Psychological Solutions For A Better Life

Posts tagged ‘Gudrun Frerichs’

Moving my Site

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Photo by ‘the meassure of mike’

Today is my official ‘Last Day at Work’ – After 25 years of working in the field of trauma recovery, I am retiring and closing my clinical mental health practice. That is an odd feeling, and I am sure I am going to write some more about the impact of that step. Although, everybody faces such a move at some point.

My focus in the future will be on writing. As you may or may not know, I have recently published my first book ‘Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting Loving Relationships‘, in which I combine my passion for great relationships and the 3 Principles with my love for sweet cakes and tarts and … all things yummy. You can check it out on Amazon.com – and buy it if you are so inclined.

To have a website that is more suited to my writing, I migrated from wordpress.com over to wordpress.org because of the more suitable set-up there. Those of you who have subscribed to this blog and have not automatically received notification of my last blog-posts, please go over to gudrunfrerichs.com and subscribed again there. I am afraid the technicalities of this whole moving thing is beyound my computer skills.

Thanks for having been a supporter of this site – all the posts here have been moved over to my new one, and you can be assured I will keep writing!

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I Am Who I Am: A Reflection On The 3 Principles

I woke up this morning with the thought “I am who I am” on my mind. A peculiar thought for me at 6AM in the morning. Intrigued I started reflecting what that might mean for me and everyone else for that matter. The bible tells us God said to Moses: “Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you”. ‘I AM’, no qualifier, not quantifier, just “I AM”. No more and no less. As if anything more would be limiting, taking away from, not doing justice to the speaker. And by doing so it can become everything.

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So, here I am who I am (we are who we are). Not what you think about me, not how people judge or put their cherished expectations on me, not even what I think about me and my cherished expectations of myself. I am not a sinner nor a saint, not a mother, a teacher, a therapist, a lover, a cook, a wife, a sister, a daughter, or a philosopher. I am much more than that! I am neither clever nor dumb, soft nor harsh, beautiful or ugly, fat or thin, kind or malicious. I am all of that and none of that. That complexity is what makes us human beings so exciting as well as scary to be around. For the ‘Other’ we are what they see in us, but that’s not really who we are, it’s only the bit they recognize, the tiny bit that was revealed to them or they became aware of.

We are an expression of nature or in other words ‘the life force’ I like to call it MIND, others call it other things like ‘God’ that breathed life into us and gave us the power of THOUGHT, the ability to think and make sense of the world around us and within us. The third principle is CONSCIOUSNESS, our ability to become aware of and bring to life what we think.

Who AM I? Who are we? We are the sum-total of how we used Mind, Thought, and Consciousness to come to an understanding of ourselves and our world. Everything that ever happened to us or around us, we interpreted and we came to conclusions what that meant about us and about the world. How safe is the world? How safe are people? Is Life benign or malignant? We all are a product of how well we used Mind, Thought, and Consciousness over our life span.

How I have used the 3 Principles of Mind, Thought, and Consciousness over time to make sense of my past and my world has made a difference when I hesitated to cross certain ‘bridges’, not trusting the bridge, the people, or myself. I am sure I missed many opportunities to create something positive that way. How I used the principles to make sense out of my world has at other times enabled me to cross bridges with verve that sometimes lead me to a ‘better’ place while at other times left me ‘stranded’. Like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ – it was a pleasant walk, a very pleasant walk, but it didn’t lead anywhere.

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I am who I am! Not how I have made sense of my past, or achievements, or disappointments. These are just thoughts. They are not reflecting reality, they reflect my current thinking of a certain time. My past was my past. It really happened. But how and what I think about it has been changing over the years many times depending on my state of mind. When we can see that our thoughts are just thoughts, not reality based evaluations about us or the world but fluctuating all the time, we become free. Then everything is possible, then “WE ARE WHO WE ARE – I AM WHO I AM.”

Am I at peace with myself? Yes and No. At times, when my mind wanders to pleasant moments, attached pleasant feelings flow through me and I am happy and at peace. When my mind wanders to moments of unmet needs, discord, or conflict, unpleasant feelings wash over me like a tidal wave. At those moments I am not at peace. If at those times I know that these moments are just echos from the past, unpleasant thoughts that I now remember and that cause unpleasant feelings, I can let them go and they become a passing thought, soon replaced by another, and then again by another, and inner peace is restored fairly quickly. If at those times I forget that my unpleasant feelings are just passing through thoughts of my past, if I give them a life of their own, let them into my house and cherish them for an hour, a day, or even longer, inner peace will take its sweet time to come to me, usually taking longer than I would prefer.

