Spirituality has been somewhat either of a taboo or a just a “No-Topic” for any conversation whatsoever. Believing to a power, spirit or sense that is higher than us has been either downplayed, critisised, punished, or simply has let others indifferent. And don’t get me wrong religion might have something to do with it but not necessarily. Or not? Can a person be spiritual without being religious? Can a person be religious without being spiritual? What does spirituality even mean to me, to you, to your best friend?
If you end up asking around, it seems all of us some a different kind of view when it comes to how spirituality is perceived. Isn’t that fascinating? One would think that Google and Wikipedia could give us all the information and all the answers. For certain things, it’s not just information that you think. It’s the actual feeling that the belief, trust and hope from a higher power invoke in you. The atheist might argue that all the power that you need is within you and that might be true. Yet, who or what is that power within you? If there’s no higher power, however you may choose to call it, what is it then all about? Is it all about self-confidence and all that bullshit “trusting yourself”?
I’m a rather proud person and do have sadistic tendencies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably equal to every single one of you, I’ might be similar to you but not the same. In my greatest difficulties, in my greatest worries, fears and uncertainties, I’ve lost the self-confidence. Because in those difficulties I had no control over life, over health, over relationships, over money, you name it. In those moments, no matter how long they last we lose control. The uncertainty might be so scary, so that in order to overcome it we need to believe in a higher power and allow the trust in that higher power and others help us and shine a light on our way. Because if that doesn’t happen is all about resignation after that, isn’t? And who wants to admit they are giving up and have others feel sorry for them? I know I don’t. So I choose to believe.
I choose to believe that there ‘s a higher power. What it is or who it is, is a personal question, a question worth asking. Finding the answer might not really be the main point I want to make. Spirituality and religion are moth malleable. Each interprets it the way they choose to. And that’s only fair, as each of us has a unique perspective of the world.
Now, acting upon what you believe is in accordance to what/who you believe in every single day might be more fulfilling and closer to your heart than paying taxes to churches and visiting temples. And when I’m asked I do say I’m a muslim, whereas I’m defining that for me as I go. Where do I draw lines and where do I let go? What brings me closest to Him/Her/It? Art is my way of feeling closest to this higher power I currently call Allah or God. Art in any way; through dancing, painting, playing the violin, learning new languages, taking care of me, traveling, deeply and naturally loving and caring for someone with no judgement. My Allah has only good and positive intentions. My Allah is empowering, trusting, full of hope and unconditional love. That’s my Allah. How’s yours?
We are not our feelings. We are not our emotions. And yes, we have the power to control them. With a snap of our fingers.
This is one of the little gems of knowledge I learned at the “Unleash the Power Within” or UPW for short. This is a Tony Robbins event, the Father of Life Coaching and strategist, who helps us make life more fulfilling, more passionate, more alive and purposeful. Tony and his team offered an amazing experience at this event that 11,000 people attended. I must say, Tony is not for everyone. Tony is for the special few that are truly hungry, hungry for more in life; more life, more passion, more fulfilment, more fun, more joy, more excitement and adventure in life. You can see the speaking and leadership skills he owns. When he walks into the room people are hanging from his mouth. And for some, his event might be a bit culty-like but there’s a reason for engaging body, voice and playing full out. When the whole body-mind-spirit connection participates, our experiences can be better imprinted into our amygdala, the memory bank of our brains, so that you can relive the moment even days, months and years after it.
I know I will never forget the “Firewalk”. Yeap, you read it right. I’m a fucking firewalker and I freakin’ rock. No idea what I’m talking about? Well, you know those African or Amazonian tribes that like to walk on burnt coals? Well. Tony and his team arranged 30 of those firewalks. This was Day 1 of the UPW! You’re probably thinking “WTF?!” Trust me, I was thinking the same. I had no clue what I was getting myself into… I had no idea there was such a thing at the event. So you can imagine how struck I was when Tony started talking about it on Day 1. But I guess if I knew in advance, I would have hesitated to book such an expensive event; they don’t come cheap. We had all woken up early in the morning to attend the event and there were no breaks; I was hanging from Tony’s words, his stories were truly captivating. Tony has been doing what he’s doing for the past 30 years, the ease and energy he has on stage are absolutely amazing. What I didn’t know about him was that he has acromegaly. This is a tumour in his brain excreting Growth Hormone, GH for short, that’s what makes him a 21st century giant. Now, he could’ve easily surrendered to the tumour and accept treatment or a bad prognosis. He chose however to turn a what other people might think of a negative situation into something that has a positive outcome for himself, the people he loves and the whole world. How? By changing his blueprint, the beliefs and values that weren’t serving him at the time to deal with this monster of a diagnosis, and turned all of his energy and focus into his personal development, modelling other experts, offering knowledge and experiences to the world, and following his philanthropic dreams of feeding children and families that need it.
