A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. ~Oscar Wilde

Posts tagged ‘life’

Doggy Dos and Don’ts

Yawn! Stretch, y-a-w-n!!!!!!

I padded out of my room to the doorway of the Big Room. I scratched on the glass. I could see the Family moving around. Ma was talking away once in a while screaming out to Dada and Didi who were not visible yet. I could see that my food had been placed in my little bowl in front of the kitchen, but Ma never fed me. Didi or Dada did. Ah well, I was not that hungry anyway.

A  little point just beyond my reach behind my ear, felt itchy. I pondered and decided it was not bad enough to try and get to. I padded over to  the bowl of water in front of my room and drank thirstily. Sleeping can make a dog really thirsty. I turned and looked back at Ma, who was still thumping food on to the table and stomping back and forth from the kitchen. I knew that if I did my doo-doos here she would be unhappy. One does not make Ma unhappy. Regardless of who feeds me, it is she who is the boss of all things. I ran down the steps to the doo-doo corner.

When I came back, Baba was there and Dada and Didi had come down as well. I started jumping up and down and uttering little yelps. Didi always loves to see me excited. Sure enough, she was bringing the food over. She opened the glass door. I ran to sit at My Spot waiting for her to put it down for me. However much excited I get, Ma has ruled that I only get fed if I sit in My Spot.  Didi put the food down, gave me a squish, and went back indoors with a promise that today, after school, we would go biking. I like biking. Didi rides her bike and I run alongside. Much more my style than trying to slow down when she decides to run.

I finished the food, overturned the bowl to see if any morsels were clinging underneath, and padded back to the door. It was open. I was allowed to go in. Keeping a wary eye on Ma, I went and sat a little distance away from the dining table watching the comings and goings with interest. Baba was bringing toast to the table, Didi was finishing her smoothie and Dada tossed me a crumb.  I quickly caught it in my mouth, but Ma had noticed.

“Don’t feed The Dog indoors!” Why does she call me The Dog? I tried to look as sweet and innocent as possible. But she carried on, “If you don’t follow the rules, The Dog stays outside”. Dada winked at me.  I looked back seriously. I didn’t want to Stay Outside. But what can I do if someone tosses me food?

Ma went off upstairs to get changed and ready for work. Downstairs everyone was engaged in clearing up. I walked to the kitchen door.  On his way back out Baba stooped and scratched me behind my ear just where it was itchy. Aaah! He always knows.  Ruffling up my coat he said, “Don’t go in there! Ma will be mad.” I know, oh I know.

“The Dog can go here”.

“The Dog can’t go there”.

“Not there!!!”

“Take The Dog out and brush him down.” Okay, that’s a good one.

“Will someone clean The Dog’s Do-do???!!!!!!” Well, that’s a good one, too…. I don’t like do-dos to pile up.

This is the worst time of the day. They all go away and I am left to myself. I tell you, making sure that the cats next door don’t come into my garden can pall.

Ma came downstairs, “Has someone made sure that The Dog’s water has been filled up?” Baba replied from his study… “ I have”

“Okay. Bye everyone”

She had gone, waving at me as she went out the front door.

Dada and Didi clattered down the stairs, closed the toddler gate on the bottom of the stairs, and as Baba walked out of the front door, they left through the back door, unlocking the flap door that allowed me to go in if it got too hot during the day.

I walked out to the back gate with them, seeing them off as they ran to their bus stop down the little lane.  I sat down in the shade of the hedge, peering underneath  until the bus came, and they got in.

All around it was quietening down. The morning rush was over. A few birds were chirping from the top branches of the tree. Further away a couple of  toddlers were playing in their backyard, but for the most part the neighbourhood had departed for the day. An unaccustomed creak startled me. I turned to the gate, it was swinging slightly on its hinges.

Gingerly, I stepped out to the gate and pushed against the bottom rung with one paw. It swung outwards. It. Was. Not. Locked.

I  stood, trembling a little, just outside my yard. The path to the bus stop was on one side. On the other side I could see the blue of the ocean. That was where Didi would take me for my run later, along the cliffs next to the big blue, right up to the top, where I would see the sky meet the water and feel the balmy wind.  I stepped out a little bit more. No one yelled. I took a deep breath and had just decided to go for it, when suddenly I heard a distant deep bark.

I dived back in and made straight for the porch. The big ugly dog was out with his deaf owner. Not that I am scared of big ugly dogs. I just don’t like being mauled. I am fastidious like that. After a while I realised that the B.U.D. was going another way today. I quietly made my way across the garden to the gate again.

Step by tentative step, I started towards the ocean.  Soon I felt stronger,  and I was gambolling along the path, my ears flat against my shoulders and the wind streaming through my fur.

It was magnificent! The skies were blue, the birds were flying high, the path leading up from the beach had very few people on it. I met no one who knew me. I heard someone laughing as I streaked past, “Whoa! Boy!” But most of them ignored me, as I did them.

I wandered all day. It was warm, with the breeze just the right amount of cool. I went up and down the pathway on the cliffs till I tired of it, and went back down to the street and houses. This was surely the life! No silly cats peering at me over the fence. No fences holding me in. I slunk under the fence of one house and lapped up some water out of their swimming pool. I scared a tiny dog with a pink bow. I charmed a mother and toddler in the park. I ran around and around in circles with a couple of other wandering dogs.

As it started to get dark, I realised how hungry I was.  I suddenly remembered Didi. She must have come home long ago… It was late now, she would be doing her homework, and I would not get to go biking with her and listen to her sing at the top of her voice at the top of the cliff. I had missed “trick time” with Dada. All the silly little tricks I performed for him, and the treats he gave me. Ma would be getting dinner on the table. My dinner would be in my bowl…

The other dogs I had been playing with had long gone, and the cars were shining their lights as they whooshed past, blinding me.  It was really not that nice being out here all alone.

I turned and came back home.

Ma was the first one to come out. “There he is!” Didi came rushing out and hugged me tight. Dada danced around and Baba smiled at me and said “welcome back”.

Once I had been hugged and petted I walked over to My Spot. Ma was putting down my bowl of food herself. “Tell The Dog to eat properly. Make sure you lock the gate, children.” 

Advertisements

Radiating the definitions

It is my belief that mediation works wonders for the individual, and by extension, to the community at large. I do believe that an ever increasing number of people taking time out their day to meditate, can only benefit the whole circle of existence. In the course of sharing my progress and responding to comments on my posts, I was reminded that meditation can mean different things to different people, as well as be a slightly confusing idea, in itself.

So I thought I needed to answer the question “what is meditation, really?” The first step was just to get on to Google. “The action or practice of meditating”. Right. That then took care of that, but left me in a circle not of my choosing.

Derived from the Latin verb “Meditari” which means to think, to contemplate, to ponder, the word is used these days to describe the act of quietening one’s mind and focussing on an idea or a thought. Or as is also commonly practised, emptying ones mind…

I believe that this sort of trance or contemplative state of mind can be more readily achieved by sitting down in a regular quiet place. If one sits down at the same time, at the same place, with the same candle lit, it is easier to slip into the mode. Hence most mediation classes advocate such a habit.

Most classes teach breathing techniques and relaxation techniques and lead the student down a well practised path of visualisation. My mother taught me to stare at the flame of a candle in a dark room, breathe slow and deep, and then close my eyes and hold the picture of the candle in my mind, and  visualise it come to the centre of my forehead, where the third eye is. She was very insistent that the mind had to be a blank and the image of the flame was all one was allowed to see. Needless to say that at the age of ten, such a feat was completely beyond me, and I did not even try. I just sat with my eyes closed until she said I could open them again. Even then, I knew that what she was trying to teach me had value, I did not realise that I was not attuned to her process. I ended feeling that meditating was for special, wise people.

Through my on again off again yoga journey through the years, each teacher has taught a different way to meditate. Sitting in those classes amidst the calm, vibrant energy of a number of yoga students, I have found each method to be of value.

I have also read and heard about a number of people’s experience with meditation. Some people find their mediative state through some activity or the other, and some people swear by bodily stillness. Also, in monasteries, monks bring the meditative experience to their daily chores and if they are doing it, it must work!

So, it seems to me, that meditation is a process through which one experiences oneself.  To the lay person like me, its value lies in the effect of calm and peace it brings. The increased ability to concentrate, and the slowing down of the heartbeat fills me with an awareness of myself beyond the flesh I can see. It makes me feel, that, I might not be very wise, but I might be getting there!

Some more thoughts on meditation:

Deepak Chopra explains meditation:

What happens during meditation?

 

 

 

How would you define meditation? I am curious. As soon as I tried to define it, it became too broad a question for me.

Aside

First Impressions: The Circle Begins

After reading class 1 on my “learn meditation page” of choice, I decided to go ahead and incorporate the exercise in my own way.

Fresh from the resolve, and eager to get going, I hunkered down that night for my five minutes before bed. I looked at the time, set my intention for five minutes and settled down to the first of the first steps. Breathe in and out at least 7 times. I don’t really know how many times I actually did so, I was concentrating on breathing in the life force and love, and breathing out my frustrations and negativity. I noticed a slight tendency to hyper ventilate and adjusted my in breath to less long. Which then meant I had to shorten my out breath as I did not have enough air in me to breathe out. Sigh! Then, of course, there was the noise. The trucks rolling past on the highway, the last of the neighbours hunkering down for the nights, and finishing up in their kitchens, and a host of other noises that I normally do not notice.

Aha! I am supposed to notice them, and let them go, so I did. I did not think there was any reduction to the noise level, but my breath calmed down, and the tightness in my chest softened. And all of a sudden I thought, “That would be five minutes” and my eyes popped open. Feeling a little “hmm… need to learn a bit more”, I looked at the time, and what do you know? Exactly five minutes!  So I must be doing something right!

I had the heaviest, deepest sleep that night for a long time. My limbs felt heavy, and even in my sleep I was aware of a heaviness. Let us not forget the dreams! The dreams were vivid, and scary and adventurous. I had trouble waking up in the morning…

So my morning was rushed and chores grabbed me before I could settle down and meditate. But I got that bit done before that 7:20 am hit its mark and the need to madly rush out into the day manifested.

All through the day I felt removed. I had a standard 21st Century muddle of a day mixed with work, friends, family and chores, with its attendant pulls, pushes and drags.  But I did not feel like those things quite touched me. Not that I was unemotional, but it felt like the emotions were an outer part of me, and hence something that I observed and let go, rather than get gripped by them. It was a wonderful, liberating feeling.

I think I am going to love this. I think I am going to be able to carry this on.

Have you joined us on the Bodhi Circle yet?

PS: this morning, during the time I meditated, I did not notice any back ground noise at all. It was still. Quiet. Interesting. Time for Class 2.

The Locked Trolley

A regular day of shopping. Or so I thought it would be. Get some regular day to day clothes that always seem to reach end of life, get some food and ingredients that always seem to get eaten and head off back home. As I parked the car I realised that I was in the wrong spot for the supermarket, it would be a long trek back pushing a trolley. Shrugging off the thought with another, “It will do me good to push the trolley further” I went off to do my shopping.

140 minutes or so later, there I was pushing the trolley back, laden with groceries and figuring out how best to get to the car. Of course, it involved getting out on to the street and pushing it along the footpath, across a pedestrian
crossing and then across a set of lights further along. All the while within the bounds of the mall, I was just in between two buildings of Westfield, not away, just to a car park within the shopping bounds for this Westfield. Somewhere I have parked often before.

What happened? You guessed it, my trolley decided I was a Bad Woman, trying to run away with it. Down descended the yellow lock and my trolley would not budge. Right as I was going across a driveway from a car park where other, more clever parkers of cars had parked close to Coles.

