Iamgood.cc-blog Vienna, Martina Peric
Interview with Sandra Neumaier
About my journey and the core learnings on the way
publishing date 02/03/20, Community Corner Blogpost
blog version (short) https://iamgood.cc/2020/03/community-coffee-corner-reconnect-with-your-power
Original, extended Version:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in personal development.
I was born in a little village in the Black Forest. In my childhood I had three big passions: to play the accordion, to do artistic gymnastics (Kunstturnen) and to draw for hours and days! It was already very clear for me: I want to become a graphic designer!
After high school diploma I studied design in Karlsruhe, moved to Zurich, where I specialized in editorial design and moved to Barcelona to create books of architecture, art and design. A view years later I became a professor and teached design at the university there.
After over a decade working in design, I reached a peak and turning point. I slipped into a personal crisis and asked myself what makes me happy, what not? What do I want, what for? How can I quiet my noisy mind full of thousand ideas, get rid of dissatisfactory states of being busy with relationships, and stop what does not serve me and trust my intuition more?
Out of this wish I deepened my practice in Yoga, started with Vipassana meditation and read tons of books about astrology, psychology and philosophy. The weekends I did a NLP practitioner training at the institute for Gestalt, besides a lot of intense design working days and great fiestas in Barcelona.
I had the impression to understand some basics of human nature, especially the power of emotions. And at the same time, when life got more intense, I had no clue, how to deal with my inner abysms! How to let go, what made me suffer like hell? I recognized, I couldn’t solve this by just analyzing myself. But how to deal with my thoughts and emotions differently?
My first session
I was searching for something practical and tried out my first Grinberg session. Actually I had no clue, what was happening, but it worked! I got more peace of mind, gained suddenly more clarity about the subjects I was bringing into the process. It became easier to follow my intuition, to identify what feels good and what not, on a long run. I dared to say goodbye to unhealthy relationships and old strict inherited convictions far from aliveness. The sessions became a great learning tool to break free from old and heavy chains. My life has changed and is changing tremendously ever since.
Economic Crisis in Barcelona
A few years later, I tutored students in their design diploma. Furthermore the vivid, creative spirit of Barcelona had changed, too: We were in the middle of a big economic crisis: over 50% of the under 30 years old Spaniards were unemployed. They called themselves „la generación perdida“ (the lost generation).
Many students were stuck in their anxiety about their future and felt without any perspective. My deep wish was to support them in dealing with their frustration and to encourage them to follow their professional passion after university! But how? The most efficient tools for self empowerment and dealing with challenging life situations I learned in the holistic Grinberg sessions.
Professional change from design to Holistic bodywork
So I decided for the formation and became a practitioner of the Grinberg method. Since 2012 I accompany people in their personal recovery and learning process. With the overall aim to conquer their power back and to bring their energy into what they truly love.
Vienna and current activities
Five years ago, I moved from Barcelona to Vienna where I practice in the 4th district. Together with like-minded colleagues we founded in 2019 the association Body of Power and cooperate with enterprises and festivals.
Further I am currently joining the teacher training of Avi Grinberg to become a teacher of the method.
I love living in Vienna and I am still deeply connected to Spain. In October 2020 (new date!), I will hold the Retreat: ´Reconnect your power´. The intensive Sessions in the Retreat are created to make a big step out of a physical and emotional crisis and to build up inner strength. The retreat will take place at a beautiful finca in Mallorca together with Mallorca Holistic.
2. How does what you currently do contribute to the community?
What drives me, is to give this powerful tools to everybody, who yearns to connect with her/his inner strength and to live a healthier, more joyful and fulfilling life.
On my way I have met great mentors! They transferred me responsibilities and encouraged me to try out new things. With mentors on my side, I dared to do the next steps faster, more determined. Now it is my turn to pass it on.
The approach I offer is learned through shifting the attention from the mind to the body. All we experience, we experience physically: if we are tired, angry or sad, in love or having a mind-blowing idea: all is expressed and experienced through the body. I teach to raise the level of body attention through touch and verbal guidance. It is an entrance to life through experiencing, instead of knowing already before. As knowing is often based on old experiences, past trauma or information from outside, it lacks of being directly connected to the actual situation and the individual experience. Our body is real, physical and designed to perceive life in a fresh way.
