Friday, January 27, 2017

when the going gets tough...

prosit in schwarzwald, october 2016 - sunflowers in heidelberg

... the strong get growing.

Ever since that devastating Wednesday 10 months ago my rollercoaster mind has pondered over how to turn devastation into a positive change. Things happen for a reason, and when they are meant to happen there is nothing we can do about it but accept. And grow through the pain and sorrow. Thank you resilience, my friend.

These past few months I've been thinking more and more about how I can share this journey of mourning - that we all will go through sooner or later - and connect it with my professional dreams and goals for the future. Without turning it into a pity party, sob story or unsavourly utilize the death of a loved one. (Because believe you me, those thoughts have also crossed my mind.)

But we all have deeply personal stories, and generally it's the struggles and heartaches that turn us into better and more compassionate human beings. Sharing is caring and perhaps me sharing my story, my hopes and dreams can help someone out there. And myself too.

And finally two weeks ago the words came to me. I wrote an article for LinkedIn - which I find to be the best channel for reaching a wider audience with a story, message and asking for help - When The Going Gets Tough, The Strong Get Growing.

I believe that we should all be more open, honest, personal (without being limitlessly private) and unafraid to ask for help. And I'm definitely not a person that ask for help easily or usually. At least not before the year that was. Be more fearless asking for help. Be more fearless in general. Without losing your self-preservation of course. Be strong by being vulnerable and open.

So I shared my story and asked for help, from friends and contacts, and the response during these two weeks has been overwhelmingly loving and kind. I've had lunches, meetings, suggestions and offers. I've put in a lot of thought and work, and learnt a lot. It's been exciting, exhausting and energizing.

I'm not quite there when it comes to my part-time employment goal/dream for 2017, but on my definite way, and I had a lovely meeting today about a really great, unusual but also very right and important new assignment (thank you again, LinkedIn) that will start in February (yes, January has just flown by!).

So if I don't blog as much as I used to, it's just because I'm busy building my new future.

I promise to write the post about my wonderful Schwarzwald experience as soon as I have the inspiration and time. And I have tried a few new, vegan recipes - yes, the 'one new recipe per week' goal is well on track - that you really need to try.

Feel free to read my article, comment (if you're on LinkedIn) and share. If we're not already LinkedIn-connections I'd be happy to connect (if you write a personal note so I know where we've 'met' of course).

Have a lovely oxytocin-filled weekend, one and all ~

luddkolt's british shorthair, january 2017 -

Saturday, January 14, 2017

caturday is for oxytocin

Ever since I started my own business, 5 years ago now, I haven't made much distinction between weekdays vs weekends. Because I've felt so very fortunate being able to be quite flexible of when and where I work. Tuesdays and Wednesdays can be just as much weekend as Saturday and Sundays. And vice versa. The freedom of it all is as much holiday as 5 weeks scheduled summer holidays. 

However this past year I've come to treasure my weekends and especially my Caturdays. I've made them my obligatory one day per week when I make sure not to think too much, just be. No worrying, just lazying. Reading, knitting, watching TV, cooking, eating and most of all cuddling. 

The main part of the day is in fact spent stretched out in sofa with cats on my tummy, lap and legs, wrapped around my neck, sitting on the sofa table eagerly patting me on the arm for more cuddles.

I love my Caturdays. They are for filling up of oxytocin. Gratitude and love from a not so crazy cat lady.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

my professional goals 2017

hi! december 2016

From personal to professional, this post will be all about my 5 (main) business goals for 2017. I only ticked off two of the five goals I had for 2016 - getting 3 new clients, long and short-term + be better at follow up with people/potential clients.

But with 2016 being a rubbish year (with, granted, glimmering highlights) I'm glad I ticked any goals off at all.

This year my enclasping goal will (obviously) be to reach financial stability and independence. With worry comes incentive. I have to trust that everything will be alright of course. But that doesn't mean I can settle down and just trust that everything decent and great will land in my lap all by itself (besides my lap is already full of cats). I have to work towards it, without losing myself, my values and visions amidst it all. And I believe that if we put ourselves out there the universe will give more back.

Here are my 5 goals to get there -

  • Do at least 1 active thing per day with the enclasping goal in mind - it can be book lunches and meetings, write articles and posts on LinkedIn, reach out to people and network, research potential clients or places of work and so forth.
  • Take an online course - one of my goals for last year that I never accomplished. One of the topics I had in mind then, and have been for a long time, has been graphic design. As great as it is to be able to pass inquiries on to friends and contacts, it also seems a waste from a personal point of view when I could be able to offer both copywriting and graphic design in my own package. Maybe 2017 will be the year I start this journey?
  • Commute to work - I read this nifty article about secrets to homeworking success. And while I already tick most of those boxes I don't tick the 'commute to work' one. I've been meaning to go out for a walk every day for ages, but the truth is I haven't. I have a tendency to overdo it, instead of a short walk every day I go for longer, brisk walks and then end up with muscle soreness because I overdid it and then end up feeling blah about it. Until I overdo it next time. I need to get a bit of regularity without overdoing it. And if I look at it as commuting to work every day (without the awfulness of rush hour traffic!) it might do the trick.
  • Get 3 new clients - just like the ticked goal last year, at least three and for both long and short term jobs.
  • Be active and open to part time employment - as much as I do not want to be chained to a desk 9-5, deal with rush hours and office politics, I do feel I need to be part-time part of some greater goal and working with likeminded people. As much as I love the freedom of working for myself and being fortunate to do it at (mostly) my own terms from my home office I do lack the opportunites to make a real impact for a a greater sustainability cause which can only be achieved working with others. To inspire and be inspired. 

    We are all constant works in progress and what you feel you want and need one year might very well change next year. Especially so if your life changes drastically. It's all part of my process of redefining myself I guess. There's no perfect time to make a change, just the now. Noone knows what will happen next year, next month, next week, not even tomorrow. Some times I'm really good at being patient, others not. The now is my (very) impatient time.
Bring on the good times 2017, 
I'm ready to go get going!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

my personal goals 2017

Last year I began my new tradition of setting 5 personal (plus 5 bonus) and 5 professional/business goals respectively. For devastating reasons out of my control not many of those were reached. But I'm really grateful and happy about those I did reach.

Like the personal ones; travel alone abroad, get rid of the runny nose, give at least 1 bag to charity each month. I've way surpassed the last one, so many big, black garbage bags with clothes, fabrics and stuff have gone to charity in 2016. The very smart thing that I didn't know about until last year is that you can call your charity of choice and they come pick all that stuff up. So I didn't even have to worry about the fact that I have to get someone with a car to drive me and stuff to the shop. I'm so very grateful for that. Circular economy is a fine fine thing.

I will definitely continue with my cleansing of clothes and stuff in 2017. It's such a liberating feeling. With the goal being to just keep things I really love (which also is a lot, but more graspable) and am inspired by. I will not set it as a goal for 2017 though, seems pointless when I already know that a good, regular cleansing has proven to be good for the soul, so I'll not have any troubles continuing with it.

Remember I also signed up for a mentor/friend-programme for people new in Sweden? Obviously a couple of important criterias for me were that the new friend-person I matched with was vegetarian/vegan and non-religious. Which apparently and sadly are really tough criterias, I never did hear back from the mentor/friend-programme... Despite that I signed up this year too, maybe things have changed.

So first up my 5 personal goals for 2017 (the professional ones in another post) -

  • Improve my skin condition back to normal - 2016 was a bad bad year for my skin too. I've previously blogged about how difficult it has been these past few years to find great skincare products that fit my both sensitive and often dry skin, but things brightened up when I began using Dermalogica and Bare Minerals. Though with all the sorrow and stress last year things have become so much worse than ever before. Since I eat healthy and well, don't drink or smoke or have any other bad habits I take it as a very visible sign of a worrisome year. It might be rosacea, I had that checked years ago and it wasn't then, but who knows if that has changed. I need to do something about this now, time to face it. No pun intended.
  • Start a new hobby - I've been thinking about joining a choir of some sort for many many years. And taking a vegan cooking class. Perhaps 2017 will be a year for that?
  • Try a new recipe every week - I know, it was one of my goals of 2016. It didn't happen. I've obviously cooked a lot during the year that was, take out-meals have been non-existing all year for financial and logistic reasons. But I've mainly cooked ol' reliable recipes or just improvised something depending of what I have in the freezer and fridge. Now is the time to try new things regularly. I've already cooked three new recipes, so I'm on my way for a 52 new dishes year!
  • Finish one old knitting/crocheting/sewing project every month - another one of my 2016 goals that didn't happen. Still think is a brilliant and worthy goal, since I'm notoriously bad when I'm close to the finish line. I've already finished the first project of the year, these mittens for my mum. Next up, finishing either a scarf or mittens for me.
  • Seriously clean up two rooms that I basically use as lumberrooms - not my proudest moment to admit this to the internetz, but there you are. And most of the stuff piling up in those rooms will obviously go to charity. One room I will also repaint and turn into a craft room (finally somewhere to have my sewing machine, yarn, fabrics and beads all in one place). The other room used to be the guest room, it will continue to be even if I'm not very keen on having guests as such. But it's nice to have a fresh spare room.
I won't set any bonus goals this year. These will keep me quite busy. (Plus as a now sole provider I really need to concentrate on ticking off the professional goals.) And obviously I haven't set any goals like yoga or meditation (the first really failed miserably last year, the other one just petered out). I think it would be great to do something or other like that, perhaps I'll have another go one of these days. Without setting any goals obviously.

How about you, any special personal or professional goals for 2017?

Sunday, January 01, 2017

goodbye 2016, hello 2017

luddkolt's british shorthair, december 2016 -

2016 will go down in history as my worst year ever. And one of the planet's worst too. I'm so relieved it's finally over. For me the sudden death of M has haunted the whole year, even if the grief process doesn't come to an end just because the clock chimes 12 on New Year's Eve you shouldn't underestimate the symbolic power of being able to close the door to an awful year.

In a few months only it's a year since he passed. A year. A whole year. That's nothing short of crazy. I still find it unbeliveable that people who've meant so much to us can just be snatched away from one day to the other without prior notice. They're just gone, no chance of goodbye. Suddenly the only thing left is memories.

Amidst all the sorrow, worry and stress of the year that was it was also a year that forced me to take a good, hard look at myself and my life, continue to cultivate resilience, make changes, reinvent myself. Something that is an ongoing process obviously. But it was a year of growing up, in many ways. And part of that growing was the lovely Schwarzwald trip - yes I'm well aware of that I have yet to write something more substantial about that experience. Stay tuned.

I've also realised that the people I call(ed) friends and family are much fewer than I thought. It's an uncomfortable part of the sorrow process to realise that you really don't matter that much to those people, that those so called friends have evaporated because apparently the words 'supportive', 'care' and 'kindness' aren't part of their vocabulary and lifestyle. And some of them have in fact been plain nasty. Nothing like the death of a loved one to get people to show their true colour.

Clearly I need to find some new friends. And see the above mentioned ones as acquiantances, people I once met on the path of life, they may not have been reliable in the long run, they still meant something then but not anymore.

On the other hand I'm deeply grateful for the other part of the social coin during the rough year that was, people and the few friends who have gotten in touch regularly with kind and encouring comments, letters, postcards, emails and offers to talk, suggestions of reads, jobs, possible clients. Some of these things have been surprising and very special. Thank you, thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

Now I'm looking forward to a wonderful fresh year full of amazing possibilities and new beginnings. Dreams and visions. It feels exciting, it's an important year, so much needs to happen, must happen. I will make it happen, you will make it happen, we will all make it happen, right? Right.

Happy, prosperous, meaningful,
kind, compassionate, peaceful
and inspired year
to all earthlings ~
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