Maybe your little dream is not as stupid as it seemed.

Saturday afternoon. It was a long day. The four-days seminar I am currently taking requires my full attention – 12 hours per day. This will be a rather philosophical post.

Today, we did a role-playing excercise that really brought me to my limits. The task was to literally move a person out of a room by the power of your voice. Meaning: screaming and shouting from the bottom of your soul to create such rage and anger that the person has no other choice than to leave.

Ehm… right.

Well, I nearly pooped my pants just by the trainer explaining what we should do. After all, I consider myself a pretty balanced and peaceful person. I could not imagine myself screaming at someone like a berserk for no valid reason. And by the time we got started with the excercise and I heard other people scream and felt their anger, tears were running down my face.

Eventually it was my turn and I gave it all I had. I screamed louder and louder and at some point I did not recognize my own voice anymore. It was not pretty. My face turned purple, my eyes nearly popped out, BUT I survived. Not sure if I can say the same thing about my vocal chords, though.

What´s more important – it felt good. Not because there was so much anger stuck inside of me. But just because I did something I would, under normal circumstances, never do. I went out of my comfort zone and tapped into what could become possible if I just decide to do it and stick with my decision.

After the screaming part was over, we all sat down in a circle and closed our eyes. The instructor told us to now picture our greatest passion and take a couple of deep breaths.

That was when it really hit me and I had one of these “AHA”-moments. The first thing, the very first image that came to my mind when closing my eyes and thinking of my biggest passion was: *drumroll* … TRAVELLING!

What? How can that be? After clearing up all the clutter from my mind, all the unnecessary thoughts and the “noise” in my head – what´s left is travelling? Up until today I thought my urge to travel was some kind of instinct to get away from “reality”, or not having to deal with finding out what I truly want to do. I thought it was something my mind made up for me not having to see the “truth”. But what IF actually this is my truth?

What if my little dream is not at all as stupid as it seemed?

Interview with … ME! By EmpowerME.nl

Good morning! What a happy day. The interview I gave a couple of weeks ago is finally online.

Tamara Heskes from empowerMe.nl interviewed my about my view on entrepreneurship and the power within us.

If you are interested to read it, here you go:

Interview for empowerme.nl

This is what happens when you do something you love

Friday afternoon. Satisfaction has settled in. Today was the first time I interviewed someone for a big fat blogpost. I have been interviewed a couple of times before and believe I have also interviewed someone back in highschool for something… maybe the school paper?

Today was different. It meant something to me. I really wanted to get this straight. And the task seemed simple. I would meet with this designer girl – a female entrepreneur – and talk with her about her company. Then I would take some portraits of her in her office and give her a high five – or a hug. I ended up doing both. High-five followed by a hug. I am making this a ting. The high-five-hug-combination.

I was perfectly on time and the girl welcomed me with a warm cup of coffee which was much appreciated given the current Berlin nastyness (talking about the weather). She seemed nervous. I think it was the first time for both of us. But we did not talk much about it. We knew what we came there to do. So we prepared everything and jumped right into it.

I prepared her a bit talking about what I was planning on doing: Recording the interview, take portraits, publish it on a blog on http://www.wefound.org, maximal time frame 1 hour. She nodded.

The interview went smooth. The questions (I had some prepared but wanted to have an organic conversation) came quite easily and she talked about her experiences super open. And what had started a bit awkward ended quite elegantly with a short portrait shooting. Nice!

To finally get to the title of my blogpost: I felt REALLY good on my way home. The experience really brought me to a state of excitement and fun. As soon as I was home I transcribed the recording and wrapped the text up. Then I edited the pictures and everything was over way faster than I would have predicted.

Now I am left with the feeling of accomplishment. Awesome! That´s what happens when you do something you love. 🙂

Do you like to sleep in? Here is why I stopped that habit.

Monday. It´s all about priorities. I am repeating the same task over and over again and hope some day it will stick.

I keep on asking myself the same questions:

Is it what I really want?

Does it serve me and the vision of my life?

By answering these questions I am able to filter out all the distractions from my life. It allows me to let people, situations, fights and many other things go without ever looking back. I am practicing to ask these questions as often as possible. And from my experience there is always a clear answer inside of myself. My inner voice – what most people would call intuition or gut feeling – gets stronger every day. All I have to do is to listen.

I would like to give you two examples of things that don´t serve me.

