The power of choice

In the past couple of weeks I developed a guilty pleasure: lurking in a certain gossip forum about vloggers. Last year I started to subscribe to a whole bunch of J-Vloggers. (Foreigners who live in Japan making daily videos about their life and Japan)

Three weeks ago I unsubscribed them all and a few other Youtubers. Don’t get me wrong I still love Japan dearly and Youtube has slowly but steadily become my #1 entertainment since German TV doesn’t offer anything remotely interesting to me and the quality dropped majorly in the past years. (There will never be a second Buffy and shows are canceled really fast. Sometimes even before a season ended) BUT their content simply doesn’t speak to me anymore. They don’t serve me anymore and I kind of “grew” out of them. I follow people who declutter and clean, to people who educate about mental health, to people who make music, paint or craft.

I not only declutter my physical stuff frequently but also people I follow around on the internet and that don’t serve me anymore. And that’s the beautiful thing about the internet: It’s a choice! We have the choice what we want to see or read on the internet. Since I made my second Instagram account that sparked a lot joy I kind of not feel the same about my bookstagram account anymore. Bookstagram and my side job at bookstore made me buy more books than I ever did before. I still have those books even though they are still unread I keep most of them. I know one day I’ll read them and then they’ll bring me joy. But through that instagram account I also learned that fiction and fantasy are no longer my genre of choice. Nothing is as constant as change! Now I love love love scientific textbooks, popular science and the self help section can’t be big enough for me.

I don’t have a subscription of Netflix, Maxdome or any other streaming service because they as well don’t offer enough of what I want to watch and put money on it. (Not on such a tight financial schedule of a student) (to everyone not from Germany: The German Netflix or Amazon video doesn’t offer the same content it does in other countries. We get the short end of the stick because Germany doesn’t invest in a lot licenses and nothing seems to be offered without German dub. A real pity! #firstworldproblem)

But that’s the beauty of it! You are not forced to it. It’s your choice to see and get what you want. You can walk into a bookstore to the magazine rag and don’t have to buy any of them. You can do with your money AND time AND recourses what you want.

When I was 15 I had a monthly subscription of two Japanese magazines about J-pop music: Fools Mate and Cure. Back then this subscription made the most of my pocket money vanish and after a couple of months I realized that those pretty magazines ended up on my shelf sooner than later and where never touched again. I couldn’t even read them! (I may know more Japanese now but not enough for those magazines) I unsubscribed them and never regretted it. I still have them. They are in a box in my parents attic and I will probably never touch them again but I hold a lot of precious memories to this phase of my life.

In a world that is overflowing with things, stuff and opportunities some never realize how much power they hold by simply choosing. That’s why so many companies play with the choice of people and try so so hard to affect it so they can squeeze money out of you. In the end it’s still on us WHEN we take the time to stop and think about why we get the things we get and question if this serves us still.
And this gossip website? I deleted the bookmark and blocked the site. Not only is gossip a bad thing in general; this site had too much space in my mind and my mind is what’s really precious to me. At one point the mind palace might be full and then I don’t want to face the shit I put in there or dust all of it. It tends to get kind of messy in there.

Get rid of what doesn’t serve you! You hold the power to.

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It’s the end (of the month) as we know it

So let’s see where I’m heading. For anyone who was questioning how I would track this: I put everything in my weekly habit tracker in my bulletjournal and then log it into a monthly tracker.

1. Reading:
I read the whole month every single day except for 3 days. I’m surprised by myself because I always struggled to fit reading into my day but here is where the saying: “What you do on a daily basis matters more than what you do once” rings true. And the internet doesn’t count as reading. Not to me.
I get an A on this one and I will make point to continue that well.

2. Buying minimalistic:
Well I bought things this month and I successfully didn’t buy things this month. I bought skills if you like to say so. I put the money into a new Japanese class that I (sadly) have to take for university. I love the Japanese language but it’s scary to be a beginner again because now I pursue business level Japanese and that’s a whole lot different so I have to catch up on everything I did before. But Japanese still makes me very happy.
Of course I also bought other things. I’m not perfect on this one but those things are things that come in handy and will be used.
I give myself a B for it. (Rating myself feels strange)

3. Writing:
I would probably expelled from school at this point.
I fail big time on this. Now I’m a reader but not a writer. Everyone tells you if you want to be a writer read a lot. Well now I read a lot but I don’t write a lot. This advice clearly fails for me. I give myself a D for it because I definitely want to improve here. I do. That’s why I will be taking part in the annual NaNoWriMo again in November. I’m so looking forward to it even though the end of the year is pretty stressful but I will and want to make writing a priority in my life.

