Monday Musings Life Lesson 5# – The Evil Twins …

… and their Not So Nice Cousin will probably haunt you in one way or another throughout your life. Some lucky bastards (sorry for the swearing) will be able to sail through life without these three pestering their journey. But for the rest of us mere mortals it will be a life long struggle. I thought I had cured myself from them but last year made me realize how wrong I was. Curious about who these pesky little creatures are? I know I would be. OK let’s open up the veil and withdraw the curtains. May I get some drum rolls please?

Enough with the joking, The Evil Twins are of course perfectionism and procrastination. Dunno know exactly where I read about how they go hand in hand but it made all the pieces fall into place for me. They are intertwined and almost inseparable from each other. When you procrastinate and blame yourself for lack of discipline and being just plain lazy, who you should blame is in fact the other Evil Twin, perfectionism. And when I got that, I had to admit that perfectionism, even if I thought I had got rid of it, was the underlying reason why I stopped blogging last Spring. And the more I procrastinated the worse I felt and the harder it was to get back up into the saddle a.k.a. start writing again.

I fooled myself completely, and as a former perfectionist at my work place I might have know better. For years I had an urge to outperform myself, straightening up every crooked line, filling in every spread sheet to be in immaculate shape and order. Until I loosened my grip the more professional I got and also the more at ease I felt with my work. All this made me believe that I was cured. How wrong I was. Yes, cured when it came to being a pro at my work place, but instead tending hours and hours on fine tuning my blog posts until I was almost unable to write anything. So I stopped. Writing all together. I did not sign up for the creative writing class because I told myself I wanted to have more time for writing my blog… and the procrastination dug it’s heels even deeper into me.

And that is where the Not So Nice Cousin comparison enters . Why on earth should I blog when there are so many out there who are writing better than me and are having more beautiful designs on their blogs than I could ever dream of coming up with. The last straw was when I was introduced to Minutes. An exquisite, elegant blog by a Finnish stylist and designer who blogs in an immaculate English with gorgeous pictures and that transfers you to a whole new world (sigh). I love and envy the blog both at the same time.

Funny thing, I devoured one blog post after another yesterday, feeling at the same time a mix of jealousy, inferiority in all possible ways and yet with a fighting spirit rising in me. And that is why I am sitting here at one of my favourite cafés Gaggui Kaffela which I have a habit of visiting every Sunday. This Sunday however is different, because instead of reading emails or filling in fancy journals I Am Writing!! And guess what? It feels great 😀. Yes, the journal is merely there for show off…

gaggui-magicmonday

I will not end this blog post by giving you a three step plan or any fancy advice. Just read if your interested and dig a little deeper if you feel that the Evil Twins and their Not So Nice Cousin might have you in their grip. Good luck dear friend.

p.s. I am cheating a bit because I wrote this on a Sunday despite the title…

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Monday goes Tuesday – When life hands you lemons

make lemonade, is an expression that always have irritated me. Something about that preppy upbeat tone have been ringing falsely in my ears for a long time. Even if I actually never have heard anyone say this line, only seen it in writing.
This is quite a lot coming from a born optimist that has through the years been irritating the heck out of others by her happy, positive outlook of life. Darn, when you are handed lemons you want to squeeze them and trow them at someone, not add sugar and make them into lemonade. Cause you have to add sugar or else no one will drink what you serve and then, what is the point of it? Not all downfalls are blessings in disguise, some are just shitty things happening to nice people. And some may even not turn out right in the end. Depending of course on what turning out right means to you.

Sitting here outside in the sun in a lovely garden having just finished a lovely chocolate cake (I know I am a bit boring when it comes to choosing cakes), it feels a bit odd talking about lemons and bad things. And just to not be misunderstood, I actually like lemons. I love drinking lemon juice in warm water in the morning, and lemons look really lovely in a lime colored green ceramic bowl on your dining room table. However this is a subject that has been brewing in me for some time. So my life lesson # 4 is going to be about when things go south. And they do, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. It is not that I don´t understand the underlying meaning of this lemonade expression, I do.
I probably have made my own fair share of lemonades in my life. But still sometimes things just go wrong and even though we are bombarded with advice on how to look for the lesson in it (look for the silver lining, make lemonade and so on), I am not so sure there is a lesson to be found in all lemonades. Some just might be lemons and nothing else.

Vegan Chocolate Cake-Deli gluten free chocolate cake
Guess which of the the cakes I was indulging in when writing this blog post?

