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Boundaries & the art of saying no

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Boundaries & the art of saying no

Boundaries & the art of saying no

(Aka The Murican word that we also need to learn to incorporate into our lives here in the North)

Beautiful clothing by Finnish company Vimma and photography by Jonna Monola

Today I felt the need to write about boundaries. How do we inforce healthy boundaries in our relationships (personal, work and romantic) and communicate them to other people wisely. It’s a thought-provoking topic and something I’ve at times personally struggled with. I am still learning to draw the line in certain areas of my life and unfortunately more too often than I’d like to admit, I have a tendency of being just a little too floppy which will result in me feeling drained.

Firstly, if you’re unfamiliar with the word ”boundary” or wording ”having boundaries”, what this refers to are your personal limits and guidelines (your rules so to speak) that you establish to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards you. It also refers to how you will respond when someone passes those limits. Think about them as your invisible fences you have around certain matters. These boundaries can involve how you want to be treated in a romantic relationship, how you wish to be treated at work or just with other people period. Your boundaries are not static and they are also constantly being shaped and created and tend to shift over time.

News flash: people cross our boundaries constantly.  What it basically means is that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world with other imperfect fellow humans. Our boundaries will get crossed as at some point someone will do, say or ask for something that does not feel right to you. Despite the mundane nature of having boundaries, I had never heard of the expression before moving to Mexico and befriending a bunch of Americans/Canadians. It’s simply not a word that is used enough in our Scandinavian culture. Thus, I feel like it needs to be addressed more, hence today’s lil blog post. Because at the end of the day what it comes down to is having the balls/ovaries of saying no when we don’t feel like it. Why one might ask, well the truth is, people are sick and tired, and way too many people in our society burn out due to their boundaries being crossed over and over again. But this is not just in the world of biz, maybe you’ll notice it in your personal life or perhaps even in your romantic life. Just a tiny example is if when you feel obligated to for instance attend an event you don’t want to go to but you go anyways. What this comes down to is your lack of boundaries/ your lack of communicating them. As you start to see, your boundaries are part of your everyday life in many areas as they determine what works for you and what doesn’t.

Some argue that having healthy and clear boundaries has a dirrect correlation with your self-esteem. I agree to a certain extent, but I think it’s more complicated than that. It also has to do with self awareness, your communication skills and the idea of being a ”yes (wo)man” or plain simple, just being too darn nice. In the corporate world there might be a myriad of reasons why someone is allowing the workload to keep piling up. Perhaps the person is afraid of losing their job, perhaps they are hoping for a promotion etc. The thing is, it’s not just black and white.

So how do we create healthy, reasonable boundaries? Good question. I am no master as I honestly like I mentioned, still battle with this myself, but, I have gathered a few tricks and tips under my belt. Below shared:

1. Gain clarity and learn to check in with yourself. Watch your emotions, feelings, energy level, mood, thoughts. If you’re feeling exhausted or drained, the odds are something is sucking the life out of you. If you notice yourself feeling resentment towards someone or something, most likely you need to change something. Recap of step one: become aware.

2. When you’ve pin pointed a situation where you’re unhappy or feel like someone is taking advantage of you or doing anything else that triggers you, mark it mentally. Figure out what, exactly, you're comfortable with and what you aren't. Step two is about learning about and setting your limits.

3. Make self care your priority. I’ve said this before, but the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Put yourself first. For realz. Step three is taking your power back and wanting to change things.

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4. Communication (surpise surprise!). Once you get clear on what matters most to you, then you can take the bigger step of communicating this to others. As hard as it is, you’ll have to verbalize where you stand and perhaps even break it down for others to understand where you’re coming from. Be direct. Like we’ve seen on Pinterest and the gram, growth (and sometimes change!) happen outside of the comfort zone. Step four in a nutshell: take action.

5. Baby steps. Just like with learning any new skill, it takes practice and courage. Start small and be assertive when communicating what you’re okay with and what not. Step five is a reminder of how you can be strict, yet soft at the same time.

6. Reach out. Sometimes we need a lil push/kick or enouragement from our peers, friends or fam. Talk to them about your feels and perhaps you’ll gain some new insight or another perspective around your issue. At the end of the day, we are all different and how we perceive the world is our reality. By changing perspective, your whole situation might change. Step six is a reminder that you’re not alone, ask for help.

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What’s important to understand is that everyone has their own set of boundaries and we are all responsible for holding them and also sensing and respecting other people’s boundaries. As I am typing this I am also realizing how nuanced this topic is and how it actually affets all areas of our lives constantly. We have boundaries in all areas of life: emotional, career, relationship, physical, sexual and the list goes on. Like with all things in life, it takes some time for your patterns of boundaries to develop, and it may take some time to relearn and practice something differently, consistency is key. 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. How do you communicate your boundaries without upsetting someone? Do you struggle with this issue? Do you find it easier to have clear boundaries in some areas of your life, but in others not so much?




With love and healthy boundaries,

Eva

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Collaboration over Competition and (Comparison) + 10 reasons why to collaborate

Collaboration over Competition and (Comparison) + 10 reasons why to collaborate

Collaboration over Competition and (Comparison) + 10 reasons why to collaborate

Hear hear! I recently made a post about envy, if you didn’t give it a read, I suggest you at least eye it through to get an idea of my message. That being said, I completely understand your attention span might be below zero, so to save you some and effort and time I can briefly recap it here below in a few bullet points:

  • Don’t judge social media influencers or yoga teachers for posting pics on their feeds, they’re hustling just like you but in different way, they might feel insecure AF posting but do it to gain traction and biz. They’re simply using this channel for marketing (or at least I’d say many are).

  • Comparison is the seed for envy. Think about it. Yup, pretty darn accurate.

  • If you’re feeling envy: aim to emphasize instead of criticize. Remember errbody is a human and even if someone else’s life looks freaking glorious on the gram, EVEN they’ve had the worst raging diarrhea once (sorry not sorry I went there, lol). No, but for reals, my point is, we shall not compare as we have no idea of the whole story or their internal state. 

  • Fight the feelings of envy through cutting the wings of comparison. If you’re feeling envy, try using it as fuel towards your own dreams and always remember that, that you don’t know the reality of their (whoever you feel envy towards) lives, they might actually be in a really bad place with themselves.

K, cool, great, now that you’re all filled in on the envy part I want to take it one step further.  Collaboration over competition. Many of my friends are yoga teachers or at least work within the same field that I do. Some might argue that we’re competing with each other. The thing is though, that we all have something unique to offer, have a different vibe, our individual approach and a distinct way of teaching and we all attract a different crowd. That being said, you gotta play nice and fair and for instance being a copy cat is never cool. However, mistakes happen and one of my friends told me that she had just launched a Goddess Workshop (name changed) and was later contacted by someone with the exact same name, this was an honest mistake and not her intention at all. Communication, expression, honesty. It works, yup, the holy trinity once again.

Working together is powerful and so much more can be done in teams. I absolutely love projects and working with other people! Here’s a couple examples of what I’m doing/planning currently: co-hosting a retreat in Sayulita, Mexico this upcoming November (JOIN US!!) with my good friend & fellow yoga teacher Jonna Monola, co-hosting a singing bowl Yin + Sound Bath with Pauliina Kuunkajo this Saturday, soon launching a course with my friend Jasmiina Ojala from BärBar this fall (stay tuned), I will be teaching amongst a pool of other amazing yogis at the Magnesia Festival this summer, I am co-hosting a podcast (COMING SOON, launched this NEW MOON) with fellow yoginis Audra Rose Stanley and Sylvie Lacourciere and there’s a few more projects I’m not supposed to talk about just yet (aka keep your eyes open). So you, see, I LOVE co-creation.

An image from a collaboration I made with  Jenette Skin Care.

An image from a collaboration I made with Jenette Skin Care.

K, well, why you might ask? Well lemme give you 10 reasons right here, right now, so read on folks!

  1. First of all, there’s magic in coming together! Everybody has a unique skillset and different talents, you can just simply create SO MUCH MORE when joining forces with other people. Chances are you’ll also learn something new from them!

  2. Co-creation is the shit for marketing & PR! You double up the reach (or triple up the reach) in whatever you’re doing. More reach, more business, more dinero. Easy.

  3. It’s just so much more FUN! You get to share the workload and responsibilities PLUS it’s nice to have someone to hang out with. My friend Jonna and myself were recently at the Helsinki Yoga Festival with a stand promoting our upcoming retreat wearing sombreros and blasting banda music, imagine if I would’ve done that all alone. Lame.