4. Being mindful/put in the extra step/permission to enjoy:
Still struggling with this but something else I practice now is following my intuition more often to see that I CAN trust myself. I started to meditate and so far I really like it. I never thought I would but I do. I even crave it. I don’t do it because I’m waiting for an epiphany to happen during it. There will be no light showing up and a voice that tells me secret of life but at the beginning of the week I saw a documentation about gurus in India and one of them said (non quotation): “We are all gurus. We clutter up ourselves with bad feelings, outer expectation, war, materialism and meditation carves away all of that to make place for our inner self.” This resonates with me greatly and was the main starting point for me to meditate.
Still working on the permission to enjoy and just be in the moment.

5. Health:
I did something for my back and my feet to fight the recurrent issues but my diet couldn’t be worse as of now. Lots of fast food and carbs. I have to change this because I know it’s bad but I can improve if I would just cook real meals. This goes into the category of ‘taking the extra step’.
I get a C – D on this one. (and supplements don’t count as healthy diet)

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There is definitely room for improvement here and I will make point to continue to and not give up so easily.

 

I dreamed a dream…

no this is not about your life goals that are also called “dreams”. This is about the dreams at night when we sleep. The dreams when the darkness awakes and cats are grey. Dreams fascinate me. Ever since I can remember my dreams are very vivid. Sometimes I write them down. Sometimes I forget them as soon as I wake up. Sometimes I’m able to re-enter a dream after I woke up at night.

I’ve been a knight with armor on a pegasus back. I’ve been a preacher that marries two people. I’ve been a lion. I’ve been the mother of twin boys. I’ve been a human and many more.

The dreams I remember most are either the one I’m able to fly. Whether by myself or with the aid of wings or winged companions. The other dreams I remember the most are the ones where I run away. I run and run and run being chased by an unknown force. Sometimes they take shape in other people, wolves, shadows or just a feeling that I have to run away or “they” get me. To a certain point I can influence my dreams and I remember the thought pattern that was involved in it but it takes an awful lot of energy.

Some nights I wake up drenched in sweat, breathless and very annoyed. But I would never want to trade those dreams in. Some of them have inspired me to write stories about. Some leave me puzzled and looking up explanations in Google.
I love to listen to the dreams my friends tell me about. They are fascinating. It’s fascinating what our subconscious can come up with at times. In what outcome it’s trying to work through things.

If you like feel invited to talk about your dreams here. I would love to hear them!

Real self-care

Whenever people talk or write about self-care it mostly involves “take a bubble bath”, “treat yo self”, “eat that cake”, “read a magazine” but at the core all those tips do not tackle the real self-care.
Because the real self-care requires work and effort (and maybe some money). The core of real self-help are all those uncomfortable things you need to do in order to really feel better. While bubble baths are great and I encourage everyone to treat themselves good on a daily basis it’s not the core. You can take all the bubble baths in the world and still feel crappy because you aren’t tackling the core deep inside of you.
Real self-care involves all those things you keep putting off because you don’t feel like it or just don’t want to. Because real self-care can get scary. When things go tough in the recent past I thought I had it figured out how to take care of myself but none of the tools I used worked and that’s where I knew I knew nothing about real self-care.

