Being yourself is not easy. Why?

Being yourself is not easy, because sometimes we‘re brought up to be someone else, someone, who has to be ‘this or that’. How often did you hear from your parents that you look like your grandfather or that you took on artistic skills after your father who liked to draw in his free time?

If looks and skills are passed on through generations, do you think that emotional problems, relationship patterns, money blockages are not? Then, let me surprise you 😉

  1. Sometimes it all comes from our family tree. Maybe some of our ancestors couldn’t pursue their passion. Maybe others told them “you won’t make a good teacher” or “You won’t be a good artist” plus “you cannot make money on art”. So they gave up their dreams of being themselves for the sake of peace of mind and social acceptance.

Maybe our parents couldn’t be themselves, because they were brought up by their parents according to some unwritten but verbally expressed rules? The behavioral patterns easily get transmitted through our genetics.

  1. Then comes the programming neatly covered under “schooling”. They tell us to go to school, study hard, be a good boy or a good girl. Go to church, believe in God, God will take care of you in the afterlife, fear the devil… They all tell us what to do. Until we reach the age of 18, we are fully programmed. Programmed to be someone. A firefighter, a teacher, a politician, a lawyer, and an IT software developer…

So you go the university, still study hard and land a good job. Congratulations! You’re a lawyer (banker, engineer or whoever) and you’re fully programmed to exist in the society and work like a sheep for the next 40 years.

Wait a moment. Was this what you wanted? Ask yourself a question: did I consciously choose that way? It is important that we feel good at our careers, in our relationships and with ourselves when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

How do you know if you are yourself?

  • You accept yourself fully, including your flaws;
  • You accept your path, the career that you CONSCIOUSLY chose;
  • You take no opinion of others on yourself;
  • You love yourself the way you are.

Look in the mirror. Who do you see there? The product of your parents/society expectations or yourself? 😊

Being yourself in a world which constantly tries you to be someone else, is the biggest achievement”.

Courage in life

The old year is coming to an end making space for the new one to come. New Year means new wishes, new resolutions and new plans. Oh yeah, we all know it.

Martha desperately needed changes in her life. She felt like a used-up Ferrari. Always in chase of a better job, better relationship and a better life. But still, despite her wishes for change, she did very little to change it.

Maybe you also don’t quit your comfy job, though you feel it’s high time for something new and more developing?

Maybe you feel you deserve better, a better-paid position or a normal, loving relationship but you still wait until it miraculously appears in your life?

The truth is, we, humans, are lazy. If we don’t need to move – we sit. Imagine someone tells you that you don’t need to go to work anymore in your life. Would you still get up at 6:30 am to move and do your stuff? I guess not.

We all have wishes. “I want to lose 5 kgs”, “I want to meet the man of my dreams”, “I want to change my job”, etc. Nowadays, “I want to” supersedes our “I do it”. We live in the world of our “wants” and not “doings”.

We are afraid to cross the magic barrier of FEAR. Why magic?

Imagine you’re standing on a cliff. On the other side, there’s another cliff where you see your dream job or dream relationship. In between, there’s an abyss. You know that you need to cross it to get to the other side. The fear stops you. The abyss is too deep, and the line is too thin. You come up with excuses why you CAN’T get to the other side, instead of putting your shit together and creating a way to get there.

Maybe you run and make a big jump, maybe you walk on the thin line or construct a more solid bridge.

In this way, you CREATE your ways on how to get to the other side. The only ingredient you need is COURAGE.

Without courage, Marc Zuckerberg wouldn’t have created Facebook.

Without courage, Jan Mela (a disabled Polish boy) wouldn’t have reached the North Pole.

Without courage, you wouldn’t have been where you are now.

Courage to go your own way of making better choices and going beyond the limits.

With best wishes for the New Year!

Plantation of Creativity team

The Art of Happiness

Do you know how your thoughts drift you away from your fulfilled and happy life? Maybe you always thought that happiness is butterfly which is always slipping through your fingertips?

the art of happiness

I’m not going to give you a definition of what ‘happiness’ is. Each of us has his own definition, which is in accordance with our values and belief system.

