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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The postgrad party

I keep thinking about my university days as a time which feels very close to me. I think university and I think philosophy, hunger for knowledge, creative curiosity, adventureous travelling. Friendship. Passion. My writing. All the reading I have done, I am doing and I will ever do comes from those days. They are so close to my heart. Myself. The start of the life I want. The meaning of the life I want. My life.
However, that happened looooong ago. I never realised how long until last Sunday I went to Manchester to see the play
'Temp/Casual', where my friend Marlon was acting. The play was about this group of friends who went to uni and graduated together, and how life changed (or they changed because of life) a few years after graduation. How passions fell down. How dreams were only for a few chosen ones. How relationships deteriorated. How friendships were sold and bought. How the very enthusiastic media graduates had to continue to re-invent themselves, some to succeed, some to survive. They called that period 'the postgrad party' and the concept grabbed me and didn't let me go. How has my postgrad party been? Am I still living the postgrad party or am I suppose to have moved on? How can we call the next phase? Will I ever get there or am I stuck in the re-invention marathon? I went through my memories, and time acquired a different dimension. University days feel now so far away. I am nostalgic. I miss the coffees at the canteen, the carefree attitude, the poems, the believe everything was going to lead me to the life of my dreams. The thought there would be always time for everything and for everyone. I miss me. The timeless me. And then I find myself, closer to the past than ever. Closer to complete the puzzle with the pieces I've been scattering all this time. As in Temp/Casual I have desintegrated in empty relationships, I have been a prisoner in meaningless jobs, I have been suffocated by people who think their little narrow world is The World. People who have tried to convince me of that. People I don't want to become. I have fantasised with killing my boss or some colleagues. I will not sell myself, except that I must. Where did my dream go? I must survive. Pay rent, keep studying, bills, taxes, food! The postgrad party. I will be an actress then. Are there others like me? Now my play is a full time job. Maybe mine is a long way round but I haven't lost faith and I know now I'm in the right path. It needs adjustments. Granted. A bit of luck. A bit of work. A lot of faith things might not be easy but I will always find the way. I enjoy going through my postgrad party memories so far. I am happy the way life has turned out. I am grateful for every step. If I can say that, I am complete and yet still seeking.

Enjoy the party!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Oblivion: End of the ban.

"Face your fears! You know you shouldn't look, but you won't be able to stop yourself taking a peek at the colossal vertical drop".

The reading ban is over. It has been over for three and a half days now so I feel I owe myself this post. Something I would like to begin with is that the fact of not being able to read didn't necessarily give me more time. Still in the office for most of the day + 3 hour travelling time each day don't allow too much spare time anyway. Was it worth it? Well, YES. In a strange way.

First feeling: Oblivion. Exactly like the ride (: the build-up (OMG, OMG); the anger (I really don't want to do this, why am I still here?); the fear (What will I do?); the increased anxiety levels (where do these voices come from now? Have they always been there?). I need to say I have experienced both 'Oblivions', the metaphorical and the physical ride (Thanks R, R and Zafron), and they have LOADS IN COMMON.

First question: Why do I read?

  1. Refuge
  2. To stop time
  3. Pleasure
  4. Being transported to a different reality
  5. Research
  6. Information
  7. Communication
  8. To stop doing chores
  9. To stop other activities that, although I want to do them, they ask for greater effort (i.e writing)
  10. Learn

Consequences of the ban:

  1. Many, many unexpected thoughts. Anxiety.
  2. Thoughts would create chaos around my life and the tiniest decision.
  3. Thoughts couldn't be quiet. I had to isolate them and deal with them separately. That took time and effort.
  4. When I was too tired to do anything else, I had to try very hard to avoid TV. I was bored, something I hadn't experienced in a long time.
  5. Isolation. Most of communication exchanges happen via electronic devises nowadays: e.mail, blogs, texts. Personal and social isolation (I tend to read news rather than watch news, especially because I can select what I want to know about. On TV or radio somebody decides for me what I should know).
  6. Disruption of night ritual.

What I got out of it:

  1. I tidied up the house and the office.
  2. I tidied up my head (dealt with thoughts I hadn't before)
  3. I went straight into writing when I had to.
  4. I experienced a different way of creativity. Something less artistic and more embeded in everyday life: cooking, food shopping, yoga series, clothing, writing, advice given to others.

Some of the main benefits I have taken out of it are

  1. Awareness of how I distribute my time during the day.
  2. Awareness of why I read and decision of keeping reading but only for the right reasons.
  3. Awareness of having to find a balance in my life by deciding the time I allocate to the activities which are important to me.
  4. Need for a reading-writing balance.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: Need for empty time to allow creativity to emerge and deal with inner thoughts.
  6. In LIFE, like on Oblivion, even after taking a peek at the colossal vertical drop, you only have three things left to do: breath, relax and enjoy the ride.

La felicidad/ Happiness

Why do we know and still forget it?