Real self-care involves:

Doctors appointments

If you have issues with your back, headaches every morning or other issues your body is dealing with: GO to the doctors! Whether it’s that dentist appointment you keep putting off or other doctors you need to get checked through. That strange spot on your skin? Get it checked! Once a year I take a whole round of doctors and clear all those check ups I need annually just to have it off my list. I keep putting off going to the doctors simply because I hope it’s nothing but I reached a certain age where things don’t go away easily anymore. My body can’t make up for it anymore like it did 10 years ago. That tinnitus and stress disorder? Get it fixed! It won’t go away with just closing your eyes and wish it away. That’s not how it works. It requires your effort and help from someone who is an expert in it.
I want to include something else in here because sooner or late we enter the darkest time of the year. People suffer from seasonal affective disorders. That’s only normal when your body isn’t exposed to the sun anymore that often and you start to lack Vitamin D. Get that SAD lamp! Yes, it costs money that you will be spending on yourself! Get a humidifier so the air isn’t so dry anymore in your flat or you can put in some essential oils to make you feel better. Some will make you more attentive others help you relax.

Haircuts/fingernails/whatever salon

Going to the hairdresser is something I keep putting off until I can’t anymore. I have very short hair that needs regularly cuts to look good. Instead of just going there I feel more and more uncomfortable in my body and groan every time I look into the mirror because my hair looks bad. I struggle every day with it instead of just getting it fixed. Whatever you put off whether it’s doing your nails, hair cut or whatever superficial treatment it is: Get it! You have all right in the world to get that done if you know it will make you feel better. Of course it’s a superficial thing. That’s why the next point shouldn’t be left out.

Inner care/healing

Self-care starts with you and what’s eating you up from the inside. If you can’t deal with it on your own there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help. Ask for help! It’s probably the best thing you can do. If there is something on your mind for a long time finally tell someone! Tell your friends with what you are struggling with. If you need mental health care: Get it! It’s so so so important! I cannot urge more people to work on what’s inside of them and to get the necessary help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to a therapist or a psychiatrist! Actually it’s pretty brave to do so because you realize something needs to be worked on. Many people just shove it away but you can move and run away from your problems all the distances you want. They are always with you! They will never go away. Even if you move to the other end of the world. They are always there. That’s why it’s so important to stop running and face them. Yes, it hurts! Yes, it’s uncomfortable! Yes, it involves time, tears, blood, everything. It’s messy but so important.
Have you ever taken the time to examine why you do certain habits? We get caught up in daily life so quickly that we never stop to question what we really want, what makes us feel happy and what we want to for the future.

Your surrounding

We all have things to do in our places that we keep putting off. That closet you wanted to clean out for so long? Do it! That stuff you wanted to sell to accumulate a bit of money? Do it? Wanted to declutter? Do it! Stop putting things off!
They sit in the back of your mind and will remind you every time you pass by them. How long and often do you want to be reminded? How many weeks and months do you want to put them off?
Here is a hint: If you don’t deal with them now they will still be there in the future and guess what? You will have equally less time then because there is always something. Stop putting things off!
Annoyed every single time that it takes so long to find something to dress because your closet it so messy? Clean it up and it will be easier the next morning. (Or wait until your annoyed enough from it because it will still be there)

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While I don’t say you shouldn’t get a bubble bath or reward yourself with something there is much more to self-care than it seems on the surface. Take your bubble baths, eat those supplements but in the end there is much much more and if you ignore it further it will come back and probably raise hell. While I don’t believe in “Future-Me” I’ll still say it: Future-You will thank you for it!

Ch-ch-changes!

Inspired by Wil Weatons constant chronicle of the changes he makes in his life I want to implement this as well. Because I’m the queen of procrastination and maybe this is going to keep me accountable. Currently my Bulletjournal is keeping me the most accountable but I want to record my change somewhere else as well.

First things first: No matter how much you try to optimize your life at some point you start to question everything. Why always but the effort in to constant change and then get frustrated if you don’t see any visible change? You either way love it or hate it. Believe me I have days at well where I say ‘screw it all!’ but due to a recent podcast by Lavendaire I go with the ‘Fake it till you become it’. Because at some point all those changes will feel natural and easier. The first step is always the hardest, you know.

I love self-optimizing until some degree. The genres ‘Self-help’ and ‘popular science’ have become my #1 fun. I do not only read those books, I EAT them! I churn through so many so quickly that I wonder if I’ll be able to read another genre. (and I still have unread fantasy books laying around) I’m so drawn to this kind of books.
There may not be as many categories of things I want to change but I’ll like to start small and then add things later.