Here’s how Day 1 goes: after hours and hours with no food, no water and no mental break I was simply exhausted. And then the talk about the firewalk came up. I was like “Wait, what?! What’s that?”
I hear Tony then say: “In a few moments, you will be walking on coals burning up to 10,000 degrees. Now I need to get you mentally ready because if you panic on the firewalk you are screwed. I’ve been doing this firewalk for 30 years. You will probably suffer some blisters, but bear in mind 3 people have died in the past 30 years. This may lead to burns, serious injuries, toxic shock and even death. You signed the disclaimer. Remember that piece of paper earlier this morning? Now, injuries happen when you aren’t in state. That’s why I need to teach you how to get and stay in state. And by the way if you get a blister, don’t worry… We’ll show you an acupuncture point to relieve the pain.”
Next thing you know, Tony says “It’s time: Take your shoes and socks, leave your belongings here, security will be in the building.” 11000 people obey and do as so. We are all now walking, just like my sister described it after she saw the vid, like sheep to be killed, towards 30 different paths of coals. Each one of us had a partner, mine was Zoltan, a out of the box Hungarian. We kept each other accountable and kept each other motivated to just go for it. He did an amazing job because midway I was freaking doubting myself and I could barely feel my legs! He was like “You do this, Sabrina! It’s in you! Yes! Yes! Yes!”, he repeated at times clapping and keeping my spirits up and motivated even though I could barely feel my feet. After walking, what seemed to be an endless stroll, stepping on a piece of grass, means that you’re it! Time to walk on fire, baby! The crew member, god bless her soul, said: “Make your move, look up, and go!”. I could hear people in the background cheering “Yes, yes, yes” nonstop. I was drawn in and with each step I took, I repeated “Yes, Yes, Yes,” each time louder than them. Two sets of arms grabbed me, a voice said: “Wipe your feet, you did it!”. It took me a while to realise what was going on, my reaction time felt diminished. Once I stepped on real ground and felt the humidity on my legs from the nearby waterhoses, I couldn’t help but scream my fucking lungs out!!! I’d done it! I made it! I never thought I could! And even while I’m writing about the event, a month later, I can’t help it but have ears in my eyes because of the joy, pride and emotional strength I owe. That’s all me baby! I freakin’ rock! The firewalk has been a new beginning for me. And I know, every single time, I come across the feeling of fear, I need to lean in. Now, I know it’s all in my head, it’s all excuses, I can’t help myself and feel like a small child wanting to try every exciting adventure, sport and experience out there as long as it excites me. I got so inspired by the experience.
Day 2 was even scarier than that, dealing with limiting beliefs and going to the deepest fears of you emotional capacity. Visualising this negative torn on myself made me realise that whatever negative is going through my mind can be there, for a limited amount of time only because it’s not serving me. Now I’m starting a “Dare your Courage” Bucket. I’ve always wanted to write extreme things down but even for that I never had the courage to do. Trust me, this will work. I need to experience mind-blowing events. My greatest fear is dying alone with minimal memory capacity of experiences and having had no impact on the world. Chasing dares and experiences that activate my fear/stress responses will help me decrease the resistance I have to them and will give me more joy, more memories, more worthy stories to share. And maybe just telling these stories to my great grandchildren might end up being my only legacy.
