Learning curves

Learning is never going to stop. You die if you stop learning.

I’m in a phase right now learning something new every day. Mostly about myself. Not always something to be proud of, but I am trying to work on it. I am listening to the book “You are a Badass” on Audible right now and it totally resonates with me.

A few outtakes right now are on my mind here:

Be in the present.

Don’t be anxious. Don’t fret what may come in the future, because it will always be different from what you are fretting about. And I think our mind conjures up the worst scenarios anyways. Most of the time it won’t be as bad as imagined.

Is it life threatening? Is it threatening someone else’s life? No? Then don’t worry!

Own your mistakes.

Try to at least learn from them. Maybe set up some contingencies, so it won’t happen again in the future or ask for help!

Don’t trust your own imagination and memories, because they can deceive you anyways. There are enough studies showing that memories change over time and over emotions.

Imagine yourself owning your own dreams and then go for it! Don’t wait, because we only have this one life and one body to work with.

Yes, you might not have this unrealistic body they want to sell you in magazines, but you have your body and hopefully your health to enjoy life.

And yes, there might be others who are better …. ( you fill in the blank) than you are, but there is only one you! No-one else is there who can do whatever you want to do the way YOU are.

Don’t worry about what others may think of you , because it’s your own life and as long as you don’t hurt – and I don’t think feelings – others with it. Go for it!

And if you commit to something, do it now. With your whole you in the mix and in the present! It might turn out to not be the one thing you wanted to do, but at least you did it.

As Yoda might say:

“Try not, Do!”

Enjoy the ride!

Aliens

I’m outing myself here as hard-core Science Fiction Fan and believer in the existence of Aliens. No, I’m not talking about little green men or Spock like creatures. We are turning into the latter one ourselves (see “A calm Brain” by Gayatri Devi: our frontal cortex will take over). No, I have never seen a UFO except in movies and have not been abducted.

Bumr-spockt I cannot fathom that we should be the only “intelligent” species in this vast universe, but chances that we’ll ever encounter others are slim. Be it that they exist either in such a great distance from us, or existed in the past or will exist in the future, but also maybe we don’t even realize their intelligence, because it is so vastly different from our event horizon.

Did you read Ender’s game? Watch the movie maybe? But did you know that there exists a whole other universe in books after that first one? Some things might be a bit farfetched, but it’s a good example of our inability to even imagine life other than ours. How should we, who are not even able to accept other cultures, religions, traditions than our own, accept the concept of a totally alien existence? Different values, thinking, basic genetic buildup, different atmosphere, everything different from what we know and see might make it just plain impossible to even realize there is another presence out there.

What are the chances that there was one race before us “seeding” the universe with genetic copies of themselves, so we might even encounter human like aliens. But if we do, how should we get over the fact that their evolution must have been so vastly different from ours, just thinking of all the microbioms around us. War of the worlds was an awful movie, but it might be right in the regard that those little microbes around us, might be just what kills any alien visiting us, or what would kill us visiting other planets.

And one of the best cartoons I know is Calvin and Hobbes anyways:

Calvin and Hobbes

 

To end with this: Let’s take care of our own world first before we try to conquer others.

Minimalism – Simplify your life

I guess this is one of the basic principles in my life so far. Be it my choices in sports: Karate, Tai Chi, other Martial Arts or in arts: Ikebana, Sumi Painting, Photography or woodworking.

Yes, Minimalism or Simplifying your life is a modern trend, but looking back it has been part of my life all the time.

Sports and Minimalism

Following a totally random choice of starting Karate (Shotokan) at the University Sports Club at Ludwig- Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, Germany, while pursuing some extracurricular education in Sports Medicine, I not only found my passion for Martial Arts, but for the simpler things in life. The less embellishments, the more straight forward your move is, the more powerful it will be. No extras added. If you take a closer look at the Karate you see in competitions or movies, you might think those fancy jumps or moves look cool. But in the end, the guy who studies his opponent, finds the opening and delivers the final blow, is the one who will be successful. No fancy, good-looking cinematic stuff required.

