Living more naturally: ingredients of the GOLF philosophy
The word GOLF initially refers to the waves in the ocean, but each of the letters is also an abbreviation:
G stands for Tides
O stands for Abundance
L stands for Love
F stands for Flow
Like the waves in the ocean, life consists of ups and downs, of peaks and valleys. From moments when you are gaining momentum, versus moments when nothing is flowing. Surfing the waves of life brings challenges, of which I share the three main ones:
1. Select the right waves
You can’t surf every wave at once, you’ll get exhausted. It is therefore not surprising that so many people are exhausted in our multitasking society. A surfer knows exactly how to select the right waves and rests in between. Focus and give your energy only to things and people that really matter.
2. Without action, the wave will pass you
We all have many plans and dreams, but if you don’t take action to realize them, nothing will happen. If a surfer does not start paddling as soon as he sees a wave, he will not be carried away by the wave and therefore cannot surf on it. The misconception surrounding the law of attraction is that things will come your way if you believe them hard enough. However, I can visualize as much as I want to be a good surfer, if I don’t step into the sea to practice effectively then I will never become a good surfer.
3. Don’t get attached to the wave you’re on
As fast as waves rise, they disappear again. Burnout taught me that many things in life are temporary. The more attached you are to something, such as a job, the more painful it will be to let it go. In life you have nothing under control except your own perception. Without attachment you are much freer and more flexible to adjust yourself along the way. Because if one wave stops, it means that the next one is already on its way.
Emotions like waves
Emotions also consist of peaks and valleys, just like waves. There are a lot of conflicting reports about dealing with (mainly negative) emotions. Feel free to choose the vision that suits you best.
Experience teaches me that a so-called negative emotion (an emotion that you experience as ‘difficult’) always has a function, you can compare it with the fin of a shark sticking out above the water surface. It serves to warn you. Just as people prefer not to be confronted with negative emotions, surfers prefer not to be confronted with sharks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
Noticing an emotion and then ignoring it would be like noticing the fin, but not the shark. Ignoring negative emotions results in bottling them up and that always has harmful consequences for your body.
When you notice an emotion and then become completely absorbed in the story your thoughts are telling you about the cause of this emotion (“I’m furious because person X said that about me, who does he think he is, he should go to look at yourself because…’) is comparable to letting yourself be voluntarily crushed by the shark.
What do you do if you see a shark fin in the water? You notice it consciously, try to stay calm (and keep breathing) and bring yourself to safety. That’s actually exactly what to do when you notice a negative emotion.
Consciously direct your attention to the place in your body where you feel the emotion (with this you say: ‘I noticed you’) and keep breathing calmly. When you remain present in the here-and-now during this process, you are always safe. You will notice that the emotion may initially intensify and then fade away. Just like a wave once it reaches its peak, it capsizes and turns into foam.
In nature everything consists of an alternation of inward and outward movements, of rising and withdrawing. Just look at the sea with its ebb and flow moments. Or to the branches of the trees that become empty every year to make renewal possible.
Nature does not fight against what is. Suppose a tree in the autumn tried to hold on to its leaves, or grieved all winter at the sight of its bare branches. Suppose the waves in the ocean fight against the retreat of the tide because they fear that the low tide will last forever. It is an absurd performance and yet this is exactly what we humans do.
We are constantly fighting against the lesser moments in our lives and feel strong resistance to them. But growth simply follows a cyclical course and as humans we often learn the most about ourselves and life during a phase of crisis or change. A human life is also subject to seasons, this is part of natural life.
I myself, for example, compare a burnout with a winter phase, a time of reflection, stillness and deepening, which often preceded a lot of loss (the autumn phase). And just as plants and flowers have to break through the surface during the spring, the phase after a burnout is accompanied by growing pains. Growing pains necessary to evolve to the summer phase.
I have learned to surrender to the tides of life. On days when it’s high tide (which for me means having a lot of creative inspiration and insights), I ride with the flow. On days when it’s low tide (days when nothing flows and I barely know myself) I let life carry me, then I just float. Floating means relaxing or doing nothing WITHOUT feeling guilty about it.
The funny thing is, the less I fight the low tide, the faster the tide comes back into my life. I hope you too will learn to enjoy both flowing and floating!
We live in a universe made up of abundance, only we are usually blind to the abundance that surrounds us. We don’t notice the abundance because we are so focused on what is not there, on shortage, on what we lack, would like or NOT have. We complain about our bodies, about the lack of money, about terrorist attacks and bizarre politicians. We envy those who have what we long for, as if their success leaves us with less for ourselves.
When I’m in the ocean, the vastness that surrounds me makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself. There I realize that we humans are inextricably linked, just like the waves with the ocean. What you send out, therefore, always comes back to you, with your thoughts and intentions you create a ripple effect. So it is important to choose them carefully.
There are three ways that help me focus on abundance.
I make it a habit every night in my bed to list at least five things from the past day that I am grateful for. From very banal things to very special things. At that moment, if I’m in an ‘I’m worried about money’ phase, I am consciously grateful for the financial blessings in my life (even if I had to pay several bills that day and had no income).
No matter how dire your situation, there is always something to be thankful for. The energy of gratitude has a high vibration. You will find that the more grateful you go through life, the more things will come to be thankful for.
2. Letting go of the outcome
Especially as an entrepreneur, it is a pitfall to always be busy with the result of what you are doing (such as finding customers or earning money). But also in everyday life we sometimes do things because we expect something in return (for example: I support my colleague in her argument at the meeting in the hope that she will do the same for me next time).
Learn to do things for the pleasure of doing it yourself, without having expectations. For example, I am writing a second book, I would of course like it if it was republished. But I get so much satisfaction from the writing process itself, that I don’t really care that much.
3. The Hidden Lesson or Blessing
When challenges come my way, things I would previously have labeled as ‘problems’, my first reflex is to look for the hidden lesson or blessing. Living more naturally gives you confidence in life itself. I just know that life is on my side, so if something happens that puts me to the test then there are 3 options.
- I need to learn something
- I am saved from something
- Something better or more fitting is waiting for me
Reasoning like that never makes me feel like a victim (or just for a moment). I also consider it a privilege to be allowed to grow.
There is a lot to be said about love. In this context it is about self-love and especially about the quality of the relationship with yourself and how this affects your relationships with others.
Our society pays a lot of attention to our relationships with others. We are overloaded with tips on how to be a good partner, parent, girlfriend…. Unfortunately, you almost never read that all these relationships mean a mirror that reflects the relationship with yourself.
More natural living works from the inside out. When you throw a stone into the water, you see a ripple effect. The wrinkles are created by the stone, the effect is very clear from the inside out. When you look at your own wrinkles in your life, what do they reflect about you? What do your relationships with others reflect about your relationship with yourself?
When someone else disappoints you, learn to ask yourself by default: ‘What do I expect from this person that I don’t give to myself?’ If you don’t give love to yourself, how can you expect love from the other? If you don’t value yourself, how can you expect the other person to treat you with respect? If you don’t know yourself, how can you expect the other person to fall for your unique personality? Show others how to treat you by setting a good example yourself!
Self-love is about taking responsibility for your own life path and investing in your own happiness. This has nothing to do with selfishness, on the contrary. Science shows that the amount of happiness we experience spreads outwards and not only affects the people we know, but flows on to their families, friends, friends of their friends, work environment and community. Happy people are therefore better friends, colleagues, neighbors, partners, parents and citizens.
Moreover, being happy is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to your child/partner/friends…. When you strive to be the happiest version of yourself, you automatically give others permission to do the same.
The last element of the GOLF philosophy is flow. As I mentioned in the theme of tides, life consists of an alternation of flowing and floating. But flow has an additional meaning, namely the flow of your body. Our body is a very accurate and reliable GPS, if we listened to it we would never get lost in life.
Inner turmoil, tension, fatigue, feeling held back from doing something, stomach pain, palpitations, headaches… these are all possible signals that say ‘YOU HAVE DEPARTED FROM YOUR PATH, REVERSE IF POSSIBLE.’ If I had listened to my body in time, I would never have ended up in a burnout.
For many, listening to your body means no more than eating when you are hungry and sleeping when you are tired and we often do not respect even these basic needs. We try to adapt our body to our program instead of the other way around.
Statements such as ‘something is on my liver’, ‘something has to get off my mind’, ‘it hangs my throat’, ‘it makes my stomach cringe’, ‘I can feel it in my water’, ‘I am disgusted ‘ of it,” we say easily, not realizing how literally we should take these statements. Instead of trying to find out the message of the signals our body gives us, we reach for our medicine cabinet that is filled according to doctor’s prescription.
After all, when you complain about a sore throat, no one will spontaneously ask you ‘in what recent situation have you not stood up for yourself and your own truth?’, when you have urinary tract infections no one will ask who or what you are so pissed off on. There is no one who asks you what is happening or has happened in your life that could be linked to your complaint. You don’t see any doctor’s prescriptions: find another job that is more in line with yourself, break the relationship with your partner, dare to say no to your parents more often, move to the coast or spend more time in nature.
Enter into a dialogue with your body, ask it questions (such as ‘What do you want to tell me?’ and ‘What do you need to heal?’) and dare to act on the answer. Your body may seem like the patient, but it actually contains the inner doctor.
Surfing the waves of life
Living more naturally does not mean that life has no more challenges, on the contrary. Nature is full of challenges (just keep a close eye on nature, especially now in spring). With the GOLF philosophy you now have a surfboard to brave the waves of life.