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  • Writer's pictureJulia Ruff

Discovering Your Wholeness Through Trial & Error

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

One of the universal laws that nature teaches us is known as ‘Trial & Error’. I believe personal success & true self-expression lie in that space between intuition & figuring it out. Let me explain.

Wherever I visited a workshop for sustainable farming, if it was in Portugal, Thailand, South Africa or Indonesia… the principles of nature were always the same. One of those principles is called ‘Trial & Error’.

The process of creating your own business is a great reminder of that principle.

If we believe in the Theory of Evolution, nature didn't evolve with the 'perfect' end result in mind.

Yes, there are universal laws and patterns that determine our reality. It's a highly interconnected closed-loop system and its elements fit together like an endless magic puzzle. In fact, it seems that all elements have a consciousness. The tree knows that he is going to grow into a tree. The water in a mountain spring knows that it is going to flow down.

And we as humans, are also gifted with a consciousness. We can get aware of it in the form of a feeling. Our intuitive mind.

I have the strong belief that we all have certain gifts & skills, we are meant to craft & to bring out there in the form of service. Our intuition is a powerful tool that helps us to find our inner truth, our purpose. If we listen closely, we are directed. Whatever brings us joy & revitalises our souls, this is what we are supposed to do. It can change. In fact, it’s highly dynamic. I don’t believe in only one purpose. I believe in full self-expression and whatever serves us to express ourselves in that certain chapter of our lives, that’s what brings us well-being.

So as much as the tree has a direction to grow, we have a certain direction in which we are supposed to flow. Our responsibility is to create an environment for ourselves in which we can thrive. I always listened closely to my intuition and this is why I am where I am.

Yet, I needed to try & fail many times in order to find my way. And I still am and will always do. That's life. That's learning from experience. That's the amazing playground we live in.

So after creating my first marketing material, including my first YouTube video, I realised: That’s not the direction I want to go. Do I want to create videos? - Yes. Is that video representing my true self? - Yes, 100%.

BUT, I am diverse. We humans are diverse. And depending on what we create, we shape our path.

In the creation of my website content, I was so busy trying to not sound ‘too spiritual’ and not ‘too corporate’, because I was afraid of losing one side of these two ‘extremes’.

Fact is, there is this very corporate part of me. I was a young business student who walked around with a (second hand) Longchamp bag and imagined herself in a powerful management position.

When I dived deeper into the world of sustainable living & fair trade, I started to be ashamed of this ‘greedy’ part of me. I transformed into a master sociology student that considered money as evil and that started to plant food forests in Indonesia.

Very much in the style of the Dutch coloniser Max Havelaar (the original name of the very popular Fairtrade label) who is the protagonist of a semi-autobiographical book of the same name. He was so disgusted by how the Dutch treated the Indonesians that he almost became a farmer himself.

It’s ironic that life brought me back to Indonesia with a job for an international profit-making spice company. Yes, as Chief Sustainability Officer, but at that point I actually couldn’t imagine myself working in the private sector.

However. The truth is. I loved it. And profit became my friend again, but not as the ultimate goal of action. Instead, as the nourishing ground for any sustainable endeavour.

Corporate is great. Profit is great, and a very important aspect of a regenerative economy. What image will I choose for my videos? - That of a humble white collar with an academic background? That of a nature lover who doesn’t shy away from making her own hands dirty? That of a young practitioner who has a deep theoretical understanding of Living System Design & Social Transformation, knowledge that has been collected and passed down over thousands of years by our ancestors? That of a meditating yogi who loves to tap into other realms, but highly values the present moment? That of a past overachiever who still loves to push her limits, who became her own most ambitious student to learn how to cultivate a regenerative lifestyle for herself? That of a gentle warrior woman who is passionate about helping others to find their place in Mother Nature, to approach their businesses with more consciousness and thereby, to heal what needs to be healed to have sustainable success? Hmmm, such a good question. Because I’m all of them. I am abundant in my wholeness. As we all are. I am joyful & serious. Mindful & profit-making. A student of life & a teacher of life.

And most importantly… I am everything, and nothing.

So I believe…… Creating that video was exactly what I needed to do. To express one part of me, to figure… that I like that part of me, but also that it doesn’t resonate with the path I want to take for my future. I needed to get reminded of the fact that finding our pathway is a two sided process.

That our pathways can be found in that certain space, the space between intuition … and the result of trial & error. You need to do the things in order to know if you want it or not.

But what nature also taught me is the need for close observation, deep listening and communication. In many ancient beliefs, the gurus tell you that all answers will be presented to you. On the one hand, that means to go within, to communicate with your intuition, but also to be in close communication with your surroundings. You'd be supported, your success is guaranteed, just stay humble & read the signs around you. Hmmmm…. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

It would mean that success is the result of the perfect calibration between intuition, listening, observing, close communication & figuring it out. For me, that perspective takes away all that pressure to immediately succeed. It gives me space to breathe. To take ‘detours’. The permission to fail. To be. To learn. Together. In support of each other’s greatness.

Because, hey, that’s another principle of nature, isn’t it? Unconditional love. When we support each other on our pathways, without asking for something in return, that’s when true abundance starts and suddenly…. Profit is going to come to us without us trying so hard. It just needs to slip out from a scarcity mindset, into an abundance mindset. Support is there. We just need to ask for it, let go of our ego, our pride, the belief that we need to do everything alone, the fear of being rejected. And it needs to detach us from the belief that we are what we create. We are not. We are so much more than that.

If your business fails, you are NOT a failure. If you lose your job, you are NOT a failure. If you have zero money in your bank account, you are NOT a failure. If you don’t tick all the boxes before 30, 40 or 70, you are NOT a failure. As much as you are NOT a failure, when you cook not so tasty spaghetti. As simple as that.

You aren’t what you create. But I believe we are what we make from our experiences. I also believe that we are the sum of our relationships. The relationship to our intuition, to our hearts, to our minds, to our bodies, to our loved ones, to our communities, to our jobs, to nature. And I believe that our values are the guiding forces to shape the quality of our relationships. If all our relationships are nourishing, we can cultivate happiness & sustainable growth for ourselves & others.

Well, Regenerative Leadership has so much to teach. Because nature has so much to teach. I will stop here.

I rather want to see you out there, where we listen, observe, learn, create, try & fail, try & succeed, and simply play together.

Lots of love.


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