Some (extremely unimportant) things to think about at 2 am…

2 am and sleep feels forever away. It was the same a couple of nights ago. I was twisting and turning and finally got up around 5 am. Which led me to nap in the afternoon the day after, get energy and stay up late, and be tired the day after that, nap in the afternoon, and now I cant go to sleep. Conclusion; too much napping!

Some of the random things that can pop in to your head when you can’t sleep:

…breakfast was pretty good this morning, and the doughnuts in the afternoon were really good, mmm, doughnuts…

…I miss India, I wonder how much a ticket would be… quick look on Momondo, $655 return in march… remember you’re not supposed to be on your phone in the middle of the night, put phone down, try to go back to sleep…

…I’m gonna focus on my breathing now, like a lying meditation, like savasna, in bed. Mmm. Breathe in through nose, out through the nose, in through the nose, out though the nose…

…I wonder if anyone has updated their Instagram. Quick look on Instagram (and Facebook, and a few blogs, just for good measure) remember you’re not supposed to be on your phone in the middle of the night, put phone down, try to go back to sleep…

…I want a new hat! I wonder if the one I got from H&M back home this summer that I really like is sold here in Australia now… google H&M Australia, find the hat (it comes in two colours, yay!) look at everything sold at H&M, make up a mental wish-list, remember you’re not supposed to be on your phone in the middle of the night, put phone down, try to go back to sleep…

…I wonder, if we bought a house, what it would look like… start to furnish non-existing house in my head… (have to fight the urge to go on Svenskt Tenn’s website to find out if they ship stuff to Australia)…

…remember that this was supposed to be my vegetarian week for my weekly project. Had chicken for dinner. Damn it!…

…start contemplating a chapter for my book, get a great idea, get out of bed, make a cup of tea, find biscuits, start computer, all set up and good to go; totally forgot what my great idea was…

And now it’s not 2 am anymore, it’s closer to 3 am… time to go back to bed…

Photo on 25-11-2015 at 2.35 am #5

Monday meditation

Monday. The day of fresh starts, new beginnings, turning the page and getting back on track.

My “gratitude week” last week didn’t go as planned. Like, at all. I did write in my gratitude journal. Twice. And I didn’t pick up the book I had planned on reading once. I updated the blog only once (instead of the 3-4 times I was aiming for)

I found myself making up excuses; “well, I did work long hours on the weekend, and I wasn’t at home much”, but, as the saying goes: “if you want to do something, you find a way, if not, you find an excuse”.

Two weeks in, it’s safe to say that my little projects aren’t going all that well. This would usually be the time when I go “right, so this isn’t working, might as well give up”. But no no no, you guys, not this time! This time I’m sticking too it. And I guess that is part of the project as well. To not give up so easily, to realise that there will be ups and downs and to accept that and keep going anyway.

So this week my project focuses on meditation, 20 minutes a day is the goal.

And, to quote Paulo Coelho and The Alchemist (one of my favourite books) “When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you”. I went online to oneoeight to find a yogaclass to take this afternoon, but instead I came across a 20 minute video clip titled “Monday meditation” led by Rachel Brathen (aka Yogagirl). Hows that for meaningful coincidence?! Thank you, Universe!

She talked about setting an intention for the week (like what I wrote about here). The first thing I thought was “gratitude”. Then my mind went “no, gratitude was last week, think of something else” so I tried, and my mind was like “right, creativity! No wait, peace! No no hang on, acceptance!!!” and then Rachel was like “whatever resonates with your heart, anything that comes to mind first, that’s usually a great intention to set”. So I settled on gratitude. And it makes sense; it all ties in together, my first week was yoga, my second was gratitude and now I’m working with meditation. It’s all connected; they all go hand in hand and build on each other.

So my intention this week is to keep cultivating gratitude in my daily life. And today I’m grateful that instead of giving up, I decided to try meditation and then I took the time sit down and write this. Baby steps. Let’s see if I can keep it up this week!

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“Gratitude turns what we have into enough”

How did my first “weekly project” go?

Well! It started out great, like most new projects do, with me full of motivation and ready to go. I was still in Ubud and took classes at the Yoga Barn, two on Monday and two on Tuesday. Strong start! (And exhausting, 3 hours of yoga a day was, hard. But amazing!) From there it started to go downhill. I was losing momentum, or something.

Wednesday I was supposed to fly to Australia, and I got up to practice in my room before heading to the airport. My plan the evening before was to do an hour, but I was a little bit nervous (I’m always nervous before going to the airport) so I only managed to do 15 minutes. Then when my flight was cancelled and I got to stay in Bali, I thought “great, heaps of time for yoga”. And I did have a lot of time, seeing as I was staying by myself and all, but I was feeling restless and scattered and couldn’t keep myself on the mat for more than 15 minutes at a time. So I did a few sunsalutations and stretches in the morning and then the same again in the afternoon. And this is a little bit interesting, because if I think about it, obviously with the uncertainty of not knowing when I was going to go home and just not knowing what was going on, it should’ve been the best time for me to practice, but I didn’t. Why? I still don’t know. Probably because I was too much in my head, and even though I felt like (and thought that) I was calm, I was probably worried and stressed about not knowing, so it was uncomfortable to be in the moment, and instead of working through it, I put my head in the sand, so to speak, and went and did something else.

