May 292017
 

We often focus on being happy all the time. It is now considered a sort of tragedy if a bad day happens or you somehow are ‘letting it happen’ to you.

The truth is that bad days happen! It is a part of life. There is no good or bad about it, they just pass through.

Yesterday was one of those days.

There are a number of reasons why it was not the best of days. There are a number of source points from previous days, months and years that contributed to the day of more arguments than discussion.

However, knowing that it shall pass makes it bearable. Sometimes bad days happen in succession, but they too pass – just as the good days do.

Often in yoga philosophy we discuss that fact that we should strive to be neither happy nor sad. So many people respond with “What? So, are we just supposed to be robots? I’d rather not be a yogi then….” How sad this response makes me. Why are emotions so celebrated? Why do we have to aspire to being happy all the time?

If we look at social media, everyone takes a snap of themselves happy. No one ever takes a photo of themselves crying or in a rage. Therefore, we perpetuate this image of life being always happy. Why?

As someone with strong bipolar tendencies, I aim for the neutral point. I want to be neither happy nor sad. I do not feel like a robot when I get there, but instead I feel content. When I spend a day聽that has no drama whether positive or negative, I feel it is a great day. This is contentment.

So, sure good days are nice and bad days do happen, but I’m hoping today is neither one – just a day.

~T 馃榾

Jan 312017
 

Surprisingly, I am amazed that it is now the last day of the month.

Looking back it was definitely a full month and lots of ups and downs financially, emotionally and even physically.

As I reflect on how things have been, I have to say that at the moment I am fairly happy with the past month in terms of the NYRs.

*Health – I am going steady with the gym, though some weeks have been a bit more challenging given my schedule changes; however, I am happy with progress. Just need to get my abs a bit more in shape! 馃槈

*Work – As expected, work is picking up with lessons. I have three regular yoga clients with one just finishing, though he may continue. 馃榾 I will be starting some foundation classes where I live and the new 200hr YTTC course is giving me more work to do. I am currently taking a nutrition course through Coursera and have decided to start a side business that promotes healthy diet and life – more on that soon. I have not yet had enough time to sit down to do more writing, but am hoping that February will allow me to have a more settled routine in which I can carve out more writing time. Still, not bad for the first month.

*Finances – well, these are coming along. Little by little more money is coming in, but with the increase work, the money will come. M is also making some progress in this area, so….

*Relationships – my closest friends have been just that and the rest have been quiet as expected. I do have some plans in the works for travel and seeing those I love most. However, for the most part I am content with my relationships. <3

*Family – I have to admit that I have been a bit quiet and slow on this aspect of my life. I have spoken to my parents a few times, but now they are in warmer environments, so hopefully having too much fun! 馃榾 I did reach out to my bro, but need to try again or harder to connect better.

*Personal – Again, this month has seemed to have focused more on work and finances than anything else. I have started a blanket while I am watching TV, but have not yet been back to pottery this year. I will try to start again this next month. The rest is definitely in progress.

So, when reflecting I could stay in a dark space looking just at the negatives; however, the reality is that we still have a lovely roof over our heads and food to fill our bellies. We have loved ones near and far who are all fairly healthy and well. We have each other each day to help get through any struggles. Thus, on this last day of the month, I want to be positive and grateful for all that has been provided looking forward to what the next month promises to bring!

~T 馃榾

Dec 012016
 

Wow, it is so hard to believe that 2016 is coming to an end and to reflect on the year that it has been.

A year ago, we were 20 days from getting legally married. A year ago, I was making my decision to quit my full-time job to embark on the crazy path of running my own business and taking my work a different direction. A year ago, life was layered with a sense of security and stability with excitement of what was coming. Amazing what a year can bring.

It will be exciting to celebrate our first year of marriage even with its rocky moments. We have stayed strong and in love. I am ever more amazed at who M is at heart and his own capacity to endure, overcome and press on. My heart is full with his love and presence in my life – it is beyond comforting to know that he is by my side for all the years to come.

I do not regret for a moment giving up my full-time work. It was making me miserable every day and although the regular paycheck was something I took for granted, I am definitely at peace with the decision to try something new. I admit that taking on the task of starting my own business at my age and in this field, but I have faith and belief that it will take off and by creating some other areas for revenue, I will be able to have a more than successful business that will eventually run itself. So, I am not afraid of the hard work that may be required – just got to keep pressing on.

On the other side, I will honestly admit that I miss the false sense of security and stability that I had. Even knowing that it was false because I still had debt and bills, etc., it was one less source of stress. I do know; however, that in the long run facing full on these debts and bills is the better way of life. Once we are ahead, we will truly be ahead without anything hidden behind it. So, despite all the years of having a steady income, I still contributed to the creation of our current situation by living beyond my means and ignoring the consequences that could come. Therefore, I face where we are fully accepting my role and responsibility in it by being extremely thankful for the experiences and travels I had. Now, we work together to bring ourselves wholly secure and stable so that our future experiences and travel will be even more rewarding.

So, as I look back over the past year as we enter into the last month of 2016, I realize that despite my recent struggle to stay upbeat, there is much to be happy and content about. Therefore, I shall continue to enjoy what the closing of the year has to bring over the next month.

~T 馃榾

Aug 302016
 

Some topics are generally shied away from – politics, religion, sex, and money.

Mostly I touch on these subjects freely, but lightly, even though I do not really know the breadth of my audience since this space is primarily for my own entertainment. Still, with the Internet the way it is and knowing that my digital footprint is rather huge, I try not to offend or be too obvious about my personal life. I even generally only use initials for names rather than reveal full identities of those in my life – though if you know me or see me regularly, you would probably know whom I refer to in my posts.

So, I hesitate a bit to write this knowing that there is a chance someone will read it fully aware of all the details. This is a chance I shall take as I feel the need to write, but will also attempt to stay as vague as possible on certain aspects. 馃檪

As may or may not have been clear from my posts over the past few months, we have struggled financially. This is something that I knew about fully going into my relationship with M. It was also an area of concern in early conversations with my friends about the future with M. However, love can conquer all and it can be fairly easy to ignore to such things when there is a steady income to allow for life to proceed superficially as normal. 馃槢

Once I quit my job we knew that life would be a bit of a struggle for us initially, but needing to learn a lesson in trust and letting go, we went ahead with the decision to give it a go so that I could be happier and pursue my business. I do not regret this decision by any means as I listen to my friends talk about their return to work. 馃槢

Still, it has not been an easy road and we have had to borrow a large sum of money from a very generous friend. We have also been blessed by the generosity of our other friends who have kindly covered meals for us, offered their homes and laundry facilities, or just laughed with us through the surreality of our situation at the moment.

To be a little bit fair to us, if聽a few circumstances, such as getting our visas sooner or not having my bank account frozen with my money in it, had gone another way we would be in a much better place right now. However, that is not the case, thus we are where we are.

As I said, our friends have indeed been more on the green side – meaning that they have just been above and beyond in their generosity. I can only hope that we will be able to adequately repay them or at least express our gratitude to them once we find a return to ‘normal’. Still, some can be mean or have a limit to their green generosity.

While I have learned to let go of my ego throughout all of this – there’s just no way to have anything other than humility when money is tight or non-existent -, it is still not an easy thing to ask for money or to even allow others to pay for things. Therefore, the last thing that I want to receive is a lecture or expressions of judgment regarding our financial decisions. Perhaps once we are through the sh*t, I can sit back to laugh and discuss the stupidity of what has led us to our current situation; but now is definitely NOT聽the time. Instead of being willing to listen or push beyond the limits of my humility, I feel as if the other party is just being mean in a time when all I really need is love and support…. I do not deny that a lecture is probably needed or that a re-evaluation of how we are going to move forward financially is required; however, what is important at the moment is that we get ourselves to the point where such a conversation will have full effect rather than forcing a wall to go up and even challenge the value of a friendship….

To avoid sounding ungrateful or rude, I reiterate that indeed we are very thankful and blessed to have such friends in our lives who have been more green than mean. I hope to be able to write again soon that we are rolling with the homies in the monies!!! 馃槢

~T 馃榾

Aug 232016
 

As I walked each morning my route from the guesthouse to the yoga villa in Bali, I would pass the same people and greet them with a smile and “Good morning.” In a very short time it became a familiar routine that I greatly looked forward to.

