Tag Archives: lifestyle

Elegance

Elegance is usually confused with superficiality, fashion, lack of depth. This is a serious mistake: human beings need to have elegance in their actions and in their posture because this word is synonymous with good taste, amiability, equilibrium and harmony. 

Elegance is achieved when all that is superfluous has been discarded and the human being discovers simplicity and concentration: the simpler and more sober the posture, the more beautiful it will be.

-Paulo Coelho

Risky

What is not risky in life? Even loving or marrying someone is a risk, probably the biggest risk of all since nursing a broken heart and emotional wounds are far worse than losing material and financial assets because money you can gain it back as long as you got a sound mind and healthy body whereas the scars and wounds caused by emotional and psychological trauma brought by failed relationships of any kind stay and often time never heal and bleed by the slightest pressure. It alters your beliefs and perspectives in life, making you more cautious and distrustful if not outright paranoid.  

Everything in this world involves some kind of risk one way or the other, from boiling eggs for breakfast to getting in your car and driving to work. And even there lie greater risk of making the wrong decision like flipping a finger behind your red alpha boss not knowing the person can see your reflection on the glass door of the meeting room.     

Every choice we make in any given situation carries an enormous amount of risk, even those that we think are safe and ordinary like telling the truth or lies can lead to losing your job or a divorce or a fatal fight simply because you happened to look up at the same time a suicidal person is randomly looking at you, or you happened to be walking in the city when someone decided to drive his car through the unsuspecting pedestrians or you are at the concert because it’s your birthday and out of nowhere somebody open fire for whatever reason. There you go.

Life is a risk. No matter what you do and how careful you are. Staying inside is not a solution since most accidents happen at home anyway. Living is dangerous. You are a danger to yourself whether you like it or not. From the cradle to the grave we are running at risk. Babies are risky beings because of their helplessness, toddlers, and children in general too because of their natural curiosity and zero sense of danger, teenagers and young adults are liabilities with their raging hormones and beliefs that they are immortal. And what can I say about elderlies…          

The moment we decided to hang in there we are in danger, so simple is that.

Risky-Business

Fashionable

What it takes to be called “fashionable” these days? Expensive gadgets? (Guilty) to take lots of selfies (not guilty) to post on social media (I don’t even have an Instagram account) to show to the world how lucky you are? Big house? (Guilty) Big car? (Guilty) Having the latest trends (Guilty) of must haves it things? Jet-setting? (Is going on holidays a crime? If- then I’m guilty) How about a butt as big as KK? (not guilty) Cosmetic Enhancements? (Also not guilty) Job Hopping? Exercising freedom of speech in every possible opportunity appropriate and inappropriate for the sake of being current and involved in the eyes of… social media? Being tech savvy? Even only for pleasures (what else?) How about those current trends on fashionable illnesses like depression anxiety ADHD schizophrenia bipolar and all those delusional diseases and lifestyles complaints? Chronic conditions that modern medicine don’t want to acknowledge? Thinking of fibromyalgia CFS IBS RA, ME and bunch of disorders I can’t memorize let alone pronounce. Changing partners? (Guilty) Ever so often like changing underwear (Not guilty) Adopting rainbow family like AJ. I don’t know. What it takes to be considered fashionable these days? Tell me. 

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Tea

…Is my choice of beverage. Green tea to be specific. The real green tea I mean. Not the one in tea bags but those that directly imported from abroad and only available in just a few selected stores. Here where I live, there are just two known places that supply what I preferred. One in the capital and another one near the border to France. There was a time that I will choose screw driver over anything else (except water, water is always good) but that was a long time ago. I still drink an occasional margarita while on vacation but so seldom I am not even qualified as an occasional drinker. Coffee, I take coffee sometimes. Usually in pair with something cold like a sandwich or something sweet to have something warm. In my culture, if it’s not warm it isn’t qualified as a meal. I’ve read somewhere something like this: I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea. 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.” 

The magic of tea.

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To The Beautiful Woman Who Is Striving To Be Skinny

I see you everywhere.

You’re on my Facebook, posting selfies of your latest workout as sweat drips from your brow, words like dying, puking, exhausting are hash-tagged underneath.

Punishment.

My Instagram is filled with pictures of you, sporting your Lorna Jane as you burn away the calories of the cake you shouldn’t have eaten, but were too weak to resist.

Penance.

You sit opposite me, order your salad, no dressing, and berate yourself for being a kilogram heavier this week.

Self-loathing.

You are fraught with comparison, with how short you fall next to the mothers at the playground you’ll never be as fit as, the group of women at the gym you’ll never be as strong as, the bodies in the magazines you’ll never be as sexy as. You beat yourself up. Promise that tomorrow you’ll eat less and work out more. No excuses, no matter what. Push yourself, purge yourself, pressure yourself.

