2015, October 6

Make a Not-To-Do List

The assignment for this past week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Make a Not-To-Do List. j was inspired for the assignment for this week by Danielle Laporte, who says that when we strive to do what we really want (love, are passionate about), the things we decide NOT to do are sometimes just as important as the things we decide to start or continue doing.

My boyfriend and I went on a trip to the Romanian seaside during our annual leave. It was sooo good to finally have a vacation! I said this assignment came in very handy, and that I’d write my list as soon as we arrived.
However, after turning on Skype for a few minutes on the second day of my annual leave, I was forced into staying online and sending some work e-mails/waiting for replies. The what I thought would be a few minutes turned into about an hour and a half! I was so frustrated about it, I decided to write my Not-To-Do List immediately.

So here it is, my vacation Not-To-Do List:

  • Don’t check work e-mail
  • Don’t turn on Skype
  • Don’t check e-mail except twice a day
  • Don’t get upset with Pixel for being stressed out (we took him with us)
  • Don’t spend more than ten minutes on Instagram or playing Ice Age Village
  • Don’t get upset for some vacation plans (visiting something, staying up late, going for a walk) not working out
  • Don’t stay up too late, reading

As you know, I’m currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Better than before”. In it, and on her blog, too, she talks about how she makes a list of the things she keeps putting off, and doing them during what she named Power Hour. Power Hour is an hours time to accomplish those one-time tasks that weigh on our mind, but could be—and probably already have been—indefinitely postponed.

While I didn’t really get these things done during only an hour, here’s what I included on my list of things to get done before hitting the road:

  • Update Windows
  • Finish two sewing projects (one finished, the other is half-done since it needs more supplies)
  • Clear cobwebs from corners
  • Place unused blankets and pillows into underbed storage bags
  • Rearrange books on the nightstand
  • Take summer clothes to mom’s, bring back fall clothes
  • Clean “50 books to read before you die” stainless steel bookmark
  • Sharpen pencil eyeliners

The assignment for Week 40 is to Start a New Practice.
Ever since watching Matt Cutts’s TED talk “Try Something New for 30 Days,” j has been enamored with the idea of changing your life incrementally, one small, sustainable habit at a time. “As Matt says, you can add something to your life (biking to work each day) or you can take something out (smoking); the key is that it’s small enough for you to truly get the feel of it in one week.”
I think this pairs well with my reading “Better than before”; let’s see what practice I’ll start.

How was your week? Did you write a Not-To-Do List? What was on it? In case you haven’t written one already, feel free to share a few items off it below in the comments. I’d love to know what the things you could stop to make room for more self-love are in your world.
And of course, feel free to share a Power Hour list, too! I’m really interested in what you guys put off doing and how similar our lists might be.

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, September 29

Write an “I am not…” poem

For last week’s assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly we had a poem to write. An “I am not old” poem, or rather an “I am not” poem where we’d write out what we’re not: afraid, lesser than others, alone, etc.

The thing is, we often feel this way. Because somehow as human beings, we’re wired to compare ourselves to others. We grow up being compared to each other during school years, we’re comparing ourselves to our friends, we’re measured against ideals in relationships, and most of us have evaluations at work which I’m sure are supposed to be confidential but everyone starts bragging how well they did once the evaluation period is over.
No matter how well we do, how good an achievement we reach is, there’s always someone just a coin toss away who did better, or who is (even if in our eyes alone) better than we are.

So here’s sharing the jumble of words I’ll pass off as a poem. Hope you like it as much as it was beneficial for me to type it out.

I am not…

I am not alone,
even if sometimes I perceive it
as if I were.
I am not disliked,
even if it feels that way at times –
people express themselves poorly.
I am not a bad writer,
even if the persons who matter the most
don’t read my writing.
I am not quiet,
even if I rather listen first
and interact afterwards.
I am not overlooked,
even if louder people
get “picked” first.
I am not ugly,
even if my ideal weight
isn’t what I’m currently at.
I am not lesser than others,
even if my high standards for myself
make it seem so.
I am not unsuccessful,
even if self-sabotage
comes more easily than self-love.

