Work & Self-Worth part 2

What inspired me to write part 1 in the first place, was a colleague I used to work with when I first started in the company (12 years ago). I never actually talked to her since, until my very last day at work (before Christmas last year). I would always see her in the hallways and be drawn to her vibe, but we never exchanged more than the usual ‘hello’, ‘have a good weekend’, ‘bon appétit’ and ‘good evening’.

So when we finally talked, I said that it was my last day and before she could pity me cause I didn’t have a job anymore ‘in those though times’ I said that it was actually a good thing because I didn’t quite love it and now I could finally pursue something that mattered to me. So she too started to open up and confessed it wasn’t her dream job either but she didn’t really know what else to do + it paid rent & food so that’s kind of why she was still there and was not really thinking of going anywhere else.

I didn’t really want to dig deeper while standing in the hallway holding my box full of office supplies – ready to be taken home forever – and I could understand her so much but it touched me cause I could see so much potential, so much creativity in her that she probably didn’t see herself. She probably didn’t know nor believed she could actually do something else, that she didn’t have to stay at the same job forever, that she could start allowing herself to think about doing something else (>back to self-worth).

If I’d have dug deeper, I’d have asked her:

What do you want? What do you like? What are you good at? What could you do for hours everyday? What gives you energy? What course would you be interested in taking the most? Where do you see your life in 5 years from now? When you die, will you be content with what you see when you look back at your life? What will you regret not doing? 

And maybe I’d have shared my own examples with her:

I want: to have time to take time, a house surrounded by Nature overlooking the Ocean, to be healthy, to be abundant, to eat high quality food… I would regret: not writing, not reading more books, not playing more often, not doing the inner work, not having tried X Y Z…

An interview that inspired me further in the writing of this Post was between Lilou Mace and John Demartini where Dr. Demartini says: finding out what you really want to do and giving yourself permission to go after it and make sure that it’s done in a way that really serves people and then work doesn’t feel like work but like grace to do what you love doing.

Another tool that might help you finding out what you want is the now very trendy Japanese concept Ikigai (1. what you love 2. what you are good at 3. what the world needs 4. what you can be paid for). Julia and Ramona also explain the concept on Podcast #12.

And maybe it takes a while to find the answers to those questions, maybe it takes some or a lot of exploring. But there has never been a better time than NOW to do so!

ALLOW YOURSELF: WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Decluttering

I know I know you already can’t hear it anymore! Marie Kondo and minimalism trends are everywhere! That’s all the hipsters talk about. And trust me I was not thinking about getting into it, I swear, but I randomly started on Christmas Eve and (spoiler alert) it is special!

As I was staying at my Mum’s where I still have a lot of my belongings, I started going through my clothes. There were a lot of things I still liked but felt like I had outgrown, like that surfer style. As I’m not living on any Coast anymore, I just look like an old teenager in them. So I happily donated most things without much emotion attached to the process which kinda surprised me TBH. I’m more the keeper type usually.

The same thing happened this weekend with books. As I stayed at my Mum’s again, I started going through the books that were still there because I was looking for 2 books in particular. Somehow as I was not finding them, I started getting rid of the oldest books, the ones I got for Christmas 24 years ago and never read or painfully attempted to but didn’t get past page 10. Those French Classics – yes I’m ashamed!

Once I had emptied the box with the old ones and made a pile with those I didn’t want anymore, I then opened another box with all the Surf books of my Studies in Australia in my early twenties and made a pile with those. Then I opened a cupboard and found all the Yoga books of my Teacher Trainings and also made a pile with these more recent ones. I was somehow getting rid of things chronologically although I had not planned to do so at all. In the meantime, I was posting about it in my Insta stories, mostly as jokes but a couple people PMed me, they were interested in some books, which I will send to them tomorrow. It makes me super happy to pass them along!

Just like with the clothes, I didn’t feel this clinging I would usually feel and didn’t ask myself either what if I need that one day?! Of course I felt nostalgia remembering those moments but it was more gratitude for having experienced all those things and I could now easily let go. Those chapters were over and I was happily living in the present moment!

In the process, I found photos, postcards & birthday cards from my friends, mostly from middle-school and high-school (when social media wasn’t a thing yet). It made me smile and again I was very grateful to have had such wonderful friendships throughout the years! In that moment I was completely fulfilled and still am as I write that!

A lot of gratitude came out of decluttering. Who would have thought?! Defo not me!

So are you going to try?