Lately, I’ve been watching “The affair” TV series. The main protagonist, Noah Solloway, had it all. A beautiful and loving wife, 4 healthy kids and a cosy home in the city. Yet, he was not happy. Later on, in the next seasons, he divorced his wife, took another woman and had a baby with her. Yet, he was not happy. I won’t spill the beans of how it all ends.

How many of you out there are like Noah Solloway?

Never happy with what you have. Never knowing what you actually want. Not appreciating what you have. Drifting through life insatiably.

HAPPINESS IS ANOTHER FORM OF CREATION. YOU DESIGN IT WITH YOUR THOUGHTS.

Sounds easy, hm? Easy for someone who is well aware of the power of our thoughts and is already using it.

What if, let’s say, you grew up in a poor family with a negative view on everything? What if all your friends around complain about how hard it is to earn well or to meet a good life partner? What if you don’t believe in yourself, because no one else believes in the success of your business idea?

Discover 5 mental habits on how you can create more happiness in your life.

1. PERCEPTION

The first step on your way to happiness is the ability to perceive good things in your life. If you go through your day thinking only about the bad stuff, bad weather, bad boss and lack of money, no wonder you attract it in your life.

Think about the positive things that happened during your day. Maybe someone gave you a smile on the tram or you drank a cup of your favourite coffee?

2. GRATEFULNESS

Every morning, straight after your wake-up, think about 4 things that you are grateful for today. The more positive things you perceive the higher your happiness level 🙂

3. LETTING GO

Let go of grudges ad anger towards people in your life. Are you still angry with your parents that they criticise you all the time? Time to let go. Time to give a hug to your dad and tell him how much you love him. Holding grudges and anger destroys you inside. As soon as you let go, regardless of the other person’s feelings, you find peace and clear off your head from negative emotions.

4. PURSUE YOUR DREAMS

Have dreams. Dare to dream and fulfil your dreams. This can give you so much power when you’re on your way to creating the life you want. You dream about meeting your other half? Then go out more, socialise, have the courage to meet new people.

5. APPRECIATE YOUR ROOTS

Even if you don’t like your family town or you have difficult relations with your parents, learn to appreciate your roots. Your family gave you everything they could. They fed you, educated you and loved you. Yes. Even when they didn’t know how to show this love. You owe them respect. They created you. Thanks to them you could come to this world and experience this life. Learn to appreciate it.

Let me end this post with a quote from my favourite philosopher Marcus Aurelius:

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking”

And what’s your view on that?

Let me know in comments.

Are you the boss of your life?

Often you come to the office in a corporate world to earn. To make a career. To have a good job. To become rich. To enjoy a good life, because you work so hard. Just like Steven.

Every day he dressed elegantly in a Zegna tailor-made jacket, Hugo Boss shirt and the newest model of Rolex – “GMT Master II”. He thought he had it all. A nice apartment in Switzerland, along the coast of the Zurich lake. A luxury car. A stable job in a bank. And a boss he hated.

darth vader boss type

Maybe you also complain about your boss, be it during a break for a cigarette, after-work drinks with your colleagues or making a phone call to your best friend in the toilet.

When you enter “toxic boss” in google you’ll find a sea of books on how to deal with such a person. I guess you also had at least one boss in your life that you were not happy with.

Today’s bosses are like Lord Vader, a black shadow figure giving orders. You wanted to leave at five o’clock sharp to make it home for dinner with your family? No way. Your boss orders you to stay and finish up an urgent report for him.

THE FORCE IS WITH HIM, AFTER ALL.

Steven worked extra hours. He thought he would please his boss and gain even more. What exactly? More money? A better reputation of an employee you can always count on to stay overtime?

WHO, ULTIMATELY, IS THE FORCE WITH?

