When everything feels too much…

.. it’s time to ground yourself.

Give yourself space and time, me-time.

These last months felt very hard, even more on some days, I mean lockdown after lockdown even wears me down, and I am an optimistic, “always look on the bright side” person.

With many plans on hold or delayed, I know when I start to worry too much or feel overwhelmed, it’s time for grounding.

What do I mean by that? Like the word says, it’s time to connect to the earth, to do something practical and nurturing.

There’s nothing I love more than having my hands in the soil and plant. In February though I often do the second best thing: go for a walk in nature, hug a tree, breathe and walk, recharge your body and soul.

Or go into your kitchen and bake – bread, cake, cookies, anything that gives you a feeling of having accomplished something. Letting the dough rise is relaxing. Working with your hands feels empowering.

Same goes for cooking a meal :it doesn’t have to be complicated. My comfort food #1 – because it reminds me of my beloved Grandma and her kitchen – is (as we say in German) “Bratkartoffeln mit Gurkensalat”, which can be translated as “home fried potatoes with cucumber salad”. For me it’s the smell of her garden, the herbs in the salad. Making Sauce Bolognese is also great, because you need patience, while it simmers on the oven for three hours, and the smell alone is so worth it.

You could of course do a short standing meditation. Imagine roots going from your feet into Mother Earth. Imagine your worries sliding down and into the earth. Imagine her energy flowing back through your feet and legs right into your belly, where one of your energy centres is located. Do this for a few breaths. How do you feel?

I am always stunned by the effect such a simple act like breathing consciously has.

I am also feeling much better and lighter and more myself when I do my grounding on a regular basis.

How about you? I’d love to hear what you do – please share.

Content Planning – it’s easier than you think

Yesterday I promised you tips to plan your content, for the next 27 days – and it’s easy once you do it my way.

First let me introduce you to a concept I use for brainstorming – mind-maps. They get very often used in business or project planning, but I love them for the creative process. Here’s why: mind-maps speak to both sides of your brain.

Also, I am a visual type and I love how I can use colours in the structure or add to it, whenever I have a new idea. For a brainstorming session it works for me way better than making lists. I love non-linear things. So, give it a try, will you?

Start with some themes you love to talk (and write) about – for me that’s mainly being authentic, reclaiming your true voice, being creative. I love music, films and books. I love knitting and working with different yarns. I love to plant, cook, bake and ground myself.

So there are many areas – write down some ideas for each of your themes. Work with colours, to group your ideas.

Now: write each idea on a little sticky note or index card.

Then I start grouping some ideas, like for instance winter, creativity, writing, photography, knitting and so on. I go looking for pictures and quotes that fit my themes. I play around on Canva a lot.

Many times an interesting quote inspires a whole new blog post.

After that I print out a sheet for the month and put my ideas on colourful post-its.

Now the real fun starts with putting themes and titles to the dates and schedule some writing time.

When I know that I’ll have a bit more time on a specific day, I then write several posts and schedule them.

Because I know after several Blog Challenges that I may find myself one evening and – having completely forgotten about the UBC – and I start panicking about my posts. If I prepare my posts in batches, I can avoid that stress – or at least try.

So, this is my way to plan and prepare for the challenge. Any questions?

Feel free to ask and stay tuned for more to come.

Why I’m doing the UBC again

and why I think you should join, too, as a blogger or writer.

The UBC or Ultimate Blog Challenge happens several times a year, for a month – and the challenge is to write and publish one post per day on your blog. So in February the goal is 28 posts – and this is my first one.

You then put the link to your blog in the UBC group on Facebook or share it on Twitter – which will drive other people to you blog. You can also explore other people’s blogs and comment.

Not only is this traffic, it is also a great way to put your stuff out there and get feedback.

But most of all, it will help you create a habit, a writing habit.

This alone is worth it. I’ve tried and sometimes managed for several months to write each day. I didn’t publish a post each day, I was writing.

When you call yourself a writer, you have to write – it’s obvious, isn’t it?

I have met so many people who told me they want a blog, they want to write their book, but they are blocked. I’ve heard all the reasons, and I have used them myself for years – no time, not sure which idea, don’t know how to set up a blog, still waiting for inspiration etc.

One thing I know though – after all my attempts and telling myself, maybe habits aren’t for me, maybe the time is not right….I know there is no right time. You’ll never be ready. Waiting for the moment when inspiration strikes is a myth.

I don’t feel like writing every day – often I have no idea what to write or when. I do it anyway. Start putting words on the page, write your first sentence and go from there.

It can help to set a timer, to just write for 7 minutes. No matter how busy you are, you have 7 minutes, don”t you?

If you don’t know what to write – don’t worry: when you sign up on http://www.ultimateblogchallenge.com, you’ll receive one email per day with ideas and prompts.

So, join a bunch of bloggers from all over the world and have fun.

P.S. Tomorrow I’ll give you my planning tips, so you can make this project a success.

It takes courage…

Be authentic they said,

be yourself

everything will be fine

While I know that

being authentic is the key

loving myself is key

listening to that soft inner voice is important

that speaking my truth

uncovering my true voice

is important

I also know that

things won’t be sunshine and rainbows all day

I know because I have walked the path

I have known for a long time

where my heart wants to go

I have resisted, I have tried to fit in

tried to change into

someone that is easy to accept

easy to love because she’s making everyone happy

except herself

I know that when you really listen

the soft voice never stops,

it’s always there -whispering until

you’ll get to the point of no return

You have to express your truth

write your songs, to share your story and tools

shoot that video, to publish your book

use everything you’ve got

show up as you – no matter what

It’s not always easy

people will leave your orbit

it will hurt, but not speaking your truth

will hurt you more

you still doubt your talent

you may not always trust the path

That’s okay

That’s life

that’s being human

as long as you walk

step by step

as long as you throw

everything you have

into it

It takes courage

to create

in the presence of doubt and fear

but

as long as your heart is ready to jump

as long as you can write, sing, dance

there’s the voice inside whispering

there’s hope, always hope

You know there’s no going back

hiding is not an option

trying to please others – not any longer

You know deep down

you have to let it out

who or whatever it is

you know sometimes

you have to nudge and push

you also have to be gentle and kind

to yourself

Love yourself first

every part of you, even the darker ones

especially the dark ones

only when you are true to your heart

are you able to

attract what you want

get in to the flow

do the work

enjoy it because you love it

even when it feels hard

when you struggle to find the words

when you look for the perfect sound

when your skills seem not enough

when you feel like

it’s never going to fit together

That’s the point where you have to

love yourself enough

go all in – no back-doors

no hiding or sneaking out

Stop caring about what others think

never give up on your dreams

Because when you live your life

authentic, courageous, creative

you will inspire somebody else

to live that, too

so she will inspire the next person

until we all -that’s the vision –

give each other permission

to be who we truly are

embracing our destiny

Trusting that the Universe is

full of beauty

a field of possibilities

where the Tao is smiling

It’s Christmas Eve – and I thought I’d share with you something about the twelve magical nights between Christmas Day and Epiphany.

In German, they are called „Rauhnächte“, which translates as „rough nights“ or „wild nights“ (not what you may think it means).

For ages people have done certain rituals on that nights: some to calm down the demons that are riding during this wild nights, some to connect with the souls of the dead – because it is said that the veil is thinning at this time of the year.

So, one thing is to put a candle in the window for your deceased loved ones.

Another one is to smoke your place, to clear the energies and your space.

These days „between the years“ are a good time for pause and rest. A time to reflect and meditate.

These nights are also great for oracles of all kind. Each of the twelve nights connects to a month of the coming year. Pay attention to your dreams and write them down. Draw a card from your favourite card deck each night, take note.

Finally, there’s a ritual for your wishes – and that’s something I’ll do this year (not instead of planning, but as a bonus) – so I invite you to join me.

First of all take some time for yourself and get to a quiet place. Now think about your wishes and write them down, one for each month of the year and an extra one, so you have thirteen wishes on thirteen small slips of paper.

It’s important to write them down in a positive form, like they have already been granted, so „I am healthy and full of energy “ is better than „I want to loose weight“, „I live in a beautiful flat“ is better than „I want to buy my dream house“.

Fold them and put them in a bowl.

Starting tomorrow night, when it’s getting dark, pick one of them – don’t read it again, don’t look – just hold it for a moment in your hand. You are about to do something special. Now burn the slip of paper (in a safe place) and let go. Trust that the Universe/Tao will take care of it. Do this on each „Rauhnacht“.

On January 6th there’s one wish left – open it! This is the one thing you have to take care of yourself.

P.S. If one of my friends knows more about the „Rauhnächte“ or has similar rituals in her country, please share. I am always happy to learn 🙂

My Gift For You

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.

So, if this resonates, please sign-up here: https://bit.ly/24daystoxmas

Sign-ups are open until December 4th, Midnight PST.

P.S.: It’s completely free, no hidden sales-pitch, this is my gift.

It’s that time again…

…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.

Sounds interesting? Have a look and sign-up here: https://bit.ly/24daystoxmas

P.S. I promise there’s no sales pitch…there never was one…this is a time to give back to you, dear reader and friend…so enjoy!

Ground yourself

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….

Another Monday

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…

Blind Spots

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?