  4. Brainstorming & new ideas. Two brains is more than one brain. It’s true. More effective problem solving happens when you combine resources in talent and mindset. This also means you can come up with better ideas, projects and workshops when you’re joining forces with someone PLUS you also have someone to discuss your ideas with and give you feedback.

  5. Your tribe/network/clients get more value. Damn right they do. For instance in a yoga workshop: having two yogis instead of one yogi is amazing since you’ll get more hands on adjustments and help in your practice. If whatever it is that you’re doing is not yoga, you’ll still get more insight and value from having more than one {insert whatever}.

  6. It’s time efficient. Delegating tasks, planning and implementation in a group or team is way more productive than doing everything solo.

  7. You will learn from your mistakes and what collaborations/projects work for you. Not all collaborations and dynamics work, don’t let this disencourage you. We are all different and it’s just like chemistry, everything does not work well together. Like oil and water = no bueno. Let failures be stepping stones towards finding the right people, organizations and companies that do work with you. Kinda like fuckboys towards Prince Charming if you will.

  8. Self awareness. When you work with someone new, you’ll quickly notice your skills and also see what you need to work on. Yay. #selfwork

  9. You’ll get inspired. Working together with someone new will most likely inspire you in some way or form, after noticing for instance your skill set and gifts and areas of improvement, you’ll most likely start working on the things you need to improve and start using more of your strengths to your advantage.

  10. Community building + new doors. You get to create a community and you’ll reach a broader network for future projects with new possibilities and opportunities. Dope.

Cool. So now that the ball is in your hands. What do you want to create? Let’s create some magic together.

There’s a few things I can help you with and things I am working with currently:

  • Yoga classes + holistic wellness + self work (here’s what some of my students have to say)

  • Copywriting (if you didn’t notice yet, I love writing; my strongest writing language is English, however I can produce text in Swedish, Finnish and Spanish as well).

  • Promotion & marketing; either working on your branding or marketing, coming up with creative ideas or then promotion through my own channels. I wouldn’t go as far calling myself an influencer just yet as insta has been killing my reach with its new algorithm), but nearly 5K followers gotta count for something 🤷🏼‍♀️ Oh did someone mention #SHAMELESSELFPROMOTION 💅🏽🙋🏼‍♀️

  • Event production (past wedding planner & currently working within this field).

  • Modeling (yup, I’ll smile to a camera).

Get in touch and let’s make shit happen.

With love,


Evita

My first poem online

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My first poem online

Making peace with the past - a poem by me (my very first online poem).

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There is so much, yet somehow nothing to say.

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It all took me where I am today.

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The tears. The loss. The pain. 

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I know, it was never in vain.

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Forever within me it will stay.

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And in all honesty I don’t even want it to go away.

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Because even if I broke,

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and wanted to choke.

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I somehow found my way home.

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To my safe little dome.

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The space that is within me.

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I learned to to see.

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The power that I hold.

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It made me bold.

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Now I am strong,

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and I know I’ve also done things wrong.

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This is not to blame.

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This is not to shame.

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And it sure the hell is not a game.

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I needed you, the past.

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You helped me cast,

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The path that I am on now.

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So let me just say wow and

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Thank you.

Picture by  Vuokko Salo  in Sayulita, Mexico

Picture by Vuokko Salo in Sayulita, Mexico

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Con amor,

Evita

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Envy

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Envy

ENVY

There’s a lot of hype around sisterhood, goddess power and the sacred feminine. There’s a big movement called Women Supporting Women and there are a lot of strong women out there yearning to co-create, support each other and collaborate. I am one of those women and I would go as far as to say that it’s even in my blood, my lineage and my karma. My grandmother was amongst the first women in Finland to get a driver’s license and a dedicated yogini (before it was cool & trendy) and my mom, whom I’m very proud of by the way, has always been an avid feminist and worked to support women. She served as the president of the Finnish Women Entrepreneurs for several years until she finally retired this year. Cheers to you mama ❤️ I recognize your hard work.

I believe that there’s power in numbers and union and supporting each other is absolutely beautiful and we should definitely co-create, collaborate and work together. Unfortunately, however, there is something we fail to talk about openly, the big underbelly of sisterhood called envy. It’s understandable, I mean who would want to bring up the nasty, big ole’ envy with its ugliness, and it surely isn’t something to use when marketing. But envy is real and as much as women would love to have the support of each other, unfortunately they (we) are the first ones judge, criticize, belittle and smack talk each other.

I’m going to use myself as an example. When I first started my blog a few years ago I decided I needed to write at least twice a week and post on specific days. Consistency was key and every marketing savvy person would advise new bloggers to do this as it was considered to be the best method for SEO optimizing and gaining more readers. This was in 2016. The blog scene was already pretty established and I was kinda late to even be jumping on the bandwagon. I decided to give it a go anyways as I thought it’d be cool side project and something that would help me build my biz in Mex. Well, It didn’t really go as planned and life happened, I lost interest, dropped the project and stopped writing altogether. I felt a lot of insecurity in my writing and felt as if what I had to say wasn’t valuable, interesting or good enough. I was reading other blogs and felt that my posts where silly, unimportant or just shitty compared to the other stuff out there.

Fast forward three years, a lot of craziness and rapid growth and I suddenly find myself typing again. Unexpected, unplanned and unintentional. But this time it’s not forced, this time it flows, it feels good and I feel like I can stand behind everything I am writing without feeling insecure, without worrying about what other people think. Because I know better. Because I know myself. Because I’ve grown. But perhaps most importantly because I’m not comparing my writing to anyone else’s. It feels like I am finally using my own voice. It feels good to write and it feels good to share my opinions, thoughts and learnings. And if I can touch someone with my writing, or make someone think, even better.

We are all unique and have something different to offer.

We are all unique and have something different to offer.

My aim is to be real, genuine and write about the hard stuff too. Like envy. Not just the picture perfect life that social media can portray (and I am very aware of that my own insta feed displays this, hence the blog with more depth), but more about lessons, growth, life, whatever comes to my mind really. There’s no guidelines or restrictions. It also feels very therapeutic and more free as I have no set rules on how often to post, I simply do it whenever I get a splurge of inspiration, like right now at this very moment. And right now I feel like talking about envy. Everyone’s felt it, everyone knows what it is, but nobody really talks about it. So let’s.

So what is envy? Well, it’s thinking that what someone else has or is, is somehow better than what you are or have or are doing. The root to envy is comparison. It’s counting someone else’s blessings instead of yours. It’s feeling less than someone else. It’s the feeling of lacking. It’s not being happy with who you are or with what you have to offer. Heavy stuff huh.

So there are two very likely outcomes of feeling envy, either you’ll start feeling resentment towards the person or then other nasty side effect: you’ll start talking shit. But does either method make it go away? Hardly. So how do you make it go away? Perhaps the most important thing is: to stop comparing yourself to others. The saying “comparison is the thief of joy” truly is the truth. Comparison will not take you anywhere and you are only comparing yourself to an perceived image, not the actual truth. “Don’t criticize, emphasize” is a good one, because you have no idea of knowing what the person you’re envious of is dealing with, what they’ve been through or about their struggles or issues. So recognize their mundane humanness and simply stop.

Okay, so if there’s no way that you can stop comparing yourself with someone else or emphasize with them, there’s one more way: start working towards your dreams. Use the feeling of envy as fuel towards your own goals and start making shit happen. And this, ladies and gentlemen is empowering AF.

Lastly I would like to say that if you notice that you’re feeling envy towards a friend instead of a random Joe, try be open and honest about it and talk it out as difficult and even embarrassing it might feel. It takes a lot of courage, but the truth is energy doesn’t lie, and most likely your friend already felt it. Communication is key, to absolutely everything, even in dealing with envy amongst friends. Because if not, you’ll start wishing them to not be so successful or good or whatever it is you think they are, and eventually your friend will have to turn to people that wish them the best.

Life is hard, support each other and recognize your uniqueness. We all have something to offer and we are all just trying to figure it out.

Thank you for taking the time to read my typing, it’s nice to know someone out there is reading this.

Con amor,

Evita



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10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki

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10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki

10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki, Finland

Some of you might already know that I spent a big chunk of my twenties residing in a beautiful vibrant little beach town called Sayulita. Sayulita is located in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast of Mexico, just an hour North of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita is a very magical town and holds a strong energetic pull. I can talk about Sayulita for days, so I’m just going to leave it at that for now and make a completely different blog post about Sayulita and its magic later on. So when I say that Sayulita is a small town, I mean REALLY, really small. If you go visit and ask a random person in town (given that it’s a local, not a tourist), “hey do you know Eva from Finland”, the odds are quite high that the person does know me or know of me. This will perhaps give you a better idea of what I am referring to when I say small.

Living on the other side of the world in a completely different culture, mindset and country with a different language, different customs and traditions truly left its mark on me and it definitely shaped me as a person a lot. In all honesty I am somewhat Mexecuted (all my Sayulita friends will understand this expression) for the rest of my life. What that means is I am kind of “fucked” as my heart is torn between two different places. Life tends to have a plan and I am simply following it as it is, so you will never know where it will take you, you’ll just have to flow with it.

So flowing with life is what I did. It’s funny now thinking back of a time when I swore I’d never return to Finland, well, I guess they’re right when they say never say never. It’s been an interesting journey to come back to this lifestyle and there’s definitely been some adjustment issues and challenges trying to mold back into this kind of living. I mean for starters, it’s cold as FUCK or at least right now. Well, luckily there are good things too. So I made a fun little list of some of the things that I’ve noticed after having returned back to Finland. Some of them I obviously knew before too, but I guess I am wearing a new pair of goggles after having lived in Mexico.

The funny thing is though, that Helsinki, Finland and Sayulita, Mexico are the complete opposites, in every.single.way. Lemme give you a few examples for starters: Finland: cold Mexico: hot, Finland: organized, Mexico: not organized, Finland: don’t salute your neighbors, Mexico: tell the coconut man about your dental issues. And the list goes on and on. So this blog post is a collection of these little observations and differences for you to enjoy. Please keep in mind that these are my personal remarks and I hope you take them with a grain of salt. My intention is not to offend anyone that represents either part of the two cultures and I truly love both cultures, countries and customs a lot. So here ya go:

1. People expect you to always be on time, they get upset if you’re 5 min late

Okay, seriously Mirkku, take a chill pill, scroll thru the gram, 5 minutes is only 5 minutes. If we were in Mex, I wouldn’t have even left my house yet. Sure sure sure, some of you might argue that it’s selfish and rude to make someone wait and I get it… but 5 minutes, seriously!? Anyways, I’ve noticed as a custom you’re supposed to let the person know that you’re meeting that you’re 5 minutes late. This will make it more tolerable and acceptable. Anyways, some of you Sayulitans might smile.

2. People mean what they say

So you know when you bump in to a person on the streets of Sayulita that you somehow (weird huh) haven’t seen in a while and you say to each other “we should catch up and hang out sometime, maybe grab a coffee”. When you say this in Finland they will literally pull out their calendar and set a date. It’s kinda nice to know that you can trust what someone is saying they actually mean and people don’t just say things to because it sounds nice.

3. There is no small talk

I love small talk. I love chit chatting about random things, talking to strangers and I truly enjoy it. It’s a nice way to acknowledge the other person and exchange some words or thoughts. Not just that, it will make time pass way faster if you’re in a bus, elevator or anywhere were you might be waiting for something. But unfortunately Finns don’t do it, they keep to themselves and think that you’re crazy person if you talk to them. I am trying my best tho and will keep chatting, even if they think I am crazy and have no friends (sometimes that’s the assumption). Luckily, however, there has been some positive change lately as Helsinki is becoming more international and the traveling Finns might not be completely turned off if you start talking to them.

4. November equals death, it’s simply the worst month. Run. Escape. Avoid it at all costs

As much as some people in Sayulita might hate the rainy season of July through Sept, lemme tell ya you haven’t experienced November in Finland. I made the novice mistake of coming here in November (dumb dumb) and holy fuck, what the actual fuck was that. Not only was it cold, but the worst thing was the lack of light. Because there is none. NONE. Let me repeat that and let it sink in. No daylight. Well, maybe like a couple hours each day, but nearly no day light. It’s the complete opposite in June though, the sun won’t set and the sun is shining 24/7. The thing for me is that the amount of light has a direct correlation with my mood and energy level. I felt as if someone had just pulled the plug on me. So my advise is, if you live in Finland and want to feel like a human being, escape November. There’s not really any other way. I already made my escape plan and next November you’ll find me in Sayulita sipping margs, doing yoga and soaking in the sun. Come with if you also need to escape this crazy month that people somehow survive. Srsly how do they do it?

5. The tap water is pretty amazing

The drinking water in Finland is the cleanest water on planet earth. I shit you not. It’s cleaner than the bottled water you buy in grocery stores anywhere and we even use it to flush down the poo poo and pee pee. Yes, that same drinkable, beautiful, delicious water goes down the toilet. This is one of the cool things about living in an organized place, little perks like drinkable, clean water. In Sayulita there are days when there just simply isn’t ANY water in the entire town, for days. When you live in a place like Sayulita, you learn to truly appreciate the things Finns take for granted. So wow on the tap water in Finland.

In Finland always loving Mexico. Photo taken at  Flow Festival  last summer.

In Finland always loving Mexico. Photo taken at Flow Festival last summer.

6. The trash bins are super small 

This might be a weird observation, but why the heck are Finnish trash bins so tiny!? I mean, you have to constantly be emptying them. In Mexico and the US they have BIG trash bins that can take a lot of trash. Anyways, minor detail but still something I’ve noticed.

7. People are afraid of germs

I don’t know if this is just me, but I’ve noticed that when people in Finland drop something on the floor (in their homes) or even on the table, they decide that it’s not edible anymore. Maybe I’ve acquired a stomach of steel living in Mex, but why wouldn’t I eat something that just fell on the table for a second? Another weird thing is how people obsess over the best before dates, I mean, they’re recommendations. It’s just something printed on the product because of legislation, but it doesn’t automatically mean that the item has spoiled at that specific date. Smell it, taste it and you’ll figure it out. I don’t know, this might be a personality thing and has nothing to do with culture.

8. There are systems and apps for everything

Finnish people are Very (with a capital V) efficient. There are apps for everything and systems for everything. Every process is simple and quick and user friendly. Mobile Pay this, order your bus card with that, order food with Wolt and book your yoga class with that. I mean holy smokes.

9. Everything is so clean, there’s no dust

So fresh and so clean clean. Ha! Well, yes, in Sayulita you see people constantly sweeping the streets and watering the streets for dust control. Nope not in Finland, there are machines for this too.

10. You don’t get cat called

Even if Sayulita is a melting pot for many different cultures and has a lot of expats (or immigrants, however you wanna look at it), as a blonde woman you’ll most like encounter some sort of sexual harassment, cat calling or machismo nearly on a daily basis. Not in Finland though. Even if it’s not completely equal and there’s still a lot of work to be done, such as equal pay and the employment of women in a fertile age, I’d say it’s still a pretty decent situation to be a woman living in Finland. You very seldom have to worry for your safety or get annoyed by someone whistling at you when walking down the street to go buy an ice cream (funny weird lil fact: Finns eat the most icecream in the world).

So those are just some of the things I’ve noticed. If you have some observations yourself feel free to drop a line in the comment section below.

Con amor,

Evita




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20 things I've learned in the past 10 years

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20 things I've learned in the past 10 years

20 thing’s I’ve learned about life in the past 10 years

A couple of days ago I drank a cup of Yogi tea and got the quote “Experience will give you the power and confidence to be you”. Instead of just tossing the cute little tea bag wisdom quote away, I saved it and gave it some thought. And ta-da, this blog post was born.

One of the cool things about this mysterious thing we call life is that we are continuously learning new things. When I think back about how I used to be in my early twenties (or even my later twenties, or actually even last year) versus the person I am today, boy, have I changed. And this change is a result of experience and life lessons (read: pain, devastation and lots of tears).

I mean when you think about it, through eons of time people have always respected the elderly for their wisdom. So I guess there is some kind of truth that wisdom comes with age, and no, I am NOT comparing myself to an elderly person. I’m no Yoda and I am still young (I keep telling myself that) but I simply am sharing what I’ve gathered this far.

Okay, so I’m not 20 no more, but neither am I am middle aged. I’d say I am a young woman, not completely lost anymore, with some wisdom under my belt and with a few life lessons in my back pocket. I think moving to the other side of the world in my early twenties, starting a couple businesses and getting my heart broken has helped me grow. Add a line of bad decisions and falling one my face a couple times and voila this was my recipe to learn. Some of us learn these lessons at an early stage in life and have a lot more to deal with from an early start. I do consider myself lucky because my life has been somewhat sheltered, at least growing up in Finland. Everyones path is different and even though we often learn through experience and wisdom is something we gather through time, age is not always the measurement of wisdom or knowledge.

The list consists of a number of realizations that I’ve gained through the ups and downs, curves and cut backs of life and perhaps things I did’t know in my early twenties. I guess what I am trying to say is, if you’re in your early twenties the odds are you’re going through the fire and trying to figure shit out, or at least I did. … so here ya go a list or a roadmap to life hacking. Oh and as a side note, even though I’ve learned all of the points listed below, doesn’t necessarily mean that I comply (insert emoji with hands to the sides). So on with the list:

Trees are considered wise.  “Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing.”  -Joanne Raptis

Trees are considered wise.

“Be like a tree.
Stay grounded.
Connect with your roots.
Turn over a new leaf.
Bend before you break.
Enjoy your unique natural beauty.
Keep growing.”

-Joanne Raptis

1. The most important thing in life is your health

When I say health I don’t mean you not being sick, I mean your wellbeing, your mental health, your physical health, your emotional health, your mind and your body from a holistic perspective. Everything else is trivial. You might argue, “no, but my family is number one for me”. Well, homie, if you’re sick AF you can’t be there for your family can you now. So this is the foundation of your life. YOU. Take care of yourself and treat yourself and your body nicely. Make yourself happy and spend time with just YOU. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life, is the one you have with yourself. Work on it. Constantly. Do things for yourself. Whatever it is you like, do it. Sleep enough, eat enough, exercise, travel, go out to nature, do whatever ticks you. Do YOU and take care of yourself. Also remember that you have to communicate your limits when it comes to work and relationships, if you don’t then your health is at stake.

2. Learn to say sorry

You’re human. Unless you’re a unicorn or an alien (it’s possible some might argue) you make mistakes. And like I’ve said in a previous blog post the odds are you aren’t an enlightened being, so admit your mistakes, take responsibility where you know you’ve fucked up and say “I am sorry”. These three little words mean a lot and build bridges instead of burning them. That being said, only say these words if you truly mean it. If you, however honestly feel like you did nada wrong then stand your ground (next point) and take no BS.

3. Kindness is gangster but take no SHIT

There are a lot of assholes out there and many ways to deal with them. Kindness is gangster and you can try to kill them with kindness, but frankly sometimes you just gotta stand up for yourself and tell them off. People that are rude just to be rude or people that put other people down to feel good about themselves aren’t clearly happy in life. Their behavior towards you is a reflection of that. It might be hard to remember this when someone is being offensive and often we either attack back or just sit quiet. I can’t say that I’ve fully mastered this lesson just yet, it’s more of a work in progress. I also sometimes struggle with boundaries, but I do recognize the importance of learning to say NO and defending yourself. Just like you practice anything else you can start practicing this skill. Next time someone is rude AF to you, you can actually reply in a nice way that that’s unacceptable and that you don’t put up with that kind of shit.

4. Travel is the best investment

It is. Try it yourself. I don’t regret any trips I’ve ever made in my life but I do regret spending too much money on fast fashion or stupid shit. A trip can be a life long memory where as a cute dress is just that, a cute dress.

5. Don’t react right away, there’s a reason they say sleep on it

Yup, it’s true. Sometimes when you get triggered you tend to want to just get your opinion thrown out right back at at whatever it is. This however is not always the best idea as you’ll probably say shit you don’t mean and adding some calmness and stepping back will always give you a better perspective and a smarter answer.

6. You are the author, producer and master of your life, make shit happen

You are the master of your life and you’re responsible for making yourself happy. If you hate your job or if you are in an unhappy situation or relationship, you’re the only one that can change that. I am not telling you to quit your job and to just lye on a tropical beach and soak in the sun (or I mean, actually you can), but to start by deciding what kind of life you would like to have and start working towards it step by step. Rome wasn’t build in a day and neither is your dream life (in most cases). Commit to your vision, commit to your goals and learn the difference between a dream and a goal (read number 19).

7. We are all unique and different

Yup, we all hold our own pair of goggles through which we look at life. We all have our own perspective and view things differently. We differ in personalities and are built differently from different value systems to different interests, hobbies, issues, insecurities, paths, pasts, ways of communicating, joking or even kissing. We also have different ways of showing love and love languages. Learn yours and learn your partners, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept expect to be mindblown.

8. Everything in Moderation, even moderation

This quote I learned from a dear friend of mine and he learned it from Laird Hamilton, a big wave surfer. I mean if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Everything in moderation, even moderation. Everyone can’t be on their top game 100% of the time or be super healthy all the time, sometimes you need to eat that cupcake, sometimes you just need to chill on your couch and do absolutely NOTHING. And sometimes you need to stop moderating everything and go crazy. Yup, there you have it, one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard. If you have another good one, feel free to drop it in the comment section.

9. When there is a will, there is a way

Sure is true. If you truly want something, I mean if you TRULY want something, you will find a way to make that work wether it is something you have to do yourself or it involves other people. I also love the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, which falls somewhat in the same category as it has to do with PERSISTENCY, but I guess this variation is more about complaining about something and getting a result that way. Either way, you will make anything (yet not everything) happen if you truly want it.

10.TRUST YOUR GUT, Everything is ENERGY, trust the vibes you get

Very true. If something feels off, it most likely is. Trust the vibes you get around certain people. Trust that hunch feeling, that little whisper inside of your head, because you already know the answer when you become quiet enough it’ll be loud and clear.

11. No one knows your body better than you

When someone says “you need to exercise at least X times a week” or “you should avoid coffee at all costs” might be true for them, but not for you. Learn to know your body, learn to know what your needs are when it comes to sleep, rest, exercise, diet, chill time and even socializing. Like I mentioned in number 7, we are all unique and you’re the boss for your body, so if you don’t already, learn no know yours cuz no one knows better than you what works for you.

12. Comparison is the thief of joy

No further comments. It truly is. And social media is a good channel for just posting the pretty pictures, but god dammit, they’re just pictures. Do not compare yourself to someone else’s gallery.

13. Learn to laugh at your own mistakes

Because it makes it more light and is a great practice for self acceptance. We all make mistakes and learning to laugh at them will make life so much lighter.

14. Forgiveness is for yourself

This one has been a big one. Forgiveness is hard especially when someone has hurt you so so deeply. However, holding anger and resentment towards another person will not bring you the peace that you deserve. Forgiveness is simply that, letting go of the negative feelings so that you can feel free. This does not mean you have to accept the wrongdoings towards you, just release them. Everyone has their own personal karmic energy and will at some point experience a result from their actions. You cannot control their actions or their decisions, but what you can control is your feelings.

15.What you resist, persists

Life will hurt. The odds are you’ll get hurt, one way or another. You’ll deal with betrayal, grief, loss, pain or disappointment. Some of them will be big and others small, minor curveballs. Whilst dealing with your issues can be pretty upsetting, as human beings we’re really good at amplifying them and getting stuck in the injustice of it all. Unfortunately, we tend to draw out on our own suffering, rather than being able to move on. By accepting the inevitable pain, struggles and unwanted events that at some point will unfold in our lives, we actually choose acceptance.

16. Courage does not include no fear

Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

17. The more you feel gratitude, the more it will expand

Energy flows where intention goes. The more you focus on something the larger it will grow and expand. The more gratitude you feel, the more you’ll attract other things to be grateful for.

18. distance means nothing when someone means so much

You might grow apart or you might move to the other side of the world. But if you’re lucky, you’ll get to keep a handful of the really special ones even if you don’t see each other as often as you’d like. Also, sometimes distance means nothing, when someone means so much. I miss many of my friends so so much and even if I won’t see them in a while, I know that with some of them it doesn’t matter at all. We ‘ll pick up right where we left it.

19. A dream is just a dream, a goal is a dream with a plan

So you know that dream you’ve had in the back of your head for a while now. Start working towards it. Make an action plan and with baby steps you can start today. Even if you’re busy with life or your current job, you can still start. So do it, because this life is meant to be lived.

20. Love is the answer

It is the solution in this random and harsh world. Express it freely. Show it to the ones you love. It is the reason for our existence.

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