Category Archives: Art of living

Why do you see 11.11 on your watch? Twin numbers explained.

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Why almost every time when I look at my watch, do I see 11.11, 14.14 or 22.22? Twin numbers. Do normal times not exist anymore? Let me check again. Oh, it’s 03.03 now that I’m writing this. [I'm kind of a night owl, don't worry.] Very strange. Very strange.

It’s the eleventh of November today, 11.11, which is why I’ve decided to explore this occurrence further. Why do we see twin numbers?

As my friend, a philosopher and musician Alessandro Puddu says, these twin numbers serve as a portal; interdimensional doors, so to speak. It may be a portal to creativity, to your intuition, to the field of consciousness that you don’t normally feel when you focus only on the material stuff happening around you. It’s a reminder for you to stop and look inwardly to notice something important. According to Alessandro, you have this one minute to connect with yourself. That minute can as well be eternity. Time is a matter of perception anyway.

What people think it can also mean:

- these are “angel numbers” signifying awakening. There is more to it than just imagination or coincidence, as spiritual teachers point out.

- they can be explained by numerology.

- 16+ possible explanations can be found in this video:

- they can appear in moments of synchronicity. It may be worth looking at what exactly is happening in the moment you see these numbers.

What does it all mean? I have no way to check whether any of such claims is valid. Sorry for not giving you a definite answer. How are we supposed to know? I let you answer on your own.

Please share your observations below. And have a lovely November 11th, no matter what you think.

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photo credit: 11:11 11/11 via photopin (license)

featured photo credit: 11:11 via photopin (license)

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What if we lived forever? Would we still create?

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Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.
- Mahatma Gandhi

We are moved by lost time. We are moved by birthdays, funerals and by transition steps like weddings, which start something new and end something forever: things will never be the same as before. We are moved by new people coming into this world: by “mini-me”-s, because we know we’re going to die one day and hopefully they will remain. Creativity comes from emotions that shake us up. Would we still create if we were to live forever?

Carpe diem can only be practiced when you know your time is limited… You want to use all the resources that you have before it’s too late… experience all the things you dream of… bucket lists and stuff… Otherwise you get bored with life. You take things for granted. Everyday life becomes uninteresting.

If you were to live forever, would you create? Or, would you just consume instead, and swim in the luxury of infinity? Only because we’re mortals, we want to save every moment, leave something, express our feelings of longing… of missing something… of lost time… We want to take pictures and preserve memories in a form of postcards and letters because one day everything will be gone. And these things may remain. Not any of the events that triggered them. Not even us.

Is art a way to show us what we miss? The nature, the softness, the essence that sometimes is hidden in our everyday life? Is it a way to understand our world, see the invisible, think the unthinkable and… leave it for others? Is it a way to cross the mundane, to find ourselves in a new space?

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
- Pablo Picasso

Art asks more questions than it answers. And maybe it should. It’s easy to go through life overwhelmed by urgent things to do all the time. This is a kind of anaesthetic we are used to living on – busyness. It makes us run when we really could stop for a second and listen. That’s where art gets created. In the mental space of this second of listening. To the world. Inside and outside.

So, coming back to our question, what would happen if we lived forever? Would we ever stop and contemplate the temporary nature of our existence? Would we ever take risks? Or would we succumb to the overflowing time for everything we want to do and just… live? Live and procrastinate? Because when time is unlimited, procrastination also can be… What do you think?

photo credit: july2014 411 via photopin (license)

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Sadness matters. How to embrace your tears.

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Sadness. The “blue creature” that’s inside your head and makes you notice gloomy things. Something that makes you emotional, nostalgic and down. Shoulder-length hair, round glasses, a sweater… here we go. That’s Sadness character in the Pixar’s movie “Inside Out”, speaking (and crying) with the voice of Phyllis Smith. I love how fairy tales can simplify and depict complex concepts in a way that is amusing, fun to watch and has a grain (or two) of truth.

Sometimes we think sadness is not welcome. It takes our power away and makes us feel miserable… It can take away our pleasures and cause us to be lonely… It can make us cry instead of enjoying our day. But should we really distrust sadness, hide it and treat it as a guest who comes uninvited and stays for too long? Do we really (as numerous self-help books suggest) need to strive for joy and think positively most of the time? I am not so sure.