Trying to remember the name of one movie, I think it was “The Seven Samurai” (Akirao Kurosawa), where there is one Samurai being attacked by a group of Ninja’s. He is calmly waiting inside a house and suddenly starts moving. Every single stroke of his sword hit’s the intended target.

I remember one of the first books I read in connection to Martial Arts was Jon Hyam’s “Zen in the Martial Arts” (“Der Weg der leeren Hand” in German). I have re-read it several times since then. Empty your bowl, if you want to learn new things. His stories still inspire me and help me reflect.

The same fits for Tai Chi. Flowing movements, but also straight forward and no extras. Focus on breathing and meditation more than the movements themselves. Meditation in motion does not really need fancy forms, but being present in that moment and not thinking of other things. Those thoughts are not important right at this moment. Put them on a shelf and unpack them if needed afterwards when you are ready to focus on a new task.

I did Yoga for a couple of years and it feels as if it is the same. Moving from one pose to the next offers you the time to focus and reflect. Be it reflection on your current physical condition or the things which concern you right now. And whichever Yoga teaching you are following, it often is the reduction of movements which brings your life back into focus. I was lucky enough to find an amazing teacher right here in our backyards and am truly sorry that I am not continuing with this right now. Maybe I will get back to it when the time is right.

Any of the martial arts I tried so far have that major commonality (Gemeinsamkeit (D)), be it Aikido, SMR (Shinto Muso Ryu) or Kobudo. No embellishments, focus on the one practise, focus on the moment.

Art and Minimalism

Ikebana (Japanese Flower arrangement) teaches you the art to embrace spaces. To not only see the flowers, but emphasize their beauty by reducing it to the basic components. Sometimes the empty spaces are the most important ones. The hardest part at the beginning of my  learning voyage was to be brave enough to cut off petals or leafs or even branches. Sometimes you feel so sorry and afraid to do it, just to realize that after you did it, it enhanced the beauty of your arrangement. It still is sometimes hard.

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If you know Sumi-e or Sumi Painting, you also realize the focus on the simplification. Ink is your medium and even if you add some color here or there, it still is the reduction of strokes, which shows the essence of the painting.

If you look at the best pictures of well-known photographers, they most often focus on one thing. I am thinking of those pictures on National Geographic, where you see the one polar bear trotting over ice, the one wave crashing on top of you or the one little bright-colored frog in the rainforest. I know someone who makes awesome Macro Photos, just depicting a raindrop on an insect or a leaf on the ground. Focus on the reduction of visual deterrents and reduce the stress in which we are surrounded every day.

Even though I’ll never be (nor want to be) Mary Kondo, the author of “The Art of Tidying up”, I still strive to simplify and reduce. I need space surrounding me. Clutter at home or in my surrounding really drains my energy. No, I am anything but perfect in this realm, but I am definitely working on it. Two major learnings here: everything has its space, and one thing in, at least one thing out!

I’ll continue this journey and will update every now and then, how it is working out.

And never forget to breathe!

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Forrest Bathing

Did you hear the newest scientific Study, that Forrest Bathing is good for your soul?

That we have to go outside, surrounded by trees and grasses and fresh air. Just walking is enough to have significant lower stress levels. They studied Cortisol levels and sleep patterns.

They started workshops and classes for Forrest bathing in Japan . You can sign up for lead nature walks to get your dose of fresh air and connection to nature. They are selling apps, which remind you to go outside and apps which lead you through your walk. You have to pay real money for it – of course.

I wish, I would have had the idea to market that. Some good money could have been made.

2018-01-01 Wlak the doggies 054

Too late, I guess:

So I’ll give it out for free:

Drop your iPad, Phone, Tech Gadget, or whatever.
TURN IT OFF!
Plug it in the charger and leave it there.
Next get some shoes, Jackets, Kids and Dogs, whatever you need.

And last but not least

GO OUTSIDE and BREATHE

 

Ps.: if you want to pay me some money, I’d be totally willing to be your guide 🙂

I love Rocco!

Who is Rocco? Rocco is our newest addition to the family. He helps cleaning up, is relatively quiet, get’s up and in bed on it’s own. He feeds himself, does not fall down the stairs and stays out of rooms, when I tell him to. The kids love him and even take care of him on their own. Altogether he is pretty easy to take care of.

