July 22, 2012 § 6 Comments
365 days of appreciation…
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.
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.
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
July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Sri Dharma once said that in many ways, New York – or any big city for that matter – is the best place to learn yoga. Why? Because it’s so much easier to focus, lead a good life, keep clean, resist temptation when you are living in an ashram in the middle of nowhere. It’s when you go back to city life or the ‘real world’ that you are truly put to the test. How long, how much, can you maintain your focus? How solid is your conviction? More and more I believe the greatest test… is how to stay focused on the truth when your biggest fear and distraction is staring you in the face… “Be the bigger person,” it whispered, “And remember that home is inside your heart.” – Thanks. I’m grateful I stayed silent enough to hear this today. / Sue chat. Kan chat. Kat chat. – what a tongue twister. lol. thanks guys. miss and love you loads! / This.
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
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
Day 350: 15 more days of appreciation, Borough Market, The Tate Modern Turbine Hall, The final catharsis and The BSO Reunion…
July 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
15 more days of appreciation. I didn’t even realise… Grateful! / Borough Market – I always loved this place. Grateful for the reminder. / The Tate Modern Turbine Hall… – this space always serves its purpose. Today was no different. And so, grateful! / July 7, 2012. Today, the final catharsis. Now you are free. Say thank you. Be grateful… Now let it go and be on your way. And with that, grant yourself peace. / Thank you Saskia for holding my attention for an hour and keeping me present in that space. Present, is exactly where I needed to be. / Grateful for the opportunity to see the girls tonight and get to know Nona a bit better. / Can’t believe the Glad has a new rooftop deck! Just goes to show how long we haven’t been back… It was nice to see. And I’m almost glad for the visual reinforcement of how much things have moved on and changed in the last year. At least, I thought, there were flowers. / Love from afar, without expectations. Love because you want to love, not because you’re expecting anything back. Love like this and you will find peace. Because when you love for the sake of it, everything is a gift. And the minute you realize Love is the greatest gift you can give, you can rest knowing that in love, for love, you did the best you could… You gave it your all. – Perhaps one of the more resonant realisations I’ve had this year. And with that, good night. With love. In love. For love. x
Day 345: Camden Parkway… and My handstand workshop with an ex-professional acrobat… from Mongolia… in a church!
July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today, I went to a handstand workshop… with an ex-professional Acrobat… from Mongolia… in a church… … … I don’t think you can get any more random than that! It was a killer. But the conditioning was great! Thanks Sainna! And thanks for the head’s up, Maria. If this doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will! =p / Tonight, this street provided the canvas I needed to step into a world that used to be mine. For a few hours, I indulged a younger version of myself. It was nice. It was what it was. Nothing more. Nothing less. And for that I am grateful. / This screenshot of my crazy familia made me smile today. And was a nice reminder of the people and things that matter. I love you! xxx
Day 325: Bubbleology, The moment Calvin Harris and Example collaborate together, Plamil organic chocolate, Drops of Jupiter and The Fortune-Telling Book of Names…
June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
Calvin Harris + Example = Catchy new track called ‘We’ll be coming back‘ = More good times ahead = Grateful! / Plamil organic orange chocolate with cranberries, 60% cocoa… Grateful. YUM! Thanks Louis! / Bubbleology – a little piece of home =) Cute set-up, yummy drinks… Aunty, Uncle, Kat – thanks for the invite. We gotta get us some Assam tea to take home! / Drops of Jupiter – not quite 5 hours, but close enough. And I am, truly grateful. / Grateful for the moment this passage was read out to me, alongside another equally intriguing. Call it irony, coincidence, serendipity or fate… Call it nothing. Call it everything. Either way, I’m grateful. / Thank you for putting a smile on my heart, and on my face. 3 weeks + 1, 476 days ago, I probably would have said the same thing. x
May 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today, I got to hang out with Sue in the park after her very very long absence! Hurray! Grateful =) / Sun Day = Play Day! =D / “Warrant” by Foster the People = soundtrack of the weekend. Grateful! / Today my future planning got stood up twice. Not the best case scenario… but it did get me out onto the roof to do some of my own homework, playing a bit of FTP, appreciating the smell of the BBQs wafting up from the next-door gardens below on my left, and the sound of birds chirping and some sort of African drums beating on my right. / Today, my beautiful white buddha arrived, all dimple-cheeked and smiling =) Thank you, momma! And thank you, Aunty Janice, for bringing this over! =) This puts a smile on my face, every day =) I think every work desk should have one! / May 27th, I doubt a year will ever pass where I do not stop and acknowledge the significance you have had in my life. Come what may, we will have always had this day. With love and gratitude, x.