The End Of My Unplanned Sabbatical

Just Me

A year has passed. On July, 9th in 2018 I left Brazil and landed in Split, Croatia in the evening. After driving into the mountains, my cousin’s wife had prepared a cake for me to celebrate my birthday, celebrating freedom, celebrating…, we were not really sure and not everybody knew what was going on in my life. And this year, on the 9th of July, it was my birthday again, here in Berlin. I celebrated with my friends, whom I have told about how much I had learned in this unwanted sabbatical and the lessons will turn into a book that I can share with all of you, for you yourself being brave to go on your journey and learn your own lessons.

In this post we can then discuss what it means to end a sabbatical. An unplanned sabbatical. Now I am 39 years old, single for more than a year (I have never beens ingle so long in my adult life, that is really amazing), free and smart, but always a bit broke, never though giving in when it comes to my life style. I need to stay me! Never stepping back, always moving forward!

Forward was the word I wrote in the sand of the wild forest in Trancoso, Bahia, last year in May, a few days before the whole avalanche started that leads to this post today.

What will change is that I now appreciate much more what I do and what I can do, without any self-pity. I have also learned to embrace the uncertain but also to create inner positivity which helps me to take better decisions. We need to stay calm, we should never panic. When we are tranquil, we can hear, listen, see and recognize much better what options are lying right there in front of us.

Accepting the responsibility one has for one self is one of the richest things I could have done. And I would like to teach younger people just that. Don’t step into the same traps. You can go straight to the point where you build the reality you want to live. Give priority to yourself and to what is best for you, under general ethical considerations of course. But don’t hand over the power of your creative life for the sake of following an old-fashioned dream brought to you by your society. You can do what you truly like doing.

So, ho ho ho! The future is bright, the present is real, and the past is a source of everlasting learning, and sometimes, you just need to close the box for a while. Ho ho ho! Merry rebirth!

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The first step is recognition, the second is…

Observations

Yesterday evening, I felt alone, powerless when it comes to life and I was very insecure about whether I was doing the right things. I still have no answer to these feelings. They sometimes come up. Together with those feelings was a strong desire to have a space of my own, a space that looks like me. A place I can enter and say: thank God, I am home.

Recently I underwent too much trouble again, too much stress and for the first time in my life I can think of, I have trouble answering even private messages. It’s been only half a week that this phenomenon started improving and I asked my friend Amy if something like emotional burnouts exist and she, who is a personal trainer, says, yes. This could be it. I might be suffering from an emotional burnout while still worried about some basic issues such as health insurance, which among other things caused me a quite long nightmare last night. And I feel very distracted from solving my problem. I also did in my dream.

So, here’s an observation I have made. In April I bought this amazing feather earring which broke in May. The fine noose had broken into two sole and very short strings, unconnected and without me having any idea of how to fix it. Throughout the months I often looked at it, not knowing exactly what I could do.

This morning I saw the ear wire on my desk and I went to the kitchen to look at the feather part. I remembered that I have a small carry on sewing kit and brought all three items together on the sofa. I took a white thread and started sewing, connecting both loose ends. Within the process I thought that I could also try to tie the feather end with the thread to the ear wire. And it worked. In less than five minutes, I had fixed my dearest feather earring from Acre, Brazil.

So, this is, what it’s like in life. When you have a complex problem, you won’t find a complete solution right away. You can move in steps. The first step is recognizing that it’s there. Furthermore, look at it. The second is, to start working on it with an idea you have and the solution will appear along the way.

Calmness & Serenity

Observations

When I got up early this morning, there was nothing left of yesterday’s holiday feeling. A time schedule had to be followed. But the short break in the countryside gave me at least an idea about how to improve my time situation. Well, to improve may actually be exaggerated. Better would be: how can I at least not make my situation worse? A friendly professional coach suggested that I should make a T-shirt with the words “I have no time”, because this phrase is constantly coming out of my mouth. And when he asks me about the F word, he actually means “focus” and not “fuck”, as it always crosses my lips. So a T-shirt with the words “I have no f … time” would then explain two essential things about my current life.

For how many things do we have no time, because we sit on the carousel, which is going around faster and faster. And since the old, white wooden horses also look cute, we sometimes barely notice that the rush is anything but healthy for our bodies. While we are then part of the WhatsApp stories of our loved ones, we hardly get to notice anymore who is waiting there for us with their love.

The rushing has other disadvantages; One of the biggest things is that we can not hear our own inner voice anymore. No time! Peel fruits for breakfast? – No time. The good friend, who will be in front of your door in two weeks, how about calling her and talk to her again after three months and just ask how she is doing? – No time! Completing the formalities of an over-bureaucratised world around you. – No time. Take of my make-up properly before going to sleep? – Oh, please!

