Do you believe what you see on social media? Do you envy other people's perfect lives? While I am well aware that social media presents a very skewed impression of people's lives, I have been pretty naive as to the extent that people outright lie. For what? To get more likes? To feel more loved? Is this really love? Is it sustainable when it is based on an avatar who represents the person they would like to be but aren't?
I read a fascinating article (link below) that references studies about the relationship between the amount of time spent on social media and rates of depression. Check out these stats on honesty in social media:
"In 2016, when the market research firm Custard surveyed 2,000 people in the UK, it found that only 18% of them said their profile accurately represented them, 31% said the face they presented on Facebook boiled down to “pretty much my life but without the boring bits”, and 14% said Facebook made them look “much more” socially active than they were. Men, it seemed, were more likely than women to knowingly depart from the truth: 43% admitted to fabricating some aspect of their online selves.
Six years ago, the market research company OnePoll found that a third of women it surveyed admitted to “dishonesty” on social media. Almost one in four admitted to lying or exaggerating about key aspects of their life online between one and three times a month, and almost one in 10 said they lied more than once a week. Nearly 30% of women lied about doing something when they were really home alone, and 20% were not truthful about their holiday activities or their jobs."
If we base our self worth on external validation or on a modified version of our true self, it is not true or sustainable self worth. It will fall apart the moment the 'likes' die down, you have a moment alone with the real you or get tired from keeping up the facade. Find your self worth from within. Live with integrity. Find your tribe who love you for who you are. Being you is more than enough.
I was named after a Beatles song. "Miiiichelle, ma bellllle..." You know the one? The year was 1977, my Mom had large circular tinted glasses and bell bottom pants, and my Dad's hair was almost as long as hers. ☮
For years I joked I was a closet hippie, as if being a hippie was incompatible with the rest me. As I've become older, wiser and more certain of what I stand for, I've realised that we don't have to shove ourselves into predefined categories. I can be educated and intellectual while also being intuitive and heart-based. I can wear harem pants one day and high heels the next. I can be an activist for animal liberation and still love my friends and family who are not there with me (yet 😉). I can be quite imperfect and also be perfectly enough.
What is incompatible with who I am is to see all of the injustice in the world and do nothing, say nothing, change nothing. Speciesism, racism, poverty, greed, factory farming, violence towards humans and animals, irreversible pollution, complete disrespect for the Earth we live in. I envision a peaceful, compassionate and sustainable world for my kids and grandkids. We cannot keep doing the same things as we do today, and expect a better world tomorrow. The Beatles were known for peace and counterculture. Coincidence, or is the writing in the stars?
As I celebrate my 42nd orbit around the sun this week, I am full of inspiration and hope for the future. It is motivating to see the changes that have happened in less than 2 years of sharing yoga, mindfulness, Swiss Vegan Families community and peaceful, heart-based activism. Recently several people with similar visions have fallen into my path and we are working on a few bigger projects to help create the world we wish to see. Inspiring change by growing our hearts to include ourselves, other humans, animals and the Earth in our circle of compassion.
None of us can do everything, but each one of us can do something. You matter. I matter. Thank you for following and supporting me on this journey! Together we can make shift happen!
Let's dance through life, even if it means falling 1,000 times and getting back up 1,000 times.
If we always give in to our fears and play it safe, we also keep ourselves closed off to our deepest desires. Do you truly know what your soul wants and needs in this lifetime? This year? Today? Do you know what fears are holding you back?
There is no fail proof formula or straight trajectory to the life we dream of creating. Instead it is a daily dance between moving forward and stepping back, expanding and integrating, trying new things and going deep into what we already know.
As my 42nd orbit around the sun comes to a close tonight, I am filled with gratitude for those friends - old and new - who choose to dance along with me. You know who you are 💝.
"Creativity is oxygen for our souls." ~ Julia Cameron
Ever since I was a teenager, at least a few times a year I would rearrange all of the furniture in my bedroom. I enjoyed creating new spaces without necessarily buying something new. I loved the feeling of new perspectives and fresh energy.