Sadness can mess up many things, right? We are bombarded with pictures of happy people everywhere. Celebrities with perfect smiles (and lives, seemingly); success stories to hold onto (when we’ve just seen end results of someone’s achievements); pictures on Facebook that show only the best moments of someone’s life; self-help sections in book stores that lead you to believe that you must feel upbeat all the time to achieve fulfilment of personal and professional goals; job offers that accentuate traits such as being outgoing and bubbly… because you need to emanate happiness in order to attract customers to a brand, right? Well, that sounds a bit unreal to me.

We all experience all kinds of emotions. Sometimes at the same time. It may be easy to think that to keep up with all our obligations, commitments and activities, we need loads of positive energy all the time. However, life is not as sweet as a movie. Why struggle to be happy all the time?

Sadness has many benefits. Our tears are cleansing both our emotions and our eyes.

Forcing yourself to stay constantly “upbeat and positive” in your job can lead to frustration or even a breakdown, because it is an unattainable ideal. Everyone has bad days at some point, so why not feel them instead of trying to hide them? People actually connect with you when you are having a bad day. Sometimes even more than when you are emanating with happiness… Practiced. People like to show compassion to other human beings.

Feeling down always tells us something. Like pain. Physical pain is an indication that something is not going right in our organism. If you kill the pain, you kill the symptoms. The causes of it might still be there. Same with sadness. If we try to hide it under a fake smile, under “I’m alright” or under tons of work/entertainment, it will not automatically disappear. Well, it may, for a short time. But it may still be there when you check next time. There is a Zen practice of “looking deeply” that helps recognise the exact emotions we are feeling and what they point at. It is a really useful practice.

Sadness can sometimes bring fear, but running away from it doesn’t help. Fear is an elaborated fantasy of what may go wrong. Only embracing your sadness and trying to understand it can help shine light on what is really going on inside. This can bring marvellous results. Otherwise this unexplored emotional terrain might be scary.

Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels. (Goya)

 

Goya – The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (picture from Wikipedia)

Featured image photo credit: Sadness via photopin (license)

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“Sometimes”. About the dream we keep holding on to, in spite of the rain.

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Sometimes clarity just doesn’t come. It’s obscured by clouds, by dreams, by fantasies. Obscured by magical thinking of “that something” which will wake us up from a dream and make us feel special… Whereas all we want is to make peace with ourselves and feel “our own creative spark” that we didn’t feel before. Sometimes that’s all.

Sometimes life brings you flowers. And sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s not the reason to not wake up every day happy. It’s not the reason to stay down. A flower is waiting for you right where you are. If you just manage to discover it.

Sometimes even compassion is not enough. You can get angry by not understanding something and nothing will help. Getting angry is healthy if you channel it the right way. It can cleanse your fears.

Where am I going with all this? To the point of nowhere. To stir you up a little bit, to make you find out where your own “sometimes” lies, that you’ve forgotten about, that you aspire to… Where is your magic “tomorrow” where everything’s gonna be alright and the spell will last? There is no such place. Yet we do this all the time. We create the whole worlds of illusions to dive into, like a swimming pool on a fairy island. You can have one too. But it’s good to know that you’re in a tale, a cartoon. And when this episode ends, you will remain right where you were, in the greyish shape of your reality. Grey is beautiful though. It’s a neutral state that allows you to notice all other colours; it’s a perfect background to all emotions. It’s the world that will last.

I guess you know now what your fantasy world is, but please be assured that the world of “normality” is so much more gratifying in the end. Fantasies are amazing but they are exactly as they are – fantasies. If only we could notice them sooner.

That’s where Zen comes in. It helps us recognize the “mind chatter” from the presence of our being that is available to us all the time no matter what storms are raging or what creations we are led to believe. It’s sustainable. It’s connected to your breath. It takes you on a journey that is real. Mind can trick you and bring you to a lot of unusual places. But at the end of the day the place is one – Here and Now.

I might end up with a flashy conclusion or a catchy phrase, but no. I’ll end up with a space. A space for your thoughts. Here you can write your own “sometimes”. If you dare to listen to your fantasy. It can tell you the truth of what you’re missing.

 

MY FANTASY: ________________________

 

Good luck,

Anna

 

 

photo credit: Mystischer Koloss via photopin (license)

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Invisible. About the thread that has the power to change you.

Maybe?

What’s invisible for you, might not seem the same thing for somebody else. People come and go. Every person is here to teach us something, to point at something, to show the way… If only we listened.

