Do you want to start your own business?

Academy-250x250I’ve been back from vacation for a while now, the last week of August.

(It was fantastic. England, Ireland, Wales, all fabulous. Peppa Pig World was of course the highlight, but the scenery in the other places was good too.)

What have I been doing since then, if not blogging? Mostly, I’ve been hanging out here. I joined Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life   Academy right before the summer, and have been working through the courses and worksheets since then. If you’re a woman and thinking of starting your own business, or if you’re already in business but want to expand/refocus/etc, it’s really a great place to be. The Business Course alone is a goldmine of information about making money online, and as a member you get access to everything else too, a nutrition course, meditations, worksheets, all sorts of products.

My favorite part of being part of the academy is the community of women there. I log on to the forum every day and find advice and inspiration. It gives me a sense of belonging, to be part of this huge network of women just like me, who want to earn money doing what they love.

Anyway, I’m raving now. I have to be honest and tell you that the links in this post are affiliate links, but I wanted to write this post before Leonie doubles her prices on October 1. That’s the day after tomorrow.

It’s a good time to check it out if it’s something you might be interested in!

P.S. I’ll be blogging about my own new business soon, lots of good stuff is happening! 🙂

Believing in reincarnation makes me happy

There is nothing in this world that fascinates me more than the notion of past lives, the idea that there is an infinite part of us that reincarnates, takes form, time and time again to learn, grow and develop.

This is not a new passion. I grew up in a family that is carefully atheistic – there’s probably nothing out there, but you never know. From as far back as I can remember though, I felt that I was here for a specific reason, that I chose to be here, and that physical death would not be the end of me. Living again and again always made sense to me.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I pursued this interest, read lots of books, and generally basked in the feeling of being different than the mainstream. I was into the esoteric for the wrong reasons and my interest was easily thwarted.

Under societal pressure to finally become an adult, I gave it all up. Well, except the books. Even though I’ve moved a dozen times, I never had the heart to give up all those fascinating, magical books.

I worked hard to get a degree, start a career, hold down a respectable job. I bought a house, got married and had a baby. And, although I love my life and wouldn’t change it in any way, I ended up still wondering about what else there is, why we are here, if there is a higher purpose to life.

It’s these questions that led me back to the magic I lost when I decided to fit into society. Thinking about them helped me find the courage to start figuring out who I really am. I rediscovered some of my former passions, and started exploring the notion of past lives again. It still makes sense to me and I live every day grateful that I am here to experience the beauty of life and this world.

I try to approach problems as obstacles on my path and take the time to explore the deeper questions I care about. I see lessons in everything, learn all I can, grow every day. And I’m starting to help others discover their own paths, learn their own lessons and overcome their own obstacles.

Linking my life to an eternal soul that reincarnates helps me live a happier, more fulfilling life because the things that happen to me make more sense as part of a bigger picture. And that can’t be a bad thing.

* This post was inspired by Michael Newton’s The Journey of Souls, a book about what happens between lives, based on information obtained through regression therapy. Only recommended for those for whom it feels right, I’m not here to convince anyone of anything!

Have I gone off young adult literature?

The number of young adult books I’ve read in the past few months and not enjoyed has been disturbing me. I used to love YA because of its complexity and depth, and because I didn’t get to read quality YA when I was a teen. Does my new attitude reflect a change in me?

I think it does. I think I finally dealt with the issues that were leftover from my teen years. I no longer struggle with that feeling of being different, not belonging, and I don’t need YA books to show me that I have something of value in me even if I don’t fit in.

My own issues were not the only reason that I loved YA though, so I’ll continue reading for the great stories. Maybe I’ll just skip the most angst-y ones.

Here are some YA books that I read recently:

imageJenny Pox by JL Bryan
This is the story of Jenny, a girl who can’t touch any living thing because she gives them pox, which eventually kills. She goes to a regular high school and is shunned by her peers, even though her power is a secret. Then she meets a boy who is her opposite and things start to make sense to her.
I was attracted to this story and the more I read the more I loved where it was going. Except for one scene at the end, which I thought was too much. It was creative and interesting and I like the ending that linked the story to the sequel. But I didn’t connect with Jenny like I wanted to, I wasn’t drawn to her issues.

imageLooking for Alaska by John Green
This is about three friends in a boarding school, as they try to figure out who they are and what’s important. I’ve seen loads of rave reviews of this, and maybe that’s why I was slightly disappointed. I understood the whole fascination with the most beautiful girl in the world, and I agree that books like this one, that include young people coping with tragedy, have to be written. I liked the characters, they were genuine, even the beautiful girl was flawed. I loved that the main character’s hobby was collecting last words. That was great. But I wasn’t as bowled over by my first John Green as I wanted to be.

imageWanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
A teen girl goes through a painful break-up and takes off to travel around South America. She ends up backpacking, makes unexpected friends, and finds love where she was sure none existed. A simple story with a simple message.



imageEvery Day by David Levithan

I loved the concept in this one, about a boy who doesn’t have a body, but instead wakes up in a different one each day. The story was fresh. I loved some of the different issues it explored, like can you still love a person even if he completely changed physically. How much does the physical matter? Can we get past it to really see the person that’s inside?

imageHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Sophie lets her magical powers get out of control and is sent off to Hex Hall, a boarding school for witches, fairies and shapeshifters. Soon she makes friends with the girl everyone suspects of murder and enemies of pretty much everyone else. I enjoyed this one, because I love the idea of a school like that. Just like I enjoyed the Gallagher Girl series, so much fun.

I learned a lot this week

I’ve had a really intense week – I was co-hosting a 3-day training on participatory leadership, which is all about changing mindsets and requires full emotional involvement; I received training on welcoming newcomers to the institution I work for, and another training on clear legal writing for my main job as editor; I had the end-of-year evaluation for the creative therapy course I am taking, in Dutch, a language I don’t really speak; and I  prepared for and took part in some auditions for a local production of Evita.


