Toxic flashback

The next morning and  my mood has swung 180 degrees the other direction. A dark cloud glooms over me as I answer my front door the following morning.

“Hi. I’m nowhere there yet,” I shake my head restlessly looking down at my doorstep as if expecting something interesting to materialize there. “Found out all my cousins are staying at my mom’s in summer to go out drinking. I messaged them to tell them my mom is too old to entertain them. I got a nasty message back. Feel like pooh. Everyone treats me like pooh. You know there’s a saying. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, and again, and again. Then stop trying and run because it’s never going to work.”

“Ok two comments,” Bakerman snaps at me. “One. Your mother is not too old. Stop putting your issues on her. It’s her choice if she wants to entertain your cousins. Two.  if at first you don’t succeed don’t try again. Find a better way until you find a way that works.”

“Hmmmm,” I shrug half-hearted.

“Yes indeed,” Bakerman insists sternly.

“I never get it right though, do I?” I look at him in pure desperation. “Very frustrating.”

My home is my safe haven. This is where I unwind, recharge and dream in the warm comfort and safety of my house. This allows me to better face the challenges life continuously throws my way. I am equally aware how my thoughts and stories influence the little people, and others, who share my space with me. Regardless of what I lived through in the past, it is important to make an effort to create the peace I desire in my own sacred space. In a way that supports everyone.

Communicating and listening with respect to my friends and loved ones, allows me to take out the garbage of my inner space and keep my place clean and enjoyable. Meditation and yoga help me to accomplish clear energy.

The bottom line is to remember to clean up our energies, our thoughts and our habits to bring home peace and love to benefit both ourselves and everyone around us.

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Drinks & parties

I often turn to Bakerman, my BFF, to ping pong my thoughts as a guide to meet my life obligations. Oftentimes I question myself if that is the correct way to behave in society. Yet there is no user manual to life, and even if there is one, I never even got anything near to a sneak preview of it. So I rely on the viral buzz of what I hear around me, the feedback I get from loved ones and friends in order to wing it through this thing called life.

“That weird customer has immediately paid my invoice after my message,” I tell Bakerman feeling happy with myself. “What does that mean?”

“Blackmail?” Bakerman raises an alarming eyebrow at me as he moves restlessly around my kitchen that evening.

“Haha. Not funny,” I smirk back. “Feel sorry for my mother. She’s a poor little old lady.”

“Did you put a spell on her?” Bakerman keeps eyeing me suspicious of every little reaction or telltale sign my body language might give off.

“No I swear I didn’t,” I answer a little too serious for that type of question.

“What makes her a little old lady?” Bakerman wants to know, his eyes moving up in obvious rememberance of her. “Have you mentioned to your brother to pull his weight for change?”

“We don’t see each other or talk to each other, so no,” I tell him firmly. “She is 67, anorexic thin, no money to spend, sour, by herself, not looking happy or healthy. That makes her a poor little old lady.”

“Did you spend her pension?” Bakerman won’t give up teasing me. “Send her a fruit basket with a note. Carpe diem.”

“I wish,” I sigh into my tea cup. “Haha pretty good, will do. She spends all her money on fatty.”

“Oh well. If she must then she must,” Bakerman states flatly. “Send Fatty a box of seeds to plant. With a note, work never killed anyone.”

“If she must what?” I look up at him surprised.

“Spend her money on Fatty,” Bakerman repeats.

“Haha will do that too,” I smile heartily. “Ok I’m jealous. He always gets spoiled, the brat.”

“Do you think he will understand the concept of what you sow you reap?” Bakerman questions me. He obviously has a plan but I fail to see the big picture just yet.

“He got beaten the hardest so I guess he deserves it now,” I remember those bad old days vividly. The thought alone makes me uneasy and I reach into the cupboard for a piece of chocolate to nibble on. “She will understand.”

“Ok send peppers and beans,” Bakerman nods decidedly.

“Peppers and beans?” I can’t believe what I am hearing.

“Yes,” Bakerman sips his tea undisturbed by the strangeness of this conversation.

“Jack and the bean stalk?” I ask him.

