Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love Is

Picture found on: shahirzag
"It had flaws, but what does that matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite? To know the flaws and love that too? That is rare and pure and perfect."- Patrick Rothfuss
This post may be a week or so late but surely there's no time limit on the celebration of love, is there? I hope everyone had a lovely day on Valentines Day (yes, I'm well aware that I will die a lonely old spinster but my intentions are good and pure, with not a hint of malice when I say that). Anywho, I should digress. On that particular day of love, I found myself eavesdropping on a conversation that was taking place behind me as I sat on the train. A young man is chatting away on the phone to, what I concluded to be, his gym buddy. His high profile talk went somewhat along the lines of this:

Loud Young Man: "Yeah mate, I bought her a bunch of roses that set me back a couple of paychecks. I also ordered a large novelty sized teddy bear. You know, the ones that are bigger than humans? Yeah, I got her that. She was complaining last year because I didn't get her anything. So I just got her stuff she'd like.... Yeah mate, I know... Yeah what can you do, you know?"

Needless to say, it was one of the few enchanting moments I've had whilst commuting back from work. I'd like to think that this moment isn't a reflection of the 'true meaning'of V Day. (Although that conversation and the copious amounts of Facebook posts denouncing the integrity of the holiday by blaming Hallmark and similar companies, may say otherwise.) But it's funny, isn't it? That love can be expressed in all sorts of ways - including it's expression in material form. But we love what we love. And if our love has to be shown through chocolate covered hearts, cringeworthy messages of love in cards, or a human sized teddy bear? Then so be it. It's cheesy, yes. But I can deal with one day of corniness for the knowledge that love is palpable. Love exists. Love is.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

27 Rules For Conquering The Gym

Source of picture: nike.com

Whilst heading to my Sunday morning Body Combat class, I couldn't help but trumble through this particular Tumblr blog for last minute inspiration...

  1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.
  2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.
  3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
  4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading “The New Yorker” and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.
  5. Bring your iPod. Don’t borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it’s playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.
  6. Don’t fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.
  7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn’t bought a record since “Walking on Sunshine.”
  8. There’s also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn’t here today…there he is, lurking by the barbells.
  9. "Great job!” is trainer-speak for “It’s not polite for me to laugh at you.”
  10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.
  11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.
  12. Nope, that’s not a “recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate.” That’s a chocolate bar.
  13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.
  14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that’s super tough!
  15. If you’re motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a “wooden coat rack.” It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.
  16. There’s the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.
  17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you’re either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.
  18. Be cautious about any class with the words “sunrise,” “hell,” or “Moby.”
  19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it’s hard. If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’re at brunch.
  20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.
  21. Don’t buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.
  22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.
  23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.
  24. If you’re at the point where you’ve bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It’s way more fun and it doesn’t make you listen to C+C Music Factory.
  25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.
  26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it’s good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it’s not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.
  27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This Too Shall Pass

Source of picture: hien1234

"Everything passes, and we do eventually get out from under the things and people that have burdened us. More precisely, we outlive our memories of them." - Andrei Bitov
Everything passes. The dreaded harrowing feelings that accompany our pain, our loss, and our moments of weakness and vulnerability. Memory is a powerful thing. We find ourselves reminiscing of better times, when bouts of euphoria are needed in our everyday mundane lives. Or it could have the opposite effect; reliving terrible pain, lost hope, and the toxic habit of replaying the events over in our minds until we collapse into a messy heap.

But our minds don't have to function in this manner. That's the beauty in memory fading. We can utilise its power and overcome burdens that terrorise our minds. Of course, this does not come without struggle. Everybody struggles and more than once, we can find ourselves stuck in the same pattern of sad moments. But we learn  from those moments, we learn to move on, and eventually we do our very best to grow out of the sorrow and heartbreak - with the external love and support that is offered to us. That is something important to remember. This too, and others, shall pass. Always.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Happiest Refugee

Source of picture: dipty.com
"There are only two times in life: there's now and there's too late."
I've once again found myself reading the "learned" comments on Facebook about new immigrants to Australia. Those who are close to me know that I hold this issue very close to my heart and become very quick tempered to those who strongly disagree with me. I don't care for the pointless ill-informed debates that appear on my News Feed. Instead, I choose to read about true accounts of those that have fled hardship first-hand and try to understand what it is like to live an unfortunate life - although I do admit it would have to take more than simply reading to fully immerse oneself to the horrors in this world.

A couple of weeks ago, I read The Happiest Refugee written by a well known Vietnamese-born Australian comedian, Anh Do. And yes, it was a heartbreaking heartwarming story. His story has the power to be inspiring not only to refugees but the human spirit as well. And I'm sure that many of those who pick up this book will feel Anh's accomplishment just the same. What I found particularly interesting about The Happiest Refugee was not so much the focus on the journey to Australia, but rather a family's personal struggle when arriving to Australia. Anh tells his story of growing up with an unfortunate childhood - an abusive father, a mum raising her children by herself as a result, as well as tremendous sacrifices that every family member made for everyone's behalf.

I once read that every one of our stories - no matter who we are or what we have experienced - are the same, just simply told from different perspectives. Regardless of our race, religion or background, we all have similar stories about trepidations and heartbreak; albeit to varying degrees. So the idea that people have difficulty (for whatever reason) in understanding others plights, still baffles me to a great extent.

But I suppose there's always hope in changing people's perspectives. It is difficult but not impossible.  And it is something that charities and organisations work on every single day. We should all muster the effort and responsibility to understand each other - to have and show compassion to those who deserve and need it the most.