Warning: This post is long as all get-out, so if your focus is short-lived you probably wont make it to the end. By saying this I hope I triggered a „Hell yeah I will!“ in you, so get started and enjoy!

 

They say that at one point or another every person experiences a wake up call. An event that shakes their world and forces them to take a good look at themselves and their life.

Some have it earlier in life, some later. For some it might be a divorce or loosing a job. For others it's connected to disease or loss of a beloved person. Or it may be that they are completely dissatisfied with life and how it is unfolding.


It varies, but it always rattles their cage.


My own bubble burst when Scott, my then husband went back to California before we finished renovating our house here in South Africa. It was a difficult year for both of us and ended with the decision that it didn't make sense to just hope that he'll eventually be okay when it felt so wrong for him to be here. So with a heavy heart he went back home and I stayed.



And so my journey began.


The kick-off was a visit to my aunt in Johannesburg. For as long as I can remember she has been working with Numerology, Astrology and Human Design. And for as long as I can think I had a fascination for it.

She explained my Human Design charts to me, which gave me insights about how things work for me. My “blue print” that would show me how to live true to myself. If you think that this is obvious business - because everyone knows what they want and how to live accordingly - let me tell you: Even if you do know what you want, you still navigate through life confined by what was taught to you by your parents, environment and society.



A society that is fixated on a perfect image on the outside. That tells you that you can buy happiness and where your (self-)worth is built on how much you work, own and achieve.


Where there are certain steps in life that you should, sometimes even must take, and if you're late, dance a different dance or god-forbid even skip steps you're an outsider, hippie, dreamer, crazy, weird, failure, … you name it. Snipping your finger isn't enough to just go against the current. It's a process of courage, perseverance and trusting yourself.


To be honest, I think I always felt a little “off” with the whole concept. And while I thought I escaped this predefined life in Germany by moving to California, I discovered that it was even more extreme there. Maybe that was one reason why I was so excited about moving on to South Africa. So after Scott left I wasn't only confronted with the question of who do I want to spend my life with, but how do I want to live it.


The answer was freely, unconventionally and purposefully.


What better place to get started with that than in the bush, far away from any judgemental and critical eyes.



Looking back now it's amazing to see how one thing led to the next.


When I got back from Johannesburg, I started listening to two books from Laura Malina Seiler, a German spiritual coach. She talked about her journey and the „emotional mess in her basement“ that she had to clean up step by step and how she went about it. (How I found the books you might ask? I just typed „happiness“ or something along those lines into audible, and there they were!)


It just so happened that she offered a 4-week online coaching course that took place right when I finished her books. So I enrolled. I learned all the basics about sub-consciousness, inner child, the law of attraction and gratitude. Techniques and excersises on how to work on your mindset and through anxiety, how to listen to your emotions and how to establish new, beneficial habits. After the 4 weeks I already felt like a new person and was SO motivated.


Little did I know that it wouldn't last too long and that it was just the beginning of a much longer journey.


I took another of her online courses, lasting 10 weeks this time. It was all about figuring out what I want in every area of my life. My health, my relationships, my job, my contribution to the world, my character... The whole concept was to do an inventory of the status quo in all of these areas, including your insecurities and beliefs and how they are holding you back.



And after finding out what you don't want for yourself anymore you start creating your new vision and determine the steps you need to take to get there.


My first revelation was on how I would be able to combine my graphic design with my drive to contribute to a more sustainable and healthy world. And when it clicked I decided that I would use my skills to provide design to people who's products or services support the same vision of a better world.

I was very excited about everything, redid my whole website, took a mini online course about sustainable graphic design, started a blog on my website and was ready to go. But to this day I am waiting for people to knock down my door to get a piece of that cake.

So I went on watching endless Youtube videos on how to get your graphic design BOOMING and somehow ended up part-time studying how to successfully use Instagram.

Which I still don't, so nope, that still didn't do it.



A quick and grandious end to this story? I’m sorry to disappoint you - you wont get it.



As I'm writing this I am still in the middle of figuring out my shit. And up to this point I had so many ups and downs, asking myself „What else must I do????“, while reading and hearing about all the people who found their purpose, love what they are doing and are SO successful with it. Comparing myself to others, wondering if I’m doing enough, rather than just focusing on my own progress.

On top of it, it still didn't feel like that was what I had in mind when I thought about making a change or contributing something to the world, especially something that animals would benefit from.

However my saving grace during the low phases was and still is to keep learning about the mind and spiritual practices. I listened a lot to Lewis Howes' Podcast „The School of Greatness“, read more books and somehow all of that just kept me going. And what other choice did I have?


If I stopped now, what else would I be doing? Might as well just stick to sorting it out.



Then, out of the blue my former boss Laura from California – a friend more than just a boss – asked me if I would be willing to write posts for her companie's Instagram account, as part of a team project.

My first reaction was - holy crap, NO!, what would I even write?! But it also felt stupid to say no, so I sat down and started writing. And guess what, all the wisdom I had collected over the past months poured out of me into that post and I was surprised when it wasn't even that bad. I accidentally discovered that I liked writing!


Which inspired me to write my own Instagram posts. I started talking about things that I had learned and thought about. That alone was a journey in itself, being so worried about what people might think and revealing myself. But once again, I kept pushing through it, kept posting, kept being nervous about it every time - to this day.

And I realised that this might actually be a good way to get started as a form of activism. But while the response to my personal posts was pretty good to my surprise, once I started posting about certain issues - to be exact factory farming and our food choices - that changed, and it threw me off again.


But the thing is, every low phase led to a different approach, adjustments and new insights.



It forced me to take a look back on how I got the point where I'm at now. What led me to finally changing to a plant-based diet, finding ways and the courage to start doing something and speaking up about things I cared about.


And it was just this – my whole journey of freeing myself from social norms, my restricting beliefs and insecurities. And yet another idea was born - this blog. So here I am, sharing all of this with you hoping it will reach the right people and make a small difference in someone’s life.


Don't be fooled, though, in the meantime I am still battling with overcoming my demand for recognition and my doubts of wether I am even getting anywhere with all of this.


But yet again I found help and progress in working on myself. This time with the support of breathwork. In one-on-one sessions with Sina, a holistic & transformation coach who first listens to everything that occupies my mind, helps me to find out where my thoughts and behaviours come from and who then guides me through an hour of breathing.


And it's been helping me so much with building trust in myself, the process and my confidence.


This newly found confidence enabled me to get started on a clean up project here in town, (thanks to my Dad, who just involved me). And through it I made a few connections that might help me to get more active in the real world, not just online. Something I’ve always wanted to do.


So all in all I would say it is shaping up. But what I want to show with this incredibly long blog post is that IT IS NOT THAT EASY. That it requires activity and perserverance. I started my journey over a year ago, and even though a lot did shape up already and became more clear, there is still a lot to do. Even when you have a great idea and you get started on it with ease, you'll probably hit a wall at some point. And that wont be the only one. But the important thing is that you climb over it and not let it stop you.

After all I keep thinking that I probably need all this time, all these little struggles to grow into it. Whatever „it“ might turn out to be. And the funny thing is, whenever I hit one of these walls in one area or project, things start moving in another.


And I'm learning to not force anything, but rather go with the flow. So if your stuck in one area of your life, take care of another that you might have been neglecting. Or just take a complete break from it. You sometimes just need one to be able to come back and look at it differently and with new energy.


Okay, so what is the big lesson here... I think it's more like a bunch of small ones, so...


One – find out what you want and make a solid game plan. You can make changes along the way, but stick to it.

Two – whenever it feels really nerve wrecking, do it anyway. What's the worst that can happen?

Three – if opportunities show up, take them. You can always adjust later or discard what is not working for you.

Four – work on yourself just as much as you work on your dream.

And five – you have to try things to find out if they are for you. Not everything that comes your way is right for you.


My aunt would add:

"Life becomes easier when you stop wanting to be in control of everything. Allow things to come to you and take them on fearlessly and with enthusiasm.”

That's it. Thank you for perservering and reading my novel all the way through. I would love to hear your thoughts and own experiences, so don't hesitate to leave a comment if you feel like it. Now, let's end this with a smart quote:


„The risk of failing wont be as painful as the regret of not even trying.“


 

In case you got curious about the steps I took so far, here are a few links:

  • To find out more about Human Design, Astrology or Numerology you are more than welcome to contact my Aunt Petrae – petrae54@gmail.com - She’ll answer all your questions!

  • This is for the Germans out there: You can find Laura Malina Seiler’s books and podcast on her website. The online courses I took were Rise Up and Shine and I AM.

  • Lewis Howes’ podcast The School of Greatness

  • For lots of lessons around Graphic Design check out The Futur on Youtube.

  • And last but not least, Sina Birkholz and her Transformation Work on Instagram and Facebook.

If you have questions, just let me know! ✌︎

30 views0 comments


“All life is worth living and should be given the

opportunity to do so freely.”

 

Who are you and what is your mission?


My name is Vinourica Ndou. I studied nature conservation and branched into environmental education. I chose environmental education in order to impart knowledge and increase awareness of the importance of caring for the natural environment which we share with all other living organism as well as other individuals. To live sustainably and in a manner that does not harm ourselves or that environment's inhabitants.



How did you get started and what were the obstacles you had to overcome?


My career in environmental education started as a student trainee with the Endangered Wildlife Trust. I learned a lot about endangered species and the challenges that conservationists deal with when trying to protect these animals from extinction.


The biggest obstacle of working in environmental education is that most of the people who you end up working with are poor communities, who don't intentionally destroy the environment for their own benefit, but who have adopted an environmentally destructive way of living and way of supporting their livelihood. Due to problems that they have unknowingly inherited, such as habitat destruction through population increase and urbanisation which then leads to human - animal conflicts for example.


In such cases, it is not easy to tell a man not to kill a leopard that is feeding on his livestock which is his main sources of income and livelihood. Neither is telling him to call a number so that someone can come capture this problem animal. Therefore, most of the obstacles that one deals with need a buy-in from the government and other stakeholders who share the same vision and are willing to donate either their time or funds to the cause.


Networking, speaking up about your challenges, creating partnerships and relationships where you can trust and be trusted by the people that you work with - especially the communities - is very vital in achieving success.



What advice would you give to somebody who is just getting started on their own mission/journey?


Everyone that you will meet when working in environmental education, whether a professional or an illiterate community member, know how their actions are negatively impacting their immediate environment. They usually lack the holistic knowledge of their impact on the environment and access to alternative sustainable ways of living.


National and internal politics within communities are some of the things that one needs to be wary of and adapt a way in which you avoid being caught in between.




What are the three most important lessons you've learned in life and on your journey so far?


1. To have patience, empathy and understanding of the situation before you start implementing any textbook ideas.


2. To give myself time to find out what makes an individual, community, or situation unique. This enables me to work from a point of understanding.


3. To have an open mind and be creative when dealing with obstacles and to stay true to your mission, objectives, and yourself, but most important to have genuine love for what you do.



What do you do when you feel stuck, insecure, or overwhelmed?


I discuss my situation and feelings about what l am working on with others in my field of work or another professional. I have learned not to shy away from asking for help.



What are three values you live by?

  • HONESTY

  • EMPATHY

  • RESPECT


What is your definition of freedom? And what do you do to get there?


To me freedom is the ability to express myself in a respectful manner that does not infringe on others’ privacy and rights, at the same time acquiring knowledge and setting my own life's mission objectives.



Who or what inspires you?


LIFE. ANY LIFE FORM - HUMAN OR ANIMAL.

All life is worth living and should be given the opportunity to do so freely.



A closing sentence.


Every person has a story to tell and everyone we meet shapes us, consciously or subconsciously. I also believe that our past shapes us and everything we consume whether it's spiritually, physically, or emotionally - it makes us who we are. Therefore there is always more to the story than meets the eye. We live once, do what you love and enjoy in order to be liberated and enjoy life every single day.


 

Vino is part of the BornFree Foundation, check out their projects.


20 views0 comments


“My definition of freedom is liberation, equality, and justice.”

 

Who are you and what is your mission?


My name is Kerstin Brueller and I am an outspoken vegan animal activist, content creator, writer and graphic designer, and illustrator based in Vienna, Austria. Together with my partner, I started the animal activism merch label “RULE OF NINES”, which focuses on thought-provoking, educational organic activism wear.

My mission is to educate people about justice, moral, ethical, and humane behavior towards non-human animals and to break down anti-vegan appeals and misconceptions and conditioning on an easily understandable, relatable, and empathetic level through my vocal and visual activism. My activism includes face-to-face conversations, and videos but most of it happens in written and illustrated form online through my Instagram channel and blog.




How did you get started and what were the obstacles you had to overcome?


When I became vegan three years ago, I was suddenly confronted with a world that had been hidden from me for 29 years of my life. It was an absolute shock for me to realize what I had helped to finance for so many years. However, it was also the time when the strong urge grew to do something against this lack of knowledge, the ignorance, the disbelief, the oppression and the belittlement of animals and animal suffering and injustice, because I had become aware of something that others had no idea about.


Knowing, seeing, and recognizing the consequences my actions had on others was enough to challenge my sense of empathy and question my daily actions and habits. For me, it was very clear that I had to change something and that a radical change was not only necessary but also right, responsible and my only choice to be in alignment with my moral values. I didn't think much about obstacles or challenges, I just did it because nothing has ever felt more right to me than going vegan for the animals.


