The next shift happened during a wedding of my best friend in the Provence, France, a couple of months after I had the idea of quitting. It was the summer of 2011. In the middle of a beautiful nature setting, I had amazing talks about purpose and freedom with likeminded people and suddenly, in one second, something clicked. I knew: now or never. No more postponing, no more faking. I decided to do a year long sabbatical and this time I was not wavering.
I told all of my friends, my collegues and my boss and finally quit my job which resulted in emotional highs of unknown proportions. Only after I did all of that I told my father. This was one of the most difficult moments I can remember. Funny how some near death experiences and extreme adrenaline moments on my travels can feel pretty ok to handle while breaking free from authority figures can feel like the scariest thing to do, almost impossible to face. I did it finally and it resulted in another freakout and him not talking to me for a couple of weeks. But I had made my decision.
AROUND THE WORLD
This decision was one of the best I have ever made. My first real breakout. I left work in January 2012 and went on my journey through Central and South America, Australia and Asia. This adventure was mindblowing, nurturing, intense, wonderful and magical. I was free like a bird. I did not miss my home, my family, my friends, my old life. I could have gone on forever. On trips like this you suddenly meet people who are of like mind, valueing freedom over security.
Since I was into selfempowerment and selfrealization, I was in bliss mode almost constantly. When I was not in bliss mode, I discovered more of my limiting beliefs and topics like loneliness. dependancy on other people's reactions, speaking out for myself, the stuff you face in social groups, no matter where you are in the world. You take yourself everywhere you go. If you ever plan a sabbatical as an escape from your circumstances or yourself, forget it, it is impossible.
I tried to to face everything that came up, which worked only medium well. But my urge for freedom was perfectly satisfied. I learned so much about myself, dropped a few fears and uncovered more of the real me. I wrote a travel book, realizing how much I enjoyed writing, but did it only for me and some close friends.
What I did not let go off during my trip was the belief that if I wasn't able to download an incredible idea on how to make a living out of something I love until the end of my sabbatical, the window of freedom would close and another corporate prison would wait with open arms. And so it did. No idea download, no self-employment. Back to applying for marketing jobs. And this time I was more aware that I create these job bootcamps for myself to learn more about me and to see through contrast what I loved and disliked. But seeing through it and having the strength to break patterns and jump into the unknown are 2 different things.
It was the summer of 2013 and I had manifested a job in a company that was even worse. Worse meaning full of people believing in "work hard, play hard". Worse meaning I had to commute everyday, spending around 1.5 hours a day in a train packed with grumpy workoholics. It felt like such a waste of precious time. Even stricter rules, more insanity, more faking, I was laughing and crying at the same time. Literally the things I was sure about (great friends) and the ones I was scared about (long hours, bad salary, mean boss, boring and frustrating tasks) all manifested brilliantly.
While I enjoyed my social life at work, the feeling of being in the wrong field got almost absurd. I did not like my tasks one bit and this time I had no energy of pretending whatsoever. That is of course not clever if you want to stay in the job.
After 1.5 years of faking it with miserable results I knew this had to stop. I started applying for jobs in my hometown again and knew I would be out of there within months. I still had the belief system running that I had to make my living out of being employed but I had at least started thinking about doing photography as a business on the side and was looking for part time jobs. Yay, such a huge step giving the fears.
Meanwhile the commuting and the workoholic atmosphere drained me more and more. Similar to my first job I manifested tasks and projects that felt totally stupid, brainless and exhausting. I could not identify with my tasks nor with the values of the company. I was feeling miserable.
What you put out is what you get back
Then everything changed. It decided to do an experiment. I had heard so many times and seen for myself on occasions that in order to attract an outside reflection/situation, you must FIRST feel like you already have it, you have to really BE the vibration of it first. Choosing the state of being no matter whether the outside circumstances say. So I decided to give it a go. I was so fed up with selfpity and suffering.
