22 May 2013

A Pause

To whoever checks in on this little blog: goodbye for now! Too much is changing, I have to make a pause and concentrate on the essential.
It was a good challenge trying to find "food for thought" to post here, and I hope to come back in a couple of month's time...
So long, dear friends, and hope to see you then!
No, I'm not going to sleep in the grass... Not yet!

16 May 2013

Feed Your Joy Daily

What you think and how you feel now determines what you will think and how you will feel tomorrow. Don't get all caught up in problems, worries and other negative thoughts.  Concentrate on the joys in life,  however small.
The feeling of a fresh breeze on your skin while walking home from work, the kind words of a friend, a good meal shared with a nice person, the smell of a jasmine flower, smiling at a stranger in the bus - you can find a million things to bring you joy.
Take good care of yourself in order to take good care of others. Think, feel and do more of what brings you happiness. Feed your joy daily.

A nice meal- even better in lovely company

9 May 2013

Cung Cung Paah

This is a year of fulfilling dreams :-)
One old dream is being able to dance to latin American music. I've wanted to learn that ever since hanging out with some Mexicans during my student years. Much later I tried out a salsa course, but I'm a slow learner and let's say that my feeling for rhythm isn't innate...
But now I finally indulge myself in private lessons -who knows for how long I can still do that, so the time is NOW.
Horacio is teaching me, slowly and patiently, and I don't feel like a hopeless case anymore. As a good pedagogue he started with "the feeling" of this kind of dance, not with the basic steps. His way of teaching the steps is with the mantra "cung cung paah" - and that really sticks!
At home I take out my dancing shoes, put on some salsa music, feel the Cung Cung Paah and love it!

My Dancing Shoes

3 May 2013

More Happiness in the World

In connection with the upcoming changes I am reviewing my whole life. The Where?, the What?, the How?, and the Why? Why am I here, and What is my task? What effect do I want to have on the world and on people?
Even if it sounds presumptuous, I want to spread Happiness.
But it does not feel enough to spread out my happiness, even if that already has an effect on others.
I  would love to be able to inspire others to find access to their own inner happiness. To discover the core within themselves that is - happiness. The centre to which you can always connect and feel warmth, care and love; first for yourself, and then for others.
Finding ways to inspire others to access their inner Happiness feels like a major task. I am really looking forward to soon be working on it with a lot more energy and time :-)

26 Apr 2013

Take a Leap

"It's not what you do in your life that matters, it's how you do it". That has been my adage for several years, and a way to cope with unfulfilling tasks: I've put my pride in doing them as efficiently as possible, with high quality and with a smile.
But in the end that just isn't enough. At a certain point life almost got a stale taste and it became clear that I had to make a choice. Either I stay in the comfort zone, not asking too much neither from myself nor from life... Or I take a leap, and with that leap I don't just risk cold feet, but I also prove that I believe in in the possibility to discover and explore new treasures. Outside and inside.  Reinventing my life, in a certain way.
Time has come to leap. The adventure can start.

12 Apr 2013

Planting Seeds

The growth force of nature is just amazing. Put a small seed into some soil, water it now and then and just leave it for a while. Suddenly something starts to sprout, something very small and green pokes its head out. It strikes me with awe every time!
Despite the long and cold winter on my kitchen table there are already 20 quite big (it's all relative!) tomato seedlings, a handful of tiny pea plants and I'm sure coriander, runner beans and poppies will soon peep out too.
Of course I have setbacks, many seeds just don't germinate, but that's quickly forgotten when the little tomato plants start spreading their unmistakeable scent.
Few other things fill me with such deep pleasure. I just love "gardening" (even without having a garden)! It makes me feel so much part of Mother Nature - of life itself.

I love you, little baby tomato plants!

4 Apr 2013


Bravery never was one of my main characteristics. I'm an overall cautious person, like when it comes to spending money or practicing sports. Downhill skiing? I don't want to kill myself!
Unfortunately this also goes for challenging my habits or taking decisions about minor as well as about major changes in life. "You know what you have, but never what you get"..
Well, I've come to understand that this is basically a lack of faith. Things will be fine! I won't break my neck in the ski slope or ruin myself by investing in long yearned for pearl earrings. As for life changes I just have to show trust. The outcome may be completely unknown, but eventually things will turn out all right. I will survive. Not only that: needed changes will turn things for the better. I just have to show some Faith.

22 Mar 2013

Spring Clean Out

Spring is here, I have cleaned my windows :-)
With the re-birth of Nature comes the urge for a "re-birth" at home: the big Spring Clean Out. I have too much stuff, while others have too little, and I lose overview.  So what has not been used for a year (and that goes for EVERYthing) goes to charity. And it will definitely not be replaced.
To speak with Thich Nhat Hanh:
"Live simply and share time, energy and material resources with those who are in need."

