Falling in love with stories is a magical feeling. Thinking back a part of me is feeling guilty for not making the time to read all the literature stories Ι could have. Recently a beautifully written funny story came back from my memories. It’s written by Dimitris Psathas, called “The big purse and the little purse”. If you ever have the chance to read it, go ahead! It certainly brings funny, exciting memories in my mind.
Ι wish I had invested more time to read the rest of the stories of Greek literature. Beautiful stories have been written, amazing stories have been told, awesome stories have been read. Yet, there are the others, the unsaid, the unwritten, the unread ones. What happens to them? Is there like place where they go to rest? Is there a place such as a “Story Retirement Home” or a “Story Necropolis”? Or maybe they are taken captive by a Story Dragon that either burns them or keeps them safe in some kind of treasure in his cave. Or do they just go about existing in the infinite space of time until they finally become discovered by a Muse, who in her turn gives it as a present to an artist of any sort, who then translates it with senses that a humble human creature might understand-or not.
It is crazy to try to conceive how many stories already exist in any form that we can interpret. Can it also be that the same story has been interpreted a million times in a million different ways? The unknown number of the stories yet that haven’t been said, written or read must certainly be vast, infinite. One may argue that for a story not to be said, written or read, it means that it’s not enough, not really worthy. On the other hand, how can that be true? How unfair is that? “Wake up, Sabrina! Life is unfair!”. Now that might be a story, never said, written or read. It might be a story in process. Or just a simple crazy tangle of my mind or maybe my Cypriot Muse comes and goes giving me mixed or broken signals.
Sometimes the circumstances in our lives force us to take a seat back in our own movie theater, enjoy some popcorn while watching our past unfold, relax and appreciate before our eyes what the fuck just happened in the past couple of X days. Now, when I need this kind of “What the fuck just happened?” time, I choose to see me alone, in a cold, pitch black cave with either food or drink. The only “weapon” I have is a box of matches.
Now you may ask, what’s the motive to actually take this kind of time-off to reflect. Usually it happens consciously once we are in too deep, ROLLING in the deep in fact. And other times, things might seem so banal, that we choose to return to our caves to lick our wounds or take care of us or just to be alone from the world for once, to find some peace, where there are no expectations of us.
Yeap, sadly that’s the truth. Namely the motives to seek your inner cave are basically the deep and dark emotions of a great death or loss. The most common and true to the core deep and dark situations that have sent me to the cave have been: the death of a loved one, a breakup with a special someone, losing my health (physical, mental, spiritual), being violated or violating my values, having taken something from me unfairly or by force, feelings of confusion, nostalgia, mourning, scarcity, deep love and fear of losing it, fear of change, fear of growing older, fear of living a life with contrition and/or oblivion, fear of no belonging or being alone #INSERTFEARHERE. Now, you kinda get the picture, don’t you?
I cannot count enough how many times I’ve felt this way. And I’m sure there are more to come. Somehow I’m sure of that because unlike others, a part of me chooses to be a slow learner. It’s therefore only logical that I at times choose to enter my dark cave consciously before I hit a wall. There’s something frightening, lonely yet intimate, sensitive and courageous happening in there. Isn’t that fascinating?
And that’s when suddenly the bluesy, foot stamping “Rolling in the deep” Adele plays in the background, and the song becomes my anthem until I make it out:
There’s a fire starting in my heart Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bring me out the dark Finally, I can see you crystal clear Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare.
So, in the darkness, I tend to find my strongest Artemis- the Greek Mythology goddess of hunting, wilderness, chastity, protector of animals and children- and with the help of my other goddesses holding Artemis’ hand, she finds her way through. That’s what Aristotle meant I guess when he said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”.
And my focus changes. I remember I’m still carrying a box of matches. All of a sudden, I’m reminded -and to my astonishment- I’m absolutely convinced I’m lighting a torch again, restoring light and getting myself out of the hell hole I got myself into in the first place- every single time.
And that’s what the first match symbolizes right there, all combined in one: HOPE, LOVE and TRUST
And indeed just the realisation that I at least have a part in this and I’m responsible for my circumstances is HUGE. Honey, even if you find the torch in the dark you got the matches to light it up.
And that’s your second match right there: AWARENESS.
And even if everything is dark, now you gain more clarity and know you can make light in that you actually light up a match. With that little spark you can see stalagmites and stalactites and start sucking on nature’s ice to smoothe your thirst.
These are the matches of INNER WISDOM, INTUITION, and FLEXIBILITY.
Now, you’re looking around for material to make or find a torch. You’re looking up and down, right and left, listening to your own heavy breath as you start feeling exhausted, you ‘re touching your clothes and realising they might serve you soon as the burning source of your torch.
Say hello to the matches of IMAGINATION, CURIOSITY and RELENTLESSNESS.
Through the process, you know that’s the way it was supposed to happen and you end up finding your way back to share your revelations and findings with the rest, with those who are ready to hear.
And so you use your matches of SHARING and BELONGING.
Do you wake up, curse on the alarm clock, hit snooze, and 3 times after you’ve hit the snooze button finally find it within you to finally get up? Do you drag yourself half asleep to the toilet, wash up and get dressed ? If you are a female good luck; you will have probably changed 3 times already. Do you make your way to the kitchen -which is probably messed up cause… who has the power to clean the dishes from the day before?- and swallow a coffee as fast as you can because and before you know it, it’s already time to go to work…? AGAIN…?! And you cannot even remember where the stupid keys are! AGAIN! This sadly happens to most of us on most days -if you are living alone! Can you imagine living with more than you? Already CHAOS, PANIC, STRESS rule and take over your body!
It is a fact: Most of us go to work ALREADY stressed! Now, we also have our work, our customers, AND our bosses to worry about it ON TOP! Oh, man…!
I can honestly say that the first time at work I felt stressed was my first day at work. Or should I say first week? Or was it more? To be fair, it was a mixture of feelings, most frequently switching from excitement to fear, to stress, to being proud. So I decided I needed to put an end to the negative stuff, especially stress. I dug deep into my notes from the past and found some answers. Before writing this article, I dug a little deeper for us, just to keep us up-to-date 🙂
I cannot STRESS enough how STRESS can kill you. So I hope you and I find these stress management strategies helpful. Please remember, just because it is working for me or others, does not mean it works for you. The list is quite long -options, options ;)- but even if you apply 1/10 of it, you will probably have better chances of limiting the effects of stress -especially chronic stress- than others. Just experiment with a technique for some time -if you are open to it- and see if it is sincerely for you or not.
I. What can I do to release stress in the moment?
1. Learn the physiological signs of stress and acknowledge how your body reacts to it. Do not ignore the signs, i.e. sweaty palms, increased heart rate, neck stiffness, upset stomach..
2. Think of the stressor as an opportunity to grow and move on, rather than something negative. Shift your way of thinking and use the rush you get to focus undeniably to the task in hand.
3. Say over and over: “I got this! Done it before, can handle, time to crush it baby!” Believe me when I say, positive thinking will get you a long way! 🙂
4. Activate your yang, your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that is. The PNS has the ability to calm down the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is eventually responsible for the adrenaline rush. How to activate your PNS? A simple on-the-spot technique is the “5x5x5 deep breathing“: breath deep through your heart, feel your abdominal muscles and your chest expanding and contracting, imagine your diaphragm moving up and down. 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds exhale, for a total of 5 deep breaths.
5. Write down a to-do list, prioritise, strategise. Everything will be clearer and you will be able to focus in no time.
6. Talk to someone you trust, someone who can listen and can give advice. Talking things through will always pave the path for a better understanding. It helps us to see the problem with a fresh eye and get to solutions faster. [PS: These kind of people are hard to find, so when you do, cherish them and show them how much you appreciate them]
7. Promote a calm aura, as if you are the Dalai Lama in the middle of a war zone. Relax your face, relax your shoulders, stand up straight, and keep your voice calm and reasonable. Why? Well, consider the last time someone talked to you in a distressed tone -for me it will always be the nurses… How did you react?
II. What can I do to relieve/release stress on the long run?
1. Take time to define on paper your code of conduct, your dreams and visions, your values and rules, your ideals, ultimate goals, and beliefs. Be honest and ask yourself these little treasures:
A. Where do I stand today?
B. Where do I want to get to?
If question C does not stir up some emotion inside of you, know it is not the right one. So, keep asking why and you will get there. Finally,
D. How do I get to B? What can I do differently?
Knowing your core self will help your focus and allow you to say no to stressful things that may not even be as important or urgent for you and where you want to be.
2. Practice mindfulness techiques purposefully, intentionally, with an open mind & heart.
– mindful breathing
– mindful STOP: STOP and smell the flowers 😉
– mindful daily routine
– mindful eating: smell, sight, sound, texture, taste, temperature
– mindful commuting
3. Pay attention to the positives, rather than the negatives: think of something or someone that makes you happy or puts a smile on your face.
4. Practice gratitude:
– Write “Thank you” notes
– Write gratitude letters
– Journal 3 times/week about 3 things you are grateful for. I have noticed that the smaller and the more unimportant something may seem to be, the more I am grateful for it.