Anyways. I got back to Australia, and it was nice to be back, nice to see Bruce again, nice to cook my own food and be able to do laundry and sleep in my own bed. But I think I still got in to that post-holiday-blues-mood that I have a tendency to get to after traveling.

So this should also have been a great opportunity to practice yoga, be present, work things through, but I spent zero minutes on my yogamat and planted myself instead on the sofa, with Netflix, a glass of red wine and a bag of candy (“Turkisk peppar”, which is salty liquorice, which absolutely does not go with red wine at all!)

So yeah, that was my yoga week. Conclusion; it’s was harder than I thought to stick to something for a whole week, but I enjoyed it, and I’ve been enjoying writing on the blog so I still think that it’s a fun project!

And now on to week two! Week two is “Gratitude week”, my “mission” this week is to a) write in my gratitude journal every day and b) to read “The Magic” and c) keep blogging!

I believe gratitude has a huge impact on our wellbeing. When we “count out blessings” we get the opportunity to stop for a moment and focus on all that is good in our lives. Usually there is so much striving, so much want; I want more time, a slimmer body, a new pair of jeans, a holiday, fresh flowers, more money, more sunshine… there seem to always be things to desire. But if we stop and think about it, we have a whole bunch of stuff already, and I think one of the keys to real happiness in life is to really really notice these things and be grateful.

So, top of my gratitude list;

I’m grateful for all the relationships in my life, for Bruce, for my loving family, and for all my beautiful amazing friends. Without all these people, all the other stuff wouldn’t really matter anyway. I am grateful to have you all in my life!

Second, I’m grateful for my health. For my body, for the fact that I wake up every morning and can go to work, practice yoga, go for walks and do whatever I want without having to worry about it.

I’m also very grateful that I get to live in Australia. And that I also have the opportunity to go back to Sweden every year. That I get to decide where I want to live my life, it’s not something everyone can take for granted, and I feel blessed that everything worked out for us, that I got my visa, and especially for the freedom to choose!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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“Dare to be wildly inconsistent”

You know when hear something, like a saying or a quote, and you’re like “YES!” and it totally resonates with you?! The other morning I had one of those moments. I was at a yoga class at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, and during savasana (that bit in the end of class when you get to lie down and relax, i.e. the best bit) the teacher read us a poem, and one line just jumped out at me.

“Dare to be wildly inconsistent”

I love that!

Being inconsistent is something that I’ve been struggling with, and feeling guilty about, for years. We tend to put people we meet and ourselves in to little boxes with clear, easy-to-grasp labels. “Yogi” “party-girl” “journalist” “backpacker” “waitress” “student”. Each label carries certain qualities and dictate that you “should” be in certain ways. Backpackers don’t stay in fancy hotels, and party-girls don’t stay at home and read a book on a Saturday night.

Obviously it’s never that clear-cut, and we can have more than one label at the same time, and we evolve and move through them as well. However, I feel that sometimes it’s hard to let your different sides co-exist. You feel judged. Even if it’s just you, judging yourself.

In the past this has led me to go from one extreme to the other. I used to be a bit of a shopaholic (some *Bruce* might say I still am). Then I went backpacking and in my mind, in order to be a “real” backpacker I couldn’t care so much about clothes and “stuff”, so I gave more than half of it away (and went out and bought a smaller bag, hehe, the irony). I was also a “party-girl”, and then I discovered yoga and for a while there I was on a “no alcohol-no caffeine-vegetarian going vegan-with a side of spirulina and chia seeds” spin. You get the picture. I have found a middle ground now, I think, mostly. But sometimes I still feel like I should do this or I shouldn’t do that.

Which is why this statement feels so inspiring. Yes, I will be more daring, I will be inconsistent and it will feel fantastic, because the truth is that:

I love yoga, green juices and I eat a mostly “healthy” and vegetarian diet. But I also really like mojitos, a glass of red wine and a good steak every now and then. And I love Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts and salty liquorice!

I enjoy getting up early in the morning, go for long walks and get stuff done, but I also love sleeping in and staying in bed scrolling through instagram and facebook and pinterest for hours.

I appreciate spending time in nature, reading, writing and thinking about spirituality and practice meditation. But one of my favourite things in the world is to spend hours browsing through second-hand stores (and other stores, most stores, come to think of it) because I love fashion and interior design, love fashion, because I think it’s a lot of fun.

And when I travel I don’t mind staying in the cheapest hostel and eat local street food, but I also don’t mind staying somewhere fancy and buy expensive “western food” if that is what I feel like.

One day I can practice yoga in some old “baba-pants” (those baggy harem pants) bought for next-to-nothing at a market somewhere, and the next I’m wearing expensive-as-hell Lululemon pants.

You see what I’m getting at? Turns out I’m already quite inconsistent. But I want to dare to be proudly wildly inconsistent! No more guilty “should” and “shouldn’t”.  

This is the whole poem, borrowed from Jeff Fosters facebook page. What line jumps out at you?


Stranded in Bali, and yoga in “real life”

When most of us think about yoga, we think of the asana – the physical postures of the practice. We think of our yoga practice in terms of what we do on the mat. And we can feel our bodies changing, growing stronger and more flexible. We might experience that our minds calm down and we feel less stressed. This is great, this is what attracted me to yoga, and also the reason I keep coming back, because it feels good.

But sometimes I find myself in situations, in life, far away from my mat, where I still experience the effects of yoga.

The last couple of days I’ve had the opportunity to see my “yoga mind” at work in real life. I’m currently in Bali, and as you might have heard there was a volcanic eruption on the neighbouring island of Lombok a few days ago. I was meant to fly out around lunchtime on Wednesday. As I was having breakfast in Ubud my friends at the hotel asked if my flight was cancelled. “I don’t think so” I said “I haven’t heard anything”. So off I went to the airport. Where, as soon as I got out of my taxi, other drivers asking if I needed a taxi surrounded me, “all flight cancel” they told me. Inside, the atmosphere was even more chaotic than the regular airport-buzz and I realised that all flights out of Bali were, indeed, cancelled until further notice. So I stood there, in line to the airline, and this is where things started to get interesting.

I had no idea what would happen: how long was the airport going to be closed? Would I have to wait here, or would I have to try to find a hotel? Were they going to give me a new ticket, or would I have to buy a new one (I have the very bad habit of travelling without insurance). How long was this going to take?

A few years ago I would’ve been freaking out. I would’ve been nervous, angry, annoyed, frustrated and scared. And I could see people around me expressing all of these feelings. People in line complaining and swearing, people up at the counters arguing and raising their voices when talking to the airline staff.

And all I could think was “everything will work out just fine” and I totally believed it, I felt completely calm, I read my book, listened to some podcasts, got up to the counter and got a new ticket, booked a hotel online and that was it.

It turned out that my new flight got cancelled as well. This time I didn’t go to the airport but headed to the airlines office instead. Which a lot of other people also did. So we were standing there, in the scorching sun, on a parking lot next to a road with heavy traffic. For five hours. And again, I felt calm, and, even more surprising, I felt gratitude; I kept thinking “things could be so much worse- none of us are hurt, we are all going to be just fine”. It almost felt a bit weird, how could I be so unruffled when almost everyone around me were stressing out? (Obviously I wasn’t loving it, it wasn’t fun to stand there for five hours, BUT, even though i wasn’t loving it, I wasn’t hating it either…)

And what does yoga have to do with any of this?

Well, in yoga, when we practice asana, we practice present moment awareness and acceptance. By letting go of our attachment to the need for control, power and approval we can be content with things as they are.

Most of us, when we first turn up to yoga, are trying to fit in, “be good” and do all the asanas exactly like the teacher are showing them (even the advanced variations although we are beginners). This doesn’t serve us; it sets us up for disappointment. But in time, if we keep showing up with the intention to learn, focus will shift from the outside to the inside. We learn to turn out attention inwards, to listen to our bodies, stay present, and do what feels comfortable, what feels good rather than what looks good, or what everyone else is doing.

So I suppose that when I was standing there out on the parking lot, with no way to change or control the situation, instead of looking at how everyone else were reacting (anger, fear and stress) I could (instinctively) turn my intention inwards and be relaxed and content, accepting the situation as it was and letting go of expectation. “Whatever will happen will happen and everything will be fine”.

Basically, when you find yourself in a stressful situation that you cannot change (stuck in traffic, in a line, on a train that is running late) you have the choice of how to react; you can be angry and annoyed or you can be calm and collected. How you react won’t change the outcome of the situation (you will still be late) but it will impact your experience of the situation. Had I stood there in line feeling angry, I probably would’ve carried that anger with me for the rest of the day (and even if I didn’t, those five hours would’ve been like a self-inflicted torture). Instead, as I got my ticket and left, it just felt good.

I think this is one of the hidden benefits of yoga. You don’t even realise that it’s happening until you find yourself in a situation where you usually have a set reaction and suddenly you find that you have a different reaction.

It’s pretty cool, really.

I’m still in Bali. My new flight is tomorrow morning. Hopefully the airport stays open and I can go home. But if not, I still know that everything will work out just fine. And in the meantime, I will drink a mojito and enjoy my unexpected holiday-extension.