Can Confusion be Good?

by Kristine Enger

As human beings, we feel confused from time to time. Some of us even spend chunks of our lives in a confused state. Perhaps there is a decision we feel we must make about a relationship, a job, or a certain path that we had hoped to take in life. A niggling feeling something is off with the status quo. We feel stuck, we want to move on, yet at the same time we cannot see through the fog, there is no clarity. We don’t know where to go or what to do.

As the frustration grows, we start questioning, when are we going to have clarity, how can we get out of this confused state that we find ourselves in?

We spend time and energy analysing the contents of our confusion, rummaging through the filing cabinets of our minds looking for answers based on past experiences. We run possible future scenarios on repeat, easily causing heaps of anxiety for ourselves. We scurry around, asking for advice from friends and relatives, looking for answers, a way out, a new direction.

There is a saying that if you don’t know what to do, do nothing. Could it be so that no action is required and we’re off the hook until the fog lifts, seemingly all by itself? Could it be so simple that we are just required to ‘sit it out’, that the answers will come, and the path will appear?

Some consider confusion to be a good thing. That ‘in between stage’, that precious time in between the old and the new, where you are creating a new normal for yourself that has not yet materialised.

Everything might still look the same in your life, the same home, relationship and job, yet it feels like you have left something behind. The shoe no longer fits. You are in the process of attaining a new level of being, seeing, understanding. A more expansive way of viewing the world and your place in it. A new perspective.

In mindfulness we learn how to fall in love with where we are right now, and that from there everything will come to us, including clarity and the solutions we are looking for.

So instead of wishing that things were different, we can learn to trust confusion, and really sink into it, and accept it. Even look forward to it, embrace it, as it inevitably leads us to something new.

Spending less time analysing the content of the confusion, we find that clarity arrives sooner. Grounded action and which steps to follow next, will inevitably become clear.

Confusion becomes an exploration of what is present.


Ring of Fire

By Kristine Enger

On a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia with my daughter we felt the earth move, literally, in the form of several earthquakes. My daughter, a geography student, found it quite fascinating and I, after quake no 3, not so. It was deeply unsettling and frightening to me.

Our lives were never in any danger, and I intuitively knew that. I, therefore, allowed myself to sink deeply into the experience of what was happening in the moment.

Indonesia is located on the Ring of Fire, a major horseshoe-shaped seismically active area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, where most of the earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Due to the unpredictable nature of earthquakes, there is no warning, they can suddenly occur at any time.  First, you hear the deep (terrifying!) rumbling sound, then the swaying and shaking starts, and after about 10-15 seconds of what feels like an eternity, it’s over.

I quickly discovered I was afraid of what might happen next, and not so much the actual event itself. I was afraid to hear that sound and kept listening for it. Skittish and jumpy, yet at the same time trusting, and knowing full well it was my thinking mind playing tricks. I needed to take great care to allow space for these anxious feelings, and when I did, they subsided.

When we teach in mindfulness how we are hardwired for flight, fight or freeze, it was interesting to experience this first hand. In one split second – you can scan a scene, notice the placements of objects and people, look for ways out, feeling the adrenaline pumping, and at the same time realising you are completely powerless to what is happening. You are simply fully in it. Then afterwards, you become obsessed with analysing your experience, finding meaning and trying to explain why this happened. Checking websites, speaking to the locals, exchanging information with fellow travellers.

The metaphor of how this mirrors life itself crystallized, all whilst finding yourself in a location that can only be described as being in paradise. Life becomes accentuated, everything is deeply felt, your senses heightened. Profound compassion is felt for the plight of the people on the neighbouring island of Lombok, which experienced the most loss of lives and damage. Every cell in your body is felt, as you have been so deeply shaken. The colours, the textures and beauty of it all is seen in a profound, more appreciative way. The love is ever present, spontaneity rules the day, and life continues to happen.

Sometimes our lives are rocked beyond belief, and we feel powerless. However, there seems to be a natural order to it all. It will shake for a while, as adjustments are being made.

Then, the tectonic plates settle, and somehow a new order is restored as peace once more returns.