“Yes,” Bakerman continues sipping his tea.

“Peppa Pig?” I ask again to be really sure I got this right.

“Yes,” Bakerman puts his cup down and holds my gaze.

I burst out into a fit of hysteric laughter which lasts a good five minutes.

“Very good,” Bakerman encourages my uplift in spirit.

“Fun!” I finally manage to breathe between giggles.

“Bought a mixing machine today,” Bakerman changes the subject back to his entrepreneurial ideas. “Water is being turned on tomorrow in the kitchen. Things are moving again. Hope to start production soon.”

“This is exciting,” I say and I notice I am tapping my foot without thinking about it. “Do you have a tea room to receive guests?”

“Yes,” Bakerman nods proudly. “I will make samples for photos on Friday and test the oven.”

“Oh fun, just you or will you have help?” I urge him to tell me more about his plans.

“No. I will supply four tearooms to see if their clients will buy the product,” Bakerman lays out the basic steps of his business plan. “Just me for now.”

“Even better, no hassle to clean up,” I point out the positives as they would be for myself. “Pity though, you’re really good talking to people.”

“That’s for later,” Bakerman winks at me.

“Yes,” I smile relieved to hear that idea is still on the table. “I’m happy for you that things are looking up.”

“Have you eaten and bathed the kids yet?” Bakerman beyond my shoulder into the living room at my young brood.

“Have eaten,” I nod looking fondly over my shoulder at my little darlings.

“Did you blackmail your client for a higher price?” Bakerman almost catches me unawares on that issue again.

“Made saumon today. Delicious,” I answer to the question of what I made for my littles earlier on. “No I didn’t.”

“Why not?” Bakerman is always teasing.

“I just told him what I told you yesterday,” I am annoyed he would question my integrity. “Because that’s not right.”

Marshmallow,” Bakerman throws at me with a wink and a grin.

“Yup,” I shrug my shoulders as I finish off my cup of tea.

“You will make a wonderful wife,” Bakerman looks at me all stary eyed now.

“I will,” I nod affirmatively. “This year in autumn.”

“Have you started planning yet?” Bakerman prods the plans further.

“No. Well the solicitor,” I look at his astonished as it hadn’t really occurred to me to actually start moving on this at all. “Nothing to plan really. Get a nice dress. Set the date. Go out for a meal. Married. Very simple.”

“No party for me to come too?” Bakerman’s grin is growing wider and his twinkles are apparent.

“Not really,” I say downplaying the aim of his tease. “Maybe a small drink.”

“Do you think Wim will freak out if I kiss the bride?” Bakerman does his best to keep a straight face now.

“Yes. Absolutely yes!” I cry out with a laugh. “That’s grounds for divorce.”

Bakerman lets out a deep laugh and finishes his tea. I much enjoy my daily chats with him. In fact, I believe that everyone has some really good stories inside of them. Every single person. Yes, you too!

Not all of your stories will get written, although they would be a great read indeed. Some of you may have the intention to write your passionate message to the world, but you keep putting it off and then putting it off some more and… Others will find an excuse in writer’s block. And just a simple lack of confidence will stop the other 99% of people reading these lines. Or lack of time. That one is my favourite excuse. And it just makes me sad. Life is an adventure. Like Paolo Coelho famously said : “Live your personal legend.” That’s right, you are legendary.

The best way I have found to learn something is by listening to stories people tell me. Bakerman is full of stories and funnies and anecdotes which get me thinking.

And it’s not just me. Everybody wants to hear your stories. My storyline. Bakerman’s words of wisdom. So be inspiring to those around you. Let your story be heard. If not in writing, in any other way you choose to express yourself. Just do it.

Friendship and love

“Howdi,” I smile as I enter the bakery this Monday afteroon. “Been to see the doctor to check up on my boob pain.” I instantly feel the need to explain why I cancelled my morning delivery of fresh buns. “How are you? Nice weather finally.”

“Hi,” Bakerman smiles at me. “I am fine. Indeed fine weather today. Took a walk along the beach. Do you have a result from the doc?”

“You have an apartment by the sea?” I look at him in amazement, discovering once again something new about my friend. “Wow.”