The truth is, you cannot change the behavior of your boss, his personality, that he sucks being a leader or that he is not good at managing people. You cannot change someone else or external situations.

You can only change yourself. What you can do – is that you can choose your boss or your workplace. Yes. We always have a choice. The force is always with you.

The force is the power of choice. The power to say “no” to a job you don’t like. The power to go your own way and decide for yourself.

Steven used to say: “Yeah, sure, I would have to find a new job and it is not so easy”. Have you ever thought why you’re making yourself such a victim? Why you bear mobbing or another mistreatment in the workplace? Staying overtime for mediocre pay? Trying to work hard despite the crazy boss around?

It looks like Lord Vader took your force away 🙂 If you’re holding on to your own complaining policy (don’t mistake with compliance policy), then you have a problem. You are afraid to make a choice and use your force.

You are afraid to be the boss of your life.

Is the force with you? Or not yet?

What is art therapy?

When we were kids, art time was often the best part of grammar school. Who didn’t enjoy coloring, drawing, and painting? It was fun, relaxing, and you got a wonderful euphoric feeling from creating something you made with your own hands.

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Then you proceeded to working life in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. At least. The movements of your hands were limited to typing on the computer keyboard and your imagination was put to sleep like your beloved ill dog, which suffered from cancer.

Yes. A sad story. Today we are no longer creative. We have far less ways to express our emotions. We shout at our kids, we pump at the gym, we come home edgy after a full day at work… Jenny was like this until she discovered art therapy.

She never would have thought that art therapy could help her through the toughest spots in her life, but it actually did. It helped her to release all her emotions, without the need to scream or pull out your hair from your head.

WHAT IS ART THERAPY?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses a variety of art media as its primary mode of communication and expression. It’s a particularly useful method of finding ways to explore difficult emotions. I use art to help grown-ups and children deal with emotions including loss, grief, transitions, attachment, emotional, bullying, mental health, behavioral issues, and confidence issues among others.

There is something so freeing about art therapy. The goal of art therapy is not a production of an art masterpiece, it is rather a creative process in which you take out all hurtful and sad emotions to the daylight. From your brain, heart, as well as the subconscious mind. You speak, not with words, but with colors and images. You move, you create, you are in the flow.

All you do is you move your brush or pencil, create, take it all out with fierce red or the blackest black.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ART THERAPY?

1. You reduce stress.

You had a bad day at work. You have a problem with your boss. You come to an art therapy session. You imagine you are telling your boss everything by colors and lines you put on paper in front of you. Thinking about your boss and your feelings towards him/her, you let these feelings come out. When you finish you feel relieved, born again, happier.

2. You address past traumas.

Do you remember that hurtful break-up between you and this man you so much cared for? You buried it deep down inside and from that time your relationships with men are not going well. In the art therapy session, you work to release the emotions about that break-up, which are still present in your body and mind. Maybe you didn’t express them before? Maybe it was too painful to dwell in it? Now is the moment to say a proper ‘good-bye’ with art therapy method.

Art therapy is great when dealing with marriage problems or divorce.

Kids quite often use art therapy unconsciously, when for example, their parents quarrel or divorce.

Plantation of Creativity leads art therapy sessions for children and adults. Contact us and schedule your first session with us!

“If you’re feeling blue, try painting yourself a different color”.

No day is more important than today

Rainy autumn day. Monica sat down on the couch after coming back from work. A pack of Lays Chips of fromage taste was lying near on the coffee table.

The power of the present

She said to herself: “Well, I worked hard today in a job which I don’t like. I deserved these chips.

A voice in her head asked the same question as yesterday evening: “Monica, what about using this time to build up your own business that you’ve been dreaming of for so long?”

Monica did not reply and ignored the voice. She forwarded her hand to reach for the chips, switched her computer on and started to watch a movie.

No stress. No effort. Just distraction. Imagine it is you who eats these chips and watches a movie. Would you regret it later on?

