Columnist: Gabriele Seewald Gabriele's Beyonder Story
When I was invited by Beyonder Times to write a monthly column, I was thrilled. It is something that I have wanted to do for a while, as I love sharing my experiences, thoughts, perspectives and being in conversation with others, especially people in Taiwan, the place I have been calling home for more than six years now, the place I love and where I have rooted myself.
So for this, my very first column, I decided to invite you, dear reader, into a conversation with me. I realized that writing articles can easily be a one-way communication; however, with online and social media platforms, such as Beyonder Times, it can easily become a multi-way conversation, an open co-creative sharing space, a bridge between perspectives, cultures, and people.
What I would love to do is to share with you my experience, perspectives and tools in various areas of life, human being, and current issues, and invite you to comment, ask your questions, share your thoughts, ideas, experiences in either English or Chinese. And while I won’t be able to directly respond to you individually, I will read what you share and pick up from there, by what I feel relates to my experience or people I know in Taiwan, to include your and other’s perspectives in my articles. I am curious where this co-creative process will lead us to… aren’t you?
Now, you might wonder: who am I? I am Gabriele and some of you might have read about me in the article published by Beyonder Times in December 2015. I loved the way this article was written about me. In essence and spirit it reflected pretty well who I am. Still, there are many more aspects to who I am and my nature, of course. It is a big question, isn’t it?
Nobody can fix anything for somebody else!
Have you ever asked yourself: who am I? What’s my true nature? In recent months, especially in relation to the recent elections in Taiwan, I participated in several public events with hundreds of young Taiwanese people present and I found a topic that was there in almost all events and all conversations: who are we? What is our identity, our nature?… as a country, a society and as a person with the underlying sense of feeling kind of lost, hopeless and wishing for someone to lead and show the way to change.
This article is not about politics. To me, asking ourselves – individually or in a wider context as an organization, society, and country – the question: “who am I” is closely related to a human being yearning for a sense of purpose and belonging. Don’t we all, on some level, consciously or not, no matter where we come from, want to have a sense of purpose, feel that we are here on this planet for a reason (other than sleeping, eating, working, earning money, dying)?
Through the systems we have created in our world in the past approximately 100 years (political, economical, financial, healthcare, education systems), we have become so accustomed to always looking outside ourselves for answers. We have grown so used to giving up our responsibilities to some outside “powers” who we then expect to take care of all our problems, to fix our economy, our health, our future.
A couple of months ago, I attended an event with some 700+ young Taiwanese people, and the speaker was one of the presidential candidates for Taiwan’s 2016 election. Many young Taiwanese voiced their concern of not seeing a future for themselves in this country. The answer from the presidential candidate was: “(a big sigh) Yes, it is true, and I will fix it for you.”
Well, with all respect: nobody can fix anything for somebody else! This is the way we have collectively operated so far, but where has it led us to? Do this thinking and behavior still work in a world that has become increasingly complex and fast-paced? Or is it actually causing all the system breakdowns we are increasingly experiencing all over the world?
From my perspective, our world community is severely out of balance, and more and more people experience that as well on an individual level, in their health and well-being, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial or a combination of any of these.
When there is harmony in our internal cell-community, we are healthy – individually and as a whole.
The solution however is not trying to fix things from the outside, but restoring balance on our inside first. Balance on the outside (any area of your life, organization, society, country, world) will follow accordingly as a natural consequence.
How to restore balance on the inside first, you might ask? Over the years, I have come across hundreds of approaches to restore balance on the inside, your cellular level – some more physical, some more mental, some more spiritual in nature. Before I introduce you to a few simple ways, I want to summarize the connection between “who we are” and the power each human being actually carries inside with the following quote by one of the current leading cell-biologists Bruce H. Lipton, PhD:
When you look at yourself you see an individual person. But if you understand the nature of who you are, you realize that you are actually a community of about 50 trillion living cells. Each cell is a living individual, that has its own life and functions but interacts with other cells in the nature of a community. If I could reduce you to the size of a cell and drop you inside your own body, you would see a very busy metropolis of trillions of individuals living within one skin. This becomes relevant when we understand that health is when there is harmony in the community and dis-ease is when there is a disharmony that tends to fracture the community relationships.
