New Year or New Day?

New Year’s always start off with great hype and optimism. At least for me they do. Exercise more, eat healthier, read more etc etc. The list sounds all too familiar, thanks to the over-saturation of New Year’s resolutions in social media over the last few years. Self-improvement websites are all the rage at this time of year with 50 New Year’s Resolutions and How To Keep Them or New Year’s Resolutions You Should Never Make, making headlines.

On top of this, marketing companies have jumped on this bandwagon and started bombarding us with New Year sales, to help us keep those said New Year’s resolutions. As cynical as it may seem, discounts on yoga passes, offers on cleanses or sales on gratitude journals are not really going to help us keep those resolutions for the next 364 days of the year.

I too went through a phase where I’d make these absurd resolutions – pretty much setting myself up to fail the second the ideas formed in my head. ‘I’ll walk up Mt Coot-tha EVERY single day‘ she said. Yeah right. The year would be shaped a bit like a series of parabola’s put together – a week where I would walk up Mt Coot-tha everyday, then a week of doing nothing, then a week of walking, then a week of nothing… you get the pattern. For someone who’s not naturally good at implementing new habits or routines, the prospect of doing multiple new things 365 days of the year looked pretty grim.

But then, like many other things in my life, I looked at it from a different perspective. What if I didn’t think of it as a New Year, but a New Day? If I didn’t go on that walk one day, there was no need to beat myself up about it, but realise that tomorrow was a NEW day, a new chance at picking myself up again. I was given a whole new set of 24 hours to live again! And when I began to look at things like this, the year didn’t look 365 days looong, but more like 365 chances at getting 24 hours again!

An important part of a New Day is setting an intention, or sankalpa, as it is called in Sanskrit. A sankalpa is a strong mental creative determination or affirmation. Sacinandana Swami, a modern day meditation practitioner, writes extensively about sankalpa in one of his newsletters. He once asked his Ayurvedic doctor about his maintenance plan, after a period of intense treatment at an Ayurvedic clinic. His doctor replied:

“The most important thing is a strong sankalpa – an inner resolve. All the best medicine and therapy in the world would be ineffective without such a commitment. On the other hand, with such a sankalpa you would almost not need anything else”

It was such a nice way to begin each day – with a strong inner resolve – something I could plan new for each day, rather than be daunted by the task of having to do it every day for 1 year. And what gave each day more strength was the very nature of this inner resolve. The more I read about sankalpa, the more I was drawn to it’s spiritual and mystical nature – qualities which contributed to its strength.

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In times of need, our sankalpa shows us the way like stars that twinkle in a dark night sky. But you need to treat it like a good friend, and then cultivate it.

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In the school of life there are always tests – which ultimately serve our purpose only. These tests are there to make us stronger in our determination. When your sankalpa gets tested, remember that your life is a unique gift to you personally and that you are expected to find your own path which is true to yourself. You can not live the life of another. Just like eating and breathing is something that only you yourself can do – a sankalpa is also highly personalized.

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It can be strenuous to navigate one’s life through a world where constant change seems to be the only constant. However, for someone who discovers his or sankalpa, the universe starts to move in their favour, and the fact that everything changes because the

We can use sankalpas to help frame our day, or even the very activity we are concentrating on – for as little or big as the task is. It’s a powerful method of setting your intention, and cultivating a strong inner resolve. So don’t worry if you haven’t been able to catch up with your new year resolutions – there is a new day waiting ahead 🙂

Reason, Season, Lifetime

Reason, Season, Lifetime 

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,

it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty;

to provide you with guidance and support;

to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend, and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,

because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;

things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,

and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

I read this on Facebook recently, but have heard it in conversation in the past few months. As I wrap up over 4 years of work at Back2Health, so many emotions keep running through my head – and this poem comes at a very apt time. I’ve always had difficulty in letting things go – I remember balling my eyes out in grade 7 when we all parted for different high schools. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I hugged pretty much every person in the grade, promising we would still see each other every Friday afternoon at the Indooroopilly food court, and belting out the words to Friends Forever.

A familiar and welcoming corridor - Queenslander from the outside, oasis on the inside.

A familiar and welcoming corridor – Queenslander from the outside, oasis on the inside.

I always find break-up/end-of-year parties hard – I don’t like saying goodbye, and want to hold onto everything and everyone. The same thing is happening now – a hesitancy in leaving what I know and what’s comfortable. In Ayurveda this is a very kapha quality. Dr David Frawley writes in his book Ayurveda and the Mind:

‘They like to belong, to be part of a group, and seldom rebel. They are good followers and prefer to work in association. They are content and accept things as they are. They are stable but sometimes stagnate. They do not like to change and find change difficult, even when they want to. They are friendly, particularly with people they know, and hold closely to their families.’

Parts of this explain me to a T. But sometimes life forces you to change – and whether you like it or not, it’s going to happen! And from the advice of others – it’s better to embrace this change than to resist it.

Butterflies are a beautiful byproduct of change.. if they can do it, maybe so can I.

Butterflies are a beautiful byproduct of change.. if they can do it, maybe so can I.

