Meditation podcast

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Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. I know that it would be really good for me and I know I need to consciously carve out some time to quiet my mind and meditate (even just a few minutes a day), however I still resist it – a lot. Lately I’ve been listening to beautiful guided meditations from a project called Live Awake.

These short recordings are so poetic and raw that I can keep listening to them over and over again and each time I relate to things in a new way.  Having these words to focus on has helped me be a bit more regular as I look forward to letting myself be carried by them.

There are lots of different topics, a few that I particularly enjoy are ‘Following our inspiration’ and ‘Exploring the wilderness of your discomfort’. I love that these texts are born from Sarah Blondin’s journaling practice. Happy listening!

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Fairy tale house

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #44

I love cycling slowly along the outskirts of Vondelpark and looking at all the beautiful houses with their high windows and amazing details.

This house in particular seems like it belongs in a book of fairy tales.  I like to imagine that behind these walls are winding staircases, secret doorways and hidden passages leading from one room to another. The perfect backdrop for fantastic stories about things like fabulous elves, helpful magicians, self-sufficient siblings who run the show, lovelorn princes and sloths who can talk…

Inspiration?? Where are you?

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It is Sunday night, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to write something for the blog before the end of the weekend, but I just don’t feel inspired. Arghhh. My critical voice is loudly questioning the point of writing this blog in the first place.

Most books on creativity emphasise the importance of showing up, doing the work and pushing through to the other side. That’s what I’ve been focussing on, making sure I post regularly, even if it is just a few lines or a picture I’m not entirely happy with. But sometimes it feels so tempting to do something passive instead of trying to come up with what to write. Little voices tell me I could just as well tune in to a podcast, dive into a book or watch a series, that those things would be so much easier.

So anyway this is me turning up tonight, getting something down on the page, and here’s hoping that in a few days, fresh new inspiration will find its way to me:)

Staying dry

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #43

Today it has been pouring with rain in Amsterdam, sometimes monsoon-like and so noisy it made me stop and watch as it beat down on the windows, sometimes more of a lazy drizzle.

In any case, I am very grateful that today I happened to be working from home and didn’t need to venture out into the world and get soaked:)

Perfection in the tiny details

This time two years ago, I was in Australia on a wonderful trip. I was very lucky to go Down Under for work and then I took the occasion to travel and spend time with friends I hadn’t seen for many years. I can’t believe 2 years have passed already! I will be digging out some pictures of that trip from the archive to celebrate what an awesome trip I had:)

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For now some details from walking along the sand on Cable Beach with my dear friend Alex at magic hour. I was mesmerised by the beauty of these patterns of tiny perfectly formed round balls of sand spreading outwards like fireworks.

Futher along the beach on I saw this simple footprint turned into a magical looking tree, which reminds me of the many boabs that we saw on our trip. So gorgeous! I love nature’s tiny beautiful details.

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Quiet morning off

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #42

Every second week I have the Friday off from work. I enjoy those Fridays even more than regular weekend days because I feel like I have this precious time for myself while the world around me is working.

Spending those mornings in one of my favorite cafés without needing to rush anywhere is bliss. I love watching the baristas at work, taking the time to reflect on the past week in my journal, observing other customers (I confess I also really like eavesdropping and hearing the most unexpected conversations)… I am grateful for these pockets of quiet time off to recharge my batteries.

Exploring Knoydart

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It’s always a pleasure to look back at holiday pictures and I’m enjoying reliving the walks we took back in early June when discovering the spectacular the landscapes of the Knoydart Peninsula.

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Being outdoors all day long and exploring by foot felt wonderful. Sometimes we walked on proper paths and other times we improvised our way up the hill through the bracken, Paolo ambitiously choosing the steepest side of the hill to reach the summit.

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As we climbed the views were more and more breathtaking. The light constantly changes on the loch and the islands on the horizon, it’s impossible to portray in these photos how beautiful and vast the view was.

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Whoever said it is always raining in Scotland is… not entirely correct. We enjoyed lovely sunny spells, though the weather does change very fast. Luckily there are cafés with cakes (including lots of icing), just the right thing to cheer up after finding yourself in an unexpected rainshower:)

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Of course we couldn’t stay forever… This is the view of the cute village of Inverie seen from the ferry on our way back towards Mallaig, where we took the wonderful train ride back to Glasgow. It was a magical stay!

Relaxing walk

IMG_3454JOYFUL GRATITUDE #41

The great thing about working from home once in a while, is that on those days I don’t need to cycle back through the bustling city and instead as soon as I finish work I can take a relaxing walk around the neighbourhood to get some fresh air.

I’m grateful for a lovely stroll with Paolo, along our usual route (a.k.a. la via Fannigena) that is bathed in sunlight in the early evening.  As we walk and chat, we have our tiny habits like stopping to look if there are any treasures in the free little library, people-watching and checking on the tiny fruit garden by the canal. It’s always such a nice way to reconnect after a busy day:)

More impressions of Capraia

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Here are a few more memories of our lovely time in Capraia… The ‘mulatiera’, a beautiful rock path that the mules use to follow to carry goods up and over the hills to remote parts of the island.

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The splendid colours of the vegetation, lush and green in some parts and a drier orangy-red in other spots.

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I’m captivated by the warm colours of salt-damaged surfaces that are so gorgeous in their imperfection…

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Spending time looking through my holiday pictures takes me back to those moments and I’m reminded of the sun shining on my skin, and the tug of leg muscles slightly tired from hiking uphill, and the joy of spending all day outdoors… Can’t wait for the next holiday!

 

Seeing Amsterdam with fresh eyes

20170812_163959JOYFUL GRATITUDE #40

A great thing about having dear friends over from abroad is that you get to explore your city with fresh eyes.  It was a wonderful weekend of walking around different neighbourhoods, having lovely talks over steaming bowls of ramen, cycling for kilometers past cute farmhouses along the Amstel and soaking in the atmosphere of a sparkly daytime dj persevering despite the rain…

The last time these friends visited me was in 2006 just a few weeks after I first moved to Amsterdam. So much has changed around Amsterdam since then, practically none of this skyline seen from NDSM was as it is today. I’m so grateful for living in this amazing city that keeps evolving and that I get to rediscover all the time:)