a leash, a couch and trust issues.

Imagine you have a dog. Your favourite breed of all. A beautiful, cute, playful dog who is well-behaved and listens to you.
It´s spring time and the sun is finally coming out again. A beautiful warm day and you decide to go to this huge park your dog loves so much.
You get there, you tell your dog to sit, and you gently take off his leash.
Your dog waits for your command and as soon as you give him a „go“, he runs off into the wide green open space in front you.

Even as a non dog-owner, I can imagine how seeing your dog running through a field must feel like.
Free, content, and so joyful in this moment. Just by watching your dog having the time of his life, like he´s running for the first time, you feel the same.

However, doing so requires a good amount of trust. You wouldn´t take off his leash if you doubted he´ll come back to you again. Without training him beforehand you wouldn´t be able to let him experience this kind of freedom and playtime with other dogs. He might take off, won´t stop playing (or fighting) with other dogs, or even bite a runner passing by.

But.. you invested this time in him and in you. To create a bond that is strong and safe for both of you to experience those blissful moments.
He can have a so much better lifequality – thanks to you.
Thanks to your willingness to discipline your dog, you can let him go and not fear he might disappear.

You can count on him and he can count on you. (awwww).

And you?

Can you count on you?

Or in other words:

How well-trained is your dog?

And yes you do have one.

Not the one you just imagined.

But the one in your mind that likes to do all kind of stupid stuff.
Just like a dog, we have needs and urges we preferebly don´t wanna fight against.
We are pulled to sit on the couch, when we know we should work out, we are pulled to eat pizza, when we know a green plate will make us feel better and we are pulled to scroll over instragram for the hundreds time, when we know we should continue to work on our project.
Basically we wanna sleep, eat and have fun, just like dog.
It´s easy and comfortable and requires no effort.
But we also know that in the long-term it makes us feel miserable, depleted and depressed.

With a misbehaved dog you won´t be able to take off the leash and his muzzle.
You simply cannot control his behaviour without that restriction.
Just like people. Some need to keep all the chocolate cookies out of the house, because they cannot be trusted with them.

Our needs and wants can turn into cravings that do whatever it takes to satisfy them – so we basically run away from ourselves to go get that „thing“.

How can we possibly trust ourselves, if calling us back rarely works?

And to ask further…

If I can´t trust myself, how am I ever able to let myself go after anything? Without a certain level of self-trust how am I ever able to DO anything?
I wouldn´t be able to get into my car, start the engine and drive 120km/h sharing the same road with hundreds of other drivers.
I wouldn´t even be able to cut my vegetables in small pieces to make a delicious dinner for myself.

Think about it, you do all the things you do daily because you bring a certain level of self-trust into the performance. I mean you trust yourself that you won´t cut your fingers while cutting those carrots..do you?

On the other hand, you could ask yourself..

What am I NOT doing, because I don´t trust myself?
What am I missing out in life because of my lack of self-trust?
Maybe you don´t start that business or project because you don´t trust in your own capabilities.
Maybe you don´t ask your boss for a raise, because you can´t trust your level of confidence to stand up for yourself.
Maybe you don´t enter that relationship because you can´t even commit to yourself.
Maybe you don´t join that hip hop class, because you don´t trust in your ability to connect with others. (It´s mostly not about the activity itself, but rather the social aspect – „will I be accepted by the tribe?“).

It is safe to say that in order to experience all of that, we need to build a certain level of trust within ourselves.
Oftentimes, by just doing it and figuring it out on the way we learn to trust ourselves more and more.

BUT, as dogs, we learn and build trust through repetition.
And repitition requires a certain level of commitment and discipline.

We need to create routines and habits so that the new behaviour becomes second nature.
We basically need to train our mind to listen to us, to follow our command.
Just as we would train our dog to do so.

Who doesn´t have that voice that constantly tells you to eat healthier, to work out, to work on that project, to have this difficult conversation, to read that book, to start that cooking class, etc. etc.
But you don´t, or you start and stop. Or you kinda do it, but not really, just to trick yourself that you are not that big of a loser..