1. Reading:
I get an A+ for the last week on this so I definitely want to keep up with this and if I don’t keep myself accountable for this than I’ll end up watching TV for the rest of my life. I’m a slow reader and I only read when I feel like it UNLESS it’s a popular science or self-help book. For those who care: I read in the evenings 1 – 2 hours before bedtime. I tried reading through daytime in the train to work and back but I’m just so not into it. Just doesn’t work. I always carry my books/kindle around with me but I just don’t read in the train. I love to stare at the landscape and just let my thoughts go. BUT I definitely want to read more. I have a huge stack of unread books and I want/need to read them all as soon as I can before I buy new ones.

2. Buying minimalistic:
This is not your common minimalism this is buying minimalistic. I have the case that I sometimes (or probably many more times I’ll like to admit) buy things I don’t really really need or just buy them for the sake of owning with no other purpose. I have to stop that. I’m neither that wealthy that I don’t need to care for money nor is it necessary and I fucking hate that over excessively buying society has become. I want to break this for my own sake. Not only to save money but oh boy, I have so much stuff already that I actually don’t need and I don’t want to add to it. Look around yourself. You have SO much. I just don’t. I give you an example from yesterday: I already have a very quality water coloring set but I wanted to buy a Cotman Pocket set just for the sake of having it. I stopped myself in the tracks and put it back on the shelf. It wasn’t even that expensive but it was unnecessary and pointless to get another one.

3. Writing:
I should put this as the first point but it goes hand in hand with reading anyway. I want to write more. No matter what it is I want to write and no matter the quality. I just want to write.
I’ve read Hal Elrods ‘The Miracle Morning’ and have had many people suggest the morning pages method but that just doesn’t work with me. Even though I love writing long hand. My morning is just too different to sit down and write. I like to clean or tidy up to make me feel energized and accomplished.

4. Being mindfull/put in the extra step/permission to enjoy:
I put those points together else wise this would be a loooong list of changes. I want to be more mindfull in the present instead of wishing days away until some point in the future. I wait with things far too much!
‘The extra step’ kind of self explanatory but I want to go the extra mile, take the extra step and put the extra amount of effort into things.
I know this might sound strange to some people but I have a very hard time giving myself the permission to enjoy something. The last time I enjoyed a book so much that it sucked me into the story like I was literally there has been a very very long time ago. I miss this childish/juvenile innocent and imagination! The time I was so seemingly carefree that I could just do anything and be fully into it. I cannot enjoy things anymore and allow myself to because I still have no regular income or stable job. Yes, this is the issue and it’s so wrong. So basically no one who doesn’t have a job is not allowed to enjoy anything. This so wrong on so many level I can’t even. That’s why I have enough of my stupid and restrictive self and give myself the permission to enjoy and do whatever I want no matter the circumstances.
I put in the effort to change my situation therefore I’m also allowed to enjoy other things fully. Full stop.
Personal and spiritual development goes in this category as well.

5. Health:
My body isn’t 17 anymore and I cannot brush things off that easily anymore like back then. Therefore I have to do something and my recurring back issues aren’t fun. That’s why I will do something for it. Less sugar, more walking and exercise for my back.

Disclaimer: Above all of those things is still the point that I fully accept myself the way I am and that mistakes or hick ups are completely okay and normal.
That’s why I only add things to my life and not make a list of things I want to stop. (I don’t want to annoy anyone by reading a novel-length list of things I want to stop)

The things I started lately:
There are a few things I started lately. Listening to podcasts that I find and seem interesting. It’s not on a daily basis but I listen to more than I did before.
Watching TED talks on Youtube. TV has pretty much been substituted with Youtube and Netflix for me. I still occasionally watch the regular TV channels but they either way have nothing of interest for me or repeat shows and movies over and over again. My opinion: TV here in Germany is pretty bad when it comes to the selection and the quality. Therefore I go for things I want to watch and since I have no issue with the English  language I watch everything in original sub. Lately I typed the two words ‘TED talk’ into Youtube and browse through a few that I find interesting. Sometimes I don’t finish them or skip parts but there is one TED talk I could watch daily and I watched it around 5-6 times in a row now.
And I re-started a craft that I had abandoned for far too long: Drawing and painting. I’ve abandoned it because I wasn’t good enough according to a handful of people. (Yes, insert how stupid I was) but now I’m getting back to it and try to make it a daily exercise. Whether it’s water coloring or sketching. Just something to do to get better every day because practice makes perfect but done is still better than perfect.

