3 Things That Made me Happy in May
May always feels like the most wonderful month of the year. Not only is it often the month when the Sun...
May always feels like the most wonderful month of the year. Not only is it often the month when the Sun comes out and Nature is in full bloom, but also – and most importantly – because it’s my birthday month!
Even without the birthday celebrations, May counts as the best month of the year so far. Improv class continued to amaze and excite me, writing was nothing but bliss and flow. I met inspiring, fun people almost every day, signed up a bunch of incredibly talented and committed new clients, and had the most insightful conversations.
It was hard to pick three things from the list above. But since discipline comes to those who practice it (wink wink) here they are:
#1 Art is Therapy by Arpaïs du Bois for The School of life
I’d been eyeing the workshops of The School of Life (Antwerp) for a long time when on May 4th, one day before the birth date of my dad (yep, May was his birthday month too!), an event notification popped up on Facebook. The date of the event triggered my attention. If not for it, I probably would have dismissed it as I’d done so many times before.
The notification was for a workshop series called “Art is Therapy”, for this edition led by the incredibly talented Belgian drawer and painter Arpaïs du Bois. (Don’t you just love her first name?)
Since my father passed away in 2010 I’ve wanted to remember him in special ways. So far I hadn’t been very successful. Every attempt at making something of the day had failed. Partly because of me not knowing how to do it, and partly because the people I was surrounded with in the past didn’t care much for sentiment and emotions.
This year being my year of *freedom* I decided to follow my heart and enroll. Going in I had no idea how the workshop would unfold. The only thing I knew was that there would be paper and pencils.
Arpaïs truly had me at “hello”. She started the workshop with the most inspiring and passionate art history lesson that blew my socks off. I was instantly in flow, somewhere else, as if floating outside of space-time. After the introduction we each received a small notebook and pencil and Arpaïs’ guideline to “start drawing something”.
To this day I don’t know what happened to me back there. Was it because of my father’s birth date, or the *really* incredible intro given to us by Arpaïs? Whatever the reason was, I went on to create a whole series of drawings about my father’s life. Stolen moments, memories we shared, pieces of his life, things he used to believe, think, and say.
I’ve continued drawing in my little notebook ever since. That workshop truly was therapy for me. It showed me that art is everywhere. That it’s emotional, personal, transcendental. Always with us. We simply have to allow ourselves to let it come to life.
#2 Birthday Getaway
Going off grid for a birthday getaway is a gift I’ve given myself for quite a few years now. This year, as I’d done something special for my dad’s birth date, I also wanted to honour my mom. That’s why the needle stopped on Santorini. Almost 30 years ago, my mother had surprised me with a trip to this volcanic Greek Island. Just her and me, for a week, in what was one of the only hotels on the island at the time.
Everything about the five days I spent there was perfect (except perhaps for the text messages from the ex who couldn’t keep his finger off the send button even on my birthday). It was a great getaway with perfect weather, a lot of down time, delicious food. Not to mention the most amazing sunset from the cliffs enjoyed in delightful company.
#3 Conference on Mindful Leadership
My friend Veronica Sosa is a wizard when it comes to putting together inspiring and mind-expanding conferences. When she told me she was hosting a day on Mindful Leadership at the Hilton Hotel in Antwerp (right around the corner from where I live) AND that Geraldine, someone I really admire, would be speaking I knew I had to be there.
The day was packed with talks on a wide range of subjects, all related to conscious business, entrepreneurship and mindfulness. The icing on the cake was the closing talk by special guest Ismael Cala, a sought-after motivational speaker and mindfulness leadership expert who made a case for exponential mindful leadership as an antidote to a changing world constantly disturbed by ever-faster technological advancements.
Oh, and I almost forgot. May also meant it was time for Eurosong again. A tradition I haven’t missed since I was 11 years old – talk about being persistent 🙂 That makes for #3.5 and the best month I could have hoped for! (remembers Sandra Kim and smiles).