Friday, 29 January 2010


Where do you come from?
What does it matter where we come from?
We come from here, we have to work out what to say, what to do from where we are.
And we are here, in whatever state of mind or physicality; we are here.
It is a cultural pattern to want to know each others background.
How did we get here?
Why are we here?
Maybe it is just a conversational tool, an opener. Where do you come from?
It opens up the route plan of how we got to here.
How did we get here, very little was planned.
If we look back 10-15-20 years is there any way to have predicted that we would be here?
It is a daily miracle that we get through what life sets in our path.
This is something that we have to have confidence in.
We cannot plan a life, we have no Apps on the iPhone that will sort it.
We have no foolproof GPS system built into our daily chugging around on the path of life.

So where do you come from is a safe question, that we can answer with a certain feeling of confidence.
How did you get here, immediately throws in a huge quantum soup of possibilities.
This cannot be answered with any degree of confidence.
Then the, where are you going? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hardly know how I got here, how should I know what 5 years is going to bring!

The yoga practice has the same conundrum.
You start a practice in one state of mind, within a matter of a few breaths that has changed completely.
The start of the practice has you in one state of mind, by the end of the practice you are mentally and physically a completely other place.
This has all taken place within a matter of an hour, to an hour and a half!

How are we going to predict anything when all the patterns that are available are constantly permeating, anything is possible.

The only time we are close to anything real is that moment when time almost stands still, meditating, a state of ecstasy, a state of real fear. These are the moments when life's realities come into focus. What is real, what is important?

The moments when we touch on being here.
The where you came from, where are you going seem a tad irrelevant.
To be in that HERE moment is not exactly a tool we can handle in a daily life.
So we play games, we go to the movies, we read books, we practice yoga, we fiddle about on Facebook, we entertain ourselves.

Part of the entertainment is figuring out, where we came from and how we got here.
The story varies every time it is told and retold. Information that seemed relevant at one point now fades and new angles are added.

So tell where is it you actually come from, you have kind of a funny accent!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

World Yoga Day

We were sent a link today about this event. Eskil and I dived right in and got onboard. This is something worth putting a little effort into. The initiative was originally taken up by a Yoga teacher living in Berlin.

Samira Radsi is a film director and yoga teacher living in Berlin, Germany. One Saturday morning after a long night with little sleep she was counting milk bubbles in her Cappuccino when the idea for World Yoga Day popped out of nowhere. When the fabulous Sandra and Björn joined her the idea started to walk. The milk bubble count was 6844.

Sandra Von Lieven is a freelancing interaction designer and graphic design teacher living and working in Berlin, Germany. Of course she's an enthusiastic yogi too and always searching for projects that actually do make a difference. She's still not sure if someday – maybe – she will be a yoga teacher too, but until then she will be designing web sites, shirts, flyers, dvd-covers, yoga mats, business cards, brochures, and maybe… milk bubbles?

Björn Wyrich, an IT professional, is also living in Berlin, his favorite city in Germany. Nevertheless he's traveling much because of his core business Cinematrix. Also inspired by birds, bees and the legendary flocking milk bubbles he loves to fly with the swarm. And so he did his very best to set up this accessible website for Samiras great idea of a WORLD YOGA DAY for charity. Let this union of yogis become an energetic swarm and JOIN US now!
In 2008 Björn became an enthusiastic and certified Tantra Practitioner. May love be with you all.

This year the funds will be given to Medecins sans Frontieres. MSF are working in the earthquake zone of Haiti, giving immediate and essential help to the people of the island.

The idea is a rolling yoga practice. 2 hours in every time zone. Everyone will practice between 11:00-13:00 in their time zone. This will give a 24 hour yoga practice around the world.

If you are in Copenhagen on Sunday, join us for a practice at the Astanga Yoga Studio.
Blegdamsvej 32 1sal 2200 N. It does not matter if you have tried yoga before, we will be there to help and guide you.
It is not what you do, it is more about being part of something energising and giving. Come and take part, come and watch, come and donate.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Saying goodbye

Longer vacations, intense workshops. We establish strong bonds with each other and the hope is that it will remain.

During longer vacations and workshops we can experience a closeness with the other travelers or participants. The goodbyes can be intense, we do not want this special time to end. We do not want to let go of the feelings we have established. A special period has been created and now is the time to move on. To move back to a regular life, away from the intensity of workshop or vacation.

We cannot live our lives afraid of the next goodbye, we know that goodbyes are not going to stop.

To be in a state of balance, not to worry about goodbyes or hellos. They are one and the same.

That is easy to write, though I am not sure that I can live up to it. When saying goodbye to my dad at his funeral I burst into tears. My buddy said to me afterwards he had thought to himself, "Oh well Robin is a Buddhist, he will hold it together." How wrong could he be!

Goodbyes are a small death, a finishing, a closing and completion.

We know in our heart of hearts that they cannot be avoided, there is a tendency for denial. "See you in a bit. Take it easy. Have a good one." It is rarely a straight goodbye.

So see you in a few days!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

35 degrees

That is the average difference in temperature from Sunday to Wednesday. Quite dramatic and yet expected. Moving from the tropics back to Scandinavia mid winter is always going to be a little on the dramatic side.

As I landed in Copenhagen airport and came into the baggage hall I was knocked out by the silence. The hall was filled with hundreds of travelers, the baggage carousels delivering bags up to the expectant passengers. It was just so amazingly quiet after the impact of India. No crows, car horns, bells, waves crashing on the shore, mantras being blasted out at 100+dB. Just quiet, really, really quiet. Everything was functioning as it should be, bags arriving people moving through the hall. The lack of drama was the real culture shock of landing in Scandinavia. You do it, you get on with life with the expectation that it will all work out. And it does, 99% of the time the world we move around in is without life threatening drama. There are no dogs wandering across the road, motorcycles pulling into moving traffic without looking, massive trucks bearing down on you. No the baggage carousels roll and our bags arrive, we glide off into the cool efficiency of a life that happily is without too many shocks.

The old Chinese curse of "may you have an interesting life" really is not relevant here. Our bags arrive and we move on with a life that is calm and secure.

Much as I enjoy being in India, it is unnerving to see life being lived so close to the edge. My comfort zone is quickly knocked out of place if I am traveling on the roads of India. There are just too many uncomfortable situations. The Indian idea of road safety is to build a large concrete barrier, if a wheel comes off, a tyre blows out, you slam into a solid wall. This is a society with no crumple zones, there are no soft landings. It is keep your eye on the road, hand on the horn, pray to your God and take care out there.

Though I am now out of shape for cycling; I miss every light on Falkoner Allé, Jagtvej. It is with a grateful heart that I set out into a society that has had the capacity to take care of its citizens. A place where you can move safely and securely at your own pace.

Friday, 15 January 2010

City of dreams

Trivandrum, the capitol of Kerala state is about as far as you can get from a city of dreams. It is a run down Indian city with heavy traffic, broken roads and failing infrastucture. It is what is available and as a tourist in the area has a certain draw for shopping and markets. The ride into Trivandrum can be by bus (for the brave and sweaty), rickshaw (for the very brave), or taxi. My choice is always taxi, the idea of having a little more metal around me on the Indian highways is the only way to go.

The day we arrive in the city there are flags and posters everywhere for the DYFI which I think is the Democratic Youth Federation of India. An offshoot of the communist party, Kerala has been governed by the communist party for long periods. They are at present the ruling party in the state.
Check out the poster of Che Guevara as a symbol, it is Benicio Del Toro who played his character in Che. Interesting!
The city is literally wall to wall with flags and posters for the DYFI. An enormous effort has gone into advertising the congress. I wonder how much effort is then put into effective governance. It always appears more important to show that something is being done than the actual doing. That first spadeful, the inauguration, the show of face, these are always in the newspaper.

The city is now becoming a mix of Indian and western influences. India had many years as a closed society, with little access from western markets. This is seen in the Ambassador taxis that still ply the streets. Designed in England in the 40's and dropped in the 50's the designs were bought by Tata and production began in India. The design has basically stayed the same, no development in design taking place.
The opening of markets has thrown some challenging contrasts on the streets of India. The new shiny Levi outlet against an Indian Drug Merchant with his store of natural ingredients.

This guy is a classic example of the old and new bumping into each other. He was working his way up MG road (Mahatma Ghandi) pushing maybe 200kg. of produce uphill. We were in the taxi, hooting and darting. He plodded steadily along and kept pace with the intense traffic for a remarkably long time.

We shopped at this beautiful old cloth store in the quieter side streets of Trivandrum. It has been around for a goodly while. This is the oldest part of the store, the remainder has been modernised. I bought a few towels and paid at the cash desk. So far so good. Then it went Indian on me. A guy takes the computer print out bill and my money. Slips his shoes off and walks into the old part of the store. At the end of a long grass carpeted open veranda sat the boss. He walked up to the boss, handed him the receipt and money. The amount was entered into a large ledger and change given. He walked back, slipped his shoes on and came into the store. Walking past me he grabbed a rubber stamp, marked my bill PAID and handed me the change.

