Roman Malanke

The Last Spring Weekend

It’s the last Friday before summer and I think it’s a good time to look three months back and summarize what I’ve been doing and what I’ve accomplished during this spring. Indeed there’s been a lot of interesting first-time-ever kind of events for me.

The most remarkable experience, of course, would be traveling to the United States, unforgettable acquaintance with diverse and liberal New York, neat and cozy Philadelphia and Boston. Spending ten days there very much broadened my mindset and inspired for changes both in attitude towards life and everyday behavior. For one thing I brought from there is quite a pack of great books which I’ve been reading through all these days.

Another inspiring trip I took was here in Ukraine. I finally visited probably the most European of all Ukrainian cities — Lviv. I can’t believe that all this time such a beautiful place to spend a weekend was right under my nose and I never went there. However, in some sense it’s a good thing to leave something pleasant for the later. I call this “dessert approach”. In that way I often don’t watch a movie or read a book that everyone I respect praises and finds brilliant until the very last moment. So that at the time I decide to do that I know for sure that I will definitely enjoy it.

Some positive changes took place on my personal development front. The most notable is that now I firmly stuck to getting up early (not later than 6:00AM) and doing morning daily routines. That, first of all, includes 30 minutes of yoga exercise and 1 hour of swimming (or on some days jogging).

For discovering yoga I’m enormously thankful to my neighbor and friend Kate, who has shown me some basic stuff and bore with me when I was hardly able to bend my numb back. I started small, but during three months I can really see the progress and I am determined to continue development in this area.

As for the swimming pool, now I feel like a cool dude there. Indeed there are not many people who swim more and faster than I do. I have already achieved some of my “early goals” like being able to swim 2km freestyle or breaststroke without stops or do 25m butterfly in 8 swings. But, of course, this is not the point here. What I really like about swimming is that it is a steady physical activity that affects all parts of a body evenly and there isn’t any chance to damage one’s muscles or something like at gym for example. In its very essence, swimming is calming and refreshing. ¡Viva Natación!

Good shifts also happened at my work. We moved to a brand new office with open-space planning and now I can really appreciate the work in a large and agile international company. The other thing is that I organized my documents system using tips from “Getting Things Done”, incorporating those with my personal observations and inventions powered by Google Docs. This resulted in a significant productivity increase and peace of mind. Thanks a lot for that, Mr. David Allen! I also practiced working from home, which is now very easy to do with all the Internets, VPNs, VoIPs and stuff. That has some great advantages — for instance, you don’t have to spend time commuting, which frees it for some useful activities.

At last I have to mention what I lately call “mind development” areas. These are the books that I’ve been reading, the movies that I’ve been watching and the music that I’ve been listening to. To keep it short I will just list all that I walked through during the spring with short comments.

Non-fiction Books:

  • “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki

It was my first acquaintance with Japanese Zen tradition. I bought the book in the U.S. referred by Leo Babuata and read it while in plane over Atlantic Ocean. There is very much to reflect upon after reading this book.

  • “The Power of Less” by Leo Babuata

I bought this one mostly to pay my respect and gratitude to Leo for his inspiring blogs Zen Habits and Write to Done — very positive and inspiring reading.

  • “Path to Tranquility”, “The Art of Happiness”, “The Art of Happiness at Work” by Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama has become a model for my mind development. I have never saw a book by a man so sincere and humble, yet so very intelligent and wise. These books affected my attitude towards life such as no one has done so far. I’m happy to live on the same planet in the same time with such people.

  • “Getting Things Done” by David Allen

This book came right in time for me as I switched to management and executive role at my job. Having a lot of tasks I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with them I was trying to find the way to handle them all. The book is very practical and will be of great use for anyone whose job can be described as “knowledge work”.

Fiction books:

  • All seven books about Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

It may seem childish to read Harry Potter through at the age of 23 but there was an enormous use for me in terms of English language development — the book is full of casual dialogs and people descriptions. I listened to audiobooks read by Jim Dale, who is the best narrator I’ve ever heard. However, it wasn’t only a language learning issue that made listening so pleasant. I have to admit that J. K. Rowling did a really good job writing last books being under fans pressure.


All the movies I watched were advised by my good friends so there’s not a single bad one there:

  • “Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón”, “La Ley del Deseo”, “La mala educación” by Pedro Almodóvar
  • “Diarios de motocicleta” by Walter Salles
  • “The Science of Sleep” by Michel Gondry
  • “Once” by John Carney
  • “Love Actually” by Richard Curtis
  • “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly” by Julian Schnabel
  • “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex”, “September”, “Shadows and Fog”, “Bullets over Broadway” by Woody Allen.


Here I have to mention that I finally started using service in its fullest potential. I now can analyze what I listen to and to discover more great music.

  • Yann Tiersen

This was referred to me again by Kate and I found this French composer very talented and his music very beautiful.

  • Meditative and spiritual music by Deva Premal, Krishna Das and The Buddha Experience.

I discovered the power of meditative music while started doing yoga. It creates very calm atmosphere and makes it easier to achieve not-wandering state of mind.