Nov 30, 2006

All you need is love

Keep reading enough spiritual, metaphysical or even psychology books, and you'll find that love is indeed the answer.

Today, thanks to a dispute between two of Norway's largest TV stations, I was reintroduced to the Beatles' song "All You Need Is Love". There is a lot of spiritual wisdom (and encouragement) in the lyrics:

All You Need Is Love
The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney)

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

(Lyrics from Allspirit who have also noticed the song's spiritual message.)

Nov 29, 2006

Respect and balance

That's what it says on my Dove shampoo bottle: Respect and balance.

Respect - an action. I admit I don't quite get "respect", what it means exactly, how to conjur it up automatically in myself. Generosity or gratitude seems easier. What I have observed about respect, though, is that it seems more universal than love because every living being recognizes it without fail. I have seen both animals and people with mental handicaps pull away when they were disrespected; they knew right away what was happening and didn't tolerate it. So what does that tell me about respect? That it's about not putting anyone else down, it's about not forcing your will or way onto someone else. It's all those good things: Listening well, being patient, having the attitude "live and let live", understanding that no-one else is exactly like you and still meeting the other as an equal. Respect is about acknowledging the rights of other living creatures to breathe the same air as you.

Balance - a quality. Back when I was fiddling around with various vegetarian diets I also tried macrobiotics. Macrobiotics defined foods as neutral, yang or yin - yang and yin being opposites. The idea was to eat as many neutral foods as possible, staying in the middle as it were, avoiding the two ends opposite of each other, in order to create balance. Going from one extreme to another is not balance; it is see-sawing (or even conflict). Recently I came across a comment that no guru goes to extremes but tends be a "middle-of-the-roader". To go to extremes means to lose balance. Think about how over the top some people are in their reactions (politics is a good place to look for examples). Those who see things as extremes (good or bad) are also the most easily upset; they aren't able to stay in the middle where it is easiest to achieve balance. It also takes a lot of energy to live on the edge, even in cooking, so the happy medium is the goal.

Nov 28, 2006

WW2 oil poster

WW2 oil poster

Last night I went to the local marine museum. Exhibits range from the viking era to today's highly computerized ships. One exhibit is dedicated to the World War 2 experiences of the Norwegian merchant marine, who were torpedoed by German submarines as early as September of 1939.

My grandpa sailed on oil tankers in convoys across the Atlantic for 6 years. That's how he came to meet my grandma. She was invited to a party at the Norwegian seaman's church in Brooklyn (New York) and he had shore-leave and attended the party.

A small poster hangs in the museum exhibit, telling of the importance of the convoys across the Atlantic. For me, it is also a reminder of romance.

Ego too big for the universe?

My friend Sravana blogged about a talk given by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. If you like good old-fashioned enthusiasm, you'll enjoy Tyson.

What's making me post about it here, is Tyson's explanation for why we often feel so small, so insignificant.

About 10.5 minutes into the film, Tyson mentions a letter from a psychologist whose job was to explore "the effects of things that make people feel small". In the letter, the psychologist stated that a show showing a zoom-out from earth had illicit just that feeling in him. Tyson thought this sounded wrong because when he looks up at the universe, he feels large. Then it occurred to him that the letter-writer's problem was that his ego was too large to begin with.

Nov 26, 2006

New blog

I have started a new blog today, Budding Yogini. Purpose: A blog dedicated to purely spiritual stuff. Not that my spiritual life is separate from the rest of my life, but I thought I'd gather spiritual and motivational statements that grab my attention in one place.

I didn't look at any astrological chart before I started. My mood was "Let's do this" after thinking about it for months. Interestingly, the chart for my first post does have several contacts to my natal chart including MC conjuncting my Jupiter, Venus conjuncting my Sun, and Mars conjuncting my Mercury.

Why Budding Yogini?

Welcome to the first post of my new blog. This blog will be dedicated to spiritual/philosophical musings. "Budding yogini" (a budding female practioner of yoga) is what my yoga instructor has called me.

Why this second blog? I have always had a philosophical bent, and a need for theism. I have always sought to understand the spiritual side of life. This past year, such things have gained focus for me, as my astrology has faded away.

I've been subscribing to a Zen page-a-day calendar, and will be musing on quotes that have caught my fancy there. I will also be musing on other quotes, spiritual sayings and the like. That is what this blog is for. For things that make me go "Hmmm" or maybe even "Wow!". Or that motivate me to try something I haven't tried before.

And I may even tell you how I and my downward-facing dog are doing.

Nov 24, 2006

It's just a coffee mug

Wednesday, we had a departmental meeting in what normally is our coffee break room, which boasts a sofa suite and a coffee table and photos on the walls from parties, company picnics and the like. Each of us has his or her own coffe cup or mug, usually scattered on the coffee table and reused each day (washing is up to the owner). Yesterday I discovered that my coffee mug was missing. Probably scooped up with the rest of the dishes from the meeting and sent to the employee cafeteria.

It annoys me. It's just a mug. It's not even pretty; it is plain white sporting only the black text logo of a fungus insurance firm (I kid you not), but it was given to me by a very friendly representative of said firm when I was new at my company, over 20 years ago. And I get a secret kick out of drinking out of something that has "hussopp" (literally: house fungus) in big letters on it.

But what I've come to realize really bothers me is that, in spite of that coffee mug being my regular cup for 8 years in this department, nobody has noticed it's mine. It was mistaken for one of the company mugs.

This is definitely one of those stupid minor annoyances in life that can become so major, if it isn't let go. But I'm torn between trying to get that mug back (and I have searched and will search again the cup racks in our cafeteria) and just saying, "Ah, fuck it" and bringing something else to work. Something my cow-orkers won't assume is company property. Like something bright red with "BITCH" written on it.

Hmmm... I think I know what I want for Christmas. ;-)

Nov 22, 2006

OK, enough with the quizzes

I suddenly realized that four posts in a row were me taking tests I knew I could pass with flying colors (i.e. I took them for the hell of it and got results I felt like sharing). So let's talk about tests, shall we?

I don't always march to same beat as everyone else, so those of you who find finals hell on earth should stop reading now.

I can honestly say that tests don't bother me. I like tests. Tests are fun. Tests can sometimes be frustrating right then and there, but I don't spend the night before a test studying for it, or tossing and turning in my sleep. A bit of nerves, perhaps, on the day itself, but once I've grabbed that #2 pencil (or these days, the mouse), I'm fine. In school, I discovered that if I did all my homework, I wouldn't have to cram for tests. I also discovered that my brain doesn't do cramming very well ("You want me to remember all this for the next 24 hours after ignoring it for 24 weeks? Yeah, right.") and since neither it nor I function without a good night's sleep, I'd rather be rested before being tested.

I should be a bit more specific: I like those multiple choice tests, and IQ tests and the goofy quizzes littering blogdom. I take surveys, I fill out forms, I check off all that apply. Heck, I even enjoy voting because it's like a multiple choice test. The hardest tests I've had to take were one in archeology in college because that teacher didn't do multiple choice ("You mean I have to organize what I know into complete sentences and paragraphs???"), and a chemistry test in high school. That chemistry test was one I dreaded. I was ill-prepared, but got out of it by fainting in the bathroom one morning. Turns out I, at age 17, had finally managed to get chicken pox. Two weeks home in bed, and then back to school and a make-up test in chemistry. I got a C. If memory serves, I got a B on the archeology test.

You didn't know I was interested in archeology, did you. It's a cool science; it involves enthusiastically digging around in someone else's garbage, trying to figure out what everything was for. I'm absolutely tickled by the idea that humans have been slobs our entire existence. I'm also fascinated by our existence-long relationship with death, and our general ingenuity. What made me lose interest in becoming an archeologist was the thought of using tiny little brushes to move a square mile of dirt. And chemistry is something I bother with only when the drain is clogged.

Another A

Your Vocabulary Score: A
Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary! You must be quite an erudite person.

I don't much care for vocabulary tests because I don't really know a lot of five-syllable words, let alone their meaning. It turns out that there are some two-syllable words that are baffling. But still I got an A. Yay! Now to go look up "multifarious" and "erudite".

(Another rip-off from Paula, who got A+.)

Nov 21, 2006

And yet not a straight A student

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

By the way, I didn't actually know the answer to every single question, but I made a couple of well-educated (!) guesses. And, silly me, I'm actually quite tickled I got 100%! But I did not pay 100% attention while in high school. Nor did I get straight A's (my grade point average was 3.5). This sentence does not start with a conjunction.

(Via Paula)

Nov 19, 2006


What Kind of Reader Are You?

Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader

What Kind of Reader Are You?

