Chosing for yourself which habits are healthy

“Hello hello!” I chime as I step into the bakery one fine spring lunchtime. I have been working from home all morning and feel like I deserve a treat to reward myself for reaching targets and being productive.

“Hi,” Bakerman smiles at me. “How are you?”

“Feeling happy,” I smile back at him as I sit down at a little round table near the window. “Wanted to say hi.”

“Why what’s wrong?” Bakerman teases me as he heads over to my table with two cups of tea.

“Have enrolled Winston in big school,” I beam proudly. “Hahahaaa. Nothing wrong. Bad man.”

I wink at him naughtily as I take a sip of the fresh hot brew. “Need to finalize my offers. I have 4 big hot leads to follow up. The one I told you about, I will send tonight with Mechelen as a reference. Exciting. Would be good if I land them all. Or is that greedy?”

I gaze over to the counter and become all big-eyed. “I’ll have chocolate cake today.”

“No give it your best shot,” Bakerman answers as he gets up slowly from our little table. He heads over to his counter to cut me a nice serving of the deliciously looking chocolate cake.

“Mmmm? Why no?” I question him, my eyes on the cake and my mouth watering. “Spring is in the air.”

“It’s not greedy,” Bakerman clarifies as he places the chocolate cake before me presented on a dainty little dish I’m sure Debbie has made in her pottery classes.

“I love spring,” I repeat again gazing out the window dreamily. I’m good at pretending I’m not dying to dig into that cake immediately. I have self-restraint, I do. “Good then I can go and have more cake. I am addicted to chocolate cake. Smoke free for more than 4 weeks now.”

“Yes me too,” Bakerman watches me with a twinkle in his eye. I forget all about good manners and eating lady like. Chocolate cake isn’t made to be eaten daintily. “I love rebirth and lots of growth.”

“Rebirth?” I question him with my mouth full of cake. “It must be interesting being you. I wonder how your thoughts tick.”

“Wow! Congratulations,” Bakerman applauds. “You only need to overcome the psychological side effects only.”

“I still love smoke and cigarettes,” I continue gazing out of the window dreamily. My eyes glaze over. “Only they tasted horrible in the end. Smells awful, stink! And my body doesn’t like it. But I love to smoke. Havent smoked in 4 weeks. How about you? Are you smoking now?” I pause to look at him and to take another sip of tea. “I’m going to get fat. Soooo? Are you smoking?”

“Yes sadly I am,” Bakerman admits shaking his head. “But very little. I hate it. I gave up giving up.”

“I know, it really is horrible. Yet really delicious,” I sympathize. “I think it’s the smoke that twirls all around you. The deep inhaling. And the fire. Caveman like.”

“I guess so,” Bakerman shrugs his shoulders and looks out of the window for anything worthwhile capturing my attention as it seems. He soon concludes it’s just one of my avoidance tactics though.

“Oh yessss,” I smack my lips enthusiastically. “It would be great if I could limit myself to three a day. But sadly I smoke like a maniac. All or nothing.”

“Better nothing,” Bakerman holds my gaze intently.

“My BNP contract is up for renewal end of June,” I offer a little worried as I finish off my cake. “I would like to ask for a raise. How’s the best way to ensure I get it?”

“Be honest,” Bakerman’s answers are always short. “Show added value.”

“Haha,” I laugh tossing my head back. “That’s a poopy answer. I want a magic solution.”

Even the most logical persons amongst us seek to create some kind of magic to help with setting intention and manifestation. First thing in the morning is an ideal time to set intentions. Writing down your goals and desires can make your intentions all the more powerful. My advice to you is to release anything blocking you to achieve your dreams. And use your passion to plant seeds for new opportunities. My passion is storytelling. It helps me to use my writing to support growth in my daily life. What about you? Maybe your passion is singing, or painting. Wherever your passion lies, use it to support change and transformation.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

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Feeling like an ant around town

“Hello and good Sunday,” I smile as I enter the bakery. Home delivery is only for weekdays. I deliberately made a point to drive out of my way to see Bakerman today. I am adamant on showing him a happy face.  I feel like an elephant in the room apparently and decide to throw in some small talk before placing my order.

“So what about becoming an online or offline English teacher?” I ask him. I have been researching other possibilities for generating more income. Still haven’t given up on this idea. “It’s a bit of extra income but really only a third of my normal hourly rate plus I would need a certificate. What do you think? Pursue or not? Do you charge for your Sunday English conversations?”

“I don’t know if you should pursue it,” Bakerman evades to make a decision in my place. “Celta certificate costs 1.700 Dollars I think. Last I heard 12 Euros an hour was the going rate.”

“Hmmm no,” I think out loud eyeing up the chocolate muffins and eclairs. “Not worth it at all.”

