We are Lolita.

We are all Lolitas, trapped in parallel realities, lost in the chaos of the world. We love cliches and glitters and want to own the world before it is even born. The difference between us and lolita, is that we let ourselves go to Humbert. We voluntarily accepted our illusions as truths and let it all crumble into a thousand shade of nothing.

I pause now and think about the air I am breathing. What if it suddenly disappears? What if I can no longer breathe. Would this change a thing about the way the world works?

No, it would not, nobody cares. So why do you think that your beliefs matter? How important are we in this big big universe?

The paradox of our society is that we secretly admire and envy thinkers but we are too scared to admit to ourselves that in this chaos, we are free to choose whatever belief we want. We read Nawal Al Saadawi but we teach our daughters to obey a corrupt, ugly dysfunctional  system.
Nietzsche once said : “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
It is about time for us to find the chaos within!

I invite you my friends, to think deeply about all that you took for granted, question every single thing, even your very existence, even the very breath you are taking right now.

When you start counting the hours: leave!

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When I was in school, I used to hate math so much, that I would start counting the minutes until the end of the class. When I had my first job, the same happened but this time I was counting the hours.

I needed the money and the experience but I hated every single thing about the job. My boss was an arrogant old man who was never happy with anything his employees would do. I had very mean colleagues and the only two people I got along with worked on a different project and I couldn’t see them every day. There was nothing I liked about the job and I soon left. My next job was better but I didn’t like it that much. I had a good boss, (although our relationship wasn’t that wonderful at first) and my colleagues were nice and respectful. The environment was good but the job itself wasn’t a good fit for me.
I am very happy with my current job, I love the people and my boss is wonderful! There are bad days, boring days and very stressful days but it is great overall. I have never stayed this long in a job and I never thought I would actually want to stay in one. As a creative soul and a multipotentialite, it has always been easy for me to get bored quickly. I have been thinking a lot lately about why I stayed in this job even though the tasks and the roles themselves are not different from my previous jobs and I realized that the difference was that I was actually excited about going to work and that during my time in the office I was not counting the hours. Time passed by so quickly! I will not lie to you and tell you that it is perfect. Of course it isn’t! But I really like it here. If you are like me, a creative multipotentialite working a full time job, then I think you should ask yourself the following questions to find out if you want to stay in your current job or find something else:

1- Am I remunerated enough to take on extra activities/ pay for new lessons?
It is very important to feel that what you earn is not only enough for you to live but to pay for other activities that you enjoy doing. As a multipotentialite, we can be happy in our jobs as long as we give ourselves time to pursue other interests.

2- Is my boss flexible and understanding of my personality and how I see things?
Not all bosses can appreciate having a multipotentialite work for them and many will consider it as a weakness so if it is the case, working with them would only hurt you. It is better to find another job than to work for someone who doesn’t see your true value.

3- Do I get along with my colleagues?
You will be spending a lot of time with your colleagues, and it is important to get along with them. Ideally, you would share some interests with them that you can discuss over lunch breaks but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable around them.

4- Is there the possibility for growth within my organization/company?
As a multipotentialite, your number one mission is to grow and expand and unless there is room for you to do that in your place of work, then it will be a complete waste of time and you need to get out of there as soon as possible!

5- Does my work have impact on people’s lives? Does it make a difference in the world?
No matter how small the impact of what you do has on people, there must be something that makes you feel that what you do is important and not just a series of corporate goals to be fulfilled. Your workplace should have a soul of its own if you are to be happy in it.

6- Is one or more of the company/organization’s core values in line with my own values?
There is room for compromise but it is very important that the organization’s core values do not contradict one or more of your core values. You don’t have to share every vision or approve of the whole mission statement of your organization but there must be something there in it for you!
So here is my check list for anyone who is both a multipotentialite and who has/wants/ needs to have a job. I hope you find them useful! Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me!

Remember though, sometimes it is more about the environment and the experience than it is about the job itself!

The aftermath of a panic attack.