5. Volunteer (do acts of kindness), give
6. Connect with others and empower your compassion: with people you love, with people you feel can teach you something new, with strangers.
– Guided imaging/visualisation through all our senses to get to our “Happy place”
8. Try destraction methods, i.e. cold showers (not a fan, lol)
9. Have a self-soothing, self-compassionate outlook on yourself: look at your mistakes with kindness, use constructive criticism with yourself rather than cold judgement, see the day as an opportunity for progress instead of perfection. Hug yourself.
10. Be proactive: Plan ahead, use prioritised action lists (what, where, when- even your recreation time!), use if-then statements (i.e. “If it is 20:00, then I will exercise”) and get excited about getting things done! Check out my first blog about planning here!
11. Count your little wins, give yourself a tap on the back,and celebrate your progress any way you feel like!
12. Spend time in nature, in green places.
13. Cherish & nurture your hobbies, recreation and leisure time. If possible do it away from work, and just play and have fun with others.
15. Self-reflect with the help of journaling
16. Use techniques like: Neural feedback or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
17. Search and find a mentor or ask the help of a life coach
Appointment booked. I’m all set. Coach me!
18. Define your inspirations, role models and heroes according to what you want to improve on.
III. Last but not least, here are some lifestyle changes to consider:
–Nutrition: the what is just as significant as the how
The what: limit salt, sugar , “whites”, (i.e. bread, milk, sugar) & red meat, eat a “rainbow” of vegetables and fruits, go for healthier carbs & nuts, drink plenty of water.
The how: mindfully, without TV, enjoy and talk to others
– Exercise: 30 min/day moderate, aerobic exercise (which means not being able to talk with ease) & weight bearing (yoga, pilates, weight-lifting). Zumba® is a fantastic, fun way to tone, burn calories and most importantly have FUN! Check my Zumba instructor page! Check out when the next class takes place and make sure you share your love by clicking on the ♥ button!
– Sleep: 7-9 hrs/d is considered physiological.
Take care of your sleep hygiene, i.e. avoid exercise, alcohol, smoking, caffeine at least 2 hrs before going to bed. Control the sleeping environment, combat cognitive hyperactivity with breathing or meditation.
Now it’s up to you? How does your body, mind, health experience stress? What have you been doing so far? What is working, what not? What would work? Which practices, tools, ideas are you ready to give a go? Which others come to mind?
Cooking could be a anything from a necessity to survive to a loving hobby. In my family cooking is most important on Sunday as we all come together for lunch-dinner (#liner) at around 16 o’ clock. Well, at least this is how I remember it when I was living with my parents.
It was important to learn how to cook, I am proud to say I could do the basics before I went to university. During university cooking was rather more of a time management thing. And trust me I was bad at time management at 17. Even nowadays I feel like I am out of touch with time at times, wanting to escape and throw away my watch… But that is a post for another time 😉
Getting to know a cute guy- it is always a guy, isn’t it?- I was intrigued to understand better where he is coming from, his culture and his people’s habits. And what a better place to start than cooking! Before I knew it, I had found a course in Aargau, registered and a few months later I was standing in front of a group of strangers who had the same curiosity as I did. A couple had received the course as a gift, another couple were friends of the Chef (Andreas was his name I believe) as I understood it, and there was even a couple that had met through these cooking courses and got married! They even shared with us the story of their marriage and the food -yes, it was ALL about food that day- Andreas had prepared for them. With every story I was thinking to myself “Shit! How did you manage to come here alone?” But that is a story for another time 😉
In the beginning the team enjoyed a little bit of freshly made bread, which was melting in your mouth 🙂 The kitchen was smelling herby, italian herby. Wine and water were complementing our late afternoons. We were all instructed to wear white aprons and wash our hands. The aprons had a bright white color, and a rather complicated mechanism for adjusting the “tails” of the apron. You see, we were given two tails of cloth. Each had at a button at one end, which would help the tail stay fixed. The other end would go through a tiny hole of the apron. Once this was done on both holes – I feel so naughty…- we would basically tie the apron with the tails around our waist. My days… this is harder to describe than to actually do! You get the picture, the complicated picture! I was expecting to where one of those tall Chef hats as well, but I guess I am in a hurry lol. One needs to deserve “The Hat”, it is like the stars of a military uniform I guess.
The Chef and the Sous-chef explained the several dishes for us. The newbie might have felt overwhelmed in the beginning – I felt that way too, especially when hearing all those new names of dishes and ingredients and trying to remember how to do each dish. Eleven or so dishes, different ingredients, different techniques and tools. Apparently there were easy and not so easy dishes. Thankfully we were each responsible for 1-2 dishes which did not lead to a catastrophe, i.e. burning the place down, which would have been a shame because they had recently renovated the place.
