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This afternoon I was low, feeling so sorry for myself as only a spoiled, young (relatively – fair enough?) and probably self-absorbed woman can feel.

Admit it, ladies… you’ve all been there! When you are emotionally convinced that nobody in the whole, wide world suffers like you do and that no one can even begin to comprehend your misery, for reasons that afterwards makes you utterly embarassed over your own superficiality. This was my state of mind this afternoon; incredible self-pity.

Anyway, I pulled myself together and went for my normal walk which passes my friend at the tea stall between Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula (for those of you familiar with Rishikesh in India). After the normal ten minute chat he was going to make chapati for his dinner and asked me to walk across the street with him to his house to get the flour and that’s when the divine reached down and gave me a hard slap which spun me around 180 degrees.

He opened the cranky wooden doors (how could they keep the cold out during the winter?!) to his house and the sight that met me made me realize, in a blink of an eye, that I actually don’t have one single problem worth reflecting over. None! His house was literally the size of my walk-in-closet at home, with one bed overloaded with laundry and undistinguished stuff where he sleeps. A lonely bulb lit up the space and he told me his mother sleeps on the floor… It was heartbreaking to see and I was dumbstruck, even more so because he is always smiling, always happy although his job can hardly be stimulating according to western standards. Self-development? Intellectual satisfaction? Carreer ladder? Dream on

He can’t write and I don’t know if he can read – probably not! He optimistically wants me to introduce him to a western girl so that he can ”come to the west as he thinks that there are so many jobs there”. Today I tactfully told him that even if he would hook up with some western yoga student, it’s difficult to get a job in the west. You can’t just put up a tea stall by the road; you need licenses, money, permissions… But a part of me wish I could take him with me in my suitcase and bribe the immigration department, just to give another human being a fair chance of a different life. He’s a good, hard working person and it just seems so unfair that anyone should be forced to live like that when it’s just a matter of where you are born. A chance of luck as the gods are playing dice with human lives. And yet, maybe I’m more appalled by his poverty than he is? If you don’t know how it could be then maybe you don’t suffer as much?

In Sweden, as well as in many western countries, there are an unspoken racism and reluctancy towards accepting immigrants, which I find apalling in many ways. Anyone who makes a decision on whether to accept or reject an application should take a long, hard look at where the other person is coming from. Poverty is just a word for so many of us, something we associate with not being able to travel abroad or having to buy second hand clothes but we really don’t grasp it until we get to see it and I am so humbled by what I saw today. I will always remember this day and my friend will serve as a reminder of that whatever I’m feeling down over is an illusion and that I should go back to counting my blessings instead of being a cry-baby. If I worked at the immigration department and I saw the closet-like space he called his house, then I would have signed whatever documents necessary so fast my pen would be on fire – just out of humanity.

My day was brightened indirectly by someone else’s misery, which disturbs me. Why can’t we see the light if there isn’t darkness? Why must there be misery to enhance joy? We live in a world of light and shadows, ever dancing, ever challenging each other. Of course, what we perceive as light versus shadow may differ… But why can’t there be just one world, illuminated by the soft light of a hopeful dawn? One world, one language and no religion but love?  One of my favorite songs is Imagine by John Lennon and I will let that be the soundtrack of today… and the rest of my days here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwUGSYDKUxU

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”There’s a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in”, wise lyrics by Leonard Cohen. I’m home now, in northern India. It’s my third time here and this time I realize that yes, this is my home. This is where I can breathe and shine, where the best part of me flourishes. Everything here is unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. I have no knowledge but I have intuitive understanding.There are cracks everywhere here… and that’s how the beaming light gets in. Perfection has to be imperfect to touch the human heart and appeal to us. Yesterday I saw a guy with a T-shirt which said: ”Nobody’s perfect. I’m a nobody. Therefore… I’m perfect.”Damn right you are, my friend! Lovely attitude, indeed.

 

Maybe that’s the problem with many places in the West; we are obsessed with filling the cracks of imperfection and the light has no chance of getting in? At home, when I’m at a restaurant, I send the food back into the kitchen if I’m not pleased with it. I have no problem being a bitch if I have to… but here I don’t mind an ant in my cup of tea. I merely shrug and lift it out. Or stepping in cow poop at least once a day… I smile to strangers and they smile back. There’s resonance and connection between people that goes beyond words; heart to heart, spirit to spirit as it was always meant to be in human communication.

I believe there are three  basic things before you can truly go through spiritual transformation; the first thing, connected to the base chakra, is having a supportive and loving tribe, who not only loves you, but who brings out the best in you (because that does certainly not always go hand in hand…). The second thing, connected to the sacral chakra is to be in a place/town/country that creates fertile soil for your inspiration and creativity to flourish. The third one is making a difference. To feel that your presence or contribution to the world makes a different is unbelievably important, especially for your solar plexus chakra where your self-esteem is situated. It is only when the three first energy wheels are spinning that we can move up the spiritual ladder. I pray that India will be the place where I can fuel all of them… but let’s wait and see!

The monsoon period will be here soon and today it was raining. Warm rain pouring from the cloudy sky, people covering their heads with scarves, umbrellas… ever smiling. The air became damp and heavy with the scent of wet soil, incense, perfume, sweat, garlic and cardamon. I’ve given up trying to figure out why I love this place. It doesn’t matter, does it? What matters is that I do. It’s the same with love, I think… when we can’t list the reasons for loving someone it really comes from a place deep within us, free from rational thought. If we can list the qualities that we love about that person as a reason for loving, then that’s love of the mind – not of the heart. I thought that this was going to be another yoga trip, but it won’t be. This journey will be about friendship, love, human interaction and communication beyond the visible. Across cultures, languages, skin color, social class and all other nonsense made up by the intellectual society, starting off by dinner at a tea stall that is full of cracks… and beaming light! Bless the cracks…bless the light.

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Intentions rule the universe, that has been my conviction for quite some   time now. It’s been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I strongly object to that. If the intention is good, then the outcome can never be evil even if it may appear so. A couple of years ago I was watching a movie called The Living Matrix. Some of you may have seen it too?

The topic of the movie is healing and how we all all part of a living matrix; an electromagnetic field that connectseverything in the universe and that healing can take place instantly and unexplainable to the medical world. So called ”miracles” happen all over the world – all the time. Isn’t it wonderful? I love the thought of there always being hope and a chance for recovery, even during the darkest of circumstance. One of the people in the movie was Lynne McTaggart, author of brilliant books like The Field and The Intention Experiment, originally a hard core journalist, now dedicated to displaying what is starting to be proved by science; that we all are connected and that there is a field of electromagnetic waves which is infinite.

As is shown in the movie, intention of healing is crucial and we all understand that our own ideas about healing our own body are important, but now it turns out that the thoughts from someone else also contributes to healing. Kind, empathetic thoughts when received are affecting certain areas of the brain. One of my yoga teachers used to say: ”If it’s in here (pointing to his head)… it is everywhere”, in other words: there are no secrets on the subconscious level. You may have the best poker face in the world and yet there is no way to lie to this field. It picks up everything. Once you think something it is out there, affecting all living beings. Forget about privacy!

Where yogis are purposely meditating for world peace, there’s a noticeable decrease in crime rate and modern research has now been able to prove, using sophisticated technology to registrate brain activity, that yes… something happens when you receive loving thoughts. Most probably something also happens when you receive not so loving thoughts… It goes without saying though, that for thoughts to have the power to effect another human beings brain centers, the attempt needs sincerity and focus. Just thinking that your boss is an idiot will not affect him and neither will good thoughts that lack empathy; the intention iscrucial. My friend used to say that words are like arrows and you should fire them with care, becaus once you release them you cannot take them back. That is indeed wise, but aparently that goes for thoughts as well. Maybe one of the most powerful things we can do to make the world a better place is focus our intentions in the right direction? If we can reduce crime rate by meditation, then we need to start seeing our minds as powerful tools to be counted upon and used seriously.

Another interesting thing that was discovered was that memory is most probably situated outside the body. Experiments on mice showed that even when the memory centers in their brains had been totally destroyed, they still remembered the way the had to go to get to the food. Meaning the memory has to be somewhere else, most probably in the auric fields. What else is situated there, I wonder? This opens up a whole new idea of the concept of healing if it turns out that we have to look beyond our physical bodies in order to heal and recognise the importance of being connected to everyone and everything… always.

Where do I end and the next person begin? All is one may not just be a spiritual statement, but a scientific one.

 

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Today I woke up with a throbbing migraine. The kind that keeps you in bed almost the entire day with the curtains down and a desperate prayer for it to just go away. It was so bad that I actually cried. My migraine attacks are double-edged swords. I see them as warriors, coming to cut through maya, the veil of illusion in my life and clear my sight when I am confused or heading down the wrong path. They are merciless, cruel and inflict such pain that it’s almost unbearable at times, but they always show up for a reason.

When you lie there with a cold cloth on your forehead and just waiting for the torture to stop, then you have an awful lot of time to think. In fact there’s nothing else but you, darkness and mind. Suddenly it’s very obvious where your thoughts and normally they are not in the right place. The moment I get the message the migraine slowly pulls back, like the tide and leaves me exhausted on the shore of new insights. Pain is very humbling indeed. 

This is the downside of growing up in a society where you’re raised to think that everything is your own responsibility – no one else’s! Make it or break it – it’s up to you. We can stretch our minds to believe in the power of DNA, but divine interference? A master plan? A destiny? Forget it… The rational mind takes over and tells you: “Look Miss, if you want anything done in this life – you better do it yourself!” and there we go… trying to spin a giant web over our lives, where our dreams and hopes will stick like fat flies because of our efforts.

What my migraine told me today was that I have to surrender… the web has gotten too big now and it’s out of my control. I have to let go and trust that the universe eventually will answer my prayers. Put my ego (oh God, this is a tough one!) aside and hope that there’s something or someone out there who know better than me what is the best for me. I guess I’ll have to look at it as a retirement? That I’ve given up the position as CEO for my life to a higher force and just like old people and children I need to be present in the moment; allow myself to be seduced by the tea, the fragrant flowers, the sunlight and all the weird and wonderful thing that exists in the world and more than anything trust the goodwill of the Universe. But I don’t. Not yet. 

So today I panted: “Fine, I surrender, God damn it!!” and the migraine started to withdraw… On shaky legs I went for a slow walk in my neighborhood, keeping the promise of paying more attention in mind. To fool my mind, I told myself that “what if I know that tomorrow I will be hit by a car and this is the last walk I’ll take… wouldn’t it be nice to have a look around?” and so I did. It became the most beautiful walk in a very long time and in spite of getting weird glances from the people I passed, I stopped and smelled 7 different flower. That doesn’t sound like life changing, right? But for me it kind of was… and I realized once again that enlightenment comes slowly, gradually with small insights like this. It can come during meditation, asanas or through a migraine. The important thing is to embrace it and act on it… 

Next time you’re going for a walk, take the time to smell the flowers and admire their immaculate design… A design that only could’ve been divine inspiration… and have faith that the designer of the immaculate flower is creative enough to have some inspiration left for your life and your prayers too.

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What is life about? It seems to be one of the questions we hold on to, as if the answer would make a difference. Does it? No matter if you know the meaning of life or not, you are still born and you will still die and in between those moments there will be pains and pleasures, break-ups and make-ups, loss and gains, tears and laughters… It remains the same with or without the knowledge of why we exist. Maybe we just exist for the beauty of existence? No matter what religion we swear ourselves to, there is the chance that everything we arrogantly presume to “know” is wrong. 

