Archive for June, 2011

Back to work!

Hard to believe the work week is over. The vacation time was wonderful. I crossed several things off the “List of Possibilities” — including starting my thesis. Originally, I’d planned to write it (completely), but got more realistic and realized that simply starting it would be an important step.

It was a quiet week. The first few days I was alone — happily puttering, running errands, reading, sleeping, star gazing, watching movies, in-line skating, and planless. That was the most relaxing part — I had no appointments! Thursday a former work colleague stopped by for coffee and cake. Saturday I went in-line skating with a friend along the shore of Lake Constance. It was a beautiful day — sunny and breezy at the same time. Perfect! As we skated back, we heard live music in the harbor and decided to have a drink at an outdoor bar and listen for a while as we watched the sun set. It was so beautiful!

The success was: realistic expectations and absolutely no stress! Like a kid, I woke up in the morning and did what I felt like doing. By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was refreshed and eager to get back to work. Wondered what I’d missed and looked forward to seeing my colleagues again. What a great feeling!

Although it started a bit more hectically than anticipated, work has gone well this week. There were some very satisfying experiences. I am happy, satisfied and grateful. 🙂 It’s the life I always wanted, and the funny thing is: It’s so simple!

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June 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

The things I could do

As I wrote the title, it occurred to me that it could be a title for a Dr. Seuss book! That fits my mood. Have you ever had a day or two off, and then when it was over suddenly realized what you could have done — instead of “wasting” it? I have.

Well, I’m on vacation for a week. It started Thursday night, but since I was at a seminar all day Friday, and at another one Saturday and Sunday, it really only feels like vacation since last night.

I have two goals for this vacation week: rejuvenation and to get started on the thesis for the CE program I’m in. That’s it. Last night I watched two movies on TV: “Sense and Sensibility” and “Gilbert Grape”. In my youth I read most of Jane Austen’s books. I enjoyed both films very much, and thoughts of integrity, honesty, responsibility and clarity danced in my head until I fell asleep. The two latter terms were not new: They cropped up during meditation at the tibetan Monastery last week and have implanted themselves in my thoughts — for now.

Today I slept until noon, sat out on the sunny balcony and had some breakfast, read for a while, and wrote in my journal. Heavenly! Especially because the rose bush has several buds in various stages of blossoming. A couple of them are opening and the scent is intoxicating! Even since I got up, they have opened more.

As I sat there, it occurred to me that I could write a list of possibilities. No, not a “To Do” List — just possibilities. In case at some point I happen to be in the mood, I have suggestions at hand. Nothing dramatic — maybe buy some new shoelaces for the shoes I haven’t worn for the past 8 months, since once of the laces broke. Just puttering kind of stuff.

Like I said, rejuvenation is at the top of the list. So anything else I do will add to my happiness of being able to watch the roses develop this week, but if I accomplish nothing else, I won’t be disappointed. This vacation is simply about being.

Oh, the thesis? My expectations are realistic. If I get an outline written, that will be fine. Anything beyond that is great! See, sometimes it helps to have lower expectations of yourself! Especially on vacation! I’m free to do what I want!

June 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

A simple phone call

It’s a four-day weekend. Finally had time to rest, chill, putter, hang out with friends in the evening and listen to live music, and have lots of time alone. But yesterday morning, my delight turned to loneliness. It suddenly occurred to me: I don’t WANT to be alone! I don’t want to take my walk all by myself!

As usual, there was more than one possibility. I could: Stay home and read/do some schoolwork. Stay home and putter. Stay home and waste the day trying to convince myself to be ambitious and go out after all. Overcome my resistance and go for a walk by myself anyway. Or I could try to find company.

I chose the last option and called a friend. She was happy and relieved when I suggested we take a walk to the tibetan monastery. Turns out she was having a lousy day — felt overwhelmed by various tasks she should attend to but had procrastinated on for a few weeks. She had been in a rather depressed mood at least for a few days.

Half an hour later she was at the door. We left immediately, as it was already mid-afternoon. The weather was beautiful — sunny, clear blue sky and a light breeze, so it wasn’t too hot. We circled around the Stupa several times, each quiet in her own contemplation, then went to the meditation room and sat there for a while. I lost track of time.

We exchanged glances at some point and were both ready to leave. Both of us felt an inner peace, energy, and a sense of lightness as we walked away. During meditation I’d received two words which gave me an input for questions that have plagued me lately: clarity and responsibility — with regard to my behavior and the willingness to take responsibility for my actions.

We walked down the hill, stopped at an outdoor café on the way and sat in the sun, then headed back to my apartment. It was already early evening, so I invited her to stay for dinner.

She offered to help me prepare the meal, but it was so simple that there really wasn’t much she could do. Anyway, I prefer to cook alone. Instead she sat at the little table in my kitchen and we kept talking. At one point, she said there was something incredibly comforting about the sounds and fragrance of someone cooking.

We enjoyed our meal, talked a bit longer, and then she left. Both of us felt better than we had that morning! She left with a sense of what she would do the next day — and HOW she would get started. She has a few things to take care of, but through procrastination they had seemed to grow to the point of becoming impossible mountains. Through talking they had taken on more realistic proportions.

I also felt better, as there had been a few things on my mind as well which she’d helped me sort through. Before she left, she thanked me for putting up with her in such a state. I assured her that there was no element of “putting up” with her — I enjoyed her company. Then she said that next time she is feeling so down, she’ll give me a call. It’s exactly those times that she tends to withdraw, even though that’s especially when it would do her good to reach out and make contact.

And so I tell you this little story with a message or two. It is helpful and healing to pay attention to your own needs and take action to fulfill them. Then, in the process of reaching out, it could be that you do someone else a favor as well! When you’re in need, call a friend. It just might be that at that moment they need you as well, but hesitate to call because they feel like they would only drag you down or impose. And through such interactions comes the reminder: I’m not the only one. I’m not alone.

June 13, 2011 at 11:53 am Leave a comment


What's on my mind