The assignment for Week 39 is to Make a Not-To-Do List. j was inspired for the assignment for this week by Danielle Laporte, who says that when we strive to do what we really want (love, are passionate about), the things we decide NOT to do are sometimes just as important as the things we decide to start or continue doing.
“This week, make a very specific list of what you won’t be doing. Don’t generalize. Writing “I won’t procrastinate,” or “I won’t put myself last” isn’t specific enough to actually open up space in your week. “I won’t check email more than twice a day” is better. It’s specific. The time you spend NOT going through your inbox can be spent doing something creative and soul-filling.”

This week, I’ll be traveling to Constanta, which is on the Romanian seaside. I can’t wait! My first real vacation since December last year (when I’ve spent more than half of my vacation time cleaning our apartment, my mom’s, and my grandparents places…). So this assignment comes in very handy! As soon as I arrive, I’ll write my Not-To-Do List, and make room for fun things and relaxing, enjoying my holiday as much as possible!

How was your week? Did you write an “I am not” poem? Did you struggle to write it, or did it come easily to you? Are there many things you wish you didn’t compare yourself to others in?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, September 24

How to pack light for travel

I feel a bit weird saying this, but I love packing my carry-ons and checked in luggage; I love the excitement of getting ready for a trip, of choosing items to bring and getting everything together ahead of time!

Here’s sending you over to Milliver’s Travels where my travel essentials article, “How to not over-pack luggage when traveling for both work and fun”, is up today.

I hope it helps you guys out, because I know that most of the time the thought of going to the airport can be one big bundle of stress in one’s life – but I’m convinced that you can make it work out perfectly too, if you plan ahead.
Go on, read my article and feel your travels getting lighter ;)

2015, September 22

Stretch every day

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, the assignment was to stretch every day. And, I did just that.
Here’s the very cute doodle j has in the 52-52 Guide for this past week.

stretch every day

Bodily, I’ve taken up the habit of stretching my back every half an hour or so at work, given I’m sitting at my desk for 8 hrs a day. I also do this when I work from home, except there it’s easier as I can move from the couch to the bar stool, to the desk or to the bed; it’s fun to switch around my spot every now and then.

Mentally and spiritually, I’ve started reading “Better than before” by Gretchen Rubin, and what I’ve noticed is that even though I’m around page 50, I’m already starting to stretch. I’m already starting to go beyond my reach, because habits have enormous influence over our spiritual lives, as well as our work life, family life, health, etc.
Probably because of this month being beginning-of-school-year time in most time zones, September is the time most of us get back into a routine, including getting back to proper eating habits after the seemingly endless barbecues and parties of summer.
So I think that this past week’s assignment was perfect for nudging me towards stretching myself a bit more, spiritually.

The assignment for Week 38 is to Write an “I am not old” Poem. The thing is however, j urges us to “write it out: you are not old (or alone, or lesser, or afraid). Write what you are. Boldly. Lyrically. Like you know it to be true. Because of course, it is.” I’m curious how this will go for me.

How was your week? Did you stretch every day? Bodily? Mentally? Spiritually? In every which way?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, September 18

Things we do/avoid, due to Pixel reasons

Just the other day I was thinking about our life before the arrival of our kitty, Pixel. Of the things we used to do, of the things we do now or the ones we simply don’t do anymore. Some items seemed funny to me, so here’s sharing.

Pet owners everywhere will be able to relate to some of the items on my list, I’m sure.


Things we do/avoid, due to Pixel reasons:

  • Close all cabinet doors, even if stepping away for only a moment.
  • Sit/lay uncomfortably for hours, because Pixel is too cute sleeping on top of us.
  • Have a long-pawed stuffed tiger doll hanging from our bar stool.
  • Get our faces tickled and licked to wake up. (You’d think only dogs did that…)
  • Have someone sit in our handbags, suitcases or shopping bags.
  • Find refrigerator magnets in odd places, like in the bathroom for example. 
  • Don’t own a terrarium or other fun stuff like that.
  • Wash the dishes before bed, every night.
  • Had only 20% of the decorations up for Christmas. (Easter as well, for that matter.)
  • Keep no plants on the balcony.
  • Have entire conversations with the kitty.
  • Pick up random stuff like deodorant, socks, mittens, mason jar lids, hand cream, forks, the kitchen sponge or the egg slicer off the floor.
  • Have a source of warmth for our feet while laying in bed.
  • Keep the crystal litter on the balcony instead of inside.
  • Are greeted at the door when arriving home.
  • Often find ourselves thinking we need a bedroom with a door.
  • Constantly have a source of amusement.
  • Enter the apartment bent down to grab him in case kitten tries to escape.
  • Cover the bed every morning before leaving for work.
  • Watch our step, especially with hot beverages in hand.
  • Don’t leave cat toys laying around during the night.
  • Place plants on top of the range hood.
  • Also keep candles, matches, tissues, a dried rose, my angel lampwork bead and a vase on top of the range hood. (Good thing its design allows it!)
  • Don’t leave glasses/cups on the nightstand overnight. 
  • Wear slippers in the bathroom, too.
  • Keep the toilet seat lid down.
  • Place the toilet paper high up in a shelf.
  • Find clothes and tea towels on the floor when getting home from work.
  • Throw away tea bags instead of leaving them on the saucer even for five minutes.
  • Don’t sleep with out hands under the pillow.
  • Nor with our feet peeking out from under the covers.
  • Are overheard by our neighbors as what seems like us talking to ourselves when it’s only one of us and the kitty.
  • Crane our necks to look at PC, phone, tablet and laptop monitors or read a book around the cat.
  • Say “NO” more often than we’d like.
  • Don’t leave food unattended.
  • Fish out cat toys from our shoes and slippers.
  • Keep pens, keys, scotch tape, batteries, paperclips, etc. in a basket.
  • Also, keep said basket behind a cabinet door. (Until we get a lidded box or something we can leave on the counter.)
  • Let kitten climb under the kitchen furniture.
  • Then dust him off.
  • Keep most of our shoes in boxes.
  • Replace certain shoelaces every other month.
  • Walk up the stairs quietly, on our tiptoes sometimes, so kitten won’t start meowing when we’re still three stories away.
  • Fall asleep with him purring on top of us.
  • Check on him regularly when he’s on the balcony.
  • Have tiny heart attacks every time we see him on the railing.
  • Listen for birds chirping. And run out the moment they stop, in case they need rescuing.
  • Check kitten for birds when he rushes into the kitchen from outside too fast.
  • Know exactly where a fly, mosquito, moth or spider is located.
  • Have a “built-in” fly killer. 
  • Try not letting him fall asleep too soon in the evening to avoid him waking up too early.
  • Don’t pet him after I’ve used the hair dryer to dry my hair. (The effect it has on him has to wear off first. *laughing*)
  • Same rule applies after vacuuming the apartment.
  • Accidentally hit “Send” when trying to write a text with Pixel on our tummy.
  • Have someone overly interested in anything we’re doing.
  • Are sometimes collateral damage while he’s playing.
  • Smile and laugh out loud at his funny poses. All. The. Time.
  • Have half a bag of laundry detergent in the hamper so he won’t knock it over.
  • Know the kitty is approaching even in the dark when a crystal is stuck to his paw from the litter box.
  • Replaced several mugs and glasses. Always our favorites.
  • Don’t get to sleep in, not even on weekends.
  • Wipe off all kitchen surfaces before starting dinner.
  • Love our life a whole lot more.
  • Have a writing companion while I write this list. 

Do you have pets? Did you relate to some of these things? Feel free to name a few things off your own list of things you do, or avoid doing due to pet reasons. I’d love love love to see what other pet owners have to say!

2015, September 15

Find the gold

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Find the Gold. To take the time. Try to find the gold in everyone we met. Or met up with.
This is something that comes naturally to me. I usually try to find something good even in the people I don’t click with right away.

Last week, in an effort to get to know two people better, I decided to ask them out one evening after work. I figured this would tie in so well with my week of finding gold, because we don’t get along too well.
We’ve had our differences in the past, but given we will eventually go out together with a larger group of friends, I wanted to see if we could go past our differences. To see if we could go past simple, polite chit-chat. We all get to choose if we make the first move when it comes to connection or if we’re going to be a further part of misunderstandings. We have control over whether or not we’re going to reach out.
So, I reached out even though they’ve never tried to. If there was gold in there, I was intent on finding it!

I think that one always have the right to express their opinion and discuss an issue further. But only if it serves a purpose and helps one move forward. Meeting up with these people did help me move forward.

