Posts Tagged buddha

Sunday Column (493)

Life is about creating experiences. It is about shared experiences where you bond with your children and others of course. So looking back over the last week, I have done a lot of those, with my children/family but also with friends and colleagues. It has been a great week, and started off with an inset day on Monday. Due to one of my projects being delayed, I spend most of the day at home with the family sorting out some errands and preparing the week ahead, finalising some bits and bobs. It was an admin day as I like to call it, ending in the pub on a Monday after an interesting data related meeting. Life can be wonderful 🙂

But I want to go even further back. After a birthday party on Saturday night, we managed to get up early on Sunday to drive to Kew Gardens. My wife and I haven’t been there for over 10 years, and the kids have never been. We spend the whole day running around, walking and looking at plants, dragons (display), ate ice cream and enjoyed a hot summer’s day. I am honestly not quite believing how much luck we had with the weather over the past few weeks, from BBQ to BBQ’d pizza to building a Zen garden to playing football, to walking around in Kew Gardens for a whole day. We all enjoyed the experience, yet were very tired at the end of the day. The boys coped very well, however fell into bed at night being absolutely exhausted. Those are the best days I find, even I was in bed by 9 pm, sound asleep shortly after.

On another note, I want to find more clarity and focus in terms of prioritisation in life. This sounds philosophical but whilst a few years ago I would have been all about work, I now realise how much time I should spend with the boys and where other focus lies, e.g. writing my book or getting a hobby car or recording my podcast. Instead of focusing on too many things, there needs to be a clear priority and balance between work and non work related things. Even if the podcast, the book and most of my time is somewhat related to the work I do. It is about time to clear cut more of what I do, how I do it and why I do it. This week I recorded a podcast with someone who has a similar attitude to work as I do, working 10 hours a day, and she said ‘it is what I enjoy’ but she also was clear about the balance in life with her family. That’s what it is, I love work and my career, yet it is also about balance.

And then there was a trip back memory lane. I met a fraternity brother from Germany who I had never met before, a new generation. It was very amicable, as you would hope and expect, and I found out that there is another frat brother living in London. So it is time to have a Franconia reunion at some point. I am getting old, remembering another frat brother living in London as long as 12 years ago. Blimey. Those were the days. Life is too short to not make the most of it, and it is as if a circle is closing. And I find it interesting and pleasing to see that after 125 years our fraternity is still going strong and attracts people due to our heritage, our commitment to growth, personal development and being the best one can be. So whoever is a member will have similar values to yourself, and hence it is so refreshing to see some of those being close by. It is, after all, a life long bond, never to be broken.

Timely, Dire Straits ‘Brothers in Arms’ was part of the last episode of the series ‘The Americans’ this week. I love that series, so if you haven’t seen it, get it on Amazon Prime. Watching the last episode during a 10K treadmill run and listening to Dire Straits made me reflect. What could life have been like, in a parallel universe maybe, or how would you engineer it if you could start all over again?

Life is what it is. I never lived it as a spy, and never will. Yes I left my fatherland, and similar to the story of the Americans, I don’t think I would ever return home. I am very happy with what I have and where I live. There can always be more, but there could also be less. We are blessed and I don’t forget about this, appreciate it daily. Someone with a small time input but a huge impact on my life passed away this week. I remember speaking to him in 2006 when he said ‘Volker, you have to start meditating, it will change and improve your life’. I recently found the letter (!) he sent me explaining how it all works, this ‘meditation thing’. It took me another few years until I started meditating and have continuously been meditating for over 3 years. Daily! And he was right. My thoughts are with him, his family the positive impact he had on others, including myself.

Have a good week. Appreciate what you have, and what you have achieved.

Buddha bless.
Volker

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Sunday Column (488)

Wowsers. A sunny first bank holiday weekend in May. When did that happen the last time? The BBQ is out, the kids are playing outside, we get the garden in order, be on our bikes, playing football….life is good it seems.

May. Who would have guessed a year ago that this is the date I started another contract work, rather than a full time position. It’s been a h* of a ride but for now I am looking to settle in a couple of contracts and see where the journey goes. My preferred choice is still to do a full time, permanent role, and maybe a contract might lead to that, but as anything in life, you just have to go for it. Things always work out in the end, and contracting isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I am learning a whole lot about setting up a Ltd., tax, VAT and general business contracts. I am also enjoying more flexibility and freedom, but I am also always on the hunt for something new. Life is funny, and whenever I speak to companies recently, most wait with recruitment until they have had a couple of weeks business after GDPR, the new data regulation coming into play at the end of May, in order to assess the full impact. So contracting is a good thing at the moment, yet of course I’d love to settle into a permanent job again. There aren’t many at the moment though.