Four years in one workplace is a long time (at least for me!), and it’s grown to be a big part of my life. The team that I work with, the clients I treat – everything has become so familiar and comfortable. While each exchange with clients is completely different – from a logistical point of view there’s definitely an element of familiarity – stable place of work, stable client base, and people know me! With identity comes a sense of ego… and letting go of work and clients, means letting go of the fact that will be someone to help them on their wellness journey. I know this is not the only way to look at the situation – but I can’t help dwell on this as I try to understand why it is so difficult for me to leave or move on. This is not the only reason, but digging deeper, I can understand that it definitely has a role to play in how I’m feeling.

Reading the words on Reason, Season or Lifetime has definitely helped me to understand why I can’t be close to everyoneall the time. Each person has a role to play in my life – some more long term than others, and I need to be OK with that. Embrace the moments we have together, and hold the memories close to my heart – that’s the best I can do. And I guess that’s the nature of this world – nothing is permanent – and the faster we learn to deal with it’s temporary nature, the easier it will be for us to face whatever the world throws at us. The words of the Bhagavad Gita shed some light on this:

O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. (BG 2.14)

That being said – modern technology enables us to stay in touch with those who may only enter our lives for a short period of time. And I plan to take full advantage of that! While I may write of letting go, I don’t think I’ve got the handle on applying it so well. I’m still a kapha and still want to keep my connections close. So hopefully I can have my cake and eat it too! Assisting people on their Ayurveda journey from the other side of the pond – and if you ever cross it, my doors are always open to you!

So here’s to pushing out of my kapha zone, embracing change, and enabling others from a distance!

As one chapter ends, I’m writing the outline for the next one – a month of learning cooking from my mum! Learning traditional Indian dishes, some not-so-traditional dishes and maybe a little bit of experimenting!

Reflections and Revival

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Obviously I didn’t abide by the end date. 

 

100 days of keeping in touch. This was a little project I embarked on earlier this year (and thought it to have been well finished by now!), but as many other things in my life – it got dragged out considerably. But I’m finally doing this! And so for my last post for #100daysofkeepingintouch, I thought I would share some reflections AND revive a long lost friend – my blog!

One thing that definitely struck me, was how integral maintaining relationships was in all spheres of life. Be it professional, social or even spiritual. The situation could be as diverse as this: a professional multi-million dollar company striving to close on a huge business deal OR a non-for-profit spiritual organisation working hard to spread their mission and teachings. Fundamentally, both of these can succeed only on the basis of maintaining good relationships. For the multi-million dollar company, even though it may be about numbers, deals, strategies, reports etc – at the end of the day, without good relationships between all the employees – nothing can really be achieved. And while the non-for-profit organisation maybe centred on giving back, charity, selflessness etc – unless its members work in a cooperative mood, then the vision just remains on paper.

Another thing that I realised is that keeping in touch can be so simple! I tried to outdo myself and get creative in the ways in which I kept in touch – through cards, presents, food, voice messages, video messages – there is no end to this list! But then I realised that it wasn’t so much the medium through which I was keeping in touch, but more the fact that I WAS keeping in touch. Reaching out to someone in a personal and direct way creates a huge and lasting change – and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just send them a text to let them know you’re thinking of them, or call them, or pop by to see them – the best times were when I kept in touch JUST BECAUSE, without any agenda, no need for any occasion – just that I wanted the pleasure of their company. This is what I found that recipients appreciated the most. Everyone calls you on your birthday, or to congratulate you on a new achievement – but how many times do you call/keep in touch with people JUST for their company – without needing anything from them or it being an occasion.

And although I documented 100 days of doing this, I realised that some of the best moments I had weren’t ones that were captured. Either I forgot, or the moment had passed, or it just didn’t feel right to document – but I hold them close in my heart 🙂

Hopefully this is a chance for me to revive and regularly post on this blog. Who knows what is in store for the future? More #100day projects? #100daysofsoup?

Decade

No, I haven’t been blogging a decade. I don’t think I’ve been doing anything consistently for a decade (except for the sleeping, eating part). But ‘Decade’ is was the theme for the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) – yes I had to resort to this to figure out what I would write about for my next post. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of ideas floating around in my head, but can’t pinpoint one to talk about. So I thought I would use Decade as some inspiration and write about ten things I’ve been thinking about lately.

1. I wanted to avoid doing another ‘update-type’ post again, where I reel off what I’ve been doing in my life. But I can’t help mention the awesome Festival of Chariots that we pulled off with a team of dedicated volunteers in Brisbane CBD in June. Ok there’s my life-story for this post.

This image literally brought me to tears - the masses of people and the police closing down the streets for the Lord of the Universe.

This image literally brought me to tears – the masses of people and the police closing down the streets for the Lord of the Universe.

2. We’ve seen many cases of humanity failing: with the Israel-Palestine crisis, kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls (after being kidnapped on April 15 2014, they are still not found), bombing of a passenger aircraft in Ukraine and many other horrific stories which we just don’t hear about because they don’t make it to our news. Amidst all of this; small-scale, social, grass-roots movements still manage to bring a smile to my face. This video of what a French supermarket is doing to reduce food waste is so awesome!

3. Those Buzzfeed articles that pop up every now and again on Facebook are the new procrastination tool!

4. I think I’m slowly learning from my last post – and not biting off more than I can chew. I haven’t taken on more responsibilities, but am trying to concentrate on what I have in front of me. Win! (After seeing this post sit in my drafts folder for about a month, I’ve concluded that I may have reverted back to my old ways… )

5. Lots of different cooking blogs (Cook Republic, KO Rasoi) have inspired me to get back in the kitchen – that and not having my mum at home!

6. Ayurveda learning continues, and continues to amaze me each day! Did you know that one of the diagnostic tools consists of an eightfold examination method (tongue, face, lips, eyes, urine, stool, pulse, voice). There’s no medical reports or tests to confirm a diagnosis – the body is already displaying all the warning signs, we just need to know how to read them.

7. It’s been one of the coldest winters in Brisbane – and I hate the cold! Plus I’ve been noticing how dehydrated (both internally and on the skin) I can get. It’s difficult to always remember, but this Winter, consciously think about how much water you need to get in to your body. Herbal teas and hot chai’s have been my best friend! That and my weird obsession with hot water bottles and heat packs. I think I’m a 60 year-old trapped in a 25 year-old’s body!

8. Making personal progress on an emotional, spiritual and self-character level is hard work – although it may not look like much on the outside, changing yourself on the inside takes a lot of effort. I’ve heard it said time and time again – you don’t have to change what you’re doing, you just have to change your consciousness. Definitely something that is easier said than done!

Sometimes I need to resort to this!

Sometimes I need to resort to this!

9. 2015 seems like it’s going to be a year about growing up! Marriages and babies seem to be on the cards for a lot of friends. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time!

10. There’s so much learning to be done – and the technological age means mountains of information is constantly available at your finger tips. Whilst working on a project, it’s hard not to be distracted by articles on Ayurveda or looking at how other people write about Ayurveda, 6 Tips to Include Apple Cider Vinegar In Your Diet (or other such natural health information), inspirational videos from TED Talks, a lecture on the latest festival, or signing on to free webinars. All while you’re meant to be listening to your online lectures! It’s all important and useful information, and will surely enhance my knowledge – but I have to remember – I can’t do it all now! Ironically, I came across a method on how to single-task on one of my procrastination episodes. Check out Tabless Thursdays for more info!

Note: I realise my rambling on this post will probably add to your procrastination today – but once you’re finished reading this – get back to your work! Tick off that to-do-list!

 

Biting off more than I can chew

Story of my life.

Really, it’s eyes too big for my stomach, piling on too much on my plate… I like to say it’s a hereditary problem – something that stems from my parents. But I guess I have a part to blame in fuelling this condition. Committing to way more than I can handle is definitely the sole reason for my failing to post last month. That and poor time management. Gosh, if I actually was productive for every minute that I am capable of, who knows the things I could help accomplish! So before March rolls over into April April rolls over into May, I thought travellingthali deserved my attention.

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Yes… this is what life feels like sometimes!

Yes the last two months have been very very very busy. I started full-time (or so it’s meant to be!) study – an Advanced Diploma of Ayurveda, I signed up to organise yet ANOTHER festival and I expanded into a new role at work. I thought staying busy meant that I would actually be forced to get work done, and not sit around procrastinating. But I think this busy takes things to a whole other level.

It’s made me realise how I haven’t made time for the things that I took for granted before – little things like spending more time with family and friends, spending longer at the dinner table after a meal, actually eating breakfast at home rather than in the car! While I am passionate about all things Ayurveda, it’s probably best I practise what I preach – taking time out to do everything with awareness – from eating my breakfast to finishing my assignment! And I think I’m starting to learn to say no, and go back to doing all those things again. It’s been a big learning curve, realising that actually I CAN’T do everything – and going beyond that, realising that I’m not the doer in anything I do – I’m just the assistant, helping to put together pieces to make something work.

That being said, my studies have me completing assessments based around personal health challenges. Vocational education seems refreshingly practical – a far cry from all the theory and analysis of university. Two of my assessment items actually have me applying natural medicine and Ayurveda principles into my daily life – and then reflecting on how it made me feel and how difficult it was. At first I was like, really? Just record some stupid health diary for assessment? But it allowed me to experience what I’d be telling people, to put me in their shoes; plus helping me to understand my own body, and become more aware. I’m looking forward to the rest of this course, to learn more about Ayurveda, and to learn more about myself so I don’t drown myself in another to-do list again!

But amidst all this, I realised I have the most absolutely-amazingly-awesome friends that anyone could ever ask for! They finally got the hint and threw me the BEST surprise of my life – big enough for me to stop bugging them to surprise me for the next 25 years!

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It was a day full of surprises and this was just the beginning!

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And I came upstairs to go to bed… I guess not!

So that’s it from me – just a little rambling on what I’ve been up to so far. I’m off to the coast for Easter, with 14 others who share my blood (or name), all staying in one house! It’s going to be a long weekend, with lots of craziness and food!