Hello, Old Pal Anxiety!

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Ingrid has colitis and other health challenges; the unpredictability of her physical issues gives her anxiety. Margaret has a fear of flying which has gotten progressively worse; due to her anxiety she has not stepped foot on a plane in years. Peter is a widower and single dad with three daughters; the oldest one has anorexia and he is experiencing great anxiety regarding her well-being, as well as her sister’s. The two teenagers are both plagued by anxiety as well.

Anxiety is a more and more prevailing challenge for many people. One in five Canadians has a mild to severe mood or anxiety disorder. Anxiety is especially on the rise among children and teens. It is a continuously growing concern at any age. What is happening in our brains and how can we address this issue?

To understand how our brains function, we need to remember that for our ancestors, negative experiences had more impact for their survival than positive ones. They needed to remember their painful or dangerous experiences so they would not repeat them, in order to survive. Our brain is still wired that way. Our brains evolved with a “negativity bias” (Rick Hansen). In general, we remember negative experiences more easily, unless we really focus on the positive ones and take them in deeply. That is like a “learning disability” and traps us in conflict. So, it does not help at all to tell somebody who is worrying or has anxiety to think positively.

Anxiety - time

The experience of uncertainty which creates anxiety comes from the fact that we can make representations of time. We structure our experiences into past, present and future. The ability to analyze the past and think ahead to the future is part of the human survival kit. We are supposed to learn from the past, be very awake and alert in the present and make sure we are safe in the future. Unfortunately, our ability to evaluate future risks is only based on a few facts and our left brain fills the gaps between those facts in with a story. Depending on which subconscious beliefs we have about ourselves and the world, this story our left brain makes up is either a supportive one or a limiting and fear-inducing one. In the case of anxiety, our left brain has created a fear narrative.

Mark Twain says it humorously:Anxiety - Mark Twain

Most thoughts that makes us anxious are thoughts about the future, a future that generally never happens like we imagine. That is why mindfulness and staying in the present moment helps to train the brain to stay focused on the here and now. The present is all that is real. Therefore, mindfulness alone can already help with anxiety.

We have also been trained to avoid unpleasant emotions, to push them down and not feel them. So naturally, we don’t want to feel anxiety. However, our attempt to push unpleasant feelings down, keeps the anxiety going. The attempt to make anxiety go away is what traps us in it, not the anxiety itself. Instead of putting all our energy towards avoiding the anxiety and trying to get rid of it, we can learn to be with it and ride it out.

It is an ancient Buddhist practice to stay with the feeling that arises. So when fear or dread arises, we can welcome it into our heart and stay with it until it has moved through us. Greet the anxiety like an old friend, “Hello, my friend. I know you. You are my old pal fear. Welcome back.” Then keep breathing all the way into your belly, long deep and complete breaths, letting your belly expand on the inhale, and become smaller on the exhale. Simply being with the fear allows it to come and go like all other mental content.


Of course, mindfulness and being with the feeling requires practice, like everything else in life. When we say, “I have tried that mindfulness thing, it doesn’t work” it’s like saying “I have tried playing the piano, it does not work”.

Often we believe uncertainty is the problem to be solved. “If I could just control my physical body”, or “If I could just have the guarantee that there will be no turbulence”, or “If I just knew whether I will pass my exam or not”, or “If I just knew that my child will be alright in the future”.

Uncertainty is not a problem to solve. A much more useful approach is to rest in the uncertainty and experience it as a sanctuary of possibilities. When we are emotionally in a place to create a positive influence or make choices, we end up being more comfortable with the uncertainty of a situation and, in the end, are more in control.

A situation of suffering and uncertainty can challenge our whole identity. Being sick might challenge my identity to be a productive and capable human. A fear or phobia might challenge my identity as a rational adult or spiritual person. A crisis with my child might challenge my identity as a good parent.

We first of all need to remember that we still are who we always were. In fact, we are everything. We are capable and rational and spiritual and a good parent. We are just having the experience of a hugely challenging situation. Because it is unpleasant to feel the pain, disappointment, shame, anger, fear or other emotion, we seek control. If we instead acknowledge the painful feelings, we can shift into a place of self-compassion. We can then move from attempting to gain control to choice.

We can always ask “What can I choose? What can I bring to this situation? Courage? Trust? Love? Who do I want to be in this situation? And how do I want to feel?” The answer might be “I want to feel less alone and therefore I reach out for support to address this health crisis” or “I want to be present and calm on the airplane and trust that I am safe in the Universe” or “I want to be compassionate and loving with my struggling child”.

Anxiety - choices


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Angelika, Belief Change Coach

905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

You can also join me on this meditation to ask ourselves

what we can choose in a current anxiety provoking situation:

Empowering stories versus disempowering ones

Everything has a vibration, every thought, feeling, word, and action. In each moment in life, we choose which vibration we want to be in. Do we want to have an experience of doom and gloom, feeling like we are a victim, or do we choose to vibrate at a higher level of trust, peace and love? Fear is our enemy and influences what stories our left brain is able to create.

I have written before about our left brain being a “story teller” (Jill Bolte Taylor). We are faced with facts A, B and C and the left brain gives those facts a meaning based on our beliefs and past experiences. It literally fills in the gaps between the neutral facts with an interpretation which either makes them “good” or “bad”. The bare facts I was confronted with over the last ten days are “I fell” (fact A), “I broke both my ankles” (fact B), and “I am not able to walk for a while” (fact C).

There are countless ways I can tell the story around those facts. A victim story would sound: “Poor me, I fell and I broke both my feet. How terrible is that. I did not deserve such a tough experience and all this pain. Now I am completely helpless and need to be looked after. I can’t do anything anymore. I can’t take care of myself or work. And I bet this will take a looong time to heal. Meanwhile I am missing out on summer and on all the fun events going on which I was planning to attend. Poor poor me!”

A self-blame story would go like this, “How stupid was that of me to fall! If I had just not gone back down the stairs in the dark I wouldn’t be in this terrible situation. Now I have to pay for this stupidity for weeks and weeks. I deserve to suffer for being so careless…”

Or sometimes we choose to tell a story which blames others for our perceived misfortune. “If I hadn’t been alone, if so and so hadn’t turned off the lights, if I hadn’t been so tired because I had to do this or that for so and so… bla bla bla…” Or we might tell a combination of the victim and the (self-)blame story.

Empowering stories - bookshelf

I choose to tell neither of these dis-empowering stories. I choose to trust in the Universe and everything happening in Divine order, bringing us beautiful gifts and amazing lessons. God or the Source is loving and benevolent, not punishing, revengeful or chaotic. We are being “hit over the head” with the proverbial “baseball bat” when we don’t listen to a message, when there is no other way for us to learn our lessons. We can refuse to learn the lessons and tell victim or blame stories, or we can grudgingly learn them or we can even joyously learn what there is to learn and find the beauty in every experience in life.

This experience for me is an experience of how creative, adaptable and resourceful I am. Through different mobility devices, I have become as independent as possible and I have shifted my work to skype for the time being. It also is an experience of how blessed I am to have so many loving and giving people in my life who support me in so many ways.

I am amazed that 99% of our family and friends either consciously or intuitively understood the importance of not letting fear write our life stories for us. I overall encountered true empathy instead of pity, amazing practical help instead of meddling, and most of all trust instead of fear.

Sometimes we come across people who are not really able to be empathetic or supportive but plain nosey. Their prodding and digging for something negative might come from a place of fear. They might be thinking, “If I know how this happened, I can prevent this terrible disaster for myself”. Or perhaps it is our media which conditions us to sensationalism instead of looking for the bright side and the beauty in life. Just as we have the choice to watch the news, or not to watch it, we also have the choice to allow somebody to pull us into a low vibration, or not.

Empowering stories - baseball

When life throws us a curve ball, we have the choice to whine about how unfair that is or we can adapt and make the best of it and gracefully win the game. My family and I choose to fully focus on the light and the gifts in this situation. We opt to address this situation with laughter and strength instead of focusing on suffering and fear because we have a choice.

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen

Angelika, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca, 905-286-9466

Vacation Away From My Planner Self

I had planned that my first blog back from vacation was going to be about the differences in parenting styles in different countries. Then my friend Grace Attard planted a different seed in my mind with a Facebook post I read at 4:00 a.m. this morning—because unlike planned, I had trouble sleeping. And after reading that post, all my planning went out the window.

Yes, you guessed right. I am a planner. I like to think ahead and plan. And, of course, I have family members who mirror for me the opposite energy that I am not always in touch with, the spontaneous energy. When I am challenged with their approach to life, I like to say they are incapable of planning or unwilling to plan even a day in advance! I get infuriated how they can feel okay about “flying by the seed of their pants” without worrying about any consequences. But I do know very well that they just have a different view of life in general and specifically regarding the merits of planning.

There is a voice in me that feels there is such a thing as “wasting time”. That same voice also says that you can ensure everybody is happy by planning ahead and ensuring that no obligations are forgotten. It says planning is an effective use of the limited time we are given. It also says that people who plan are bound to be more successful, make less mistakes, be financially better off, be happier, and so on. While that might sometimes be right, it isn’t necessarily always the case. Sometimes spontaneous last-minute gut-decisions turn out better than long-term planning.