Now first things first. The meat was a priority because it would have to go in the oven asap for all those beautiful spices to marry together with the protein. I do not cook lamb at home but you never know when you are going to need a recipe like this one. “So focus Sabrina and record this- in your mind that is because your phone battery just died.”
Then it was our turn. As we all began cooking, I could hear the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. Everyone was talking, trying to figure out what was supposed to go down. The uncertainty mixed with a feeling of excitement were lingering in the air. A part of me was glad because I was a bit lost as well.
In the end I prepared the desert, which was rather chosen for me – I guess I was the only one looking baklavish enough. The desert, muttabaq I think was its name, did not seem THAT complicated, it was all about understanding the steps and following the recipe. Now, understanding a recipe is not that easy, especially when there are several bowls and tools lying on your station. And you are thinking to yourself, “OK, what is this for? Well, if this is for this, then what the fuck does this do?”. Both Andreas and the Sous-Chef (sorry, didn’t catch the second’s name) were always going around, checking if someone needed help, explaining the steps. And that was lovely, because I did not really know how to start. Anyways, after I got into it and finished the sweet, I put it in the oven and then it was time for the sirup. Now a sirup I CAN do and I felt I wanted to just play a little bit 🙂
So I started using all those fascinating ingredients I could find. I was so intrigued and started opening all kinds of bottles of spices! There were some I knew but others I have never heard of. Just by sniffing a bit, one could intuitively figure out which spices to sprinkle like magic dust in the sirup, which is usually nothing but water and sugar dissolved above a heat source to speed things up and help them marry better together. The whole process was just amazing. I love playing around with spices!
By this time the kitchen was smelling like Morocco, or at least as if we were transported to a region of the arab world.
This is the end result right here:
Lucky for us, there was a Thermomix lying around and the poached peaches were made by another team member, or as we could be called in the kitchen, little Cook de Partie.
The most beautiful thing however came once we were all done cooking. The Chef and Sous-Chef had prepared a wonderful homy table for us. We all served ourselves and sat together in good company enjoying all our efforts together.
Oh, the food was so delish! And the place was smelling so appetizing, my saliva was drooling! The meat was just sliding off the bone, it was tender and smooth, smelling warmth and home. And you know, the rest of the dishes were good 🙂 Well, I didn’t mean to make it sound like that. Let me try and save it: The beautiful little pitas with spinach and hot spices in them, man I can eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner! What caught my tongue -are we allowed to say that?- was the oven-baked aubergines with sheep’s yoghurt, zatar and pomengranate. It was so appetising to the eye, I felt my pupil was going to come out and take a bite! I still make this dish on a regular basis. It is soooo easy and just makes me happy every time I taste it 🙂
Food and cooking brought once again a group of strangers together. There was small talk of course about what we do and how the weather is – yes, we are in Switzerland, these are two favourite topics in any convo- and then there was talk about finances, and food prices and genome modification of tomatoes.
By the end, we -minus moi because of the battery- had pictures as evidence to savour the experience. Then again, that was a great way of getting people’s digits 😉
Would I do this experience again? Absofuckinglutely!
And I did, but that is a story for another time! 😉
Want my fav recipes? Follow me through email and ask for them! I am preparing handmade recipe cards for a quick download and print as we speak!
Now, how about you? What brings your family together? What connects you to the world?
Can’t wait to hear from you, my lovely Curious Creature!
“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear …, Happy Birthday to you!”
Some of us have heard this song, others not. The Birthday song might be important for you and or might leave you indifferent.
When I was younger I did not really like to celebrate my birthday. I would say that the only birthday party that is still engraved in my hypothalamus is when I was turning 18. Before that I do not remember making such a fuss about a birthday party, even though I saw evidential photos of a time during my birthday party I vaguely remember. That must have been when I was 8. I was not looking excited! lol
I was born during midnight so I am blessed (or cursed, depending on how you choose to look at it) to listen to this song and accept “Happy Birthday” wishes 48 hours in a row. My sisters usually start a week ahead and prolong them for another week and at some years they have been doing it for months after or before it! A part of me disliked having all this attention, it was kind of losing its meaning. So you can imagine how delighted I was to realise that in the last couple of years, new beginnings in their lives took the attention away from me. I am now able to have some peace of mind and can be left alone to celebrate my birthday for the time I get to define.
