We live in a time where many feel paralysed by unrest and crises, both internal and external. You may be in a difficult situation yourself, and perhaps you doubt whether you can fulfil your dreams. The good news is, if you really want to reach for your goals and change your life for the better, you just need to be willing to clean up your thought patterns and choose to think more consciously.
A new focus and more conscious thoughts will enable you to create a life that feels exciting, good and meaningful. Before you spend time on this book, ask yourself if you are interested in devoting twenty minutes of each day to learning to focus your mind.
You might think, “Sure, everybody would sacrifice a few minutes a day to create a life that feels good and is really worth living.” The truth is that very few people are willing to do this, not even if their lives feel like a slow death. It's so easy to find all kinds of excuses.
The main reason for unconscious living, though, is that we don't really believe in our own inner power. We might not know where to go with our lives, or at least not how to get there, and we are often too scared or indifferent to find out. A few people, however, have a strong longing to create their dreams. Are you one of them?
If you have the courage to change, let's start our journey towards conscious living together.
* Before we begin our journey, I want to make you aware of the website and the forum that complement this guide. On the forum, you can communicate with like-minded people. You can also join contests to find solutions on global issues. The website has a “Feel Good” page where you can listen to the people I refer to in this book. In addition, the website includes my blog, great music, meditations, inspirational videos, fun stuff and much more. Enjoy! www.a-life-worth-living.org
My name is Nina Skarpsno Heide. I'm from Stavanger, Norway; however, I've lived more than twenty years of my life in Africa, first working for the UN and later working for NGOs with the mission of helping street children towards dignity.
I will begin this guide by telling you why I personally decided to go on a journey towards conscious living and, as a result, ended up writing this book.
In January 2004, my children and I moved back from Kampala to Stavanger. This was eight months before my husband's contract was finished in Foreign Affairs. Our house needed renovating, and I knew it could take time to get a job and settle in. Moving back to Norway without my husband ended up being much, much harder than I believed was possible, and, as a result, I got sick. Soon after, I was diagnosed with diabetes type 1 (LADA).
At first, the disease was very difficult to manage. I was taking insulin injections, but my body was still producing some insulin. The result was severe blood sugar fluctuations that eventually led to fatigue, anxiety and depression. While my previous life was exciting, now my life felt like a nightmare.
When I became ill, I had no idea how to use my own thoughts and feelings to return to the life I wanted to live. Instead, I used my diabetes, anxiety, and exhaustion as excuses to stay depressed in bed.
What kept me in bed with depression was the thought of never again being able to do a job I was proud of. Ever since I was very young, I have wanted to make a difference in this world. But how was it possible to make a difference when I got exhausted just from taking a shower and then needed to go back to bed?
During the following years, I went through different doctors and therapists. Some good came out of it. However, it was only after I started listening to Esther and Abraham Hicks (my spiritual guides) that I really began to understand that I create my world through the way I choose to think.
I don’t remember exactly how and when I started to listen to Esther and Abraham Hicks, but I do remember it was from that point that I began taking responsibility for my life. I realised that I was the only one who could make myself healthy, and I could only do so through changing my own thoughts and feelings.
Today I see that Esther and Abraham's teaching was right for me. I have now regained the spark of life and energy. I live the life I want to live, and I am able to work with the things that inspire me.
Slowly but surely, with my new toolbox, I have moved my life in the direction that gives me a sense of meaning. A meaningful life and feeling joy were two of the things I had on my wish list for the future.
I also gained relief from another problem. For a long time, even before I became ill, I felt claustrophobic when in dark places such as tunnels and caves. I felt anxious and often struggled to breathe. After working with my own thoughts and feelings, I realised that this was no longer the case. I can now even crawl quite a distance with my back scraping the roof of a pitch-black cave without a problem. That discovery proved to me that I had returned to a normal life – in fact, a life even better than normal.
Today, I'm extremely grateful for this challenging experience, as it forced me to make some important choices. Now life feels really good, and I believe I have the tools to handle whatever comes my way.
I hope my story might help others who are struggling, as I was, to find their way out of the dark. The idea of helping them face their challenges is another thought that brings me happiness.
