Category Archives: self-development

2020: Our biggest challenge

In the northern hemisphere, the time between Christmas and New Year is characterized as the time of the “rough nights” with cold winds and snow battering the shutters. I like to use the time for reflecting on the blessings of the past year and working on my vision board for the year ahead.

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One of the great highlights of my year were the unforgettable conversations with the wonderful people I met while serving as a volunteer in a pilgrims hostel on the Camino in the village of Najera, northwestern Spain.

What are you doing with the rest of the days of your life?

People from numerous different age groups countries, cultures, religions and traditions are walking the Camino with burning questions such as: What do I need to do with the rest of the days of my life?  What are the ingredients of a happy, fulfilled and contented life of bliss? What can I do to make the world a better place for my children and grandchildren? Who am I on a deep soul level beyond what the world outside there is trying to tell me who I am and what I need to believe, consume and do?

I have delved into some of these questions and lessons learned on the Camino with my new book Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

Taking time-out for reflection and alignment

The idea and purpose is to inspire readers on how valuable our time on earth really is. We need a time-out every day to perceive our inner world and one of the best ways of doing so is taking a walk in nature. It is the start of healing self and when we heal self we can start healing the world outside. The state of our world is a reflection of our inner consciousness and state of mind.

Much of the western world has lost its spiritual compass with the over-emphasis on external gratification. “Things” can never compensate for the yearnings of the heart and soul. There is a reason why depression and other mental illnesses have become a scourge of our time. We no longer know who we are? It is not surprising when we are bombarded almost non-stop with information overload, and confused by professional deceivers on social media. On the threshold to a new decade, we are faced with possibly the biggest challenge of our time:

Moving to a restorative, sustainable mindset

We need to move from the exploitative, consumerist mindset that is rapidly destroying our ecosystems and foundation of life to one of sustainability and restoration.  The firestorms and unprecedented heatwaves in many parts of the world in the past year, the tornado winds and flooding have come much earlier than the climate scientists predicted. We don’t have much time left to make the turnaround and Nature is trying to tell us something.

We need to change how we are transporting ourselves, what we are eating and what we are consuming.

The Western diet of junk and processed foods is not only ruining our individual well-being and health. Mass agriculture and animal feed production is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We need to eat less meat and we need to eat what comes from the local farmer.

The next decade is going to be defining in many ways. We are either going to make it or break it. Already the battle lines are drawn between raised human consciousness and the pushback from the fossil fuel-based industries and the exploitative mindset of the past.

The delusion the deceivers are putting out there is that the new consciousness wants to push us back into a poverty-stricken hunter and gatherer lifestyle.  The opposite is true. Imagine a much better carbon-free world in 2030 with cutting edge clean-energy transportation, clean air and rivers, oceans, lakes, and forests teeming with life, and foods that keep us healthy and fit.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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After the walk, the real journey begins

Limiting beliefs planted from early childhood can have a powerful hold far into adulthood preventing the fulfillment of a purpose-filled life and the expansion of soul consciousness.

So many fellow pilgrims on the Camino, especially women, told me of the huge pushback they faced from husbands, parents, siblings, friends and even children who tried to dissuade them from going on a pilgrimage.

The pushback often comes from close friends and family

Very often those people closest to you pull you down when they hear you talk of an “outlandish” business idea, or going on that trip you have dreamed about taking for so long.

When you move to a higher energy frequency and start becoming strong, you will awaken demons with some of the people you surround yourself with. These are people stuck in their own fears and uncertainty who feel threatened when a member of their tribe breaks out.

If you take time out to walk the Camino in Spain for a four- or five-week period, you will come back a changed person, and this is sensed by the people around you.

Many pilgrims find it very difficult to fall back into the same old rhythm they left prior to walking the Camino. It is like going back to a different world.

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The real pilgrimage begins after the pilgrimage

“I was hardly back home when I broke down. Everything seemed so strange. Everyone was going about their business and I just couldn’t find my place anymore,” a German pilgrim said after her return. After the pilgrimage, another pilgrimage begins- the pilgrimage of reflecting on and integrating all the experiences made on the path.

We have many associates but when it comes down to it, we have very few real friends who truly understand us and are supportive of our soul growth process.

