2018 — some photos, some memories
It is the last hour of 2018 here in French Pyrenees. We just finished a very intensive 5 days of teachings about the things that matter most in life. About kindness, happiness, reality, our experiences, who we are. Wisdom. It seems like a good moment to look back on the year. There is no internet so it will take a few days until I can upload this but hope you do not mind.
I saw some people write about their learnings and achievements. Amazing. Our year has been simple. But there have been some twists and turns. And a few nice photos on the way.
We started and finished our year in Gomde Pyrenees. It is a meditation retreat center in the Pyrenees. An hours drive from the French city of Perpignan. In the mountains. Around 1000 meters over sea level. On a clear day you can see the Mediterranean Sea and there are majestic mountains in the back.
It is a new retreat center. Hopefully going to hold 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, 3 year retreats very soon. When we arrived though the old house was going through a complete renovation. All the small old windows were being dismantled and much bigger new windows were being made. Rooms were being converted. We were planning to add five meditation huts. All this in a bit more than a month. With French contractors who are not the most reliable and a handful of volunteers.
It was an amazing experience to be part of this work. From carrying a truck load of wood for floors down to the house in a tiny van. To at times trying to bring clarity and co-ordination to our work. And it got done and from March for almost 6 weeks we held a meditation retreat with 25 people. Amazing feat. Amazing people. And mind you, most of them don’t get any tangible rewards for their crazy efforts.
Two homelands — Estonia and Taiwan
Our late spring and summer we spent mostly in our two homelands. Taiwan where Hsuan is from and Estonia where I am from. I love both. Very much. I often think it would be quite ideal to live winter in Taiwan and summer in Estonia.
Taiwan is an amazing and in my opinion highly under-rated country. It is a highly developed island. Has amazing nature with mountains and ocean. Unbelievably tasty food. Lots of it. Kind, and caring people. And I would say a quite healthy, developed society in general. Hsuan was teaching kids and grown-ups. I was organising a study visit to UK for Estonian Digital Construction Cluster and we enjoyed our family and lots of great meals.
I also helped to launch internationally a marvellous book from my teacher Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. It is called Sadness, Love, Openness and it is a quite short book with very direct heartfelt guidance about living a meaningful life. Worth a read. :)
Estonia had many of its traditional components. A very successful meditation retreat at Männiku Metsatalu. This time Hsuan was cooking for the first week for the 20 of us. And also teaching Qi Gong in her amazing way. People were happy. Again. Without any planning from my side, it also happened that a very popular tv show made a full episode about the retreat. A good thing to watch for the first days of the year. Hsuan also taught at Notafe in Viljandi.
From the not so common. We could say even once in the lifetime events. We had to go to the court in Estonia to get the permission to get married. And while Hsuan’s parents were visiting Estonia we did get married. I am a lucky guy. Three and a half years back when after many years from our first meeting I went and met Hsuan-Hsiu in Tel Aviv I wrote to a good friend that I find it so special how Hsuan can be very relaxed but also very sharp. However the situation needs. I still admire this so much. And so much more. I am a lucky guy. :)
The biggest part of this year has been London. In June we were there to get to know the place more. In September we moved there for at least a year. Hsuan started a MA course in Creative Practice in Dance. She is using the year to develop herself as a teacher of movement related practices to help both kids and grown-ups learn to use their body better and to be in contact with their body and mind more. To develop kindness, caring, and relaxation in themselves. On the way making interesting projects like this short film about movement drawings.
I joined Mobi Lab — a great Estonian mobile software design and development company. Helping them to figure out how to expand their business to UK. I haven’t worked in a full time paid job for quite some time. And I have learned so much with the last four months. I have learned that I really enjoy strategy, that I am very good in execution and communication. I have learned I like to solve people’s problems, not to convince them that they should get me to solve their problems.
In a more general note on recruitment, I have learned in practice that having a long linear career can be useful but we very strongly seem to undervalue the people who actually have very unconventional backgrounds that often bring at least as much to management and leadership level roles than nice linear careers. It is a bit of a bitter sweet comment but I do think I am quite ripe for a new leadership role but find it quite difficult for the hiring managers to look behind the preconceived ideas of what success should be like.
In December we also had an interesting week in Upstate New York. Hsuan was teaching mindful movement workshops for the first cohort of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Coaching Program. It was interesting to see Hsuan melt hearts also in such a professional setting. Before and after we had a few hours with our dear friend Rodney in New York and for me the city has still not lost it’s charm. :)
It has been a good year. This is the feeling I have writing now. It has been difficult. Often. Very demanding year in many ways. Jumping into one unknown after another. Challenging oneself. A good year. With my fabulous wife. :)
What are we in for in 2019?
We will be going back to London and I will be looking for a new income generating opportunity. A job or otherwise. I put together good overview of how to enter UK market and found the right person for Mobi Lab to do it. But with that I made myself out of job for now. So I will be looking. If you have any suggestions for me, please do let me know.
In April we will be organising a study visit to Taiwan. A week of getting to know the business and culture there. If you want to know more, let me know.
There have been some thoughts about organising a visit to Nepal and sharing my love for many things there with more people. I thought of March but it is becoming very close. In case you feel you would like to come and discover this beautiful and crazy place with me, let me know.
Hsuan will be teaching at Notafe and for the second cohort of the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching students. There is a some thoughts of Hsuan and me leading together a Qi Gong, movement, and meditation retreat for a few days in Estonia. And I am sure many other things will come about. :)
If we have had the chance to spend some time together, thank you. If not, let’s meet up. :) May your life be happy and may there be an open heart and wise mind. Happy New Year! Happy New Day! May you live each day of the year so it matters and is not wasted.