Monday, February 20, 2012

Dropping the Overcoat of a Negative Worldview

I don't know if you've seen my Dropping the Overcoat blog... well I guess you can now.  I got the name for the blog from something I learned in Celia Dawe's Yoga for Slimmers. She has a mediation session at the end of the asanas. She talks about thinking of your excess weight as a large overcoat you don't really need. So when we meditate we imagine that we are taking the overcoat off. We then stand back and objectively look at what makes us keep the coat, what factors affect our being overweight.
So yes, Dropping the Overcoat is about losing weight but its also about finding yourself, learning and loving who you are, and dropping the things in your life that you don't need to carry around anymore (or never had to in the first place). This post is going to be on that blog too.

I look at life through a negative lens. The glass is always half empty... well... the glass is really empty as far as I can see it! Things will never get better. People don't change for the good. There are no second chances. The world sucks. Nobody cares. I can never be better than I am. I'm useless. I have never done anything in my life that is worth the while. These are some ideas that I live with on an everyday basis.

I feel that as long as I live with this worldview I will not lose weight. Its an overcoat I wear all the time that then feeds other negative behavior. It doesn't let me exercise or eat right or believe in myself. So I keep coming back to a place where I believe I will never get any better and that I have wasted my life. And as long as I keep the overcoat on I will be unhappy and believe that my life is worth nothing. And weight loss or no weight loss this is no good. I have to tell myself that I can drop this overcoat and I must drop it.

Budget Bytes

Found a really good blog today. I have to admit that since we came to Toronto our food has been extremely boring. My excuse - we're too poor to eat interesting food. So the weekly food log is Dhal and Rice, Khichidi, Pasta, and Soup out of a can now and then. I have done the occasional chicken and salad meal but its rare. I'm not proud of it and I do want to turn this around. I feel like we end up getting so bored of the food I make that now and then we do have to get ourselves a burger. But, in our situation it will be better to work things out so that we can eat at home more.
Beth from Budget Bytes seems to be on a great mission to eat a good meal for less and I am following her! I hope I manage to get this going! :) Check her blog out. The recipes are simple and easy and there's just tonnes of great stuff!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Celbrating Birthdays

I called to wish a friend who turned 40 the other day and after the customary Happy Birthday! and How are you? I asked if he had any big plans. He said he wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary since he doesn't really get the point of celebrating birthdays. It's not something he has achieved, it comes every year and passes by without him doing anything about it so he didn't see the point of making a big fuss about something he did not engineer. He celebrated his achievement he said, not his birthdays.

I must say I felt a little sad. I believe we should celebrate birthdays. I think it is an achievement staying alive and getting through the day, living, working, loving, caring, keeping your sanity... they're all bloody achievements! But above that I think it is important to celebrate who we are and not just what we do. I think celebrating a birthday means celebrating our very existence which is no small matter to us, and to those who love us. Surely, we matter very little in the grand scheme of things, in the rough and tumble of the universe, but our life is ours and we have only one go at it. I mean if you think about it, if you were asked to quit now... at this moment give up your life or have it taken away from you, would you do it? Would you want to die or stay alive?

I often say that it is better to be dead than to live. To have not been born than to be born into a dying world. To have not struggled, and suffered, and felt pain rather than feeling a few moments of joy and happiness. But when I really think about it, and if I'm willing to be honest about it, really honest... I think it is better to live than to die. Life is better than non-life. If there is life, there is still hope and possibility. If there is life miracles can still happen, grace can be found, love can be renewed, joy can be revisited. Life is better than non-life. I will have to admit it.

So why not celebrate? Why not be thankful? Why not acknowledge family and friends and people who love us? Why not acknowledge God (if you believe in one) who gives you life? Why not do something special to mark the day, the change, the stepping closer to death?

I think we should mark our birthdays and celebrate it doing something we love, or find interesting, or with friends and family, or even strangers. We need to take that time off to think about where we've been and who we have become. Because life is abundant and marvelous and a deep mystery. Reducing life to what you earn, or buy, or achieve is missing life itself.

Tales of an Urban Childhood

I started my Tales of an Urban Childhood blog in 2008  but didn't post very much. I then took made it private and forgot about it. I have noticed, after moving to Toronto, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood. Things come back to me from time to time - maybe its just all the free hours I have on my hands. So I'm posting on the blog again so check it out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Accepting who I am

Sigh! You'd think I was done with my self discovery during my 30th year turn around but no... it goes on! I don't know what it is with me... I just can't be happy with who I am, or even remember the things that I actually worked on to get to where I am. I mean, I spent the whole of my 29th year trying to find myself right? And now, at 32, I feel like I've wasted my life!

I guess this time round the task will not be to find myself but to accept who I am. I lamented as I came closer to being 32. I lamented on the loss of my youth, on the lack of success, on the lack of financial security, on not having had children, on not having traveled the world, on the loss of hope, on the loss of dreaming... on being poor.

Today I was at a coffee shop and I realized that all through my life I have felt like I was in a tug-o-war with the world, with my family, with my friends. I was expected to be a certain way and I could play the part but I was never really happy that way. In playing the part I didn't take the time to find myself and so got lost in the middle somewhere... between who I really was and who I was expected to be. That is the most frustrating of all places! When one is born wanting to be different one should also be born with enough courage to rebel. I somehow missed the latter station on the assembly line and came out a pleaser who couldn't swim in the mainstream.

And now here I am... 32... still not knowing how to live with myself!

More clawing to do it seems. More fighting. I have to learn to accept myself and only then will I be free. (I hope... it's quite possible that something else will come up in another 3 years!) Oh well...

I have to learn to accept that I cannot work in the financial district.
I have to learn to accept that I cannot be ruthless in business.
I have to learn to accept that I cannot hurt someone else for my own gain.
I have to learn to accept that I would much rather surrender than fight someone else to the death.
I have to learn to accept that I may never make much money in my life.
I have to learn to accept that I need to find a world where I will be happy, and thrive, and live. And that this is possible even in the world we live in. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna KareninaAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I stayed away from Anna Karenina through my Masters in English course and through all the years that it sat on my bookshelf because I thought it too long! I even had a friend in my class at university who said it was his life's mission to open a restaurant and read War and Peace!

I did however decide to read the book and once you begin Anna Karenina, you can't stop. There's just no way! I loved it. Loved it more than anything I have ever read. When I wasn't reading the book I wondered what was going on with Anna and Count Vronsky, and with Levin and Kitty. I kept wanting to be back at home reading my book.

I must say though that I thought, as I read the book, that Anna irritated me a little. I thought her somewhat irresponsible and childish. Well, she is really with the way she behaves with Vronsky later on, and in not wanting to divorce Oblonsky. Yet, I couldn't help but feel that all was lost once she threw herself off the platform. For me, the book ended there. I had no interest in the lives of the others though right through the book I was drawn more to the life of Levin than Anna. It was Levin I related with, and thought highly off, and felt I wanted to know more about. Anna, seemed like a brat sometimes. Yet, once she died I just stopped and felt this horrible sadness. It had to force myself to read the rest of the book after a few days.

I guess I understood somewhere her pain and angst of being married to someone she did not love, loving someone she could not rightfully be with, and then not being secure about that relationship. I guess I could see her as a victim in the end. Of being wronged by society and her family maybe. At least she had the courage to leave and follow her heart even though it cost her dearly. Tolstoy creates this character that you fall in love without realizing it. He's doing something through those 800 and odd pages that connect you with this woman and then you can't help love her, and grieve for her.

Immortality by Milan Kundera

ImmortalityImmortality by Milan Kundera

Our housemate - a philosophy student - gave me this book when we asked him if he had any novels I could read. It's not something I would have normally picked up and I must admit I struggle with it - just in its form and trying to figure out what the whole point of the book is as we bounce from Agnes, to Laura, to Bettina, to Goethe. Still, I am intrigued by it and I know I must stick with it and know that I will be better for having read it.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

This is a relaxed read and enjoyable if you're into knitting and crafts. It gives you a sense of what a craft community can offer and I know, from listening to the Stitch and Bitch group that comes into the store where I work, that they really have something going!

Its a quick read so it could very well be one for a lazy weekend at home or one of the many you take on vacation (if you're that kind of person).

I hear Julia Roberts is making a film on the book and apparently she knits all the time! On set, in between scenes! So I guess she's the write person for the role!

Speaking of Julia Robert's movies I did try reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and could get through it at all! I was so bored. She has such fantastic reviews but something just did not work for me. I came back to it thrice trying to get through it but I only got to a page somewhere in the forties I think. Gosh! Just couldn't read it.

Kate Jacobs though is very engaging and you really get into the lives of the women. I felt like I was part of their story and wanted to go back to see what was going on. Gilbert on the other hand I think kept me out. Like one of my friends said she is really very preoccupied with herself. I couldn't make a connection to the book at all.

I kept wondering as I read the book if it was made into a movie. The books lends itself very well to a screenplay and you can picture the store and the women and all the cookies quite well.  

You wouldn't think that a nice craft book would have a sad ending but... it does. And I guess its also good that it does - keeps it real. So if you're the crying sort you might want to take that box of tissue with you while you pack your book.