Tag Archives: psychology

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?”

perchek-industrie-wY7AeHia2v4-unsplash

Photo by Perchek Industrie on Unsplash

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

Resiliencepic

Subscribe and get my FREE Booklet:

“Resilience: What makes you strong during times of crisis?

     

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

Accepting the enemy within

Societal divisions along cultural, racial, gender, financial, political, and religious friction points become particularly pronounced during times of crisis when the fear demon gets stoked by the professional deceiver.

In the confrontation with the opposite, identity and belief are defined. There is good and bad, black and white, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim. Reality is far more complex and in myriad colors and shades of grey.

Neither yin or yang is absolute 

This is why the yin and yang symbol from the Daoist/Taoist tradition is such a beautiful concept of two halves forming the whole. Neither yin or yang is absolute. Each contains the beginning aspect of the other in a constant flow like night turning into day and day turning into night. The female aspect also has male aspects and the male aspect something of the female.

Too much yin or too much yang in any system creates an imbalance, whether in nature, body functions, or economic or political structures.

Accepting the shadow

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung wrote, “Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants himself to be.  Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

We are all susceptible to burying parts of our character that we find unacceptable in the subconscious mind. The problem is that if we don’t face the shadow aspect at the doorway to our mind, it becomes too big to control.

For millennia the question arises: “If there is a God, why does he allow evil?”  Defining evil and recognizing evil can also be a difficult undertaking where the lie is sold as truth and truth gets turned into a lie.

Self-love and the acceptance of the human condition

When going into a meditation on the self you will soon find at least half a dozen positive as well as negative attributes of your own character. This is why it is so dangerous to fall into the trap of labeling an individual, a nation, a race, or a religious grouping. What Jung tried to tell us is that if you don’t accept this duality of light and shadow within, you will soon find yourself on a path of much self-created pain and suffering.

Only in unconditional acceptance of the imperfect human condition, and self-love of all aspects of the personality can grow the seeds of forgiveness, tolerance, and compassion.  This is at the heart of the teachings of Jesus and the ancient Mystics. The fundamentalist Christian concept of original sin meanwhile has been distorted into a culture of guilt and self-mortification. It is the perfect breeding ground for hypocrisy and intolerance.

The enemy is also the teacher 

In the pull between the identity of the opposites, spiritual growth and the evolution of character takes place. Are you kind, generous, compassionate, and loving?  Or are you rude, greedy, inconsiderate, spewing hate and anger? The decisions and habits we make on a daily and hourly basis can tip the scales in either direction.

We need the enemy, and the opposite perspective to gain clarity on our own core values and choices. Humankind has been given the power of choice. Are you falling into the shadow or going with the light?

The tragedy is that the character once held by the stranglehold of the shadow finds himself incapable of self-reflection. The phenomenon is widespread in some of the populist leaders of our time, trapped by their own ego and narcissism.

The image of self has become so clouded that the narrative is turned into its own truth. The deception of the emperor’s new clothes is revealed when it’s too late, and tragedy is upon us. At times it can be useful to turn the pages of that old history book to understand the events of recent months.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

Resiliencepic

Subscribe and get my FREE Booklet:

“Resilience: What makes you strong during times of crisis?

     

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

Joseph and the power of forgiveness

Are you struggling to forgive yourself and others? The biblical story of Joseph is one of the most powerful teachings of how the ways of the universe or God can be very different from the plans we often make in life.

Joseph was slandered, beaten, and sold into slavery by his own brothers because of jealousy. Joseph could have easily succumbed to his fate but he never lost faith that everything in life had purpose and meaning.

slavery

Photo by Hussain Badshah on Unsplash

The trap of the blame game

Only from such a perspective could he forgive his brothers and move out of the trap of the blame game. He made the best out of his situation to such an extent that Potiphar, the man who bought him on the slave market in Egypt, soon promoted him to a higher position. Later he was put in charge of managing Potiphar’s huge estate.

Potiphar had taken a liking to Joseph and must have been impressed by his kindness, wisdom, and humility. For all intents and purposes, Joseph had made it. But Potiphar’s bored wife had taken just as much a liking to the handsome young Joseph. Realizing that he would betray his master who had done so much for him, Joseph avoided the advances of Potiphar’s wife who became so upset that she accused him of rape. Joseph was thrown into prison losing everything. He could again have succumbed to despondency.