“Yes,” Bakerman smiles fondly. “I used to live on the black sea.”

“Wow,” for a moment my mind lingers on the joy I find each time I walk along the shoreline and for a moment forgetting the worry about my own personal health. “Probably nothing but hospital scan tomorrow. There’s no lump in any case.”

“Ok. That’s a relief,” Bakerman takes the issue seriously. “Maybe just a reaction to your period.”

“Yes probably something like that,” I do my best to brush off my worry so I turn the subject to other worries. “I’m working my ass off. Can’t wait for the au-pair to arrive. By the time the Star returns I will have a serious business again. Wish I could go for walk by sea. Last time I went was at Easter in Normandy.”

“Soon you will have time again,” Bakerman nods at me encouragingly. “Sounds great that you are busy.”

“Oh glorious quality time with kids,” I smile as my eyes glaze over remembering the good times. “It is great but this is getting too much for long term by myself.”

“Don’t worry you are tough underneath your marshmallow exterior,” Bakerman teases me.

“It should be the other way round,” I ponder a little on what he just told me a little too innocently. “Tough outside and soft within. It should.”

“Yes,” Bakerman confirms eyeing me cautiously.

“How do I reverse that?” I demand to know more.

“Practice,” Bakerman retorts. “It’s all about how you see yourself and think about things and of course behaviour.”

“Hmmm very cryptic,” I go on thinking about the subject. “So I need to stop thinking marshmallow and Tin-Man. Instead I am a chocolate chip cookie with honey inside? That way you mean? Just by how I think about myself? Ok.”

Love and general and relationships in specific are situations we are continuously evaluating. How do we react when we meet love on our path and it asks us to continue the journey together? How do we strike the right balance knowing that love can be both enormously rewarding and endlessly frustrating at the same time? And why is it so damn hard to come to a compromise? Just how much compromising is acceptable and when is it too much?

And what kind of a friend am I to the people closest to me? Who are the people of my inner circle? Friendship is a great promise and is of utmost importance in our daily lives. Because love comes and goes, jobs are found and lost, but friendships are made to last forever.

Or is it the other way round?

* 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.

Bringing bread to life

People are understandably confused about what friendship is for these days. The average school doesn’t teach trust, the average adult doesn’t understand vulnerability, and the whole subject of confiding in someone can seem scary, strange and kind of unnecessary. That’s a real pity, because in fact, friendship and trust are cornerstone to healing all of us.

“Good afternoon,” I force a smile on my face but fail miserably. So I tell him the real reason for my impromptu visit to the bakery. “Can I tell you about ongoing stuff with my mother? It’s getting under my skin now. She came to see me Monday last week, I think it was Monday last week. Whatever.”

I stall to take a deep breath. “She said she wanted a better relationship with me but no therapy or anyone to help in between. I asked her what would change and she said ‘nothing’. Just a warmer feeling. She said no hidden agenda, nothing to win or to get the kids. I smiled and said ‘yes’. Although the ‘nothing changes’ means just that, nothing changes. The very next day she sends me a mail that I was right about the 200 Euro and that I only owe her 89 Euro now.”

I give him a quick look to see if he’s still engaged and following. His calm gaze encouraged me to continue. “I cancelled our tarot reading on Thursday as I was dead tired and under the weather. Now I receive another message from her and she still wants a tarot reading because she’s weary of the Ides of March. WTF? Caesar died backstabbed and as a settling of debts. Show me where the good stuff is here. Please.”

“Oh honey,” Bakerman puts a hand on my forearm. The contact is unusually calming. At the same time the physical contact unsettles me. “Trust is a difficult thing. I think your mother is realizing she might die sooner than later. Mortality is catching up with her. Cut her a little slack. Be patient with her. She needs to be of value to someone. For those who are superstitious the Ides of March just mean bad luck. Pay her what she asks. Don’t give in too much. Still be wary and let her know trust needs to be rebuilt. Nothing changes means she recognizes your authority over your kids. She will learn to adjust slowly but she will adjust. Your brother will be nice to her but not as a caregiver when she is not able to look after herself. Manipulate the situation to suit yourself without being cruel. Use tarot for this. More I can’t say.”

