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 – firstname.lastname@example.org - She’ll answer all your questions!
Lewis Howes’ podcast The School of Greatness
For lots of lessons around Graphic Design check out The Futur on Youtube.