31.12.2021 | “Be More Kind, My Friends, Try To Be More Kind…”

Lyrics: “Be More Kind” ~ Frank Turner, 2018

2021 | Honestly? I can’t wait for this year to be over. I don’t know if the new year will be any better – whatever that even means – but, I’m really done with 2021 today. Nothing bad or so happened today, just a lot of memories coming up of all the crappy and hard moments regarding my mum’s health situation this year.

I went out to run some last minute food shopping errands – nothing I really needed, just comfort food and after this year I don’t want to feel guilty about that. Anyway, while I was out I stopped by our local church, because I had remembered that I wanted to put my mum’s name down for the Prayer of the Faithful six weeks after the day she died. Which is not the same as a mass read six weeks after, but something similar, I hope. It’s weird how these bits and pieces of Catholic rituals pop up in my mind every once in a while. I also lit a candle for her, because… catholic habit, I guess? 2007 was the year my mum almost had died for the first time after a severe heart attack with complications etc. It all happened at the end of November and she was still in hospital over Christmas and on till January. She was in stable condition by that point, so I felt it was ok to do the long planned “New Years Eve in Rome” I had planned with a few friends. I lit a candle for her in every church / cathedral we visited. In Rome, the capital of the Catholic World. Lots of candles. And she did live on for 14 more years, which was quite the achievement. We should be grateful for the additional time we got. And we are. It’s just hard to put it into perspective at the moment…

Rome, December 2007
Rome, December 2007

While I was driving around for my errands I drove past the main office of the nursing service we had employed for the few weeks my mum had been home. And also drove along similar routes to one of the three (!) nursing homes and one of the three (!) hospitals she had been in these past seven months. And so many stray thoughts popped up. Of all the phone calls we had to make and all the stuff we needed to organize and all the worries and the many, many hours driving to and from somewhere. The different COVID related visitations rules for the various institutions. Everything else that was going on and had to be handled.

It was a long and fucking hard year, let me tell you. I can’t wait for it to be over in few hours.

Books, Music and stuff in 2021 | It’s time for the lists of 2021 or the “best of” kind of compilations. I can’t really be bothered. The year was a blur to me media wise. A few artists I liked put out new albums, neither of which really hooked me in. The new Biffy album is ok, I guess. I loved to “discover” the Lottery Winners. Frank Turner never disappointed either, I mean… he could never, I think. He released some new songs from the upcomping album, most of which I liked so far. One, which absolutely blew me away. He’s also been a darling about tweeting links to both blog posts I sent him to read this year.

The other post was the one about the sea

I went to the movies once (I think?) this summer to watch a documentary and can’t recall watching a movie on any streaming platform. Couldn’t get interested in many (new) shows or new seasons of old shows this year either. Have rewatched – as background noise often enough – the Gilmore Girls almost twice. Comfort binge watching, I guess.

I’ve read over 100 books, which is a lot. To be honest, at least half of them might have mainly served as distraction from whatever I was going through or as avoidance technique to not deal with the thoughts or stuff I should be going through. I don’t know. I bet I couldn’t tell you the names of the main characters or the plot of those 50% or of even more. I’m not sure if I want to continue this mindless reading thing next year. There are also still many unread or “only started to read than put back” on my shelf as well. I really should give some of them another try, because in many cases they just felt too much (complicated, emotional, heavy) and not as if they were badly written.

Here are reviews of my three favourites though, which I often recommended this year when the question came up on Twitter:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Tyler Jenkins Reid, 2017

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V.E. Schwab, 2020

The Girls I’ve Been – Tess Sharpe, 2021

Those are all general fiction, I’d say. The first two are historical, the 2nd has some fantasy element as well. I’ve also read a lot of romance novels from historical to contemporary and queer and BPoC. I couldn’t stomach crime or thriller or anything like that and I doubt that will change any time soon. It doesn’t have to either. But I might try to read a bit more conscientious and less diversionary…

Intentions for 2022 | Not many. Be more kind, to myself especially. More self-compassion and less hating on myself. Be more active (which is actually part of being more kind to myself). Being more kind (to myself) encompass so much. Wish me luck!

