Young Adults not living their Life out of Love for their Parents – 23 Apr 15

While I yesterday wrote about parenting questions that refer mostly to dealing with toddlers and small children, I would today like to discuss an issue that comes up with elder children, those who are entering adulthood. It is a problem that I have seen quite a few times and which has been described to me in many consultation sessions: when a parent, especially if it is a single parent, depends so much on the son or daughter that they cannot let go – and make it difficult for their child to find his or her own way!

This sounds very abstract but with a concrete and detailed example, you will know what I mean.

One day, a 20-year-old woman came to a consultation. She told me that she wanted to have my opinion, as I might see things completely differently than the people around her. The emotional dilemma that she was in was the following:

She was living together with her mother. When she had been nine years old, her parents had divorced and after some ugly scenes and fights, neither she nor her mother kept any contact with her father anymore. Her mother raised her on her own and put her whole heart into this job. They had grown very close and the mother was the person whom the daughter trusted and loved most in the world.

Two years ago, this young woman had finished her high school education and had applied at several universities across the country for further studies. There were several letters of acceptance, among them one from a university close-by and also one of a university that she very much wanted to go to but which was further away.

She had had the urge to visit the latter, to get out of the caring home of the mother and to go and explore the world on her own. To start the adventure she imagined life to be and which she guiltily felt she had not really started yet – because she took care of her mother in the same way her mother took care of her. She was quick to explain that she loved her mother more than anything and vice versa. In any case she didn’t want to seem unthankful for everything the mother had done for her, with hard work and much love. In the end however, she had stayed. She had decided for the university close-by.

At the point we met, she was still in the same situation. And she had started resenting many actions of her mother, feeling guilty about it right away, too, unable to help this feeling of anger as if the mother kept her from really living her life. In this confusion, she had come to me.

I told her that her anger showed her what she really wanted: to live her own life. I encouraged her to do exactly that and without feeling guilty about it. If she didn’t, she could see already where it was going. Towards a life of bitterness and resentment! Feelings that would easily spoil the love that she and her mother had for each other.

She had ambitions, goals and dreams, so especially at this age, she should go for it and dive into the adventure! That didn’t mean that she would ‘abandon’ her mother! She could still take care – just from a little further away! And after some time would have passed and she would be independent and established, with more roots in life than now, they might as well find a future together again! The situation could come that she would then be able to take care of her mother more closely.

In my eyes, this was the way which would save their love while letting the daughter live her life – and I am sure her mother understood as well!

Being Ambitious is good – but don’t be selfish – 3 Mar 15

Today I would like to write a bit about ambitions. About the good and the bad, how I see it and how I think one should treat it. Because usually everyone has it – if even just a little bit!

Usually and, I believe, mostly, you hear about someone’s ambitions in a negative way. I often hear someone describe another person as ‘too ambitious’. There is one exception however: whenever it comes to business, depicting someone as ‘ambitious’ is definitely something positive!

Mention your ambition in a job application and you are giving the manager the impression that you will do everything to get good results. Give an ambitious person a percentage of the money that he brings to the company with his work and success, promise him rewards and progress in his career and he will try hard and even harder to make as much money for the company as possible! A perfect employee – of course until the day he decides that his ambitions are to be the boss himself.

I have had mixed feelings about this emotion. On one hand, I have always felt that it was wrong to see ambitions as something bad. You need them. They are like fuel for people. Ambitions make you put more effort into whatever you are doing – be that your work or your private life. In any area, it will give you the background to meditate on what you are doing, it will make you want to do it properly, so that the result is great.

Without ambitions, the result can just be alright. You do it and that’s it. It doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t have to be special but you get it done. Ambitions bring life and passion into actions.

On the other hand however, I have seen many cases in which you see how ambition practically ruins a person and especially his social life. When someone becomes too ambitious, he works towards his goal without looking left or right. He doesn’t realize anymore that his behavior affects others. He starts being unfair to colleagues to achieve his own goals. He hurts his friends because he only thinks of benefits for himself, not of the disadvantages this brings to others.

Most commonly, however, is that he neglects his wife and children. Or her husband and children, because ambition is not limited to men! Women, too, can get very and extraordinarily ambitious. And whenever this happens for any of the both genders, it turns into selfishness.

In the end, I have to conclude that we just have to find balance. Ambitions to fuel us on our way to achieving healthy goals are good but we may not forget the people around us, the heart, gentleness and softness for others! If you can, make your ambitions help others, too – at least make sure they don’t harm others!

Whatever goal you are pursuing, do it with full effort and ambition – but take care that you don’t lose your heart!

