Talk To Your Inner Critic

Yes, instead of “destroying him/her” because it’s a “villain” or just calling this part of yourself “asshole” or other bad names – try talking.

I noticed during the last months that a lot of people are having their shadow personas come up and the advice given in some groups like “always turn to the light” or “share your shame and it goes away” simply are not helping in the long run.

Which is a shame (pun intended) – because there are great tools for this work out there, in fact they have been out there since Debbie Ford published her ground-breaking book “The Dark Side of The Light Chasers”.

Until then people on the spiritual path or in self development where taught to turn to the light, always think positive, talk positive – and when this did not work, they were told “you’re not doing it right”. Almost nobody looked at the dark side, not until Debbie’s book came out.

These so called shadow parts – which are often created in early childhood – are parts of you, me, everyone. So it doesn’t help to just look at your beautiful parts like ‘the creative’, “the good mother’, “the lover’ – because “the ashamed girl”, “the inner critic” or like I called one of my shadow parts “the drill sergeant” don’t go away if you leave them in the shadows. They will cost you energy and show up when you at least expect them., like a ball that you push under the surface in a pool, they inevitably show up – and with a lot of power.

Also, you may have shadow parts that are positive, but where not accepted by your parents or teachers – so you hid those parts, too. Like the exuberant boy, the playful storyteller, like the joyful clown.

First a thought on why calling your personas, the ones that seem to keep you from getting what you want- love-success etc. – “asshole” won’t work. Because you don’t respect a part of yourself, a part that you created and – a part that has the job to protect you. It may seem misguided, but these personas are doing the job you needed them for. Fighting them is like fighting parts of yourself – costs energy, leads to nothing.

Instead give yourself time to look at them, invite them (that takes patience, because some of your parts may not come at first, they don’t trust you) – and talk to them. This dialogue often ends in them feeling acknowledged and very willing to take a new job that helps you both.

I’ll give you an example: my ‘drill sergeant”, who made me feel bad and useless, because I barely could deliver work in his tempo or good enough for his standards, I didn’t work enough, I always had to work more….imagine the guy from “Full Metal Jacket” yelling inside my head.

Yeah, that’s him:

I did a process from another brilliant book on this subject, “Insanely gifted” by Jamie Catto, and after thanking my sergeant I asked him instead of the drill, would he like to protect my boundaries? I mean he’s perfect for that – and that’s what he’s doing right now, and he’s quite happy.

Doing shadow work, talking to your personas, this does not mean you let them run the show. That’s your part, your responsibility.

Doing this transforming work means, you integrate your personas, one by one, and by this process you gain a lot of energy that was bound in fighting or ignoring your shadows.

For me it meant, after working on one part, that I created as a teenager, to protect me and help me when I lost a loved one, I was back in the flow. The brake was finally off. My creative energy was so high that I wrote poems at 3 am – I felt a lightness and joy – and I want you to feel this, too.

Dealing with this works from the inside out, a coach or workshop will definitely help (in the US:, in Europe I recommend Jamie Catto, – he’s really good at what he does).

It is an ongoing process, like everything in life, but once you know how this works, you have the tools and can handle whoever shows up.


Why you should finish your projects

Even the small ones, especially the smaller ones.

As someone who always has several projects going on at the same time, I know what I am talking about.

And no, I don’t mean knitting projects only.

I have started the outline for my first book and written some stuff, at the same time I’m working on a new poem in German for a competition – and this week I’m taking part in the”555 Songwriting Kickstarter”.

Yes, it’s all about writing – and music. There’s a common theme. And I work in small time slots and focus on one per slot.

So yesterday I finished my Winter Lights Shawl – I thought the i-cord bind-off (only knitters in the know) would take forever, but then I was done. And it felt great.

My energy was free again, for a new project of course.

So this year, I decided to look over my smaller projects and actually finish them, which for me – as a multi-passionate person – is a huge step. I have read and tried so many tools, which often only worked for people with one passion, one big goal.

So, while I’ll keep on working on different creative projects, I’ll allow myself to actually finish some and enjoy the feeling of having accomplished something.

Love Yourself First

Yesterday was World Selflove-Day (I didn’t even know there is such a thing) and today is Valentine’s Day.

