Some random thoughts – Yoga, blogging, Christmas/winter, and running

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I couldn’t quite fall asleep last night with those random thoughts running in my head. Was trying to figure out the content for my next blog post, several ideas turned up but so loosely that I couldn’t settle my mind on any of them. They were random and disconnected and remained so until I eventually fell asleep. Here it is, a blog post about random thoughts.

My thought about Yoga

I´ve been doing yoga for about 11 months and the style of yoga I´m practising is called Jivamukti Yoga, which is a combination of physical, ethical, and spiritual practice. I attend 3 yoga sessions every week, in one of the leading Yoga centres in Oslo – HiYoga.

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(Those fantastic yoga teachers at HiYoga, this picture and the one above are from HiYoga)

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(I fell asleep when I was lying on the yoga mat at the end of the practice last Friday. The hall was empty when I woke up, and I took this picture 🙂

At the beginning of each practice, we´re asked to set an intention – to dedicate the practice to someone or something we care about. It can be someone who´s having a difficult time, or something we´re struggling to resolve. My practice was initially dedicated to my loved ones, gradually, I started to dedicate the practice to myself, wishing the energy generated and the spirit would help me maintain a balanced and harmonious inner world. Only when I feel good about myself, I can pass happiness and positiveness to people around me. The effect is apparent, I have a more peaceful mind, I’ve recognised the power and pleasure of being grateful, I’m more generous and tolerant, and magically, people respond with the same qualities and patterns, I get many good things in return. If you want to change the world, start with yourself, it´s said. Lot´s of truth in it.

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(My Jivamukti yoga teacher Camilla Coucheron, with blond hair. She places  great emphasis on mindfulness encouraging us to create space in our mind as well as our body. These two pictures are from HiYoga)

My thought about blogging

I´ve noticed that I spend more and more time on reading blog posts from my fellow bloggers. Many inspiring and thought-provoking posts out there, the thing is it takes tremendous amount of time to read them all. I find myself reading constantly, I read whenever I´ve got a chance. Sounds a bit exhausting, right? I don’t even have a large number of followers. Perhaps I should be more selective? But sometimes I find it hard to read some posts and then ignore others popped up in my feed. I know how much time and effort that are hidden behind the post titles. It´s all about hard work and dedication.

My thought about Christmas and winter

The annual Christmas rush is fast approaching, I can feel it on my skin. As I´m getting older, I no longer appreciate Christmas which is supposed to be the most celebrated and cherished time in the West. It´s very commercialised, ads of gift ideas pop up in all kinds of media. I´m tired of it already. That being said, I enjoy giving presents to people I care, I love seeing their smile and satisfaction. Then it´s all worth it again – the running from shop to shop, the sweating.

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(Last year’s Christmas, at Spikersuppe skating rink, Oslo. Love the Christmas atmosphere though not the Christmas rush 🙂

It´s pretty cold in Norway now, the snow is yet to come, which I think is good. I don´t particularly adore snow, it´s not snow itself but the winter, which is far too long in Scandinavia. I long for the sun, the sea and the warm and intimate atmosphere in the Canarian Isles. If I didn’t have the commitments, I would have moved to a country with warmer climate, I would have lived a freer life. A more adventurous and spontaneous one, the true Saggitarious spirit.

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(Took this one and the one below on my way out for a walk today, at 02.56 pm)

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(This old charming house in my neighbourhood is said to be on the State Historic Preservation List. A glimpse of traditional Norwegian architecture.)

My thought about running

I´m a dedicated runner, close to be a running addict, or am I already? I usually set my clock alarm at 05:45 a.m. and after 15 minutes´struggling (to get up) I´ll be on the treadmill running at 06:10, sometimes with my eyes closed (just for a few seconds), I suppose my mind is still in some kind of sleeping mode. However, the treadmill is only an option in winter as it’s a bit risky running beside the lake in total darkness. Running is much more fun in other seasons – when the sun is out and the view is breathtaking, as the pictures below illustrate. It´s meditation.

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This post is all about the random thoughts, hope you find it interesting anyway. Thank you for reading it. Take care 🙂

With love,

Isabelle ❤️

 

When the day started in a different way than it was planned to

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(The autumn in Oslo, Norway)

It all started with the modelling clay, the youngest suddenly re-rediscovered his passion for modelling and was eager to serve nutritious and well-balanced breakfast for his mum before heading to the kindergarten. It took time to form tiny broccoli, watermelon, donuts, fish and shrimps, it took time to walk to the underground station with constant stops when exploring the rocks and plants, it took time to say goodbye with all those sweet hugs.

