Living with a Curious Attitude

Here is an observation from my current travel experience in Europe: it is amazing to watch German evening news and notice how my blood pressure is the same after as it was before. So what is the difference, as the world events are the same? The way the news are approached and presented, with calm and as a reporting of facts, without much emotions, hype and hardly any judgment. Isn’t it interesting how a similar approach to our own life, looking at it with a curious attitude and an open mind, provides us with a life experience of “taking what comes with confidence”… …when we take the drama out, we are left with essence and truth and it is quiet enough to hear our inner voices guiding us. So we can let ourselves be led by truth instead of fear.

With love ~ Siljoy

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Imagine a dark room with a candle burning in it – where will your eyes go? To the candle, yes, just as your soul is drawn to the light. If You had the choice of having the candle in this dark space or not, wouldn’t we all choose to have that little light?

In those moments, when our lives seem very dark, having a beacon of light makes a difference, doesn’t it? The beauty of life is that we can actually have some control over that. The famous psychologist Victor Frankl was one of the first to teach: that in our minds we can be free! He helped many people survive the concentration camps in Europe, mentoring them into controlling their thoughts instead of collapsing into victim-hood in the face of the overwhelming onslaught of brutality that people faced.

So how can this apply to You and your life? Even in our darkest moments we still have a choice, the choice what we want to think. Most people experience themselves as “thinkers on auto pilot” and it has not occurred to them that they can actually choose which thoughts they give energy to. Just as in meditation, we can observe our thoughts and let those that do not serve us, float out of our brain like clouds moving along the sky.

How do we know whether a thought serves us? We might be so used to thinking how useless we are, how we don’t deserve, how unfair life is, etc that it can seem impossible to come up with alternatives.
In my many years of mentoring clients/mentees as a Holistic Life Mentor, I have found the following most useful:

“Don’t believe everything You think”, is one of my favorite quotes. May I suggest an experiment, just for one day? Don’t believe everything You think! And whatever thoughts You find floating in your head, maybe even harassing You in their effect, I want You to question them and their validity! How about You use the following question for that: does it strengthen me or weaken me to think this thought? Leave the judgments of “good or bad” and “right or wrong” behind You, as they make everything very complicated. Those words are overwrought with complex memories and the moral implications of our upbringing and what parents, schools and society taught us. That is very difficult to sort through and rarely do You come out at the other end with YOUR truth!
When You simply — and I mean simply — ask yourself in regards to whether it strengthens or weakens You, You will find that the answer comes very quickly. And should your thought strengthen You, then You will feel even stronger and assured to be on an authentic track. Should your inner response be that You have been weakening and self-sabotaging your Self, then You will naturally be inspired to re-think and find a better option. By utilizing this tool, You add a powerful life skill to your daily life. It has the power to change your life experience. I invite You to experiment with it and please let me know how it is working for You in creating the life You want.

Don’t believe me – prove me “right or wrong”!

With love ~ Siljoy

Losing Weight: A Different Language of Support

If we look at the statistics of more than half of all Americans being overweight, it is obvious that the current usual approaches to weight reduction are not working or that something is missing! I invite You to look at the weight challenge with me from my Holistic Perspectives.

Yes, when one wants to drop weight, most need to eat less and/or move more. Beyond that everyone can and needs to find one’s own unique solution. A diet that works for your neighbor, might not work for You. An exercise regimen to empower and be-muscle You, can be non-effective or contraindicated for your friend. Your sister might best slim down by reducing stress and adding a couple of hours of sleep every night instead of cutting down on calories. As individual as our paths are, there is one common sabotaging element which almost everyone has been weakened by up until now.

The language with which You think and share, needs to be in alignment with 1.) what is really true and 2.) what You truly want. So please bear with me and check this out for yourself. Listen to this sentence which You probably have heard and maybe said endless times in your life:

“I am still trying to lose weight”

By saying and thinking this sentence, You set yourself up for failure, actually, it is a “triple whammy” self-sabotaging sentence! Let me dissect this sentence to show You what I am talking about:
“STILL” The word “still” is helpful only in connection with something that we expect/want to stop soon. If we want to continue to do something, we need to name it that. So let me change this one to:
“I continue to try to lose weight”. Can You hear the difference? With “still” You are saying that You will stop soon. When You use “continue”, You are strengthening yourself and affirming that You are committed to your path of shedding weight (or whatever else You are doing).

