Archive | conscious living RSS feed for this section

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

Advertisements

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

Let go and be yourself

31 Jan

A while ago a came across a poem of great beauty and wisdom that i want to share with you and reflect on. Here is the poem:

She Let Go by Safire Rose

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go. 

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

I believe that this poem describes a key to happiness. The letting go described here is the letting go of judgement of self and others, the letting go of the wish to please. It is the letting go of expectations, our own and those of others, and of fears. Our world changes drastically once we let go. While everything around us might continue to be the same, how we experience it changes for us once our attitude changes. Just imagine life without being self-conscious or worried. Once we let go of expectations we not only let go of a major source of stress, we also side-step disappointment. Once we stop caring about what others think and expect, and throw our own harsh inner critic in the wind, we make room for our essence to unfold. We become more ourselves.

Once we free ourselves from playing a role and squeezing ourselves into a box of expectations that doesn’t fit, we gain authenticity. We finally become true to ourselves. We shift from living a life dictated by outside factors to living our soul’s longing. When we do that we connect with the river of joy. This river of joy runs through us and every animate being. It springs from the source and runs through our soul. Once we take down our walls of defense and pretension and allow our soul to shine through, we automatically connect with this river of joy. It is as if “the sun and the moon shine forevermore.”

————

Having trouble letting go? I can help you. Choose a modality (coaching, SoulCollage, or Midlife Alchemy) that resonates with you, or contact me at eva_at_evaruland.com.

© Eva Ruland, January 2016

Gifting—Now and Then

5 Dec

Gifting is an art. With so many options available, gifting has not become easier, it has become more difficult. How can you make sure you get the right thing? Most of us have already so much, more things than we need. We have the means to go and buy ourselves that book by our favorite author, the sweater that feels so cozy, or a beautiful trinket for our house or garden. Where does that leave gifting? Here are some thoughts on the nature of gifting and how gifting has changed over time.

In the northern hemisphere the holiday season is a time of darkness and cold. For our ancestors the dark season was a time of rest, as the days were short and the cold didn’t allow for much work outside. It was also a time of gathering around the fire, keeping each other company and minimizing the use of resources such as wood for warmth and candles for light. It was a time of storytelling and handiwork (such as needlework, knitting, and carving), some of it creative, much of it utilitarian. Some of the handiwork would be for personal use, some intended as a gift for a dear one. The grandmother would knit socks to help keep the grandchildren warm. The granddaughter might adorn a simple napkin or apron with a stitched pattern and so add a touch of beauty to family life. The father or grandfather would carve a new bowl or make a toy to delight the kids. By the time of greatest darkness, when the festival of light, Hannukah or Christmas, came along, trinkets of appreciation were passed on. Families and friends shared what they could conjure up, showing that they cared.

Gifting needed preparation and work. It was a sign of devotion, an acknowledgement of connection and care to pour ones labor into a gift. Later on, when crafts, trades, and the first industries changed society and currency became more common, gifting became the art of knowing what someone wanted and accruing it for them. That might have included asking help of a cousin or a merchant who ordered an item that was not easily available locally. Books and fine fabrics were shipped long distances to bring joy. Gifting was still work and the one gifting usually received pleasure from the joy their gift engendered.

Somewhere in the last century, the West reached an unprecedented level of wealth while simultaneously having access to fast means of transportation and communication. Mass production dropped prices, and mass consumption was born. The result of this was that many material wishes could be made true for most Westerners much more readily then at any time before. And this had its affect on gifting. The threshold for acquiring things dropped so low, that buying gifts became a chore you take care of in one day of massive shopping. For a while gifting become an exchange of things nobody needed.

Today, most of us in the West are privileged to have not only our daily needs covered. Most of us have more material goods than we need or can easily store. We have the means to go and buy ourselves that book by our favorite author, that sweater that feels so cozy, or that beautiful trinket for our house or garden we were charmed by. What we have less of is time and leisure, a sense of belonging and of purpose. Our lives have become complicated and stressful. So, what do we do with that innate longing to show our appreciation through gifting? Here is a suggestion: give the gift of a creative experience this holiday season. Find a class that offers an easy approach to creativity (or self reflection) and get a gift certificate for it. Give a gift that creates an opportunity to slow down and create something, or to explore one’s self in a way most people usually don’t ever find time for. A collage workshops to set goals for the New Year makes for a great gift, and so does a coaching workshop that helps participants integrate and become clear on what matters. Even more creative is SoulCollage®—a way to explore one’s interior world. I have all these available as gift certificates at evaruland.com/gifts.html, helping you make wonderful, meaningful gifts that will not add to the landfill.

May your holidays be sweet, cheerful and bright!