Retrospective Happiness

by Kristine Enger

It’s sweltering in Dubai now. Escaping the heat, my daughter, who’s home from university, decided to dig out a box of old home movies, which we’ve been watching lately with cups of tea, biscuits and rolled down blinds.

With three daughters, there seems to be an endless stream of birthday parties. I catch flickering images of myself offering an assortment of Barney cakes, princess cakes, cakes with numbers on them, organising musical chairs, standing guard at the bouncy castle, or pushing someone, now fully grown, on a swing.

The hairstyles, dresses, living rooms change but my face is always beaming. I look so happy, carefree and wrinkle free! Our family still intact, what did I know about life!

When we look back on things the way they were before, we inevitably measure the experience up against where we are now, and somehow draw the conclusion we were happier then. Can we only be happy in retrospect, looking back on events?

We might ask ourselves, “when is happiness really going to catch on for me, or” I had happiness before, even though I didn’t see it at the time.”

Does that indicate that we cannot be happy now, only realise it later that we should have been? Or does it mean that we have evolved and raised the bar of our own internal happiness barometer for where we are in this moment?

Does it take more now, or perhaps less?

We might argue we are just being sentimental looking back, in fact, if we look more closely, we recall there was a truckload of issues, waiting, disguised as high drama, parked just off the camera lens.

Mindfulness teaches us that happiness is an inside job.

Over time, we will indeed experience a feeling of happiness, sense a deeper level of contentment arise from deep within, as we become more mindful and expand our awareness of the present moment, and ourselves in it, through our daily practices.

More so when we decide to call a truce with the thinking mind.

Nevertheless, we cannot help but be mesmerised by looking at old photographs or footage of ourselves, as younger carefree beings.

They remind us of something precious, hidden, glorious even.

Hopeful and playful, innocent and free. Is that who we truly are?


Repetitive Thinking Patterns

by Kristine Enger

Part 2 in series – read Meditation & The Busy Mind here

Have you ever been waking up from a comfortable sleep, with that sweet, carefree, holiday kind-of feeling, stretching leisurely and then boom! having what feels like the weight of the world descends upon you?

From a state of well-being, we seem to, in a split second, recollect and bring forward the sum of the stories of our lives, what we perceive to be our current reality. A reality, which, most often, has us in a vice-like grip of fear.

Is this a bad habit that we are engaging in, flipping into heavy thoughts which far outweigh, with their sheer number and density, more joyful, hopeful thoughts and a greater sense of well-being?

Researchers agree that we are thinking on average 65,000 thoughts per day and that 90% of these thoughts are not only the same as we were thinking yesterday, but also predominantly negative and harmful to self.

We seem to be replaying the same stories and scenarios, over and over. Giving our attention and energy to memories of the past, or projecting our thinking mind into an anticipated future, all done with a ‘doom and gloom’ mindset.

By becoming more mindful, we start to form the habit of observing our thinking patterns as they arise in the now.

On one hand, we see the gift of this newfound awareness, our ability to observe and create distance to our thinking mind, but at the same time, there is a desire to understand how these ‘go to’ thinking patterns were created in the first place. Why are they so negative, and have they served us at all?

As very young children, we had not yet developed discernment or the analytical ability to distinguish what was true or false. We believed everything we were told by our caregivers, as our pure minds absorbed all without questioning.

So, when we were told, “you’re bad”, ‘shame on you” or “you’re a mistake” we innocently believed this to be true. Inevitably, we developed a thinking pattern and modified our behaviour to suit what we were starting to believe about ourselves. We did this for one reason only: to survive.

If we did not mould ourselves to be accepted, liked and loved by our caregivers, it could mean our survival was at stake.

Most of the time, the repetitive thinking patterns are very insidiously disguised, lodged deep within the subconscious mind. The link to what we were being told as children, may seem to be far off from what we are experiencing in our daily lives now, in the form of relationship problems, anxiety, depression and so on.

However, as we sit quietly with ourselves in a mindfulness meditation practice, or embark on a journey of self-inquiry, we start to see this connection. Ultimately, we cultivate love and compassion for ourselves in this way.