One rainy morning in November 2015, I decided in the midst of all the miserable circumstances to feel as if I was on summer holidays. This playful, blissful, carefree, childlike feeling of having nothing to do, being completely at ease. I managed to keep up this inner state of playful freedom for 3 days straight while my prisonlike circumstances stayed the same. I kept my vibes high. Again, like during the crisis in 2008, during these 3 days I kept hearing the inner voice saying „soon“. Goosebumps again.
On the 4th day I was called into the office of my boss and got fired on the spot. It was the best day ever. There was not a single thought of having screwed up, they told me that the board commitee had unexpectatly decided to eliminate the position due to budget reasons without further notice.
My boss, who appreciated my work, told me, that even though he had tried, he couldn't talk them out of it. He seemed genuinely sad when he told me that I would of course be allowed to leave the office right then and there, having a couple of weeks paid contract still. He assured me to give me a huge allowance and the best certificate ever. In other words he apologized.
All the while I was sitting there and couldn't believe my ears. I tried to act at least a little bit shocked while at the same time a huge party was going on inside of me. I was blissed out. It had worked. I had put out the vibration of freedom and ease and all that could be reflected back to me was circumstances of freedom and ease. It was a total shift.
What followed was a phase of absolute ecstacy, freedom and joy for 5 months straight without working, I got good money and had time to travel with best friends through Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. On top of that, 2 weeks after having been fired I was hired by another company in my home town, partime in Marketing. Commuting was over, my new company was located a beautiful 3 minute bike ride from my flat. So much was changing.
On a swing in paradise. Mexico 2016
It was amazing to see how my circumstances have always been a direct reflection of the perfect mixture of the transformational life themes, limiting beliefs I had transformed and those that were still inside of me.
My new job turned out to give me a lot more freedom, flexibility, less strict rules, again wonderful collegues and a bit more enjoyment of the tasks, at least at first. For a year or so I truly soaked up the new found freedom, the enhanced leasure time and the cozy sense of relaxation. But what I happily (and out of selfprotection) ignored was the fact that I still WAS IN NO WAY doing what I loved.
The same patterns repeated themselves. It was as if my higher self was sending me through the same loops checking when I was finally getting it. I was trying to reduce my actual work I invested to a minimum while living for the time I could actually do what I loved. I still lived for the evenings, the days off, weekends, my photography and my travels. This went more or less well for a year and a half.
It was hilarious how I could see myself going down a similar path once again, a part of me observing me from the outside, another part being completely invested in my fears and blockages. Again, for the 3rd time in the 3rd job I eventually manifested very uncomfortable, boring and brainless tasks, a control freak as a boss, a ridiculous salary and disrespectful behaviours around me, which left me falling back into complaining like all other collegues.
The end of a cycle
This time my body and soul screamed a clear „this is it“ at me. For real. I knew that I had perfectly created a situation that I could no longer endure. I knew that I could not spend another couple of years ignoring my heart out of fear. I finally wanted do what I love for a living or die trying. Mind is such a drama queen.
A part of me had developed a good sense of humour about myself, not taking things so seriously, That part knew that life is all just a big game we are playing and that there was so much more. The other part was suffering from my own limitations. On a day where I was so low that I was sitting underneath my desk at work, banging my head against the wall, asking myself if my life was really about copy/pasting numbers from one excel sheet to the other, I decided to finally take the jump.
This time there would be no sabbatical after which I was going back to old systems. I was ready to embrace true freedom and selfexpression, even if that meant an „unknown future, high risk and potential failure“ (quoted by my father and some of my friends).
It was autumn 2016 when I did a casual creative session with a friend at home. I gave into the nudge I had been receiving from my inner voice for months, that I had to start painting again. I scribbled a few feel good sketches, posted them in a creative facebook group and was blown away by the reaction (read more here).
I painted a bit more and slowly realized that these pieces of art were moving something deep inside of those looking at it. People called it healing art. I knew I was not really the one doing the painting, I was receiving the paintings literally. I never knew what would be painted, it was just flowing through me.
