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The Benefits of Planning

This year I have an undated notebook for long-term planning and taking notes and a dated planner for everyday life.

I have lived by planning for over a decade. There was a time when I only had to remember which lessons I had on which days, but that ended after I graduated from the University of Manchester. When I worked at APPCO in 2010, I wrote detailed daily plans in a simple notebook. Then I came to Moscow, and planners entered my life and stayed there for good.

Admittedly, I was never a fan of dated planners. I much preferred writing the dates myself… which on occasion meant that I would skip planning, especially at weekends.

For the past two years I had my daily and weekly planners and a notepad all in the same notebook, which was undated. It was alright, but I felt I needed to bring more organisation and, erm, planning in my life. So this year I have an undated notebook for long-term planning and taking notes and a dated planner for everyday life.

This ISN’T my planner, and I don’t use colours. Via Pinterest.

I’m only past January, but the benefits are already there:

  • I did a lot of translation;
  • I did a lot of copyrighting for different clients;
  • I started a book for those who are studying the English language;
  • I am in the process of collecting my own art essays to publish them as a book this year;
  • and I am in the process of doing something very creative that I have rarely done before. It will be in Russian for the first time, but if it goes well, I’ll probably add an English version to it.

I can also see what I have little time left for and think about alternate routes.

Better yet, I am writing my personal diary again, and this time I pay more attention to my everyday life. It’s heartening to contemplate how decades later scholars may really use it to reconstruct my “womanly” part of life.

So, if you have been thinking whether or not to use planners and diaries, I hope this has inspired you enough.

More about my Experiences.

Epiphany 2022

January 19th is a fixed date in the Russian Orthodox calendar. On this day we celebrate Epiphany – the moment when Jesus came to be baptised by St John in the waters of the Jordan River.

You have likely seen the reports of people bathing in the cold water on Epiphany. Bearing in mind Russia’s climate and severe wintery frosts this bathing ritual is more of a popular tradition rather than a requirement endorsed by the Church. In other words, if one doesn’t bathe on Epiphany, there will be no negative implications for their soul.

I have never gone to a designated bathing place but I did take a shower at home at midnight on January 19th. Yet this year I chose to skip doing so, and turned out so did President Putin!

What I did do as usual was to go to my local church for the so-called holy water. This is your regular water that was blessed by the priest. There are usually crowds of people standing in long queues, so I tend to go there late in the evening.

This is what my parish church of St Nicholas looked like on the evening of Epiphany. I’ve just caught myself on a thought that, while I was studying the Tudor period, I was quite fascinated by the terms “parish” and “parishioners”. Even though I was quite irreligious in those days I evidently loved the idea of a community where a church was a perfect gathering place, where people sang hymns and attended sermons. And see, two decades later I’m a parishioner myself…

Winter Holidays End

And I don’t know if I had enough rest, but I have a feeling it was good enough. And this is the most important thing.

As of 2021, Russian winter holidays now officially last from December 31st until after January 7th. And although this does not seem like too long a period, it seems I managed to take some rest. If you follow the link to 2021 Xmas category at the end of the post, you will read about what I did. I wanted to visit GUM and to walk in the forest and maybe have a ski walk, but I didn’t. I have some time for a walk, and I might still visit GUM, and hopefully I’ll give a brush to my skis, but in the meantime these are mere plans.

GUM Christmas Trees.

This is what I did:

  • sat in solitude and silence with a garland and a cup of tasty coffee;
  • read a lot;
  • framed my diplomas;
  • walked a lot;
  • ate 3 big cakes;
  • translated a lot into English, including a Bowie-inspired Space O;
  • blogged here practically every day;
  • slept to my heart’s desire.

And I don’t know if I had enough rest, but I have a feeling it was good enough. And this is the most important thing.

My winter holidays were something like that, cuddled with lots of soft cushions. Courtesy of Tartanscot

More posts in 2021 Xmas.

Three Pleasures a Day

Three Pleasures a Day is a nice psychological habit to keep yourself in a good mood each day.

Last year I joined a community of female entrepreneurs. The topic of female business is flourishing in Russia, and there are two kinds of ladies in the game. One is male-like, dominating by force of money and “connections”. This type is all about goal-setting and overachievement.

Another type acknowledges the importance of hard graft but prefers to dwell on a more feminine side. Rather than delaying gratification, this type enjoys the ride, knows what it wants, and takes it easy. It avoids spreading itself thin for the sake of achievement… and surprisingly, often achieves more than the first type, if only because it doesn’t burn out.

One way to avoid the burnouts is to allocate time to 3 pleasures a day. Mine have been:

  1. Tasty coffee.
  2. Silence.
  3. Garlands.

Yes, they are very simple but they please me a lot. The idea is to find something that will generate “good vibrations” every day. We don’t need to go out of our way to find these simple pleasures. Watching the snowfall is good, just as dancing to your favourite tune.

And, as we all agree, 3 simple pleasures a day at this time make a lot of difference. Positive feelings and emotions bring health, but they are not sold in pharmacies. We make them happen.

By the way, I put my 3 pleasures in my daily planner, and I am very glad when I tick them off!

Do you practise this habit?

Tartans and Furs

As much as I like the concept of minimalism, I prefer to surround myself with things I love. I like Welsh and Scottish music and language, and throwing tartans around myself feels like travelling in time and space.

Tartans and furs make my heart beat faster. Once in a while I look at minimalist interiors and think just how nice it is to have so little stuff around! I once browsed a book by a diehard minimalist. So devoted he was, in fact, that he moved into a studio with no decor and furniture whatsoever.

I like it when there’s little stuff but I can’t bring myself to live in a nun’s cell. I mean, when I decide to live like a nun I’ll join a nunnery. But while I lead this profane secular life I strive for comfort.

tartans and furs

And in this photo you can see some of the things I love and eagerly have in my life. Tartans and lush cushions – oh, they are my staples! This year I bought myself 3 throws as a Christmas present. I sleep under a single-coloured one, and I use a tartan one to cover my shoulders or legs in the day. Another tartan throw, in green and red, is waiting for its turn. The cushions I made for my knitted throw 13 years ago I now use to support my back.

So, as much as I like the concept of minimalism, I prefer to surround myself with things I love. I like Welsh and Scottish music and language, and throwing tartans and furs around myself feels like travelling in time and space.

What are your favourite household articles that create the atmosphere?

New Moon in January 2022

New Moon on January 2nd, 2022 is the time to draw your first wishlist for the year. Read about the difference btw “I must” and “I want” and try going a more pleasant way.

The story goes that even the world leaders start some of their actions on a new moon. This year’s first new moon in January 2022 will occur today, January 2nd, at 21:33 Moscow time.

I’ve always made plans and resolutions. But it took a tremendous effort to get some of them off the ground, let alone to finish. Then last year I went through some lists and plans, and I was rather unpleasantly surprised at the amount of “I must” and “I have to” at the beginning of my vows.

I have never believed men and women were too different. But in the past few years I had to admit that one fundamental difference shines through the modals we use. “Must” and “have to” are typically male; these modal verbs invoke strength and power.

Women are strong and powerful, too – in their femininity. So our expression is “I want”, which is not a modal verb, strictly speaking. However, by merely knowing what I want I can get it quicker than if I went by on “must” and “have to”. It doesn’t mean that I don’t work towards my dreams. It simply means that I love what I want, and this makes it easier to attain.

So, if you have been stumbling in the last couple of years, perhaps you could try writing down what you really want to do in this first new moon of 2022?

new moon in january 2022
A New Year tree meets New Moon in January 2022

Other posts in 2021 Xmas.

New Year Night 2022

Miracles happen when you do things you love

Years ago I always used to draw conclusions at the end of the year. I also wrote resolutions, which for one reason or another didn’t rush to happen, so I stopped. New Year night 2022 is going to be different. 

I write my dreams instead and enlist the actions I should undertake to see them coming true. I also write all fears connected with those wishes coming or not coming true. And then the new year begins.

I came across this technique in the personal growth marathon by Elena Blinovskaya, and I’ve been using it since. I personally like her idea that we don’t need to spread ourselves thin trying to leave no stone unturned on the road to our dreams. Reaching goals and realizing dreams should be nice and easy, and this is precisely what Elena helps people to do.

Informational business is currently on the rise. I secretly déplore the fact that I didn’t have enough foresight, or I’d be blogging a bit differently. But everything has the reason, so I just recall what fantastic dividends I had on all my unmonetised efforts. A film director I interviewed for my community radio program won an Oscar; I was interviewed on BBC 3 months after I’d started blogging in 2006; LCJ was honoured as a Google Blog of Note on its third anniversary; and many more events happened that highlight one point:

Miracles happen when you do things you Love.

There’s no point trying to make yourself do something you’d rather not do. Of course, we need to make a living somehow, but it’s better and less disheartening to earn a modest salary but enjoy what you do than get decent money while knowing you are wasting your lifetime. Especially today, amidst the troubles, doing the job you love is paramount as we need more positive feelings and emotions to survive.

As 2021 is about to end, I wish all of us to stay safe and sane, to nurture our faith and to strengthen the spirit, and to take care of our physical body. We are all here for a reason, and after all, we have already survived a few epidemics, like aviary flu, atypical pneumonia, and Ebola virus. We are still alive, which means we can stay alive again.

To the good, healthy and wealthy 2022!

new year night 2022

Other posts in 2021 Xmas.

My 2021

Overall, my 2021 was quite good. I am grateful for all moments.

My 2021 was a good year, overall. After a tough yet very eventful and successful 2020 my body and mind were so overwhelmed that I was forced to take it easy – a short stay in the hospital included. I also lost my oldest dog; as much as it was expected, it was hard to bear.

I worked a lot, contributing several hundred articles to numerous websites and blogs and writing content for several e-shops.

I won a poetry translation contest from German into Russian, and my short story was shortlisted for a Roskosmos contest and published in a collection with other great entries.

I printed my fairy tale and am waiting for my long story to be printed, too.

Oh, and I’m finally writing a lot here. It’s (just like) starting over.

I’m grateful to 2021 for teaching me a lesson of importance of waiting, planning, and not forcing myself to make things happen.

In short, it was a good year. Thank you, 2021. Bring on 2022!

Other posts in 2021 Xmas

Notes on Moscow City Day

I’ve spent an entire day in Moscow city center. I’m sitting in Nikitsky Boulevard, blogging and noticing people walking past. Tomorrow is expected to be overcast but today there were many sunny spells. It was very warm, and is only just beginning to get chilly as the sunset approaches.

Although there are no major celebrations this year due to the pandemic, people went to the city centre to enjoy the good weather and some outdoor events. I mentioned the Soviet photography exhibition, which starts a dozen of meters away from my bench. Another set of events, Flower Jam, apparently lasts until October: there are different flowery displays scattered across the city, starting with Apothecary Garden.

People do wear masks in shops, museums, and on the public transport. Yet in the streets one only remembers about the coronavirus when a mask hanging under someone’s chin pops in the view.

Overall, the weather is almost spring-like, and it feels like there has never been any pandemic…

Moscow Celebrates 874th Anniversary

For the 874th anniversary of my native city I went to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. There are currently two “Italian” exhibitions. One, in collaboration with Pinacoteca di Siena, focuses on the rise of the Sienese school of art. It features at least one work attributed to workshop of Duccio di Buoninsegna and works by Simone Martini, Giovanni di Paolo, and others. It also demonstrates some rare Sienese biccherni and 13-14th Italian paintings and altarpieces from the Pushkin Museum collection.

Another exhibition features works by Giambattista Tiepolo (18th c.) and other Italian painters of 17-18th cc.

In the city, in one of the boulevards, there is an exhibition of Soviet photography. Photos span 1930s-1980s and focus on celebrations in Red Square and Moscow architecture.

Below is one of exhibits, a painting by a 17th c. Neapolitan master, “The healing of the man sick with palsy”.

error: Sorry, no copying !!