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.
This weekend we got a first taste of the approaching fall – it rained incessantly for two days straight. What better to do than spending some time on the sofa, drinking tea, reading or watching a good movie.
When I’m lounging on the sofa I’m seldom alone these days as Elvis’ favorite spot to cuddle up is on a throw on the couch.
But I didn’t spend all my weekend hours inside. I also got myself out into the rain for a run twice. On Sunday for a 90min run which Nike Running Global Head Coach Bennett made bearable by saying the right things at the right time.
While out on the long run I saw a field mouse crossing the road in the torrential rain and once on the other side it had troubles getting onto the sidewalk so I helped it up and into the wide field away from the gushing waters pouring down the sidewalk. It quickly snuck underneath some clovers and seemed content enough.
Though the weather was quite awful to be outside in without a good umbrella, I still enjoyed the run and the feeling of badassery I carried throughout it and into the rest of the day.
About a week ago for whatever reason I suddenly remembered southern buttermilk biscuits. Not sure what brought this on. When I tasted these the first time down in Texas I remember thinking to myself “Wow, this is like sour cream – there should be no meal without it!” I’m pretty sure many of you out there share that sentiment (though not necessarily when it comes to sour cream, that’s just my very personal taste).
Anyways, today I finally managed to get some done for myself and oh golly, are they delicious… not sure how I survived without them cold turkey for almost four years… I missed you guys!!
Not one to usually talk to food but this one just speaks to me.
I love copying drawings and sketches as a kind of slowing down method. Copying pictures keeps me from having to think too much. It allows me to simply go ahead and let my hands do what I see. This was tonight’s doodle of a beachy landscape. The colors could be improved by using aquarelle colors but I opted for my trusty ol’ Copic markers instead.
When time and creative passion hit, things start happening.
I love to do 1 minute doodles – I start off doodling for 1 minute and then have to finish from there. It is quite remarkable how basic you can start off and still get a decent result with an little detail work like shadowing and extra inking.
The reason I like these explosive exercises is that it takes the pressure away to satisfy my perfectionism.
As a matter of fact I know that I will never be able to draw as perfectly as I would wish to so perfectionism only stifles my creativity and I absolutely need to overcome it in order to enjoy the process of creation.
The 1 minute method is how I learn to let go and improve by only focusing on the big picture for one minute. This also improves my ability to quickly sketch on the go instead of mindlessly snapping photos.
My mom is a highly talented seamstress – way more so than I’m a doodler. So no wonder she patched together two versions of a face mask made from fabric remnants in just a couple of hours (if even that).
I love the fact that the fabric sports little dragon flies 🙂
I have a zen doodle book at home that I copy designs out of. Sometimes I create my own designs but I have to admit that the process of creating art as a copyist comes much more easily to me and has a heightened effect of relaxation for me.
I guess I still carry that child’s reflex of learning by copying in me. That’s how I learned back then and still do nowadays. So my credo is: Don’t give up what’s working well and brings you fun!