Perhaps this year I’ll learn how to stop time.

I can’t believe it’s been six days since I last wrote here.
What happened?
We had visitors, I rediscovered 750words and got up to 72 words a minute, I hurt my back, and I slumped back into personal oblivion.

Things are slowly falling through the cracks between my fingers again.

This blog is starting to feel like a witness to my personal failures. I know we all have our imperfections, but I’m not sure we all like to advertise them on public platforms. A type of masochism, I suppose. Or perhaps the only way I know how to attempt to deal with my shortcomings. A desperate attempt to not feel alone, maybe.

I didn’t always find comfort in honesty.
Now I try to embrace it, push through it, and hope I manage to unfold the many folds of my being to leave me with only the essentials of what it means to be alive.

Right now, however, all I’m doing is wasting my time, letting myself slump back into a personal abyss. When there isn’t much to look forward to – especially when everything you need is at hand – there isn’t much to make you want to get up, get up and live.

I lost my drive for the first time crying my heart out on the rooftop of the Jokhang Temple. We’ve destroyed even the holiest of our holy places on this Earth, embracing the comfort of dealing with the real world as a disneyland, where peoples’ needs are secondary to our entertainment.

I lost what I had barely managed to rebuild as, in the summer of 2013, I finally woke up to the fact that people don’t care about changing the world for the better. They only care to do whatever their greed demands of them.

I’m not sure I want to give it a third go. It’s so much easier to stay in bed and let the world turn without having anything to do with it.
Is my existence still justified if I’m done with even pretending to try and contribute?

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I’ve gotten into a new stretching routine and am very happy to report on a noticeable progress in the matter of one single day!

Last night I did my usual stretches, concentrating on my hamstrings, and while in the deepest stretch, I started reading! I read a rather extensive passage of the Qur’an. I downloaded a simplified version of it onto the Kindle and was in fact able to catch up with myself… the other version I have, the printed one gifted to me by a friend some years ago, is very difficult to read… so difficult, in fact, that it had put me off the whole thing.

As I stretched and read, I realised I had managed to not ingest any of what I had read from my printed version as I didn’t recognise a lot of the passages in this clear English version. They are the same, however more English terms and less footnotes and explanations in parenthesis works much better for me.

After getting lost in the book, I suddenly realised how far I’d stretched. Brilliant. I think this is something I can repeat tonight!

And I have started the new splits stretching as well… funny to notice how lazy I have gotten over the years: as soon as I do some warm-ups my body seems to lose in power… no, I don’t want to work for the sake of a work-out!

I’m going to have to beat this lazy out of me.

I thought reading holy books (on camera) was a great idea: it would get me close to the source material, it would help me pay attention to reading, it would help me practice using the video equipment, lights, backgrounds, and an assortment of other things… and most importantly, it would help me understand people who live with me on this vast but finite planet.

Now I’m not so sure about the whole thing.

I’ve finally reached the point where the Qur’an calls for the killing of others. Whoever reassured me that it is a book about peace must have been sincerely misinformed.

Sure, you could say that it is a metaphorical section of the book – like so many have assured me that the stories in the Bible calling for the murder of women who aren’t virgins are only parables – but I don’t buy it. The Qur’an keeps telling its reader to pay attention, to heed what is written, and to follow the word of god as it is given… so why not go out and kill people too? I mean, it’s in the book!

It’s a bit like reading a book and then refusing to accept parts of it as relevant to the story, as, say, raving on about Harry Potter but then maintaining that he never went to Hogwarts or that, indeed, he isn’t an aspiring magician. If you are going to choose to believe in something and say that your belief is based in the written word of god (published and available in most of the modern world’s languages), then for Pete’s sake, at least be consistent about it! Either believe in all of it or don’t bother me with what the particular holy book you say you believe in tells you to do/believe in. In case you choose to embrace your affiliation to one particular book, then act the part. Embrace all of it.

