Saturday, October 20, 2012

Break time!

I've decided to take a break from Yogamamma Exhales in order to start what I hope will be a different kind of blog: Searching for My Puzzle Peace .

Hope to see you there!

Light and love,

The difference between living somewhere and feeling at home

I moved to Sweden in 1990. It's been 20 years since I met my husband, and we've lived on and off in his hometown for the past 15+ years. On any given day, a walk downtown means frequents stops to greet HIS former schoolmates, workmates, teammates, along with the regular group of friends and acquaintances. On such encounters the normal procedure is that polite introductions are made, I put out my hand and smile, and continue smiling and nodding in silence as they chat briefly before it's time to move on. Throughout the years, my sense of vision has pretty much been put on hold simply because I haven't had nearly as many contacts as him, and thus, there has been no need for me to tune in to those that pass by us on the street.

My New Year's resolution this year, to reach out and broaden my own circle of friends, is one that has really remained present with me for the past 10 months. I have been inspired by book MWF Seeks BFF (which I've mentioned in past entries). Besides that, I am a huge fan of Facebook, which has done loads to help me rekindle old friendships (something that was really made clear at this summer's high school reunion) as well as develop and deepen blossoming friendships here.

The payoff is fantastic. Just yesterday, my lone 1½ block walk between the gym and my car included three warm hugs that left me feeling like I was walking on clouds...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time for a change?

I'm toying with the idea of retiring this blog and maybe start a new one. It's not that I don't like this one. I took a stroll down memory lane a few weeks ago, reading through past entries, and there's not a single one I would change. And this is coming from someone who's never had much confidence in her writing skills!

The problem is that my "Yogamamma" bar has become too high for me. Since I try to let my inner voice dictate my words (I know that sounds looney, but bear with me), I only write entries with which I feel I can come full circle. I strive to find something concrete for me to grasp onto at the end. A burning desire to tie up any loose ends...

And even though "Yogamamma" is a large part of who I am, I wear a number of other hats as well. Maybe I could learn even more about myself if I include those parts as well? By allowing myself to just be myself and not worry about whether I can land the planes of thought (as opposed to trains of thought) that circle around in my mind? Perhaps if I just put those thoughts out there, shed some light upon them, then maybe at least I will someday be able to make sense of them? Find meaning in them?

But it's a question of having enough confidence to put into writing my points of view at any given moment, knowing that not everyone is going to agree. Making myself vulnerable to criticism has never been my forté, yet I really admire opinionated persons who have no qualms about stating their position. I am soon going to be in a position where sticking my neck out will be a mandatory job requirment, and this would be a good way to get some practice in...

I'm going to give it some more consideration while encouraging myself to embrace the following quote:

Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. ~Bernard Baruch

Funny, I just came across this one while googling for a picture - coincidence???

Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction... ~Anonymous

Light and love.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hakuna matata

Picture from Google
My daughter has this playing in her room right now as she cleans. Hakuna matata: There are no worries. I don't usually buy into the idea of putting on rose-colored glasses as a way of dodging life's obstacles and challenges and avoiding living up to one's potential. It sort of takes me back to the 80's fad with the whole "Dont worry; be happy" thing going on. To this day, that song makes my stomach turn.

But something weird has been happening to me during the past couple of weeks. There have been on several occasions moments when I, completely out of the blue, notice that I feel...happy...for no apparent reason. And in those moments, Life couldn't be any richer. It's as though the Universe is smiling down on me, and I feel like I'm an intricate part of the Whole.

It's only fair to admit that this is exactly the kind of thing the skeptic in me rolls her eyes at when hearing it from others.Where's the logic? Where's the cause and effect? And most of all, what's the catch?

Then I realize that this is exactly the kind of phenomenon I've read about in countless numbers of self-help books throughout the years (For the record, I have not read The Secret.). Little by little, I've worked at shifting my focus and changing my attitude. Even though I don't meditate as diligently as I'd like (It's on my to-do list.), I believe that that has been a key to this transformation.

