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Made with love by Sieske Valk 2019 ©

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The magical year of 3-0 has passed

September 25, 2017

That feeling of no longer being a twenty-something with its insecurities and floaty-ness and now actually being a “grown-up” person, grounded and contented in her own skin, whilst still looking 20, was wonderful since the moment it started – today exactly one year and a day ago. Yesterday, my 32nd year on this earth started, time to take a moment and reflect.

 

The last year has been a rollercoaster ride. I gave up my comfortable, grand apartment in Amsterdam, my 9-5 job and basically, gave up on Amsterdam. Lewis, J. and I moved to London, a city with which I’ve had a love/hate relationship with since ever setting a foot in, until well…yesterday. I absolutely LOVE living in London!

 

Of course, I often grumble about the road rage, the air pollution and the waste, but boy oh boy, the opportunities in this city!

When I first came to London as a tourist, I was astonished about the business of the city (what I would now call buzz) and the fact that there were so many people out and about, going from A to B. Last week, while I was sitting on a bus on a Sunday morning, going from A to B, I was thinking to myself “OMG, I am one of those people now, going from A to B – And I LOVE IT!”.

When I cycle to my one of my yoga classes on Wednesday afternoons and go over Waterloo bridge (the best spot to admire the London view IMHO) I can’t help to feel a tingle in my belly of being a part of this amazing buzzing city.

 

Since moving here in December, I’ve been really busy setting up the Sies Petcare and Yoga brand. Without having to write a list of the things I wanted to achieve between my 30th and 31st birthday, but letting things just come as they go, I truly learned by doing. It was exhausting, yet fun!

I can say the brand is defined and I don’t need to worry about passing idle time and not earning an income. However, constantly being involved in busy work, doesn’t allow much time for reflection, in-depth concentration and deep-work.

That is why, this following year, I will focus more on deepening the connections, improving my writing skills and my own yoga practise, and subsequently, improve my teaching skills along the way.

 

I have already started this trajectory by quitting a few classes that were either too far away or weren’t rewarding enough financially or energetically. I’ve managed to bring back the number of classes I taught and made sure that both my classes and pet care clients are situated locally, thus growing a network in the vicinity of my home. This enables me to get to know my community, limit the time spent travelling and increase the quality of the few classes I ám teaching.

 

However, being so busy also limits the time sitting still to reflect and write blogs like these and the stories yet untold. And when I actually do sit down, I don’t even want to look at my computer, let alone write down stuff. So, the stories remain untold and the annoyances that would normally fuel a quickly written, fiery blog, now seep through the back of my head into the sofa while I lay down with a cat on my belly and Facebook feed in front of my eyes. In the beginning of this year I announced in a news letter that I would finally write that story book about Lewis. Announcing it would bring it to life, or so I thought. It turned out it didn’t. Sitting still, pushing yourself to focus and just write is what brings a story out of your mind and onto the paper. And I haven’t had or taken the time to do so.

 

So, first of all, I’ll start this 32nd year with stepping up my own asana-yoga practise by attending a (short) class every morning. I know it is not realistic for me to go to a physical class every day, and that is why I one of my birthday presents to myself is a subscription to Yoga Gaia which allows me to practise in the comfort of my own bedroom, whether it’s a short 15-minute power class or a 60-minute restorative class. As Stephen Covey put it, highly productive people “sharpen their saw” every day in order to produce efficiently and effectively.

Next to that, the website also offers beautiful documentaries about yoga, allowing me to learn about and reflect on life in other ways. I am very looking forward to practising anywhere I can find a WiFi connection, especially since Jamie gave me this amazing Manduka travel yoga mat for my birthday!

 

My second birthday gift to myself is an investment in yoga props for my classes. I’ve been teaching most of my yoga classes at InSpire without any props, but some yoga blocks. Although you don’t need anything to practise yoga asanas but a sticky surface (yoga mat), some comfy clothing and willpower to learn and surrender, one can deepen the practice with the help of props.

After last week’s class, which was filled with first-timers and a few regulars, I noticed an unfulfilled feeling. I had lost my balance (pun intended) and catered too much to the newbies, almost forgetting about the people who had been coming to my class for months. I decided that from now on, I had to invest in the people that have been investing time and energy in my Monday evening classes, the people that wanted to grow in their practice, before they would leave to find a more challenging class. In short, I need to improve the quality of the class; the people that are meant to stay, will stay.

 

Lastly, I am in awe of writers such as Zadie Smith, J.R. Tolkien, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Amitav Ghosh and would love to learn to write beautiful stories like they do, to create a whole new world in their head and share them with others. I have a few stories in my head that want to come out, but don’t know how to. In able to force myself to sit down and write, I have signed up for a creative writing course at Morley college. Hopefully, that storybook on the Amazing adventures of Lewis the Cat will lie before you to read in 364 days’ time.

 

To finish the story, here’s a very useful and mind-blowing simple lesson for living your life the fullest, from a 92-year-old. We are never too old to wonder and be amazed, to be love(d) and to find joy in the little things in life. 

 

Namasté

 

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