You say you believe in the Bible? Kill all women who aren’t virgins when they marry. You say you believe in the Qur’an? Kill those who you deem to be your oppressors. It’s bloody simple.

Stick to your principles and stop pretending those parts – the parts that make you uncomfortable and uneasy – are parables, figures of speech, or metaphors. They aren’t and were never meant to be.

Why don’t I think this was a good idea anymore?
Because I am starting to stray away from accepting religion to being downright furious about human stupidity. And you know what? I’m not interested in following some book, I’m only interested in being kind, open, considerate, and as compassionate as I humanely can towards each and every being I encounter. Unfortunately, reading these books is making my chosen task in life quite difficult right now.

Here’s to life challenges, right?

Uh-oh… I might have just spelled the death of this blog.

Some three and a half years ago I discovered a site dedicated to exactly what my resolutions list item number two is referring to: write every day! I signed up, got my first badge of honour for writing on three consecutive days, then travelled to Mongolia where internet access was more than unavailable and quickly forgot the password I had created for myself. Back then, the system would allow you to log in with your livejournal account if you created an additional password that couldn’t be recovered if lost. I obviously forgot mine.

As I was clearing out my Gmail account today, I stumbled upon yet another e-mail from 750words.com reminding me to log on and write. As it informed me that I had joined the site 1307 days ago, which sounds like an incredibly long time, I thought I’d check into the site and see how it was doing… and it turns out I could reset my password without any difficulties.

So, what should have ended up here, ended up there.

It’s a beautiful site that lets you focus on nothing but writing. And above all else, all of it is private… and to top it all off, it gives you neat stats about what you wrote about, how long it took you, and other tidbits of metadata that can be extracted from whatever it is that you write about.

Interestingly enough, it said that I was overly concerned with death even though the 1067 words I wrote in 17 minutes were mostly about how incredible it is to be alive. I mean, woah! We are alive, able to experience existence from a subjective stand point. I often wonder how it is possible that so many people spend so much of their time concerned with what who did to them when they are alive. How can politicians get away with frightening us on so many levels when we are alive?

Why do we not have daily celebrations dedicated to the very fact of our existence? How likely is it, really, that we are here? Whether you believe in a supernatural creator or not, what are the chances of you being you?

It’s incredible, mind blowing, magnificent.
How come we aren’t more aware of this simple fact on a daily basis?
How come we practically never talk about it?

Every night when I lie in bed, waiting for sleep to take me elsewhere, I think of at least two topics I’d like to write about. Most nights I don’t bother finding my way out from under the duvet to reach out for my phone and make notes. Here’s a list of topics I have managed to jot down:

Why doesn’t cleaning up feel productive?
What to do with toiletry products you don’t use?

Yeah, two. There are about a dozen more topics flying around in my head (when off the computer) but I’ve only managed to scribble down two of them. Maybe one of my resolutions should have been write down all potential writing topics that fly through your head. It’s way easier than making sure I stay physical and take care of my body.

Despite the aches, pains, injuries, and other chronic problems, I do love my body. If I’m honest with myself, I wish I could go back in time and make my parents force me to continue ballet. I love dancing. I don’t think there is any physical activity I prefer to dancing (sex not included) and I do wish I had immersed myself into it while much younger. Every time I have participated in any sort of dance lesson, I have always been asked by the teacher if I have done it before. No, I’d never tried belly dancing before, and no, I’ve never taken jazz, salsa, modern dance, or pole lessons before. It’s just that I love to dance, and I suppose that shows. I don’t think I am a great dancer, but I do think that a lot of dancing has to do with how you feel when you are moving. And when I move to any sort of a beat, my heart sings.

I’ve noticed that as I grow older the flow of movement isn’t the same anymore. I used to be able to dance to anything and everything. These days I feel like I am always doing the same movements, restricted by my learned patterns of movement. I don’t like it.

