Bring the Joy

It’s another Monday – and I know many people really don’t like Mondays.

They don’t like going back to work. Too many of us live from weekend to weekend. Though with the current situation and working from home, with restaurants, bars and pubs closed, the weekends are not that different over here.

It’s winter and it’s time to “bring the joy” back to our days. I heard Brendon Burchard talk about this in one of his videos, to bring the joy with you, to feel the energy – and I love the concept.

Whether you are a person who feels joyful when she wakes up in the morning – which happens here on some days – or you are usually tired and don’t have the energy, the lightness.

Think of a moment when you experienced a childlike joy – for me it’s connected to a beach, sunshine, spring or summer – like a tickle of energy. But for many reasons I can’t have that right now – so I do the next best thing: in the morning I think of everything I have right now – and say thank you. For example today it was – and still is snowing these fat snowflakes, the ones you can catch on your tongue. Have you ever tried? So that was one thing I did today, that brought me joy. Right in front of my nose.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

What about the things I can’t have or experience yet? Well, I visualize the things I really want, though it may take some time, until we all can travel freely again, and I will stand on a beach. I look at pictures and feel the wind, the sun, I smell the salty air.

And as long as that takes, I’ll do what brings me joy – singing and dancing mostly. I’ve always loved to dance, to move my body. It gives you an energy boost, especially when you sit in front of a computer screen all day. Try it, get up and choose a nice track, dance for 5 minutes – how do you feel? Is there a difference?

When I sing, I can express all my feelings, not only joy, and it is incredibly liberating. In addition to that, breathing deeper and more also boosts my energy. After an hour of vocal lessons I am usually energized and even euphoric. Do it for 5 minutes, enjoy.

I also plan two or three joyful moments – like a phone call with a friend, watching a documentary about nature or animals, going for a walk in the snow. It doesn’t take much to feel the joy of being here, the joy of being alive.

Remember what makes you feel alive and joyful and then do it – bring the joy!

Dealing with anger…

…and other so called negative or unacceptable feelings.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

I wanted to write about something else today, but then I noticed two posts on Facebook, one in an business group, one from an author I like.In the first someone was just asking “how do you deal with anger” and 99 percent of the people told him to “get rid of your negativity”, “anger is poison for the soul”, “stay positive”. In the second post, a friend hat edited “Express yourself in a positive way” to “Express yourself in an honest way” – which made so much more sense.

The first post made me angry though – because anger is a powerful emotion and just being told to “be positive” instead is toxic. All this BS about “being always positive” “I don’t do anger” and so on don’t really help. If you push your “negative” emotions down, back under the surface, you haven’t dealt with them and I promise you this anger will come back stronger, when you least expect it.

When you feel a strong emotion, there’s usually a reason – and this emotion, be it anger, frustration, feeling depressed – needs to be felt and acknowledged. Sitting with it and breathing, talking to it, allowing it to be here – and tell it “I feel you” is one way. Be gentle and kind to yourself. With anger that can be really hard, so you could cry into a pillow or attack the pillow with your fists and yell. Let it out!

Sometimes we feel strongly because we need a good cry. I know when I don’t allow myself to cry when I feel like it, it will break through sooner or later. Especially during our current situation. Allow yourself short “breakdowns” – let’s say 10 to 20 minutes – where you can let go and let it out – I do it regularly when things seem to get worse. Breathe out, say what you feel “it hurts” or “it’s too much” , yell, cry, let it out.

Then you may be able to find yourself in a more positive mood again, sooner than you think.

It can also be helpful to remember, that we all are a mix of yin and yang, male and female energies, dark and light. Nobody can always be positive – and it would not be healthy either. The way is to embrace all you are, the dark and light parts – and that may not be easy or please other people, it will make you feel whole. And you’ll enjoy life more. Isn’t that the point?

P.S. I know this is a controversial subject -I’d love to hear how you handle these situations.

Just Walk

It’s Saturday and it has stopped raining over here, so I’m off right now for my walk.

I walk almost every day, for at least thirty minutes, often longer. It keeps me sane and it has helped me through all these shut-downs (that’s what the German politicians call our lock-downs) – because we were still allowed to go outside and have a walk, to move.

Our bodies need fresh air and movement. A walk is perfect – and it doesn’t matter, whether you can go to a forest or park, or whether you live in the city.

Don’t wait for the perfect time or environment – put on the adequate clothing and walk. Enjoy it – one step at a time. See you tomorrow.

My Friday knitting

Some of you already know that I love knitting. I also sometimes am crocheting or sewing. It’s a way to stay calm and centred, and I love it.

It’s a rainy Friday – and the right time to look at my current projects and plan some new ones. I love to wind yarn and choose a pattern and cast on a new project. Finishing, now that’s another thing…

My main project right now is the Winter Lights Shawl, which is part of Stephen West’s Hiberknitalong. The yarn is quite woolly, not as soft as I am used to, but such a good knit. I’m on the border and the rows are garter stitch, perfect Netflix knitting, but they are really loooooong (600+ stitches).

My other project, which is currently hibernating, because I can’t make up my mind whether I need to make it a bit bigger, is a lace shawl in silk – it’s Glitterati by Booknits. She’s one of my favourite designers. Finishing this shawl may take a while, too, because the lacy border is beaded.

Now, I looked through my stash and found yarn which is earmarked for another Westknits shawl, Thunderbolts and Lightning. Should not be that difficult to knit and looks lovely.

What makes the decision about my next project difficult? Something every knitter will understand: Booknits does a Valentine MKAL (Mystery Knitalong) with the beautiful name “Hope Remains”, as she does every year, in a lacy silky yarn and with lots of beads (around 1300). I do have several skeins of suitable yarn – but I don’t have 1300 beads.

Decisions, decisions – but then it’s a rainy day and I have a bit of crafting time.

I also have a recommendation, if you are a knitter and love extraordinary, luxurious hand-painted yarns: go look at Posh Yarn. They are my all time favourites and have the best customer service ever.

P.S. These recommendations are strictly personal, I don’t get money for mentioning them, I just love their work.

When a new door opens…

…just walk . Stop questioning the opportunity or over-thinking it.

Don’t be scared, be excited instead.

Excited that your energy matches a new way of life, a new project or a new country or city to live in. A new relationship, a new job, whatever it is. it’s showing up, because your energy is a match for this opportunity.

It’s okay to be a bit scared, to feel like you can’t really do it. That’s part of the process.

It’s like guardians on the threshold, sort of a test, to see, if you really want it.

Sometimes we know we have to walk through the door and we are not sure what lies ahead. So a part of us wants to protect us, often the part of our brain that was very useful when humans were hunters and gatherers – because the unknown meant danger and in the worst case even death.

Sometimes a part of us will even tell us, we have to close so many doors, when we walk through that new one and it will tell you, what you could lose. Maybe it will sound alot worse than it really is.

When you feel scared, be kind, talk to that part – and then listen to your heart, summon your courage and walk through that door, your door.

Because sometimes we think and stop and think again, and when we finally decide to act, the door has closed, the opportunity is gone.

You will feel when something is yours, it may tingle or tickle you, it will almost certainly feel light in your body. That’s a good sign to walk and explore new possibilities.

So take a deep breath, hand on your heart – and do it!

Don’t wait for the right time. When a door opens, walk through.

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 🙂