Even if you don’t get rid of anything and just go through your old belongings, it will be like time-traveling your own life! So worth it!

Work & Self-Worth part 1

It’s an interesting thing to finish working somewhere. All those worries, the stress, disagreements with your co-workers, the crazy workload, all the pressure you put on yourself to finish everything by the end of the day… All of a sudden, all those things are not part of your life anymore, the hamster wheel comes to a stop, the blinders come off, you can finally see the bigger picture again as well as get your inner peace back – for a few days at least, until the next thing shows up (like the never-ending paperwork of the modern world or relationships! but let’s stick to the topic).

The day before Christmas last year, was my last day at work – again – (again cause I’ve worked there on and off for the past 12 years and never had a permanent contract, not in that company nor another one, so I’ve had many ‘last day at work’ #neutraltone).

It was an office job in a big company, open space style and home-office towards the end of course. I didn’t really enjoy it, it was pretty repetitive, not creative at all but it gave me great flexibility in my schedule and the money I needed for the next project – until my ‘next project’ became paying rent and food, then I knew I had stayed a bit to long this time and something needed to change.

Over the years, I’ve always kept a box full of notes and office supplies for the ‘next time I come back’ (was literally written on the box)! And it was stored at my Mum’s desk! Yes she works there too!

But this year was different, this year I consciously shredded every single sheet of paper I had kept over the years. Because I knew this time, I was not going back because staying in this job was not benefiting anyone and I knew something better was awaiting! I had finally realized my self-worth (I mean starting to ‘tip-toe’ towards it would be more accurate)! I made a conscious decision!

I realized that what kept me there for the past decade, was the limiting belief or rather believes that: 1. work needs to be hard, boring and annoying, 2. there is only that specific job that will get me money (and I had all the reasons to believe it cause that’s been the reality until now), 3. proper work has to be an office job (like my parents) 4. I’m not worthy to get any other job especially not a fulfilling one, 5. I gotta save my Mum – yeah weird I know. And probably a bunch of others I’m still not aware of!

It was (still is) a process to get rid of all these limiters + rediscover that self-worth! A couple examples of the things I did/do: rephrasing the things I say when I catch myself saying something negative or limiting; writing down/ visualizing what I want without judgement; digging into unpleasant childhood stuff with my therapist.

I gotta add though, I didn’t just wake up one morning, realized my self-worth and stormed into the office, yelling: I QUIT LOOSERS! YOU STAY IN THE RAT RACE IF YOU WISH BUT I’M OUTTA HERE! MERRY CHRISTMAS! First of all because not many people would have been there, which would have made it less dramatic and second of all, I know you think a french could do that but I’m a milder version, a Swissized and Germanized one! I guess what I’m trying to say is: I cowardly waited until my contract ended, cause you know: food, rent and unemployment benefits. So before you read the rest, this is not a: sometimes-you-gotta-take-the-leap-story cause I didn’t do it myself unfortunately. I wish I could advocate for it but nope, not this time.

My big steps were to realize that I’m not going back there and that 1. 2. 3. 4. & 5. are not true. It was also to realize my strengths and skills that I always underestimated (and TBH still do a tiny bit actually).

We always hear the success stories but today I just told a random not-there-yet-but-getting-there one and I’m celebrating the little steps!

What were your little steps lately? What are you consciously choosing and saying NO to? What are your limiting believes?

if you want to share or have questions: blissfulliving365@gmail.com

P.S.: what I had initially planned to write about was slightly different so there might be a Part 2 coming up! Work is such a vast topic!

Manifesting & öko Fashion

Warning: new age content!

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with manifesting/ visualizing. As it has been working pretty well, I decided to do it with a piece of clothing that I wanted. A scarf from Hejkoh one of my fav shop in Basel. I try to support them as best I can. Not only do they have good coffee with the alternative milk we all like but I also get inspired every time I go there, especially when sitting down to enjoy a cappuccino, being surrounded by so many fair & beautiful objects.

But back to the topic: Manifestating.

So this scarf was – well there were 2 I fancied, one orange one and one mustard yellow. I thought: I will wait a bit, maybe they will be on sale in January and / or I will tell the Universe I would like a scarf just like one of these but for cheaper or for free!

