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Got Stress?

9 Oct

#1 – Difficulty concentrating
#2 – Trouble making decisions
#3 – Negative outlook on life
#4 – Anxious or racing thoughts
#5 – Constant worrying

Emotional Symptoms
#6 – General moodiness
#7 – Irritability or short temper
#8 – Agitation, anger, and the inability to relax
#9 – Feeling overwhelmed with life
#10 – Feeling lonely and isolated
#11 – Depression or general unhappiness

Physical Symptoms
#12 – Aches and pains in the body
#13 – Diarrhea or constipation, bowel problems
#14 – Nausea, dizziness, vertigo
#15 – Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, pounding of the heart
#16 – Loss of sex drive
#17 – Frequent colds or flu viruses

Behavioral Symptoms
#18 – Eating more or less
#19 – Sleeping too much or too little
#20 – Isolating yourself from others
#21 – Procrastinating or neglecting life’s responsibilities
#22 – Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax, or in excess
#23 – Nervous habits

I took a hard look and found that my husband and i show symptoms in each of the categories. And here is my conclusion: we are both more stressed than is healthy, and, more importantly, we have been living with too much stress for years. My recent cancer diagnosis is the proof of it. (Stay tuned, i am in the process of writing more about this.)

Nick Ortner suggests tapping, also called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Tapping is really great. I used it after a near miss with another car that re-triggered trauma from an old accident. EFT was exactly what i needed. It helped me calm down, shed some of the old trauma, and brought me back to the current moment.

But do i believe that tapping is the solution to systemic stress? No, i don’t. That’s like having lung cancer and instead of stopping smoking, going on an oxygen tube while continuing to smoke. That’s clever, and it may help a little, but it is not a solution. If you have a systemic problem you have to be willing to look at the system as a whole and all the factors that create your stress. The only real change is achieved once you find the base cause of your stress and change it in a way that does not create new systemic stress. That’s not easy because we all live the way we live for a reason. We have responsibilities and are attached to certain habits and things. And we use these habits and things to justify the stress.

Take a moment and go back to the stress symptoms and mark those that apply to you. Be honest. If you have one or two symptoms, tapping might be the right solution for you. But if you have more, chances are that what produces your stress is an integral part of your life. You need more than tapping. You need to look at the very fabric of your everyday life, locate the stress-producing factors, and then compassionately and creatively eliminate or minimize the stress factors.

Stress leads to many health problems, cancer is just one of them. It also leads to many social and relational problems. If you have stress symptoms, take them seriously and find the help that is appropriate for you. This is your one and precious life and you do not want to waste it.

If you are ready to get help sorting out your systemic stress, consider coaching. Joining me for a SoulAlchemy group might be a good first step. And if your stress is temporary or limited and you are interested in tapping visit https://www.thetappingsolution.com.

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

© Eva Ruland, October 2018

Resilience and SoulAlchemy

1 May

We are all trained to have our eyes on the ups of life and orient ourselves toward them: We want the perfect partner. We would like to be successful. We like wealth. We want to be healthy. We want it all — and there is nothing wrong with wanting. But here is an issue: you may have a fairytale script for your life. And just as in a fairytale you may expect the happy ever after. Forever.

But then life throws you a curve ball……..

How do you react? Shocked. Shaken. Unprepared.

Here’s a truth: Life is cyclical. It is a sequence of ups and downs, of good experiences and painful experiences. Unless you die very young, chances are that you’ll encounter disappointments and losses—no matter how beautiful or intelligent or wealthy you are. No insurance can guarantee that you’ll go through life without losses.

How do we deal with the downs of life?

The common ways of coping are: shop more, eat more, self-medicate via drinking, or go on anti-depressants. In the long run, these all are self-defeating and tend to leave you feeling hollow, or fat, or more vulnerable. Eventually, you get used to shutting down, and you create more reasons to be depressed. Soon, you are caught in a downward spiral. You become less open to yourself and the world around you and you become more and more separated from joy.

So, how do you deal with the uncertainties of life, with defeat and loss? How can you emerge from one of life’s downs without being broken and shut off?