When it comes to vacations, I have learned that the best moments, the ones that stay in your memory forever, the ones that we still reminisce about years later, are the ones that were not planned. When we were in Amsterdam and we suddenly found ourselves maneuvering through a sea of bicycles just after we arrived by train. Or when we were in Paris and we stumbled upon the perfect little art exhibition, much better than lining up to get into the Louvre. Or when we were in Barcelona and we happened to come across the perfect charm for my mother’s charm bracelet, in the city she loved so much. Or when we stood in the centre of an ancient stone circle in England and the energy was incredibly strong. Or when in Brussels, the waiter photo-bombed our picture and made us laugh. And the list goes on.

Vacation from my planner self - rock circle

And then there was the summer when I took a trip to Quebec City with my closest girlfriend and our daughters. I got so sick with a sinus infection on the plane that she had to take care of me and the kids for the first three days. Even an unplanned negative event like that, I deeply cherish because the experience was filled with love. It was filled with acceptance and going with the flow.

My favourite childhood memories are also those of spontaneous little moments. I have that memory of my conservative, self-controlled father showing us kids how to do a cartwheel in the backyard of a little cottage in England where we were vacationing. For just a short moment in time he let us see a completely different energy from him: the energy of spontaneity, non-sense and joy, prompted by the fact that we were on vacation.


Ironically, the woman sitting next to me on the plane last night was reading the book “Wait. The Useful Art of Procrastination”, which shows that I ended up in the seat next to her after switching with another passenger not by coincidence but by synchronicity. As I am reading over her shoulder “…if you don’t know how to manage time, time can rule you like a tyrant”, I wonder what an appropriate way of managing time might be. The author Frank Partnoy also writes, “Time is a slippery concept, and we are often wrong about it…”

Wait - bookcover

I have been ruled by the feeling of not having enough time or of not having used time efficiently. That is a slippery concept because it is a completely subjective experience. As I am sitting on the plane, the question arises if I should be using my time efficiently and should be working on my computer—like I had planned—or if I should be reading for work (also planned), or if I can give myself permission to watch a second movie. I could have forced myself to stick with the original plan but the vacation feeling was still lingering in me, so the movie won over the other two options. Having made that decision, I then had the choice to feel like I am wasting time or, in other words, like I am procrastinating doing my work. Or I could really enjoy the time I had on the plane. I believe in the first case I would have allowed time to rule me like a tyrant.

At the end of a wonderful vacation, the lady next to me and her book gave me another reminder to not always ask whether something is a “waste of time” and to see the value of not always operating according to plan.

Vacation from my planner self - CLOCK

A vacation for me is a vacation away from home, from work, from obligations, but most of all it is a vacation away from my planner self. A perfect invitation to live in the moment, to “wing it”, to allow wonderful surprises to unfold. It is an opportunity to just live in the day, to see what we come across as we embark on a little adventure.

When have you last taken a vacation away from your planner self, or your perfectionist self, or your pleaser self? When have you last enjoyed the moment without asking “What is on the agenda next?” “Is this situation perfect?” or “Am I making everybody else happy?”

And by that I don’t even mean a literal vacation. Let’s all give ourselves a vacation day or at least a few vacation hours each week when we are able to shed our planner self and completely live in the wonderful magical moment of everything that is possible.

Angelika Baum

Life and Belief Change Coaching



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Authenticity Barometer


Ever so often, I need an honest sounding board. For me that sounding board is three hours time difference and only a phone call away.

My best friend—who I grew up with and whom I feel closer to than to my own two sisters—can always be counted on as a barometer for how I am doing. We talk about being parents, being relationship partners, about our families—close and extended, about new experiences and challenges, but most of all about who we truly are.

Claudia is what I call my “authenticity barometer”. She truly loves and respects herself, and I admire her for how she navigates life. When I am at a crossroad and about to make an important decision, I often ask myself, what would she do or say? That does not necessarily mean I make the same decision that my best friend would make, but it always means I am making my own choice with more awareness.


My soul sister and I have learned from each other’s errors and from each other’s successes. We are encouraging and non-judgmental with each other, while at the same time we do not let each other get away with less than what we feel the other person is capable of. We don’t coddle each other or lie to save each other’s feelings. The measure is always authenticity. The one person who will honestly tell me if I am behaving in line with what I claim my life philosophy to be, is Claudia.