“Thanks. This helps,” I sigh with certain relief. His explanation makes sense. It calms my panic and soothes my paranoia. “I don’t want to take care of her. Yuk.”

“I know that and so do you but she doesn’t,” Bakerman susses me. “Don’t burst her bubble.”

“Ok. Are you seriously thinking of coming back?” I unconsciously attempt to change the subject. “The idea is slightly comforting.”

“Use it to your advantage. Try not to be to insincere or transparent,” Bakerman won’t be deferred by my obvious escapism. “Yes. I have a cut off by end April. No success I cut it all dead.”

“Insincere and transparent are opposites,” I point out smugly.

“No fool. They can be linked,” Bakerman scolds me peering at my over the brim of his glasses. “You don’t want to exhibit either.”

“Ah really… like how?” I question him. “It can’t be too obvious that I don’t want to take care of her?”

“See there is a link,” he throws back at me defiantly.

“Ok I see it now,” I smile enlightened. “What are you going to cut dead?”

“That will not come up for some time yet,” Bakerman goes on with his predictions. Tea is required for such talks and he promptly starts brewing a pot. “Maybe not in years but she will hope you don’t dump her in an old age home but let her die in her bed. I hope Lilly does that for you.”

“Not till May?” I go down that road again.

“No not till May,” Bakerman confirms and marks a pause to bring me back to the real discussion.

“I am different with Lilly than she was,” I point out defensively. “Lilly wants me to live in her attic.”

“Yes but things change as kids grow up and we get old,” Bakerman warns me.

“I was going to dump her in the cheapest home available,” I confess. “So I should just forget about all her lies? All the big whopping lies she told everyone and turned everyone against me? That was nothing? She disinherited me. No way am I paying for her. Stingy cow.”

“Stop it,” Bakerman’s voice sounds harsh, yet forewarning. As if my bad words may have a real effect. “Truthfully you are not innocent here either. Feuds are either settled or never resolved.”

“I am not innocent… no,” I reply hesitantly. “But I didn’t go telling lies. I didn’t try to get her put away in prison. And all of that because my huge, fat, ugly brother smacked Winston and I wasn’t allowed to speak up for that. Uh… she took me to court, not the other way round. She’s the nasty, stupid idiot.”

“Right,” Bakerman states shortly. With that I know he means that if I think I’m right, and she thinks she’s right, how come then we’re both wrong?

“She is,” I insist ignoring valuable life lessons. “What did I do then?”

“We know that,” Bakerman humours me. “Question is, are you both going to continue this or calm it down a bit?”

“I don’t fucking well do anything,” I say feeling all defensive and getting rather angry in the process. Why doesn’t he understand? “She’s the one who continues all the time. I just want peace and quiet but that’s not possible.”

“I think you should tell her calmly that you wish her dead as soon as possible,” Bakerman says calmly pulling up an eyebrow at me in the process.

“She sits at home all day thinking up little plans,” I go on, my anger clearly festering beneath the surface. Then it hits me: “I do and I don’t. I dont wish anybody dead.”

“Why not?” Bakerman teases me sweetly.

“She could move to the UK, that would be nice for everyone,” I love thinking outside of the box. I think I’m pretty good at that.

“Honey you are a big softy,” Bakerman is now openly getting under my skin and he knows it.

“She’s my mother and a human being,” I sigh. My eyes are starting to sting and I find my reaction rather strange.

“Oh,” Bakerman looks at me with played surprise. “I thought she was neither of those things.”

“I wish she would realize she’s not a 16 year old fire breathing whore, and that she finally starts behaving like a sweet little old lady,” I let out my anger, my frustration, my childhood disappointments. “Cooking, baking cakes and knitting. Sweet stuff. Maybe some painting and meditation too. But she doesn’t do any of that. Well yes, she is human and she did give birth to me.”

“I assumed she had been abducted and turned into something rotten,” Bakerman points out the unreal image I have been portraying. “I think her soul is badly burnt. Maybe it’s your thing to rehabilitate her and save her from hell.”

“Satan’s got a nice, hot spot for her,” I love this part. “Graham must have raped her anally and she thinks that’s my fault. Something like that. Or she didn’t protect me as a baby from him and she can’t live with the guilt.”

“Perhaps,” Bakerman nonchalantly lifts his shoulders and takes a sip from his tea cup. “Who knows what’s in her warped mind.”

“She’s anorexic,” I think I can give him an idea of what’s in there. “So no food or cake. Food is functional, not to be enjoyed.”

“You are still a marshmallow,” Bakerman is turning me into the things my mother despises. And she does. “She is autistic.”

“I am and I don’t want to be anything else,” I know I’m a softie. Don’t you just hate the English slags who run around acting all tough, as if that’s the only way you’re supposed to go through life? “I like being soft. That helps a lot you know, realizing she’s autistic. Very autistic. A whole bunch of aspergus.”

“So cut her a little slack,” Bakerman urges me softly again. “She will either become a granny type sort if or the bitch will rise and you then explain nicely that you can’t  have toxic people around you or your kids. Wrong set of values for your kids etc.”

“Sigh… I dont want to put up with yet another one of her nasty episodes,” the thought alone makes me shudder. “She’s bitter. She tastes bitter. Ugh spit it out.”

“But if she really is your mother, God requires you to show her some respect just the same,” Bakerman is now going down the religious road. “Love is not required.”

“I do… I am still putting up with her, arent I?” I point out, as if that is enough to show respect. “I am always polite at least. Okay my blog is a little disrespectful… But it’s not untrue.”

“Good,” Bakerman smiles at me. “Then I won’t have to come and save you from hell.”

“I just write about the facts,” I still find myself justifying myself. “No you won’t.”

“Really?” Bakerman questions my statement. “Just the facts or your perception of the facts? You are not in hell yet.”

“And I know that if my kids would not want me around it would all be my own doing,” I say wisely. “The woman doesn’t think. No responsibility for her actions.” I stop to take a sip of my tea too. And to win some time. To ponder on what Bakerman just said. To question myself. “My perception of course. My perception is valid. It’s not an interpretation. There is a difference.”

“Sure,” Bakerman isn’t buying it. “It takes a good soul to recognize her own responsibility in the situation. But ok. If you say there is a difference, so be it. I believe you even though thousands of others don’t.”

“Hey, I stood up for myself after years of abuse from that woman. Don’t go telling me off,” that’ it. I’ve let the touchy subject get to me again. When will I ever learn to talk about this issue dispassionately. “Thousands of others don’t believe what?”

“No I am not. But you are carrying such bad toxic thoughts over this which will be come part of your karma if you don’t let it go,” Bakerman reassures me that he is trying to keep me straight, not telling me off. “They don’t believe Picasso was gay.”

“I realize that. Each time I try to let it go, she’s back. Her message today started with ‘hallo fiona’ again. She’s doing it on purpose to get at me,” I tell him showing him the text message on my mobile. “What makes you think Picasso was gay?”

“How? You said he was gay!” Bakerman bellows with laughter. Then in a neutral tone: “How does ‘hallo Fiona’ get your goat?

“Oh him… he is,” I defend my cause again, yet this time with less frustration. “Let’s look at the facts: he finds it hard to sleep with women, he has dabbled with men… He’s either gay or his dominating Italian mama won’t let him have sex. Either way, he’s tormented.” I rest my case. I don’t think anything else can or should be added to prove my point. “’Hallo fiona’ is in Dutch and we speak English.”

“Much like mama, no?” Bakerman points out another pattern.

“I don’t know why she does it,” I am attributing to malice what can easily be attributed to stupidity again.

“’Hallo’ is Dutch?” Bakerman leans back in his chair.

“My mama you mean? Yes my mum won’t let my fatty brother have a relationship either,” I now see a larger picture in the pattern. “Yes it is. It would be ‘hello’ in English.”

“Ah she forgot how to spell it out of habit,” Bakerman finds a simpler explanation. “Seriously Fiona?”

“Noooo, she knows damn well,” I insist.

“I always spell it ‘hallo’. Damn now I have to change that too,” Bakerman fumbles with his phone.

