This is the second in our new series of emails called “How I Monk.” In this series we will be highlighting + celebrating members of the Monk Manual community as they’ve meaningfully applied our tools and resources to find peaceful being and purposeful doing in their everyday lives. If you’d like to be featured in a future “How I Monk,” share your information with us here… #HowIMonk
Name: Kathrin Sandall
Occupation: Monk Manual Coach and Community Guide
Where are you based: Portugal
Advice for Monk Manual Users: Spend time with your Monk Manual daily! And if you find a part that you struggle with, this might be the very area you can access the most growth in.
A bit about who you are and and how you spend your days:
I am a spouse to a retired military member and a mom to 2 incredible kids. I am an INTJ and Enneagram 1, who hasn’t listened to any new songs since 2010 because music is hard for me.
Most of my days currently are spent just trying to LIVE. I recently moved to Portugal with my family, but do not speak any Portuguese so grocery shopping, ordering household items, or just trying to get take out takes more effort than it ever has before. Outside of just adjusting to living in a new country, I enjoy the 300 days of sunshine, the beach close by, and working.
I know it may be cheating to say, but I really do love working for the Monk Manual! I get to do all the things I love: talking with interesting people about interesting things, continually learning & growing myself, and (of course) free Monk Manuals!
What originally drew you to the Monk Manual?
I have been a planner-type of person since I was young, but I continually felt I was missing data that I needed in order to see the patterns of my days, weeks, months, seasons, and years. I kept my planners and would go through them at the end of the year and take any notes or ideas and put them into my new planner.
One year I realised what I was missing - Reflection! I realised that wasn’t truely reflecting at all. So I googled reflection journal, and voila! Monk Manual came up.
How has your life changed since using the Monk Manual?
Well, I have a job. Just kidding! ;) My life has changed in all areas because of the awareness Monk Manual has brought to my whole life.
I notice when I may be avoiding a hard area of my life when I fill out the Monthly check-in section. I am continually growing through the Prepare, Act and Reflection" Method. I have found that I am able to engage in deeper relationships due to the "Ways to Give" prompts, and "Relationship Growth" sections.
I also find that I'm more fun because Monk Manual reminds me that play + finding delight is equally important to a life of peace, purpose productivity!
At home I grow food for our family and the local pollinators, I plan, shop for and cook our meals, I coach my daughter’s soccer team, and do all the usual chores (except laundry! Shout out to my exceptional laundry-doing husband). And as a family, we try to get properly outside as much as possible: backpacking, skiing, hiking, or just spending the day together working in the garden.
As much as I needed reflection in my life, I also didn’t know how to incorporate it. I struggled the most with Meaningful Moments. I tend to be a negative person and can easily allow one small hard moment to erase all the lovely moments that have happened. I would struggle to write the meaningful moment. Now, I write them soon after they happen. That way as I am reflecting, even when hard things happen, I already have the memory there to re-live.
Are there any personal you’ve applied to your Monk Manual practice?
I love looking at each section - daily, weekly and monthly - every single day before I start planning and prioritising tasks. That way, I keep in touch with the big picture and ensure that that I remember and fill-in in all my priorities and to-do's. This also allows me to consistently practice reflection as a habit in my life.
In my daily planning time, and start by filling in the items that are are Priority or To-Dos. After I write them down, I immediately time block them into my schedule. That way I see my day filling up. I also make sure at this time to check my calendar app on my phone to plug in anything I may have missed.
Do you have a favorite prompt or section?
I love the “I am looking forward to” prompt. It encourages me and allows me to anticipate things with excitement again. I stopped doing that when I was quite young because I was often disappointed. Now, as an adult, I can enjoy the excitement of anticipation without needing the fulfillment to actually happen.
If you’d like to be featured in a future “How I Monk,” share your information with us here.