My birthday(s) is important to me and I am always a bit taken aback when other people are indifferent, do not care or are sad during their birthdays. When I ask why they are feeling that way some say they consider it just a day like others with a typical “It is just a day, Sabrina”, others choose to stay silent and look at the floor as if they are regretting something, feeling sad or sorry they are growing up (or as they choose to see it, “getting older”). And when I ask “What do you want to do for your birthday?”, the reply has more often than usual rather the same tone and a simple word, “nothing”. Inside I am thinking, “Is that really true or are you expecting a surprise? How can you do nothing and expect nothing? Is that so bad? ” I eventually accept their opinion and switch to another topic.
Nowadays I am not the person that chooses to make a big birthday party. I would rather spend my birthday alone or in the company of special few people. And this depends naturally on which country I am and if I am actually on holidays during that time. In the past couple of years I allowed myself to be on holidays during the week(s) of my birthday and I must say it was the most I have enjoyed it, whether I was alone or with company. I prefer to be in nature, be either close to the beach or walk in the woods, up in the mountains of an unexplored, new area for me. Experiencing something new on my birthday is the most beautiful present I can give to myself and I gladly share this with beautiful people.
This year my sister Stef and I took a road trip in Scotland. Before we even began the trip I was clear that there will be a lot of walking/hiking and eating mostly vegetables, nuts and fruits. I must admit I had my doubts whether she will be willing to go with it or not. Less than 24 hours from flying we realised that we weren’t actually traveling to Edinburgh, we were actually traveling to Manchester. We were both taken by surprise! But Stef was a trooper, she booked the tickets, and soon we were on our way! My doubts were alleviated 🙂
Scotland is a beautiful land. We had the chance to visit several sites, see beautiful lakes and enjoy breath-taking views and sites. We stayed active by hiking up to Ben Nevis and around the regions of Loch Ness and Loch Lomond. We stayed -this time rather inactive-in a castle/hotel for the first time, enjoyed a luxurious “Tea Afternoon” – one the Queen of England would drool over- and stopped spontaneously throughout the road trip to practice our photography skills (mine currently at 0) and take in the views. We also managed to misfuel our little black and red Citroen, which was retrospectively one of the greatest sister bonding moments. Oh! And we managed to lose our way on the first day. Waze saved the day, or as we ended up calling the male voice behind it, “Louis” did. Within the midst of the adventure we realised that my sister could be allergic to a pinkish flower in Scotland, the ones you can see below. Well, either that or she managed to get a bit sicky. Yes, it was a new experience, full of mistakes and lessons. I would not change anything about it! It was loads of fun and a great way of unloading!
Tony Robbins teaches the so called 6 Basic Human Needs:
I stand by them because so far I am able to recognize and identify why people do the things they do based on these 6 needs. You don’t have to be Tony Robbins though to understand how each of my needs have been fulfilled by simply taking this trip. And here is where I come to the meaning of birthdays. What birthdays really mean are connection, love, either with yourself, God or others, taking care of yourself -mind, body, spirit- and learning through new experiences. Birthdays have been made to review, reflect, grow, act upon new beginnings or opportunities.
One was however missing: Contribution. Well, “What does even contribution mean to me?”, I asked myself. I am not sure I have a concrete answer yet but I knew I wanted to offer my services and knowledge for free, out of my heart. By offering people free coaching sessions I was able to start fulfilling this need. I guess, contribution is about transforming someone’s life because they choose so, because they are committed to do so, and you as their coach are there to support, accompany and help them see, touch, feel, hear and smell things they forgot how to, without expecting absolutely anything in return.
Personally I believe that birthdays are “The Celebration of the Self- Past, Present, Future” and shall you desire to experience it to the maximum, feel free to take the 6 Human Needs into consideration and take action in fulfilling each one of them, the best way you know possible.
Now, it is up to you! How do you choose to celebrate your birthday? How has the celebration of your birthday evolved or changed throughout the years? What could you do to fulfill all 6 basic human needs for your upcoming birthday?
The “Wheel of life” is one of the most beloved tools of every coach. Even during a quick surf on the website of the most popular life coach Tony Robbins, you will encounter a message “Take our free life assessment”. Personally I find it a great tool in the sense of raising awareness, noticing or measuring progress or failure, feeling more determined, and setting goals. As a coach this helps me understand my client’s situation and general life better. Values, beliefs and areas we never realised existed come during the session on the surface.
But first things first. For the curious newbies, here is what a “Wheel of Life” might look like.
You can easily find a blank wheel of life online with a simple Google Search or create one of your own. Here is a sample to download!
What you will need: Time (30-60 minutes), will to invest on you, a blank wheel of life, a pencil or pen, coloring material (optional).
Step 1: Just look at it, take it iiiiin. At first it might seem puzzling, even intimidating. Please trust me, allow yourself time and take a breath. Stay open, trust yourself and it will be ok. Have a look at each category and sense how you feel about each category. I am sure there are thousands of thoughts running through your mind, but remember…
Step 2:Relax! The exercise in itself is easy. What is not easy, even for me sometimes, is to stay true to myself and consider what MY standards and expectations are. I try to remind myself not to think of the expectations of others. And that could be difficult at times. It is important to connect with yourself, respect and be truthful to yourself. After all, the exercise is for your eyes and yourself. It is your life, this is your wheel, chose wisely, responsibly and feel free to make this exercise as personalised as possible. Finish when you are fully and completely resonating with the result!
Step 3: Bring your gaze to the category that speaks to you the most. Is it health- or home-related? Is it money- or career-related? Let’s take for example the category “Health”.
Does it resonate with you? Really? If that’ s so, let it be. If not we can change it! How? Yes… We could delete it, but seriously who does not want to be or stay healthy? Our body is our vehicle and its health depends on us, therefore I cannot imagine someone wanting to delete this category. Even if you wanted to delete it, would you stop a second and rethink it, if I were to tell you that you can change the wording? You say “WHAT?! MINDFUCK!”. And yes, interestingly enough clients prefer to change the wording of the category or even split it. How? Well, some people prefer “Wellbeing”, “Wellness”, “Vitality”… Endless possibilities! Label it the best way it suits for you! The split might be “Wellbeing Body”, “Wellbeing Mind”, “Wellbeing Spirit”.
But Sabrina can I do this for every category? What if I end up with 9, 10 11, 12 categories and end up changing all their names? Usually I would allow a client to expand as much as they like, just to see in which way this is going. Sometimes, surprises happen and values seem more logical in comparison to the given categories. And the “Wheel of Life” may turn into a “Values Wheel in personal/work life”, a “Strengths Wheel” et cetera. And here is exactly where the coach comes in. One of our jobs is to listen actively to what the client says and rephrase it so that it makes sense to both parties. A harder part of the job is to listen intuitively and have the balls, OOPS, excuse me boldness… ehmm rather COURAGE to say out loud what is not being said!
You will know that this step is done when you can say “Yes, this resonates with me!”. A little smile might appear on your face, you might feel some pride and joy, you might feel also weird and a bit uncomfortable now that you have created something personal. Touch the paper and feel its texture. Take some deep breaths and get ready for the next step.
Step 4:What is complete satisfaction for you in each category? Closing your eyes might help the imagination process. What does satisfaction feel like in this area? What can you see at this ultimate level of success? What can you smell? What can you hear? Who is with you? What are their reactions? Stay in that moment for a minute and appreciate it. Now, open your eyes and land smoothly full of determination in the now.
Step 5: Choose a category consciously. Ask yourself this simple question: ” How satisfied am I with X on a scale from 0 to 10?” Remind yourself of YOUR standards and expectations. This is not about how your life should or could be, this is about how your life is at the current moment. This is not about the past or the future. This is not about past accomplishments/failures or future goals/worries. Stay in the current moment and mark your level of satisfaction with the number along the line corresponding to each category. Zero (0) meaning completely dissatisfied is in the middle of the wheel, ten (10) meaning completely satisfied is on the outer circumference of the wheel. Go ahead and do the same for all remaining categories.
Step 6: Connect the marked numbers of each category by drawing a continuous line. If you wish, go ahead and color the area that has been created. This is where you are right now in your life.
Step 7:Take your time and reflect!
How is the ride? Bumpy? All smooth sailin’?
How do you feel about your life when you see the wheel?
What surprises you?
How do you invest your time in each category? How would you like to allocate your time ideally?
Which 3 categories would you most like to improve?
Which 3 categories need your immediate attention?
What’s the Numero Uno you should change?
What’s the Numero Uno you wanna change?
Who and what might help and support you?
What’s the smallest action you can take to get started?
This concludes the Wheel of Life Exercise, or the Eye-Opener as I call it.
I cannot wait to know how this exercise helped you. What are you taking from this exercise?
Have questions? Need help? Please remember that as a life coach I am here for you!
We are all considered to play to our strengths. I do many things quite well- not that I am bragging about it, I was just born this way. Or at least that’s what I would like to think… lol
This year I realised how important it is to allow myself to discover things. If I am drawn to them, effortlessly, when doing so time is of no concern, then it means I am enjoying it.
This is how it has been for me with planning and organising. Nowadays my sister says that this has grown to be an obsession.
I could always see what the day has in store for me, and this with no planning, no goals, nada. Wake up, work, eat, sleep, rest, repeat. And I can frankly admit I was not enjoying that period of my life. I was spending awfully long, dreading hours at work, had no hobbies, no interests, I was mostly either stressed or bored: two yucky places to be in.
I was half way into that job and I knew I was unhappy. But I guess it had primarily nothing to do with the work itself, rather than the fact I couldn’t manage my time well enough to have life out of the workplace! After all, the main reason I moved to Basel was because there was a multitude of Flamenco classes I could choose from, and numerous other cultural events I could go to after work. Yet, I seemed to find no time for them.
It eventually hit me on a Friday afternoon at around 17 o’ clock. I remember it was December, one of those holy days. My colleague had just closed the office door. I heard him saying “Goodbye, happy holidays!” in the background of my inner dialogue. Work was piling up but I thought “I can either stay here and finish before it piles up, or I can just go home and reconsider what and how I have been doing things.” For the first time during then, I decided to put me first, go home and figure out what I want to do; basically, reflect and in doing so master a plan that could get me as soon as possible out of the stress and the boredom and get me to a place of peace, balance, fun, growth and inspiration.
And so I did.
2017 has been more productive and fuller of happier moments because of this. I could make time to find a better job, I had time to take up Flamenco and Salsa classes, and even study for a life coaching diploma. Now 2018 is going to be even grander! Through life coaching I allowed myself to immerse even more to escalating my own personal development. My study buddies, the NMC, and my coach with Anthony Robbins (Cristina Donadio– adore you hon!) have helped me figure out what my values and goals are, where I am, where I want to go, what actions I need to take and where my strengths lie. This was truly a revolutionary time. By raising my awareness to all these attributes, I now know where I am, what I want and where I wish to go. Life is effortless, more fun and more energetic!
One of my weaknesses, however, has been time management. You see, I am rather an ultrasocial person. I feed on the energy from people. I did not know that. I used to push energy by being in the office and finishing up administrative things, wasting my time, feeling tired and alone. Now, I pull energy from people and the administrative things can be done faster and easier.
In order to keep me on track and balance time and people management I have decided, late last year, to invest in a planner. I have used online scheduling apps, like Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Cozi, TimeTree, but I needed to write things down. By doing so, I knew that I was more likely to stick to the plan. So I decided, to do my research. My research is still ongoing (and it has been 7 months already!). I could not find something that can satisfy my needs. My expectations from the ULTIMATE planner had been so high, I couldn’t find the ONE.
I can see the advantages and disadvantages of every planner. I have tried the free version of the Passion Planner but it was too much black and white, too formal for me. One of my first values is fun and this planner was not resonating with me.
Previous to that, I had tried creating my own planner based on what I could find from the InnerGuide. I liked the format but felt that there was tiny space, and creating a planner every month on my own was not an attractive solution on the long run. Oh, and trust me! I tried ordering it, but hit a wall because it could not be delivered to Switzerland. And, sorry I am not sorry but this girl does not like using PayPal.
You may say, “Create your own, start a bullet journal!” Again, no time for this… At least, at the moment.
I had heard of Erin Condren (EC) planners, looked up some videos on YouTube and I could immediately resonate with the design and the stickers. It was all about making planning and organising FUN! Even before purchasing it, I knew that it would definitely need some upgrading. So, once it had arrived- took approximately two weeks- I knew the pros, and it was time to add my plugins! 😀 My mom was witness to the set-up, she can confess to all my excitement! And every time I am planning the week, I hear her words ringing in my head: “I have never seen you like this, you are acting like a little kid!” Guess what?! That’s the feeling I want to have when planning! Goal achieved!
Below, I have taken some pictures of my EC. I decided to combine the EC design with the beautiful insights from Passion Planner (quotes, habit tracker, space of infinite possibility, water tracker, personal & work to-do list), take my three yearly goals from my coaching, add some life planning tips from the Law of Attraction Planner, Passion Planner and InnerGuide, insert some gratitude ideas from the Happy planner, have work and personal life all in one (as advised by life-coaches and LinkedIn learning videos), bring in some light and vision with stickers, washi tape, my scrapbooking, origami, hand lettering and watercolor skills and… The meal planner, emotional tracker and gratitude planner are at the back pocket of the planner- and they fit perfectly!
Plan! Fun! Done! Voila!
