“I don’t care about the yoga philosophy. I want to drink wine, eat meat and if I see a mosquito I’m going to kill it.”
That’s the conclusion of the rebel in me at beginning of January 2016, after spending 5 weeks in an ashram in India participating in an intensive Yoga Teacher Training.
I was having a “small” breakdown. I missed my husband, my friends, family and I was done with the “minimalistic-vegan-monk-lifestyle.”
I was tired of following rules that weren’t mine. I’d just quit my job, because of that reason. I wanted to go back to before my corporate life when I was working as a professional dancer, doing something I loved.
With a plan but no exact idea in my pocket I left for India. The perfectionist and control-freak in me wanted to break out in hysterical high pitch screams, but I kept my head cool thinking of the end result trusting my intuition that said: “Be free, you can make your own rules, follow your passion, you are worthy. I will guide you.”
Usually, fear would win and bring me back to “safety”, but for the last couple of years, I developed a strong connection with my spirit which resulted in a powerful self-belief and an adventurous life outside the status quo.
Here are 6 ways that enhanced my confidence, courage, clarity and connection to Self:
1. Be willing to see and accept the truth about you and your life!
No more games! No more lies! When you’re willing to change, you need to see and accept any flaws, faults and the beauty of life. “Take your head out of the sand and dust yourself off.” You do this by observing and accepting your behavior. To create awareness of your actions will open the door for change.
2. You are not your thoughts!
This one is a biggie! Thoughts, sensations, feelings and emotions are everywhere. “No mute button to stop the madness in my mind.” And as a human race, we tend to be pretty harsh on ourselves. We tell ourselves we’re ugly, we’re not worthy, we’re not enough and so on. All provoked by our ego to compare ourselves with the outdoor world, forgetting that we were born into this world, already perfect. I meditate to balance my ego with spirit, so I’m not swept away with all I think and give fear the opportunity to drag me into my comfort zone. I give myself the beauty of compassion. And once you’re connected with your spirit, you’ll be able to listen, see clearly and sense opportunities that rise before you.
3. Lose the victim role!
Whenever you find yourself complaining, you are blocking energy to your spirit. You’ll unconsciously give away your power to someone or something else. When you’ve done anything you regret. Own it! Say you’re sorry and make amends. When you’ve fallen off the wagon. Don’t punish yourself. Pick yourself up and move on. Practice forgiveness. Own your actions and take responsibility for the energy you’re putting out in the world.
4. Take care of yourself!
This is simple: breath, sleep, eat and play! When you get these 4 basics right, you don’t even need to exercise (although you probably want to). And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find times when you’re more disciplined than other times. That’s okay! With the holidays I will indulge more into drinking and eating, but I will even it up with the following weeks with exercise and meditation. You don’t need to go extreme. In the end, it’s all about balance.
5. Stay true to your values!
If you don’t know what your values are I'll advise you to figure them out, get a clear vision and stick with them. When you’re off your path, doing stuff others want you to do or others want you to be, you’re distancing yourself from your spirit. When you want to be kind, be kind! When you want to be unique, be unique. Even if that means some people not liking you.
6. Failure means you’re growing
Courage is like flexibility. The more you stretch, the more flexible you’ll become. Dare to be you! One of my favorite books is “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. The title says it all.
I believe that you’ve got the whole package to make your dreams come true. I believe everyone can make their deepest desires come to life by connecting with their spirit.
I returned from India, applied the teachings and made them my own. And if I may give you some advice: “Don’t blindly follow other people!” No matter how awesome they are, how impressive their resume is or how many followers they have. Your spirit will guide you to your authentic and unique way. And please don’t trust anything you read. In fact, don’t trust my 6 ways in this blog! Implement them, research them, experience them, then decide for yourself and make your own 5, 6 or 7 points to live an adventurous life outside the status quo. Yeah, Make your own rules! ;-)
I speak out of my own experience. The decision to trust my intuition, to quit my job and go my own way has paid off immensely. In only this year I’m teaching yoga, I’m working as a spiritual coach and I organize retreats in Tuscany and South Africa for upcoming coaches who want to serve the world with their unique gifts in their own extraordinary way. But above all, I get to spend time with my husband traveling the world enjoying a lifestyle of freedom doing what I love.
With New Years Eve I’ll be celebrating an awesome year of adventure and many more to come. Cheers!
JJ van Zon
JJ van Zon is a spiritual coach, yoga & meditation teacher and an expert on authentic decision-making. With 20 years experience as a professional dancer and as a yoga & meditation mentor, he’s a cutting-edge leader in body, mind & soul awareness.
After his husband survived an almost fatal illness he couldn’t ignore the calling. Back on the right path, he promised to live an exciting, adventurous life doing awesome things he loves and making a difference in the world at the same time.
Together with his husband, Business Coach Carl Brooks he organizes the Wealthy Coach Retreat in Tuscany and South Africa. His company - Today I Start - was founded in 2016 and a book is in the making.
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