A mindful traveller, perpetual wanderer, part time meditator and newbie blogger

Posts tagged “reflection

Bee inspired (pun intended)

I liked this movie and surprisingly was inspired by this movie. However, only by the first 30 minutes or so and then it involved a weird infatuation an insect had on a human being. The movie I am talking about is Pixar’s Bee Movie.

The movie begins with Barry the bee graduating from bee school and it’s now time for him to get a job.

A job where?

A job in the hive. He can choose from hundreds of different options as long as it’s in the hive. His family want him to become a stirrer of honey because his grandfather was a stirrer,his father is a stirrer and they want Barry to also become a stirrer. The thought made Barry shudder with fear. As a result, he envied the pollinators and was determined to leave the hive. However, socially, this was not acceptable. Why couldn’t he go out and see the world with the pollinators.

There is no reason, apart from social norms and expectations. Which for me, are not a reason to be unhappy and not live your life the way you wish. With determination and some cheekiness, Barry persuades the pollinators to take him out to collect pollen. Meaning he will have an opportunity to leave the hive and experience something new.

Inspired yet? Wait for the next part.

The moment Barry leaves the dark orange of the hive, you can really sense the wonderment and freedom he feels when he sees the vast blueness of the sky and the deep green of the trees for the first time.

He literally is in awe.

Barry, the bee that was expected to follow social norms broke out from his box and saw the world, and all its wonders. For him, this involved seeing the trees, the flowers, the sunlight and the blueness of the sky. He saw life. As you will see with the trailer I have embedded, he makes mistakes. He makes a lot of mistakes, but he is free from norms and expectations.

Why do we have to follow social norms or expectations? The answer is that we don’t have to, however we have spent our lives being conditioned. Take parents for example: Most do an amazing job for the first few decades, but then struggle to let go let their children and let them live and make their own mistakes. Some parents expect a lot. Some parents want their child to gain a career, settle down, find a boyfriend/girlfriend.

blah blah blah…

We are born into the world and dependant on our parents. As with a bird, a whale and a tiger, there comes a time when we have to ‘fly the nest’. For some, this could involve breaking free from the norms and expectations parents put on them. For others, it simply means moving out and tackling the world by making their own decisions, along with making their own mistakes. In fact, my way of learning is by making mistakes. I have made many in the past. I am possibly may be making one now but unaware of it. I know for sure I plan to make more in the future. Some will be intentional by taking unknown risks, others will be a mistake only in reflection. Whatever they are, the secret is to know they are mistakes and learn from them.

Do not regret them.

As a teacher of both swimming and English, I have always taught not only how to do things correctly, but I also taught my students how to do things wrong. I feel there is some great wisdom in knowing when a mistake is a mistake.

It certainly makes you more aware of when things are going right.

For me, I am realising more and more I am blessed with parents that have never expected much of me as long as I was happy. Of course, if I was addicted to Heroin i’m fairly sure they would have something to say. But, all in all, happiness was encouraged. I guess I sometimes used to wish they encouraged academia more, but in the end it meant that at the age of 22, I chose to go to university for myself and not for any other reason or expectation.

This is something that I appreciate (a lot, a lot, a lot).Thank you to both my mum and my dad. 

I guess what I am trying to say is life is confuzzling enough without people being torn between what they want and what their parents, or anyone else for that matter, think they should do. Like all things in nature, you need to break free from your nest and break free from social norms and expectations and start living your own life. If that is what you so desire.

Just like Barry.

P.S Check out the video below and ‘bee’ inspired.

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A new year, a new perspective

As the new year approaches we always start thinking of all the things we haven’t managed to achieve the previous year. Of course we need goals, but it’s easy to get bogged down with the things that we should or should not be doing. We must try harder; try harder to lose weight, try harder to quit smoking.

Why the need for all this pressure?

Surely, a much more positive perspective on ending one year and beginning the next , would be to look back at the previous year and reflect on what we have learnt over the past twelve months. This could be on a personal level,or professional, it doesn’t matter what the lessons are – Just reflect and learn, reflect and learn.

So, with that said, my second blog post brings you a month by month attempt to share just a mere snippet of what 2011 has brought to light.

January – The Whale Shark

On 2nd January, a whale shark, the biggest fish in the world, graced me and Krissi with it’s presence while diving on Koh Tao’s best dive site; Chumphon Pinnacle. Me and Krissi were hand in hand watching this gentle giant cruising through the ‘big blue’. The moment I saw this creature, my eyes weld and  I fell deeper in love. It was January that sealed the deal between my passion, SCUBA diving and the ‘big blue’.

February – It’s easy to get stuck in a rutt (even abroad)

Although I had been working in Thailand for sometime, it is still easy to find yourself stuck in a rutt, doing the same thing week in, week out. February saw me and Krissi come to realise this. So for a few days, we took a weekend trip to Sukhotthai and cycled around one of the former capital cities of Thailand. All in all, the trip was probably cheaper than staying in Chiang Mai after paying for a few drinks in our regular bar. It was February I vowed to not get hung up on habits and routine.

March – Angkor Wat and it’s people

During my long anticipated trip to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, I came to realise that travel isn’t all about ticking off all the ‘sees and dos’, but the small, unique experiences that happen between or during them. I will talk about this more in a separate post, but our visit got us talking to a very inspiring, young girl and she left us climbing into our tuk tuk influenced, confuzzled and enlightened. It was March that taught me to give everyone time and keep your mind open to the smallest of experiences.

April – Songkran is always fun

2011 saw my third Songkran in Chiang Mai. This people, is the place to be. Whether you want a wholesome Thai party atmosphere that buzzes with electricity or the more traditional ceremonies within the countless temples lining the streets of Chiang Mai. Whatever your liking, Songkran in Chiang Mai should be added to your bucketlist by the time you have finished reading this post. It was March that embedded the electricity of Songkran deep within.

May – Leave the labels for tinned food

All the labels we give ourselves and others, I feel, inevitably they have a detrimental effect on us. Whether we are gay, bisexual or straight, whether we are a traveller, a businessman or a parent, it ultimately does not matter. By labelling, we put too much expectations on ourselves. From a relationship perspective, I believe its more beneficial to have a relationship based on love and friendship rather than labelling it as being a relationship. It was May when I learnt to take reality as it really is and not deceive myself with labels.

June – Incredible India

This was the month we decided to jump the ‘Chiang Mai ship’ for a while and discover the incredibly crazy, incredibly amazing India. The trip took us first to Kolkatta, then to Darjeeling. Leading us then to the North-eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya. In just a mere three weeks, I realised I loved India. The country opens your mind in ways only Cambodia in South-east Asia had come close to. It was June that I vowed to return to this amazing land.

July – At the end of the day, positivity prevails

Life often steers us in some very unexpected directions. Some of these turns we like and maybe even crave. But there are some we struggle with finding any justified and logical reasoning behind them. We cannot control the chaotic ‘law of nature’, but we can control our minds. It is during these times, we have to try our very hardest to stay optimistic, no matter what comes our way. It was July that taught me to always try and see the positive in both people and situations.

August – The UK and the normal life is just not for me.

August came and I had been back in the UK for one month after being in Asia for nearly two years. I quickly realised that mortgages, careers, British soaps, and stupidly cold weather is not for me, at least not for a while. When in Asia, my mind is constantly stimulated. From walking to the local 7/11 and getting angry because an elephant bearing a bicycle lamp on it’s tail to seeing 10,000 sky lanterns in the sky during Chiang Mai’s Yee Peng festival. It was August that my lust for travelling became lustier.

September – Time isn’t the best healer, but it does help.

Time isn’t the only healer in the world, but it certainly does help. We become disassociated and get used to certain emotions associated with events within our lives. No matter how hard things are at this very moment, things do get a little easier with time. However, it is important to keep in mind that is is not the only healer. Your mind and spirit, as a healer, is a million times stronger. It was September that I started ignoring people that said time is the best healer.

October – Everything is impermanent

In October, I completed a 10 day Vipasanna meditation retreat in Lamphun, Thailand. During the 10 days and even now, I have been learning and reflecting. One significant and powerful lesson I learnt was the concept of impermanence. The world is constantly changing and it is beyond our control. All we can do is observe the ‘law of nature’ taking place with equanimity and acceptance. It was October that taught me to accept that change is the only constant in our lives.

November – Emotional endurance

I read that in order to ensure a ‘breakdown’ becomes a ‘breakthrough‘ a dark night often has to be endured. It needs to be endured with the knowledge that the dark night may become darker. If it does, it’s okay because inevitably, the dawn will come. In fact, it has to come. It was November that made me to be more patient with my emotions.

December – A new world, a new year, a new perspective.

2011 has been the hardest year of my life. Someday, I will be able to take on the world knowing that future years will never be as hard as this one. On a subjective level, I now somewhat understand life. I can appreciate life. I love life. Many issues within life and travel do not hinder or affect me any more. Instead, I can step back and objectively look at mine and others issues based on my new found perspective. It was December that saw me reflect, learn and take inspiration from the hardest year of my life.