What the mind cannot grasp
I slowly opened up to the possibility of doing artwork and illustrations as services. The more I opened up and admitted to myself that I would indeed quit for real, the more magic happened around me. I began to feel energy in my chakras (which I had refused to believe in until then), I started to feel my third eye in a Kundalini yoga class, I connected with soulmates who were going through similar shifts, I found a new tribe.
My sceptical mind, trained to only look at the surface of things and being highly suspicious, had to give in to the fact that I seemed to activate abilities, I did not know I had. That there was much more to reality, to the big picture than even the few years of empowerment teachings had shown me.
There are no words to describe what I experienced after I quit my job in January 2017. In moments I was in alignment with my soul, my outer reality would shift within minutes, I was often left speechless, with wonder and awe. In moments I was out of alignment, things would be pushed into my face in not so gentle ways.
What I would call my second awakening happened in spring 2017. It was easter sunday morning. I will never forget it. It was so mindaltering that it changed my view on reality forever. I did not share it with my family and most of my friends at home back then, just with likeminded people of my soul tribe,
I was in Sedona, Arizona and participated in meditation sessions with a small group around Bentinho Massaro, a teacher of selfrealization and selfempowerment. We were basically meditating in the beautiful wilderness of the red rocks for almost the full day, a couple of days in a row. To see how deep one can go. On that particular morning I was by myself, looking out into the hills, when I suddenly, within a few seconds, became one with everything. I was the sky, the people, the hills, the universes. It is really impossible to describe it.
My personbased thoughts, fears, doubts, all gone. All was left was an incredible, motherly kind of love towards the whole creation and everybody in it. This state lasted for about 6 hours and it was the deepest, clearest and most scpetical-mind-bending knowing I have ever felt, that all is indeed connected, that there is no separation, that we are just one infinite field. And there was only love.
I knew that the person mind was coming back, when I observed thoughts like "how am I going to explain this at all? WTF. I hope I bring it across right". But I also knew then that in times, when I would feel like the little me trying to survive or wanting to be perceived a certain way, a part of me would always rememember it, because it was touching layers of truth.
I felt clearly that we are not separate at all, that all barriers exist only in the mind. That there is no reason to compete, fight, control, hold back. Why do that to yourself? Even though this state faded that day, I was still staying in a serenity, a peace, a presence and flow that I had not been into before. After this experience I continued traveling through Mexico with friends and I could see how effortlessly all falls into place when I hold no resistance and allow it all to happen in a state of inner alignment. I had somewhat changed and how I saw the world had changed too. I did not have the feeling of now knowing so much more, on the contrary, I felt that we actually really don't know anything.
The end of May 2017 marked my last day at work, I walked out of there in complete bliss and ecstacy and did not look back. I left without hard feelings, made peace with it and all authority figures and bootcamps that had come before. I understood how important this last push had been for me. I was truly grateful.
Around summer I had developed a new sense of love and confidence regarding my path, I saw that my surroundings, especially my father, could only reflect that back to me, I had total support from all sides. I was gifted with a soul tribe of amazing new friends around the world, those, who understand you without a word, where no smalltalk is neccessary. I opened up more and more to receiving high frequency energies, developed abilities and connections to worlds, that I will not go into detail now,
I was mostly bathing in my newfound freedom, not really putting the dedication, time and energy in my business, like other solopreneurs do, when they start. After these years in the corporate "prisons", I finally just wanted to relax and enjoy, from doing to being.
The fall of 2017 I spent in Asia, coworking with friends, working a bit on my photography & art website, on creative projects, but mostly enjoying life to the fullest. I worked on retreats and events as photographer, jumped from one conscious session to the next. I followed the flow of my inner voice, that guided me, after Bali, to Angkor Wat, to Thailand, then in December, back home. It felt like pure, limitless freedom and fulfillment. Not for long. Something unexpected happened, I crashed completely.
Good friends, cozy location, work you love.
Click here for part 3. Feeling my fears.