© Eva Ruland, December 2015

Embracing the inevitable — Accepting aging

26 Jun

When i was a teenager i thought of myself as old. By the time i got close to thirty i didn’t want to have anything to do with being old. Being old then seemed to mean being settled in. I was not ready to settle. My thirties brought lots of adventures, the biggest of them being my move from Berlin to San Francisco. I became a student again and i was filled with youthful energy, the energy of exploration and possibility. At 42, when i married a man who is 7 years younger than i am, i felt in my prime. When he met me first, a year prior, he thought that it was amazing how i could pass for 28, unless i had spent the night on a red-eye flight. That was flattering. At 43, i had a major car accident. I lost my short-term memory, chunks of my mid-term memory, and my sense of equilibrium and physical balance. I could not walk down stairs without holding on to a railing and carefully testing how much i had to lower my foot before stepping. Even though 4 weeks earlier i still had been a youthful 42 year old, now i felt like 84. I am sure you have no trouble believing that these changes were a major shock to me. From then on i had ample opportunity to look at what defines who i am and how my age and aging play into my sense of self.

You have probably heard people say that there is a blessing in everything. In the case of my accident, i could not see the blessing for a rather long time. Now i know that it taught me the value of intuition, broadened my sense of self beyond the brilliance of my mind, and gave me a practical lesson in accepting what is. In a way, my accident prepared me to accept the fact of aging. And, just as i was pro-active after my accident and invested energy in re-training my brain and nervous system, now i am pro-active in training my brain and my body to stay fit, hopefully for a long while. I hope to maintain as many capacities as possible for a long time to come. As to my skin, i continue to take care of it and admit to a good deal of vanity. Yet, i know better than to compare myself with others, particularly those who are a decade or more younger than i am—which many of the wives and girl-friends of my husband’s buddies are. This is my life, not a competition—yet another hard earned insight at which i arrived only over time.

Dare to be yourself.

Dare to be yourself.

Aging is a challenge that most of us are not prepared for. Not only is it not a subject that is taught in schools. Culturally, aging is treated as if it is something to be ashamed of and that we better hide. I say it’s high time to change that. And the best place to start this revolution is with myself. How do i view my own aging? As something i deny and plaster over, or as something i embrace and play with? I have decided to go for option 2. When you see me, you’ll notice that i began to consciously show some gray, the badge of aging. I do it my way and juxtapose it with a bright red. That’s where the play comes in. To my surprise i have gotten many complements for it, particularly from young people. I am growing old, i show it, and i am beautiful. What would it take for you to participate in this new movement of embracing yourself fully, including your age, and say, “I am growing old, i show it, and i am beautiful”?

If you find this article inspiring, please pass it on to others. And if you would like to embrace yourself more fully, i’d be happy to have a conversation about how i can best help you with that. When you look at it as an adventure in self-discovery where you get to set many of the rules, midlife + up can have its own appeal. Let’s savor it!

News! On January 12, 2015 i will start a special workshop addressing midlife issues through reflection, personal writing, coaching tools and art. It’s called Not Young, Not Old, What Now?  Intro To Midlife Alchemy For Women. Come and explore, take stock, and develop a new perspective on where you are at in life. Interested? Read more at http://evaruland.com/MidlifeAlchemy/index.html

We will meet on Monday evenings.
Hope to see you there!

© Eva Ruland, June 2014

What really matters

12 Apr

The last few weeks have been intense for me. Death was around me, not in my innermost circle, but close enough to affect me. And, just removed enough to not be drawn into the paralysis of inconsolable loss.

6thVisionTrees

This is how my last weeks have been:

On March 1st, a dear friend of my husband died of cancer, after years of battling it. We were as well prepared for this as one can be. And he died well, in his home. But nobody was prepared for what came next. Within the week, the husband of one of my dearest friends was run over by a car while bicycling up to Tilden Park. He was left in critical condition by the roadside by a driver who fled the scene without calling for help. Luckily, a passerby called 911 and he was brought into the ICU in time so that eventually he will recover without lasting impediments. He is still on the mend and was just released to go home. What a relief! But, life had more in stock. Just after feeling the tremendous relief of knowing that he would be alright, i got an email from another dear girlfriend saying that one of her best friends was dying of cancer. My friend, who was still in South America on a year-long sabbatical, decided to come home early to be with her friend. And yesterday it was my turn to be of support to her when she returned from her friend’s death bed.

In between the accident and the last death, i drove down to Pacific Grove and spent three days by the ocean in beautiful Asilomar with 200 women — coaches and healer solo-preneurs. My intention was to learn about marketing, about how to reach more people with my work in order to have a greater impact, help more people, and have greater ‘job” security. I heard a lot of talk about finding my target audience, my niche, about giving talks, and about having enrollment conversations. But my heart was not in it.

What stuck with me, as i realized last night, is this momentous lesson of life: that death can be just minutes away at any given moment. This lesson was to bring me in touch with how precious and how fragile life is.

