June 29 – Our four wives

Today’s inspiration is a beautiful old Tibetan story that “found” me recently:

Long, long ago when the world was young and the tiger walked with the deer, there was a rich king who had four wives. The king loved his fourth wife the most and adorned her with riches. He also loved his third wife and was always showing her off to neighbouring kingdoms. However, he always feared that she would leave him. His second wife was kind and considerate and his trusted confidante and advisor in difficult times. Wife number one was devoted and loyal and although she loved him deeply, he was not as interested and tended to ignore her.

One day, the king fell ill and the truth dawned that his life was soon to end. He thought of the luxurious life he had led and feared being alone when he died.

He asked his fourth wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing, showered gifts upon you and taken great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” she replied and walked away without another word.

The sad king then asked the third wife, “I have loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company? ” “No!” she replied. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”

He then asked the second wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” she replied. “At the very most, I can help with your funeral.”

Then a voice called out to the king in his sadness: “I’ll leave with you and follow you no matter where you go.” The king looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny and undernourished. Greatly grieved, the king said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”

Perhaps it is easier to graps the moral of the story if the main character is a king. But in its essence it relates to all of us. Because we all have these four wives.

Our fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die. 

Our third wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die we won’t take anything with us. 

Our second wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have supported and loved us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the moment of our death.

Our first wife is our soul, often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the ego. However, our soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go.

Nourish your body and keep it healthy so you can live life to its fullest. But don’t forget that it is no more than a vessel that we will leave one day.  Enjoy your possessions, the pleasure and the comfort they provide, but don’t get attached to them as they won’t be with you forever. Cherish your friends and family, but also learn to let go as this is the cycle of life. What will always stay and needs most care and nourishment is your soul- the source of your vital energy and your most faithful “wife”. 🙂

Special thanks to The Unbounded Spirit in whose page I found the English text of the story and also many other great inspirations.

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June 25- Feel good. Be good. Do good.

 

It has surely happened to all of us to have been mistreated – do you remember the rude person who pushed you while passing by, the cranky cashier who snarled at you while you were looking for your change or the colleague who rolled their eyes when you were telling a story. Everyone has a few (or maybe many) examples of these situations when we felt wronged and inevitably developed one or another negative emotion towards the person who did it. In those occasions we tend to label these people as “assholes”, “morons” and whatever other names come to our minds as means to separate them- “the bad ones” from us- “the good ones”.

But if we turn the mirror around and look at ourselves we`ll be able to also pinpoint the times when we were “the assholes”. The times when we judged a friend, screamed at our partner or were simply rude with a perfect stranger who pushed us by accident. Are we then “the bad ones”?

Today my during my class in  Svaha Yoga the teacher shared a brilliant insight that is linked to this:

“Feel good. Be good. Do good”

A common underlying factor of all situations when we didn`t behave at our best is the that we didn`t feel good- we were often tired, overwhelmed or stressed out (or sometimes just hungry 🙂 ). Can you think of an example when you acted poorly, but were feeling great? No, right? In the same way, can we assume that others who mistreated us could also have been overtaken by negative emotions and were suffering in one way or another?

This leads us to two pieces of food for thought closely linked to compassion. The first one is to try to overcome the tendency to feel victimized when being wronged and rather than reciprocating the aggression and negativity to see the “bad ones” as the ones who are suffering. To have compassion for others.

The second one is to take care of ourselves. Give ourselves the time to rest when we need it, engage in those activities that make us feel good, work on staying positive and very importantly – have compassion towards ourselves. Some very thoughtful insights on the difficult art of self-compassion can be found in this great Brainpickings article where the author also shares a very helpful exercise of daily self-compassion by The School of Life:

How about starting this new practice next week?. And making steps towards feeling, being and doing good? Because when we want to make a positive change the best place to start is within 🙂

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June 17 – The Simplest Things

Very often the simplest things mean the most. This is what made my day today- the green all around me, the smell of fresh grass and the sun rays gently caressing my skin.

 

Those moments when summer envelopes you and everything “serious” automatically goes out of the priority list. 

In those moments a very special type of joy takes us over. The joy of being 🙂 

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June 12- Today is the day

While reading the “Miracle Morning” this morning (:)) I came across the following quote:

“The Now matters the most in your life because what you are doing now determines that person that you will become and that will always determine the quality and direction in your life.”

I am sure this sounds very logical and you would agree with it. But how often are we actually putting it in practice? 

Sometimes we all need a push and an inspiration to get on track. And my aim for today is to inspire you with this picture of a boy learning how to skateboard for the first time. I met him and his dad a few days ago when I was taking part in the Urban Photo Race in Amsterdam and was amazed by his enthusiasm, dedication and energy. Like a little ginger tornado he was was going on and on, showing me his newly learnt tricks and trying to do them better and better!

Today is the day! Get out there and make active steps to reach your goals. Sign up for a language course for that language you dream to speak; look around for new jobs if you are not happy with the current one; push yourself to make it to the gym..It’s all in your hands only 🙂 Go for it!

 

 

 

 

 

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June 5 – The power of love


Let’s start the new week with a gem of a story called “Kafka and the Doll, The Pervasiveness of Loss”:

“Franz Kafka, the story goes, encountered a little girl in the park where he went walking daily. She was crying. She had lost her doll and was desolate.
Kafka offered to help her look for the doll and arranged to meet her the next day at the same spot.
 Unable to find the doll he composed a letter from the doll and read it to her when they met.
‘Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world. I will write you of my adventures.’ This was the beginning of many letters. When he and the little girl met he read her from these carefully composed letters the imagined adventures of the beloved doll. The little girl was comforted.
When the meetings came to an end Kafka presented her with a doll. She obviously looked different from the original doll. An attached letter explained ‘My travels have changed me.’
Many years later, the now grown girl found a letter stuffed into an unnoticed crevice in the cherished replacement doll.
In summary it said
“Every thing that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.”

It is the love that we carry in our hearts that truly matters, not so much the outlet of it. The love that nourishes our hearts and spirits, through which we grow and evolve into the best version of ourselves.

Have an amazing week ahead and spread the love 🙂

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June 3 – The Power of Creation


I am a deep believer that the best present that you can give to the people who you love is your time. Time to listen, time to bond, time to share. Creating something for them goes to a different level- for me it is like taking a piece of your heart, infusing it with your love and ispiration and giving it a life of its own. A part of you that always stays with them. That is why today I’m feeling satisfied from deep within as one of my best friends will soon receive a piece of my heart 🙂

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June 2- Learn from the child in you

 

Yesterday was the International Children day which always reminds of my happy childhood times and also of the importance being opened and playful. It is sometimes difficult to imagine that we can learn a lot from the children around us and even from the children within us, but just think about it- being opened, fearless, approaching things without predjudice and judgement are important qualities which we can see in practice in the many of the young ones around us that are unspoiled by the desire to fit in  and be accepted as well as the fear of failing. And just how much lighter and more inspired could we be if we were a bit more like that? So look around- you teachers are all around you 🙂

More thoughts on this as well as abeautiful video can be found here 

 

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