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courtesy of James Barkman 

I had my first major panic attack last Monday. It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I’ve had panic attacks before but nothing like this one. I felt my fingers, toes and mouth go numb and I thought I was going to die, I had a hard time catching my breath and I wished it was a dream from which I would wake up and then everything would go to normal.

I can’t tell you how awful last week was. Especially the first couple of days, I felt like I was not present, I was in a state of absolute denial about everything around me and all I could think about was my breath, I felt a strong need to control it, I felt that if I didn’t pay attention to it I would suffocate and die.

It is really fascinating to experience something like this. Your whole attention is focused on just one point of your body and the more you think about it, the more your worries become real.
My chest felt very heavy like someone was pressing so hard from the inside out. It was not easy to divert my attention from that horrible sensation. I bought a coloring book and I started coloring. I colored and colored and I tried to breathe slowly. I tried to just accept the feelings of anxiety and worry and let them pass by. Just wait and hold on.
I did some yoga, some meditation and some breathing exercises. My anxiety started getting better, and it would be most prominent only three or twice a day.

Today I feel much better. I was a bit anxious in the morning, but as I am writing these words, I am feeling better.
This experience opened my eyes about so many things. We often neglect the importance of something as crucial as breathing. We go about our day taking shallow breaths and we rarely pause and observe the way we breathe, we rarely take a few minutes to enjoy this bliss.
This experienced taught me how important health is and how everything we do impacts us in the most subconscious manner. We go about our days normally and then suddenly something happens and it might be too late for us to do anything about it.
I think it is important to learn to pause and take a moment and assess the way we take care of ourselves and if it is sufficient or not.

I want to take something positive of this experience. I want to learn to listen to my body and what it tries to tell me, to put myself first and my health before being super effective and working too hard. I don’t want to be the one who works herself to death.

How to thrive in any environment?

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I am going to tell you 9 things I’ve learned this year about how to thrive in any environment. I’ve already spoken about many of them in my previous articles but this time I will explain how I think they are a key element in thriving in any environment not matter how toxic or wonderful it is. So here they are:

1- Stay away from toxic people:
To do this, you need to first understand what toxic people are. While everyone will make their own definition of “toxic people”, for me  toxic people are people who demonstrate “aggressive” and/or “manipulative” behaviors.
It is very simple, if someone is making you feel bad for any reason, or is mean or unfair to you try to avoid being around them. Even if these people do not hurt you, if you notice that their behaviors are ill-intended or dishonest then you’ve spotted a toxic person that you need to avoid as much as you can.

2- Love and take care of yourself:
I used to be very harsh on myself, every time something goes wrong I would beat myself up for days. This made me often hate and neglect myself. It was not nice trust me! I was depressed and angry most of the time and it really made things worse. I performed badly and I even lost a lot of great opportunities with this attitude. I finally learned that mistakes are part of life and that they are actually essential but what’s most important is that we need to always love and look after ourselves especially during tough times.

3- Yoga and meditation will set you free:
I spoke a lot about the power of yoga and meditation before and I am including it in this article too because I’ve never had anything as helpful as these practices. Just 5 minutes of each every morning will set your mood for the day and will have a great impact on your performance.

4- Do things that you enjoy:
I love to paint, play music, read and write. I have joined the work force since 2012 and before that I had school so I had a really hard time for a few years now managing my duties and my hobbies. The benefit of doing an activity you enjoy is truly tremendous not only does it help you release stress but it also makes you feel more confident about yourself. Not having time to do this is a lie so instead of wasting hours on social media websites use that time to do something active, something you actually enjoy doing, something that makes you feel happy!

5- Spend on learning and new experiences:
Some people work to earn money and then spend it on things the they need, want or things they just thought it would be cool to have. I fell in this trap before until I discovered Ramit Sethi. Now, I know what I should and should not spend on, either essential things or things that procure a new experience or help me learn something new. This helps me feel in control of my income and allows me to save money and feel relatively free economically.

6- Compliment people:
Everyone is a beautiful soul and by helping people see that you thrive so never hesitate to compliment the people in your life.

