Day 365: 365 days of appreciation… and Love.

July 22, 2012 § 6 Comments

Krissa, St Lucia 2011

365 days of appreciation…

Status: Complete.

Feeling: Well… How to put into words? I am… incredibly, tremendously Grateful.

I have had a lot of time to think about this day. I just can’t believe it’s finally here. Every day, for the last 365 – that’s Three hundred and sixty-five – I have counted down to this day. I have counted down to this day because that was the time limit I set myself. 365 days of appreciation. 365 ways to heal a broken heart.

When I started this blog 1 year ago, I was in a very dark and scary place. The 24th of July was a heavy day for me. It was the day I said goodbye to my grandfather. And it was also the day I lost the most important person in my life. You could say it was a double whammy. And the closest thing I can relate it to is perhaps that sickening, heart-dropping, head-piercing feeling you get when you trip up and fall over. Except imagine that once you get back on your feet and are just dusting yourself off… just as you start to take a full deep breath, it gets stuck in your throat as you, panic-stricken, realize you have not watched where you are going and now you have stepped into a manhole… And now you are falling. Longer this time. Deeper. Absolutely paralyzed with fear. And that feeling of falling? Imagine it doesn’t go away.

It’s like that.

So how on earth you start purchasing domains, setting up an account and start blogging in the midst of all that… I still have no idea. And I do not take credit for it. Because it wasn’t me. I look back on those first few days, those first couple of weeks and it’s all a blur. But what I can remember is the feeling of wings that were not my own, and the sudden presence of someone – something – that was above and beyond me. There were suddenly two heartbeats – one nervous, one strong. Two voices inside my head. And in the midst of what was a deafening, clamoring noise, I remember one crystal clear and liquid thought that seeped into my brain: “There has GOT to be something worth living for. There’s gotta be more to life than this heartache.” Because it was heartache. Everywhere I looked there was heartache, and not just my own. My grandfather, The Don of our family, was dying. My family – my mom, my dad, my sister, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins… – was experiencing one mammoth, collective heartbreak. My closest friends – also, experiencing their own versions of heartbreak. At work, heartbreak. At home, heartbreak. Everywhere, everywhere heartbreak. The feeling was inescapable, from the centre of my chest to every support circle I would normally turn to. It seemed a game of Pass the Parcel was in play, where only broken hearts were invited. And it was devastating.

But there it was – that voice inside my head saying, “There is more to life… I promise you, there is more to life.”

And so I blogged. I blogged and I blogged and I blogged. Every hour, every day, waiting for that moment. That one, precious moment that would prove to me that “Yes, there is more to life.” And as soon as it arrived, boy did I cry. I cried inside because I felt defeated. And I laughed and cried out loud because I was triumphant. The broken heart hated the precious moments, because every time I was grateful, it made the feeling in my chest seem petty and no longer necessary, like a small child throwing a tantrum, forgetting why he / she was crying in the first place.

But this isn’t a blog about heartache. This is a blog about Love… and Gratitude. But I felt I couldn’t really explain both without first giving it some context.

You see, believe it or not, Love has been the underlying thread behind every single one of these blog posts. I may not have mentioned it, or always tagged it, but it was always there. Silent. Patient. Present. It exists in every single one of these pages, representing every single day of the last year. It is in every letter, every page, every word. It fills all the blank spaces in between and has been the glue tying this whole thing together all this time.

I have never entered the blog title for a post – “Day XXX: …” – without acknowledging its significance. 100 days of appreciation… 200 days of appreciation… 300 days of appreciation… Also meant 100 days of healing… 200 days of healing… 300 days of healing…

This has been both liberating and scary at the same time. But slowly and surely, more liberating than scary.

For me, Love has always inspired. Even in its absence. It’s like cutting a circle out of a blank sheet of paper. First you call it a “circle”. Then there is a “hole”. But the shape never changes. It’s just in a different form.

Love, in its varying shapes and forms

A few years ago I started writing a book about soulmates – what they were, where they come from, how we recognize them. You know what kind of person writes about soulmates? The kind of person who believes they’ve met their own. So what happens when, in real life, things don’t turn out the way you think? This is a question I’ve been asked on a few occasions over the last few months. And my answer has never changed: Things might not have panned out the way I thought they would. But that doesn’t mean it was never meant to be. The only thing that’s changed, is the length of time I thought it would last.

They say Love is supposed to bring you closer to God – whatever it is you call God. It’s supposed to show you the deepest recesses of your soul, so you recognize who and what you really are. And inspire you to be the very best you can be.

When I say I am grateful for Love, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Because I was lucky enough to have it. Because I was lucky enough to feel it. Because it really was an amazing time in my life. And because I believe I’m a better person because of it. Love inspired me enough to investigate its root cause. And that led me on a path of spirituality. And for that, I am eternally grateful. How could I not be?

Do I wish things were different? Sometimes. Or at least I used to. But I realize now that doesn’t matter and is beside the point. Falling in and out of love is a test. And it will keep on happening until you’ve learned your lesson. What lesson is that? I believe it’s a question of where you put your faith.

Place your faith outside, in people and in things, and chances are you will get disappointed. Because these are inconsistent, imperfect and transient when we expect them to be consistent, perfect and still.

Search inside yourself and trust, first and foremost, That which exists in the innermost chambers of your heart – and you will always find peace. Why? Because once you realize Home really is where the heart is, there is an overwhelming relief that washes over you. Because you realize that will always be a part of you – inside of you. And nothing can ever take that away.

This doesn’t mean you will never experience a sad moment in your life again. It doesn’t mean you will never feel anger or upset or frustration. But what it does mean is that no matter what happens, you know you will always be okay. Because Home is a place you now recognize. And all you have to do is close your eyes.

On Day 300, my colleague asked me if I was serious. Could I honestly say I’ve been happy and grateful every single day for the last year? I said, on the whole? Yes, I really can. Am I saying every day was perfect and rosy and that I was happy every single second of every single day? No, of course not. That’s unnatural and insane to think people live – or should live – that way. Because unless you are in a constant state of meditation, there’s a thousand thoughts and feelings we experience at any given second on any given day. Happiness is but one of many feelings on the emotional spectrum. It is one type of feeling, and there are many different kinds of feelings. The beauty of gratitude, however, is that it is a feeling of contentment that underlies all other emotions, and exist regardless of the shallower, temperamental feelings up top. It is the soft and softly ruffled sand bed that allows you to stay calm and composed underneath a tumultuous wave. And the rock that stays polished, heavy and still while rivers rage over it. This feeling can make you feel happy. But it is not happiness per se. Gratitude is finding peace in what you already have, whatever the outcome, whatever comes your way. Happiness is the result of a particular outcome, and so can be lost if something doesn’t meet your expectations. Gratitude lasts. It is retrospective and present contentment. Happiness comes and goes. It is concerned with the present and what we expect to happen in the future (continued happiness). If we lose the thing that makes us happy, we can feel sad (negative reaction). OR we can feel sad but be grateful for everything that’s happened so far anyway (positive reaction). That’s why I believe there is a distinction between feeling grateful and feeling happy. You can be sad and grateful at the same time. But you can’t be happy and sad at the same time…

Gratitude is the positive bolt-on to every other emotion. It gives feelings with a more ‘negative’ reaction (sadness, anger, hurt, frustration) a positive spin. And it magnifies ‘positive’ feelings (happiness, joy, excitement) and makes them 10x better.

So be grateful. And always pursue the path that enables you to practice grace, humility, strength, hope… and trust. When you start to feel reckless, self-righteous, weak, ugly and worthless inside… you know it’s time to let things go. Because these are the devils that would love to see you reach anything but your full potential.

I cannot begin to express how this blog has changed my life and helped me through a very very difficult time in my life. Honestly, if you want to learn more about yourself and what it is that truly makes you happy, find out what it is that makes you feel grateful, on a day to day, week to week, month to month basis. This is soul food, and the combination of these things form a recipe uniquely and especially made to nourish YOU. And you grow because of it.

For me, apparently Dharma Mittra + Family + Food + Friends + Futureplanning + Health + Home + Inspiration + London + Music + Travelling + Work + Yoga are the major contributors towards my Bliss. These are the major things that have healed me. And these are the major things that make me happy.

Krissa's recipe for bliss

It’s interesting, huh? “Family, Food, Friends, Health, Home…” Looks like all the sages and guidebooks weren’t lying after all. Now I know for a fact, after a year of constant practice and recording of my own experiences, that these really are sources of joy, contentment and happiness.

And how wonderful it is to know.

This has been an incredible journey. And I guess I just wanted to say thank you for listening and to anyone that might have stopped by here at some point over the last year. Thank you for putting up with my constant updates on Facebook. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for your never ending support and words of encouragement. Thank you for just being there, adding to the rich tapestry of my life.

I am forever grateful.

With love and light,

– Kristina Isabel Yniguez Curran, aka “Krissa”. x

www.365daysofappreciation.com

 

Take me back to the start…

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Day 361: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Padma Mayurasana Jumpbacks and Learning to breathe…

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

learning to breathe switchfoot

learning to breathe switchfoot

learning to breathe switchfoot

york pub angel islington

seeking a friend for the end of the world

Padma-Mayurasana

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – one of the best films I’ve seen this year. And you know it’s good when you leave the cinema going, “…wow. i loved that.” And you stand at the bus stop thinking, “yea, that was really good…” And you get on the bus thinking “man, i’d love to watch that again.” And the entire bus ride you cannot help but feel the world outside is like a continuation of your thoughts and that wonderful film you’ve just seen. And then you get home screaming “Kaaaat [or replace this name with whichever is relevant to you!!] the film was soooo good!”.  So good I am still thinking about it… and am right now blogging about it. Highly recommended. Very much grateful! / Andres, good seeing you tonight. Quality catch-up indeed! =)  It’s all about the Orange Wednesdays 😉 Batman next! / Today, I realised separating my hands a little bit made my Padma Mayurasana jump backs so much better. Grateful for the eureka moment! Practice, practice, practice… / This song. I love. x

Day 360: Winning a Jansport Superbreak backpack, Coors Light Jean Claude Van Damme Advert and Being rickrolled again by Dom!

July 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

jansport superbreak winner
jansport superbreak

rickroll

kim kardashian kisses shango!

A couple of weeks ago I was doing research and stumbled upon this competition Jansport was promoting to win one of their Superbreak backpacks. I had time, and hope… but little did I know I had luck on my side as well =) Got this email today and found out that I actually won =D Hurrraaayyyy! Thanks guys. G-r-a-t-e Grateful! / This Coors Light ad just… Oh, it cracks me up every. single. night! hahaha. Grateful for the laughs and cheap thrills. Take my breath away *boom boom* /  Today, I got rickrolled good! Nice one Dom! 😉 / The moment Kim kisses her bodyguard… a whole new Dash episode I’ve never seen before… =O something to be grateful for… but no one can know!! =O =P

Day 359: Blackmill, Tita Dolly’s Bloom Book, The Owl and Pussycat, Shoreditch House Green Machines, Friends of Friendly Advice and The day Kat tried to trick me into sticking tampons in our fridge…

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Blackmill-Friend

bloom

graduation message from tita dolly

owl_pussycat_shoreditch_hoxton_london_pub_bar

shoreditch house green machine

immaturity

Blackmill – ohhhh I love that I found you today!! So beautiful I took 20 minutes out of my day to just listen, lie in bed and just… be… Mmmm grateful!! =) / Tita Dolly, yesterday I found a book on Indian Wisdom that my mom gave me when I graduated. Today, I found this book from you. And this time I actually read the whole thing from beginning to end… My favourite? “If you want change, begin it. If you want love, give it. If you want hope, embody it. Start immediately and do it flamboyantly. Once you’ve begun, don’t turn back. Change and growth can be painful and challenging at times, but as Lauren Bond said, ‘Every flower has to go through a lot of dirt.’ Life is about choices, growth and taking chances. It is about pushing through and moving forward. It is about loving courageously and not holding back. It is about finding a brighter, better way. You owe it to yourself and to the world to make the most out of the stuff that’s in you. Bloom into your incredibly, gloriously, brilliantly beautiful self. The world is waiting…” This was the passage on the very first page and is the reason I dropped what I was doing to sit on the floor this afternoon and just read the whole thing. If you are reading this, I wanted you to know that this put a smile on my face and lit a candle in my heart. And I’m glad it took me this long to find this book again, because it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you and with love always, I hope you are well… – krissa x / The Owl and Pussycat – cute little pub and great place to start the evening for some #futureplanning. Thanks for the drinks MS! (Even if I did get them wrong!!) / Kat, thanks so much for taking the time out tonight to have a chat. Know you’ve had a long day! But much appreciated! =) / These Green Machine smoothies at Shoreditch House… Oh my YUM! / Tonight, Kat tried to trick me into putting tampons into the fridge. I… yea. I dunno. I’m… grateful? =P yea, nice one FUNNY GUY! x

Day 358: Kat cleaning the house, The Stricklands driving me (and the last of my stuff!) back home, Otters holding hands and The day Andres and Behull come to visit…

July 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Speed-Cleaning-A-Spotless-House-in-Just-15-Minutes-a-Day

gracie!

grace and krissa

India Wisdom

mom's graduation message 2009

krissa, behull, andres

otters holding hands

Kat – thanks so much for cleaning the house. Spotless and smelling oh-so-good! G-r-a-t-e GRATEFUL =) / Uncle Mark, Donna, Gracie – thanks so much for having me round; for my kickass fake steak (haha) and helping me unload the absolute last of my stuff at home. So glad you got to see Wilber (our home – lol). And really, really hope Ali is doing okay!!! / Mom – thanks so much for my 365 days book on India Wisdom. I just found it again while unloading my boxes and re-read your graduation message to me… Weird, huh? That was 3 years ago… How much things have changed. I, for example, appreciated the beauty of this book so much more today than I probably did back then. But everything in it’s own time. I love you and thanks again for this. It really is wonderful… / When otters hold hands… oh my you just have to be grateful over and over and over again! Oh how this melts my heart. So precious… / Andres, Behull – lovely to see you guys tonight. Good catch-up. Good company. Good food. Good show (even though Kat and I fell asleep impersonating these otters in the middle of it, and you! haha). Grateful x

Day 354: Being able to work on Tom’s canal-side patio for 15 mins, Grilled aubergines, TechCrunch and Having a friendship network that actually spans the entire globe…

July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

king's cross canal

grilled-aubergines

TechCrunch

krissa's friend network

Today, grateful Tom offered to let Louis and I work on his patio and catch 15 mins of sun! / Today, I’m grateful for TechCrunch and finding this interesting map that shows me where all my friends are in the world… Intriguing… … … Though I have to say that looks pretty impressive. I love being a Global Nomad and TCK =D It has its perks =)  / Grilled aubergines = YUM! More please! x

Day 351: Frannie’s letter, Le Pain Quotidien, The Shard, Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s first music video, Meeting Sam for the 3rd time in the last year and A lesson on Trust…

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

friends

brunch with sam

soya mocha, le pain quotidien

granola parfait with fresh fruit

the shard, london bridge

the shard, london bridge

sam and krissa

grace, humility, strength, hope, trust

Dear Frannie, Thank you for your message this morning. Wasn’t expecting that but really, really appreciate it. My thoughts, too, are with you. With love, and hugs. – krissa x / Today, I got to meet Sam for the THIRD time in the last year. How crazy is that! Haha. And then again at Christmas. Wehey, we’re on a roll! =) / Le Pain Quotidien – I just love it! Especially the new branch they opened up next to Borough Market. Perfect place for weekend brunch and catching up with old friends =) / Dear big glass shard sticking out of London Bridge, I have watched you grow and grow and grow over the last 3 years. And I feel like you, too, have watched my life unravel and unfold, under your keen guardianship, over the last 36 months. You were there at the very beginning, one evening in May. And now you are here at the end. Funny huh? Many people look at you and have various opinions. Some people think you are great, ambitious, and a magnificent sight to look at. Others feel like you have “stabbed” London’s skyline and ruined the view for good. Just know that to me, standing there today looking at you in all your glory… you have become an icon, landmark and reflection of perhaps 3 of the best years of my life. And for that, I am grateful. I have nothing but affection and fond, fond memories. / Ryan, how wonderful to stumble upon your music video today. Well done. This puts a smile on my face and this song is still as sweet as the first time I heard it on BGT. Grateful =) / They say life continues to teach you a lesson, again and again and again until you learn it. Over the last 24-48 hours, and because of the last few months, I realised that there is one thing I left out when I set my mantra for this year… When I promised myself to live my life with grace, humility, strength and hope nearly one year ago now, what I didn’t include was Trust. That’s not because I didn’t think it worth it. But purely because I didn’t know then, all the things I know now. You see there was a shift, about halfway through the year, whereby my uncontrollable, ever expansive HOPE slowly and very very subtly began to transform into something much more important and much more grand. My H-O-P-E that was like a balloon that I allowed to soar very high in the sky was soon accompanied by something called Trust. And this Trust was/is the realization that while Hope is a balloon that is inspiring and beautiful and uplifting to watch, Trust is the unshakeable security and peace that weathers all storms. Hope forces us to turn our gaze towards the sky. Trust draws our senses inwards because once you find the Truth, you soon realise that there’s a million heavens and thousands of balloons already soaring inside your heart, waiting for you. All you have to do is close your eyes… 8th July 2012 – I thank the voice inside, calling me home. ईश्वरे विश्वासं करोमि

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