Tag Archives: health

The “boiling frog” syndrome

A well-known fable tells us that if a frog is put into boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if the water is only gradually heated the frog will not perceive the danger and be boiled to death. The story is a warning of how a creeping normality of crisis situations delude us into a feeling of false complacency. We fail to act until it is too late.

Our daily habits, thoughts, beliefs and actions play a major part in determining our future. The compound effect of bad or good habits over a period of years and even decades are hugely underestimated.

The compound effect of good and bad habits

Eating for lunch a burger with French fries and a soda drink will affect your body but not harm you in a big way if you eat healthy foods most of the time and you metabolize sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of exercise. But eating mainly processed foods over years and decades will have a devastating impact on your mental and physical health in the long term.

In the same way if your self-talk is mainly negative about yourself or if you incessantly blame others for everything that is going wrong in your life you will most probably be a grumpy, unhappy and miserable person during old age looking back on a life not lived and opportunities missed.

How often have you been buying things you don’t really need because you said: “Its only a few pennies.” But added up over years and decades you could have put aside a small fortune in savings.

Complacency is our biggest enemy

Social and political developments in the recent past should be shaking us out of our sense of complacency and nonchalance. It appears that the general social consensus on values and norms that has prevailed for most of the past decades is seriously being eroded. An independent press, non-partisan judiciary and democratic voting procedures are seriously under threat in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and first and foremost in the United States. If the United States is no longer the world’s best example of a working democracy authoritarian rule as we see it today in China and Russia will entrench itself in many countries.

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Like a physical body gradually weakening from the effects of bad nutrition, you don’t perceive the spiral downward immediately. In my home country South Africa the seeds of maladministration and corruption were sown with the election of a populist demagogue Jacob Zuma as president in May 2009. For a while things, like the national airline, appeared on the surface to still be functioning perfectly. But after nine years the rot was there for everyone to see. Most parastatal institutions are bankrupted, leaving numerous towns and cities in dire lack of basic services such as electricity and water supply. It will most likely take generations to get South Africa back on its feet economically.

We tend to forget that political parties, governments and institutions have been created by bodies of individuals. They are a reflection of who we are. When a social pendulum of change swings into a new direction it is at first always led by a minority that eventually become the majority view.

A crisis is a way marker

Crisis situations, whether on a personal or collective level, always tell us that the status quo is no longer workable and that things need to change. The art is to perceive the small, telling signs that something is moving into the wrong direction and to adapt accordingly. It is the frog sensing when the water temperature is rising to a dangerous temperature and when it’s time to get out.

This is why some companies thrive by adapting to changing market conditions while others procrastinate. It is why some species adapt and others become extinct. Some marriage relationships adapt to changing needs and circumstances while others end in divorce. It is why the enlightened leader picks himself up during a crisis, using it as a tool of change in valuable lessons learned while the other stays in the shadow of self-pity and recrimination.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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What every crisis is trying to tell you

Especially during these times when the world seems to be falling apart and politics seems to have gone mad, a lot of people are having trouble remaining centered and protecting themselves from all the negativity.

It is easy to fall into the trap of joining conversations, especially on social media, painting apocalyptic scenarios of what our world might look like in the coming weeks and months.

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A crisis happens for a reason

Covid-19 happened for a reason. Times of crisis are good times to readjust, to go into introspection, to change outdated structures, and to press the reset button with a clean slate.

A relationship conflict, a personal crisis, a dispute, or even a serious health diagnosis reveal the truths that need to be addressed. It brings to the fore the festering sore that needs healing. The elephant in the room is finally named. The child has spoken: “The emperor has no clothes.”

Here on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, where I live, the hospitality sector has been devastated and many businesses are going bankrupt. The island’s economy is 75 percent dependent on tourism with ten million people visiting annually with a local population of just under a million. The strain on the infra-structure from traffic, freshwater supplies to sewerage was palpably obvious. Now for the first time, the voices of those calling for a more upmarket, sustainable type of tourism are being heard. While some folk are wallowing in self-pity and blaming the virus others are already looking ahead and finding new opportunities.

A crisis is an imbalanced state that calls for correction 

From the ancient philosophy of the yin and yang of the Chinese Five Element theory, a crisis is a state of imbalance where the elements wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are trying to reconfigure.  Sometimes both on a personal and collective level humanity needs a jolt to wake-up. But the valid question remains:

“This still doesn’t remove my day-to-day bread and butter concerns and sleepless nights? These are some questions that might help when you are feeling strong emotions of fear and panic.

  • Is it really, really true? What are the actual facts at this point in time?
  • What is the worst possible thing that could happen?
  • What resources do I have available? Who do I know that I could ask and who could help?
  • How did I get through a similar crisis in the past?
  • I am absolutely certain that this too shall pass.

Impermanence and uncertainty is a law of life. The biggest challenge for every human being is to remain fully present. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. You are robbing yourself of the preciousness of life by imagining what will be next month, next year or in five years.

When you feel your head spinning, take a deep breath. Feel how you are breathing. Inhale and exhale with a conscious presence of mind. Inhale “Faith” – exhale “Fear”. Do it for so many minutes until you are actually feeling more relaxed and at ease. The solution to your problem comes from that empty space of quiet relaxation. The universe will always have an answer for you, even if not immediately.

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

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“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

 

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

 

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

 

 

 

 

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Where are you going?

Greetings,

this week I would like to share with you two really important ways on how you can stay focused and boost your vibrational energy, despite all the things happening out there in the external world.

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How do you start your day?

How you start your day determines how you end your day.

A typical start of the day for many people in the modern digital age is stumbling out of bed, grabbing the i-Phone to check for important emails with the news channels blaring negativity in the background.

Are you in control of your own agenda?

It means external forces are setting the agenda. You are not in control. Your thoughts and emotions are running the rollercoaster of stressful thoughts and fears. Without a set anchor point or agenda for the day you will be bouncing around like a cork in the ocean.

Pebbles

Learning from the monastic traditions

The monastic traditions were very much aware of the inner demons and had set rituals for the day. In the Benedectine Order, the monastery rule dating back to about 500 AD, prayer, service, study, and physical labor were all essential parts of spiritual growth.

The monk Benedict was convinced that God had given Man the freedom of choice with the heart a constant battleground of choosing between good and evil.  To avoid the temptation of evil the monks committed themselves to four hours of prayer, four hours of studying scripture, and manual labor. In the Order there are fixed times for rising in the morning, prayer, study, work,  break times, and recuperation.

Such a disciplined life made the monasteries the research laboratories and centers of learning for hundreds of years. We know from modern neurological research that such structures teach the brain from falling into procrastination and the pitfalls of dark thought. It in the quiet moments that we have the “aha” inspirations.

Determining your own agenda

What is your first thought of the day? Are you being overwhelmed by all the negativity and external conditions caused by the pandemic? Be aware that no matter how bad your personal situation might be, there are always at least three things a day you can be grateful for. There will always be persons better off and worse off than you are. Meditate and concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. By focusing on your breathing you are bringing yourself back to the present moment. What are you feeling? Anger, sadness or fear? Accept that feeling. It is the way it is. Once you have accepted how you feel you can start emotionally shifting to another emotional level: Joy, abundance, confidence, courage, and trust.

We live in a world of polarity. The forces of yin and yang are in constant flux with the universal force moving in a cycle comparable to the seasonal changes. There is a time for expansion and growth and there is a time for withdrawal and recuperation. COVID-19 is teaching mankind to take a pause. It is a time of introspection and realignment, comparable to the “winter of the soul”.

It is a good time to realign your own personal agenda, starting by creating a structure for your day. It will make a huge difference on your stress-coping strategy during this time of crisis.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

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Building resilience during times of crisis

I’ve just been on my first trip since the lockdown that was imposed in Spain March 14th, walking through an almost empty airport terminal in Palma that would normally be bustling with people during the main summer vacation season.

Different pandemic responses

While in Germany I had the opportunity to speak to people from very different business sectors, and how they are dealing with the pandemic. Germany was one of the few countries that have managed to bring the virus under control with a widespread testing and track and trace system. The death toll has been kept under 10,000 compared to 28,000 in Spain, 35,000 in Italy, and 55,000 in the United Kingdom. Compare this to the United States with more than 130,000 dead!

Germany is a wealthy country with an excellent health care system but almost every business sector is feeling the pinch. The economy is hugely dependent on exports and all the country’s major trading partners have economies in freefall. This means job cutbacks, and less pay for most people.

The US has abdicated leadership 

The pandemic has illustrated vividly how interconnected our world has become. This is no time for insular thinking. The pandemic can only be brought under control by a global, and coordinated response. In the past, the United States has always taken a leadership role in an international crisis. This time around the U.S. administration is dismantling rather than strengthening international institutions like the WHO. It has abdicated leadership and alienated most of its friends and allies.

With many friends and family in the United States, I am very concerned to see how poor leadership, denialism, fanaticism, and political polarization are literally costing the lives of tens of thousands of people. We can only hope and pray that wise leadership will come to the fore.

A time to build body and mind resilience

With cataclysmic external events out of our control disrupting individual lives on so many levels, it is more important than ever to look after your personal physical and mental well-being. Building resilience is key. A resilient mind and body are immune from the blasts of negative distractions.  This is why I’m such a firm believer in taking time out by taking walks in nature to realign with the senses. The blue and green spaces in nature play a crucial part in reducing stress hormones. It even makes a difference when you listen to a tape with the sounds of nature.img_1685

Solutions come at unexpected moments within the stillness and quiet spaces of nature. This is the time for introspection rather than falling into a hectic activity driven by fear of the unknown.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking through the pain

But nothing is solid and permanent. Our lives are raised on the shakiest foundations. You don’t need to read history books to know that. You only have to know the history of your own life.” ― Ron Rash 

One of the misconceptions of the booming self-development industry and self-help literature is the implication that something is wrong with you if you have a “low moment.”

“How are you?” is the first thing you get asked by a friend or acquaintance when you meet after some absence. You are expected to respond: “I’m very fine thank you. And how are you?”

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Life is never a happy cruise

There is an entirely different reaction when you open up and tell the other person how you are really feeling. It’s either an uncomfortable silence or the other person will show empathy and maybe even tell you about their own challenge they are currently going through. Those are real moments of authenticity.

Life is not meant to be an easy cruise. We go through moments of happiness, then moments of grief and sadness. There might be current health or relationship challenges. While you are carefully laying out your plans God has a different agenda. Life is living on the edge with constant surprises and detours. But its the challenges and the low moments that force us into introspection. The current Covid-19 crisis and its ripple effects are a typical example.

One of the first lessons pilgrims learn when walking the Camino is humility. If you don’t walk the path with humility the path will teach you humility. Physical and emotional pain is part of the process that starts in the early stages of the walk.

This too shall pass

I’ve gotten hopelessly lost just when I felt too sure of myself or did not accept physical boundaries. You plan to walk a certain distance for the day then the weather changes and you have to make different plans or you have to keep on walking because there is no accommodation in the town you had planned to stay for the night.

In the acceptance of life’s ups-and-downs comes the confidence that even in these times of turmoil and great uncertainty is also the certainty that “this too shall pass!”

We know from our own biography that health and financial security can be very fickle. There is no such thing as safe ground. A risk can be reduced but it will not insure you against life’s surprises.

Living through pain and uncertainty 

The challenge is to transmute that pain and to move on. Procrastinating in the sadness on that which has passed and is irrevocably gone prevents you from living the moment and fulfilling your soul purpose.

In accepting and walking through the pain comes the elevation of consciousness. Accepting the setbacks, failures, and mistakes in life is being authentically human. Change and uncertainty are part of LIVING. We aren’t meant to be perfect.  We are mortal beings. As the soul moves on to the next dimension it takes with it new perception and the recognition that everything is Grace.

As the famous German lyric, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote there is not always a solution. It’s living within the question and being patient with everything that remains unresolved in your heart.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

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You are not alone

No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

– John Donne – 

We realize when alone that we are not an island. During these times of crisis separation has become the watchword. It mirrors how far we have become separated in the relationship with ourselves and the natural world around us.

The writings of German philosopher Martin Buber seem particularly poignant. His most famous book “Ich und Du”, published in 1923,  roughly translates to “I and Though” with its central tenet that human life finds its purpose and meaning in relationships.

The separation from the ‘I’

Nature does not take revenge. If we go to war with nature there is merely cause and effect.  Perceiving the world, the earth, or the universe as being separate or external from the “I” is a belief-centered delusion.

Relationship is connection to Soul

Buber argues that ultimately relationship is about our connectedness to the inner soul spirit, God, or the Universe.  Ancient man and the hunter and gatherer societies are still very much aware of the connectedness of the inner spirit with the natural world.

Becoming with the Though

In the relationship with the “Though” there is a “becoming” into the wholeness of purpose and BEING. The essence of life, according to Buber, is found in the relationship with the other. With the emphasis of our culture from the “restrictions and obligations” of community” to the self-fulfillment of “individual freedom” we have fallen from one extreme to the other.

Pseudo-community or meaning is sought by the individual in pseudo-religion and the tribe affiliation to party political institutions. How else can we explain the blind following of the professional populist deceivers and the false prophets of our age?

Anybody who has gone through a divorce will know of the trauma left between two people who once loved each other. In the beginning, there is unconditional love. We see in the other, the Though, a merger or completion. Ideally, the partners support and empower each other in spiritual growth. But we often seek in the other that which has not been healed within. Disappointment is inevitable when the emotional shadows get triggered. The breakdown comes creeping slowly, respect gets lost when we see the other grappling with similar emotional issues. Communication is reduced to the mundane.

The soul journey is exploring the “Though” within. In the Gospel of St. Thomas, discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945, Jesus is quoted as saying:

“See the kingdom in the sky, then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you. ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father.” (Saying 3, p. 654.9-21).
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Covid-19 and empty spaces

Thirty spokes meet in the hub, but the empty space between them is the essence of the wheel.” – Lao Tse – 

In the hurried rat race of our modern culture, we have become so used to treading the treadmill of HAVING that we have forgotten all about the BEING. The spokes of the wheel are what is visible but what is really the essence is that which is invisible and holds everything together.

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It is in those quiet moments of loneliness where we are finally separated from the drumbeat of distraction that we find connection.

Western culture is in a state of spiritual disconnect, expressing itself in the fraying of economic, social, religious and other institutions and the pandemic rise of mental illness. The Covid-19 pandemic was just the trigger. The foundations of the house we have been building has been on shaky ground for some time in the constant pull between externation gratification and inner soul yearning.

Resilience is built from a good sprint and recovery cycle 

A life in imbalance with high stress not compensated by recuperation periods of empty space inevitably leads to a breakdown of the body’s natural defence systems. A healthy sprint and recovery system makes a body resilient to the storms of life. Check out my booklet on Resilience: What makes you strong?

These changes are leaving people anxious, scared, disorientated and confused. The first thing people do in such situations is to find someone to blame: The Chinese having started it all with lack of safety measures in a laboratory in Wuhan, politicians not having reacted early enough or having responded too harshly.

Making the best out of the current situation

If you are a spiritually orientated person you will find that such a mindset won’t get you far and make you feel even more miserable. On a personal level you can start by reflecting on your own mindset:

  • What opportunity lies waiting in the current situation?
  • What friends and associations can I cultivate via zoom or skype?
  • What clutter needs cleared in my immediate surroundings?

On a global level the universe is telling humanity with a major jolt to wake up. We cannot continue with the ways of old. We have to question our mobility patterns and what it means for the environment. We have to move from an exploitative economic system to a sustainable, restorative system.

In terms of the ancient Five Element philosophy, which finds many of its roots in Lao Tse’s teachings, gigantic natural or political disruptions do not come from nowhere but are unavoidable when we fail to see the signs of the elements being in imbalance. Nature is merely trying to restore balance when we initially only see the burned grounds before us. But with time grow the first seedlings from the ashes.

In our HAVING culture we have tried too hard to feed the hungry ghosts, exploiting nature to such a degree that major ecosystems and our entire global climate is in danger of collapse.

Living a life of BEING is being open again for those empty spaces where soul evolution takes place. Before our eyes we are seeing our world changing. Transmuting the emotions of fear and anxiousness and seizing the moment with courage and hope is the challenge.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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A changed world after lockdown

We are in the fifth week of our lockdown in Spain which has some of the most stringent Coronavirus rules in place. I was stopped a few days ago by police near my home who told me in no uncertain terms that taking doggy for a walk was not allowed if I had a garden where the dog could go outside.

Moving about is embedded in our genes

When this is over I will appreciate all the more my long walks in nature in the nearby Tramuntana mountains of Majorca. I have become more aware that moving about freely and traveling to faraway places has become very much part of our modern lifestyle. It will take a while to fully comprehend how farreaching an effect this is having on what we have perceived as fundamental freedoms. Our movements are likely to remain restricted for some time to come. What this means for the travel industry is anyone’s guess.

The urge to be on the move and discovering new places is embedded in our genes. Our ancestors moved from the trees to walk on the ground to seek new feeding grounds. For thousands of years, humans were nomads moving from place to place. As recently as 500 years ago there were still hunters and gatherers in many parts of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Finding authenticity on the journey

Jewish mysticist teachers made a point of sending their students on a journey to broaden their mental and spiritual horizons. It was also a way of teaching the scholar not to become too dependent on the Master and to find their own inner authenticity. Experiential spirituality in the mystic tradition is something awaiting discovery from within and cannot be imposed externally by rules of belief.

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Hiking trail, Majorca

The apprenticeship training of carpenters in Germany has for centuries followed the same tradition. After learning the basic tools of the craft from an experienced “Meister”, the apprentice goes on a “Wanderschaft” or hike to distant places to both finetune his skills and character.

Finding the empty space 

Every pilgrim who has gone on a pilgrimage on the Camino in Spain knows all about the “zoning out” into that empty space that comes when walking alone in nature for several weeks.  Experiential spirituality is a deep personal connection with the divine. Spirituality is all about following and remaining true to your divine purpose. Limitations to “Be-coming” are all too often set by the parameters of doctrine, parental expectations and the constant drum-beat of digital distractions.

When our senses are attuned to nature we find alignment with the universe. There is a close feeling of connectivity to the whole in the seemingly chaotic.

It is all the more reason to look forward again to my next annual pilgrimage. It might not take place at all this year on the Camino because we don’t know if all the restrictions will be lifted by summer. Meanwhile, it will have to be short hikes closer to home.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Lessons from nature on Covid-19

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree – Martin Luther – 

From a spiritual dimension, everything has purpose and meaning.

When we look at the coronavirus or Covid-19 crisis from the perspective of the Five Elements, the metal element comes into play.

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Covid-19 is attacking us where we are most vulnerable

We are seeing that the virus is spreading especially fast through contact and touch between humans with most of the deaths caused by an infection of the lung.

The metal element represents the body organs of the lung and large intestine on a physical level. They find expression in the nose, the breathing aspect, and the skin – the sense that we go into contact with our external world. The virus is ignoring boundaries of nations, ethnicity and religion. We are all in this together as a human race.

The insidious nature of the virus is that it is attacking us at the very essence of our behavior patterns. We greet each other with our hands as a gesture of politeness and friendship. We hug and kiss the people we love. We touch hands when we give comfort.

A time for introspection during lockdown?

The metal element moves the body energies inward.  This element represents the season of autumn when nature itself starts contracting. It reaches completion with the water element with plant life withdrawing into the roots and animals going into hibernation.

On the emotional level when the Element Metal is weakened we go into grief. Grief is much about the sadness about that which was and is no more. Our very world has changed and will never be the same.  There is much grief, sadness and fear (fear is the emotion of the water element) over that which has changed in our world and is no more.

Humanity has broken the code of nature

Our skin, which is the outer expression of the large intestine, is about setting and accepting boundaries whether we choose or deny body contact and what we inhale and exhale in energy around us. What we inhale we become. What are we inhaling in negative thoughts, news, and distractions? How much have we broken the code of nature in exploiting and destroying our own and the life systems of other living beings?

Moving from grief into courage 

Metal energy that is in balance has courage. Despite the fear, anxiety and melancholy sadness we are seeing many people rediscovering community. Health workers are working tirelessly to help others. Groups are helping to do the shopping for the elderly. Courage is facing the truth of the moment and regaining control. We don’t have control over the external circumstances but we have control over our reactions to them. Staying in the moment is the big challenge. It is acknowledging what is happening in the world, acknowledging our fears, our grief, and sadness, then to transmute those emotions into courage.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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