Farewell, Dad

My father passed away this week, at the age of eighty-eight, may he rest in peace.

They say the best way to lead is by example, and that’s exactly how he did it. In a way that was firm, but also warm and straightforward. Through his attitude, his habits and his personal and professional code of ethics, he was a superb example for my siblings and me, and later on, for his grandchildren as well.

Many remember his good memory, his manners (rather serious, though good humoured), and the quality of his work, always impeccable. But the topic that comes up most frequently in conversations when we remember him, the thing that’s etched in the memory of those who knew him, is the way he used to congratulate them on their birthdays.

In these times when many of us seem to spend our days “collecting friends” on social media, and keep sending each other superficial messages, he used to dedicate time every day to sit down and write cards by hand, to personally wish happy birthday to the many friends, relatives and acquaintances listed in his notebook. And then for the closest family members, his happy birthday wish arrived in the form of a text message, delivered to our phone exactly at midnight, so that we could start celebrating our day from the first minute.

He kept a place in his thoughts and his heart for each person that came along in his life, regardless of whether he saw them frequently or hadn´t seen them in decades. A beautiful example, which I would like to follow (even if it is in more modern ways), not only for what it is but also for what it represents: giving importance to what is important. And work is important, of course, and it´s important to do it as best as we can. But people are, always, more important.

Thanks for your example Dad, for so many things I´ve been so lucky to learn from you. And farewell.

Energy

Sometimes at certain times of the day, or the week, or even the year, we find ourselves with low energy levels… Like for example, on a Sunday night in January.

Proof of this is that I´m publishing this on a Monday, after having fell asleep in the middle of writing this post on Sunday 😀

red and black car speedometer at neutral

Beyond the basic solutions of resting and sleeping, which are great, and much needed, ways of recharging batteries (apart from good nourishment, hydration, etc.), it helps a lot to find out what things in particular give us energy, not only physically but emotionally as well. Identifying those things from everyday life that lift our mood and motivate us, so that when we are in those moments of lower energy, we have resources at hand that can help us.

Here are a few suggestions that give me energy when I need it, I would love to hear yours:

  • Listening to music, singing and dancing.
  • Doing yoga or stretching.
  • A few good laughs with my daughters, or with friends.
  • Finishing my shower with cold water (I’m sure this one’s going to spark conversations worth another post!)
  • Walking, in a variety of versions: by myself or in company, in the street or in nature, by the sea, in the mountains, in a park, exploring a town or village…

And just by coincidence (or not), today Google has chosen to show me a quote that’s perfect for today’s topic, by Howard Thurman, I hope you like it:

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Dare to shine

Today I got my present from the family Kris Kindle (thanks Mercedes!), and I´m really excited about it, here it is:

It´s the kind of thing I would never have bought for myself, but that I loved receiving as a present… It´s my letter! With shining lights! And I think it looks super cool on my bedroom shelf 🙂

But why do I know that I would never have bought it? Because I don’t normally like being in the spotlight, I prefer to avoid standing out… That’s been my style in most situations for as long as I can remember: going unnoticed insofar as possible. But also doing my job really well, hoping that others would notice (which of course, sometimes happened and sometimes didn’t).

Reflecting on all of this now, I realize that I’ve spent many of my years tiptoeing through life, so as to not be an inconvenience. And now that I am conscious of my way of being in this world, I have the option to keep it as it is or change it, as I see fit.

That’s why I like this metaphor of switching “my light” on, to start shining. And I remembered this quote, attributed by many to Nelson Mandela, though in reality it is from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

What about you? Do you dare switching on your light? 😉

Arab proverb

Cáceres, like many other towns and villages across the Iberian peninsula, has a multicultural historic past: the Romans were the first ones to settle here, and later on during the middle ages, Arabs, Jewish and Christians lived together in relative harmony for several centuries.

A few days ago, the girls and I went to visit a traditional Arab house from the 12th century, now turned into a museum. We were able to walk through the different rooms in it, and admire objects from daily life back in the day, many of them found in excavations around the area. I have to say we thought it was very cool, and the guide told us a ton of interesting facts.

This Arab house-museum, in case you ever want to visit it, is called Yusuf Al Borch. I´m not a big fan of taking pictures, but I did take one of this courtyard window (I love Arab style arches):

And I also took a photo of this proverb, which I remember having written somewhere, years ago:

Do not say everything you know,
Do not do everything you can,
Do not believe everything you hear,
Do not spend everything you earn.
Because…
The one who says everything they know,
The one who does everything they can,
The one who believes everything they hear, 
(And spends everything they hear)
Often…
Says what is not convenient,
Does what they should not do,
Judges what they do not see,
And spends what they do not own.