Friday, 14 June 2019

the trials and tribulations of moving house

                                   Related image

I've moved! 

Yet again. Off into the hills. I'm gonna be a hill-billy. Not. But, yes, high up in the Waitakere ranges, which I love. I love those ranges. I even love the wind and rain that they bring. Well, sometimes I do. My new-to-me tiny abode is a cottage with panoramic views. Like a bedsit, really. Or, is it a cabin? Lucky, lucky me. It has a little veranda for early morning meditation. I am so excited about it.

letting go of more 'stuff'

I didn't have much stuff to move, because well, I actually don't have much 'stuff'. Nevertheless, I did have to let a lot of my belongings go. I'm going from a house to a tiny cottage, so unnecessary items have had to be disposed of. A van of useful items, plus some books and clothes, for the Salvation Army. Bedding and odd bits of furniture to a niece. Furniture to a sister. And now that I am unpacking in wee abode, I am discovering that, ahem, I do have way too many belongings. More op-shop drop-offs are in order. 

Why do we keep stuff?

What did intrigue me, was wondering: why do we keep some things? I'm not a hoarder, so I don't keep much in case I might need things at some time, which is the definition of hoarding. So, what do I keep? I thought that I was practical in this area, but now evidence is showing me otherwise. I keep:
  • the clothes that I do wear, as opposed to 'might wear'. It has taken me a fair few years to get to being like this with clothes, so I definitely used to be a hoarder in this area of life
  • just enough kitchen crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils. I don't have parties and such so I don't need much in this area, but, alas I am busy disposing of more things
  • some photos and special cards from family. My photos went to live with one of my kids, so I know where they are if I want to reminisce. I am rather sentimental
  • my yoga folders. Some of the courses that I've written and presented over the decades. Much of this I have given away, as it's all embedded inside of me anyway, but I now know that some more must depart
  • a massive aura healing folder. Um, yes, this is hoarding. I don't do nor teach, this anymore, and this too, is ensconced inside of me
  • my Maori healing workbooks. These are definitely staying
  • my beloved vintage yoga books. It will be hard letting go of these, but there is no room for them (big sigh)
  • books which are trivial. I am going to keep some as I enjoy them. In my working life, I do serious and deeply meaningful things, like healing, and clairvoyance, and teaching spiritual yoga. I need books to read which are exactly the opposite. They help me unwind 
What do all of my keeping belongings, say? What do yours' say?  And, to me this was an epiphany: do my belongs say whom I really am? Other than a bit of a hoarder who thought that she wasn't one. To a real gather of unnecessary belongings, what I actually do have is laughable, inconsequential. 

Do my belongings give a clue as to my real personality? Or, do I use them to hide behind? Something for moi to ponder.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

winter is here

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winter has made a dramatic entrance

Storms. Cold. It all happened very quickly. As our seasonal changes here in New Zealand are apt to do. But today the sun is back out. The cold is still here. Today is 'pull out my warm jumpers and hoodie' day. 

winter has it's own majesty

I do feel that winter has it's own charm, though. Even if sometimes we forget this.

  • it's a time when we can sort of hibernate. Rest and restore. Early nights. 
  • For those who are lucky to have a fireplace; this is so special and cosy.
  • There is something that I love about being inside when the trees are swaying in the wind, and I can hear the rain on the roof
  • Even though being outside in this is not quite as nice, but that's just me, I still go for a walk, even just a short one, most days. And in winter, having a brisk promenade seems to help ward off winter bugs.

winter clothes

  • I really would like some ankle boots this year. I find it really hard to get footwear that actually fits me properly and comfortably. So a few shopping expeditions are in order to get these booties.
  • One of my grand-daughters bought me a beautiful wool navy wrap a couple of years ago. I feel that I shall get many more years use out of it.
  • Similarly, my jackets and coats seem to go on forever, Methinks that the time has come to perhaps update them.
  • A beanie is invaluable. And wool gloves. Woolen scarf.
  • I have been on the look-out for a warm poncho for ages. I am really short so things like wraps and ponchos can look somewhat ridiculous on me. Almost as though you can't find me under those garments. So it takes ages to find nice ones that flatter me.
  • I always have a small foldup umbrella. I used to get really good ones but as they don't do so well in sudden gales, I have resorted to cheaper ones. Plus a bigger one. Those ugly golf ones actually are ideal, and maybe one day I shall get one.
  • I like richer colours in winter. 

Today will be busy, scrambling through my boxes (I'm moving so have packed many of my clothes away) to assemble a winter wardrobe.

winter food

I love soup and have it most of the year. I always think how chic it would be to make soups using a tin of tomatoes, but as I'm allergic to them, I just mostly use vegetables. Good comfort food.

I often fondly remember winter food, growing up in my teens, at  my Nanna's. Steak and kidney pie, steamed puddings (golden syrup; jam  - both so yummy), roasts. Food heaven. I don't eat much meat so I wouldn't cook those meals now, but I did love them. 

I intend to use my wee slow cooker more, for legume and grain soups, and bean casseroles. Coming home out of the cold, opening the door and smelling warm, fragrant food is just such a treat. I have a very glamorous friend who does this most days. She says that it's just so easy to do.

My soaked muesli has quickly turned into porridge. I prefer cooked food, so autumn and winter foods really suit me. 

What suits you for winter? I find it helpful to eat according to the seasons, and also eating local foods which are grown in the season that we are in. It just seems more natural to me. 

Thursday, 23 May 2019

when life is topsy turvy

                    Image result for chaos and harmony

topsy turvy; upside down; things going awry; whatever

Sometimes it just happens. Everything goes crazy. And lots of things happen. All at once. And not easy; just darned difficult. How on earth do we get through it all?

I think that we just cope and do our best. Even if the coping is a bit suss, and our best is not that great but is only what we can do at the time. Sometimes we just have to let go and step into a new abyss of change and confusion. Because we can't actually stop it.

abyss: deep chasm; situation of catastrophe

Of course I am talking about moi, here. Getting across a bottomless chasm; coping with fast chaos, everything going wrong, left, right and centre. All at once. Spinning like a top, doing my best. After all, what else can one do?

But I can also get all New Agey, which actually I really dislike doing. Being a New Age person. In these instances, though, I remember something that Stuart Wilde said. This man was New Age before everyone else. He called such a situation a Quickening. When things speed up. So fast that we feel as though we are reeling. And it's all to do with change. Of course. I have experienced it so often. Sometimes it feels as though The Universe is pushing us into a direction, by making things so difficult that we must go the only way that is clear, for us. Which ironically, is the way that we were supposed to be going anyway. 

This is like a cosmic trick. And a very clever one, at that.

Why? O why does this happen, O Universe?

Now, I must clarify myself here: I have often felt that The Universe in all of it's unknown majesty and glory, might just just have more important things to do, than worry about me. You know, new nebulae, new galaxies, cosmic storms, different levels of Life, parallel Universes. I mean, when I look at all of these, my wants and needs do fade somewhat, into the ether. I am just not a universal priority.

But in the moi-iverse, (or, it's all about me), each of us is a priority. And, within this, and is this just me? Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we forget that we might be going down the wrong road in our Life. I do clairvoyant readings where people come and ask Highly Meaningful Things, like: what direction should I be taking? And I answer. Clairvoyantly, of course. About the Right Path for that person.

Sometimes I am quite sure that I need a Secret Me to do just that. I might know when I'm not on the right path, but having this Me to hassle me along would be wonderful. Saying Important Things things like: 

  • tumultuous stuff coming, but it won't last
  • clearing the decks of what is not needed for you
  • things will get better
  • all things must pass (another of Mum's, and now my, sayings)
  • be grateful
  • get some sleep
  • eat better
  • have faith in yourself

Ah yes, I definitely need a Me.