What is invisible for me, is not invisible for you. That’s why I want to meet you. To explore what our two beings have got in common, or not, and to walk out from the encounter changed. Because this is what matters. This is what this life brings us – an opportunity to grow, to learn from every encounter on our way, because every single person on our way knows something that we don’t. An opportunity to learn. Or not.

Then there is karma – if you don’t learn something, don’t work on something that is invisible, then you would have to do that same thing again. To relive that situation over and over again until you finally listen. Listen to that ‘Psst’ sound of your intuition that is telling you to stop, telling you to make changes, telling you to be. To listen to yourself. And grow. You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was. (Abraham Lincoln) Yeah? Yeah.

Almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it. Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of Psst that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.

- David Foster Wallace

Sometimes you don’t even know your potential. You don’t even know you’re capable of transformation. It may come quiet. It may not come at all. Or you may not even see it. Invisible.

Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

- The Little Prince

Sometimes you just know something is about to happen. As if all the signs everywhere are pointing to the right direction, then you see the 14:14 numbers everywhere (or something similar that only you would understand), and you know you’re on to something. It’s not about making a decision. It’s about going with the flow.

Life’ s flow can be unexpected. It can be nothing you’ve ever wanted to experience. Yet it may change a lot of patterns that you’ve been repeating and repeating and repeating. You’re never going to control this process. It somehow is going outside of the scope of your rational mind. Some things are just meant to happen.

With the risk of sounding ‘invisible’, and unclear, let me tell you one thing. If you listen to your intuition, over and over again, keep breathing in and out and really listen to that silent voice, you’re gonna experience that invisible thread that is going to lead you on to amazing things that you haven’t even dreamt of. Guaranteed. It only takes one invisible gaze inward. And the journey is on. Enjoy!

photo credit: ashley rose, via photopin cc

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How to find happiness in no steps – Quote

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Life is a journey, as they say. Do you happen to agree that sometimes you don’t discover what’s right in front of you and take things for granted? Of course, it doesn’t apply to all cases, and happiness is a broad subject. But sometimes it works like that, doesn’t it?

Let me know your thoughts. :)

xx

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Scared of Making a Wrong Choice? How to Make a Choice Among Endless Possibilities

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Have you ever had enough and thought something like ‘If only making this choice was easier?’ This article might shed some light on how to make right choices when you’re overwhelmed by data and possibilities. Here are some of the ways (among loads) of how to deal with the influx of information from here and there and everywhere, and this, and that… Stop that! 

There is a lot to choose from. Everywhere. Literally. Instead of reading this post you could choose a million different things (online), or another few thousand offline (the numbers do not correspond to reality ;). I know that feeling. Having some time to spare and scratching your head over all these things you could possibly do. And that’s just a decision of how to spend your evening.

How about making bigger decisions? Where to live, who to hang out with regularly, what interests to pursue, what career decisions to make, not to mention romance-related decisions… If only it was easier, right?

Not exactly.

It’s not easy, and it’s not difficult either. It’s what you make of it. You can spend the whole evening thinking what to do and eventually spending the evening thinking… (yeah, it’s happened to me, I confess…) or, you can choose something randomly, ask a friend, throw a coin into the air… Maybe there is some better way of making decisions during this constant influx of information, possibilities, options, things to do, read & think about. It’s called Informational Age, but I guess that means what it means – instead of overwhelming you with choice, it’s supposed to give you all the information you need to make the right choice. At least in theory.

We are sometimes confused if we have too much choice. There is a book called ‘The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less’ by Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, saying that the more choice we have (as consumers), the more anxious we are…And it’s true that if we have loads of choice, we might not know what to do and end up not choosing what we want. Or even if we do, there is this fear of not making the best choice… Have you ever had it? I have.

My options of how not to get lost in the abundance of possible (and impossible) choices are the following:

- mindfulness. I hope you don’t get impatient by me using this word quite often. I do it only because… it works. As a busy skeptic in her head all the time (before I started practicing mindfulness), I can say it brings gigantic results in the long run if practiced regularly. So if you don’t know what to choose, start breathing. In… and out. At your own pace. NOT thinking about the choice you’re making. Just allow your body to rest and relax into whatever comes to you. You might discover many different things while doing this. I’m not gonna tell you what they would be – only you can find out. Everybody has their own means to do it. For me, it clarifies my choices in a significant way. You can find out more about it here. I hope it helps you too.