But it so happens that he meets in prison two of the Pharaoh’s ministers who had lost favor with the ruler. One of them was eventually released from prison and restored to his old position. Only when the Pharaoh had a strange dream did the minister remember the time in prison with Joseph who had impressed him as an interpreter of dreams. Long story short, Joseph gets released from prison to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. The essence of the dream was that the ruler had to prepare the country for seven years of drought. Amazingly Joseph’s fortune changed in an instant when the Pharaoh recognized the wisdom of the man he was dealing with.  Joseph gets made viceroy of all of Egypt as the righthand man of the most powerful ruler of the world at the time.

Life comes in strange twists and turns

True to the dream interpretation the drought did come and only by wise management of the food and grain resources could countless lives be saved including those of Joseph’s brother and aging father Jacob.

Life comes often in strange twists and turns. Fortunes can be earned and lost overnight. High positions of political power and influence may be gone tomorrow. The amazing story of Joseph is that he never lost trust and faith. By forgiving his brothers and Potiphar’s wife for falsely accusing him, he made peace with himself and could go into trust and humility. From that energy grew his wisdom and incredible foresight to prevent a catastrophe.

Forgiving does not mean approval of wrongdoing

Forgiving does not mean that you are approving of wrongdoing, of abuse, and all the terrible things that humans do to each other. It is making peace with the past in the knowledge that you are the person today because of all of that which you have experienced. The famous Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl only survived the Nazi death camps by telling himself that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s one way.”

Nelson Mandela was often asked why he did not seek retribution from the white apartheid rulers who imprisoned him for 27 years. His answer: “Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

Resiliencepic

Subscribe and get my FREE Booklet:

“Resilience: What makes you strong during times of crisis?

     

Leave a comment

Filed under spirituality, Uncategorized

Feeding the narcissist

We are living in the age of the narcissist. Social media has opened a Pandora’s Box which has provided the ideal tool for the narcissist personality to tap into toxic emotions that have swept him into political power.

Narcissists are obsessed with attention

The narcissist first and foremost feeds on attention. He is obsessed with it and will do anything to be the talk of the town. He will rant and insult with every tweet, knowing that this will keep fueling the fire of the boiling cauldron.

Narcissist leaders are especially dangerous because they are unaware of what effect their words have on certain ears. The rightwing extremist will read a tweet by the person in authority ranting about immigrants as validation to take a gun and open fire on innocent people of color in a supermarket.

manyu-varma-aDXV4GbqHcQ-unsplash

Photo by Manyu Varma on Unsplash

Insulting indigenous people for their calls to protect the Amazon rainforest is seen as the green light by illegal loggers and miners to set fire to the earth’s largest still intact ecosystem.  It gets to the point where a British prime minister and his supporters would rather take into account an unprecedented economic disaster than losing face on their commitment to leaving the European Union.

The narcissist is only in love with himself

The larger consequences for a country, society and our planet are of secondary importance to the narcissist. He is only in love with himself and in his self-aggrandizement.

A narcissist feels that it is his right to vent anger no matter what effect this has on everyone around. He is on a mission in dividing and polarizing a society, family, political party or religious group. It is a hallmark of this personality that they are immune to the effects their actions have on everyone else. The primary purpose is to keep on churning the marketing machine of name recognition.

Narcissist culture turns the lie into truth 

We are living in dangerous times where part of the narcissist culture is to turn the lie into a truth. Scientists are defamed as messengers of “fake news” and lose their jobs. Narcissists are experts at gaslighting where the truth is manipulated in such a way that the recipient of the message will start having doubts about his/her own sanity.  They are experts at changing the narrative to serve their own truth. Sowing confusion and spreading disinformation is part of the methodology of the narcissist who then postulates himself onto the stage as the only purveyor of the truth.  Their charisma will enchant people into their orbit but the narcissist will dump them like a useless object when they are no longer needed. Those who have the audacity to reveal the lies and deceit will find themselves at the receiving end of personal insult and bullying. The narcissist is very good at dishing out but is very thin-skinned when at the receiving end.

The Narcissist feeds on toxic emotion and drama 

The current crop of narcissist leaders will stop at nothing and have no problem in leaving scorched earth in their wake.  Especially the news media needs to stop falling for the bait that is thrown at them with every rant and tweet. We need to be mindful of the angry conversations centering around these disturbed personalities. It is the energy they are feeding on and that keeps them dictating the narrative of the day.

Smokescreens are thrown at us while the forest is burning. Narcissists are experts at tapping into the undercurrent of anger and drama that in most cases has its roots in bad personal choices or family history.  It is painful and a long process of self-introspection to accept responsibility for one’s own actions that have directly been responsible for a predicament.  But it is the precondition to the start of the healing process that needs to take place both individually and on a global level.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

                                             applepodcast         

 

Leave a comment

Filed under ideology, lifestyle management, psychology, self-development, trump presidency, Uncategorized

Gratitude – the antidote to fear

Quantum healing energyIts the time of year when Thanksgiving is celebrated. In the U.S. Thanksgiving is a national holiday going back to the first English settlers in the new world in 1621 who would not have survived without the help of the native Americans.

In the mainly agricultural societies of the past, Thanksgiving had a far greater importance. The harvest period was celebrated in religious festivals and rituals as a tribute to a higher deity who was responsbile for sending the rain or the cycle of the seasons.

Modern man, where food flies into his mouth from the supermarket shelf, has lost this direct symbiosis with nature and with it the rituals that align with the greater universe.

Psychological research has found that keeping a daily gratitude journal can have numerous positive effects like making us happier, more successful and less self-centred. In one of the tests participants were given a week to write and then deliver a letter of gratitude in person to someone who had been especially kind to them but had never been properly thanked. Not surprisingly this had enormous positive psychological effects on the participants, especially on those who continued the test beyond the week.

More importantly gratitude is the antidote to the emotion that holds us back in almost every sphere of life – fear. Fear catapults us into paralysis whether its fear of dying from a deadly disease, fear of failure, having no money, losing a loved one. Fear has many demons and in most cases it pulls the mind into some terrible future scenario.We need only to reflect on such thoughts over the past month, year or even five years ago to know what tricks the fear demon can play on us.

I just read a report in  the paper today that a growing number of people fear the outbreak of a Third World War. Its not surprising because most mass media are echo chambers of negative emotions.

Keeping a daily gratitude journal or doing a morning meditation and focusing on just five things that you can be grateful for during the past 24 hours will pull you out of the negative spiral. Especially being grateful to ourself, helps overcome the shadow within. What are you profoundly grateful for?  You can’t be profoundly grateful for all the things that happened in your life and at the same time be fearful, angry, hurt and vengeful.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under gratitude, happiness, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

Back from the Camino – what now?

Its been some weeks since we returned from our hike on the Spanish Camino and I’m still astounded at how much the experience still resonates in our lives.

We have just heard from Jim who walked the entire Camino Frances from Jean Pied de Port, arriving in Santiago last week after 40 days of walking.

The many interesting and fascinating people you meet on the Camino is part of part of what I would describe as one of the most precious gifts of the Camino. This is why many Peregrinos decide to give something back in volunteering to work a summer in one of the pilgrims’ hostels.

Many people walk the Camino to find an answer to a life-important question they are dealing with. Mostly they find the answer, sometimes after weeks or months after the walk, with the answer to a question needing time to ripen.

On my first Camino I was somewhat disappointed at not having found “my answer”. The lesson to learn was patience and to open the mind to the so many of the mysteries and lessons of the Path.

The first lesson I learned was that it needs time to “walk things off” and get rid of the old emotional baggage that you often carry with you for years. My theory is that the body has an “emotional memory” just like the emotional mind in holding onto “traumatic” experiences on a cellular level. This is why the first days of walking are so hard, even for people who have prepared well physically.

When this “emotional garbage” comes to the surface on the “path of crucifixion” that often comes during the first week of arduous walking through blisters, sore knees and back pain, the transformation process can begin. Then walking, even through difficult terrain, becomes an easy ride and you can actually start enjoying daily walks of 25-30 kilometres and more.

There were so many images, smells and meetings of mind on this centuries old path that this space is too short to fill them.

There was the father walking the path with two mules in fulfilling a dream that his daughter had on her death bed when dying of cancer. There are the brave young folk in the Aragon province fighting a dam project that will flood a pristine valley and one of the oldest parts of the Camino. There are the faces of people you look at where you know they have just gone through a very hard time in their lives and that they have come through, stronger.

On a physical level, I feel much fitter. My skin seems smoother and my senses of smell and hearing different. In my dreams I am still walking and when I wake up I know that I will soon be making plans for the next walk on the Camino.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized