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Shedding

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jan2013_24_arm

24 Jan 2013 – Clean slate.

 

A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with yogic breathing exercises, generally while seated, to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of energy in the body. Each area of the hand has a reflex reaction in a specific part of the brain; applying light pressure to these areas ‘activates’ the corresponding regions of the brain. A mudra locks and guides energy flow.

The Shuni Mudra, also known as the ‘seal of patience’, is formed by joining the tips of the middle finger and thumb. The middle finger represents Aakash and courage to hold duty and responsibility. The thumb represents fire and divine nature. This gesture symbolises patience, discernment, focus and discipline. When used during meditation, Shuni Mudra can help encourage patience and the courage to fulfill one’s responsibilities. It also helps to develop noble thoughts and turn negative emotions into positive ones.

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Time to shed. And to mark another phase of my personal/spiritual development.

 

Written by The Intimate Stranger

January 24th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Falling

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There’s something hypnotic about this self-portrait series on falling.

“It asks the question of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. Or what are the consequences of holding on?”

I used to have nightmares about falling from great heights.

And I’ve had my fair shares of falls in real life; nothing life-threatening – a number of head-floor connections, a few sprained wrists and fingers, bruised egos aplenty and even the occasional giggle at myself (I know right; I blame the multiple concussions). Mostly, not fun in the aftermath.

But in that split second when you are suspended, freed from the tethers of Physics, weightless, soaring even (when you are going fast enough, heh heh)…

And then Gravity claims your ass. Oww.

You remember that moment, don’t you? That moment you stop fighting, and just surrender yourself to the moment, to these strange sensations.

Nothing else matters. Certainly not your preconceived notions of how things ought to go or be. We just need to laugh a little more; love a little more; and just live. LIVE.

 


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Written by The Intimate Stranger

January 10th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Posted in the dark side

Ten

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“One of your main concerns in life is having a partner, and that need may sometimes outweigh all others in your life.”

~ Pluto in the Seventh House

“For you, having a lover or close friend at all times is critical to your emotional expression, and without one you may feel emotionally sterile. Your partner will help you communicate your emotions to others, aiding you in getting across messages that you find difficult to express. The longer you pursue a relationship, the more self-aware you will become. Your partner will teach you about aspects of yourself that you did not understand and bring you to a high level of emotional self-understanding.”

~ Moon Opposition Ascendant

I watch every year as it passes.

And I count every year passed.

It’s now ten.

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Mum reminded me a few days ago that the dog is already 10; or 70 in human years, as they say.

I reckon he probably has about 2 to 4 more years with us.

He won’t be the first to leave us; but it never gets easier.

I think it will be harder this time.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

July 31st, 2012 at 7:12 am

While you were dreaming

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When I Grow Up

by Fever Ray

When I grow up
I want to be a forester
Run through the moss on high heels
That’s what I’ll do
Throwing out a boomerang
Waiting for it to come back to me

When I grow up
I want to live near the sea
Crab claws and bottles of rum
That’s what I’ll have
Staring at a seashell
Waiting for it to embrace me

I put my soul into what I do
Last night I drew a funny man
With dog eyes and a hanging tongue
It goes way back
I’ve never liked that sad look
From someone who wants to be loved by you

I’m very good with plants
When my friends are away
They let me keep the soil moist
On the seventh day I rest
For a minute or two
Then back on my feet to call for you

You’ve got cucumbers on your eyes
Too much time spent on nothing
Waiting for a moment to arise
The face in the ceiling
And arms too long
I’m waiting for him to catch me

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I first heard Fever Ray’s other song Keep The Streets Empty For Me in Red Riding Hood. It was dreamy and haunting with a tinge of bittersweet dark (just like dark chocolate), the kind of music I like. I love the voice too. And it was perfect for the mood of the movie, which incidentally was directed by Catherine Hardwicke. I recognised her style easily (I hadn’t known she was the director when I booked my ticket) — very Twilight, which I liked very very much :-)

So I downloaded the album, also named Fever Ray. It was released on 18 May 2009 as the debut solo of  Karin Dreijer Andersson. She was formerly from the electropop duo The Knife. After the success of their critically acclaimed album Silent Shout in 2006 (another great album), she took a break to have her second child.

But Karin continued writing and this is what was said about her style, on her website:

Small wonder the post-natal period proved so fertile. She composes best in that state any new parent will recognise, awake but exhausted, where reality blurs into imagination and ideas flutter in and out. “Half of what the songs are about is the subconscious,” she says, “ideas of things happening. A lot of it is like daydreaming, dreaming when you’re awake, but tired; a lot of stories come from that world. I try to write when I‘m in that state…. I like to keep it as minimal as possible…. It’s very important to keep the magic and the feeling of something you can draw yourself. You don’t want to be too literal.”

I guess that’s why I prefer writing in the early hours of the morning, and often way past the point when my eyes are already half-closed. Though sometimes, it’s because of the generous helpings of Baileys. Hic! Heh.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 29th, 2011 at 10:24 am

Posted in the dark side

Mother and Child

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After more than a year of “Do I really want another tattoo?”, “What and where will my second tattoo be?” and “Who will ink me?”, I had decided on the polar bear.

