Inspired by “My mosts of 2007”, I look back at this year that is about to turn around the corner on this side of the planet and recollect some of the people, ideas, books and insights that touched me in 2009.
What did each of those people and ideas bring up in me and how did it influence my life?
My mosts of the year 2009:
Podcast of the year: Insights at the edge with Sami Timon will have to share the spot with All in the mind with Natasha Mitchell.
The interview with Matthew brought up in me the feelings of wonder and amazement at how far the human spirit can go no matter how broken the body is if the person surrenders to what happens and works from the place of richness instead of defficiency. You think YOU cannot do yoga because you are not … enough? It’s a story about what happens when we leave our bodies. It’s everybody’s story.
Interview with Lynda and her inspiring book “What it is” woke up in me the longing and courage to become more self-expressed through a new medium which I am about to start exploring. The new year will see some of that, I hope!
Ideas that made a difference:
- Vicki Robin and her “Your Money Or Your Life” program
I am interested and inspired to further explore the path towards financial independence based on aligning my consumption habits with my values in life and not those of the marketers and the economic system. Bringing the values and the everyday life financial choices in alignment brings a sense of satisfaction and inner peace no matter what happens on the outside. Another aspect of this simple model that particularly appeals to me is that of serving the needs of the community instead of pushing one’s own agenda no matter where one goes and what the current situation is. So, how much is really enough for me? How can we build communities that survive and thrive by the efforts of the people living in them instead of totally depending on financial markets?
- Articles, interviews with and the book “Buddha’s brain” by Rich Hanson and Richard Mendius on how our brain works and produces certain states of mind and how we can use this knowledge to reduce our suffering.
How come that negative states or memories are often more vivid and “sticky” than positive ones? In what ways does our complex nervous system that made it possible for us to survive as species at the same time leads to our distress and causes suffering? What are the biological underpinnings of desire? Understanding how our mind creates suffering (the mechanisms of greed, hatred and delusion) and how suffering is embodied in the body helps me to start seeing it as more impersonal condition and makes it easier to deal with it. As someone said, “The feeling is real, the why is a lie”. Being able to see a lie for what it is – a constract of the mind – and therefore not act on it allows me to open up to the emotion itself and deal with it by experiencing it instead of locking it somewhere in the body to only come and haunt me later in a form of tensions or deseases.
- Shiva Rea’s DVSs and video downloads with creative approach to yoga helped me to bring my yoga practice to a whole new level and see where I was getting stuck;
- Gabrielle Roth’s book “Sweat Your Prayers” and the music tracks helped me discover the potential of movement as spiritual practice and start listening to the rthythms of the body at a particular moment.
Interestigsly, this also led me to dropping out of an African dance class with a very charismatic teacher who however did not at all embrace the idea of a flexible dance practice reflecting the level of one’s energy rather than practising the same moves to the same rthythms. No wonder I soon developed the same aversion for her dance classes that I have for most group classes at the gym. At first I started questioning my ability to actually follow through with a scheduled class but at some point I started noticing that often times at the beginning of the class my body was out of synch with the drums, vibrating at a very different frequency. Since in the class there was no place for following our fluid nature, I threw the body into the rhythtms the drummers were playing and ended up exhausted and unsatisfied. Something was obviously off.
“A practice should never become a routine, something you do by rote, unconsiously, mindlessly”.
Trying out the 5 rthythm dance on my own I started getting clues as to how I could access the wisdom of my body through movement, when there was no “right” or “wrong” and the only thing I needed to do was to start moving as movement felt in the body even if it meant just shifting weight from side to side.
“If you want to give birth to your true self, you are going to have to dig deep down into that body of yours
and let your soul howl”.
Amazing city: Uppsala
I like how the center of the city is becoming more and more people-friendly and within a few meters you can find the river, an alternative coffee shop (don’t miss to stop by Hugo’s that has a distinct flavour of its own), city library, craftshop, Uppsala English bookshop (the best in town!) and – in case you are in a playful mood – a sex shop. It feels wonderful to feel at home in this space.
Favourate place in Uppsala: Hijazz
Am thankful for having this place close to me and it’s sort of becoming my second home and refuge on some evenings. I am looking forward to yet another year with the people (musicians, staff and public) who are so passionate about music. I hope Hijazz will keep existing in 2010 despite all the difficulties. Hijazz rocks!
Courageous project of the year: Starting Cuddle Party in Sweden.
I mean people, it is Sweden we are talking about! I felt quite lonely in the beginning. Now I come in contact with lots of facinating people I might have never met otherwise, work my own edge when it comes to expressing clearly what it is I want and giving people space to respond from their heart, too. Not to mention that I learn a lot about marketing and I get to cuddle! 🙂
Surprising act of the year: going to Rijeka (Croatia) on an urban week-end Shingon retreat.
I used the last 200 dollars from my savings account to pay for the plane ticket, which signaled to me how curious I was about more dynamic forms of practice.
Online community: iEvolve Global Practice community
A wonderful meeting place for people interested in exploring and applying Integral Approach in their lives.
Challenge of the year: balance
Living with the moment-by-moment creative tension between push and pull (this is how we achieve balance in yoga and in life), body and mind, work and rest, persistence and letting go, having a goal and not caring about achieving it.
Insight of the year: importance of community
At the end of this year I went to a meeting of the young local sangha (community of practice) and look forward to the year of growing together. Two insights brought me to this decision:
- realisation of the importance of community for my own growth
“...the collective insight is always deeper than individual insight.
In the Buddhist community, the sangha eyes are always clearer than the individual eyes.”
From the interview with Thich Nhat Hahn
- longing to belong
As I was inquiring this year into the deepest desires of my heart what came up for me was the desire to belong and be appreciated. I suppose facilitating Cuddle Party was yet another way of expressing this desire and trying to have this need met. The touch part of it is about a touch that is free from demands: I don’t touch you because I want to posess you or cling to you, I touch you because through the touch we can both feel. The end result of this is a very beautiful thing: practically strangers opening up and sharing a space of warmth and caring, all in a asexual way (it is possible!). It saddens me to see how far we have departed from that innate ability in us to actually trust one another.
Untouched by: swine flu panic
Disappointment of the year: COP15
Memorable performance of the year: Su-En Butoh performance “Luscious”.
Company book of the year: The Essential Rumi (translations by Coleman Barks).
And how could I not mention… shoes? 🙂
Shoe brand of the year: Art
Happy almost 2010!