Tag Archives: Passion

Photo Friday

9 Sep

It’s been quite a few months that my pen and notebook have had a new member join their handbag crew. Exilim now travels with them on almost every journey, capturing in image what I cannot seize in words.

With my love for photography catching up with my love for writing, I decided to dedicate a little space on Love Out Loud to this new passion.

Every Friday I will share with you a photo of the moments that flash by in my corner of the world.

Through My Kitchen Window

My Guilty Passion

5 Jul

As I sit down to write this post, I feel guilty. I feel guilty about writing.

I realised that I felt guilty about writing almost a year ago, when choosing a career path for the first time and thinking about what it was that prevented me from giving myself to the activity that I love most of all.

From a young age, I had been taught many things about life and work from the adults around me. These things include:

1) All normal people have a 9-5 job.

2) Working longer hours than everyone else actually signifies that you are talented and/or important.

3) No one ever really enjoys their job.

4) A job is a way to earn money. Having fun while we’re at it? That’s just a child’s naivety.

5) We have to pick our career path at college, study hard for it at university and become a specialist in our field by our 30s.

6) Career changes are for undecided, unmotivated people.

7) Being ‘unsure’ is almost equivalent to being a failure.

8 ) Productivity is respectful, creativity is laziness.

9) A respectful person is one who works hard, sacrifices himself at work for his family and never ever complains about his job.

10) It is selfish to choose a career that brings little money simply because one ‘enjoys’ it. Instead, one should choose a career that guarantees security and stability in order to be able to support family and be ready for any unforeseen events/circumstances.

11) Only those who have ‘achieved’ something are those who are worthy.

As you can see, writing doesn’t really come anywhere into this. As a teenager I would only write in my ‘free’ time: after I’d finished my homework, during the summer holidays or late into the night. At all other times, there were more ‘important’ things to do: revise for exams, practise my musical instruments, help with the housework, babysit…I felt guilty about spending so much time in my day doing an activity with no ‘purpose’ or no visible results. I had been taught to always do useful things first and use any remaining time for rest or play. (But if we only ever do what is useful, will we ever have any time to do what is fun?)

Despite having pinpointed the thing that prevented me from dedicating myself to writing, I continue to have feelings of guilt. Few of my friends are in the creative field; when I say “I spent a whole afternoon writing”, only one or two will sympathise in replying “Ah, I know how you feel. I spent the day painting a beautiful park”. Since moving to my new country, with a calmer, slower lifestyle, I feel almost embarrassed to tell my friends that ‘what I do all day’ is work, go for walks, ride my bike and write. This answer never seems to be satisfactory and I only receive a nod, or an “OK..”, or further questions starting with “But do you not go/do/see….”.

In their late-thirties, both my mum and her best friend had drastic career changes. They took evening classes, sat exams and started from scratch. After their final exam, my mum’s friend said something that has stuck with me since, and that has perhaps been a reason for most of the writing activities I have done in the past few years. She said “Do what you love now. There’s no point in wasting time and settling for something else. In the end, you’ll end up going back to the thing you love, anyway.”

Torn between doing what I truly love and doing something ‘respectful’ I ask myself: did Dostoevsky, Hugo or Shakespeare ever feel guilty about writing? If so, they were damn right to laugh, spit and stomp on guilt’s face!

If You Love It, Teach It!

16 Mar

“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.”  ~ Author Unknown

The best teacher that I have ever had stood out from all the dozens of others by one simple thing: love. This teacher loved what she taught, she loved teaching and she loved her pupils. Every time I was in her class, I felt as if that hour with her was sacred. She treated every pupil as her own child, and taught us in a way that showed us that we were just as important to her as she was to us. She truly wanted to share her knowledge with us, and to make us discover the happiness that she herself experienced through this subject. Through her honesty, openness, attention and care she did more than teach – she inspired.

In current times, it is rare to find a teacher with all of the above qualities. I have come across teachers who taught simply to make money, or because they couldn’t find another job; I have known teachers who were unqualified and unmotivated, and those who simply did not care about their students. Jacques Barzun rightly said that “teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition”. The current focus on passing exams and getting the best grades has transformed learning from a process of discovery to a process of repetition, regurgitation and memorisation. Teachers are no longer valued as our guides to self-discovery, and they are no longer respected as professionals with a wealth of knowledge.

There is never a shortage of eager students looking for the perfect teacher (all of us would love to learn one thing or another), but unfortunately, there is a shortage of eager teachers looking for the perfect student. Why is that? Because we have come to believe that being a teacher means having a qualification or a post to confirm our abilities. In fact, there is a teacher in all of us: we all have something that we love and that we would love to pass on to others. Last week-end, I taught yoga to a friend. We did a ‘proper’ class, with postures, sequences and techniques, and both of us came away happy. I am not a yoga master, nor am I trained as a yoga teacher, but yoga is something that I love, and something that I would love to pass on to others, and therefore it was a great pleasure for me to spend an evening teaching it to someone who was curious and willing to learn.

We all know how much joy it brings us to share our passion with others, and I believe that one of the best ways to do this is by teaching. Whether you love literature, singing, playing on the piano, gardening, knitting, swimming, writing, playing chess…there is someone who would love to learn from you. Whether in a formal or informal class, paid or free, with friends or strangers, regularly or irregularly, to a group or to an individual, sharing what you love is a gift. Don’t let your talents and your passions go to waste – pass them on!

If you love it, teach it!

The Gift of Intuition

8 Jan

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
– Albert Einstein

Our intuition nudges us constantly. It is a powerful but gentle force, guiding us softly but surely. Most of the time it comes to us in what we consider banal situations, so we don’t listen to it, thinking that an intuition is for ‘bigger, more important’ things.

Today, during my Saturday shift at my local independent bookshop, I was drawn in particular to one title: Twenty-one Locks by Laura Barton. I kept looking at the book, picking it up, flicking through it, reading passages of it. I couldn’t pull myself away from it.

Something was drawing me to the book, yet my rational side was trying to dissuade me against buying it: “You have too many unread books at home”, “You shouldn’t be spending so much money on your passions when there are more important things to take care of”, “You don’t even know whether you’ll like it”. Ah, the rational side of us – why does it always try to ruin all the fun? But most importantly – why do we listen to it so often? “You’re right,” we say to it, as if speaking to a scolding parent, and at the same time we turn our backs on our best friend Intuition.

I decided to research Twenty-one Locks on the internet, in the hope of finding something to help me make up my mind. I found an interview with Laura Barton …and warmed immediately to her. Laura came across as being down to earth, open and just simply lovely! She used beautiful language, including metaphors and imagery, which really evoked her persona. One phrase of hers stuck out at me in particular: “I hoped that if I just wrote as honestly as I could then people would respond to it”. Although I has sensed it already, this phrase confirmed that Laura writes for love; she writes from her heart, from her passions and from her interests. “[…] Life is too short to be nasty about things”, she said in the interview, and I knew that Twenty-one Locks would follow this motto. It would be a book created by a love for writing and a love for life.

In this everyday, seemingly banal situation of deciding whether or not to buy a book, my intuition had been guiding me in the right direction from the start. I listened to it in the end: I bought the book (and I really look forward to reading it). I just hope that next time I will trust my intuition enough to not have to use the internet for confirmation!

What I Love

6 Jan

There is an uncountable amount of things we love in life, yet we don’t even realise it!

Seeing as I am writing a blog about love, I sat down and made a list of all the things I love. The list took me half an hour to write and is almost two and a half pages long. Wow, I didn’t know that there were so many things that inspire me and bring me joy! It’s funny how we don’t even realise just how much something means to us until we sit down and make a list of it.

But, as proven, even making lists has its own beauty: it has opened my eyes to the things that I treasure in life…and the fact that my current life hardly encompasses any of these things at all. Time to get out there and start experiencing the things I love!

I L♥VE….

the sea

soft warm sand

piano music …. Ludovico Einaudi

trees

all things natural

softness

making people laugh

dacha

sunsets behind the field

white nights

spending an afternoon in the park reading

playing hide and seek in long grass

growing my own food

wild flowers

hidden streams

listening to live music

singing

guitar

people with a passion

when someone’s eyes glow as they talk about something they love

dancing

performing on stage

making collages

langauges

snow

vastness

the smell of sun on my skin, the smell of clothes that have dried in the sun

raspberry jam

pancakes

opera

writing

walking barefoot on the earth

long walks

receiving and sending handwritten letters

bikes with baskets

fireworks

being very silly

drawing colourful pictures with fat felt tip pens

my pillow

physical contact

the smell of freshly cut grass

the smell of rain on a summer’s day

autumn

waking up early, when the sun is rising and everything is quiet all around

cheesecake, carrot cake

poetry

books

small independent book shops

milky, sweet coffee in the morning

birches

huge pine tress

secret lakes

balconies and French windows

rye bread with butter

children

yoga

the echo of footsteps in a museum

feeling in the flow