And yes there are also hopes and wishes for 2022 about things I hope to be able to do – vacation abroad, go to Frank Turner gigs again… – but I’m afraid to jinx it by putting it down here in writing. This above doesn’t count as it is a mere example. My blog, my rules 😉

Now I’m off to try and write my “Letter of aspiration for 2022”, which is recommended by the lovely people organizing the online retreat I’m enrolled in at the moment…

30.12.2021 | Breathe In, Breathe Out…

The (Online) Buddhist Retreat | Just a few quick notes:

I don’t have enough space anywhere in my apartment to properly practice a Qi Gong stick exercise.

There is a Christmas tree in the meeting hall in the Buddhist monastery, which threw me off for a moment.

Even with all my app support I feel I could have checked in on my socials a little less. Tomorrow hopefully. One day at a time and all that.

With Zoom meetings all day long some internet connection somewhere had to break down eventually, right?

I really need to work on my attention span.

I learned at least two helpful quick “come back to the present moment” methods today, which I hope will help me in the future.

Not for the first time, but especially during the deep relaxation practice today I noticed the variety of colours and “symbols” I see with my closed eyelids. Though “see” probably is the wrong term, because my eyes are closed I don’t see anything. But you know what I mean. I think it depends on how much light there has been before and how hard / light you actually close your eyes? Anyway, for some reason I was reminded of this old photo I took in 2008.

Industrial Heritage Night, 2008
Industrial Heritage Night, 2008

When the sister who lead that mediation was talking about the brain for a moment another thought popped up (yes I know, I should have just let it go and focus on my breathing and I did, after I made a mental note to blog about it): Are rational thought and emotions – which are in part sort of thought as well – processed in different parts of the brain? Does that even make sense? Anyone?

Other stuff | Some heated emails among the local Greens. I almost chimed in with a “please calm down guys” and/or a “I agree with person X” mail. Then decided to stay out of it and ignore it and focus on my retreat. Good choice for now I think. And yes I checked my mails during the day. I know, I know…

I also watched the next few guitar practice videos and think I will start with the proper 20 minutes practice for the first module in my “time off” between retreat sessions tomorrow.

Mostly stayed away from the news. Which is good, I think?

29.12.2021 | This & That

One of the better habits I want to incorporate: don’t check social media soooo often. I used to be on Twitter and Instagram way too much I know. And I tried several ways before, like not checking it on my phone etc. For the moment the best way (for now) seems to be using the StayFree App in combination with the Forest App on my phone to limit access. Because the app also keeps time and thus I see how much time I spend on these apps, whereas I easily lose track of time when I’m using those sites on my laptop or desktop. I now only need to remember to log out of all those sites on my other devices to eliminate that option.

Not so much more to tell today. I still try to avoid seeing / hearing current news, except for the glimpses I get via Twitter. We are doomed COVID wise for the next few weeks in Germany, I’m afraid, because whereas the case numbers are sky rocketing in many neighbouring countries, we claim to just not know exactly because of the holidays and all. And who know, maybe German Omicron will not do what British, Dutch, Danish, French, American Omicron does. I’m so fed up.

I did a few things from my to-do-list (go me!) and started watching “Superstore” per recommendation from a good friend. I enjoy it so far, 3 or 4 episodes in. I realized there is still a whole Season 6 (minus the first two? episodes) of Lucifer as well, but I can’t be bothered with that anymore tbh. I read too many spoilers about it before it aired here, I think….

Off to the first session of my retreat tonight. Equally excited and wary. Weird. Tiny moment of panic when my WiFi and thus Internet went down half an hour ago. Rebooting the modem did the trick. Still… too much excitement before a relaxing retreat 🙂

Random photo for the day?

View over Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin, Scottish Highlands, 2016

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