Then comes Christmas with my partner’s fam (yes we celebrated Christmas normally, everybody is doing well). As it’s time to exchange gifts, his Mum gives me hers and shares that she has a new hobby and is loving it but that she is still a beginner and that it’s not perfect. Can you already guess what it is?! As I open it, I discover: A SCARF! A knitted one. My entitled self immediately thinks: a scarf that is NOTHING like the ones from Hejko though! This one is turquoise (with a tiny bit of yellow in it), I never wear this color! I wanted Mustard Yellow or Orange! Very funny Universe! Thanks but no thanks! And then I had to laugh so hard and it still makes me smile as I’m writing.

So when I came back from the holidays, I went to THE shop and got the very last mustard yellow scarf. It was not on sale but YOLO (although I don’t believe that you do). I thought to myself: sometimes you gotta take care of things yourself.

Yesterday that thought got confirmed as I read my very last wish I wrote for Rauhnächte or Twelfth Night. A quick description of what I did during that mystical time, following Bianca’s guidelines: I wrote 13 wishes on 13 different pieces of paper on Christmas Eve. Then burnt 1 wish every day from Dec. 25th until January 5th. 12 wishes burnt in total that the Universe takes care of and make happen during the year. At the end, one wish remains, this one you gotta take care of yourself. The german link explains the ritual and the english one, the history. If you want to know more I invite you to do your own research. What stuck with me is that the veil between worlds is thinner than usual which makes it a magical time. Anyway the 13th wish was: I have beautiful, high quality and fair clothes.

Again I had to laugh!

So what I think I understood from that story: manifesting works well when you are open to have something you want but have no idea how it will look like or where it will come from. If you know exactly, precisely what you want, you better get/do it yourself! Plus, putting it in the hands of the Universe and still thinking: or I wait for sales, maybe already meant: okay so I will trust that it happens OR I will do it myself. Set for failure! I think for better results, one shall trust fully. But I might be wrong! Still a newbie!

Would be awesome to hear your manifesting stories!

Happy New Year everyone!

Why Self-Love is not taking a bubble bath or getting yourself flowers

Although I’m all for them! And they might be a good start even. Actually in my opinion, the best thing about them is that you will take time, pause, rest, be! The first step to become more aware of anything and of what i want to talk about here: the connection with either your core-self or core-selves and/ or -depending on what you believe in – the connection with something higher (Universe, God, your Angels, Spirit Guides, whatever resonates more with you). I will talk about it as ‘being connected’ or ‘the connection’.

As i’ve experienced it recently, with the guidance of my coach, when I am connected, I get into the trust zone, I surrender, I relax. I can lean back and let things happen, knowing that I am being guided, that things work FOR me, that there is a bigger thing awaiting, yet still appreciating the now, feeling gratitude for the little things, feeling in flow, aligned. I am so content with myself and my life as it is that there is no lack of any kind. I’m in a peaceful state. That’s Self-Love!

Am I in this state 24/7 though? Of course not! It takes work, practice and repetition. It’s constantly remembering to pause, taking a step back to become the observer of the emotions popping up. My coach would say: it’s a decision. 

A personal example: the emotion that arises in me very easily is ANGER – my partner said to me recently: ‘I’m surprised you even do this work, cause you like to stay with your anger so much! Or maybe it’s just your cultural background!‘ Yeah I totally blame it on those french genes! – But it’s true I tend to cling onto this emotion and it’s hard work to detach from it, to come back to that connection, to not act or react on it. But when I remember to do it, it’s so worth it! Last week I read a quote in the book A Course in Miracles: Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is The weapon I would use against myself, to keep the miracle away from me. I know very new agey but read it again.

Are you interested in trying to stay connected during the holiday season? Yes?! Here we go:

A good way to start your day, would be to set the intention to stay connected or to be the observer, either writing it down or just thinking it when you wake up. Then throughout the day, every time something triggers you and you feel an emotion rising up, take that step back and become the observer again and again. Notice the sensations in your body and your thoughts without expressing them in that moment. Often we get angry, upset, etc. about the little things and the part of you that wants to express and ‘be right’ is not the same part that chooses the connection and happiness. And it’s not about suppressing anything either! It’s about taking that step back and noticing. You can always explain your point of view later on. Of course it’s easier said than done and if something major is happening that probably won’t work! Also if the emotion is too strong and you cannot handle it, maybe you could retreat for a moment and take a few breaths or go for a walk, ask for help to something higher – again only if that resonates, think of a mantra and repeat it mentally, listen to music, dance, do something that you know will alter your state. And if you really cannot do it and you explode during dinner (basically a normal Christmas in french families), well, it’s okay, don’t blame yourself, you are human, you tried, and you can try again next time, there will be plenty of opportunities! To finish on a nerdy note: may the force be with you and happy holidays!