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(After countless hugs, I was on my way back to the underground station. The sky was clear and bright)

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(I passed this house which would certainly realise “my old house dream”)

I got a water gun in my bag together with the thesis stuff, strangely, they were rather compatible, it sort of defined my day, the unexpected with the expected. A bit different start of the day, lovely.

So here I was, at Blindern station close to the campus, 1 1/2 hours behind the schedule. With the head bent over, I was trying to figure out how many pages I would have to write with the time available to me. “Would you like some coffee or fresh buns?” A soft voice interrupted my mind. I was hesitant about carrying a hot drink while walking the whole distance to the campus. Lifting my head, I quickly changed my mind. He must be 13-14 years old.

With his dark brown wavy hair, deep dark brown eyes, the young gentleman looked exceptionally handsome. He was tall with straight legs, a dimple appeared when he was smiling, and it made the smile very warm and contagious. He didn’t have that kind of cool attitude typically associated with boys at his age. He was friendly, bright and fairly confident. Casper was his name.

He carried a wooden basket covered with a flowery cloth. “Your mother baked the buns?” I asked him. Oh no, he baked them all himself. What a surprise. He poured the fresh coffee from a thermos into a paper cup and passed it to me, carefully so no liquid spilt out. He offered me milk to the coffee, I didn’t expect him to take all this so seriously. But he did, a carton of lactose-free milk was hidden in his backpack, so was the sugar. 25 Norwegian kroner (approx. 3 dollars) for the raisin bun and coffee, I paid him 35 for making the day so much brighter for people like me, who was initially in a bit of a hurry. The pleasant conversation, the delicious bun and fresh coffee made the whole difference, I was in such a good mood after that.

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It was a bit ridiculous to place the bun and coffee on a tree stump when I was trying to find the right angle for a shot (sounds like I´m a professional but I´m not, was just eager to record this moment). The students walked by certainly gave me some strange looks 🙂

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(A beautiful sunny morning, which made everything so harmonious in the Thai restaurant at the campus)

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(A break from the writing, that ghost was me 🙂

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(I get my daily 3 cups of tea here – one of the cafes at the campus)

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It was the end of the day, Thursday 02.11.2017. A beautiful day, isn´t it, with that “living in the moment” approach 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the post. Have a good week and take care!

Living in the moment – this is how I approach it

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(I had a cup of coffee and a decent talk with my best friend since primary school, we just let time pass and let our thoughts fly…)

I came across the expression “living in the moment/present” countless times and I was well aware that there was much truth in it, but it wasn’t until March this year that I started becoming truly conscious of it. There´re different ways of achieving mindfulness, paying attention to the small beautiful things around me is one of the approaches I´ve taken.

As you might have figured out, this delayed consciousness was triggered by something else – a hard lesson I´ve learnt. 2016 wasn’t the smoothest year in my life, and I struggled quite a bit to come over some tough challenges. I was frightened by the thought that I was out of control and had lost my identity – myself. I managed to hide the chaos inside me from most people, I managed to keep smiling and appear optimistic. I was even capable of making some “sincere” jokes. The mess and confusion immediately returned when I was left alone. The thoughts started flying into all directions, accompanied by the same sad song on repeat, I was drown in the melancholy which in some way, I created for myself.

Things that don’t get you down make you stronger, it´s said. Not sure if I´ve come out stronger but I did make some substantial changes to my life.

In addition to practising yoga and writing the blog, I´ve become highly conscious of my surroundings – the beautiful things I used to walk by without giving a second thought. I didn’t have time for that, to explore the beauty in small things. I found it difficult to get completely relaxed, had constantly a feeling that something should have been done but didn’t. The mind was always in a rush. Things are different today, as being illustrated below.

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After working on my Master thesis the whole day at the campus, I was a bit exhausted and attempted to catch the tube which unfortunetely, just left the station when I arrived. It meant I would have to wait 7 minutes for the next one. Instead of getting upset, I stood on the bridge and enjoyed the beautiful signs of autumn.

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I was fortunate enough to be picked up at the campus on a Friday evening, this one was taken in the parking lot. Magical atmosphere.

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This one was taken outside the student apartments at University of Oslo a sunny day this week. I passed these buildings so many times before but had never stopped for a closer look until now.  Beautiful, isn´t it?

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On my way to the tube station near home, got only a couple of minutes to catch up the tube but I couldn’t let the chance go. Fog isn´t quite common in this season. I took the picture before running to the station. Being a regular runner, I made it:)

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These two were taken the day after, same time and same place. No fog this time. What a contrast.

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Walking towards my house at around 17.00. It must be the first time I didn’t bother grabbing the keys from my bag but lifted my head experimenting the sky instead…

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In town, I took this one after my yoga sessions. The sun eventually came out after heavy rain for almost a week.

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Waiting for someone who was late, no stress. The tree in autumn colour caught my eyes.

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An afternoon stroll in the Botanic garden yesterday.

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The plums from the garden, taken in summer this year.

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The first rose growing up in the garden.

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An unexpected guest, a wild duck paid us a visit in summer, I fed it with 3-4 slices of bread. My youngest and I spent 10 minutes observing and discussing about this cute creature.

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We planted a single potato just for fun and got over 20 potatoes in return.

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I hope you enjoyed reading the post, this is how my life looks like today. A more intentional life – less stress and more focus on mindfulness. As usual, a great pleasure to share it with you 🙂 Take care.

My five day trip – The charm of Stockholm (part two)

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If I was given some superpower, I wish I could go back in time and get a glimpse of how people lived in old days. Since no one is going to grant me that power, I actively and passionately search for spots with a nostalgic touch when I´m in a new place. Skansen appeared to be in that category. Founded in 1891, Skansen in Stockholm is said to be the world´s first open-air museum and zoo. The Swedish equivalent to the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo. Wandering alone the street, I was eager to experiment and explore the life that had long been left behind.

The first historical building I came across was a homely cafe (“Krog” in Swedish), well-preserved and it had beef stroganoff on the menu, ideal for those who preferred a decent meal to keep them warm in this rather chilly autumn afternoon.

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I´m not a meat enthusiast but I needed something for my sweet teeth, urgently. The bakery in the corner caught my eyes, cakes and bread are part of the culture, I believe. The food culture of a nation  contributes to make it distinguishable from other countries. The baker told us that the pastries and cakes were all made according to the traditional recipes. The cinnamon buns (a local speciality), and vanilla tarts went down in no time, had to get more. The baker wasn’t at all surprised when we returned and happily stuffed the paper bags with more buns and tarts.

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We passed a small cafe, a few tourists were drinking coffee and talking in a language I didn’t recognise. I was caught by the charm and intimate atmosphere inside.

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(The cafe was actually quite well-hidden, the door was old and had lost its original colour)

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My reluctance to move on wasn’t noticed until I made it explicitly, but none of them had the same passion for nostalgia. My offer of more cakes and hot chocolate was soon turned down, their stomachs were stuffed with enough buns and tarts and would remain full the rest of the day, I was told. Having no better excuse to offer, I followed them and studied the signs carefully so that I would make my way back when I got the chance. I didn´t have to wait for too long. When the kids were playing on the outdoor playground, I sneaked away.

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The guests had gone, I entered the cafe trying not to make noise. It was so quiet here. The waitress in her fifties came out of the kitchen and offered me a seat close to the window, which was perfect.

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There was a wide selection of cakes and muffins, I went for apple pie with whipped cream. The pie contained quite a few slices of apple, the cream extra thick, and the coffee aromatic. What a treat!

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Surrounded by tranquility, the thoughts were flying, I could sense how it was like living in old days and pretended that I was one of the ladies who was enjoying the afternoon tea, or was afternoon tea exclusively British?

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Then it was time to leave, I ordered a muffin topped with cream and raspberries for the kids to share so they wouldn’t wonder too much about their mother´s disappearance.

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I don´t have green fingers but I love the homely and pleasant atmosphere we often associate with greenhouses.

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These Swedish grown apples are great for apple pies, not too sweet and with a rich aroma.

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We visited the VASA Museum the next morning, Vasa is the name of the vessel which sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm harbour on 10 August 1628.

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(This picture comes from visitstockholm.com)

The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. The reconstructed vessel is 98 per sent original, and it´s decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world.

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(The reconstruction shows the moment when Vasa sank)

How did the researchers manage to locate Vasa after 333 years? If you´re passionate about history, here is the story. Details are given in Swedish and English.

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Those who died when Vasa sank remain unknown to us, but the skeletal of more than half of the victims were found. The reconstructions give us an idea of how they might look like and the life they lived before the tragedy.

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(The coins from Vasa)

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So much for this time, I hope you find the post interesting and thank you for taking time to read it 🙂 The final part (part 3) of the Stockholm trip will be published in a week. So bye for now and take care…

My five day trip – the charm of Stockholm (part one)

 

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There was the autumn break in Norway last week, after considering various options for an “autumn escape”, we went for Stockholm. A train trip must be a good choice I thought, and it proved to be true – environmentally friendly and a brand new experience for the whole family.