We wanna run away from that voice in the back of our mind – just like a dog who keeps running away and doesn´t care if his owner screams his name for the hundreds time. Why?

Because he has no respect for him. He learned that he gets away with it. Nothing real bad happened so far, so why not continue have fun?

And we trained ourselves the same way. We don´t keep our word. We committed ourselves to do smth, but didn´t follow through. We´ve told ourselves not to do something, but did it anyway, without realizing that we are programming ourselves with a belief that life goes on without any real bad consequences – you know..that ugly „grey zone“, where it´s uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable aka painful enough to actually make that change..

We are literally rebelling against our own self-interest. We are rejecting what is actually supporting our self-esteem and self-trust.

The result?

We lose self-respect. And that can be hard to admit.
Because we know how shitty that feels to not be respected by others.
But turning our own back against our ourselves? That´s like we make us to our own worst enemy..

So how do we actually start keeping those promises we tell ourselves…
How do we create an environment where our dog aka our inner rebel, actually can run and have the time of his life, but also listens and obeys as soon as we – the owner – call him.

Basically it requires two things: honesty and discipline/commitment.

We need to get really fucking honest with ourselves…
What´s important to us, what do we want to achieve, how do we wanna feel and what kind of person do we actually want to become?

And with that we create structure and a set of rules and routines in order to achieve that new state or goal.
And since dogs, as we know, just wanna eat, sleep and play all day, the leash comes in very handy.. especially in the beginning.

Because he will try to escape.. the world is too tempting.
So.. KNOW his (your) triggers.

Training means you have to take yourself on the leash and pull yourself back from doing things you don´t wanna do. But it also means taking yourself to places, activities and people you do want to experience. Sometimes you just gotta pull yourself into the right direction with that fucking leash.

However…a dog does pull as well.

In his direction.

And it can be exhausting to constantly pull against your dogs own will, when he just won´t calm down.
Sometimes it´s best to just take off the leash and let him do whatever he so badly wants to do.
No screaming, no running after him.
Eventually he will come back stinky and full of dirt, happy to be taken care of again.

Letting go means losing control, which can be an extremely scary thing to do. You don´t know if things will work out. It´s learning to trust, when you simply don´t have trust.

When you stop resisting that pull (that voice), you give yourself permission to trust yourself again.
It´s this, „I trust you when you trust me thing“.

Training is hard work. You gotta be strict and brutally honest, but also let go and not forget to reward yourself,…oh well.

Point is:
Through training we learn to keep ourselves accountable – in other words, we learn to stay true to what we said we would do or not do.
Only then do we start to build self-trust again and actually gain back that respect for ourselves.

And the moment we can trust ourselves again, is the moment we can safely take off that leash and run into the wide open space of freedom and possibilities, without that noice in the back screaming and demanding all kinds of things of us.
The dog has proven over and over again that he does what we say. Now we trust him. And in turn, the freedom we give him is the best thing he could ever ask for.

We can only grasp what´s on the other side of discipline and discomfort.
It´s not an easy training to go through.

But would you rather live life forever on a leash, dragging your owner uncontrollably around trying to taste life as much as possible, while having that constant screaming voice in your ears?

OR

train. and unleash the [read dog backwards] within you.





Or buy one.


Every time you ask him how you look, he´ll say „WAU!“

and sometimes that´s all you need to hear.

lieber Alkohol, …

ich erinnere mich gern an dich. Denn das schlimmste weiß ich ohnehin nicht mehr.

Und das ist gut so.

Dacht ich immer.

Aber dann fragte ich mich: Was ist gut daran, sich an etwas nicht erinnern zu können?

Wie oft ich mir Geschichten so mancher Nächte über Dritten mit zugedrücktem Auge anhören musste.
Wie oft ich mich selber fragte, was ich denn stundenlang in Anwesenheit selbst zugedröhnter Menschen wohl von mir gegeben habe.
Und wie oft ich selbst laange überlegte, was zwischen Tanzeinheiten und das nächste Bier holen wohl geschehen sein möge.

