Self-discovery, and staying in the present moment are sometimes easier said than done. But these 27 lessons can help you a lot in getting there.
To celebrate the amazing gift of being (still) alive after all that I’ve been going through, I want to share 27 lessons that I have learned over the last 27 years of my human existence. So grab your favorite notebook, hot drink or snack of your choice and see what the following words can teach you (hint: there is always a message between the lines – for everyone – including you)!
27 years. 27 lessons.
1. This is something that I’ve not only “learned”, but that I truly believe in: Not everything can be cured, but we all have the innate power to heal ourselves and consciously change our (own GOOD) lives. I have done this, I have seen it happening in everyday life.
That’s why I know that there is hope for everyone. There is no mystery to self-healing, it is consciousness, courage, commitment, and consistency that move us from years of misery to the beauty of inner peace.
2. Healing starts with one conscious choice. It starts with making a courageous commitment for yourself – to yourself. It takes a hell lot of courage, commitment, and consistency and it will not happen overnight. But it works, if you put in the work. You own it to yourself – and yourself only. Commit to it and stick to it, because the work truly will be worth it!
3. The past repeats itself until it completes itself. The better you understand yourself, the better you respond to change. No-one can ever change you (even if I wish this wasn’t true). You have to do this work by yourself – for yourself because you are your own best self-healer.
Counseling, therapy, and healings do not move you closer to yourself if you are looking outside yourself for answers. You are the creator uncovering your own creative power! You are the healer. You are your own holistic therapist, your own holistic counselor.
BUT it’s of utmost importance to ask for – and accept – help along the journey. You need to become vulnerable and connect with someone who has done this work themselves to receive support throughout the progress. Asking for help is not just “ok”, but a beautiful sign of strength.
4. Self-care is not (always) glamorous! (Although the photos of bubbles filled baths and delicates foamed rainbow lattes try to tell us a different story..) It takes commitment, strength, and brutal honesty! Sometimes, coming back to the basics is really important. And it’s so often forgotten as we are always on the hunt for the “best” and “most advanced” self-care tool out there.
We read we watch, we consume.. and we overlook simplicity when simple is often the most meaningful and transformative. “Self-care” sounds lovely, but it can feel hard to access when we don’t specifically know what it looks like for us. Self-care is showing up for yourself to do the REAL HARD work of healing over and over again. It’s trying to change the harmful self-critical narratives in your head and tell yourself a different story.
Related: Discover Your True Authentic Self
5. Your ego is nothing to “get rid off”. The ego arises out of the state of identification with thought. The moment of freedom arises when we realize that we are not our thoughts—rather, we are the awareness of watching the thought. To the ego self-acceptance is death.
Do the Ego work. It will be challenging. Your Ego will hate it, resist it, make you feel miserable at times, but it will eventually set you free. Befriend it. Be kind. Don’t try to fight something that’ll be part for you for a lifetime. Believe me, the work is worth it. Every bad day for the Ego is a good day for the soul!
6. In order to be who you are, you have to let go of who you think you are. When you practice present moment awareness for long enough, you will discover that you don’t “have” a soul. You ARE a soul. And you have a body. One is manifested in form, the other is pure awareness or consciousness. Your body is your soul’s chance to be here. But you better treat both with love and care. (I’m talking holistic wellness here!)
7. Books are great for learning, but they’re terrible for action, accountability, and transformation. Books won’t teach you how to become conscious. You can only teach yourself through practice. (Self)awareness is like a muscle. It builds with consistent repetition.
We, as a society, are in the midst of an evolutionary crisis. We think, obsess, ruminate, problem-solve, talk, read, and consume information in an effort to find answers and relieve pain. We chase for insights and knowledge but forget to practice the most important lesson: to act, to do the work, to look insight, and practice what we preach.
You don’t need to know everything to know yourself. Your challenges are not meant to defeat you. They are meant to REVEAL you. From you. To yourself. If you face them with confidence, they will only make you stronger!
8. Our body has an innate ability to heal, and it keeps the scars of your past. The body remembers what the mind forgets. And what the mind suppressed, the body expresses. So many answers can be found when you get out of your mind and into your body. Calming the mind and resting the body by getting out of stressful “fight-or-flight” modes of thinking are key to healing. Most of the answers can be found in intentional stillness (meditation).
9. You cannot be free from pain. But you can be free of the fear of pain. Everything we experience is mind-made – mediated and shaped by our mental processes. We really do create our own reality. This means that we can always consciously CHOOSE to take another path.
So if you don’t like what you see, change your relation to it! Don’t let your thoughts and emotions destroy your inner peace. Remember that healing doesn’t mean forgetting. It means that you no longer let your past ruin the peace of the present moment!
10. We do not always need a plan to start. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just START (all over again)! You cannot think your way to an outcome. You’ve got to act your way to it. There is no quick fix when it comes to mental health. Life-changing transformation comes from small committed changes practiced with consistency.
11. Talking about starting, another important lesson I learned on my escape to Mama Bali: A “fresh start” isn’t a place. It’s a mindset. That means you can heal anywhere and don’t need to go to Bali (or any other place) to start doing the inner work. In fact, your current triggers are the very thing that will make you even stronger.
12. Healing is an ongoing journey of self-discovery. Healing = personal accountability. Personal accountability = freedom. So freedom = choice. Your life, your choice. Never blame anyone else for your healing progress. Read this, if you want to dig deeper.
13. Your breath is your most honest teacher. It will always reveal to you how you feel – in the present moment. Breath-work is FREE and yet one of the most powerful tools in my holistic healing tool-kit!
