19.11.2011 17:10

What was the calling?

After a few overnight flights, firstly with the Ilyushin to South Africa, then with Lufthansa to Europe, we are now back in Germany. The flow we were experiencing since our decision continued, as yesterday, only hours after arriving back to Reutlingen, our coach Christoph had a cancellation with clients in a nearby town and was thus able to spend some valuable time with us. In a session which lasted several hours we processed our entire experience and illuminated our decision to come back.

Our most pressing question of course: What was the calling that had led us to dedicate an entire year, lots of energy, time, money and other resources in preparation for our expedition – only to come back after just one week on the ice? Did we miss something? Were we deceived all along? What was the true purpose of it?
The question most people were asking us was, why we didn’t stay there, did do something else, anything? Why did we come back so quickly without trying something else first?
It may be surprising to many, but for us the answer is actually very simple: For a long period of time we had a clear focus we were committed to. We dedicated our lives for that period of time to the alignment with it physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Once we were there and understood that what we thought we came here to do (our plan) was impossible to achieve given the circumstances we had no control over - to do something, just for the sake of doing it, without purpose, was neither congruent nor authentic for us.
Of course we went through the entire plethora of possibilities and options, weighed one against the other, discussed chances of success and meaningfulness to us. In this process we both gained a very powerful insight – the thought which creates the feeling that now that we are here, we have to do something, actually arises from a sense of guilt, rather than from a deep and enthusiastic volition.
This burdensome voice/feeling tried to tempt us to believe that if we only hang around longer in Antarctica, somehow our ‘failure’ would be lessened. Both the failure and we ourselves would be more acceptable to others and ourselves if we only continued to struggle and suffer through it, true to the Motto:  In order to get atonement we have to do something that we intrinsically rather not do but believe that if we do it still, we will be ‘absolved’ and thus are able wash our hands of it. But the question we raised was this: How great, good and authentic does it feel to do something from a place of guilt, not because we really want to but we hope to get ’atonement’ and we because we feel we ‘should’.
We realized that this process is very applicable and replicated in many areas of our daily lives. We stay longer at work, endure time with a friend/family member or try harder to fix something even though we know it’s beyond repair, etc. -  because we would feel guilty otherwise. Most of us can relate to the  mental battle between knowing what is good for us and what we should do and we think is somehow expected of us, i.e. what we should do. To not go for something that inspires us because of the deep-seated sense of not being deserving of true joy and wellbeing. Or, as in our case to just to wander around Antarctica because we didn’t reach our goal.  None of this is an expression of love, joy and enthusiasm but a deeper fear and a sense of guilt, which is usually buried deep within our psyche.
So it took a lot of clarity, self-honesty and self-introspection to resist the temptation of this familiar pattern and not be deceived by this subtle feeling of guilt. We realized how often we had done this in the past and thus wasted time and the possibility of truly accepting us for who we are. It’s like investing in a stock that may make money but represents an activity or product which is against our core values. It may look like a gain but we are still contributing to something which we are not actually aligned with in the first place. We try to rationalise our decisions so we can feel better about it. And we also waste time and energy by doing it, which we could invest instead in something that is authentically congruent with who we are, or the journey to find out what actually is authentically us in the first place. (Please see a parable that we find illustrates the process quite well. For us it also speaks to us as we have shortened our learning curve by stopping and listening to our Inner Teacher instead of our ego. It is at the end of this post)
This was our process and the great gift of our experience in Antarctica. Not only to recognise the two voices, their sources and their opposing values/goals for us – but to have the clarity and courage to choose the one which speaks for Peace, wellbeing and wholeness. When we were on the ice, our experience was that we were finishing a process, a module, a lesson we had started in 2008.
So what then was the calling?
Christoph summarized our experiences and sharings like this:
It was our calling to listen to the call!
The decision and ability to listen to this Inner Teacher which is guiding us through joy, enthusiasm and authenticity. To stop listening to the other voice, ego, or whatever one may call it, which would have loved seeing us struggle for another 40 days through monster sastrugi fields, only to be picked up in the middle of nowhere then and paying for it, both monetarily and emotionally; or to wander aimlessly around mountains without that inner enthusiasm, just to be able to say that we did it, no matter how incongruent it may have felt…. Of course we also recognise that for someone else something different may be authentic for them, for us it is so.
We learned that to follow this Inner Calling, we must be prepared to surrender many of our preconceived notions and our own ‘plans’. It doesn’t matter how much time, money, energy may have been invested.
What got us there may not be why we are there in the first place Learning to trust this inner voice whose intention for us is peace, wholeness and wellbeing. To listen to this voice, not just when it’s ‘convenient’ but consequently and consistently. This is an important piece of our journey to Antarctica. To learn to discern the two voices within us and the practice both the ability and discipline to subsequently choose the one which speaks for Peace and wholeness.
What exactly will be birthed from the rich and deep insights and inner learnings we received is yet unknown. For now it is important for the  two of us to honour the process itself and to create the space to allow ourselves to continue this route here in civilisation. Because we returned early we do have this opportunity, which we are both excited to use to its fullest.
Of course our sincerest cheers of support go out to all expeditions, including Dixie and Sam as well as Sebastian and Eric, which are still currently underway in Antarctica. May all be able to find and receive that which they set out in their hearts to experience and reach their goals.
This marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. We may from time to time continue to post information, insights and pictures from our journey. Of course we value and welcome any and all feedback and questions.
Thank you all for sharing, supporting  and joining us on this journey. It was both a pleasure and honour to share with you our unique perspectives, learnings and experiences.
Armin and Dieter
The parable of the hole in the road

On the first day… a man walks down a street. Suddenly, the world goes dark. He thinks he is lost. Then he realises he is in a deep hole. He tries to find a way out, and it takes a very long time. Once he is out the day is gone, so he walks home.
On the second day, the man walks down the same street. The world goes dark again. He is in the hole again. He takes a while to recognize where he is. Eventually, he finds his way out and so again he walks back home.
On the third day, the man again walks down the street. He knows the hole is there and pretends not to see the hole, and closes his eyes. Once again he falls into the hole and climbs out and walks back home. The day is lost again.
On the fourth day, the man walks cautiously down the street. He sees the hole and this time walks around it. He is pleased. But the world goes dark again. He has fallen into another hole. He climbs out of the second hole walks home and alas falls into the first hole. He gets out the first hole and walks back home to think.
On the fifth day, the man walks confidently down the street. He sees the first hole and recognizes it. He walks around it, but forgets the second hole, which he walks directly in to. He gets out immediately and walks straight back home to weep and hope.
On the sixth day, the man walks nervously down the street. The hole is there and he thinks, “I won’t fall into that hole again’ and walks around the hole. He sees the second hole, avoids it, but as he passes he loses his balance and falls in. Climbing out, he walks back home, taking the time to carefully avoid all the holes.
On the seventh day, the same man goes for a walk…
And chooses to walk down a different street.

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