Last year as a fun way to keep myself visually motivated I turned my callender into a stickerbook...I loved them when I was a child and it turned out to be a fun method all of 2017.
The callender is available for 2018 from Beagle Freedom Project, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates Beagles that have been used for experimentation in laboratories.
In my last blog I revealed that our wish for 2018 is to become parents. If anyone is actually following my fitness trackers (fine if not) it's clear now that I am becoming immersed in a Yoga, Tai Chi-Qigong, and meditation routine; in addition to my normal treadmill workouts which have been trimmed to 60 minutes three times a week.
I am so pleased and astounded by the difference taking that reflective time out makes in the flow of my entire day---which since starting second semester this Monday is not always the easiest on account of my workload, commute and less than zen colleagues. Some form of moving meditation and self reflection should be added to anyone's workout routine. I promise, you will get massive returns.
With my middle schoolers, many of whom are managing ADHD and literacy learning difficulties I have started doing a 5-10 minute meditation at the beginning of every 90 minute block. Even a 10% positive return makes the world of difference to them. We mainly
As someone who wishes/could be expecting I wish for the energy and lifeforce streaming to my child to be a calm and centered one. I do believe that even in the womb we can have experiences of the divine and if nothing else I want the love that I show through deliberate self care to bless my baby.
Last Sunday I also attended a new church with an American colleague. I am a baptized Catholic and used to attend on and off an English language mass in Duesseldorf. It was fine but there was no sense of fellowship or community :( I would feel a temporary flicker of inspiration at Mass and then totally dejected walking back to the tram stop without as much of a word from other parishioners.
This new church in Cologne has completely caught me off guard. I felt like I was back in the US, at a mega church, born again type service. The vigour and passion displayed by the people attending was incredible. ...but more so....observing the crowd. Multicultural yes but mainly young Germans with their friends and with their families *really* *truly* experiencing the message of peace. I couldn't believe it.
The reality is, that here in Western Europe, many people look down on any kind of religion or 'moral code.' I believe that there is no right or wrong spiritual or religious path, but I do believe that people should be raised with some variation of spirituality. That isn't happening here as much as it should and speaking as a middle-high school teacher the output is sad. ...So when I see young Germans that are turning away from the massive smoke, drink, drugs, party hard to be cool, selfie...social media fixated-manipulation that even my ten years olds are struggling with---I embrace it. I embrace hope and loving others as you love yourself.
On a more pragmatic front, it's getting easier to cut out the coffee. I am down to one mug a day which is approximately half milk. I am also in a very clear and cut sleep schedule: 8:00 pm to bed and 4:00 am to rise. For many readers that sounds tough, but I assure you because I am naturally a morning bird (as they say in German) and I have that long commute to Cologne everyday---it works very well. I feel great.