Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Who do you listen to?



The phone rings. I glance at it, recognize the number, and let it go to voicemail. 
It's work. Most likely, they want to offer me an extra shift. 
I have nothing going on tomorrow, and I could use the money. 

Yet, I know with every fibre of my being that I do NOT want to take that shift.
Am I lazy?

I flinch at that thought, unsure of myself. I don't think that I'm lazy, but on the other hand - my house could be cleaner, the yard could be better maintained, and I could should work more as a healthy, young(ish) non-mother. After all, what else do I have going on?

Well, that's just the thing. In my mind, my job is just that - a job. I want my life to be more. What exactly - well, I'm still figuring that out. Something to do with writing and yoga, because those two are my passion. My loves. 
But they also make me despair. 

You see, yoga loves me back, most of the time. It makes me feel good, peaceful, and challenges me enough to keep me on my toes, hungry, and wanting more.

Writing, on the other hand, is a conniving bitch. Every day that I'm busy, it whispers into my ear that as soon as I have a day off, we will hang out all day, frolicking and laughing together, having the best time ever. We will skip across meadows, creating magic, making our lives meaningful. 
Then, the long-awaited day arrives. I wake up with a vague idea (or often, no idea at all), make myself a cup of strong coffee, and sit down in front of my computer expectantly. 

I open my browser. 
Check my emails. 
Read my favourite blogs. 
Check Facebook. 
Abandon my computer to get a second cup of coffee, and check Snapchat. 

Come back to my computer, scrolling listlessly through my open tabs. 
Damn, I looked at them all. 

The corgi looks at me expectantly, pulling on my sleeve for added urgency. 
I feel a surge of relief flooding my body. 
Right, I have to walk the dog!

I jump up, grab my disc player and a new CD, and take off.

One hour later.   

I'm back. The corgi pooped twice and is tired, I feel pleasantly accomplished and a bit exhausted, and I'm back on the computer. 
Hmm, gotta check my emails first. 
And any new blog updates. 

Okay, that's done. 
It's 1:30 pm now, let's get on with the writing!

The words won't come. 
Damn
Am I wasting my time? Fooling myself? This writing gig is never gonna work out. 
English is my second language. 
I have no formal training. 
I don't dedicate enough time to it. 

Yet, I can't seem to give it up.
Shouldn't I be sensible and just quit the silly day dream? Be a grown-up, face my responsibilities, take any extra shifts I can get, really make a dent into my debt?
Isn't that how I was raised?

Yes, I was. 

And I never wanted to end up like them. 
Living to work, never taking a nap, never being spontaneous and doing something silly. 
Always doing your duty. 
Always having your life dictated by work.

I want more. 
And less. 
I want to have days where I don't do anything, and not feel guilty about it. 
I want to be able to stare up at the sky, watch the clouds, and think about life and the world we live in. 
I want to go for lunch dates with my husband on an ordinary Wednesday. 
And sit in front of my computer, agonizing for hours about finding the right words, just to be able to write an article that has been on my mind for weeks, and needed to get out, however difficult it was. 

I want to remember the dream I had when I was a teenager, of living in NYC with my sister, writing for a magazine where she would be the photographer, living the creative life I never thought I would be creative enough for. 
I want to live each day like it's my last, because I have met too many people who have fatal diseases. 

Life is damn precious, and I'm afraid I'm wasting it if I run into my 9-5 every time they call me.
It sucks out my creative energy. 
It makes me worry about little things that are not important in the big scheme of things.
It turns me into this complaining and boring person that keeps talking about the same topic over and over, for all eternity, never stopping. 
I don't want to be that person.   

Isn't that just an excuse to slack off?, the little German devil on my right shoulder whispers malevolently into my ear.  
No, follow your dream, the other angel (with a voice that sounds suspiciously like a mix between Elizabeth Gilbert and Richard) whispers urgently. 

And I listen to the second angel. 
Because I have followed the first one all my life. 

Isn't it time to give the other one a chance?







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Monday, 27 June 2016

Sun on my shoulders



Yesterday afternoon we went to Point Roberts. It's a small beach town in the US, that you can only access by going through Canada. Friends of ours own a cottage there, and invited us to come for dinner.  
As soon as you have crossed the border, you feel like you are on vacation. You can smell the ocean, people stroll leisurely through the streets in their bathing suits, and dogs run around off leash, barking at the seagulls, and chasing kites.

I borrowed our friend's bike and spent an hour happily pedaling up and down the quaint streets, soaking it all in. The weather was picture-perfect, with the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my hair, it was pure peace and relaxation!

I love it here  



Dress: old (lots of cute sundresses here)
Sandals: H&M (not available any more; cute alternatives here or here)
Sunnies: old (similar)
Necklace: SheIn


What did you do on the weekend?







Linking up with Fashion Should Be Fun, A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Rachel The Hat, Sheela writes, Elegance and Mommyhood and Shelbee on the Edge



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Sunday, 26 June 2016

The day Voldemort returned


So much has happened in the last few days!
Let's do a re-cap, shall we?

1. I finished Orange Is the New Black
Guys, I was a wreck. If you have finished watching the 4th season, then you know why. If you haven't yet, buckle your seat belts: You are in for one helluva wild ride. This season was the best one yet, because it tackles an important topic: Black lives matter. I don't want to give anything away, but I beg you: Watch it!

The genius of Jenji Cohan is that she has managed not to idolize prisoners, but humanize them. By telling their stories of how they ended up in prison, you realize that some people are getting a shittier card in life than others.
Where you grow up, what sort of parents you have, the school you go to - it's all a crapshoot. Some of us win the lottery of life by being born in a rich country, to decent parents, with no worries about food, shelter, safety, or being loved. Others are not as lucky.
Watching this show definitely makes me appreciate how damn lucky I am, and that I have no reason to complain.
Except for one thing: Having to wait an entire year for the next season :-(


2. Brexit
I usually don't get political on here, and rest assured, I won't today either. But as a German/European citizen, I can't help but needing to acknowledge this shocking decision of Britain to leave the European Union (FYI: I think it's a terrible idea).
If you want to learn more, you can read all about it here.


The reason I decided to mention Brexit on my blog is this article I found yesterday.
It highlights the similarities between Lord Voldemort returning, and Britain deciding to leave the EU.
As a Harry Potter fan, I love this!
I won't repeat the article (read it, it's so awesome!), but I do want to share a couple of tweets featured on it:

3. Richard's birthday
You know what else happened on June 24th? It was Richard's birthday. Much less significant in the big scheme of the world, but responsible for my brief social media-break. I didn't post a single picture on Instagram for almost 72 hours, which has got to be a new record for me.
It made me feel strangely off-balanced, like an integral part of me was missing. But I was so busy with cleaning/cooking/hosting a birthday dinner, that I couldn't fit it in. Which means there is no photographic evidence of the dinner, or our dinner guests, which makes me wonder if it actually really happened??
My tummy (and exhaustion) say yes, but my phone says no - WHO TO BELIEVE??

I do, however, have a cute photo of him that I took yesterday (thanks to Snapchat).


Love him!

What's new with you?






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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Little wonders

"Hey, want to see something special?" he asked me, his eyes shining. 
"Always!" I responded, and followed him.

He led me into our little jungle area. It's a fenced in enclosure that's so overgrown, the trees and shrubs form a canopy that keeps the light below dimmed, even in the middle of the day. 
Pigeons are flying overhead, pheasants dart around, and apparently, we had a new resident. 

He stopped, and pointed to a shrub in the corner. "Do you see her?", he whispered into my ear. I strained my eyes, trying to make out what he was pointing at in the shadows. It took me a few seconds to adjust to the gloom, and then I saw it: A little bird, sitting on a nest, her tiny head anxiously tilted upwards, looking at us apprehensively. As we slowly approached, she apparently decided that we were too close for comfort, and flew off. 

This is what she left behind:

Nightingale eggs


Four perfect, beautiful eggs!
We only stayed for a few seconds, knowing that mama nightingale was watching us anxiously, worried for her eggs' safety. 
Then we retreated, but not before I managed to take a quick picture. Aren't they absolutely wonderful?

Rich showing me this little nest was the end to a beautiful day yesterday. 

In the morning, we embarked on a special adventure: Our friends Senga and Jeff invited us to a flight in their little Cessna. I have never flown in a small plane before, so naturally I was beyond excited!

Here she (are planes female, like ships? I have no idea) is:

Cessna
Off to an adventure
Inside of the Cessna

It was a four-seater, no bigger than a small car!


The boys were sitting in the front, the ladies in the back. After we were buckled in and the headsets adjusted, off we went!

Coast Mountains

We flew over the Coast Mountains to Mt. Baker, enchanted by the magnificent view. It's a somewhat unsettling feeling, flying in such a tiny machine, which felt more like a flying car than a plane. But it also made me feel much closer to nature, separated only by a thin layer of - well, whatever planes are made of. It was a fantastic experience!

Obviously, I had to make a short little video to remember the experience by.  



Thank you, Jeff and Senga, for an unforgettable experience!







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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 Things I'm Weird About


1. Birthdays
The attention. All the smiling. The unsettling feeling of guilt when people whom you never expected it from (and who you never gave anything to) give you gifts. The expectation of a dinner/party/celebration of any kind. The difficulty of gift giving. The awkwardness of being sung "Happy Birthday" to. The inevitable silly question of "How does it feel to be [insert new age] years old?" 
It's all very exhausting, and I'm always so relieved when the day is over. 

2. Mothers- and Fathers-Day
I hate those two days. They are minefields just waiting to explode. All they do is invoke feelings of guilt and inadequacy in me. I'm reminded all day (and also in the week leading up to them) that my relationship to my parents isn't as close as it is for other people. But then I remind myself that at least I still have parents, and feel ungrateful and guilty. 
Don't even get me started on the complicated emotions associated with being a stepmother/not having a relationship with all of them/not having biological kids. 
In my opinion, those two days make people with a good relationship to their parents feel obligated to buy something (best case scenario), and the ones who have issues with their own parents/with their kids/can't have children feel awful. It's a lose/lose situation.  

3. Potlucks
My workplace is a huge fan of potlucks. I am not. I guess they are great for people who love to cook, but again, I don't. I NEVER know what to bring. I always feel slightly judged. If it's not planned ahead, there will be seven dishes of dips and chips/veggies, five salads, and no mains. If it was planned ahead and there are meat- and side-dishes to be heated up, it will take FOREVER if all you have is one microwave and one little toaster oven. By the time the last dish is heated up, the first one is cold again. 
Then there is the obligatory Q&A of who brought what, which is always embarrassing if you are the one with the sad little Caesar salad from a bag. 
What are some good, easy (!) potluck options? Please help!

4. Compliments
Don't get me wrong, I like compliments as much as the next girl. Who doesn't? I just don't ever know how to respond to them exactly. Is a simple "Thank you" sufficient? Should I elaborate more? Compliment back? What's the proper etiquette here?

5. Small talk
Oh my gosh, am I ever bad at it. There are people in this world who can talk to anyone about anything, and I envy them deeply. What a gift to have!
I'm the one on the other end of the spectrum, who doesn't talk to anyone she doesn't know. I have never been on a blind date, because the idea is absolutely terrifying to me: What in the world would I talk to a stranger about? I don't have the faintest idea. 
There is nothing greater in the world than meeting a like-minded soul you feel a connection to. Conversation flows freely and effortlessly, and I absolutely love to talk to those people for hours, about nothing and everything. It's one of the great joys of human relationships! 
But the art of small talk with people I either don't know or don't care for, eludes me. I don't see the point, and find it beyond exhausting. 

What are some things you are weird about?





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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Happy International Day of Yoga!


Happy 2nd International Day of Yoga!


In honour of World Yoga Day, I decided to share some of my favourite inspiring quotes, illustrations and yogis with you. 
Enjoy!


On meditation:



Celebrity yoga lovers (#15 is my favourite):



The world's oldest yogi:



On the "yoga body":



Yoga quotes:



The first yoga video I ever watched, and was completely amazed by:



My personal fave: Yoga with dogs 




Happy Yoga Day!


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Monday, 20 June 2016

More, more, more


I want to say so much. My thoughts are tripping over each other, vying for attention, hopping up and down impatiently, shouting "Me, me, me! Pick ME!!"

And I'm trying to shush them, to collect my thoughts, and to get them in order. But I fail miserably. 
Life is so full at the moment, so good. But also filled with worries that I try to ignore, which I'm sometimes successful at, but mostly fail miserably. 