After 5 1/2 hours reading (“Mrs Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf), writing (the previous blog post with the same title as the book I was reading) and observing (not the passengers but the landscape) on the train, we arrived at the Central Station at 19:20.

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(Gorgeous oganic chocolate goes well with fresh coffee)

I was surrounded by darkness and it started raining. Not the ideal start of an adventure you might think. I was just excited, ready to explore any mysteries the city had to offer. As I´m getting older, I´ve learnt to embrace the unknown. Beauty and magic often remains unnoticed until it being discovered and cherished.

Making our way to the hotel, the atmosphere was pleasant and warm (strange, isn´t it? The weather was rather chilly).

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(Stockholm is beautiful at night, don’t you think?)

The Old Town was at the top of the list, naturally, it was our first destination of the journey.

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(The entrance of the Old Town)

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(Two young women in old fashioned dresses and two gentalmen strolling alone the road gives a sense of how life might be like in 18th century)

When the rest of family went to the cafe for a break, I was thinking: now it´s time for the real adventure. I love the feeling of wandering on my own, the focus is often necessary for me to get the essence of an unfamiliar place.

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(I cought the moment – a completely empty street with heavy stone buildings on both sides)

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(The German church on a side road)

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(A pub with warm and intimate atmosphere, I don’t drink but I love pubs)

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(From the city square you can spot the sea)

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(Narrow path with buildings on both sides is a distinctive feature of the Old Town)

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(A gallery with a nostalgic touch)

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(Are you a moomins’ fan, “watch out” for this moomins shop on the left side. The sun seems extremely compatible with the old buildings, picturistic!)

I got up early the next morning, the best way of getting a deep impression of the city is…What do you think? – Running through the streets exactly! So I did.

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(The first remarkable building I came across during the jogging trip)

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(I made to the top of a hill. Thrilled by the stunning view, 07:30 in Stockholm was just beautiful and breathtaking!)

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(The Orthodox Church, I suppose it’s a Greek church. Not entirely sure given that I’m a church enthusiast but not an expert)

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(It’s autumn, no doubt about it, the falling leaves tell everything…)

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(A book shop shouldn’t be missed out, I go for the one with Churchill on the cover)

After running for about one hour, I was pretty sure that I had covered the whole area in town. The route I chose was rather random, I took the one which was most appealing to me at that particular point, an impulsive act. There´s surely downsides of taking such an approach, especially for those who lack a good sense of direction. I belong to that category unfortunately so it didn’t come as a huge surprise when I realised that I got lost, as I did so many times earlier, in different parts of the world. Nothing was recognisable when I decided to head back.

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(No panic, the sprit is still high, one more picture please. Anyone lives in that tower?)

Three nice women helped me out and pointed to the directions so I managed to get back to the hotel 15 minutes before the breakfast service would be closed. My first breakfast in Stockholm looked like this: slices of watermelon and honey melon covered the whole plate and two cups of English breakfast tea. I´m a melon lover and heavy tea drinker, time to exaggerate a bit. I noticed that I was the only one wearing jogger pants and running shoes in the fine restaurant, who cares, I´m on holiday 🙂

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(The holiday mood is perfectly illustrated by this picture 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, a pleasure to share my experience with you. More posts about the trip are on the way. Stockholm is awesome, the autumn in Stockholm is marvellous!

 

Virginia Woolf and her masterpiece Mrs Dalloway – an attempt to uncover the disparity between appearance and reality (part two)

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This is a follow-up of my latest blog post published a week ago – Virginia and her masterpiece “Mrs Dalloway” – an attempt to uncover the disparity between appearance and reality.

The novel is titled “Mrs Dalloway”, naturally, the fact that Clarissa is presented as the wife to Richard Dalloway, a gentleman who holds a government post should be the main concern of the story. But is Mrs Dalloway satisfied being “Mrs Dalloway”? Continue reading “Virginia Woolf and her masterpiece Mrs Dalloway – an attempt to uncover the disparity between appearance and reality (part two)”

Virginia Woolf and her masterpiece: Mrs Dalloway – an attempt to uncover the disparity between appearance and reality (part one)

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I came across the works of Virginia Woolf when I was doing British literature as part of my BA programme in English Language. The novel by Virginia Woolf was on the syllabus. In any case, it wasn’t a smooth start. The composition of the story puzzled me, I was struggling to understand the themes, what did Virginia intend to tell the readers?

Continue reading “Virginia Woolf and her masterpiece: Mrs Dalloway – an attempt to uncover the disparity between appearance and reality (part one)”