Wenn ich wen anderes fragen muss, ob ich denn Spaß hatte..
..hört der Spaß auf.

Wieso befördern wir uns mit literweise Spritzer und Bier vor 12 ins Knockout, wenn uns am nächsten Tag ein Gefühl der Ungewissheit und Fragwürdigkeit mit einer ergiebigen Portion an Pochen an der linken Schläfe plagt?

Warum sagen wir uns an jedem Tag danach „nie wieder“, wenn wir insgeheim wissen, wo wir uns nächsten Samstag wiederfinden,
und mit wem an der, sry – in der Hand.

Alkohol, du hast eine Gabe Menschen zusammenzubringen. Denn du weißt genau, wonach sich jeder von uns sehnt. Du weißt, was wir wollen und vor allem was wir brauchen.
Du löst in uns ein Zustand der Sorglosigkeit, der Unbekümmertheit aus und versorgst uns mit einem Lachen im Gesicht, welches nicht selten auch unseren Bauch durchdringt.

Wie können wir dir jemals untreu sein, wenn mit dir unsere Welt ein kleines bisschen erträglicher wird. Auch wenn nur für den Moment, für den Abend oder die Nacht.

Doch der Morgen kommt. Und die Kopfschmerzen lassen uns ebenfalls nicht im Stich.
So mancher steckt es gut weg. So anderer liegt für 2 Tage flach.

Du meinst es nur gut, das ist mir schon klar. Und ich versteh dein Motiv, dein Anliegen, dein Zweck. Aber wie kann etwas so gut tun, und gleichzeitig so schlecht?
Ich möchte nichts missen, das ist meine Angst. Doch wenn ich dich lasse, geht vielleicht mehr als ich will.
Mit was stoß ich an, wenn nicht mal mit Kräuterschnaps? Und wie halt ich aus, was ich nun nüchtern ertragen muss?

Du bringst mich in ein Dilemma. Wie eine Droge die mich festhält.
Festhält an Erinnerungen von damals, und diese die noch kommen.

Ich will das eine und das andere. Geht das denn nicht? Denn ich will nichts opfern, was ich ohnehin so oft vermiss.

Wir leben in einer Gesellschaft, die das Leben um dich feiert. Geburtstage, Hochzeiten und Abschlussfeiern, deine Präsenz riecht man immer.
Und auch beim abendlichen Ausklang (for no reason at all) „ein Gläschen gefällig?“ ..aber so wie wir nun mal sind, finden wir immer einen Grund.
Und wenn wir einen Raum betreten, sei es eine Party oder ein Event, dann laufen wir als erstes zu dir (nach dem Klo), denn was du uns gibt, ist ein Gefühl der Sicherheit… mir dir stehen wir nicht allein.

Du siehst, ich will dich nicht nur trinken, sondern auch vom Schreiben komm ich nicht los von dir.

Vielleicht muss ich einsehen, dass wir zwei für immer eine Hass-Liebe Beziehung führen werden.
Der Abend voll Liebe, der Morgen voll Hass.

Und doch frage ich mich: Sind denn nicht die besten Dinge im Leben auch von beidem erfüllt?

Solang diese Tradition, unsere Gläser mir dir zu erheben,
und solang wir zusammenschweißend „zam zam zam“ rufen, um die Freude am Leben zu feiern…
…Solange werde ich mit dir, liebe Substanz chemischer Verbindungen die eine Hydroxy-Gruppe enthält, noch vielen weitere Erinnerungen teilen.

Aber damit diese Erinnerungen auch wirklich welche werden, und nicht im Sumpf des Unterbewusstseins für immer verschwinden, sehe ich mich dazu veranlasst, 2 aus 5 Getränken mit deiner Schwester H²0 auszutauschen.
Um dem mal optimistisch heranzugehen.

Und wer weiß…vielleicht werden von nun an alle feier-würdigen Tage von mehr getragen, als nur von dir.

Denn wie schön sind geteilte Momente mit Menschen die man feiert, wenn man sich an jedes Wort, welches uns zum lachen brachte, erinnert?

Und wie schön ist es, am nächsten Tag aufstehen zu können,
ohne Schmerz und ohne Übel, und den Tag nicht nur aus der Couch-Perspektive zu erleben?

..oder im Stande zu sein, mit seinen Lieben weiterfeiern zu können 😉

Prost!

the fast and the feast

So, I just finished a 90 hours fast.

To get a better picture: that´s close to 4 days without food – just water and tea.
I intended to do it no longer or shorter, because for me this length seems quite manageable and gives a great amount of benefits without „overdoing“ it.
Well…it´s been only nearly 4 days but the phases you go through while fasting are quite „interesting“.

Let me guide you through them..

Day 1: not that hungry til mid-day, a little moody, kind of impatient already, but overall ok.

Day 2: „Why the fuck am I doing this shit?! I´m gonna break it, I´m gonna quit, I just gonna do it another time when I´m more busy and more distracted! How can being pissed, restless and annoyed be healthier than fasting anyway? That´s it, tonight I´m gonna eat my scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms“ (that´s pretty much all I had in my fridge).
Don´t ask me how I made it through day 2, because I can´t even count how many times I battled with thoughts of quitting and how many excuses have circled my mind – buuut something in me somehow resisted to eat.
So I didn´t.

I decided to break the fast the next day instead..

Day 3: I woke up. and felt..kinda good.
I immediately decided, nope I´m not going to break my fast today. I gonna make it through those 90 hours! I went for a run and actually had great energy, but then again..I also felt exhausted after 15 minutes.
By now my body has adjusted getting its energy differently with the result of me feeling better in my head with more steady energy levels.

It´s pretty common that the first two days suck. They are definitely the hardest and worst.
If you can make it through the first 48 hours, you already made it half way through – even if you decide to fast for 10 days.

Day 4: „I actually could go on…“
I really thought this. My energy got even better, I was more sharp and more motivated (okay I was also looking forward to eat again that day).
But it really did feel like I could go on for another few days.

However, I´m not too much into longer fasts, even though challenging myself to do a 5 day one seems quite appealing (yea until day 2 starts..).

And maaan, does it feel good to eat again. You really do appreciate food much more, its taste, its smell, and just being able to chew again.

So and with what did I break it?

I didn´t go for the whole fruit or juice thing, nope. After 4 days it´s usually ok to go for smth more substantial, at least for me. Everyone is different.
So I made some eggs (there they are;) with some mushroom and spinach (of course), some cucumber aaand drum drum…beef liver.
Just because it´s delicious.

Fasting – especially during the first couple of days – feels like you´re waiting…
waiting until you can eat again.
waiting until your life becomes normal again.
and waiting until you can participate in normal things again, like going to a cafe without having to order tea…I mean who drinks tea in a cafe?
It´s. just. not. the. same.

So yea everyone goes through different stuff, and some fasts can be easier than the others.
After having done it a few times before, 2 of which happened last year. I can say that with this one I had to push through much harder.
I believe because I didn´t need to go to work. Being properly occupied takes a lot of thought battling away, and before you realize it, it´s bedtime and the next day is about to start. Some people prefer resting.
I distraction.

So yea, this was my first 90 hours fast experience this year.
Now I´m gonna show (or rather explain) you why I´m actually doing this to me. And I bet after reading this, you gonna think about doing it as well;)

NUMBER ONE:

Fasting is stress.

Do I have you on board already?

No?

Well, yes fasting is stress for the body, no question. But so is exercising. The muscles while strength training are torn. They need to be under stress in order to rebuild themselves again. That´s how they get stronger.

Same goes with fasting.

Firstly, it makes your immune system stronger and more resilient.

Why?

