Create Joy in many ways

I am feeling absolutely wonderful. We are back to school with the one child and back into my rhythm of getting up at 5 am running stairs, doing resistance exercises and my Yoga early morning, subsequently I drink a slow-pressed veggie juice and a soaked nuts/seeds, flaxseed and soya smoothie.

LIMBIC SYSTEM v1.1This is followed by a wonderful feeling of well-being.  Observing some sort of routine including regular sleeping and waking pattern has always been the best recipe for good health to me. When I worked in the Bircher-Benner clinic in Zurich, the priority for ill patients was to establish a daily routine of waking up early (and going to bed early), eating holistic meals, exercising and being treated with various means including massage and homoeopathy.

Once in a while it is alright to change the pattern. I do that on holidays or if I need to go to functions, s.a. weddings. Here is where you can get some ideas how the Circadian rhythm influences a lot of physical as well as mental functions http://www.douglas.qc.ca/info/circadian-rhythms-what-are-they.

As for me I don’t need a study to give me evidence of how rhythm affects my life, although there are quite a few. Today I feel great as I had the luxury to follow mine; tomorrow, we will see. There is always a possibility to switch on the happy and feel-good genes by exercising or simply put some “Joy” (an essential oil blend consisting of Bergamot, Lemon, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Geranium, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Coriander and Tangerine) into my diffuser and let my limbic brain redirect my mood.

Beautiful tale of hope

35_marbleWe were playing in the water, throwing big marbles which shone incandescently in the pool as we dove to find them; an attractive game for 8 to 9 year olds and a great way to start new friendships.

As two shy girls looked at each other across the water I couldn’t help but become that match maker, albeit with a selfish thought of being able to swim a few laps instead of diving to find marbles.

Once the contact was established and rules of play set, I asked a few questions to acquaint new friends; one of them was where your mum or dad is right now? Surely there must be a vigilant parent somewhere looking out for his or her 9 year old daughter.

When she pointed to one of many persons across the pool I couldn’t make out which one it was and to clarify I asked her. Is your Dad Chinese? And she answered with utmost innocence: No, he is Malaysian! God bless her! And here I was with my foot in my own mouth….

Oh “Dearian”

Over 22 years ago I had my first encounter with the “fruit of the other 34_Duriankind”. After I overcame the rather repulsive smell I actually liked the taste of it. As you might have guessed by now I am talking about none other than the Durian.The absolute adoration for this fruit of many Malaysians I know has always intrigued me.

Apparently Durian contains ample amount of vitamins. It is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6 and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C. A serving of 243 g will contain about 20 g of fat, which is considered a high amount of fat among fruits, however it is free from saturated fats and cholesterol  and contains monounsaturated fats which are helping to reduce cholesterol level (Nutrition Facts).

So, Durian addicts out there, you can eat Durian guilt-free, it is packed with nutrients and gives you the healthy fats (obviously unadulterated in the Durian, as opposed to heated monounsaturated oils) which is lacking in a typical Malaysian diet that favours a lot of frying.

 As for me, after a feast of yesterday’s Durian brought into our apartment by my relentless husband I resolved to open all windows and doors after which I diffused an ample amount of peppermint, lemon and lavender. Although lovely in the mouth “the 44 odor-active compounds, which were reported for the first time in a natural product in the study of the smell of a Thai durian” (Durian Odor Study) still makes me want to hold my breath! ALLERGIES 1.1 (1)

A true Malaysian street cat

We’ve got these three cats. All of them are strays and two of them have these mutated bottle-brush tails. Their characters are very different. As we recently moved from a house into an apartment they had to adjust to a new environment. I felt so sorry for them as they can’t go outside as they used to. To protest their forced reallocation they promptly peed and pooed around our home to much chagrin of my husband (and me of course).IMG_20140502_214024

 The one cat discovered a new pastime of jumping from the balcony to the outside-air conditioner unit, which made my heart stop every time. One day after much searching I looked down the three floors and there he was looking up at me with his green eyes from the car park. Having “parked” himself underneath the car for most of the day I managed to retrieve him with the cat-carrier (any attempt to carry him will have you ripped to pieces). By the way he is very happy to be back home. We opened the door for him to learn to find his way up and down the stairs rather than tumbling down from the third floor. And he won’t leave!

 After our other cat continued pooing into our rooms I said enough is enough and opened the door a little longer. Now that cat is forever hungry. He has been dewormed is being fed abundantly but seems to be constantly hungry. He is not fat; the poor thing must have a fast metabolism.

 Thinking he would run for his freedom as pooing denotes protest at something or other, we thought letting him go downstairs is what he wants. After some time we went to check whether he was frolicking outside in his new found freedom,  exploring a hole (which are mostly drains in Malaysia), rubbing his body in the wet grass or perhaps even chasing a tree shrew. Guess where we found him: in the neighbours rubbish bin searching for food.

Now isn’t that a true Malaysian street cat?

A glorious day

33_sunrise KLIt was a glorious morning. A distance away lightning highlighted soft cottony clouds. Birds, grasshoppers and frogs greeted the slowly emerging sun together with me as I was doing Yoga watching the sky take on a gradually darker blue.

This isn’t some remote island I am talking about. I am looking out of my own bedroom windows in Kuala Lumpur. The landscape gardener of our condo did a marvellous job in creating green space so I can actually see native Malaysian birds flying around the vicinity of my windows.

It is a wonderful day, I bought herbs to plant out of my window and my daughter was strangely quiet when I diffused a mixture of essential oils called “peace and calm” in her bedroom last night. Seemingly unconnected these events are I believe that everything we do creates harmony that carries me forward if I choose to.

Yes it can be the other way around too. Those moments will pass as will everything else in our lives. So enjoy the moment of beauty and harmony and move through the other ones with grace and courage, well aware of the fact how fleeting life is.

Change

It has been almost a month and I have gradually adjusted to our new home. Change is always unsettling. Routines are altered, habits are broken and there is a lot of clearing happening. As I get rid of all the stuff I have accumulated but not used any more there is an internal cleansing occurring simultaneously. 32_change

Surprisingly it got easier and easier to let go as I continued to sort and pack. At a certain stage in their lives traditional Yogis in India had to rid themselves of everything material and use the vehicle of their spirit – the body – to come closer to absolute self-realisation.

I understand this requirement now more than ever. Although I remain conscious of the fact, that at one stage I need to let go of everything, including my body, I remain attached to many things.

Vairagya is translated as dispassion in Georg Feuersteins “The Shambhala Encyclopedia” and considered “one of the two fundamental aspects of spiritual life” (Feuerstein 319).  Liberation is the chief aim of a traditional Yogi. Practicing dispassion balances the psychosomatic energy surging through body and mind when we practice meditation. Meditation creates awareness and clears the mind, thus gives us power to create our lives.

There is a common misconception that dispassion prevents us from living our life fully and is coupled with denial. On the contrary, practicing meditation combined with dispassion allows us to fully appreciate the present – isn’t it interesting that in English a “present” is also another name for a “gift”? In other words, the less attached we are to an outcome, the more we can enjoy the moment.

One day like this, next day like that

First another heavy dose of haze arrived in Kuala Lumpur, then the unfortunate news of the missing Malaysian airplane shook the way I view the world.

Every time my pilot husbands returns safely from his flight I utter a silent prayer of thanks, even more so now. I can only imagine the worry of the families who have been affected by the disappearance of their loved ones.

As much as I am wondering like everyone else how on earth this could have 31_blue skyhappened, it brings me closer to the realisation how precious and albeit short life is.  It is also very unpredictable. Just as I was bracing myself for another day of choking, grey air, the most exquisite blue sky greeted me this morning.

 I am enjoying the fresh air (for Kuala Lumpurs’ standards), sparkling sun and breeze, well knowing it could just last for a day. And as for now, perhaps no news might be good news. I certainly keep praying for the safe return of the passengers of flight MH370.

I feel alive

I have been waiting patiently, fathoming the outcome of continuing what I was doing for another 10 years. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Although life is constantly changing, we are so caught up in creating a safety net of habits that it appears that things stay the same. As if this is not already bad enough, as we age we are told and shown over and over that we 30_woman jumpingbetter hang on to what we have, for risking of losing it all. How can we not believe what seems such proof of evidence?

Yoga philosophy covers every aspect of mind and Maya is not only a beautiful name but also means illusion in Sanskrit  . We create a world of habits to feel safe, which doesn’t necessarily mean that we are safe. Nothing wrong with that as long as we are aware of the illusion…

And for the less philosophically inclined we can thank God that there are real people from whom we can learn courage and unlimited believes from, s.a. Louise Hays, who said “my life only began when I was 50” and began building an empire on positive believes, or Diana Nyad, who swam 102.5-mile journey from the island of Bimini (Bahamas) to Florida at age 64. 

The truth is, I have not felt so alive in a long time. I am finally practicing what I feel I came here for. There will always be the worries, but heck, I am going to give it a go and love my life while I am at it!

Rules for Thoughts of limitations

I am confronted with all kinds of limiting thoughts as I am in the process of rescheduling my work and classes, taking pictures, writing about what I believe in etc. The worst are the comparing thoughts; I don’t usually fare very well in them. So I established a few rules:

Rule No. 1If you have been trotting the earth for a whileDhanurasana w-ball_19-1-14Do not compare yourself to the lithe 20-year old in the advertisement depicting a Yoga pose to induce you to buy the latest wrinkle-cream.

As an after-thought, why don’t they depict the 80-year old BEFORE and AFTER using that same wrinkle cream (if it really works – that would make great advertisement)!

Rule No. 2 – If you are an ordinary being, juggling work, family, teaching, and studies – Do not compare yourself with Superman! Resources, i.e. energy may be limited, especially if you have been trotting the earth for a while! So – give yourself a break and go catch some sleep, even if not everything is done…

Rule No. 3 – If your body has average and not completely synchronized dimensions, only bends to a certain limit and might show a few dimplesDo not compare yourself with the model in the magazine!

However should you need a boost of self-confidence, feel free to photo-shop that latest photo, wearing body-hugging, skin-coloured tights. Or hire a good photographer, e.g. Andie Ringeisen, Reiki-Master and photographer who knows how to position you into the best possible light…

Complete trust

29_Cat TrustOne of our three cats, whom we rescued, shows us what complete trust means. She lies on her back, snuggling next to my daughter, paws over her face, completely exposing her belly. Besides looking the cutest she prompts me to contemplate when we last could trust someone so completely allowing us to expose our innermost vulnerability. We are so used to put up a front that it is hard at times to admit being vulnerable even to ourselves.

We live in a society that values success and youth. To admit failure takes courage and a willingness to show our weakest spot and then to get up and try again (Huffington Post). Scott Dinsmore devotes a chapter of his course LiveYourLegend to being vulnerable and states that to be truly living a life of passion we have to be completely honest with others and ourselves.

My cat doesn’t know failure or that growing old is anything but the course of nature. She knows she is safe with us and that’s what we need to be able to open up. For some people back-bends in Yoga are hard to do, as they require us to soften our heart and expose our frontal body with only the muscles to protect our inner organs and all they represent. I used to hate them, although I still did them until my teacher Desirée Rumbaugh showed me how to do them safely. I never looked back since then because the exquisite feelings of energy and strength are now accompanied by freedom of movement that I never experienced before.