On whose terms are you living your life?

Have you ever listed all of your competences? You should try it and rediscover yourself.

The last 8 months of my life have been quite an eye opener. They have been the hardest, most painful, but also the most giving. My mother passed away last November and even though we had known this would happen ever since she was diagnosed with ALS in 2010, it is the single most difficult event in my life. I felt and still feel half-orphaned.

So how can it possibly also be the most giving 8 months of my life?

Well, because of everything that has happened to me, because of all the emotions that I had to deal with and still am dealing with and all that it has taught me about me and how strong I am.

Because back in 2010 when my mother was diagnosed and my world fell apart, I realised that I only have THIS ONE LIFE, THIS ONE CHANCE to do what I want to.

My first decision was to be happy. And no, it is not as easy as it sounds, BUT if you find something positive in every (negative) thing/thought/opinion you encounter it gets easier over time and on days when I struggle to find anything positive… I fake it till I make it! It’s amazing what we can trick ourselves into feeling. We’re such good experts at making ourselves feel like crap most of the time, but we’re really crappy at making ourselves feel good. #FoodForThought

Having lost my mother, having to deal with a stressful job, taking care of my daughter (10) and my father (82)….

I hit the wall mid January.

I just couldn’t anymore. I had nothing left, absolutely nothing. I was an empty shell of myself, all the good intentions, all the dreams, hopes and plans for a better life were lost in the fogs of sorrow, stress and exhaustion.

I sent on sick leave by my doctor – with stress and fibromyalgia.

The first month I painted my staircase, the next two months I did nothing but watch Netflix… and take care of my daughter and my dad. I was in basic survival mode. (when I am stressed and I can’t take action to alleviate it I feel powerless (hate that!) – a frustration which just adds to my stress, and I release my stress hormones by doing manual labour, being creative… doing something with my hands/body; take the focus off the thoughts churning around inside my head).

Slowly my energy returned and I began to write again.

I even began writing on a new book and that’s given me such a boost of energy that I have picked up and dusted off my dreams for a better life – MY life.

And these last three weeks I have been attending a stress course and it has given me the last push I needed to resume the journey I have been on the last seven years: A journey to make MY LIFE MY CHOICE; a life that I can enjoy all aspects of.

On my stress course this Wednesday we were told to list our competences – also our CV, if we needed any special considerations in a work situation and our interests.

kompetencer

My CV is short – teacher + various jobs during college.

My special considerations …trust me not to follow an assignment, ‘cause I wrote down “positive” ideals, not actual considerations, but that’s how I swing: “Freedom”, “Flexibility”, the instructor forgot to write: “Self-determination”. I got one consideration though; I strongly dislike “Long Deadlines”.

My Interests: Writing, art, music, literature, ENJOYING LIFE (the instructor was just about to add “in my spare time”…but I stopped him and told him and the class that I want to enjoy ALL of my life, I want a ‘job’ that doesn’t feel like I am working but feels like I am living!), Family,  to travel/culture, to BREATHE.

My competences – and this is where I was and still am surprised, because who knew that I posses, that I am all this – I didn’t realise it until saw it written on the white board:

  • Smiling
  • Inspirational
  • Presentation/dissemination (teacher)
  • Translator
  • Communication/being clear in how and what I communicate
  • Being responsible about my subject knowledge.
  • Structure
  • Leadership
  • Authority
  • Being emphatic
  • An ability to “be” in and sometimes demand chaos
  • Keep the overview/see the bigger picture
  • Cooperation
  • Creative
  • Patience
  • Forthcoming (the instructors added this)
  • Proactive (instructors added this too)
  • Goal orientated (once again the instructors)
  • Passionate (and/or an idealist?)

When I saw all these competences on the white board and realised that’s part of who I am, my first thought was: “Why am I still teaching kids?” and the next thought was: “What’s holding me back from creating the life that I want?” …nothing! Nothing but the limitations that I have created in my mind.