Routines versus free choice
One essential part of the learning is to pay attention to established routines. Routines are shaping our health and our personality continuously. For example the individual way we sleep, or the level of stress we experience while we make decisions. Some of those fixed, automatic routines affect our overall health and limit our personal freedom.
Routines are automatic, there is no attention. Out of routines we act like machines, always the same way. But we are no machines! We are vivid. We can choose. We can change. We can try out new possibilities.
When we pay attention, we recognize f.i. the automatism of a repetitive hesitation before we do the next step. With training we are able to stop limiting routines and experience our possibilities and discover new facets of our unique, immense potential.
Present perception and memory
So my work is basically about how „fresh“ we perceive reality. Through the body we are in touch with both: every present situation and memories of old undigested struggles. If a past experience is not finished, we carry it in the body. When we are constantly busy with something, no matter if consciously or unconsciously, it is somehow like a constant constipation. We can finish this old experiences, transform them into something nourishing and let go the parts we do not need anymore.
Usually people come to sessions with the intention to change acute issues, like: dealing with a recurrent physical pain (f.i. back ache or migraines), anxiety, repeated fear of failure and rejection. And the overall wish, to be more healthy, determined and confident in their business and relationships.
Besides the initial aim clients often are struggling with eating-, digestion-, breathing- sleeping-, or lack of energy -issues. In this chronic physical routines, we can find a lot of trapped energy, hidden treasures for recovery and personal growth.
Fear and Pain: The masters of intensity and limitation
I teach my clients to relate differently to their physical or emotional pain and to deal with fear. Both, fear and pain, were involved in old endeavor we are still stuck in. We disconnected from their intensity, to feel „safe“. Maybe at that very moment this was a solution to survive, to continue. But, if we shut off fear and pain for longer periods, and avoid them, we pay a high price.
We all have some dust under the carpet, some deadwood in the storeroom, we are humans! It is an overall personal choice to start a process. Usually we look for self-determined change, when we fell into a crisis: Health crisis, identity crisis, relationship crisis, midlife crisis,…a crisis is often an invitation to clean and clear up. And to reconnect with ourselves, our fears and pains, our vulnerability.
In the process, we discover a lot about ourselves: Do we automatically hold back or are we hungry for life?
Attention is the key to our personal fulfillment! Our ability to connect directly with our natural sources of energy in the body, our power, our pleasure and joy.
Some practical examples, how to distinguish fresh and old intense experiences:
Imagine you hit with your knee against a sharp corner. „AUTSCH!“ How do you react: You stay cool and hold your breath: „It doesn´´´ t matter!“?
Or: You shout at the table and kick against it?
Or: You deny to do one more step and blame the unfairness of the person who put the table exactly here?
Or: You feel helpless, everything seems to be too much for you in the last time?
And: What is with your knee? Do you sense what you need and how you can support the healing process of the knee?
Imagine you were raised in a family and your father was very ambitious and tough. Whatever you did, it was not good enough. You were little and a burden for your father and your older brothers.
So you learned to be sympathetic. You tried to pass every crazy test of courage to get the permission to play with the boys. But even when you passed the test, regardless, sometimes you were not allowed to play with them. You developed a character out of it. And later, whenever you have been in a group, you felt immediately not being part of „them“. You were convinced, that you have to do something outstanding, or better to stay on your own, because whatever you will do, you will be delivered to their judgement and their power games.
We always have the choice to change and not staying in a fixed point of view. But how?
Out of avoiding pain, – the believe of not belonging (to our family, our class, our partner) is very painful and scary at the same time –, we may build up a knight armor. Most of all, what scares us the most: Are other people!
We move like robots and invest our attention and energy to avoid getting hurt. We get stiff, distant, shy, invisible, cool, tough, know a lot and everything better. We are constantly alert, defensive and arrogant. We remain silent, when it would be better to speak out loud, or we do always the opposite. Or we turn into people pleaser, with frozen smiles and thirsty, lonely hearts.
Old fear and love
Imagine you love somebody and feel confused. Because your partner does something you did not expect. Like for example your beloved one cancels an important date. Automatically you react with mistrust. You suspect that she/he is dating another person. And you are overwhelmed by the rising jealousy. But most of all you feel trapped in the confusion, what is real and what an illusion of your mind?
Through the body you can learn to reconnect to the rich world of your feelings, stay present and allow more silence, to trust your fresh perception. And to face reality, to adapt to reality, to whatever this reality may be.
Stopping the fear of fear
We are often trapped in emotions, scared of their intensity, to lose control or be hurt again as in the past. This is fear of fear.
In the sessions I teach my clients how this is expressed in the body, to stop the fear of fear and to allow fresh fear to flow.
What is fresh fear?
Imagine a wild deer in the forest. It is hungry and goes towards the forest clearing. At the moment, it steps into the open field, it is fully aware that it needs to hunt to survive and that it gets prey for bigger animals, at the same time, too. At this moment fresh fear flows in the body of the deer. It perceives 360 degree around through every skin pore, it is fully awake and connected to its abilities. Now it steps into the forest clearing..
–Imagine, the animal would now be busy with its lovers intentions about the cancellation of the date– its possibility to find something to eat shrinks against zero. And even worse, it risks to turn suddenly into an easily delivered food.
..back to the situation at the forest clearing: When fresh fear flows the deer is fully in touch with its surrounding. Its attention and energy are completely directed to its potential to find food and to survive. And, may be, to enjoy this wild moment of aliveness and freedom, too.
3. What's the most important thing you've learned in your practice?
To „add body“ to experience the moment and to achieve silence in my mind. To be before to do!
What I have learned/ I am learning from fear
Fear is teaching me to pay attention. I recognize faster when I am trapped in thoughts like „I have to…“, or „but I want this now“ and to notice the effort I do in my body when I am over- (or under-) thinking, or over- (or under-) doing, wasting my precious time. Not in a sense of clock time, more in a sense of losing the chance to be at ease and joyful in this very moment. Fear is making me aware, that I am alive! Now!
Years ago a Spanish friend said to me: „Never doubt in your intuition Sandra, that will give you power in life“. I felt the truth in it, but it confused me, too. I did not understand that following my intuition is not at all contradictory of thinking! Being present and allowing silence creates space for thinking. Real time thinking! In this state, new thoughts arise, my creativity blooms.
I learned to relax into fear and that it is natural not to know before! This approach to life, is what I love so much about this method: No fixed rules, no readymade recipes, but connecting with my inner pilot, my strength, my courage, to trust in life and to dare.
What I have learned from pain/ what I am learning from pain
Pain reminds me that I am vulnerable. Human. Mortal. It reminds me of my need to be healthy, the need of my heart to give sincerely, without sacrificing. The need of peace of mind and the need of my soul of fulfillment. It makes me more aware of the limits and possibilities in daily life. Pain taught me too, to let go of illusions and makes me sharper in decision making: where to go, what for, with whom.
4. What is one small thing you wish people would and could start doing today to make a difference in their personal lives and develop their potential?
To add body and to breathe fully!
To experience, instead of analyzing.
To move on when its over and to start fresh!
To enjoy life!
Here a little exercise:
Sit straight and relaxed on a chair. Close your eyes, and pay attention to your breathing. Now think about something you want to change, this may be a current back ache or a current concern you are busy with:
_Pay attention to your body. What do you feel?
_Where is tension?
_In your neck, your belly? Intensify this tension and hold it (up to 5 seconds)
_Pay attention to your breath: How do you breathe now?
_Intensify the way you breath, f.i. short, fast, shallow etc. (a few seconds)
_If you feel a specific feeling, too, intensify what you feel, f.i, angry, sad, bored etc.(a few seconds)
_Intensify the whole experience.
_Now inhale deeply
_Exhale fully and let go of the tension, the effort, of all of it
_Open up and breathe fully 3 times
Pay attention to your body. How do you feel?
Do you experience something new, related to the issue you want to change?
5. Anything else you wish to add?
We do have a choice how we react to challenges in life! And where we direct our attention and energy! We can access to our inner pilot, strength and courage. Life happens around us and when we pay attention, we can find possibilities. Learning body attention is like learning to swim:
once you are able to move in the water, you learn to move your arms, your legs, your entire body. You gain confidence, get more playful and discover your own style. You may start in a pool in which you can touch the ground and later you dare to swim in bigger waters, the wide ocean.
Often clients say to me: „Why did I not learn this when I was younger?! My life would have been completely different, I would have made other decisions, would have been stronger and happier before!“
Yes, for sure and still: There is no better moment as now, to empower yourself and to open up for an exciting and fulfilling life!
Feel free to get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org and to say hello, when we meet in person.