My wish is to share some of the tools I picked up on my way so you can take a shortcut on your journey from fear to love, from sickness to health, from boredom to excitement, or whatever your starting and ending points might be. These tools are multipurpose; they make you confident and grateful, and take you wherever you want to go …
What to Expect …
I’ll help you discover your dream life and make you conscious of what beliefs and values are preventing you from living that dream. You’ll soon find out that the difficulties in reaching your dream are hidden within your thoughts and influenced by how you choose to think about yourself and the world around you.
You might not always agree with the way I have interpreted my life. However, the purpose of this journey is for you to find your own answers to the big questions in your life and use your conscious beliefs to move yourself forward.
I have chosen a spiritual angle for this guide. I did this because I quickly discovered that I could not get anywhere until I was willing to look closely at all the thoughts I have about myself and my life, including the spiritual ones.
By being willing to examine my existential beliefs, I discovered a great deal of fear, guilt and shame hidden in the depths of my emotions. Before I began my journey of consciousness, I had no idea how harmful these thoughts were to both my body and my mind. Only when I consciously chose to opt out of thoughts that undermined my ability to relax and feel good was I able to regain my energy and zest for life.
In this guide, therefore, I also share my spiritual thoughts with you. You don’t have to adopt everything I have chosen to believe. Your task will be to actively choose to see life in a way that is right for you and that makes you personally feel good.
This journey of self-discovery is meant to be exciting, playful and fun and you’ll learn to accept, respect and love yourself, others and your life. How much you’ll get out of it, though, depends on how open you are to change and how much focus you’re willing to put into this life-changing experience.
You will need a journal for this work. I’ll give you three assignments at the beginning of every month and you’ll log the assignments in your journal to keep track of your growth. If you choose to work more intensively with the book, spend one week instead of one month on each chapter.
This journey requires you to take responsibility for your own life. By working yourself through your own challenges, you can make sure you are moving forward to a life that feels good.
If you find it hard to make this journey on your own, set up a group or use this program together with a coach or a mentor. (You can search for a mentor under “Forum for Change” on www.a-life-worth-living.org
By allowing a whole year for this process, you’ll give yourself a chance to change. The progress will be gradual but sure. With practice, you will develop good routines that will help you to continue your growth long after you’ve finished reading this guide. It’s possible to do the journey in a shorter time, of course, but I recommend you use at least three months if you want lasting benefits from the journey.
I’ll start out by doing the assignments first, using my own life experience as an example. Then it’s your turn. My story is there only as a starting point, because of course ultimately you need to create your own dream.
Before starting the assignments It’s a good idea to read the entire guide first so that you get an overview before you write your responses, but you can start thinking about your answers straight away.
* If you wish to purchase the workbook specifically made for this guide, you can make your order at the website www.a-life-worth-living.org. The workbook breaks down each assignment into several short questions and will thus help you to work with the tasks in a more focused and structured way. It will also include some practical exercises that can be fun to do with others. In addition, pages of journal entry are made available.
If you only read the guide and do not spend time on the assignments, you'll still be able to get a new and better insight into your life. However, if you want to make a real change, you’ll need to be willing to do the exercises.
In order to change and learn new skills, theoretical knowledge is not enough. We must also be willing to practise. It's through the practical exercises and assignments that you'll really learn to grasp life and bring lasting changes. However, there is nothing wrong with using your own workbook rather than the fully focused workbook that is specially made for this guide.
First journey together
The Starting Point
During the first two months/weeks, you’ll get to know yourself to find a base from which to make your leap. In the next nine journeys, you’ll look into what you believe and how you can believe differently, as it’s not what happens to us in our lives but how we react that matters. By the final month/week, you will be ready to work on your specific dream by using all the tools you have discovered while going on this journey.
Understanding how you can respond differently to things that happen to you means you can change your life from being painful or dull to exciting, fun and meaningful. However, this requires you to be truthful to yourself. You’ll need to be willing to look at your own life to discover what isn’t working and how you can make it function. It also requires you to be willing to evaluate your beliefs to choose the ones that build your self-worth and make you believe in your own power.
To become the creator of your own life, you will start this journey by learning more about who you are, why you are here, and what you want to make out of this life.
Why are we here?
To live a conscious life, you will have to be honest with yourself, asking questions and being willing to search for what makes you happy, not just adapting to what others tell you to believe and do.
Respecting others’ opinions and beliefs and understanding that we don’t have to fit into the same square box will set your soul free.