I am always reminded how much better I feel on all levels--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually--when I practice yoga in the morning. I do not have to do it first thing, but if I do a full yoga practice within an hour or so of awakening, the day begins positively. Whether I carry out a long or short practice, it doesn't matter. A short practice could be one round of a sun salution, which takes less than 2 minutes. A long practice may include a sun salution and other poses, followed by pranayama and short awareness meditation, but I can still keep that to 10 minutes. Today, I completed two rounds of Surya Namaskar, followed by Pranayama (Kapalabhati, Bhastrika, Nadi Shodanham, 3-part diaphragmatic breathing, and 1:2 breathing), and ending with a few minutes of breath awareness and body awareness meditation. All of this took only 30 minutes. The point is, I do not currently have any major commitments, so I can certainly commit 10-30 minutes each morning to yoga practice. It's so worth it and my body is grateful. Then I can move into an upward spiral instead of falling down the black hole I keep tripping into.
A slight edit to the sign, but hey why not!
My Daily Gratitude posts are past due! I will begin with gratitude for remembering to start writing them again!
I am grateful to be in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; it's a dream come true and a goal achieved! In fact, upon consideration, what I am living is a dream! Here am I, unshackled. I can do what I want, which is what I am doing! I am living in a country that is safe and sane, and after experiencing both America and China, I am truly grateful to be out of both! I am grateful for the clean air and clean streets, clean water and clean food. The people here are so nice and polite--I keep waiting for these mannerisms to halt, but it seems their attitudes of openness and welcoming and courtesy are both endemic and long-standing. I am so grateful to be here in Melbourne and get to experience this culture!
I am grateful to have discovered a new lifestyle which I get to experience for a while. Who knows how long? Once my income stream starts flowing again, it might be years! I'm so grateful to have learned about the caretaking opportunities! Travel without the expense of accommodation and the time and freedom to write and relax are only a few of the benifits! I get to explore new countries and cultures and get free accommodation in exchange for taking care of property or pets. It seems like I am the one receiving the greatest gift in this arrangement.
I'm grateful for all the delicious foods and conveniences that were missing the past year-and-a-half in China. Actually, China has a lot of conveniences, but it's a trade-off because so much is given up in return (freedom, clean air and water, etc.). I had yogurt for the first time recently. Who would ever think that a person could be thrilled at the taste and feel of yogurt in their mouth? Well, you can! Melbourne is uber multicultural and the cuisine is fantastic! I can attend Bikram yoga again! I can ride my bike without the fear of being attacked by aggressive idiots. I can walk everywhere and not inhale cigarette smoke. I can take the train, tram, or bus all over the city-- and the vehicles are clean and the people don't shove or become rude. Smoking is not allowed in the train station (or inside anywhere and in many public spaces) and it's not an overcrowded mob of people spitting, pushing, yelling into their phone, or smoking! I lm so grateful that I inhale fresh air and flower perfume for hours each day instead of being choked by air pollution, vehicle exhaust, and cigarette smoke!
Springtime is incredible in Melbourne (seasons are opposite to the other side of the world) with so many varieties of flowers abloom! The colors and scents are delightful. I left China as fall and winter were approaching, and arrived in Australia as winter ended and spring began! I am grateful to inhale the sweet smell of greenery and blooms instead of cigarettes and exhaust (this can't be said enough!) It's also quieter: even the traffic noise on busier streets isn't an overload to the ears. In fact, this city of 5 million seems like a small city or large town because most of the buildings are less than 5 stories, which lets so much sun in to shine down upon the streets and sidewalks. The buildings downtown are detailed by modernity, brightly colored, and attractive to view, instead of hard-angled, uniform blocks of grey and brown that block out all the sun and fresh air.
Melbourne is a beautiful city and I am so grateful to be here!
Is it the first time I have felt grateful since my last gratitude post several months back, or have I just forgotten/neglected to write down reasons I feel gratitude since then? Who knows, but I choose not to judge myself. That becomes reason Number 1: I am grateful that I am writing this post without harsh self-criticism for not posting in so long! I am grateful I started the MSBR course because it is making a huge difference in how I feel on a daily basis. I am also grateful I started another form of "self-care therapy" which is really helping. I needed help to stop my mind from its continuous negative looping. The massive weight of fatigue and I-have-no-energy has passed, finally. I just needed one little door to open and shed some light so that I could have a small breakthrough and freedom from the stressful thoughts I have about work ... worries about my contracting ending and getting a new visa ... prepping for my trek ... all the other To-Dos that run through my mind continually and only turn off if I numb out with a movie and food or drink. So I am grateful for this reprieve that I have received since last week.
I am grateful I decided to go on this monumental journey I have planned next month! (next month!!!)! I am grateful I decided to take time off and give myself a much needed restoration break. I am grateful I have the courage and determination to pursue my writing career 10 years ahead of schedule (actually the original date was sometime in the future when I finally have the time). I am grateful I have money saved to be able to take time off. I am grateful there are options for me to work remotely while I pursue this dream and goal. I am grateful I found a place to store my stuff while I travel. I am grateful for a good friend I have here in Chengdu. I am grateful for my plants. I am grateful for the cool trekking gear I've purchased. I'm grateful for all that I've learned while researching my trek. I'm grateful that today -- and now -- I feel better!
I couldn't decide what to write this morning, then the thought that I really need some gratitude struck me! Especially with current events at school and in my personal life!
I am grateful to be able to pause and be aware--and more so, to be willing-- to look inside and try to discover why I was feeling a certain way and the origins of the feeling(s). This delving gave me greater insight into my motivations and protection mechanisms--my actions. A long walk late Saturday night gave me the gift of time and space and silence to help me determine something I wanted in this particular situation too. I am grateful to gain clarity in what I want and what I don't want. And then rises the head of awareness, stringing attachment along on a leash, mentioning, don't want or want, just be.... aaargh.
I am grateful that I have a job, even if I don't like it much. I love the kids and I'm grateful for them. I am grateful for the parents that have faith in me and appreciate me. I am grateful for my apartment because it is comfortable and cozy and I am used to it, even though I am wiling to let the "luxury" go.
I am grateful for old friends and new, and old friends who have re-emerged into my life. I am grateful for yoga and that I am doing it!
I am grateful!
I am grateful for the new habits and rebirth of former good habits that have set me on my way down my path of evolution once again. Of course, I have always been on the path, I just became distracted now and then or got stuck in a mud pit for a while. Now I am out!
I have been doing a bit of pranayama and meditation before bed. Rising and drinking warm tea before my feet hit the floor. The one change of drinking something warm to hot as I arise is a Life Changer itself! Both physically and energetically it stokes my life fire and starts my fires burning for the day. As the warmth spreads from the physical plane to the spiritual and emotional, I am filled with positive energy and a look-foward-ness to the day.
Photo of Himalayan Institute ceramic neti pot kit. I have a plastic travel version that I have used since 2006!--I have been doing net jala daily as part of my morning ablution routine for 13 years! Fine sea salt or pharmacy grade salt works too. Nasya with Ayurvedic oil is a great addition to seasonal cleansing.
After morning ablutions, including neti jala (nasal cleansing with salt water), I sit down on my yoga mat and begin my practice. Today, it lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes, which was wonderful! My goal is one hour each morning before work, excluding Mondays. On Monday, a quick round of OMs and sun salutations to start the day, and if there is time, prana and meditation.
I have modified my asana-pranayama-meditation routine to include some techniques I learned or was reminded of in Rishikesh by my wonderful yoga teachers, Vivek and Sanjay. Vivek reminds students to have a "smiley face" and begins and ends his classes with 11-21 OM chants. He reminds us at the end of this chanting periods to "Feel OM" and that "OM clears negative energy". As I chant OM to open and close my practice, I repeat the thought: "I am clearing negative energy. I am opening to positive energy." After asana, I did pranayama: khapalabhati, bhastrika, and nadi shodanham. Then I meditated on Saraswati, goddess of wisdom: "I honour my inner wisdom".
Click "Read More" to the right for pranayama video and more!
It's not who I was.
It's who I am... and That I AM has the combined potential of all the Universe to become all that I WILL BE!
It's been over one year since I left the U.S.A for China, by way of Paris. This means it has been over one year since I ran! Aarrgh. But that time is gone, so why lament? I have Now. I Am Now!
I pulled on my running shoes with the intention of meeting my former Self. I boarded my treadmill prepared to depart the past and create someone new, or to paraphrase Mooji, unbecoming to be my Self. I warmed up to run toward freedom, to run toward my Self.
I celebrated the past year by picking up --once again-- one of my best habits. The one I left in Texas. I ran 2.4 km. (1.5 mi.) after intending to run 1 mile! I am addicted again!! This is what three weeks in Rishikesh has gifted me: freedom, uncovering my Self again, and physical health. I am so grateful. As I looked out onto a half-built condo construction site, as grey as the polluted skies of this city, I thought to myself: my physical health, my emotional well-being, and my mental faculties DESERVE more than this polluted, overcrowded, nature-less mega-opolis!
Look out, because when I am running. I can do anything!
And I truly feel EMPOWERED once again-- physically, emotionally, psychologically. I found the answer, and it helped me transform--not back into my Old Self, because that Self is in the past -- into my Truth, which is my Eternal Self. Changeless and Immortal. And the physical part loves running! And now I can't stop!! Yay!
I have found my yoga again. I have found my Self again. I have found the Runner again. I am so grateful!
I am an August Virgo. I am Sun Wukong, the monkey sign. I am a Goddess.
I am grateful that I have only 5 more days of school until I get a 3 week break! I am grateful to visit India! I leave Chengdu at 12:50am Friday night (actually Sat. AM) and have 17 full days in Tapovan, which is the village just outside of Rishikesh where I will be staying at Maa Yoga Ashram! maayogashram.com/
Two weeks of pancha karma - healing and restorative treatments! And only $850! I have wanted to take part in a pancha karma retreat since I first learned about these healing and rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatment therapies when I lived at the Himalayan Institute Ashram in Pennsylvania--so long ago - in 2006-2007!
The flight's going to be a long one: 15.5 hours from Chengdu to Dehradun airport in Uttarakhand (the Indian state). I have 3 connections: in Bangkok, Kolkata, and New Delhi, before arriving Dehradun (airport code is DED, hahaha) and a one hour taxi ride to the outskirts of Rishikesh! My flight back is only 10.25 hrs. with a stop in Delhi and Kathmandu (I wish I could just stay in Kathmandu... or btw, there is a school hiring in Kathmandu, Nepal for next year... hmm...!)
I am grateful that I am moving forward and having shaken off the inertia that has kept me bound for so many months. I am creating my usual Pros and Cons List for everything: leaving my current school vs. staying, leaving China vs. staying, etc. Even though it's been hard as hell here, I really do NOT want to leave China. I would definitely like to get out of this polluted city and move to a smaller, more mountainous town with clean air and access to nature! I happen to have found a school hiring in Yunnan province, which is south and west of Sichuan, and the capital, Kunming, has only 6 million people, warmer temps and mild winters (50s-80s!), no air pollution, and is in the midst of mountains - in fact it sits at 1600 km.!
So while it is a little scary and I worry about getting another job, I have hope and positivity! Just the thought that I won't have to go into this morass of negativity every morning, or as other teachers like to call our school, "The Black Hole". The Waldorf schools here in Chengdu looked so promising, but I think it's a Chinese school, so that would be an ESL job, which I am not interested in! I really have a keen eye toward the post in Yunnan, if it meets my requirements. I will make sure the website is not BS (like my school's is - not nature oriented, not holistic, no outdoor time... nothing promised delivered (slight exaggeration), except the hours and salary!
I keep intending to do my intentions, but they aren't getting done! I can't seem to get mojo back.
