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.

QUANTART_ARTICLE-IMAGE-2-Rabbit-Carrots

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!

photo 1-2

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

photo 2-2

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!

2014!

So in 2013 I only posted twice. TWICE! This year all that is going to change – you’re probably thinking that you’ve heard this all before – she says she’ll do it, but she never really does. And actually I’ve heard it in my head before… so I won’t say it, but I will make every effort to change it. To start small – at least one blog a month. Let’s see how far that takes me!

Just to recap quickly, 2013 was an awesome year. I experience two re-births! You can read about the first spiritual initiation in my last post, and then my second initiation happened quite by surprise in India! We organised festivals, I travelled to India for two weeks and recharged my spiritual batteries, I grew in my professional life (not really by title, but by experience and learnings) and I sincerely hope I grew in my personal life!

An exciting year spiritually!

An exciting year spiritually!

I’m beginning 2014 with an external sense of organisation – new diaries, marking out new calendars, planning out my year – and hoping that translates into real organisation (both internal and external) that lasts the whole year! More responsibilities at work, taking on more commitments in my spiritual life – you’ll soon notice I have a habit of filling my plate up with more than I can handle! And this year seems to be taking a similar course, but I’m hoping organisation will save the day!

Let's hope this translates to organisation in 2014!

Let’s hope this translates to organisation in 2014!

You always keep growing and learn something new everyday – and this year I feel this will hold especially true for me. I’ll hopefully be deepening my Ayurveda knowledge, diving into an ocean of philosophical works, learning how to cook more🙂, and improving as a person – especially in how I deal with others. There’s a lot of growth to happen in many areas!

And what I’ve realised is that this growth doesn’t come easy – you really have to work hard, and be working at it all the time. I look at it like this: When you’re working on tasks to complete for a certain project, you set aside time per week or per day to complete them – 5 hours on an assignment for work, 2 hours to organise this festival, 1 hour to study spiritual literature. But outside this time, your personal growth happens whenever you put your mind to it – you don’t set aside 2 hours a day to work on improving how you communicate with others – to really excel, you have to be thinking about it ALL the time. In my opinion, that’s the only way you’ll really grow in a personal sense.

It’s hard work.

A New Beginning

A few weeks ago, I took a pretty momentous step in my life – a HUGE step in my spiritual life – but a step I hope will have positive reverberations in all aspects of my life. I received formal initiation from my spiritual teacher. Simply put, I formalised my relationship with my spiritual teacher as a sign of my beginning as a committed and disciplined student. Although this post is not strictly about travelling or food (although a lot of delicious food was had that weekend), I wanted to share my experience of taking spiritual initiation with as many of my friends as possible (that means you!).

Now I use the word initiation in this context as something that which in any culture refers to a ceremony, ritual, test or period of instruction, through which a new member is accepted into a group, organisation or society. Within the one culture, there maybe differences in the process of initiation – different ceremonies, different requirements etc. I belong to a wonderful community, where initiation doesn’t refer to acceptance, but rather it signifies the formalisation of the relationship between the spiritual master and disciple. As one of my friends aptly put it, “If somebody wants to learn something then it is beneficial to approach an expert in that area. So spiritual life also follows this principle – to learn the science of spirituality one should seek the guidance of advanced practitioners.”

Within my spiritual community the initiation process involves:

  • a period of instruction – where we take guidance and receive instructions from a spiritual teacher chosen by us  (and who has chosen us as his spiritual student) 
  • a ceremony – a fire sacrifice in front of which we vow to avoid things detrimental to our spiritual health, and commit to increasing our spiritual practises. At this time we also receive a new name, reminding us of our position as servants of God, and signifying a ‘rebirth’
Initiation ceremony around a fire sacrifice at Govinda Valley

Initiation ceremony around a fire sacrifice at Govinda Valley

I was both excited and nervous about taking this next big step – excited because I was coming closer to God through proper knowledge and discipline. And nervous – because it seemed like a big responsibility in upholding the instructions of my spiritual teacher and honouring the vows which I took.

The whole ceremony took place at a retreat centre, called Govinda Valley, about an hour south of Sydney. Here, amid two days of deep spiritual exchanges, meeting old friends and making new ones, and hearing from one of my favourite people in the world, I took this big step. The initiation day was beautiful, and I was surrounded by family and friends – the people in this world that I love most. I received the most beautiful name – Kaishori Sindhu Dasi. This means, the servant of the One who is an ocean of youthful beauty – and I couldn’t have been a happier servant!

Receiving the name - Kaishori Sindhu Dasi!

Receiving the name – Kaishori Sindhu Dasi!

I’m excited to see what this new step brings in my life: a change in attitude? New responsibilities? Renewed enthusiasm? New projects? And I know whatever it is, it will be wonderful, because I am so lucky to receive instructions from a kind, wise and dedicated spiritual teacher for whom I have eternal gratitude. I know I could never progress anywhere in life if it wasn’t for gratitude – this one thing which gives me a fresh and positive perspective on everything I do, and reminds me of all my good fortune. Try it for a moment – close your eyes and think of everything you have – material and immaterial – and suddenly, all your wants and desires will pale in comparison.

An Ode to Mothers

My mother returned from overseas last week. She was away for 40 days. Wow! I actually counted the number of days and didn’t just have a vague idea of the number of weeks. It shows how much I really missed my mum. Yes, for the sentimental value of not having my mum around, but more so because in those 40 days, I just began to realise how much my mum actually does.

On the outside it seems like just the cooking and cleaning – but JUST is not a word to even begin to describe all that she does. She’s like the glue that keeps our family, and our house, together. Her amazing cooking keeps our kitchen open 24 hours of day, and is the literally the only thing which keeps people coming to our house again and again. Dad always says, that the only reason people come to our house is to taste mum’s cooking – I used to scoff back, thinking no it isn’t! They’re coming to meet us! But alas, I was wrong – just take a look at the significant hike in visitors that streamed through our doors in the days since mum was back, compared to when it was just dad and I at home…

When it was just the two of us, I would make a basic preparation, that would hopefully last for two meals (saving me to cook again). When mum is at home – there are three meals, and within those meals there will be a multitude of options in case family member a doesn’t like this, or family member b prefers this – yes, I unashamedly and openly admit I am a spoilt child when it comes to meals and extremely good food. And it’s not just the technique and experience that she cooks with, it’s her love – to always offer and serve only the very best.

Kitchen aside, she is always on the ball, and attends to every little evidence of disarray present in the house. Making sure the clothes are washed timely, the bathrooms cleaned, the floors regularly swept, the clothes folded (not sitting in the living room, beckoning to be folded for over a week), keeping the garden gaze-worthy, reminding me to clean my room, making sure we reached the expiry date of food in our fridge before it did, making sure the bins were taken back in the day after the rubbish got collected and many other things that you will probably get too bored to read on. But I think you get my point – mothers are literally superwomen.

Oh and having my sister back after almost 8 months was good too – I am once again getting honest fashion advice, a bigger wardrobe to choose from, good music to listen to, EVEN more good food to taste, someone to share the dishes with, someone to pawn extra housework onto… and the house is lively again with our higher-than-normal decibel level.

740070_4199812596547_466540996_o

Dad and I would happily go through those 40 days again, knowing they’re having this much fun🙂

So a toast to mothers, and sisters… and families. Tell your mum that you love her – just do it spontaneously and randomly – we don’t tell them enough, trust me – and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it. And if you’re not the kind to express your love verbally, than do it through some other way you know she’ll appreciate – buy her some flowers, do the vacuuming, cook a meal, do the dishes (without being asked)…. the list is endless – mother’s have a knack of knowing the meaning behind what you do – so do it with all your heart.