The key is resilience. Resilience is the capacity to experience the full spectrum of life. Resilience is when we learn to ride the waves of life and begin to accept the downs along with the ups. When we are resilient we can bounce back more quickly after a downward stretch and start to find joy again.

How can we nurture resilience?

SoulAlchemy® is a path to resilience. It teaches us to embrace life in its fullness.

In SoulAlchemy® you learn to connect with your inner truth. You learn to accept that the ups of your life will be accompanied by downs. By looking at all of your life courageously, you learn to authentically embrace your feelings. As a result you feel stronger and become more resilient.

SoulAlchemy® is a journey through memories and associations. It is also a journey into your potential and into your core. SoulAlchemy will bring you closer to feel the fullness of life—your life—and leave you encouraged, empowered, and resiilient.

Learn more about SoulAlchemy® at evaruland.com/alchemy.

© Eva Ruland, May 2018

Renewal & Resilience

31 Mar

If you are anything like me, you’ve had a winter sprinkled with colds and the flu. That can be depressing. I tried to make the best of it and gave myself permission to spend a couple of days in bed, and hours on the sofa, a book close by and the cats snuggled up with me. Now i am really ready for spring renewal.

I enjoy the sun and the warmer days, but today my head is hurting and my energy is not totally back. My reality is not either/or at this moment. But I have choices. I can focus on all that is not right: having a headache, feeling low energy, feeling melancholic when thinking of some recent deaths—one in my family, several in my circle of friends—or, i can focus on what is right. I can focus on the lovely sunshine that warms me, the delicious tea i’m drinking, the slight breeze that keeps me fresh, the cats who teach me how to relax. I can focus on the love i experience coming my way and the love i feel for others, and on the perseverance of mother nature who continues to produce greenery and new buds even though we humans constantly attack it.

Even though my main focus as a coach is on the positive, i do not always and exclusively focus on the positive and on easy feelings. I know the benefit of acknowledging the dark. I know that we can only blossom fully when we embrace our history, and our capacity for light and dark, and are in touch with all our feelings as they occur. Like the lotus that roots in the mud, and many flowers that feed on compost, we have to integrate the dark to flourish and to become whole.

A word that comes up in this context is resilience. How do we train ourselves in resilience? A friend shared a learning incident from a movement class she was in. One of the regulars had a foot injury and meant to sit out. The teacher encouraged her to find and explore movement within limitation. She began to use her arms and hands and upper body to express herself. I find this a lovely metaphor for resilience and strength: find the movement within the limitation. For me today, it means sitting in the sun, writing to you on my laptop while listening to the birds and the wind in the leaves. It does not mean that i do not mourn the recent passing of my brother-in-law (who joined the family when i was still a little girl) and all the other loved ones that i have lost and that i miss and that this death reminds me of. It means that i try to find a balance in my reality. I try to find movement within the current limitation.

How can you find movement within the limitation of the moment?

© Eva Ruland, March 2018

Will 2018 be a good year?

1 Feb

Many people around me say that 2018 will be a good year, mostly referring to politics. I too feel that there is more hope for the future. But how good a year 2018 will be does not only depend on politics. It also depends on you. 2018 will be as good as we make it.

I have started the year slowly. Even though i led a couple of year end and New Year’s workshops, i felt the weight of winter slowing me down. Not that it’s terribly cold here in Berkeley—the temperature hasn’t gone below 37 once. It’s the short days and the long succession of gray days that made me want to stay inside and focus inward. Plus, i am still integrating the rich experiences of my Australia trip. Luckily, turning inward and making room for my soul to feel comfortable (translated from the German ‘die Seele baumeln lassen” meaning to allow yourself time to process and to be) are perfect winter activities.

Finally, i am also beginning to plan ahead. The things that i want to focus on are: one-on-one coaching, guiding small groups through the SoulAlchemy process, and launching SoulAlchemy as a virtual program.

For those interested in SoulAlchemy, the virtual program will start on February 27. Registration just opened. You can sign up at http://www.evaruland.com/alchemy.

