In defense of the ‘small-minded’…


Lothar Dieterich

For the first time! How do you feel when you visit a new place or a foreign country for the first time?

Excited? Curious? Apprehensive? Cautious? It is strange, is it not, a stranger in a strange land? Unfamiliar and new. The place looks different, customs are different to ours, and people look, behave, talk, and dress differently. It takes a while to orientate ourselves and to feel comfortable and at ease if we do not regularly travel to new and foreign places.

We feel out of place, as if we do not belong. It takes time to connect to the people and to understand their ways. More importantly, it takes time to adjust and to totally be ourselves, whilst exploring local customs and new spaces.

We all have different experiences when introduced to the new, the unfamiliar, and the unknown. Our approaches and responses vary. For example, do we follow the scenic route and perhaps join a tour group so we feel safe and comfortable the first time around, or do we enact the adventurer within ourselves and go our own way to explore the unfamiliar, strange, and wild? Do we ask for directions, follow maps, instructions, and guidebooks, or do we follow our own curiosity, senses, instincts and intuition? None of these are good or bad, they simply are. Yet, when we are openhearted, open-minded, and trust our own sensibilities, it is much easier to explore and engage with the unfamiliar and new.

Why this topic?

An article from The Guardian titled, ‘If you want to kill a big dream, tell it to small-minded people’, did its rounds on Social Media this weekend. I reacted without thinking with, “Indeed… not only small-minded people, but close-hearted and close-minded people. Hence not telling people about it; rather sharing a direct personal experience so they can experience it first-hand and experiment with it, as then we bypass the limiting filters of the mind.”

Which in my experience is true, yet my soul called me back to this reaction for some reflection. Something felt off and I was asked to look at it again and do some essential inquiry. Which part of me acted out here? The response was not at all comfortable. It was my wounded aspects acting out; judging the ‘judge’, judging the one who is ‘small-minded’, blaming, feeling rejected, etc based on so many no responses or indifference or simply no understanding of what I am on about the past decade or two.

I am grateful for this experience, as it ignited an unexpected insight and complete paradigm shift. My soul did this to show me that my response was not aligned with the reality that I want to experience, co-create and contribute to, stimulate, and nourish at this time. I did not share from a heart-space of understanding, compassion, and kindness, and had to get out of the reactive headspace I was in.

A case of greater self-awareness

My gentle, loving, kind, and infinite self had to take charge, embrace and uplift that hurt part of me. It was an opportunity for self-healing, greater self-awareness, and growth. In such situations there is no need for self-punishment, self-prejudice, self-criticism, guilt or shame. It is called courageous reflection and self-love. Tons of it. Understanding, compassion, self-kindness, and acceptance, and unexpected clarity.

The wonder of it all is that this entire experience catalyzed an insight that can bring a lot of understanding. Yes, it is devastating to be belittled, bullied, and judged by those who cannot yet perceive and understand our visions, dreams, ideas, and passions. Yes, surround us with open-minded and openhearted people. Yes, do not share it prematurely. And yes, be careful who we share it with. And double yes, there are other ways to share our dreams and visions with the world, like through a direct first-hand personal experience, rather than telling people about it. All valid points.

New discoveries and innovations are everyday life experiences. We become aware of more. Life unfolds in unexpected ways we cannot predict and are not used to. We are all human and no one is an expert on the ‘new’, even those discoverers, adventurers, visionaries, innovators, inventors, and the likes. We all find our way and navigate the ‘new’ in our unique ways. There is another side to this we kindly need to consider.

In defense of the ‘small-minded’

It can be terrifying to embrace, consider, and adopt a new mindset and paradigm, The culprits mostly conditioning, ingrained patterns, habits and fear. Everything is upside down, we need to live, behave, think, see, feel, speak, act, and interact in a new way. That is quite something to ask from a human being who feels comfortable with what is. Moreover, what are our friends, loved ones, family, peers, colleagues, and acquaintances going to say? Will they reject us and no longer love us? We will be alone. We will be the laughingstock. We will be belittled and have no grounds to stand on. The word ground says a lot. Whatever gave us safety and security will no longer be there. Our foundations are ripped from beneath us. And heaven forbid when we identified with these foundations, our conditioned mind, and coping strategies in our psyches, as then we have no legs to stand on. And let us face the reality, we need a strong foundation when we build a new house.

Imagine what those people went through when humanity discovered the earth was indeed round and not flat. Imagine the shock. Yet we are conditioned to believe and trust only the known, permanence, and the proven. We are continually discovering new aspects of existence, our beautiful planet, the universe and cosmos. And moreover, we discover new abilities and aspects of ourselves too. The heart of the matter is that life and existence do not need to prove itself or give guarantees for anything. It is our human conditioning and limited frames of references that hold us back to embrace the unfamiliar, unknown, and ‘new’. We see ourselves as separate from life and nature and believe life happens to us, as if we have no freewill and choices. Which in turn causes so much unnecessary pain, fear, confusion, overwhelm, doubt, intolerance, impatience, misunderstandings. and discontent.

That famous resistance

Besides, we invested so much in our belief systems, ideas, mindsets, frames of reference, and opinions. We do not want to part with them. They seduce us and hold us hostage. Our lower minds close, as its filing and reference system does not have something to associate or compare this new experience with. It creates doubt and confusion, and fester fear. It feeds on preconceived ideas and notions that make us feel safe and secure. It thrives on the known and the forms and structure it already created and cuts us off from our powerful intuitive and creative higher mind, and our imagination.

Our bodies feel out of sorts. The walls come up. It goes into resistance. The word says it all; re-i-stance. Re means again. I — me, and stance means my pose, posture, and position. ‘You expect me to take on another position? I am quite comfortable with this one. I am okay.’ It is already so trying to find our positions in life and our place in the world. (It has nothing to do with a role, career, etc.) It is about where and how our bodies, minds, and hearts feel comfortable, balanced and at ease in the world, thus in what situations, with whom, and whilst doing what? Where we move from into the world — that place where our awareness is in our bodies and where we respond from — determines the type of experience we will have.

It is not something we even think about. There is a huge connection and link between how we perceive the world, how openhearted and open-minded we are, how we approach and respond to the world, how we breathe and move through life, and this place where our awareness is in our bodies and where we respond from, at any given moment in time.

Shall we do a little experiment? From a space of self-kindness, take a moment to become aware of where your awareness is in your body in this moment. In your head, throat, chest, core, legs, feet, hands, etc? There is no right or wrong. Simply notice and be present with where it is. And gently get up and move around. Where do you move from? Thus, where is your awareness mostly when you engage and move through life? On the outer edges of your body? Deep inside your body? Your bellybutton? Your head? Your heart? Your legs and feet? Your hands and arms? Once again, simply notice. What is your posture like? Are your shoulders hanging? Is your head held up high? Do you feel powerful and confident? (not same as arrogance)

Experiment with becoming aware where your awareness is in your body and deliberately move it to another place in your beautiful body before you respond, speak, or move around. Notice the difference in your thoughts, feelings, responses, words, and actions when you consciously move from a place where your awareness is in your core, where your belly button is and when in your heart. Notice what state your mind is like. Softer, more receptive, and open? Like a parachute? Lights as a feather? Do you feel, even if very subtle, that you are in a timeless space when your awareness is centered in your heart or core? Where is the periphery of your perception? Have your head lifted, your diaphragm expanded, and yet you feel grounded and centered? Experience this newness by enacting all your senses, inner and outer, thus your 5 physical senses, your intuition, imagination and extrasensory abilities. Play with it and see for yourself. And as with anything new, it takes time. So do not judge yourself or prematurely say it is nonsense.

What a feeling?

Something incredible happens when we connect consciously to our feeling state. It feels as if we go into a thoughtless space, when our awareness is in centered in our hearts. Notice the difference when you experience a ‘feeling oh so good’ state. Do you have any thoughts and what are they like? It is impossible to be critical, judgmental, skeptic and cynical when we are in a state of ‘feeling so good’. Our minds become open, receptive, and soft, and feel light.

Experiment with a friend. Ask your friend to share something completely new with you. Agree on a signal that you will provide when your friend can do their part. In preparation, recall a ‘feeling oh so good’ moment — if you do not have any, use your sensory imagination — it is most powerful. Give yourself permission to go into that feeling. Allow yourself to be immersed in this feeling, from head to heart to toes. It is a sensual experience; our senses love it. Enjoy it. Feel it all over. Express your voice if you feel like it. Make a sound that represents this feeling. ‘Hmmmmm..,” Stretch this moment out.

Share your signal with your friend without interrupting the moment. Your friend now gently drops the news of this new discovery into your consciousness. Not telling you about it and without any expectation for you to respond to it. Thus, simply dropping it into your awareness, while you are in a state of delight and ecstasy. You do not have to think, remember, evaluate, compare, label, or judge the discovery. Just be with it and notice what happens. How do you feel? It is already part of your experience. You can invite more of it into your experience if it makes you feel good and if not, you can exclude it. You can meet it from a place where your awareness is in your core and you can use your curious, intuitive and creative mind to explore and discover more about it. Notice the ease, joy, and grace when you explore this ‘newness’ in this way and how your mind opens up to infinite possibilities. No fear — no need to compare with what you already are aware of and know or that you need to defend what you already know and are aware of — from a place of pure goodness, personal power, and confidence. Your body at ease. Your mind stimulated. Your heart cherished. Your soul nourished.

Old habits die hard

Yes, old habits die hard, no matter our beautiful intentions. We are stuck in behavior patterns and react from there in automated mode. So how can we transform these habits? Instead of transforming them, rather invite, embrace, and experiment with a new habit. It takes approximately 21 days to introduce and fully embrace a new habit into our experience.

You are welcome to experiment with some that works for me. This is for all of us:

1. Begin each day on a blank page, invite your curiosity to discover new things each day, and choose to see with new eyes.

2. Start the day in a place of gratitude. Write down 10 things you are grateful for relating to who you are, 10 things you have, and 10 things you would like to manifest and actualize. (as if it already happened). Allow yourself to feel this gratitude and if you wish, do a gratitude dance.

3. Do one new thing or something in a different way, each day. It could be responding to something in a different way, replacing a negative thought, taking a new route to work or the mall, eating something different and swap meals around, talk to a stranger, make a new friend each day on social media and reaching out to them by starting a discussion, getting up an hour earlier to be with the sun rising, changing your mind about something, listening to others in a new way, expressing yourself in a new way, getting out of the bed on the other side, etc. Notice how it feels and if there are any new sensations in your body.

4. Call up a ‘feeling oh so good experience’ before you want to experiment or explore a new perspective, paradigm, or idea. Allow this feeling to permeate your heart, body, mind, and soul. Ask, ‘What else is possible?’ when feeling resistant, defensive, or combative.

5. Become aware when you go into fear, for whatever reason. Take 7 slow, deep breaths into your heart. It will slow down your nervous system, bring your awareness back into your body and heart, still your busy mind, and energize you. Follow the flow of your breath for a while.

6. Notice when you become reactive, defensive, combative, or stuck to your opinions, whether in real life situations or online. Notice what emotions, thoughts, and sensations arose. Instead of judging them, ask your soul to show you why you reacted in this way. Get up gently, take a short walk and do something else for a while. You will gain new perspective and respond from a different ‘position’. Put a sticky note or screensaver on your phone, tablet, and laptop with the word ‘Pause and Move around’. It will remind you to take a refreshing breath and to respond from another position before you reply to calls, messages, and posts.

7. To expand your perspective and to let go of self-sabotaging self-talk and limiting perspectives, gently roll your head backwards, without hurting your neck. Your entire body will lift and follow. You are rising into new awareness. Soften and relax your jaw. Roll your eyes back into their sockets a few times.

8. Take off your shoes and socks. Move around. Stop. Shake your body, your arms, fingers, legs, feet, toes, chest, tummy, hips, head (without hurting your neck), and shoulders. Stop. Move around freely, change direction, jump into another space, move around again, shake like before, and stop. Take a few slow, deep breaths to breathe in fresh oxygen to refresh your cells, brain, perspective, heart, and entire body.

9. Go for a walk in a new neighborhood. Notice how you feel, what you become aware of, and what you think. Look for something strange, interesting, and unfamiliar. Simply be present with it. Allow thoughts to pass like clouds in the sky. Do not give them attention or feed them.

10. Go into a shop you have never been, which sells products you have no interest in and which you do not resonate with. Pick up an object. Look at it. Feel it. Turn it upside down. What thoughts arise in your awareness? Now question your perspective. Why do you not resonate with this shop? What if you change your mind?

11. Go to the local park or playground where you can invite your inner child to come and play for a while. Take a blanket with you. Lie down and allow yourself to expand your awareness as you look up to the vast sky. Where is the peripheral of your sight? How different is lying down to when you are sitting and standing? Follow a few birds with your awareness. Use your sensory and mental imagination to explore what it feels like to glide so effortlessly. Rest for a while. Gently get up and notice how it feels to be vertical again. Find the swing and start to rhythmically swing. Allow your body to lean horizontal while you swing. Relax and surrender to this experience. Look backwards and upward at the world from this point of view. Notice how your heart, mind and body opens. Notice the sense of freedom and delight. Find an area of grass which is level. Walk backwards. Notice how this feel. What thoughts arise?

12. On a weekend or when you do not have to go out, sit with the sun rising at dawn. Notice the night colors changing into pink, yellow, and orange. Sit again with the sun setting at dusk. Notice the different hues.

13. Plant a seed. Ensure it receives ample sun and water. Take out the weeds regularly. Begin to take pictures of it every week once the seedling emerged. Give it lots of love and attention. Watch it grow and expand into a different form, reaching for the sun.

Embracing new perspectives become fun when we explore and experiment with them in a curious and embodied way. This is nothing new, as we did this when we were children. We discover experiences which are most fulfilling, exciting, meaningful, and delightful, when we do not allow our limited mindsets, set opinions, reactive emotions, and sometimes self-sabotaging behavioral patterns to keep us hostage.

The reality

Our very powerful body-mind-heart-soul connection is going to become more and more valuable to discern for ourselves. Our world has drastically changed with the coming of the internet, and advances in technology and communications. We can no longer rely on what others tell us with so much false and misinformation and half-truths on the internet. We need to decide for ourselves and enact our own sensibilities to process, internalize, integrate, and apply knowledge and information.

As always, keep the good and let go of the rest.

Curious about other ways to experiment and explore the new and unfamiliar in a creative and embodied way, stimulating your mind, comforting your body, cherishing your heart, and nourishing your soul? We share 8 downloadable, interactive embodied experimentation and exploration experiences as part of our scenic route, which we call Joy Panorama, on our Joy Planet website. We deliberately chose thought-provoking and relevant themes to give people the opportunity to experiment with plenty techniques — all to discover for ourselves whether we resonate with the theme in a direct, personal, first-hand way — and at the same time to have the ability to use these same techniques in all the aspects of our lives and especially when we are introduced to new information, paradigms, perspectives, or ideas.



Hannelie Sensemaker Wor(l)dPainter Venucia

Hannelie loves to bring joy and to create and share enriching and expansive experiences and perspectives that remind us of our greatness, potential and genius.