Welcome to the future

Inspired by Mel Robbins TED talk “How to stop screwing yourself over” I wanted to make a new affirmation.
Because there is no future Me. Back then when I was 21 and entered college for the first time I thought:
“Future Me is gonna figure everything out, live in her own place, have a great and fulfilling job, plenty of money and all her shit together.”
When I finished NaNoWriMo in 2013 I put the novel aside and thought:
“Future Me is gonna revisit it and publish it.” (That’s already three years!)

Fast forward a couple of years and Future Me has none of that because there is no future Me. There is only current Me. And future Me is still good a procrastinating, has still stuff to figure out and deal with on a daily basis. Future Me reads a whole new genre in comparison to back then and writes a completely different genre. Future Me is fascinated by different things. It’s true future Me has figured stuff out, knows more and is better at things but future Me still cuts open her chest to let her heart bleed out and then stitches everything back together.
Because there is no future Me. There is only current Me.

Every time you pass forward something to your future Me you are actually just procrastinating it because future Me has not every single thing figured out and shit together as you think. Future Me has still things to deal with. Old things. New things.
Every single time you pass something forward to the future your current Me fools you and laughs at you like the bullies in school did.

There is no future Me. There is only current Me.
Welcome to the future.

Sincerely,

Me

Living a creative life

I felt inspired by Elizabeth Gilberts book “Big Magic” and her podcast “Magic lessons”. The latest topic she discussed in her podcast hit me the most. The topic was “Who Gets To Decide Whether You’re A Legitimate Artist?”. I’ve been falling in this kind of catatonic questioning myself as well lately.

I claim to be writer but yet I feel like a fraud because I’m not writing eight hours a day or get money for it. I discussed this with a friend who pursues drawing, writing, crafting and we both want to make our creative outlets into paying jobs. I told her how much a fraud I feel like and she said that it doesn’t matter how many hours you write or not, if you write, you are a writer. That was the end of story for her.

Since Elizabeth Gilberts book is about a creative life more than an actual art form (writing, painting, poetry or whatever). It doesn’t limit itself to one certain art form.
I never stopped and thought about how creative my life already really is. That it’s not only about putting words onto paper but also about that I get inspiration from EVERYTHING. I’m not kidding. The most mundane and minor things can inspire me so much.
I researched so much about the habits of other authors, how they are mastering their life because I thought if I recreate that I would be a total legitimate author and write more but I was wrong. I came to the conclusion that it’s really more about living a creative life instead of limiting yourself to just typing words into a word pad.

That’s probably why everything creative speaks so much to me. Music, art, painting, crafting, books, flowers I don’t know what else. I pursue crafts because I like doing something with my hands to an aesthetic outlet. The same with painting/coloring. I pursue writing because I love to paint with words and it ignites my soul in a way nothing else does.

In case you ever felt or feel like a fraud. You are not! Not others are our real enemies. We are our own demons. The time and energy spend on telling yourself you are a fraud could be used and saved for pursuing what sparks your soul. You are not your profession. You are the life you lead. If you’re a writer and don’t feel like writing then maybe it’s best to take a break and not beat yourself up about writers block.

If you fell into a reading slump then take a break or reread a favorite. Sometimes all you need is to go out and take a walk and especially take the time to see your thoughts wander. Maybe they lead you somewhere you wouldn’t have gotten else wise.

Hi, my name is Kristina and I’m a freeweeling creative person and no ones gonna label me but me. There I’ve said it, in black and white and the internet never forgets.

Drowning

Do you sometimes feel like drowning in a world of too much? In your life? We try to cram as much in as we can. Break habits, get habits, be more productive, more motivated, stay in touch with everyone and the whole world and then we drown. We don’t even realize it until something requires us to be still. Until a certain life event requires us to be patient, to listen and we drown and drown in a world full of buzz. We drown in others (news), we drown in constant noise (the media) and we drown in ourselves.

Until we finally learn to shut it out and listen to ourselves. Shut out everything around us and find a way to swim within us. No matter how old you are and how much you tell yourself you have yourself figured out I assure you: you haven’t. You can be a hundred years and yet discover something new. Age doesn’t make you wise or pulled together. It only shows how many years you spend as a resident on earth. Listening makes you wise. Listening to yourself. Being quite in a world of noise.

I once thought I have to be a know-it-all. Know everything about every social media thing, the news, common knowledge, literature, music, art, people. I thought I need it to thrive because the world requires me to. You know what? The world can go and do that alone but not me.

I still want to know it all when it comes to literature, simply because it’s my hobby but else wise I’d rather be a good listener, a good friend, a good daughter. The world outside there will still be there then, it always will. The media won’t shut down if you stop listening to it for a while. The internet grows every day a thousand fold and it will still do then. You can never catch it all, so why don’t you just catch what’s really important: You!

Catch yourself before you drown. Lift yourself to the surface or anything that needs to breath.

The world will still be there then; you’re not missing out on anything.

Cats are great masters

We have a cat. Or mainly my parents have a cat. Cleopatra, the Siamese. I love her as much as she is distressing. In case you know about siamese cats you know what I’m talking about.
Last week she taught me a lot of things.

Cleopatra gets her dinner as soon as one of us is eating and since we all have different schedules I gave her her plate when I sat down onto the couch with a plate for myself.
While I switched on the TV and grabbed my phone to check social media, Cleopatra dug into her food.
While I was sitting there looking for the right show to watch, checking emails, my plate on my lap, Cleopatra ate without a side glance.
Except at some point I was starring at her until she was done and when she was, she licked her mouth and left.
Until I got to eat my food was cold. That’s how much I distracted myself while my cat doesn’t even know what a distraction is. She just ate. That was her main priority that moment.
Why am I distracting myself then during something so important like eating food? Something that is essential to live.

And THIS is exactly what is wrong with me, everyone else and society.
Ever sat in a restaurant and took a look around you to see how many people are sitting there starring down at their phones instead of JUST appreciating the food or talk to the person who is right in front of them?
I see that every day.

I like Youtube and I like to watch other peoples life but what I see is that those things who are life saving are pushed back a lot. Even while in bed people only care for social media, games or any distraction that they can get instead of JUST focusing on their sleep.

We set our priorities in the total wrong directions in todays society and modern world. Instead of appreciating life we seek distraction because we are trained to do so. We grew into it. I’m the hell sure I wasn’t like this when I was a kid. When I was a kid I had the main priority to eat when it’s dinner time. No TV or toys allowed. Bed was a toy free zone expect for some stuffed plush animals.

Cats don’t know those things. They sleep even if birds or mice dance on the table right next to them. Because when it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep. They eat and only eat. They walk where they want. They don’t seek distractions. They only seek what is essential to live.

When did we stop to seek and mind our life essentials; make them a priority?

It’s never too late

While other kids learned to read music sheets in school I just didn’t get it. I just didn’t. Ever since I can’t read music notes whatsoever. I tried to learn bass guitar at the age of 15 but I gave it up pretty quickly after I didn’t see any progress (oh boy, have I been wrong about learning something).

My entire life long it bothered me not to be able to read music sheets or have any idea about rhythm. Now I’m 26 and a recent realization made me think that I have absolutely no idea how long I will live overall and that I will have never more time then now. That’s why I will start to learn it now.

I’m sure everyone has that one certain thing (or many) that you always wanted to learn or do in your life but you always shoved it to the future. How long will you do this? No one knows when he/she is going to die so shouldn’t you seize the opportunity now before it’s too late?
It may not be common in our society but there are people who go to college at a very late age because they always wanted to and now is always a good time to start.
You may not become the next Einstein or Beethoven but who am I learning how to read music notes for? For me! I do not consider going for a musical career or anything but I want to learn it because I always wanted to learn it. Just for me.

What did you procrastinate on learning until so far? Or something you wanted to start for so long?
What sparks my motivation is to read some tips for help or read about other people learn something and their progress.