If we were having coffee we’d talk about my blogging sabbatical that wasn’t one but I made it one as a reason to explain why I haven’t been active here since about May, and blogging in a patchy manner for about a year. I wrote about it earlier on – Well, It Became A Sabbatical – in case you’re wondering. No? Ok, let’s move on…
If we were having coffee I’d lament the closure of my favourite coffee shop a few months ago. It was my go-to place, great tapas menu, great health menu, great cakes, great coffee, great vibe, great music, great welcome…you get the gist. The last time Ché and I went there for the “free coffee for having voted in the elections special” we noticed fewer waitrons, they were rushed and the service wasn’t up to its usual good standard. We noticed it but put it down to many people taking them up on their “free coffee for having voted in the elections special”. The next week they’d closed down.
Quite a number of shops have closed down over the years at this particular mall – more than usual. The latest casualty was The Tea Merchant. Previous to that was the furniture store. When a variety of shops closes down it usually means there wasn’t enough traffic to pay the hefty rent this mall charges, never mind break even. Our economy is battling, this despite the unprecedented growth in the past quarter. Rents don’t go down. Food is more expensive. Petrol is more expensive. Fewer people are at the malls. Less disposable income. Less spending on non-essentials. And a whole lot more. It’s a signal we need to pay attention to. The space the coffee shop occupied is still closed up, the furniture stacked up neatly within the closed doors. It’s a signal we need to heed.
If we were having coffee we’d talk about the weather, naturally, having gone from cold to hot overnight. No gentle spring warmth easing us into a new season. The season skipped the August winds and we’re in September, waiting for the rains to arrive. It’s lovely, the birds are happy, chirping, the humans are happy, the cat doesn’t really care, it’s great.
Talking about happy birds and cats, yesterday Ché and I awoke in the early morning to the sounds of chirping in our bedroom! Ché got up and found that Nermal had brought a tiny bird into the room, intent on eating it. The little bird was still alive and Ché put in in a box. Nermal was naturally put out, sulky that his toy and his feast had been stolen from under his nose. Luckily the little bird wasn’t injured at all – it didn’t look like it – because when Ché took him outside to put him on a wall high off the ground, he promptly flew away with no signs of any injury. Thankfully. Nermal settled into sleep the day away on our bed after he’d eaten some proper man-made cat food. He’s forgiven us and seems to have forgotten about it all. He doesn’t usually bring in birds – never up until now, that I can recall. It must be the spring-summer weather getting to him. I want a happy cat and I also want happy birds. No hunting in our garden, please!
Well, let’s meet up again next week, same time same place. I’ve enjoyed our coffee share this week and I’d like to gift you with the quote below as we part for the week.
“Whether it is rational or empirical, your approach to life must always be empathetic. Emotional intelligence is acquired when knowledge and empathy are combined and applied to situations regularly in everyday life.” Stewart Stafford
“Do not forget to look up to the stars every now and then. The universe has made you conscious – try to make sense of how it works & appreciate its beauty.” Paul Hildebrandt
In 2015 I came across this photo of Richard Branson lying in a hammock, on his phone, working…
He has written about it a few times, here is an article, and it’s interesting that he notes that in the UK people don’t take leave, opting instead to remain in the office. Now, for me, that would lead to an unbalanced life.
I printed that photo and stuck it up in a place that I would look at various times a day. At the time I was working in a corporate, and it represented for me a change that I wanted to make in my life.
I wanted a more balanced life, one where I could work where I wanted when I wanted.
My dissatisfaction led me to write this article, and it was not long after that that I began working for the company I am with now. I have no office I go to – I’m either at a client, or I am at home. Or travelling.
My work has taken me to Berlin, Portugal, Barcelona, beautiful parts of the country I live in, Belgium and Thailand.
So, I pretty much can work where I want (no office to go to, yay!), the first part is done with a good level of satisfaction.
What I do now is the only work I know that I can take my wax crayons to work to create posters of information that help people integrate the learning a lot faster than powerpoint slides. Like this poster I created to explain Lean Thinking:
I’m now working on the second part…the part about working when I want :-). This is proving to be a bit more challenging because it means having to let go of salary certainty and embracing uncertainty and risk.
This will come I know. I just need to stop obsessing about it and enjoy the present. In the meantime, I still have that photo up where I can look at it several times a day.
Here are 4 different ways that help me deal with uncertainty:
Meditation – it helps me focus on the present and deal with stress and anxiety. I’m not doing nearly enough meditation.
Adaptive action – taking just one move at a time while keeping a view of the big picture, much like playing chess. Just decide on what my next wise move is and focus on that because that leads me to my next wise move and so on. That way I remain adaptive to change.
Nature – being in nature grounds me and helps me keep my balance. I don’t get out to nature often enough. Sometimes just having the doors and windows open, letting the outside in and enjoying the sounds of the birds singing is enough to tide me over until I can get out into the countryside.
Journaling – writing, journaling, reflecting on my inner thoughts. This helps me see clarity, usually not in the moment of writing, but later. The act of putting thoughts down on paper is therapy in itself. Journaling doesn’t have to be long descriptive narratives. Sometimes all I have time and energy for are bullet points, and that’s ok.
Here’s to being comfortable with uncertainty, open to infinite possibilities, so that I can find a place for my hammock.
Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher