My whole life I’ve struggled with being sensitive. The outside world can be an overwhelming, loud, confusing place for me. When I’ve spend a couple of hours doing stuff, I need to go home and recharge. Growing up I always felt so different and weird. People telling me over and over: you need to toughen up! Things got easier when I learned that I’m not the only one. That it’s OK to be introverted; and that my sensitivity is in fact a strength. But I still find it hard to set boundaries. To always be the first one to leave a party. To decline an invitation to go an awesome festival. To tell people that I don’t have plans and I’d like to keep it that way. And so I usually end up feeling over-committed and overwhelmed. But then an extraordinary thing happened! I adopted a hypersensitive cat named Jet. Loud sounds, strangers, and changes in her environment upset her immensely and she can only be alone for a couple of hours. Our needs align magically. Now, whenever I’m tempted to ignore my needs, she’s there to remind me. I can’t stay out too long, need to go home and take care of her. Take care of me. What a blessing!
As a child I was very intuitive. I instintictively knew things, and often had premonitions. But growing up my intuition got drowned out by other voices. Being an analytic philosopher didn’t help. Because I couldn’t frame any of it in logical terms, I didn’t know how to explain it. My inner voice was still there, telling me things, but I no longer listened to it. Einstein once said: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” I was a living example of that. But last year I read the beautiful book A Still, Small Voice by Echo Bodine. Once I embraced my inner voice, it became louder. Sometimes it’s so loud that I find myself shouting back: “I hear you, I hear you!” I guess it wants to make sure I never ignore it again. Now that I’m learning to trust my intuition, life is much simpler. Things just happen without effort. Not only did it guide me to the sweetest creature, I found a new home within two days. For the first time in my life I no longer seek advice from others to make decisions. Why would I? I have my own inner wisdom.
A broken heart isn’t the easiest thing to mend. You can do everything right: find solace with your dearest friends, embrace your new found freedom, sign up for super fierce kickboxing classes. But no matter how much you enjoy your own company or how often you remind yourself that some relationships aren’t meant to last, there will still be moments when you miss the joy of going on adventures together, waking up in each others arms or the way they made you burst out with laughter. There will still be tears. There will still be bittersweet memories that make the pieces of your heart falter. Of course, letting go of your soulmate is hard. But what it comes down to, the hardest thing to admit, is that I am afraid of truly being on my own. Of going into uncharted territory without someone there to hold my hand. But the truth of the matter is that you cannot go back to the past. So you have to be strong. Especially if you want your own light to shine bright. So just send them love and light every time you think of them, and continue on your way. For as a wise person once said: everything you need, is within you.
Ever since I founded The Oak Tree Factory, most of the decisions I’ve made have been about minimalism. I’ve really taken the motto start where you are, use what you have, do what you can to heart. It hasn’t always been easy, I can tell you that. Over the years I’ve given up on well-paying jobs, expensive holidays, living space, furniture, luxury goods – asking myself at every turn: how can I pursue my dreams instead of status, financial security, and really just more stuff? The answer has always been: keep it small, enjoy the little things. Aren’t the best things in life free, after all? But now, for the first time in years, I’m expanding. Taking a step out of my tiny, but comfortable hermit shell and moving into one that is one size bigger. One that has lots of space for all my creative work. You’d think that would be a blissful moment, after years of giving things up. Yeah, not so much. Growth, as I’ve learned, is a painful process. It asks us to take a risk, jump into the unknown, head first. “What if I fall? What if I fall? What if I fall?” The question repeats in my head, ad nauseam. “Yes, my darling,” a soft voice whispers in my ear, “but what if you fly?”