In days of Facebook and Instagram people rely too much on social media to remind them about people’s birthdays. Personally, I always made an effort to wish people I care about a happy birthday and put it into my personal calendar. I deleted my birthday notifications from all social channels, so unless you are like me, you will forget. It also saves me getting loads of messages from people I hardly know. It is nice to hear from friends, even if it is a short message or a five minute call, to know they are thinking of you. Separating the true friends from the ones that are not. I was very chuffed to get the calls I did and also, from my wife, a lovely Buddha head that I was hoping to put in the garden for a while. I honestly didn’t think she would agree, but she did. It looks lovely I’d say.

So another year older, more work, more things happening. Where will we be a year from now? Brexit is looming and I am a bit scared of what is there to come. Feeling a bit under the weather this week, particularly on Monday with the horrendous rain, the question of the weather and it affecting the mood has to be asked. Where do we want to be? The change towards the weekend was lovely of course. A wedding reception on Friday night standing outside until late at night.

But is it the culture that’s more important than the weather, job security vs. uprooting the kids. We are at a stage in life where maybe we have all the flexibility and all the necessity to change things all over again. Re-shuffle your cards, deal them new and see what you get.

There are a lot of thoughts around a variety of topics as you can see. But I feel good, and for the first time in months I had a few good night sleeps. Things happen for a reason.

Have a lovely rest weekend,
Volker

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Sunday Column (439)

Hello friends. I noticed that, if I am awake early on Mondays, that this is good writing time. So I am on another flight. Just about 16 hours after I disembarked my last. Yet the last one was for fun. My wife took me to Edinburgh for the weekend. It was amazing. Not only did you not have to worry about the kids but could do all the grown up things kids are not interested in. Culture, sight seeing, castles and whisky tastings. Plus, my wife took me to a restaurant, allegedly the best one in Scotland, the Witchery, where I ate the best steak I ever had in my life (and I had a lot), and I discovered the most interesting and tasting Italian blue cheese I ever had too. What a great weekend. Thank you again.

Later in the week I got a belated birthday present. Two actually. One was the picture of a Buddha my youngest drew. I love it. I even got two copies, one for each office. How sweet is that? The other a book of pictures and quotes collected by my wife from my closest friends. It was very emotional to read the impact I can have on lifes. I love you too guys, and this is only the beginning. 40 is the time you turn up the heat, put your foot down and enjoy the wind in your hair. Because you can. Because you don’t know how much longer you can do it either.

So as I wander through the airport on Monday morning, I am tired. Of course I am. The cold I had is still lingering around. Maybe it is more of a hay fever. The weekend was exhausting. I am happy though and that’s what matters. I am trying to think how we best plan our holidays over the next year(s). Also, I am listening to my podcasts again. This time it is all about passion. That someone should not necessarily want to be like someone else, but everyone is an individual. Realising you don’t want to be Steve Jobs or Anthony Robbins is the first step to realise that you are not like them. As I have learned over the years, it is about what you can take from any of those individuals and how you can put it together to form your self. The podcast guest suggested that you shouldn’t quit your job and start working on your passion. A passion is still what you do in your own time. And if that takes off from a side project, so will be it. Those podcast paired with the book I am reading about evolutionary coaching just make a lot of things come together. What an amazing life we are living, and slowly it all seems to make sense. The dots are connecting more than ever before. Wow.

Discovering your passion as something like ‘helping others’ and ‘developing others’ is great. That’s what I did. And if you as a reader of this blog or someone reading my productivity book is interested in what my opinions are, then please share and get engaged. I am just someone with some strong opinions on certain topics. I believe I know how to set up a productive work life scenario and work efficiently for others. I believe I am mentally strong and have a good working routine. A routine that allows me to cope with the workload and life load. And whilst doing all that, I still have a lot of fun. I cannot see myself being the Jim Rohn or Darren Hardy or Anthony Robbins but I can envisage to offer seminars for lifes’ little tricks in years to come. Not in my 40ies though 😉 And one of the reasons is that once I stopped university, I started learning. Life experience, personal development books and so on. Experience of others that helps me to go through life. And that experience is something I’d like to pass on. But I am far from perfect and yet have many years of (life’s) training to come. Embracing this makes it even so exciting. Evolution at its best.

Bad news this week are coming from Manchester. A terrorist attack killed teenagers and hurt a lot of people. Terror at a ’teenager event’. 22 people died. A 22 year old was named by the police. I am speechless. Those kids had their whole life ahead of them. A 22 year old, someone who just started out in life, what did he know? Was it hatred or religious reasons or just someone being confused. At time of writing I am not sure, but in the end it doesn’t matter. It is awful. My thoughts go out to those affected. And it impacts things in London. Fear of attacks, disruption and anger. United we stand. We will get through this, terror will never win.

