54 | Murakami Love ~ What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

 

 2014 Book #5: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Shelf it.

“Pain is inevitable (in running). Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you start to think, Man this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself. This pretty much sums up the most important aspect of marathon running.”

Murakami goes on to write…

“It’s precisely because of the pain, precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get that feeling, through this process, of really being alive.”

From these opening salvo in Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I am immediately hooked. It is only recently that I learned that my (most recent) favourite author is in fact a running nut! This novel was written in 2005. And up to that point in time, Murakami has been running for 23 years, finished 23 marathons at one per year, and when bored with running, he picked up triathlons! Did I say he was a fitness freak?

Running is a lonely sport. That much I now know. And it is a mental sport. The longer the run, the harder in the head. It is very boring indeed, to the non-runner at heart that is. A real runner is a loner. Running is an art form, I’ve read. I need to look into that deeper. I think there is a book about that. In the meantime,

I am learning more every day, as I enter headlong into this whole new world…

“Running day after day, bit by bit, I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. I am an ordinary runner, but that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday...In long-distance running, the only opponent you have to bet is yourself, the way you used to be.”

Murakami does not only talk about running when he talks about running. He also talks about his writing. In this book he explains his writing methods and where his quirky characters come from. His characters are sooo left of center. They are, apparently, based on real people, from folk that walk into his jazz club/bar. Murakami owned a jazz bar for a decade back in the 80s (or was it the 70s?). Quite unheard of in his small Japanese township. But he worked very hard and made a success of it. He paid all his debts and was earning enough at the end of 10 years. He welcomed customers from all walks of life into that bar. For how can he throw a customer away? He reckoned that if he made 1 of every 10 customer happy then he gets to keep the club in business. Because that one happy customer becomes a repeat customer.

Similarly, the same can be applied to readers of his books. He only has to please 1 in every 10. And that one will become a fan and will keep buying all his books, time and time again. If you think about it, the same model can be applied to all kinds of audience or customer for your product or service!

His running and his writings are intertwined. A wild imagination + long hours of total running silence (apart from music in his ears) + exposure to different characters = BESTSELLERS! The media in Japan commented that “Mr Murakami, you are so fit and healthy, aren’t you concerned you will run out of stories?”. Murakami certainly does not fit the stereotypical image of a slighty deranged, unshaven, unhealthy, lives-in-basement kind of a writer. 

But like most writers, Haruki Murakami is quite the introvert.

“When I am running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.”

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A story about running and writing ~ Shelf It!

53 | Mid Year Stocktake of 2014

Most folk will exclaim “It’s June. June! Middle of the year. Where has time gone?”

NO. In my heart, I honestly don’t exclaim that.

In the contrary, Charina will say “It’s June. WOW! All those things I have done. All the places (within and without) I have been. In a span of 5 months. Has it only been 5 months? It feels like years! I can’t wait for September, for my 2nd Half Marathon. I am so ready already.”

No wonder all those Aussie mums in the FB groupRunning Mums Australia” keep joining races one after the other. It’s a storm. This freaking running obsession. Please allow me to list down this year’s achievements.

Running does not only change you. It reveals Y.O.U! – myGloryBox.com

My first 5 months was FULL ON ~

First Half Marathon – CHECK
Two Family Walks/Hikes  - CHECK
Five Books – CHECK

Let’s say there are 22 weeks since January, that means I have done ~

Yoga – 22 hours
Pilates – 22 hours
Barbel Class – 22 hours

Running Stats - 361 Long Kilometers since January!!!

That’s an average of 16 kms every week! To put that in perspective ~ since numbers are neither here nor there if not qualified ~  it’s about 300 Ks all the way to the Aussie capital of Canberra. Whoa!

I reckon I am on track to run 800kms for 2014. 800 Ks will take me all the way to Melbourne! Imagine that. I pray that I remain healthy and uninjured!

2011-2012 Weight loss years
2013 – Writing Year
2014 – Running Year

How I love my 40s!

My Running Goals ~
Half Marathons * 3 – Sept, Oct, May
Full Marathon – Gold Coast, July 2015

Thank you for staying with me in this new adventure! What are your personal goals?