“Having time” was something that I have worked for the last few years and step by step. It’s something I like. I enjoy living in peace. Nevertheless, I let panic arise too easily. Sometimes I have the feeling that the more relaxed I am, others become even more restless. And very quickly, this mood gets back to me. And panic makes me feel driven and rushed, a disease women of my family suffer from, one could say.

Years ago, I once told Eric, my psychologist, about this phenomenon. I live with a loaded gun held at my back, and so felt my Aunt Franka, and so it is with my mother. There is always someone standing there telling you how incredibly lazy and inefficient you are. Actually total nonsense! But the feeling comes up again and again.

Also, Eric is online in less than ten minutes.

Calmness and serenity. Listening to the inner voice. The perception of others. The conscious experience of one’s own life. Listening to life. The serene waiting for the beautiful and simple things that always surround us, if we want that to be.

The anticipated suffering that I always carry with me when I have to make seemingly difficult decisions. Anticipated suffering whenever something looks terribly wrong. Cancel an already promised job with a signed contract 12 hours prior to departure? That’s not right. And I am suffering. But I created this situation myself. The famous self-sabotage. Why could not I see that? – I had no f … time.

 

background beautiful blossom calm waters

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My Relationship With Attention

Observations

Old new topics are always coming up! Sometimes I find the creativity and relaxation I need to write a post, sometimes it becomes a poem and mostly thoughts just find their endpoints in my own mind.

There are three things to say about attention in my life. Let’s start with the second. Three years ago my dearest and sweetest mentor Marco told me that the most important thing is to pay attention. And I couldn’t agree more. When paying attention while also being capable of remaining quiet, we learn to see what is going on around us.

After he told me that, I made a bigger effort to pay more attention and recognized many things in my old relationship.

Now, the first thing I wanted to say about attention: my mother told me last Christmas that my capability of paying attention is one of my special traits. I did not consider that for a long time, also because in some sense I had to learn to close my perception, because when walking down the streets of Heidelberg, I started being very anxious. I feared that when not seeing someone I was supposed to greet, people could be mad at me. Also, I did not want to greet everybody all the time. And further, I did not want to call attention and to be seen. I was a relative attractive young woman, so eyes automatically fell on me, even when people may not have wanted to look at me. But well! Before developing a neurosis at the age of 23, I decided to start to ignore my surroundings when walking on streets. And I feel that I missed a lot of beautiful things for over a long period. Now I have them back!

The third thing is, that through mindfulness exercises and honesty towards the nature of existence itself, I started to develop a stronger attention span and I really like it. Of course, it can make life difficult, because attention has become rarer than gold in our societies. What I can see, stays invisible to most people’s eyes and minds. Yet, it is the most efficient tool to be able to develop ourselves and help others.

And the latter is what life is about: helping others.

 

low angle photography of red metal tower

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A thousand titles this could have

Observations

Really! It’s been days where I was suffering from an emotional blockage. From time to time it seemed a bit easier though. Meeting with my friends or talking to them on the phone, walking in the park helped me for a second, and surprisingly, listening to Marlene Dietrich’s songs seems to give me the ‘right’ perspective now again. So much perspective, that I started writing this post, which always means sharing my inner as well.

Everyone around me is worried about how it went back in Brazil, whether I managed to solve everything during my trip in April, and I can say, that I managed to close peacefully a long chapter of my life and that the process was important. I felt the support of old and new friends, enjoyed feeling the city of São Paulo, loved the new experiences I made and felt taken care of. Now, there’s real room for a reorientation. Not so easy though. Right now it is unclear to me, how I would like to proceed. Anyways! That’s another part of the story.

I have learned a lot about myself and my life. Also about life and the connection between all living creatures. Well! Let’s just say: it’s beautiful to see even clearer the ‘matrix’ but it surely doesn’t make my life easier. On the contrary! After watching closely, you are even more aware of people’s reactions, emotions and contents. In fact, I attended two/three events this week and felt that all were entirely contentless. Not immediately, but slowly moving forward into my consciousness. On such events people talk and talk and hang meaningless images on the walls. They produce plenty of fatuous contents. But when they spoke, I couldn’t hear anything new. When they showed their work, I only saw a bunch of colorful brush strokes, a mere practice of technique. Of course, doubting one’s own perception is among the first things I do. Seriously! I am not standing there and believe that I found life’s highest wisdom, nor that I myself could do it much better. But well!

These days nothing really helped me to get into a better mood. Things only got more and more dull. That’s the right word to describe it, “dull”! And so it went, until I started listening to Marlene Dietrich. I really recommend watching her movies. They remind us of the fact that certain problems exist everywhere and within every circle of people. And talking about circles, we may remember that development moves in circles all the time. It’s always been the way it is now. Only the surface looks differently.

Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.” (Hesse, Steps, the German original expresses this really well)

How we help each other to heal

Observations

I have been very silent on my blog while my life was moving in all directions. It has been two months now that I rented a room/apartment in a new neighborhood and I feel that this quiet neighborhood is good for me. Since then I have done a lot of things. I am deepening my knowledge about almost everything that interests me, be it acting, contemporary arts, translation or poetry among others. And the most amazing part is the journey with others.

For each area and each part of myself, I encounter a person who corresponds to it in real life and we get into exchange. For example, thanks to the belief of Vito, a friend who is a pianist, I am about to record my first audio book and had a great first poetry reading at a bar here in Berlin. It was such a good feeling to read out my poetry and have the listeners engage emotionally. Amazing!

So, life brings all those lovely people into my reality, continuously. I am never alone. And old friends and those who are turning into friends from olden days are here, too. I am simply really happy about the love that I feel.

Also, I see that the exchange is both sided in all cases. Even though I am not always capable of defining or perceiving with what I am helping the other, I know that there is something I do somehow.

You know how it feels when you want to hug the world? Right now is such a moment!

Thank you, everybody! Thank you for helping me heal! Thank you, for letting me stay by your side the bit of time I can.

close up photo of person holding crystal stone

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A friend’s poem

Creative

A friend of mine wrote the following poem for me. I had to take it down from my Facebook, because she has been criticized privately by someone close for it. I won’t comment on that.

First the English translation and below the Portuguese original. Won’t share this post anywhere.

______________________________

Criticism your way

No matter what, it is unsuitable

(Without) Reason not to admire

sometimes a few extra pounds, sometimes some less

What you do is not so good

What you did not do is carelessness

It drains your energy

You talk too much, you’re talking too little

You became pale.

Protest, shine in all shades.

But there is another,

some other bright glow

penetrating you

Vibrant color

Soft voice

Courageous Heart

New angle of failure

Converted to virtue

Before it was difficult, it is irresistible now

The femme now has its fatal

The dilemma now is how not to love you

For all the other reasons that were once hard to accept.

______________________

Críticas ao seu jeito

Não importa qual, não é adequado

(Sem)Razão para não admirar

ora alguns quilos a mais, ora a menos

O que você faz não é tão bom

O que você não fez é displicência

Drena sua energia

Você fala demais, tá falando de menos

Tornou-se pálida

Protesta, Brilhe todos os tons!

Mas há outro

Outro brilho reluzente

Penetrando em você

Cor vibrante

Voz branda

Coração corajoso

Novo ângulo das falhas

Convertido em virtude

Antes difícil, irresistível agora

O femme agora tem seu fatal

Dilema agora como não amar

Por todas as outras razões que antes foram difícil aceitar.

You learn

Observations

Learning is permanent. It is a way of obstacles the deeper we get into something. I have learned so much about human beings in the past year and my path continues. It is unimaginable how complex, similar and still different people are. Some aspects you can group and still each one is a unique set of characteristics.

I guess, I am becoming smarter when it comes to people while still maintaining my positive view on the world and them. I know that each of us has to work on our own stuff, our character and that everybody, if motivated, can become a better version of themselves.

My life in Berlin has calm and intense phases. I don’t go out much anymore to meet new people but I invest more time in the people I know. That feels good and strengthens our bonds.

Friends are extremely important when it comes to our development. Learning to open up, to share information will show you that most people have something to add to your story that might move you forward. Usually this is the case with me. I love the people who get close to me and I am accepting the time life gives us for the past 3 decades, never expecting more than is there.

One of the things I am working on, is to look into the future. This is very difficult for me. I unlearned to think far ahead, to have objectives and even worse, to have dreams. So, it starts with those little dreams. Like the one I wrote about, to pass next winter working in a warm part of the world. And I mention this frequently in front of friends and acquaintances and it becomes more real. All the rest though are mere ideas, sometimes just wishes, sometimes visions I can’t fully grasp.

My mother told me that it was important to have dreams, otherwise you won’t move in life to achieve something. Now, I need to figure out how to define wishes or goals that make sense to me. The last poem reflects a bit this difficulty. I am such a happy single and enjoy being me and learning. But shouldn’t I take care as well? I might get lost along the track, along the years and I see women seeking for something serious while I at my age just live my life. Do I want another serious relationship? Do I want to have children? A shy voice in me says yes, but I don’t want to ever give up on my freedom of choice again.

The freedom of choice is an essence of life, what makes me being me. I am aware of life passing, I have always been. As a five year old I was philosophizing about what consciousness would be like after death.  But the way I deal with this sure end of my physical and conscious being, changes. I am not sad about it anymore. I start preparing for something that will happen hopefully only in decades from now. It makes me live truer and thus more satisfied. Bit by bit. But what again is it with long term goals? How much sense do they make? That is what I have to figure out and learn to balance.

Good night world!

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