I just finished watching the documentary about Malala. The Nobel Peace prize winner. I’m in awe of her mental strength and determination. I am so inspired by her and she reminded me about my fight for women’s freedom. We easily take these things for granted here in Sweden but the struggle is hard for those that are from a similar background. Religion and culture go hand in hand many times and we’re affected by centuries of treating women as less than men. Or not get the same rights to education or freedom in life similarly. I’ve been crying so much throughout this documentary, not only because of how much she affected my emotions but also because she reminded me of a side of myself that I’ve kept quiet for so long. My inner voice was silent but the tears were real. They don’t lie and they’re never quiet.
It’s now become 10 years since I first went to my yoga and meditation class in Gothenburg. I remember how I used to love those 90 min classes late in the evening because it was a time that was only dedicated to myself and my practise. My teacher was from Norway but he lived and worked in Sweden. He had changed his name to an old Indian version of his own name, and he had practised yoga for over 30 years back then. I recently looked up if he’s still a teacher at the same place, and he is, isn’t that amazing. 40 years of yoga knowledge. He was the first teacher that inspired me to pursue yoga for my own mental health and spiritual evolvement. Years passed and I had some rocky years in my early twenties, but I still always came back to yoga, even if I had a longer break. I took classes of yoga at the gym, did some on my own in my student flat, whatever so that I didn’t totally lose the connection.
When I moved to Stockholm in 2014, I took some yoga classes at the gym and there were many different teachers there. Most are only into yoga as a fitness alternative and that isn’t the whole experience of yoga according to me and many other yogis, it’s a much more wholesome and spiritual and inward experience and development that is beyond anything physical. Out of all those average yoga gym teachers there was one that stood out in the crowd, he always used the right terms for all the asanas and always referred back to the ancient traditions of yoga; unlike many other yoga teachers in Sweden.
Although I didn’t stay for very long in that gym membership and for some reason got stuck in a 2 year membership at a place I didn’t enjoy as much.
I recently switched back and booked a yoga class and to my surprise the same teacher is still there and having classes. It seems that he’s been practising yoga for 30 years and is such a huge inspiration not only to me but everyone who comes to his classes. The class always begins with some 5 minutes of talking about the intentions, the planet movements and moon placement in different astrology signs and what it means to us. I love the feeling of being totally connected to the 25-30 people in the class and share the same experience as I do in the same time and space. That feeling is quite remarkable and powerful, it can truly change the world for the better.
I plan to attend a yoga retreat in the end of the year in India, although I haven’t decided on what or where to go for it. Would be nice with some place in south India, such as beautiful Kerala or similar. I will let that thought mature in my head through the year and decide on it until summer time.
I have an account at Good Reads where I update every now and then which books I'd like to read and which books I'm currently reading. I love that platform because you can review and find books so easily and share it with your friends. What I'm not as good at is to actually read the books I enter into my Good Reads account. Either I have to buy a bunch of books, which I do every now and then, but I also have to carry them in my purse to be able to read them on the metro or tram. I have come to the conclusion that it's not working out very well for me, this way of reading. I love books and I love that they give us insights into topics or stories we never have heard before. So I would like to read a lot more from my list of "to-read" books.
I came across a free try out subscription of an app via work, which we may use for 45 days to listen to audio books. When I was younger I had made up my mind that I am not an audio books kind of person, because I didn't think I had the focus or concentration for following someone else reading it aloud for me – I had imagined that I need to read along in the text to be able to understand whatever the person is saying. I can admit that to some extent it might still be a little true, but given the right situation, mindset and also believe it or not, headphones – I don't normally have a problem with that anymore. If I use more noise-cancelling headphones and I am not distraught with other thoughts or stressed over something, it can be pretty nice to have someone else read the story aloud for you while you're walking down the streets or passing through a lot of people in the metro. It gives me a whole new dimension to the otherwise pretty boring commute through the big city, I even get to learn something new on the way to work.
It all started with podcasts actually. I started listening to a Swedish podcast which deals with philosophical questions, called "Filosofiska Rummet", it's a very reflective talk-show with very interesting guests and questions that they're discussing and sometimes able to answer in their own way. I love walking down streets listening to philosophical debates and having my own thoughts lingering on while I hear their reasoning. Or the podcast from Darren Hayes (ex. Savage Garden) with his friend Anthony Armentano discussing and analysing films they've watched during the week. "We Paid to See this" it's called, a highly recommended podcast to listen to if you're interested in finding out about which films you really should go for and which ones you can safely stay away from without missing a thing.
A light-hearted comedic spoiler free movie podcast focusing on the week's new cinema releases. Darren Hayes and Anthony Armentano spend their hard earned (or borrowed) cash to see the latest film releases and tell you what they thought. Because they don't get in for free, their opinions are honest. Honestly! May contain funny bits (they're both Groundlings trained improvisers) and strange non sequiturs (Anthony has a degree in film and Darren has an Olympic medal in rambling). Maybe some naughty words too. – iTunes
These podcasts were the ones making me take the step to listening to audio books eventually.
I don't know what happened after my mid-twenties, but I have become much more thirsty for knowledge. Every day has to teach me new things, I crave new information more than I did back in school. It's strange that it just gradually became this hobby of wanting to know more about certain topics, I actually enjoy it and I'm glad for this new found interest. I'm going to become better at reflecting those thoughts on my platform here in this blog. Sometimes it feels much better to be able to share it in writing rather than walking around with thoughts that aren't complete. It seems as though when I write sometimes I get into a flow and the thoughts just finish themselves.
It's been very inspiring to read other people's promises and goals to accomplish during the next coming year. I want to take a moment and document at least some of the things I would like to do and complete during the year of 2017. Without goals and something to look forward to it's easy to just get stuck in a wheel of the same mundane things.
(The list is not ordered chronologically.)
Travel. A weekend in Berlin, London and Scotland is already on my list for short 3-4 day trips. Other trips will be planned depending on plans and/or business plans and vacations.
Vipassana meditation. I really hope that I will be able to complete a Vipassana during a trip to India or in Sweden. I believe it might be more possible with India since I can go during next winter. I don't think there will be time for that during summer in Sweden; and I want to have good weather when I go to the Vipassana centre. I'd rather have that experience alone but I'll ask a friend or two if they want to join. Share the experience.
Writing my book. I have had a long break from my book writing due to personal reasons. I need to reevaluate my story direction and almost start over my writing, unfortunately. I will make a plan for the book during my current India trip now in December 2016.
Meditate daily. I know I've been having this on my list for ages, and it comes back every now and then, but it's crucial for my mental health to wind down and be peaceful on the inside.
Exercise 2-3 times a week. Yoga, Pilates and weight training.
Improve my stamina by starting to jog. Apply for a 5km run with a friend to have as a goal.
Practice to be more mindful.
Watch Darren Hayes' musical in London or somewhere in Europe whenever he is finished with it.
See the one-man-band Assemblage 23 live for the first time (of many). Waited for around 8-9 years. Those lyrics he writes are some of the best in the genre of futurepop/EBM.
Practice riding a bike and become more confident again. It's been years since I knew how to, and I guess you never really forget, I just need to be good at driving it in traffic as well.
I don't plan on taking my driver's license during 2017, but I plan on practicing driving again and be more confident in traffic. I knew how to 2-3 years ago but that was before my laser eye surgery. Now I need to spend weekends every now and then to just get into the routine and then eventually when it's in my priority I will apply for and take the license.
What's your bucket list for 2017? Share and link to yours below so we can all take part and be inspired.
I have for the past year not been buying any clothes at all. Not that I was a major shopaholic before, but I am slowly but surely going to run out of good clothes to wear. The ones I have are wearing out more and more and some are less appropriate to wear to work. You might wonder, what has happened? Why aren’t you buying any clothes? Is it for economic reasons or is it that you can’t find anything you like?
No, to all these questions.
I watched a documentary end of last year, called True Cost, and it affected me in so many ways I can’t describe. I already knew the situation was quite bad at factories that make the clothes for the large fast fashion chains but in some way I still wasn’t fully aware. I was at least hoping the situation had been under control since they brought up the issue in the news years ago, something must have changed since then I had imagined myself. I have never been a huge shopaholic in any way, so I am probably the least person anyone should be worried about, that supports this fast fashion industry. Before this strike from buying clothes, I used to buy twice every year when there were sales, either online or in store. Just to stack up on basic clothes and daily wear. I also bought gothic/alternative wear once a year from special shops or online from the UK.
While stopping to buy clothes it’s made me first of all aware of how much clothes wear out, and how quickly these fast fashion clothes become bad or not good looking. Recently I have become desperate in my boycotting that I had to go and buy some basic wear in organic cotton from a store I think I can trust more. I have asked shops questions about where the clothes are produced and how, I’ve become more interested in the industry and been spreading the message to friends and acquaintances over the year. Some of my friends have watched the show after I told them about it and become more aware and active about their clothing choices than ever before. But after one year, I am starting to question to myself, is the answer to boycott these fast fashion companies? Is the best thing to not buy from them ever again? Will my consumer vote impact any of the sales, especially since I wasn’t a huge shopper even before my strike? What are the answers? Do we sew our own clothes to avoid the evident problem in the world? Does not buying the clothes even help the workers who work for the production of the fast fashion clothes? Is the best choice to turn over to buying organic, sustainable clothes from more conscious brands?
I don’t really have the answers, but I want to create a debate and start the discussion and thoughts to flow.
Lately, I have formed new opinions about this topic. I believe we don’t need to stop all together with buying clothes from fast fashion brands, since they’re almost everywhere and it’s hard to get hold of something that has good production without doing hours of research. I do however believe we need to educate ourselves on this topic, and ask the brands for answers, demand better rights for the workers and better sustainable options for the clothes. We cannot just close our eyes on this matter when we have the utmost power to affect the situation as consumers.
When it comes to buying fast fashion, I think it’s better to not buy them so often and try to find options that are organic, sustainable and have a good production chain first and foremost. Try to limit those clothes to be only key, signature items and match them with a lot of basic clothes from brands that are already leading in sustainable and organic clothing.
We can’t save everyone and especially not the entire world, but we can do our part. The smallest action has also an impact in the long run.
Since my teenage years I’ve always been very interested in knowing people from all over the world via the Internet communities. It used to be so friendly to create great friendships over the web through forums and online communities back in the days. I feel as though those times have changed and it’s not as simple to get to know people with same type of interests as you since forums are not as popular as they used to. Now we have Youtube and we have Facebook groups, they fill the function but they are not as personal.
I remember being part of mailing lists for certain subjects that are so specific that you almost require people that have sought out this place to feel a real and honest connection. It was true and pure. I quite miss those times sometimes or feel the need to try to recreate them in other ways through blogs, Youtube and other social media.
Some of my deepest connections have been with people I’ve gotten to know online through common interests or kept chatting with online to remain friends despite living in different ends of the world. Maybe it’s because we really truly get to know the person’s inner core of what they value and what they want and how their true personality is, without the need for superficiality. What is better than a real deep conversation that spans over subjects from heaven to earth?
What if we didn’t have the means to be able to communicate during the time we’re not in the same place on Earth? We wouldn’t be able to stay in touch or actually know the people anymore, because time would have made the connections fade away. That’s why I’ve always appreciated the technology that allows us to keep in contact with friends and family all over the world.
I know reality is far from the tv-series Friends and maybe that’s a very unrealistic way of living and knowing your friends, but I wonder how it would be if everyone were in the same city. Being spread all over the world is also a barrier to really keep the contact frequent and close. Despite all of this I still believe that if you can get through these barriers and still manage to find the time and make the effort to stay connected, I think these types of friendships are stronger than others.
There is, unfortunately, these days, not so easy to find deep connections with people. It seems as though the everyday life is only able to focus on the surface. Rushing through life without stopping to reflect, think and to connect with others – that’s a shame.
So stop for a second and just appreciate those you care about around you, and spend time with them, be present with them, listen and leave your other thoughts behind.
Work hard in silence, let success make the noise. – Frank Ocean
This is my motto these days. I have come to realise it’s sometimes better to keep quiet about all your plans than to blurt them out to everyone as soon as you thought of them. This has been a tough practice for me and it’s been difficult because I have done the opposite in so many areas and it’s still a daily struggle. I find that it’s better to wait for a while, let the thoughts remain yours and let them mature and then let people in your surroundings know when things are more clear and you have a good sense of direction. I have told people about my plans for writing a book, opening a café and my change of profession way too many times, in vain. Because they stop listening after a while. It’s now just become noise because you’ve been there before, you’ve said those words before. Let your actions speak for themselves instead. That’s what I’m working on these days, and that’s what is inspiring me the most.
– How is the business going?
– It’s going real well, I’m progressing and I enjoy the process.
That is it. That is all that will be coming through my mouth regarding my business during the coming months, until I feel I have reached a step in my goal, and I want to share it with the world. Until then, I will keep my eyes on the goal and not look back.
I don’t believe in regrets and I never have. I try to live in the present and plan some things ahead, but not too far into the future. I do however believe in reflecting over past mistakes, and past experiences, and I as a Piscean can many times get stuck in thoughts of the past. Not to dwell, but to figure out my way forward based on my past. My past is always teaching me a lot about my current situation and how I will go about to make the choices that I need to make in order to get to where I want to be.
Song for this blog post: Darren Hayes – Where You Want to Be
There’s an old tradition in India to look up the horoscope and analyse a newborn’s star sign to predict major happenings in his/her life. Despite being born in quite a modern Indian family, and being born in Sweden, I still received an analyse of my future life which is called a “Janmpatri”. It’s a booklet which is consisting of a lot of astrology readings. This might seem odd and quite frankly a bit dreamy, but it’s very common.
My booklet is written in Hindi so I can’t unfortunately read it myself without the help of my parents. I know of some of the incidents which are written in my booklet that should have already happened. The funny thing is that they’re usually very precise of when the happenings will occur. I got a little brother at the age of 8 after many years of waiting. That was written in the astrology booklet amongst other things. The age of when I’d get married and about boyfriends and how they’d be.
Being a Piscean I’ve always been interested in astrology and spiritual topics. I’ve always been a seeker looking for answers in my life. Why do some things happen? What are we here on Earth to do? What is the meaning of life? I asked these questions very early on in my teens and could lie awake at night just pondering on these life topics. I think it’s one of the things that has driven me to be more keen to always be open to new knowledge. It’s helped me tons.
One lady once did a tarot reading for me and unfortunately she thought I was already above 18 and at the time I was actually 16. I remember that her reading up until the age of 16 made a lot of sense, and it gave hints to what I had already been through. But when I continued reading it didn’t make a lot of sense anymore to me, it seemed to be wrong or something. I remember going back to her to let her know that I was 16 and I thought she might have mixed up my age.
The interesting part here is that I kept that letter with the tarot interpretation and left it for a few years before I accidentally saw it again after I was over 20. I was amazed and shocked at the same time. Those things, she had described happening around the age of 16-20, they had all come true, in one way or another.
One could argue that it was all in my sub-conscious but it only works for an extent, not the whole list of things. There were people I had met, people who’d hurt me and my mental state of mind – all of the things that I had no real control over (not that I was aware at least). I found it truly interesting that sometimes fate decides the path, if you only let it and you just keep moving forward.
When I was around 17-18 years old I got some blood tests done for my allergies, and I had a lot of new allergies that I didn’t have as a child. The tests came out positive on a lot of food substances, such as milk protein and wheat. I was in such a denial and I didn’t want to face it since I loved butter, cream and all kinds of dairy including products. At this time I went ahead and tried substituting milk with oat milk, and it wasn’t as popular in the stores so it was hard to get hold of.
I didn’t like it, mainly because I compared it straight on with milk. Now I know that it’s impossible to compare one thing with a totally other, it’s not really meant for drinking as it is like we do with milk. I gave it a couple of tries in different recipes, and got more used to it.
Many people in my surroundings have over the years gotten lactose intolerant, and many believe that it’s the same as milk protein allergy. They’re two totally different bodily reactions. I’m not going to get into that subject, if you’re still unsure of the difference, there are many articles on Google and Wikipedia to get a better understanding.
I have also since I got my allergy tests done many years ago, started eating more and more vegetarian food and trying to educate myself more about the industry. I’ve never eaten eggs since I’ve always been severly allergic to them, so in a way I’m basically vegan. But in most other ways, I’m not. The important thing about the diet is not what we call ourselves, it really doesn’t matter. I don’t call myself anything in particular, I find it unnecessary to put labels on people and for others to put you in boxes just because of a diet choice.
However, I have started questioning the reason why we’re told from a very young age (at least in Sweden and in Nordic countries), that milk is important for us and our bodies. Why?
It seems to be pretty clear that a major part of the population has trouble digesting milk when they become older and adults. What does that tell you? It might not be something we truly require to survive.
We might need the different types of nutrition found in milk, but milk is not the only food that contains calcium, vitamin D and protein; it can easily be found in other alternative products or fortified milk substitutes which we’re not sensitive towards.
I do believe we need milk when we’re babies and growing up when we’re infants, and that milk is called breast milk. Either with a bottle or breastfeeding, I’m neither for or against either of those choices. Bottom line is that the breast milk is actually made for us humans, which cow milk isn’t. The cow is producing the milk for their baby calves, and when I truly thought about that, I felt sad. We’re really taking away the milk that is made for their babies and drink it ourselves, how selfish isn’t that? It was mind boggling when I started questioning how much we truly NEED milk in our lives.
I eat milk products every now and then, but I try to keep it at a minimum since I started thinking about these things. I have also noticed that the more milk I have digested in my body, the more hormonal acne I tend to get. Ask around, experiment, especially women; is milk the reason behind your breakouts? Do we truly need milk in our diets?
Just some food for thought, what are your ideas and thoughts about this subject?
I recently found my old blog where I used to upload all my poems since I was a teenager. It was such an amazing feeling to read through the poems and seeing when I had written them, and to see comments people had made when they appreciated the poem or if they found it touching. While I was reading through the poems I got this amazing idea, and that is to take some of them and read them aloud in my YouTube channel. Reading poems with some classical music in the background, just pure and raw.
I have so many ideas of how I can make it creative, I just hope I can get hold of a good editing tool for my videos so I can achieve my vision for them. Up until now all I have been using is the normal Microsoft Movie Maker that you usually have in your PC. It doesn’t do any advanced things other than put sound and music to your clips, and cutting the video into smaller chunks.
I will keep you guys posted on my first post of my Spoken Word poetry on YouTube. Meanwhile you can find all my poems on this link: http://dark2haze.blogspot.se/
I am working on a way to easily get them posted on this blog in another separate section so they’re more connected with my other content.