Improving with age

During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I often had the choice between working on my tan on the beach, or visiting a temple, a market, an Ayurvedic center or sari boutique.

When I was younger I would have chosen the beach pretty much instantly, in order to avoid having to wait around for the others to make up their minds, and endure the logistics of getting the group – as a group – to where it had finally decided it wanted to go.

Things have changed.

On a recent trip I found myself sat on a chair in the corner of a minuscule store right out of 1001 nights, watching my friends try on saris in every color of the rainbow while the tailor took measurements of our husbands for new suits. That was great fun, but it was even more fascinating to watch each couple haggling over price. It was a delightful show for me, and I didn’t have to be in the midst of it all to enjoy it.

Today I love these special moments and I certainly don’t run a stopwatch anymore to check whether I got my share of attention in any given situation.

Aging isn’t a one-way street. We can definitely improve with age, for example by being a part of the group, and being less demanding about our own desires and needs when there are many others involved.

How would you like to improve this year?



Winter

Dark-WinterWith its short days, chilly temperatures and sun-starved feel, Winter can be a bit depressing.

Whenever I catch myself feeling a bit down at this time of year I remind myself of what my friend Christophe Bichet says: « Whenever doubt gets the upper hand, or frustration and sadness take over, whenever you want to roll up in a ball  — get moving ! Get outside, go running or climbing. After even a few steps, your day will be a different one ».

So, today when I’m feeling a bit down I don’t roll up in a ball anymore, I put on my running shoes and go for a run.

In fact, as I write I’m just back from one and I wanted to share that with you briefly, before heading off to move a few mountains. 🙂

Christophe and his life lessons are always a source of inspiration to me, and I’m thrilled that they’ll soon be published in his first book. Have a look at his « Inspir-Actions » on his facebook page, and and ‘like’ the page if you find them as helpful as I have. It’ll motivate him to finish his book so we all have access to his wisdom and inspiration !



Inside-Out, or Outside-In?

One of the ways that a good coach will work with a client is to look at what they can see to make educated guesses about what they can’t. Because not all information is available as they speak with a client, they’ll assume interconnectedness to make educated guesses about what they can’t know yet. For instance, whatever is happening inside is a reflection of what happens outside, and vice-versa.

Naturopaths also use this principle. They look at the state of your skin, or your tongue, to determine what ails you inside.

The principle applies in other domains as well. Whenever my desk is a mess, it is a clear indication that I have too many ideas and projects in a shambles inside my head.

Everything is linked. If I move any wheel of the gearing, it will have an impact on the whole system. If I clean my garage, it will have an impact on the rest of the house. And on my life.

That means that if your project to change jobs seems unrealistic or simply too big, you can change something else important in another domain of your life to get things moving. As everything is linked, it will have an impact on your work, sooner or later!

So? In- or out-; from which side will you operate the change in your life?



My time is my luxury

timeIn a recent conversation a friend was telling me about his use of time as a confirmed bachelor, and said: “My time is my luxury”.

I found the expression amusing, but didn’t really appreciate what he meant. I assumed – simply because he doesn’t have any family obligations – that he just lived a devil-may-care kind of life, one social event after the other, because he didn’t have to give an account of the use of his time to anyone else.

Only later did I realize that wasn’t what he meant at all, and how wise his use of the language really was. Before choosing to commit his time to any event or activity, he has a serious look at whether he really wants to ‘spend’ his time on it. He sees his free time as a precious gift, from which he wants to benefit 100%.

So contrary to what I thought, his life is not simply a series of events improvised out of thin air, but instead a series of decisions taken to produce a maximum of precious moments to savor.

And you, where do you want to be more conscious with your choices around ‘spending’ your allotment of time in 2016 ?



Helping hands

 

I have a handful of people in my life who are always willing to help. Etienne has been reading and correcting the French version of my newsletters for almost 5 years and Ed has been correcting the English version since September.

They get NOTHING in exchange for their help, apart from the heartfelt “thank you” when the corrected version hits my inbox.

The thing is, they don’t EXPECT anything. So why do they do it? I am certainly not correcting their documents into German in exchange.

BONNET-NOEL-MERCIHow many helping hands have been extended to you? The family you can leave the children with when you go away, the friend who’ll come over to move a piece of heavy furniture, the neighbor who’ll take a look under the hood of your car when it won’t start?

Now look at how many times you do something for others. My guess is just as many times as you received help. I believe that there is a perfect symmetry in giving and receiving but not always through the same people! I’ll never be able to pay back Etienne and Ed for their help, but I know I’ve been helping others with something different and they have been helped by others – and we all call it even.

Helping others makes me happy. But I realize that I am not the only one. So every once in a while I reach out to the people who helped me to thank them. And you, how many people are you grateful to?

I wish you a merry Christmas and look forward to sending you “Bubbles of Happiness” after the festive season!


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Who am I ?

I am a contemporary philosopher.
I capture life's little events in bubbles of happiness to inspire you in an amusing and optimistic way.

Yours bubbly,
Gundula

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