Monday, September 23, 2013

Just a reminder and a cellphone advert

People are good. As much as we'd like to believe that the world and everyone within it are cruel and unfair when the times take a narrow skid against a cliff for us, we need to hold a few things within us to straighten out our skewed perception. 
Again, people are good. Ey but what about all the corruption, and the murders, and wars, and backstabbing, and manipulation? 

Every day as we read the news, watch the news, listen to the news, we are assaulted by all the injustice and chaos our world has to offer, but if there is one thing I have learnt through my worldly travels, and my non-travelling life, is that behind all shifty first impressions, "identities" and closed-minded cultural conditioning, people are generally good. 

Someone you all will meet very soon. Someone very, very good.
Robin Sharma works with many short catch phrases in his revolutionary teachings. One that I have a particular affinity for is: "Be the most generous person you know" 
I will confess here to one of my learning curves being that I can become selfish at times when I'm not mindful, so this statement has turned into a fantastic affirmation of mine. 

I am the most generous person I know. 

Our thoughts create our reality dear friends, so here I say it again. I am the most generous person I know. This is not a statement that means 'I'm more giving than you are, and therefore I am better that you' or 'Me being the most generous person I know means that you guys are dumbed down by my powerful affirmation that I've been repeating to myself three times a day' 
No. It means that I stand to become the best and most giving person I can be, while still standing for my power and for your power. In becoming more aligned to the truer nature of giving, we inspire others to do the same, therefore standing for our power and then others' also.

The below video is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and no fewer number of beautifuls would suffice in this case, because the act and miracle of generosity is displayed in all its glory. This is a Thai cellphone advert which is now making waves on YouTube, similarly titled "The cell phone ad making everyone weep" and "This 3 minute film puts Hollywood films to shame" on many a YouTube video poster. I was teary in the end. It's that gorgeous. We all need a reminder every once in a while that restores our belief in the amazingness and true kindness of the human race. This is one right here.

Glossy eyed? Me too.

P.S I know, I know, so not about Russia, but when something touches me as much as this has, well there really isn't any choice at all.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You have to hand it to the Russians

Russia has always been a place where culture, art and athleticism is revered, even taken to the extreme. It seems that Russians just happen to be brilliant at it all. For the next few weeks while I finish up on my Kilimanjaro memoirs and dedicate myself to my own form of art -my gorgeous violin that is set to play a Grade 7 exam on the 1st October, wish me luck!- I am going to be sharing all things weird and wonderful about the Russians. A little history is going to come in, edging on the more sinister side, but mainly, I will be sharing the amazingness that is Russia and its people. 

The video below has been gathering dust in my Possible Blog Posts folder for almost as much time as it took to built the Kremlin, but today I am overjoyed to share these three mind-blowing young Russian gymnasts with the world. Apologies for the voice in the background. It was really the only version I could find.

Incredible! Those splits, my dear goodness...


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anger into Passion

I pride myself in being a very positive person, even to the point of being described by a friend as "an endless pit of positivity" 
I love feeling happy and I devote myself to living in my natural state of peace, but sometimes, sometimes, I get angry.

It doesn't happen that often, but recently, ahem, tonight included, this uncontrollable rage in the center of my chest is threatening with every beautiful French word in the book to explode and destroy everything in its path. I'm a small person so punching things really doesn't work for me, and though screaming and shouting has been my choice of outlet in the past, I largely don't use that method either. I mean shrieking at people in the middle of class or at school, or rather anywhere out of the car or at home, is generally not observed as a very sane or stable reaction to a bout of anger. But don't you wish we could just get angry, really really angry a bit more? Gosh, I do right now. 
I want to run out on my balcony and let out a war cry which could be studied by historians as the exact howl released before an Ancient Roman-Barbarian pre-battle slaughter. I want to wake up the neighbours, make the dogs bark, give the insects a fright it's so powerful. 


(Grumble, grumble) It didn't work, so it's times like these where I call upon a teaching I've learnt from a very wise group of people. It's called Anger into Passion

We are so used to anger being labelled as bad and something that we should reject, that we are throwing away an extremely potent energy. If we just realized that that power is there for our usewe could profit greatly.

Have you ever been so angry that the only way to let it loose or forget about it was to do something like work or a tasking activity? If your answer is yes or no, the teaching of Anger into Passion can work for you regardless. It entails being angry or annoyed (duh) and then instead of destroying and mucking up your day, using that extreme power to do something that you were possibly resisting or even not, but doing something that needs to be done like an assignment, paying your bills, cleaning or organising. The list can go on and on, but the point is that the strength of anger can be utilized for good and creation. 
Yes, it is quite a hard task to remember in times of utter fury to remember Anger into Passion, but like any habit, it must be initiated and practised into becoming a natural part of your consciousness. 

We can't all be super calm all the time, so when anger strikes, follow this short mental process:

1. Cut off the mind talk immediately e.g "He should apologise!", "That's bullshit!"

2. Feel in your body where the anger lies

3. Pin point a task that can be completed with the anger

4. Do the task without distractions

I will discuss the first point slightly by saying that negative mind talk only becomes an overwhelming presence once we feed it the power of anger that should be utilized for creation and passion. My point, catch yourself and stop it. Stop it? Really?
Yes, really. Once you make a conscious decision that your anger will not be leached by stories and racing thoughts, that decision remains present in your mind. Your mind after all, is your mind, and you are absolutely in control of it. Remember:

So, on this evening I am angry, but by using that anger I have just written an entire blog post (hello all) and am about to start maths. Nifty trick isn't it?


Monday, September 9, 2013

Tough day?

It doesn't matter how determined you were that today was going to be brilliant and enthusiasm was going to pour through your pores, bad days are sticky, hot and annoying little buggers that seem to pop up out of nowhere without a warning. That's why I find on those days that an infusion of happiness in any form I can get it helps to pull me through, because as Gandalf said, "In time, all of this will come to pass" This is a poem I came across by Shane Koyczan called Instructions for a bad day. It was a great helper
to me in a time of great distress, so I gift this gem to you too,
for those kind of days.

May your day be filled with light.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

A 17th Birthday and a funeral

It is a very unique experience to go to a funeral on one's birthday. Few people in the world can say that they ever have. 
I mentioned in my last post A Flutter of Spring that I returned from my trip to Kilimanjaro to find out that a classmate of mine had died, and three days ago I found out when the funeral was. 5th September. My birthday. Oh goodness...

It's been very, very hard these last few days. On the 1st the shock was only setting in, but being around my fellow students and friends really brought it home to me. I've been crying on and off for the last three days, while also having awesome bouts of clarity about this happening. One would think that going to a funeral on one's birthday would make the entire day depressing and somber, but it didn't for me. 

I have a birthday tradition that entails golden balloons, helium ones, hanging in my room on the morning of my birthday, as many as I'm turning that year. This year was no different, and they were as beautiful and bright as their presence always is to me on my special day. I awoke to them, and they adorned my room while I wrote in my journal before my mom brought me breakfast -delicious- and a little bag of gorgeous trinkets, one being a vintage Hemingway book called The Snows of Kilimanjaro. My heart melted. My mom's gifts, for any occasion, are ever thoughtful and absolutely perfect. Eυχαριστώ μαμά, πάρα πάρα πολύ, για όλα. 
Σ 'αγαπώ.

It was time to go to school after, where we would be for two hours before leaving on the bus for the funeral. We didn't do any work if you were wondering. None of us have been in the mood this week, so we sat for a good while just talking about Nicholas and what a fantastic guy he was, reminiscing on all the funny moments and amazing memories we all shared. One wonderful thing that has arisen from this tragedy is that my grade has bound together in support and love, and we have all just been there for one another in this sad time. 

It's a rather curious thing that the same objects we use in celebration of life (birthdays, parties, etc) are used in the context of death and letting go. The day before my birthday, during our last hour of the day we were all called to the auditorium. We knew when our high school psychologist, Fred entered that this had to do with Nicholas. When his parents walked in, the entire grade stood from their seats, in a salute to Nicholas, and in gesture to their loss and our deep sorrow. 

His mother,a wonderful lady, thereupon expressed to us, no tears, Nicholas wouldn't want us to be sad. A few years ago, our school was rocked by another death of a student, so in an effort to aid the mourning process of his fellow students and family, each one of them wrote a short letter to the young man or in whatever manner they felt right. They then tied it to a helium balloon to be set free all together in a giant circle on our field. We decided to do the same for Nicholas.

We all allowed our tears to flow that afternoon while we gathered together and watched the sky alit with the beautiful rainbow colours of our balloons. It was a most lovely way to let go, but also to celebrate his life.

The funeral was not as hard as the previous days had been. The church in which it was held was completely filled, with all the people whose lives had been touched by Nicholas in some way. 

It was quiet too. After the priest's short ceremony, three of his closest friends went up to give their speeches. They spoke of his notorious love for watching a movie at the cinema three to four times over, his adventurous climb of his and his neighbour's roof, a school lunch noodle saga, and all the wonderful and cheerfully funny times of his life. Some of our teachers went up, the most touching being the speech of our Afrikaans teacher. Lastly, his father went up, giving us a stunning tell into what an amazing boy he was and how remarkably wise he had been. Afterwards, wow, what a life that has left us, we all thought. I've been lighting candles, my family and myself, for Nicholas every day. 
To send him, and also his family, light and love.

Since we were not expected to return to school, my dad, mom, brother and myself went out to lunch, spending some fantastic family time together. That afternoon I then spent reading, writing, playing violin and visiting with a friend and her mother who came by. Two very special ladies. A Quattro Stagioni pizza without the artichokes and with extra garlic was my fabulous supper that evening and I sat with my mom and talked about life and all that had happened in these past few weeks. 

A most magnificent birthday it was.

P.S I also received some of the most fantastic birthday wishes. 
I thank you all deeply.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Flutter of Spring

I have two favourite flowers. White tulips, as I absolutely love how they just sing of simplicity and beauty. My other favourite is blossoms, and they are even slightly more favoured than my wondrous tulips. They are celestially fresh. When I look at them it's like they are taking a deep breathe out of the cool spring air, as they gleam back at me in all their exquisiteness. 

A real photo taken by me of the flower arrangement on my desk currently.

Spring is a time of life, renewal, revitalizing, waking up from hibernation to discover that the world around you has transformed and a different kind of endless beauty garnishes the earth. Lightness embraces every corner of being, and nature is our greatest example through its budding pink and white truffled blossom trees adorning our land now. The earth is throwing a celebratory carnival. I am a spring baby, in fact, my 17th birthday is on Thursday, the 5th. 

I arrived back on Wednesday from Tanzania where I set out to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. For those of you that sent your wishes of luck my way, I thank you dearly. I summited, again. 
Yet making it to the top was only the sprinkles adorning a journey of a lifetime. I met the most incredible people, laughed more than I have in a (shockingly) long time, cried my heart out -of joy, awe, sadness to be saying goodbye and leaving, and I feel like my soul is radiating happiness, joy and love.
Afterwards, I took the time to spread the news to my friends about my reaching the top, and then also the news that I was taking two days of complete radio silence from any electronics and was going to be off the grid. Climbing up -not to mention climbing down- my beloved Kili is truly rewarding and incredible, but as my dad always says to people asking 'How Kili was?':
It is not a walk in the park.

It took efforts of an entirely different level from us all, so my two days of silence were days taken for few reasons; recovery, but then also to be with my thoughts, myself and then my family
(particularly my mother, whom I have not seen for three weeks). They were days I cherish in my heart because I had no-one to call or see, nothing To Do, or at least nothing I was Doing. I wrote in my journal, read Eat Pray Love, ate well, slept, and then just allowed everything to be.

That's me on our third day on Kilimanjaro. We were above the clouds by the end of the second day, and wow, I'm on top of the world (note the pun *wink*). I arrived back home with a new awareness -one I will share in more depth soon. To put it simply, I have never felt so full of joy and so at peace.

However, I need to express that although this is a light filled time for me, I must reflect on a great sadness that has occurred. This morning my parents both walked into my room and told me that one of my classmates, a boy named Nicholas, had died last night. He had been diagnosed three weeks ago with a brain tumour, and, he didn't make it. I was utterly shocked, and today has been a day of silence and appreciation in our home. I've come to peace with it. I believe in celebrating a life and have decided to take this deeply grievous happening as a universal message to live our lives to their brims. 

This is something I came across today that I think voices my internal thoughts during this turbulent day.

We honour our lost one's memory and life by living our own. Sadness is a natural feeling, and we are allowed to feel down. As long as we hold that person and their memory in our hearts with love, then we will be okay. It's also okay to be okay.