Let me give you a very mundane and stupid example. When I do the laundry and wash dark clothes (well it is the washing machine that does all the work), usually some of my husbands trousers are one of the items that goes into the machine. Every time, I repeat every time, when I empty the machine I have also forgotten to empty the pockets and what comes out is a snowfall of what used to be paper napkins. It takes me ages to clean it all up while grinding my teeth at the same time. Every time, I swear that the next time I will remember to check the pockets. What happens? Nothing. Next time I once again grind my teeth while cleaning up shredded paper snowfall from the washing machine, from all the clean clothes and from the bathroom floor. Honestly, I cannot for the love of my life find any lemonade here, not even a small cup. Lessons learned? None.

Lilacs in May Florists
Lilacs and Hortensia’s are one of my favorite flowers along with lavender

When I got the fabulous idea of writing 51 life lessons once a week, as a fun way of celebrating me being here on this earth for 51 years, I was determined to write every week. I even wrote each lesson in my calendar in case I would forget about it. I did not forget, but I also did not follow through on my promise. Life happened, the evil twins got their claws on me and I just did not show up. I have been looking at my lemons but have not succeeded in finding any clues on how to make them into lemonade, so I will let them be lemons and try to show up with my fifth life lesson next week instead.

In Spring 2012  I was listening to a series of teleseminars where female entrepreneurs were talking about entrepreneurship and money from a variety of angles. One particular interview with Bari Tessler (now Tessler Linden) where she was revealing how she combined chocolate with book keeping, was so eye-opening that it eventually led to me and my biz partner Minna starting our Tea Salon concept in the Autumn that very same year.

So when Bari announced the possibility to join forces with her and her husband to help promote and spread the word about her book that is coming out in June called “The Art of Money” I knew I wanted to jump on board. I have only just started to read the electronic version of the book so I cannot really share any nuggets yet which actually bugs me. It is kind of a lemony thing because I had all these wild ideas on what would be cool to do, like interviewing Bari on Jewel & Gem, the podcast we have together with my friend Maria, writing blog posts where I share all my new insights. I also promised to share on social media and when Bari asked for feedback in the form of a short video I thought, Hell yeah! That I will do! Well I did not. So now I am secretly waiting to get another chance.

Guess what I really would love to do? To have some kind of a book club around this book where a bunch of people could meet regularly at a nice café sharing thoughts, ideas and maybe even new habits. But here I am one month in and I have barely started to read the first chapter, feeling almost reluctant to do it because then I know I have to go forth with my ideas. The thing is, that I am very much of an idea kind of person, but when it comes to implementing I need someone to do it with me.

So these particular lemons really need to be made into lemonade! And they need company or actually it is me who need the company. Ehem, would you like to be part of a book club around “The Art of Money”? I´d love it if you would.

Serenity Brunch
Enjoying nature and enjoying brunch – guess which plate is mine?
Apple blossom Shimmering green
I had the fortune of being able to see my Mum´s apple tree being in full bloom

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings and Life Lesson #3 – The importance of sofa time…

… cannot be emphasized enough. And sure, we all know how dangerous it is to sit too much, so I am not only talking literally about sloughing on the sofa doing nothing, even if that is important as well. Especially for those with a constant need to prove themselves and lacking the ability to slow down and relax. Sofa time, that is when you nurture your relationship with you husband, while he is sitting in his favourite chair and you occupy the corner seat of the sofa. Chatting about mundane things like how funny the neighbor is or sharing dreams of leaving the darkness of this season behind and moving abroad. Feeling angry and sad about all the racism and hatred that seem to suddenly show up like ugly mushrooms after a rainy season.

Sofa time is when you watch TV together or then he watches TV while you loose yourself at Netflix, but you still share the same room and space, commenting on some silliness showing up either on the big screen or the small one.

And sofa time is when you finally occupy that coveted sofa that is so popular that you never have a chance on it. Sinking deep down into its soft cushions and then starting to write on that blog post on your beloved iPad (best buy ever btw!). And no, it did not happen this time either. Damn, that sofa is popular. Which is why I now have to come up with a strategy. The coffee shop opens at 10 am, so I will choose one particular Monday when I am not very busy at work (June?) and line up behind the doors one minute before opening time, then doing my very best to elbow my way to the sofa. Because, folks, size does matter and so does space.

Aprilkatt -2015-Tao
A sofa can take many shapes…

Monday Musings – Do not burn the candle in both ends

was one of the solid advice my Dad gave me a long time ago when he could clearly see that his youngest daughter was not able to handle everything she had crammed on her plate. He did not preach or give me instructions or a five step plan. No pointing fingers. Just an opportunity to pick up the learning from his advice by myself without his interference. Which I eventually did some decades later.

I honestly think we human beings need to do the journey or else we will never learn. Admittedly some need more like a punch in the face a couple of times while other get the message by gentler nudges.  I am not going to bore you with tedious details of my near burn-outs.  Others have written about theirs in a much more vivid and interesting fashion that I could ever amount to. Actually I do not really think I have been burnt-out in the real sense of the word but boy have I been close. Let´s just say that letting go of the evil twins definitely had something to do with me slowly getting the real full body message of my Dad´s advice. You might also wonder who the evil twins are. Well easy tiger, I still have 49 life lessons to share so I will reveal more about the twins in a later blog post 🙂

And let´s just say that me not writing any blog posts for the last three weeks and me sitting in a crowded coffee shop sipping green Jasmine tea munching on a fabulous chocolate mud cake while writing on my iPad might have something to do with life lesson number 2.
And instead of burning the candle in both ends,  I take sofa time and just watch the candle on our coffee table, then enjoying the meditative state I inadvertently will sink into after a while while my husband watches TV 🙂

Cute benches
I pass these cute benches almost everyday on my way to work, staring at them trying to figure out which one is my favorite – there are about five of them – all unique.

Mudcake

And the mud cake. I know it probably does not look very tempting but don´t let it´s modest exterior fool you. It truly tastes like a little piece of heaven.

Monday Musings – 51 lessons in 51 years

Since challenges seem to be so popular I will grab the bull by the horn and do one myself. About a year ago I read Ruth Ridgeways blog post (cannot find the blog post, so link is just pointing to Ruth´s site) where she highlighted the life lessons she had learned during her 33 years. Hugely inspiring and I immediately wanted to do something similar. But time and energy did not cooperate and I forgot about the whole thing. Then around new year I read another blog post, this time by Aussie entrepreneur Rachel MacDonald and her long and insightful post about her 33 lessons for 33 years sealed the deal. The universe clearly had a message to me, right 🙂 Last Sunday I marked all Mondays in my calendar for writing one lesson at a time. So here I am sitting at café Fontana indeed writing on my first lesson and what could be a better starting point than this particular Monday that also happens to be my birthday!

# 1 Lesson ” Surrender”

This is a crucial one. Easy to talk about and as easy to misunderstand. However, what I have learned is that when you do surrender, that is truly when Magic happens. I guess surrendering involves a slice of hopelessness as well as a small sliver of faith as well. We do not like to give up as human beings, and if you are as stubborn as me, you absolutely never ever give up. But there is a small nuance of difference between surrendering and giving up. While giving up is an active choice, throwing your hands up in the air, surrendering is a full body experience that you cannot decide to do with your intellect, it just happens whether you want it or not. Let me tell you the story of a magic surrendering that happened to a young student some thirty years ago, we can call her C to make it easy.

C was about to move out of the flat that she shared with four other girls in her new hometown where she had moved less than a year ago to study at the university. The owners of the flat then decided to sell it and everybody had to leave and find somewhere else to live. Summer was approaching and our heroine had got a summer job in Stockholm to work as a salesperson at a big and famous department store. Her sister and brother in law lived outside Stockholm and C would stay at their place over the summer. With the help of her father and a big van she had almost emptied the room and deposited her stuff at her parent´s house. Thanks to a distant friend, C was aloud to store her big book shelves up in her friend´s attic. She did not yet had a new flat but was hopeful it would work out before the University term was starting in September.

This particular Saturday when C was supposed to empty the rest of her room, pack everything she needed for her stay in Stockholm, leave the keys and then take the ferry to Stockholm in the evening, she had been riding her bike to and fro from the flat to her friend´s attic like a mad woman. At the same time trying to tidy up and not leaving anything behind. The bag and the suitcase got heavier by the hour. The ferry was supposed to leave at 8.30 pm. The last bus to the harbor left at 8.10 pm. And she had at least a ten minute walk to the bus stop. The panic that had been building up in her slowly increased when she realized that the clock was approaching 8 pm and she still had a pile of important papers that did neither fit into the suitcase nor into the heavy bag. She simply had to throw everything in a plastic bag and leave it in the room with a note explaining that she would come and get it a.s.a.p.

