What´s your type of self-sabotage? And how to overcome it.

What´s your type of self-sabotage? And how to overcome it.

Tantric concepts speak about 3 different flavours of self-sabotage we can experience. Before getting to that concept and looking at solutions of how to defeat them, let’s take a look at how self-sabotage can show up in our daily life.

Self-sabotage: When you’re your worst enemy

Self-sabotage is the tendency to make life difficult for yourself by setting limits and creating complications that prevent you from achieving your goals. This can happen consciously or subconsciously.

If you think back of your past, you will probably remember some situations where you could not achieve your goal without understanding why you failed. One possible explanation for this is self-sabotage. In the short term, it can protect you from failure. In the long run, however, it will also prevent you from having more success and developing yourself further. Consequently, people who sabotage themselves create obstacles because their subconscious is convinced that they cannot do what the situation requires.

Some sneaky signs that you do self-sabotage:

  • Lack of commitment and consistency.
  • You feel quite frustrated about your job. But are you actively trying to change it?
  • Your relationship has no basis anymore – nevertheless you continue it.
  • The course does not match your expectations and talents. But you still continue.
  • You don’t feel comfortable in the place you live in. However, you are not looking for other options and solutions.
  • You put on weight and don’t feel good about it. But are you doing more exercise and following a healthier diet?

Other typical variants of self-harming behaviour, as psychologists call it, are:

  • Postponing things that should really be done;
  • Not being able to say NO, even though we are feeling more and more stressed;
  • Putting other people’s interests first and thus increasingly suffer from your own unmatched needs;
  • Boycotting yourself by constantly reconsidering your own shortcomings and weaknesses or by convincing yourself. Typical sentences in this context are, for example: “It doesn’t work at all!”, “I can’t do it anyway.”, “Why should anyone care?”;
  • Distrusting others and tending to see the negative in people and accusing them of bad intentions;

The fear of success

When we get more successful, we may at the same time as well attract more attention and usually rise in reputation and hierarchy. For many it is a wonderful idea. But others, however, feel under pressure, insecure or even scared: with every triumph, their own demands on themselves and expectations from the outside increase.

Questions could rise up such as: Are there any shadow sides coming to light now? What was previously sufficient in terms of know-how may no longer be enough. Old, loved habits have to be abandoned, new ones have to be implemented. Moreover, you may wonder: Will there be still enough time for private life, for the family, for fun?

These worries and fears can all be part of the self-sabotage process. Let’s look now at the 3 different types of self-sabotage and how to overcome them.

What are the 3 different types of self-sabotage?

For understanding better which patterns of self-sabotage we might have, let’s take a teaching of tantric yoga. That will help to understand what happens in our body and mind when we start sinking our own ship and standing in our way. Often we tend towards one type predominantly but can experience a mix of them as well. There is always a lack of integrity that goes with it. We start to question ourselves or another person and to have doubts.

1. Mayiya Mala: contraction of the third eye

Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning amongst others impurity. The forehead chakra, often referred to as the third eye, is the sixth main chakra in the middle of the head, between the eyebrows and slightly above them. If this chakra is in harmony, we have a clear vision for our life path, follow our intuition and find it easy to express our deepest desires.

But if imbalanced, this type tends to measure and compare themselves and others. Often we can see wrinkles on the forehead. There is a huge tendency to judge and value oneself and others with the motivation to be the best or most successful person in something. This leads to a feeling of separation from the environment. The mind dominates and gets disconnected from the heart. As a result, this can lead to a feeling of inferiority or superiority. They are thriving for constant perfection and can get quite frustrated when not matching their own expectations. 

Emotions may arise such as feeling:
  • inferior or superior to others
  • tense esp. in the neck (e.g. headaches and migraines)
  • frustrated and defeated
  • lost
  • confused about what to do in life
  • overwhelmed
  • overcritical
The cure for this state:
  • The need to develop more self-love.
  • Organise your projects differently. Doing little steps towards your goals instead of wanting to do too much in a short time. You need to set realistic goals.
  • Develop more empathy and put yourself in other people’s shoes instead of judging them.
  • Start one new project or thing at a time and finish it.
  • Spend time in nature to deeply nourish yourself and to connect to yourself.
  • Meditate to connect with your own wisdom.
  • Give your critical mind a break and recognise how you separate and disconnect yourself from others. You have much more in common with others then you might think.

This flavour of self-sabotage is often seen at Pitta dosha types. You don´t know your dosha? Then take the test here.