- go for a walk instead. It works for me in terms of shopping. If I’m undecided about buying something, that means I’m not 100% sure (because when you know you need /want something, you know it). In this case, walking (especially in nature) helps. I would suggest a park or a quiet street. It may help you make the decision and, maybe even you would find that you don’t need to buy anything after all. It happened to me many times. There is so much consumerism anyways and sometimes we get influenced by adverts and juicy displays. We do that. They know it. And it’s ok as long as you’re conscious of it.

- doing one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. So if you want to do many things at the same time (to avoid making the wrong choice), please try to focus on just one thing. Sometimes even a random choice of one activity/thing to do helps your attention to not drift but stick to it and eventually you can enjoy it more than if you were doing several things at once.

- this one is a ‘freak’ option, and it works sometimes :) If you’re stuck between choices, how about choosing neither of them, but something completely different? You’re going against your ego then, that is trying to win your internal battle with itself by making the best choice possible. By circumventing its ways, you may choose  something new. And you might like it.

The above mentioned ways apply mainly to small choices that wouldn’t make a life-changing difference, however, you can use some of them for big decisions. I wouldn’t suggest flipping a coin when deciding whether or not to marry someone, for instance, but I would definitely suggest mindfulness in making a decision concerning your career. After all, your ‘inner self’ knows already what you want to be doing, so if you could only listen to it beneath all these distractions… It would be different, right? So… why not do it? Like, …now? :) (after reading this article)?

Making a choice doesn’t have to be scary. And even if your choice isn’t perfect, you can change it by making another choice. There is always a way to thrive in the abundance of information coming from all directions. If you trust your internal compass (intuition), you are likely to feel more secure while doing it. And it’s likely to pay off in the long run.

 
photo credit: Sweet One via photopin cc

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How to preserve your digital memories and not lose them?

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This article invites you to spare some moments on thinking about how you preserve your digital memories and how precious they are for you. Plus, what you can do to make them last…

We all know that time flies. What happens to our memories when we don’t save them? What happens to all the pictures you take digitally and forget to copy/forget where they are? If they disappear in the abyss of your home, or worse, if you never get to find them again, are they lost?

This is the case with digital photography. Before it became widespread, and certainly before smartphones, people used to preserve their moments in colourful albums, with captions and descriptions, dates at the back etc. A material remaining of a time that has passed.

Nowadays we don’t do that; we can share stuff in seconds, but how much of it is actually time-proof? How much of it will remain? When I once bought a hard drive, a friend told me it was future-proof. But was it, really?

I wonder what would happen if some day our computers and networks collapsed. Just hypothetically. All the shots taken would be lost forever, wouldn’t they? Only a fire could do the same thing to paper photos… On the other hand, no matter what the current device, we can still see the photos taken by Cartier-Bresson in 1940s or pictures of our ancestors, little yellowed, but still, can’t we? What if we found them instead hidden for a 100 years on a device that is broken and not compatible with anything of our times? The pictures might never see the light again…

There is some magic about digital photography, and its fragility. And such pics are more than ever susceptible to a disc crash. Not like your grandma’s paper photos? She could probably recall a person and a time even if it was taken 50 years before. What if the photo never existed? We know the incredible power of photography to bring back emotions, memories, smells…

In this digital era we often cannot recall each of the 700+ pictures we take on holidays (if not many more!), and do we really watch them all afterwards? When we had analog cameras, each picture was physically made on a film, and therefore felt more precious… There were 24 or 36 pictures to be made, so I was more careful to capture only the most memorable moments, instead of everything that caught my eyes. But how do you know upfront which moment will be memorable so that you can prepare your camera? You don’t. In this way digital photography certainly has many benefits. And I won’t even mention uncomparable editing capabilities, automated options and other amazing features right at our fingertips. In this article it’s all about memories that last.

I sometimes print my pictures on paper and put them into an album – just to preserve the most important moments. It’s hard to choose which ones of the hundreds to keep – but it also dignifies them, making me preserve the most representative ones. NOT the most beautiful ones. Only the most meaningful.

What’s the solution? Well, it’s certainly up to you. My role is not to advise the come back to analog photography. Nor it is to tell you to not trust its digital brother. I wanted to only highlight its fragility and to maybe make you think twice when you are archiving your precious memories… And to keep them safe… And to copy them to a newer means of technology that emerges, before they become too obsolete to revive… We all know the digital landscape changes quickly. So, be aware!

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EARTH(L)ING. How to tap into the Earth’s healing power

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Have you ever had that feeling that when you go out into nature, the troubles that were on your mind before are not that stressful anymore, or sometimes they completely vanish? Even sitting on grass in a park at lunchtime or after a hard day can replenish our energy, relax us or cheer us up. Do you know what exactly is happening?

I have recently encountered (both theoretically and practically) something that certain authors call ‘Earthing’ – the Earth’s natural power to energise your body. According to Clinton Ober, author of the book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!, walking barefoot on natural surfaces like grass, sand or plain dirt is a very natural thing, practiced by people for centuries and there are reasons why. The electric field of the Earth, with its subtly pulsating frequencies, has a significant impact on human body. Free electrons from the ground can make your body’s self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms work better. Electrons are the source of antioxidant power, he says, and they can neutralise free radicals in your body. The free radicals would otherwise cause oxidation reactions, taking electrons from healthy tissue, damaging cells and potentially causing inflammation. Therefore it might be advisable to just have a walk outside, or sit with your shoeless and sockless feet on the ground, and wait for the results.

According to C. Ober, going barefoot in nature for 40 minutes can bring the results like reduction or elimination of chronic pain, improved sleep, normalisation of the body’s biological rhythms, reduced muscle tension and headaches, acceleration of healing of injuries and many more. You can find the whole list in the Summer 2014 issue of Mind Body Spirit Magazine. The author claims to have recovered from years of chronic back pain in this way.

Simple solutions can bring remarkable results. Clinton Ober even says that walking barefoot on concrete can bring some results. But not on asphalt, glass or other surfaces created by humans.

If you’re still unsure whether to give it a try, there is a nice article by a biomedical professional, Dr Jon Briffa, called Earthing – important discovery or mumbo-jumbo?, giving some more references, research and his personal experience on the subject…

Practicing Earthing briefly for just two days has made me feel relaxed, connected to my body, and it made my mind a bit clearer. It has relieved my headache and made me feel rejuvenated. This may be because the pace of nature is much slower to the usually busy lives a lot of us live nowadays… More to come if I dedicate some time to do this on a regular basis (this is the plan)… Because when you do it,

you look, feel and sleep better. You have more energy and less pain. It’s Mother Earth’s gift to all of us.

(quote from Clinton Ober’s article entitled EARTHING: Tapping into Mother Earth’s Remarkable Healing Power, Mind Body Spirit Magazine, Summer 2014, page 18 -> you can read it on paper or on your iPhone/iPad using this app)

Take good care and enjoy your barefoot walk!

photo credit: jjay69 via photopin cc

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Positive, exciting, moving, touching, funny, heartfelt and brave. And yellow. My review of ‘The yellow world’ by Albert Espinosa

The Yellow World: Trust Your Dreams and They'll Come TrueThe Yellow World: Trust Your Dreams and They’ll Come True by Albert Espinosa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Positive, exciting, moving, touching, funny, heartfelt and brave. And yellow.

First of all we get to know some bits from the story of a young boy who gets diagnosed with cancer… From here on it goes unconventionally. No dramatic stories, no tear-jerking episodes of heartbreak and loss, no grieving over lost time and health… Instead, we get discoveries. Various discoveries about life that were presented to him during these times, even though he did not understand some of them back then. Overheard conversations, insights, experiences… They are sometimes eye-opening; sometimes silly; sometimes moving.

Then we are delved into a magical world of yellows. A world that exists but that is not always noticeable, yet it happens to all of us. These people are really important in our lives. Who are yellows? Everyone has a certain amount of them in their life… Do you know how to find them?

This book is positive, exciting, moving, touching, funny, heartfelt and brave. The author clearly has fun writing it and enjoys sharing his deep thoughts, even from a long time ago. You can’t help but resonate with these young guys, ‘Eggheads’ as he puts it with an uplifting sense of humour, who despite their varyingly dire circumstances try to live their normal lives, share joys and jokes with each other, have dreams and best friends. It made me feel we often see a stereotypical, dark-painted picture when we hear the word ‘cancer’. On the other hand, he acknowledged it and befriended it. He even liked the word ‘tumour’. Not unsurprisingly, it rhymes with the word humour.

Trust your dreams and they’ll come true. Trust and true are very similar words, and they are similar because they are actually close to each other, really very close. So close that if you do trust something, it will come true.

Have you seen a yellow around you?

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