Monthly Archives: June 2015

Ranting about my unfinished books

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I call myself an avid book reader, a bookworm. I bought books like crazy even when I was almost broke and read like a maniac. For me, pulling an allnighter to finish a book used to be as normal as drinking coffee in the morning. Did you notice the past tense there? Yes, it’s like something from distant past now because I have somehow lost that ability. Not only have I become a slow reader but also I can no longer finish a book.

libraryI still buy books like crazy though. It’s crazy because Norway is so expensive, yet I manage to buy books almost every other week. The books are piling up. Every time I buy a new book, few pages are read and then, they get into my shelf never to be back in my hands again. I look at them longingly and imagine someday soon I will finish reading them. But it’s been almost one year since I have been accumulating books. They never seem to find their ways back.

I remember before coming to Norway, I was reading these two books called ‘Night train to Lisbon’ and ‘The Book Thief”. I couldn’t bring both those books while I was travelling and hence, they were left unfinished. The story of unfinished books begins from here. I came to Norway and I went to a housemate’s room. She had this book called ‘A History of Love’. I borrowed it from her and started reading it. After almost 50 pages, I could read no more. I tried re-reading it with my boyfriend on a cabin trip but I never managed to finish it. Then, I started reading Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let me Go’. I had already made a huge mistake of watching the movie so it ruined my experience. All I could think of was Keira Knightley and that guy from Spiderman. So, that one went to the shelf too. It’s not that those books are boring and couldn’t catch my attention. It’s just that after reading few pages, I literally stop. I cannot move on.

tsundokuI was going through wordporn page on facebook when I found a perfect word for me.  It’s a Japanese word with no English translation and it is called ‘Tsundoku’. It roughly translates to buying books and not reading, letting them pile up. 😀 Isn’t that my word? 😉

I bought some of the books by Haruki Murakami that I hadn’t read, Orhan Pamuk, Coelho, Bukwoski and the list goes on and on and on. Amazing, interesting books that have always been on my wishlist. But after first few pages, I can’t continue reading. It’s mind boggling. I just can’t understand why I can’t finish a book anymore. It’s like everything else in my life, I’m stuck. Stuck between the pages. Stuck between the pauses. STUCK!

1795658_1030521830292231_96039548713341800_nI still have hope though. Someday I will finish reading everything. I will get back that passion to read my books again. Until then, all I can do is look at them longingly and be happy by their presence in my room. Even though I don’t read them, they do brighten up my day. The colorful cover and those text titles they do add some positivity to my life.  🙂

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Lesson I: Be here and now

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After the last post, my days have been quite intense. I have gone on a lot of walks through the Norwegian wood. I have been contemplating about life. Most of all, a slow but positive healing process seems to be going on. And I am happy with the way things are going. I can feel myself thinking about things in a different light. It has definitely not been an easy process but I have learnt to accept that self healing is a rigorous yet rewarding process.

thoughtsSo, what has changed since last time and why I decided things have to change? I have been in two devastating relationships that have left quite a lot of scars psychologically and physically. The funny thing is I am such a hopeless romantic that I don’t give up. I am with someone new now. This ride with him has been really amazing. He is a good human being with a beautiful pure heart and mind. But we had quite a difficult time mainly because of me. I am quite sure living with me hasn’t been easy for him. It was quite exhausting and stressful for both of us because of this roller coaster of a mood that I have. Last few weeks before he left was quite sad and stressful. We had fights and I could feel we were growing apart. I thought about it.

For a long time after he left, I went on a guilt trip. There were a lot of unanswered ‘whys?’. Why did I make him feel that way? Why did I behave like a crazy bitch? Why did I harass him, torture him and make his life unbearable? I couldn’t sleep at night. I would wake up all night thinking about where did I go wrong, what should I do to make things right and what will happen now. I also felt like maybe I should just quit. Instead of going through the same torturous ordeal, I should just break up with him for his and my own peace of mind. But then something inside me said, ‘No! Not this time!’ I thought to myself that running away and quitting are definitely not solutions. I need to address this issue. I need to change. I am not saying that everything is my fault. It was partly my fault and I decided that I will correct the part where I am wrong. So, I began to analyze about the things impersonally where my aim was not to find faults but see those experiences in a different light. Like an outsider or a spectator.

One of our main arguments have been: “But you don’t listen to me.” I always complain that he never listens to me. We had quite a lot of heated arguments because of that. He always defended himself by saying, ‘I’m sorry. I was reading/playing/writing or doing something. I can’t multitask. Can you repeat?’ And then I would lose my cool and be angry or sad. Now when I think about it, I realize that he was right in a way. His way of doing things are quite different than mine. I realized that when we are sitting here on the bed talking to each other, sharing our things and just floating, he actually listens to what I am saying. And he is right, he cannot multitask. When he is doing something else, it is quite natural of him not to listen to me. But me, being the master of multitasking, just didn’t understand why it is so difficult for him to listen to me when he is just doing something else. Why can’t he do whatever he is doing and listen to me as well?

Now I realized that it is because he has been practicing mindfulness for a long time. I have seen him doing tiny little thing with utmost care and attention. Of course, he is not a zen monk sitting there drinking his tea for an hour or so but he does concentrate on things he is doing. If he is reading something then he reads it with undivided attention. If he is out on a walk with someone, then he devotes his whole time to that person. He says it’s disrespectful of us to text someone else or check our facebook while we are with someone. And he is so right. Doesn’t my friend who has spared some time to be with me deserve my time and attention when s/he drinking coffee and talking to me? Doesn’t the book that I have been wanting to read deserve my full attention when I finally get my hands on it?

He was right all along. I question myself why do I take so much pride in being able to multitask when I am not able to enjoy the things that I do completely. What’s the point of letting the tea boil over or burning the food when I am busy doing the dishes? Why can’t I simply enjoy the thing I am doing without letting my mind wander around something else? Why can’t I enjoy the water dripping down my body while taking a shower without thinking about what to make for dinner or what to watch later tonight?

I went out on a walk thinking about these. And I found my answer. It’s because my body is here but my mind is not here. All my life I am either in the past or in the future. So, in truth I am never here. Even when I am walking out in the woods, my mind is wandering through the past experiences. Mind is funny. It has played those scenes over and over again and yet it keeps on playing scenes from the past or dreams about future. We are never actually aware of what is going on around us. Technology doesn’t help either. We are in constant need to be socially connected. One more post, one more picture, one more click and we keep going on and on. We just let everything around us slowly slip by our sides while we are busy looking at our phones.

Thus, in one of my recent walks I decided I will practice mindfulness in my everyday tasks. I decided that from now I will try to be here and now. I started out with incorporating mindfulness in two simple tasks that I really enjoy doing.

a) Taking a shower

b) Doing the dishes 🙂

serenityI simply tried to be aware of myself and things happening with me while doing these two simple tasks. It was very difficult in the beginning. I won’t say I have mastered it. I am still learning and it still is very difficult. Especially because these two things are too trivial and mundane. Who gives a shit about how the water is flowing when you are showering? Those incredible shower thoughts, those scenes from past, those plannings for future are obviously more interesting than the water dripping throughout the body or lather forming from the shower gel you just slithered on your skin. And of course, it is much easier to do the dishes mindlessly. No matter how much I enjoyed doing the dishes (weird?), my mind always drifted away into something else, something much more interesting than cleaning the grease out of my pan. But trust me, when I started being aware of myself and of the process of showering/dish washing, I realized the tiny little sensation that I felt when the hot water and soap touched my skin, I became aware of the smell, the vapour, the fizz, every drop and every ripple. It is actually meditative.

And the result? This post! This realization that I have put into words in this post is the result of the mindful showering and dish washing. I feel rejuvenated and surprisingly calm.  I just know that the journey to the self healing and mindful existence has begun. I will slowly try to incorporate mindfulness in other daily activities as well. I will share my experiences through this blog.

I read some interesting articles and watched some cool videos about mindfulness. I would like to share it with you.

* Learn how to be mindful in everyday activities

* Zen Habits

*Ten mindful minutes: A TED talk video 

*Meditation by Alan Watts (Boyfriend showed me this video. I’ve been watching his videos a lot lately. Highly recommended!)

* An interesting article about Alan Watts and Zen Buddhism.

*This song my friend shared on his spotify playlist has also been my companion and calmed my mind.

 

Solitude and Contemplation

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I was having this conversation with myself about why relationships are so difficult. No matter how much you are compatible with someone,no matter how much you think things are gonna be easy when you meet the right person, no matter how simple you try to make it, one wrong step and off you go slipping into relationshit.