Unfinished monthly goal view: Plugin from my own InnerGuide, and Passion Planner inserts
Monthly (Feb/18) goal view: Plugin from my own InnerGuide Planner creation
Monthly view (Feb/18)
Weekly view (V-day week)
Plugin from Passion Planner (habit tracker)
Gadgets: HP sprocket, ZINK photo paper, polaroid picture frames, Caran d’ Ache pen, scissors, glue, pencil sharpener
Gadgets: washi tape, sticky notepad (EC), StylizedSticky™ corner pockets (EC, Supracolor Soft water colors (Caran d’Ache), color pencils
Gadgets: stickers (box made by moi)
Idea 1: Job application tracker
Idea 2: money saver or weight off tracker
Idea 3&4: books of the year, washi collection
I hope this blog has inspired you to think of how a planner can help improve your life, get organised and yet spare some time to be spontaneous. Go for it, be creative, craft and upgrade it to your taste and remember… live life to the fullest!
On to you!
Are you just as fascinated as I am with planning? Do you have a planner? If yes, got any extra tips or ideas? If not, are you open to trying planning out? Below, I am linking the planners I have tried and some that have tempted me to try out, have a look!
Now, I can see how girly the EC planner might be. Do you guys have any planner options for men- like Benjamin? Do you think that spontaneous people have a plan (consciously or unconsciously)?
On a last note, I cannot tone enough how important life coaching was to me. Find out your values, your vision, your goals, where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there. If I peeked your interest, do not hesitate, contact me to discover more!
Lately, I was inspired by a friend of mine, let us call him Benjamin, to delve more into the topic of philosophy. He, himself, is one of those people you meet, with whom you can talk about anything and anyone! If you do not know such people, I urge to scout for one, and hold auditions, the more the merrier! I found myself being attracted to this kind of knowledge, maybe him as well 😉
After a long day’s work, I usually have time to explore the small, cute kiosk in the main train station of Basel. This one is a bit bigger than your normal kiosk. Entering it, you see stands of colourful, categorised magazines, newspapers and books, knowledge written in German, English, French, Spanish or Italian. When I enter it, I feel little sparks of curiosity bubbling around my head.
One day, as I was in the kiosk, my eyed dropped on Philosophie Magazine, written in German. In my head, I could hear Benjy rambling about what democracy and meritocracy are and if they really exist.
What intrigued me was of course the theme. The writers in that issue were exploring “Where does New come from?” and if new even exists. They dived into it by analysing and deepening opinions of past and new philosophers. I had decided not to buy the magazine. I wished to figure out an answer that is true to me, without any input or bias from others. Since then, questions like, “What is new?”, “Does New exist?” started bombarding my brain. Personally, this would have never been a question I would ask myself, yet I found myself really searching for the answers, any answer! And the weeks were running faster than a peregrine falcon!
And so began the long, sometimes frustrating, other times confusing, and the rest of times inspiring story of defining what is new and if it really exists or not.
We call something old. This infers, therefore, that it used to be once new. As we were born in this world we were new to this world, and getting old with every fraction of a minute. Yet, according to the CIA World Factbook and indexmundi.com there are 258 worldwide births per minute or 4.3 births every second (2016 est.) (PS: here you can find a live count of babies born www.theworldcounts.com)
So being born or having birth is actually quite old, we have been propagating forever! Now, I can imagine a mother reading this and getting furious at what I am saying but looking at this objectively, couldn’t it be true? It might be. It is such a wawawoom statement to make, just to shake the waters. Believing it, however, breaks my heart and destroys my spirits. It is so contra-intuitive to exclaim such a thought! Even when I was writing it down, I felt a bit upset and sick inside. Vomitus alert!
After weeks of deliberation, confusion and so forth, I had decided to buy the magazine for some clarity. Something inside of me, till this day, does not allow me to open it up and read. So, I chose to discuss the topic with friends and colleague.
Benjamin came to the rescue! He gave me a clearer, more hopeful, inspiring and positive piece of his thoughts. He was looking at me curiously, almost weirdly suspiciously and gave me a little smile. He took a breath and said in a rather “I know it all” voice: “Being born might be nothing new to the world, unless you make it mean something. You being born to the world was new to your parents and you! The first time you ate, talked, walked was new to you and your environment.”
Suddenly, I had realised it all has to do with how we perceive the world and what kind of meaning we put to things and events that occur. “The Idea, the Power of New exists in relation to our perception!”, I exclaimed in brightness!
Hmm, doesn’t then everything and the meaning we allow and choose to give to anything happen in relation to our perception?
Now, now… That is enough food for our brain! And you guessed it! It’s your turn! When was the last time a magazine fascinated you? What magazines would you be interested to buy?
Be like Benjamin, be courageous and share a piece of your mind, even your opinion on “New” 🙂 I am curious to know what you think!