From a coaching point of view, getting into state was a combination of NLP and visualisation techniques as well as using incantations. In the beginning it takes time because NLP techniques and mental conditioning requires later constant repetition and serious priming. Otherwise, it’s just words that come out of your mouth, with no emotional or physical engagement. And both are a must. The mental conditioning with mindfulness, meditations, visualisations and incantations, jumping and dancing made me realise the amazing energy and hunger I still have burning inside my soul.
Tony Robbins & Team THANK YOU!
Now Day 3 was practically focused on selling and the topic of health. I must say, just as I was a bit pissed about the continuous selling that happened throughout the event but especially during Day 3, so were others. Tony has to eat too people, I just wish they hadn’t done it. Most of us are already fans of Tony and we’ll buy because we love the guy, his brand and the care he shares. I wish he and his team realise that and decrease the annoying selling that was going on, too outdated guys; I’m a bit disappointed.
As for the health part of Day 3, and even though I’m a doctor, it was still eye-opening! And the cherry on the top: dancing all night long to Will.i.am.’s songs and remixes. Who would’ve known that after such an intense day, I still had more energy in me? I surprised myself, yet again!
I can’t wait to learn and experience even more, keep raising my standards, taking care of myself and my loved ones, exploring places to live in and people to create lasting connections with! Fiji, I’ll see you soon 🙂
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Falling in love with stories is a magical feeling. Thinking back a part of me is feeling guilty for not making the time to read all the literature stories Ι could have. Recently a beautifully written funny story came back from my memories. It’s written by Dimitris Psathas, called “The big purse and the little purse”. If you ever have the chance to read it, go ahead! It certainly brings funny, exciting memories in my mind.
Ι wish I had invested more time to read the rest of the stories of Greek literature. Beautiful stories have been written, amazing stories have been told, awesome stories have been read. Yet, there are the others, the unsaid, the unwritten, the unread ones. What happens to them? Is there like place where they go to rest? Is there a place such as a “Story Retirement Home” or a “Story Necropolis”? Or maybe they are taken captive by a Story Dragon that either burns them or keeps them safe in some kind of treasure in his cave. Or do they just go about existing in the infinite space of time until they finally become discovered by a Muse, who in her turn gives it as a present to an artist of any sort, who then translates it with senses that a humble human creature might understand-or not.
It is crazy to try to conceive how many stories already exist in any form that we can interpret. Can it also be that the same story has been interpreted a million times in a million different ways? The unknown number of the stories yet that haven’t been said, written or read must certainly be vast, infinite. One may argue that for a story not to be said, written or read, it means that it’s not enough, not really worthy. On the other hand, how can that be true? How unfair is that? “Wake up, Sabrina! Life is unfair!”. Now that might be a story, never said, written or read. It might be a story in process. Or just a simple crazy tangle of my mind or maybe my Cypriot Muse comes and goes giving me mixed or broken signals.
We all have a dark side. Most of us go through life avoiding direct confrontation with that aspect of ourselves, which I call the shadow self. There’s a reason why. It carries a great deal of energy.
I seem to keep coming back to the same questions. I seem to keep coming back to the same answers. It feels like I keep landing to the same thoughts. Somehow however I end up -well, at least in certain areas of my life- to different results. Which would intuitively mean that I’m indeed doing something different, wouldn’t it? Maybe the questions are somewhat different, or the answers are tweaked. I’m having trouble understanding how it all changes, and sometimes not.
In the last couple of months, I’ve been love struck by my inner child. And it’s somehow a new-found land. A new place that I haven’t really known, a place that I’m inventing as I go. Invention comes with a certain playful sentiment of curiosity and the allowance for experimentation. I feel I am in a jungle of emotions, thoughts, behaviours, beliefs and values. And weirdly enough it feels scary yet fascinating at the same time. And what surprises me and at times leaves me at awe the most is the courage it takes to lean into the fear, lean into the unknown, lean into this jungle and embrace it for what it is.
I imagine me getting beaten by the annoying mosquitos, being afraid of hissing sounds, being scratched by trees and plants, sometimes being splashed from sudden rain and others being frustrated, tired and breathing heavily because of the endless warmth and humidity. And in this jungle, it’s hard to say if you’ve taken the right path or not. All you know is the way you’ve already passed. The innate hope that there’s something better ahead keeps you going and gives you the strength to explore more.