About thirteen years ago, she was brutally honest with me and let me know in not unclear terms that I was not showing up to my full potential in terms of honesty and the values I claimed I had. She could have just turned away from me without telling me why I was hard to be around at that time, and done the “polite thing” by letting the friendship slowly and quietly die. Instead, she spoke her truth and expressed honestly what she saw. It took me a while to digest what she had noticed but because it came from her, I knew it was worth considering. I am still grateful to her today, for pointing out how and where I had lost myself.

Speaking your truth is different from being opinionated and feeling you know what is right. Speaking your truth is a subjective I message: “I see, I feel, I believe and I need…” It is up to the person I am being straight with to accept or reject what I am saying. There is no absolute truth, no absolute right or wrong. There is just what works for me, or doesn’t work for me.

AUTHENTICITY quote 3 Guber

Being authentic also means refusing to fit into moulds of what is done, in lieu of finding your own way. Claudia always encourages me to take the harder path, the path of being in integrity with myself, which lately has required setting clear boundaries with people I love.

Sometimes we can lose ourselves in the name of love for others. Our children and partners bring out our shadows. They constantly challenge us to love ourselves as much as we love them. Living life in line with who you are means checking back in every so often to decide if a clear “no” is in order and if the lines have become blurry. Is it time to say to someone we care about, “Sorry, honey, no. That does not work for me.”?

One of the things Claudia always reminds me of through her own example is that our relationships do not have to be lived according to what society deems to be the norm. Sometimes we decide to just live how married people do, or to do what so called “good parents” do, or to behave how “good children” are expected to behave because it feels safe. We forget that it is completely up to the two people involved in a relationship to decide how they want to design their personal commitment or their personal relationship. The only relevant question is, “what feels right to both parties?” And if guilt clouds your judgment, know that shame and guilt are the lowest frequencies and biggest blocks to truly being happy. Clear them out!

AUTHENTICITY quote 4 (Brene Brown)

We all have heard of grieving the loss of another person. Do not underestimate how deep the grief goes when you lose yourself, the true voice of your soul. Ultimately, choosing to not be true to yourself comes from a place of deep fear of being unlovable. That feeling of fear, unworthiness and shame is the breading ground for depression, food, alcohol or drug addictions, and for many physical symptoms and disorders.

How does one avoid losing oneself? What if you decided to not do things for others because you owe them but because you truly want to, because it fills you with joy? What if you reminded yourself that being lovable is not tied to conditions? Most of us still find it hard to believe that we will be loved unconditionally, independent of what we do or don’t do. And then ask again—free of guilt and obligations, free of the worry not to be loved—what feels right to you deep down?

Shed the idea that your decisions need to be popular with others! If it is a deciding criterion whether others will like your choice, you sure aren’t making that choice from your own inner voice. Sometimes one has to risk being called “a bitch” or “selfish” in order to be true to one’s own needs and values. To truly be authentic and at the same time to do what other people approve of is nearly impossible. The fastest way to come to a place of being true to yourself is to let go of the need for outside approval.

Sometimes we have to risk hurting someone’s feelings in order to be true to ourselves and our own needs. That doesn’t mean you have to be cruel or insensitive. We can come from a loving or compassionate place when we let others know how we feel. After all, love and compassion goes two ways. In order to be truly loving with others, we cannot come from a place of hidden resentment because we have been ignoring our own needs.

Being authentic has no agenda of manipulating or changing others. The motivation for authenticity is being happy with yourself and being truly healthy. Authenticity is detached from the response of others. Being authentic is loving yourself unconditionally and continuously, no matter what. Ultimately, we cannot change anybody. By living in line with our own inner voice, however, we can be an encouragement for others to try the same.


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Angelika wide picture for blogs smaller

Life and Relationship Coaching





The Growth Choice Versus the Fear Choice

If you are not satisfied with what you do and you keep postponing starting a new career or business, have you actually avoided making a decision?

If you are avoiding speaking to your partner or ex-partner about an important issue, are you really postponing making that difficult decision?

If you are struggling financially and you find yourself going deeper and deeper into debt and you don’t make changes, are you able to escape making a decision?

In all three cases, you have made several decisions or choices. You have made the choice not to be in control of your life. You have made the choice to remain stagnant. You have made the choice to allow others to make the decisions for you. You have given away the opportunity to have an in-put and find a compromise. Your partner will most likely make his or her own decision without you, and your debtors are most probably going to react to your financial situation. In each case, you have deluded yourself that you are not making a decision, but you have, in fact, made a fear choice over a growth choice.

We are making choices all the time! We cannot live life without making choices in every given moment. “The Universe is Decisive” (Raymond Charles Barker). We exist in and are part of a Universe in which we are constantly co-creating our reality. The Law of Mind, as the Science of Mind teachers call it, or the Law of Attraction, as it is called in the Abraham teachings, is clear: We are constantly manifesting from our thoughts, feelings, words, decisions and actions. It is not possible to NOT make a choice.