Save yourself from Burnout – take Time for yourself! – 15 Mar 12

Yesterday I spoke about the life of celebrities and mentioned that it is not as great as some people always imagine. I told people to see how good lives they have and to be happy about it before comparing and complaining. I received a feedback of a person saying she cannot do anything else but compare when she sees those stars because they just seem to have so much free time. She said she was so busy with her work and although she knows that they also work hard, she just sometimes feels overwhelmed with all the things she has to do. I thought to write a few lines about this feeling.

Maybe many of you know the feeling that she described. If you have children, your day starts with preparing breakfast for them and getting them ready for kindergarten or school. That can be fun but is definitely a task and sometimes it is a very challenging task. After that you get yourself ready, maybe already in a rush so that you can get to your office on time. There are hundreds of papers, missed phone calls and tasks for the day already waiting for you – you look at it and feel as though this is something that will never stop. It is a never-ending story. You sit down and start your work. Before you know it, it is lunch break. Instead of taking a break though, you head out to buy shampoo, soap and a few other things that you ran out of. You grab something to eat on the way and eat it while walking back. You return to work and continue. Then you need to pick up the kids and maybe drive them to after-school-activities. Apart from that there is your dentist appointment and the bank work that you have not done last week. You come home, enter the door and see that you have not hovered for a complete week – it is time to clean the house, too! And now summer is coming, the winter clothes have to go to the basement, the summer clothes have to come up. You send a quick mail to your friend whom you have not replied for ages, telling her that you don’t have time this weekend, too busy. You shortly greet your partner, who is still busy with the laptop and his own work. Maybe you have a few minutes to have dinner together before you have to water the plants in the garden. In the end of the day you fall into your bed, thinking that you have to stop now in order to get at least a few hours of sleep before another day starts.

I just described one particular day. There are of course different scenarios for different lives with different jobs and with or without children. The main common problem however is the stress and the feeling that there is no time. When would you have extra time or energy to go out and have fun in such a day? Every day is packed full and you have the feeling that on one hand your housework never ends and on the other hand the job never ends. There is more and more and more – and finally you have the feeling that you could just vanish and never reappear because of all the things you still have to do.

If you are in this situation, I want to urge you to take some time out, otherwise you will reach that situation that is nowadays popularly called ‘burnout’. If you go on the way that you do it now, you will break down one day and you won’t be able to do anything anymore.

How does this situation appear? You are not taking care of yourself and your needs. Many times people in those situations take their energy from the appreciation from outside. That can be their boss saying that they have done good work or it can be others appreciating the cleanliness of house and garden. Even if there is no outspoken appreciation from outside, though, people often do this all because they think it is expected and they want to do it right. This is what they believe makes them a valued person, worthy of love and appreciation.

You need to realize however that it is not your work that makes you lovely. It is not your clean house or garden that make you lovely. It is your being. It is just you! And if you keep on going in this way, there will soon not be much of you left! When did you take a bath the last time? When did you just sit down and relax? When did you play, when did you enjoy, when did you not run around, also mentally, to finish your tasks?

Make a conscious choice to do something for yourself. Take a day for going to a spa if you like. Or just lie in your garden. Cook something what you like or go out and have a nice dinner with friends. Do anything that makes you feel good but not because you have achieved something. Take your time! It is possible. That is the reality! We have this life now and we need to live it. There is always time to enjoy life, we just have to take it! Stop running behind achievements and appreciation from outside. Appreciate yourself, love yourself and take time for yourself.

Does Freedom Mean Physical Distance and Financial Independence? – 20 Jan 11

I already told you that I like the way how in India people more easily are in physical contact with each other and that families have stronger emotional connections among their family members. When I say such a thing, it is more a statement about a fact and not a judgment about the situation in any country. And when people in the west come and tell me about their loneliness and inability to express their emotions through physical contact, I can see the reasons behind that. I have travelled in the western world long enough to know that there are many factors in society that makes people distanced and in a way cold.

If you see the typical lifestyle in the west, it is all about freedom. When I say freedom, I usually mean a freedom of the mind, of decision and independence of any negativity with which you block yourself. When I hear the word freedom in the west, it often means physical distance and financial independence.

If freedom means physical distance – your own place to live, not within the reach of your parents or other ‘disturbing’ family members, it is already clear why there is no physical contact. If you have physical contact and closeness, you are in danger of losing your freedom! This is how it seems to many people. In this situation it is also really difficult to find a partner and more difficult to make the decision to move in together. All the time you feel that your freedom is threatened by the closeness of another person. You need to allow this closeness in order to make an emotional connection, in order to experience love among people, be that friends, partners or family members.

The second meaning of freedom, financial independence, makes people just as unhappy as physical separation often does. Two partners want to be independent of each other, they have high ambitions on where they want to reach and just want to earn more money. There is however never an end to this. You can keep on earning and earning and you will never be satisfied. You will just spend more and more time working and less time with your partner or your children. I warn you that in this way, too, you lose your physical closeness. Through this it can happen that you lose your emotional connection. And in this way you forget how it is to be close and give love through a touch. You didn’t mean anything wrong, you only wanted the best, but the price was your physical relation.

So if your parents, siblings or other family members have never really showed you their love, if you have never received a loving touch, don’t resent it too much. They themselves have been in this situation, they had the same feeling that you had: how can I express my emotions? They may not have found a way through touch and they may seem cold to you now, but the fact that you have made a change can make you open your eyes and see how difficult it must have been for them, too. It is now your chance to give to them instead. Maybe, it will open their heart because now someone else approaches them and they have the possibility to receive and to express emotions through touch.

How much Time do you have for your Relationship? – 20 Dec 10

Yesterday I said that people don’t have space in their lives for their parents and grandparents. It is true, I very often see and hear this. People don’t even have time and space for each other in their relationship!

In my healing sessions I very often have to ask people if they take enough time in their day for their relationship. I get funny answers, some people live together but sometimes don’t even see each other for several days!

Why? Both are working, sometimes at different times, then there are hobbies, children and their appointments, then she goes to visit her parents or he goes to meet his football friends. At the weekends he needs time for sports and she wants to go shopping with her friends. He goes for another meeting with potential customers and she prepares a presentation for next week’s work. There is no time for their partnership.

You need to take time out of your busy day for your relationship for it to work. Otherwise it is only an agreement of living together and from time to time sleeping with each other.

I have the feeling that many people actually want to take time for each other and know that it is important but then have so many other goals and things they need to do that they don’t manage.

They have high ambitions in their job and career. For this you have to invest time into work. They want to achieve or keep a good living standard and for that need to earn money.

Again, for this you have to invest time into work. And then of course you need to have social contacts. You should also do some exercise to stay healthy.

Well, ambition, work, social life, sports, you can mention many things that keep you from spending time with your partner. The reality is however, you need to give your partner and your partnership time. Give time to love! Otherwise you will feel that the spark is gone. You didn’t give the spark any air to start a fire! Or you had a fire and you smothered it with all those things that were more important.

In a relationship you need time for each other. Be with each other!

Here in Wiesbaden now everything is ready for leaving the apartment. Thomas, Iris, Ramona and I are going to fly to India today! We have booked on the same plane and tomorrow will be writing from the Ashram. We are all looking forward to a little bit warmer weather and the beautiful time of Christmas at the Ashram.

Ambitions in Life – Your Needs and Your Happiness – 2 Apr 10

Today I talked with my friend Michael on phone. We have not seen each other for a long time now and I am looking forward to being with him and his family on our tour through Germany. We talked about the many changes that have taken place in his life and in my life.

This is how we came to talk about ambitions and what we want in life. I always tell people that you can create whatever you have a deep wish for in your heart. How much do you want in life? For every person this question has another answer, everybody has his own zone of comfort. For some people your mattress would be too hard, for others it would be too soft but for you it is just perfect. Some people need some more for feeling good, others need less.

I actually do not have the idea to grow a very big company or enormous organization with hundreds of employees making millions of Dollars. I also don’t have this aim of running a big school with thousands of children. I do not have these wishes because I know that the greed of owning can make you crazy. I don’t want to be a multimillionaire. I have seen people like that and I know that happiness surely doesn’t come from money. If you have an aim like that you easily lose your peace if it doesn’t work out. And even if you achieve it, you always live in pressure. I can see this in so many big organizations and many managers and directors come to me who are so stressed out, who cannot cope anymore with all that they have.

My aims in life are simpler. I want to be happy every day. I like to eat what I want and enjoy. I have the wish not to be hungry and that those who come in our home don’t leave hungry. We have enough to eat for ourselves and enough for those who are standing at our door, any child or poor person who comes with the hope to find something to fill the hungry stomach. The rest, everything that is extra, is nice if it is there but not necessary because you will leave it here anyway. You need to enjoy your life. Be happy.

We are very happy today as Ramona and I celebrated our anniversary with a great dinner in a pizzeria that we like here in Wiesbaden. Afterwards we went to have ice-cream and just enjoyed this beautiful day.