So here I was, dragging my trolley back to safety and poking underneath it to see why it had locked itself.

A pretty girl asked “Whoa! What happened?”

Giving the trolley a scientific jerk, I said, “the trolley won’t move!”

Her male companion said ”You have to push it.”

!*@!*%! Really?

I decided against answering, and the girl helped me by lifting the trolley and the guy offered helpful hints “it’s locked” “I don’t know” “it’s locked”…

They strolled off after a while.

As I dragged the trolley along to the short distance to the car park, I assumed that something had gone wrong, and that I was unable to unlock it because I am not clever enough. Until another helpful person walked by. “That is locked,” he said. “They do it on purpose. You cannot unlock it, I got caught just like this the other day on the other side.”

“I am just trying to get to the car park!” I wailed. He shrugged and turned away.

Thoroughly disgruntled, I jerked, pushed and pulled the three wheeled and one locked trolley back to close to my car, and then took my things and went home.

Mr Coles, and Mrs. Woolworths, and all the other giant markets who feel the need to protect your trolleys from the big bad gang of trolley thieves please be assured that we are not ALL out to get your trolleys. And we might need to park a little distance away, probably because the car park near the supermarket is full. Probably because we have to go to other shops as well which are a fair distance away from your end of the supermarket. So while you invent ingenuous new ways to stop trolley theft, spare a thought for the vast majority of us who are innocent and honest and desperately want to do some legitimate shopping.

HO! HO! HO!

In the meantime please enjoy the Christmas tree from Darwin.

~~Love

Sonelina

Consider a Different Choice

There is a plethora of information available to the seeker. What to eat, what not to. How to exercise, how not to. What is good for us, what is not. Most of us know most of it. But knowing is a very different thing to doing.

We know that skim milk in our coffee is better than full cream milk. We know that walking for 30 minutes to an hour everyday would improve our health by leaps and bounds. We know that turning off the TV and playing a board game with our children would make us happier.

But all  of this does not always fit in to our lives. Skim milk does not taste as good as full cream milk, it is so difficult to find 30 minutes to walk every week, let alone every day, the news on TV is so riveting and the little one should really be in bed, anyway!

So we put it all into the too hard basket and lope off to the Doctor get our medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, back ache, diabetes, and a host of other chronic and preventable diseases. Many of these medications are expensive, have too many side effects and do not do much more than temporarily relieve the symptoms. But we get dependent on them. We would rather pop a few pharmaceutical drugs than a few supplements, and just blame our whole life’s problems on living in the 21st century.

How about we take a step back? How about we take responsibility for strengthening our bones, and improving our cholesterol level? How about we consider that we are not living in the 21st century, the 21st century exists because of us, and we are really just living?

How about we just recognize when we can make it a shorter work day, and leave work earlier? How about we turn off the late night news, most of which we have watched during the evening anyway, and go to bed earlier? How about we get up half an hour earlier and get on that treadmill we bought last year for Christmas? How about we walk to the train station instead of taking our car? How about we just pack our lunch to take to work?

See  – we all know it. We know that each change that will improve our lives by a large multiplicand is actually just a tiny shift in our perception of who we are. A really tiny shift in perception. Instead of viewing ourselves as a generation of overworked, underpaid, stressed out, stretched for time, overburdened by war and mayhem, unloved and unappreciated billion lives, we can see ourselves as loving, loved individuals, who make the happiest choices for themselves.  It is just a slight shift, does not take much at all.

There are millions of people who already live this life. They exercise, and eat well, they make responsible choices for themselves and for their families and that extends out to the whole world. All we need to do is believe that we are not really that different from them.

So the next time our colleague / friend/ chance met in the coffee queue says “I love waking up at the crack of dawn, and going for a swim”, let us consider not turning up your eyeballs and saying “Oh you are so lucky, I simply could NEVER do that”. Consider instead “Oh, how lovely! Maybe  tomorrow I can come with you!”

And maybe the next day, we will!

One step at a time!

Love

%d bloggers like this: