Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finding exactly what you're looking for

Change. It's what I've been looking for the past few months. Positive change. And yet it's manifested itself in a way I never expected. Suddenly a house that was just mine is now one I share with a wonderful new friend who is amazing but I was not prepared for what the change in my physical environment would do to my feeling of center and calm. Add to that the amount of change happening with looking for a new job, leaving a long-term relationship and you've got a recipe for: Hello, my name is lets-throw-everything-up-in-the-air-and-see-how-you-fair.

So it's not even 6am now and I've managed about 4 good hours of rest after a long long day of constant change, transport issues with a city wide tube strike and a complete lack of anything concrete. As I searched around on my computer just now for some comfort, some words of wisdom I happened to click on my blog link when I thought I was clicking on something else and suddenly saw my post on 'getting unstuck' brought a small smile to my face as I realised that I found exactly what I was looking for. The reminder to take the pressure off, allow myself to 'relax into the stuckness' and just go with the flow even if it means that I'm not feeling like I'm flowing at all!

I find many times in life it is easy to look externally for wisdom or comfort during a difficult time of change and transition when in reality we've had all we needed the entire time. It's just a question of when we'll take the pressure off and look within to realise we have had it all along.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The beauty in small things

How many times a day are you grateful? I try very hard to make it part of my daily practice, when I get up in the morning being thankful for the wonderful sleep I've had and the opportunity for a full new day of surprises. Each night before I sleep I give thanks for everything that has happened in my day and open myself up to a wonderful night of good sleep, great dreams and more surprises. But what about throughout my day?

It sounds like a lot but really I believe part of finding real joy in our lives is about finding beauty in the small things, whether it's sitting in the sun for a few minutes and enjoying its warmth or enjoying a great warm cup of tea on a cold fall day, there is beauty in everything if we stop and give ourselves a moment to pause and enjoy it.

So today I ask all those out there to think about the small things in your everyday that you could give thanks for and therefore inject a little more joy and harmony into your life.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting 'unstuck'

If you're like me you've had many moments where you've gone away traveling, had an incredible, rejuvenating awe inspiring experience that sets you up to believe that you CAN conquer the world and all that you have set out for yourself. You come back home, rest from the long journey, give yourself time to process all that you've experienced and then are 'ready' to go to your projects and all that is waiting to be looked at and taken care of...

Well this was my initial thought when I came back from my most magical journey to Cornwall. I was ready and felt that after such a successful solo trip out to the South coast of England I could draw a line through my task list and feel great. Nothing was too difficult after traversing a long, windy, hilly, wet coastal path alone for about 6 miles on my own and sporting All Stars (anything but hiking shoes but definitely durable, dependable and mud friendly).

How wrong was I! I came back ready to take on the world and seemed to get distracted by visitors, not so great weather and the list.

I've been told before to only make a list of 3 things to do each day. It's enough that you know you can accomplish it and not so much that you would feel disappointed at the end of the day if you couldn't accomplish it all. Very sound logic but unfortunately doesn't work for someone who just felt like she conquered a huge new unknown adventure.

So I got 'stuck' as I like to call it. Limited motivation to look at my cv and how to make it 'me. Limited motivation to do an intense job search and just a feeling of 'ugh, really?'

So this got me to do I usually 'unstick' myself? Sometimes it's music, something that I can't ignore and gets my body moving and me laughing and singing along. Sometimes it's cleaning...this works wonders! Sometimes it's just getting out of the house and into the outdoors regardless of the weather and taking a nice walk around my local neighborhood and park. But this time none of those seemed to work. That of course made me even more frustrated and 'stuck'. So my only course of action...just accept it! Yes, sounds radical, but I realised after a point trying to 'fight' the stuck within me was not going to do anything but continue to expend energy I didn't even feel I had. When I left myself 'ease' into the 'stuck' and 'blah' it actually worked. I pulled the pressure off, relaxed and said, ok, this is a changing state, like all others(good or bad) and will not last forever, so why not ride the wave, chill out, give myself some breathing room and leave Ms. Perfectionist at the door?

It was at that moment that I said goodbye to her and hello to Ms. Chill-I-got-this that I was transported to my previous state of relaxation and calm from my travels. It was all connected by 'letting go' of a specific plan or to do list and just 'flowing' with whatever the day brought, even if was about 'not flowing' and just 'being'.

So here's to all those out there who get 'stuck' and know that with everything in life, change is the only guarantee :0)

Happy flowing

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The beauty of traveling

My journey has only just begun but what a great gift I have received already...a lovely woman (who I found out later was the youthful age of 89 - though she looked not a day older than 70) sat next to me from Bristol to Newton Abbot (roughly about a two hour journey). We chatted a bit in the beginning while I nodded in and out of sleep and then when we were halfway on our way we started chatting about everything, where I was going, what I was going to do, where she was from, etc.

The best part of what she told me was her own personal love story. Now, I have to admit that when I was younger I was probably one of the biggest romantics around. I bought books just on personal love stories to confirm what I always believed to be true - true love and soul mates do exist. I won't comment now on what I believe, but will just share this lovely story with you all that was so touching.