Now let’s go to the next word “TRY” Whenever we are thinking or saying, “I will try”, we are in truth saying that we will NOT do it. Trying means I stop right before the doing. Trying means I will try, not do! Trying applies correctly only to two situations in life: trying on shoes or clothing or to something in your past where You failed – I tried to learn something and I failed. For all other instances, please throw the word out of your vocabulary…! So let me change this one, too:
“I continue to lose weight”. Sounds better, different, more empowered already? Just as a reminder, compare it with “I am still trying to lose weight”.

Ok, then let’s go at the third self-sabotaging word here, a really big one that to my knowledge has never been addressed before.

“Losing” weight.

What is your connotation with the word “lose”? When You lost your keys, wallet, paper?….that You want to find it again, right?! Maybe even that You HAVE to find it again, because losing your keys, wallet, paper, etc. is a really bad thing! Here comes my point – we all have learned in the English language (and so has our subconscious mind!) to associate the word “losing” with the fact that whatever we lost, we NEED TO FIND IT AGAIN!

My professional explanation as a Holistic Life Mentor of the so-called yoyo-effect in dieting (the down and up in weight) is that 99% of all people think about it in terms of “wanting to lose weight”… which means that You are telling your sub-conscious mind that You need and want to FIND THAT WEIGHT/THOSE POUNDS AGAIN, as soon as possible!!! Can You see how paradox this is? How all in You will urge toward weight gain/eating when your subconscious mind hears You think that You want to “lose weight”? So let me change this one, too and complete the new expression:
“I continue to shed weight”.
(or drop, let fade away, give back, etc whatever You can relate to most).

Even if You should currently feel at a still stand on your path to a lower weight, consider that your body might just be wisely giving You some time to adjust to your already lowered weight, so that it will be easier for You to be permanently successful. So even if You temporarily stopped dropping pounds, You are continuing to be on your path of shedding weight, aren’t You?

Am I making sense to You? My best wishes for your path to carrying the weight that serves You truly most…

With love ~ Siljoy

Capitalize You

Often, when I write letters, articles or fliers, people comment that I have some misspelling in my texts. Planning to share a lot of my Holistic Perspectives with You in blogs to come, I realize that I have to start with this question of Siljoy’s typos. And as I compile this blog today, for You to possibly read, You might think the same after these first two sentences? No dear reader, it is not a typo when I capitalize “You’s”, it is well intended as a different language of respect! And I’d like You to understand, maybe even appreciate it, so bear with me…

When I first returned to the United States after having lived in Europe for 30 years, I encountered a puzzling problem. I spoke both English and German, and writing my first letter in English since childhood, I got stuck very quickly. Experiencing the contrast between the two languages brought my awareness to a strange phenomenon:

All German speakers write “I” as a small letter “i” (ich) and always the “you” as “You” (Du), with a capital Y. (Actually, in German one goes even further by capitalizing all “you”-words, even if not addressing someone directly, like “Your book”.)

All English speakers always capitalize their “I”, but never “you”. As You can already imagine, that brought me into an unexpected conflict – if I would join writing the English language as I had been taught, I would have to make myself bigger than “you”.  I had written in German for decades, always making You bigger than “i”. Suddenly neither felt right anymore!

What should I do? Being passionate about living authentically and with integrity, I considered my options. Follow the laws of each language? That did not work for me, as I did not believe in these particular language laws (as much as I can be conservative when it comes to the use or mis-use of language). Capitalize neither “i” nor “you”? With this option I would have needed to give up the power of capitalizing a word, honoring a special meaning or value it might represent. So that was out of the question also. Lastly, I could give both “i” and “you” each their own big letter, acknowledging my Self as respectable entity AND respecting “You” as equal entity. That felt truthful and authentic and I have written all my English writings since that very first letter in 1992, capitalizing both! So no, no typos – just honoring You as I honor my Self with this very easy and simple language tool.