It's a constant dance between being grateful, reminding myself to be grateful, trying to "make the most of it", to overthink everything, to be a bit sad, to feel inadequate. To play the comparison game. 
Reminding myself sternly that comparison is the thief of joy, and to quit comparing. And I'm successful sometimes, but fail miserably at other times.

I haven't been kind to myself. I fell into the trap of expecting more of myself: To work more, write more, work out more, eat more healthily, sleep more, be more patient. 
To be more, more, more. 
I've worked myself into a frenzy of "life is short! do everything NOW, before it's too late!" 

I met a man who had a heart transplant at the age of 70. He is now 80 years old, and doing remarkably well. I mentioned to Rich how amazing it is that they gave a 70-year old a new heart (implying that 70 is kinda old), and he said: "In eight years, I'm going to be 70." And it took my breath away for a moment. How is that possible? Time, you capricious bitch, SLOW THE HELL DOWN, please.

I have to remind myself to stop. To stop the frenzy in my head, the urge to do more, do it faster, do it now. Take a deep breath, and slow down.  

I've been reading lots lately, which has a weird double-effect on me: It's incredibly enjoyable, because I love reading so much. It's also shockingly frustrating, because besides giving me great joy, it's also giving me envy. 
"I want to write like that. Why can't I write like that?" are the two mantras that keep repeating themselves, which is distracting. 
I'm torn between gloom (I'm not a writer, and never will be), hope (Cea Person said she wasn't a good writer to begin with, but she practiced until she was), and admonishing myself to stop overthinking everything and to enjoy the damn book. 

Speaking of books: The ones I read recently are North of NormalComing CleanWhen Breath Becomes AirOutliers, and now I'm on Becoming. I'm heavily into biographies and memoirs at the moment, and all of them are unique and awesome in their own way. 


Life seems messier than usual, but it is also full. Filled to the brim, in fact, with so much goodness that it, too takes my breath away: Forging new friendships, which is such a difficult task for me. But with the right people, it's surprisingly easy - effortless and rewarding, and it makes my heart soar. 

There are people I value so much, who take the time to check in, to chat, to make plans. There are invites for adventures in the near future: Flying, going tubing, visiting baby kangaroos, hosting a birthday dinner, going for drinks with girlfriends.

Life is a mixed bag, but it's overwhelmingly good. My biggest obstacle to overcome is myself, and how I choose to see things: Do I get sucked into negativity, drama, and an endless cycle of complaining about the same stuff over and over again? Or do I make the conscious decision to accept the things I cannot change, and focus on everything that's good instead? Writing it down makes it so obvious, a no-brainer. Actually doing it is a different story, but you know what?

We are so much stronger than we think we are. 
More capable than we give ourselves credit for.
More resilient than we ever thought possible. 
More blessed than we sometimes realize. 

While I thought I need to be, do, and achieve more, I have had more all along. 

Much more than I took the time to see, feel, and appreciate. But I do so now, in this moment. 

And I'm filled to the brim with gratitude.

Namaste, my friends. Have a beautiful week!


 



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Thursday, 16 June 2016

My playground


I have alluded to the fact that work life is less than wonderful right now. No need to go over it again; today I want to focus on how I unwind from work - on my personal playgound!


As soon as I get home, I change out of my scrubs into more suitable attire. Luckily, after several days of heavy rain and cool temps, that means shorts and sandals again!
Then I pack a bag with all the essentials: books, drink, snack, yoga mat, camera, and phone. Dogs in tow, I head to my favourite place in the entire world: My spot under the willow tree.


After dealing with people all day, I need some time to myself. No talking, no interacting, just being. I like to gaze at the pond, the sky, and the animals, breathing in the sweet air deeply. I decompress, let the day fall away from me, and slowly relax. 
My shoulders drop, my muscles unclench, and I love the world again.


After a while, Rich joins me. We sit and talk, telling each other of our day, and discuss whatever comes to mind: Plans we have, mutual friends, family, the animals, normal everyday stuff like money, work, or projects around our home.  
And we comment often on this fact: We LOVE this place. We will forever be grateful that we have our weekend escape right in our backyard. 


Shorts: Old Navy
Shirt: old (similar)
Sandals: H&M (not available any more; cute alternatives here or here)
Sunnies: old (similar)



How do you unwind after work?









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