When I see myself in the massive mirror that covers half of the room where I do Zumba lessons with my mother on Saturday mornings, I don’t like the way the person that is staring back at me moves. She is stuck, trying too hard, limited in her movement and flow. My solution? Dance without a mirror at home.

I pop on whatever music happens to catch my eye and then just dance around. I find myself trying to catch a glimpse of me in the reflection of the window or the oven door, but luckily none of it is quite clear enough to give me proper visual feedback on how I am moving.

Moving isn’t about how you look. It’s about how you feel inside. Moving is about celebrating loving your own body… dancing is making love to yourself, to the body you inhabit, the life that is yours, the vessel that makes it possible for you to be in the here and now. Dancing, for me, is as holy as holy can get.

So, you might ask, why am I not a dancer?
It’s because most of my time is spent in my head… dancing makes me happy, yet my mind is always switched on, busy doing things in its own sphere, busy thinking, busy busying itself. So busy busying itself in fact, that it forgets to make time to do the the simple things that fill me with joy. So my body aches, I have to get up, move around, stretch, bend, and then I see the music, put on the stereo and dance. Dance to my heart’s content.

When my mind forgets what makes me happy, my body reminds me.
I do love my body.
Oh so much.

I might have already mentioned before… I’m struggling to get back on the pole. It’s not that it’s hard, it’s just that I haven’t gotten back into it. How do you get back into something you used to love (and still do in your dreams)?

I signed up to a website that offers video tutorials by some of the most talented pole artists alive today. They cover a few other airy fields as well, which helps explain their name: Pole and Aerial. So, in the hopes of finally pushing myself back onto the pole, I watched one of their videos lessons aimed at helping people achieve box splits – the very thing I am aiming for. Better to start somewhere easy, right?

Felix Cane is one of the most incredible pole artists out there, and she covers quite a lot of ground on Pole and Aerial. Thing is, she’s making it all look simple – way too simple. I know how hard it is, and her ease with it all isn’t helping much. Luckily she is very upbeat and offers a lot of encouragement. I suppose she did start out at one time as well and wasn’t as incredible at it as she is now. Considering her age, however, I guess she started much earlier than I did.

It’s easy to find arguments to make me feel hopeless, isn’t it?

I’ve had a thing for hard work all my life. I was a workaholic when at school, and later on at university and at the various positions I held while finishing my degree. I’ve always believed that if you put your heart, mind, and physical effort into it – no matter what it is – you will come out on top, successful, happy, and content. So when I failed, tumbled, and cut my heart open a couple of years ago, I did not attribute my failure to outside factors (such as the rampant greed and selfishness that can be found amongst the general human population) but rather to my lack of hard work. Everything – and I mean everything, even what others did or failed to do – was my fault.

When the you-part is the source of your failure, it is easy to find yourself paralysed. It becomes hard to move, hard to move on, and hard to move out of the sense of worthlessness you have allowed to settle into your heart. The ifs, buts, why didn’t Is, and if onlys become part of your daily routine, your daily mantra, and soon enough everything starts to seem impossible.

What’s the point? isn’t a random question anymore, it becomes the driving force behind every move, or rather behind each failure to move, to do something, to reach further.

And soon enough what’s the point? becomes the central question to your very existence. Why bother when there is no point to any of it anyway?

I’ve struggled to get up in the morning because there didn’t seem to be a point to any of it. I’ve struggled to complete the most minute of tasks because I couldn’t see why I would bother. And sometimes, like today, I still struggle.

The Project was an incredible source of hope for me – even more than that, it was my life for a few years. While no sane person would pour their entire lives into one single project, I did. I realised my mistake in hindsight, but then that’s what hindsight is for, right?

I bring it up as my struggles with pole remind me of why I have become so resistant to doing things I used to love doing. I have a tendency to give myself wholeheartedly to things I believe in or enjoy, so when it doesn’t work out it hurts that much more. So I avoid the pain by not even starting. I suppose I have to learn to keep some distance between me and whatever it is that I am doing – learn to be a bit less attached to the end result and enjoy the process the way I prefer the actual act of traveling to arriving at any given destination.