Sometimes this is all that is required, to understand that these unhelpful patterns of thinking were innocently formed to ensure our own survival and that all of humanity has this in common.

Other times, coaching, psychotherapy or bodywork is needed to investigate further the origins or the trauma that set us off on a path of self-destructive habitual thinking and behaviour.

Either way, over time we may experience that the more we know about ourselves, how our thinking mind works, the more easily we can choose well-being over ‘doom and gloom’ thinking.

Thinking that feels fresh and new arises in this moment only and comes with a feeling of hopefulness.

Choosing to bring our mind and focus back to the here and now, opens the possibility to stretch out those wonderful carefree moments, and make them last longer.

To learn more about Mindfulness Meditation you can come to our group sessions (MindfulnessMindful Living or Meditation), or book in a private session with Kristine or come to her weekly support group sessions on Tuesday mornings from 10am – 12pm. Get in touch with us to find out more. 

Meditation & the Busy Mind

By Kristine Enger

As teachers of mindfulness, we find more and more that people are longing to connect more deeply with themselves, to practice better self-care and to find ways to quieten their, very often, busy minds.

A mindfulness meditation practice teaches and encourages us to sit with ourselves in silence, you with you, and without judgement accept what we experience of ourselves in that moment.

Through different breathing practices, we learn to connect the mind and breath deeply in the body, we anchor ourselves within ourselves.

As everything starts to slow down, we may often experience a tidal wave of thought.

In mindfulness we teach: put your mind where your body is. Being anchored in the body is very unfamiliar to the mind, as it is used to jump all over the place, constantly giving energy and attention to a multitude of thoughts and ingrained belief systems. At times, it can feel like we’re trying to tame a wild beast!

Many give up on any sort of mindfulness meditation practice because the noise and velocity of the thinking that we encounter are too intense. In fact, many come to learn mindfulness to escape from all the thinking, and then find that they don’t actually want to give it up. “My mind is too loud/ busy/scattered for meditation.”

Nonetheless, as we continue to sit and breathe and on purpose bring our minds back in the body, over and over, with patience and not looking for anything in particular, we will inevitably start to notice a distance to our thoughts, instead of being trapped inside them.

This distance is the gold, it is the gift of our awareness, the ability to take on the role as observer to our experience.

By cultivating a practice of witnessing, somewhat dispassionately, how the constant stream of thought literally forms the backdrop to our existence, like a wall of water forever pouring and streaming through us – we may start to see that we are not our thoughts, as we drop away from identifying with the stream.

As we continue to observe our thinking, it is important to be tender with ourselves, develop compassion and humour as we give space for the bewilderment we inevitably feel as we become more aware of what our minds are occupied with.

It feels good to be able to observe our thinking mind in this way, instead of being trapped within it. Regardless of what we see.

In a way, we’re off the hook. We don’t have to do anything to control our thinking, fix it, hack it or change it – because it is simply not possible. For as long as we breathe, thinking is always going to be there. Just let it be.

The gift of our awareness soothes the thinking mind, gives it the space it needs to settle. Through practice, we notice our thinking becomes less intrusive, softer, less tempting and our desire to engage becomes less and less as we, on purpose, start to choose a more peaceful mind.

Next in this series: Repetitive Thinking Patterns – why do we think? (coming soon – follow our blog to get it straight to your inbox!)

To learn more about Mindfulness Meditation you can come to our group sessions (Mindfulness, Mindful Living or Meditation), or book in a private session with Kristine or come to her weekly support group sessions on Tuesday mornings from 10am – 12pm. Get in touch with us to find out more. 

The Tapestry of Life

By Kristine Enger

When we are crossing a muddy patch or a stream, we don’t always know where to put our foot next. Where we thought it was safe to cross sometimes isn’t, the stepping stone is wobbly and inevitably we end up with one very muddy, or wet, shoe.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see where we are going in our lives. It can feel as if we are walking blindly into a future not yet formed, with no apparent plan or purpose, as we cautiously search for where to put our foot next. This can feel disorienting and confusing.

