Updated: Mar 1, 2020
This blog and podcast is about finding stillness and space to fully tap into your vital energy, creativity, and love of your life.
The little tricks provided, will help you to embrace your beautiful life full of appreciation and are a wonderful contribution to a sparkling and cozy Christmas time.
Welcome to LebensLiebe. My name is Martina and I am so happy you are here.
How are you today? I hope, you had a wonderful thanksgiving and a great start into the pre-Christmas time. I am German (good old Bavarian, to be honest) and this time is the most precious time of my year. I just can`t help it. I like the candles, the smells and yes, also the kitsch everywhere. But most of all, I like that it is a chance to slow down and indulge – although many people seem to perceive this time slightly differently as a time of stress, shopping, and fast-living.
Where are you at? How do you like to celebrate the ending of the year and the time before Christmas?
In order to get to my kind of slow pace, I have gone into a week of fasting, which meant, soup and juice only and I tell you, it was wonderful. It might sound ironic but during this week, I baked seven different kinds of cookies with the help of my lovely boyfriend and enjoyed pondering about what life time, patience, and stillness actually mean to me. This is exactly what I would like to talk about today.
Let me ask you a question: What does patience and stillness mean to you? Please listen for a moment to your inner voice and feel free to write the answer down.
In addition: Do you maybe need a little more patience and stillness?
Allow me to share my answers with you. Patience and stillness are things that I seemingly hold high and, yet, regularly forget. Stillness and patience, in general, are moments during which I stop pacing through life. It is when I arrive in the here and now, and when I can allow the world to just happen. Then, exactly, everything becomes awareness, oneness, and acceptance. Everything is good the way it is.
Patience becomes even more important in those moments. Because, if I am very honest, I have to be patient to allow the space for those moments and to elongate them accordingly. Not seldom, my thoughts start jumping ahead and the moment of stillness is gone before it was fully there. It has fallen prey to doing and acting once more.
Stillness as source of vital energy
Many of us lead a life of pace and chasing. We forget to enjoy the little moments – like the first snowflakes in winter, or the ringing of Christmas bells, or the smiles of our children.
Recently, I had the good fortune to attend a very moving event, during which we talked about sustainability with regard to our own lives as entrepreneurs.
At the beginning, the debate circled around sustainability in business, but very soon it moved on to how we as entrepreneurs can actually lead sustainable lives; that is, lives of awareness for our health, families, and time.
I would like to gratefully share a little story, which the host of this event shared with us:
Every morning he brings his kids to kindergarden. As a project manager, he is used to being in time, naturally. However, kids do not always act according to project plans. More often than not, they follow their own time schedules. Putting on their shoes, dressing, all of those things, may take a while – as every parent listener certainly knows.
As our teller thoughtfully remembers, he therefore admonished the kids one morning to hurry up. This is when the elder kid replied: “You know, when you hurry me in the morning, you put pressure on me and actually destroy my whole day. Because when I have a bad morning, I have a bad day.” I loved that sentence and I love the wisdom of children.
We all need our time. Even if that sometimes means that things take a little longer than planned. We are humans, not machines. We are living beings. No programs. Time is just another word for stillness and patience. It is just another way to describe our life and existence. Time is a present, we can give ourselves. We can and are allowed to give ourselves time again and again in order to be still, to breathe, love, and to become aware of the present that life is.
I have time just like everyone has time, if they only want to.
Yes, if we want to. I think, the power lies in the wanting.
As you can imagine, I have not chosen the topic of time today because I am so great at taking breaks. But what I have recently noticed about myself is that I am a champ at slowness in a way that I amuse myself. During stressful times, my inner child seems to tune in and just gear down. Then I watch myself tying my shoes like a five year old (or slower) and it takes me ages to find the right jacket before leaving the house. Now it`s my boyfriend to get a little frustrated, back in the days presumably my parents did.
It is like my inner child is telling me: “Look at this. You need time, I need time. I take my time and you can't do anything about it.” In a way, I feel that this gives me energy, or at least, it preserves what energy remains.
Do you maybe have a similar protection mechanism, which unconsciously gives you time and energy?
Tip 1: What does your inner child do for your energy?
Take a moment to reflect. What does your inner child do to preserve your energy? How did you decelerate as a kid – did you have a favourite spot or thing to do, in which you could get caught up for hours?
Maybe you can allow a similar spot or contemplative action to become part of your life again?
Stillness and patience as sources of creativity
Wonders are possible within such a time-space continuum. Yes, wonders!
If you have listened to my podcast before, you might know that I talk a lot about meditation and mindfulness. Today, I would like to convert those insights into thoughts about time.
What I have noticed is that I have the greatest creative incubations after conscious breaks. I talked about this before in my podcast on Sabbaticals.
Johann Aloys Schlösser, a student of Beethoven and the first to write his biography, has illustrated Beethoven in a little story. He explained that once he showed his master a new piece he had composed. The master looked at it and explained that young people tend to jot down their ideas quickly. He himself, instead, could go pregnant with an idea for years. He would allow the idea to be in his head, to swirl around and to grow into a new piece. Sometimes, this process would take up to five years until the new piece would finally be conceived by the master.
If we transferred this into the context of creativity, we could say: New ideas arise within a space of unconsciousness. This space is entirely different from a space of planning, execution, and action. It is a wide and waste space of nothingness, unknown, and uncertainty. It's the space dreams are made of; where we fight with dragons and fly with the ferries. Sometimes we remember our dreams, sometimes we do not. Within this unconscious space, our thoughts make quantum leaps and bring forth thoughts so novel that we might even surprise ourselves.
But if we decide to chase those dreams and ideas, we usually fail. What we should try to do instead, is sit down and allow the things to find us. As we do so, we often get surprised by how easy things come and how much nicer they are than we initially hoped them to be. As we are in stillness and openness, we are also capable to receive those gifts fully and with all their beauty.
Almost every creative soul has confirmed this tiny revelation in the past centuries: Creativity finds us in and after phases of retreat, stillness, and non-thinking.
I can only confirm that after my last phase of fasting. To be honest, during the first day, I had a seriously hard time to let go and do nothing. I am used to being on and active. Fortunately, my body decided to just relax at the beginning of my fast. So, I slept, chilled, and let the past year pass through my mind.
On the one hand, my mind wanted to act, on the other hand, my body did not want to do anything.
During the second day, I suddenly noticed how nice it was to actually do nothing. I wasn`t necessarily used to it, but I kind of started to like wearing sweat pants and snoozing during the day.
On day 3 a little miracle happened: My senses woke up to full power. I smelled everything so intensely, my ears were sensitive to every little noise, and my skin was so sensitive. It was wonderful. This was followed by an intense awakeness and energy. For me that meant dancing through the house like a little maniac. But well,…. And finally, there was this huge sense of aliveness and lightness. All tension left my body.
Finally, on day 5, there were the new thoughts – thoughts that I had not thought before. They were not radical or world changing per se, but they fascinated me nevertheless.
This is not the point, where I want to persuade you to start fasting.
Tip 2: From reductionism to creativity
Yet, I would like encourage you to maybe do a little daily life fast and see, what happens. For instance, what is the thing you do to shut down? Do you watch series on Netflix endlessly or do you get lost on social media? Maybe stop doing this for five days just like a little fast and give yourself some conscious stillness?
I am curious as to what happens!
Silence and stillness as sources of enjoyment of life.
What I experience very consciously after my fast is a deep love of life. I am exhilarated and happy about my new thoughts, the lightness of letting go, my body, and my life.
I think, we do not celebrate your lives enough.
I don't know about you, but this year on Black Friday I suddenly received thousands of marketing mails and notifications. This made me both sad and a little angry. I mean, it is nothing new that companies invest in marketing like crazy, but on this day, it seemed like a flood of communication hit my inbox telling me that I wasn't happy because of .. oh…so much.
How did you feel about that? And yes, I unsubscribed from those mailings a lot, but they kept flooding in.
A thought I had then is, why don't we initiate a White Monday, where we keep spreading emails throughout the world in which we explain each other, why our lives are so beautiful and precious. There are so many things that make us happy, fulfilled, and content without spending any money at all.
This can be your first breath in the morning, knowing that you are waking up to your loved ones, or cuddling in a cozy blanket, when it is could outside.
I think, we do not stand still often enough to tell ourselves: I love my life. I am happy with the small things. I am good with things as they are.
Naturally, this requires taking moments out of our days. It might even take some patience to get to a certain level of awareness because we are not always fully present with the things that we appreciate in our lives. But somewhere underneath the doings, meetings, and pressure lies the treasure of our love for our lives. It is sparkling, shining, and inviting us to bring it to the surface. It is there, every day, during every step and every breath.
Tip 3: The days before the year ends – or your advent calendar
In Germany, the kids open a door on their advent calendar every December day before Christmas. Today, I would like to give you a little present of thought. Maybe, you can open your little door, every morning before Christmas. The door opening is an opening to the treasures of your life and with every opening, you write yourself a little note of what you appreciate about your life. At Christmas, you can give yourself the best present without spending any money at all: 24 letters depicting your love for your life.
As I said: I love Christmas. I love the smell of cookies, cinnamon, and snow. I love the candles and the kitsch. Maybe I am old fashioned, maybe I am a little grannie. But I love it – as much as the time of retreat that allows me to look back at this past year and appreciate all the great moments and teachings.
Every year, again and again, there is so much to be grateful for.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a wonderful Christmas time full of magic moments.
A big hug for you, dearest.
Thanks for being you.