A pet named Fiffi

About getting a pet.

To be perfectly honest we did not find our pet – she found us as so often is the case. It was a cool and grey December day three years ago, when she simply came along and changed our lives forever. This two-legged devil (we were not very fond of her in the beginning) put us in a soft carrier and together we traveled far to a completely new world.

In the gigantic room where we eventually ended up, we didn’t have to stay locked up in a cage anymore and instead it was the two-legged who set up a fence around her sleeping quarters. To ensure we wouldn’t again be thrown out with the garbage, we hid under the sofa for days, only coming out to play when the two-legged appeared to be sleeping.

Our new kingdom was grand with a big balcony, lots of room to run around, and a good selection of tasty geckos. Since the two-legged kept bringing other yummy food and she had the most fun, feathered and stuffed toys that kept jumping around, we eventually decided to adopt her as our pet. We call her Fiffi.

Out of the two of us, Robyn have always been the first one to courageously explore new things and surroundings, with Batcat tagging along once the coast is clear. So once we had accepted Fiffi, it came as no surprise that it took Robyn approximately five minutes to climb over the fence and into Fiffi’s very comfortable sleeping corner. Batcat however is a little heavier and not as athletic as his sister, so even though he really tried, the fence was just too difficult to climb. After all the fence was more than a meter tall, and he disappointingly found himself left on the outside. This was the exact moment that Batcat discovered his voice. Man is it powerful! Robyn gave him an encouraging smile and Fiffi quickly gave up on caging herself at night so that we could all easily enjoy the comfortable big bed together.

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Back in the days when we both fitted comfortably in the chair.

Our first year with Fiffi was all smooth sailing. As Fiffi was away most weekdays we made a point of telling her about our day when she got back to us. She always replied and after awhile she even learned some basic Cat, though her meows were at times very puzzling to us. Encouraged by this language success we thought for a long time that we would be able to train her so that she might be of more use to us. Batcat was very persistent in trying to making her get him more food, but she seem to not understand at all poor thing. Since we needed her for claw trimming, getting occasional treats, and other essentials we accepted her not just as a pet but as one of us, as family.

But in our second year together, shit really hit the fan. Robyn was the first one to get the notorious cat flu and got so week that when Fiffi lifted her she just hung there like a rag-doll. There was real panic in Fiffi’s eyes and Batcat who was not feeling so well himself couldn’t even make a sound as they all traveled to the Vet. Now, if there was ever a point in our lives where we thought about getting rid of Fiffi, it was now. For ten days straight she kept bringing us back to the horrible Vet several times per days, and at home she forced us to eat disgusting medicine. As you all know, being sick is no fun so we were all in a terrible mood, hating each other and the world.

One night Robyn got sick so bad that she had to stay over night at the Vet, in a horrible little metal cage with lots of scary things around. A tube was inserted in one of her paws and as she simply couldn’t get it off, she stubbornly refused to eat or drink. Batcat couldn’t do a thing to save her, and to avoid meeting the same horrid fate he held on to his carrier bag with all his claws, screaming at the top of his lungs as soon as the Vet approached trying to lift him out of there. For Fiffi, this was clearly confusing as she had spent a good fifteen minutes and a lot of candy trying to get him into the carrier when they were still at home.

Anyhow, when Fiffi came back to the Vet the next morning Robyn had effectively scared all the other green clothed two-legged’s by being as difficult as possible. After loudly scolding Fiffi for leaving her in hell, Robyn managed to convince Fiffi that she had to bring her home again. And so begun the long nights where Fiffi sat watching over the shivering little ball of fur that was Robyn, whilst Batcat made aggressive moves out of jealousy or pms or whatever. This is the period in our life that we in the family refer to as the Dark Ages.

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Batcat pretends that things are fine.

Not very long after the Dark Ages came the Big Journey. We knew something fishy was going on, because we had been given new strange houses to play and rest in, and Fiffi kept packing away her things. Never a good sign! One evening in May we once again found ourselves travelling far far away. No matter how much we begged Fiffi to take us home again, she just smiled with sad eyes asked us to try to stay calm. It was very clear that Fiffi herself was far from calm, so we ignored her pleads and kept shouting at her.

Getting out of the cab, we saw that we had reached a huge hall where there were countless two-legged’s walking around with suitcases. Robyn was anxiously shivering, breaking out into an oily sweat and basically looked like she was coming down sick again. Batcat was crawled up in the corner of his fairly big cage intensely wishing he was somewhere else where he could better hide. The last we saw of Fiffi was her worried face and then there was a very long dark but fairly comfortable Big Journey, until we found ourselves reunited with Fiffi in a much colder and dryer place.

As it turns out, we had moved to Sweden. We assumed this had something to do with the general health of Fiffi. You see, for quite some time Fiffi had been sick each time we hung out, sniffling, itching and tearing. It is never easy to let a pet go, but of course we must consider her health and well being first and foremost.

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Robyn gets snugly with Fiffi.

With this new arrangement in Sweden, we don’t really get to see Fiffi any longer but we got something else that rocks our socks: a Swedish farm! We used to think our old house was a kingdom, but this new life is nothing short of amazing. In just three months we both doubled in weight (Batcat swears it’s all muscles) and we both grew so much more fur that we started longing for the cold winter in this exotic land. We are simply loving our new outdoors life, and we are free to hike as much as we like. Which is all the time actually.

What’s even better is that the new two-legged pets we have got instead of Fiffi, needs help catching mice around the property – something Robyn has mastered completely. Batcat is still always a few steps behind his sister, but he persists in teaching the new pets how to speak Cat, not giving up hope on being able to teach them to give him more sweets. We’ve also heard the two-leggeds refer to us as the special ones. For some strange reason they’ve never seen cats with short or curled tails before.

We always talk to our new pets, much like we did with Fiffi and it always reminds us of our life with her, mainly because they also never seem to really get it. But such is life with pets, you never know exactly what they’re up to or have in mind, but it’s wonderful to share this thing called life together.

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Back in the days when we thought we could still fit comfortably together in the chair.

Finding a starlit path

About the future

The room is bare, like someone just moved in. Empty frames that I recognize from IKEA are hanging on the wall on one side of the room. It is not what I expected it to be. I am seated at the table looking at the ample, white, jihadi beard on the eccentric man across from me. I instantly like him. He is about to tell me my horoscope according to Vedic astrology, and I feel very excited.

The only thing Mystic Man know about me is my exact date and time of birth. He run my digits through what I guess is a computer program and proceeds to print a paper full of numbers and information about where the stars have been, and will be, in my life.

Mystic Man drops so many incredibly accurate statements within the first minutes of our conversation that I forget my healthy scepticism. How, how how HOW does he know, is a thought that will run through my head more than once during the time we spend together. And as I go from being impressed about his ability to talk about my life as if he knew me, I start to feel empowered to ask questions about my future. He actually answers with dates. “In June you’ll move, but it’s not to your dream house it is more of a necessity. Don’t worry, there’s a much better move coming up in October 2018.”

Can you believe it? I can’t believe it!

I recorded the whole session on my phone, and of course I took mental note of the important upcoming dates. But before going back to the recording, I first took time for myself to scribble down what stroke me as important, things that felt like an insight. Of course, the skilled future tellers are great at reading the person who’s asking. They may have knowledge about stars or tarot symbolism, but they are (in my opinion) often very good at picking up subtle information from the client.

For me, it is like having an external person validating what you know in your body but may or may not know in your mind. By allowing myself to react to his statements, I get a sense of what I want and where I might want to go. As with all things in life, I may change my mind, or unforeseen events may interfere with the path I’ve chosen. But it did give me immense pleasure to hear how my life might turn out.

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We all have different ways to deal with the uncertainties of the future.

Wanna try it for yourself?  Visit Johan at Veda Aurum.*

*I am not sponsored, and I take absolutely no responsibility for what future you might get.

FLawesome

About the good and bad in people.

We are there because we long to be free, want to heal, discover a greater potential in ourselves, or maybe getting help to start the life we were truly meant to live.

The group has almost 30 participants, plus a wide range of different therapists each week, the miraculous masseuse and four assistants. Each course is filled with yummy vegan/vegetarian food (because my body is my temple), active and silent meditations (because all answers lie within), therapeutic work (yeah, we all need that) and loads of dancing (and we dance like no one is watching). One week at a time the group take on a different theme and play life with each other.

There are lots of hugs and tears, howling and roaring, as trauma, desire and secrets are shared in the group. Some people ramble on like there’s no end to it. Other freeze and can’t bring themselves to speak a word. Shame. Fear. Love. Silliness. Craziness. All kinds of crazy actually. Some hide the truth behind sad stories or permanent smiles. Some share their normal reality and don’t realize they’ve told the saddest story of them all.

Together with this group of young and old, male and female, mostly Swedish, very normal people (seriously, not a single freak just one or two groovy souls), I try to stay present, try to let go, try to hold on, and most of all I try to only go nuts when told to.

Thankfully there is silence at all times outside of the big room where we do all excercises. There is no small talk, no chitchat, and no need to make friends with anyone. All and any conversation should be held with oneself. Repeat your personal mantra and meet yourself!

Phones, laptops, books, candy and other distractions are surrendered upon checking in and is kept locked away until it is time to leave. Our only means of distraction are the journals we are given to write in. The surrounding nature is gorgeous and there is absolutely nothing else to do around this house. So we quietly sit and stare into space, journal frenetically, walk along snowy paths where few, very few, people walk. And when it is the right thing to do we walk close to each other, hug in the hallway, or whisper for hours in the dark.

I always get some sort of revelation about myself or about life when I am in that house. And I always spend a surprising amount of time fantasizing about very inappropriate things. I guess it is part of the package. To enable my maximum potential (yup yup, that’s why I am there, spiritual growth and inner peace is secondary) I must also discover and accept my flaws.

I kind of thought I had it all nailed by now, especially considering how much of this hippie stuff I have been doing since the past couple of decades. Not to mention the many hours of therapy. But somehow there’s no end to what can be found and explored. Good and bad. Doing this course, is quite the sandbox of living. For me it is above all a chance to disconnect from my intellect and at a safe place go all in emotionally.

Because sometimes I have a serious problem with seeing the obvious, recognizing what I feel. I spend so much time in my head that I unintentionally twist my emotions around. Or shut them out. In life, what really matters is after all the people we keep close and the experiences we gain as we chose to live our life to the fullest. I do not want to miss out on that. I do not want to miss a single moment of ecstasy, boredom or whatever else is.

On Monday the second course begins. I am ready. I am flawesome. It will surely be heart-wrenchingly fabulous.

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Photo credit: Bethany Chuah
For a selection of fabulous courses that will take you on an inner journey towards yourself; check out baravara.se*

*I am not sponsored by Bara Vara, and I take absolutely no responsibility over the development of your soul. Peace!

Going crazy in the morning

About dynamics

The sun is not yet up so the big room with its whitewashed wooden walls is kind of dark. But in about an hour’s time the first sun rays will join their dance, and when they all take of their blindfolds it will be morning. With the exception of some pillows here and there, the floor is empty and there’s a light smell of something clear and fresh that lingers in the air. A couple of guys are stretching, trying to rid the night and sleep from their bodies. Others sit still and stare into inner or outer darkness, caught in thoughts or emotions. Almost 30 people are about to die and come into existence again.

She is cold and trying hard to convince herself that doing this morning mediation each and every darn day of this course will be good for her. Her mind has some serious doubts about it. Maybe she’s doing it all wrong, maybe she will waste all efforts by not giving her all for those first three horrible phases of the meditation, the painfully long first half hour. She loves the last two phases, so it’s maybe not that bad. But does she really have to breath, scream and die? Some people just aren’t very angry you know. At least they’ll work up a sweat. She will get her heart pumping. She tries to get herself into meditation mood. Observe what’s happening. That’s it, nothing more. No expectations. Ha!! Who doesn’t have expectations of dying?

The meditation starts and for 10 minutes her breath is forceful and chaotic. There is not a lot of space for air to flow through her nose. Assisting the breath with her entire body she flaps her arms, gently bouncing her knees. Keep focusing! All around her air is forced out in strong unrhythmic pulses. It’s easy to lose oneself in breathing. To stop witnessing what’s happening, to stop meditating, to be nothing but air. But she knows it’s coming and her scared mind runs around high on oxygen. She hears dragons fly through the room.

Catharsis. Go crazy. Go all in. 30 people scream their lungs out, hate, cry, talk back, laugh, kick mattresses, hit pillows, push down walls, whatever you do don’t stand still. The room starts to get hot and energy levels are rising with each roar. Have you ever heard a bunch of respectable grownups shout as loud as they can? Hold nothing back. Let shit go.

She’s relieved when the next phase starts and now all she has to do is die. Jumping up and down with her arms stretched out over her head, each hard landing on the floor is met with the mantra Hoo! This brutal compression and exhaustion of the body shake things up. Shoulders start to ache, sweat drip, her breath is short and she feel strange. Her body feels weird. She is supposed to completely exhaust herself. She doesn’t dare.

Stop! Freeze wherever you are, and be nothing but a witness to yourself. Listen to whatever comes up. Hear your true voice. Be real. Be perfectly still. She gets nauseous. Thinking she might faint. Again.

The sun starts to find her way in through the windows, filtering the air, making the room glow. A group of 30 mildly insane people start to dance. They celebrate the day. Celebrate life. Knowing that it is good to be alive. 30 brave spirits twirl. It’s a new day. It’s a new life.

A walk on New Year’s eve

About books and dreams for the new year

It was New Year’s Eve around that time in the afternoon when it starts to get dark, and though it wasn’t snowing it was freezing cold. They had decided to do the enchanted midnight walk ahead of time as both felt the roaring crowds hungry for fireworks might be a little too overwhelming.

Zigzagging between bouncers calling out menu specials, occasionally stopping to admire some colourful graffiti, they made their way through one of London’s nicer hipster neighbourhood. Hopes for 2017 were tried out loud in words, and 2016 was gently closed down by wrapping up memories, as they discussed what had been and what was to come.

At the end of the main street a small bookshop made the brave promise to stay open until 6pm all days of the year. With 15 minutes to go they entered for a quick look and perhaps some inspiration. What better way to celebrate a new year than by acquiring the promise of new worlds, adventures and experiences! A quick glance quickly turned into a dozen or so books.

Her friend had read modern classics for as long as she could remember and she herself was prone to authors that promised philosophical ideas or stories that unfold in slow motion. Because they had been friends since the beginning of time they also knew of each other’s guilty pleasures. One read harlequin novels and the other was constantly improving herself with self-help books. But this was not a shop one left with rosy cheeks. This was the type of bookshop one wanted to live in.

She thought to herself, as she had done so many times before, that working in a bookshop must be the most wonderful of all jobs. She had always idealised the romantic idea of starting up a small café, maybe set up a tiny bed & breakfast, or best of all; run a small bookshop that smelled of paper and where customers sometimes brought sweets for the dog (her dog) that always hung out at the premises.

6pm and the background music is turned off as a simple yet powerful message to those that kept picking books up for inspection. Upon paying for her books the young man behind the counter, perfectly hipster shaped and excited to leave 2016 behind, complemented her choices with “Excellent selection, and well done in such a short time!”. She thanked her newfound book-sibling and smiled about the instant feeling of comradery one gets with people that likes the same books as oneself.

As they walked back home she pondered upon the power of books. Isn’t it remarkable how books bring people together? She thought about the Tinder profile she had swiped right a few months ago. The one who in his presentation had expressed a curiosity for words. How they had shared favourite authors before asking each other what they do for a living. How they now were talking about reading books together, in a tiny book circle for two. She glanced down at her bag of books and felt her heart flutter. 2017 would be an exciting year!

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Jingaling around

About Christmas cards

I’ve got a thing for December. There is a certain greatness this time of the year. A communal sense of joyous wonder sprinkled with calmness, combined with bottomless loneliness, stress and agony. It’s a time of raw emotions. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

It is also the time when I reflect back on what has happened and where I am in life. I write myself a Christmas card that I read the following year. Earlier this month I happily wrote down lots of well wishes for myself, that I’ll receive in December next year. I wrote that I believe in myself, that I have the strength and bravery needed to fully commit to the personal development course that starts in January and ends in June 2018. I wished for clarity and calmness in my career choices. I hoped for blossoming love. I almost wrote down something about a dog. And I thanked myself for living my life with passion and as authentically as I possibly can.

A few days after finishing the holiday greetings I excitedly opened the card I wrote myself last year. It started something like “this has been a rough year”. The card continued telling me about some tough decisions, what good and bad had happened, and it ended with a note on how I was longing for, and looking forward to change. I did not know it when I wrote the card back in November 2015, but that wish was to be granted many times over.

2016 has been all about change, changes and changing. All for the better I would say. All courageous steps towards the unknown have been rewarding yet not always easy. There are of course days when I question my choices. When I wonder what on earth I was thinking. Why did I leave that perfectly fabulous life in Singapore? It stings the most when I get the feeling I am not quite here yet. When I realize that what I miss the most about my old life, is myself. Yet it is nothing but wonderful to be here, to find myself here, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

This song of freedom

About starting up Christmas

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

It is when Nat King Cole start singing A thrill of hope… that I lose focus on the world around me. I put down what I have in my hands and turn my attention to his voice, and to how my body responds to what it’s hearing. Nat is singing about that feeling, the moment of insight, that I or we, will be making it. When letting go of that which keeps us bound, suddenly seem doable. When what was once out of reach has come closer and maybe, obtainable. That tiny and immensely powerful tipping point which takes me into and on to action. You know that split second before you jump, when you realize that you can chose to jump. And there you go. Hope. Belief.

Then Nat brings in the choir for Fall on your knees… and that is what I do. I surrender. The music carries enough to make me believe. For a couple of minutes I close my eyes, let the old Christmas carol wash over me and all I feel is love and connection. This is a message of kindness and about seeing the light within us all. It is absolutely about hope, and faith in the goodness of humankind.

I don’t want to let the song go, so I listen to other artists’ version of the song. O Holy Night repeat itself a dozen times in different genres, with different voices and in different languages.

I realize the song is about redemption. Or as Bob Marley beautifully put it; a song of freedom. When we chose to see ourselves in others, when we can emphasize, and also let others see our own light. When we dare to be all that we could possibly be. Then what we get is redemption. What we have and what we create is freedom. Do you know the worth of your soul?

Advent atmosphere joyfully provided by Starfish Design.