In a parental home full of Ayurvedic smells, mantra meditation and Vedic knowledge, but also at home in the ordinary world of my school friends in the village, football club and curry sausage, I was able to recognize early on that very different ideas of a good life exist.
Like many others, I set off as a 20-year-old full of enthusiasm to find my own happiness. I pursued a dream of studying in the USA, the land of all opportunities. I wanted to become a successful manager, so I studied at a private university in Iowa and graduated 4 years later with a cum laude degree in Business Administration. Fittingly, I also chose my first job: Assistant to the President at an up-and-coming telecom company. I quickly climbed the career ladder: Assistant, Manager - Major Accounts, Director - Major Accounts, Manager - Investor Relations. Yes, we can.
But there was more. An investment banking start-up offered me a job. My next dream came true. Things were going well on the outside, but something wasn't right, because things were different inside me. I was driven by a restless, demanding, ruthless nature. More and more doubts arose: what if this path didn't work? That can't be!, I thought and quickly pushed the troublemakers aside.
It was similar in my private life. I had married my girlfriend and now wife Angelica. We had our first son. On the outside, many things were new, right and exciting, but as good as the private circumstances were, I could enjoy them less and less. My ego wanted more. So I moved back to Germany from the USA. I wanted to work for people in the future and follow a deeper meaning in my work. My family's Ayurveda clinic offered me a suitable environment for this. It started well, but this momentum didn't last long either. After just a few months, I found myself back in the same place: hard-working, tense, efficient and yet somehow strangely out of place. I had missed something, but what was it?
Just at this stage in my life, during a spiritual-philosophical lecture in Münster, I was unexpectedly gifted with an insight. It happened in a quiet moment of self-exploration. I realized in that moment that I was not the voice in my head at all. I could be with myself effortlessly, no longer having to follow the wandering thoughts. I realized that I could never be more than I already am. And I knew that in all those years of performance addiction, I had tragically always overlooked one thing: myself. This was not a simple intellectual understanding or belief, but something inside me realized that reality was different from what I previously believed and had always been told. All this knowledge happened simultaneously in the course of a single moment.
It felt like this was the first time I had realized something true myself. This insight changed my life. Over the course of the next few days, weeks and months, alertness and contentment increased, sleep and mood improved, and the narrowness and noise of thoughts decreased. I began to rest within myself, as if I were drifting on my back on the sea. A groundless serenity spread. This state became my home base for several years. Nothing was missing. Somehow I had found home - what luck!
It was obvious that this realization would be just as possible for all people who know themselves deeper than what they have learned, but that this level would have to be explored and understood by everyone themselves. Anspired by many experiments in everyday life, by mystical forest walks, by books and by conversations with yogis and self-explorers, a few years later I founded HumanFlow. My wish was to accompany interested people in questioning their surface and practically getting back to their center. I found the greatest willingness for this orientation in an unexpected group of people: the stressed out, the burnt out and everyone else for whom the old path had obviously not led to happiness despite all their efforts, but to the opposite, to suffering.
This is how I started working as a burnout coach.
As an aspiring coach, I had to learn a lot of new things: to listen, to offer an open space without demands, to respond to the unique person in front of me, etc. Through mindful experiments and conversations, I tried to find out what could help with different personalities, psyches and disorders. How could a person suffering from extreme restlessness, anxiety, addiction, darkness or exhaustion find peace again and stay in balance? Why do some things help quickly but only work for a short time? What helps in the long term? What helps in the midst of complex everyday life? What helps one person but not another? What helps when nothing else helps? What obstacles can arise? How can they be avoided? What can be changed and what can't? Why is that the case?
A picture emerged from the many experiments, questions and answers. The first 5 HF principles and the FlowKur were created. The approach slowly became better known and attracted more and more people. Angelica also joined us as a yoga and meditation teacher and in 2010 we moved from the Ayurveda clinic in Schledehausen to Badenweiler near Freiburg. The region is known as the Tuscany of Germany. So everything went like clockwork...for now.
Soon, however, a completely unexpected hurdle appeared. I slipped into a depression of exhaustion. Because of my vocation, I had slipped unnoticed into a vicious circle of constant giving, carrying and doing. By the time I realized it, it was already too late. A burnout coach who was suffering from burnout - how could that be? For several years, I fought against the heaviness. At some point, however, my strength was at an end. I fell and needed help myself. The painful phase lasted almost 10 years - it was a long dark night of the soul.
Whether I wanted to or not, I had to learn to feel the aliveness within me even more clearly, to stay true to it and to put self-centeredness first. I had to learn to use even less energy, to leave my center even less, instead of unconsciously following my wants, needs, shoulds and other bad habits. Wellness patches, quick fixes and cheating no longer worked. The only thing that worked was real, only real. To my greatest astonishment, one thing became clear when I let go: it was enough - less was more for me.
Depression was a tough but important teacher in separating the essential from the non-essential.
When the threatening fluctuations of the psyche subsided, I realized that despite the duration, nothing bad had happened, except that much of what I originally believed had been lost along the rocky road, including false ideas, fears, social misunderstandings, Disney World and other misconceptions. I had also learned a few things along the way about how happiness didn't work. And that was good and helpful. During this phase, not only were the HF Principles 6 and 7 added, but the HumanFlow book was also published and I took part in an alternative practitioner (psych) training course.
The experience and therapeutic practice with many hundreds of people in distress plus his own unconscious misunderstandings were ultimately the way in which the HF method was shaped through psychotherapy and coaching - deeper, more human and more true to life. Unlike in the beginning, it was no longer about states of happiness, but more and more about less inner constriction and less unhappiness.
Since 2006, Angelica and I, together with a careful team of experts, have been able to provide individual coaching to over 2000 people. Our guests come to us from all kinds of professions, backgrounds and roles, from master bricklayers, teachers and students to dentists, mothers and CEOs.
Although we are now familiar with a wide range of mental dysfunctions, we have particular expertise in the following areas: Thought addiction, performance addiction, work alcoholism, burn-out, helper syndrome, feeling lost, exhaustion depression and mood swings. Our alternative approach could open new doors, especially for those affected by these issues, for whom goal-oriented, analytical and conventional solutions no longer work.
Over the years, the HumanFlow Institute has become a place of retreat for many people, a refuge, a transition and, for quite a few, a completely new beginning in dealing with themselves.
If you are interested or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The FlowKur is for you if you are exhausted by the storm, need to change something, are looking for suitable support and are ready to take responsibility for this change process. We look with you and are happy to accompany you on your individual journey.
Do you still have questions about the FlowKur? Then send us a non-binding contact request and we will advise you individually. Alternatively, you can also send us an e-mail or contact us by phone at any time.