Looking back, I would probably say that the biggest obstacle I had to overcome but was willing to take on and accept, was that not everyone in my circle of friends at the time could handle my growing self-confidence, self-assurance, and vocal opinions, both online and offline. I used to hold back when it came to controversial topics where I could cause a stir and had no answers because I lacked the knowledge or experience. I also couldn't understand (and still can't) why people wouldn't want to know about it and wouldn't make a change themselves which unfortunately is still called "abandonment" instead of "immense enrichment".



What advice would you give to somebody who is just getting started on their own mission/journey?


Do it! Start with something you feel comfortable with, go from there, and then do something you don’t feel so comfortable with. And keep that attitude. It will make you grow. It will make you learn new things, reach out to others on different levels and inspire others to do the same. Be bold, be brave and do your thing.

Start by using the “tools” that are available to you. If you like to illustrate, use it for visualizing animal rights content and telling the animals’ story that way. If you like to sing, write a song. If you like to dance, perform and express the animals’ struggle by using your own body. If you like to talk, have face-to-face conversations or start recording videos. If you like to write, start a blog. If you like to knit, make pullovers or blankets (using organic cotton) for baby goats and sheep to keep them warm and send them to sanctuaries. There are endless possibilities we can contribute to help others with our skills, talents and passion. Sometimes we just need to get even more creative.


Also, it doesn’t matter what others think of you, but what you think of yourself and what is and feels right to YOU.




What are the three most important lessons you've learned in life and on your journey so far?


This is a tough question to be honest because there were so many lessons that I have learned only in the past three years, but if I would have to limit them to the three most important ones, I would say are these:


1. It doesn’t matter what others think of you. It matters what You think of Yourself, who you want to be, and if your actions reflect that. Therefore be brave, be bold, stand up for what is right. Be curious, be hungry for knowledge, and realize what values are important to you and live by them.


2. Nothing is always as it seems and how we are conditioned to see, feel, & experience it. We are all fighting our own battles, but we must come together to make the world equal and just for everyone so that we can all live together in harmony and peace in the future. We are all one. One energy.


3. We have so many more problems than I was aware of, but the least we can do is to fight for justice and liberation for all and be kind to each other. The least we can do is to be vegan and not cause harm to non-human animals. It should evolve from there.



What do you do when you feel stuck, insecure, or overwhelmed?


When I feel stuck, insecure, and/or overwhelmed, I force myself to take a break. This sounds so simple and easy to do, but it is hard to take time for self-care to recharge. When you are active in something that is so important to you and you are so passionate about, you quickly feel like what you do is never enough. This leads to doing more and doing it longer than it is healthy. It burns you out, often slowly but surely. It gets to you, no matter what, because we can only take so much. Therefore I can only recommend having a healthy routine and plan in that extra time for shaking things off and invest some extra time in your well-being.


Often we don't realize it at the time that we are burning out or slowly slipping into a severe depression. Please, take care of yourself, listen to yourself, and be mindful of your mental and physical reactions and recognize stressful and destructive signs sooner rather than later.


If you feel like you can’t handle certain situations, feelings of anxiety, sadness, or frustration anymore, please don’t hesitate and get professional help. It is totally ok to do so.



What are three values you live by?


I live by the values I was brought up to but never fully embraced and acted by because society just works differently.

  • THE GOLDEN RULE “TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE OTHERS TO TREAT YOU”

  • TREAT OTHERS THE WAY THEY WANT TO BE TREATED

  • THERE IS ALWAYS ANOTHER WAY


What is your definition of freedom? And what do you do to get there?


My definition of freedom is liberation, equality, and justice. We are only free until we are all free. Free means not having the freedom to do whatever we want because that would include hurting others as it is in the interest of some but contributing to the greater good to create a world and culture where we all live together in peace, harmony, respect, and justice. I know this sounds romanticized and idealistic and who knows if we will ever live in such a world, but we should certainly try to create it.





Who or what inspires you?


My greatest inspiration, or rather my strongest inner force, is not a person; it is justice.


I want discrimination and injustice to stop. The most misunderstood, unseen, discriminated, exploited, and murdered species on this planet are non-human animal species, that’s why I am active for them. When it comes to people, I find people who are constantly pushing their boundaries and getting out of their comfort zone inspiring. Those who take action and don't care in the least about what others think because they know it's the right thing to do.



A closing sentence.


Imagine you’d be in the animals’ position, how would you feel? What would you want people to do? And a huge thank you for this opportunity through this platform to use my voice for and with the animals.


 

If you want to know more about Kerstin and her mission, here is how you can connect with her:


www.kerstinbrueller.com RULE OF NINES


Blog: www.kerstinbrueller.com/blog

Instagram: @kerstinbrueller YouTube: Kerstin Brueller Photographs by @rauschbild & @joshua.entis



25 views0 comments