Oct 242017
 

When we made our escape from the desert, we really had no idea how we were going to make everything work given that we are not allowed to work legally under a tourist visa. Thankfully, we both found ways to get around this as we worked to establish our visas and settle into life in β€˜samurai/ninja country’. πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

Despite some worry about the timing as the immigration rules are extremely strict here, I am finally able to legally return to the working world.

After nearly 18 months of being away from the regular grind, I am kind of looking forward to both the sense of β€˜routine’ and the forced regular stepping out of my comfort zone to be among the masses. πŸ˜›

However, we still have some challenges. Number 1 being that all of my winter clothes and work outfits are currently in storage waiting to be sent over at some point. This means that I have to go shopping (oh gee darn) to at least get some basics. While I did not really want to spend our precious funds on such seemingly frivolous things, there is really nothing to be done. So, the best I can do is suck it up! πŸ˜…πŸ€£

So, one more step taken. A few more to come with ward visits, insurance plans, opening bank accounts, etc. However, now all these things can be done with my β€˜Residence Card’. Phew!! πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

~T πŸ˜€

 Posted by at 11:51
Oct 232017
 

I seem destined to a few times a week routine at the moment. I am not going to complain about that as it is definitely better than nothing at all. πŸ˜€

Monday (Oct 16)

  • Meditation 16 minutes
  • Vjnana Manual Monday practice (25mins)

Tuesday (Oct 17)

  • Mindfulness reading (15mins)

Thursday (Oct 19)

  • Meditation (Sam Harris on YouTube) 30 minutes
  • Yoga (30mins)

Friday (Oct 20)

  • Meditation (11mins)

Hopefully I will find a more stable routine in the week to come.

~T πŸ˜€

Oct 212017
 

It’s the middle of the night as I write this. Despite falling asleep around 10ish, which is our usual weekend bedtime, I jolted awake feeling overheated and paranoid about the mosquito loose somewhere in the room even though M “locked it” in the closet. If I know there is a mosquito, I will not sleep as I could swear that I also heard buzzing in my ear. With no way to turn on the light or possibly kill it, I gave up on sleeping for now….

My fingers are crossed that the buzzing in my head will stop by the end of the weekend or early next week. It is hard to explain what it feels like, but sometimes I wonder if this is how patients feel after an electrical shock treatment. It occasionally makes me dizzy and definitely challenges any desire to walk around or move my head at all. If I really thought about it long enough, I am sure there are some yoga poses I could do to help the situation, but it is hard enough for me to focus my mind on one thing long enough to remember what it is I am doing….

I have noticed a massive mood disruption. My people tolerance has gone down – I didn’t even know that was possible…! M and I have had small quibbles and one big one of late. Old response are hard to break…. Although I am aware of these things after some thought, in the moment I am suddenly unable to pause and control what comes out of my mouth. The fuse is shorter at the moment.

Hopefully, this is just part of the stabilizing process and reconnection with my own control over my responses to others. Clearly I need to do more serious meditation and exercise to counteract whatever is currently going on with my mental faculties.

Anyway, step 1 is knowing. Step 2 is accepting. Step 3 is action….

~T πŸ˜€

Oct 192017
 

The pounding of the raindrops on the metal objects around us wake me these mornings. Grey skies glow through the rice paper windows as I burrow deeper into the warmth of the covers trying to ignore the steadily dropping temperatures marking the onset of the autumn season.

Having spent nearly nine years where it never gets colder than 16 degrees Celsius or 60 degrees Fahrenheit, I am not quite prepared for the more frigid air.

Still, the change of pace on many levels is welcomed.

It keeps me aware of where we were just three months ago and how different life is in just a short time. While I lament the aging process of gaining more ‘senior moments’ or going through physical adjustments that must come, I appreciate the human capacity to adapt in body, mind and soul. Although none of it comes without some sacrifice, it is nice to have the ability to put memories into the background.

My brain is still zipping and zapping from the lack of chemicals. My mood has definitely returned to some up and down with more sensitivity and reaction to others around me. However, I have also found a renewed appreciation for the effect of music on my state of mind.

Yesterday, the tune for “When the Rain Falls Down in Africa” stuck in my head and connected with the current weather here.

This kind of weather also brings nostalgia which stimulates my creative juices…so as the rain falls down….

~T πŸ˜€

 Posted by at 08:50
Oct 182017
 

Day 4 – chemical free with the help of a break from the grey and falling spit from the sky.

Yesterday was foggy both in my mind and in the weather. It continues to get colder day-by-day, but with the sun in the sky my heart warms today. It is not clear whether it is the lifting of the fog in my head or the fall climate that is affecting me, but really it does not matter – my own mind is returning.

I can definitely feel the difference. It actually makes me happy to know that my mood is no longer being controlled by chemical aid. While I sense the ups and downs happening much more acutely than before, I am actually reveling in the ‘crazy’. πŸ˜›

Actually, it gives me a chance to reflect on myself again and to get a new handle on how to control my impulses. The good news is that the fog is lifting inside even if it only worsens outside. πŸ˜€

~T πŸ˜€

Oct 162017
 

Well, this week turned out a little bit better than last. I can definitely feel the difference, so that is good news! πŸ˜€

Tuesday (Oct 10)

  • Meditation for 30minutes
  • Vjnana Manual Sunday practice (40mins)

Wednesday (Oct 11)

  • Mindfulness Reading for 20minutes

Thursday (Oct 12)

  • Meditation for 12minutes
  • Free practice (20mins)

Friday (Oct 13)

  • Meditation for 26minutes
  • Vjnana Manual Friday practice (34mins)

~T πŸ˜€

Oct 132017
 

As I posted about a week ago, I am still writing and am currently work on series on spiritual well-being. πŸ™πŸ½ To ensure that I am writing from a place of truth rather than theory, I decided that it was time to return more seriously to my own practice.

After my training finished, I sort of took a long break to focus on other aspects of my life (of which I am still working on getting out), so while I knew that there would be some consequences to that time off, it was worth it on a few levels.

First, any time that it seems that something is working or vital in life I think it is a good idea to take a step back and see if it really is. We can easily convince ourselves that a new fad or trend has meaning or positive effects, but it isn’t really until we stop doing it that we know for sure.

Let me digress with an example – I was convinced that taking a multivitamin was helping me from getting sick and feeling better. My skeptic husband said he was convinced they had zero effect and was just part of the money-making scheme of vitamin sellers. Well, I did not like that and I particularly do not like the idea of companies making money off of my ignorance. Still, I was not ready to admit defeat to my husband….. πŸ˜₯ So, I quietly tested his theory and stopped taking the vitamins. Three months later, I realized that there was zero change to my health, energy-levels, etc. Thus, with great reluctance I admitted he was probably correct…. πŸ˜‡ While they may have had some internal benefits, there was no physical change without them, so why continue spending my money on them? πŸ€‘

Back to my original train of thought – unlike the vitamins, I noticed after three months that my skin was sagging, my muscle tone was diminishing and the back pains that I used to have had returned. 😳 My sleep was again being affected as well. 😴 On top of that I was dependent again on chemical help to balance my mind. All the things that had greatly improved from my regular practice were slowly returning to the detriment of my quality of life.

After just a week of fairly regular practice in both meditation and yoga, my body is returning to its fit form and my mind is definitely less agitated even as I slowly come off the meds. πŸ™ƒ For a 41-year-old, I take pride in the fact that I am probably in the best shape of my life without all the angst of having to maintain it as required in my 20s and 30s. 😜

Therefore, when I am asked how I keep calm despite other influences in my life, I can continue to confidently say that it is through the regular training of both my body and mind.

So, as I write this series for April Magazine, I keep in mind that this is after nearly 18 months of heavy training, reading loads of books and practicing daily that I have gotten to this place of ‘zen’. My hope to help others find this remains just as strong as ever before. πŸ’ͺ🏽 Now, it’s time to take action….

~T β˜€οΈπŸ™πŸ½

Oct 112017
 

There’s a lovely breeze blowing with a light crisp autumn chill that refreshes rather than cools the mind. I sit with a warm cup of coffee made fresh this morning by the routine of a family that is not mine and yet indeed is. The sounds of the day begin to move faster as the world around awakens ready to trudge through the greyness that no one finds joyful.

Yet between the shades lies a light where the crackling bits of flame ignite creativity and the neuron synapses fire away attempting to grasp one idea long enough to pull it into some sort of existence. The war between the light and dark wages fiercely between distraction and focus. It is never clear who will win or what the score is, but it is a battle as long as life itself.

Today marks the first day of cutting back on the meds that keep me in a blissful fog of neutrality. The spastic “Monica” in me is looking forward to having more control over my organizational functionalities again so that my false sense of calm returns to a known reality. The chilled out “kitten” in me is wary of what the lack of help may bring out, but in the end a yawn and stretching of the claws always leads back to a nap to reset the days.

So, in two weeks time I will again reflect upon the stimuli around me and ponder the responses of my brain as various meditative techniques work themselves into a new routine as a proactive self-help mechanism to replace the chemical alterations provided.

Who knows, perhaps the lifting of the fog will be like the wintry weather where the sun shines amidst the cold.

~T πŸ˜€

 Posted by at 04:24
Oct 102017
 

Well, it has indeed been a while since I last posted This Week’s Workouts as I have been rather sporadic in my workout routine. Also, not having a gym makes it more challenging. Although I do tend to walk quite a bit every day, this maintains my weight but does not do much for tone or my idea of ‘fitness’.

Therefore, as I set out to do early last week, I have gone back to meditating and doing yoga regularly. With a slight hiatus starting early for the long weekend, I did manage to get myself onto the mat a few times.

So, here’s what I did last week, so technically this is a LWWs post. πŸ˜›

Monday (Oct 3)

  • Meditation for 15 minutes
  • Vjnana Manual Monday practice (35mins)

Tuesday (Oct 4)

  • Meditation for 20 minutes (Tara Brach)
  • Vjnana Manual Tuesday practice (25mins)

Wednesday (Oct 5)

  • Meditation for 22 minutes (Tara Brach)
  • Vjnana Manual Wednesday practice (35mins)

I am satisfied with the start at least! πŸ˜€

~T πŸ˜€

Oct 062017
 

It has now been two months since we left the desert and all that life there encompassed. The last year or so proved to be the most challenging of times because living outside of the bubble, that most expats survive in to convince themselves that being there is worthwhile, causes your eyes to open and never be shut again.

While we may have read stories in the papers or heard them from third, fourth or more sources, we tend to never believe that bad things – life changing things – can happen to you. The truth is that as long as you stay within the confines of the bubble, these bad things never happen.

Now, there is a lot of personal responsibility that must be taken before this story begins.

On my end, I lived and worked where my salary was never going to be higher as all of my living expenses were basically covered. A more responsible adult would have been more frugal and financially responsible to put money away for those rainy days that inevitably come or the challenging periods that could happen in life.

I did not.

I traveled. I fully enjoyed life and absolutely lived beyond my means despite the extravagance of my income. I admit it. However, I do not regret it. Sure, it would be nice to own a piece of property that would have been an investment. Or, it might be more comforting to my parents and those who are fiscally-minded if I had a sweet cushion to fall back on should something happen to me.

Still, that is not how I have ever thought about money or life. I cannot take it with me. If I get terminally ill, I will not fight it for when the time comes then so be it.

That’s not to say that I do not appreciate the wisdom behind having ‘rainy day’ money. Our recent experience has hit that home for me – it only took about 20 years, but hey….it’s never too late, right?!

So, back to the fact that I take full responsibility for not having the financial freedom one would expect of me after eight years of bubble living.

For my husband’s side, he has to take his own responsibility for his part.

When we met, I also knew that money was going to be a concern for us as neither of us had a proven track record of being overly mindful about it. Still, love is truly blind and when you decide you want to spend the rest of your life with someone nothing else really seems so important.

Still…when your partner is in a business that is commission-based and living in a country where debts and laws are made and enforced on the whim of the person whom you encounter, there is a constant risk being taken. Sometimes you are lucky to escape and others times….

Well, this is where the story continues next time….

~T πŸ˜€