Author Archives: annemariesteen

Welcoming my emotions (all of them)

Do you know this feeling, when you get really excited about something and then it’s taken away..🙁

Two days ago I got a surprise email with an invitation for an interview on a radioshow in South Korea about selfmarriage. I thought it was very cool that they found me and that the topic somehow is getting some attention. They phoned me to check the connection and said they would send me some prep questions the next day. I shared it with my friends on facebook, who shared my joy by reacting enthusiastically, which made me even more excited. The next morning (yesterday) I got another email, saying they were sorry to say that they confirmed another person for the interview.

I felt dissapointment and immediately my mind started to rationalize to get away from this feeling; “nothing bad happened, it’s not that big a deal, there’s probably not even that much people listening to this radioshow…blablabla.” Then I noticed this old pattern of neglecting my emotions and thought about my Weddingvow “Emotions are welcome. All of them! So I sat down and welcomed the dissapointment to be fully felt.

And with the feeling of dissapointment, there came a memory of my first big dissapointment (that I can recollect). When I was in pre-school I wanted to give my teacher a present, so I wrapped an orange in nice looking paper. I was really excited about it. My mother walked me to school and because we were early I could play outside for a few minutes. My mother went back home. I put my present on a little wall and played until the bell rang. When I came back to the wall, my present was gone!! Some kid had unwrapped it and ate the orange! I was so dissapointed, hurt and angry that I ran back home by myself. My mother was ofcourse surprised to see me back, tried to comfort me, and brought me back to school.

It is these little, seemingly unimportant little moments that define your life. I decided not to allow myself to get too happy and excited about something, because before you know it, it can be taken away, which causes painful emotions.
I’m learning now to allow those painful emotions back into my life, because I want to be able to fully step into my Joy too.

It’s an interesting journey.

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

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Gratitude 2.0

I’ve known the power of gratitude for a long time. I often ask myself the question: What am I grateful for, or note down the things that go well. From Positive Psychology Research there is proven science that writing down 3 things a day that you are grateful for or that went well, for 30 days in a row, will enhance your overall levels of happiness after six months, even after quitting doing the exercise after the initial 30 days. (Seligman)

In my trainings, I sometimes have participants ask eachother “what are you grateful for” and repeat this question for at least one minute, so you get past the obvious big ones (good health, nice house, family, children) and get into the small, but also significant ones (sunshine, good coffee, smell of a flower, etc)

Last week I had an insight that being grateful for the things that go well, is easy, but focussing one way only. What would happen if I also could be able to be grateful for the things in my life that are uncomfortable or painful? Because looking back on your life’s experiences, it’s often our hardships that come with our biggest lessons that enable us to move forward in ways that feel so much better and more aligned with who we are.

I tried it, doing the same exercise with someone else asking me “what are you grateful for?” over and over again. I started out with some positive ones and then  shifted to negative experiences. The result was eye-opening. All that ever happened and happens in my life is part of my whole life-experience and I can be grateful for that. It brought me a sense of acceptance and feeling peace with everything that IS.

What are you grateful for?

Lots of Love,

Annemarie Steen

 

 

To Be or to Wannabe, that’s the question

Last week I attended a 3 day seminar with Neale Donald Walsch, author of the bestselling Conversation with God books. An insight that stuck with me, was his question;

What are you trying to BE, while you do what you do? All of our actions, big or small, are an effort in BEing something. So why do you wear the clothes you wear, why are you doing the work you do, why are you having the friends you have. What does this say about who you are trying to BE? So why am I writing this blogpost? I am trying to BE of value, sharing my insights, trying to BE inspirational, trying to sound full of wisdom 🙂

Most of us are living our lives from the paradigm of HAVE – DO – BE

What do I want/need to have? For instance a diploma of some sort, to be able to DO a job that matches this diploma, in order to BE succesful or happy or rich or worthy, etc. Instead, life works the other way around. We got the paradigm backwards.

Life works from the paradigm of BE – DO – HAVE. After all, we are not Human Doings, but Human Beings.

Be the change. We have freedom of choice to express and experience whatever states of BEing we like. Choose one or two states of BEING that you wish to experience and start expressing them. From there you will get inspiration for DOing things that are in alignment with this state of BEing and this will result in HAVE’s that match.

How to find your desired states of BEing? First ask yourself this question often. What am I trying to BE now, and now, and now? Secondly, finish the question; I’m feeling most joyful, energized and fulfilled, when I am BEING…Thirdly, look at the contrast in your life. Take the opposite of what you don’t want to experience (anymore).

What about not believing that you ARE this BEing already, even without DOing anything. Start your days with the intention of BEing in this state of BEing and see what happens from there. Good Luck!

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

 

Falling Forward

Today I had to admit to myself that I am suffering from a relapse in old pain, thoughts and behaviour. I recognized the signals for a while, and was kind of hoping they would dissapear by themselves…NOT. When you ignore or try to suppress something, it only gets bigger. I know that really accepting (and feeling) the situation as it is (“SHIT! I’m in a damn! relapse”), is the only first step on my way through this. Relapse is often associated with addiction and the use of drugs or alcohol to get a relief from the underlying pain. But in my case, when I refer to the term Relapse, it’s about falling back into old patterns of thought.

Just as I thought I had mastered this thing called LIFE and LOVE,  feeling totally happy and in flow just six weeks ago, it bit me in my tail again. My thoughts were taking me in a downward spiral, feeling like a failure and that something is seriously wrong with me, that I had been fooling myself into believing this huge personal growth that I had made. It felt like falling all the way BACK.

After a big cry I got this insight. In the law of life, there is no such thing as falling back. Everything is constantly in forward or expanding/outward motion. So this idea of falling BACK does not exist. Reframing my state into falling FORWARD helped to see that I’m still in a miserable state, but one that I can fall forward in. Another opportunity for growth, to explore yet another layer or aspect of my same old patterns.

And a good opportunity to bring my selfwedding vows (LIEFDE) into practice, because I’m sure they will be helpful to get through this.

Listen to my body

Invest time in myself & my relationships

Emotions (all of them) are welcome

Focus positive, unless something negative calls for attention. Focus on the NOW.

Dare to be myself and show myself.

Energy is everything.

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – Big fat wedding or private ceremony?

A self-marriage is a very private inward process, so having a private ceremony makes sense. At the same time it feels like something I would like to share and celebrate with my family, friends and others as my witness. Sometimes I introduce myself as an introvert with exhibitionist tendencies 😉 so, I decided to do both, something private and something public.

On sunday March 12th, I woke up early and it was one of those early sunny springdays in the Netherlands, that make your heart jump with joy. It felt like the right day for my private ceremony. Also it was a full moon day that added that little extra special to it.

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I took a long shower and put on a little white dress that I had bought last minute on Ibiza the day before. I wore something old (my underware ;-)), something new (my dress and necklace), something borrowed (my earrings and the white flower in my hear – thank you Luna) and something blue (I polished 1 nail blue). I played music and danced, feeling very happy. Then around 11 o’clock I went outside to find a nice spot in the sun, under an old plumtree with my ring in my hand. I got married to myself at 11.11h saying YES to Life, Love and Myself, while putting on my ring. Then I opened up the champagne and celebrated dancing just by myself. It was beautiful.

Three months ago, when this idea came up, I saw an invitation from Parktheatre Eindhoven for speakers during the Dutch Happiness Week (13-17 March 2017). I applied in december with my selfmarriage idea, saying that I wasn’t sure how this experiment was going to end, but that I would like to share my journey and insights. They agreed and said I was welcome. So I invited my family and friends to come to this event, that was also open for others to attend. The local newspaper got hold of my story and published an article about it.

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Thursday March 16th Parktheatre. Because of the Dutch Happiness Week my selfmarriage event was open to the public, so besides my invited family and friends there were about 30% guests that I didn’t know, around 50 people in total.

I shared my three month journey towards my self-marriage and my insights along the way. My weddingvows are a summary of my insights that I fitted into the acronym LIEFDE (which is the dutch word for LOVE). My promise is;

Listen to my body, because my body knows

Invest quality time in myself and my relationships

Emotions (all of them!) are welcome

Focus on the positive (unless something negative calls for serious attention) and Focus on the Now

Dare to be different, to be myself and to show myself

Energy is everything! (I take responsability for my own energy and uplift energy of others where I can)

My (almost 8 year old) daughter Luna wanted to ask me some questions in front of the audience, that she prepared herself without me knowing what they were. She asked me How I felt after I married myself, Why I married myself and How I did it. Great questions!

Finally I asked the audience to think of one thing that if they were to marry themselves, what promise they would want to make to themselves and to write this down on a card to take home.

Then we popped some bottles of champagne and toasted on life, love and ourselves. It felt really heartwarming to receive so many smiles, congratulations and feedback that my story had touched their hearts and made them think about their own lives.


In the evening I took my family and boyfriend out for dinner. My parents gave me a special weddingpresent, a golden necklace from my mother. What a wonderful gesture of love ❤.

I couldn’t think of a better, more perfect way to finish this three month sabbatical playful learning journey. Monday back to work, feeling whole and happy.

Lots of Love

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – Taking a honeymoon before the wedding

The next step in my selfmarriage adventure is writing my weddingvows. In the Netherlands it’s still cold and wet at this time of the year, so when I received an email with cheap flights to Ibiza I didn’t have to think long. I asked a friend who knows Ibiza well, where to go to and she adviced me a little quiet place in the north, Portinatx and a rental car to go around the island. All restaurants but one are closed because the season hasn’t started yet. So I have coffee and lunch in the same place every day, that is filled with workers who are preparing homes, restaurants and constructions to be ready when the tourists come. I have my table outside on the terras overlooking the bay.

The weather is just perfect. Sunny and around 20 degrees celcius. I take a walk in the mornings, have coffee, sit on the beach, have lunch and take the car in the afternoon/evening to discover other places. All beaches have this picture perfect deep blue colour and I truly feel I’m on a honeymoon.

On the first day I walked to a lighthouse and got some inspiration while I was resting there.

“I do my job, shining my light consistently and quietly, to be seen only for others who are near and looking for guidance to navigate their ship through life. I don’t make too much noise. But still, I’m a beakon of light and hope for those who need it. For others I’m a nice looking tall standing figure. A bit unapproachable at first sight. But it’s nice to sit beside me, to rest and perhaps take a picture while listening to the sounds of the wind and the ocean far below.”

The second day while I was driving my rental fiat500 I visited a place called Sant Miguel, known for a little white church. Next to the church there was a little atelier/ jeweleryshop. Since I’m still looking for a ring, I walked in and met with the designer Natasha Collis. One ring immediately shouted my name and when I tried it on, it looked just like it belonged there. I tried other rings before, also in the Netherlands, but this one felt like the one. So Yey! I found my ring…or did it find me?

Things fall into place like a puzzle and I love it.

Lots of love

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – awakening to wholeness

Do you know these wheels on playgrounds? For me they represent how I experienced life. The wheel is life and I can give it a swing and hop on, enjoying the flow of lif157753_g1_13_t0147e. And I have a choice to hop off to watch others having fun taking a spin. Sometimes life goes too fast and you either fall off or you can’t get on. Or it is so full of other people (having fun, or making noise) that you have to wait for your turn. So in essence, I always experienced life as something outside of myself. Of something that I was IN or OUT. And being out, as the observer, I could feel very lonely, even with having great friends and family around me. Existential loneliness.

On a mental level I understood this vision on life was false. But I couldn’t get to the core feeling of it. Knowing (mentally) and Knowing (gut feeling) are two different things.

Then I went (ofcourse) on a walk. Four days after I finished my walk from my hometown to my birthplace. During this trip I truly had fallen in love with life itself. Now it was February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Maybe it was because this highly commercialized day of love at least makes people focus on love a little more deliberate than usual. Maybe it was my imagination, but I felt a huge vibration of love in the air. I believe that when enough people focus on positive feeling energy, that the energy on a global level will rise.

And then it finally hit me. I felt this huge love for life and an insight came to me: I AM LIFE, so YES ofcourse I love myself. But also I AM the wheel, and I AM the observer, and I  AM the trees, and I AM the air, and I AM Donald Trump (Whahahahahaha).

Then I finally popped the question: Do I really want to marry ME? And the answer came very casual: “Ofcourse, why not, let’s celebrate!” So since Valentine’s Day I’m officially engaged to myself…to life…and that feels great!

Lots of Love,

Annemarie