7- Reading helps you more than anything else:
This is really self-explanatory. I never leave without a book in my bag. There is no such thing as a bad book. I am currently reading Think Like a Freak. I probably should write a review of this book along with the two other books I read before it Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics.

8- Our subconscious is a real thing and it really hates us:
Our subconscious stores our memories to determine how we will react to or feel about new environments. Its role is to keep us in our comfort zone. Instead of trying to understand our feelings or reactions we sometimes repress them. It is important to always pay attention to how our subconscious leads us to behave and look for the reasons why we are angry or why we feel bad although we don’t really know why.

9- Be assertive:
Know your rights and others’ rights, respect them and if anyone intrudes your personal space you need to stop them in a non-aggressive, non-manipulative way. This is a learned behavior and I am currently learning it myself and I will share with you my progress so stay tuned!

Staying positive when you are under pressure.

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We all know the importance of positive thinking and of staying positive no matter what happens to us. The truth is that we rarely follow this idea during times of pressure. We let the clouds take us to nasty places inside our heads, we probably forget to shower or even enjoy the things we used to love. I have always been this way until I realize that we just don’t start thinking positively just like that and that we need to come up with useful tools and a good plan to face our challenging days.

For me, staying positive really boils down to 3 basic things that I want to share with you.

1- Writing it all away: I love to write and although when I am under pressure finding time to write is really difficult I would at least dedicate 5 minutes a day to write my feelings down in a journal. This is very therapeutic and it works well for me.

2- Morning meditation and yoga:
I always try to squeez at least 5 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of yoga in my mornings.

Here is a selection of easy and very beneficial yoga and meditation tutorials to do in the morning:

Morning Routine | The Yoga Solution With Tara Stiles

Yoga for Energy – “Wake Up” 5 Min Practice

5-Minute Morning Yoga // Beginner

Morning Yoga Perfection | 5 Minute Miracle | Rise & Shine Sleepy Bear Yoga

A selection of guided meditation audio clips

An interesting infographic about meditation

F*ck That: A Guided Meditation (yes that’s the name of this guided meditation)

A fascinating article on how to deepen your meditation

3- Mental Control :

With yoga and meditation you will certainly feel more grounded and although this will help you stay in control of your feelings and thoughts you will still need to pay a close attention to your reactions when you are facing a stressful situation. Stressful situations are precieved as “threats”, and naturally, as a defense mechanism our brain will have a corresponding response to this. You can learn more about it with these articles 1, 2, 3.
It might sound idealistic to say that we can control our brain especially after reading the above articles but trust me you can and I will tell you how! It’s super simple! Just like journaling helps us let go of our emotions and release negativity, observing our thoughts and writing them down can help us notice certain patterns and learn how to react to them.
I have a method which was inspired by Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habits.
I like to think of our reactions to stress as a habit. We usually do the same thing everytime we freak out. In his book, Duhigg explains habits as follows:

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We can think of our negative reaction as the “routine” we do when we are triggered by stress in order to feel better about the situation or as a form of “release”. We need to identify what sort of situations create this circle. For instance, let’s say you have a deadline coming up and you were not able to make the needed progress, this will lead to feeling very stressful and your reaction to this feeling will probably be a very negative one, so you will either smoke, fight with your spouse, over-eat or drown in depression. What you can do is keep track of how you react to similar situations. What do you do exactly? What happens from the moment you realize that you might miss the deadline until it is all over with. Observe it, write it down and try to come up with a better reaction to it.

These are the different ways I use to deal with stress. I hope you find them useful!

The honeymoon phase in a new job.

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We all get super excited when we get a new job. The truth is we will be disappointed after a little while. This is sort of like certain relationships. We’re super happy at first and then eventually we started seeing the flaws we never wanted to admit at first and it all starts crumbling down.

I have been through this many many times and I’ve only recently made the following conclusion: jobs sucks no matter how great they are.

I will tell you why. First, you will be working for someone else and this will make them own your time and what you should be doing with it. No matter what kind of job you do, even if you’re doing something you love, you’d still have to listen to the person who employed you and do what they want and the way they want it. The basically own you.