“It’s like the time she answered a mail I had sent to my stepdad out of his account,” I want to emphasize this point. Continuous misspelling is not an excuse here. “She just answered me ‘oh grow up Fiona, mum’. She transgresses boundaries.” Why won’t he understand? It’s so blatantly obvious. “No you don’t. She does it on purpose. Stupid old cow.”

“Yes she does,” Bakerman is now going in my direction again, as that’s the only way to bring me back into his vision of the world.

“Ha told you,” I shout triumphantly.

“I think when Lilly sends a childish email you might do the same,” Bakerman points out the humaneness of the reaction which shocked me to date. “I would.”

“You would go into Debbie’s account?” I ask incredulously. “That’s bad.”

“No. I don’t do that unless I think I need to,” Bakerman justifies the statement. “But I don’t think I need to. Your mum has big trust issues it seems. Psychopath perhaps or psychotic.”

“Psychotic more like,” I know my mother isn’t a psychopath. They are charming.

“Maybe she just wants anal sex only and can’t get it,” Bakerman wants me to laugh it off again. “She could be very frustrated. Buy her a vibrator with fresh batteries.”

“Well it’s not for lack of the number of men who sleep over,” I tell him. “Haha I should.”

“Now now,” Bakerman wants me on the straight again, and I keep diverging.

“It’s true,” I emphasize again. “How many boyfriends have I known her to have over the past few years?”

“Someone needs to service older men,” Bakerman informs me of the secret workings of the third age population. “Her sex drive will be high. How many have you had? Let’s not judge shall we?”

“And the Dormouse told me there are more and that they sleep over immediately, even when the little girl is there,” I find it important that I am not the only source of bad talk. “How many have I had?”

“It’s her fanny and she can do what she likes with it,” Bakerman is still defending my mother. I decide I might as well give up.

“Okay… Okay well there was Wim. And Marc obviously,” I count out loud on my fingers.

“That’s one to many already,” Bakerman replies cheekily.

“And before Wim, Jonathan,” I continue counting. “Yes well… my clock was ticking.”

“I understand,” Bakerman finally gives into me. “I am not judging you nor blaming you. You made a nice baby.”

“I did,” I smile broadly. “And I manage to treat all my children well.”

“I know,” Bakerman nods needing no further explanation on that point.

“Hmmm okay I won’t argue this anymore,” I say hoping to close the discussion. “Though I don’t agree.”

“Don’t judge her,” Bakerman warns me again. “Maybe this is her thing. Maybe she has a high sex drive like you do. Or sex eliminates her loneliness. Who knows.”

“Or she thinks that’s what you’re supposed to do,” I think along the same lines.

“Yes,” Bakerman nods.

“Or she thinks her fanny is special,” I head off in the wrong direction again.

“Yes. Is it?” Bakerman looks at me all smiles and big eyes. “Am I missing out?”

“Or she thinks she is so much better than other women,” I continue. “It might be made of gold. Are you a gold digger?”

“Ooh that would be painful,” Bakerman allows me this bit of naughty fun at least.

“That’s very bad pun,” I correct myself.

“Indeed,” Bakerman agrees.

“It probably is,” I confirm the painful thought. “She’s so skinny I can’t imagine it to be very pleasant. So I’ll just be nice. Very well then. Just smile and wave.”

“Nice but careful,” Bakerman leans forward, his blue eyes gazing at me.

“Super,” I cheer falsely. “Careful for what?”

“No martyrdom needed,” Bakerman knows me a little too well.

“What should I look out for?” I ask in a whisper of conspiracy.

“Careful not to create situations that repeat,” Bakerman’s warning continues.

“Well here we go…,” I sigh annoyed. “You won’t let me speak up or defend myself, but now no martyrdom. Like what repeat situations?”

“You must speak up and defend yourself at the appropriate time,” Bakerman interrupts me. “Not years later.”

“Pfff… So ‘hallo fiona’ is pestering but I’ll just ignore that,” I tell him the stupidity of the entire situation.

“I am wondering if you are channeling this toxic stuff when you do Reiki or tarot,” Bakerman ponders. “Write back in Dutch.”