While fasting your body goes into survival mode and tries to save energy. It does it, amongst other things, by getting energy from other sources than it normally would. One way is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed or even damaged. It´s like, only the strongest and fittest survive;)

Basically your cells are going to start regenerating, which leads to them replacing old cells with new and healthier ones.
Yes at first the number of white blood cells go down while fasting, but when you start to refeed again, stem cells are activated and start to pump out new ones.
Fasting is literally reseting your entire immune system, making you more resilient to toxins, bacterias, free radicals etc. than before.

Another great benefit of fasting is the increase of human growth hormones, which plays an important role in growth, metabolism and muscle strength. Some athletes out there take supplements to inhance their human growth hormones, because it speeds up recovery time, helps to build muscle faster and burns fat faster! So why not do it the healthier, more natural and also more challenging way! (you know.. strengthening your willpower is not a bad thing either..).
Furthermore the boost in human growth hormone enhances collagen production (for healthy nails, hair, skin and joints), and also improves bone densitiy. Oh and just so you know..it´s also called the anti-aging hormone.
So yea..we definitely want more of that.

My favourite benefit of fasting is actually its effect on autphagy.
As humans we need to eliminate waste from our body… well, so do our cells. They need to get rid of their waste and constantly restore themselves in order to perform optimaly. Autophagy is basically the cell recycling and refreshing itself and fasting turns on this process immensevely, because now, without any food, the body has time to do so.

When you are in a constant feed modus, the body is mainly occupied with all the food you consume, digesting it as fast as it can, before the next load comes in. (btw, that´s why we lose our appetite when we are sick, because our body needs the energy to fight off bacteria and get healthy again).

Autophagy is also a reason why proper sleep for example is so crucial. During that time our bodies actually do all the repairing and restoring, making us ready for the next day.
However..nowadays with the amount of stress we are confronted or put on ourselves, the food we eat (or not eat), the alcohol we consume, the constant snacking during the day and til late in the evening, as well as lack of sleep itself, makes this cleaning process of the cells harder and harder and this comes with a bunch of consequences.
From fatigue and digestive issues, to autoimmune diseases and other severe physical but also mental illnesses. It shows up differently for everyone.

And since we talk about stress… fasting does help here as well, because you will be improving your body´s general resistance to stress in the long-run.
Exposing your body to different kind of stressors such as excersicing, cold showers, sauna or fasting makes your body, as said, more resilient and therefore more capable in dealing with life´s ongoing stressors.

There are so many more great benefits to fasting and I´m not going to cover them all here (feel free to look them up) BUT, one last important one I want to mention is its effect on our brain.
While fasting the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is stimulated, which plays a critical role in memory, learning, and generates new nerve cells! Furthermore it makes neurons more resistent to stress.
The process of autophagy that I mentioned ealier, does not only apply to the cells in our blood or liver or skin…obviously the same goes for our brain with all its awesome regenerating benefits (ok I hope this was the last time I used the word benefit here……damned!).

To sum it up…with fasting we give the body the opportunity to literally heal itself by killing off aka starving all the old and unhealthy cells, including autoimmune cells and even cancer cells, making the immune system stronger than before.

Fasting is an experience that is mentally, emotionally and physically challenging.
But at the same time rewarding on so many levels.

The best part of all?

Your first meal after your fast.

because believe me…

…even mushrooms and spinach turn into a feast.

Recources:
http://www.brainfacts.org/thinking-sensing-and-behaving/diet-and-lifestyle/2018/how-does-fasting-affect-the-brain-071318
https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-of-fasting-that-will-surprise-you.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits#section7
https://ideapod.com/study-finds-fasting-72-hours-can-regenerate-entire-immune-system/
https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/can-fasting-renew-your-immune-system

when you feel something …

… that you believe is stupid to feel, because it´s for the weak, for the immature or belongs to the „past you“..

Something you may think you should be „over“ by now and not be triggered anymore..

Well then, sorry to say that, but you are way behind in life.

No of course not.

Well a little bit.

But guess what, as adults we are still bombarded with those needs, wants and desires that are ingrained in us.

Remember when you were a kid? Wanting something right now and only now?

