2/19/19

Keep the baby when you throw out the bath water


“What do you think, general?”
The general had his wide back turned towards me. He was looking out the window. Even though we were on the 8th floor, I understood he did not really see anything of the big, broken city under us.
“Can we ever get peace in this city?” I continued. “All we see is hate and revenge. Over and over again.”
Finally he turned around. The look in his eyes was as tired and grey as the sky outside.
“We can only get peace here if everyone gets amnesia.  So we can forget everything and start all over.”
With heavy steps he passed me and walked out of the room.
I went to the place at the window where he had stood before.  I saw kids playing in the debris after a building that had been blown up only last week. Once, maybe not even long ago, the ones who killed each other now, had played together just like these kids.
“No general, that would not work”, I mumbled. “We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water. “

I recently read Kazuo Ishiguro’s The buried giant, where Merlin tried to solve wars by making people forget. The only problem is that all memories go away. Also the great ones. The ones that make us happy, the ones that make us remember why we love someone.

Some want to leave all of their past behind, all of their memories.
Others want to avoid certain feelings. Anxiety, grief and loss… Today there are medicines available to numb these feelings. The only problem is; we can’t numb selected feelings.

When we numb feelings, we numb all of them. When we want to forget the past, we forget all of it. Like using pesticides in a garden to get rid of the weeds and killing all the roses too. 

Maybe, instead of forgetting everything, or numbing everything, we can all learn to live with both darkness and light. Appreciate what life brings, also when it is not what we want. Only then will we fully experience – rather than avoid – this amazing, difficult thing called life.



1/29/19

Is your life the way it was supposed to be?

She stared at the e-mail, blinking rapidly to remove the embarassing tears.  She was in the office for god's sake, she could not sit here crying like a little girl.
But she was crying. Quietly and carefully, making sure the colleagues in the open plan office would not notice. She fumbled around in her pocket, but could not find a tissue. She quickly removed the tears with her finger. 
The organizational message in her inbox was taunting her. Someone else had gotten the job she had applied for. A man, three years her junior, both in age and at the company. And they had not even bothered to tell her, they had not  contacted her after the interview.

Bastards!

She had been in the same position for five years. She - the ambitous one, the star student, stuck in a job she was overqualified for.
This was not how her life was supposed to be. 


There is a simple formula for disappointment.
Expectations ≠ Reality  =  Disappointment
When we expect one thing but life gives us something else, we get disappointed.
Even if the formula is simple, the feelings can be hard to deal with. Sadness, grief, loss of confidence...

When you feel disappointed, take a step back and look at what caused it.

Once you understand what your feeling of loss comes from, allow yourself to be sad, to be angry. To let go.

Then move on.

Accept your new situation, get used to it and make the best of it.

At some point in time, you may notice that what was not supposed to be - was exactly that.  

1/22/19

Does your box of time have holes in it?

How do you visualize your time?

Snowman in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake talks about time as a box.

"He has to find more and better ways of occupying his time. His time, what a bankrupt idea, as if he's been given a box of time that belongs to him alone, stuffed to the brim with hours and minutes that he can spend like money. The trouble is, the box has holes in it and the time is running out, no matter what he does with it." 

I don't think the idea is so "bankrupt".

We all have boxes of time and time is steadily running out of them.



Some live long and have large boxes. Some only live shortly on this earth and have small packets rather than boxes.

The holes in the boxes let time through in an equal pace for all of us though. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Are you happy about how you have used the time that has run out of your box until now?

I hope so.

If not, remember that all the time that is still in your box can be used the way you want to. All you need to do is to realize that your box contains your time. You get to decide how to spend it.  It is never too late to become the master of your time, the master of your box.

May you make the most of all the time you still have in your box.

1/15/19

See beyond the explanations

Have you heard someone call a man hysterical lately?

Or ever?

Chances are you haven't, but you may have heard someone call a woman hysterical.

I recently read Rebecca Solnit's Män förklarar saker för mig / Men explain things to me.



In the book Rebecca describes that the word hysterical comes from the greek word hysteria which means uterus. When women were "hysterical" and showed extreme emotions and confusion, an explanation was needed. So an explanation was made up.

Hysteria came from - prepare for this explanation - "a wandering uterus".

Meaning that men could not be hysterical.

Today it is easy to laugh or shrug at this ridiculous explanation. Wandering uteruses. Who on earth came up with that?

Coming up with an explanation to prove what you believe, or what you want others to believe, is not uncommon. It happens all the time. 

Women cannot... because...
Men cannot... because...
Black people cannot... because...
Jews cannot... because...

Explanations are not proof. They are justifications for something someone believes in. 

Don't buy into explanations without using your own common sense.
Don't let anyone fool you.

And most of all - don't let yourself fool you, by explaining why you cannot do something you could do - if you weren't afraid of failing. 
Look beyond the explanation.
That is where you will find the truth.

1/8/19

Give your 2019 goals a chance to succeed

We have a bright new year ahead of us! Have you set goals? Any new year resolutions?

Many of these resolutions don't last, and far from all goals that are set, are reached.

Let's look at how you can increase your ability to reach the goals you have set.

For now I will assume you have set the goal to train more this year.




Write down what your life would be like in an ideal world. 
If you could have, do and feel everything you wanted, what would your life be like?

Make sure your 2019 goal is connected to this vision. 
Will achieving your 2019 goal move you towards your vision? Is training more related to the vision of  your life? If not, consider another goal, or a re-phrasing of your goal.



Next, make sure your goal is connected to who you are.

Who are you? You are a person who takes on several different roles in your life. Like being a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend, a colleague...

Choose the role that is related to the goal you have chosen. 

Write down what your mission is for this role; what your reason for being is.

Make sure your 2019 goal is connected to your role and your mission. 

Let me give you an example.

My husband and I have several visions for our lives. One of them is:

Happy, Healthy, Loving, Family. 

Two of the related roles are Parents and Lovers.

Our mission for Parents is

Providing Love, Security and Guidance. 




Our mission as Lovers is:

Side by side through good times and bad
Love and attraction forever. 




If I set a health goal with all the above in mind, I will be a lot more likely to achieve the goal than if I just set an isolated goal like "I will train more 2019".

Connect your goals to your vision and your mission and you will achieve them.

Good luck!