It was absolutely time to leave if she would have even a remote chance of catching the ferry. Now the panic had risen to new heights. This was in the late eighties and cell phones  did not exist and C had changed most of her money into Swedish crowns which meant that she had very little money on her. All her friends had left town to go to work somewhere else. She would not be able to phone her sister in Stockholm or to pay for a hotel room and she had just left the key to her old apartment and could not get in there anymore. The final straw was when she saw the last bus passing by leaving for the harbor. C now knew that all hope was lost. And she completely broke down. Almost on autopilot she was dragging her suitcase and her bag while crying heavily and somehow got to the bus stop at about 8.15 pm even if she knew no buses would come.

The ferry would leave in 15 minutes and she would never get there in time. So she did the only thing she could. Surrendered. Surrendered to the completely impossible situation, standing there at the bus stop with her bags, crying uncontrollably. In the very same minute a familiar voice approached her. It was her French teacher trying to ask her what was going on. Sobbing and barely being able to speak C manages to say something about the ferry leaving in a couple of minutes. The next minute a car halts in front of them with screeching breaks, a man gets out and while he is informed about the situation he quickly puts the heavy luggage in the trunk and steps on the gas with C beside him. In the harbor the ferry is about to leave in a couple of minutes but the man who is not only an angel on earth but happens to be a priest as well, get the boarding card for the sobbing girl and carries her heavy luggage all the way to the gates. She promises to thank him properly and then sobs for a half hour in her cabin while the three other women sharing the cabin with her, have the decency to leave her alone.

This story could contain many lessons but I chose surrender. Simply because since that time I have never, sorry C has never experienced a surrendering quite like that. But the experience has stayed as a body memory and C knows what happens when you do surrender. Help in the form of earth angels appear. This is something I wish for everybody out there experiencing tremendous stress, anxiety and hopelessness, that there will be earth angels appearing.

p.s. the priest later told the story of the sobbing girl with the big suitcase in one of his radio prayers and then even more later used it as part of his speech when C and her husband got married 🙂

Wintertime by the river June - 2015
Turku in the winter                                              Turku in the summerBrunch More brunch
Yummy post party brunch at a local café with good friends

Monday musings – baby it’s cold out there

It almost feel like I have been in a coma, or hibernating all last year and now everything is just pouring out of me. The creative juices are flowing at an almost scary pace. One of the reasons why I chose to have my Mondays off last year was for me to dig a bit deeper into the possibilities of my side business. I wanted time to figure out different offerings, create ways of getting more income to add, and possibly even to exceed what I was losing from my salary by only working four days a week. Figure out what I would like to do with the Tea Salon with my biz partner Minna and what I might be able to do on my own. Close to nothing of this happened and it felt frustrated and a tad disappointing as well. One glimpse of hope was when I jumped on the train and went to Hanko to take part in Creative Hanko Collectives creative work day in November. That day in the studio set the foundation for what is now taking form.

After a very busy and even quite stressful Autumn when I had zero interest during my Magic Mondays to do any creative work in my business, something happened during the Christmas holidays. I sat down and started brainstorming, picking up from where I left at the creative work day in Hanko, and adding flavors of deepening into the idea stream, very much thanks to Laura Hollick´s Nu Icon Ritual and Iconice Essence Guidance as well as Karen Knowler´s High Vibrational Woman process. And no, I haven´t taken part in any of the paid programs, only the launching part but I got tons and tons of value out of the calls, the videos and the different guided visualizations from both of these generous souls.

Today I had planned to do one more plunge for the famous sofa and had my alarm clock to wake me up at 7.30. The combination of the state of my bank account and Mr Celsius quickly convinced me that our old sofa will be just as good for the purpose of creative work. So now I have been enjoying a big glass of Jasmine green tea and various sorts of left over chocolates while listening to the first module of Tara Marino´s Sensual Entrepreneur. My first real business program that I have ever invested in! Looking out at the beautiful sky and the thin layer of snow that is covering up the roofs of the neighboring house. I will definitely reflect more on this program on my up coming Monday musings. For now I just do the exercises and write in my journal.

I am still rabbiting around but as I have immersed my word for 2016 I also choose to release any internal judgment against my own shortcomings. Gosh do RELEASE feel good! I filter everything through it and it has already helped me in so many ways. So what if I have done only a fraction of my plans for the holidays, there will be weekends instead. Tomorrow is another day as one of my all time favorite heroines Scarlett O´Hara said 🙂

The Archibishop Serving

I have been a bit hesitant about sharing this in public because there are so many others who have made so much more than me regarding the refugee work. I was really taken by surprise and honored as well and felt like I went there for Nana, Linda, Yasmin and all the rest of the refugee group at Åbo Akademi university.

Scarlett
It must not come as a surprise who I have as my screensaver.