Or as Teenagers, thinking we are right, always and with everything?

These feelings still show up, even if now in a different setting and to a different individual extent.

Part of growing up, is becoming aware of our daily automatisms and ways of reacting that rule our life, if we let it. (So actually growing up is never quite finished, but yea…).

Becoming aware of your way of dealing with feelings, like when you feel frustrated because you have an ongoing pain in your body,
or feeling impatient because you need an answer or explanation for someone´s behaviour, like now.
or feeling lonely, because you have no one to connect to,
or feeling anxious because you are sitting on a pile of debts..

Most people react in a way that tries to make these feelings go away, as quickly as possible.
It´s like we are sitting on ice, waiting for the ice to melt, but all we get is a fucking cold ass.

Until it´s numb.
Well now we keep sitting on the cold without feeling anything anymore.

This happens more often than we think in situations where we are feeling something we don´t wanna feel.
And we start to unpack one of our, over the years, well tried out strategies, that we probably know haven´t worked in the past, but at least we know how they will turn out. (You know, certainty first..).

We either aggressively force the result we want (remember that child you were…I WANT MY BANANA ICE CREAM NOW!!)

Or we pretend and tell ourselves, „heyyyyy..it´s all goood, I can deal with that. I´m a mature, smart, grown up person that knows how to deal with life challenges thrown at my face over and over and over again.. Aaaalll goooood. Really!

Really?

See, these two strategies are either puking it all out or swallowing it down – over and over again (btw, the puke lands on you).

Sometimes we even confuse these two. We say to ourselves, „ok, I´m going take the more compassionate road“. Maybe we have the urge to puk.. ah sorry I mean to defend ourselves, but then we decide to do things the „mature“ way and try to make the impression (for us and others) that we have it all together.

Sorry but even a raccoon munging on the most delicious bug can smell your passiv-aggressiveness.
Yes even the raccoon that lives in the far far away forest in which you are not.

Ok back to my point.

There is a fine line between really sitting with a feeling and thinking you are okey with a feeling.
The one is allowing it to be there, you actually feel that shitty feeling. The other is coating it with a good feeling – so you (seemingly) feel better.

You either go for pain now and pleasure later, or good feeling now and pain later.

This goes for a lot of decisions we make in life. Some have better/or worse consequences than others.
Meditation for example can be a pain in the ass – our mind is just not made for stillness. But we benefit from it more than we think. The biggest one? We get better in managing our never-ending waves of feelings in life aka we stop sitting on cold ice. (yes there is also warm ice, didn´t know?).

So that feeling you don´t wanna feel…because it´s stupid and immature and exhausting and frustrating and all the things you don´t wanna feel..
..yes maybe it is annoying to feel this feeling and yes maybe it is stupid, because you should get the hang of it by now. But you don´t. We are humans. It takes some time to adapt, to change a behaviour or a way of thinking, especially when we are used to do things a certain way for a long time.

Some people are used to get pissed all the time, or to react mad, or feel lonely, basically to feel pain. Do they want to feel that?

Noo!!

Well, do you call that stupid?

Yees!!

But as I said, we people prefer to do things that are known, certain and familiar (thx brain), even if that means having a numb cold ass.

We have to start treating our unwanted feelings like a kid that screams for attention. „Oh hey there sad feeling, what´s going on? What do you want, what do you need?“ Sounds pretty weird…but that uncomfortable feeling is there for a reason. Prooobably some unmet need that requires your attention.

So give it to him or her! No puking, no swallowing, just your attention. Really listening is often the best first step to actually start thinking differently in order to start behaving in a different way, which invites new experiences in our life and in turn creates new feelings that then change us to a completely different person than we were before.

Repetion, repetion, repetion until they become wanted automatisms that rule our life – because now we consciously chosed so.

Seing it that way, this process can actually be fun. With patience and perseverance we can mold ourselves into whoever we want to be.

And if all of that doesn´t work?

Well then, go puke. It can actually be quite freeing sometimes.

but only sometimes.

then go back to molding.