“Polar bear’s medicine includes the ability to navigate along the earth’s magnetic lines, introspection, ability to find sustenance in barren landscapes, purity of spirit, strength in the face of adversity, solitude, expert swimmer through emotional waters, finding one’s way back from the brink, communication with spirit, dreams, death and rebirth, transformation, creature of dreams, shamans, mystics and visionaries, defence and revenge……”

But it was really difficult finding an image that I would want on my skin and more importantly, could live with for as long as I breathed. As irresistibly adorable as I find polar bears, they just look fat/lumpy/shapeless from most, if not all, angles.


Or else there is too much desolation for my comfort.

I think the armoured bears in The Golden Compass are damn cool but too fierce, yes???

And then I found the mother and her cub.

I, who remain ambivalent about having my own children, was strangely drawn to this blissful scene of two sleeping bears, of a cub lovingly cuddled in her mother’s protective warmth, as a weary traveller is drawn to the welcoming glow from a forest cabin on a cold winter night.

At that time, I had thought it was my subconsciousness trying to express my maternal instincts, and my need to protect…. something. I thought it had to do with my growing responsibilities at work and the impending change in my role  — Queen Bee; Mother Hen; I the Protector and the elves my wards.

I brought this image to the tattoo artist, who had actually studied art at one of the local schools, for customisation. I had initially chanced upon A’s little studio by accident, while window-shopping after lunch on a work day.  I talked to him, looked at his portfolio and was pleasantly surprised that he also did pretty good animal and shading work. I liked his face, felt comfortable with him, and thought he could be the one.

I went away and it took me several more months of “Do I really want another tattoo?”, “Am I sure about the bears and where will I place them?”, “Do I really want this young guy who’s only been around a few years inking me?”. But I eventually decided on an image, returned with it to A and discussed in detail what I wanted. I liked the way he moved his hands and he had a very light touch that felt ‘just right’.

Another few months passed and A presented me with the sleeping bears in a decorative frame, incorporating my requirement for some kind of background symbolising the landscape (land/ice or sea) so that the snowy bears would be ‘grounded’. He decided on the element of water because of my affinity for the sea and came up with a frame of flourishes resembling waves. He also explained how he would shade in the fur.

A couple of days before Christmas 2009, I got inked again, almost 3 years after my first. The bears were done over 6 hours, with a few breaks in between, at A’s new studio. (Another odd coincidence involving geographical convergences, for retelling another time perhaps.) It was mostly painless. Like I said, A has a very light touch and it applies to his tattooing technique as well. However, the last hour or more hurt very much — perhaps my adrenaline had worn off or A was getting tired too.

So the last day of the year came, and went. It was mostly unremarkable, with a pinch of faint disquiet….

2010 got off to a good start on the work front. A very good start, to be honest.

Half a year later, my life as I knew it started to unravel, to my horror. My greatest fears had come to life — no, larger than life. You already know some of it.

I submitted myself to professional counselling in mid October 2010 (at my best friend’s insistence); even psychiatric assistance for a short while (I was desperate).

Things got worse for some time, actually. (My counsellor was very concerned that the sessions might have something to do with a particularly drastic step I took in late November 2010.)

Then it got better — no, better than better.

Life has been pretty good the past few weeks.

And I know now what I had first seen in the protective circle of mother and child —

What I had missed all these years;

The emotions and unhappiness I had buried and ‘forgotten';

The words that were never spoken and ‘lost’ (“Are you always this quiet?”);

The feelings I learnt to hide so well that eventually I couldn’t even feel them (I, Poker Face — nobody saw through the mask);

The times I was made to feel — no, told — I was ugly (regular, relentless reminders, and eventually, after years of harassment, a major surgical procedure at 24);

The times I was made to feel unworthy;

The times I was made to feel unloved;

The years I continued to believe nobody could ever love me, including myself;

The years I spent hating myself and perpetuating the emotional dramas from my childhood.

You see, I wanted to be that cub in my mother’s embrace. It was the picture-perfect childhood I wished I had.

And I didn’t realise it then, but the final framing of the bears set the stage for the forgotten emotional dramas I had to remember and relive the last 6 months.

I know the clock cannot be turned back and I cannot relive or reclaim those lost years. I also know that my mother possibly couldn’t have known any better — perhaps having never resolved, or even realised, her own emotional dramas, therefore revisited on her firstborn in the vain hope of reclaiming her own life.

I know the scars will always be with me — forgiven now but never forgotten. But I also know I can move on with my life.

Finally.

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* * * * *

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There are no coincidences.

Only bears.

I ask of you — King of Bears, a boon of strength that I shall never fear again.

I call on you — Weaver of Dreams, for introspection and your wisdom, that I may embrace stillness and silence as you do.

I hear you calling — Protector. Survivor. Teacher. Healer.

I know you now — Spirit Guide.

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Written by The Intimate Stranger

March 27th, 2011 at 4:32 am

The higher you fly…

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Itching

Shedding

Evolving… Mutating…

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I had misunderstood her text message initially, thinking she had mentioned the event as a general example. It was only on re-reading that I realised she meant what had happened almost half a lifetime ago.

The monster under my bed is back.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

October 7th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Light and Darkness

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Interesting lattice work on a door, The Forbidden City, Beijing, 24 Apr 2010

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Those walls he kept talking about finally came down. And I was surprised at his…. honesty – with himself. It’s about time, I should think.

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I hadn’t guessed at the extent of The Other’s skeletons. But come to think of it, it’s not something I find hard to believe. Perhaps, that was what drew me to him so many years ago – that something in him that I can’t quite put my finger on.

And, perhaps too, him to me? Hmmm.

Written by The Intimate Stranger

May 25th, 2010 at 12:36 am