Friday, November 16, 2012

Rays of love plunging

The light came through the window,
Straight from the sun above,
And so inside my little room
There plunged the rays of Love.

In streams of light I clearly saw
The dust you seldom see,
Out of which the Nameless makes
A Name for one like me.
I have been fortunate to have had a few days at home to rest, we have had the Islamic New Year, 1434. Things at work are busy and chaotic, and my trusty Pajero Ollie seems to be on his last legs with me and I have had a few bouts of migraine headache.

I have been able to spend some time with a new neighbour and went for a lovely walk by the sea at sunset. The beach was busy, but the atmosphere was relaxed and the fading light glistened softly on the wet sand. As we got back to the car, the sliver of the crescent moon, called ''Hilal'' in Arabic, was bright and prominent.

I had the realisation that sometimes it is only in the darkness, that you appreciate the presence and beauty of the Light, the fireflies on the way.

This song by Leonard Cohen has been another firefly on my recent and ongoing journey through the mist. I listen to it every morning as I get ready after my shower. This week was Diwali, the festival of Lights. I have been thinking a lot about the nature of Light and how our work is to illuminate every facet of ourselves. I read once we are all like perfect diamonds, and our experiences and pain and disappointment in the world, cause us to become all grey and dirty and dusty. We lose our lustre in this world if we are not careful.
How do we maintain the lustre? We nurture ourselves gently and keep polishing softly, trusting the inner Light. Even if we cannot see the road, and cannot comprehend the way, and even if we feel lost, we all have the inner homing beacon that draws us back and keeps us on track.  

Be gentle with yourselves friends, and live in the knowledge of your inner precious diamond.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Through the mist with fire flies

Sometimes as one wanders through the grey glistening mist, it is fine to just let it be and not examine it too closely. I live my life in a very sensory way, and am often very out of myself, perceiving people and personalities and  being hyper aware of the subtle hues of colors and gently vibrating energies all around. Living life very close to my skin, and taking it in completely.
 In recent months the process has been more of a journey inside, and not so easy to describe or to map, so I have let it be.
It always comes back to this somehow, that we are human BEings and not human DOings, and sometimes it is good to just allow everything and everyone to be what they are, including yourself. Mmmm, quite uncomfortable at times, I am sure you all know. Especially for the control freak in me... surrender doesn't come easily. But Surrender with a capital "S" is what the journey within requires.
I was blessed to have many fireflies that crossed my path and accompanied me a little way through the sometimes quite daunting swirling damp white-out, and this is one.
I was walking at an South African market in Johannesburg recently, and was drawn to see a palm reader who stood at one of the stalls. He said many things and gave me the best hug I have had in years, but here is something for you today. The lighthouse doesn't jump around the coastline looking for ships or boats to save; it stays completely stable on its rock in the knowledge of the strength of its own light and foundation, and knows that the vessels that need help will see that light.
I am so tired of trying ''to please'' and ''to be useful''. I think it is a wonderful piece of baggage to throw off with abandonment!
Here is a piece by Paulo Coelho I recently discovered:
Ask a flower in the field: ‘Do you feel useful? After all, you do nothing but produce the same flowers over and over?’
And the flower will answer: ‘I am beautiful, and beauty is my reason for living.’
Ask the river: ‘Do you feel useful, given that all you do is to keep flowing in the same direction?’
And the river will answer: ‘I’m not trying to be useful; I’m trying to be a river.’
Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough, and that makes all the difference.
Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul... Because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step you take.
So, dearest fellow travellers, just be where you are and true to yourself and that is more than enough.
Hester Clark: Your soul knows what is best for you and it WILL tell you.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

On banana bread and being with yourself

"Now that I've found you, I'll call off the search"   ..Katie Melua

I'm sitting in my kitchen thinking about tomorrow and the days and weeks to come.The oven is preheating as I am just about to make lovely banana bread for myself. 

 I'm also thinking of Einstein who said, I never think of the future as it comes quickly enough! I feel a bit like a dog that has been chasing a car for the last 7 months. Now I have finally caught it and I feel slightly bewildered. 
Tomorrow is my last day in the office before a long summer break. It is also the last day in that specific building, a beautiful campus next to the ocean I have been working in for the last three and a half years.

The ''car'' I have caught is TIME. It feels as though I have been rushing forever, for years, always taking short breaks and always leaving home. I also usually work most of the summer. So, this year I have given myself a big gift. Space and time at home. And also two lovely breaks! Those I will tell you about soon.

Now that I am finally on the threshold of the holiday, it feels a little bit scary. The open space and time seems daunting. My life has been so super regulated and timetabled: working hours, yoga, German, the man... all nicely pencilled into my diary and ticked off methodically.