Regret is one of the basic human emotions. Sometimes we regret small things – that we worried too much, that we didn’t take the number form the girl we liked or that we simply, just like Monica, postponed our dreams and ate chips to cover our feelings up.

It’s normal. Life is not a test from mathematics. We cannot fully prepare for life. We come to our thirties or forties and wonder: “What the hell am I doing in this job?”. Then, still, we sit and watch a different movie every evening and eat chips to console our feeling of being “too late for changes”.

Usually, when I ask people why they don’t do what they dream of, they answer: “it’s not worth it, I am already 35” or “It’s too late. So much time has passed by”.

Yes. It is sad that you lost so much time. You made stupid mistakes. You ate chips and watched movies every single night. This time will not come back.

Looking form this perspective, we can say that today is everything we’ve got. You can either eat your chips and complain about how much time has already passed by or take care that you will lose no more of it.

BE CONSCIOUS OF THE PRESENT MOMENT.

Your future exists only in your imagination and not in a material world. Plus, by the way, you create your future today, at this very moment. This moment is everything you’ve got. When you think about the past where are you? In the present. The same, when you think about the future. Eckhart Tolle speaks about it in his fascinating book “The power of the present”.

MAKE SMALL STEPS TOWARDS YOUR DREAM EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Exchange chips & movie evening into taking action towards your plans. Reorganize your desk. Get rid of stuff you no longer need. Go for a walk. Sign up for a drawing class. Change your job.

Your future depends on what you are doing today. It is not too late to change your profession or learn something new.

At least, when you do it now, you’ll say after years: “Good that I started in October 2019”, instead of saying “Pity, I didn’t start it earlier” when you’ll be 50.

Plantation of Creativity Team

What would you tell to your 10-year-old self?

1. Life is a game Aleksandra. It’s neither a Moroccan bazaar nor an ascetic cave. If you wanna play good learn the rules of the game called Life.

2. Love yourself because you are beautiful the way you are. Don’t listen to your colleagues making fun of your body. Let yourself be.

3. Be grateful for everything you have and the family who surrounds you. These persons might depart any moment and it’s important to love them the way you love yourself. Show them your affection and love. Even if they don’t show it to you.

4. Play, swing and have fun in the playground. The time for books and learning will come later.

5. Each failure is a next step towards your success. Those who don’t make mistakes never grow and never learn. So take your bike again, fall again and learn how to ride!

Create the Map of Your Dreams for 2019

Do you write down your goals and dreams? Do you move towards them? Or you simply prefer to sip your coffee, write your goals in a beautiful golden notebook, listen to countless coaching videos on how to finally make your dreams true and still not move your finger towards your plans?

Last week in Zurich, Switzerland we were learning how to grab the wheel of the ship called ‘life’ and how to fulfil our dreams.

You know the saying “dreams come true”, don’t you? I think it’s trumpery.

You have thousands of life coaches who give you advise on “how to attract things into your life”, but only a few of them really know the missing ingredient of the soup called ‘the life broth’.

Last week in Zurich the Plantation of Creativity organised creative-coaching workshops to uncover the key missing ingredient in our life broth. Using a Feng-Shui method based on Bagua Map, we were learning to spot out true dreams and discover the ways on how to fulfil them. Also, we learned how to avoid the traps of “positive thinking” and setting too many goals for the year.

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The majority of the dreams were focused on love and relationships. During the workshops the participants learned the hard truth of what a personal happiness means and the secret ingredient of a happy relationship.

Are you a woman whose dream is to meet a man who will take your sorrows away and be a prince on a horse? If yes, then I have bad news for you. The prince won’t arrive, even on a pony. If you will be sitting, complaining and waiting for a man to ‘save you’ then you didn’t get it right.

The same goes if you’re a man looking for a princess who will brighten up your life, give you a life purpose and finally motivate you to change for better. The fact is, we, princesses like men who are already motivated and don’t need a woman to motivate them and tell them what to do.