However, Thursday evening came and went without much changing in our relationship. We won’t get past talking only about the weather and other small talk. I am doing my best to understand that some people are not meant for complex conversations, or contemplating the meaning of our existences, or helpful in nursing wounds back to health.
To be honest, I half-expected this, so I am not too surprised. On the other hand though, I went into the whole thing with such a positive attitude (after freaking out for half a day, because let’s face it, I was indeed worried, too!), that I was even more disappointed when we said good night. More disappointed than I felt before trying this.
Their attitude and actions were beyond anything I expected, and the whole encounter just exhausted me. I still feel depleted. And, I don’t even think I was too coherent when my boyfriend asked me about it. I couldn’t find to right words to express myself properly when trying to tell him about my evening.

So why am I even telling you about this? Because finding the gold is hard!
It takes much more than one evening, it definitely needs for unnecessary attitude and past poo not to get into the way of things, and you know what? Sometimes… that gold is simply nowhere to be found no matter how hard you mine for it!

The assignment for Week 37 is to Stretch Every Day. 
To stretch bodily, mentally, spiritually… every way you can. As j said in the 52-52 guide, “The goal for this week is to reach, always, for what lies just beyond your grasp, whether it’s your toes…”
I am stretching my back even as I type this, so let’s see how this week goes… beyond stretching my body.

How was your week? Did you find gold in the people you met, or met up with? Was it hard to be conscious of finding the gold, or you didn’t have to remind yourself often?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, September 9

Add More Love to the World

The assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly this past week was to Add More Love to the World. It was from Alex Franzen’s blog, Unicorns for Socialism, and covered seven specific ways to add more love to the world.
Here’s what mine looked like:

1. Commit to one snark-free week
Well, I definitely had some issues with this one and needed to rewind quite a few times the way I thought, or when my mouth talked before my mind completely caught up with it. By the end of the week though, I managed to catch my words before they got away from me, and was all the happier for it.
2. Be actively appreciative
The place I buy sandwiches from when I don’t bring lunch with me has the nicest staff! So last week, I left an extra tip, and I offered to buy a different sandwich because they were down to the last few and a lady who was really undecided wanted the same as I.
3. Assume only excellence – until proven otherwise
This one comes naturally to me; I tend to assume the best and then usually end up being disappointed. In the field I am working in now however, people are truly good at their jobs and do want to help me when ever I have questions.
4. Mine for gold – in everyone
Again, this is something that comes naturally to me. I usually try to find something good even in the people I don’t click with right away. Even though the clicking thing doesn’t prove my first instincts to be wrong. But that’s another story. (This point ties in perfectly with the assignment for this week, so read more below.)
5. Say grace
I didn’t say grace. I’m not as religious as I was brought up to be. However, I did take moments of silence to be grateful for a wonderful morning, great company, time spent with loved ones, yummy food and so on.
6. Be shattered
Luckily, I was all good last week, no need for being shattered. I understand the validity of this suggestion though, because I have real issues with expressing my feelings and I do tend to bottle everything up. I must remember to give others the opportunity to cradle me.
7. Don’t delay
I’ll quote Alex on this one, and add that I believe this to be so true, especially because we tend to put ourselves last. That needs to stop. We should start doing it all at once, and both will be easier to manage.
“And adding Love to the world doesn’t start once you’ve cared for yourself ‘enough’. It starts at the same time — and it is the same thing.”

The assignment for Week 36 is to Find the Gold. What j said about this week’s assignment in the 52-52 Guide, is from the time she was fortunate to participate in a production of “The Vagina Monologues.” She was the theater group’s gopher-photographer-blogger.
“A young woman with a story that broke my heart said what saved her was realizing that everyone has gold inside them. “Everyone,” she said, “has something inside them that will astonish and touch you. You just have to take the time to find it.”
I believe that’s true, so this week, take the time. Try to find the gold in everyone you meet.”

Since Friday last week, I kept thinking how to get to know two certain people better. To see if we could get along more than just exchanging pleasantries when we’re in a larger group of friends.
So, I asked them yesterday and decided on an outing just the three of us (tomorrow evening). I figure this way even if we’ll remain at the surface level of niceties after our outing, at least I’ll know I tried; which is something they certainly didn’t even think of.
Maybe that last one should tell me something. Or maybe I’m reading too much into their actions, or lack thereof. Hope it works out though. I like it better when there’s at least one thing I like about/have in common with people.

How was your week? Did you add more love to the world? Was it hard to be conscious of what you say and do in order to cover all seven of the above? Or did you find it easier than you originally thought?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.


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