Monthly Archives: November 2014

Creating and Connecting

One is not born into the world to do everything, but to do something. Henry David Thoreau

DSCN0166I choose a Word (or Words!) of the Year as a part of living mindfully, choosing what I do and responding to what comes up.  I started this year with a clutch of words, which perhaps reflected a fear of getting it wrong.  I mean what would happen if I chose the wrong word of the year?  What wisdom would I miss if I….(shock, horror) chose the wrong word of the year? Funny girl.

As it turns out, it’s just two that have quietly andDSCN0169 consistently called me.  Two that I ponder when I feel overwhelmed by choices and decisions.  Two that shed some light on what the something I was born to do might be.  Two words that I have sort of resisted.

My lovely man says I connect. He says it’s what I do. And, in a way he is right. I connect to my place, I connect with people, I connect people to one another (I often think a special quality of the Colourful Journey is the result of connections between wonderful people who have not met before), I have practices to help me connect to my breath and my body. As DSCN0172I get older, I see more and more our deep interconnectedness, the fact that most of us share that we are trying to make the best of what life dishes up.  Ironically, as an introvert, I feel more connected than ever! (My introversion was part of why I resisted this word but a lot of this article resonated!)

And I live to create.  You all know that.  I try to bring my innate creativity (which we all have!) to what ever I do.  In a post with the resonant clarity of a lovely bell, Jen Louden says about why creating stuff matters,:

The point of life is to make something good and beautiful in the face of meaninglessness and horror. To not give away your voice to false gods of cool shoes, Facebook likes, fat bank statements or to cynicism, resignation and anger. Rather to keep feeling, keep creating, keep enchanting yourself and others with the power of creation.

It helps to ask myself, Does what I am doing now help me in my goal to truly andDSCN0170 meaningfully connect, to create something good, or beautiful? It’s not always simple.  Sometimes trawling through someone’s Pinterest site does exactly that. And sometimes I use the same activity to avoid something challenging.  It’s not so much the activity but the attitude.

So WoTY watchers, I reckon, if between now and the end of the year, you tell me a few of the WoTY you’ve spotted, AND send a word that has resonated for you, we could connect and create.  And given the somewhat pontificatory nature of this post, photos of the struggle between good and evil from the newly completed burning ghats at Itahari seem appropriate. Can you pick the good guys?

BTW, I am regularly updating the Samunnat blog even though the veeeery slooooooow internet nearly sends me to distraction. Latest building photos are here.

6 things that remind me I’m in Birtamod now

1. My shampoo is black.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

2. My toothpaste is red.

3. My breakfast is spicy and I eat more rice.

4. My tea is sweet, spicy and milky.

5. Some shops are like rainbows.

I was going to add 6. that there is Exif_JPEG_PICTUREno toilet paper but decided that would be too much information.

The Samunnat oven works and I am walking on air. Read about it here.

Wednesday…back in the saddle!

This is an unashamedly Samunnat flavoured post.

photo 3There was no rest for the wicked after arriving in Kathmandu. After a surprisingly short wait in the visa queue and throwing my bags into my room, Kopila and I met for some serious shopping.  We had three goals:

1. purchase a lot of silver findings from Abdul and Shokira at Fozia to cope with our steadily growing orders for completed jewellery;

photo 12. search every inch of the Bead Bajar in Indra Chowk for the elusive turquoise coloured pote bead (you can see from the photo that turquoise is not the top colour!  Gimme GREEN and RED baby!); and

3. look at big ovens (Kopila had no idea such a thing existed. Totally blown away!)

Neither of us are huge fans of KTM so the plan was to shop fast and go. And we did. Fortified by lovingly made dal bhat courtesy of our dear bhai Bishnu and Bil, we spent more money in two and half days than in a long time.  But we got the silver, found the beads (despite nearly every bloke in the market telling us Paundaina- not available – with a remorseful shake of his head) cleaned the cupboard sized shop of the aforementioned turquoise beads and…no….we didn’t look at ovens.  Well, we didn’t just look atphoto 4 ovens. WE BOUGHT ONE!!!!

Personally, I will really, really miss the ear splitting, conversation stopping, relentless, head ache inducing noise of the generator we have to use with our current electric toaster ovens.  But I think I will get over it.  Our gas oven will be quieter, cleaner, cheaper to run, more efficient and the biggest single purchase (apart from the building) that we have ever made.

So now I sit here in my other home, a rising red sun hovering above misty fields of grain, my beloved Sigur Ros triumphantly soaring* in my ears thanks to my new hearing aid suitable headphones (an indulgence in Singapore).  Life is complex. Not all good, not all bad. But it is life and I am so grateful for every minute.

PS Also managed to squeeze in shopping for chappals so our feet don’t get cold inside.  For more about Samunnat activities, keep reading that blog too!

PPS The weather was so much warmer than the clothing worn in the last photo would suggest. Very pleasant. Ana bahini, I was not wearing my cardie or beanie. Go figure.

*Possibly painfully loudly but gee….sounds good to me!

If this is Sunday, I must be in Sydney….

I left the Hill on Wednesday and will visit four cities before returning to Adelaide and leaving for Nepal.  A lovely, albeit busy time, of reconnecting and sharing.DSCN0121

And while journeys have allowed significant time for reflecting, there’s not so much time for writing. So….some favourite quotes and a photo or two – some flowers made using soothing Placid Blue and lotus buds to give the Samunnat ladies.

Over the last few days travel, I couldn’t believe how many women had obviously had plastic surgery. There is such a sameness about them all, a homogenised look, and (IMHO) it isn’t beautiful.  Ursula Le Guin so wisely says:

Beauty always has rules. It’s a game. I resent the beauty game when I see it controlled by people who grab fortunes from it and don’t care who they hurt. I hate it when I see it making people so self-dissatisfied that they starve and deform DSCN0118and poison themselves. Most of the time I just play the game myself in a very small way, buying a new lipstick, feeling happy about a pretty new silk shirt…[or wearing really fabulous jewellery. Ed]

Maybe it was because I was going to a school reunion that this resonated:

…I look at men and women my age and older, and their scalps and knuckles and spots and bulges, though various and interesting, don’t affect what I think of them. Some of these people I consider to be very beautiful, and others I don’t. For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young. It has to do with bones. It has to do with who the person is. More and moreDSCN0115 clearly it has to do with what shines through those gnarly faces and bodies.

Resilience, authenticity, courage in a face is more beautiful to me than a fine nose or full lips.

As Brene Brown says in The Gifts of Imperfection, authenticity is letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are right now.

Last week, when I tentatively practised embracing who I am right now (instead of the me I thought I was supposed to be) I could finish a task that had being hanging accusingly over my head for months.  Embracing the fact that I was a passionately enthusiastic volunteer who could ask for help (yup! revolutionary idea that one!) and not waiting until I was the fabulously computer literate graphic artist I thought I should be allowed me to get the job done.  It was good enough!

There is less evidence of plastic surgery in Nepal but the phenomenal sales of Fair and Lovely whitening cream suggests that the pursuit of idealised perfection is just as strong. Oh that my grand daughter could live in society where true inner beauty is valued, diversity celebrated, the weathering of age seen as signs of a long life well lived.

PS See Zed Nelson’s Love Me for more food for thought.  And Brainpickings for a cracker read every Sunday!