I would pass a small family temple and the residents were often outside washing or chatting alongside the small, dirty channel that flowed with water down the street. As I turned onto the main road, I would pass stores setting up their wares or food for the day to be sold or offerings on the ground for those who had passed. Sometimes there were already customers ready to purchase what was on offer, but still the people would stop and smile to say a brief “Hello”. Old men would be sitting on their ‘stoops’ watching the numerous motor bikes and cars speed by taking in the busy street in front of them. Some would simply stare while others would give me a slight smile and head nod to greet me. By the time I would arrive at the villa, I felt as if I had just walked through a family village and I was a part of it.

(offerings)

(Payogan Temple)

(main road)

(neighbor temple grounds/home)

(my route from drop pin to blue dot)

The truth is that the Payogan area is filled with members of one family. My hosts explained that the guesthouse where my yogini-mates were staying was run by cousins on his wife’s side. Others along the road were probably uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and the like. Still, strangers still felt a true sense of warmth in聽their smiles.

Different to Thailand where tourists often feel as if they are only liked for their wallets, the Balinese, or at least the Ubudians, never gave that sense. While it was easy to pick up on their intent by their friendly line of questioning: 聽“How long are you staying?” “Where are you from?” “Do you already have a plan for your trip?” “Do you need a driver?” 馃槢 , it always felt genuine somehow. Funnily enough, everyone was willing to be a taxi for the right price!

These small encounters, though brief, really made me stop to consider all that we have to grateful for. Even not having AC, electricity or hot water for the past month has given me a new appreciation for such luxuries that are so easily and readily taken for granted. My hope is that when such luxuries do return to us, that we will still stop to acknowledge聽warm smiles, kindness and generosity as well as get out into the ‘fresh’ air away from our first world privileges and enjoy the simpler things in life.

~T 馃榾

Jul 252016
 

Day 30: 聽What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for?

When I first thought about the answer to this question, my mind came up with my ability to problem solve. Generally, I am the one who brainstorms ways to get out of a pickle and then takes action to make it happen once deemed the best choice in the moment. This is indeed a great skill to have especially during the past couple of months. However, when I consider the very moment what I am actually grateful for in my skills is that I can speak, read and write (sometimes) in Japanese. Why? Well, for some reason that I shall not question nor complain at all about, I have found tutoring opportunities in Japanese. That’s right, not English, but my second (err third?) language. It will be fairly lucrative if the lessons hold and the fact that I have experience learning the language, speak English well and can teach are highly in my favor to maintain these chances. So, while with all tutoring, nothing is ever for sure nor consistent, I can still say that I am grateful that I have this skill to give us a chance to make a few extra dirhams in our time of ‘need’. 馃槢

——

Well, today is the last day of the 30-day Gratitude challenge and I must say that the days went quickly. It was excellent for me to focus a bit each day on finding something to be thankful for as there were/are some days when I can easily choose to go the other way in my thinking.

However, the light is drawing closer at the end of our tunnel. We are starting to really see and feel hope for our lives to return to a sense of normal. It has not quite been the summer that we had planned on, but the truth is that if we needed to go through this period of our lives and marriage, now is definitely the time to have done it. There is much to be grateful for each and every day. The more that we focus on these positives the more it comes our way – it seems.

I have realized the importance of the words, tone and attitude I use as well. While I may say something positive, if my tone and attitude are a bit cynical or even a little sarcastic, then it diminishes the uplifting value of the good that is happening. Instead, I want to grow into the ideally graceful, generous and inspirational woman who emits love, compassion and happiness to those around me.

While I, like everyone, have many talents and skills to offer the world, what I truly desire is to offer an example of what it means to live life full of joy, love and contentment with the world doing my part to making it and others better. It may have taken me a while to get to this point of my life, I am here now. My new aspirations in life are to really live fully with these elements emanating from me wherever I go and with whomever I meet. 馃榾

~T 馃榾

Jul 232016
 

Day 28: 聽What small thing that happened today are you grateful for?

Well, my day has only just begun as it has been a relatively slow weekend morning start. 馃檪 However, I am already grateful for the fact that I woke up on my own – meaning my husband did not wake me up as he usually does – and could get right up. Since getting married I have had to change my morning routine a bit. There is always a compromise and adjustment period when you start to share your days with someone. 馃槓

Although we are both morning people and tend to wake up early, on the weekends, my honey likes to laze about the bed after making a cup of tea and snuggle whilst reading news on his phone or watching a film on the iPad – all while still in bed. On the other hand, I like to wake up whenever my body is ready, get up and put on some workout clothes, have a cup of tea or coffee and then workout (these days, on the mat, sometimes at the gym) or start the day. So, while I wake up for action, he wakes up for relaxation.

During the week, it is easier to have a compromise since he has to get ready for work, so we can generally do have a limited time lie-in and then we get up and ready. Now that I do not work anymore, I can do my workout once he has gone off to work for the day.

However, on the weekends, my main complaint is that I like to sleep in a bit later – 7:30/8 instead of 5:30/6 – without being woken up. I am easily affected by light, especially tech light. So, if hubby wakes up at the usual 5:30 time, he likes to switch on his phone to read the news or catch up on social media. Inevitably this wakes me up and then I feel a bit grumpy starting off my day as my mind and body are not ready to be in the world yet. 馃槢 Most of the time, I know this is my issue and so I try to go with it. Still, I do voice my preference that I be allowed to just sleep in.

We have agreed that once we are settled into our new place that the bedroom will be a tech-free zone. This means if he wants to read, he’ll have to get out of bed and go to the already designated TV room to catch up on Internet joys, which should leave me to blissful sleep. 馃槢 Also, he can get more snuggle time in without any distractions. 馃槈

In the meantime, I am very grateful for this morning’s chance to wake up “my way”! 馃榾

~T 馃榾

Jul 222016
 

shadow

_The Shadow of the Wind_ by Carlos Ruiz Zaf贸n

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1 was a book that a student recommended that I read. When she was reading it, I noticed that she was seemingly addicted to it as she was reading it whenever I walked into class or if there was extra time to work on something and she had finished. I noticed just a few days later that she was on to another book so I asked her what she was reading. So, she explained to me this series and said it was one of the most amazing books she had ever read.

Now, I have read a lot of books and while Zaf贸n’s name was not new to me, I had not yet found enough reason to pick up his book. So, with a recommendation like that, how can you not want to go out and give it a go?

I have to say that she was not too far off, though I have read other amazing books throughout my time. Still, this was a page turner and suspenseful. I believe it is considered for young adults, but I could be making that it up. 馃槢

It has a bit of mystery, a bit of suspense, a bit of history, a bit of love and a lot of story. As it was originally written in Spanish, the translation was done well to allow for the English reader to experience the story fully. I think all age of readers (within reason – there is talk of murder) would enjoy the story fully and no doubt that I will eventually be reading the others in the series. 馃榾

——

Day 27: 聽What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for?

Small thing…? Daily…? Hm…It would be a bit of a toss up between my pen and my toothbrush. Yes, that’s right, my toothbrush. Although my pen would be an obvious choice, I have already written enough about my writing preference, so today I will go with the toothbrush. So, I have a regular toothbrush and I have a wonderful electric one – Philips, I think. In the past, I had a Sonicare (still Philips, I guess) electric brush that was awesome, but every year the model series I used would have a different style and start to make the old heads obsolete forcing users to upgrade their models. This kind of thing annoys me (Yes coming from an Apple girl 馃槢 ). So, after doing some research, I decided on a different series, though still within the Philips family, which has maintained the same heads for a while and I can get replacements in the grocery store if I like. While sometimes I am too lazy to do the full 2minute cycle of the Sonic brush and use the regular one, when I do use the Sonic brush my teeth feel absolutely amazing. The dentist raves about my teeth whenever I go in and the truth is that I hardly ever floss. If I use the Sonic brush every day twice a day for at least a week or two, then it is like I floss every day! Shhhh don’t tell my dentist! 馃榾 Therefore, I am grateful for my electric toothbrush and am reminded to use it everyday instead of once every couple of days. It does make a difference.