And You know what? As some people have shared their appreciation of “You and I” and followed my lead, amazingly, sadly, there have also been people over the years who resented my choice to express my respect with a capital Y. Not so my computer though…as I typed this blog, it naturally kept “correcting” the blog-intended small i’s (here again I had to change it). And the beauty for me is, my computer has learned over the years to accept all capitalized You’s from me. Will You, too?

With love ~ Siljoy

Fathers without Children

THE FORGOTTEN MEN

This weekend many celebrate their fathers and besides the fact that ideally we all would truly appreciate each other every day, it is a good thing to give Fathers a special day at least once a year! What is also true is that this weekend there will be many men who are suffering in silence and isolation.

There are far too many who have to grieve the loss of a child and that is a deep pain that stays forever, at least to some degree.  And — these fathers mostly and hopefully do get attention and support in their grief.

There are far too many fathers who are in separation from their children, because of a distanced relationship to the mother of his children and those men are often having a very hard time, missing their kids and not being able to care for them personally.

And then there is another – growing ? group of “fathers”, those who can/could not have children, yet they feel like fathers, “child-less or un-childed fathers”. (A group distinctly different from happily “child-free” men.)

I am writing today to bring your attention to these Forgotten Men!  They are of many ages, young and older, and hurting from a whole array of feelings, because they love children and would love to have children and yet they can not, could not, and might not ever have a child. When we think of child-less people and couples, most think of the women only. They are the ones You might find articles written about with such titles as “Struggles with Infertility” or “Finally twins after four IVFs”. And these women deserve all our compassion, as they are going through ”many hells”, as some of my clients call it.

As an Holistic Life Mentor with over 30 years professional experience and with a 16 year “side-expertise” of helping women, men and couples who have been struggling with involuntary childlessness, I call these “child-less Fathers” the Forgotten Men.  Most people know at least a little about the women who are “child-less mothers” – meaning: they love children, would make great moms and happen to find themselves involuntary childless, due to many different reasons.

The same is true for the Forgotten Men, the “un-childed fathers” who you know would be “perfect” Dads and yet, for some known or unknown reason it was not meant to happen for them (yet). Causes might be proven or unexplained infertility in either spouse, previous illness/treatment of illness which prevents the man from safely fathering a healthy child. Many men in same sex relationships struggle with the difficulties of having a child with the restrictions we put on them as a society. (The same is valid for lesbian women, yet differently, as they can at least birth a child.) Nowadays there can also be economic or other social reasons, like the challenge to find the “right” partner to have a child with etc etc.

Involuntary childlessness is always a deeply painful life experience, for women as for men. And as I am focusing on men today ? they are faced with a different experience and set of challenges. Where a woman might struggle with that she feels like her body is betraying her, a man might experience great turmoil: because he cannot pass on his genes, or because he fears that he might have lost his masculinity, or because he simply so much would love to have a child, and because as a man, he has it even harder to talk about his childless-ness ? most men never do, and do not have a safe, non-judgmental person to share their deepest feelings and thoughts about it. That is truly hard – have You ever thought about it?

Let me give You two images. First, there is the father who had a child which died. That is very very painful, heartbreakingly sad. And ? hopefully, mostly ? this now child-“less” father has a lot of societal support to grieve. He has memories of the child, pictures, a name, very real life father-child experiences which he loved and now he has to grieve the loss of his child.

On the other side, the “un-childed father” has to grieve the “idea” of a child and  ? no name, no pictures, no memories!  Also, noone else who can remember and share stories about his child.  He has to grieve somebody who does not exist!  And how does one do that?  There are no role models and rarely support! Most often no one around the “un-childed father” will even know about his pain, because he might be too shamed, embarrassed or also protective of his – wife, – homosexual partnership, – his involuntary singledom, – his infertility or other physical, emotional or social reasons.

I am asking You to take a moment, on this Father’s Day weekend, and imagine, with and from your heart what he – an involuntary childless man might feel like!  By now I am sure You understand why I chose to write and share my thoughts and experiences as a Holistic Life Mentor today. Please give one minute of your life to send your compassion to all these Forgotten Men – trust me – on some level they will feel it and it will lift them up…

…and should You Reader yourself be one of the Forgotten Men, please You take a minute (or longer) and give your self some compassion, because the situation You live in and with, is truly very hard, lonesome and painful…

With Love ~ Siljoy