Spring Symbols

14 Mar 2013

On the Verge

This not yet out
That not yet in
A pause

My mind goes blank

The gap needed
to make space
for the new

I smile into the emptiness


8 Mar 2013

I am a Sun

On fuzzy days like these
Wrapped in greyness
Energy too low:

Don't despair
Don't sink into lethargy
Never give up

Be a Sun yourself!
Shine within
Radiate out

Light through your eyes
Love from your heart

Another little sun 

2 Mar 2013

Dream Scenes

You know how often negative or stressful thoughts come up in a day... Someone says something "wrong", you suddenly get an extra task to do, you're kept waiting at the doctor's or your child comes home with bad grades. Anything and everything can trigger your tensing up, feeling negative.
Going back to your breath is one way out, but my dear sister C taught me another very efficient one: go back to the feeling of your Dream Scene. I have several favorite dream scenes, the latest one when C and I shared a wonderful dinner on the terrace of a lovely Italian restaurant on a mild summer evening in Santiago - and the warmth, closeness and love of that moment.
So after a long and tiresome flight back home, during which a hyper active child prevented me from sleeping, I just dropped that irritation  and went back to the sweet feeling at that wooden dinner table...
Little sister's fragrant giant pizza

14 Feb 2013

Inviting the Worries for Tea

I have been worrying a lot lately. Knowing it doesn't help didn't stop these obsessive thoughts from filling my tired mind. They just made things worse, draining me completely of energy. At this point, once again, the practice of stopping helped.
So I try to remember to STOP when the worries come creeping up, and instead of getting all caught up, I invite them in for tea :-) "Dear worries, my old friends, there you are again! Welcome!" I examine them, see them for what they are, and let them go. The worries are just little fears;  they should be calmed down, and dropped.
After letting them loose I return to real life. As always, the more often I catch myself, the more I strengthen that habit and the less I get caught up in worries.
And then I smile again, accepting the flow of life, and relaxing into what happens right here, right now.

10 Feb 2013

Refilling My Cup

My cup was completely empty and my energy level close to minus. Not really surprising deep in winter time with a flu in my neck and family worries in front of me.
Luckily there are ways to refill the cup. Care from family and friends is the most important one. Slowing down and opening the eyes to the miracles of life is another one. Like the he miracle of spring following after winter every year. Yes, there are already signs.... :-)

H&H greeted spring in Portugal

2 Feb 2013

Touch Points

A very helpful practice to stay present in my life is establishing Touch Points in the body.
I have chosen three places in my body where I can strongly focus my attention: my neck & shoulders, my heart, and my lower abdomen. Several times during the day I stop and gently breathe into these Touch Points, relaxing them and feeling them fully. It has become a nice habit to pause and connect with my body in this way.
The good thing about establishing Touch Points when life flows on normally, is that when I find myself in stressful situations I (hopefully!) remember them. Then I connect with my body, calm down and come a little bit closer to being in peace again...

PS: The source of this practice is the inspiring "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach

27 Jan 2013

Sensory Pleasures in Winter

The caresses of 32°C water, when swimming in the hot spring's pool

The smell of a huge bunch of large white lilies

The sound of show crunching under my hiking boots

The taste of ruby red Port wine, slowly enjoyed before dinner

The quiet elegance of a young deer, watching us from a safe distance

... and the warm feeling of gratitude that I can enjoy all these miracles - and share them with you

Yes, I see you too

18 Jan 2013

Opening my Eyes,Opening my Mind

Finally winter has taken over the city. Roofs and gardens are covered with snow, and at least in the park I pass in the morning the whole ground is white.
It's like all the WHITE opens my eyes wide up and lightens up my whole being - in both senses.
The glittering snow fills my mind and my mind just relaxes and naturally drops all thoughts. Pure brightness, pure space.
I'm all white and glittering within.
I open up, and I shine.

The White

12 Jan 2013

Slowing Down

For as long as I remember, I've held a quick pace. Since a couple of years I realize that instead of making me "efficient" it prevents me from really living.
So I'm working on slowing down.  The best way to do that is to stop focusing on my mind, and turn my full attention to the body. When I sense the aliveness of my feet and legs, my torso and arms, my head and face just by itself a little smile appears... :-)
Then I'm fully present. And then I've slowed down enough to be here for what I am doing in this specific moment and who I am with right now.
When I slow down I live more fully, and I am there for all the little miracles of my world.
One of the miracles - a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day

6 Jan 2013

The Key to Happiness

A Zen master was asked "What is the key to happiness?" His answer was one single word: attention. I have found out that he was right.
When I pay attention to all the little details of my life, I see how I'm surrounded by miracles all the time. It makes me deeply happy to enjoy the smiling face of a baby on the tram, the moonlight through bare branches, the soft purring of a cat. I just have to pay attention.
And when I pay full attention to other beings, there is love. Because attention is not only the key to happiness, it is also the key to love.

Paying attention to the glittering snow