Not only have they got a real problem on their hands, they also get to live with the knowledge that their own problems are destroying the happiness of others. A double burden. So if you do have to worry about someone you care for, do them a favour and keep your worries to yourself. This does not mean that you cannot care for, love or be there for someone. But it means that you may want to look for other ways to show your concern than to inform them of the pain they are causing you. Make it about them, not about your reaction to their problems.

Worry is not a necessity to prepare for the future, if anything worrying can work against you in the form of self-fulfilling prophecies. When you expect a bad result, chances are you will attract one. And vice versa.

American novelist Alice Hegan Rice once said:

It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains!

I think that is pretty good advice.

 

Happily Yours,

Kristian

God-given licence to act like a prick

CrossOfWoodenSticksI was browsing one of my regular discussion forums today and to no one’s great surprise the topic of religion was of course high up on the list. What amazes me with discussions on religion is that almost every debater demands respect for their views while offering none of that to the counterpart. Amidst labels like brainwashed, doomedinfidel, stupid etc. there seems to be very little constructive debate. And when it comes to beliefs what is there really to discuss? -I believe this! -I don’t believe that! -I like strawberries! -I like vanilla. -Ok. Let’s wrestle!!

I am not a big fan of organized religon. Not because I don’t believe in a power greater than myself, but because I am left with the impression that it belittles and limits its followers more than it sets them free. Believers are rarely encouraged to formulate their own conclusions. Instead indoctrination and blind acceptance of inflexible truths seem to be a prerequisite for a majority of organized religions. Not to speak of the literature that accompanies them. These books are being treated by many as if they once came falling down from the heavens bound in hardback and translated into every modern language. Rightfully, a lot can be learned from these books as many principles are universally accepted truths, but they must never be taken literally. They were written in another time and more importantly they were penned by humans. Fallible humans.

Humanity evolves but this is not done by clinging on to the marvels of the past. We must remember the past, learn from it and then create something even better. Creation is continuous. Treating religious texts as ultimate truths that can neither be questioned (the authors are long gone) nor reasoned with is not to learn from the past. It is to be stuck in it. Look ahead, and for the love of whomever you believe in: Use that wonderful mind that your creator equipped you with.

I have great respect for people who use their religion for the good of the people around them. I have however very little patience with those who use their religion to limit the freedom of others. If your religion can add to the harmony of the world around you then I am all for it. But if your religion is a licence to discriminate, harass, molest and even murder then I am pretty sure that you are on the wrong track if it is eternal salvation you are chasing. Just a hunch I have.

What are my beliefs? Well, really I just want everyone to get along. Seriously. I try to treat others like I want to be treated, an attitude that I believe can go a long way. And I believe that love trumps everything.

Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love. 

 

Lovingly Yours,

Kristian

Only the Lonely

According to the teachers, there is only one thing that all people possess equally. This is their loneliness. – Hyemeyohsts Storm

I read this a few days ago and it has been rolling around in my head ever since. Can this be true? Is really every single person on this planet lonely?

Having moved abroad alone twice and also being chronically single I am quite familiar with the concept of being on my own. And frankly, I am comfortable with it too. In spite of being alone a lot I cannot really remember having felt truly lonely. Or at least, I have never allowed myself that feeling. Being lonely in today’s world is something many consider sad, pathetic and even shameful. You can choose to be alone, but being lonely is something that happens to you. It victimizes you.

The fear of being alone is very real to many. The almost insane thought of going out to dinner alone is something that strikes fear in most people. In fact, just arriving 10 minutes before a friend in a café can be bad enough. What will people think?

I believe that regardless of how many people live in your household, how many dates you have during a week or how many friends you have on Facebook we are all alone. We cannot obliterate aloneness. But we can learn to accept it, deal with it and even cherish it.

I came alone to this planet and when the time comes I will leave alone too. Just like everybody else. Through accepting my separateness I can bridge gaps and create meaningful and healthy connections to other people by maintaining my own individuality and appreciating others for who they are. I will spend time with others, not because being alone is unbearable but because I love their company.

I think that the key to cherishing aloneness lies in appreciating yourself. Because let’s face it, you are never really alone. You is always with you, and having a good relationship with yourself can make the time you spend alone into quality time. Through loving and accepting yourself you will transform a desert of loneliness into a garden of solitude.

And finally, one of my favourite quotes on being alone by Marilyn Monroe:

It is better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.

 

Yours In Loneliness,

Kristian

Give, and ye shall receive

Gerbera in women hand. Spa resord.

Quoting the bible is not something I do very often, and quite frankly until just a few moments ago I did not even know that this well-known line was from that book. The message is however as simple as it is true: Whatever you give will be returned to you.

-Wait a minute, mister! How can you say that? I give and I give and I give and I never get anything in return!! (Yes, we all know that one).

If you buy someone a coffee it is not a given that this person will buy you a coffee tomorrow, next week or even next year. But that is not really the point and keeping scores of people’s generosity is probably not a very good idea. Not because you are likely to end up with a negative balance but because giving for the sake of receiving exactly the same thing (or something better) back is not called giving at all. It is called borrowing, exchange or even investment.

Some of the happiest people I know are also among the most generous people I know. And I don’t think this is a coincidence. Generosity attracts generosity and people who give freely send a powerful signal to the world: That they are safe and secure enough to share whatever they have because they live in abundance. I am not necessarily talking about money and other material stuff. Belgian Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier once said: We must not only give what we have; we must also give what we are. It is often more meaningful and valuable to give of our time, our love, our understanding, a smile, our experience, our knowledge or maybe just give someone a break.

It is a fact that many people find it very hard to give freely. A fact that is a bit more confusing is that very many people find it equally hard to accept other people’s generosity. I know people who graciously give tons to others (seemingly) without expecting anything in return. However, once you try to give these angels what they deserve they turn into these rather ungracious creatures, and what could have been a pleasant situation for both plunges into plain awkwardness. Denying people around you the joy of giving may feel noble and righteous to you, but chances are that the giver is not seeing it in the same way. So give and receive with equal grace; the two are inseparably linked to each other. If you feel you cannot thank the person properly then pay it forward. Be extra generous to the next person you meet. This is how everyday magic is created.

By all means, I am not a saint. I do however think that the world has an infinite potential for improvement in this particular area and for me personally this improvement can only start with me.

What goes around comes around. And the exciting thing is that it doesn’t always come from the direction you would expect. So give freely – you never know who you will be thanking later!

Generously Yours,

Kristian