Lost in mind, observing mind, no mind

I’ve reflected on this topic more intently in the last couple of and every time I try to explain it to myself or others it somehow slips away. Because, you know, the mind, and moving beyond it, it’s hard to explain and needs to be experienced. But if you know me at all you also know that I always start before I’m ready and I don’t let very much stop me. So here goes a concept that I’d love your input on.

Lost in mind, observing mind and no mind.

Lost in mind is where most of us spend most of our time. Thoughts going in all directions and emotions following right after. We’re constantly reacting to everything going on around us and sometimes even believe in the things our mind tells us. The mind is your master.

Observing mind is taking a step back. Looking at all this craziness with some distance. Not identifying with the thoughts but rather witnessing what’s going on and consciously deciding what to act on and what to let go of. This is mainly what meditation helps you develop. Being the observer of your mind.

No mind is what happens when it all quiets down and you are only in the now. Pure consciousness. It’s not a very common thing in our society but it is a sweet place to dwell in. But the tricky thing is, since your mind is not really present in this state it’s difficult to notice when it happens. Your mind will probably argue that it never happens because it can’t register what it does not see.

Someone said that there are no enlightened people, there are only more and more enlightened moments. And for people who have lots of those moments, the mind is like the ventilation on the other side of the room. It’s constantly buzzing over there, but you’re not in the ventilation drum so you just hear it as a light buzz far away. Most of us spend our time in the ventilation drum constantly being thrown in all kinds of directions. When we step out of the ventilation system and look at it instead we’re in observing mind. When we move away from the ventilation and pay attention to the present we move to no mind.

Hmm, yeah, this feels quite accurate. To my mind at least. Well. Let me know your thoughts on this and what works for you when you try to move from lost in mind to something else.

With all my love,

Helena

I don't have it all figured out

It seems as if people sometimes think that I have it all figured out or that my so called wisdom, makes my life so simple. And maybe I too expect this to be the case. But sorry to say so; I don’t have it all figured out.

Sure, I’ve written the book and I’ve done my 10 000+ hours on personal development, learning, writing, teaching, pondering and reflecting. But sometimes, I’m a hot mess. I don’t have anything figured out and end up stumbling all over my own tools.

And you know what the worst thing about it is? I blame myself. I shame myself for being human. For being messy. For not figuring it out right away.

I think I need to write this to myself as much as to anyone else. Because what I know will help in those instances, is self-compassion. You know the thing that’s so simple when life’s simple. The thing that is so super difficult (for me) to muster when I mess up.

I really recommend this beautiful epsiode on self-love on Danielle Laportes new podcast “With love, Danielle”. How can you love yourself even when you messed up? How can you love yourself when you get sick, even though you have all the tools for health? How can you love yourself when the things you believed in so deeply, seem to rip at the seems? How can you love yourself when you don’t even like yourself very much?

Those are not easy questions and I don’t have all the answers. But I’m learning. Slowly. And I’m trying my best to apply heaps of compassion to my trials.

With all my love,

Helena

Every lost opportunity for connection hurts

I sometimes pull away from social gatherings because I feel drained by them. I’m an ambivert, so I need a balance between extroversion and introversion to thrive. But I’ve realized that what truly drains me in social situations is superficial conversations. You know the ones where you talk about the weather, traffic jams, gossip about other people or complain about everyone else being idiots. Puh, I feel totally empty after an interaction like that. And sad.

I believe we’re here for love. And connection. And even though our souls are all connected we won’t find that with every human. That’s okay. But there are a lot of times when I feel there could be an authentic interaction but the opportunity is missed. Because of fear; of exposing oneself, of not being understood, of being perceived as weird, of vulnerability.

I wanna know how your heart is. I wanna know of a recent struggle and what you learned from it. I wanna know your desires and dreams. I wanna know what you love. I wanna know what solutions you have for challenges in our world. I wanna know you. YOU.

I do believe a lot of people are longing for authenticity and that I’m not alone in this. Whenever I have these kinds of deep conversations I feel it’s well needed and received. One challenge is of course time and space, you wanna be in a space where you can really listen and be present when someone is opening up. So create it. Create the time and space for real connection and gift it to yourself and others.

With all my love,

Helena

Practicing the pleasure principle

I heard it in a wedding speech for the first time and I realized that the woman giving the speech actually did practice the pleasure principle in her own life. She took responsibility for creating pleasure in her everyday life.

This is the idea: Life can be hard and pain is part of it. But we don’t need to build an altar for suffering. Pain will find you when it’s time. Your job is to live and enjoy your life as best you can all the times in between.

Pleasure can be anything you want or need; smelling your tea, beauty on your plate, a good song, a walk in nature, an extra long hug or closing your eyes on the subway. That’s your job. Giving space for love.

But a lot of people do build altars for their suffering. They feed themselves with fear-based news. They dwell in their problems by telling everyone about it without actually moving forward or getting constructive about it. They hold on to resentment with the belief that the other needs to deserve forgiveness. They put their focus on what’s not working and let their ego feed off the victim mentality.

We all have a choice here. Who are you? Who do you wanna be?

