A New Motto for Procrastinators and Perfectionists

A New Motto for Procrastinators and Perfectionists

That’s what I told myself as I put away baskets and baskets of folded laundry that had been piled up on and around our sofa. There was so much of it that when I facetimed my mum, my brother caught a glimpse of it and said he wanted to cry.

I hear you brother. Everytime I looked at that ever growing pile I was overwhelmed with where to start.

Well now I was overwhelmed and constantly reminded of my brother.

So I pulled it together after teaching today’s yoga class and started putting away pile after pile. I winced a little at how things were not quite colour coordinated and exactly as I wanted but today, they just needed to be away.

Now we have the rest of our weekend to relax on our sofa!

What have you been putting off? Is there any way you can get it done quickly?

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Happy New Year! 

Happy New Year! 

I’m celebrating the New Year with breakfast in bed and icy pops in total silence.

SUCH BLISS

img_1520

How was your New Year’s?

It’s been a really hot couple of days over here. Unbearably hot! I may have mentioned that I hardly sleep due to the pregnancy, did I? Well, I don’t sleep much, which is ok! But when the thermostat hit the high 30s the last few days and refused to drop back down during the evenings, I got so uncomfortable. Honestly I spent all night and early morning of New Year’s Eve Eve staring at the weather app on my phone haha. I’ve always run a little warmish, in Traditional Chinese Medicine this is known as having excessive internal heat, and that last night definitely finished me off.

I woke up on New Year’s Eve voiceless which was terrible timing since we had a whole bunch of people coming over. I figured I’d spend the day just listening but it seems that some days the more you want to listen to people, the more they want to hear you speak. This was even after B had gone around to everyone stating firmly that I had completely lost my voice and couldn’t speak. Oh well. The people want what the people want. I stuck everything drinkable in the chiller to keep my voice croaking on. I was so miserably tired from not sleeping, feeling so horrible with my painful throat and just completely under the weather that I felt like I might weep. That’s when I excused myself for 11 minutes to go meditate. I say to people all the time that meditation helps. Sometimes I forget that I should add, “But you need to keep at it.” So even though I had meditated at 3:30 am when the weather app said it was 34degrees (celsius so people who live in farenheit countries aren’t like, “What is your problem?” haha) I obviously needed to give myself some kind of boost. And it did the trick! My throat was still a little sore but my voice felt stronger and I had enough energy to get me through the afternoon until everyone went home happy with full bellies. Awwwww…..

In the evening time B and I just hung around at home nibbling on leftovers, watching the last bit of Home Alone. And staring at the baby bump. I don’t know if other parents are like this but we’re obsessed with staring at it. We watch it the way people watch movies. Also, is it Christmas if you don’t watch Home Alone?! B and I are the same age so even though we didn’t know each other back then we both remember watching Home Alone as kids thinking, “I’d so do that.” The weather was starting to cool down and even get windy so just before the midnight fireworks we drove down to the beach to hang out for a while. On the way home we picked up some icy pops which I had BIG NEW YEAR’S DAY PLANS FOR.

The oatmeal I didn’t even have to cook. Well, I cooked it the day before and because I never get the portions right, I just stored what was left in the fridge to have with fresh strawberries in the morning, cold. SO GOOD.

I’ve been asked a few times how to cook oatmeal. ??? Usually the packages that the oats come in will say something like cook for 5 minutes. There isn’t much to it but I know that a lot of people really have no confidence when it comes to anything beyond boiling water for tea. No worries!

Basic Oatmeal My Way:

Ingredients

Whole rolled oats – these days you can even get organic. Let’s say a handful per person.

Enough water to cover the oats in a small saucepan.

I like to add a good shake of ground nutmeg and cinnamon when I’m cooking the oats.

Method

Bring the oats in the water to a gentle boil, keep it on a low heat – oatmeal tends to bubble up really quickly and then spill over all over your stove when you turn your back on it. So keep the heat low so you don’t miss it. When the oatmeal starts to bubble, keep stirring so it doesn’t stick, you might add a little more water if you feel like it looks dry. Once you can’t see the water separate from the oats, that’s it. It should look like flaky mush. Makes sense? Let’s say it should be done in around 3-5 minutes. You can’t OVERCOOK oatmeal although it could dry out. 


To serve you can add honey or maple syrup and a splash of your choice of milk. You could cook the oatmeal in milk instead of water to make the oatmeal extra creamy. 

Like I said, if you made too much, it’s fine! Just put your leftovers in the fridge. Easy. 

Processed with Rookie Cam

Do you have any resolutions for this year? I wrote something last year about having a Peaceful New Year’s Eve . I was thinking to myself yesterday that even though I’m bringing in the New Year not feeling 100% that everytime my baby kicks, it makes me smile and I have no complaints. There have been some moments in 2016 that were really, really tough and horrible but there have also been many moments of joy. Isn’t that just life though? I think overall I faced things as peacefully as I could and I’ll try harder again this year. Every year I get a little calmer and at ease with peace, I hope!  I think if I had just one resolution to make this year it would be to just focus on being the kind of person that I look forward to spending time with.

And that person would conveniently have messy hair and eat icy pops in bed hehehe.

White Cotton Knit Dress from Kmart;
Nail Polish from Essie in Pink Diamond 

Make that REALLY messy hair. I’m wearing a cheap cotton knit dress that I found in KMART for $6. So comfy for sleeping! Although as my bump gets bigger, the dress gets shorter. It’ll be a singlet by the time the baby is due.

Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful end to 2016 and that 2017 will bring you lots of peace.

x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Quote

YOGA ALL DAY

Why am I shouting the title at you?

Sorry, I’m a little deaf these days, there’s constant hammering away in the apartment above my head since we last chatted. They’re doing it to drive me crazy renovating.

float

Hence why, I still haven’t uploaded that video I have been promising! I need to construct a sound proof room first which reminds me of the old music room at my school. I would go there every lunchtime for piano lessons. The entire room was wall-papered with egg cartons and painted blue to accord with the school colour. The effect was, uh, very crafty and three-dimensional. But aside from being quite visually effective the egg cartons really didn’t work very well.

Which brings me back to where I am seated right now. It sounds like the people upstairs are diligently tinkering away with teeny tiny hammers and chisels at the ceiling above my head. Which makes me imagine they are either chiseling a statue or they are trying to tunnel their way into my apartment.

Am I annoyed? Sort of, I guess I’m half laughing at the imagery and half wishing the noise would stop. I am distracted by the incessant tunnelling hammering. That’s what is getting me, that I am allowing myself to be distracted and affected by this external activity. It is beyond my environment so why is it having such a huge impact on me?

It is just like in yoga classes, if you have had the fortune to experience, when a person, perhaps on a mat next to you is a REALLY LOUD BREATHER. Really, really, really loud. There is silence all around, except a sort of hum of coordinated movements and breathing… then this fantastically pervasive rasping sound emanating from the person next to you. Has that ever bothered you?

Or how about if the lady next to you in her struggle to do any postures is blustering and swearing away. “Oh geez. Oh !@#$%^&*#@#@***” on and on and on she goes for the entire ninety minutes. She hangs in there for the full class. She has paid her entry fee and by *&$#@ is she gonna get every last #$@&* minute out of that @#$%^&* session.

What about the self-appointed class joker (hey, why did you look at me for?) on the other side of the room, who takes it upon himself, everytime the teacher claims says “One more breath here” to do a countdown “Five, four, three, two aaaaaaaaaand ONEEEEEEEEEE!!!”

EVERY. TIME. No one laughs after the first time. But he persists.

Or what about the person who is just too sweaty? Or the showoff? Or the two ladies who won’t stop talking in the back? Or the person who doesn’t smell nice? Or the person who is wearing hardly anything and you can see right up their bandha?

The list could go on and on ad nauseum.

Well? Do you recognise these people? Do you think to yourself, “What classes do you attend, and why haven’t these people been thrown out?!”

Well, these people don’t just go to yoga classes. They also show up in your life. They’re in the supermarket, at your workplace, at uni, they’re on the bus with you, the train. Yep, sometimes they’re in the guise of your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, best friend, mum, dad, or child or brother, whatever.

And they’re doing something and it just bothers the bejeezers out of you.

What is a ‘bejeezer’? You don’t even know. You’re just so annoyed right now you’re creating new words. Oxford Dictionary look out, coming soon your way, get ready to take notes.  

Oh, and of course you’re not being nitpicky. It’s them. Right? It’s always them.

Do they have to do that? And in that way?*

YES THEY HAVE TO. And the more that it bothers you, the more they have to do that.

If you have ever experienced this then my suggestion is below. It seems to snap me out of my egg-cartoned mindset quick-smart. What works for me, might work for you. If you have never experienced this, well done, I guess you can carry on reading for entertainment?

Here’s the solution: Change your mind. Leave the world alone. Your world will evolve with time to fit the shape of your mind. You can make it as easy or as hard as you like, as I like to tell my students about our yoga practice. The choice is yours. You can struggle, or you can float. You do get to choose. You always have a choice.

Take a good look at these supposed ‘challengers’ and be glad they exist. They’re your true teachers. You will learn more from them than a workshop with a ‘celebrity’ yoga instructor. These are the teachers that teach you how to live. And they do it so effortlessly.

“Look at

all your fellow

humans and name

them accurately.

‘Brother.’

‘Sister.'”

– Erich Schiffman

I have met all sorts of teachers in yoga classes and I have to say over the years I still catch myself feeling exasperated and yes, distracted! It happens less and less but it still happens sometimes! Sometimes it’s the small, seemingly insignificant things that trip me up the hardest. I forget and think, “I am beyond that point. I love life. I love everyone. I’m fine.”

And then bang! I totally walk on my floaty cloud feelings into that trap my mind has set for me. I’m no longer practising yoga when that happens. I’m in somethingsomething-asana but it’s just a shape my body happens to be in. Because at that point, I have chosen to be more important than anyone else, more deserving to be there than anyone else and have decided that my comfort is more important than the comfort of anyone else, there in that class room. How egotistical does that sound when said out loud?

Instead of saying, “Oh, they’re so ANNOYING” but instead to phrase that as “I’m more important than they are.”