Depression has this way of making life look like a black seething mass of storm clouds clustered over your head keeping daylight out and darkness in. Each room of your mind is creaking under the pressure of keeping you contained when every corner is filled to bursting with anxiety. You feel your very foundations heaving and your windows are splintering. Even the roof may blow off any second.

Yet I managed to keep it together. Going around town as if all is normal. Realizing my worries are insignificant. As the ant is to the town, so am I in the eyes of the universe.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Honey, please!

“Hey, forgot to tell you,” I greet Bakerman absentmindedly that morning. The look on my face portrays the tumult of my inner workings. “My mother gave me an envelope with all my pictures. She doesn’t want my photos anymore. Nor those of my kids. I’m not sure she realizes the gesture.”

Bakerman nods at me concerned as he hands me my parcels of fresh bread and sweet buns. He then heads back to his van to continue his daily delivery round, without a single word. I am both hurt and relieved at his silence. On the one hand, I know I am nagging. I know that my endless torment and negativity is not to be shared, that I would be better off keeping it to myself. But I can’t. I need to confide in somebody. Tell them it’s not all smiles and peachy in my world.

But relieved, oh yes definitely relieved. Bakerman, just like all other people I know don’t want to hear about what’s going on in my life. They don’t want to get involved. They want to continue in the illusion that we’re all living a wonderful life. No time for failures, set-backs of ill feelings. Keep it all to yourself. Don’t let anybody know. No response means I don’t have to talk about it and I too can continue pretending that nothing is wrong. Bottle up the pain. Live the anxiety in the midnight hours all by myself.

I can immediately think of several distractions to bring me back to my happy place:

  • Applying some skin perfecting miracle oil from my new favourite supplier, Cime-Skincare. If I could time travel back, this would be my absolute must-have for every bad hair day.
  • Put on one of my new chic satin blouses by Caroline Biss. You see, satin has evolved way past the slinky nighties my mother would wear only when visiting her parents. And it’s unlikely to shed its sexy-time roots entirely anytime soon. This actually works wonders on my mood.
  • Cuddles with my little darlings. Who doesn’t love a cuddle? Whether as a moment of caring embrace or a few minutes of parent-child bonding that even the snarliest teenager looks forward to, a cuddle is an easy, powerful way to connect with anyone you care for.

I position myself at the head of the kitchen table with my three darlings in tow. I crack into a jar of honey and quickly rationalize three delicious things to do with that too.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

A place to meet the Bakerman in the evening

Last night the Bakerman turned up on my doorstep shortly after I had put all three of my kids to bed. After months of small talk during our pre-breakfast meetings on my doorstep, we have now started evening tea time in my kitchen.

I am dying to share with you my experience from the evening.

“Fiona I need a product name for a baguette that is made from an éclair,” the Bakerman starts out. “I am looking for a French word. Something easy to pronounce.”

“A chocolate baguette?” I ask in amazement, as both don’t seem to fit. To me a baguette holds something savoury, like cheese or meat with some vegetables. Chocolate is for pastries. Also a baguette should be crunchy, not soft like an éclair. When I eat my baguette at lunchtime, I want to have the feeling that my teeth are getting a workout, not that they’ll drop out soon because I’ve only ever eaten mushy bread.

“Do you have a picture?” I ask him as I am having a hard time getting my head around the whole paradox of a baguette that is soft like an éclair.

“What?” the Bakerman looks at me half surprised and half in despair. He then reaches over to his bag, pulls out a paper bag and shows me a huge baguette, richly laid with luscious pieces of pink salmon and lettuce leaves. “This a salmon one. I have many variants. Looking for chicken and mayo for example. A simple name that people can call it. Like baguette. But something else.”

“Un pain?” I start thingking out loud still totally bemused. “I don’t see the eclair part,” I add eyeing the baguette with certain suspicion. I can smell the sweet fresh bread and the salmon with a hint of sour cream. I start feeling hungry although I have only just eaten.

“Perhaps you need glasses,” the Bakerman retorts. I can discern a hint of irritation, but also amusement and a little bit of teasing in his voice. “What is a popular word kids are using in French? Words like cool, awesome and so on?”

“’Une flute’ for a baguette,” I go on realizing that ‘une flute’ is also used for a certain body part. The thought makes me blush and I try to stay focused on the issue at hand. “Cool in French would be ‘grave’, ‘terrible’…”

I pause a moment and chuckle. There is in fact an expression I have heard the youngsters use at the office: “Leur baguette est à se taper le cul par terre. I heard that from my french colleague at BNP.” I go on laughing quietly to myself for a while, so I take the opportunity to share the joke: “That translates into: that baguette makes me want to smack my bottom on the floor.”

I can feel a new tradition of evening tea setting on. If you can’t make it, no worries! I’ll blog about my experiences afterwards.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.