I love the month of December. I love all the celebrations, the fuss and the cosiness that comes with it. I love the moments I can create with loved ones, the ornaments, the food, the music, the fun. But there was a time when I felt rushed into doing too much. Buying too many presents, going to too many events and diner parties, eating too much, drinking too much. Everything too much. So much, that there was less and less time and space to simply…..enjoy.
But wintertime celebrations are so meaningful and full of love! Set around the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, midwinter celebrations bring in light, warmth and togetherness. And you can really start enjoying those moments more in a more mindful and healthier way.
Join this workshop (in English) and take some time for yourself to discover ways of “fasting” in today’s world. Detox your body, renew your mind, make a happier space for enjoying the upcoming winter celebrations. And discover how to make time and space for things that really matter to you.
Please find the details for the workshops in the agenda.
There have been a few hard weeks lately. Nothing came out of my hands. My to do list got longer, my goals fuzzier, my frustrations heavier. I don’t know exactly what hit me. Maybe it’s just a good old autumn depression, I used to be very sensitive to that years ago. I would just crawl up on the sofa after work and try to see as less people as possible in my free time. Maybe this year is dealing with some personal issues a part of it. Maybe it is a combination. But the main thing is that I was mostly feeling down, depressed, lacking energy and just wanting to be left alone.
It is still hard to just say it out loud: I am not so well, I am feeling down. Even saying that to yourself is hard, because it means you really have to acknowledge it. And when you do that, when you admit that to yourself, you just took the first towards healing yourself.
And that is what I did. Well, actually saying it was still hard, I texted my husband one tough afternoon and I felt so relieved afterwards. Just by texting that I got a little energy shot through my veins, actually felt is. Next, I talked to a friend. And then to another. And before I knew it I just said to myself I am feeling depressed, I need to find a way to get out of here.
So, how to get out of this? If it would be so simple, I am sure depression wasn’t a thing anymore. But it is, and it is very personal, and there is no one size fits all cure. At first I pushed myself to do more physical exercise. And even though I am jogging, I could not find the energy to do more. Then I pushed myself to maybe study or read more, work related, but that didn’t work either. Then I pushed myself to work more, but even though I had plenty of ideas, everything I was trying to achieve just crumbled down from lack of enthusiasm, inspiration and again lack of energy. I was going round in circles and hated it. I didn’t feel productive, achieving , contributing. Which made me feel even more depressed.
Then I had the epiphany that in order to break this vicious circle, I needed to do whatever really made me happy and would give me energy. Something totally out of my comfort zone. Something new. Something that maybe scared me but that I really wanted to do. But what was that?
The answer came in a Facebook post one day, at random. Someone mentioned that there is a lady who is willing to teach others how to knit. And by reading that, I immediately felt a little outburst of excitement going through my body. If there is something I have always wanted to learn how to do, it was knitting and crocheting. My grandmother used to make us the most beautiful creations when I was young, and I was mesmerised but her skills. But I never learned how to do it. And for years I was talking about learning how to knit, but I was scared I couldn’t. So I never really tried, or gave up after a few attempts. Up until now. I contacted this lady, she started teaching me, and within a few weeks I finished my first knitting project. I couldn’t be more proud!
Knitting is not something I am leaning because I have to. Or because I could make a career out of it and earn more money. I am doing it for me. It gives me satisfaction, which makes me feel good about myself, and that positives feeling gives me back my energy. I have literary something on my hands, I have to concentrate, focus, create, count, make mistakes and fix them, and I get to see how something is growing out of my hands.
In the olden days there was popular knowledge that knitting is benefiting your mental health. And today, more and more scientific research shows that the benefits of knitting and other handicrafts goes much further. It’s an anti-stressing activity, your blood pressure goes down, you focus better, it calms you when in crises, it helps slowing the decline of brain function and more. Studies have showed that people with depression start feeling more happiness after learning how to knit and that there is a direct link between our hands and brain that activates the happiness centre in our brain. This article for the New York Times gives a good overview of the latest findings over the Health Benefits of Knitting.
And me, I couldn’t agree more. I feel how the fog is being lift, I have more clarity and I slowly have more energy. I am still learning how to knit and I am discovering more and more techniques each step of the way. Although I didn’t start knitting because I was aware of all these benefits, my inner compass guided me. Instinctively, intuitively, I knew its was the right thing to do. It is so worth it.
Yes, you see it right. I still have an old-fashioned, pink, paper driving licence. And it is a Belgian one too. How come? Well, years ago I was living in Belgium when my bag got stolen during a weekend in Sevilla. I will spare you all the details about how that happened and how the Spanish police guy looked at me in the most pitiful way: “you stupid tourist”. I ended up missing my credit card size Dutch driving licence and getting this little pink old-fashioned booklet. But soon, I have to miss my licence for about two weeks, because I need to get my Dutch one back, and I will not be able to drive around for that period in between. Bugger. The thing is, days in a row I never use the car. But when I want to, or need to, I just do.