If we are not happy with ourselves, we won’t be happy with another person. If we won’t take care of our well-being and of our personal plans and goals and simply wait for the other person to come and fill our life, we will wait forever, like for a bus on a desert, which will never come…

What makes you happy and attractive for the other person is how you live your life. It doesn’t matter if you drive Maserati and spend your weekends in St Moritz or on a beach in Hawaii. What matters is if your Maserati and St Moritz weekends give you joy and make you as happy as Larry. By the way, can you be happy stripped off of your car and luxurious vacation? Sitting in a pyjama, reading a book and looking out the window enjoying the snowfall?

If yes, I congratulate you. You seem to have got it right.

If you enjoy being with yourself, you will enjoy being with the other person. And only then the “Bailando” of love will start to happen… 😉

Don’t spread your pain in installments. Let go of your past.

Take a look at your past. What do you see? Is it the source of your strength and experience or the source of a recurring pain and suffering?

How old are you? Even if you’re still young, you’ve been through some experiences in your life. Some of them were pleasant, wonderful, worth to remember. But there were also the moments which you don’t want to remember, but somehow they come back to the surface of your life like dead fish which emerge at the surface of the water in a river-flow.

Which memories take up the most space in your mind?

Pleasant ones or turbulent ones from your past? Still the same old movie that’s haunting you, trying to revive same old scene, like in a song by Roxy?

How to deal with the negative experiences from your past?
Skiing can be the answer.

What we tend to do with our past experiences is we revive them by thinking about them in our present. We are worried all the time when we meet a new person and we wonder “what if he or she turns out to be like my ex?”. We are afraid of being exposed to pain and suffering, of  losing ourselves again. Because we all are well-aware of how hard it is to find ourselves back on track after a painful fall.

We fail to control the thoughts about our past the way we forget to control our skis when we’re wearing them for the first time.

What we tend to do with our past experiences is we revive them by thinking about them in our present. We are worried all the time when we meet a new person and we wonder “what if he or she turns out to be like my ex?”. We are afraid of being exposed to pain and suffering, of  losing ourselves again. Because we all are well-aware of how hard it is to find ourselves back on track after a painful fall.

We fail to control the thoughts about our past the way we forget to control our skis when we’re wearing them for the first time. 

Have you ever tried cross-country skiing?

When you learn the skating technique it is essential to keep the V shape of your skis to glide and move forward. If you don’t keep the V you either fall or glide backwards. Therefore, as a beginner you need to put all your attention to keeping your V and moving forward. It’s a practice. If you check on YouTube some cross-country skating you’ll find watching it easy and it will appear to you as a relatively easy technique. But it’s only after you put your skis on and practise, you discover it’s a hard work and an enjoyable though painful exercise for your muscles.

The same goes for letting go of your past.

You cannot erase it by clicking ‘delete’ but you can store it in some part of your memory. Instead of accessing these painful memories every day, focus on keeping your skis in your V to move forward. Stay in the present and don’t let your thoughts about the past wander around. Control them the way you control your skis on a slope.

Easier said than done – you’ll say.  Indeed. Letting go of your past requires practise. It is not an in-born ability. The only things which are innate is your tendency to have a prostate cancer, the length of your thighbone or the amount of hair on your head. All the rest is up to you how you deal with it.

It is not enough to sit and tell yourself “dear thoughts about the past, please go away”. They won’t.  The more you think about them, the more influence they will have on your life. The pain will thus be spread in installments, instead of being paid at once. 

Traumatic past experiences are like small stones in your shoes that hurt your feet.

Such stones are past, disappointing relationship, broken hearts, old wounds and inability to forgive. You can cover your hurt feet with plasters with Mickey Mouse but it won’t eliminate the pain.

What you need to do is to deal with the source of the pain – take the stones out of your shoes. They won’t fall out by themselves. 

There’s one good exercise, which can help you to say goodbye to your negative memories of your past. Usually it’s people, who hurt us and produce the negative hurtful emotions. That’s why it’s essential to let go of them peacefully. The technique is called ‘the ship’.