As we have a desire to live more mindfully, being present to the what is happening now and not wishing it was different, it can be a conundrum as we don’t always understand what the present moment requires us to do. Or we feel stuck in our present circumstances, in some version of an eternal ‘groundhog day’ now.

Can we accept that the present moment is sometimes crystal clear and other times utterly muddy and confusing?

Only when we observe the tapestry of our life from a higher perspective, can we see the different colours, the intricately woven patterns, and how each thread was vital to the overall quality of the weave. Why certain things happened the way they did. Events that only years later make sense, as we get glimpses of the interconnectedness of it all, the bigger picture.

As we are busy living in the rich, mundane, bewildering now, wouldn’t knowing the bigger picture take away the learning underway, the interesting people we’ll meet, the sense of achievement experienced from the other side of a particularly treacherous crossing, the exquisite vistas opening after a steep climb, or the deep, soul love of another human being?

If this is so, that the final design is unknown, can’t we then just ‘go all in’ with abandon, trust and accept that we indeed can never put a foot wrong?

Finding Home

by Kristine Enger

Some people say,” yes, I belong here, in this world, in this life, in this job and I am comfortable with that. I am content, I feel at home”.

For most of us, it’s not so simple. In fact, we may feel we were born in the wrong country, into the wrong family and that life, in general, is quite confusing. Ironically, the more we start to ponder and search for where we truly belong, the less we feel we belong anywhere at all.

We start to question people around us. The ones who have lived on the same street all their lives, done the same things they’ve always done, not really gone anywhere. Surely, they must feel they belong, otherwise, why are they still there?

“But have they really lived?”, we ask, “or have they understood something we have not?” – as we restlessly traipse around the world, looking for that magical place where we can feel that sense of belonging, that deep sense of “yes, I feel at home here.”.

At some point on our travels, we could be fortunate enough to end up in a place and feel a sense of home, even though it is, for us, a strange country with an entirely different culture. It is like we know intuitively, “this place holds the key to something”.

For a while, it may mean that we will orbit around a mindset and culture that feel alien, and not be part of mainstream society. Not integrated and not belonging.

It can feel as if we have stripped everything in our lives away, layer by layer – country, city, family, home, language – all to clear the space to reconnect to a distant memory of something we only sporadically have caught glimpses of, something elusive, enticing, true, real. Home?

With all distractions gone, can we fully be with ourselves? Can we stand to sit, perfectly still, observing our breathing, our thoughts, our feelings, without running away?

Can we embrace life in this way, with confidence, not knowing what is going to happen next? Have faith in the moment and show a willingness to accept the hand we have been dealt?

So that one fine day, when someone asks, “where do you call home?” we can say:

“This is my home, where I am right now. I am deeply rooted in my life, I am with my life, I am observing my life and I accept all I know and see. I may not like all of it, but I accept that for now, this is what is. So yes, I am home, and I belong here – now”.

The New is Coming

The fifth instalment in a series of blogs on “Starting Over” – read the others here: On Starting Over  , Know Where You Are  , A Seed is Born  , The Void

When we are in a phase in our lives where nothing much seems to be happening, frustrated that the seeds of our deepest desires we so carefully cultivated, or the vision we gingerly held, have taken their time to manifest in our reality, it is easy to miss the first signs of the new.

In fact, we may not recognise the fragile seedling of the new at all, and trample all over it. The new is extremely resilient, and cannot be stopped, so when we do start to notice that changes are occurring, we most often either feel like “this is not what I asked for”, or” this is too much”.

When we create something new, it is rare that what we asked for shows up fully formed in its expression, the way we had visualised it. When the new starts to emerge, we may not even recognise it at all.

Other times, the new seemingly comes all at once and can feel extremely overwhelming. We soon forget that this is indeed what we had held in mind.

Trust that what has been presented to you is what you can handle. Or be patient and trust that the little seedling will indeed turn into the most exquisite flower, given time.

It is about recognising the signs for what they are, not become disillusioned when the new does not present in the way you had envisaged. Therein lies the mystery, the challenge, the trust, so that we as human beings can grow alongside the new, become an active contributor to the continued creation process, as opposed to sabotaging it.

We can see the creation of the new as exquisite, as holy even. Through our choices, acting on our thoughts, we give life to the continued unfolding of creation to show up in our reality. Over time a stronger sense that life is happening through us and not to us may naturally unfold.


Kristine has lived in Dubai for more than 25 years and has started over many times in her life. Kristine knows particularly well what it entails to start over as an expat, far from home, without the safety net of family, friends and in certain situations social services to catch us. Kristine’s deeply grounded, practical, yet highly creative approach to life, makes her an excellent consultant to guide and inspire you if you find yourself going through the challenging time of starting over.


The Void

by Kristine Enger

The fourth instalment in a series of blogs on “Starting Over” – read the others here, here and here.

Most life changes are seemingly brought upon us by external forces. Whether we initiated the changes or not, certain circumstances either became intolerable to us, or life itself decided to put us through the grinder. Either way, we are forced to act and, sometimes begrudgingly, redefine our lives.

As the idea of the new is taking hold in our awareness, but before it slowly starts to manifest, there is a period of being in what feels like a void, a holding pen, where there is nothing. We are literally staring into a blank future.

To fully inhabit the space of ‘nothing’, being in it and breathing it, is frightening at the best of times. This is the phase where all that was safe and familiar is becoming a distant dream, and the new has not yet materialised.

This phase is crucial to the creation process, although to most it feels so uncomfortable and unsettling that we do whatever we can to avoid being there.

“It’s not fair!” “What have I done to deserve this?” “How did I end up here!” “Am I depressed?” Yet, if we allow ourselves to accept that nothing new can be created from a crowded cluttered space, and that to cultivate the seed of the new, we need to weed and clear an empty patch.

To learn to accept and recognise when you are in the void is greatly helpful for the creation of the new. In fact, the more you accept and inhabit the void as a natural part of evolution, you see that the terrifying void was all along the portal through which the new can emerge.

A Seed is Born

By Kristine Enger

A third instalment in a series of blogs on “Starting Over” – read the others here and here.

Deep inside an underground vault, on the remote Norwegian island of Svalbard, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean, lies the Global Seed bank.

This secure vault is temperature controlled and built to withstand threats from natural or manmade disasters to preserve the world’s crops and plants. To secure life for future generations.

Deep within the process of starting over, lies the seed of the new. Through the contrast of what you don’t want, you’ve learnt what you do want. The seed of an idea of what could be, comes to life.

The seed of the new is the most precious commodity. To safeguard the environment for the seed to sprout and grow becomes the most important task and requires determination and focus.

Ground it deeply by grounding your own energy. Walk bare feet in the park. Spend as much time as you can outside, whether forest or desert.

Hydrate the seed by hydrating yourself. Drink plenty of water and be in or near water as much as you can.

Protect it by holding the idea of the new close to your heart. You know deep down what it takes to shelter it and keep it safe.

Be patient and take your time before you broadcast your plans to the world. Wait for the new to slowly, tenderly start manifesting in your life before you do so.

Surrender and create the space for the seed to sprout and grow. Like any seed, it knows exactly what to do. It may take some time.

Enlist the help of a coach, who is neutral and who can support you and keep track of your progress, however small. Friends and family can be supportive and believe they have your very best intentions at heart, but during this fragile creation process, people who know you well, will in most cases have an opinion about where you’re headed and dilute the energy of the new.

During certain times in our lives, it feels as if we’re walking around in our own Arctic wilderness, feeling fragile and beaten. The seed of the new is always within us, just waiting for us to become aware of its existence and through our intent and love bring it into this world.

Kristine has lived in Dubai for more than 25 years and has started over many times in her life. Kristine knows particularly well what it entails to start over as an expat, far from home, without the safety net of family, friends and in certain situations social services to catch us. Kristine’s deeply grounded, practical, yet highly creative approach to life, makes her an excellent consultant to guide and inspire you if you find yourself going through the challenging time of starting over. Contact us here to make an appointment to see Kristine.