From this perspective, you can, if you want, imagine yourself as a “cell” walking on this planet along with billions of other “cells”. Each cell is an individual with a specific function (purpose) but is also connected to each other, which creates the whole cell-community called human race. When there is harmony in our internal cell-community, we are healthy – individually and as a whole.
From this vantage point, I personally think and feel strongly that it is our main job to nourish harmony and nurture balance inside ourselves first, in order to create and experience health and harmony in any wider context. From that perspective, taking care of yourself, restoring harmony and nourishing your own well-being is not selfish, but crucial in creating more well-being for all.
3-minute Practices: learn to listen what your body tells you, and what it reveals to you about yourself and life.
Here, my dear readers, I am happy to introduce you to a few simple practices to easily restore balance and nourish your own well-being on a daily basis, connecting you more deeply to who you are.
These practices only take 2-3 minutes and can be practiced any time, anywhere. I suggest you choose one practice first that works for you, meaning that it feels “right” to you and that you feel easy to commit to practicing on a daily basis, no matter what your friends, parents, or others tell you or think of you.
- I am
Say (loud or silently inside yourself): “I am (your first name).”
To me, this is one of the simplest yet most powerful practices there is. Try to also feel how saying this sentence feels in your body. Important: say your first name only, not your family name and practice as often as you remember.
- Connect with and restore your 5 senses with food
Most people are increasingly aware of the importance of what we eat and what are the raw ingredients used in our food (natural/organic, non-processed, veggie & plant-based, little animal products/sugar/dairy). However, what is to some extent even more important is “how we eat”.
Eating and drinking are the most basic needs that can be hugely restoring and balancing at the same time, if we eat and drink consciously. Paying attention to all our 5 senses while eating (taste, hearing, smell, sight, touch), bringing our thoughts and our conversations to our food, fully and consciously enjoying each and every meal (whether it is a 20-minutes lunch break or a 2-hour dinner), instead of posting on our mobiles, checking emails, thinking about the things to be done, watching TV, reading the newspaper or having heated business discussions. If you tell me, “I don’t have time to eat, I am too busy”, I’ll say, “I understand you. I have been there, and I highly recommend you make time for eating from now on. Otherwise you will be forced to make time for disease one day.” Start this practice with one meal a day and you will soon see and feel the benefits and simply want more 🙂
- Describe the weather
Step outside or to a window and describe (loud or silently inside yourself) the weather. Describing means: the sky is blue. It is sunny. There are white clouds. It is raining.
“The weather is nice. The weather is good. The weather is bad.” are not descriptions, they are interpretations. This practice is especially stress-reducing, centering and grounding.
Stand with your feet about hip-wide apart and firmly on the ground, arms relaxed, slightly bend your knees, take a deep breath and start to bounce up and down from your knees, while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Keep bouncing and breathing normally for a few minutes, and make your body more and more relaxed. If you want, you can also shake out your arms and hands at the same time and/or fully stretch them out. Go with what feels good to you. Have fun! You don’t have to break into a sweat 🙂
- Hold your fingers
Sit or stand in a relaxed position. Take a breath, bring your attention to your fingers and hold one finger after the other starting by holding your left thumb with your right hand. You will start to feel a sensation in the finger that you hold and in the hand that holds that finger, which could be something like pulsating. This practice is relaxing and harmonious to the whole organism.
And remember, there is no such a thing as “the one right practice” or “the one right way” to do things. What works well for me, might not work for you or the other way round. It’s not about being perfect or getting it right. It’s about learning to listen and trust yourself and what your body tells you, and having fun with the process and what it reveals to you about yourself and life. It’s also about being playful with these or any other practices, even creating your very own ones.
Enjoy and share, if you want!