Welcome to India.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Lights out

Walking home last night the stars were very bright and clear. The waning moon had not risen, leaving the evening dark and clear. A new moon arrives this Friday, together with a solar eclipse.
I had my torch lit as the road is rough and steep, constantly broken by the monsoon rains washing away the hand laid tarmac. Suddenly I come across a small group of local guys huddled around the back of a rickshaw. I can hear that one of them is working away in the engine bay. I stop and ask if they need a torch, "Yes please." The torch is taken out of my hand and they carry on. A few minutes later a guy turns up with a lit candle, their alternative light source. A slightly older guy has already removed the rear driveshaft, completed in the light of mobile phones.
A new driveshaft is ready to mount, collected by motorcycle before I arrived. The job is completed within 10 minutes, this is rally mechanics. A hammer, screwdriver, spanner and set of pliers is all the mechanic has. It is enough, with a minimum of fuss he fixes the driveshaft in place, re-secures the back axle. The guys tip the rickshaw off the jack and start it up. A little oil spilled on the road is the only sign of anything having happened here.
Darkness settles again and the night is left in its quietness.
The now somewhat oily torch lights my way home.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The secrets of life

Being in India is all about discovering the secrets of life. I have been here a few weeks now and have been initiated into a couple of the greatest truths known to man/woman.

These truths I have decided to share with you.

Take a deep breath and lets get right down to it.

The first truth is how to make the perfect crust for apple pie!
This is an essential truth in the daily drama of everyday life.

1. Sieve the flour.
2. Mix the butter and flour carefully, take your time here to make it small and crumbly.
3. The water you use to mix the ingredients together should be from the freezer, icy cold.
4. Add a pinch of salt and let it rest in the fridge for an half hour to 3 hours.

This is a truth that can be joyfully shared with friends and family. Invite them by to be part of the wonderful truth of a full tummy, a time of happiness and love.

The second truth is a little more vague:

I can guide you on the way but cannot expose the full extent of the relevation.

This is more a Dan Brown search for the true meaning.

The best coffee in Rome!

Normally this is a subjective evaluation, however my spies and missionaries have spent many hours researching. I can give you this information as an objective valuation. This is the truth.

Behind the Pantheon are already two coffee shops rated as the best, one is Sant'Eustachio, the other is Tazzo D'Oro.

Head out from the Pantheon until you find a large marble foot, Via del Pie di Marmo.
On this street is a small coffee shop, usually with a queue. This is it! The best.

So here we have it not one but two truths. It can certainly pay to read these days.
We are always searching for answers, here you have fallen on two answers to questions you maybe didn't even know were troubling you.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Being Grateful

How can I sit here in the glorious warmth and energy of Mother India and not feel grateful. It is the most amazing opportunity to sit on a sunny terrace, shaded with soft white cotton canvas. Eating a breakfast prepared with loving care. The food is all homemade, vegetarian, no eggs. Marina says she uses a little yogurt instead of eggs, whatever it is it works.

To be able to travel and enjoy a state of grace.
To practice a form of yoga that I find ideal.
To be together with friends.
To have the energy and desire to take an active part in daily life.

These things seem too obvious to be worth mentioning.

Gratefulness shows itself when we appreciate the smaller things that go right in our life.
The bus that slides up beside us as the rain starts and carries us on our way.
The greeting from a stranger that cheers us on our way.

Gratefulness shows its true form when we appreciate that even in adversity we can be grateful. Grateful for the lessons and guidance that we can learn from our challenges. This maybe takes a day or two to sink in but it is there.

For example: A lover who has broken with you is not answering your emails or text messages. The attachment is still there, the hope that they will change their mind.
Coming to the realization that the relationship is finished. This is a harder one to swallow and takes a little time. Gratefulness is found in the release from attachment and allowing oneself to move on. To be free and open again. To have let go.

Friday, 1 January 2010

The Year of Love

I have it from the highest authorities that this year is the year of love.

2010 is The Year of Love.

My source insists on remaining anonymous, let us just say she is a stunningly beautiful Oxford professor.

If you are informed how time will show itself from a reliable source then it is not something that you argue about. If this source is at the same time brilliant and charming then are you not more inclined to believe? She is a scientist, so this must have been calculated down to the minutest detail, therefore not a belief system.

We can move forward into 2010, with the complete conviction that love will be with us.
I would like to say have faith! However that seems somewhat redundant, we are talking of scientific facts here.

As we enter 2010 with a steady conviction that we enter The Year of Love, then that is what will show itself. As we approach life in the coming year with the knowledge that we are surrounded by love, that is what we will experience.

Thanks for the heads up!

Enjoy 2010 it looks like being one of the ones to remember.