In other news, as I still recovered from the weekend, I took it easy this week. A lot of work to catch up on, not too crazy tbh, and I managed to even fit in two saunas. I got a haircut in Hamburg (never as good as home) and caught up on a lot of catch up TV. I haven’t done that for a while, so a relaxing and very productive trip at the same time. Some me time to catch up on important things, testing my new Asics trainers which aren’t as good as the Nike. My pain creep back up running in the Asics but not in the Nike trainers. The weight of the shoes, the way I run in them etc. So the Asics are going back. I might still try some Ultraboost, but at least I am getting back on track. I even managed my first 10K in ages on Friday. Somewhat I haven’t been in a good place with running and the 24 hour race is coming closer with only eight weeks to go. So I better find the right trainers and the right mojo to make it. It’s going to be epic. It must be. Another wall to climb, to break through and move forward from.

When waiting for my plane on Wednesday I was wondering why those trips are so draining. And my conclusion is that you cannot do both of your jobs 100%. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I enjoy what I do. I chose my job to make it successful and be there fully, giving my best and make sure I have an impact. But by doing two jobs, it seems as if I do one or the other, and both only 90%. That is just not satisfying to be not as good as you could be because of restrictions you cannot change. Not sure that makes sense. Nevertheless the support from my boss, HR, colleagues is overwhelming. A great place to work. And so much more to learn and walls to climb. I definitely put my ladder on the right wall here.

However, I enjoy things as I used to. It is a cracking challenge, lots of fun with some really great people and amazing tech. Things are good, and I am not complaining. I am just tired this week, that’s allowed sometimes too I suppose. As the week moved on, my tiredness turns sleepless due to the heat. I am up most nights at 4:30. So I fit in the above 10K, a cheeky 5K and time with the boys before school. Challenging at times, but hey, isn’t that fun. 40 – life is only just beginning. Only now got I the tools to break through those walls. Keep them coming.

From my corner of the world, have a great week ahead. Enjoy the bank holiday weekend! Sun. Summer is almost here. BBQ. Family!

What else to live for?
Volker

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Buddhist Thoughts – Anger

anger

This is self explanatory, isn’t it?

You will not be punished for being angry.

But anger itself will punish you.

Be positive and nice to others, life is too short to be angry.

Buddha Bless!

Volker

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Sunday Column (228)

I started this column sitting in an air conditioned Starbucks, my home when I am in town these days. Water, coffee, vanilla ice drinks. My hiding place, place to charge my phone and connect to free wifi. What else to ask for?

The air conditioning is probably the main one this week. Not that we should complain about the weather in Britain, but it seems extreme. Too hot, too wet, too windy. There seems to be no constant in the weather. Given it is an island and hence you have more changing weather, I am not surprised the weather is the most talked about thing in the country.

opportunity

However, Britain is not build to cope with either extremes: snow or heat waves. Most people cannot enjoy a hot summer and if you are in a city it drains you massively. Having said that, my juice diet from earlier this week really helped me to stay active, not to waste energy on digesting food, and hopefully it helped to detox a bit too. I am less bothered to sleep badly, and I am not surprised the kids don’t sleep well. Bad luck for those that booked a summer holiday in Spain, you could have saved the money by going to St. James’s Park instead.

That is what I did this week. I finished a few meetings early and went back down memory lane. It was the first park I saw in London, and the first one I spent a lot of hours in during my lunch breaks at my first job. It was also the park I spent all my breaks in (if any) when launching a start up over 3.5 years ago. This place is somewhat a natural place for me to go to and reflect, relax and clear my head. Difficult in 33 degrees Celsius though.

I finished most of my consulting jobs this week but might take in a smaller project or two shortly. All depends… Life is full of surprises and whilst we often, at least I do not, understand the meaning until much later in life, a lot of things happen for a reason. People you meet. People you watch. Reactions you get. For instance, from back this last winter, I owed a cobbler down the street from my work a cup of tea. He repaired something for free. I never got around doing it, so went back this week and he was super surprised and pleased I came back. But why wouldn’t I? Sometimes it takes a while for things to make sense, to be the right time etc. This week was the week. A few good deeds I did. I am trying to improve my karma, be a better person and contribute more. Daily.

I have tried to spend more quality time with the kids too. This has worked only with some success as I had a super busy week. When you are looking for a job it is an all day business where you are busy all day. It is like working for yourself, selling yourself constantly, building a pipe line and making things happen. One day I will go back to a routine, for better or for worse.

On another note, at Rotary this week, we listened to a talk about South Korea and its people’s dedication to support their country by working hard, giving beyond expectations, deliver quality and even, to bail out the government, donating jewellery to raise money. An identification and dedication unheard of which results in companies like Hyundai or Samsung being market leaders in what they do. I suppose closest would have been Germany’s commitment after the 2nd world war to rebuild the country, again similar to Korea after their war.

Stehaufmaennchen

It makes me philosophise and reconnect to my Buddhist thoughts this week where I mentioned that anything you do, see or feel is in your mind. And you control your mind. You can achieve anything if you believe in it. Believe! Make it happen!

Making it happen brings me to another topic: my job hunt. Whilst I am maybe a bit picky with which company I want to work for, I found what I thought was an exciting tech company. However, after 2 weeks and an offer they withdrew that and so I will venture on to the next opportunity. Like a Stehaufmaennchen, the game isn’t over until the ball is in the net. The contract not signed until the ink is dry on the paper. Not unheard of but bad business practise to withdraw an offer, but whatever reasons they had, the ones they told me were unreasonable. I wish them best of luck, and as I keep saying, things happen for a reason.

Onwards and Upwards. Maybe time to set up on my own after all.

So watch this space.
Volker

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TED Talk on Buddhism

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Buddhist Thought: Anger

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Buddha

I love this quote although I often ignore it.

When you are in anger, and you express it towards someone, it is usually you that gets angry and wound up.
Buddha speaks wisely comparing anger with a piece of hot coal.

You throw it at someone and whilst doing so, you burn your hands.

The better way is to let the coal cool down, pick it up and it falls to dust.

Have a wonderful day,
Buddha bless,
Volker

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Sunday Column (165)

What a fantastic week. I think so anyway. I went to Madrid on Monday to support our local office, interview for new people and had a very good and long meeting with one of our clients. I like to be useful and travel to support folk. It makes you tired and I didn’t see the kids, but overall I actually enjoy it.

So I was back Wednesday night to find my MIL (mother in law) staying with us. In order for me to keep up my running training I slept on the couch to run at 6 am on Thursday. Friday I worked at home sitting in a conference call until late. I always seem to be busier working from home than being in the office; no idea why to be honest.

What else happened? As my MIL was baby sitting my wife and I went to our most favourite Thai restaurant in Beckenham. The result was we were home within an hour. Conveyor belt service plus us feeling “too old” to mingle with the locals in the pub, meant we preferred to be home early. Saturday we used the whole day (!) to go shopping. I bought myself a “Buddha hand” as an early birthday present. We went all over the shop (literally) whilst my MIL was suffering with the kids. A knackering day for all of us!

Another thing happening to me was on the flight into Madrid. A bloke, between 60 and 65 I’d say, felt sick. He then went to the toilet and all, and they cleared his row, however the main thing was that I felt so sorry for him. Luckily I have never been sick on a plane. But when we flew into Madrid hitting air pockets and jet streams I really felt so sorry for this bloke. And I felt very helpless too. I hate to not being able to help people who need support.

Never mind. In total I feel so much better since I got new trainers, go running every morning (almost) and eat a bit better. There is still a lot of improvement to be made, particularly when travelling, but overall I think I am doing ok. I haven’t lost a huge amount of weight but I feel better, healthier and more energetic. Fingers crossed I keep it up of course 😉 But I will.

Contracts for the house should be exchanged this coming week. I am off Monday for a special family day 😉 and then have a fairly quiet week ahead. Most of the European offices have bank holidays, however I used the week to arrange a few meetings in the UK that were well overdue. Same for the week after until I go travelling again.

The joys….

Have a fantastic week.
Best
Volker

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My new old hand

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Buddhist Thought: Purpose of Religious Practice

One of the major aims and purposes of religious practice for the individual is an inner transformation from an undisciplined, untamed, and unfocused state of mind towards one that is disciplined, tamed and balanced.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I loved “church” as a child. I used to love my “confirmation” and two years of education in church. I was young then and asked a lot of questions which the vicar at the time couldn’t necessarily answer to my satisfaction.

After my confirmation, I was about 14, I helped out with the kids’ church service and asked more questions. I was not allowed to take on responsibilities and got frustrated. I didn’t enjoy church any more.

At that time I guess I got into the age of being interested in anything but church. It also became fashionable to be an “atheist” if you could explain what it was.

I tried finding ways back to “god” or back “to church” but failed miserable.

In Buddhism I found a way to use “religion” as a “philosophy” and I transformed internally. I am more tame now, more balanced and have a more focused mind.

I love being a Buddhist.
I love life.

Love and Happiness from my corner of the world,
Volker

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