Looking back I know all of this is just a story and I can truly appreciate every single phase of it now. It was different for a long time. Now I know that I created this journey for myself to play with transformational topics. And it was a transformation indeed.
I grew up as the only child in a quiet and beautiful neighborhood in Cologne, Germany. I had the most loving parents, great friends to play with, I felt protected and cared for. For a long time I never thought that the fact, that I was born with a esophageal dysfunction and having to be operated for 6 hours directly after birth, which resulted in spending the first 3 months of my life not in close human touch with my family, but in a sterile hospital environment, could have any effect on me. The dysfunction was totally removed and healed perfectly, but I suppose it was the first bootcamp I chose to create for myself.
During my childhood I was shifting back and forth between the fear of being left alone, rejcted and abandoned and it's exact opposite, an urge for freedom, adventure and unlimited exploration. I spend a lot of my time outdoors, climbing trees with friends, being in nature instead of playing with dolls and makeup. As a kid, my natural flow states contained sketching, drawing and painting. Often, I couldn't stop. I painted all the time. I can't remember when exactly I started, it must have been very early. Painting was just always happening. Out of pure joy. No second thought about it.
Me in peaceful heaven. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to do.
When I started highschool, I just stopped painting outside the regular art classes, which always got me an A, but I did not care for it. Other things got my attention and became more important, like circles of friends, I wanted to belong to, but didn't. The desire for feeling accepted, integrated, part of a safe group. My highschool rollercoaster with filled with very low lows that mostly had to do with me not being authentic, not speaking out, not being the real me. I wanted nothing more than to belong, to be accepted and to be validated.
Instead of learning that it never ever works that way and instead of expressing my real feelings, I was constantly disregarding and ignoring my voice within. I created for myself a few bootcamps, the worst being a phase of about half a year, when I had the great idea of saying goodbye to my former circle of friends in order to be with the cool ones. That attempt failed epicly.
I was 14 years old and literally manifested for myself the exact situation I was most afraid of: I was totally alone and rejected by my peers. This phase shaped me a lot. During the last 2 years of highschool, social connections shifted though and I became very close friends with people, that I still call soulmates up to this day.
During my time in highschool I learned to deal with the very demanding and strict side that my father showed me in terms of grades, success, career, failure. Even though I somehow knew that he loved me unconditionally, I felt that the amount of his warmth, acceptance and love was dependent on the grades I brought home. Bad grades (and I had the worst in math) meant rejection, distance, disapproval, worry, anger, disharmony.
Not knowing it back then, this shaped me big time, turning me into somebody who would do anything for harmony, even if that meant that I was neglecting my own desires and passions and apologize for things I hadn't done wrong, just so quarrels and fights would stop. I still carry some of these patterns until today but now I see these parts, feel them, embrace them, forgive them, integrate them and learn from them.
I remember exactly the moment when I graduated from highschool and was confronted with the question of what to study. Studying something was a given. All of my friends wanted to go to University, my parents are academics and I didn't spend a single thought on whether or not to do it. Sadly enough I also didn't spend one thought on what I actually felt like studying or to take a closer look at what inspired me, what made my heart sing.
I looked left and right and thought: Well, I am just following my best friends and study what they study. Pear pressure, again not wanting to be alone. I anyway did not have a clue what I wanted to do in life, I only wanted to be free, travel and enjoy myself.
Graduating from high school. Insecure. confused and seeking nothing but a worryfree life.
Business administration? Yeah, my parents approved that. This was something to build a successful career and financial stability on, the most important aspects of life according to my father. There was only one moment when I hesitated and actually tried to listen within. It happened while reading descriptions of different study programs and I just loved what I read about ethnology, psychology, sociology. I had goosebumps. It should have given me a hint.
But this moment of inner connection lasted only about 10 minutes until my parents told me that I couldn't live from a job in these fields. Back then I didn't even try to argue or follow my instincts. Out of confusion and for the overall harmony I dropped the idea instantly. What stayed for a little sadness but I ignored it mostly.
I remember how we were asked in 5th grade what we want to "become when we were grown-up", I remember having to do these tests to find out which profession fits you best and I remember having to talk to a career consultant before finishing highschool. In 5th grade my answer was "jockey or travel writer". The test a few years later told me to do "something with nature" and the consultant asked me "So what do your parents do for living?" I replied "marketing director and economic consultant" and (I kid you not) she replied "well, then you should probably do something similar." End of conversation.
There is definately something wrong with the educational system and we need to shift it,
Of course it turned out that the only thing I truly loved about my studies of economics was the course in psychology, the overall freedom we had in our schedule, spending time with wonderful friends and the endless summer vacations, that I used to do the thing I loved the most: traveling. I went abroad for a couple of months per year, for traveling adventures with friends, for jobs and internships abroad, from Singapore to the US, Costa Rica, France and India. I felt so free, those were the moments when I could breathe deeply.
A wanderer at heart
I have always had this intense urge to visit far and exotic places, see different cultures, explore the unknown, go on adventures, feel ALIVE. It was a constant pull, I could never get enough. Deep within I always knew that the basis of our lifes is freedom and the purpose of our lifes is joy. Every situation that I created, when an authority figure wanted to tell me what I was supposed to do or not to do, caused terrible frustration, anger and rebellion inside of me. The fact that I did not dare to express my opinions made it worse. I was still in the pleasing and hormany seaking mode. I swallowed all of this. Very unhealthy as I would find out soon after.
Deep within I always knew that I was studying the wrong thing. I didn't like 90% of my lectures nor any of my internships, the topics didn't nourish me, the traveling did. Something felt off for me in the corporate world that I would only fully understand once I started my career.
Crazy adventures and bliss during endless travels. Here: in Costa Rica after jungle tour. ;)
The long detour: how to manifest a job bootcamp
The idea of taking a long break to travel, a sabbatical to find out which job I would like, never occured to me after I gradudated from University in 2006. Why? Because all of my friends directly started applying for high level jobs in top companies and I didnt want to be left behind. I just applied for a few marketing jobs, fully aware that I wasn't on the right track. But there was no backbone or clarity within me that could lead me to actually question my path or the whole system of "hard work till you retire".
It was almost hilarious how from the first day in my marketing job every single cell of my body was screaming a loud NO at me, I felt like in prison. Collegues around me were very nice, but that only helped a little bit. The thought of being „forced“ to stare into a computer screen from 9 to 6 till the age of 65 was slowly turturing me. It might sounds overdramatic but to be honest, it felt like it. I did not understand back then that I was creating and choosing all of this. I thought that the system was just imprisoning people and turning them into working slaves.
A boss telling me how many precious days I was allowed to take off to do the thing I loved the most. Having to chase after insane business goals that didn't make any sense to me. Working long hours to prove that work is more important than life. Internal and external competition, Running after clients. Neglecting health, wellbeing, heart. All this drove me crazy. It felt utterly wrong.
Is it me or the others?
Not only the system felt wrong. From the start I thought that there must be something wrong with me. Everybody around me seemed to be REALLY motivated, dedicated and genuinely interested in the companies' success, while I was constantly pretending. I faked and faked, because I thought that there was no way out of it. I felt so weird not caring a bit about my work. While I half heartedly wanted to deliver good results to make a good impression to the authority figures, I wasnt interested at all in my or my departments' success. It felt so empty. Bored. Frustrated. Rebelling inside. I could have of course just quit it. But I was way too afraid. The thought of being selfemployed never occured to me, cause I hated insecurity and risks. Instead, I lived for the evenings, the weekends and holidays.
Faking didnt really work too well for a long period. My body lovingly developed a thyroid malfunction to show me my inauthenticity. Besides that, my internal fights and frustration got mirrored in the outside and a crisis was building at work.
It was during a very intense, stressful and disharmonic phase at work in 2008, that I felt something was shifting. I didnt know what but I could feel something big was happening within. During a few weeks, I constantly „heard” a whisper in my mind that only said one word: “soon”. And everytime I would get a shower of goosebumps while not having a clue what that meant.
Exactly in the days where a huge crisis happened at work and people began to criticize me for my low dedication, I was pushed into my first awakening, through the book “the secret”. I was literally drawn to it. I was moved to the bookshop, my body was sat down and I read it right there in one go. Even though the book only scratches the surface levels of consciousness, truth and spirituality, it was enough then. I felt like my whole world was imploding. I had an incredible, emotional, relieving and overwhelming sense of remembrance. I cried through the whole read and I didn't care what the other people around me thought. I remember going home after that, closing the door, kneeling down at the floor of my apartment and just saying "thank you, thank you, thank you" nonstop.
I had never felt more whole in my being until that point.
The weeks and months after that moment, everything shifted, some parts of me rapidly, some slowly. I was embracing the feeling or rather knowing of being the creator of my reality. I only accepted this because I had first hand experiences of sudden crazy synchronicities, heightened awareness, getting more and more in touch with consciousness through many sources.
I soaked up information about the nature of existence, quantum physics, channelings and could feel changes happening inside. My academic friends were not the ones I could talk to about this but I found enough groups online. It was mindblowing. In my private life I bathed in these new universes and got an incredible feeling of empowerment.
In my job life though, a lot stayed the same. Nonetheless, or rather because of this shift, I was confronted with fears, limiting beliefs and old patterns that were too deeply ingrained inside me to be let go off quickly. What actually made me stay for another 3 years in my job was 1) my fears and worst case szenario thoughts about risk, safety and the unknown. I just did not trust myself. And 2) the fact that I had wonderful friends that nurtured the one thing that energized me at work: Heartbased conversations, listening, caring, soothing, uplifting, coaching, having fun. On the social level I was satisfied, I had great friends inside and outside of work, a loving family, I loved my travels and my photography. But the work aspect got worse.
In 2010, I created for myself (back then I was blaming my workoholic boss) a project that made me physically sick while working overtime on topics I hated. For 3 full months I suffered greatly, bathing in selfpity and anger. After finishing the project, I was totally exhausted and wanted to go on holiday. My boss cancelled it. Too much to do. That was it. It was the proverbial drip that overflows the barrel. I decided: enough is enough. I quit for a roundtheworld trip. Goodbye. I was blown away because in that instant a relief washed over me that I had not felt at all up to that point. All my stomach ache vanished in a second and I was happily floating around in my vision of freedom.
Well, I was floating around until the moment I told my parents about my idea. And the little child got back online. My dad freaked and literally said „you are not going to do that“ as if I was 12 years old. I was 31. The little pleasing harmony seeking child in me dropped the idea instantly. I felt contracted and incredibly sad, but I was choosing the harmony path. You always choose what you perceive as your path of least resistance, of least pain or greatest ease in the moment.
I held on to the decision of leaving my job, but instead of doing a sabbatical, I was applying for other jobs, fully aware that I actually only wanted freedom, not another prison in the corporate world. So I screwed up interview after interview, unconsciously.
On the brink of something new
Read more in part 2:
I am Petra. I am on a journey of transformation, of remembering who I really am, like all of us.
From not following my heart, a lot of inauthenticity, doubts and fears to waking up, a new sense of freedom and discovering deeper layers of truth in my being.
The incredible, surreal and mindblowing things that happened after I finally allowed myself to listen to my inner voice, had such an impact on me, that I want to share them and maybe help and inspire those who are open to it.
I am just offering perspectives. I share my way of tapping into the frequency that is the true nature of all of us: Presence, freedom, gratitude, selfhonesty, allowance, playfulness, litmitlessness, expansion.
When you allow yourself to listen to your inner guidance, you go on a magical (and intense) ride that you cannot even imagine.
If you dare to embrace yourself fully, worlds of incredible beauty will open up inside of you (and in front of you).
Enjoy the ride!
UPDATE: I will share about my path and post inspirational tools, happenings and insights mostly on my facebook page.