If you have been longing to make your life more nurturing, more fun, or otherwise more satisfying, come and bring these longings to coaching. I’d love to help you gain clarity, and support you as you begin to take steps toward manifesting your soul’s desire. I currently have three coaching spots available. If you have any questions or are not sure if your situation lends itself to coaching, just ask. Drop me a line and let me know how to reach you by phone and we can talk about it.

Let’s make 2018 a good year!

© Eva Ruland, February 2018

Processing Down Under

26 Nov

Greetings from Australia. I’m in a beautiful valley in the bush of New South Wales where I have joined a team of volunteers at a retreat center. We work long hours expanding the retreat center and spend the rest of our waking time together in practices for personal and spiritual development. At this point it is 4 weeks since I arrived here and it feels like a good time to reflect and share some of my experiences and insights with you.

Our group here consists of eleven people—9 volunteers and 2 leaders. As we are half an hour driving distance away from the next town there are no distractions. The only other living beings we meet are kangaroos, wallabies, lizards, exotic birds such as colorful parrots and the mythic looking lyrebird, and every once in a while a cow or an echidnaThe eleven of us constitute the human faction of this ecosystem and we are family, colleagues, friends, and mentors for each other. We spend 15-16 hours together every day, except on Sundays when the official program ends at 2pm.

How long has it been for you since you spent 15+  hour days with a group of 11 people? For me, it’s been almost 40 years. Frankly, as someone with a nervous system that is easily overloaded, I am surprised how well I have been doing. But don’t get the wrong impression–it has been amazing and it has been hard. In summary, the first week was about arriving and adjusting and I constantly struggled to keep up. The second week my nervous system frequently shut down making it impossible to track where certain things were. I lost my phone (most importantly functioning as an alarm), all kinds of paraphernalia such as sunglasses and protective safety glasses, and even my toothbrush. All of this caused more stress, irritated people around me, and made me more vulnerable. I had an emotional mini-collapse when, within the span of 5 minutes, three people addressed me with criticism or had a tense tone in their voice. The third week I had to contend with physical pain (lower back pain, something totally new to me), and the fourth week I spent facing some of my less charming traits mirrored in a person I was teamed up with. Lots of opportunities for struggle and for growth and transformation!

Here in a nutshell is what I’ve learned so far:

Always add at least 1 mm wiggle room when building something for a 3-dimensional fit.
My vulnerability allows others to understand my process.
The deeper I allow myself to feel, the bigger the potential for transformation.
Defiance is a mechanism that walls me off from others.
Rigidity and the wish to control are rooted in fear.
Kindness toward others generates ease and engenders kindness.
Gentleness, kindness, and generosity are the most powerful tools. They melt the heart.
Surrender and trust are cosmic superpowers that draw in higher support.

Time to go and join my team and experience another adventure of a very human kind.

Mothering yourself — A Different Kind Of Mothers Day Contemplation

14 May

My mother died almost 12 years ago. But long before that i had to take on mothering myself and making sure that my needs were met. Have you learned this skill?

Mothers make sure that the needs of their children are met. Mothering yourself, to me, means to make sure that your needs are met. You may call it self-care—but do not confuse it with what is generally considered to be self-care for a woman: getting a massage or a facial now and then. Self-care is more than that. It includes all that is necessary to make you blossom.

Self-care is not taught in schools and it’s not necessarily a part of our upbringing either. And if you grew up to be a “good girl,” chances are that you have a hard time with mothering yourself. The more you are trained to focus on the needs of others, the harder it is to make room for your own needs.

Here are some tips for self-care on a daily basis:

1) Be kind to yourself. Don’t allow your inner critic to put you down constantly. Cut yourself some slack. Treat yourself with as much kindness as you would extend to others.