Yeesh! No, we have left yoga at that point. We’re just sweating and bending and stretching.

No yoga there. Just ego.

Oh, beware the ego trap! It is there all day everyday. There will never be a day when you reach nirvana and the trap is no longer set for you. You need to be on alert at all times. Be present in the moment. Live mindfully and completely in each moment. Question yourself.

And so, this is what I mean by

YOGA ALL DAY.

You do have to shout that a little at yourself, to get it through, past that ego trap. It has egg cartons painted in a hideous colour to distract you to the point of rage from realising that you have fallen deep inside. You can hear the sounds of life around you, but all you can see are those cartons. You are blind to the lesson in front of you.

There is far more to yoga than just yoga as I say. Our ability to do the splits, to touch our toes with our legs straight, or to stick one leg behind our head or stand on our head will not insulate us from the lessons of life. The ability to do any of those things are just acrobatic.

The goal of yoga is to cultivate an attitude of equanimity and one of compassion.

We’re all in this together, some of us swearing away, some of us panting loudly, some of us excitedly talking, some of us silently and we’re all chiseling away at this unshaped rock to make sense of our life purpose and find our way. When we look to our left and right and see we’re all trying in our different ways to do the same thing, live our lives any which way we can, the scales fall from our eyes, and the sounds and activities of life become what they always have been. Just a soundtrack of life.

Don’t get distracted by the soundtrack to your life.

Breathe. Practice your yoga all day. Know your fellow humans by name. Thank your teachers.

And between you and me, I don’t know what it is, maybe the renovations have finished upstairs, but I can’t hear any noise anymore. It is perfectly silent. All I can hear is the sound of my breathing and the sound of my fingers tapping on the keyboard.

Thank you thank you thank you. x

*Sometimes we are those very same people. We may not think it, but someone somewhere may be looking at us with disdain and think, “Oh go somewhere else, will ya?” How hurt would we feel if someone said to us that what we were doing was supremely irritating to them? Did we even aim our actions at them? Nope! We were just doing our own thing, right? Funny, that. Hmm. 

Journal Series #1

Journal Series #1

Do you journal? I try to always keep with me something to write in for whenever I see or hear something interesting to me. If I experienced something that makes me laugh out loud. A random stray thought for a possible short story or just something I want to keep, an amusing voice that emerged from my internal monologue. Usually along the lines of what makes me laugh because aren’t those the things that make for the best memories?

A typical diary entry for me looks like this

I don't sneeze as loud as I used to. Still pretty loud though.
I don’t sneeze as loud as I used to. Still pretty loud though. Room to grow, room to grow.

Maybe think about giving it a go.* It’s a new week, why not? No pressure or anything, but you may find it interesting to have a look over the kind of things that catch your attention. Are they mostly positive or negative? Keeping a journal has been really helpful for me as a tool to practice mindfulness. You don’t need to be on best behaviour, just be natural! You don’t need to be cool.

What does ‘be cool’ even mean? I wouldn’t know.

Your scribblings are private, unless you post it on the internets like what I just did here, so you can feel completely safe about voicing and taking ownership of what is going on inside your mind. Observe your thoughts, without judgement, and just practise being a witness. This is step one in approaching stillness and calmness. These journals you keep become a crucible for your thoughts. And then eventually you can start to observe, whether or not, your insides match your outsides.

Journals don’t need to be extensive insightful works of art. This is where I lost focus and used to give up the exercise after a few days. The idea of having to produce fantastically clever essays in tidy journals used to put me off because I essentially gave myself performance anxiety. I was getting all angsty about making the leap from my 9 year old self who wrote things like “Today I had school. It was nice.” to Homer and writing the sequel to Odyssey. The pressure was just TOO MUCH and I was getting self-conscious with myself. I would look back on what I wrote a few weeks back and groannnJust don’t get too worked up the way I did, like most things, getting to know your internal voice takes some getting used to. Practice kindness! Be kind to yourself! Don’t get too serious about it!

(Now I remind me of my neighbour. Yelling words of kind encouragement. You KNOW I mean well.)

You might be able to tell sometimes my internal voice does not take me seriously at all. Sometimes meaning most times.

Oh! Speaking of exciting, something else I did today besides sneeze loudly: I learnt how to really, really get the tarnish off my silver jewellery really, really quick and easy. Because who has time to sit there really, REALLY polishing silver like an extra on Downton Abbey? Not us.

The results are very satisfying. I don’t mean to sound like an infommercialinfomercialinformercial, informmercialI GIVE UP, infommercial. If you’re interested, I’ll be posting the how-to up in the next few days. I’m heading next door to say hello to my neighbour.

My spell check insists that ‘infommercial’ should be spelt ‘informercial’ or ‘infomercial’. Mmm, I don’t know, you guys. I’m experiencing that face a person makes when a word looks wrong even when spell check says otherwise. Help me out?

*Hmm, realised after posting that the rules of grammar would suggest I meant sneezing loudly and then hiding. And then I found the idea that I suggest people sneeze loudly very funny indeed so not bothering. Can we pretend I was using a witty writing device?