Monthly Archives: December 2015

Three things

photo newAs well as wonderful friends and family, three things have made a big difference for me this year.  Practices that have helped me to recognise when I can make thoughtful choices. (In the interests of transparency I want you to know I have no affiliate link with any of these things. Or anything.  This is just straight from the heart sharing of stuff that helps.)

The first is Brainpickings. I have said it before and I will say it again: I love Brainpickings. Maria Popova curates wonderful writing and I love to read it. Reading it reminds me to think and is part of what makes each Sunday special.

A great help in sustaining a regular meditation practice in scatty times is a weekly meditation from Susan Piver.  When I am too exhausted to sit and meditate, her guided meditations are a gem.  Doing these once a week means daily meditation is more likely to happen. Having a small goal of ten minutes, means longer sessions occur. She has recently published Start Here Now and even though I have meditated in various forms for years, and read many books on the subject, I found this one terrific.

And finally, perhaps with the most profound impact, has been my involvement with The Oasis which is way less woo woo than it sounds!  A few years ago, I stumbled onto the work of Jen Louden and did two online courses (Life Navigation and Teach Now) both of which were great.  I have written about them on other occasions. This year I joined The Oasis.  Barb Klein, another participant described it like this:

Jen and The Oasis community have helped me tap into what living without holding back is for me and to take myself forward, even when I’m facing significant challenges as I have the past few months. In this time The Oasis has offered nourishment and rejuvenation to an otherwise drained and weary soul. I appreciate the forum as a gathering place where I can be witnessed and gently accepted and supported. Also, I am able to be there with others and remember that none of us are alone in our human journey.

Using poetry, journalling and writing, I have truly found an Oasis in each week. A time to give myself the gift of my full attention. To listen to my voice amidst the clamouring of others.  A new round starts later in January and I will be there.

A New Year begins and I was looking froward to it SO VERY MUCH I realised that it hadn’t even begun and I was loading on the expectations. Primarily that it wasn’t this year!!!  In a text conversation, a wise woman who has also had a really tough 2015 (let us call her my daughter) wrote: This year is going to be full of learning and listening just like the last one. It’s not going to be free of learning or mistakes. Or ill-health, or anxiety about stuff. Or frustrations, joys, creative productivity, creative stagnation.  It will be what it is.  Another wise friend, let us call her Cathy, once sent me this blessing and I send it to all my gentle readers as a New Year, with all its richness, sorrow, beauty and ugliness, success and failure, health and ill health, peace and anxiety, begins:

May you find courage, and the space between breaths, to arrange whatever pieces fall your way.

PS: the link between the photo and the post is that it suggests thoughtfulness. Not to mention includes two special people!

 

Summaries and simple steps

Many of you will know (and thank you for your caring responses in comments and emails) that the proverbial really hit the fan a few times this year. I reduced the length of my regular trip to Nepal but I am very glad I still went. The time with the Samunnat ladies was great and I will write of that later (or at the Samunnat blog) but for now a few photos from the Colourful Journey 2015:

Rebuilding the stupa at Boudhanath

Rebuilding the stupa at Boudhanath

There were moments when, in the face of threatened domestic flight cancellations, political unrest, fuel and gas shortages, Bishnu and I wondered about the wisdom of going ahead with the Colourful Journey 2015. We worked out plans B to Z to cope with the known unknowns, emailed our prospective trippers who were all still up for it and rejoiced in meeting a group of resilient, determined, generous and laughing women.

 

The children at Sonrisa meeting the new addition to their family for the first time.

The children at Sonrisa meeting the new addition to their family for the first time.

(The unexpected but wonderful arrival of a wee girl meant we had to modify the modified plans which we did with excited glee!) With the recent earthquakes and ongoing problems, many tourists understandably choose easier destinations. We are so grateful to those who come and spend money in Nepal, learn of our situation and encourage and help. Dhanyabad!!!

 

The buildings of Thimi, badly affected by the earthquake, being propped up by beams.

The buildings of Thimi, badly affected by the earthquake, being propped up by beams.

We managed to visit many of our friends, all really trying to survive in spite of the crap going on around them.  For a thoughtful analysis of the aforementioned crap read this. They were thrilled to see us and our intrepid travellers and many golden moments were shared by all.  The situation is however deteriorating and my concern for my beloved and beleaguered Nepal grows.

An aside: MSF revealed in their latest issue of The Pulse that pneumonia is the number one killer of children under five.  A key barrier to protecting 75% of the children of the world against pneumonia is the price. The drug is only made by two huge companies, GFK and Pfizer, who made US426 billion in global sales of a vaccine.  MSF have launched a global petition aimed at the CEOs of the two companies asking them to make the vaccine available at $5 per child for all developing countries and humanitarian organisations. Please sign it here and share it with friends who may also be interested.