 I have so many things I want to do: I am on a mission to throw out, lighten the load, and also create some order in my surroundings. 
But most of all, I would like to spend quality time with me. And I think my biggest plan of all consists of doing nothing mostly.
Today I came home and cooked myself a scrambled egg with asparagus and parmesan, I watered parts of the garden and then sat in the pool with a cup of tea, listening to the call to prayer. It is Ramadan and life has slowed down. Things seem to happen in slow motion, and it is a good feeling if you don’t mind that for a while.
Usually, I play that song by Katie Melua when I feel so blessed to have found such a wonderful companion in my loved one. Tonight I play it for myself.
Dear friend, wishing you open spaces and time to do nothing except be with yourself.

Here’s the recipe by the way, it is one I use regularly.

·         3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
·         1/3 cup melted butter
·         1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
·         1 egg, beaten
·         1 teaspoon vanilla
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         Pinch of salt
·         1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last and mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve. YUM!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The guesthouse

Dear friends, I'll be back soon, the potions are simmering. Until then, entertain all guests with grace.
The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Friday, June 29, 2012

A falcon, a storm or a great song

"I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm,
or a great song."
 from "The Seeker," a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)

I had a beautiful girlie day yesterday with two of my favourite ladies -going to yoga and then for a luxurious masssage, followed by a yummy lunch, a dip in my pool and then just sitting outside by candle light talking about this and that, enjoying the quiet and the privacy of the garden.

I am having a lovely calm contented day, pottering around in my things and tidying up a bit. New courses starting at the university tomorrow, thinking about them. Going on a little fun shopping expedition to the mall with my girlfriend Monica later this afternoon. Shopping is not usually my thing, but Monica is a great  companion, and I am going to spoil myself a little to celebrate my promotion at work.

My home is in a state of disarray and I look forward to tackling it properly soon. I have a long "to do" list circling around my head. My body is tired and a little achy today. My loved one is in China and he is much in my thoughts. But it is a good kind of longing.

I am thinking about all the layers we live in, all the roles we play at one time, all the dimensions we frequent, and I am brought home with the thought that the process of knowing yourself is a life-long quest, and that I am in everything and everything is in me. Part of me is in the falcon, part in the storm and part in the song.

Also in the grass, the desert sand, the wind, the pixels of the letters I type, and in the heart of my lover.

Deep bow to Rilke today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Imaginary problems

Rob Brezsny has outdone himself again with his astrology, and I thought you could all benefit from this advice. Very true words. I suffer from the affliction of "imaginary problemitis" regularly, due to my overactive, very colorful imagination. It is a good example of one of the things that brings me great joy that also has the capacity to cause unnecessary pain. Balance balance balance! Enjoy being yourselves, dear fellow travellers!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "If I had my life to live over," said Nadine Stair at age 85, "I would perhaps have more actual problems, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones."
 I suggest you write out that quote, Capricorn, and keep it close to you for the next six months. Your task, as I see it, will be to train yourself so you can expertly distinguish actual problems from imaginary ones. Part of your work, of course, will be to get in the habit of immediately ejecting any of the imaginary kind the moment you notice them creeping up on you.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

On hanging upside down

Hallo everybody-

We have recently been watching a fantasy television series called the Game of Thrones, quite a good one, we certainly got sucked in, after being quite sceptical initially. The reason I mention this is because I had the kind of day in which I felt I had a little fire-spitting dragon on my shoulder, searing my brain with stupid unconstructive negative thoughts, and burning my eyes with the smoke. I kept throwing the little creature off, only to find him clinging on again like an angry lizard a few minutes later. 

I had a good presentation today, prepared with the help of my super trusty loved one, and although I was busy, it was a good day, things flowed well. Yet still this little monster by my ear would not let me be. Whispering doubts from the past, uncertainties from the future and generally spoiling the now.   I dressed for yoga with my eyes welling with tears, and was determined to go and do a good job of it, flinging this thing off me by swinging upside down long enough on the ropes.

I walked into Shilpa's courtyard where the people sat waiting and noticed that 4 of the ladies were wearing different shades of pink T-shirt, very pleasing. The chrysanthemums in the flower bed were a wonderful cerise pink too. Suddenly I had the feeling they were calling me. I was drawn to sit on my haunches beside them and look closely at their beauty. You guys are going to think I am going a bit balmy with all these stories of voices, but I am sure I heard them whispering to me, "Be gentle, be gentle, be gentle". Maybe it was a message from  the fairies living under their petal canopies.
I immediately relaxed, drawn into the natural world, feeling their wonder.

The baby dragon started giving cute little snores on my shoulder, and when he fell off as I was hanging upside down in the ropes, I gentle picked him up and carried him to the car. He was after all a reminder of my humanness, my vulnerability, my fallibility, my tendency to think too much, to worry in the early morning hours, to be jealous for no reason, to entertain unnecessary drama. I am a human and he is part of me, if I treat him gently and with compassion, he will be an asset, a teacher to me. He, too, holds a certain beauty.

Be gentle with yourselves, dear companions, and accept your imperfection, it is often this very vulnerability that makes us strong to live in this world.