Let me know how it goes: blissfulliving365@gmail.com

Slow living in Gottlieben

It all started with the need to make coffice last a little longer.

What is coffice? All credits to Bianca here for finding this perfect wordplay illustrating what we used to do on a weekly basis the Summer of 2019. A combo of Coffee and Office, in (preferably hipster) Cafés of Basel to work and talk about our business struggles and life.

It was my most inspiring meet up of the week and it was always too short!

So this year, we were going to spend a whole weekend together to have ALL the time in the world to catch up on EVERYTHING that has been happening! And work of course.

But where were we going to go? France? Germany? Switzerland? Nature or City? Forest or Lake? Both? We started sharing a few links in our WhatsApp group but nothing was really IT!

Until one day, as I was scrolling through the Gram, I stumbled upon THE GEM! It was the new place Carla had just opened in Gottlieben, a tiny town on the Lake of Constance, Swiss side in Thurgau.

Carla is the founder of Localholic, a company offering tours to show the work of local businesses. You can find all local-heroes here.

The company was born in Basel and expanded throughout Switzerland. The headquarters are now on the shores of the Lake of Constance where she recently opened an Oasis: a Café (with Kaffemacher coffee from Basel) called Dein Lieblingscafé - always full cause it’s so good, a Stand-Up-Paddleboard / Kayak rental – for the Uncle Berry Fin in all of us, a very cute bed & breakfast and last but not least: a co-working space where workshops will start taking place in the Fall. The local tours are of course happening there too and creativity is not lacking in this area!

Apparently it’s a common thing for artists to come to Gottlieben. Across the street, there is the Bodmanhaus a house for Literature and just underneath it, a Bookbinding Atelier Handbuchbinderei Merten Inspiration is in the air, Bianca can feel it too, typing away on her laptop! At this pace, her book will come out before the due date!

The whole town makes me want to take pictures all the time (as well as Carla’s paradise, but I’ll come back to that later). All the shapes, colors, the flowers, the architecture, the cobble stones streets, the water, the boats slowly passing by, everything here blends perfectly together, just like the Affogato I had as we got here yesterday! The perfect place on my slow living / follow your bliss journey it seems.

We stand-up-paddled to the local buvette and took a boat ride to get pizzas both in the sunset (and the dark on the way back!) When Carla says: Erlebnis-Tour, be prepared for anything! Especially to have the most fun you’ve had in a while!

A few words about the Oasis now: everywhere I look inspires me, every corner, every vase, every magazine and cup is gourmet food for my soul! Carla has taste and good taste that’s for sure! But it’s not only that, as Bianca told her this morning: 'we can feel how much love you put into this place!' A good-vibe-place, that's what Carla built! You just want to spend time here, have 1000 coffees, chill and create whatever!

Thank you ladies for the amazing weekend I’ll be back for more bliss!

Humor is…

The definition my partner gave at breakfast one morning: humor is the ability to take a step back and look at something in a detached way, to offer a new perspective on things to yourself and other people. 
It ultimately meets spirituality because you become the observer and don’t identify with your emotions and environment. It also allows you to speak out the unspeakable.  

It reminded me of this video with Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years ago and explains how they 'chose to fight with humor because it's a coping mechanism' and that sentence in particular really hit me: 

'It just becomes a second nature to instinctually process information through that lens, you can either sit in the MRI for 2 hours freaking out about what's wrong with me, what's gonna happen, why are these noises so loud?! Or you can say: why is this so hilarious right now?! And it helps get through the trauma'. 

Till and I loved the sentence so much, we wrote it down and put it on our kitchen wall with other kinds of affirmations #nerds

Humor is so much more than just a joke and I see humor as a way to 
stay sane, a way to not get involved too much, a way to be in your 
romantic relationship especially or any kind of interaction, a way to live! 

Where can you find humor this week?

Why I do Podcasts

The podcast Elie’s coffee talks started as a conversation at an airport. You can read the whole story in the About section.

Step by step, it developed towards what it is today:

a podcast about creative entrepreneurs from (mostly) Basel in the best Cafés, over the best Coffee.