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Running Goal 2014

#52 | A One of A Kind Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, 11th May 2014

Today I chose to celebrate motherhood in a different way. Not in a better way for sure. As having a lie-in, being served breakfast in bed or not having to do chores all day are the preferred way to spend Mother’s Day. Like all mums, I love it that way. But I have to be honest, gone are the days when the kids present me with cute greeting cards and even cuter presents made at school. Those days are past. I am not being bitter. It’s just the way it is. (Update: Migo’s class however still makes those lovely greeting cards, so I got one :)

What I am saying is, my reality is not Hallmark perfect. I feel that this event is too hyped up, such that when my reality falls short, I feel…disheartened? Left wanting? Perhaps a little incomplete?

I don’t like any of the above discontent, created by…society (for lack of a real person to blame!)

This year, my friend Anna offered a different way of celebrating motherhood. I don’t think she realised that this “offer” was so “freeing” for me. Or maybe she did, discerning as she is. A few of my mum friends joined Anna to a Mother’s Day Classic 8KM FunWalk, a Cancer Foundation initiative.

What gorgeous looks like!

What “gorgeous” looks like!

This event meant going to the Sydney CBD, out of the house, and not having to think of my little darlings (who are now bigger than I). I spent the day feeding my own needs. Being with my friends and walking for a cause spelt fun fun FUN. I was outdoors. I was on my own. I did not have to think what Migo might need, I did not have to think about wiping out the glum look on Gab’s face when I nag him, and I did not have to keep checking that my husband was OK. All I ever thought was… ME. That I had to go to the loo. That I had to get to the venue on time. That I can enjoy the sunshine and fantastic scenery. That I can soak in the festive atmosphere with all the mums in pink. That I can chat with my buddies with no care and with much silliness.

I was with friends who chose to get off their beds early and walk/run to raise cancer awareness. Sure I can publicly declare that I was doing this for Anna and for the cancer cause. That was true of course. But first and foremost was my enjoyment. My own happiness.

So I owned my Mother’s Day today. I did not have to expect anything from the brood and they did not have to do anything for me. Here’s the key. I also did not need any of my girlfriends to make me happy. I was not concerned if any of them was happy or unhappy. I found my own joy and it was mine and mine alone.

Did I say I owned it?

~~~~

Thanks for reading. This wraps up my 52 Weeks of Writing. I remember that I started this 52 Week Challenge in June last year, the month after my ‘Daily Blogging in May 2013′. WOW. It was a writing marathon. Long and meandearing requiring endurance and mind tricks for sure. I even finished a week before my self-declared FINISH time.

YEY ME. Let’s do this again. I quite like the way I numbered every post. I think I will keep the numbers. I will keep writing. I hope you keep me company for…EVER!

I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOU! See you shortly….

Much Love Always,
Cha

Journeying together: Team Breast Warriors

Soldiering Together: Team Breast Warriors (fr left: Leizl, Sol, Anna, Cha Gerlie)

#51 | My first HALF MARATHON experience ~ it was EPIC!

A week out from race day, I worked myself up into a nervous state. You may read about it later here. It came to a point where I just wanted to get it over and done with.

Race Day, Sunday, 18th of May, 2014
Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon

Ariel and I woke up at an ungodly hour of 3am. I took a quick shower and went down to brekky that the bloke prepared (Thank You, Wookie Ko!) It was a brekky of bacon and egg, with a handful of rice. Not much rice even if race was not until 6.45am. I’ve had no coffee since Saturday, a tip from running buddy, Kim (who lives a million miles away). I have also been off my nightly booze (read: glass of red wine) for a week already. Ariel felt unwell (fluish) the night before, so I was thankful that he felt better this morning and my number one supporter looked after me as he always does, in his quiet way.

We left the house at 4.20am, and drove to Gordon to catch a 5.15am train. We saw a few solo runners in the train. It was Sunday morning, people were in bed. But we runners were united in our obsession. We arrived at Town Hall station at 5.50am. We quickly made our way to the toilet, I knew that the portaloo queue will be very long, I wanted to do my business early.

We made our way to the start line. Again I made a beeline to the portaloos, after my usual warmup of 24 back lunges; I added 24 forward lunges just to ease my mind. Goodness me, my portaloo queue was the slowest in the world.

We were off at 7am. What a festive atmosphere! I heard there were 12,000+ participants today and I knew that a lot of them were interstate visitors. It would seem that seriously serious runners spend a lot of money just to join a meet. I was lucky I only paid a $6.20 train ticket. Return pa!

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A majestic Sunday morning with St. Mary’s Cathedral bathed in sunrise!

Everybody was running happy at Km 1. I was running strong. My first 5km was so fast, faster than my runs on the streets of The Hills suburbia. I was averaging 6min/km. All parts of me were feeling good. My legs, my knees (left knee was uncomfortable the past few days), my shins, my calves, my back, my ankles, my sides, my breathing ~ they were all cooperating. I drank two mouthfuls of Gatorade along the way, nothing more coz I did not want a full bladder. At 5Ks, I was meant to take an energy gel, but I didn’t. Just keep going, I was in full flight after all. I will never forget running under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at Hickson Road. I was on a high! I soaked in the views of Sydney. It was a majestic Sunday morning, cool autumn feel of 16deg Celcius, and no chance of rain. Perfection!

20140518-212707.jpgAt 6km, we were running over the water views of Darling Harbour. I said a little prayer. I thanked God for this desire to run! Lately, I’ve become closer to God in my own way. I don’t go to church every Sunday. So I believe, this running of mine has brought me closer to my faith.

Runkeeper kept telling me how great my pace was (well it was telling me that i was running below 7min/km which is great to me), and that it took me 60mins approximately to reach 10km! What? Are you serious? My official 10K PB was 69 mins in last year’s RunSydney event. I can’t believe it. It’s a dream. Suddenly this new PB gave me renewed energy, my happiness spurred me on!

By 13K, my legs have become leaden. There were some serious hills. I have not seen so many hills in my running life. Not that my running life is mature. I told myself to run a flatter course next time around. The hills were like mountains. I began to curse them! I walked some of the steepest and longest. I bravely shuffled on on some!

It’s now 15km and a row of empty portaloos brought me out of my pain-trance. I didn’t think I needed to go, but what the heck, use the loo while I can. This was a mistake, it affected my time. I really could have skipped it. But by then, I think my body needed a break, and my mind thought that a loo break was a good excuse as any.

True enough, off I went again with renewed vitality.

At 16km, we were over the Cahill Expressway, which they closed for us. This stretch of overpass has a spectacular view of the Opera House. All the runners looked and ogled at the icon. It’s like we were all praying for fresh legs. Oh there’s also a Princess Cruise liner. I dreamt of going on a cruise soon.

20140518-191313.jpgAt 17km, I started hearing the song “Titanium” in my head. (Aside: I did not listen to music today) You see, I wrote “I am Titanium” on my arm to remind myself of my own super power called “will”.

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium

Read more: Sia – Titanium Lyrics | MetroLyrics

I started feeling a slight stitch on my right side. Dammit. I cannot afford a stitch! Slow down. I talked to it. I told the stitch to please go away. You are unwanted. It went away.

At 18Km (the longest training run I did), I started hallucinating for the finish line. Where the heck is it? Still 3 kms to go. It was the hardest 3kms I’ve ever run. The runners around me were deathly quiet (and dare I say, pastely quiet? Kasi namumutla na kami?). The chatterers (there were so many of them having conversations along the way) who dominated the first 10kms were all very quiet. Everyone was struggling.

A mum who offered me a protein bar somewhere at 10km where we both walked a steep hill was my pacesetter. I kept up with her. She was running steady, stronger than I. We walked some of the most painful uphill climbs. There was no point running myself to exhaustion. I made up for lost time on flats and downhills. But I never forgot to keep form, to not overspeed on downhill, I was always in control of my legs. I just used gravity a lot.

At 19km, so close to finish line, we reached Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. I felt my leg muscles start to tighten. Oh no. Please muscles, not now, not ever. I had to walk again, and stretch my tired legs. My calves started making small twitches. What’s that? I’ve never had this before. Muscles were fatiguing. Cramping was rearing its ugly head. So, just like my fave author Haruki Murakami did (he who runs marathons and ran for 2 decades and some), I talked to my body parts . This is what Murakami wrote in his running memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  A bit woowoo. But what am I gonna do? “Don’t cramp legs. We are nearly at the finish. Let’s go, ladies!”

My lofty ambition of taking on a full marathon in September seemed farfetched at that very moment. Thinking of doubling the distance to 42Kms was making me ill. Now, why in the world will I do that? Am I punishing myself? Like I said, I had big ambitions! A bit too much for my own good.

At the last K, I gave it all I got. And man, I still have some reserve left. How was that possible? The last 500 meters was all heart. Keep The Feet Moving. I remembered and I ran! I heard my name on the loudspeaker, someone was actually reading out the names of each person crossing the finish line. I jogged drunkenly after crossing the finish, then I heard Ariel call out. He was on the course route 3 times, at strategic points. Everytime I saw him, my legs were refreshed! I ran into his arms. So exhausted-happy was I. And there he was, beaming with pride!!! And that was good enough for me!

OFFICIAL TIME: 2 Hours, 31 Minutes (HOORAY!)
PACE: 7.11 mins/KM

PERSONAL BEST: 10KM at 60Mins (HOORAY!)

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I can’t stop smiling!

#50 | Yoga Lessons ~ Experience your experience!

Erm….WHAT?

I missed Tania. I missed yoga. It has been two weeks since the last lesson I attended. The Easter Long Weekend and the Anzac Long Weekend are to blame. Yes yes of course I love holidays. But that also meant yoga teachers go on holidays too.

The class was full, it was not just me who anticipated coming to today’s class. We even had a few more gents attending.

“Experience your experience….”

There are days that I roll my eyes to these kind of pronouncements. I’d call it fluff, depending on my frame of mind. (Let us blame this to the engineer in me).

Tania gives an example. “When your child throws a damp towel on the floor, or leaves soiled clothes inside their closets, what do you feel? Frustration, anger, disappointment? All of the above? Thoughts of ~ Am I doing enough to remind them? Should I do things differently?”

All of these thoughts and emotions get jumbled up in our heads, increasing our blood pressure and magnifying our experience of the moment.

The study of one’s self apparently must come into play. We should learn to separate each emotion as distinct. Learn to be angry yet recognise that you will always love this person. Be disappointed yet be tolerant.

Experience each emotion distinctly. Watch and observe the ebbs and flows of your being.

For what? To achieve control. Controlling one’s thoughts and emotions is key to happiness and achieving one’s goals!

I hope this learning elevated you today. <3

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Source: Unknown

#49 | Mind tricks

It’s very simple.

At 43, I now understand how folk achieve so much in life. Climb the Mt Everest, consistently win Formula One Grand Prix Championships, or finish marathons. Then there’s also building your own business, earn your first million dollars, publish a book.

All these accomplishments are achieved through sheer will and spirit grit.

Time and time again, I’ve read and heard about the power of the mind. But it was only through running that this point is driven home. Into my heart.

Achievements are 70% desire/passion/drive/will… call it what you like. The remaining 30% is hard work. You can even increase the proportion of desire to a higher percentage, some may even say 90% motivation, 10% work.

“Inspiration fires you up. Motivation keeps you burning!” – Stuart Aken

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Here are some mind tricks I devised to boost my energy levels and calm my nerves.

1/ New specialist socks. My Thorlo socks may not make me run faster, but it will give me confidence that I will be running blister-free, and will have less reason to not finish a race.

2/ New shorts, with bright happy colors. It has a nifty small pocket for my key and a dollar note/credit card. Wearing it makes me feel good. Feeling good will help me reach the finish line.

3/ Energy gels. I’ve read that it is essential to boost energy levels with shots of sugar, caffeine, salt and whateverelse, while running. So OK. Better to have it than not. All the better for my mind to tell my legs to run through my fatigue. Especially at the 10km mark of a 21km half marathon!

4/ Compression aids. I debated on wearing my SKINS full length leggings on the day of my first half marathon. It could get too warm. So I will settle for a left leg compression bandage. It does not look pretty. But it will help trick my mind to ignore any niggling knee pains.

What mind tricks do you employ to cope and achieve your goals?

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Mind over matter works for me!

#48 | Show Up

A new blog post from my favourite blogger “Just Show Up” resonated with me today. ‘Twas a proper lightbulb moment. See, it moved me enough to write about it.

“Where the mind goes, the energy flows.” – Sarah Wilson, just show up

True this.

This morning, I woke up at 6am. The plan was to go for a brisk run. Only for 30 minutes. I only ever do long runs on weekends. This is the minimum requirement from my training plans (Runkeeper, Asics, and the SMH website). As usual, I struggled getting up. I dawdled. Monday was the last day of a languid 4-day staycation. Not a soul was awake, the hubby was sleeping like a babe. My pillow was so soft, the bed sooo warm, the sleep fairy beckoned…

My monkey mind told me to defer this run to late afternoon. Then my (let’s call it) dog mind, reminded me that “Hey, you’re meant to go window shopping this afternoon (insert other errands/chores lined up). Now is the time. It’s now or forget about it!”

Forget about it?! This prompt moved me. I just need to get out the door for 10 minutes… come back home if the temps prove to be too cold or if my energy is shot.

So I showed up on the street, faced the right direction, and allowed my ship to follow the flow of tide.

The tide. My plans. My commitment.

You build the right “muscle”. Doing, moving, committing…it all builds up good habits in the noggin. – Sarah Wilson, just show up

Thank you, Sarah, for showing me what I just did this morning. That it was a “showing up” muscle that I flexed.

What areas of your life do you struggle with showing up? Here’s the link to Sarah’s full post. You will love it too!

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#47 | A Grateful Easter Weekend List

In keeping with the Lenten Season, I choose to be grateful today for my many blessings in life. Big or small, mundane or essential.

It’s 5:11am on a Black Saturday morning. Today is a big day in my running journey. The hubby and I are going to Sydney CBD and I will attempt to run a section of the SMH Half Marathon course. I am so excited, I woke up too soon. The house is quiet. My brain is clear and alert. Let’s do something productive. Here we go.

1/ I am Thankful for my Instagram community. I find my inspiration and motivation from like minded souls there. Food, photography, art, sketching, creativity, biking, humor, fitness, travel, clean eating… I have IG “friends” from all walks of life. We are all in it for self-expression and self-love. It is not noisy in there. I am intimate with strangers. (Ha! An oxymoron) We share all we want, to our hearts’ content!

2/ I am Thankful for this long 4-day weekend staycation. A chance to take stock, to de-clutter and to spend some downtime with the kiddos at home.

3/ I am Thankful for songs I discover and fall in love with. There was Imagine Dragons, then there was Lorde. Now I have Happy and Pharrell Williams on endless loop. Next song and album please!

4/ I am Thankful for the many learnings on running. For the numerous bloggers, internet resources and Runner’s World online and print magazine. I learned about rotating pairs of shoes, of running different routes or different sides of the same road. I learned to breathe from my belly and to exhale on alternating foot strikes. It’s so darn beautiful!

5/ I am Thankful for my friends. They who understand what I am doing. I am grateful for their quiet cheers. For their patience and forbearance. After all, it must be quite boring to hear my endless chats and messages about my day!

6/ I am Thankful for my positivity and infinite drive (It would seem). I don’t really know where this adventure will take me. I suppose I am enjoying the journey. There is no destination in running, anyway. I am thankful to feel so alive.

7/ I am Thankful for the conversation I have with you. Isn’t it amazing how we are able to connect at the drop of a hat? Not too long ago, I need to pick up a heavy phone or write a snail mail or meet you in person before I can connect. These days, I have multiple short bursts and long narratives with friends around the world. You know who you are. I Love YOU! Ang corny ko talaga!

8/ I am Thankful for an inspiring movie called Chariots of Fire. It’s the Best Picture from 1981 that I never saw, until last night. The story tells about the journey of England’s 1924 Athletics Team into their Olympic gold medal glory. I had to stop myself from putting on my running shoes and do a 100 meter dash after watching. A quote from Eric Liddell who runs with God. “Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within

Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.” If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.” – Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire

9/ I am Thankful for my life partner. He is my number one cheerer and supporter. I can never do any of my writing and running without him taking up some of my slack!

10/ I am Thankful for Writing. Writing multiplies my voice and compounds my experiences.

11/ I am Thankful for running. Pure Love. Simple and raw. Organic. All truly my own!

God. I am grateful. I humbly run with you in my heart.

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An inspired 14Km run.

#46 | Lessons Learned from “30 Days of Gratitude”

In the 30 days of sharing the simple everyday things that make me happy, I learned:

1. To be very keen. To be very aware of those small details that I take for granted. A kiss from my two boys. A simple message from a distant friend that perks me up. After all, we are all very busy. I am sure we are grateful of the little things…But if we don’t stop and pause and acknowledge? We just lose it. We lose the magic.

2. My senses were looking for magic. And I see it everywhere. The key is to catch the magic!

3. How to translate the magic into pictures? That’s the challenge. For how can I convey the happiness of listening to birds chirping, or of hearing my mum’s voice over a long distance telephone call? This is when imagination and creativity kicks in.

So yes I enjoyed this exercise very much indeed. And yes I want to continue my #mgb_dailythanks and call it ~ Rediscovering Joy Habit.

Here’s the album link to my first “30 Days of Joy“.

A painting I found in one of our road trips. Isn't it pretty?

A painting I found in one of our road trips. Isn’t it pretty?

#45 | My Life is Changing

I read Leo’s post “What the exercise habit did for me”. His last line was: “It’ll change your life.”

And I am floored.

My life has changed big time in the last 36 months. And it’s not just due to exercise. It’s because of everything. I made so many changes, I think I am a different person. I am still M.E with the same personality, but with new and renewed habits!

What changed? My way of thinking, my way of living, my way of breathing.

Let me count the ways.

1. Regular Running. I started running back in 2009, or maybe it was 2010. It was 10 minutes once a week. I slowly built it up. Then to get me in a straight line, I made a vow to join the City2Surf 14K funrun annually. An annual event will drive me to keep going. But then I fell in love with running in the meantime. And so I kept upping my goals. In 2014, I found myself signing up for my very first half marathon scheduled in May. My running journal can be found here.

2. Daily Writing. Without writing, my running will not be as sweet. Because I delved, analysed, and dissected my experiences with my daily practice wruddy writing. My emotions are magnified and relived. “Bleeding” in my daily writing has proven to be the key in waking me up. I have never been so awake and so seeing in my entire life.

3. Expressing myself unguardedly. I found friends who get me; who connected with my new habits. Friends who share intimate stories with me. I realised that we are all in the same boat, everybody is just ‘winging it‘. The key is to open up and share bravely. Oh how beautiful and vulnerable we all are. How perfectly imperfect! {A must read!}

4. Daily exercise. Yoga, Pilates, Running, Lifting. They all contribute to my health and mental wellbeing. I am a more confident person. I smile a whole lot. I take pictures of myself a whole lot. I like how I look, I like how I feel.

I like to enjoy my moments. Life Is Good. I Feel Complete.

Are you on a journey too?

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Bloom!

Falling In Love with “Before Sunrise”

This is not an original post. It is simply a collection of the most beautiful lines from one of the best movies I have ever seen. This is my Top 3 movie. I would have liked to post the whole transcript of the movie; I will, once I find it in the web. In the meantime, this will be a reminder for me to re-visit “Before Sunrise” time and time again.

Jesse: I feel like this is, uh, some dream world we’re in, y’know.
Celine: Yeah, it’s so weird. It’s like our time together is just ours. It’s our own creation. It must be like I’m in your dream, and you in mine, or something.
Jesse: And what’s so cool is that this whole evening, all our time together, shouldn’t officially be happening.
Celine: Yeah, I know. Maybe that’s why this feels so otherworldly.

Jesse: Let’s say that you and I were together all the time, then you’d start to hate a lot of my mannerisms. The way every time we would have people over, uh, I’d be insecure, and I’d get a little too drunk. Or, uh, the way I’d tell the same stupid pseudo-intellectual story again, and again. Y’see, I’ve heard all those stories. So of course I’m sick of myself. But being with you, uh, it’s made me feel like I’m somebody else.

Celine: When you talked earlier about after a few years how a couple would begin to hate each other by anticipating their reactions or getting tired of their mannerisms-I think it would be the opposite for me. I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone-the way he’s going to part his hair, which shirt he’s going to wear that day, knowing the exact story he’d tell in a given situation. I’m sure that’s when I know I’m really in love.

Celine: I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.

Celine: Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?

Image Source: http://lyriquediscorde.com

Image Source: http://lyriquediscorde.com

#44 | The Graveyard Book and Neil Gaiman

2014 Book #1: The Graveyard Book – Shelf It.

Many years ago, before I stumbled onto Instagram, I dived headlong into Tumblr. I like Tumblr. I like that it allows you to have multiple blogs. One can hide behind different pseudonyms, and each one can have different “streams of consciousness“. Oh, and to think that I have neglected it for many years now. Perhaps I should go back to it and blog there anonymously…

I followed a few young ones in Tumblr who were Neil Gaiman fans. I wasn’t. Who is he anyway? Why does he have rock star status to his adoring female fans? I, ever so curious of new things, looked up this male author. I have not met a male fan yet! (Let me know if you are) So anyway, in one of our Kinokuniya Bookstore excursions, the hubby and I bought a couple of hardcover Neil Gaiman books.

‘Face your life
Its pain, its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken’ – Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

If you are a fan of Stephen King, you will think this novel to be a little childish. Well, it should be, it is categorised as a “children’s fantasy novel”. The large letters and the huge amount of white space in each page (read: spacing) will unhinge you. It certainly did me. Although unhinge may be too dramatic a word. Let’s use…off-putting instead!

Then I started enjoying the random illustrations which were dark and sombre. The story is about a boy whose family was brutally killed in their own home while sleeping. The little toddler managed to crawl away from the house not because there was an intruder but simply because he wanted to crawl his way into an adventure. As most toddlers do. They lived in a house right beside a graveyard. The baby crawled his way into the safety of the graveyard ghosts, where the killer could not find him.

So the story goes that this boy who was named Nobody Owens or Bod grew up living with the dead and was allowed the “Freedom of the Graveyard”.

I quite enjoyed each dead character who were all alive in Bod’s world. My favourite was Silas, Bod’s guardian, neither dead nor alive. A vampire perhaps. It was fascinating how Gaiman transported me into a cemetery. There was a whole new world of characters from different eras ranging from The Emperor of China to Victor Hugo!

There was passport in his bag, money in his pocket. There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard in the hill; and there would be dangers in it and mysteries, new friends to make, and old friends to rediscover, mistakes to be made and many paths to be walked before he would, finally, return to the graveyard or ride with the Lady on the broad back of her great grey stallion. But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open. – The End of the Book where Bod finally ventured into the world of the living.

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Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book ~ Shelf It!

#43 | Yoga Lessons ~ A Shedding

Tania, our yoga teacher, grouped us in 3s and made each girl do a handstand. One girl holds the legs of the girl doing the handstand, and the second girl supports the hips.

Ohmygoodness. It was so exciting. I went first and I did it. Funny thing though, I couldn’t really tell if my legs were straight up pointing into the ceiling. The two girls assured me they were…

I think I will try to do a daily practice handstand every morning. I will get up at 5.45am, use the wall for support, and spend 15 minutes making a fool of myself! (Update: Since this resolve, I’ve only practiced once. The biggest obstacle was my fear. I had to overcome the fear first before I could even walk my feet up the wall! Did I do it? Of course not! Yet. But practice makes perfect… I will keep you posted!)

This week’s yoga lesson ~ A Shedding.

“Have you noticed how the trees are starting to turn?”, asked Tania.

Tania is of course referring to the changing colours of autumn leaves from green to fiery oranges, reds and browns.

A tree needs to shed its old leaves (=old ways) and get ready to bloom into spring!

What a beautiful metaphor! It’s a shedding of old habits to give way to new ways, new interests, new hobbies, new friendships, new beginnings and a new way of thinking. It’s a chance to shed things that do not make us happy and healthy.

Autumn is a chance to let go. Let us surrender to the changing of seasons.

Make way for a new LOVE; a new JOURNEY; a new YOU.

tania1

Grabbed from ~ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nourish-with-Tania/413728598703759