I am a Body-Mind Coach and help people to embrace the „full catastrophe of living“.
The full catastrophe is what Alexis Zorbas calls his life with wife and children in the film “Zorba, the Greek”, with a blink in the eye of cause. Full catastrophe living expresses for me the ability, to wholeheartedly allow for life to be what it often is (besides beautiful): messy, confusing and painful. It takes inner spaciousness and wisdom to “hold” and “be with” this whole spectrum of experience, which is presumably why it became the title of Jon Kabat-Zinn´s famous book on mindfulness and stress release (“Full catastrophe living”).
I have always had very high expectations of myself and have a felt sense for perfection (it honestly still hurts me to settle for less. But I do, in order to get things done). After excellent grades and academic degrees, multiple language and perspective-taking skills from years living abroad and a rapid entrance into paid (!) freelance writing and journalism one could think I was “safe” and many doors stood open for me.
Instead I had to quit my job at the newspaper very soon, renovated a houseboat for two years to make my dream come true of an independent life close to nature and it sank to the ground with all my belongings and my cat on it. I rebuilt everything, living off 500 Euro a month for a while as a fresh self-employed Yoga teacher and Intercultural coach, feeling ashamed to be the one with the smallest presents for my friends at their birthday parties.
But more significantly: I was chronically ill with depression, an extremely weak immune system and irritable bowel syndrome, reducing my time not in bed and doing daily things other people take for granted - like being out and about - to about 8 months of the year.
Usually at this point of the story – at least that´s what every marketing guru advises I´m sure – I would tell you that all that has changed and how you also get to be a successful, happy, healthy and athletic mompreneur (or dadpreneur) at the lush age of 40. Well: it hasn´t changed. I still catch every cold, it hits me a lot harder than most people and I sometimes take weeks to recover. I still can´t drink alcohol or coffee (which I would loooove) and most other really tasty things because of my stomach and I still suffer from bouts of depression at times. You should know: I am a wild person. I hate going half way, being constrained - or even sensible!
I want to dance, feast, love and thrive.
I sucked at being sick.
Really, I was the worst patient ever. The group therapist of the psychosomatic clinic I was at when 21 said: she is untreatable. Others too, I´m sure, had a hard time with me. I have a hard time with me! Mostly because more than anything, I want to be a useful member of our society making things better! And I want to be reliable for my family, my clients and my friends.
I cannot always. And then (besides feeling physically rotten): I feel like a complete failure. Even a burden.
Thank God I have learned to identify less with this story. It´s a story like we all tell ourselves stories why we are not good enough or not lovable. It´s what our mind does: it connects events and judgments into a sound story that then shape our thoughts, feelings and actions. It´s the story of the “I” we have constructed in order to function in our society, neglecting the interconnectedness of our being here on earth and the vastness of our consciousness.
In the last 20 years I have learned how to live with these constant, weakening challenges. I struggle. But I celebrate the beauty of life all the more whenever I can. I embrace the whole thing: the falling, the struggling and the getting on my feet again - the full catastrophe of living. I have learnt and am learning to become my most authentic, most imperfect and most compassionate self.
These are the gifts I pass on.
P.S.: And no houseboat (spouse, sport, career or social media attention – you fill in your preferred story) can make you feel whole or happy. I know you know that. Just thought I´ll remind us.
What I do (since 2008):
My formal training:
Other trainings that influence my work:
Mein Buch zum Stress lösen für Zuhause: einfache Techniken für zwischendurch, die das Nervensystem beruhigen und Reflexionsübungen, die Spaß machen.