First of all I am going to quit my job. …because returning to the workplace/work that gave me stress…- yeah, not going to happen! We have this saying in Danish “Gå aldrig tilbage til en fuser!”. Which means: ”Never go back to a dud!” 🙂 Yes, it was for an infomercial about not picking up un-exploded fireworks after New Year’s Eve, but it is still sound advice to use in all aspects of life.

Secondly I am resuming the journey I was on before I hit the wall, before life dragged me down, albeit an all together new “me”, but the goal is still the same: To create MY LIFE on MY TERMS.

Every change you want in your life begins with you!

What do you want most in life? And are you getting it? If not and you’re still hungry for it, then how will you get it? How can you change your life to get what you want in life?

I wish you all an excellent Saturday, may you find kindness and love along your path! ❤

 

Being grateful on a Sunday morning.

As I sit here under my skylight, enjoying the first cup of coffee on a July morning before I put my fingers to the keys and begin to write, I look out the skylight and watch the wind chase the clouds across the sky, making the trees nod as they pass by and I am grateful for having this  little house with this skylight, which enables me to watch the clouds as they roll by and from time to time glimpse the blue sky above.

I am grateful for having the time to sit on a Sunday morning, sipping a cup of coffee and contemplating life.

I am grateful for the coffee in my cup; that someone took the time to grow it organically.

I am grateful for my old laptop and that it still works, that I can write my stories on it.

I am grateful every morning I get to see my daugther wake up and learn something new, grow a little wiser and a little kinder.

I am grateful for my daughter; she changed my life and my world.

I am grateful that I still have my good health (despite having fibromyalgia, which I am winning over day by day, but that’s for another post).

I am grateful that my dad is still alive and I am grateful that I got to have my mother for 45 years.

I am grateful for all the tings my mother taught me, directly and indirectly; mostly to be kind and always offer your help.

I am grateful for the close friends that I have and our friendships; their support and knowing when to challenge me to grow.

I am grateful for my ability to read and write, for my vivid imagination and for my positive mindset.

and I am grateful for my lapse in ‘a sense of reality’ that enables me to chase after that dream of mine, but it’s “Better to try and fail than never to try at all” (F. O´Brien).

I am grateful for the life I have and I am excited about where I am going.

  • What are you grateful for?

What inspires you?

I am inspired by a multitude of things; music, art, literature, poetry, words, people, feelings, nature, a smile, a laughter, a look over his shoulder as he mistakenly leaves her standing bewildered in the sunset at the waterfront…

Today as I sat writing underneath my skylight I felt the wildest urge to listen to kent again. It’s been awhile I have to admit. I began listening to their music in 1999 and my admiration and respect has only grown throughout those 17 years.

I love the various layers in their music, how I can always discover something new and depending on my mood can find something to soothe my mind. I love the lyrics – how they reach out to the listener, trying to make us see and/or understand. How they, at the same time they seem to tell us how the world appears in the eye of the storyteller also seem to urge us to think for ourselves. As someone who has a profound love for language and words; the lyrics of Joakim Berg have always fascinated me – not in the “I-need-to-analyse-these-lyrics-to-better-understand-the-man-behind” kind of way, but as someone who is fascinated by the way he finds just the right words that seemingly embraces or even touches the feelings of their fans. An ability I wish I would be so lucky as to develop over time.

I have been writing since I was 13 years old and always felt this urge, this need to write, but for many years I never really acted upon it – besides writing adolescent “poetry”. But on the 23 of February 2008 I went to a kent concert and that particular one changed my life.  Even as I danced furthest back and right up under the roof of the venue I felt something shift, like an almost palpable presence and I’ve never been the same. I am quite aware that this sounds just a little bit crazy, and you’re probably thinking “Whoa! She’s totally off her rocker on that one!”…and that’s okay. You may think whatever you feel like, it makes no difference to me. 😉

I set out on a journey that night that I am still on, mostly taking baby steps, but once in awhile jumping over, what seemed like insurmountable obstacles from a distance but once close were nothing more but ant hills. I set out on a journey to become a positive and grateful human being, to spread love and light, and to carve out a life that I was happy with, creating my own path through my life; to live and not just exist. I aim to fill my life with happy moments, experiences and interesting, kind and nice people. I want to write to make people happy. I want to teach my daughter that dreams are there to be chased, we can not make mistake; only have lessons, life is an education and love is limitless. Time is of no consequence; I will get wherever I am going at the right time.

For the gift that this journey has been and still is I want to thank kent. Their music has been and still is an inspiration that I am eternally grateful for. Thank you.

I wish you all a day of presence and kindness.

Om du var här, kent. The first song I heard by kent.

Den sista sången, kent. – and their last song.

  • What inspires you?

 

 

 

Sunday morning thoughts on stress.

As I read an article about stress and how the measures taken to alleviate stress hasn’t worked as the percentage of people getting stressed is still growing despite the increased focus on how to deal with stress and all the new initiatives taken as how to make your employees thrive at work; I had some thoughts…

  • We try to fix the consequences of stress instead of fixing what causes the stress in the first place.

It took me far too long to acknowledge that I was stressed and even if I have been seeing a therapist for two years and, now that I am on sick leave, I am enrolled in a course on “how to return to work with stress”… none of it has helped me to alleviate or deal with my stress.

And it wasn’t until this morning I realised that it is in fact not my fault that I ended up with stress. I did make it clear to my Head of HR which work assignments I was not equipped to deal with and that I was feeling increasingly stressed because of these assignments, but nothing was done about this. Did I make myself clear enough?

Once a year it is customary to have a meeting between our  Head of HR and the employees, and they talk about the employees work conditions, if there is anything that needs changing, if the employee has any wishes for the future etc. These meetings are held as to allow the Head of HR to assess if the employee is thriving and if there is a need to change anything? But if the Head of HR doesn’t listen – also listens to what is not being said, or if there is no confidence between the employee and the Head of HR, then these meetings are of no use.

It is the Head of HR’s responsebility to make sure that the employees do their job and that the conditions are the best possible to make the most of that work relationship – that everybody thrives. It is unlikely that an employee will be up front about being stressed, because being stressed is sadly still seen as a sign of weakness, of not being able to cope with the demands of the work place. Therefore it is important that we all look out for each other and if we see a colleague/boss, showing signs of stress; we go talk to them.

Once both employee and the Head of HR acknowledge that there is a problem they need to make a plan for how to solve it. And this means getting rid of whatever it is that made the employee stressed in the first place. Which assignments where too much? Which co-workers might have contributed to the stress? Was it a question of not being able to say “No”? Can we cut down on assignments? Do we need to change the schedule; less hours? Move to another department?

-If the employee merely has a 3 months sick leave and then returns to the same work conditions…well, he/she will end up in a repetitive cycle of “work-stress-work-stress” until the employee is unfit to work, in some cases ever again. And this is unproductive for the workplace, for society and the employee. It is therefore in the interest of all that we create the right work conditions for all – and acknowledging that we’re all different is important.

We can do an endless run of courses, read self-help books endlessly and listen to tons of advice, but if we do not change the conditions of the work relationship, then we have gained nothing at all and the employee will end up being stressed again.

I know that when I return to my work it will be with fewer lessons (I’m a teacher), but some of the extra assignments will not have changed and the goal is that I end up working the same hours/lessons as before and probably do the same extra assignments for which I am not formally equipped and do not have the time to properly educate myself for.

I know things have to change and going back to what made me stressed in the first place is not an option in my world!

I will look for another job and this time around I will set the conditions, because no job is worth my health! There is no pay check large enough to compensate for my health!

My family is the most important thing in my life and if I end up being so sick that I cannot take care of them, I will have failed them.

Also I will involuntarily have taught my daughter some really unsound values:

  • That work is more important than family.
  • That it is okay not to speak up.
  • That you can’t change you mindset and your life.

 

We can surely all agree that the above mentioned statements are wrong and unsound, right?!

Then why do so many of us live by them?

What is more important to you?

  • The people you love or the things you can buy for the time you trade off for a salary?