Perhaps we should let go of the need to know and just make life a task of creating moments to remember, for boring times to come? Times when we are unable to experience life through our physical bodies, which will be the case when we are older? One day I will not be able to run anymore… my legs will be old and tired… so maybe I should enjoy running while I can?

Before we make any decision, perhaps we should ask ourselves: “Which one of these choices will create the most memorable memories?” It is most often the bolder choice, I would say. A friend of mine said that because I used to work in finance, I only think about interest. He didn’t say it as a compliment but rather as a subtle insult, but perhaps he was right and I quite frankly see nothing wrong with it. Because that just means that I tend to make energy investments/choices where the value will increase with time and those are the kind of experiences I want to have! Just think back on something you did when you were a child… the value of the moment is greater now that you’re looking back at it, then when you experienced it. As a toddler, you didn’t think much of taking your first steps or playing in the kindergarden… but as you look back, from a different perspective and higher understanding; the memories of those things are even more precious and thus the value has increased.

There are flowers outside the front door to my building and I pass them at least twice a day. Not once have I stopped to smell them and if you’d ask me I couldn’t tell you what kind of flowers they are. I make an effort when I cook, but when I eat it I barely pay attention to it. Imagine… if you smelled the flowers you pass every day, tasted the food as it deserves to be tasted and allowed yourself to be seduced by the fragrance of the tea – how much richer your life would be! You wouldn’t have to travel far and see the wonders of the world, because there would be miracles right in front of you.

One of my indian friends is a tantra master and his view on life is that you should make everything an act of lovemaking. Be seduced all the time, by the little things. By drops of rain and rays of sun on your skin, by the scent of soil and flowers… When you’re having a cup of tea or a glass of wine, be seduced by its scent… its flavor… and just like in foreplay; before you take the first sip imagine how it will be. I love the idea of living like that and I am envying him that ability… slowly, slowly I hope I will be able to develop that kind of consciousness myself, but as I write I realize that I have more or less gulped down my morning tea and have certainly not been seduced by it. How much more I would have enjoyed it… and remembered it... if I had taken the time to really experience it.

But it’s not too late… I’m making another cup and giving it another try! 🙂

 

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I just left my part time job in finance to work fulltime with my own business in yoga, energy and clinical nutrition. In the world of finance, AUM means something entirely different than in the yogic world. It means Assets Under Management, which is defined as the market value of all the funds being managed by a financial institution.

My morning ritual (which is on the verge of sacred to me!) consists of a cup of tea and a short meditation including my sankalpah/affirmation and during that meditation I ask myself the following questions:

Where is my energy invested today? How can I invest it to make it more profitable? Where am I leaking energy? To whom? To what?

And then I pull back my energy… my sacred human energy…  from the investments that don’t pay off.

After a good night’s rest we all are given new divine energy, which we may think of as a new paycheck in our bank account. Assume we are every day given 100 USD in energy currency. How do you invest them? Do you let 20 dollars go to the relationship that didn’t work out and that you’re still not over? Another 20 dollars worrying about the future? 40 dollars to people in your life that consistently drain you of energy and who certainly not deserve your energy dollars?

It doesn’t take a genious to figure out that we are then left with less than we should and that we may not have enough to make profitable investments for ourselves, for sustaining good health and give something back to the world. Who in the world would have energy left for that?!

Being cheap with your energy dollars is not about being selfish… quite the opposite! As we are all part of the whole, when we are drained of energy… we drain the whole and become a burden instead. Withdraw your energy from the energy-vampires in your life, from the things you’re doing that you don’t want to do, from religious or cultural decrees that is not in accordance with your inner truth, from family expectations of who you should be… Lose those investments!

