Today I want to tell you what the “24 days to Christmas” mini-course is all about.
I created this course as part of a “30 Day Challenge” with John Williams in 2015 – and have been running it each December since.
The idea came from watching some of my friends and many other people getting very busy, sometimes panicking, even being exhausted in the run up to Christmas. It didn’t matter if they were into Christmas or not celebrating at all.
There was a huge amount of stress in the air – so I thought why not create something to calm people down a bit, remind them to take care of themselves and enjoy this time of the year. Of course I also created it for myself, to stay centred and calm, to feel the joy of being here now.
You’ll get a tip or tool each day, sometimes an exercise, sometimes a thought to shift your mindset or to re-frame your experience. It will take you two to five minutes – and from the feedback I got, I know it will shift your mood.
…almost December, and obviously 2020 is a special year in so many ways.
So, I’ll be running my free Christmas course again – I’m a bit late this year, because I re-wrote some parts and thought of more stuff to help you get through this Holiday Season in a relaxed and joyful way.
Let’s be clear – this year is unprecedented in the way that you may have experienced more negative emotions, changes, restrictions and so on. I certainly have.
And it’s okay to feel exhausted, tired, angry, disappointed – you are not alone and it’s okay to be human. Stop beating yourself up! Let’s be honest, we all have been there – and sometimes I forget the tools I have – until a friend reminds me. I’m not perfect, nobody is.
That’s why we start fresh every day, every minute – and that’s why this year’s course, my gift, is a little bit different.
First I’ll give you more tools to relax or deal with unexpected stuff, that comes up. I may record some audios, so you can just listen. Also, I’ll put the course on a platform instead of mailing it. For me it’s an experiment, working out how to put the things I’ve been working on behind the scenes online in a way that works.
For you it’s still free, you’ll get a new tool or tip each day (like an advent calendar) and now you’ll have all the tools in one place. I’ll leave them up until the end of January.
We live in crazy times right now. No matter where you live on our planet, you may feel that things are falling apart, there’s more chaos, nobody knows what the next months will bring – more lock-downs in Europe, civil unrest in the US, whatever you see when you watch the news or talk to people.
This can feel overwhelming or really exhausting. Then it’s time to unplug, to recharge or to just ground yourself.
Here’s my list of things that I do on a more or less regular basis, that keep me going and sane in every situation, no matter what.
Unplug from the news or limit your daily intake to 15 minutes
Spend as little time as possible on social media or don’t go there at all
Leave the house and go for a walk, try to walk in nature if possible and reconnect. Feel your feet touching the ground, feel the energy of the planet – even when you are not walking barefoot
Do something with your hands: plant herbs , do a bit of gardening, take care of your plants, talk to them, if you like.
Cook a meal for yourself (and your partner/family) – take the time and enjoy the cooking process, smell, taste, use your senses.
Bake a bread or a cake – and do it with gusto. Enjoy the process, take your time, maybe learn a new technique.
my personal favourite is knitting, the rhythm is calming and I get something beautiful out of the process
Whenever you do something like that, you get out of this “reactive mode” we have been in for most of 2020. You choose to do something that feels good and this is very important.
We tend to forget, especially during the pandemic, that we still have choices. Don’t focus on the chaos and (perceived) limitations. Focus on all the things you can still do. Focus on your health, your creativity – stay sane.
P.S. and stay tuned for the special 2020 edition of my Christmas course….
Yes, it’s Monday again. And yes, today some countries will go into lock-down – again, including my home country.
So I could talk about it and feel bad or helpless or angry – or I could choose to enjoy that I am here, I am alive, I still have more choices and opportunities than many people on this planet.
So, who cares what day of the week it is – each day is precious. You’ll never get it back.
It’s your time and you decide. It may not feel like it, when you are stuck in a boring job. It may not feel like it when you have to stay at home, because of this virus. When you can’t travel or meet your friends.
Last weekend I found myself trying to plan everything, wanting to fix and control, going in circles. So I used the one tool that always works: breathing, slowly, counting, in and out.
This brought me back into my body and when my body felt relaxed, I was ready to let go of this want to control, the need to know everything,
I can’t plan for 3 or 6 months, I don’t know what will happen next year, let alone next month. Being angry or worrying is spending energy, that I can use in a more constructive way.
So I invite you to join me in choosing gratitude and joy, instead as much joy as possible. Not only on a Monday, but each and every day.
Let’s get creative and find new ways for “planning & adapting”.
Instead of choosing big goals and planning it all out, why not start a bit smaller. Changing a big plan feels not only more difficult and is more work, it’s also quite frustrating.
Smaller projects leave more space. For change, for opportunities – and for the Universe/God/Tao to intervene and bring you something way better.