“I hope not,” I answer in alarm. “I do a protection prayer before. I ask for the good of all.”

“Walk the talk madam,” Bakerman coaches me.

“I don’t feel this toxic shit until she shows herself again,” I tell him. “I’ll write back in Dutch next time. That’s obviously what she wants.”

“Meditate so you can rise above it,” Bakerman advises me. “This toxic shit stays in your aura. Do a Reiki cleansing on yourself for this and clean your aura.”

“I should meditate more,” I tell myself more than I tell him. “I normally send her lots of love and light. But it doesn’t work.” Another sip of tea. “Oh yes, good idea.”

“Keep doing it,” Bakerman pushes me lightly.

“From now on, only positive thoughts,” my face lights up as I jump to my feet. Time to go. Time to pick up my darlings from school. “I will.”

“Keep sending love and light,” Bakerman reminds me. “Each time it bounces back much stronger. Sleep tight.”

* 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.

Update your fearless policy

The Bakerman found me in quite a worn out state when I answered my front door that morning. My hair was having a bad day and wouldn’t lie in place, no matter how much I brushed it. And my entire demeanour suggested I had been up all night doing something really exotic like burlesque or pole dancing. I wish…

“I’m going to have to stop reading the newspaper,” I explain as I notice him looking me over carefully. “Panic attacks again… and I thought I was over it.”

Newspapers have a tendency to exaggerate their content. To draw attention to the horrors happening in the world around us. They will nitpick any sensational item and then present it as if it’s the antechamber to Auschwitz right in our own backyard. It’s called reigning via terror. It’s immobilizing people into their fears, into docility. Follow the leader. Your government knows best.

You see we have been programmed since the age of the dinosaurs to look out for danger. Always be vigilant not to step on that snake, or to watch out for predators. Fred Flintstone had built in responses for such situations: fight or flee. We still have this programming in our DNA. What triggers it is marvelous to observe at times.

In any case, I have found that my personal freedom and peace of mind are enhanced by staying away from the newspapers. If anything big happens in the world, I’ll hear everyone else talking about it, and then I’ll have the opportunity to research that.

“Normality, little house on the prairie, peace of mind please,” I sigh as I gratefully. accept my packages of freshly baked bread and buns. Maybe it would be a nice idea to invite the Bakerman in one day for some tea and pastry. He seems like a nice man. Someone who can listen. Someone who knows how to ask the right questions.

Fear is counterproductive. I need to be continuously innovating my business and my skills. I need to feel inspired and energetic to evangalise the digital evolution. These things are important to me, and to my clients. I need to look beyond my own boundaries. Swap my meeting rooms and charts for bike rides and long walks along the blossom trails. That’s where I will find space to expand my creativity.

Without a doubt. The future is unlimited.

* 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.

Bread is very important

This morning I waited impatiently for my doorbell to ring. The previous day I had received a short message from the Bakerman asking me if he should look into social media marketing and why.

This subject is right up my alley. Very enthusiastic about the possibilities SMM can bring any business, as well as the wide variety of social platforms. I have been digging deeper into the subject over the past months. Reading blogs and taking course paths and certification exams along the way.

“Morning!” I cheer as I am almost jumping up and down in my own doorway.

“For later, will you Skype me or shall I Skype you, or Mary?” We had settled on talking about social media over Skype, after the Bakerman had finished his rounds of delivering his goodies to the world. And then safe back in the warmth of his own house he would call me with his lovely daughter, Mary.

“And which Skype address?” I hold his gaze as he hands me by bread and buns, still warm in their brown paper bags.

“bakerman.gingerbread2,” the Bakerman replies as he stands there quite still smiling at me for a brief moment.

“I will send a list of all online courses in online marketing. That way Mary can have a look and decide where to start.” I tell him as I reach for my phone. I fumble about for a moment searching for the article that I had in mind, finding it, then copy pasting the URL link to send via text message.

“This article actually lays it out very well, with all relevant links,” I am always super enthusiastic about sharing my knowledge with the world. Even greater is my excitement when I can share newly found resources around me.

“Thank you,” Bakerman replies as he slowly heads back over to his van to continue his morning round.

I always believe that life belongs to those who dare to do. It doesn’t matter if you fail, it will teach you something. And at least you tried. Those who never attempt anything will never fail, but they’ve also never really lived. Not by sitting lazily behind their computer awing over the failures of others, whilst sippy sipping their hot cup of tea.

The philosopher in me is awake and has joined the kids at the breakfast table. Life is about feeling, I think as I lay out the bread and the fresh buns for hungry little hands to grab at. First you feel, then you think. You think out your plan in detail, find the pitfalls, work out your best success strategy. Then you dare. You dare to believe in your dreams, that you can make it great. And then, only then, do you do.

No time for ‘what if’ games. ‘What if’ doesn’t exist. Those are just mind games. Don’t second guess yourself. Find someone to team up with. Someone happy and positive. Tell them your dreams and your plans. Let them encourage you and hold you responsible to live up to your ideals. There is a certain romance in thinking together, reading together, daring together.

Be bold.

* 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.

Bakerman’s recipe to tapping into your full potential

I got up at 6am that morning, as I have been doing for the past months now that the Star is away with a bun in the oven. I found that getting up immediately actually works better for me than continuously pressing the snooze button.

My morning routine consists of tending to my ageing skin. Any woman over 40 will notice that her skin is slowly starting to show the signs of time passed. Mine feels like a desert rose. Through a client of mine I have discovered a new range of products, Cime Skincare. Really love it. It’s a brand with a story and ecologically responsible. Father and daughter went for a hike in the Himalaya and discovered plants and local learnings which they turned into beauty products.

And it works. Great marketing! The consumer feels good for sponsoring local produce, as the manufacturers are Belgians, but the origins of the ingredients come straight from the Himalaya, thus sustaining economic growth in that region too. And it’s all green and natural. Hurray!

A ding-dong from my doorbell at this early hour shakes me from my reverie. It’s the Bakerman delivering my daily bread. I love to chatter to him. He’s not very responsive. Like most men, he’s moody.

“Morning! How are you?” I cheer at the Bakerman as he stands there smiling at me rather bashfully.

“Had a nice weekend,” I go on chattering to him as he starts fumbling about in the back of his small delivery van. “Saw my mom when I dropped off my kids for her court ordered Saturday.”

I added a slight tone of sarcasm to that last statement which highlighted my annoyance with the ongoing matter. “At first she pretended not to know Willem’s name. Daft old bat. She is popping in tonight to see kids. Fun fun fun.”

The smell of freshly baked bread wafts over to me from the van. “I practiced my stoma skills when I had to save Wim from a small emergency middle of the night. Did some Reiki on Winston.”

Bakerman turns to me holding two paper bags out to me. I gratefully accept them. They still feel warm in my hands confirming that my Bakerman must have been up since the crack of dawn to make sure there would be fresh bread on the breakfast table for my kiddos. “I’ve received the test video we made last week. Not sure if I like it. I am fat, my face is red and my teeth are awefull.”

I pull a funny face at him as I remember watching the test video with utmost horror. Us women, we always tend to be the most critical about our own appearances. “Don’t understand why they said ‘yes’ for the videos… I need to lose weight fast, make a dental appointment, and get some lip filler. And make sure I have killer slides to present.”

I can see the Bakerman is still too shy to answer to any of my morning chatterings as he lingers by my door eyeing me up carefully. “Right… I’m off to my cross trainer.”

Our secrets, it’s a gift! Don’t you agree? I wouldn’t dream of saying even half of that to my closest friends, yet here I am waffling on to my Bakerman who delivers my daily bread to my door every morning about everything and anything that is going on in my world.

Would you like to know some of my main strategies to design a powerful life as a single mom, remain visible on the professional market but also open to new adventures in life?

I have over the last year published many stories from my daily life bringing together recipes to live better, calibrate and optimize your life to make it fit the world you desire for yourself and your loved ones.

I thought you would be happy to continue discovering my meanderings, or to remember my fundamental learnings and good practices of living the good life.

Looking forward to traveling this road together!

* 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.