I work with nutrition and supplements, but many times my clients problems are not mineral- or vitamin deficiency, but the fact that people unconsciously make unwise energy investments. My best tip to them is not a vitamin B-complex (even though that can be useful too…), but to hire a cheap energy accountant; a guide or an angel sitting on your shoulder asking you to invest your energy in relationships, thoughts and actions that increases the energetic value of your fund.

Be a smart energy investor and pamper your assets under management! 😉

 

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Today a friend asked me about asanas and what it is? Much to my surprise I heard myself answering:

“It’s a physical form of prayer”. What?! I have no idea where that came from, but as I walked back to my desk I contemplated it. A physical form of prayer…? Yes, perhaps it is… to me at least! But what do I pray for in asanas then? Normally a prayer is associated with a sense of “ask and it is given”, an expression of wanting something that can only be provided by the will of the Divine. But what is the Divine and where is it? To me, our collective human consciousness is the source energy that we call “divinity”. It is everywhere and is only as limited by space and time as our thoughts are. Wherever our thoughts are, we are. Whatever we can imagine, we can become. This is not a New Age hippie idea, but a sacred, universal truth – at least that is my personal experience of it.

But most of the time, the soundtrack of our lives, that we insist on playing over and over again is the one oflimitations and insufficiency. Instead of focusing on what we want, we focus on what we don’t have and we keep repeating that mantra to ourselves over and over again, until it manifests into physical form in our lives and then we shrug and say with bitterness that we knew it was going turn out that way or we act with surprise and feel the world is an unjust place.

Most of the time my mind is spinning, tirelessly sixteen hours a day ; analyzing , planning, recalling, pondering, visualizing and refusing to shut up. I always ask my mum:

“What are you thinking about?” when she’s silent and it drives her crazy. “Honey, I’m not thinking about anything… you’re stressing me when you ask that.. I just am…” and I stare at her with amazement. Because I can’t imagine not thinking about anything.. or rather I couldn’t imagine that until I was introduced to asanas. It wasn’t love at first sight, but from the first class I knew that I would some day be crazy about it… now that day has come.

When the alarm rings at 4.45 each morning I can’t help but wonder what it is about asanas that is so magic? What keeps me coming back even the days when I would rather cuddle up in bed with a cup of tea and enjoy “dolce far niente”, with lit candles and cats purring to the sound of the rain pouring outside? Still I roll out my mat, rub my feet and palms with some liquid chalk (can truly recommend that btw!) and start my practice. I close my eyes and let my mind wander to the people who taught me yoga; from the friendly people at Satyananda Yoga School in Sweden to the people at Rishikesh Yog Peeth and to all the people yet to come, who will add more wisdom to my practice and push me further, even my muscles are complaining and my legs are shaking. I wish they knew how thankful I am for all they have given me and for all they will give me.

In the west, not much is sacred. I don’t think my generation (and certainly not the ones to come) even understand the meaning of sacredness. It’s in our collective mind to turn every stone, question everything, demand proof of every statement… I am like that too, in a way. I genuinely think that we as a culture somehow despise the idea of sacredness and associate it with medieval religion, superstition or general lack of wits. Sometimes I wonder what we in the west would honor… truly honor… without the expectation of receiving something back? Our mantra is rather “never give more than you are getting” and with that attitude; are we capable of being devoted? I don’t know. But I do know that it is impossible to practice yoga wholeheartedly without being aware of the sacredness in it and in your relationship to your body and attitudes during the asanas.

That is one of the reasons I chose to do my TTC in India, because I wanted to somehow touch the source and go to a place where there is still sacredness.  Awesomeness.

Tonight my asana praying will be for remaining in the present, here in Stockholm. In a month it is once again time to get on the flight to Delhi and into a cab towards northern India, with a paan chewing taxi driver and the perfume of India lingering in the warm breeze…

But now I am here, in beautiful Sweden where the air is fresh and cool… getting my fortune told by a Persian woman in a cup of Turkish coffee… asking about the future… so much for staying in the present! 😉

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