~T 馃榾

Jul 212016
 

madaddam

_MaddAddam_ by Margaret Atwood

The last of the trilogy following_Oryx and Crake_ and聽_The Year of the Flood_, this one was very disappointing to me. I finished reading it a while ago and am just now trying to remember more than the fact that I was not happy with the ending of this trilogy given how good the first two were. It felt more like Atwood was just trying to come to a quick end of the story line, but if an author gets to this point, then why write it at all?

The dystopic world attempts to be further explained by tracing back to the original Adam One and the narration of Zeb to tell the creation story. While the story tries to end where it began, I struggled to buy into it all. Not sure why, but I felt that there could have been more. Or, maybe that was the intent…dissatisfaction is the theme of the whole trilogy after all….

In any case, if you’ve read the first two, you cannot really not read the last of the series. However, if you have yet to start, I think it would be enough to enjoy fully the first and then leave it at that. 馃榾

——-

Day 26: 聽What form of expression are you most grateful for?

This makes me think of Gary Chapman’s _The Five Languages of Love_ book that I read years ago when my first marriage was falling apart. It is an excellent book to read, even if you are not a Christian, as it really helps to understand how and why we get disappointed with our partner’s or friends’ actions when they seem to fall short of our expectations. We have different ways of expressing love and generally do so through our actions to others. However, these expressions are based on our preferred way of expressing, not necessarily on the receiver’s desired way of expressing love.

In my case, I express with the written form and by doing things. Between the two of these, I am most grateful for the written word as a form of expression. Words can be taken in so many ways depending on culture, background, experience and so on. We carry meaning about these words and when spoken so much more can be misconstrued by eyes, body language, tone, facial expressions, etc. However, with the written word, the only way that words can be misunderstood is by the reader. If the reader is in a bad mood or the wrong emotional space, then the words are understood differently. In this way, it is not the author’s fault for the words written, but puts the onus back on the reader to try to interpret and understand based on their understanding of the author OR themselves.

I think writing is a beautiful art that not everyone can master well. Sure, we can all write, just like we can all speak. Yet, to weave words and to use them in a way that can be complexly understood is an art. I dream of mastering this. Whether or not I am ever successful depends on my readers, but I will continue to try and am ever grateful for the written word to express!

~T 馃榾

Jul 202016
 

Day 25: 聽What moment this week are you most grateful for?

Well, the week is not over, but so far this week the moment I am most grateful for was during our day trip. In Oman’s airport, we had Dairy Queen where I introduced M to an Oreo Blizzard. It was a moment when we laughed and I recalled happy memories stopping to get blizzards in my youth. So, amidst all the chaos going on around us, we had a moment of stillness to laugh and be silly.

——

Life brings ups and downs. Sometimes we know how to deal with the downs better than others. When we struggle with the downs it can be overwhelming to the point that we lose sight of any hope of there being ups again. Yet, if we find a way to change our perspectives, to remember the good parts of who we are, to look for solutions instead of seeing only obstacles, to believe in ourselves to get through anything, then we find the strength and confidence to ride the wave.

It is true that our greatest moments and versions of ourselves are revealed in how we deal with the downs in life. It is easy to be whatever we need to be when we are high on life, but who we become in our struggles really defines us.

The past two months have been challenging, though not truly overwhelmingly so. Life has been harder before, but it has been a difficult transition for the adult version of me. The period has not fully ended, but what is shifting is my perspective. When I talk to others who are struggling with their own lives, I realize that I am doing alright in comparison. Or when I see the news and consider the plight of the world, I realize my bubble is not so bad. There are so many positives happening in this ‘challenging’ time. In opening my eyes to them, I find that everything is just fine. I am just fine and we are going to be more than fine if we just ride the wave.

Just as surfers swim toward the swell, it is the crashing down of the wave that gives them the ride, joy and moments of bliss. Ultimately, it is just about the perspective we take that gets us through the days.

~T 馃榾