Secondly, you’ll be working with other people. If you are an introvert like me, that really sucks for you. If you are an extrovert, then you’ll probably have a better time but you’d still have to deal with egos, different opinions, gossip, conflict and this isn’t great either.

There will be days when you will be sick and won’t feel like working. You will be tired at some point and you’d want to take a vacation. So my advice is to slow down, take it easy and realize that if you’re happy it’s because all new jobs look cool at first. Make sure you start looking for the bad and the nasty and get ready for it don’t think X is cool and Y is not because Y might eventually turn out to be your real friend, the person who’d be there when you need them.
Don’t be over excited, just take your time to explore and look at things you wouldn’t normally pay attention to, small details. Look at how certain people behave with the janitor, how they keep their desk. Build an opinion about your job before liking it because if you don’t then you’ll be disappointed. Let the first couple of weeks pass by and then re-evaluate the opinions you formed at first. Try to write them down from day 1 and then compare how they progress.

We all go through a honeymoon phase but what matters the most is to slow down and observe.

Instead of painting my face I am just going to paint.

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Me makeup-less!

It’s not that I don’t like makeup. Actually I do! Especially if it is cruelty-free and environmentally friendly.

I haven’t worn makeup for the last couple of weeks. At first it wasn’t really a conscious choice I just didn’t feel like wearing makeup. Of course at the beginning when I looked at myself in the mirror I looked weird (for someone who used to wear makeup every day – not a lot but I still followed the “no-make-up make-up trend). Without the eye-shadow, the foundation the mascara, etc.. my face did look different. That’s how I felt at first but day after day I started getting used to wearing no makeup. It was only yesterday that I came to the conclusion that I don’t have to make makeup a daily part of my life. I am still going to wear makeup on a special occasion or just for the heck of it sometimes. However, I want to give up the habit of wearing makeup like putting on clothes or brushing my teeth or washing my face or taking a shower. I don’t want it to be an integral part of my day but it’s still going to be something I will do from time to time.

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Tea, brushes and paint!

So yesterday, I started painting and I wanted to share with you the result!

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Looking good?

Actually, I’ve painted before but it’s been a while since I picked up a brush and some paint and let my imagination take me awesome places!

Let me know what you think!

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My artwork! Feeling proud!

Karma

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It is not my job to teach you or anyone else for that matter that karma does exist. Someday, sooner or later you will experience it and it will remind you of me.

I have a good heart. A heart that can forgive but I also do not tolerate lies and injustice. You had a chance after the other to redeem yourself but every time you only thought about “saving” yourself. Believe me, that was nothing but saving you.

I like to believe that justice should be pursued regardless of karma. Sometimes we need to make a choice that might cause a little more pain in the world but a lot more justice. Eventually, that justice will prevent a bigger pain.

I have been fortunate to experience an unfortunate event(s) and I learned more about human nature and myself than I did during these 26 years I’ve been on earth.

I pretended to be somebody I was not. I was blinded by temptations and I forgot that my soul belongs to me and it is my responsibility to cleanse it from anything that may corrupt it.

I thought being naive, kind and innocent is a bad thing. It is not. It is harmful when you choose to be around people who do not understand it, who are afraid of it or who want to use it for their own gain. It can be dangerous but eventually what goes around will come around. Be pure, be patient. It will.

Karma is there just trust this and never be or behave against your nature. Embrace your inner beauty regardless of it all.

Claim what is mine

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Why do I feel happy to know that despite all the trouble

I was right from the start all from the beginning

We could have been in a better place

This could have been a better story

There is nothing to hide

Someday we’ll shine with glory

And I must claim what is mine

Today is the day for justice to shine

Sometimes you feel it is about time

To stand up for something bigger than you

Bigger than all that you ever knew

Why does the emptiness inside keep growing all day long

When all that you ever tried to do is be a bit more human

We could have thought of others

We could have done it better

There you go, hiding your face from me

Now look into the mirror, what do you see?