Sleeping in. I know sleeping into days can be tempting. Pressing the “Snooze” button on my alarm sometimes happens without me even noticing. And suddenly it´s 10 or even 12 at noon! Sure, sleeping in and being lazy is lovely sometimes. But mostly it makes me feel like I wasted half a day. And usually when I slept until noon it gets really hard for me to get going and to have a productive day. I guess I am somewhat of a morning person. Thus, I realized there is no point in it for me. Sleeping in is cancelled – for the most part.

Getting drunk. Yes, everybody who was there at my birthday party last weekend will think “oh yes, now she has one of these *i´ll never drink again* moments”… And yeah, I have to admit. I was very drunk. And it was a lot of fun. However, I generally dislike getting drunk. It´s not only the evening that usually ends strangely. It´s also the next two days that feel unproductive and like hangover hell. The reason for not liking drunky-leska is similar to sleepin in. I feel like I am missing out on a lot of fun stuff I could be doing the following days. AND I can feel the poison in my body. Why would I do this to myself? Getting drunk – cancelled – (for the most part).

Now you might think: OMG, being focused sounds like a lot of work. And not like FUN. I don´t even feel like I am giving up on anything because the gain outweighs the couple of hours of sleep and glasses of wine by the thousand!

People are staring.

Monday night. It´s just me and my headphones. The song has been playing over and over again and I can´t help myself. I start to dance. My feet are moving on their own. I would not call it moonwalk but something similar – in less perfection – takes place. This beat, lovely lyrics and …

… a car honks at me. Whops. I am in public! I smile and wave at the girl in the car and think to myself “that´s Berlin.”.

This incident makes me think about the impact of music on us. Research has shown that music has greater impact on teenagers as they are developing their brains rapidly generating new synapses. They show strong reactions when exposed to music leading them to feel everything from depression to full ecstasy. Am I still in the teenager development state?

Biologically not. But I have noticed how my mood is strongly influenced by music. A couple of days back I found a note to myself. It stated “Have you ever noticed how you are completely in your own world with headphones? You can walk through a crowd of people and don´t get affected by their mood. Even when people are stressed and angry around you it is possible to stay calm.”

Isn´t that interesting? Music can be a stress repellant barrier between yourself and others? If music is taking the mind away from absorbing how others around you are feeling – mustn´t it be possible to set your mind to such a state at all time? A state where you feel this happiness inside, where you don´t absorbe negative energy from others and a place where you simply start to dance in the streets?

Until I figure out how, I´ll experiment some more with my research on the influence of music on my mood…

Think less. Do more.

It´s sunday. I am sitting on my desk and most people would consider what I am doing right now “work”.

The fun part is – it does not seem like work to me at all. Since my schedule is more flexible I am able to really explore my creative and productive moments. It does not matter anymore if it´s the weekend or a “work day”. I can follow my work-flashes as they come. What a great feeling!

I can really see things taking shape. Every time I look back I am like “Whoooha – when did I do all this?”. I quit my job, became independent, got my first project as a freelancer, enrolled in photography and writing class and still manage to sustain myself. Sounds pretty good to me. *highfivetoself*

My secret right now is to stay on track, not get distracted and keep on moving. Think less and do more.

Whenever I am in doubt I rely on people around me who know my vision as well as me and kick my ass until I am back on track. While on the way it´s easy sometimes to forget where I am going.  That´s when a slight panic and “what the hell am I doing?” sets in. Then I just take a break, breath and stand still for a while. I check my old notes in my notebook about my dreams and my vision until I remember why and what I am doing. I am using “past me” to remind “present me”. Mostly it does not take more than a couple of hours until I remember. 😉

Do you have any tips on how to stay on track you would like to share with me?

Empty fridge

Friday morning. Someone is ringing my doorbell. My alarm did not go off and I am heading towards the door in my pajamas. A handiman is standing at the door ready to do something to my heater. The heater has been waiting for it. I certainly haven´t.

I love the excuse “my alarm did not go off”. Blaming the alarm is in most cases easier than explaining the strange circumstances of your awakening. Either you forgot to set your alarm the day before, slept through it or you turned it off in your sleep. And I guess in some rare and analogue cases it might actually be possible for the alarm to misteriously malfunction. But nowadays most of us use their cell phones and their built-in alarm function. They always work. Yep, my alarm even starts when my phone is turned off!

Back to the story. My alarm did not work.

With the guy in my kitchen I start brushing my teeth and setting up some water for morning-tea. We are having a brief conversation. He with his face dug deep into my heater. Me checking out the fridge for something edible.

Him: “When was the last time they filled up your water?”

Me: “Don´t know.”

Him: “I guess it must have been last year September.”

Me: “mhm” while staring into the empty fridge. All I can see is a shrinkly old lemon, a black banana, an apple I don´t remember I bought, mustard in a tube, a glass of yam and some yoghurt. Disappointment.

Him: “It seems like your heater has troubles with it´s pressure. Have you noticed anything?”

Me: “No, not really.”

I getting a sense our conversation is not headed anywhere. So I close my fridge full of empty hopes, turn on the radio for the guy´s entertainment and start my computer. At least I am capable of making tea. All tea requires is hot water and… well tea bags. And sometimes I even forget to buy those. That´s when my situation gets a bit out of hand i´d say. And the sad part is: it´s not even a lack of money. There just seems to be some inner resistance against being organized. I always find it fascinating to see how long I can manage without buying groceries. I can tell you – it´s a while!

In the case of my empty fridge: I ended up making a smoothie using the apple, banana and lemon as well as the yoghurt.

I could totally write a recipe book: “How to live off of scraps.”
Happy friday everyone!

Happiness NOW

“Wow, it´s so nice here. I have to come again some times.” Or “We had such a great time. Let´s catch up soon.”
Do you know that feeling when you visit a new restaurant, or generally a new place, or you hang out with a nice person for the first time?

It seems like such a normal thing to do and sometimes it might just be an expression of how much we are enjoying ourselves. However, many of us try to extend the good time we had into the future without fully experiencing the present.

What do I mean with that?

If you are already thinking about when to come back to this place, whom to bring and what to talk about, maybe even what you could do better next time – it´s not possible to live the moment to the fullest. E.g. you are hiking alongside a beautiful lake and your mind goes: “Next time I should bring food. We could make a picknick here. Oh and let´s ask Linda and John if they want to come along. Their dog would have a great time. This could be our small hide-away. Let´s come back at least once per year.” Wow. You have build a whole imaginary future for yourself based on a snippet of your current experience. Are you then REALLY enjoying the moment and living this experience to the fullest? Nope, you are not even present. You are living in the future. And you probably missed a great chance to experience happiness NOW. In that very moment.

Many times when we do something without having any expectations we get surprised by how much fun we can have. If we give ourselves to the moment and allow ourselves to experience this moment without clinging to the fun parts we can actually have EVEN MORE fun! Nice.

2 steps forward 1 step back

Did you ever get frustrated along your way of accomplishing something? I certainly have.

Finding out what you want to do and getting started can be difficult at times. But staying on track to reach the goal you have in mind – following through so to speak – is even harder.

Getting on track requires a trigger followed by radical action. In this phase you are taking a leap of faith to get started on your new mission. Exciting!

Then comes the execution of your plan. The first couple of days are fantastic. The first week is going good. But then the slacking starts. Was this really such a good idea? There are no visible results yet.
Yep, staying on track is hard.

Keep in mind: Sometimes it goes 2 steps forward 1 step back

We have this linear curve of success in mind. Reality looks different.

The-truth-about-success

Here are some practical tips of how to stay on track.

  • Breath and relax.
  • Look back and be proud of everything you have accomplished so far.
  • Make small to-do lists with tasks that are easy to do. Break down bigger tasks in baby-steps.
  • Keep your big goal in mind. Working towards something instead of getting lost in the small chaos surrounding you really helps.

Here is Marie Forleo´s advice on how to handle the sh*t sandwhiches life hands you:

Oh you gotta love Marie!

Subway kindness

Subways are a great place to experience stuff.

On a hot, humid summer day you may meet prespiring strangers who unknowingly rub their moist backs against your arm. Whereas on weekend nights, especially the first weekend of the month, when everybody just received their paychecks, trains are THE place to extend your circles. Drunk strangers are willing specimen to practice small talk, hugs, or improve your skills on how to serve as a human sleeping pillow. (apply as needed)

But most of all, I think subways are a good place to get enlightened and practice mindfulness.

Why?

Staying calm can be challenging at times. After all, taking the subway is much more a necessity than a choice for most of us. Cultures, generations and different mindsets collide in a tiny little space. This can lead to loaded feelings and a general “I hate everybody” attitude.  But they are a great place for people watching.

And if we look closely we can see random acts of kindness everywhere on our subway rides.

Kindness unfolds in all different ways. The young girl offering a seat to an older man with a walking stick. The guy who blocks the door for the lady who runs to catch the train. The teenager giving his last coins to a homeless man. The musicians performing with a smile. Yes, even the drunk person giving me a hug or using me as a human pillow.

You never know what the person next to you is going through right now. Next time you think “what the ** is this ** thinking?” just take a deep breath and remember:
A smile or an understanding nod is maybe all they need.
After all, we are all sitting in the same boat, ehm train.