The main topics are:

Entrepreneurship | Self-development | Spirituality | Holistic Health | Creativity

 

 

Why Cafés?

because I was spending most of my time in those beautiful places – still will be when they open again post coronavirus, soon! inshallah – to either work or to meet friends, most of them entrepreneurs (that’s why they had time to meet!). I started noticing a common thread: we were always having the best conversations. This is very personal of course, for me, Cafés are the best setting: you are sitting across from one another, focused only on what the person is saying, while being surrounded by a nice deco (love interior design without knowing anything about it) AND you have this rush of caffeine which makes ideas travel quicker in your own brain and also from your brain to the other person’s brain – not a scientific fact of course but that’s how it feels to me – I researched some scientific facts below though (nerd emoticon). Some people have more transcendental experiences in Nature or while walking, I love sitting in Cafés. And as I was spending so much time in those places, talking, I thought: let’s monetize this time! Kidding still not monetized! But that’s how Elie’s coffee talks was born!

Now a few ‘scientific’ words about caffeine:

A recent study threw some light on this effect, showing that caffeine, as a potent psychostimulant, facilities faster information processing—causing brain networks to connect with more speed and efficiency—through a process of “cerebral entropy,” even when the brain isn’t actively engaged. The researchers reported they found that caffeine “increased resting brain activity irregularity or complexity, suggesting an increase of information processing capacity in the resting brain.”  So the high octane injection may provide an ongoing boost to brain processing beyond the brief period of immediate effects.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/06/29/three-things-caffeine-does-in-your-brain/#42872651876f

I also listened to the book Caffeine by Michael Pollan that was pretty interesting. He talks about the Science of Caffeine but also the History of Coffee and Tea, where it comes from and how it traveled through the world to end up pretty much everywhere. I recommend it to every Coffee Nerd!

 

Why Entrepreneurs?

I believe in going back to basics, to local and small businesses and towards a more simple way of living like slow living.

I believe in high quality services and products and genuinely enjoy promoting them.

I also believe in a future of Entrepreneurship. You might argue that not everyone is made to be an Entrepreneur and it’s true BUT I see it this way: if everyone starts to find their purpose and who they truly are, their unique gifts, etc. won’t they want to create their own thing then somehow?

About what follows, I know that Wikipedia doesn’t have the best rep but I compared a few definitions and those are the ones I liked the most, so no it wasn’t laziness!

entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is often initially a small business.

 

Why Creatives?

creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a printed literary work, or a painting).

First of all: I love that Wikipedia includes the joke example in its definition of creativity! #standup.

While entrepreneurship is business oriented, creativity, even though modernly defined as valuable or useful, to me, doesn’t need to be either. It doesn’t need a goal, nor a quantitative measurement such as making money. By adding the creative component, my aim was to integrate something that doesn’t need a purpose apart from existing.

As I kept reading the definition, my eye got caught by the Ancient definition: it is commonly argued that the notion of “creativity” originated in Western culture through Christianity, as a matter of divine inspiration. (…) In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, creativity was the sole province of God; humans were not considered to have the ability to create something new except as an expression of God’s work. A concept similar to that of Christianity existed in Greek culture, for instance, Muses were seen as mediating inspiration from the Gods. Romans and Greeks invoked the concept of an external creative “daemon” (Greek) or “genius” (Latin), linked to the sacred or the divine.

I don’t consider myself a religious person but I believe like Steven Pressfield says in his book The War of Art that there is something divine in the creative process. He, for example, always invokes his muse before he starts writing and I think it’s humbling to see it in this way. It also takes the pressure off either failing or succeeding!

I know I know it sounds Esoteric but hey I used to teach Yoga after all!

 

Why share?

The kind of question I ask:

What would you do with more time? | What would you do with more money? | What does a typical day looks like? | What did you do before? | What do you see yourself doing in the future? | What is your self-care routine? | What is work for you? | What did you learn on your journey to entrepreneurship?

The first 2 questions I wrote here: the time and money questions, I started asking them because I was interested in the Universal Basic Income and in my own (rebel) way wanted to prove to the older generation (usually against it) that when (young) people have more money and more time they won’t become lazy. Most guests I had on the podcast would use the money to create bigger projects. They would also donate more. And of course enjoy life and travel more but most people would do exactly what they are doing already but bigger, with more impact.

Some questions are more related to my background as a Yoga Teacher and Holistic Health Geek. It’s important to know how to take care of yourself as an entrepreneur to not fall into the trap of working 24/7. Stefie says on Podcast #10: make your health a priority cause life gets easier if you are healthy!

Other questions are process-oriented (entrepreneurship) to show people who want to do something else that it IS possible! To show them that people who are just like them, did it, so they can do it too! To show that it all starts with a thought, an idea. To show that when people allow themselves to think they can do it, they actually can end up doing it!

Sometimes we also dive into self-development cause I think it goes very well with Entrepreneurship and I like to use this sentence to illustrate it: working FOR yourself is working ON yourself. I experienced it as a self-employed Yoga Teacher. It was tough, it was a process where you learn about yourself. You start noticing what you are good at and not good at, what you like doing and don’t like. Cause you do everything by yourself at the beginning. You keep learning about new things all the time and maybe even start thinking differently. And just like artists, you are expressing yourself through what you are doing and you get evaluated for it. It puts you in a vulnerable position but it’s a great learning experience (as long as you can stay detached from the whole thing! Easier said than done! I’ll develop in another post that is already in the making!).

 

It was important for me to write those ‘why‘ because at the beginning of the corona period I thought of dropping the podcast altogether. I was thinking: yes it is cool but what kind of impact is it having really?! Maybe I’d better record meditations or something (which I actually started doing as well) because that will really help people! And also I really didn’t want to do the interviews online (and still won’t do that) because like Anika said: virtual coffee, is like virtual sex, just not the same! (this sentence will go viral soon!)

While this period was (/still is) great to question one’s life choices, sometimes -often – I find myself questioning waaaay too much and realized that I don’t have to SAVE the world, that I’m allowed to do things just because I love the process and find them inspiring for myself and hopefully others! (blogpost about GUILT coming soon!)

I actually rediscovered my aims by listening to a podcast myself: a ‘podcast about life and comedy’ Un café au Lot 7 (funnily around coffee as well) hosted by Louis Dubourg. I was listening to episode 3 with Marina Rollman. Because of the content and form, it was like listening to a friend’s conversation which made it very pleasant to listen to. Plus because I could identify with the guest speaker so much (because of her age, where she is from, her background, etc.) I became super inspired and it made me want to work on something right away. Anything. Anything that would take me closer to what I envision. Which I did as soon as got home and it made me feel so alive and happy! So thanks Marina and Louis!

 

I hope Elie’s coffee talks will also inspire you to do whatever you feel most drawn to! To express yourself, to create, to start that thing you’ve been wanting to do for a while! Let me know if you have questions, i’d love to help!

And if you consider yourself a creative entrepreneur, please reach out, maybe we can go for coffee and talk!

Sending Love and Health to all!

 

My 10 day IG detox and Meditation

At the beginning of April, I decided to go off Facebook & Instagram for 10 days.

 

Why?

I was spending way too much time on it in general (especially Instagram, I semi-quit Facebook a while ago cause it was too overwhelming with its events, ads, your friends holidays, groups, pages, etc.). I’m sure you’ve found yourself on the couch or the toilet scrolling scrolling scrolling, checking out profiles you don’t care about that much – someone you met 4 years ago and you wanted to know what she/ he is up to after all these years and from there, you check out another profile and another one – and you suddenly notice 1 hour has passed! What a waste of time no?! I guess anything else could have been more productive / useful / creative?!

These days, there was way too much information about the virus (what to do to be safe, what to do if you are bored, what not to do, conspiracy theories, other news). EVERY SINGLE post was about that and whether I wanted or not, it was affecting me and creating more fear or anger, frustruation, helplessness, or raising more questions.

Also at the same time, my partner and I started a course from Dr. Joe Dispenza and were meditating a couple hours / day – still are –  and first of all it takes time – 2 hours – and second of all, it’s easier to meditate when your head is not full of information and emotions already! I wanted to, as we say in French: mettre toutes les chances de mon côté translating as:  put the odds on my side (yes you can also learn French in this post!) to give my body mind and spirit the opportunity to ‘meditate properly’. Be more focused or trying to be because even without social media, let’s be honest, it’s hard work!

 

What happened:

At the beginning, my Instagram app being next to my What’s App app on my phone, I was noticing that muscle memory made my thumb always go on the IG app even though my mind was not thinking/ wanting to go on it. It was just a reflex and that’s how I noticed how bad the habit actually got! And I guess it’s the same for many other habits I developed like the habit of constantly checking my phone when it’s lying next to me, although I might have checked it 30 seconds ago and I’m not really expecting any important message. I’m not an expert about habits so I won’t talk about it. I will just say that the thumb habit was easily changed by – after the recommendation of a friend of mine – putting the app on an other page of my phone like ideally the last page, in order to make it less likely to reproduce the habit. And it worked, thanks Anika!

I also noticed that IG became my search engine for things like pictures of places or the work of famous people like this one time when I wanted to check out the memes of a Swiss Comedian after I had watched one of his Youtube videos. It didn’t even occur to me that I could check his website! So i waited until yesterday to check the memes as it wasn’t super crucial to know like probably 90 % of the research we do online.

TBH I didn’t miss it at all (this time). Cause I knew how beneficial it would be. So I did it seriously.

But I remember ‘failing’ at digital detoxing too! Twice! The first time was during my first Yoga Teacher Training in Bali a few years ago. We were asked to stay in silence and not use our phones until breakfast which was after the first meditation and practice of the day. But I remember very well sitting on the toilet and scrolling through Facebook at 6 a.m.! Facebook was stronger than my will! Or maybe it was because of the fact that ‘I HAD to do it’ and since I’m a french rebel that approach didn’t work?! Or maybe it’s because I was still young and didn’t have the wisdom I have today?! I don’t know. The second fail was during a 10 day Yin YTT in Thailand with a famous teacher from the U.S. and this time, it was forbidden to use our phones the whole 10 day but they were not taken from us, we had them in our rooms so the temptation was great and I succumbed after a few days!

It’s not the first time I do it seriously either. The first time was during Vipassana Meditation over New Year but more on that below.

When I went back on IG after 11 days – because I was not ready on day 10 – I logged in, checked my messages, the comments and likes and logged out 5 min later cause that was enough already! They say it takes 60 days to change a habit but 11 did the trick!

If you have never tried it I highly recommend it, especially during this special time! You might notice that the world won’t stop turning even though you are not following everything your friends and favorite influencers are doing! You might also notice that your mind is less agitated and that you actually HAVE time for all the things you were saying you didn’t have time for! But I’ll stop here because if you are a rebel like me, you won’t do it if I insist too much!

And if you are not a Millennial reading this, maybe try with a detox from another app/ habit?!

 

Now the meditation part:

It REALLY all started with Vipassana.

A bit of context cause I haven’t really talked about it yet apart from on podcast #23 with Sabrina Krämer who was at Vipassana at the same time as me over New Year 2019-2020 in Jura, Switzerland.

Vipassana is a 10 day-meditation-retreat where you meditate 10 hours / day in silence – more in the links where it’s written Vipassana and I can’t wait to share the stand-up version of it as soon as it’s allowed to gather in public spaces again!

It’s only since coming out of this retreat in January this year that I have a daily meditation practice because:

1. One hour or 2 per day is nothing compared to 10 hours! It’s almost easy (although some days it’s definitely NOT!)

2. Because I now know about the benefits and potential of this practice. I made it a priority and that’s the only way you do or don’t do something in life, when you decide whether or not it is a priority. It’s that simple! An example: when you say you don’t have time to see your friends or to exercise, it’s not true, it’s just not your priority and with meditation it’s the same. I hear you arguing but be honest with yourself.

Before that, I would meditate here and there and never really keep a daily routine although I have been practicing Yoga for the past decade and teaching even for a few years but le cordonnier est toujours le plus mal chaussé  (really learning a foreign language in this post!), translation: the shoemaker is always wearing the worst shoes. There was always an event that would make me forget to meditate, in other words, I always had an excuse for not doing it regularly!

I know you are eager to know about the benefits, that’s probably how you’ll consider whether you want to start meditating or not.

 

Here they come:

The major positive effect I noticed after the 10 day-course was that I felt immensely well in my body and that was a surprise for me because I was suffering from chronic back pain for the past 2 years and was not looking forward to the retreat at all because I thought that all that sitting would be unbearable – and it was, but more mental pain than physical. Of course I saw many different therapists prior to the retreat and they all helped but no kind of healing really lasted. Day after day I was feeling better and better in my body. The meditation was creating space and I would cry of joy when noticing that because finally I was able to move freely! It was very liberating and unexpected! Although S.N. Goenka‘s teacher said: it shouldn’t be the first goal to do Vipassana to heal your health problems, I feel that it is important to share this positive effect! Nowadays, even if the back pain shows up once in a while, I feel much much better and even started practicing yoga at home again, a huge win for me because I had to stop practicing asanas because of it! You only appreciate everything your body can do once it cannot do it anymore!

For the ladies: one week after coming out of the center, I got my periods and I’m part of those women – like I guess pretty much EVERY SINGLE WOMAN these days – who has PMS and cramps and migraines and cravings, etc. Well guess what? Nothing this time! No migraine no cramps no mood swings, not even hungrier than usual, nada! It was amazing! Of course it didn’t stay this way, one month later it went back to the usual aches and pains, because: modern life oblige! But when I really stick to 2 hours / day, no matter what, the pain is not so great, the migraine becomes a slight headache. Now my partner cannot predict my cycle anymore!

Another physical positive effect: it’s still the beginning of the season but so far I don’t have spring allergies! It’s really enjoyable to walk outside (I live in Switzerland and we are not quarantined here) and not have to sneeze every 30 seconds.

An emotional change this time: (of course when I came out of the 10 day-course the effects were X 10 but I still notice the change now) I feel more calm, peace, serenity, less anger, more joy, more gratitude. I have better relationships, better communication, more compassion, etc. (side note: I use many other tools also to feel happier, it’s not JUST the meditation that got me to that happier state, maybe I’ll talk about it in another post maybe not and second sidenote: of course it’s still work in progress!).

Also more focus in my work and more acceptance of where I’m at. No social media helps too for both!

Now I’m not sure everybody will see that as positive but: I need less entertainment time! Less movies, less interacting with people. I find many things not as enjoyable as before, they got sometimes neutral or even boring but not in a negative way. I do more NOTHING.

 

Recommendations:

  • No you don’t have to start with a 10 day retreat where you meditate 10 hours a day to have a regular practice (although it definitely helps), there are plenty of Youtube videos and apps to accompany you on your meditation journey. You can start with guided meditation, it might be easier than trying to only think of nothing. There will be some appearing on this website soon too!
  • You can sit on a chair or your couch, against a wall, you don’t have to sit on the floor if it’s not comfortable for you.
  • Less is more: start with a few minutes like 5, 6 or 10min, not more at the very beginning cause it will be challenging enough. I used to do 6 min and couldn’t even keep my eyes closed during this time. I used to find it long!
  • Don’t feel guilty if you forget to do it!
  • The most important is to make your body sit and tell your body to stay seated! EVERY SINGLE DAY ideally.
  • Priorities! You might have to give up something you are doing to be able to meditate, especially if it’s longer periods of time like 20min, 30min or 1 hour. So maybe think of something you do in your life right now that you could do less, I don’t know, maybe like scrolling and scrolling and scrolling 😉

Martinique

Warm moist air, french spoken everywhere, bakeries, Créole cuisine, exotic fruits, turquoise water, friendly people, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the Island!

Although I must admit, it wasn’t love at first sight cause it sometimes takes a few days (sometimes even months) to get used to a new place, even in paradise. But then you can’t picture yourself elsewhere anymore. You are in the moment, nothing else matters. And it’s usually when it’s time to leave that you want to stay (forever). That’s how human beings work, paradoxal beings. Or is it just me?! 😉 Then when you do go back to this place you call HOME, with every journey you took, you bring something back with you or leave something behind.

But back to Martinique! We stayed in the South in Trois-Îlets at La Pointe du Bout and mostly visited white sandy beaches and restaurants in that area. We also visited briefly St-Pierre, Le Carbet and Fort de France which I recommend visiting from the ocean side, on a sailing tour. If you stay in the South, many agencies offer day tours to see dolphins and visit those 2 or 3 towns. A ferry also departs to Fort de France from La Pointe du Bout every hour or so.

We stayed only for a week which is a bit short if you want to explore all the beaches, hiking trails, sailing tours, etc. and still have time to chillax a bit/ a lot. I would highly recommend 2 weeks or a year!

Here are a few beaches worth a swim but first and foremost a few restaurants worth a meal (because FOOD!):

 

 

Restaurants:

 

Le bistrot d’en face IMG_20190516_103647

Restaurant Le Pitaya in the Hotel La Pagerie (only evening)

 

Le Kano for it’s amazing view and original cuisine

 

La Suite Villa also for the view and Haute CuisineIMG_20190516_130126

The pottery village:

Located at Trois-Îlets, at the end of a dusty road, you will find an Oasis of good food, artsy shops and more! We took a pottery class and ate lunch there a couple times. Here are a few gems La Mandoline, Le Jardin des Saveurs and O’Coup d’Coeur for a tea & pastry.

 

And beautiful Beaches:

L’Anse Dufour for the Turtles ❤IMG_20190516_082403

 

La pointe du bout for its little covesIMG_20190512_101419

 

 

Les Anses d’Arlet for its sub-marine life and cute villageIMG-20190517-WA0016

 

 

Our Food Bible during the trippage_1_thumb_large

 

Enjoy!