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Reading ban. Part 3: This is torture (but I can see hope)

I've been in Manchester today. I love going back there. It feels so home I can't even believe that nearly nine years ago the place was to me nothing worse than an unkown monster ready to eat me alive.
The difference? History. My history. Anyway, as you can imagine I nearly forget my reading ban... Imagine the situation! 2 hour train journey and my laptop with me... But NO. I prepared myself for what I was going to do at Manchester. I took some notes. I wrote my morning pages... Success.
The journey back was slightly harder and the reason is something happened in between. I went to an interview for a Yoga Training course. How did I get there? Well, I don't know. It just made sense suddenly. Life one day fell like a puzzle where the pieces were easily following into place. I met the lovely Annie Jones and I can say I have already learnt things in our conversation. I had a fantastic time and meeting Annie was trully inspiring. This is their webside, if you want to check it out: http://www.druworldwide.com/
The pictures I've included in this post belong to Dru Yoga too.
Ok, so, on my way back I was sitting in the train all busy deep in thought trying to forget I had a brand new Yoga book in my handbag. Ahhhhhhhh! Ok, I'll just look at the cover, I said to myself. I did. Only the 'Contents page'. And I opened to 'just look at the first page'. And... back to my handbag. Yes. I resisted. Close though. Everyone around me, EVERYONE was reading. Reading papers, magazines, notes, books. EVERYONE. So unfair. Why can't I? What am I taking out of all this in such a situation? Locked in a train! Nothing else to do! Well, while lost in my own angry thougths I found an answer: If I read (same as if I kept angry) I would miss out on the gorgeous green landscape of the Peack District, the mountains changing colour in the evening hours, the rain nurturing the earth, the smell of it coming in from the open window. I would stop being present in that right unique moment. A moment that, like all moments in our life, will never come back.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Reading ban part 2. Chaos.

Have you ever felt identified with this image? This reading ban is sending me there. I am realising how full my head is. Some use-ful(l) things and also loads of clutter. They all live together in their own chaotic way. And that mad espectacle is happening inside me. Now I cannot silence it with other stories, with other words. I cannot quiet my mind. Now I feel this urge to clean (inside and outside), to get rid of everything and start fresh new, but the urge fights with the endless 'to do' list that keeps popping up in front of me like an invisible computer screen. With my duties at the office. With what other people expect from me. The prioritising device is failing. What do I do first? I haven't finished one thing and I'm already thinking 'what's next' with the permanent feeling that I am wasting my time. All this raises the question of what reading means to me. I have always seen reading as my nurturing space, as pleasure, information, mental travelling and imagination, connexion with other worlds (known and unknown), and among all, insipiration. I see now that reading is also my refuge and without it I am alone in the open chaotic universe of my own thoughts. I'm still keeping positive though. I am sure something good will come out from this 'fasting'. Maybe I am making space for the things that really matter. And reading really matters, don't get me wrong, but I am willing to find out something new, a new and meaningful space for it. For now, I'm going to start my office de-cluttering process. Wish me luck on that!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Reading ban part 1

As some of you might know I am reading (and completing) Julia Cameron's The Artist Way. It's an interesting book that puts you through a creative self-discovery journey. So far so good. However, in Chapter 4, the book bans you from reading for a week. And I got there. Chapter 4. This is just my second day without reading and I am finding it extreeeemely difficult. How can I live without reading? Where do I find my inspiration? I've realised how much time I spend every day just reading. And I'm not talking only about reading for pleasure. Reading to work, reading to be informed, reading to communicate, reading the food labels, reading as a reward, reading to kill time, reading to stop myself from doing something else I should... That's the point of the reading ban, probably. Or at least one of them. Facing reality. Getting rid of distractions, just for a week. Take some perspective. After writing my pages this morning, after my yoga session I thought 'Hey, before I get down to my writing I'll check if I have comments on my blog', 'I'll see if there is a new entry on SWIM blog', 'Oh, I'll read this and this blog'. 'That seems interesting, I'll follow the link and read about it...' Nooooooo! I'm not allowed to read this week. Bye bye before-to-bed-reading-pages too. Waiting-for-my-class-book. And I can see the point. That's the worst. I need to de-clutter my life. I'm now in that process: decluttering the house, the office, the files, the computer, giving clothes away, and most importantly, decluttering my thoughts. I can see how so many words are stopping my own to become alive. So, yes, I understand the ban. But I AM NOT ENJOYING IT AT ALL. It makes me feel so isolated. It makes me face what I need to do with no space for procrastrination. I'm ready to do it, though. I am open to what this week can teach me. And I hope I find a sense of balance and perspective after all. However, right now, I AM STILL HATING IT.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Llueve, detrás de los cristales llueve y llueve...

Rain always remind me of this song, which translates to 'Ballad of the fall'. It's a beautiful song by a Catalan singer called Serrat who I admire. Even though now it is supposed to be summer, days like today (and yesterday) make me wonder... 'Come on!' I can hear my boyfriends' voice, 'how long have you been living in England!' Yes, he's right. But rain always does this to me. It's not too bad when I'm indoors. Just rain...

Monday, 6 July 2009

My Yoga Yourney

Following the yogic principle of saucha (purity) I have decided to try and simplify my life. Por this reason I have merged my two blogs Ones and My Yoga Journey . Yoga is not something separate from the rest of my life so my blogs shouldn't show this separation either.