I wonder why we need these days – I mean, you are either in a loving relationship – so you are hopefully sharing love each day, or on many days. You wouldn’t need Valentine’s Day to do something special for your partner, right? Besides, sometimes it feels like this day was invented to sell flowers, expensive chocolate and champagne.

If you are single, to be reminded that you have to be part of a couple – now that’s bulls*@t, and clever marketing of course. I know some of my single friends will feel even more lonely today – especially with the pandemic and the current restrictions.

The key to dealing with these issues is self-love. And that is – for most people, and for almost every woman – way easier said than done. Too deeply ingrained are the limiting beliefs that we are “not good enough” “not beautiful enough” “too much/fat/thin/ whatever” – and yes, I know. I’ve felt like this for a long time and when I look at pictures today, I can see that I was totally okay in my teens and twenties/thirties/etc – not looking like a model, but who cares. I was perfect, and yet I felt always like I was lacking something. It was so hard to accept my body, to accept that I am different – a creative and rebellious spirit.

But: there is no other way. If you want to lead a great life, love yourself the way you are. Don’t wait for approval, permission or someone else to love you first.

Start with the thing that helped me, too. Look in the mirror and smile – and say to the person in the mirror “I love you”. I know it will feel weird first. I promise. it will get easier over time. Or use the Louise Hay approach in front of a mirror: say three times loud “I love myself and I approve of myself”. Do this every morning and it will definitely change your life.

Feel into your heart, feel the love – and instead of going outside and giving your love to someone else, give it to yourself first. Do nice things for yourself. Buy yourself some flowers. Go for a walk. Do the meditation – whatever makes you happy. Don’t wait for a partner.

Because, and that’s what’s really great about this, when you are loving yourself, you don’t come across as needy any more – and people can feel that. So it will be a lot easier to attract love.

Also, when you start spreading love because you feel so good – love will come back – in many beautiful and unexpected ways.

Start now – and enjoy your day.

New Moon – New Year

Yesterday we had a new moon – which is always a great day for new beginnings.

With a new moon in Aquarius it’s a time to be calm, to go into stillness – and have a look at the things your soul needs.

Look at the areas in your life, where you want change and ask inside, ask your heart, where it wants to go.

Today marks the beginning of a new lunar year – or Chinese New Year . This year is the Year of the Metal Ox.

Which means if 2021 – the “normal” year (time is an illusion, you know) – did not live up to your expectations so far, here’s your chance for a fresh start.

The Year of the Ox is said to be filled with harmony and blue is the lucky colour.

I’m not an astrologer, but harmony sounds good. As sound new beginnings. You don’t have to wait until New Year – each day is a new start. You just have to choose.

Bring the Joy

It’s another Monday – and I know many people really don’t like Mondays.

They don’t like going back to work. Too many of us live from weekend to weekend. Though with the current situation and working from home, with restaurants, bars and pubs closed, the weekends are not that different over here.

It’s winter and it’s time to “bring the joy” back to our days. I heard Brendon Burchard talk about this in one of his videos, to bring the joy with you, to feel the energy – and I love the concept.

Whether you are a person who feels joyful when she wakes up in the morning – which happens here on some days – or you are usually tired and don’t have the energy, the lightness.

Think of a moment when you experienced a childlike joy – for me it’s connected to a beach, sunshine, spring or summer – like a tickle of energy. But for many reasons I can’t have that right now – so I do the next best thing: in the morning I think of everything I have right now – and say thank you. For example today it was – and still is snowing these fat snowflakes, the ones you can catch on your tongue. Have you ever tried? So that was one thing I did today, that brought me joy. Right in front of my nose.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

What about the things I can’t have or experience yet? Well, I visualize the things I really want, though it may take some time, until we all can travel freely again, and I will stand on a beach. I look at pictures and feel the wind, the sun, I smell the salty air.

And as long as that takes, I’ll do what brings me joy – singing and dancing mostly. I’ve always loved to dance, to move my body. It gives you an energy boost, especially when you sit in front of a computer screen all day. Try it, get up and choose a nice track, dance for 5 minutes – how do you feel? Is there a difference?

When I sing, I can express all my feelings, not only joy, and it is incredibly liberating. In addition to that, breathing deeper and more also boosts my energy. After an hour of vocal lessons I am usually energized and even euphoric. Do it for 5 minutes, enjoy.

I also plan two or three joyful moments – like a phone call with a friend, watching a documentary about nature or animals, going for a walk in the snow. It doesn’t take much to feel the joy of being here, the joy of being alive.

