I am standing at the opening of a new chapter of my life. Excited, worried, nervous, ready to start. The title of the new chapter is “Studying Counseling and Psychotherapy”. I am excited about this new opportunity, ready to leap into something I believe to be my calling and that will bring me closer to become the person God has intended me to be. But I’m also incredibly worried, if I’ll get all the money for such an expensive course and self-doubt is creeping up on me from behind. I’m living in this tension between joy and the next moment I’m overcome by vulnerability and fear.
In a world, culture and society where our value is measured in our productivity, the house we live in, the car we drive, the holiday we take it is hard to live a life that is trying to follow your passions, a calling, a dream. It is something many people don’t understand, because it is against all rules. By choosing to pursue my dream, I am ( and I have been) risking a lot! I have no secure job or income and yet I just signed up for a new college course. I have my moments when I go to bed, switch off the light and wonder if I’m choosing the right thing. Sometimes even the smallest comments make me feel vulnerable and insecure. And then I realise that I am not as strong as I thought I was…….I found this quote form a photographer: “I think authenticity is being real and being genuine and is also a process of truing up. It’s finding yourself in alignment with your hearts’ desires, to your values… it’s listening to your voice. It requires courage.”
Pursuing my dreams and my passions requires courage. Courage means ‘to put heart into something’. I will need to put my heart fully into following God’s direction. I am trying to embrace this messy part of my life, I am trying to let the truth sink in, that I am on the right way. But yet I also need to sit in the tension of joy and vulnerability.
Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics = Science is very complex and hard to understand (well for me it is). So I was absolutely euphoric when I stumbled upon this: Dance your Ph.D. A group of Ph.D students came together to explain via dance the Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using SELEX. If you are like me, you won’t understand anything what that means. That’s why I love this attempt to explain complex research studies in a creative way which is very accessible!
And if you love this video as much as I do, you can watch the other videos from the competition here: http://gonzolabs.org/dance/2010-videos/
For some people practicing yoga and following Jesus contradict each other. There is a common fear that by doing yoga you open up yourself to (evil) spirits and therefore it is considered dangerous. For me it is the exact opposite and here are my reasons:
I have been starting practicing yoga to do something about my constant back pain and also to relax my mind. I soon felt the benefits of the workout on my body and mind, as I came totally relaxed and re-focused out of my weekly class. Yoga is very aware of the body-mind connection, something I believe we have forgotten over the centuries in our western culture. There is something so fundamental about the art of breathing in yoga that connects with our humanity. Yoga teaches self-kindness ( don’t push yourself to hard in the workout, except where you are right now, because you are on a journey), it teaches gratitude ( for your healthy body) and to be in harmony with yourself and others. What is not christian about that?
Breathing well is a central part of your every practice. It is something we do without noticing, something that is the very essence of life. Something that makes me think of God, who is the breath of all life and the one who breathes life into me. During my summer reading I stumbled across something really interesting; The word for God, Yahweh, YHWH, is unspeakable for Jews. Its correct pronunciation is an attempt to replicate and imitate the very sound of inhalation and exhalation. It is the sound of breathing. I think that is such a beautiful explanation of the nature of God. Bearing that in mind yoga can be an expression of prayer for me. It teaches me that I have limits, but the limit is not the end in itself and not to be too critical or hard on myself and to take better care of my body and soul.
Every yoga session ends with the namaste (you bring your hands in front of your heart, close your eyes and bow your head), a gesture which should remind us, that we all bear the Divine spark in us. But this pose is also a beautiful reminder of the equality of the students and the teacher showing love and respect to each other.
Love, community, respect, gratitude, harmony are all part of gospel living. So following Jesus and practicing yoga are not that different……
It has been a while since I last blogged. My excuse: I was on holidays. And despite all my great expiration to write over the summer, I did the exact opposite. But I re-learned something more important than how to refine my writing style – instead I discovered how to be. Instead of being productive, I was resting, sleeping, playing. I lived in the moment. It felt like my whole body and soul learned how to breathe again. And all the scattered puzzle tiles that make me who I am, got put back together. It was very freeing to embrace the moment and enjoy either the silence or the company of friends and family and not thinking of what needs to be done or the worries about college fees, work or the future in general. I was not pushing all these things aside, but I knew that I couldn’t solve them right here and now and that the fear and worry would steal away the joy of living right here and now. I am struggling for words to describe what happened on a very deep soul level, I think I learned to practice self-kindness instead of being self-critical all the time. Or in the words of Teresa of Avila: “You find God in yourself and yourself in God.”