The choice not to make a choice is a choice in itself. It’s the choice to stay “in limbo”. And on the other side of indecisive energy is decisive energy. When we are indecisive, we draw in other people who are decisive and will make decisions for us. The choice to let somebody else make the choices for us IS a choice. We give away our power of decision. We give away an opportunity to self-actualize consciously.

Abraham Maslow choices

We are human and we make fear choices over growth choices all the time. We might choose to stay in an unhappy relationship out of the fear of being alone. We may choose to not move from a financially secure job into a more fulfilling but less secure one. We might avoid important talks out of fear of conflict.

Be compassionate with yourself when you notice a pattern of making fear choices. Just don’t delude yourself that other people and forces control your life when you are the one who has made the choice to relinquish control.

“Have no fear of negative patterns you may uncover in your mind. They are ready to be known and dismissed.” (Raymond Charles Barker, The Power of Decision, 187) When you find that you tend to behave or act, think or feel in a certain pattern, celebrate that you have found a pattern. Now that your conscious mind is aware of a pattern which you would like to change, you can begin your work. Such a pattern could be “when somebody is not pleased with me or criticises me, I feel rejected” or “I jump to the rescue of people with a victim consciousness, enabling them to remain a victim” or “when somebody is angry, I retreat into feeling helpless instead of constructively solving a problem” or “when I feel sad and not good enough, I overeat to push my emotions down”.

This Universe is fractal in itself. There are repetitive patterns everywhere. They show up in nature, in the history of mankind and in everybody’s individual history. The same patterns show up over and over again until we become aware of them and consciously change them. Within this choice is a decision again: the decision to break a pattern, no matter how long it has been present, the decision to change something that has not been working for us.


Raymond Charles Barker mountain valley quote


Related blog:



Life Coaching, Changing of Beliefs and Habitual Patterns




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Happiness Formula

Around this time of the year, when we are doing our taxes, we might find ourselves re-assessing our charitable donations for the previous year. We might ask if we want to continue donating to the charities or organizations that we have donated to so far; are they still close to our heart, or do we want to re-direct that money and donate our time and/or money somewhere else?

Why is it an important question to ask? Because giving to others is an essential part of our own health and happiness. And the more we believe in a charitable cause and truly give from our heart, the more that heart energy circles back to us. By helping where we can, we acknowledge that we are all connected and inter-dependant. It is an opportunity for us to make a difference. Our voluntary choices, which include making the choice to give to others, make up 40% of our experience of being at peace with our life or of what we also refer to as happiness.

The Chopra Well Launch Event

Deepak Chopra talks about a formula for happiness which scientists have found. This formula for Happiness is

H = S + C + V

Happiness = the Set Point in the Brain + the Conditions of Living + our Voluntary Choices

The Set Point in the Brain is the happiness we received in our genes, what we experienced in uterus and in the first three years of our life. That “ability” for happiness makes about 50% of our feeling of happiness. This sounds terrible given that most of us had experiences as young children with parents or other care givers who weren’t really happy themselves. However, the good news is, the set point in the brain can be rewired, changed with belief work, with cognitive therapy (questioning our thoughts and beliefs) or with techniques like Hypnosis or PSYCH-K® that rewire the subconscious mind. We can unlearn old limiting or negative beliefs and overwrite them with supporting positive beliefs about ourselves and our world.

The Conditions of Living, which we always like to think are the only determining factor for our happiness, are responsible for only 10% of our happiness! How much money we have, for example, does not make us lastingly happy. It has been shown that even when somebody wins in the lottery, their level of happiness after a while returns to the level it was at before.

That leaves 40% for the Voluntary Choices. Those are choices we make for pure pleasure (e.g. activities, food, sex etc.) and even more importantly choices that bring us fulfillment (being creative or spiritual, being helpful and giving, for example donating our time or money to a charity, or simply making someone else happy through attention, affection and appreciation) The more we give positive attention to others, the more we show them affection and appreciation, the happier we are and the happier they are. The secret ingredients to Happiness are the three As: Attention, Affection and Appreciation.


There is one more factor to Happiness not contained in this formula, which is the Existential Unhappiness when we have resentments or other negative feelings about the past or worry about the future. The human being is the only creature who can replay negative events from the past and make him/herself thoroughly unhappy in the present, or worry about not being happy in the future with the same effect. Knowing this, it is important to let go of the past and not worry overly about the future.


For Hypnosis, PSYCH-K® or Forgiveness/Letting Go Work contact Angelika




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