Remember what makes you feel alive and joyful and then do it – bring the joy!

Dealing with anger…

…and other so called negative or unacceptable feelings.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

I wanted to write about something else today, but then I noticed two posts on Facebook, one in an business group, one from an author I like.In the first someone was just asking “how do you deal with anger” and 99 percent of the people told him to “get rid of your negativity”, “anger is poison for the soul”, “stay positive”. In the second post, a friend hat edited “Express yourself in a positive way” to “Express yourself in an honest way” – which made so much more sense.

The first post made me angry though – because anger is a powerful emotion and just being told to “be positive” instead is toxic. All this BS about “being always positive” “I don’t do anger” and so on don’t really help. If you push your “negative” emotions down, back under the surface, you haven’t dealt with them and I promise you this anger will come back stronger, when you least expect it.

When you feel a strong emotion, there’s usually a reason – and this emotion, be it anger, frustration, feeling depressed – needs to be felt and acknowledged. Sitting with it and breathing, talking to it, allowing it to be here – and tell it “I feel you” is one way. Be gentle and kind to yourself. With anger that can be really hard, so you could cry into a pillow or attack the pillow with your fists and yell. Let it out!

Sometimes we feel strongly because we need a good cry. I know when I don’t allow myself to cry when I feel like it, it will break through sooner or later. Especially during our current situation. Allow yourself short “breakdowns” – let’s say 10 to 20 minutes – where you can let go and let it out – I do it regularly when things seem to get worse. Breathe out, say what you feel “it hurts” or “it’s too much” , yell, cry, let it out.

Then you may be able to find yourself in a more positive mood again, sooner than you think.

It can also be helpful to remember, that we all are a mix of yin and yang, male and female energies, dark and light. Nobody can always be positive – and it would not be healthy either. The way is to embrace all you are, the dark and light parts – and that may not be easy or please other people, it will make you feel whole. And you’ll enjoy life more. Isn’t that the point?

P.S. I know this is a controversial subject -I’d love to hear how you handle these situations.

Just Walk

It’s Saturday and it has stopped raining over here, so I’m off right now for my walk.

I walk almost every day, for at least thirty minutes, often longer. It keeps me sane and it has helped me through all these shut-downs (that’s what the German politicians call our lock-downs) – because we were still allowed to go outside and have a walk, to move.

Our bodies need fresh air and movement. A walk is perfect – and it doesn’t matter, whether you can go to a forest or park, or whether you live in the city.

Don’t wait for the perfect time or environment – put on the adequate clothing and walk. Enjoy it – one step at a time. See you tomorrow.

My Friday knitting

Some of you already know that I love knitting. I also sometimes am crocheting or sewing. It’s a way to stay calm and centred, and I love it.

It’s a rainy Friday – and the right time to look at my current projects and plan some new ones. I love to wind yarn and choose a pattern and cast on a new project. Finishing, now that’s another thing…

My main project right now is the Winter Lights Shawl, which is part of Stephen West’s Hiberknitalong. The yarn is quite woolly, not as soft as I am used to, but such a good knit. I’m on the border and the rows are garter stitch, perfect Netflix knitting, but they are really loooooong (600+ stitches).

My other project, which is currently hibernating, because I can’t make up my mind whether I need to make it a bit bigger, is a lace shawl in silk – it’s Glitterati by Booknits. She’s one of my favourite designers. Finishing this shawl may take a while, too, because the lacy border is beaded.

Now, I looked through my stash and found yarn which is earmarked for another Westknits shawl, Thunderbolts and Lightning. Should not be that difficult to knit and looks lovely.

What makes the decision about my next project difficult? Something every knitter will understand: Booknits does a Valentine MKAL (Mystery Knitalong) with the beautiful name “Hope Remains”, as she does every year, in a lacy silky yarn and with lots of beads (around 1300). I do have several skeins of suitable yarn – but I don’t have 1300 beads.

Decisions, decisions – but then it’s a rainy day and I have a bit of crafting time.

I also have a recommendation, if you are a knitter and love extraordinary, luxurious hand-painted yarns: go look at Posh Yarn. They are my all time favourites and have the best customer service ever.

P.S. These recommendations are strictly personal, I don’t get money for mentioning them, I just love their work.