Who is Rocco? Rocco is our new iRomba and I am so glad we decided to finally get the little vacuum. I had been looking at those robot vacuums for quite a while, especially after getting the hardwood floors. With the dogs shedding, two little kids running in and out in the yard, I should have vacuumed the floors at least once a day, but then just watched the dust bunnies grow underneath the side tables and all over the place. Since we got Rocco ( name was given by the kids), I have the feeling I have a live in Housekeeper and can focus my cleaning frustration elsewhere. Of course it does not take all the responsibility of vacuuming and cleaning the floors, but it makes me feel a lot better not having to worry about it very day. No, I’m not OCD – at least not too much-, but it calms me down quite a lot. I have to clean the stairs and some corners, but it makes the every day clean so much easier. You just program it to vacuum while you are gone and you don’t even have to hear it.

My kids even clan out the dust collection bin and carry him up and down the stairs as needed – without me prompting. My husband likes it, because it’s a nice new tech gadget and I enjoy the help.

So, No, I don’t get any promotion and I won’t post a link here, but I really like this little gadget and thought I’d just give it a shout out. There are some posts about Rombas carrying around Dog or cat poop or anything wet, but I haven’t encountered anything as bad yet and think that the algorithm in those little robots is already advanced enough to pause the cleaning and send you a notice on your phone.

All together as of now, I am glad we spent the money and have this super helpful new family member!

On our way back home

We are on our way back home from a short trip to Leavenworth and Winthrop, WA. It’s always a great time to sit in the car, just driving, looking around and contemplating life and love and just about everything. For me it’s always a time for thinking, planning and getting new energy to tackle the daily life.

Thanksgiving was a nice day. We had our traditional turkey feast and friends over. When celebrating together, I am absolutely grateful for everything we have. We have a nice house, have good friends, healthy kids, good food and live in a peaceful area. Living in the present and enjoying life without having to worry about tomorrow is definitely something we should recognize more often. Just stop, breathe and relax for a moment and let go of everything else.

I guess there is a reason why I am a Tai Chi Teacher. You learn to live more in the present by just concentrating on you movement in that moment – Mediation in Motion.

2017-10-15 Sunday Roadtrip 147

Black Friday we opted out of shopping and left for our weekend trip to Leavenworth, where the Christmas season already starts. Stop at Stevens Pass and do some sledding on the way. Leavenworth is always fun, even though there are way too many people. The Christkindlmarkt definitely reminds you of the ones in Germany. And the candied nuts are so yummy! Eating some Wiener Schnitzel for dinner and then a glass of wine later at the hotel is just perfect to end the day.

We stayed at a hotel in Wenatchee and were really pleasantly surprised about that town the next morning. Normally we just drive through Wenatchee, but never really stayed there, so we didn’t have any clue that they have this nice downtown area, and also a Public Market, which is a (way) smaller version of the one in Vancouver Canada. Lot’s of local artists and vendors and really good coffee and baked goods for breakfast.

Next stop Winthrop, WA and their “End of the road” Christmas celebration. Having been there only in summer time, it was a totally different experience. Only a few tourists like us and the rest definitely locals from the Methow valley. I really felt like at the end of the road. Cascade pass is already closed for the winter, so you really have to have a purpose to go there. But a short carriage ride into town with little barrel fires along the road and just friendly people made me fall in love with this time of the year there, too. I’d like to see it some time with lot’s of snow and maybe start cross country skiing. I can imagine it being awesome.

Breakfast in the morning at the Rocking Horse was delicious as well and now I decided to finally start writing on the way home.

I don’t know yet, what I am going to write about, but it will be life and thoughts of a Stay-at-home Mom/ retired OBGYN/ German immigrant and wanna-be artist/ Martial arts fan/ school PTSA volunteer/ and Tai Chi and Ikebana teacher – in short: ME.

Disclaimer: I don’t think I listed everything yet 😉 and I might not always be political correct, but I’ll definitely delete unfriendly comments.