Be careful who you open up to 

Fellow pilgrims, who shared the deep spiritual experiences after returning from the Camino, were sometimes ridiculed by friends or family members. My advice, therefore: Be careful who you open up to. Few people are genuinely interested. Most people are just curious or have hidden motives. Probably the only people who will really understand you are those people with whom you shared the same experience on the Camino.

And, sometimes it is better to keep the deepest spiritual experience to yourself because words only limit what has been felt on a soul level.

We often stay too long in relationships that have long outlived their purpose. Some people are givers and some are takers. The question that needs to be asked is: Do I feel comfortable, uplifted and energized when I’m in the company of that person? Or do I feel emotionally drained, exhausted and in a bad mood after spending time with him or her?

Getting support from those who give rather than take

A partner, family member or friend who really is focused on your well being will resonate with your enthusiasm, see the opportunity rather than the danger and offer unconditional support while you are on the path.

What is the main reference group that influences you on many levels?  Every so often it might be necessary to reflect on this.

It’s not that you want to hurt and exclude some people from your life. But the time might have come just to spend much less time with them and to spend more time with those people who really uplift you.

A good exercise is: Who are the five people you would choose to live with on a lonely island? Who are the people you would only want to spend a weekend with? Who are the three-minute people you want to remain polite with but keep at a clear distance?

A good guideline is the content of your conversations. Are you sharing uplifting ideas and thoughts or are you spending your time gossiping about other people and wallowing in negative things that happened in the past?

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Mastering your emotions

Human relationships are extraordinarily complex and wrought with conflict as we soon realize when we are forced to spend time with people we would never have chosen as friends.

What emotions do you trigger in people?

There are people whose company we enjoy and there are people that make us feel uncomfortable as soon as they enter the room.  Mostly it is about what emotions they trigger within us. Sometimes our mere presence might trigger the demons within another person.

Our narcissistic culture is encouraging the right to vent and rant. Its why we are seeing so much online bullying that is causing great suffering and pain, especially among teenagers.

Putting the need to vent above the relationship

When one person in a relationship puts the need to vent over the impact this has on the long-term relationship, the consequences are inevitable.  A petty difficulty becomes a problem and the downward spiral begins.

The art is to learn mastery over negative thoughts and emotions, and to be giving, kind and living a meaningful, purposeful life.

Awareness is the first step

The root cause of an angry outburst often has its origins in an old pain that has not been transmuted. Leaving the “blame-game” and entering the process of self-reflection sadly mostly only begins after divorce, separation and other trauma.

Becoming aware of what emotion surfaces in any situation is always the first step to self-awareness. What makes me so sad, and so angry? What am I really angry about? Is it about the spilled milk or does that emotion go deeper? It is helpful in such a situation to focus on breathing. Inhale and exhale a few times before you respond to that hurtful email message.

Tapping is another good method of not losing self-love and respect despite being in a cycle of negative emotions. For me,  “Deep Walking”  in nature is one of the best ways of shedding those negative shackles that lie embedded in the subconscious.

Negative people are masters at manipulation!

Negative people are powerful manipulators. They feed on the drama they trigger and the attention from being the talk of the day.

In being human, we all have bad moments whether we are rich, famous, poor, beautiful or just ordinary.  The difference between the happy, successful people and those that are in a permanent cycle of negativity is the ability to transmute every experience and to move on in the understanding that life is cyclical.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)
https://www.reinogevers.com

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Becoming into Happiness

After the pilgrimage, a new journey begins. For some pilgrims adapting to the daily treadmill of life become almost unbearable after experiencing a walk that has shifted key perspectives on life.

Placing the ladder against the wrong wall

Many of the pilgrims you meet on the Camino find themselves at the crossroads of making major life decisions, after realizing that for most of their lives they had placed their ladder up against the wrong wall.

Most people appear to be unhappy in their jobs, relationships and how they live. Life is a constant rollercoaster of change and much of the dissatisfaction stems from the sadness over what was and is no more or in settling for a compromise of an unfulfilling status quo.

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When personal values are in conflict with what you do

Work procedures in the big corporations are standardized globally, leaving little room for individual creativity and cultural differences. People with few or no social skills, who lack even the most rudimentary traits needed in motivating and creating winning teams, are appointed as leaders.

In a dysfunctional institution personal values and aspirations of the employees are often in conflict with the primary objectives of the establishment.

A banker quits his job because he cannot in good conscience sell certain products to his customers; an executive in a car factory leaves shortly before a promotion because the pressure was just getting too much, and he had no more time to spend with his family.

That which holds you in bondage prevents you from rising to a higher frequency of a raised consciousness and fulfilling your soul purpose.

Sometimes you just need to let go of the house you lived in for many years, the job that has become too stressful for your health and the toxic associations that keep you in an uncomfortable “comfort zone,” preventing you from living out your dream

We are here to become who we are meant to be

It is in becoming our true self that we discover the sense of meaning and belonging. We are here to develop and grow our consciousness—to become aware of the greater reality. It is part of what the evolutionary program demands of us.

Project yourself ahead in a time machine where you see yourself rocking in an armchair well into your 80s, looking back on your life. What are your greatest regrets? What are the chances missed? Probably the greatest sin would have been a life passed without even attempting the greatest dreams and following the true destiny. If only I had…

Going the route of constant self-development, self-reflection, and spiritual growth is immensely rewarding. It is one of the keys to living a purposeful and happy life.

Slowing down and perceiving the whisper of the soul

But you will never discover your true calling if you don’t slow down so that you can listen to the whisperings of the soul.

Body and mind have an infinite capacity for change and renewal. It is never too late. All the skin in the body is replaced every two to three weeks. The liver renews itself at least once every couple of years and the skeleton once every ten years.

But trauma and toxic emotions can hold you captive for decades, preventing you from moving forward and “becoming” your true self.

Thought discipline is a practice 

Stress and fear start with a thought. But the solution to a problem has never come from running thoughts and monkeys in the head. These are dark imaginary creations of the mind. Yet the mind has enormous power to create in every direction.

Thought discipline can be practiced. It is normal for negative thoughts, old anger and fears to surface when we walk alone. Replacing that dark thought with a positive thought such as gratitude is the first step in the right direction.

With gratitude comes the wisdom that in the bigger picture there is grace—the grace that we are part of a bigger matrix, that everything has meaning, that we are born to learn, grow, and to become.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking to the truth within

A great dilemma of our time is that we are having to deal almost continuously with the distractive pull of a culture obsessed with the immediate gratification of the senses and the illusion that an accumulation of things brings happiness.

The imbalance between wanting to fulfill the needs of the external world and bringing that into synchronicity with the inner truth and the needs of the soul creates an almost unbearable tension that many people try to suppress with substance abuse and other obsessive behaviors.

The hungry ghosts of the external world

Behind the insatiable appetite of the hungry ghosts is embedded the fear of never having enough and that someone might want to take away what I already have. It is the hungry ghosts that drive our culture into destroying our habitat for future generations and it is the hungry ghosts that create an atmosphere of xenophobia toward people who are different from us.

The state of our world is merely an expression of the turmoil within. Hope, however, springs that a small but growing minority of people are taking that walk within to their truth and spiritual authenticity.

The Camino is a symbol of the search for new spiritual meaning

The Camino pilgrimage path in northwestern Spain has become a symbol of this search for new meaning. When walking away from the distractions of the external world the inner world starts revealing itself. It is why so many people who started the walk as a hike end up walking it as a pilgrim.  Last year a total of 320,000 pilgrims walked the Camino, another record, that is likely to be broken this year.

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Happiness is a state of mind

It is fascinating to watch first-time pilgrims very often starting their walk with too much clutter in their backpacks and then realizing after a few days that they don’t need most of the things.

One of the great blessings in walking the Camino is the realization that happiness is a state of mind that comes with the discovery of the inner authenticity, and literally walking away from the pull of the external world. A great way of starting the day is a gratitude ritual. The antidote to the pull of the hungry ghost is feeling a real appreciation for the moment and what is.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Relationships define who you are

We are part of a matrix of relationships. Who we are is determined from early childhood by our associations with the people closest to us.

“Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” The saying was first coined by the American coach, speaker, and author Jim Rohn.

We share the same dress code, values, and mannerisms

Close friends and marriage partners are known to share each other’s views and values, dress code, and even mannerisms.

The energy frequency on which we are moving determines who we make friends with and want to spend time with.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Everything is relationship. When we are born the closest relationship is with the mother. It evolves from there to the forming of identity and self in puberty, when part of the process is rejecting everything the parental generation stands for.

Relationships find themselves on many different levels of interaction.  Family members and working colleagues are not a choice.  But in most other cases we have the freedom to choose who we want to spend most of our time with. The image of self is colored by external influences and what society seemingly expects from us.  Few people know who they really are and what their innermost needs are.

We are part of a web of different relationships

Who are you in the gigantic web of living beings on earth? What is your relationship to your physical self and the external world around you? How we treat the earth is very much a reflection on how we treat ourselves.

A loving and caring identity to self, freed from the debris of the past, reflects on nearly all our relationships, whether to a beloved one or to friends and family.

Animals are naturally bound to the universal matrix with a sixth sense, reacting extremely sensitively to changes in the environment. Historians recorded that animals including rats, snakes, and weasels deserted the Greek city of Helice in 373 B.C. days before an earthquake devastated the area (National Geographic, Nov. 11, 2003).

Eyewitness accounts of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia reported elephants moving to higher ground, dogs refusing to leave their shelters and flamingoes abandoning low-lying breeding grounds.

Dogs can pick up olfactory cues from humans (New Scientist, Oct. 19, 2007), even smelling emotions such as fear and aggression. Dog owners have always known this and science is increasingly proving them right.

The relationship to Self and God

A pilgrimage walk is very much a discovery of relationship to self, to God or the universal intelligence. Some pilgrims describe it like a walk home as awareness grows that we are not alone and that we can go into trust.

German philosopher Martin Buber in his book Ich und Du (translated as I and Thou) finds that human life essentially finds meaning and purpose in relationships.

In this view all our relationships ultimately bring us into relationship with God or our Creator.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(This is an extract of my next book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” scheduled for publication later this year)

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking into authenticity

A pilgrimage walk is so much more than an ordinary hike, working on many subtle levels, that may trigger a changed perspective and a complete realignment of emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

Walking the Camino is a walk into authenticity when the whispers from the inner voice gradually become heard as with every step more distance is created from the pull of the external distractions of the daily treadmill.

Moving to a higher energy level

From my own observations, I would say that most people are living lives in which they suffer in a quiet misery of unhappy jobs, dysfunctional relationships and other unfulfilled needs that come when the mind is focused too much on external rather than internal needs.

A combination of a daily dosage of junk foods, a mind fed with negative gossip and emotional drama, a sedentary lifestyle, an imbalanced stress, and recuperation cycle, inevitably lead to a downward energy spiral.

Finding that momentum to change an unhappy situation

Over the years it then becomes that much more difficult to find enough energy for the momentum to change an unhappy situation, especially when it comes to taking that first step in changing bad food habits, doing a regular exercise routine or morning ritual.

When you are on a pilgrimage walk, you simply have to keep going. Once you are on the path the pull to complete it is very strong. Other pilgrims will give you that extra bit of encouragement when you are having a down moment.

Walking off old emotional baggage

Especially during the early stages of the walk, there will be mornings when every muscle in the body is aching and feet are blistered.  You may be asking: “Why am I doing this?” But gradually the walk becomes easier, the load from a backpack less heavy, and the motivation to reach the destination that much bigger.

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It is a huge reward when you actually start feeling so much better, physically and emotionally.  It is part of the detox, the walking off of old emotional baggage, that is part of the Camino experience.

By the time you have walked three or four weeks on your pilgrimage retreat, your energy frequency inevitably rises. This becomes noticeable in the resonance with people that have a positive mindset.  You might find stray dogs or cats following you, a bird singing at you from a breakfast table or complete strangers greeting you and starting a conversation. You will also become more aware of the beauty of your surroundings.

Taking time out for realignment

Over the years I’ve tried fitting in a pilgrimage retreat into my schedule every year. It has been life-changing. Modern lives have become exceedingly stressful with the emotions of pain and fear dictating the daily narrative. The uncertainty that comes with exceptional economic and social changes is making many people ill.

More than ever, therefore, we need those time out retreats for inner realignment for those age-old questions seeking answers: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Am I leaving a positive footprint for future generations? The sense of purpose reveals itself in the authentic self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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