It was long, it was intense and it involved a steep learning curve. Here are a couple of things I learned:

  • Think before you speak and only speak with intention. Speak from your heart, not just your mind.
  • When in conversation, listen to the other person or people and be conscious of where the conversation is going. Don’t hijack the conversation.
  • Even when not in a conversation, don’t do stuff on automatic pilot, you are not a robot.
  • Not every comment made needs a response from me, especially if it’s negative. Sometimes it’s simply not worth engaging in what will become an argument that nobody wins. In fact, nobody needs to win and we don’t need to argue. We don’t need to be on the defensive all the time.
  • Brings everything back to ‘need’ – we do not live in a vacuum. As in, do we need to keep working on this project? Why did we start it in the first place?
  • Loads of people around the world are doing great things. Tune in.
  • Don’t be scared of having conversations about difficult things. Apparently, the Queen of Denmark once asked: What if some of the things that are wrong with the world are that way because of conversations that didn’t happen?
  • It is possible to be afraid of success. In fact, I am afraid of success and that fear is holding me back.
  • You have to let some order into chaos and some chaos into order to create anything new. The balance is not defined, it is rather a dance between the two, continuous movement.

What did you learn this week?

On the importance of every day

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I do every day, how important they are, and whether they make my life better or contribute to my happiness. I was inspired by one of the lessons in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, that what you do every day matters more, makes more of a difference, than what you do once in a while.

This is serious, turning-my-life-up-side-down stuff. I mean, my life is pretty good, but if I look at what I do every single day, it’s pretty depressing, especially if I compare it with the list of things that I would like to be doing regularly. Basically, my days involve rushing around between work and home responsibilities, spending time with my family, reading (on my commute) and watching TV. I do loads of other things occasionally, maybe once or twice a week – I excercise, I write, I paint or do other creative projects. But I don’t do them regularly and I always feel disappointed that they’re not bringing me the benefits I expected them to.

I decided that it’s the TV-watching that’s a problem, even though I am a proud TV-series fan and definitely don’t think that watching TV series is a waste of time. But even if it’s not, even if it’s fun, do I need to be doing it every single day? Wouldn’t it be better if, say, I went for a walk every single day and only watched a little bit of TV? Or went for a walk every single day, did something creative every other day, and only watched TV every other day?

Thing is, after all that rushing around between home and work stuff, I’m so tired that all I want to do is veg on the couch and have someone entertain me with a good story. So introducing changes had to involve some extra thinking.

I thought about the way I wanted to feel every day. I want to feel energised, inspired, productive, calm and happy. I can get 4 out of 5 of those out of something I picked up in the past year, though haven’t been doing regularly. Yoga. The fifth, feeling productive, can easily be a product of the others. I know I accomplish more if am energised and calm.

So there it is, my transformation of the every day. I added yoga to my days and so far, so good. Yesterday, I also added meditation, because I’ve been talking about it for ages and, having done it regularly before, am perfectly aware of the benefits it brings.

If you’re on a similar track, I can recommend the yoga books by Tara Stiles, because they have 10-15 minute routines for specific things that may be troubling you. For meditation, I started Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation challenge, available as an iPad app. Each meditation has a different focus and I’m enjoying it so far. Both the books and the app were recommended by my friend Agnieszka, let’s see if she still reads this blog! 🙂

For extra inspiration, read this article on Brain Pickings.

How about you? Are you happy with your every day? What would you like to fit in more regularly?

Sunday Salon: Blogging, reading and mood

It’s been a long time since I blogged, I completely lost my blogging mojo. I have been reading, some, but not as much as in previous months and it got me thinking about how my mood influences everything.

These past weeks (um, months?) have been very, very busy at work. The job is still new to me, so I have to put in more effort than someone more experienced would. Being new also influences my confidence levels, so I am more conscious about the quality of my work.

The work transition is part of a bigger change in my life,  I am really in a transitional place. This means that mood-wise I’m all about self-improvement, happiness and mindfulness. And this is reflected in my recent reading – and probably my lack of blogging too, since my mind is so all over the place.

So this is what I’ve been reading:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – I got this from the library as an e-bbok, read half, loved it and ordered my own copy so that I could see my highlighting better and flip back and forth. I still haven’t finished it, mostly because I’m trying to figure out how best to record the quotes I love and my thoughts as I’m reading. I’ve been experimenting with mind mapping – do you find it useful for projects like this?

Revive by Frank Lipman – A friend who is introducing a number of health-related changes into her life recommended this one, but I got stuck after a few days. I definitely don’t want to follow it exactly, it wouldn’t work with my current lifestyle, but I like some of his ideas. Hmm, it might be another case of figuring out how to capture everything I want to keep filed in my head.

Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga and Yoga Cures by Tara Stiles – I want to get into the habit of doing yoga every day, even if just for 10 minutes, and these books are really nice for that. Now I’m looking for a book that explains the spiritual and physical benefits of individual yoga poses, so that I understand what I’m doing a bit better.

Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko – I never thought I’d be a green-smoothie person, but I am, I love them! I don’t have them every day, largely because we don’t have many kinds of organic greens available here and I don’t think there’s much sense in making green smoothies with sub-standard ingredients. So I have one maybe once a week with spinach, and have regular fruit smoothies a few more times. If you’ve ever wondered about green smoothies, just try them, they are delicious!

I’ve been reading fiction too, escapist stories so that I don’t have to think too much and reading can be a rest from work. These are the books I finished recently:

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Every Day by David Levithan
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg

I’m planning on doing some mini-reviews soon!

Have a good Sunday, everyone!