Have you also noticed that the state of your surroundings can have such an impact on the state of your mind? When I start seeing patterns, like continually having difficulty focusing or feeling weighed down in a particular room in my house, then I know it is time for a change.
My latest home project was to declutter our living room and make it a more peaceful place to be. All of the STUFF we had was driving me crazy. I got rid of things we no longer use, moved what we don't use regularly to the attic, and refurbished some furniture pieces into a calming grey/white theme with a shabby chic flair.
That included giving a metal cabinet I bought from Ikea 15+ yrs ago a new life by coating it in grey chalk paint and adding some little details to give it a softer, more unique feel. This part of project "living room rehab" took less than 2 hours (excluding drying time)! I forgot to take a "before" picture, so the one below is an Ikea photo ;-).
Do you play around with your environment too? Would love to be inspired by new ideas!
Lately my focus has been pulled away from social media and into two seemingly contrasting inner worlds.
On the one hand, I've been going through a really emotionally intense time that started in December. My energy shifted in the weeks leading up to my Mom's birthday (2nd without her), with her appearing in my dreams more often, many flashbacks from her illness, and frequent signs that her energy is ever present. It was...intense...and not easy to navigate, especially amidst the daily responsibilities of being a Mother and homemaker, among other roles.
On the other hand, in the same time period, some big dreams I have had for several years have shifted very quickly from dreams to visions and plans. Suddenly I am effortlessly meeting other people who share the same dreams and who are driven to envision them together and develop plans to make them real. These are the same dreams my Mom and I spent hours talking about and painting into visions. 💖
A few days ago I realised these two experiences - the weight of this heavy emotional time and the buoyancy of dreams in the pipeline - are fully interconnected. They are the yin and yang of life, the dance between light and dark, between being pulled backward and propelled forward. It is so easy to want just the feel-good emotions and to resist the wtf-this-sucks ones.
But together they provide depth, richness and balance to life, even if it doesn't feel that way in the thick of it. And it is no accident that one of the things I miss the most about my Mom - our endless brainstorming sessions of business ideas and life dreams and plans - is now coming back into my life at this time, in the form of making possible the dreams she and I envisioned right up until she died.
Thank you, Universe, for all of it. .
Authenticity trumps fake positivity.
I would like to know at what point in history people became so resistant to dealing with physical pain and painful emotions. We numb ourselves with medication and substances and screens (🙋♀️me included), and mindlessly answer "good" when people ask us how we are.
At what point did we decide it is more important to give an impression that we have it all together, or to hustle for our worthiness, instead of showing up with truth and integrity.
When did our tribes dissolve and we stop coming together to lift each other up in times of need, no longer able to handle the emotions of others, replacing unconditional love with "good vibes only".
It's time to start being real 💞. Let's love ourselves anyway even when we don't feel the good vibes, and love ourselves just as much when we do. Let's learn to be vulnerable and share how we are when someone asks how we are. Let's learn to hold the space for others who need help getting back to good vibes.
And if you are someone who is authentically feeling good vibes 100% of the time, share your beautiful light with those who need some of that energy, rather than telling them their vibes aren't welcome. 💝
Authenticity trumps fake positivity.
Why celebrate the birthday of someone who is no longer physically with us?
I woke up yesterday feeling anything but celebratory. I would have preferred to have stayed in bed alone all day long. I was emotional and wanted the time & space to honour that.
But with 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats, my life isn't just about me. I got out of bed to 2 excited kids who wanted to show me what they had made. C had crafted this "Happy Birthday Danma" banner and N was so proud she had taped it up on the window by herself, together with some fairy lights. They were only 5 and 7 when their Grandma "Danma" died, but the memories of her are fresh in their hearts and they are doing everything they can to keep those memories alive. It is not so much a conscious effort for them as it is just a natural part of our new normal.
Yesterday was the second time we celebrated my Mom's birthday since she died last year.
We weren't celebrating that she turned a year older. She didn't.
We weren't wishing her happiness and health for the years to come. She will never have that.
We were celebrating her birth day, expressing gratitude for the life and love she gifted us, and honouring everything she was while she was with us on the earth plane.
After spending the day at a floorball tournament for C and a year end party at the school, where I had some great convos with other parents/friends about life, death and emotions, we came home to celebrate. N wanted to make a cake, and both kids wanted Vondue (plant-based fondue), a tradition we had started with my Mom when she used to visit us around her birthday. We set a place for her at the table, a tradition my husband started last year.
We talked about our favorite memories, and then the dining light started turning off and on. A lot. It has done that before when I am working at the table alone at night, but it has never done that at dinner. With the whole family there. And so often. Even Christoph said it is pretty weird. We joked that it was my Mom. But was it a joke? N concluded that Danma must be playing a game with us. When she turns the light off, we have to turn it on as quickly as possible. It was bittersweet. The kids insisted on lighting birthday candles and singing happy birthday. She would have been 67. 67 years of touching people's hearts, of making a difference in their lives, of inspiring love and gratitude.
Thank you Mom for everything you were when you were here, and for all of the beautiful moments you still inspire now that you are on the other side. We love you so, so much!
In our loving kindness women's circle last night, one of the topics that came up is how our focus has the power to change our perception of pretty much everything. Where our attention goes, is where the energy flows.
You know how when you buy a new car, suddenly you start seeing those cars everywhere? Well, it's not that a bunch of people copied you and suddenly went out and bought the exact same car. You brought this car into your awareness and therefore started noticing it everywhere.
If we choose to focus on what's lacking in our life or what is negative or where we feel we aren't good enough, then we will see all the signs, the "proof" that we are right, all the while missing all the positivity that is happening simultaneously. Likewise, if we choose to focus on what's working, on positive aspects of people or situations, no matter how challenging, then we prime ourselves to flow into more positivity.
I have been frustrated and worried lately with some struggles we've been having with the kids, feeling at a bit of a loss on how to move forward. Then, yesterday morning, as I was walking the dogs in the forest, it suddenly dawned on me...I have been focusing on the problems, on what's not working!
Life feels so much lighter and happier when I step back and list all of the wonderful things that are working well, rather than getting lost in what isn't. Perception is everything!
It is constant work in progress to check if my perception is serving me or those around me. And, oddly enough, it can feel quite exciting when limiting thought patterns become clear, because that is when we get the chance to work on them and experience the beauty of personal growth. 💝
So grateful for these two today.
I was driving home from teaching yoga last night, when suddenly this wave of emotion came over me. The tears starting streaming down my cheeks as memories of my Mom flooded my heart and mind.
Was it something in yoga class that triggered it? Was it the fact that her birthday is in 3 days, or that she usually came to visit us this time of year? Whatever the reason, her absence is heavily present at the moment.
I came home and opened the front door to be greeted by these 2 fluffballs, so incredibly excited to see me. We humans have so much to learn from the way animals express unconditional love, and these two are extra special to me because they remind me of my Mom.
Max and Molly are my Mom's dogs. Or I guess technically they "were" my Mom's dogs, who have found a new forever home with us until it's their time to meet her in the spirit plane.
Talking about my Mom in past tense is still so foreign to me, not only because her essence is still so present in my heart, in her dogs and in our family conversations, but also because she will always BE my Mom.
Yes, her body is gone, but is unconditional love a physical element of the body that dies along with it? Or could it be that love is on a deeper soul level, immeasureable, devoid of time and form?
Grief. Gratitude. The more you love, the more you hurt. And it is so worth it; I wouldn't trade that love for anything.
Michelle Borner, a mom on 23 missions, blogs about her Deep Thoughts on a wide range of topics from parenting to conscious living to lessons from brain cancer.
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