14. The art of listening is not to hear what someone says, but to hear how they feel. Listening is a hug you give with your heart. And we do not need to agree with someone to listen to them and hear them out. LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the same letters. Think about it!
15. Stillness is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves. In stillness, we create the space needed to create something new that is serving us. Go meditate. Daily. One of the gifts that slowness in the present moment gives us the chance to see things more deeply than we saw them before.
16. (Self-)forgiveness frees you from emotional bondage you weren’t even aware of suppressing. You are allowed to forgive yourself for everything (whatever everything maybe).
Letting go doesn’t mean that you forget. It means that you are no longer carrying the energy of the past into the present and future. The progress speeds up as soon as we forgive ourselves for taking so long to treat our bodies and minds as a home – instead of a prison.
17. Taking baby steps are usually more effective long-term than “big leaps”, but unfortunately soo much undervalued in modern society. A little change is still change. Keeping daily promises to ourselves. I know the Ego, or small self will protest. I know it will think it “knows better” and small promises “don’t matter” and will never bring you the “big” results. Mental resistance from the Ego is normal. Do it anyway!
18. Having hope for the future does not mean you think everything will go perfectly and according to plan. It means you are choosing to believe you can keep an open heart. Affirmations don’t work as you use them as a “magical tool”. There is a BIG difference between magic and miracles.
Magic: when you use your mind to tell the universe what you want vs. Miracle: when you ask the universe what it wants and how you can serve it.
So my advice: Don’t waste your time making a vision board. Make an AWARENESS board instead and remind yourself once you get distracted to return to the present moment!
19. Having the courage to do the right thing – whether it is large or small – will always make you feel better than doing something you don’t agree to. Nearly everything good, meaningful, and joyous in my life has come from stepping out of comfort and into the unknown, with no guarantee of what the outcome would be.
Confidence isn’t knowing other people like you. It’s knowing you’ll be fine if they don’t. (I believe this is a quote I picked up somewhere. But I don’t remember who said it..) So in my words: You do YOU!
20. Never ever stop being curious about learning. Seeking ongoing education and taking every other opportunity to broaden your knowledge of the world and its people will change your relationships.
21. You can heal and help others heal at the same time. We are back to “start before you are ready!” It’s in the DOING, not in the waiting, that we find our bravery.
22. Protecting yourself from negative people will speed up your healing journey. Believe me, I’ve been holding on to relationships that were only dragging me down for far too long. Set your boundaries and hold them!
23. What we resist, persists. What we deny still takes up space. In fact, the more we deny and resist the more ways it tries to grab for our attention. When we ignore, avoid, shrink it, and push it away, that which wants to be felt, experienced, owned, and seen can try to push itself out into our awareness so that we have to look and pay attention.
Patterns, illness, pain, disconnection, and more will present. Our work is to look. It’s to become more familiar with ourselves and our experiences. It’s to become an observer and learn. It’s to feel what needs to be felt, acknowledge what needs to be acknowledged, and own what needs to be owned.
Only by looking inward and asking the tough questions can we find the peace that comes with truly belonging and knowing our place in the world. True belonging means belonging to yourself and no one else. What I’ve learned is that you cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with. Self-love, for me, is creating space in my life to heal, change, and transform my body and my mind.
24. You are both, the problem and the solution. Healing happens when we unpack our programming and conditioning and repackage it in ways that hold ourselves with honor respect, bravery, and empowerment. Healing happens with a change in perception of the illness one where we respond to our pain with love rather than fear.
25. The GOOD LIFE Journal is probably the best tool I have ever created and it has literally changed my life. It taught me to feel my feelings and don’t let myself be defined by my thoughts. Now I know that feeling will bring you so much closer to where you want to go than thinking!
26. As a Holistic Psychologist, Nutritionist, Yoga teacher, and holistic health practitioner as well as my own experiences as a patient, I strongly believe that mental health is rooted in the body and physical health is shaped by the mind. (That’s why I am not a big fan of separating the two.)
One of the most important things I’ve learned from working with people is that trauma is not an event. It’s the experience (through the body) we relate to that event. Trauma makes you feel hopeless. Healing happens when we acknowledge our feelings (in the present). Transformation happens through the body! Stored emotions need space to BREATHE (to be released)!
27. Always be true to yourself. Your truth will set you free. Don’t be ashamed to share it with the world! I know how scary this last one is. But here is what sharing my truth has taught me: When I started being honest and sharing openheartedly about my journey, other people started sharing similar stories. People I didn’t even know.
By sharing my truth I gave others permission to be true to themselves too. We are all faced with great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
Here is to the next decades and everything I am going to learn, experience, and discover!
My wish for the future is this: I want us to be human. I want us to share what’s real. To show up imperfectly and not always edited and curated.
If you are ready to go from knowledge to experience to wisdom. From mind to body to soul. From thinking to feeling to being. From learning it with your head to practicing it with your hands and knowing it by heart, click here. It will be an honor to support you on your transformational journey.
I will keep you updated on my journey here and on Instagram, but now I am off to enjoy a big piece of my birthday cake!
Thank you for reading! Thank you for following me on my journey.
Know that you are loved. The world needs you, so go out there and SHARE YOUR LIGHT!
Check out Nila Conzen’s Instagram page here for more beautiful posts like this.
Living in the present moment, and working on yourself to progress on the path to self-awareness, and self-discovery will take time. Don’t think that it’s going to happen in the blink of an eye. Keep working on yourself, and treat yourself with a lot of love, patience, and kindness. You will get there.
If you want to know more about living in the present moment, then check this video out below: