Someone I know

This writing challenge is meant to help describe characters. I am to chose one person I have met recently (within the past year) and describe this person to you. This is a hard choice because for the past year, I have met some amazing people. Moving has given me the opportunity to meet all sorts of people, people with different nationalities, with different stories.

I was thinking about who to write about during my zumba class last monday. I had so many options and couldn’t come up with just one. Writing about them all would call for a new blog with material to last me a lifetime. As I was attempting to follow the steps, I realized I had a great option to write about. Me.

For as long as I remember, I have been a very calm and sedentary person. My mom talks about how even before I could read, she would give me a picture book, and I would stay where I was. As I grew up, exercise didn’t call to me. I disliked physical education class, and even managed to take my last high school class via computer. I like to read, write, watch movies, eat and drink coffee. When doctors ask me what type of exercise I do, I simply reply “extreme and fast reading.”

Since I’ve lived in the Netherlands, I have slowly changed that. Since I don’t have a driver’s license here (you are tested on a standard car and I only drive automatic), I started moving around by train, bus and by foot. I also started riding my bike and doing yoga at home. However, the biggest change has come during the last two weeks. A new friend of mine invited me to go to yoga class, and I accepted. I had a lot of fun, and she invited me for zumba and piloxing. I had even more fun. Last Monday, we took two zumba classes in a row to start the week. I feel like a new person.

Perhaps these challenges might seem small to people who enjoy physical activity or those who already have a workout routine. For me, this is the Everest. This is one of the biggest challenges and one I have constantly failed at. Regardless of my past attempts, I am confident I will stick it out. I am having so much fun as I try to coordinate arm and leg movements, as I sweat, as I move around. I feel energized, healthy, and happy. I am motivated to keep on going.

As I continue to climb my Everest, I am not blind to the hardships and obstacles that will arise. However, I have a great support system that I know will help me during the tough moments. I choose me as my interesting character, created not only by my personal attributions and characteristics but also by the influence of those around me.

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Peace of Mind is the Key

Two weeks ago, I went to Rotterdam to hear the Dalai Lama’s teachings and public talk. I was very excited to goand hear him, even if the teachings were too complex for me to understand. I listened attentively and tried to take in as much as I could, however, the most impacting words came at the end during the question and answer session.

Someone asked the Dalai Lama about how to stay healthy and someone else asked about how best to prepare for death. The answer was the same for both: peace of mind. The words were engraved in my mind. Peace of mind. I have constantly strived for peace of mind. Our mind is a brilliant aspect of our self that can beautifully create but can also terribly destroy. I started meditating almost two years ago searching for this peace of mind he spoke of. My inner dialogue was too agitated; I was too agitated. Within the first days of meditating, I saw its positive effect. I was calm. I could focus. I could be me.

I am no expert meditator. I went to a meditation retreat a year ago, and most of the meditations we tried were beyond what I could understand, let alone try. However, I stick to the ones I know, to the ones that go well with who I am today and it helps keep my mind at peace. I can understand why the Dalai Lama would say that we need inner peace for health and for death. We need to be calm, we need to be focused, and we need to accept what is coming without judgement.

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