I was once like you. I obsessed over the number on the scale, lived by punishment or reward, survived on protein shakes, and applauded myself for staying under 1,000 calories a day. I worked out, no matter what. No matter how tired my body was, no matter how run down, exhausted, or unwell. I worked out until I almost threw up, head over my knees, rebuking myself with slogans. Go hard or go home. Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going. Excuses are for people who don’t want it bad enough. I pushed past the pain and worked out when my muscles were fatigued, when my body screamed for me to stop, when I injured my knee, my shoulder, until I eventually tore a disc in my back.

And that changed everything.

In an instant, I could no longer work out. My world ended. There was no worse fate that could have happened to me. I laid on my stomach for a month, unable to do anything. I cried with frustration, beat myself up with failure, drowned in self-hatred. I feared. I feared getting left behind, losing all the work I had put into my body. I feared people thinking I was lazy or weak. But mostly, I feared getting fat. Because in my eyes, that was the ultimate failure.

And so before my body was healed, I started to work out again. Each time would see me back where I’d started, in pain, on the floor, unable to walk. I did this for months until I just no longer could. Until I had to listen to my body, to surrender to what it needed. Rest. Recovery time. Gentle walks. Stretching. Yoga.

No more sweat-pouring, fat-burning, muscle-aching workouts.

At first it killed me, this surrendering. It yelled defeat, poked and prodded into my deepest places of insecurity and challenged my self-worth to the core; I was more bound in my body image than I realised. It’s subtle, the infiltration of what we are programmed to believe is beauty—we don’t realise the way it creeps into us, the way we yield to society’s standards even when we think we are immune to them.

Eventually, it became easier to surrender, easier to let go of the demands I had placed on myself to look a certain way. I stopped seeking my value in the number on the scale and found it instead in my mind, my heart, my character, and my contribution to the world. I shed lies, so many lies, of what I had come to believe beauty should be. I realised I had nothing to prove to anyone. Every day, I practiced kindness and spoke to myself the way I would speak to any other woman.

Beautiful woman, who you are, right now in this moment, is perfect.

I know you don’t believe me. I know you fill your head with your prerequisites of beauty. A flatter tummy. Toned arms. Size 10. Lose another five kilograms.

But I understand now.

Beauty isn’t measured in centimetres, my dear.

And the moment you understand will be the moment you find freedom.

You’ll begin to exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it. You’ll eat food that brings you life and health because your body craves nourishment, not deprivation. You’ll run in the sunshine because it brings you joy, not because you’ve earned punishment. You’ll let go of striving, of negativity, of guilt and frustration and failure.

But mostly, you’ll come to realise how beautiful you really are. How strong, how brave, how kind, how intelligent, how clever, how funny, how generous, how thoughtful. How much you love. Not how much you weigh.

Beautiful woman, stop.

Stop striving to be skinny, as if that’s the only measure of your worth.

Instead, strive to change the perception of beauty, the lies we have been told.

Strive to empower women, our daughters, through the truth of their worth.

Strive to see how beautiful you really are, right now, exactly in this moment.

And then watch the world become more beautiful, because of you.

Author: Kathy Parker

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Tender

Who believes in tough love? Sometimes we have to be cruel to be nice. Every decent gardener knows that. And anyone who has a half-sense knows also when and when not to apply it. Every situation is different and has to be handled appropriately and accordingly. I don’t really know what I’m saying, I’m about to take a quick nap and a bath afterwards to be fit shopping for outfits for the silver jubilee of a company tomorrow. I think what I’m saying is I don’t care much about tender. Green finger that I am I seem not able to keep houseplants alive. I’m killing them with TLC. And when it comes to romance, give me a skin scorching passionate all consuming fiery kind of love affair. I tend to find tender and sweet boring. Believe me I’m living it because they are the kind of relationships that last and you can build something on. What keeps them alive? Extra marital sidelines if you can afford. Thank God I’m over that now and so I keep telling myself as if being older means you lost appetite for excitements and resigned to the situation (read: cliche) that once you reached middle age you have no right to feel anymore. Not appropriate. Not the done thing. To hell with the done thing I say to myself often till I get into troubles for not doing the done thing like wearing distressed shorty shorts and why not when it becomes you. I’m getting sidetracked again. Anyway, TGIF enjoy your weekend and believe you me it doesn’t always have to be tender. You know what I mean. 

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Natty

When they are going to realize up there (where fashions are created and determined) that real people want comfort and trends to go hand and hand? They say one must suffer to be beautiful. I heard one stylist said: “If it’s comfortable [referring to clothing items] then it’s not good.” I can never wear pumps and stilettos. I don’t want to spend hours every morning in front of the mirror using eleven different brushes and endless pots to deem my face ready for public viewing. I hate the fact that people treat you according to the clothes you wear and things you own. And most are slaves of fashion and think they have to follow it in order to belong and if you are not part of the herd then you’re (what else?) automatically an outcast and not worth a penny. Do we always have to look natty to be respected? Can we not be ourselves and still be part of the tribe? Do we have to exchange our individuality and originality for a place within the group even though it means we will be lost in anonymity?

Unfortunately it is the case. Unless you are rich and famous and can justify your own fashion if not your own brand of clothing. Then whatever you might wear or do is forgiven because you are the fashion, you are the ‘it’ thing of the moment no matter how ridiculous it looks and sounds. Labels and boxes. We’re fond of it. We feel safe once we categorized everything and sorted them out in proper order according to our tastes and preferences. And I’m afraid I’m getting carried away again so I will stop here. You know what I mean.

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I’m Back

Been a while since I write my own thoughts. I’ve been away for almost four weeks basking in the  sun soaking the atmosphere enjoying the weather admiring the views immersing myself in different culture and generally doing nothing but what I love to do in that moment. I crisscrossed the island on foot, drove around, swam in lagoons and tasted the food. I’ve been in a hospital also. Costed me a fortune but my health insurance will pay me back only  I don’t know when. They say it may take a while since it is a large amount of money but I see it as a savings; money I don’t have in my hand so therefore I can’t spend.

I’m home now with tons of laundry and lots to do in the garden. At least the slugs and snails didn’t devour my entire population of plants like I expected them to do. My chocolate mints died. D. said he upended small bottles of water in the pots but he said it was not enough to lasts for the entire time we were gone but I suspected he had forgotten to do it because I didn’t see any indentation on the soil next to the plants. So, today I drove to the garden center to get new ones but like always I purchased more than I needed. Believe you me I will have second thoughts buying anything for myself but will not hesitate acquiring something for the garden or for the house. I’m crazy that way. It gives me so much joy to shop for both and see them transform a space. The plants which are damaged by late frost are struggling to survive. They are still there but most of them become sort of bonsai, little miniature examples of their former selves. I hope they will totally revive next year. 

I reckon it will take me a week to go back to normal. I will return to writing after everything settled. But first I have to attend two big parties. One is the silver jubilee of a company and another is a retirement event of my father -in-law. The first one calls for a dress code. ‘Future’ is the theme we have to abide. Lots of shining garments dominated by silver and white in casual attire. I don’t know yet if I’m going to attend since parties are not my thing but let’s see when it’s time to go. Maybe I will and then again maybe not.

I wrote this piece without pause and without edit so if you spy some mistakes, look the other way. Till next time and enjoy the warm weather.  

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Why I Will Always Choose To Be A Little Bit Fat

How we can all feel good about ourselves, whatever our size.

I saw an article a few weeks ago with this incredible before-and-after set of photos of an overweight, post-baby woman who then became totally “bikini-worthy.”

So I had to click the link, of course, to have a look. No question about it—the “after” photo of this woman was a stunning shot. She looked fit, toned, healthy and gorgeous. I read on, eager to discover what her secret was; what profound magical method it was that she had used to shed however-many-number of pounds.

There it was, a long and detailed tract of the super lean, restrictive diet she had put herself on for a year. No carbs, no dairy, no fruit, no nothing. The sample diet she had shared in the article seemed to consist of little more than hummus, celery and endless amounts of steamed fish. Healthy—yes. Exciting, delicious, fun lifestyle—no.

I decided in that moment that I would choose to continue being a little bit fat.

Yes, I could do with losing at least about 10 pounds so that the Bébé dress I bought earlier this year would fit that much more snugly. But if it’s at the expense of not eating fruit, freshly baked breads, Greek yogurt and honey for a year, well then, I choose emphatically to continue being 10 pounds more than I should be.

Science is a wonderful thing. It’s revealed so many revolutionary ways of understanding the way our bodies work and the effects of new foods, super foods, bad foods and good foods on our health. It’s sad though that “health” has so often come to be equated only and necessarily with thinness.

The glut of diet programs, weight-loss fads, fat-burning supplements and specialized bikini-body workouts are now as much a part of our daily consumer choices as the aisles of (“forbidden”) food in supermarkets. There seems to be no excuse not to be “healthy” (read: thin) given the huge number of aids, YouTube videos and literature on the subject.

Articles like the one I read aren’t necessarily always an encouraging, inspiring thing. They don’t just tell the story of an overweight person who chose discipline and a healthier lifestyle. There is often also a more sinister sub-narrative that raises its eyebrows at the reader and challenges her—“If this person can lose xx pounds, why can’t you?”—even if the reader may not actually be unhealthy or overweight.

The titles of these articles alone are almost always weight-centered, like “I lost 120 pounds, ask me how!” or “How one man lost 200 pounds in a year.” Rarely are these articles presented through the perspective of someone choosing a healthier lifestyle, discarding bad nutritional habits or incorporating fitness into their daily routine.

There it is: the continuous, unceasing reminder that we should all be striving toward thinness. From cabbage soup fasts, to low-everything diets, to 20-minute fat-blasting workouts, the desirable end result is usually almost and entirely about becoming become a thinner version of ourselves.

I am not ignoring the fact that for a percentage of people who are facing the health risks of being dangerously overweight, losing weight is a part of becoming healthier. I don’t discount that and understand how important it is in these cases to count calories and lost inches.

Problems arise when that very same method is being adopted by people who aren’t facing any health risks—who may, in fact, be completely healthy, fit people—but who still feel that they would be healthier if only they were five, 10 or 20 pounds lighter.

So I’d like to suggest flipping things around a bit; looking at things through another lens.

Let’s focus on being healthy—and just that.

Logically and biologically, it would follow that by following a healthy way of living, eating and exercising, everything else will find its proper balance. We would lose weight if we needed to lose weight, we’d gain muscle if we needed to gain muscle, we’d balance out all the other things that come from not being healthy—stress, cholesterol, diabetes, poor complexion, hair loss etc.

And what does it mean to live healthily? In the face of all the new diet and exercise schemes, I think that actually, we all already know what it means to live a healthy, balanced, feel-totally-awesome lifestyle, without having to follow any fad or buy any specialized products.

Intuitively, deep down inside, we do know the basics of living well. We know when we’ve had enough to eat, what kinds of foods are good for us, what makes us feel good and what makes us go into a slump, how much exercise we need to do, when to stop when we’re exhausted and when to rest.

We know this not just intellectually, but physically—our bodies are always telling us what we need to do; we just need to listen.

One’s body will tell us when it feels like a massive binge on Chinese take-out. It will also tell us when it’s had enough so we don’t insist on finishing every last fortune cookie. Our bodies will take us dancing, running, swimming, trampolining and playing; but they will also make us rest and sleep.

I read something beautiful a while ago, about how we shouldn’t change our bodies so we can love them.

Instead, we should create change in the way we treat ourselves because we love our bodies.

Ultimately this is about focusing on health: the physical health of our bodies and the emotional health of how we see and relate to our bodies. We love our bodies—this temporary shell on loan to us for this lifetime—so we treat them well, nourish them, feed them, move them, hug them, stretch then, let them dance, discipline them, give them a treat sometimes and most of all enjoy them.

Enjoying our bodies is to indulge in the beautiful, sensual things like good food, good sex and the rush of an energetic run in the mornings. But also, I think enjoyment is about ensuring our bodies are at their prime health so that they truly get the most out of these things and appreciate, at our body’s fullest capacity, the good food, good sex and energetic run.

This is true whatever size we’re at, whether we’re trying to lose weight or gain weight, whether we’re severely overweight or dangerously underweight.

This is true because it’s a matter of health and of helping our bodies be at their optimum functioning levels, not merely a matter of what we look like.

Yes, ideally, I would still like the scales to tell me that I am 10 pounds lighter and to see my dress size drop to a single digit. But then, I have to ask myself what it really is that I’d like to get out of being that much thinner. I don’t have any illnesses, I live a happy, active life, and I’ve been medically cleared for good, prime health.

So what is it? To be more attractive? To feel more energetic? To turn more heads? To tighten that gap between me and the Victoria’s Secret models?

I realize now that if I only just went back to focusing on being healthy, everything else would find its rightful place. When I’m feeling healthy, my skin glows, my hair is shiny and I’m a face full of radiance. When I’m feeling fit after a big run and deep session of yoga, I’m also confident, joyful and there’s an extra bounce in my step.

Automatically, without being a single ounce lighter, I realize now that being healthy alone is enough to be more attractive, feel more energetic, turn more heads and gain almost as many admirers as the Victoria’s Secret angels.

With a focus on health, instead of weight, I find too that I enjoy life a whole lot more. I eat without guilt and play with abandon. I move and shift and indulge the very real needs of my body instead of spending good hours of my day fussing over diet plans, exercise schedules and meal replacement shakes.

It isn’t only when I achieve a vision of thinness that I am deemed healthy and attractive.

I am attractive because I am living healthily.

And if that means I shall always be a little bit fat, with a few extra pounds to shed, then that’s exactly what I shall be.

-via Jamie Khoo Conscious ReThink Elephant Journal

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