This will go on and on as long as we live. Nobody escapes this law of nature, these 3 Principles. However, what I do know is that when I am surrounded by people who respond in a caring, supportive, respectful, and loving way my thoughts usually wander into hopeful, uplifting realm of possibility and creativity. When surrounded by criticism, disinterest, or even disrespect, my thoughts wander more easily to negative and painful realms, awakening difficult and unpleasant feelings. At those times I need a lot of energy to hold on to ME and wall up against the negativity which leaves me with less room for creative life choices.

I am who I am – and life’s circumstances do not determine my well-being, but the way I think about these circumstances do. However, just like a fish is more alive and agile in clear, healthy water, so am I – so are we. It pays to check regularly the quality of the water we swim in to make sure we swim the best we possibly can.

Only One Step to Happiness: End of Story

rel ships happyOver the last 20 years positive psychology and positive thinkers have suggested that by simply following a number of steps ‘Happiness’ is in our grasp. Who would not like the idea?  But wait a minute …. if there were only 3, 5, or 7 steps to Happiness, would people not have achieved it by now? People are not stupid – at least not the majority. So what is wrong with the picture?

Happiness is not a commodity, a trade-able good that can be acquired by following a prescribed formula – like how to start your car’s engine. (more…)

The Art of Listening

woman-listening“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  This quote from Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change) describes succinctly the problem most people have when communicating. Most courses and trainings refer to ‘active listening’ as a desirable practice, yet it teaches people to listen to the words, the content, and then repeat it back to the speaker.

In contrast, deep listening as I understand it is listening for the meaning behind the words, is listening for the feeling that the words are pointing it. In a way, it is listening with a sense or curiosity WITHOUT checking with our own mind whether it makes sense to us, we can relate to it, whether it is stupid/reckless/naive to name just a few examples. If we would listen that way (checking with our own mind) we would only listen to our own thoughts about something and not to the other person. (more…)

Auckland Three Principles Group for Sustainable Wellbeing: Why not to look back

2011-05-Monster-MAC-Bike-punctureThe Auckland Three Principles Meet-up Group (check out here their website)  is a place to learn about and deepen your understanding of the Three Principles as formulated by Sydney Banks and practiced today in many countries by a growing number of facilitators / coaches / counsellors in a wide number of contexts: business, personal growth, prisons, schools, families, sport, and high performance activities.

We had an interesting meeting last Friday during which we explored how people sustain their well-being. I would like to share one topic that comes up really frequently and … hence again last night as well: Why it is not useful to look back!  It is easy to say “don’t look back – you are not going that way”, but people seem to get caught in trying to understand the thoughts that caused their distressing feelings. (more…)

#3 Mistake That Kills The Love In Relationships: Ignoring the Weather Forecast

stormy weatherMost people have enough common sense to mind the weather forecast. You can see that on the motorway when all the cars are slowing down as soon as it starts raining heavily. I remember back when we had a sailing boat, we wouldn’t go out when the winds were so high that the risk factor out-weight the pleasure that could be gained. Of course, there are most likely some exceptions, some people are dare devils who zoomed along the motorway with high-speed totally ignoring the conditions.

Most people however ‘drive to the conditions’. If the weather is particularly nasty, they might even elect to stay at home. It makes perfect sense considering that driving in stormy weather is not pleasurable, it’s dangerous, one’s field of vision is impaired, and you might not get very far. (more…)

5 Mistakes That Kill The Love In Relationships (# 2) I am right and you are wrong

wrong rightNumber two of the mistakes that kill the love in relationships is the conviction that MY view of things is right and YOUR views of things is wrong. I don’t think there has ever been a couple that presented for relationship counselling, coaching, or therapy that was not caught in that erroneous assumption.

To be fair, it is not only an affliction couples suffer from, but human kind in general follows that strict line of thinking. Hence the fights, wars, and conflicts we observe throughout history and present day circumstances. How much suffering happened because people thought they were right and hence their actions were justified: from human sacrifice, to slavery, to witch hunt, to wars, oppression, human rights …. the list is endless.  (more…)

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