Monday, August 8, 2011

Course in Culture: A Lifetime of Learning

In less than a week from now, my future in-laws are traveling from India to stay with my fiance and me before we get married on the 20th of this month. Except for the fact that my 'pod' filled with all my worldly possessions is arriving only tomorrow, and that my fiance and I will have to scramble to get the house in order, I am not nervous. I have spent time with my in-laws before, and they are very kind, open-minded, and amiable people.

But I do realize that with them and of course, my fiance, in my life, I have a lot of learning to do. 

During my teenage years I had the wonderful, life-changing opportunity to live overseas twice, due to the foresight and effort of my amazing parents. After coming back from abroad, people always thought that I was so sophisticated and worldly, that I was the 'cultured' one.

And you might say by the definition of having been many different places, I am 'worldly'. I believe that there is little in the mundane world that can expand the mind more than travel. 

However, like anything else that is 'good for you', it only helps if you are open to it. I was, just because I couldn't help it. I love learning about different cultures, and always have. Maybe it's the influence of my Grandmother and Mom - I don't know.

But the point I am getting to is that just as with anything fascinating, the more I learn, the more I realize I have to learn. I also realize how exciting, humbling, and awe-inspiring that can be!

And so here I stand, hand in hand with my fiance, on the edge of Indian culture, one of the most ancient contemporary civilizations on earth today. Am I nervous? A little. Overwhelmed? Absolutely. But also exhilarated. As I look forward to the years ahead with my fiance, I see us building a life together. I also look forward to the daily lessons in culture, in a lifetime rich in learning and love.

May all beings be happy! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Doing Nothing: An Accomplishment? (Yes!)

A little while ago I wrote about the first chapter of Martha Beck's book, The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life. In that chapter, Beck emphasizes that one result of our busy lives is that we are always doing, which brings us further and further away from our true selves. Her remedy is to spend just 5-15 minutes a day not-doing. Not talking, walking, eating, surfing the net, or sleeping, but to just sit there, being.

I agreed with her rationale, yet, until recently, I had yet to experience it deeply.

Over the past several weeks, all my life was doing, with little to no time for anything else. Between finishing up the lab work for my Ph.D., getting ready to move, planning our wedding, packing, cleaning, and moving, I had little choice in the matter. It wore me completely ragged, and bouts of weepy-ness and feelings of desperation were common.

But last Thursday was different. Besides spending some of the day indulging in blissful slumber, I spent the rest of the day not-doing. Of course what this really means (and what Beck is really getting at) is that in my not-doing, I spent most of the day in mindful meditation. Not cross-legged, in lotus position, or any of the notions of what meditation purists say it 'should' be, but just sitting, breathing, being.

And in the hyper-busy warp-speed lifestyle that is so common today, I feel that this day of repose and reflection was a true accomplishment.

What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion and experiences. 

May all beings be happy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

An Amazing New Blog

Just a shout-out to a great new blog with a great premise: I decided to live!!

It seems that one of my sister's friends has decided to start a blog, where she will write about living life to the fullest for 365 days. She has already written about a number of important topics, from truly enjoying the simple things in life to beginning to heal from the heartbreak of a miscarriage.  

I think she is on to something great, and that her writing style and enthusiasm will attract a lot of readers. Given the pervasive and serious problem modern society has in really living, I also think her blog will be of great benefit to many.


May all beings be happy!

A Room is Just a Room

Yesterday I moved out of my beloved apartment, where I had spent three happy years with two wonderful roommates. It was a beautiful place with fantastic rent, with large picture windows, a walk-in closet, fireplace, large balcony, and a separate loft where my roommate and her two cute cats lived.

I know that being in a new place several hundred miles away, I will miss my spacious and beautiful apartment. But as I closed the door to my bedroom one last time, I realized that all the amenities were nothing compared to the fact that I was now going to be living with my fiance, who will become my husband later this month. It is hard to believe that it has been 11 months since we lived in the same town- and the same state!!

As I write this post nestled in blankets, recovering from the stress and strain of moving, I know that I am now home. A room is just a room, and now it is time for someone else to enjoy my old apartment. Our place is no mansion, but I know that my future husband and I can work together to make a beautiful home, filled with warmth and love.

"It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home."  ~Author Unknown

May all beings be happy!!