These past almost two weeks have really given me a sense of peace and calm. I have also discovered a new direction for my life as long as I keep working my energies towards that path.
One thing that has really come out of this mindfulness training is the discovery of other people who believe in the power of humans. I’ve never been able to buy into a religion and have always just tried to explain myself as ‘spiritual’, but as Sam Harris’s talk points out, it’s a lame statement.
The truth is that I am a humanist. I believe in the power of human beings and that we are amazing beings on this earth, but do not live up to our greatest potential as a whole nor as individuals. The greatest realization of mindfulness has been the spreading and believing in compassion and love starting within the self and then passing it on to others. With love and compassion, we can achieve just about anything we set our minds to on this earth.
Now, there is a lot of talk of Buddhism and even some sprinkles of Christianity or Islam, but for me none of these connections are important. Rather, I want to focus in on what can we learn about human potential and how can we develop our individual potential in order to contribute to the development of potential as a society on a local, national and global scale?
So, as I delve into these thoughts, my new path reveals itself more clearly! It’s all very exciting!!! 😀
So, I’m six days in to the Mindfulness Summit and I’m totally hooked!
Ages ago a friend or friends talked to me about my thoughts on meditation and yoga. I thought I wasn’t into it and although I have a belief in a higher being, I wasn’t really going to embrace a new-agey kind of trend.
Now…I’m a yoga lover and am becoming a HUGE fan of mindfulness. It’s working already to keep me calm and focused.
For example, I had a bit of a problem with my power and paying the bill – without too much detail of the frustration, I managed to sit and listen to the day’s interview after everything had been taken care of. Instead of feeling stressed and frustrated I found myself calm and actually smiling/laughing about the whole situation. Some might call it maturity or acceptance for where I live, but without having the moment to breath and let it all go, I would definitely have had a good long rant to my friend when we met up! 😀
So, I really recommend this. It has also propelled me down a new path of exciting possibilities – on which I will elaborate in a future post.
Until next time,
My friend, T posted this on her FB page as an event she was planning on attending. I had seen it before on another friend’s post, but had only glanced at it then. So, this time I took a closer look at it.
In the past, people have suggested the idea of meditation and tried to explain what it is; however, I have generally chalked it up to a Buddhist idea or some exotic activity that those who wander into a ‘hippy-like’ spiritual journey undertake. Of course, I thought this about yoga as well – until I tried it. Calling this ‘mindfulness’ seemed to work better to pique my interest.
So, I decided to take the challenge. It’s 31 days – how can it hurt? Becoming more aware of my mind is a path I have undertaken since I first admitted to having bipolar tendencies. Since doing so, I have gotten a much better handle on how my mind works and what I need to do to ensure a stable mindset. Therefore, learning mindfulness or meditation is just another way of helping me along this path – I think. 😉
At the end of every yoga session, we generally take a few moments to focus on our breath and to bring focus to our bodies. This isn’t a traumatizing or funky spiritual activity, but it has calmed me and brought me “zen”. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to doing 31 days of training on this for a regular part of my day. Some might consider prayer time the same – for I used to commune with God regularly each night when I was more of a church-going spiritual person. Now, I’m more of a yoga and ‘humanist’ spiritual person and looking into mindfulness for communing. 😀
Today was the first day and I gotta say…NICE!
Yikes! I started this post almost a year ago and didn’t realize that I never really finished it. When I was reading my friend’s blog the other day, it made me wonder if I had ever written about my brief version or not…. Apparently ‘not’ is the answer. So, here it is:
Back in my brief stint of writing briefs of books, I was given the ask of writing _The Goldfinch_ by Donna Tartt. I had not heard of her before this, for good reason. Tartt only wrote two other novels. She’s won awards for two of them including this latest.
It was a daunting task to write a brief of this novel, since it is what I consider a modern-day classic written with such talent that there was no way that I could do it justice even if I had more than 1/3 of the novel to reproduce.
Tartt’s writing took me back to what I’ve enjoyed in the Russian authors of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Although there is a lot of detail in the novel, it all comes together for purpose the more you work your way through the tale. The words are put together beautifully and the story unfolds in such a way that one is dazed and confused, but in a surreal satisfactory way.
I was writing in my journal today, which I must say I have been fairly diligent with suggesting that perhaps the ol’ pen and paper might not be dead yet, and happened to read back over the last 18 months.
It’s almost hard to remember what my life was like just a year and a half ago. I was in a different and unhappy relationship. I was working on a PhD that I was trying so hard to convince myself was worth finishing. I had nearly completed my coaching course. I had only begun to work fully in the CEI and my writing was sporadic at best.
Now, it’s a different story. My relationship is going strong and happily. I have given up the PhD in pursuit of other interests. I’m back teaching and realizing that I’m ready to take another path forward – CEI or not. My writing is becoming more consistent on paper, if not virtually – though this may start to change as I regain my motivation and focus…(don’t I always hope for this?!).
So, it’s nice to pause and take a moment to reflect on how different life was just a short time ago. It doesn’t have to happen just at the new year…! 😀
All is well and more will be coming…I think!
I always knew there would come a time in my career when I should give up on teaching. I felt that time had come a few years ago, but I have kept pushing on thinking perhaps different levels or different circumstances will make it better.
After spending a full semester away from the classroom doing work that I excel at and that truly takes advantage of the skills I have, I felt that perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to have a part-time teaching gig along with this other kind of work.
Now, I am back in the classroom full-time and have the opportunity to teach students in a major. Yet, after just five weeks in the semester, I am more convinced that I should no longer be teaching. I can no longer find a way to ‘care’ about the students or what I am teaching. Although the groups of students I am teaching are fairly good and by far an improvement on the type of students I had when I first arrived just over 6.5 years ago, it is still not enough.
So, after some contemplation and consideration I gave notice for my potential resignation come January for the end of the academic year. Of course, in a few more months I may find myself thinking that everything is grand again. I may find myself back in the other department doing the work that I was doing last semester and convince myself of a future that works in academia, but I am less and less convinced that I want to stay in it.
Perhaps it is the influence of M or others I am meeting through him, but I am finding that financially academia is not fulfilling (of course, this was no real surprise). Even more so, I’m finding that my idealism and inspiration for bettering the future is dissipating into complacency. I don’t want to live in complacency and since I cannot change my environment at the moment, I need to find a better way to make it all work for me.
Thus, I think that we have determined that enough is enough in education for me. What happens next is yet to be determined and perhaps it will just be in academia on a different path or it may be a whole different route altogether! 😀
This is another posting about driving – not about my car, though! 😀
Now that I am higher up on the roads and less bullied, I am more aware of other dangers on the road – or rather, give more attention to different bad driving habits.
Using cell phones while driving.
Although social media has passed around different videos of teenagers texting and driving, or accidents occurring by a moment’s look down at a phone, this is not changing people’s behavior. In Dubai now, cameras can capture people using their phones while driving resulting in a fine. For some this may be enough of a deterrent, but this is only for some and at the moment not in AD.
My social question is: What makes people think they are so much more important than anyone else that they can endanger the lives of others on the road? What makes people think that their response is needed so immediately that they cannot focus on driving safely? What makes people think that their lives are more important than others that being ‘bored’ justifies reading or messaging on their phones while driving? Finally, why don’t people ask these questions and reflect on their own?
In my opinion, no one and nothing is so important that requires the risk of one single life behind the wheel of a car. A car is a weapon. While we can make arguments about not using guns, we ignore an argument against not using phones and driving. So, here’s a news flash – you’re just not that important! Stop threatening lives on the road, please!
Everything tends to happen for a reason in life and it generally isn’t until after the fact that we come to understand just what that or those reasons are exactly.
Back in May, I bought my ‘new’ LR2 and put my beloved Daihatsu up for sale. I put it on the market for a fairly high price due to the fact that I had taken good care of it with very low mileage. Here, though, nearly everyone is looking to get the biggest bargain ever. Something that I will never get used to is people calling and asking me my last price as their opening line even though I’ve put an initial starting price on my advertisements. As a Westerner, usually the caller starts off the negotiating by making a counteroffer – not asking for an immediate discount.
Of course, I knew that the car was listed far too high starting at 20,000AED. It’s value is about 13,000AED and will go for a trade-in value of about 8,000AED. So, it is natural that everyone would think I was crazy! 😀
However, as I’m an idealist and believe in the power of the universe to work things out according to my wishes, I stuck to my guns. Also, because M was saving money from renting a car by driving it, I was not in a rush to just pass it off to someone for a bargain.
Summer came and went without a concern. We parked it while on holiday, but it was still listed for sale. I got a few contacts, but figured that it would go in the fall. When we got back, I started to get a few more calls, but it was always the same story. So, I decided to write down the type of buyer I wanted to contact me and what would be the lowest price I would accept. As the time for the registration and insurance renewal got closer, I thought about what would happen if it wasn’t sold. I went to a place called SellAnyCar to see how much they would give and got the expected 8,000AED.
So, I decided that I didn’t want less than 13,000AED from a buyer and preferably a proper white expat. Yes, that is a bit racist, but that’s what this place can do to you after a while….
Then, I got a contact. I responded. I got a call. They came to see it, but the car was not available due to M being out of town and parking it somewhere unknown to me. So, they agreed to come the following week (last Saturday). Saturday came and I got in touch. They came to see the car and decided to buy it. As luck would have it, a half Japanese-Emirati girl just got her license and they had had a Daihatsu Materia before. Her father is a local with expat experience and knowledge.
Two days later, after a bit of minor hoops to jump through, the car is sold and I met a lovely Emirati man and his half-Japanese Emirati daughter! Yay all around!
It was sad to see my little-first-car-I-bought-on-my-own drive away with a new owner, but it’s nice to know it’s going to a good home. <3
Back to my updates on summer travels – it is fun to look back at all that I did in such a short time!
So, our last stop in Norway was Bergen. We took another ferry from Belastrand to Bergen. It was a fairly chilly ride, so we stayed inside for most of this one. Plus, the joy of seeing the fjords was lessened after taking it all in the day before.
Bergen was by far the coldest place we visited despite going through snowy mountains. Since it is a harbor town, the sea winds blew in during the late afternoon to drop temperatures, so we were not as keen to be out in it for too long. Therefore, most of my souvenir shopping happened here. 😀
Bergen’s street shops are quite famous in photos – maybe you’ve seen them before and are just as picturesque in person.
J and I walked around the town exploring. It’s not a big city, but a good size town that took us about two hours to walk around. Then, we took the funicular up to the top of the hill, which many people like to walk (crazy!), for a view of the area. It is quite beautiful to see.
We had a pretty good time and ate a really nice meal here, but we were definitely happy to skip out on the cold!
Here are all the pics from Belastrand to Bergen:
More to come,