The first time I ever went to a Yoga class was purely out of curiosity. I was very young and I only remember a dark class and a few impossibly difficult poses that I found rather pointless. Out of context, I didn't get it at all and I never came back. My next encounter with Yoga would be a few years later in a philosophy class. Expecting to hear about Plato and Aristotle, the lecturer surprised me with a module on Oriental Philosophy. Immediately I felt fascinated. Following the urge of knowing more about the subject, I travelled to India, where I lived for a while. I didn't practise any yoga there. My work in Parvathivai Leprosy Hospital completely absorved me and I was moving in a rather different dimension then. However, I learnt many aspects of the Indian culture in that hospital that would make entire sense later on in my yoga practice. Nobody recognised me when I got back. My family and friends were used to me as a chaotic, nervous, hyperactive person and I went back home exhaling peace. I learnt the meaning of purity (literal and metaphorical), meditation, self-knowledge and compassion. I lived with no worries. I learnt to let go of so many unnecessary things that used to clutter my life. Now, whenever I feel overwhelmed by life, I take my mind back to that state of mind. I can live free, I say to myself. I just need to decide to do it, believe it's possible and let go. I did it once. I can do it again. I will be eternally grateful to everyone I met in Mumbay, Goa and, especially, Surat, Barodha and Viara. I've never felt so welcome in my life and, like in a magical puzzle, all the pieces are now slowly falling into place. Namaste, sisters!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

You can't separate the sun from the sunrise.

What does compassion mean to you?
I've just listened to a podcast on Compassion from Ken McLeod. His webside, Unfettered mind ( http://www.unfetteredmind.com/) is worth having a look.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Teatro en Quatre Camins/ Theatre at the 'Quatre Camins' prison

Just a brief summary for those who cannot read Spanish. In a Spanish prison called Quatre Camins a few prisoners formed their own theatre company with the help of a group of actors. This week they have performed for the first time and there has been an article (and video) in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. I felt very happy that something like that was happening. I am a firm believer that Art is a fantastic way to live life in a better way, to become better and more reflective individuals, to experiment compassion towards others and toward ourselves. Art is a unique way of self-discovery and understanding of the world. However, all my happiness disappeared instantly as I read some (many, too many) of the readers' comments. I could not believe our society is still so close-minded, so ignorant, so rude, so profoundly disgusting as how to insult and criticise the prisoners' artistic work.
From here I want to send a message of hope to those who work towards a better self, a better life and a better world through Art anywhere in the world, in freedom or in reclusion. We all live in our little prisons and we all must escape from them.

No me lo puedo creer. Estoy hablando de los comentarios de la gente a la compañía de teatro en Quatre Camins. ¿En qué sociedad más ignorante, retrógrada, despreciable vivimos?

Desde aquí quiero dar un mensaje de ánimo y de esperanza a todos aquellos que trabajan para ser mejores, en cualquier situación o lugar del mundo, en libertad o reclusión (física o mental), a través del arte. Todos vivimos en nuestras propias prisiones y todos tenemos debemos aprender a salir de elllas.

"Why should we all use our creative power...? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money." Brenda Ueland.

"The purpose of art is not a rarified, intellectual distillat -it is life, intensified, brilliant life." Alain Arias-Misson.

Ambas citas han sido obtenidas del libro de Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way: http://www.theartistsway.com/

Friday, 3 July 2009

Change the world, think differently.

It's easy to think that one person cannot change the world. We are so wrong. Everyone, everyday is changing the world. For the best or for the worst, we are. Our contribution is vital and we have a responsibility with the universe (our small and big one). Don't let anyone silence your voice. Not because you think differently; especially if you think differently. This is a big THANK YOU for (and to) all the 'different thinkers' that still make me believe a better world is possible.

The NHS. Have we changed?


I found this archive footage pretty entertaining not only for historical but also for personal reasons.
The images of those nurses have made me think that while many, many, many things have changed in the healthcare universe, very very little has changed in the concept of what a NURSE nowadays really is. In the footage we see nurses making beds, cups of tea, cleaning the ward. Very little has changed since. In the UK, Nursing is now a university degree that doesn't really reflect what's going on in the hospitals or even at other institutions around the world. It has always surprised me that patients expect doctors to be professional and nurses to be nice and caring. This is the image we manage to perpetuate year after year. This is the reason why the nursing profession can't advance in the UK. They are surrounded by various enemies who still see them as 'nice but not too clever', by deeply entrenched unwritten rules in the health care institutions who tell them about their limitations, by their own low self-esteem.
The nurses on the video are prototypes of the values of the profession. The nurses are beautiful, kind, caring, clean. All those adjectives sound familiar to me. Of course! That's also what is expected from any WOMAN.
To work as a nurse in a hospital many professional skills are necessary. Knowledge. Procedures to master. You need to be intelligent, a good communicator, possess good time management skills. Nurses are like glue; without them the ward collapses. Nobody seems to realise.
Thinks haven't changed at all. Add a bit of colour and a different uniform (no so different though..) and you have a 21st c hospital ward. Feminine professions always get a hard time in history. The worst is that most of us still don't know. We do live in and island and we don't want to extend bridges to see beyond.