I'm a bit surprised at being labelled dedicated. It must be those piles of to-read books I have. I will admit that I get nervous in homes where not a single book - not even a dictionary, cookbook or bible - is visible. I know that some people do not read books at all. Yes, I think there's something wrong with those people.

(Initially read on Literate Good Citizen Beep's LiveJournal.)

I'm a star!

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

I got this via my friend Sravana who also got the star, too. She picked her card from the Cat People deck. I think the Dragon and the Cat People Star cards are both lovely. For what it's worth, the interpretation for The Star above echos where I'm at right now in my life.

Nov 18, 2006

Labels: Duh.

A friend commented that he didn't bother with labels on his blog. And I realized I had forgotten that other choice: No labels. Kind of like there's nothing on TV and you keep switching channels, totally forgetting that other option: The "off" button. So I have removed labels.

Energized in November

My writing hasn't been that frequent lately. Partly due to the Blogger brown-outs, but mostly due to being distracted by other things, and simply busy. It's a good sign if I go shopping, if I want new things and feel good about getting them, because unlike most women, I don't enjoy shopping for clothes and shoes and stuff like that. It takes energy and patience to go try everything on, so the mood has to strike me, and then I'll go. That's why the big purchases all at once.

September and October, thought bringing joy in their own right, did have a sneaky non-joy. I noticed that when I started to feel a familiar pain in my chest a few weeks ago. I recognized the signs of a broken heart. The muscles in the front of my chest have been tight and I get winded walking up the hill to my building. But I know what it is: Grief. Grief taking its own sweet time to work its way out of my system.

The first time I felt this was when my dear friend Maria died, May of 2000. That autumn, I became increasingly winded, and felt sharp pains right in the front of my chest. It didn't help that what had killed Maria was a heart attack. In March, I ended up with a sickleave because the tightness and pain had become regular. March was Maria's birthday month and we had always celebrated together. The following March I was also out on sickleave but not as long as the first (which was 6 weeks). The third March after Maria died, I was sick again for a week, but I finally realized what was happening, and the March after that, I stayed well and knew I was past the worst of it.

Now it's September/October that's getting to me. My grandparents' birthday months. Yoga stretches are helping to unwind the tightened chest muscles, and awareness of what's happening also helps.

It still pisses me off, this system of dying. Sometimes the statement that the pain you feel is equal to the love you had gives some comfort, but not always. Not right now. I don't like this aspect of getting older: The older I get, the more dead people I know. I don't find it love-like at all to have so many loved ones to count as gone.

Darkness and light tumbling head over heels with each other. Life itself is good; the lit "Vacancy" sign in my heart not so much. Such a self-contradiction this is! I'm looking forward to my trip to California, I'm shopping partly in preparation for that, and partly because I've got some nice parties to go to between now and then. I'm probably shopping and looking forward simply because I can and want to.

But as England Dan and John Ford Coley sing: What can I do with this broken heart? If the past is anything to go by, someone will see the Vacancy sign and move in. I'm looking forward to it. I'm ready.

UPDATE: Our local newspaper ran several articles today about handling life crises. One interviewee said that grief isn't something you get over; it's something you learn to live with. I needed that reminder.


New dress for the holidays bought. Wrap-around shape, simple black, long sleeves, below knee in length, and such a low cleavage, I was wondering if I'd fall out. Requires new bra. And some skin care for an area not usually exposes. ;-)

Frustrated shopper: Bras hung in such a huge number on the rack in the store, that half a dozen fall off while I'm looking for my size. That got old Real Fast.

Frustrated shopper 2: What the heck is my size? These won't keep anything in! And don't you just love that whattle-effect under your own armpits?

Reached around for the new package of toilet paper and managed to knock it down and onto the liquid soap dispenser. Soap squirted several feet and onto feet.

Nov 13, 2006

Don't you step on my blue suede shoes

Well, they aren't blue suede. They're actually a midnight Gore-Tex(R). But I'm just so happy to find footwear that slipped onto my feet and didn't pinch, pull, grab, or stab me. They just sat on my feet and let me move around without thinking. So I bought three pairs: One lamb's wool-lined pair of leather boots (not pictured), one pair of bootlets and one pair of slip-on shoes (excellent for going through airport security).

Yoga involves the whole body and lately, with the power yoga class I've been taking, my feet have been getting a lot of extra attention: They are bare, their position is important in getting the poses right, they cramp and protest at being moved into possible but unfamiliar positions, and my yoga instructor will grab them in order to adjust a pose. So suddenly my feet have taken on an importance they haven't had before. I look at the shoe-caused crookedness of my toes and feel a bit sorry for what I've put my feet through in the name of Western, female fashion.

My new purchases have roomy, square toes though they wouldn't accommodate a naturally shaped foot, one never squeezed into footwear. There is some consolation that this is not a new phenomenon; older anatomy drawings show misshapen feet (a little toe bent in towards the other toes and sometimes the big toe, too, making the foot look tapered) because people simply don't know what a normal adult foot should look like. Shoes have been worn for centuries, and shoe fashions have been crazy a good number of times.

Maybe I'll take a picture of my yoga instructor's feet. She can splay the toes like fingers, and she has little tattoos on some of the toes. Pretty feet. Feet as God intended.

But I do like my new footwear.

Nov 10, 2006

Something new to play with

OK, that last post can be considered a test run. It updated all the comments, too. And now I can play with tags, too! This post shall get the ubiquitous label "miscellaneous". Or maybe I'll do that in Norwegian: Diverse. Easier to spell.

Vil de ikke så skal de

There is a Norwegian idiomatic phrase, "Vil de ikke så skal de." A joking way of noting how things work with one of the most common natural laws: Stubbornness. Literally translated, the phrase says, "If they won't, they shall."

I suspect Blogger of being Norwegian. Or that perhaps its users are. It seems too much of a "coincidence" that after weeks of wonky services and longish outages, that suddenly, everything's in place for everyone to move to Blogger Beta. Even us FTP-ing types.

So I did.

And dammit, Blogger had better behave now, or I'll get - stubborn or something. (Now, what to do with that WordPress account?)

Nov 9, 2006

Paper cut

I was forwarded a bunch of photographs of wonderful paper art in e-mail, artist unknown. Fortunately, there a sentence in the e-mail gave me a clue: "We often complain about the lack of resources -- but what if all you had was a single sheet of paper?" That and Google helped me find the artist. Give yourself a bit of wonder and check out Peter Callesen's wonderful paper cut-outs and other art.

Nov 4, 2006

All that excitement!

But who needs that kind of drama or trauma or karma?

Nov 3, 2006

In just one month

...I turn 46. Don't know why that feels like a big deal. I guess because it so clearly puts me in that part of being in my forties that is closer to fifty than to forty.

I'm looking forward to it. I'm curious. And I'm feeling encouraged. I've been to the company doctor and for the second year in a row, my blood pressure has gone down (and my cholesterol up*), and they say that as we age, our blood pressure tends to increase. Not that I ever followed the crowd, but it is an interesting development. I think part of it is no longer having the stress of taking care of Grandma's apartment and finances, and part of it is the change in attitude I had to make a year ago. I do feel better, in general.

I'm also rather enthusiastic about my ashtanga yoga class and how it feels for me. My body, aging and stiff, nevertheless does its best and causes me no pain (surprisingly), which tells me that this kind of yoga is just good for me.

I can't imagine being 50, of aging, of putting so many years between my present and my youth. But that's because inside, I haven't aged. Grandma, when pushing 90, said she still felt 17 inside. We all do. That's the agelessness of our souls, the core of ourselves that is with us all our lives.

I'm getting philosophical. (Like I'm not usually philosophical. Hah.) I always enjoy my birthday. This time, I want to have a body that matches how I feel inside. And perhaps I will, thanks to the yoga. But yoga's primary purpose is not health, but acceptance. Accepting yourself, and not struggling through life. With the yoga poses, I feel like I'm being reintroduced to my body, and making a new friend.

*) Low cholesterol may be unhealthy. My cholesterol has been measured at ranges from 3.9 to 4.4. This year, it's 4.6.

Nov 2, 2006

Orchid surprise

Orchid gift at work 2006-11-01   —  Originally uploaded by thinkbigshrinktofit

I had yesterday off, but just before leaving work Tuesday, I was given a print job that needed to be delivered out of town by Friday. I decided it wasn't worth delegating, so I made up new masters, printed and cut the job myself and was out of here by 5:30 pm Tuesday (vs. leaving at 4 pm).

I must've really impressed my customer because the above orchid plant was waiting for me this morning, on my desk.

Now I'm impressed. And very happy.