This freedom of just driving whenever I need it’s not something I give much thought on a regular base. So why now, besides the fact that I need to change my licence and I find it really hard to plan when it’s the best time to miss my licence for two weeks?
Well, last week I have witnessed how one of my clients has made the conscious decision that she is going to take driving lessons and get her licence. She already set the date to start. Because she wants to. Because she realised that having her driving licence she gets steps closes to what she wants. What she really needs. She wants more independence. Being able to take the car whenever she needs to without the help of another driver, usually her husband, or not being limited by public transportation, is getting her just that. She wants a more equal partnership with her husband, sharing more of the tasks and chores that come along with rasing children. Sharing driving to all sorts of clubs and school stuff gets her more of the kind of partnership she likes. She needs more freedom, to move around, to get closer to forests to hike, to just meet up with friends. She slowly discovers how to meet her needs.
During our sessions my client realised that getting her driving lessons will bring her much more than just the ability to drive. It is a first step towards more independence, equal partnership and freedom. And even more, it empowers her that after the first step, she can take the second, and third, and so on to follow her goals. The feeling of empowerment is the engine in believing in yourself.
When I see someone making a breakthrough my heart make a little jump. Because I know how important it is for any of us to have this moments. Breakthroughs lift a (mostly self-imposed) barrier and lead us to self-development and progress. And yes, sometimes all you need is the decision to go after a little pink driving licence.
Last year I was very busy working more as a recruiter then here, at Oriana’s Three Circles. I kept on coaching and training my clients, but I just didn’t have enough time to work on my blogs and website. But what I still did, I went on blogging about stuff that is dear to me and dear to the world around me. And that was the Delft MaMa community in my town.
In order to not forget what I wrote, and to share it with you too, I am linking to those publications for you to read. Those pieces were fun to write, and I felt happy about contribuiting to this amazing foundation.
“Culture Matters” is an interactive and informative talk about culture, identity and the sense of belonging. What is culture and how does it impact our daily life? And when we change the culture we are living in, do we adapt, integrate, assimilate or resist that change? The interplay between adapting and resisting this change makes migration one of the most powerful steps in someone’s life.
“Culture Matters” is part of Spotlight:Romania – A film and photography festival.
The workshop combines a presentation with practical exercises meant to make you aware of your own cultural lens. Questions, cultural anecdotes and remarks are also welcome.
Entrance to the event is free. The event starts at 19:30, but your are welcome earlier for a guided tour of the exhibition.
Spotlight:Romania (3 october- 8 november) is initiated and organized in The Hague by Eastwards in collaboration with Vrije Academie Gemak and De Nieuwe Regentes Theater and with the financial support of Fonds 1818 The Hague.
Due to positive response and many reactions, Spotlight:Romania exposition has been extended until the 28th of November. Check out the full program of Spotlight:Romania here.
And the titles says it all: Durf het… Dare to… A long time I had so many ideas in my head, so many dreams, so many projects, so many initiatives. But I kept postponing just doing all of them because I would not dare. I was afraid I was not ready, not good enough, not experienced enough. I kept discouraging myself while so many people around me would react in a very positive way to my ideas and dreams.
Slowly but steady I took the first step. I dared to go and register my firm. Yeah! And then I dared to share the news it with my friends. And then I dared to built a facebook page and a website. And then I dared to present my ideas and my creativity with strangers. And step by step, I gained more confidence in what I am doing. And I feel I am doing well. I feel that I am growing. And I feel that I am inspiring others which makes me feel even stronger about the path taken.
So, now I am a proper Delft entrepreneur. I not only dare to say so, I feel so. I hope you dare to take the next small but significant step in your life. I know you can!
Sometimes you meet someone and you have this, what we call in Dutch, “click” with someone. So I was with Jacintha from Neo Coaching. It was during a network meeting, we just started talking, had a nice “click” and decided we should meet and talk some more. And after a few fruitful brainstorm sessions we came up with a bunch of amazing workshops.
In October Neo Coaching & Three Circles start the workshop series “Dutch up your life!” specially designed for internationals in the Netherlands.
The workshops are in line with different stages of the expatriate life. From settling into your new home up to defining your life in the Netherlands and into Dutch business culture.
The workshops start in the last week of October. Exact time/dates/location will follow soon!
The summer break is over, everybody is back form family visits, mountain climbing or sandy beaches. School has started over here and everything is getting back to the usual weekly rhythm. But I always loved going back to school. As I am now happy going back to work after a summer full of adventures and relaxation.
And there is so much to do. Dana and I have gotten together and planned our next training of “The Art of of Living Abroad” (TAOLA). We are very happy to announce a few dates where you can follow an introductory workshop on TAOLA. So you are very welcome to discover yourself what our training is about. And of course, you can register straight away for the trainings to start soon after.
N.B. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, this training is on hold for a while. Asap as we’re ready, you will be informed .