Reichtum

Reichtum besteht nicht darin, große Besitztümer zu haben, sondern darin, wenig Bedürfnisse zu haben.

Epictetus

Frage: Wie fühlt es sich an, wenige Bedürfnisse zu haben?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authentizitäts- & Mentale Fitness Coach

(Foto “Ganz in Natur versunken”, Manuela Zeitlhofer, 2013)

Gratitude Changes Life As We Know It

Are you a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty person? Whichever one you are, you are right, and this perspective likely shapes how you see the world in general.

Another metaphor is that every object casts a shadow in the daylight, and depending on your perspective, you might stand in the shadow or see the shadow that something is casting as dominating the whole picture.

Gratitude compares to stepping into the sunshine and seeing the “other side” of things.

It is just a matter of perspectives. Every position is subjective. We are free to change our perspective.

What are you grateful for today?

Photo by Mayur Gala, Unsplash 2024

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Haushalterschaft & Gelassenheit

So often we find ourselves in despair
because there is too much to worry about.
Picking apart what can and cannot be changed
can be a great way to empower ourselves
and the ones in our care.

Recently, my daughter expressed her frustration about worldwide pollution. It seemed that along with the sharing of facts, the school does little to catch those young minds as they battle the implications of what was shared with them. Tangled up in her questions, her frustration and her eagerness to make the world a better place, she asked me with some exasperation, what she can actually do.

I pointed out that we are conscious of the packaging we buy, and we are purposeful with the way we use our car and the fuel (both fossil and renewable) in and around the house. We also carry a garbage bag whenever we go for walks, and we collect whatever we find.

She was not convinced, and she told me about initiatives of people cleaning beaches, doing wonderfully creative things with the garbage. It seemed that our little interventions that she has been growing up with needed a bit of perspective. So I pointed out that even little initiatives like ours, that don’t have a lobby behind them or considerable funds to draw from can be a step into the right direction. Then we discussed the meaning of the serenity prayer.

I find that little things like that give the power of self-determination back to us. Furthermore, the thought of stewardship might gain wings, with people becoming conscious about where they dispose of their garbage when they are out and about.

  • What are your thoughts about this topic?
  • What do you do when you see garbage around?
Lived Serenity: Junko (25.9.2023)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Invasive Art?

A few years back I was asked to raise three newly hatched starlings that had been found at the foot of a big tree by an old lady.

Reluctantly, I took on those birds, and lo and behold I was able to raise and release them successfully. Whenever I see or hear starlings since then, I like telling my daughter that those are our three starlings saying thank you. Today, a extraordinarily big flock of starlings landed around the house and well beyond the creek. They were so loud it was both amazing and a little bit intimidating. Afterwards I thought about writing about this, as in “I had rescued the starlings and they came back with all their friends to thank me”, when I remembered that European starlings are considered an invasive species in North America. That made me think about invasive species and the similarities to what humans do all over the world. So, this is what I want to write about today.

Starlings (May 28, 2020)

Starlings were moved from Europe, their ancestral habitat, to North America in the late 19th century, where they are now one of the most abundant birds.

Starlings are said to be very adaptable, eating a wide variety of foods and nesting in many different locations. Bottom line is that European starlings infringe on native species’ habitat. That affects the balance of the web of life, and so starlings end up with a bad reputation (Forgive me for bottom lining this so bluntly).

Stepping out of the problem zone and onto a meta-level, I am thinking that those birds do just do what birds do. They simply happen to be at the wrong place (human judgement).

It occurred to me to compare this scenario to human activity. Are we doing the same thing? If so, what makes us different? We do after all come with the ability to reflect on our own behavior and the effects of our actions on the world around us. This ties in with what I’m writing in my new book (“Freedom Within Reach” about living as part of nature and not trying to govern nature).

Some thoughts you might want to ponder over are:

  • In what way do we (as humans) behave like an invasive species?
  • In what ways do you behave, and affect the habitat and the species around?
  • In what way do you fit in with what’s around you?

That’s all for today thank you very much! Please drop me a note with your thoughts and answers.

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach | https://creeksideinspirations.ca/blog

Finding Your Wild Self & Living A Full Life

Manuela & Anya, 2022

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

(Photo by Sandra Grünewald, Unsplash, 2023)

One of my doors is behind the pain and loneliness I experienced when I was a toddler, in a hospital, for several months, tied down so I would not fidget with my leg (it was in a cast), or stand up (which might have jeopardized the healing of the leg).

I have come to learn that the greatest scars can become our greatest strengths, because they soften us to the human-ness of the people around us.

What do you think?

I am so curious to hear about your doors. Have you found it yet? Do you dare look for it?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Connecting over Garbage

At first, we saw some garbage, the usual, a few discarded food containers, a coffee cup lid, carelessly dropped or lost by the inattentive visitor. Nothing that could not easily be picked up and collected in a small garbage bag later (and I generally do, because it hurts my eye more to see the garbage than it is an effort to pick it up and dispose of it in a designated spot).

It was a hot Sunday. We decided to go for a swim at a place along a river, where the water cascading over sheet rock is easy to access and not too deep.

Walking on we came across an abandoned campsite, with bottles and aluminum foil in the fire pit. Right next to it was a good sized box full of discarded packing material and bottles – the leftovers of a party. It seemed that someone had just abandoned the site and walked away that very morning. I looked around, but aside from a lone person walking along the shore in some distance (we had parked right next to his car) we were the only ones around. I pointed out to my husband that I was going to bring the box of garbage back and dispose of it.

I anticipated the wind would scatter it soon, and the rain would soak it. Then it would be much harder to clean it up next time around. My heart was full of resentment, and a fun day felt suddenly spoiled. I was at odds with the world and definitely upset with the person(s) who had left their garbage behind. While I realized that emotion, it was hard to shake it.

Regardless, we did our thing and explored the river. Eventually, the lone walker came towards us and I spoke to him. He told me that he was not from around here, and that he was camping out. Oh, I said, is that box up on the bank yours by any chance? He said that it wasn’t, but that he wanted to come back with a garbage bag and clean it up. I responded that I was going to take the box, and that he could come back with the said garbage bag and clean up the rest. He said, bless you, and that was all it took to put my world back on its hinges.

Connecting with just one like-minded person can change our world.

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My intention:

Sustainability- How to live happily while leaving the earth in the same or a better state than before – is what I strive for and educate people about

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

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(Photo by Anastasia Nelen, Unsplash, 2023)

Minding the Little Things

Leopard Frog

I just came across a very small (what I believe to be a) leopard frog. Why I saw it? – Because it moved. Once it stopped, I had a hard time finding it again. Can you spot it in the picture-insert?

Leopard Frog, June 28, 2023

When I held out my hand the frog jumped on it. It did not stop but kept moving, and I felt fortunate to get one shot with the little amphibian in focus.

I am sharing this experience, because I felt so passionate about this sighting, so amazed at how tiny, how perfect and how fragile this little frog is. That created a sense of responsibility and reverence in me.

What I learned from the encounter: Frogs are amazing. Life is precious. I am grateful.

What was the latest thing that created a sense of awe in you?

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Johnson Salamander

I almost stepped onto this little guy. At first, I thought somebody had dropped a piece of rubber in the grass.

Then I realized I had a visitor. A mysterious visitor.

Luckily he did not mind waiting there, in his spot in the grass, while I found out that the Jefferson Salamander is considered an endangered species in our area. I sat in a distance from him for a while, then let him be. He was there all evening, but gone the next morning.

Johnson Salamander, June 24, 2023

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Saving One’s Face

I generally like to present myself well composed and in control of my negative emotions. I don’t like to be seen when my saboteurs (my negative inner voices) get the better of me. Feelings of stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, restlessness, and unhappiness can be very unsettling.

I work through strong emotions best by going outside. Walking and running have always worked well for me.

Mental fitness activities have added a new and unexpected effectivity for me. I still experience negative emotions, but more and more I feel AND see them for what they are, and that makes it possible for me to step aside and that really takes the edge off those emotions.

If you feel alone in and at the whim of negative emotions, I can assure you that you are not!

I have been working with people who are very successful in corporate businesses, governments, and military settings. They all experience negative inner voices. They all feel self-conscious at times, and very competent and in sage emotions at others. Just like you. Just like me.

In addition, I find that it does create a sense of connectedness when people talk about their emotions, and the empath in me walks hand in hand with my intuitive self.

How have you been dealing best with negative emotions?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Spirit Plants

When I lived in the Yukon, I was given a handful of Haskap berries. I harvested the tiny seeds and started them. I planted the little plants in a raised bed. They survived winter after winter, and after a three years they produced their first fruit. When I left the Yukon, I took some seeds with me. The whole story repeated itself, and we had our first berries last summer. This summer, we have such an abundant harvest, which made me think that Haskap bushes are definitely my spirit plant:

They are easy going, produce fruit very early in the season and for an extended period, they are abundant, appreciative of what I can give them, they are decorative, and they are not of interest to little harvesters like chipmunks (strawberries don’t stand a chance against those neighbors).

What is your spirit plant? – Look around. What plants are doing well in your care or in your surroundings? Please kontaktieren Sie mich, if you need more questions or a reference-guide.

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Your Body Has You Covered

When the fog is too thick for you to find your way around, your body knows where to go.

That might be a bit of a metaphorical exaggeration. Please bear with me as I unroll my thoughts:

Unfortunately, our area is currently experiencing dense smog from wildfires in this and other provinces of Canada. While we cannot really smell it (unlike yesterday, when the smell of a cold fire pit hung in the air), my chest felt heavy this morning, I felt reluctant to take a deep breath, and a headache was (and is) lingering. I pointed out to my daughter that there are people who spend their lives in conditions like this, where the air is polluted all the time. And how lucky we can be that this is only a temporary situation.

I also became aware how messages from my body – reluctant to take a deep breath – can be such a great guide, and how important it is consequently, to listen to somatic impressions.

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As your coach with a strong affinity towards stewardship for our natural world I would ask you:

When do you feel your body telling you something you are not consciously aware of (yet)?

There is a very useful little exercise with which you can quickly gain (or regain) access to your somatic wisdom and your inner compass. Schreiben Sie mir if you are interested.

(Photo by Greg Rosenke, Unsplash 2023)

When Life Happens

We live on the side of a beautiful creek. In the spring, the water level is fairly high and the current is fairly strong; strong enough so I can swim in it without moving in relation to the shore line. It is perfect: cool, refreshing, clean. The birds are singing, the mosquitoes cannot get to me, and all I see is nature.

I have a tendency to forget this beautiful setting, when the water level drops radically later in the season and the flow comes to a halt, until the creek is full of long algae. That is partially due to the fact that this creek drains from a lake that is dammed up so the people with cottages around it can enjoy the water all summer, when there is less water feeding the lake. I have a tendency to feel resentful about that. Gentrification of formerly pristine rural lands into cottage country for wealthy retirees is not something that I digest easily.

Today, however, when the temperature rose to 30 degrees, I hopped into the creek, and I was swimming against the current with my goggles on, exploring the underwater world (I tickled a mussel with my toe and it clammed up, I listened to some shore birds chirping, and I enjoyed the gentle flow of water against my front, when I stopped swimming and put my feet down), I realized how much I miss out on, when I am not living in the moment. So I did.

How have you lived in the moment today?

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CCO – Cool Coaching Offers

By the way, I am offering a few really cool things in my coaching services: A 6-week program to help people gain clarity about their life purpose (direct link coming soon!), and an 8-week program that builds serious mental muscles. Both have helped me and brave souls around me who jumped into the adventure with me. Feel free to schedule a nonbinding discovery call to talk about your journey.

Fit Body & Fit Mind

I have good news and a reality check. Let me tell you a story, and you can see if you can find the good news! If you are lucky, your body was naturally fit in your younger years. For example, you could eat whatever you wanted without gaining any weight, for example, and you were naturally fit, even if you did not work out a lot.

If you are anything like me, now that you are older, you are putting on weight much more easily, and to stay physically in shape takes time and dedication. Again, if you are lucky, you love healthy food, which can give you an advantage with regards to healthy eating habits. Me, I love crunchy vegetables and any kind of fruit. So now that we are older, we come to realize how important healthy nutrition and exercise are in maintaining a healthy body.

The same principles – although less visible – apply to our mental health and fitness. The mental challenges of more mature humans are versatile, but there might be a midlife crisis, overwhelm with the responsibilities of life, and possibly some first signs of an aging body. To put up with those challenges and maintain a healthy disposition, one needs to exercise the mind just like the body.

It is quite possible to remain mentally fit, just like it is to remain physically fit. Consistency is the key. If you want to know more about that, please kontaktieren Sie mich, or read up on my mental fitness program.

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Note from my canine sidekick: “I help a lot with Manuela’s mental and my physical fitness! I make her run a lot, and she says I always bring a smile to her face. Can you guess why?”

Photo: Danica’s cool ear fluff, 13.1.2023

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Canine Assisted Coaching Anyone?

Today I would like you to meet our dog Danica. Danica is an English Shepherd, and she is 6 months old. She has been with us since September, and she is in training to become a Service Dog, assisting me in my coaching. What Danica (along with so many of her fellow canines) brings into the world is her playful, gentle nature, and her ability to live in the moment, while never wasting time with grudges.

Danica loves to play with her Frisbee and with sticks of all kinds.

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Danica’s question for you: When was the last time you petted a dog?

Danica and her Frisbee (12.1.2023)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Mental Fitness Snippet: Walking & Breathing

The snow is crunching under my feet. I breathe in while I take two steps. I breathe out while I take the next two steps. My mind chatters. I think: “In” (and take two steps), “out” (and take two steps). I let go of the thoughts that want to bubble up. “In…. out” (crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch).

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness and Nature Coach

Pictures Touch

I use pictures in coaching to evoke reflection, inspiration, and associations.

Something in a picture might evoke an association, a thought or a feeling that wants to be talked about.

For example: In a coaching session, a client might say that they feel stuck. I might show them the following card, and they in turn can share what they see, and what the card makes them think about, thus getting the person “un-stuck”.

Question: What does that card make YOU think about? Please comment or send me a message.

Source: Dixit Board Game

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If you are curious about more thought-provoking questions and inspirations, I am looking forward to meeting you in a Free Discovery Meeting:

Buchen Sie Ihr

The 3-To-1 Positivity Ratio

Research shows that our brains are hard-wired to over-emphasize the negative experiences we have. Due to an evolutionary survival mechanism called the “negativity bias”, the human brain holds on to and amplifies the negative much more than the positive. It was more essential for our distant ancestors to remember the experience with the dangerous bear, than the beautiful field of flowers.

According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson (University of North Carolina, 2009), we need three positive experiences for every negative emotional experience in order to keep a positive mindset. According to her, we can actively build a collaborative relationship between our survival minds and our thrive minds. This 3-to-1 ratio should be maintained both in thoughts and feelings, as well as in interactions with people that matter to us.

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What are a few ways to build that collaborative relationship between those two parts of our minds?

It starts with awareness: Pay attention to when you are having negative thoughts and feelings, including stress, anxiety, anger, disappointment, blame, guilt, shame, self-doubt, regret, etc. These thoughts might happen in response to yourself, to others or to events and circumstances. When you notice them, counter by commanding your mind to come up with at least 3 positives:

See the adventure around the challenge: Can you learn something new? Can you explore something exciting? Can you grow a new skill?

Look for opportunity: What is a positive aspect of a negative event? What could be a positive consequence of the negative circumstance?

-Zoom out and broaden your view: What does the big picture look like? What do you see now that you have not seen before?

Take small risks that take you out of your comfort zone.

Practice self-compassion: See the beautiful essence in you! Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.

These thoughts could be quick and simple, and they will start to shift your brain activity to the positive side.

If you are curious about this and many more Mental Fitness exercises, I would love to meet you in a non-binding chat.

Buchen Sie Ihr

Here is a Link to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s Positivity Self-Test

Playing to our strengths

Playing to your strength means doing what you are able to do well, rather than doing other things.

An example: A friend’s son was assessed for ADHD. In the process, it was found that he is simply a kid who needs more physical exercise than he was getting in school and at home. It was not easy, but the school and the parents found ways for him to get more play time outside and more time when he is unplugged from any technical devices.

This story led me to think about people in general:

Are we living our lives playing to our strengths or are we just playing along with the structures we find ourselves in?
How can we create the lives that make it possible for us to use our strengths and flourish?

This is of course only part of the picture. As professionals, we have to be realistic: It is not always possible to use our strengths (or is it?), to embrace our weaknesses (have you heard the term “own your weaknesses”?), and to know your growth areas. As a person working with other people, you can also play to their strengths (how exciting!), and of course, we are well advised to stretch to form new strengths, and develop an authentic, informed, and confident awareness around the whole topic. In summary: To be who we are!

In my Nature Connected Living Quest you will discover and work in a very comprehensive way with your strengths.

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

(Photo by Dustin Humes, Unsplash 2022)

Article inspired by: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/01/10/play-to-your-strengths-13-even-better-ways-to-improve-your-leadership-skills/?sh=6ca7d03b6f79

Unique Animals

We have been enjoying the very unique personalities of several domestic ducks. It all began with a few barnyard-mix ducklings in 2021. In 2022, two Magpie-Cayuga ducklings followed. A number of them were males, so we found them loving new homes where they have been enjoying their own flocks of duck-ladies.

At the end of this summer, we had one female (Sunny) and one male (Magnum) left. For the second time in her life, Sunny was in the process of laying eggs, and for the second time in my life, I was collecting those eggs. Sunny did not want to accept the fate I had chosen for her – that is, not to have ducklings in late fall. I kept reminding her that it is much more sensible to raise her young when summer was approaching, and not when winter is around the corner. She paid no heed. Instead, she faithfully stuck to her nest which was well padded with her own down feathers, and the straw I had provided. She also rounded up a number of rocks that were roughly the size of her eggs, and she sat on them. One day, I was gone for a few hours, and the ducks were in their fenced in area as usual. When I came back, Sunny was nowhere to be found. My heart sank, when I remembered to check inside the duck coop. Sure enough, she was there, sitting on her nest. That was when I decided to give one egg back to her so she could follow her calling. It was September 21.

Sunny then was sitting on her nest for more than 23 hours in every 24-hour period. Magnum was sitting next to her nest for the same times. I left food and water in their duck coop. Once a day, I saw them going outside to frolic in their splash-pool for a bit and forage for insects in the grass.

Last Saturday, October 15, when I tucked them in for the night, I had a chance to inspect the egg, and I saw a tiny hole. Quickly, I put the egg back in the nest and spent a fearful night. Would the duckling be able to hatch? The next morning, when I walked into the duck-coop, I was greeted by a still wet duckling. By the time I had my camera ready, Sunny had covered up her little hatchling, and she was hissing at me preventively. My offering of cooked peas was graciously accepted.

On day two, the duckling – we named it Rocksie – was sitting next to Sunny, and we were allowed to hold it briefly, before giving it back to its mother, where it disappeared under the warm feathers.

I keep thinking what a miracle it is that we have been witnessing.

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Question: Where have you last experienced the magic of nature?

Sunny, Rocksie and Magnum (October 17, 2022)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness and Nature Coach

What goes around comes around

The expression What goes around comes around is backed up by neurological research. Because of neurons in our brain, if we are in sage mode, like joy, curiosity or peace, the person interacting with us will gradually shift to the same mode, which then will fuel our own sage, creating a virtuous cycle. If you look into a happy face and genuinely connect with that person, you will feel happier.

How can you easily and authentically make people – and yourself – happy?

It can be small things: Really connect with people from your heart, for just 10 seconds. Bring a smile to the people in everyday encounters. Tell someone you know a thing you recently appreciated, but have not mentioned yet. Tell a co-worker a strength in them that you admire.

That brings appreciation, gratitude, caring and joy to the world around you. See how that affects you!

(photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski, Unsplash 2022)

(based on Shirzad Chamine’s Mental Fitness Exercise “Make Someone Happy”, Positive Intelligence, November 29, 2022)

Coaching with #ManuCoach4You

I work with people with a strong environmental conscience, who want to live a sustainable and responsible life without sacrificing what they love doing and thereby creating and strengthening their authentic self.

My target group feels stuck between the responsibilities of (mid-)life, while yearning for more self-determination and connectedness to the natural world and the freedom of their younger years. There might be stress, anxiety, burn-out, and other internal or external conflicts that seem daunting.

Through mental fitness training and coaching in, around and with the help of nature, I assist them in carving out time and energy to step into their full potential and experience their autonomy and authenticity. I do that by assisting them in reframing the problems into opportunities for growth.

I have a long history of living in very close proximity with nature. My background as a sociologist, a teacher, and a homesteader (always making the most of the limited means at hand), as well as my very analytical and empathic nature make me the ideal coach for my target client.

What sets me apart from others in the field: I am authentic in the way I live in and around nature embedded into our modern world. I am empathic, intuitive, and honest. I use metaphors and stories. I incorporate a systemic view in my approach, and I advocate for (and coach toward) mental fitness. And very importantly, I respect the power of the human mind.

I am looking forward to meeting you in your