The true colors of the dinosaurs

The true colors of the dinosaurs

   Have you ever wondered what were the true colors of dinosaurs? Were they green like the forest? Were they greyish or turquoise? Were they brown or blue?

   Dinosaurs were truly a fascinating species, roaming the Earth, ruling the animal kingdom, powerful and yet vulnerable, since they became extinct approximately 66 million years ago. They were gone in a blink of an eye and still today, we do not know exactly how and why – all we have are hypothesis and suppositions. We know so many things about them, and yet nobody can tell for sure what were the true colors of the dinosaurs.

   We have reached the moon and we have wandered amongst stars. It was, as Neil Armstrong put it, “a giant leap for mankind”. Then managed to come back, we invented satellites and other technological marvels but still we are just a small step further in discovering the mysteries of the Universe.

   We have a cure for so many diseases, but the universe of the human body is still relatively unknown – as still we do not cure cancer or AIDS and other diseases. We do not master the art of our own genetics. Not to mention that we still cannot find a cure for broken hearts or shattered dreams, nor do we understand why we are so similar, yet so unique beings.

   In many respects, we are like our old friends, the dinosaurs. Nobody knows our true colors, sometimes not even ourselves. We are proud to claim that we know a lot about anatomy and about psychology – though none of those holds by itself the answer to the question. Do we know and value our true colors? Discovering them is a difficult, painfully beautiful process. And, just to be clear, I am not talking about the color of our skin, hair or eyes (although humans come in all different shapes and colors), but rather about the true colors of the soul (which are universal).

   All of us come into this world as perfect beings – not knowing much, fragile and strong at the same time. As we are born, we know no evil; we seek mother’s heartbeat and a little love. And then we start to grow into this world and we learn so many things: to smile, to play, to speak, to dream, to laugh, to joke, to read, to write, to shout, to scream, to lie, to manipulate, to hit … This is how we become imperfect and we lose our true colors.

   I think that finding them again, is the ultimate challenge of Life. I sometimes wonder how many of us really understand that in the greatest scheme of things it is more important who you are than what you have. How many of us value their true colors more than the color of their car?

    I fear that, like dinosaurs, we will become extinct as a species if we do not wake up and realize that kindness, compassion and love are meant to be the true colors of the human soul. If we do not cultivate that, if we do not make a conscious, collective effort to change the way humanity is going, than we will be the next dinosaurs for sure. And the saddest thing of all is that nobody will know what our true colors were.  Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

New beginnings

New beginnings

   New beginnings are always so invigorating. There is something magical in that moment you decide to start fresh. There is something magical in the way your mind works and puts together action plans and strategies for achieving and implementing changes. Overcoming blockages takes a lot out of you as well, but when that happens you feel a sense of achievement – yes, it feels as if you have already achieved your goal.

   When facing change, there is a subtle change in attitude and body posture as well – even if you are not aware of it. Some people stand tall and look quite proud and important – those people are the ones that love challenges and welcome change. They are optimists by nature, they look for the positive in any situation and they are aware that for every achievement you need to put in a good fight. Others look quite grey and tarnished – shoulders dropped and worried faces. They are the ones typically see the empty half of the glass. For them, change might come with a lot of turmoil. They fear it the most.

   The sad thing is though that we all tend to lose the taste for new beginnings, for changes and changing as we age. So how can you keep your mind opened and your enthusiasm alive?

   For a while, I have been feeling this resistance, this urge to stop changes before they even have the chance to show me if they are good or bad.

   What is it that makes people cherish the status quo? Why is it that we (most of us anyway and certainly most of us that are not 20 anymore) do not welcome changes?

   Is it because we are assimilating change with growing old? Is it because we see ourselves at this age as “done”, “accomplished” beings that do not need to change in the first place?

   Having an opened mind, having a growth mind-set, rediscovering the taste of learning and developing can abolish these fears for good.

   You just need to acknowledge that you are on a journey, called Life, a journey that is valuable and beautiful, and, yes, hard. You need to give yourself permission to change, even though you are 40 or 50 or even older because you need to realize that a change has the potential of making your journey better. It is true that it also has the potential to make it worse, but this is where you come in: you need to drive change in the direction that you desire so your life becomes better.

   It takes a lot to admit that you need to change. But, if Today is not working for you, it means that you need to put in the work for a better Tomorrow. In other words, you need to change. And if you need to do it, you might as well learn how to like it.

   So brave up and start today: at 40 or 50 or more it is not too late.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

About writing. And a little more …

About writing. And a little more …

   It all starts with a white piece of paper and a pen. You learn how ink can play magic tricks and how words come to your fingertips. And you write. It is the beginning and it is also the end. It is the beginning of an exciting adventure of words dancing around a theme and it is the end of your own private self, as every time the pen touches that white piece of paper, a piece of you is shared with world.

   It all starts with an idea. A thought that is so frail that you could even ignore it and yet you choose not to. Because writing is not what you do to pass time or to have fun. It is who you are. It is you. And when you sit down with your thoughts, in front of a white piece of paper, holding a pen in your hand, you cannot help but write.

   It all starts with a certain urge to let it all out – that ocean of troubled waters in your soul, the unexplored wilderness of creativeness that makes you who you are.

   It is difficult to explain, but it all starts one day and from that on you cannot stop it. Even if you do for a while, the unwritten words will eat you alive until you come back to the white piece of paper and take the pen in your hand.

   I am not Tolstoy or Shakespeare. This is not about me bragging about my skills – if any. It is about confessing that this defines me as a human being. I am not Tolstoy or Shakespeare but I am a storyteller. I am addicted to “once upon a time”, book covers and the smell of freshly printed-paper as well. I am addicted to diving into my thoughts and extracting small pieces of personal truths, I am addicted to observing the world around and then painting it with words to the best of my ability.

   So what if I am not Tolstoy or Shakespeare? “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are”, said E. E. Cummings, and another famous writer (Henry Miller) said: “Writing is its own reward”. I am not Cummings or Miller either, I am blogger that began a wonderful journey a number of blogposts ago, and who decided that today is all about this gift or pouring her soul out.

   And, since 2018 has just begun, I take this opportunity to wish all of you an amazing, wonderful new year! I will be here, on this web page, next year as well, living my story and sharing it with you. Therefore, farewell 2017 and welcome 2018, a new year “Full of things that have never been.” (Rainer Maria Rilke).
Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

How to create a healthy relationship with yourself

How to create a healthy relationship with yourself

   Life. The day-to-day busy mom (who also happens to have a job) routine. Mornings that look like this: the alarm goes off, as if yelling at somebody, at 6 o’clock. Find the phone and snooze it at least once; get up and make the coffee, prepare breakfast for the kid; wake up everybody; eat; clean; wash; shower; dress; get out of the house and run – the kid needs to be in time or else … Rush to the subway station – there are so many others there, with the same already tired faces. Get to work. Grab a coffee. Begin. Than the day unfolds. Work – lots of projects all happening at the exact same time; people sending e-mails, always requesting, demanding, asking for stuff… conference calls, meetings. Stress. You take lunch break but somehow you end up talking about work as well. The day finally ends – you rush to the door, forgetting the keys or the access card on the desk. You go get them and than rush to the door once again. Get the kid. Go home. Do chores. Prepare dinner. Clean, wash, shower and finally, when the kid is asleep, when dishes are already washed and put in their place, when the kitchen is clean and the entire house is in good order … you do not know what to do with yourself. Because you see, doing the exact same thing day in and day out has left you exhausted. The connection that you had with yourself has been weakened if not lost entirely. You are 30, almost 40 or 40 something but you feel already so old. And lost – there is no link between who you really are and what you do, there is no real relationship between you (the physical body doing all that) and you (the soul that came on this Earth for reason). Being so many different things for so many different people made you lose … you from the equation.

   How can you establish connection with yourself once again? Where do you start? How can you win the war with your own abandonment? I have been there. I am still there sometimes. I still struggle but these days things got a lot easier and less painful. Therefore, I can safely say that it can be done. These are my “hacks”:

  1. Break the cycle – each morning decide on a “me” time during that particular day. And announce it to the world – meaning to the significant other and the kid: Today Mommy will need a good half of an hour/an hour/whatever for herself. And do it consistently. This is not a joke or a matter to be taken easy – this matters, you matter and so you deserve all the care and attention you can give to yourself, even if the available time is limited and you still have to do the Mom stuff and the professional woman stuff as well. You can fill that 30 hour/hour with activities that give you peace of mind (like meditation or yoga), with activities that give you a sense of self-care or pampering (like a massage or doing your nails) or with activities for the mind (like reading book or watching a documentary).

  2. Plan for your own well-being – schedule it, write it down in your planner/outlook or on paper if you have to, but mark it down somehow. Consider it an important task with a deadline attached. Change your way of thinking and invest some time and some resources in yourself. Even if the resources are scarce – you can use them wisely. Time and money invested in yourself are never lost. The return on investment is huge!

  3. Treat yourself with love – even when you fail your own expectations, do not punish yourself for your mistakes – even if they are foolish or childish, and strive to grow, not to be perfect. Change your self-related language and you will be able to change your life. Because you are important, you matter and you deserve to be acknowledged.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

Blink of an eye

Blink of an eye

   Years pass in a blink of an eye. Just yesterday, I was a 7 years old girl with long blond hair and inquisitive eyes. I was dreaming of things that were coming in my life, I was anxious and had many questions unanswered.

   Then I blinked and I was suddenly 14, just starting high school, eyes wide opened and heart pounding, scared and feeling so alone in a classroom with other 14 years olds that I did not know.

   Another second later, and I was walking on the immense hallways of the university, almost running, trying to find the amphitheater for my first hour ever as a student.

   I blinked again and I was 25 and getting married, with my beautiful, yellow dress (yes, yellow, white is not me, not me at all!) with my bouquet of roses and a rosy smile.

   One more time and I was in the hospital, holding my little bundle of joy for the first time, happy that he was finally here after our shared 9 months journey; I was staring at that sweet baby face and was so infinitely overjoyed, so overwhelmed with love and so mesmerized by that frail being who was clinging to me instinctively and searching my heartbeat for comfort.

   And, in between those moments, there was a lot of growing up I had to do, there were moments of joy and there were tears. There were many tears, like when my mother died and I felt so lost, so angry and furious … so mad at the world.

   And so many memories … the first time I felt the new life growing inside me, visiting the old town of Prague, the sound of the waves and salted seawater, the fresh air in the mountains, when we were walking down the mountain trail, the taste of apricots and the smell of the freshly baked bread.   All of that seems to be crowded in a blink of an eye. Yet all of that – and more, since it would be impossible to capture it all with words – happened during 40 years – a lifetime or a second in the great scheme of things. All of the above – and all that still remains untold – define who I am today. It is my journey of becoming that I decided to share with you in my blog posts.

This is not literature. This is life, as I understand it.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

  Near 40 Dana

Love!

Love!

   Hello there! It has been a while. Today I decided to talk to you about the main reasons that fuel humanity in times of joy, times of sorrow and hardships. The reasons that stand behind each decision, each step, each attitude. Love and hate – the two emotions that fundamentally shape our world.

   Hate is powerful destruction weapon. For centuries, it has fueled wars and to this day it still does. Hate also kills ideas, happiness, and relations and ultimately it can end the world, as we know it. Everything that springs out of hate has as an ultimate result the devastation of the human soul. Hate operates dissociation: you place yourself opposite to the object of your hate; you are always better, more worthy, more important. You judge.

   Lucky for us, Love is a powerful tool too. And love functions on associations. You and what or who you love are on the same part of the barricade.

   I remember realizing how strong love is the day I found out I was pregnant with my son. I remember each day of that 9 months, while he was happily growing, he was kicking and moving a lot and I was so in love, I was so fascinated by the journey of that that little cell that slowly was developing to create a brand new human being. That little cell was using the force of my love. To this date, the little human being is seeking my love and using it to grow, to mature and to become what he needs to become.

   People do incredible things out of love: you never realize how much you are capable of until you are tested and you will see that nothing is too much, too hard, impossible when the engine is Love. When life happens and we face its challenges, it is only love that can push us out of the mess and move us forward. Things that spring out of love grow, flourish and stand the test of time.

   Both hate and love can make you move mountains – it is just that you move them in opposite directions. So do yourself the biggest favor: Love!

 Lots of sunshine to you all!

 Near 40 Dana

How not to lose your mind in a crazy day – 6 easy hacks

How not to lose your mind in a crazy day – 6 easy hacks

   Sometimes life is overwhelming: things happen fast, unexpectedly, and you lack time for all the things you have to do. And there are not enough hours in the day and not enough days in a week. It seems that no matter how much you try to adjust and accommodate everything happening in your life drains you of all energy and stamina. And my response to that is … binging usually. On food, on coffee, on chocolate … There is clear connection between comfort and food. And there is a clear connection between comfort and coffee. And I do not smoke anymore. Sometimes I wish I did though now I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes.

   But there are things you can do to lower stress and not lose your mind completely in a busy, crazy week:

  1. Buy yourself some flowers so as your desk looks pretty and colourful; maybe also allow yourself a treat – a good coffee, a piece of chocolate (just one, not the whole bar!);

  2. Give yourself a 5 minute break at least once a couple of hours or so and stretch, walk, go somewhere private and meditate, anything that gets you standing and away from your desk would work;

  3. Take your lunch break even you are really, really tempted to eat in front of your laptop with one hand on the keyboard and your eyes on the inbox; this especially generates more stress in your life; so just stop doing that – it will make a tremendous difference if you do;

  4. Walk at least 30 minutes a day – just walk and think happy thoughts; relieve the tensions; yesterday I stopped and watched a beautiful orange sunset;

  5. Start being mindful, read about it, document yourself; you will find that being mindful really works – you will realize that we are here on this Earth to experience, to live, to grow; it isn’t meant to be stressful;

  6. Daydream at least once a day – yes – daydream! Think about all the things you want to achieve in your life, picture yourself already there; it is a powerful motivator.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

  Near 40 Dana

What if you do?

What if you do?

   What if you do?

   What if you decide one day to go against your fears and insecurities and start living life in a different way? What if you let go of the past, let go of all those learned behaviors that have been rooted in you by force during your childhood, during your school years, during your youth, during your early adult life? What if you start living intuitively, by taking each day as it comes? What if you slow down for a bit and take care of your dreams? What if you learn to enjoy simplicity and small things in life?

   Life is not Formula 1. Life is not meant to be a permanent chase. We do not need to be perpetually out of breath and forever running! What if we simply quit all of that?

   Would the world stop? Would our little universe crush? What would happen then? Would our obligations be different? Would life be much harder? Would our goals stand no chance? Would we fail?

   None of the above. If anything, our lives would be enriched by so many experiences – small or not so small, important or trivial, happy or sad. If anything, we would feel more and dream more. We would be at peace with ourselves and with the world. If anything, we would feel more alive and more prepared to handle any goal we might have, the expectations of others, the challenges that life presents.

   Living more intuitively, giving your mind and soul a chance to interact and help you choose what your deep self really needs is what is missing in many people’s life. Too many of us are acting like robots, day in, day out, doing things that we have been trained to do, exactly like we were showed to do them, in the exact, precise order.

   For achieving our , for being able to enjoy each day, each experience, each opportunity you just need to stop. Be quiet for a while and listen to yourself. Mind and soul. Because your soul will whisper to your mind what you truly need. It is in such moment of silence that you can really understand that you are here for the experiences and not for the bills, for your boss’s requests, for your job, for all the problems that need solution.

   You are here to enjoy the fresh air of an early morning, the first ray of sun, the waves, the mountains with their white snow tip, the city with its old brick walls, a flower, a kiss.

   You are here, but you are not meant to be here alone! You are here to love. To love each moment you see the smile on your child’s little face, to love your significant other’s sleepy face in the morning, when the alarm of the clock starts ringing. To love and to live though all the good and all bad with dignity and grace.

   Sure, life is not always pleasant and rosy! We all have bills to pay, bosses that make requests, jobs to do, ups and downs, we all live through happiness and pain, we all have dreams that die and dreams that fail. But choosing to live more intuitively makes all hardships more manageable and enhances the beauty and uniqueness of our happy times.

   I choose to have a certain routine in the mornings because it makes me feel good, it is what I need to get me through a very busy – and many times hectic – day. I choose to eat in a certain way because a little voice inside me tells me that it is the right way. For me.

   I choose to stop working for a while and give a hug to my boy because a little voice inside tells me that this is what I should do.

   This is in fact how I decided to write these lines: that little voice inside told me to let you know that whoever created us (whether it was God or not, I do not know) gave us this tremendous power to shape our own reality by choosing according to own inner music. We only need to listen.

   Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

Notes to my Self

Notes to my Self

   Just the other day, while I stopped to catch my breath after a 40 minutes’ walk on the treadmill, it occurred to me that I was checking the mirror on the right wall beside me, constantly analyzing my gym outfit, checking the few (to be read not so few) kilograms that I need to get rid of, judging myself still for each and every one of them.

   Therefore, I made this note to my Self: Do not judge, you are not that 20 year old girl – with fresh eyes and slander body, you are not that almost 30 year old woman who prepares for her wedding and is desperately trying to lose a kilo or two so as to look her best on that day. You are an almost 40 years old woman who is also a mom that one day decided to go back to the gym and get her stamina and strength back. Now all she needs to decide is to feel good.

   Even if I drop a few (wishful thinking: not so few) kilos, I will still be me and not that 20 years old girl in the corner, who will have to undergo 2 decades of experiences and transformations before coming into her 40s. Before being like me.

   It reminded me of a phrase attributed to Oscar Wilde – but later proven to belong to somebody called Gilbert Pereira: “Be yourself; everybody else is already taken”. The guy is a genius! Yes, everybody else is already taken, and you do not need to be a double! Who needs doubles anyway? Well, I would need an extra pair of hands sometimes (I bet you do too!), but, other than that, I would not appreciate a double to share my child’s kisses, my bed, my life…

   But you know what is difficult? The real big deal is to know who you truly are! This is where all those fears and insecurities come from. This is what makes one look in the opposite corner of the gym, constantly checking the mirror on the right wall analyzing one’s gym outfit, checking the few (to be read not so few) kilograms that have piled up, judging oneself for each and every one of them.

   Knowing who you are and knowing who you want to be – and that is not the 20 years old girl in the corner there! Because I am almost 40 and I have scars to prove it. I have the scars, but also all the riches that 20 years of life that I lived more than she did have given me. When she was born, 20 years ago, I was the girl in another corner, in another gym and somebody else was looking in the mirror on another wall.

 Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

The journey

The journey

   Life is a journey, not a destination. I do not remember who said that. I must have read it somewhere, as it remained so fresh in my mind. I loved it for it is so simple, and yet so true. I remember it hit me hard – what matters is the journey, the path you take, the ideas you follow, and the dreams you dream and then create, the principles that guide you and the light in your eyes. What matters is enjoying the trip and not racing towards the finish line. Because nobody knows what is beyond the finish line anyway.

   There are times you need to struggle, you need hustle, to push yourself beyond what you previously thought were your limitations. And there are times to stop, to enjoy the scenery and reflect.

   But even during the hustle times, you need to really enjoy it, as positive results cannot come from something you hate.

   What must not happen under any circumstances is for you to forget that today is part of your journey, even if it is bad, even if it hurts. Goals can change. People evolve and mature. Children grow up. The journey of life is so precious, so immensely precious! Nobody will give you back the years which you lost hating the present because it is not perfect, hating yourself for not being there where you thought you deserved. You need to be opened to the endless mysteries of your life journey and you need to trust that you will make the correct choices so as to achieve the things that you want to achieve.

   And if you fail, as sometimes we all do, well, the only thing definitive in life is Death (this one is not a quote; it is only the most important lesson that this almost 40, nearly 40 person, soon to be 40 something has learned during these almost 40 years). Failure is part of our journey, as much as success is. Failing does not make you a failure. Failing just makes you human. Only you can make yourself a failure. Only if you do that, you truly fail.

Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana