Card 22: Fruitful Problems

9 Jan

Fruity Problems

Finally back to writing! Well, that is not entirely true, let’s say back to blogging. Behind the scenes the writing never stops. Not only have I been writing on my new book as I promised to do in Task 4, I have also been writing poems and my application for the Master program in Applied Positive Psychology which I plan to start in September. Even though I learned I am not a writer, I am just me, writing is such a part of me that I don’t think I can ever truly stop. Which is nice otherwise you would now not be able to read my blog :).

So let’s have a small recap on the last two tasks of Card 21:

* From now on, eat every day at least one piece of fruit

** These weeks, discuss a problem with someone, which you both have been ignoring for quite a while.

A Piece of Fruit

Eat a piece of fruit every day. I must say I started this task very promising. For a couple of weeks I would go to the supermarket and get apples, bananas and mandarins and would bring them to work. This resulted in not only me eating at least one piece of fruit every day but even contributing to the health of the people I work with. I kept this up for a couple of weeks and it really felt nice to eat an apple every morning before my regular coffee. Unfortunately this started to become a little sloppy as my schedule changed and I started to work at 8 am on Monday mornings. Now I am a real morning person, anyone who has ever seen me in the early hours can verify that. This is also one of the reasons why I love to go out for the 1 euro breakfast at the Hema or the lovely breakfasts at the V&D, of course only with the company of some of my very valued friends. But I must admit 8 am is even for me such an early start that I am hardly capable of coming in earlier to go to the supermarket and buy some fruit. That said, I am always too early at work so maybe I am capable of getting some fruit after all. Let’s keep that in mind and try it next Monday, shall we :).

So finally staring my regular routine lets reintroduce the Fruity-Monday. It did actually have a positive effect, eating a piece of fruit every day. I never noticed how little fruit I was eating. I am eating more fruit now and I feel healthier. Next to this my friend and I make sure to have more fruit at home, which also is a great help. I am sure that most of you know that scientific research has shown that having fruit in view already increases the amount of fruit you eat and putting it in reach contributes even more to the amount you eat. Knowing this, I helped myself by unconsciously stimulating my desire for fruit by increasing the availability of fruit in my direct surrounding.

Conclusion: Let’s keep up the fruit and hide the candy 🙂

Addressing Problems

Discussing a problem with someone, which we both have been ignoring is without doubt the most difficult task I have had to do up until now. I will not go into any concrete detail of how I dealt with this task since that would be impossible to do without exposing the person who it concerns, however, I can tell you why it was so difficult and the effect it had when I finally had done it.

I do not have a lot of problems with people in general. Being more mindful and accepting than I used the be I now more often notice the problem and try to accept it which most often leads to the dissolving of the problem in itself. If simply being aware that I think there is a problem and accepting it is not enough I will sit down and have a serious conversation with myself. Why is it that I think this is a problem? Why does it disturb or irritate me so much? How can I change my experience to not see it as a problem anymore? When starting to look at problems like this, it was a very hard thing to do because it basically means the problem is entirely up to me. After all it is my problem. Discussing with yourself why you think you have a problem with somebody else can be very confronting. What does this problem I have created in my mind tell me about me? Searching for the answer within myself resulted in far less irritation and anger towards other people. However, how difficult it might have been in the past, this task showed me that I have become addictive to only looking at myself when a problem arises. I had become addictive to avoiding the confrontation with others by placing the problem entirely and completely with myself. In hindsight I have learned that there is nothing wrong with getting angry and expressing this anger to others in certain situations as long as you do it in a controlled and respectful manner.

I caught myself on using ‘being mindful’ about the problems I had with others as an excuse to avoid confrontation.

Some problems cannot be solved without this confrontation, without talking about it with the person it concerns or without a thorough discussion. I realize this now and try to think about this possibility when being confronted with a new problem.

When I had finally approached this person about the problem I thought we had and had admitted that I hadn’t been honest just for avoiding the confrontation, it truly freed me. Even though the results might not have been what I had hoped for, nor had particularly been a happy thing to occur, I was very glad to finally have expressed myself honestly. It lifted the burden of my shoulders of worrying and being annoyed or irritated about this problem.

Conclusion: When a problem arises I think about how far it can be solved by me and by changing my perspective and in how far I need to approach the person involved in the problem. If someone else is involved, I should not postpone the confrontation so long because in the end addressing it will liberate me.

New Year, New Tasks:

Now the moment we have all been waiting for, or maybe not but if you are still reading I do guess so ;), my first two tasks for the new year:

Task 43:

Dare to pick one day and to do absolutely nothing. Nothing!

This task I find really interesting in the sense that I have difficulties figuring out what it exactly entails. What does doing nothing mean?

I will make a confession once again here on my blog: I do not like the summer holidays, nor any other holiday extending two weeks, for that matter. Simply because I get bored, I want to do things. I signed up helping out with the introduction week for new students at Maastricht University two summer ago simply because I could not face having nothing to do for so long. If there is one thing I am absolutely rubbish at, it is doing nothing. So a demanding task, but therefore even more interesting, as is the definition of what exactly is: doing nothing.

Would lying in bed and sleeping all day count as doing nothing? Probably not, since after all by sleeping you just avoid doing nothing. Besides that I would really not be good at it. I really do not like spending more time either sleeping or laying in bed than I naturally do, which is about eight hours each night. Maybe the right company could change that, but to be honest I never tried and in the unlikely situation that this company should appear within the next to weeks it would most probably not result in us doing nothing ;).

If I would mediate the entire day, would that count as doing nothing? Technically meditating would result in trying to think as less as possible so wouldn’t this be as far as doing nothing could probably go? Or would the mediation in itself still be too much of an activity? I do would like to try mediating for an entire day.

Would sitting on the couch and looking out of the window count as doing nothing? I do not think so since you would still be looking out of the window. I think I must conclude that it is in fact impossible to do nothing the entire day. You would always be sitting, standing, lying, walking, breathing and thinking. Now, to be fair lets discuss this a little further. The position in which you are in doesn’t count as actively doing something, since you can never actually stop this. The same goes for breathing, you aren’t actively doing it and it is biologically impossible to stop breathing unless you kill yourself first. And even in this situation you wouldn’t have actually stopped yourself breathing you would just have died and as a consequence have stopped breathing. So let’s come back to thinking: it is possible not to think as I have experienced during mediation. So in how far is stopping to think through mediation, not doing anything? Since mediation would again be an activity in itself and therefore you would be doing something and not nothing.

To not let this discussion go on endlessly, which I am sure it can, let’s just conclude what I definitely should not do on my day of doing nothing:

  • No contact with any electronic devices (no phone, no laptop, no music, no television).
  • No social contact (which basically results in me not speaking, people who know me can imagine how difficult this is going to be;))
  • No reading, doing puzzles, playing games, or any other thing in that direction
  • No participating in sports
  • Not working

I will not take it as far as to not eat and drink for a day simply because that would truly make me unhappy which is not the aim of this task. I am sure that doing nothing is already difficult enough for me without suffering from hunger attacks the entire day.

Task 44:

Consider if it would be good to take a pet.

Well I cannot say much more about this than the fact that I will indeed consider it. I will write down the results in the next post.

That was it, my first two tasks in the new year.

I hope you enjoyed reading about it and please leave a comment about your thoughts on doing nothing.


As always, lot’s of love,




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2 Responses to “Card 22: Fruitful Problems”

  1. Esther January 9, 2014 at 14:38 #

    I’m glad you are back writing 🙂 Missed reading about your adventures 🙂 I would say doing nothing is to cancel everything out that concerns your every day life-don’t think too much about it. Doing nothing could just be reading all day 😉 xx

    • Anne-Sophie Sloet van Oldruitenborgh January 10, 2014 at 09:48 #

      Hi Esther!
      Thank you for your comment 🙂 Maybe you are right. I think cancelling out internet, laptop, phone and other electronic devices is already a good step, don’t you think? I do like to brainstorm about it, let’s see with what else we can come up 🙂 xx