The Trip To Switzerland – The Unplanned

The last few days of my trip to Switzerland were hectic, to say the least. I’m quite relieved that I finally found the time to write about it. Sometimes life gets a little bit faster than Twitter (not to mention blogging) so I thought it’s time to share my last 5 days…

The plan for this trip was fairly loose from the early beginning, to be honest. I just wanted to reconnect a little with my sister family, who live in Geneva, to have the New Year Eve in a hotel somewhere up in the mountains, and then enjoy each day as it came. That was the whole plan. After a few evenings at my sister’s place and several short shopping rides in Geneva and around, the first part of the trip was checked, so to speak. Something much more important had to happen. And we decided to make a short trip by train to La Gruyeres, a medieval castle in the Fribourg district of Switzerland.

La Gruyeres

At that time we didn’t have the car. Yet. The car came several days later. We were just regular tourists and so we acted, going straight to the train station and buying tickets for La Gruyeres. We had to change the trains at Palezieux, after one hour. We got in the train, comfortably sit down and started to enjoy the view. Traveling by train in Switzerland is really comfortable, the stations are clean and well organized, the trains are cosy and never saw a train wagon crowded. This must be because of the holidays, I suppose, so take this observation with a little bit of salt.

We were lucky to have a beautiful day, very sunny and almost warm. Everything looked gorgeous, especially the real estate properties on the shore of Lake Leman. After around 45 minutes of sightseeing we were still changing impressions about how beautiful the Lake Leman was, when, all of a sudden, we ran into a tunnel. We patiently waited to get out, thinking at more beautiful sights on that sunny day.

But surprise, the other side of the tunnel was in full winter. Half of a meter snow, fog and clouds. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We looked at each other clothes, which I can tell were no match for that weather and started to mildly laugh. We just got into a full winter area, with no warnings and no appropriate clothes. And sooner than we expected the train arrived at Palezieux. Our change.

We got down knowing that we have only 9 minutes to get the next train, from a line called, surprisingly, “PI”. All the lines in the station had numbers, and no “PI” line was there. I tried to find a person to ask about that. The station was basically empty, all doors closed. There was a little kiosk at the end of the station where a woman was selling newspapers. I kindly asked her where to find the “PI” line and then she pointed to a small train, outside the regular train station, somehow isolated. The next second she started to look a little concerned about the fact that we’re going to lose the train if we don’t hurry. And we hurried.

We catch the train just before it started to move. The scenery was copied from a regular Swiss post card: mountains, snow, fog and from time to time an old wood house. The small train proved to be quite comfortable, yet the stops were pretty close to one other. It was an old touristic train that left us right in the train station called “La Gruyeres”. It soon become obvious that we had to walk to the old castle, and so we did.

From here, the “La Gruyeres” story become fuzzier: we ate at a local restaurant, we visited the old castle, bought presents and returned with the same train circuit. It was the first real day of our holiday.

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2008 – The Outcome

With only one week left until the official end of the year, I don’t think I’ll have much time to wrap up some of the goals I’ve set for 2008. With an early holiday already started on December 20th I don’t have my focus on achievement monitoring also. So, I guess it’s time to write about how 2008 went for me. I’ll share something with you in the very beginning of this post: I’m somehow scared. I just reviewed my goal list for this year, a list written on the last days of 2007, and I’m amazed how much I accomplished.

First and foremost, this was my best financial year ever. I know this sounds a little bit shameless in the context of a global financial crisis, but I honestly don’t care. I just had my best financial year ever, and the fact that there is also a crisis playing around outside has nothing to do with it. Or with me. Or whatever. This year I made the exit for the company I set up 10 years ago and this was a huge leap forward for me. No need to hide this. It’s not only the financial freedom involved, but much more than that. The financial freedom was only a proof for something much bigger. More on that later, let’s take it the old “step by step” style for now.

As I told you, I am amazed of how much I accomplished, but also I’m somehow scared. I know I should be happy, but I’m still scared. We often function on lower expectancies and when things are coming to us in full flavor, shaped and behaving like we expected them to be, we tend to back up. This is how I feel right now. I feel like “wow, I really did it!”. I’m sure you felt this before, you know how it is. A feeling of satisfaction mixed with a strong vibration of “I just can’t believe this”.

