It usually hits me when I’m cycling. The physical motion is inviting to a state of mindfulness and, from there, this inner-awareness often arises. It starts out with this feeling that there’s something I need to get rid of. As if I were carrying too many things on me, things that ‘don’t belong’. I might be tired, feel spaced out, or unsettled.
It was January 2014. From the beginning of that month, I would have to commit to a Dutch language course, every Tuesday and Thursday evening, at a building called De Potgieter, located at a pretty square in Amsterdam West. I had finished a beginner’s course around one year before that. The municipality of Amsterdam, who was paying for my studies, had stated I could not postpone the attendance of the second level anymore. Otherwise, they would stop financing me. Sounded fair. It was a now or never situation, thus. I was hoping it’d work.
“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so you apologize for the truth” // Benjamin Disraeli
“I am afraid I can’t fall in love anymore”, my friend tells me, with a smartphone in hand, his Tinder account left open. The shiny screen he holds so tightly is a promise of happiness in the form of endless beautiful faces smiling at you, stating availability, opening a passage to something greater than the dullness of everyday life, the loneliness most of us know all too well.
Should I really write about this?
Here’s yet another photo of my laptop, gazing the viewer from a terrace on a sunny day, cappuccino on the side. The caption reads: “all the perks of freelancing summed up in one photo”. I posted this and proceeded to make calculations on how to pay next month’s rent, followed by sending e-mails asking when am I supposed to get honorariums from jobs I have long ago delivered.
I realise the irony of the situation and decide to make up for the delusory image. Next story I post, same picture, different caption: “Hey, don’t be fooled. There are plenty of downs, too. Should I write about this?”.
In August 2017 I wrote this little piece on feeling sombre while I was house-sitting at a friends’ place in De Pijp. I had no house of my own at the time and that might have contributed to the gloominess that took hold of me. However, I believe that this could have taken place on a regular day, on regular life circumstances, and I want to share it with you today. “Sad is bad” is how this piece started. Well, let’s move on to the text and you’ll probably see what I mean.
A pile of clothes, the blogger, and her stylist friend. Brace yourselves.
One year ago Linda and I got together, on a mission. To make my wardrobe great again. Today I am stoked to announce that we have done it once more. You might remember the rules of the game: there are no rules, basically. Linda comes and makes whatever the combinations she wants with the clothes I already own. Sustainability is the word here. Creativity as well.
In case you get excited about this experiment, know that Linda is launching her personal styling services, and she is offering a styling session to one of Amsterdive’s readers. Photoshoot included! Read more about that at the end of the article.
Once upon a time, there was a personal article about work and yoga. It started with this quote:
“Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of the action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction” Bhagavad Gita
Then I clicked on the wrong button and it all disappeared. Puf. Just like that.
Get tickets to the next SHFT Happens via this link: MAKE SHFT HAPPEN using Amsterdive’s DISCOUNT CODES for 30% off, 20% off & 10% off:
* SHFT Happens work-immersion * April 7 * Rent24 (Magna Plaza), Amsterdam
When you start working on a project, whatever the nature of it, it’s like you’re trying to get a rusty engine to work. It will take time until you actually see some sort of motion going on. As cliche as this sounds, all you can do is work hard every day. More often than not, it will take quite a while until something visible occurs because there are no shortcuts to these things. This is especially true when you are starting whatever you’re starting from scratch. When you have no relevant connections in a specific field, sometimes no former education in it, when you have never done it before, starting a project is always a walk in the dark. Even if you have some sense of direction, you can’t really see where you’re heading to. It’s like you’re blindfolded but still, have to make your way to the other side of the road. It makes you nervous because your eyes are not used to the dark. Most people give up before they manage to get to the other side (or turn their engine on, if you will). It is just too much uncertainty. But here’s this: there are ways to make the crossing smoother and less scary. You could find a mentor, go to coaching, surround yourself with creative people, go co-work with people from your field, inspire yourself with the example of more experienced folks. Or you could do all of this at the same time. Usually, that’s when SHFT HAPPENS.
I have always loved Christmas. I feel it is a time for cosiness and introspection, and so I try to pay special attention to those around me and honour the blessings I receive. It only makes sense to spend Christmas in Amsterdam, for it is here that I feel home.
Some of you might be acquainted with the fact that my mum usually spends Christmas in Amsterdam with me. This year will be an exception. Mum is spending Christmas in the tropics and, oh well, who can blame her? So I will recap some of the things we have done together on Christmasses from previous years so that I both celebrate this lovely lady from whom I got my smile (they say) and hopefully give you some ideas for the following days.
Lisbon whispered in my ear:
Come. I have coffee and crispy pastéis de nata waiting for you.