Posts Tagged: happiness

last month’s review

As I am writing this I am sitting on the top of a mountain in northern Ethiopia (3300m). The town nearby is Lalibela and worldwide known for its wonderful churches that were carved out of the mountain. Some carved more than a thousand years ago.

Since I left Zanzibar about a month ago I have been traveling quite a bit. From Zanzibar I caught a plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had the president of Zanzibar on board who went for some meeting to Addis. This gave us the wonderful opportunity to fly around and right over mount Kilimanjaro after having stopped at Kilimanjaro airport. From Addis I flew over Heathrow in London to Toronto, Canada. I had near been to Canada before and was positively surprised. I heard Canadians speak about Toronto, as if it wasn’t there most beautiful town and still I enjoyed it a lot.
Seemed to me as if it was a City in the US, just more green, more pedestrians and even friendlier. I stayed in Kensington market which gave me the opportunity to walk to University of Toronto early in the morning for class.
There I took a one week hypnosis training with Mister Hypnosis himself: Dr. Mike Mandel. To put it shortly, it was mind blowing and had the potential for changing life. Mine as well as those who will profit from these learnings in the future.
After that amazing week I flew to Berlin to meet my brother, some friends and take care of some stuff. Three days later I left for Cologne where I had another business training. I met my parents, grandma and a good friend and his family. After three days I left for Berlin again, where I met Alex Dahms of ‚One Million Good Thoughts’. We recorded a great interview for the next ‚One million Good Thoughts‘ edition this summer.
I also had to clean up my former office at ESCP Europe and had a little farewell party at the Campus, met some more friends I hadn’t seen in ages and went to business conference for digital nomads ‚DNX‘ organized by my podcast guest Markus Meurer. Great people, great audience, great day. It was definitely worth it.
Only eight hours after the ‚DNX‘ ended I was on my way to Frankfurt to catch a plane back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet Judy. We had planned to go on a three weeks vacation.

The winter season in Zanzibar was a dream that came true I would never want to miss. Still it was a whole lot of work. Judy doing her best in the Zanzibar health sector, working and teaching in three different hospitals and me building up the Lodge, mainly creating and installing processes.
When I go there I will do several things different, but for the first times I still had to learn a lot. Now I have a place at the Indian Ocean that keeps growing and expanding with a great team at work. And Judy will start her new position at the University Hospital Bern, Switzerland in July.
First it was time for some vacation for us. As I am planning some Ultra Mountain Races in Switzerland over the summer I wanted to be up in the mountains somewhere. Judy who has a personal history with Ethiopia wanted to visited the country for the first time in her life and since most of the country is above 2500m above sea level it was the place of choice. We started in Addis Ababa in a runners camp of Haile Gebrselassie whom you might know, then went on to Gonder and the Simmiens mountains for a week, where we went above 4000m for several times and I climbed the highest mountain in Ethiopia.
Now we are for some days at Lalibela to see the gorgeous historic monuments they crafted here decades ago. After we will visit Harare, the ancient muslim center of Ethiopia and then will go on to Zanzibar before we leave to Switzerland for the summer, where I will work on the online programs for happylife.coach.

I can tell you, as beautiful as traveling is, sometimes I need to rest a bit to be able to process all the learnings. I don’t know how it is in your life, but it might make sense to go for a change every once in while. And may it be only to become aware that you enjoy what you already have.

what our brain does when it does nothing at all

I am so happy to present yet another wonderful post by Lisa. Without knowing she wrote about the reason why my sailing and Sahara seminars have such an impact:

Sometimes it happens, someone asks me:“What are you thinking about right now?“ Suddenly I am torn from my thoughts which were just wandering on their own. In order to come to a suitable answer I try to structure the chaos in my head and bring my thoughts into some order. But then my only answer is: “Well, nothing.at all“ Knowing that this is not true at all.

Because our brain never stops spinning the wheel.
Amazingly I find my own mind on special colorful routes, coming up with the most creative ideas when I am not productive at all. When I feel almost bored.
Like recently in Melbourne. Far away from my routines and social network I found myself with lots of time and my brain with unsuspected capacities. I used to stroll around without destination when my mind came up with a thunderstorm of thoughts – memories from my early childhood, the taste of long forgotten dishes; dialogues that have never happened; people I never met… it felt like a theatre play of my past, present and future mixed together with countless actors and endless storylines. Way too complex to put it into words. Daydreams…
Some brain researchers explain those moments with the so called DMN (Default Mode Network) which gets activated when our brain is not occupied with other tasks. The DMN does not respond to stimulations from the outer world but is specialized in introspection and the processing of experiences. This makes it essential for the construction of our identities: In an ongoing inner monologue we are telling our own story over and over again. As if the DMN is working itself through a huge pile of ‚post its‘ that were hidden in our unconsciousness. Piled there through our daily experiences. And it keeps assigning, structuring, reinterpreting. Building the basis for reflected decisions.
That is why we come up with creative ideas and complex troubleshooting when we less expect them… under the shower, taking a run, or staring at the ceiling.
But in our modern overstimulated world, tight schedules keep our brain constantly challenged. And we don’t have much time for letting our thoughts wander. That’s why my experience in Melbourne taught me to leave space for idleness. Because I am more in line with myself and my life when I let my thoughts wander around regularly.
Aristotle would be proud – in antiquity the highest value was idleness.

a new discovered freedom

the simplicity of happiness on swiss trails
A free day to me is a day in nature, in the mountains, on meadows, on my own feet with a rucksack on my back and depending on the season with trail or snowshoes on my feet and sticks in my hands.

Already days before, I think about that day. Where I will go, which mountain peak I am going to explore and which trail am I going to show my shoes that day. The anticipation is big and that very day my feet tingle in the morning… soon I will be up and running.
The scenery especially if there is good sight is breathtaking. The pure view enlightening and every change of perspective offers something new and thrilling for my eyes to see and my heart is yelling: I want to see this mountaintop and want to walk on that meadow.
Infinite freedom. Starting at the threshold of my home trails are passing and they lead me to others trail and those to even more.The trail network spans thousands of kilometers passing lakes and going along huge mountainranges. Unlimited possibilities for small trailruns, bigger trailruns, extensive hikes, and soo much more…
A paradise to me! And so simple – not much equipment needed, no big deal… but lots of space and time for me and us.

It can be so simple to find out, what makes you happy, but way too often, it’s just so difficult.

thankful for the moment

I just spent my last week in Sahara with the members of „sahara experience III“. My intention was and is to show others how different life can be. Even I forget, that everything I do in my life, I do by free choice. In almost every case I have the choice to do something different or to not do it at all. I just have to live with the consequences.

I focus on all the little things me and others keep complaining about. Situations that we would so much like to be different. I try to remind myself that it is still my own choice to react the way I want to.
What I keep forgetting though, is how much we managed to keep our world in its boundaries in the western world. We can barely imagine a power cut, not to talk about anything severe. In my everyday life, the worst thinghappening to me is that I lose my internet connection. I rarely think about other people on this planet, who don’t live in such a technological world and how they have to deal with the powers of nature.
After we arrived in M’Hamid, a week ago, the sun was still shining and then the weather turned slowly into a heavy sandstorm that day. I still thought that this was a one day sandstorm that will disappear again after some hours and well, fortunately it did.
Unfortunately it came back every day with one big difference. From the following morning on we were in the desert and headed directly into the direction the wind (and all the sand) came from. I had a feeling that I normally don’t have. I was helpless. I hated the sand in my eyes, I hated the sand in my nose, I hated the sand in my lungs. All I wanted to do was hide from it, but I couldn’t. I had to move against it. Resting didn’t really help either. Preparing food was like playing in the sand. In the night the sandstorm slowed down, to come back every now and then leaving loads of sand in my sleeping bag. Even when I woke up, I was chewing on sand. Nothing helped but to become stoic. Just keep on moving and hope for the storm to settle down. On the evening of the third day it settled down. The sky cleared up and we had the first night with stars shining. In the end, we had a remarkable experience and could enjoy the clear nights with music around the fire even more. We knew that it wasn’t for granted.
I suppose this is the way the world goes round. It’s not always and everywhere sunshine. Sometimes problems occur and you have to go through hard times. It doesn’t help to hide from your problems. That won’t make them better. The only way to deal with them is to face them and work your way through. Once they lie behind you, it is even nicer to enjoy the smooth times. You deserve it because you made it through and that feels good.
If you manage to think about that, you will live a happier life.
I hope, that, when everything runs smooth for me, I will always remember not to take that for granted and that I’ll always be thankful for the moment.
Now I am enjoying Taghazout in Morocco for one week. No sandstorm and nowhere to walk. Just time to relax, organize, plan ahead and write.
I am thankful to be here.

a good year

THIS IS A GOOD YEAR TO HAVE A GOOD YEAR!

The future is ours and an empty page. Imagination that leads to action creates happiness. Welcome 2015! Let’s shape it together. Imagine and act.