Boyfriend and I were having this fast forward kinda process where we were rolling too fast. Now it’s time to slow down and I don’t know how to do it. Had quite a lot of outbursts. Now that he is travelling, I am all alone. I had a lot of time to think about this complication.

On my walk this evening, I remembered this talk I had with a guy I once dated. We were just good friends then and he asked me, ‘How do you picture your future? What do you dream of?’ I thought for a while and replied: ‘Umm, I will have a cute little house with a balcony and a nice view. I will have a room full of books, a collection of music records, a guitar, lots of plants, tiny trinkets all over my window sill, pictures of places I travelled on my wall, a computer, a nice pet dog and a happy Me,’ He was surprised and questioned me, ‘What? Don’t you want someone in your life? Won’t you ever have a life partner? Don’t you wanna have someone to share that joy?’ I said: ‘Nah, I think I will be happy being alone, all by myself.’ But somehow I  forgot my own future plan.

So, after all these years of dating people and being in a wrong abusive relationships, I have forgotten how to be myself. And I realized that I don’t know who my true self is. I get these glimpses of that carefree ‘me’ sometimes but most of the times, I am someone I don’t recognize. Those experiences have left quite a lot of scars it seems.

I remember my first few months here in tromso. I was happy. I was away from all the obligations and pressure of my life back home. I was alone, free and independent for the first time in my life. I talked to people I wanted to talk to. I went out with people whose company I enjoyed. If I didn’t like someone, I would stop hanging out with them. I wouldn’t pretend to be nice and friendly. I was myself.

Now I’m in a relationship. I really love this person, I really like being with him but I find myself questioning if this is what I really want. Should I live my life loving someone else like crazy? What’s the point of all this because one expectation leads to another? What’s the point when you take one wrong step and everything comes crashing down? Nobody will forgive you for mistakes you make. One mistake and the person you love will come attacking you with all the blames? When will I ever be able to be that role model of a partner? How am I suppose to fulfill those criteria? How will I ever be able to live up to that expectations?

I have always idolized this wonderful relationship my father and mother had. They were each other’s best friend. It was like a love story straight out of romance novel. I grew up seeing them so much in love with each other. It’s not that they didn’t have a life of their own. My mother had friends and did things she enjoyed doing like singing, writing and sewing. The same with my father. He was an introvert, didn’t have much friend, loved gardening and his dogs of course. But they found friend in each other. They shared all the ups and downs of life including my mom’s near death experience when she gave birth to me. I grew up seeing my father admire my mother and my mother being proud at each and every achievement of my father. I was proud to be their daughter.

So, when my mother died, it was quite a blow for my father. I had lost my mother but he had lost everything. He lost his wife, his best friend, his confidante and his soulmate. He never remarried anyone. He remained a widower taking care of me. It’s amazing how love like that works.

Until now I always thought my father is an amazing lover. It’s been 20 years since my mother died and my father has dedicated his whole life to my mother. I always wondered how did he do that. How could he stay in love like that for so long? But today one of my shower thought made me realize, ‘Wow! my mother must have been pretty amazing woman. She must have given so much love to my father. Her companionship, dedication and her existence must have been so special, so precious. She must have been such an ideal partner and a true soulmate that my father never needed anyone else in his life anymore.’

I wish to become a woman like her. Woman of strength, perseverance and love. A woman who can love someone without any reservation and expectation. A woman whom someone can call a true soulmate. A woman whose companionship would be so strong and fulfilling that her partner needs noone else. A woman free from all the drama. A woman whose soul is free and independent.

But how? That’s the question that had been bugging me.

How can you selflessly love someone else?

Solitude

The answer was in my solitude. I need to find this person that I loved sooo much that I was ready to spend my whole life with her in solitude.

That person is ME, myself.

I need to find myself first. And I need to love myself enough so that I don’t need to go around searching for love in someone else. I need to complete myself so that I don’t need to expect someone else’s existence to complete me. All the bullshit that romantic movie feeds in our brain is useless. If you don’t love yourself, you will never be able to love the other person completely.

I need to love myself so much that when I love someone else there will just be love. No expectation, no ego, no selfish motive, nothing. Just pure selfless love. Unless I do that, no matter who I am with, I will end up hurting that person. I will end up being disappointed and wounded. I will never be able to truly Love.

P.S Solitude is good. Solitary walks and contemplation are good. Being alone with yourself is truly fulfilling.

P.P.S. Especially if you have music like this to accompany you during those walks 😉