Well, enough with emotions let’s get factual. I won’t give you any exact numbers on my goals. I don’t think the numbers are important, but the commitments are. The list I’ve made for 2008 was made up of 3 sections:

  • personal
  • professional
  • joy

At that time I was still managing Mirabilis Media, the company I’ve created 10 years ago, so my personal and professional path were still pretty mixed.

Personal Goals

The thing that was most important for me on the personal level was my financial income. I don’t think I feel the same way now. But at that time seemed like a priority. I set up a pretty high mark on that. And I did it. Of course, the exit from my company was the key factor in that. Most of my income is now based on that exit.

The second thing was my health, at that time. I’ve set up goals for exercising more (30 minutes per day) and for eating healthier (eating raw food at least two days per week). For the exercise part, I made it for about 1 and a half month from the total of 12 months. For the eating habits, I made it for almost 5 months. But I managed to remain on a raw food eating habit and that is fantastic. Now really, it’s a breakthrough in terms of personal development, no need to hide this.

The third goals was about Bianca’s day care. We managed to have her signed up for the next year, but I think I can safely check this as done, because we did it very well. We both like that specific day care facility and we’re both happy we managed to have her signed up.

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The Trip To Switzerland – First Impressions

As I already mentioned, we planned for a longer holiday in Switzerland for this year. This trip involves also a Christmas holiday in the Alpes, near Gstaad, and some other activities, most of them related to my personal life. One of the most important is getting in touch again with my sister, who’s living here for more than 8 years now.

We got here by plane, on 20th December, flying Swiss. We’re in the full formula, meaning my wife and my daughter. We enjoyed a good and silent flight, shorter than the average period you need to cross Bucharest from one side to the other. That’s around 2 hours, by the way. We landed in Geneva and checked in to a hotel. Haven’t had any difficulties on the logistic side. We didn’t had any schedule made in advance, we adjusted things on the fly. Each afternoon or evening we are at my sister’s place, enjoying family life, and the mornings are set for some spontaneous activities.

Yesterday, for instance, we tried to do some shopping at IKEA. What should be a regular ride to a store in my country proved to be completely different in Switzerland. IKEA Switzerland is outside the city, at around 40 minutes by train, in a small city called Allaman. Getting there was funnier than we thought, we had to switch buses and trains only to got there. But it was fun.

Life Cost In Switzerland

The thing that surprised me the most was the unbelievable high price of the life in this city. I knew that Geneva was one of the most expensive cities in the world. I had a previous trip here in 2005 to the Auto Show which is held at Palexpo, so I already had some insight. But seeing this again in the light of a regular tourist, the city is simply unaffordable. Especially the transportation and the food costs are too high… I know this is one of the most important cities in the world, and setting a price barrier is one way of keeping it safer, but things are simply not justifiable. Whatever.

On the other side of the high price I must reckon that the quality of the products and services delivered is over the average. Way over the average, so I have to admit that there is some justification for the high prices, after all. Especially the food is looking and tasting much better than in other cities and the public transportation is on time and clean. Extremely clean. Taxis are unaffordable, we paid 10 EUROS for a 3 minutes fare. Clothing is ok as long as you don’t shop from the fanciest boutiques downtown.

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How To Get Successful Astrological Readings

Although I practice astrology myself I sometimes find the need for a external advice or guidance. I know my chart by heart and still I can find useful and fresh chart interpretations from another professional astrologer, or even from a friend who’s practicing astrology.

Recently I had one of those insightful readings from a professional astrologer and I realized most of the people searching for astrological advice don’t get the full package when having astrological readings. Maybe it’s time for me to share some thoughts on this matter. Oh, and if you’re in the “I don’t give even two recession cents on this astrology nonsense” league, I recommend you to start by understanding astrology. And if it’s still doesn’t ring any bell to you, that’s highly ok, feel free to skip this post.

Important: this post will not teach you how to chose your astrologer, instead it will focus on how to work with it. We will assume that you already have / know / work with an established astrologer.

Why Would You Have An Astrological Reading

Let’s start with the reasons. Why you would need astrological advice? As a rule of thumb, you will turn to alternative answers when everything else fails. The vast majority of people are asking for astrological advice only when their life path is a complete mess. They chose astrology as a final resort and this is why the answers they receive are largely negative. When you spend all your time wasting your resources on a wrong path, the simple fact that you have to acknowledge that – and an astrological reading will shed a powerful light on this – will upset you.