It’s not the destination that matters, it’s what you do, learn, and enjoy while you’re en route. It’s not death, the ultimate destination, that should drive you but rather life, the ultimate journey.

Get back on that pole, girl!
You know it makes you happy.

I wrote an entire essay about phone calls while doing my Bachelor’s degree. I sat in a course that was surprisingly spiritual and mostly aimed at learning how to know yourself and approach life from a place of love. It was the first and only time I experienced such a course in a formal academic setting.

Our teacher had spent her young childhood traveling around the world with her parents. Her first language had been one from a tribe somewhere in central Africa and she recalled, in great detail, how she had entered a trance at the tender age of five. She was beautiful, blonde, and always ready to share the most genuine smile you can imagine.

Needless to say, I was smitten.

It was one of the only courses which did not require me to follow any formal books, any pre-written questions with their boringly predictable answers, or a pre-set list of things to learn by heart for the sake of an exam. Her course asked nothing else from us students than to stay honest to ourselves, open up, and let the power of sharing take us to new heights. Next to the anthropology course, it is the only one that sticks out from the bunch.

Unfortunately for the teacher but mostly for all the other students, the course was never offered again. Someone at the head office must have caught wind of the fact that we were being taught to steer clear of the beaten path, forget about following rules, and take on the greatest challenge of our lives: get to know ourselves. She had no interest in giving us grades – how can you give someone a grade when the exam is the entirety of life itself? – but had to, for the sake of academia, and so she devised a number of formatted tasks we had to accomplish. One of them was writing an essay about what we feared most and what we did (during the course) to get rid of that fear.

At the time I had not yet had the wonderful opportunity of finding myself enthralled in the motions of a panic attack while flying above the clouds, so I wrote about what I feared the most in my life at that time: phone calls.

It may seem dubious and a little ridiculous, but I was actively scared of picking up the phone. Not so much to answer a phone call (even though that was loaded with its own set of anxieties) but to call someone.

Calling someone I am very familiar with has never been a problem. Calling someone I don’t know, even if it is simply to make an appointment at a doctor’s, was a source of active anxiety – and still is somewhat to this day. If I need to call someone I don’t know on someone else’s behalf, it’s much less daunting. If I should be in touch, via the phone, with someone I don’t know about something I want, need, or don’t want or need, well… well then I usually try to avoid it as much as possible, finding refuge in the blessing that e-mailing can be.

I’ve never fully understood where the anxiety comes from. And despite doing my best to engage with the exercise our incredible teacher gave us, I couldn’t shake the fear completely off. During the eight weeks, I called everyone and anyone. I tried to avoid e-mails, tried to avoid texting, and glued myself to the phone whenever on my own. It was an intriguing exercise that helped loosen up the bits of me that seemed attached to the fear itself.

When calling someone, I used to manage to fail to communicate the very reason that pushed me to call the person in the first place – except when calling to fix an appointment. For example, I’d like to cancel my subscription to a given magazine and by the time I’d hang up I’d have continued my subscription and signed up for another one. I used to be overly polite on the phone, unable to get across what I needed, and always feeling that I needed to make up for the bother that I was being to the person I was calling (by buying their stuff or doing work for them for free). It became so problematic that I found my fear of calling to be a shield that kept me from putting myself into unwanted situations.

But that (obviously) wasn’t the solution.

The real solution was to find the much needed inner strength to stand by my own needs in the face of everyone else’s. The solution included tossing out out-dated patterns of thinking and finding my own voice in an already cacophonous world.

While the invaluable exercise helped me face the fear and as such realise the needlessness of the fear itself, I still struggle with its remnants. I still have to push myself to call people, and I still, sometimes, don’t pick up the phone if I’m not sure who it is trying to reach me on the other end of the line.

Hence the last item on my resolutions list.