It gives me new faith in

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy. Healthy. Whole.

Just a sketch, but this is how I am envisioning the Tree of Life.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pay it forward? Nope. Time (for me) to pay it back.

There's a belief that one's karma is determined by past actions. So if you want to know how you were doing earlier, look at your life today. If you want to know where you're headed, look at what you're doing with your life today. Simple rules that are not meant to be taken to the extreme. Naturally, a 7-year-old's brain tumor has nothing to do with bad karma!!

Rhetorically, the idea that you can empower yourself to make a positive difference feels so much more enlightening than doing penance for fear of retribution. But I can't honestly say I am in the position to pay anything forward; if I look back on my own good fortune, my path has been paved by the love, support, compassion, and selflessness of both specific as well as nameless individuals. They have been as much my teachers as they've been benefactors, so I feel I owe it to them to make better use of my abundance.

At the start of the new year, I resolved to be more generous in my relationships - something that  has proven to be more rewarding and fulfilling than I ever could have expected. Now it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work by doing more for those in need, regardless if I know them personally or not. For years I've been telling myself I need to do more than just contribute monthly to my sponsor-children. If there are people willing to dedicate their entire lives to different causes, surely I can tear myself away from the magazine, shopping mall, Internet, or wherever else I am spending my spare time to make an effort to and thereby a difference.

If youngsters can take it upon themselves to perform selfless acts, without any profit to themselves other than the satisfaction of having given unto others, then what possible excuse could I have for not joining them? Besides the fact that I take my hat off to their parents and teachers, they are, to me, the true pay-it-forwarders! RESPECT...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A prayer for giving

Have you ever tried to put on eyeshadow while holding back tears?

The past couple of days have been pretty emotional for me. The past month has brought with it news of people within my personal sphere being stricken both directly and indirectly by cancer: a friend of a friend, a friend from afar, and now, lastly, the child of a friend. I can’t hug any of them from where I am sitting. And I'm feeling so conflicted because I know that I should be praying, but I want to be able to do it in a way that will make a positive difference. In order to give, there must be a receiver. And just how will the receiver be able to accept the gift of prayer if it is given unbeknownst to them?

I’ve written an earlier entry about my hangups when it comes to prayer. No doubt, I have issues when it comes to acceptance. Yes, I understand that there can be no light without darkness, but this degree of random injustice is so distressing. As much as I support the idea that certain things happen for a reason, I draw the line here. I want to file a complaint with someone in charge.

The problem is I don’t see God as a “person”. After all, what role would he portray? The customer service manager for the universe? A switchboard operator who relays messages from pray-er to pray-ee? A call-in DJ waiting for caller #1,937,299,920 to have their wish granted? When I was 10, a friend of mine had followed along with me to church school. To this day, I remember her asking the reverend (this is when we were temporarily Episcopalian), almost pleading, to explain to her why her puppy had to die, even though she had prayed and prayed for its survival? Of course, he had no good answer, at least not one that our 10-year-old logic could grasp. I wonder if whatever he said then would have resonated differently with us now?

Back then, I never questioned the traditions of the Church. Today I follow another kind of ideology. It’s not that I don’t have faith, that I do. I believe in the benevolence of the Universe. I believe in the divinity of the Self and the interconnectedness of all Life. When it comes to pain and tragedy being an intricate part of Life, even if I have been spared the worst Fate has to offer, I still have to look no further than today’s newspaper to understand that it’s everywhere. 

Still, I just can’t wrap my head around that when I’ve decided to NOT accept the adversity, that there is nothing more that I can do than...pray. Even though I’ve recently encountered humbling lessons on acceptance in my yoga, and I understand the necessity of channelling energy productively, I can’t help but to continue to rack my brains every waking moment in an effort to figure out something more that I could be doing.

I've finally compiled short list; you might call it a pretty modest list. But it’s a start.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~ Lao-Tzu