It would be so much simpler to just include this way of getting answers for your questions in your current bag of life tools. Astrology is just a symbolic way of seeing reality and it should be treated like this. Is just a way of understanding the world in an alternative way, that’s all. And using it at the same level with your other, more earthy approaches, would just give you a balanced view of your life. You don’t have to believe it first hand, but it would be so interesting and challenging to take it into account.

So, try to integrate it as a secondary tool for all your decision making processes. I always try to raise a chart of some important moments in my life or at least to know where exaclty the planets are at that specific moment. I get a lot of information about the poential of that moment, and several times I even switched decisions based on some unfriendly astrological contexts. And it turned out I was right. Also, in some cases I ignored the astrological warnings and I had to face the consequences.

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Posting Speed, Blog Metrics And Holidays

This my 12th post for this month. Starting with October 2008 my posting speed is part of my monthly goals. Each month I set up a certain target for the number of posts and I do my best to make it. In October I wanted to have at least 15 posts, meaning one post every other day. It went very well, and actually I ended up with 17 posts instead of 15. For November I wanted to publish at least 15 posts, but with at least 5 more. That would make a big total of 20, of course. I needed to put up a little stress to see if I can improve something in the process. It was a little bit difficult to make it, but with some effort I did exactly 20 posts. And for December the schedule is the same, 20 posts. So far, I’ve made it to the half of it, and I will do my best to keep up with the pace.

The most important ingredient in making this happening is time management. I don’t have any writer’s block, as they say, and I feel like I could write continuously for days, if nobody will stop me. But I need to isolate and allocate significant chunks of time for that. I work from home now and interruption are very likely to happen, but I try to keep them under control. It’s still kinda difficult to buy time chunks bigger than 3 hours at a time to work on. I guess I’ll have to find a solution for that: either learn how to manage smaller chunks of time, either buy bigger chunks of time. Whatever the solution, the result must be a constant posting speed.

This posting speed is not something I started in October this year. To be honest, my first challenge was in May, and it was about one post per day for 90 days. I failed miserably with only 17 posts, not even making 3 full weeks, and got ill starting with day 18. I don’t think it was a direct link between my blog challenge and my illness, but I know for sure that the blog challenge was a stress factor. It was way too high. So high that I sometimes suspect myself of not wanting to make it through, hence establishing such a difficult target.

The second challenge, in October, was way lower, one post every other day. It was sustainable and I was able to make it very easy. In fact, I even did more than that. In November I was almost to the limit and I suspect the same thing will happen in December too. 20 posts per month seems like something that I’m ready to do, but with some discipline and effort.

One may ask why I establish such goals, in the first place. Isn’t this artificially induced posting speed something that will take out the value in what I write? Isn’t it something that will suffer from lack of spontaneity? Not at all. In fact, I don’t have any problem with what I want to write, but with how I write it. This posting speed is related to the “how” portion, not the “what”. I already know what I want to write I only need to find a sustainable workflow for it. Maintaing a blog and making it work is not something trivial at all. The vast majority of people who start blogging fail at it because of the how not of the what. They all know what to do, but they don’t know how.

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Therapeutical Talking And Writing

Every time I talk about something that was on my mind for a lot of time, I have the tendency to forget about it shortly after. Just talking about things that really were on my head seems to make them disappear afterwards. I had this impression a lot of times. Lately, I experienced this almost on any topic I am thinking about. Expressing my thoughts in words, written or talked, made the topic vanish. It’s like giving the thought some shape pushes it out of my brain, into another realm.

I had this going on for many years. I ruminated about something for months, making it bigger and bigger in my head, and then, all of a sudden, expressed it violently. Either in form of a journal entry, a blog entry, or sometimes in a fight or controversy with somebody else. After the eruption, the inside volcano magically disappeared. I even forgot that there was a volcano in that place. Shifted my attention to something else, and of course, started another ruminating session on a different topic, soon to be ended with another eruption, in several days, weeks, or months.

This chain of reactions lead me to the concept of therapeutically talking or writing. In today’s blog post I’ll try to understand what are the reasons for this therapeutical dimension of talking. Why is this happening, what are the triggers and what are the limits of this behavior. Is this a good thing, a bad thing or just a thing that I have? We’ll see about that together.

Healing Talking

During the last 5-6 years I started to pay more attention to this phenomenon. I monitored those “eruptions” and the subtle mechanism behind them. Gradually isolated similar events and tried to build on a pattern. It seemed that every confusion, fear, worry or lack of trust was in fact a root for a ruminating session. Not being able to express in the very moment my feelings about that confusion or fear pushed it back into my mental backyard, converting them in seeds of some huge wild-growing plants. 

Without paying attention to those plants, they grew until they started to shade my normal thinking patterns. They grew so big that they took some of the whole garden light. So big that I was forced to confront them. And the only immediate action I could take was to cut them out. Talking them out loud, writing about them, bringing them into conversations or fights. I just cannot leave in the dark, so I had to eliminate the obstruction, most of the time by violently expressing it.

After I eliminated those huge ugly wild-growing plants, the backyard was clean again. No need for another confrontation, my mental clarity was not obstructed anymore. Those wild-growing plants were out for good, so the very topic that generated them was forgotten.

This pattern was so powerful that it become my way of life. Almost everything that wasn’t managed was staying somewhere back, waiting to reach an “explosion” point. After expressing my feelings out loud, the problem disappeared. I went on this rollercoaster for years, until I started to feel annoyed about something.

I didn’t realize in the beginning what was my annoyance. But things around me started to lose consistency. I was forgetting stuff, more and more stuff and more and more often. If there was something that I was already “erupted” on, I even avoided direct confrontation. I knew from the beginning that this will lead to a huge wild-growing plant that will need to be cut in a painful storm of words, so I was keeping the distance. I didn’t engage in a lot of activities, started to work less, to keep honest relationships away, to avoid social interaction. All of that was before a source of pain expressed by words, so it had to be avoided.

But that was even worse. My way of dealing with negative emotions or situations was keeping me from experiencing a true and sincere life. Everything was thrown back and vomited weeks after in order to keep me clean. And between those periods I was almost invisible. I wasn’t doing much on my own. It was this chain of non-confrontation and therapeutical talking that took command of me. It was an auto pilot.

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Raw Food Update – 4th Month

It’s been more than 4 months now since I’m eating only raw food. That means eating only fruits, vegetable and seeds, unprocessed. It’s been quite a while since I’m doing this and I’m glad I did it. In today’s post I’ll try to outline some of the consequences of this lifestyle.

Raw Food Is A Lifestyle

Yes, that’s the most important thing about eating raw. It’s more than a diet. It’s more than an eating habit. It’s a lifestyle in itself. Eating raw food had a lot of impact in all areas of my life. The most noticeable effects were those related to my physical body. I will not insist on that, I’ve already published some graphs of my weight loss in the 3rd update about raw food. I will just mention that my weight remained steady, between 79 and 81 kg, no matter what I ate.

But as I said, it was not only the weight loss. My sleeping patterns improved dramatically. I can wake up every morning at 6 AM and have a full day without noticing fatigue. I can do all type of work, not only intellectual, and feel balanced and lucid. No matter if I do some DIY work in the garage, involving use of heavy machines, so to speak, or if I work on my social network or do some blogging, the overall energy level is still high.

Sometimes I wake up at 8 AM, but that’s because I fall asleep after midnight. I still feel ok. Sometimes I wake up at weird hours, like 4:43 or 5:32, several days in a raw. I have to find a way to cope with that. Sometimes I stay in bed, and sometimes I wake up and try to do some work, or to read or to surf the web. There are days in which I try to take the afternoon nap with Bianca. I don’t feel that strange feeling of oversleeping, even if I do take a one hour nap in the afternoon. I wake up alert and energetic.

In fact, this energy level is so much higher that I sometimes forget other people do experience spikes in their energy level. I noticed that before but it become much clearer in the last month. Right now I can feel if somebody has a energy spike or an energy whole. Most of the time those spikes are related to cooked meals – man, I feel so satisfied with this, I need to be lazy for a half an hour -  or to coffee. I don’t have this type of up and down energy line anymore.

My body appearance has also dramatically changed. Not only I dropped that ugly belly for good, but I can see that the muscles on my body are now in the correct place. I need to reboot my gym practice though, and I could hardly wait for it. I didn’t started right now because I know there will be an adaptation period of at least one week. And in one week we’ll going in Switzerland for the Holidays. We’re expected to stay there more than 2 weeks, have the New Year Eve there, and that would just made the first gym week useless. I’ll start it next year.

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