Back on campus again and the electricity fluctuations are once again a constant cause of frustration to us all. We have a saying TIA - This Is Africa or TIFA.
Sometimes if I feel a bit pissed off I watch this guy, I find him so down to earth, refreshing, funny,full of wisdom, inspiration and surprises.
He seems such an unlikely Buddhist.
Study reveals this ancient practice is as good for you as cycling or aerobics - but scientists can't explain why.
Last month when I climbed Kilimanjaro, fitnesswise I felt a little unprepared, I did a little walking and swimming beforehand but no other training except my daily 20 minute morning yoga. Surprisingly, I felt really fit and strong, as fit as I had when I climbed the Dolomites 15 years ago. I also did a particular type of yoga breathing to help combat altitude sickness which really helped and calmed it down.
Do you ever wake up in the morning wondering if you will be more sagacious, insouciant or sensible (do you like my long words?)
With all the yoga and mindfulness I practise I've often wondered whether one day I will be more like the Dalai Lama.
Last New Year, whilst on an early morning guided bird walk in the Usambero Mountains, Tanzania, I met Elizabeth Chanoona a Yoga and Meditation teacher. She epitomised to me what it was like to be a yogi - slim, fit, glowing, kind, calm and compassionate, and to top it all she did a 10 minute headstand every morning. You know the poem 'people come into your life for a reason, a season a lifetime etc', well ours was a 24 hour meeting and she was a big inspiration for Ellie and me and I really wanted to be like her.
She recommended a few books to me including 'After the Laundry The Ecstasy' by Jack Kornfield, and I've been dipping into it. Yesterday I enjoyed the chapter on personality and temperament -
'Awakening to the emotions means to feel them – nothing less, nothing more. It does not mean changing our feelings – feelings change all the time on their own. Nor does it mean changing our temperament If we are intuitive or philosophical, sanguine or melancholic, that will likely remain the same. Our range may expand but our temperament and personality will likely continue. One Buddhist teacher said that he had expected awakening to bring a 'personal transformation' only to be surprised that it was actually an 'impersonal transformation'. The transformation is the opening of the heart and not a personality change.
The teacher went on -
In many ways the spiritual transformation of the past decades is different than I imagined. I'm still the same quirky person, with much the same style and ways of being. So that on the outside I'm not that amazingly transformed, enlightened person I first hoped to become. But there's a transformation inside. Years of working with my feelings my family patterns and temper have softened the way I hold them all. In the struggle to know and deeply accept my life, it has been transformed, and my love has grown larger.
Emotional awakening, then is not about becoming a different person. We may naturally be an introvert or extrovert, a joyful person or an impatient one. “sometimes a master can be a great teacher but not necessarily a great person. Perhaps he or she is short-tempered, not easy to get along with or makes many demands'
I was also relieved to note that the Dalai Lama sometimes has feelings of anger, he has written “In situations of great injustice I can get angry for a time, but then I think 'What is the use', and gradually the anger turns into compassion'.
There's a song my children used to sing at their school in the UK called 'It's Good To Be Me'.
I don't feel the same way I did 25 years ago, 6 months ago or even last week. I'm definitely not Elizabeth or the Dalai and of course ever will be. I like being me, I always feel there is room to grow, learn and explore. I love bouncing about with happy, positive, get up and go people and also feel that the complainers have something to teach. When I first meet people I genuinely get excited about the lesson I am going to learn and wonder where it is going to take me.
Enjoy the journey.
PS apparently improving our vocabulary is also an overlooked way to improve our lives! https://litemind.com/top-3-reasons-to-improve-your-vocabulary/
Christmas pressie ideas? Paul's friend from work helped with the ideas on here.
I've used this simple poster with the kids in class. We went through it and then they thought up their moves. It didn't matter if the animals or shapes weren't on the sheet so long as they were holding a pose.
Over the week, they've split into different groups and made up their own yoga sequence which they sometimes share with another group, it's just a 10 minute activity.
If you have kids at home and want to do yoga with them you can adapt the poster to suit. If I suggest to my kids that we do yoga they just groan but if they have creative control over it they often join in and really enjoy it.