And the process can be frustrating, tiresome, lonely, exhausting on your body, mind and spirit. But you keep going on. Because apart from all this there’s something exciting about The Unknown. And you can’t help but have faith that there’s something better than what you’ve already seen. Could you go back? Would you go back? Should you go back? Is The Known really known? Is it better? Safer? So, then you decide to just be for a moment, stay dormant, stay still. Maybe then, you wonder at least you know The Now. Or do you? Did you?
In this jungle I constantly find myself taking action and interpret situations based on what I’ve experienced from The Known. Other times, though, I rebel. And I do everything differently. “Fuck the Known, YOLO”, I tell myself. And then I mentally prepare for the thunders and storms ahead. Because they will come. The mind needs to prepare for the worst. Resigning is not an option anyways. Relentlessness is the skill that I’m learning, the resistance and strength my body, mind, and spirit can exert under new circumstances.
How pathetic! I’m sometimes pathetic. But I won’t apologise for that. I’m pathetic for being human, for being such a perfectly imperfectly designed machine. I’m pathetic for doing my best. I’m pathetic for expecting so much from my body, mind and spirit. I’m pathetic for having the hubris to even think I could be better, do better, love more, care more, have more. I’m pathetic for not knowing what I want. I’m pathetic for trying and doing so much. I’m pathetic for it being able to focus. I’m pathetic for not being fast enough or slowing down enough. I’m pathetic for having so many interests. I’m pathetic for being scared. I’m pathetic for daring to dare. I’m pathetic for daring to dream. I’m pathetic I’d even think I deserve better. I’m pathetic for swinging between ideas, goals, skepsis and praxis, avoiding and confronting, pushing away and pulling in, happiness, fear and sadness, loneliness and belonging, having control and giving it up, freedom and bondage, autonomy and dependence, safety and danger, narcissism and altruism. How pathetic is the randomness of it all and how confusing it all sounds!
I‘m in a blue sea swimming, floating, drowning. And then I’m saved from the light, brutal waves, the sounds of past, present and future calling my name, the Vast, a piece of safe, warm land, this do-it-yourself inner creature of my phantasy.
Sometimes the circumstances in our lives force us to take a seat back in our own movie theater, enjoy some popcorn while watching our past unfold, relax and appreciate before our eyes what the fuck just happened in the past couple of X days. Now, when I need this kind of “What the fuck just happened?” time, I choose to see me alone, in a cold, pitch black cave with either food or drink. The only “weapon” I have is a box of matches.
Now you may ask, what’s the motive to actually take this kind of time-off to reflect. Usually it happens consciously once we are in too deep, ROLLING in the deep in fact. And other times, things might seem so banal, that we choose to return to our caves to lick our wounds or take care of us or just to be alone from the world for once, to find some peace, where there are no expectations of us.
Yeap, sadly that’s the truth. Namely the motives to seek your inner cave are basically the deep and dark emotions of a great death or loss. The most common and true to the core deep and dark situations that have sent me to the cave have been: the death of a loved one, a breakup with a special someone, losing my health (physical, mental, spiritual), being violated or violating my values, having taken something from me unfairly or by force, feelings of confusion, nostalgia, mourning, scarcity, deep love and fear of losing it, fear of change, fear of growing older, fear of living a life with contrition and/or oblivion, fear of no belonging or being alone #INSERTFEARHERE. Now, you kinda get the picture, don’t you?
I cannot count enough how many times I’ve felt this way. And I’m sure there are more to come. Somehow I’m sure of that because unlike others, a part of me chooses to be a slow learner. It’s therefore only logical that I at times choose to enter my dark cave consciously before I hit a wall. There’s something frightening, lonely yet intimate, sensitive and courageous happening in there. Isn’t that fascinating?
And that’s when suddenly the bluesy, foot stamping “Rolling in the deep” Adele plays in the background, and the song becomes my anthem until I make it out:
There’s a fire starting in my heart Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bring me out the dark Finally, I can see you crystal clear Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare.
So, in the darkness, I tend to find my strongest Artemis- the Greek Mythology goddess of hunting, wilderness, chastity, protector of animals and children- and with the help of my other goddesses holding Artemis’ hand, she finds her way through. That’s what Aristotle meant I guess when he said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”.
And my focus changes. I remember I’m still carrying a box of matches. All of a sudden, I’m reminded -and to my astonishment- I’m absolutely convinced I’m lighting a torch again, restoring light and getting myself out of the hell hole I got myself into in the first place- every single time.
And that’s what the first match symbolizes right there, all combined in one: HOPE, LOVE and TRUST
And indeed just the realisation that I at least have a part in this and I’m responsible for my circumstances is HUGE. Honey, even if you find the torch in the dark you got the matches to light it up.
And that’s your second match right there: AWARENESS.
And even if everything is dark, now you gain more clarity and know you can make light in that you actually light up a match. With that little spark you can see stalagmites and stalactites and start sucking on nature’s ice to smoothe your thirst.
These are the matches of INNER WISDOM, INTUITION, and FLEXIBILITY.
Now, you’re looking around for material to make or find a torch. You’re looking up and down, right and left, listening to your own heavy breath as you start feeling exhausted, you ‘re touching your clothes and realising they might serve you soon as the burning source of your torch.
Say hello to the matches of IMAGINATION, CURIOSITY and RELENTLESSNESS.
Through the process, you know that’s the way it was supposed to happen and you end up finding your way back to share your revelations and findings with the rest, with those who are ready to hear.
And so you use your matches of SHARING and BELONGING.
Growing up I remember of fond memories. Dancing around, teaching to people that remained in my imagination, jumping on the bed and singing to my Celine Dion favourite “I drove all niiight to get to you“. Loads of fun and, yes, people thought I was weird but who cares? One memory that resurfaced on the golden pink sand of my thoughts in the past couple of days that helps me make some sense in my journey of aspiring to be a writer was an assignment we had in fourth grade.
It was pretty much straight forward to most. “The traditional games of my country”. The first thoughts that went into MY head: “I don’t know dude! What are you looking for? This is so vast! Where do I begin? What do you want from me?” Although I was overwhelmed, I had to remind myself that it was just an assignment, and I was doomed to write it anyways. Call it my need to get a good grade (which was highly unlikely with the frowny 60 year old teacher I had back then), my need to prove myself to me, my need to not attract unnecessary attention from my parents (they had enough to deal with already), my duty. So I convinced myself “Sabrina, stop it with the “Why me?” thoughts already and get it done!”. I guess I intuitively knew, the faster I could write it, the faster I could go create drama scenarios with my Barbie dolls.
Once I got home, I got my white, lined notebook with the typical “Δεν ξεχνώ και αγωνίζομαι”, translated “I don’t forget and I fight” pictures, I wrote the title of the essay, underlined it carefully and looked at it.
The staring didn’t stop unfortunately. It kept going for a couple of seconds. The seconds turned into minutes and the minutes turned into hours! I had been staring at this piece of blank page for a looooong time. It felt endless and confusing, not knowing where to start. I tried to make a list, trust me! But what was I supposed to write about? Barbie Dolls? I wouldn’t dare! How would I describe the shameless, soap opera and sometimes PG 18+ scenes going on during my playtime? Plus, Barbie Dolls couldn’t have been a game of my country; “Barbie sounds so exotic, someone from the Caribbean”, I told myself.
In the end, I decided to let the notebook be. Ken had swooped me off my feet. My imaginary audience couldn’t wait for the next episode of the Barbie series. And then I got distracted with a book, then some music… I was doing everything BUT the assignment and I absolutely freaking enjoyed it! It was sooo much fun to do anything I wanted, to be free and rebellious!
And suddenly, there it was. The sound of the keys turning on the front door. My mom was home from work. I knew I was in trouble… And it must have been quite late because I could still hear the newsman in the background of the 20 o’ clock news broadcast coming up. I made my way slowly and quietly downstairs, ready to eat. My grandpa was entering the kitchen at the same time, which kind of helped my momentary, embarrassing inability to make eye contact go unnoticed.
We started having dinner, when the dreading question came up. “Sabrina, did you finish your homework?”. In all fairness, it was a surprising question. My mom trusted most of the times that I would have done my homework, so she BARELY ever asked. But I guess mom’s know everything, don’t they? Disappointed and embarrassed I got caught red-handed, I had no choice to come clean. With a whispering hesitating voice, I managed to say “No… I need help with an essay.”
Before I knew it, I was staring at the same white page, with light blue lines and that frustrating title: “The traditional games of my country”. Once my mom saw the title, she gave me the best idea ever: “Here’s your grandpa! Ask him!” And so I did. The interview wasn’t planned, and started off really shallow, boring and rather cold. I knew my grandpa was more interested in watching the news rather than answering my ever-ending questions about what each game was called, why was it called liked that, how it was played, what was its goal… Looking back, I was Curious Sabrina Her Majesty back then. Eventually, I could win him over with personalising my questions to him, like asking him which games he used to play and which one was his favourite game growing up. Once we were both engaged, I stopped making notes. I started writing directly and filling up the light blue lines.
I was aware that we were supposed to fill a maximum of 2 pages of the notebook and at first I was thinking of writing bigger letters to fill up the space and be done sooner. With all this beautiful, new information from another era, though, I couldn’t see myself stopping nor caring about stopping or sticking to the rules. I guess I was being creatively naughty and rebellious, yet again. I will never forget that night. In retrospect, this was the first time I can now remember of connecting with my grandpa and the ability of flow. I didn’t care how late it was, I didn’t care I was tired, I didn’t care I was 7 pages too deep. All I could care about, was the engagement, the energy, the flow, the curiosity and the ability to travel with the power of someone else’s words and stories to their own reality, to different world. In a magical way my grandpa’s stories that night were my first imagination time-travel. “That’s enough”, my mom said when she noticed that it was a wee bit too late for me. To be honest, I don’t remember writing a proper, thoughtful ending, as if I unwillingly didn’t want to put an end to it.
The next morning I handed in my assignment. I was scared to littlest ear bone of my skeleton because I knew I had written too much and I was too tired to re-read all 12 pages, that I just handed in the original work. “Most of it won’t make any sense to him anyways”, I convinced myself and exited the classroom for the scheduled break.
The days went by and I had forgotten about the essay. Honestly, I think I must have had the emotional memory of a fish as a child. Now, I do remember, I was not paying attention in class, when that same teacher called my name in class. “Sabrina”, he said. My thoughts were interrupted and I had know idea what was going on. I looked at him surprised, hoping that he hadn’t realised I was paying more attention to the unicorns and witches in my brain.
“In my 25 years of teaching”, he exclaimed, “I have given 2 As, and the last one was 10 years ago”. I was like, “You shitting me? What’s this guy expecting from a bunch of 10 year olds?”. He went on, “Today, I’m proud to give a well-deserved A once again. This written art has taken me back and I thank you for that. Sabrina, can you please come here and read your work out loud?”
In my head, I was lost. And stunned. And humbled. And weirdly calm, peaceful and confident. That’s the moment, that’s the story I know now that makes me writer.
Want something more in one or more aspects of your life?
Are you open, honest, and willing to take life to the next level?
Are you ready to take responsibility for your own life and turn things around?
I’ve been where you’ve been! Trust me! The road is long and challenging but coaching makes the ride smoother, faster, cheaper and worth the while!
I’m an NMC Life Coaching Diploma accredited coach, with experience in neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and the President of Coaching Support Group in Basel, Switzerland. I’ll help guide you to achieve your desired outcomes!
This is NOT for you, if you:
– want advice and expect me to tell you what to do- this ain’t mentoring, therapy or counseling.
– ‘ve got it ALL figure out.
– ‘re happy with your life as is.
– ‘re not ready to take your life to the next level.
– blame everyone for what happens/-ed in your life.
– ‘re not ready to take responsibility and accountability for your actions &/or decisions.
– ‘re suffering from a mental disorder, diagnosed by a pro MD.
– ‘re below 18.
In this case, PLEASE do us both a favor and find someone else.
Maybe you have a hint and are afraid of finding out where it REALLY lies?
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Download the following file below, print it out and score yourself.
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