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?

The Ultimate Blog Challenge starts today…

…here’s why you should be a part of it.

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.

So – sign up here: http://www.ultimateblogchallenge.com – and join the group on Facebook.

Also, watch this space, there’s a lot more to come.

This is not about the virus…

…it’s about us. You, me, all human beings.

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.

Joyful Planning

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?

Enjoy your feelings and have wonderful week!

Kindness

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.

Today is the Day

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.

It’s that time again…

Although this space has been quiet for many weeks now…and I had a really crazy and sometimes exhausting year…it’s time for my Xmas tradition.

I have to confess I was thinking about skipping this year, but then I read through the mails, adapted them to the calendar and thought, I really need to do this for myself.

Well, it’s a tradition since 2015, but anyway….I am late so I better tell you what this is about. If you have read my posts over the years you can skip this and sign up below.

It’s called “24 Days To Christmas”, it’s completely FREE (no sales pitch, I promise) and participants have really enjoyed it.

Here’s what Stefan from Denmark wrote:

I would like to compliment Sabine Konrath for her series: 24 Days to Christmas. Every day in hectic December, towards Christmas eve, her mail with an exercise or task is a little oasis to me.  

I like her heart-centered approach to life, combining ancient wisdom traditions with common sense of modern human beings’ lifestyle.

(And then a little spelling mistake or font mismatch does not matter at all. It just makes it human.) 

So, my conclusion: She means, what she says: Relax, Enjoy and Have Fun, too – doing so.

Thank you, Sabine, for the Joy you bring to all of us, who subscribe to your 24 Days-2-Xmas-course.

I’ll be sending you one mail per day, from December 1 until Christmas Day and it only takes a minute to read it and three more minutes to try the tool. You can skip the days you don’t like, just take what you like and what helps you to relax and enjoy the run-up to Christmas so much more.

Sign-up here:

https://mailchi.mp/29ce61ce0a89/24-days-to-christmas-2019

Sign-ups close on November 30, Midnight PST.

October’s Blog Challenge…

…and why you should be a part of it.

The Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC) starts tomorrow and you can still join.

Whether you have your own blog up and running or you have been wanting to start – this is for you.

Each day of this month you’ll be writing and publishing – is there a better way to form a habit? To create a connection to your audience?

You’ll get an email per day with tips and ideas, as well as two trainings during the challenge.

I’ll do it anyway, because my blog was silent for some months now due to personal reasons. Time to write and share again – time to get feedback and comments. Time to (re-)connect.

How about you?

P.S.: you can join here http://www.ultimateblogchallenge.com

P.P.S: watch this space for tools and more fun stuff for creative people.

Love Yourself First

Today is Valentine’s Day and all around me I can see hearts and flowers and gifts and promotions to celebrate love. Pictures of happy couples and lovers everywhere.

If you’re in a relationship the pressure is high and if you’re single and happy, I guess you hate all that stuff. The time where you can find chocolate truffles and lots of bubbly and wine on offer for good prices. Stay away from flowers, they are really expensive now. Okay, just kidding. this whole marketing ploy and all these happy couples are so annoying.

And it does not happen like this in real life anyway.

First and most important (does not matter if you are in a relation ship or single) : love yourself.

Take good care of your body, nurture yourself and be creative. Before you take care of your partner, your children, maybe your elderly parents – make sure you have taken care of your own needs. Yes, I know, with a baby this is not possible, but later in life it is.

Show yourself this love by treating yourself well and be kind to yourself.

Women are still struggling to do this, they still feel guilty. We all have been taught to put ourselves last. Today and on many other days hopefully – love yourself first. Enjoy. Happy Valentine!

I’m back again

I noticed that I haven’t published here for more than two weeks now.

Life got in the way big time, that’s how it felt. Very much change going on, so I had to process it first and then try writing about it.

So, what happened?

The situation with my Mum and the house dis-solved and e-volved, decisions were made, she went to a hospital, is still treated, and will go to a retirement home after. The house will be emptied and ready to be sold later.

For me that brought a huge space, like I could finally breathe and relax after more than six months of being alert because of her sickness and not being able to work as much as I love, because she could barely help herself.

Feeling so much space was surprisingly strange – like I have been living constricted or in a box, having to think about many borders and restrictions.

Now I’m slowly getting used to the possibilities. It feels like freedom, not “Yay, freedom, yay” – but a feeling of expanding, of letting my energy flow fully, not holding back most of the time. I feel lighter and excited, able to try more things, to speak my truth more often and to let go.

I am so happy that we will – three years after Dad died – sell the house. Another weight lifting. None of us is willing to take care, renovate it or to invest – so it’s the obvious choice.

While my brother is the one here who’ll be out for the first time and looking for a place to buy, I am the one who wants less “stuff” in my life – the house has always been filled with too many things, my parents hoarding what could be of use one day. So I am going more minimalist, small apartment, enough space to feel good. Only the things I really need.

Like my laptop to write and share my stories with you.

There’s a lot more coming soon. Stay tuned.