390km, 23600m ascent, 24’800m descent, 14 alpine passes and 6 cantons – that is the Via Alpina. It should become my Way of St. James, lead me into my first sabbatical even, which I want to use to move away from the head-heavy work to the more physically emphasized jugging away. To clear my head, to think about what I should and shouldn’t change in the next year of my life or so. What makes me feel good and what not.
What was actually intended as an introduction to my sabbatical is now becoming the main theme of my time away. Nothing grounds me better and faster after an all too often quite hectic workday than hiking, walking and jogging.
Initially, the Via Alpina plan seemed quite daunting to me. So many unknowns: Can I just hike for so many days in a row? Will I get bored? Will I catch blisters, sore muscles, strains or worse? But then I remembered that the first thing I need to do is stop concentrating on the doubts and what could go wrong. Instead, I visualized myself hiking – in different weather conditions – through forests and villages, across meadows, plains and alps to majestic peaks, enjoying the view and tranquility. And finding my way back to myself. And ever since I started doing that there is no stopping me. I look forward to my adventure with great joy and excitement, whether it succeeds or not. Every starting line is already a victory. Worth a little celebration. Because it means that I have overcome my own doubts – but also those projected onto me by other people – and set out on my journey in spite of them, or precisely because of them. And neither the prospect of failure nor the hardships and deprivations I am sure to encounter can stop me. That alone is already a success!
390km, 23600m Aufstieg, 24’800m Abstieg, 14 Alpenpässe und 6 Kantone – das ist die Via Alpina. Sie soll mein Jakobsweg werden, mich in einen Sabbatical führen, in dem ich mich weg vom kopflastigen Arbeiten zum körperbetonten Chrampfen bewegen will. Den Kopf lüften, Gedanken machen, was sich im nächsten Jahr ändern soll und was nicht. Was mir gut tut und was nicht.
Was eigentlich als Einstieg in meinen Sabbatical gedacht war, wird nun zum Hauptthema meiner Auszeit. Nichts entschleunigt mich besser und schneller vom allzu oft recht hektischen Arbeitsalltag als Wandern, Spazieren und Joggen.
Initial schien mir das Unternehmen Via Alpina ziemlich erschreckend. So viele Unbekannte: Kann ich so viele Tage hintereinander einfach nur wandern? Wird mir langweilig? Werde ich Blasen, Muskelkater, Zerrungen oder Schlimmeres einfangen? Doch dann erinnerte ich mich, dass ich aufhören muss, mir als erstes die Zweifel und was alles schief gehen könnte vorzustellen. Stattdessen visualisierte ich, wie ich – bei verschiedenen Wetterbedingungen – durch Wald und Dörfer, über Wiesen, Auen und Alpen hin zu majestetischen Gipfeln wandere, die Aussicht und Ruhe geniesse. Und zu mir selbst zurückfinde. Und seither gibt es kein Halten mehr. Ich freue mich ohne Ende auf mein Abenteuer, egal ob es gelingt oder nicht. Jede Startlinie ist bereits ein Sieg. Eine kleine Feier wert. Denn es bedeutet, dass ich meine eigenen Zweifel – aber auch die von anderen Leuten auf mich projezierten – überwunden habe und mich dennoch, oder gerade deswegen auf den Weg mache. Und weder die Aussicht auf Misserfolg noch die mir bestimmt begegnenden Mühsale und Entbehrungen mich aufhalten können. Das alleine ist schon ein Erfolg!
It’s done – the owl painting is finished. And oh how jolly those owls turned out. Or maybe rather kinda flabbergasted. But still: Vibrant colors, expressive end result… I am very much pleased with this masterpiece.
So after finishing one in fall for my neighbor’s birthday I decided to start another “painting by numbers” painting, this time for my better half who just as I happens to love owls.
As I’ve been fascinated by the progress I made the first time – at first it seems like I’m advancing at a snail pace while later on it all seems happening at once – I’ve decided that this time I would document my progress. Here are the first six hours…
I truly have enjoyed every minute of those six very meditative hours.
Last week brought the celebration of Epiphany with it. We crowned two kings: One was rather unfazed about it – see above – the other immediately picked a fight with the crown, not realizing that is him… a hit of a schizophrenic ruler…
Last week was also the first work week of the year and for some reason I feel like I did more of everything else than working. Must be the fact that I spent what felt like more time at the doctors than at the (home) office. Tuesday I had an appointment with the dental hygienist and a check-up with the dentist after over 1.5y owing to covid (they didn’t get around to invite all of the patients on time as they fell behind schedule in spring with the complete lockdown). All went well but I finally had to replace a filling that was starting to corrode around the edges, so that was done on Thursday.
The worst of the doctors appointments was Wednesday when I had to get the last of three tick-borne encephalitis vaccination. The second one already left me with massive side-effects for two days so I was expecting to suffer again. And so it was: Minutes after I left the docs office my arm started to cramp and hurt and then tingle. This spread all over my shoulder and neck and I soon felt feverish and flu like. Luckily the yoga session in the evening offered some relief through stretching and thus I was able to fall into a deep coma quite early in the evening… and this missing the whole riot at the capitol in Washington…
What a shock it was to wake to the news that the U.S. finally managed to fall into the pits of a system way removed from the democracy it stands for. It pained me immensely to realize what a mess has been made of Obama’s legacy. America is such a great place, I sincerely hope the new president will be able to quickly reunite the country and lead it back to its democratic principles of former days.
Luckily, the week ended on a good note, finally bringing some sunshine with it after all the gray and dulled days. Let’s hope for some more sunshine, snow and maybe cold to bring about a frozen lake to be enjoyed by many in different ways.