The last day of the month.
I meet you today on the last day of the month, which is not the last Sunday of the week.
My blogging Sundays must sometimes be interrupted, although like missing yoga one day, it does feel fairly odd now.
This week my Sunday was still spent in front of the computer, but instead of reflecting on the week for you, I was finishing a training plan for an upcoming trial (public) training that I will be offering in May.
So, am I living in this time or making it happen?
To say that I am a little stressed would be something of an understatement. As I said in my last post, this month has surprised me in that I suddenly have a lot on my plate.
Believe me, I am not complaining, I have chosen to be in this position. I actively made choices that put me where I am today. The hope is that doing so, will pay off in the end.
The sun helps keep me hopeful of good things to come.
While I am reflecting on my month of German, which was incredibly difficult to get started, I am also taking this moment to consider my stress, of my own making.
I’ll return to the German language practice in a moment.
At the beginning of the pandemic, roughly one year ago, at that time the stress was not welcome.
Something shifted in me in December. Thanks to the situation I live in and because of where I am living, my family can work from home and has since the beginning. It was incredibly tough at its start. There was so much uncertainty and darkness, despite the beautiful weather we were blessed with then. I think one of the aspects that saved my sanity at that time was the weather.
Today the sun is shining bright with the blue sky blanketing me in its possibility.
Something shifted in December, I realized that I did not want to continue down the path I had subsequently begun to traverse in March 2020, or even sometime before that. The idea that life is too short re-emerged and I understood that I let too much time pass without goals to strive for or life to live. I also shifted my perspective of how to look at the time given to me through the pandemic – I didn’t want to waste another moment.
I didn’t want time to run out with me looking back at my pandemic time thinking and wishing I could have or should have done more.
Why had I been putting off the things I decided years ago that I wanted to do? In roughly two weeks, the bumble of ideas crystalized as much as they could then, and I knew to trust them, to leap. I created my plan for 2021 and was off to figure out the rest as I went. It felt right, then, that that was enough. Here, I had the excuse of the New Year to start fresh. If need be, I could hide my desire for something different in that trope of a resolution, in case it didn’t quite work…
Well, it still might not completely, but three months in and I am already transfigured by the experience.
Life is made in the little moments. It is the choices we make, the big – yes, of course. However, more importantly, it is the little choices, like Meatless Mondays, and swapping milk for almond or oat milk. Deciding to finally try Yoga with Adriene‘s annual January 30 day ‘challenge’ eventually begins the snowball of us finding or becoming our authentic selves (again) that make the big, that make the life.
After all the memoirs, self-help, and leadership genre books I have devoured over the last twenty years – nearly all of them point to the message being inside you all along. It just needs the right situation, person, training, book, etc. to help you find that voice.
This is further reinforced by this course I am taking, learning about coaching and intercultural communication. Our job as coaches is not to tell others the answers, but to help them find the answers in themselves.
This is some powerful shit that too often gets lost in the muck of our distracted existence.
We grow up and become overly busy with what we think we should be doing, not with what we actually should be doing.
Nevertheless, how do we know what we should be doing if it isn’t this?
How to life, in four simple steps
Yes, I meant that as a verb.
First, I think, it is connecting with other humans. Unfortunately, something that not many of us have been able to safely do in the last year either because we are worried for the safety of others, the safety of ourselves, or both. Moreover, Zoom fatigue is real.
The next thing we don’t do enough, the heck outside.
Yes, the irony of me sitting here typing this as all of my windows are open with the sun shining in while life happens outside is not lost on me.
I have to schedule this into my week otherwise it often won’t happen and that sucks. Hello, modern world.
Third, move the body.
We weren’t meant to sit so much. Our bodies are not designed for this shit.
Here, for me as I am unable to go to the gym, yoga has become a lifeline, that I am still practicing daily, 99% of the time.
Fourth, listen to our inner voice.
What is your gut, heart, or spirit telling you? Instead of trying to quiet that voice, maybe try listening to it. It may send you in an initially uncomfortable direction, but that will likely leave you better off than where you started.
This leads me back to German language learning, see I told you we’d circle back.
Duolingo…I have so many questions, mainly…Why?! These are such odd translations to practice.
The voice in my head is not German
Having my seven-year-old bilingual son at home has been helpful as he loves screens. Any time he can be in front of a screen, he is happy and docile.
However, he is the perfect assistant to help with corrections and translations should I need it. So, we began watching the videos associated with the Deutsche Welle Learn German app (and website), “Das Deutschlabor”. It is a theme-focused video-based learning program. The themes include school, football, and fashion, for example. I think it is intended for younger learners, which is perfect for my son’s interest, and thus for the two of us together.
I’ve also restarted my Duolingo account. I hadn’t used it for years because I just became tired of it. I didn’t feel it was helping me learn or progress. However, after some time away, I see they have upgraded the program. My logging back on has inspired my husband to do the same. Domino effect, our son is now attempting to learn Spanish on the app too, while he also helps both my husband and me with our German programs. He loves the ‘story’ function.
The app offered me three days of ‘premium’ access, so I used that time to attempt to test out of as many lessons as I could as I had unlimited hearts. With the free program, the standard daily ‘heart’ allotment is five, which means you can miss up to five questions and not have to quit the lesson. In all, I tested out of 23 lessons, so I don’t feel as hopeless as I generally do with the language. I ended my premium access with two and a half hours of incredibly determined practice before bed. I wanted to test out of as many levels or subjects as I could before my time was up.
I do appreciate the Duolingo motto or tagline “Learn a language in 15 minutes a day” because they realize the devil is in the details, or that it’s the little things that add up to create the big things.
While I seriously struggled to start, once I did the few minutes of practice daily became easier and easier. That right there is the two-minute rule. If you can commit to just two minutes of an activity, you are bound to do it for longer. This might not always happen, but either way, if you can commit to two minutes a day – a new habit will soon simply be a part of your life.
All that said, the voice in my head is still speaking to me in English and sounds like my mother.