2) Trust your instincts. Allow your inner voice and your gut feelings to have a say. Don’t talk yourself out of what intuitively feels right. Learn how to cultivate the connection to your inner voice, which leads to:

3) Make time to get in touch with your inner voice. To hear your inner voice, you need to cultivate quiet time. A great time to cultivate the connection to your inner voice is just after waking up in the morning. If you can, make time to write down your dreams or any streams of consciousness. Another way to connect with your inner voice is to go out in nature—go for walks or spend time in your garden. It really helps to turn off your cell phone when you try to connect with your inner voice. Try to take time out every day for quiet moments, even if it is only 10 minutes.

4) In order to implement 3) you need to learn this fundamental skill: to speak your truth and say ‘yes’ when you mean it, and ‘no, thank you’ when you choose not to do something. In order to say yes to yourself you have to learn to say no more often. Being a people pleaser has only very short-term advantages. They appreciate you for a moment, and then continue with their day. Learning how to say ‘no’ to others and ‘yes’ to yourself will be a game changer.

5) And lastly, stay away from the word SHOULD. It represents a cultural or collective imperative, that force that created the ‘good girl’, and rarely has to do with you and your needs. Become aware of your own use of the word ‘should.’ If you can replace it with ‘I want’ or ‘I will’ do so. If you cannot replace it with ‘I want’ or ‘I will’ it’s a word that presses you into something that has nothing to do with you. And, stay clear from those who tell you what you should do.

These tips are a starter kit. I’d be happy to help you as you implement this kit and move from striving to thriving.

If you find this article inspiring, please pass it on to others. Thank you!


Self-care does not come easy to many of us. If you would like to explore working with me and getting me on your support team, contact me at eva_at_evaruland.com.

© Eva Ruland, May 2017

11 years later — a true story about consequences of loss

5 Sep

I am back from Germany and had a great time. The biggest blessing i experienced in Berlin was community, and the greatest gift i received was the support of a very capable friend who offered to help me and my four siblings sell my mother’s house which has been empty for many years. We siblings have dragged our feet—my sister local to the house who was my mother’s caretaker and is the main heir has been too emotional, and those of us far away did not feel in charge, as we are only secondary heirs. But after years, even from the distance across the globe, i have become upset about the situation. It feels disrespectful to my mother’s memory to not deal with the estate (the house has been neglected and is in disrepair). So, when i set off to go to Germany, facilitating a settling of my mother’s estate was my major objective, next to spending quality time with my 5 year old niece Stella, my sister Anne, and some other people close to my heart.

I tell you about this not to cast blame on anyone but to share a story of loss and its consequences. Underneath my sister’s procrastination (the house was left to her) was an overwhelming sense of loss with which she was left more or less alone. It may be that my family’s situation is particularly extreme as we siblings have dispersed in all winds, living on three continents, in time zones so different that talking to each other on the phone regularly is almost impossible. But i know that my sister’s pain and isolation is not an uncommon occurrence. Major losses are super tough challenges. And it does not matter much whether it is the loss of a parent, a friend, a partner, a close family member (including pets), or the the loss of one’s long-term relationship, one’s health, or one’s youth. The shock of death and separation, the scariness of major health problems, and the depressing cultural implications of dwindling youth are not only hard to face—we are usually not prepared for them and most have no support structures to help. When this loss is the death of a loved one there might be a lot of sympathy, but there is usually little capacity to be in the presence of grief. When the loss is that of one’s youth, often there is not even sympathy.

For the last two years i have been offering Midlife Alchemy. My intention with it has always been to offer a structure that provides the space to reflect, process, and find support in times of loss, impending loss, or during a major redefining of one’s self. I want to fill the cultural gap around loss and offer a place that encourages authenticity and trust, inspires self-reflection and sharing, and becomes a place for emotional healing and transformation. With Midlife Alchemy I am offering the kind of space and support here that i wish my sister would have in Germany.

Midlife Alchemy is not just about loss. It is about embracing what is and connecting with your inner strength in the face of what life presents you. It is about reconnecting with your true nature so that you can gracefully unfold and be the beautiful being you came into this life to be.

A new in-person Midlife Alchemy group in the Bay Area is forming this month. We will meet on Thursday evenings. You can find more information at http://evaruland.com/MidlifeAlchemy. Please don’t hesitate connecting with me if you are interested but have any questions.