Monday, 13 May 2019

making life easier

                             Image result for charlie brown sayings

famous advice

I was reading advice from two quite different celebrities, recently. Both were saying that:
  • be nice
  • be kind
And it reminded me of some interesting celebrity gossip from a friend, about thirteen years ago. He had worked with and  photographed many famous celebrities during his years working in New York. Think Mariah Carey. Beyonce. Just to name a couple. He said that one thing that stood out about the more successful people was something that they all did, that they all were:

the more successful people are the nicest people

And he told me about a well-known actress who desperately wanted to be a top star, but never quite got there. He said that she actually wasn't very nice, and he was quite clear that this was why she couldn't get the stardom that she was after. And, she is known a very good actress.

Now, we are not all going to go after the rich-and-famous lifestyle, but the message here is so important. 

if we want to get on in life, it helps to be nice. and kind

I actually don't think that this is a good enough reason to be a decent person, I feel that it's just better for us, if we are. But, the parallels here are glaringly obvious. 

Although, I have had many times in my life when being a decent person just wasn't helping. Detrimental, even. And really this was just big sign to move away from some people, away from some situations. Not to stop being me, but just remove myself. 

I like to feel good about myself. Not in an egotistical way, though. I just don't want to be a mean person. I like to be able to go to sleep with a clear conscience, and the best way to do that, I've found, is to be a decent person. Kindness is free. And we have, I feel, an inexhaustible supply of it. And yes, sometimes it's been misguided for me to be kind in some situations, but I still feel better about myself taking The High Road, in life. Sometimes, for me, being kind has been mistaken by someone else, as me being weak. But, it's much stronger, I feel, to stick to my guns, and be someone whom I like, and whom I can live with.

mum's legacy

My mum used to always say the most annoying things, like:
  • walk a mile in their shoes', if we criticised someone
  • 'I used to complain about my shoes (for example), then I met a man who had no feet', if we whined about not having something (and we truly didn't have much), or if we had a trivial complaint
  • 'don't be like that, dear', if we said something mean

All of this inadvert sage advice, it did seep in. As a child, in my later teens, and as a young mum, I hated it. Inwards groaning and all that whenever these platitudes got trotted out. (there were lots more). And now, horror of horrors: I now say stuff like that too! Worse, I also understand why and how these sayings came about. Mum was always doing quiet good turns for people whose lives were not good. I think that she truly understood kindness. I was so  proud of her.

Why am I writing about kindness and Mum, today? I dreamed of her, this morning. On Mothers Day. She has been gone for many years. 

I now have my own annoying advice that I repeatedly voice to all and sundry:

follow your heart, for your heart does not lie

we never truly know another's story (so don't be so quick to judge another)

Saturday, 4 May 2019

three types of movement for youthfulness

                                  Image result for standing twist pose
                                            (standing spinal twist)

It's a bit silly of me to write that, really, because of course there are so many different ways to move our body to stay youthful. This is really about three group types of exercise.

flexibility exercises

These really are about warming up the body prior to exercise. And really, we can warm up in many ways. For example:

  • walking: walk a bit slower to start with to warm up the body
  • lifting weights, such as doing, say, 10 repetitions of arm movements like triceps curls, with 500 grams to five kilos of weights: do a set of ten (for example) with no weights, then do your next set with the weights. The set without the weights is your warm up for that exercise and you do it in this way for each exercise for each muscle group
  • with yoga, many hold relaxed stretches with deep breathing before the yoga workout. I prefer for myself, and as a teacher, to do movements which loosen and warm up the body. The two main areas to loosen are to do with joints, mainly the shoulders and hips: I recommend shoulder circles or wide arm circles; and for the hips: sway hips from side to side, push them backwards and forwards.  

When we are out of condition, have been unwell or injured, I would say to focus on generally moving around, and do mainly flexibility and mobility movements to repair your body and restore movement.

I would say to never underestimate these types of movements.

Mobility exercise
Some flexibility movements are called mobility exercises. Mobility exercises do just what the name suggests: they keep us mobile. It's quite common, as we get older, for us to have:
  • stiff shoulders and/or rounded upper back: hold a stretchy band or piece of cloth, taut, raise arms up and take them overhead, as far back and wide as you can, then return.
  • weak ankles: go up and down on your toes to strengthen your ankles
  • hip problems, especially with opening the hips: do the above hip movements
  • rounded and/or stiff upper back: it's helpful to have good movement here, and some stretches, which open up the chest, especially in yoga, are very beneficial. Like camel pose. A tight chest is not helpful, it restricts breathing, thereby making us tired. It also makes twisting more difficult. Not many people realise that the main part of twisting the spine is in the area called the thoracic spine. I recommend slowly flinging your arms wide and straight out at shoulder level as you twist to one side, focusing the twist in the thoracic area, return to start then do the other side. Do several turns. 

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Quite a few yoga poses can be done rhythmically, rather than just holding them as a stretch, to warm up the body prior to stretching, doing yoga poses, lifting weights, or doing calisthenics, as in this reclining spinal twist (above), taking the knees from side to side.   

                    Image result for camel pose
                                           (camel pose)

Yoga, or stretching

First up, yoga is not just about stretching. But, yes, we can stretch a lot in the postures. Yoga can improve the shape, and grace, of our body. What does grace of body mean? It is that we move gracefully, and this is done quite naturally. Stretching regenerates our skin. The more traditional poses work strongly on our glands, so that we have better hormone regulation, and this is very rejuvenating.

The poses can be done:
  • seated
  • lying on the back, front or side
  • all fours
  • standing
They are grouped as: 
  • balance
  • backward bending
  • forward bending
  • twisting
  • up-side down
A wonderful older yoga teacher, called Yogi Chi-uh, said in a talk which I went to when I was quite young, that everyday she did one each of these, and she varied them each day: backwards, forwards, twist, up-side down. This was how she restored her body from being arthritic in a wheel chair. She inspired me. Forever. 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

why have discipline?

                               Image result for vintage french magazine woman working
             (a bit of discipline gives us time to do what we love)

why have any discipline?

For myself, I go through periods of being disciplined. Then not. Followed by disliking the results of not being disciplined, so rapidly returning to being disciplined. For myself, why do I keep returning to discipline?

having some disciplines gives us freedom

I truly believe that having some disciplines in our life, sets us free, on lots of levels. By having things that we 'have' to do means quite simply, that we get things done. I know that if I don't make my bed in the morning, for example, then mysteriously, my whole day just gets messier. It's become a famous thing, to make our bed in the morning, first thing. So strange. I thought that we all made our bed every day. But apparently not. Making our bed, properly, is supposed to set us up for getting our tasks done each day. And, yes, this does work. Sometimes I just get up and get going, with a walk, or meditation, then come back and do it. Sometimes I actually just forget. But, almost every day I like to make my bed. And when I don't, there is truly something upsetting me. It's what gives the signal about me. I wonder if it's the same for others?

a bit of discipline reduces choice fatigue

Now this is truly interesting. It seems that we have a limit on the amount of good choices that we make all day. Which is why our choices can get worse over the day. A good example here is with dieting. If we haven't got a (rough) food plan, as the day goes on and we are choosing what and when we eat, we weirdly start making bad choices. I can certainly attest to that! Then we start to believe that we have self-sabotaged in this area. Maybe we have. But maybe, just maybe, we have used up our good choice-making ability for the day. 

Studies have shown that many slim people eat at roughly the same times every day. Whether they are hungry or not. They just eat less if they aren't hungry. And more if they are. They also tend to eat roughly the same foods, over and over. Reading this I see two things: regularity, which can also be discipline, in this case, discipline, and making less choices. Whether consciously or not.

a few disciplines gives us more time

Having some disciplines, gives us more time to do other things. That's how we can fit in the things that matter to us. The important aspects of our lives have been dealt with. Done and dusted.

regularly doing the same things here and there, means less upkeep

Having a few regular disciplines means that we have less repairs and maintenance, or we could call it upkeep. Examples could be:

  • we prepare meals for our family, rather than giving them takeaways or junk foods. In this way, we are maintaining their health
  • by keeping our home or workplace fairly clean and tidy, we need to do less emergency cleaning
  • having a small skin care routine means that we don't, at some stage of our life, look in the mirror and have a mini breakdown over the state of our skin
  • having some exercise that we do regularly keeps us healthier, rather than having to go into panic-extreme-exercise mode

a bit of discipline makes our lives nicer

And less stressful. I don't have many disciplines, or routines, but I do have a few for my life. They suit me. And this I think, is an important key to discipline:

any disciplines, routines, should suit oneself and one's own life

The other aspects that I think matter, are:

not being too rigid with our routines, and not having too many

because Life is for Living. And enjoying, too

Thursday, 18 April 2019

On being more youthful

                   Image result for london vintage showgirl dancing
                                     (vintage Windmill dancers)

Continuing on from last week. I also have many other posts on this topic.

What is the best sort of movement for youthfulness? 

I truly believe that there needs to be several goals, with exercise, to stay youthful:

muscle tone

After we turn thirty, our muscle-to-fat ration decreases. Over the decades, we very slowly start getting more fat than muscle. We can end up skinny fat, if we are slender, and don't build up our muscles. Which means that we can stay the same shape, weight, and size, but inside, under the skin, we can get less muscle, and more fat.

And when we put on weight, over the years, generally we are not putting on muscle.

So what can we do? What sort of exercise maintains muscle tone, and what builds muscles?

If we are in reasonable shape to start with, toning is excellent, with:

  • light weights
  • pilates
  • yoga where you are doing strong poses like warriors, downward dog, and planks
  • exercises using our own body weight like squats, push ups and crunches
  • sports where you are using your body

It's about keeping in shape, in this case, and not much is needed. But sometimes when we are flabby, we need more. Such as:

  • heavier weights
  • gym machines

Muscles are indeed a big part of the fountain of youth. 

My present routine

I am now seriously considering joining a gym, probably in about a month's time, when I can free up my time. In the meantime, I am using light weights, yoga, and walking. I also do a small set of flexibility movements nearly every day. They take me five minutes, and I do them as I am not a naturally flexible person (despite the yoga). So that's quite a comprehensive list of exercise. I am doing it all for health reasons, and the feel-good factor. None of it, so far, has helped with weight loss, but hopefully soon that will change. When I am better with my diet (which, actually, is a good food regime).

Posture and movement

Going back to muscle tone here. When we have poor muscle tone, we start to stoop, and can eventually end up with a rounded upper back, and we get shorter. As a yoga teacher, I've always been very conscious of this when I'm teaching, always subtly training people to stand tall. And for myself, too. I can feel the natural tendency to stoop, within myself. (as they say, age is a witch with a 'b') I do work at it, in a casual way, but I am so short (very short), that I really don't want to be any shorter. 

When we have muscles, we also seem to have more energy to move. When I was sick with blood issues, I put on a lot of weight and lost a lot of muscle tone. I could only move slowly,  partly because I was so exhausted, but also because my muscle tone was not good. As soon as I got 'better', I started moving. A bit at a time, as I had been quite debilitated for so long. 

And this is the way to do it, I feel. If we are out of condition for any reason, start slowly. A bit at a time:

  • get up and walk around the house. Frequently 
  • when you can, move a bit more quickly
  • go for walks, even five to ten minutes at a time, until you can manage more

Moving is youthful.

A lovely inspiration

A few years ago, I was teaching yoga at a retirement village to a couple of lovely ladies, and whilst I was waiting for them, an amazing older woman walked past. I saw her and my gaze was riveted. I could not take my eyes off her (I know, I was a scary stalker lady in that instance). She was tall, in her early nineties, and walked like a ballerina. Fluid and expressive. I watched her talking: she was vivacious. 

This lady lived at the village and taught low impact aerobics there. She had been a Windmill showgirl in her younger years, on the stage in London. That would have been quite out of the ordinary in those days! She also was dressed elegantly yet casually. I so want to be like her when I am that age.

She became my new inspiration, as, clearly, her age was not defining her in the way that it defines most people of her age.

Can we do that? Age beautifully? I think so. 

the trials and tribulations of moving house

                                    I've moved!  Yet again. Off into the hills. I'm gonna be a hill-billy. Not. But, yes, high u...