I've set up a sweet self-care spreadsheet with a checklist of intentions and action items for each day. One part is exercise, another is self-care, and the third part is social engagement. One of my daily habits is to write a gratitude post. So even when I awaken and feel a deep sense of dread about the day --due to work-- I can come up with a few things that help me regain some positivity and motivation, gratitude and hope. Unfortunately, the past few years have rewired my brain toward despondent, negative thinking patterns, so the easiest, already tread path is the dark one. I'm trying to create behaviors and thought patterns to undo that damage, and create new pathways for happiness--again.
I'm having a lot of second thoughts about being in China, specifically as a result of this job that is so unsatisfying and demoralizing. I do not want a major transition in my life again; living in China presents daily challenges and hardships, so I really wanted my second year to be a breeze, or at least without so many illnesses, injuries, and struggles--maybe like one a month or ever few months... please, Universe? But I'm having to face the fact that I need to start looking for a new job, and possibly leaving China if I can't find something suitable... in a more temperate city ... with clean air. Sigh.
I've created some coping mechanisms that have become habits that I can't seem to escape-- they prevent me from moving upward, forward... or just moving. Each day I intend to undo them and act differently--each day I feel failure.
But I will continue trying, because there is only one alternative, and I haven't figured out how to be successful at that yet either.
I find it harder and harder to find aspects of this job for which I can offer gratitude. I guess one would be the fact that it is a job; that's a good starting point. It is an IB job, so I have that to add to my resume. Having a job after struggling so much to get one in Austin is something for which I am grateful. I am not scraping by, living in poverty, terrified of what comes next when my money runs out. I've built up some savings and spent a lot on travel around China and now I am going to India!!! I've created a nice home space for myself; each time the door closes me in, I feel safe again and comfortable hygge in my home space.
I do have many things for which to be grateful afterall, and I just have to start writing to gather momentum. I've found a great TCM Dr. who is leading me in a new direction and helping me transition to a new phase in life. I have a couple of good friends here, at least one of which I will remain in contact with even after we go separate ways to new countries.
Finally, my intentions are there each day for me to attempt again. Even if it's only one a day--such as this gratitude post--that is one that I fulfill. And the biggest gratitude is that I only have to survive TWO more days in this week, and then another 5 next week and I will be away from the negative environment of school for 23 days!! Yay!
I am so grateful there are only 13 more days until I will be in the sunshine and holy lands of Rishikesh! I am so grateful I decided to go on another life changing trip. I have created daily and weekly intentions in the form of a checklist, to help me move through this phase of inertia: "a body in motion tends to stay in motion; a body at rest stays at rest".
Another book "came" to me at the right time, reminding me that I still need help with past trauma and current stresses; AKA Living in China. The "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Mindfulness Toolbox", written by Richard Sears, reminds me that I am doing the best I can, and a lot of what is going on and has happened is not my fault. This knowledge relieves so much guilt and self-accusation, without removing the responsibility I have to change my life for the better. Unless you have or have had PTSD, GAD, MD, then you cannot possibly understand what it is like to live with the CrazyTrain of Thoughts that stick in your head and make you think you are crazy. Even I forget that many of these manifest due to physical or neurological causes that are waaaay beyond my control. Self-blame leads to self-criticism, etc. etc. It's such a cycle and I forget the tools I have or can't find them for whatever reason. So I am really grateful that this book popped up when I was researching another...
I am grateful today that in 4 days the hell that is a Chinese Kindergarten performance will be over. I am hoping to be strong this week, and try not to over react, and take care of myself. I can do Mindfulness Meditations during lunch, and I'm getting a massage after school! I can do this!
I am grateful for my home and friends. I am grateful for connections here in Chengdu. I am grateful for sushi pigs at Ito-Yokado that make me laugh. I am grateful for all the kiddos I work with, who are fun and funny. I am grateful for my job, even if it causes so much struggle and stress--it affords me a nice life here in China.
... needs radical self-care! Getting a start on 2019 early, with a new self-care plan!