I believe in making a good plan, but I also know, as soon as I start to move in the direction I chose, things around me will change. My project will change and I may end up in a completely different place, feeling differently, meeting people, I never thought of before.
And having fun, enjoying it!
So, on this Monday, which happens to be the first Monday of November, let’s think about our week ahead, about this month. Let’s try something new, something different.
Instead of choosing goals, I decided to start with how I want to feel – and to give these feelings energy. Let’s say I want to feel relaxed and happy, successful and loved – I take some quiet time and go to a place inside where I can imagine these feelings.
Trying to feel them in my body, but – and that’s important – not forcing anything. Feeling happy as strongly as possible and feeling the energy in my body – just for a few seconds. Then I let go – the second important part – because holding on to a feeling blocks you.
While I’m writing this I find myself smiling already. Maybe you want to give it a try.
Stay tuned – I am working on new planning and adapting tools for this special time. If you like, let me know what you need right now, what you’d like to share, how you have adapted to change…
We all have them – thing we can’t see about ourselves or others. People can usually spot them from the outside, but you are “blind”.
Until something happens – in this case it was a virus and a global pandemic.
Where do I start: I have an old friend, one I met on my first day at university. We are part of a group, mostly guys, and one woman – who have been in touch on and off since 1984/85. We all have studied engineering – and over the years have been working in different parts of the world, some have married, had children. When I think of this group I always think of them as close to my heart no matter where we live or how long we’ve been apart.
Every two years we meet, usually close to the place, where one of us lives.
This year the plans were made for Bavaria in October, close to Passau. So I’ve been checking the Covid data and risk areas for a while now, we all have done that.
Our friends in Copenhagen had to cancel first, because of their area being high risk and the needed quarantine in Germany.
My old friend living in Austria with his partner, in a high risk area (as German government sees it) mailed yesterday that they’d come.
This was the second mail, in one before his partner had asked whether we could find a workaround to some of the Corona rules. I told her then what I thought – and yesterday I told them again, what I think about people not caring about rules, when it’s about an infectious disease.
The strange thing is though, that he always followed rules to make a career, he never spoke up for other people – and I was (and still am) always the rebellious one. I remember another friend telling me once “I don’t get how you cope with his behaviour and his being an a**hole…”. I remember defending him because of his family situation. I did that often, defend him – and the one time, about 20 years ago, when I told him how he had hurt me, he just stopped talking. Didn’t reply for the next 5 – 6 years.
Now I told him and his partner how disappointed I am and don’t they care about the group, the risk of infection? Don’t they think the rules are there for a reason?
Guess what I got: a reply , very eloquently written, telling me that he doesn’t care what I think, how he thinks the numbers are wrong and how he found a regulation for people commuting from his place to Bavaria, that he is willing to use. He doesn’t commute there, he doesn’t work there, he has no relatives over there, so the rule doesn’t apply – but he thinks it’s within his rights. He calls it a “grey” zone. And he was mocking me and my arguments.
My first thought was “what a pompous a**hole”- and for the first time in over 30 years I could see him clearly and how he played me with his story. How he always came running when one of guys had said something direct or asked a honest question, always whining.
So, it’s been quite a day, discovering a good friend is an egocentric a**hole. I realize this is a very personal story, but maybe it resonates. I just had to get it out.
P.S. I cancelled my room in Bavaria, I won’t travel – and I am not the only one.
P.P.S. Of course I have my own story and yes, I see the world differently. If friends are not allowed to be honest, especially during a global crisis, I guess they aren’t really friends.
I can’t be friends with someone – especially right now – who puts his “rights” higher than the well being of others, who tells me it’s all about him. Now is a time for solidarity and working on solutions. If not now, when?
Those of you following me have seen me taking part in one or more of these challenges, for different reasons.
When you’ve just started a blog or are about to do so – the challenge is perfect to keep you writing. It will also give you tips and prompts for the whole month of October.
You’ll be forming a habit in the best case. Writing and posting something for 31 days in a row does that for you. Being part of a FB group with thousands of participants from all over the world helps, too.
Like Julia Cameron says, you have to write daily, no matter what, so you’ll learn how to write well.
The hardest challenge for a writer is to do it all alone, all by herself – and being in a group of fellow bloggers not only helps with your commitment. There’s a daily comment chain, so you can post a link to your latest article and commit to read and comment on the two articles posted above your link (see detailed rules in the group). Everyone profits from getting more people to read your posts and have them comment.
The more feedback you receive, the more you’ll learn. You can play with some themes and test new ideas. You’ll see how people react and how you can fine-tune your writing.
It’s priceless when you are new to blogging.
It’s still worth a lot when you’ve been writing for years.
If you are already experienced or want to re-boot our blog, you could choose to post 2-3 times per week, publish longer posts – and use the blog challenge to get more traffic, to experiment and test what works best for you and your writing.
How do we handle an unexpected crisis? How do we treat each other? How can we stay calm, centred, positive?
I can choose to panic, go into what they call German Angst – be afraid of the future, think dark thoughts and so on. Read lots of news, be afraid of a recession, that’s the down-spiral.
I can be egoistic, focus on me and my people only.
Or I can see and feel – now, that so much noise is gone – how beautiful and powerful our Mother Earth is. That she may have needed this break. That we are all connected anyway. That human beings are capable of so much love and compassion.
I do understand that this is a global crisis and as we are all on this globe, we are all affected by it. We will get through this, that’s not what I worry about. I strongly remember other events (HIV/AIDS, Tchernobyl..) that were really scaring me when I was younger and I remember some of my friends going insane with fear. Fear is as contagious as the virus. Fear and panic never help: we have to connect (not physically, there are other ways) and help each other.
I can choose love instead of fear, being calm instead of panicking, showing compassion instead of building walls.
It’s a choice, you, me, we all have the choice – right now it’s more obvious, but we choose each and every moment. most of the time it happens on a subconscious level. If you start noticing it, you have a choice to get out of your daily trance and do what feels right for you.
I’ve seen a lot of the negative choices and false information on the web last week, yes, but there are so much more hopeful, empowering and loving posts.
I see some of my friends taking their teachings online, offering free classes and live streams on health, meditation, yoga, body work or Taoist techniques. Or just a Zoom call to check in and talk.
I see positive videos of people in lock down singing together at their windows – I admit I cried when I watched the first one from Italy, so beautiful and moving.
I see people that I haven’t spoken to in months, old friends and colleagues, we are checking in, spreading positive vibes or just some silly jokes. People are re-connecting – that’s what makes us strong. This web of caring and being here for each other. That’s what makes us go on, no matter what. Love, friendship, creativity, music, experiencing some lightness and joy.
It is Sunday, the second Sunday of the holiday season here – and people relax, meet friends, go to a concert or a Christmas market. This time of the year has a special feel to it, warm, cosy, joyful.
It made me think about our weekdays. Every day of our live is special, it’s a new day to celebrate the miracle of being here, being alive.
Of course we plan our weeks, I do this every Sunday – but very often these lists and our calendars are cramped with tasks, things we may enjoy, but more often we are just busy getting stuff done.
How would you feel if you started to plan your weeks differently?
But there are things I have to do, in my job and for others, you may say. Yes, that’s right, and I am not talking about abruptly stopping to do what has to be done.
What I suggest is thinking of something you enjoy, something that gives you the feeling of being creative or relaxed – or something you love to do just for fun.
Make a list of these things – going to the movies, knitting, meeting friends, cooking a meal with your partner, go for a long walk, try a new cuisine – you get it, I guess. If you are struggling to some up with these activities, think of everything you loved doing as a child or about things you only do on a vacation.
Now try to plan at least three activities for next week. Write them into your calendar and do it! See it as a must!
Think of four smaller things that bring you joy and do them in between the bigger three. For me this is having a coffee at my favourite place, starting a new knitting project, buy a new book or go to one of the 15 minute advent meditations in my town.
Notice how you feel when you plan your week this way. Is it different? Are you already excited?
Kindness is the language of our hearts. It brightens our days and can change your life at the most unexpected moments. That’s what makes it so beautiful.
Kindness should come natural – but sometimes people second-guess or doubt it, thinking you only do something for your advantage.
Kindness is the smile you give a stranger, is helping a Mum getting her baby buggy out of a train or bus. Kindness is also taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself by taking me-time or one more coffee break than usual.
Being kind to others may seem easier, being kind to yourself is even more important. Take good care of yourself – especially in this frantic end-of-year rush.
Not only is today the last “official” day to sign-up for my Christmas course, today is the only day we have.
Like the inly time to decide is not later or tomorrow, the only moment is now.
I notice that I often try to move a decision to a later point, even for small things. I also noticed that my Mum always did that, not able to choose or decide right in the moment.
My Dad on the other hand was a person who could decide on the spot – not only in his job where he sold and offered support for these heavy machines used for coal mining, but also in our everyday life.
I did it both ways and right now I believe the decision right in the moment – if you have most of the information you need – is the best way, because you keep moving instead of standing still or looking to the past.
So, if you want to try something new, today is the day.
If you want to have a better time in the run-up to Christmas, feeling relaxed instead of exhausted and filled with joy instead of being tired, why not sign up for “24 Days To Christmas” right now.
Sign-up here: tiny.cc/24days – it’s open until Midnight PST.