Ask Yourself Why?

This fascinating presentation by the South American business man and entrepreneur Ricardo Semler asks a lot of great questions about work, life, and what it’s all about (it’s also pretty funny too!).
 


 
It certainly gave me a lot to think about.

I had an interesting chat today with a guy I used to work with a couple of years ago. We both spent a long time at the same company, and we were both generally (but not specifically) miserable for a great number of those years.

As with all these things, it’s only once you get away and look back do you realise just how unhappy you were, and you wonder why you put up with it for so long?

Thinking about it, it occurred to me it’s like the frog in a pan of water on a low heat. Turn the heat up slowly and frog will boil to death before he even realises what’s going on. But try to toss him into some already boiling water and he’ll jump straight out again!

So it is with unhappy situations. The really terrible ones are so shocking we escape from them immediately. The truly nasty, pernicious ones worm there way deep down inside us without us even realising it (often until we explode and don’t understand why?).

I got out by choice, training as a yoga teacher and then going traveling round the world. One of the best decisions I ever made. My friend had a little less of a choice about his exit, which made it a much harder and more painful experience for him.

But looking back now he truly believes it was the best thing that could have happened to him (work-wise, at least). He’s happier now, he’s about to embark upon his own business venture, and to quote him directly, he feels that “…a great weight has been lifted from [his] shoulders.”

Change can be hard, especially when it’s not by choice, but if we can take that change, build on it, and come out the other end with something that benefits us, then it makes it all worthwhile.

That’s what I think anyway. 🙂

Ups & Downs

Well, it’s been a roller coaster start to the year, a week of ups and downs. In no discernable order…

1. Picked up Bebel Gilberto’s 2nd album in the library for only £1. A real bargain! I’m well chuffed.

2. I discovered that Robert Rankin writes drivel. I got about a third of the way through The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code and gave up; it was shit!

hairy - before & after

3. Finally had time to get me a new haircut. I needed it! I was getting right wooly.

4. Got a flat tyre on my car, had to get the train to work for 2 days, then had to fork out loads to get it fixed. What a pain.

chocolate swiss roll no. 1

5. Set my mind to making a good vegan swiss roll. The sponge tends to crack as it has no egg in it. The results so far are quite… average.

So y’see, there it is, up down up down trundle along the middle. Just an average week in the life of me. Next week tree planting, ice skating, and a possible trip to Portsmouth. Let’s see how that goes eh? 😉

Ever Tried Black Garlic?

You know you’ve got a cooking problem when you see some new random ingredient in the supermarket and you just have to have it!

black garlic and mini chillies

I came across this the other day whilst looking for fennel seeds (keep an eye out for an excellent soup recipe coming soon) and I just couldn’t resist. It’s garlic that’s been aged, meaning the harsh flavours have mellowed leaving you with a sweet bulb of balsamicy, squishy goodness.

Seriously, this stuff is so nice I kept just biting bits off to chew. It’s just that morish. I decided to cook it with some chillies from the plant my friend gave me as a thank you for providing her with Spanish lessons (on CD that is. Me no hablo… or something like that), and I’m glad I did. The spiciness complimented the sweetness very well, though admittedly next time I’d use a few less chillies; Phew!

sweet and spicy pasta

I just fried some chopped onion, added the garlic and chillies (also chopped), chucked in a couple of sliced chestnut mushrooms, two diced tomatoes (some tomato puree) and a sprinkling of oregano – pausing between steps to let the previous ingredients cook – and that was it, job done. Simple huh?

Chuck that in with some al dente pasta et voila, there you have it, a bowl of nice simple flavours that compliment each other really well. If you get a chance to have a go with black garlic I highly recommend it. It has a unique taste that your palate will thank you for trying at least once.

A Flying Visit

So much has been going on lately, both in the world and in my life, I must apologise for my blog negligence (“blognigence”?).

First of all I am alive and well. My thanks to all my friends worldwide for their concern when the whole riot thing was going on. I dunno what that was all about but I can assure you, not only do I not live anywhere near where riots might occur, but momma Dickinson didn’t raise no fool; if I even thought a riot was heading my way I’d get the ‘f’ out of there sharpish. I mean I’m all for civil disobedience and that, but that ain’t the way to go about it man. You idiots achieved nothing.

Secondly my summer missions, which started with the Sivananda Yoga Retreat and ended with Go Ape last Wednesday have now come to a close. I’ve got a few little things lined up for September, but for the most part my major (planned) undertakings have come and gone. I’ll be blogging the Buddhafield/Green Man festival thing shortly, once I figure out how to get the pictures off of my phone, but for now I’m settling into a planning/creating phase that should lead me into the start of next year and hopefully yield some interesting results.

With that in mind, I’m starting to get an idea of what/where I want to do/be, instead of what I am doing at the moment. Decision time on the job/flat is still the end of September, which gives me a month to formulate a proper plan, but I think I know what I’m going to do next, I just need to figure out how I’m going to do it.

So it’s all change in the life of Kiki. I really feel like I’m finally moving towards something new, something interesting, something worth getting out of bed in the morning for. Om everyone. Stay tuned for further developments. 🙂

Aches and Growing Pains

I tell you what, being holed up for 4 days with the flu really gives you a new perspective on things.

For one thing I’m sick to death of being stuck indoors all the time. And that includes work as well as at home. I’ve had the last 2 days off work as they were night shifts and I just couldn’t face them, but even so the thought of going back to sitting in a dark room for 12 hours a day just fills me with dread.

This is in contrast to my writing, which I would like to do for a living. But that would be during the day, regular, with a window, and only from about 10am ’til 3pm (if I’m disciplined enough) leaving me ample time to do/teach yoga, or run a retreat centre, or something like that.

I feel more energised today than I have all week, partly due to some physical recovery, and partly due to recent inspirational communications with the very lovely Rikki Cupcake, who has just set up her own vegan cupcake business after her own work situation became a little ‘intolerable’ (NB: if you live in Arizona and want some cupcakes you should definitely give her a call!). It’s time to move on with things. I’ve stagnated for too long.

So I’ve finished typing up the re-writes for my script (103 pages, thank you very much) and I’m going to print them out today once I get a new ink cartridge. Then once my muscles stop complaining I’m going to get back on the yoga bus and ride it all the way to Teacher Town, lol. Come the summer I should be ready to make some serious moves into a new life. A real new life. One worth getting up for in the morning. 🙂

Om shanti, y’awl.

Merry Christmas Mr Kiki

Look what I got myself for Christmas!

kiki's new car

Cool or what? I’ve been after one of these for ages. I know it’s not the car for everyone, but I think it looks great. Kept grinning as I drove it home (it was an 8 hour 300 mile round trip mission to Derby to pick it up!) and singing the ‘New Car Song’, which goes a little something like this…

I got a ne-e-e-ew car, it is a Chry-y-y-ysler, na na na nu-u-u-uh nuh.
I got a ne-e-e-ew car, it is a Chry-y-y-ysler, na na na nu-u-u-uh nuh. (repeat)

It’s not the most fuel efficient vehicle in the world, and it’s got the turning circle of a drunk heifer, but I don’t care I think it’s great. And we are going to have so many adventures together. Now I just need to think of a name for it. Any suggestions?

NB: Spot the in-car koala on the dash? She’s my new traveling buddy.
kellie and priscilla
Great company, but rubbish with maps. Got us a little lost on the way back. Still, what can you expect from a psychedelic koala bear? Not the most reliable of creatures.

Week 44 : Frustrations

I’ve been trying to decide this week whether to continue with this blog or not. As I come up to 1 year of blogging I have to admit that My Brand New Life has pretty much failed in it’s mission; ie, to generate a brand new life. I’m still in the same job, in the same flat, still single, and still uncertain about where I want to go next.

It hasn’t been a complete loss. I’ve given up drinking booze. Yesterday was my 6 month anniversary of that (not counting a couple of mojitos I had a couple of months ago) and I’m happy with that decision. I’ve also done a lot more writing this year than usual, and I may have a script and/or book finished by the end of the year. And generally I’ve done lots more new stuff that I’ve found quite interesting (full report/examination on December the 6th). But is it enough?

Truthfully, the answer is no, it isn’t. I need to do more to be satisfied. But it’s a start, and that’s better than nothing. Is it enough to keep going with this blog though? Now there’s a question. I’ve already started thinking about doing a vegan specific blog, and if I decide to do a filmy one too what does that leave for here? It is a quandary.

I’d been pondering all this, then I came across this quote:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you will begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson


I need to let go of what was and move forward from where I am now. Like I tell people when they ask about becoming vegan, you’ve got to forgive yourself. You’re going to make mistakes, what matters is where you go from here. Don’t use them as an excuse to give up, use them as a starting point to begin again.

And so…

I’ve signed up to do a 6 week introductory yoga course at the Sivananda Yoga Centre. I met them at the Yoga Show last Sunday and they were just so nice I had to pop along to their open house yesterday. Again, everyone there was really lovely. The course was very knowledgeable, the introductory lesson nice and simple yet challenging and concise, and I was generally impressed by their warmth, openness and understanding, so much so that I signed up there and then. I’ll have to swap some shifts around to make the classes but it’ll be worth it. I have a feeling I’ll be doing yoga for quite a while.