2. Avana Mala: contraction of the heart chakra

The heart chakra is located in the middle of the chest at the height of the heart. If in balance, we can easily trust ourselves and others, give and receive love, feel devotion and are able to forgive and grieve. However, when our heart centre contracts, we will start feeling isolated, alone and misunderstood. We don’t reach out for help and hide our true feelings from others. As a result we can feel emotionally aloof, indifferent, hardened and have difficulties or refuse to allow real closeness in relationships.

Emotions may arise such as feeling:
  • unsupported
  • isolated
  • alone
  • unsafe
  • insecure
  • self-pitying
  • misunderstood

And these are exactly the things that we miss out on in our life. This can lead so far that we experience the world as an unsafe place to live in and do not want to trust anybody. 

The cure for this state:
  • Connect and reach out to others to lift yourself out of self isolation. Telling others how you really feel and with what you need help with.
  • Show our vulnerability and get seen. You will be surprised about how much closeness and connection you will experience when letting others see your true self.
  • Get the help you need in a specific thing e.g. creating a new habit to drink less alcohol, finding a new job, ending an unhealthy relationship, etc. 

People love to help and support each other but they need to see and feel that we are in trouble.

Vata doshas often tend to have contractions of the heart chakra.

3. Karma Mala: contraction of the solar plexus area

The word Karma is describing the result of a person’s actions, the cycle of cause and effect. As per the theory of karma, a person experiences what they caused by their actions. The third chakra, the solar plexus, spins around the area above the belly button up to the lower part of the chest, the sternum. If in balance we have will-power, self-confidence, drive, take responsibility and set limits. Having said this, we can easily detect when being contracted in the solar plexus area. As a result we will start procrastinating things that need to be done and hesitate to take action to get where we want to be. We might have the impression not to advance at all in our life but do not take action.

Emotions may arise such as feeling:
  • disorganised
  • apathetic
  • unable to act
  • passive
  • lethargic
  • frozen
  • disconnected
The cure for this state:
  • Stop procrastinating things.
  • Take action and get an accountability partner.
  • Do something! And if it is just a tiny baby-step.

Kapha doshas have a tendency towards Karma Mala.

Name your type of self-sabotage and write down how it shows up in your life. Tell someone about it and talk about your difficulties. Bringing light into the shadow helps to overcome the obstacles.

Eye Problems: Natural Remedies and Diet Tips from Chinese Medicine

Eye Problems: Natural Remedies and Diet Tips from Chinese Medicine

Understanding eye problems through TCM and Ayurveda

Eye problems can make day-to-day life harder and impact well-being and life quality. The most common eye disorders are: red, itchy, burning, dry and bloodshot eyes, as well as a yellowish tinge in the whites or sensitivity to light. Once you know which factors can trigger and aggravate these symptoms, you can start finding ways to reduce or even eliminate them. Moreover, there are natural remedies and diet tips you can apply to help heal eye imbalances.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is a saying: “The liver opens into the eyes.” That is why, we always treat the liver as well when seeing eye problems. When stress, overwork, feelings of anger and frustration and poor nutrition take over, the liver qi is no longer flowing harmoniously in the body. Therefore, the energy rises up and generates heat. As a result, it can manifest in forms of migraine-like headaches and eye problems. 

In Ayurvedic medicine we commonly see a Pitta imbalance at the root of eye problems. Meaning, that excess pitta in the form of heat is circulating in the system. Especially in summer, the season of pitta, we see more people suffering from itching, red and painful eyes when temperatures are rising. Whereas, dry and watery eyes are mainly caused by a Vata imbalance and often get worse in late autumn into early winter, the seasons of Vata.

Let´s look at the most common eye problems.

Healing your eyes with Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine wisdom

Red and itchy eyes

Redness and itchiness are signs of heat. Even if your eyes burn frequently, it can show an excess heat in the system. Consequently, we need to cool the liver and avoid things that produce heat.

The best foods to cool the liver are:

  • Green vegetables esp. broccoli, celery and courgette
  • Bitter salad
  • Artichoke
  • Cucumber
  • Watermelon
  • Turmeric and saffron
  • Dandelion
  • Peppermint and jasmine tea

While the following foods and drinks are best to avoid: alcohol, coffee, sausage, fried and grilled meat, leek, sugar and strong spices like chilli, pimento, cinnamon, ginger and pepper. Overconsumption of meat, shellfish and cacao can also lead to excess liver heat.

Also herbal infusions can help to reduce heat in the eyes. The best medicinal plants are:

  • Gentian root
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Chrysanthemum flowers

The following tea recipe from Chinese medicine helps to build up liver blood and to reduce heat in the eyes:

Take 1 tbsp chrysanthemum flowers and 1.5 tbsp goji berries. Steep into 500ml of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Then drink over the day, ideally for a duration of around 2 weeks.

Chrysanthemum flowers are also recommended for conjunctivitis and high blood pressure. Because of their strong heat-clearing properties, it´s important to add goji berries to balance this strong effect. Another possibility is to prepare chrysanthemum flower tea, letting it cool off and to do an eye-wash.

Note: Never drink pure chrysanthemum flowers tea if suffering from low blood pressure. 

Ayurveda recommends washing the eyes with high-quality rose water. This will help soothe and hydrate the tired, red and itchy eyes and give them a refreshed look.

Very dry and / or watery eyes

These are both signs of liver blood deficiency in Chinese medicine. The liver stores the blood and if it gets deficient, the eyes are not enough moistened and get dry. Whereas, watery eyes, indicate that liver wind has risen up to the eyes due to the lack of blood. Furthermore, this can lead to sensitivity of pollen, light, wind or air conditioning. Simply, because the eyes are not able anymore to create a natural barrier to defend themselves from these external factors.

The following foods can help to rebuild liver blood if eaten regularly:

  • Broccoli
  • Cherry
  • Dark berries
  • Molasses or black treacle
  • Lamb´s lettuce
  • Date
  • Egg yolk
  • Carrot, parsnip and other root veggies
  • Lentil
  • Parsley
  • Pine nut
  • Beetroot
  • Black sesame paste

Especially the following things can cause dry and watery eyes: smoking, too much black tea and coffee, spicy foods, red wine, poor nutrition and long hours in front of a computer screen.

Ayurveda suggests drinking licorice tea and putting a drop of Triphala Ghee in the eyes. Also regular consumption of Triphala Ghee in your food preparation can support the healing process.

Yellow eyes

According to TCM, a yellowish tinge in the whites of the eyes is due to too much dampness and heat in the liver. Other signs can be grittiness that feels like sand in the eyes or sticky eyelids in the morning.

That´s why it´s important to avoid everything that produces more dampness like: sugar, white flour, wheat, cow’s milk, fried or oily and too much raw food. Foods that are especially good to reduce excess dampness are: apple, millet, miso, seaweed, radish, olive, kidney bean, mushroom and shiitake. See above for the diet recommendations for reducing excess heat.

A great herbal tea to reduce dampness and heat from the eyes is dandelion tea. Take 2 tbsp of dandelion roots and leaves. Then steep it for at least 15 minutes in 500ml cold water, bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. After that remove the herbs and drink at room temperature. Note: If you suffer from soft bowels or diarrhea, you should combine it with other herbs to counterbalance the strong cooling effect.

Amalaki, a famous ayurvedic plant, helps to reduce heat and strengthens the digestive fire to help reduce dampness in the body. Furthermore, it´s boosting immunity and supports healthy metabolism.

Are you looking for natural ways to improve and protect your eye sight and heal eye problems? Treatment options can vary widely and depend on the underlying conditions causing it. Get in touch with me for a personal  consultation. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Vegan Broccoli Soup with Cashew Butter

Vegan Broccoli Soup with Cashew Butter

The health benefits of broccoli

Spring is all about those wonderful green veggies, and the nutty, rich flavour of broccoli makes for the perfect invigorating meal. Broccoli is full of beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C and zinc, and is, therefore, a powerful immune system booster and helps protect the body against springtime illnesses. It is also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and E. This vegan creamy broccoli soup is indulgent, a treat for your taste buds and a gift to your body.

Broccoli and its properties in Chinese medicine

  • has a cooling effect
  • specifically strengthens the liver, lungs and spleen
  • helps the spleen to build up the blood, e.g. with anaemia, dry eyes, photosensitivity, brittle nails
  • expels pathogenic dampness, e.g. for oedema 
  • benefits vision health, e.g. shortsightedness, conjunctivitis, red eyes
  • is recommended for cancer prevention as it is rich in phytonutrients which support the body to rinse off these substances that can cause cancer
  • cools liver heat and helps to relieve sudden severe headache

Broccoli soup ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2-3 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

How to make it

1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Then saute for two minutes.

2. Add vegetable broth and boil about ten minutes – until broccoli is completely cooked.

3. Then add black pepper, basil, and cashew butter. Transfer to the blender and mix until smooth and creamy.

You can add fresh parsley and basil. Enjoy!


This article originally appeared on artoflivingretreatcenter.org/blog







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