So my new friend, let's call her Mary,

Listening to your own advice

Sometimes seems next to impossible, yet last night I was able to hear my own words and follow through. As I was sitting in my kitchen, enjoying a lovely meal of grilled shrimp and salad I thought, hmm, I wonder if I could get a ticket out to Cornwall this week for a few days. I started searching and my heart started to sink a little thinking, wow, how will I ever find a good last minute deal on a B&B or hotel AND a good deal on a train ticket? Well, to my wonderful surprise I did and within 30 minutes booked myself a ticket out to Looe, Cornwall for the week.

I have never been and this will be my first solo trip in a very very long time. I am quite thrilled and excited because I woke up this morning thinking, how great that only 24 hours ago I had no idea I'd be on my way to Paddington to catch a train for a new adventure!

So I have let life surprise me and will definitely continue to do so as I journey along the coast and discover a new part of this beautiful country.

There is so much excitement in the unknown. I know many of us, myself included, can feel the anxiety and fear first, of not knowing what lies ahead, but when that niggly feeling starts to get inside my gut I just focus on all the 'moments before' as I like to call them...essentially think back to the moment before you met someone new, or got the call for the interview for your new job or before you decided to take that long awaited trip to wherever...the moment before any of that happened you had no idea what was in store and so isn't a lot more fun to think that at any moment, it could be your 'moment before'? I will definitely choose that over fear and anxiety everyday (or at least do my hardest to make it so!)!

Off to my train now! Happy journeying

Monday, August 16, 2010

The best laid plans

 'We should not ask our young people what they plan for their future but instead tell them to plan to be surprised!' - Steve Carell (Dan in Real Life).

What a fantastic thought! Plan to be surprised. I try more and more these days to leave space to be surprised and allow the world to catch me off guard in the most wonderful ways. Sometimes it is as simple as sitting somewhere new in my home and enjoying a new view while enjoying my morning tea or waking up to a cloudy cool grey sky and seeing the blue peak out just enough to give hope that the sun will come out in full force soon (which it has now). Or even taking yourself by surprise when trying to put yourself back out into the world, meet new people and see what all that personal work does when you meet someone new. Who do you want to be now? Who are you today and who are you becoming?

I think the most exciting part of it all is knowing that you get to choose who you want to be at every moment of every day and continually be fluid with life. Letting in the surprises and flowing with wherever they may take you. Don't think, just have fun and roll with it. I definitely did a lot of that this weekend while celebrating the 30th birthday of a good friend. We played games in the park, run by a Games Mistress and it was one of the best afternoons I have had in ages. All adults, no children, and games just for adults to remind you what play is about and how great it can be to be ridiculous and not care that the British Military Fitness men across the way are wondering if you're giving them a run for their money or seeing the glee in a little boy's face as he watches 8 adults being ridiculous and giggling like crazy.

It was spontaneous, ridiculous, fun and filled with laughter. As celebrations should be. Thankfully the fun did not end there and we continued on the party at my friend's place, complete with balloons, beach balls and a giant sun pinata that was quite a hit after much merry making and drinking. The best part of it all was that not a single person knew what the day had in store for us or the rest of the evening for that matter.

So, please, go out and let life surprise you. You never know what (or who) might be around the next corner.

Dedicated to all those who still play no matter what their age!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Food & Cultural Dialogue - a new recipe

Yesterday a good friend of mine sent me a very interesting link to a creative and powerful food initiative in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Conflict Kitchen (Conflict Kitchen Website). The take-out stand only serves food from countries that the United States is in conflict with. Every four months the kitchen will focus on a different country (this month is Iran) and as you can guess, some to come soon will be Afghanistan, North Korea and Venezuela to name a few. Unfortunately, with the rate the US is going it could easily continue for many months to come!

The food is traditional kubideh and it is wrapped in custom designed paper that has interviews with Iranians from both Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects as varied as food and poetry to the current political turmoil. There have been some incredible events as well that augment the information and conversation around the country and the US conflict (a Skype meal with Tehran for example) which allow people to ask questions about anything from cultural rules around dating to the daily political climate.How wonderful that not only are you given the opportunity to feast on sumptuous world cuisine, but are also given information to help you bridge your cultural understanding of the world and most importantly be presented with an opportunity to participate in a dialogue to increase awareness and understanding on all sides.

What struck me at first was the incredibly unique manner in which to approach raising people's awareness about a particular issue but in one of the most basic ways: through food! We all need to eat, many people enjoy testing their palate and exploring new cuisines, so why not take what we know works and throw in a bit of colour and purpose and see what we get? What makes this even better is that they are involving the people directly i.e. those Iranians not only in the local area but in Iran itself. These individuals are being given a voice and opportunity to share what is their truth from their perspective and give one more consideration to what you might learn from friends, in school, on the news or in the local paper.

