Category Archives: Reflections

fly, run, walk

Dear legs,

Today was the first time in a long long time I asked you to run for me on my regular home round around the Promenade in Münster. It was fabulous to have you work together with my heart and lungs to let me forget myself, and enjoy as simple and raw a sensation as fast, self-sustained movement.
For the most part we flew, and it was only towards the end that we slowed to a run to cool down, and finally walked when we met Terry at the end.
Maybe we can go back to doing this more often again.

With love, and gratefulness,

the prized possessions, pictured with the north face’s ‘better than naked’ shorts – not pictured: my sweatyashell face

My self-made passion planner / filofax

DSC03508 smallI finally found the time to make my own much-needed personal planner – a place for everything I regularly need to work with on paper, from weekly appointments to blog post ideas, from systematic to-do lists to figuring out the actual steps needed for my goals, plus the layout and space to put it all into practice throughout the week. Because plans are nothing if you do not manage to act on them, for whatever reason, right?

I spent a while browsing stores and the internet for purchasable folder planners before, but all the nice ones are grossly overpriced. I would have felt stupid to buy one. Besides, a creative DIY project is always fun!

the landing page

So when a post from odernichtoderdoch online magazine (in German) offered tips for how to make one, and I stumbled over the perfect weekly layout in the form of the free pdf for the epic America-based passion planner, I decided to craft my own lovely planner. And I am soooo very happy with how it has turned out!

a planned-and-lived first chaotic week (yet with integrated do lists)
the blank weekly passion planner layout

I aimed at a combination between an individualistic and pretty planner and a clean practical style, letting the planner feel personal but well-suited for the actual grown-up life of a somewhat scatterbrained person with many ideas, dreams, and goals. The layout of the passion planners is perfect for that; and it comes with a system of developing for yourself your dreams and goals and what matters – and suggestions for how to break them down into manageable steps that you can insert into your everyday life in the weekly layouts.

And for me the planner has already worked, because while developing my goal of finishing up my Master’s degree, I realised I finally need to hand in this quite finished but long overdue paper that has been sitting in my computer (and in my head) for way too long. And I did hand it in this week! Wooooo!

So on the whole, I think the planner is quite ready for more heavy and regular usage. And while I would hate for it to feel cramped with useless knick-knack, I think I may yet add an elastic to keep the folder closed, and more of the registers to quickly jump to my systematic to do lists. Maybe a bookmark for the current week, too.

an example of my systematic to do lists
top view with weekly layouts from July to December 2015 on 180 g paper, plus my to do lists on 120 g

My warmest thanks go to Angelia Trinidad of passion planner for investing so much love and thoughtfulness into making the layouts, and then putting up the planner pdf for free (for overseas students living on a tight budget like me, for example) on the passion planner website, where you are also offered the option to donate a small amount instead which will go to a charity – how lovely is that? – and to Jessi of odernichtoderdoch online magazine for inspiring me with handy tips to just make a planner myself! All my gratefulness and all the power to you, ladies 🙂

Do you have a planner? How do you like its style, and do you actually use it for anything? If you have any tips for other tweaks or proposals, please let me know!

to treat myself to dirty feet

to treat myself to dirty feet

Beneath my bare feet, the ground comes alive. Or maybe my feet come alive? There is so much to sense, and to react to and so much to be adjusted accordingly while I walk. The feeling of fresh wind gliding over naked toes is so out of the ordinary; it fills me with childlike wonder and joy each and every time!

There are not many things which are as easy, surprisingly satisfying and healthy as simply taking off those shoes and going barefoot, no? How nice it feels to actually experience the ground. It is like being given a whole new sense. The possibility to walk and run like this is one thing I love summer for; on soft grass, on sun-heated concrete, on slightly wet earth.

Have you tried walking or running barefoot lately, or have you had any sensations that felt all new?
How did you feel?

To DFW an Elevator

In the turtle speed elevator of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Münster, 2013. About two weeks before the building’s impending demolition.

To DFW an Elevator small

“[I]f you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do this.”

David Foster Wallace, quoted from David Lipsky: “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace (2010)”

This was something wildly enjoyable. A mixture of permanency, public exposure – a permanent marker on the wall of a regularly used elevator – and transience – the building being demolished soon after.

There was a magic in this combination, and in the faces of the people who read the quote.

‘You know, I really like this about you, that you …’

It occured to me that I should take a bit of time to ponder again what I like about my friends and tell them.

I think we tend to assume that our friends somehow simply know that the things we know we like about them are really cool – personality traits, interests, tastes and opinions, or ways to live – but I guess that is not always so. People always have doubts and wonder how they can be a better, more-fully-themselves version of themselves, in their own terms; and if you tell them what you appreciate about them, in your terms, you can open up a really special window of communication. You can take part in your friend’s persistent internal debate that we all have with ourselves, usually unshared.

And as little as a simple comment like this – ‘You know, I really like this about you, that you …’ – shows your recognising, acknowledging and reflecting on their very own human project of self-creation. That’s a really neat message to convey, isn’t it?

i really like you
i really like this about you, terry

Yellow Roses // To Love, and to Remember

It always happens the same way, several times during each visit. She sees the yellow roses I brought, her face lights up, and she retells the story. Although her dementia tends to wildly jumble her stories together, she always gets this one right.

It was shortly after the end of the second world war; she and grandfather were going to marry. But no matter how hard he tried, he simply could not find any red roses for her bouquet. In the end, he had to take yellow roses – the only roses he could find. From that day on, he always gave her yellow roses. Each and every anniversary, every birthday, yellow roses, for her.

She always gets this story right.

Yellow Roses
For a visit

“We are one, we are alive”

In the time leading up to this New Year’s Eve, as usual, I felt a sort of resentfulness towards all the impending excess: all the drunk dolled up people, all the unnecessary expensive fireworks, all the noise and the waste afterwards in every street of every city.

But as it happens, the experience itself once more overturned my initial grumpiness. When the clock struck midnight, I stood at my attic floor window and marvelled at all the lights and colours outside like a child. There were so many in every direction, the air was filled with the shrill sounds of rockets and firecrackers, the night sky illuminated again and again by short-lived magnificent showers of radiant lights. For a blissful moment, I felt very much at peace; once again, for the first time in a long while, feeling very much a part of the society I happen to have been born into, feeling very much a part of this contingent community of humans that revels in the tradition of greeting each and every new year with an explosion of noise and shimmering lights, again and again, without questioning it. We do this because it simply is the kind of thing we like to do, and it is beautiful. That’s enough, and it feels warm and sound when it is enough.

“We are one, we are alive”
Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys

Bonus: My Dad is a Kid

My 60-year old Dad on New Year's Eve a few years ago. He's lovely like that, with his usual combination of a formal jacket and a hoodie jacket beneath.
My 60-year old Dad on New Year’s Eve a few years ago. He’s lovely like that, with his usual combination of a formal jacket and a hoodie jacket beneath.

What is, and what could have been // Details

I like tea as well as coffee, and I drink a lot of tea. If I did not have such a nervous tummy, prone to respond to coffee with heartburn and cramps, I think I might also have become a regular coffee drinker deeply interested in the whole thing – procedures, beans, origins, traditions, roasting, preparations. But as it stands, I’ll continue going to coffeeshops, begin by marvelling at the splendid aromas in the air, but proceed by skipping over the coffees on the menu most of the time and order something else instead.

It’s queer, what could have been, it’s in the little things, it’s in the details.

What is, and what could have been