  1. Lie down on your bed, switch off all distractions like mobile phones or computers.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 5 minutes.
  3. Imagine you stand on a pier by a beautiful sea. Smell the fresh, salty air, hear the seagulls screams.
  4. Picture a big ship standing by the pier. This ship has everything essential for a very long, infinite journey. It is safe and modern and the person who will board the ship will have everything she or he will ever need.
  5. See a person (the one that hurt you in the past and you want to let go) strolling on the pier, walking to meet you. 
  6. Look at his/her eyes and thank him/her for everything you have experienced together and say to him/her that you are going to let them go on a beautiful infinite journey, away from your life.
  7. In this moment you may cry. Allow yourself for the tears and all the emotions. Feel them and let them be. Take the pain out. Say “thank you” again.
  8. Observe the person boarding the ship. 
  9. Then, release the anchor and watch the ship until it disappears over the horizon.
  10. Now, take a deep breath, smell the see and look forward to the horizon when new things and people will soon come to you.
  11. Take a deep breath and open your eyes. Welcome again 🙂 

You have released your past and you have sent the person who was producing the negative thoughts on an infinite journey. You let go and made space for new things to come. Well done!

We’re like pawns on the eternal board, who are never quite sure what they’ve moved towards. But it’s far better to have an unsure future than to live in the same old scene that’s been haunting us.

Let go of your past and get rid of the burden which prevents you from creating a happy future. Focus on keeping your V and moving forward. Take a ski lesson.

Enjoy your practice!

Plantation of Creativity Team

Why your dreams don’t come true?

Robert had one big dream. To wake up and to see that finally everything’s alright. That he has a good job, a steady income, a wonderful girlfriend and friends, who call him a “viking” instead of a “loser”.

He’s been having this dream since many, many years. Why it doesn’t come true? Why the universe keeps ignoring Robert’s wish list?

MOVEMENT AS THE LACKING INGREDIENT

We wake up every day with a fresh chance to finally move on. But the only thing we do is moving our limbs to repeat the ordinariness of our everyday existence: make coffee, put a shirt on and step on the gas pedal to go to work. 

If Robert’s dream was to have a good job and steady income, what has he been doing the past 5 years? Moving his limbs, that’s it.

He wished for a new job but only in his head. He was moving his limbs to execute daily repeatable activities but not to go after his true dreams and hit the dancefloor of his life.

With dreams it’s like with a vertical wrinkle in between your eyebrows. The more you frown, exercising this muscle, the more visible it appears. If you literally don’t exercise your dreams, if you don’t make steps towards them, they will stay in your memory for some time, giving in to the weariness of everyday life.

It’s crucial to realise that dreams stay dreams until you move and do something about them.

PURSUE YOUR DREAM THE SAME WAY YOU DECORATE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas is already past behind us, but let me make a small comparison for you.

Christmas trees are simple trees. Fir, pine, spruce. Straight from the forest. They are made “Christmas” or festive, the moment you decorate them. You put a star on top and colourful baubles. You decorate it the way you want.

First you make a plan what decorations you’d like to buy (chains, light, baubles etc). You choose the type, style and color. You plan how you’re gonna decorate it and how the lights are gonna hang. Then, after such preparations you stand before your tree and with  watchful eyes you choose the location for your baubles. You move back a couple of steps to assess how it looks. After you finish, you sit by the fireplace and enjoy your work. You enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree, which became “Christmas” thanks to your effort. 

The same goes for your dreams. You already have a tree – a dream in your mind. You just need to get off from your couch and go shopping for baubles or make them yourself. Decide and plan how to achieve your dreams. Make them goals. Put them in your calendar. And finally, move towards them.

Christmas is gone? Make Christmas in your life, where each day is a special sparkling bauble which gets you closer and closer to your dream.

With best wishes for the New Year!

Plantation of Creativity Team 🙂

DREAMS DON’T COME TRUE. YOU MAKE THEM TRUE.