As bloggers or blog appreciators, we all know the power of information and (hopefully!) the importance of considering every perspective in any situation. Many people across the world are never given an opportunity to voice their own feelings or experiences due to the political climate under which they live and initiatives like this prove that it is all possible.

I hope everyone will take an opportunity not only to visit their site and see what it is all about (because what I have just written is obviously just my opinion and therefore one of many) but maybe, just maybe, you will be inspired to consider how can you be creative in opening a new dialogue? Maybe it's with someone who you thought you could never get along with, maybe it's someone who has a completely world view to you or maybe it's just a new dialogue and story with yourself in how you decide you want to react to a certain situation...whatever it is, remember that the most important thing is that you are true to you, follow your passion and be open to whatever crazy, wacky and wonderful ideas come to you! I promise if it is fantastic and positive for this world you've already found a fan in me!!

Happy creating!!!!

p.s. If you are in Pittsburgh or are passing through soon please check it out and let me know what you think.
p.p.s. If you feel this is important and worth sharing, please do pass on the information about Conflict Kitchen (Facebook, Twitter, your own blog...).

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's all in how you look at it...

I have not only heard that phrase but used it many many times myself. I used to think I understood what that meant but I feel that only today, after hearing an incredibly powerful and inspiring talk by Tony Robbins (yes I know many of you have very mixed feelings about him but there is something to it!) that my friend sent me ( do I truly understand the meaning of that phrase. My key take away was this: With every experience in life there are three questions to ask yourself, 1) What do I choose to focus on? (e.g. is it a new beginning or an ending?) 2) What meaning will I give it? (positive or negative?) 3) What will I choose to do about it? (e.g. my own action vs. waiting for someone else to take action). Now this seems quite simplistic at first, but honestly it is amazing if you try it just once.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Blessing in Disguise

How often have you used this phrase? How often have you told yourself, yes, I could take the 'why me' route but am going to take the higher path of knowing this is a good thing?

I know I have used it often but am being challenged now in a way I never expected. What I find beautiful about this phrase is that it is really asking me 'do you practice what you preach?'

So many of us (myself included!) can give the best advice to friends, family, coworkers, etc. as to how to deal with a situation and through which lens we should evaluate what just happened, but how often do we do the same when it comes to our own lives?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

'The Bubble'

'I love you'. Three words. Three simple words. Separately they don't carry so much weight but together are three of the most powerful words in any language. I can confess I am someone who takes for granted my freedom to say those words whenever I feel it. The only thing that would stop me is myself. I don't have to worry about being thrown in jail, being persecuted, bullied, beat up or even tortured for telling someone I love them. It is not so in all parts of the world and I recently watched a film that served as a stark reminder of the power of those three words and how much I, along with many in the West, take for granted our freedom to do what is most love.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'll wait one more day to have the life I want...

Why do we procrastinate with those things that we want most in life?

I thought I was unique to such a situation and maybe some strange personality where I want to achieve many things in life, I have tons of ideas, but from idea to action I seem to get lost and distracted and find every excuse under the sun not to live my life today.

I'm surrounded by many people in the same situation yet when I look at them I think, well if you want it so badly just do it! Of course! Obvious right?!

Not as obvious when I look in the mirror.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My DreamCatcher Heroine

This entry is dedicated to my mother. An incredible woman who never ceases to amaze me. It feels like finally, at the age of 66 (going on 67 soon!) she has finally hit her stride. Life has heard and seen all that she has done for others and is now saying, 'Go for it! This is your time now! You have earned it!!'. She is being recognised for her work, she is finally able to see, feel and know that she has the power to create the life that she wants and she's grounded in a way that I've never seen before...

It is amazing and wonderful and such a gift to see this woman who has struggled through life in so many ways and pushed herself to keep it together not just for the sake of her family but for all those around her, whether at her university, in her community, people she meets just once who need help...anyone...she has made it work.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don't make me the next VHS

Today on the train home I almost missed my stop. I was in India, following the tale of Shantaram, starting to understand all the clues he'd left in the first 600 pages or so. I was so involved that the people crushing me, the station announcements and any normal discomfort I might feel on my way home during rush hour vanished. Completely and utterly gone. I was so desperate to get back to India that I was tempted to try to read while maneuvering myself up the escalator and down the stairs to my next train platform where, part of me hoped the train would be there immediately so I get home quicker, and part of me hoped it wouldn't be so I could spend some more time with Linbaba and see how the tale ends...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stars in the sky

Tonight is the first night of this year where snow is falling quietly as the city goes to rest. I took some photos this evening of the snow outside and many times, if you just look at that patch of sky, you'd think you were looking up at a clear sky, out in the country, staring at the millions of stars shinning down on us each night. It is amazing how snow can silence the hustle, stress, worry, pain and angst of a city. It is incredible how it has the power to turn a place filled with those who want to stay anonymous and not connect with their fellow Londoner in any real way, to a place where neighbors finally meet after years of living next door. Where commuters can actually share smiles and a laugh as the train driver puts on their jolly voice and tells a joke.