With all my love,
Helena

You are allowed to ask for what you want

I heard Iyanla Vanzant on Oprah Winfrey’s podcast the other day saying:

I have the chance to ask for what I want and the right to respond to what I get.

I love that. Yes, you’re allowed to go out into the world and ask for what you want, create the opportunities you long for and be the person you want to be. You can control that. But you do not control how people react to whatever you put out there. The ball is no longer in your court.

Someone reacts, respons, passes the ball over to you again and you have the chance to react in whichever way you like. When we get conscious about this game that we’re constantly playing with the world around us, we can discern between what is our responsibility and what is not. What’s in our control and what’s not.

When you consciously start playing with what you have, you start creating the life you want. And you are allowed to ask for what you want.

With all my love,
Helena

With whom can you be your softest self?

We were sitting around a small table in an apartment in Little Venice, London, when Nancy asked the question: With whom can you be your softest self? We all went round the table to answer. Someone said their kids, another their clients, I said my person. She who sees right through me. I don’t have to hide anything from her and I can’t lie to her. She feels me even more than she knows me. So my softest self is all that I can present.

But the question still lingers in me. What does it mean, soft? Authentic? Real? Raw? Open? Honest? Transparent? Small? Weak? Complete? Is there power in softness? I believe so. If so being soft also means being all of who we are, in the moment, no matter what that looks like.

There’s an epidemic of loneliness in our world today. We’re more connected than ever yet so many feel so separate, so alone. Would that change if we could be our softest self with more people? What if we could be our softest self in all of our close relationships? I honestly think that most people aren’t. Because being soft requires courage, time and presence. Our society lacks in all those areas.

I become softer and softer with every year, and I long to empower more people to soften. First to themselves and then to the world. It’s not weak, it’s our greatest strength. With whom can you be your softest self?

With all my love,
Helena

When your no is clear, I'll believe in your yes

Boundaries. So important. Boundaries. So hard. I used to think that boundaries meant distancing, closing the heart, loving less, shutting out… Now I know it’s the opposite. Love without boundaries is weak, and non-accountable, and less that what it has the potential to be.

If you say yes to everyone and everything all the time, eventually your yes is eroded. When you take a breath, listen in before you respond to any request I will know that you’re following your intuition and being real with me. When your no is clear, I’ll believe in your yes.

Some of the most powerful people I know have really clear boundaries. They also happen to be the most loving people I know, because they don’t deplete themselves in the false pretense of service. When they serve or give they do so from an overflowing heart, from abundance of energy and love and care. Brene Brown found in her research that the most compassionate people are the same people that have the strongest boundaries. Because you can only give what you have and boundaries is self-compassion. It might be surprising but also so obvious when you think about it.

No one else can be responsible for your boundaries but you. No one will thank you for not having any. And no one else but you knows where they are.

I believe we all need to practice, I know I do. But the next time someone asks you to do something, give something or go somewhere; take a pause. You always have five seconds to spare. Take a deep breath and listen in; is this aligned with what you need or have to give right now? If you don’t feel a ‘hell, yes!’ or a ‘No.’ right away, ask to get back to the person. They can usually stand to wait a couple of hours or a day.

And remember, ‘No.’ is a full sentence. If you want to put a lot of effort into explaining yourself, you can, but you don’t have to. Usually it just mashes your no in with a lot of maybe’s and unnecessary words and you end up being unclear.

When your no is clear, I’ll believe in your yes.

With all my love,

Helena

Wasting life, is that possible?

Sitting on the Gatwick Express going into London, an action packed week ahead of me; staying with friends, meeting Danielle Laporte, taking the train to Paris for the weekend to spend time with my nieces who live there, going back to London for some more friends and a big talk on Monday night before I fly home on Tuesday night. Some kind of calm always come over me in situations like these. Calm because I know I’m living fully.

Summer vacation is always a bit stressful before I have planned everything out; knowing who to be with when and where. It’s not that I constantly have to do, do, do, but it needs to have some kind of purpose. If the purpose is relaxation then I’m fine with that.

But no purpose, no doing, no plan, that feels like waste. Anxiety-producing. I didn’t even know that that’s what I felt about it until I articulated it to a friend. She asked me why I was constantly running, learning, exploring, adventuring, moving… and I said it: “Otherwise it feels like I’m wasting life.”

It’s been lingering, since I said that. Can you really waste life? Is a life filled to the brink a life better lived than a more quiet one? Is doing a virtue at all?

Life quality is not about doing things, it’s about how you’re feeling as you’re doing what you’re doing (Danielle taught me that!). The more you get to feel the way you want to feel the better you’ll perceive your life quality. And the trick is to learn how to produce those feelings in the small things in your everyday so that you don’t have to wait for the few and far between grandiose moments in your life (which usually are overrated anyhow).

I don’t have an answer to this yet but her question is certainly getting me thinking. And this is where I’ll be for a bit I think. Enjoying the question without having to have a clear answer. Figuring out the balance between doing and being, between thinking and consciousness. I know where my edge is, where’s yours?

With all my love,

Helena