Appreciating my life and that of the people i love and care for is one thing. Making friends with the idea of death is another. My friend and i talked about our own deaths and how we hope the circumstances for it would be. Dying in peace and in a respectful environment is important to both of us. To me, my own death will be my ultimate initiation. It will be the most paramount act of surrendering. As i see it, at birth we are thrown into life in a cathartic way. We grow up becoming more and more attached to certain ways we think of ourselves (as intelligent, pretty, gentle, strong, successful, weak — you name it) and to things and situations, with comfort and security playing a big role. At the same time, we grow less curious, adventurous, and willing to take risks. We shut out the thought of death because it is the antithesis of the security we try to create for ourselves. But, in the end, death will destroy all our attachments. It seems to me that being more adventurous, more courageous, and more authentic, is not only a good way of experiencing life more fully; it is also a good way to prepare for death.

If you are struggling with taking risks or stepping outside of habitual patterns and expectations that don’t serve you, or feel that your soul’s yearning has been neglected for too long, contact me to explore how i can help you step more into your true nature and get the soul-nurturing you need. It might just be the time to let go of the “I should” and replace it with a clear “I will” that expresses your commitment to yourself.

Please forward the link to this article on to friends and family to inspire others to include the reality of death in their attitude toward life. And, if you feel called to share your thoughts about life and death, use the comment function to engage with me and others. I look forward to reading your comments.

© Eva Ruland, April 2014

Awe + Wonder

9 Dec

Awe is a state beyond happiness. It puts you right into a state of bliss. You feel humbled and utterly grateful to be alive. The present moment is experienced as filled with an overwhelmingly beautiful wonder. When you are in a state of awe, happiness is not a question. Awe expands happiness into unknown dimensions.

I bet you have experienced awe and wonder in some form when you were a child. A moment that comes to mind for me is coming into our living room after dark on Christmas eve and seeing the huge Christmas tree (which, I knew, had been brought in that afternoon) alight with candles and sparklers in the otherwise dark room. My father sat at the piano and both my parents were leading us in singing Christmas carols. I could sense the proximity of the Christ child who, according to the legend we were told, had just been visiting with my parents to drop off presents. In my state of awe it all made sense; i could feel the presence of the divine. It manifested in blissful, speechless elation.

Nature can inspire awe.

Nature can inspire awe.

But you don’t have to be religious or a believer, or a child, to experience awe. Let me give you another example. I experience awe when i see an amazing performance, am in the presence of art that speaks to me, or hear music that resonates with something deep inside me. I remember going with a friend to visit an artist in his impressively big, almost palatial, artist’s studio, in the center of Berlin. At some point I realized that this was not a typical visit. I felt the presence of something tremendous. It was the combination of the more than life-size mysterious art, twilight-like lighting, and a entrancing song from Goretzky’s symphony #3 that touched my soul. I felt transported into a place of bliss that was almost unreachable, a diaphanous and fragile state, that felt like it would vanish at any moment, yet it was there and I was in it in that moment.

It seems to me that the key to my experience in that moment was letting go of control and of judgement. I allowed myself to take in the magic of the place, the art, the music, the unusual conversation. I was there to experience, and i did not have to be in charge of anything. Control is the anathema to awe. The more control we have the less we can experience awe.

How to cultivate AWE

Awe is something that comes to you, not something you can generate. Yet all it takes to feel the wonder of a moment is an open mind, the kind of inner attitude that Buddhists call beginner’s mind. If you can cultivate an open mind you are cultivating an aptitude for awe. You can train yourself to be more predestined to experience awe. Being open is the key, but how do you become more open?

– Try letting go of preconceived notions of what things, situations and people are and how they are supposed to be.

– Allow yourself to be curious. Try looking at the world with fresh eyes. Take in colors and shapes as if you have never seen colors or shapes before. Go out for walks and discover the wonders of nature. Visit galleries and open up to being drawn in by art. Let go of the notion that you have to understand everything.

– Take time to just be, without anything scheduled. In our hectic lives that is oftentimes not easy to do. But you can give yourself small windows of time throughout the day. For example, park your car 3 blocks from where you’re going and walk with your eyes wide open. Look at the people and dogs, cats, and birds; take in the front gardens around you. Look into people’s eyes without judging them.

– If you’re philosophically inclined, contemplate the odds of atoms joining to molecules and dancing in just the right way to create a tree, a child, a bird. Ponder the mystery of life perpetuationg itself: for the tree to grow seeds that generate new trees; for the child to be born and protected for years before it becomes an adult and has children of its own; for the bird to lay a fertile egg and create a new bird. Bow to the miracle of life. Cultivate reverence.

– Shed the stale mantle of “been there, done it.” Jadedness and cynicism are certain poison to awe. Tune into the amazing symphony of coincidences that were and are necessary to create the world around you and your life in it. Allow yourself to be receptive to the sense of awe and wonder that nature, life, and the ingenuity of ideas and art, can inspire.

Tune into Awe mode and get a head start on your journey to happiness.

* * *

Any change takes awareness and discipline – most of us struggle with at least one of the two. It’s certainly easier to grow with the support and guidance of a teacher, coach or mentor. 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, December 2013