Monday, June 26, 2017

Quality Me Time

This quality me time was perfect. I relaxed, slept a lot, met with people I hadn't seen for some time, enjoyed wonderful food and got a sun tan! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Itchy Feet

Getting itchy feet. My last trip has been more than 2 months ago (Central America) and now, I've decided, it's time to be on the road again.
Well, not going far away, to be honest. To Italy. By train. Nevertheless, can't wait to spend some quality me time on the beach. Reading. Working on my sun tan. Let my mind wander whereever it feels like wandering off.
I'll leave on Thursday :-) And I am NOT taking my flute with me (hahahaha).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Learning to Play the Flute

I am learning to play the flute, hence I am learning something that is totally new to me. Totally new. If I had chosen to take Spanish lessons, my life would have been so much easier because I could have picked from existing knowledge and go from there. Playing the flute though? No existing knowledge to help me out.
What's so new about playing the flute, you wonder?

-I (re)learn how to breath. Yoga classes are big on breathing but the flute playing breathing is different because I have to actually produce a regular sound - no cheating! hahaha

-My fingers learn new movements. Covering the holes of the flute? Sounds easy, right? Think again. The first couple of times I had cramps but now I am doing pretty good (I am still at C, D, E, G, F, ergo I have yet to play with both hands!)

-I learn how to read music. (In my opinion, no logic there! None whatsoever. But who am I to judge?)

-I learn how to follow the 4/4 or the 3/4 rythm. Hearing the difference in the first place? Oh my...

-And please, don't get me started on about where to put my tongue inside of my cheeks. The total nightmare hahaha

Imagine this almost 50 year old brain of mine putting all this together? Hilarious!
Nevertheless, I am not really complaining. On the contrary. Playing music makes me feel good. Really good. I practice daily (my landlady is a very patient lady!) and I already play some easy short songs. It's so cool. So cool.
Not every practice is easy-peasy, obviously. I have hit a wall many times so far. When that happens, I feel frustrated, complain out loud ... and put the flute away. I've learned that some days my flute and I are no good together. I start again the next day and usually it is a better day!
(The hardest challenge might be to learn to be patient ... my life's recurring topic, I'm afraid SMILE)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Rupi Kaur's Poetry

These days I usually read my books on my e-reader. From time to time though I make an exception. When I really want to "own" a book, put it in my library. When I want to look at it, feel it, leave it somewhere in my room and read a few lines whenever I feel like reading.
The poetry book written by Rupi Kaur is one of these books. Milk and honey is the title.
I am not usually a huge fan of poetry but her words? oh my. Her words. Crazy good.
There are four chapters; the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. Not that any of these topics are important for me at the moment (well, I wouldn't mind the loving part :-)) and this just makes this little book even more awesome.
I like her words not because of what she is talking about but because I like her words. Simply because of the way she put them together. The rhythm. The sound. Amazing.
And I just love the words she put on the left of the content table:

my heart woke me crying last night
how can i help i begged
my heart said
write the book.

I am just so glad that she listened to her heart!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Force of Habit

Like everybody's life, mine is full of habits. I walk to the train station taking the same path. Take up the same yoga mat in my favorite corner of the yoga room. Etc. I love my habits. I love it that I can count on them. They soothe me.
From time to time though I dare my brain to experience new stimuli.
I do stuff like re-organizing my kitchen. I put my drinking glasses in the cupboard where the soup plates were. The dinner plates go on top, the small plates in the back. Or vice versa. My forks are put in another drawer, and the rice in the cupboard where the glasses were. And so on.

Have you ever tried to do this? You should. It's hilarious!
The first couple of days in my what feels like a new kitchen (and even a couple of weeks later - depending on how tired I am), I, for example, open the cupboard in the morning looking for my coffee mug and stare at soup plates. I'd love to see my own face in that moment. When it says: what the f...??? Where are my mugs??? Until my brain catches up and I start to laugh.

Habits are not bad per se. As I am learning to play the flute, I make it a habit to practice every day. It only gets tricky when my habits take over. I might be doing something out of habit and if I were honest with myself, I'd have gotten rid of it some time ago. The challenge is to keep what I call "the conscious habits" and to get rid of the others! Easily said. Not so easy to implement.
But then that would imply that life is easy and we all know that it's not (at least not always).

Friday, May 26, 2017

Perfect Moment

Hiking (alone) is good for my brain. Usually, when I start walking, my brain waves work overtime. Hours later, having absorbed nature and its stillness and beauty, my brain is quieter! Works every time!

Friday, May 19, 2017

About Learning New Things

For some time now I have wanted to learn to play a music instrument. My reason though (oh sometimes I hate my brain!) kept telling me to ignore my heart's desire and to better put my time and money into learning. Learning Spanish made so much more sense (job-related and for my traveling).
My reason was not too wrong.
I had taken some Spanish lessons before visiting Mexico the first time (two years ago). Upon my return, I was convinced that soon I'd take some new lessons (I never did though!). During my second trip to Central America this year, I realized that I was actually pretty happy with my 20 active Spanish words (that's about all I could remember from my lessons hahaha). As I understand better than I speak (my French and Italian help in that matter), I got around pretty well with my few words (I swear, not more than 20. Okay maybe 21 hahaha).
Somewhere in Costa Rica (during one of my "oh I feel soooo good" kind of days), I realized that learning a 5th language no longer appealed to me. Not because I don't like Spanish. It's just that ... I felt tired of doing the same thing over and over.
4 languages that I speak and read and write fluently are sufficient, don't you think?
I realized another thing. Learning a new language is one thing (the most difficult obviously). Keeping it in tip top shape is another one altogether. In my opinion, if you want to be fluent in a foreign language you have to practice as much as possible. Reading, speaking, writing, listening. Otherwise, you'll forget everything pretty fast.

Anyway, let's cut this long story short. I came back from Central America and decided to ignore my reason (i.e. learning Spanish) and to listen to my heart (to play a music instrument).
Not any instrument. The flute. I wanted to play the flute. All I needed now was a teacher. And what did Buddha say about this matter?

Buddha was right. My teacher came in the shape of a friend of mine who is a primary school teacher. What I didn't know though was that she studied to be a music teacher as well.
She agreed to teach me how to play the flute if ... I'd taught her some English.

Deal done!

So now, every two or so weeks, she teaches me to play the flute and I help her to improve her English. It's what I call a wonderful win-win situation!

PS: I'll tell you more about my learning to play the flute in another post. Let's just say that it's ... hilarious! And that it's more difficult than I thought. And that I love it :-)