Giving up control

I believe in leaving a man better than he was when I found him. And likewise, I love to learn from the encounters I make in life. One of the answers I found with my life partner is the answer to control. I used to be someone who would meticulously plan and organize everything and everyone. Now I am practicing surrender.

“Good morning, how are you?” I wave at my Doctor friend. But he’s too busy pottering to even look up and acknowledge me. So I decide to let him be today. Whatever it is that I urgently wanted to discuss with him will have to wait for another day. Give me some more time to sleep on it. Allow my dreams to process it over once more.

Life used to be roller coaster ride to me. And trying to maintain control in this is a like trying to stay in control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly I grip the bar or how loud I scream. I found there is a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and fully feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take me rather than fighting them. When I fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, my whole being becomes tense and anxiety is my close companion. When I go with the ride, accepting what I cannot control, freedom and joy inevitably arise.

Love,

Fiona

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Make every day count

Sometimes I purposefully, though unconsciously, cut myself off from my business and workflow so I can avoid dealing with painful issues.

“You could record live webinars in your kitchen and show people how to do it,” I tell Bakerman as we are brainstorming business ideas again. “Sell your recipes. Or maybe you want the quiet life by the sea.”

“Sex on the beach,” Bakerman teases back. I can tell immediately he’s in a funny mood.

“Haha yes that too,” I laugh back. “I’ve never had sex on the beach. I’m 42 for crying out loud. Wouldn’t that be lovely…”

“You don’t need sand in soft places,” Bakerman always knows how to sooth my hurts of lost opportunities.

“No it probably sounds better than it really is,” I decide. It’s like people who claim they were up all night making love. Never done that one either.

“Did you have a good holiday?” Bakerman turns the subject to something more fun.

“Yessss,” I emphasize as I beam at him. “Love my kids sea beach and champagne.”

“No side entertainment?” Bakerman is making sure I was on best behavior.

“No,” I snap back at him and squint my eyes. “Like what?”

“Cava,” Bakerman offers.

“Champagne,” I correct him again. “And a few smokes.”

“Nice,” Bakerman smiles pleased. “Did Wim miss you?”

“Yes,” I smile again. “A bit. Did you?”

“Yes. It was very quite while you were away,” Bakerman admits.

I let out a loud laugh as Bakerman gets to his feet. “Got to go. Be good,” he says as he pecks me fondly on the cheek.

“That company came back to me that I was too expensive,” I tell him on his way out. “Any way I can still win the deal?”

I guess we all experience periods where we are separated from the abundant ebb and flow, be it in business or in our career. These times of being disconnected from a steady source of income may occur for many reasons, but self-sabotage is the most common cause for me cutting myself off from the abundant flow of the universe. I find I cut myself off from this flow so I can avoid dealing with painful issues, shun the necessary steps for growth, or prevent the success I am afraid of achieving from ever happening. When I disconnect from the abundant source, I am blocking the flow of the universe’s generosity. I become like a sleepwalker who is not fully awake to life, and my hopes, plans and dreams begin to appear as distant blurs on a faraway horizon. Universal support has obviously never left me. If only I can remember that I became disconnected from the abundant source by choice, then I can choose to reconnect.

Faithfully,

Fiona

Is there someone looking over your shoulder?

“Poop I didn’t get that big client. Poop poop poop,” I am stomping around my study in front of my webcam Skyping with Bakerman. “So business wise I’m not there yet… Mommy wise still learning. Friendly but autistic. I’m a catastrophe. You should send me your sarnie. Wonder how long it would take to get here.”

“It would be a science experiment by the time it gets there,” Bakerman winks at me.

“It would be alive,” I joke lightening up in my doomy clouds. “It could wave at me.”

Did you feel interpellated? I don’t know about you, but I am the only one staring at my screen. There is nobody looking over my shoulder.

Which is why it sounds funny sometimes to write a blog post using plurals, like “we” or “ourselves”, even if I might mean “you and me” or “all of us” opposed to “all of them”.

Dear reader, I am talking to you. Maybe not original, but at least you know I am really talking to you. And I’m not hiding my self away behing a fictive group of “we”.

I’m a person too. I love talking face to face. Make it personal.

Love personally,

Fiona

Do you know who your real friends are?

How many friends do you have? I have many acquaintances myself, and a few people I would categorize as close friends. Over the past years, I have been confronted with losing friends too. Or more realizing that the people I thought of as close friends didn’t turn out to be real friends after all. The revelation only happens in moments when you reveal your true self, your true troubles and suffering, that the masks drop and you figure out it was more a relationship of convenience than one of true friendship.

“You know, in Normandy it finally dawned in me that life really does begin at 40,” I tell Bakerman as I am poking around nosily in his baking atelier that afternoon.

“Oh how come?” Bakerman looks at me quizzically. He then shoves a plate with a huge sarnie under my nose.

“Can anyone fit that in their mouth?” I ask him eying the huge monstrosity with big popping eyes. “Reflecting back on life, poor circumstances and poor choices. But not anymore. Now I’m in command. No use crying over spilled milk. Life starts at 40.”

“I am sure you will manage to bite it,” Bakerman winks at me. “Go for it. You are 100% correct. But be aware of bad habits that will hold you back.”

“Oh am I going to try one?” I greedily accept the plate with the deliciously smelling sandwich. “Taste it I mean. Which bad habits?”

Maybe we’ll never quite figure out who our true friends are. Maybe it will take us until old age to realize who we truly loved and who we felt we could completely be ourselves around. I wonder which cues actually indicate when I am pretending to be someone I am not… maintaining relationships just for the sake of it. Maybe the real question is: am I happy this way?

Love,

Fiona

A woman in the midst of patriarchal culture

When was the last time I gave myself a rest? A really, really, really good rest? And let every inch of my land lie fallow? I remember it quite vividly. It was Easter and I went with my three little cherubs down to Normandy in France.

“Happy Easter!” I cheer at Bakerman down my webcam over Skype.

“Thank you. Happy Easter to you too,” Bakerman smiles and waves back at me. “Are you on your way yet?”

“We arrived in Normandy yesterday,” I wink at him. Surely he notices the change in scenery through my webcam. Then again, maybe not. “Weather is awful but that was to be expected as I am a cloud and rain goddess. What does Easter symbolise to you?”

“Easter symbolises the plagiarism of Passover that Jesus Christ enjoyed before being arrested,” Bakerman spits out and I notice immediately I have gotten him started on something. “Catholic church bastardized the celebration much like Islam did.”

“Okay so it’s really about Passover. But what is it about?” I say trying to suss his rant. “Plagiarism sounds quite harsh. It’s normal for religions to adopt things from other cultures to gain more following.”

“Yes but to take the truth and twist it into nonsense is very bad,” Bakerman booms with a loud and heavy voice. “Worth a whipping at the least.”

“Liberation from slavery. I wish to be liberated from slavery. But without the whipping,” I reflect on his weird remarks. “You’d have to go back and whip Emperor Constantin.”

“Yes passive is about the biggest slave revolt ever. Passover,” Bakerman corrects his lapsus. “What besides chocolate does Easter mean to you? And besides little bunnies.”

“Family, chocolate, flowers, Jesus is resurected, hope,” I sum up everything that comes to mind on my fingers. “I’m not passive though, I’m really trying to make this work. Passive is no revolt, it’s apathy.”

“True,” Bakerman nods encouraging me along the path of philosophical discussion. “You will make it.”

“How can you be so sure?” I ask him as my voice quavers a little betraying my deep-rooted insecurity. Letting things lie fallow feels… biblical.

We don’t live in a world that honours just being still, like a plot of land unseeded. We are all celebrated for how much we do and how hard we work. And the weight and breadth of the what we accomplish is actually quite spectacular.

So stop a moment and reflect. What feels like an obligation that isn’t? Where could you make space for something unknown? What could you let go of? What could you say no to? Where will you allow a clearing to lie down and rest, praising the moon above?

In peace and love,

Fiona

We all need chocolate egg therapy

Chocolate and therapy are both profoundly helpful tools. Yet talking about it openly is almost as dirty as talking about money. As a result, we turn to chocolate as the thought of therapy alone is a host of unhelpful fantasies, hopes and suspicions.

Bakerman being the attentive friend he is, has been popping some chocolate eggs in with my daily bread for the past few days now leading up to Easter.

“More video training today,” I smile at him joyfully at the prospect of more chocolate surprise. “Awfully exhausting. Wishing you a happy Easter and lots of chocolate. Off to Normandy tomorrow.”

“I’m an atheist,” Bakerman tells me straight. “But the real tradition is Passover. Happy Easter to you. Have a good trip. ”

He blows kisses at me as he heads back to his van. I eagerly peer into my brown paper bag with fresh bread and am delighted to find another handful of dark chocolate eggs. Exactly the ones I like. My best therapy.

I am certainly a believer that therapy is the greatest step anyone can take towards self-discovery and fulfilment of your highest potential. How therapy works is a mystery. Chocolate eggs for that matter are much easier to understand. You unwrap the shiny coloured wrapper, discover the deliciously scented egg inside, then pop it into your mouth and wait for the feel-good hormones to kick in.

Love and chocolate always,

Fiona

Commitment

Over the past years I have found that sharing parts of my life with another person is not just based on love, friendship and respect, but also on the hard work of being able to compromise and entering into a dialogue with them. I also discovered that commitment is the key to having a successful relationship, no matter what the kind.

“Hello to you,” I cheer at Bakerman over Skype that evening. “How are your baking sales?”

“Hi. How are you?” Bakerman peers eagerly through the webcam. “How is business going? Mine has stalled again.”

“It’s looking quite good my end,” I tell him enthiusiastically. “The insurance company is some extra business, though not as much as anticipated. Then again this allows me to just give consulting without sweating over deadlines. A few peanuts are pulling back. Another peanut is very pleased and expanding. Still following that one nice hot lead. Hope to finalize the contract and start working mid-april. I’m working on those video ads. Want it to work and get more commitment there. All in all things are looking up and moving forward slowly. Still talking with Google but that would only be interesting if they take me on as a consultant. Why is your baking stalling? Do you know?”

“Sounds good,” Bakerman nods vigorously. “Yes I know why. Expectations of my partner are very different to the rest of the world. Don’t know if it’s lack of money or lack of knowledge. So now I try testing a cheap product. We also have a difference of opinion as to what market we should approach.”

“You should really test everything,” I advise him from experience. “Everyone has an opinion and you won’t know until you try out different solutions, I think. I know you’re very knowledgeable but you are on her turf. Maybe she knows the culture better than you do. Maybe she doesn’t know business like you do.”

“What I don’t understand is we get such good feedback,” Bakerman trails off.

“Well that’s great,” I tell him. And it’s true. Word of mouth is your best marketing strategy.

“Yes something like that yet the food culture is the same,” Bakerman says and I can see he has his thinking cap on tightly over his ears.

“Why do you want to understand it?” I question him further on the matter. “It means your customers are happy. You’re good at what you do. Yes but it’s also about the service and the atmosphere.”

“Sorry I didn’t finish,” Bakerman interrupts me. “With such good feedback he should be motivated to get product into the market before someone else does. I don’t have enough money now to go it alone.”

“He?” I suddenly pick up on an inconsistency.

“He is stalling,” Bakerman repeats. “The market is asking for the product. Don’t understand why he is stalling.”

“Who is he? Where is Debbie?” I look around me bewildered half expecting the world to fall apart around me as we speak. “What product? What about the sarnies?”

“My partner,” Bakerman pulls big eyes at me now. “Are you mad? What does Debbie have to do with my business? Yes sarmies what else? Are you confusing me with someone else?”

“I thought she made the sarnies with you and puts them on her nice pottery plates,” I stutter and feel my cheeks turn red. “No I hope you are Walter Mitty the Bakerman.”

“Don’t think. Ask.” Bakerman retorts.

“So you are shipping sarnies abroad,” I try to go on with the conversation pretending I’m not a bit shaken by the misunderstanding. “Won’t they go bad?”

“She is a professor at university. Pottery is her hobby,” Bakerman glares at me through the webcam. “Quick go take your back to earth pill.”

“Oh no not that!” I squeal and play along with him in amusement. “I love having my head in the clouds.”

“Yes indeed silly girl,” Bakerman scrutinizes me through pinched eyes. “What happened? Did you smoke something strange?”

“No no more smoking at all. Yuk!” I spit with curled nose. “Back to normal, thank god. No more cougar silliness either.”

“Actually I understand,” Bakerman points a finger at me through the computer screen and I find the gesture offensive. “You are not really interested so you keep a very superficial memory about what I am trying to do. No more naughtiness?”

“I want those videos to be a success,” I defend my position. “Am writing a blog post to promote them as well.”

“No more cuckolding Wim just to see how far you can push him?” Bakerman is making sure I understand the small letters of my personal commitments.

“Nooo not true!” And I take on a defensive stance. “I am interested in your sarnies and your tutoring at university. I love your stories when you’re generous enough to share. No no more hurting people and sabotaging myself. No more naughty stories for my old mother.”

“God girl are you growing up at last,” Bakerman beams at me fondly.

“I m 42,” I wink at him. “The age of the answer to everything.”

“Indeed,” Bakerman smiles back, happy to hear I read the book he had recommended.

“Time to make dreams come true,” I dream airily.

“Now you too can be eccentric,” Bakerman brings up an old dusty subject. In order to heal, you must first behave traditional. Get the foundations right. Once all is in place, you can colour outside of the lines. Or something along those lines.

“Yes and sell videos online,” I smile triumphantly.

“Well Fi. My bedtime as I must rise at 5 am,” Bakerman informs me. “You have a great day tomorrow and go knock ‘em dead.”

“Homeworking,” I smile and blow him a kiss. “Have fun.”

“Thanks,” Bakerman waves into the camera blowing kisses as well. “C U.”

Friendships are in some way a spiritual journey that you undertake with another person. Being able to open your heart to someone, you will find that you can reach a greater level of transformation, evolving together on your path and learning powerful lessons about yourself and each other that you might not have been able to all by your lonesome.

Love,

Fiona