To Yoga or not to Yoga … that’s the question.

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The other day i decided to finally do a gym class to mix up my exercise routine a little. So i checked the classes available, picked Body Balance, which is a ‘toning/strengthening/stretching class inspired by a mixture of different exercise techniques’. Wonderful! Off came the running shoes and there, on my little mat, i sat waiting. A lady dressed in tights and a loosely fitted top with the picture of ‘Ganesh’ on it (apparently) then walked in, and announced that the instructor who was supposed to do the class couldn’t make its, so she would be giving us a Yoga class.

Unsure of how i felt about Yoga (being a Christian and all) i contemplated leaving, but thought it would look rather rude… So i shrugged, and decided to give it a go.

Without going into detail, let me just say that it was … interesting, but also FLIPPIN hard work, and i LOVED it. I had a really good time once the workout started, and i particularly enjoyed the balancing aspect of the class, since it’s one thing we all largely neglect!
I walked out sweating like a little piggy, and even more confused about how i felt about it. So, the next day i did it again … and then could barely move. Let me tell you, it’s a great workout.

Since i enjoyed it so much, i decided to find out what it is about Yoga that makes Christians so … resistant. My argument was that i should be able to put my foot on my head if i wanted to! It’s my foot, and nobody should tell me that just because THEY believe i’m saluting some part of nature, i can’t do it. ‘What they believe about where i put my foot is not my problem’ I thought.

So after asking around, I spoke to one of the elders at our church, who chatted to me for a while about it, and then sent me the link to Mark Driscoll’s blog where he speaks about Christians and Yoga and all the rest of it. You can read the blog here:

http://pastormark.tv/2011/11/02/christian-yoga-its-a-stretch

Another good opinion to hear is that of Ravi Zacharias. Having grown up in India himself, he would know:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ravi+zacharias%2C+yoga

These men are brilliant, and i truly value their opinion since i respect them both so much. So this is what i took out of it…

sacred
ˈseɪkrɪd/
adjective
  1. connected with God or a god or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.

These men helped me to realise that Yoga is a sacred practise in the Hindu (among others) religion. Each pose is symbolic of what the person should be working on emotionally during the session and it is a time of introspection, the opening of chakras and concentration and meditation, where you receive spiritual enlightenment. Western society has adopted this as ‘just exercise’ and to do that, is actually disrespectful.
Now i think it’s hard for us to understand because we don’t believe that any physical acts bring you closer or further away from God, but as Mark Driscoll pointed out… it’s like someone coming to be baptised, but completely denying the resurrection of Christ.
Well now that doesn’t make any sense, does it?
Can you imagine someone of a different faith coming to get baptised just because he/she likes to swim? What would you tell that person? ‘Well then you’re more than welcome to go swim over there, we’re busy with some sacred stuff here ;)”

At the end of the day, it’s true that we can exercise any way we want, stretch any way we want, twist and turn and lean and move any way we want, in that way we are free in Christ, yes! But we have plenty of other options out there to help us do so (like Pilates for example, where you’ll find many of the same positions) we don’t have to participate in someone else’s sacred activity and use it purely for our own benefit.

This has been a great lesson for me! In every aspect of life I need to recognise the significance of people, cultures, religions and races and treat all with the respect that I, myself would want to receive!

Now i wonder if i can still stand on my head for ages, like i did when i was a kid???

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It’s hard, being so idealistic.

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I’ve realised that i can’t always be bummed about how my life isn’t what i expected, or how nothing seems to ‘ever go my way’. There are things that i’d prefer – ideal situations and circumstances… there always will be. The perfect picture of how things are ‘supposed’ to happen, or how things ‘should’ look. But that isn’t how things ARE.  So what do you do? Do you step aside and wait for life to happen to you just as you’d prefer it? Watching moments go buy and ignore them because purely because they’re not what you expected?  Or, do you embrace opportunities for what they are, and enjoy the moments that are presented to you, without getting too emotional or sentimental and nostalgic about them, and realise that it will all end in tears anyway. Happy tears or sad tears … our cheeks will dry again.

Somehow we all have to learn how to be in this world that we are not of.

Life is Hard…

Many song titles could have been typed into the title bar of this entry, but i decided to book-end this post with a bit of ‘Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’. You know why.

I realise we’re not very far into 2014 but, until today, i didn’t have many wonderful expectations for this year. It started off pretty crummy. I won’t go in to detail, but let’s just say it was disappointing. Disappointing, frustrating, and rather annoying. I would say more (not really) but I think most can relate to those three words in one way or another… and another… and another.
I was feeling sad, a little hopeless, and somewhat negative. I didn’t feel negative about life in general, just certain areas which i wished were different. I wasn’t necessarily walking around with a long face, but i was definitely walking around with a perplexed mind and a hurting heart. I tried to recognise exactly what i was believing about my circumstances, if (and how) i believed they would change, whether or not i was powerless to change them, and what the heck to do with myself until change did appear.

If, after many years, our expectations aren’t met, we can easily be tempted to stop expecting.
If, after many prayers, nothing happens, we can easily be tempted to stop praying.
If, after many (enter appropriate amount of time here) your dreams still seem to be without a glimmer of hope, we can easily be tempted to stop dreaming, or wishing, or hoping.

This is, basically, what went through my mind as i walked around contemplating God and life, and overanalysing behaviours (mine and others) all the live long day. The good thing is that it kept me very busy… I’ve been on holiday, so i’ve had nothing but time. It also made me ask myself some very important questions, which is a good thing every once in a while. However, it made me very tired (who knew that considering throwing in the towel could be such an arduous task?) and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

I guess, no matter how cheerful one’s disposition, there will always be moments in life that are ‘less fuzzy bunny – more prickly pear’ as my flat-mate Sian would say. (Oh Siany and her jokes!) I also remembered hearing ‘you might not be able to change your circumstances but you can change your attitude’, which I would be SO tempted to argue against, if I wasn’t so tempted to try it.

I don’t think it’s healthy for people to never feel anything negative. It’s a good thing to go through tough times, to question what you believe and why, and to ask for help when you need it. Moments like that are important for us to grow and learn and mature, absolutely. But sooner or later one can get tired of tripping over one’s own bottom lip. Plus, you’ll need that lip for when you want to comfort-eat yourself through your next soft-serve.
Being sad and confused in the dark is boring, and sooner or later you need to find your way back into the sunshine.

Life is far more fun with a head full of dreams, expecting something wonderful to happen at any moment, and believing that something is possible no matter how hopeless it seems. To live beyond hurts, failures, un-forgiveness and revenge and to always remember that the picture is way bigger than the part we can see.

God’s timing IS perfect.
His plans for us ARE good.
And anything IS possible.
(The three lines that made me want to punch people in the face a week ago.)

That’s something I (have to) CHOOSE to believe, and live.

So to end this post. I leave you with one of my favourite quotes from my favourite musician, Alexander Ebert…

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“…The intellectual path left me very depleted of spirit… my sense of adventure and spirit and magic disappeared and, honestly, it’s just more fun to live with magic than without it… with the sense of anything being possible… with the sense of the the invisible as a possibility, than it is to believe that ‘this table is just a table’. It’s just more fun to believe in the possibility of anything being possible!

Thank you Alex! You’re a real gem!
Jo
x

I will not cut down on my Parklife to get some exercise.

But i do understand what Blur was trying to say!

I feel quite blessed to be “working” for ‘Love SA Music’ with Simon Hodgson. He sends me all over the city to listen to music and tweet about the bands, venues and festivals. Sweet deal!

So this weekend my BFF, and partner in crime Bronwyn, and i headed off to Parklife SA, to spend the day listening to some of the best South African bands play under the hot South African sun. (Which we weren’t quite prepared for, but anyway…)

I’m a bit sad that we didn’t have a bigger group of friends with us. Out of everyone i know, only two were at the festival, which is confusing. Why don’t more of you attend these events? What were you all doing yesterday? HUH?

We weren’t able to get to all the bands, but the ones we did get to were amazing!
I’m seriously blown away by the amount of talent popping up everywhere, after what seemed (to me) like a bit of a cool-band drought a while ago. Although i wasn’t a fan of everyone on the line-up, I honestly think they’re all doing a darn good job of representing South Africa. GO TEAM! (By the way, there is/was a band called The Go Team! and they’re cool.)
#justsaying

We really enjoyed the vibe in the park, and mostly sat around on the grass, watching the people  while we waited to stage-hop from one favourite to the other.

The first artist we saw was Nakhane Toure. This man’s voice is  incredible. Do yourself a favour and check him out!

You can listen to some of his stuff here…
http://https://soundcloud.com/nakhane-toure-1

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Nakhane Toure

Short Straw are fun guys, and Shane from Desmond and the Tutus made a guest appearance during one of their songs too.
#winning
http://https://soundcloud.com/shortstrawband

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Short Straw

Speaking of Desmond and the Tutus, they sure do sing about some random stuff. We saw them too, and had a bit of a dance 🙂
#getyourgrooveon
http://https://soundcloud.com/confusionists/01-desmond-and-the-tutus-kiss-you-on-the-cheek-original-mix

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I am ALWAYS impressed by ISO’s performances! Richard (the singer) has the voice of an angel, with a face i could just spread on a cracker!
#socute
Watch the video for No Fire

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ISO

Although we didn’t get to watch Matthew (not Michael) Mole, he also never disappoints, and is a pretty big deal *ahem*! So if you’re tired of the rock you’re living under, you should come into the light and check him out! This guy really is a real Cape Town gem! His songs contain some of the most beautiful lyrics i’ve ever heard, and from the first little ‘twang’ of the banjo i was sold! Not to mention the most soul warming voice I’ve heard on a human! I also have the privilege of  saying that he is, genuinely, one of the nicest people i know!
#NoiDontGetPaidForThis
https://soundcloud.com/matthew-mole

Check out his video for Take yours, I’ll take mine.  And here’s a pic. Wouldn’t want to leave Matt out.

Matthew+Mole+-+birds+to+the+side

Then it was time for one of my (other) absolute favourites- Jeremy Loops. (It’s a toss up between him and Matthew Mole. Don’t make me choose.)
Since the very first time i saw Jeremy Loops perform, i have loved him. There’s something about his music and his look  that’s like a breath of fresh air when you’re suffocating in skinny jeans and military haircuts.  I’m not sure if it was the fact that he came skipping on to stage to the song ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (my favourite international band) or the beautiful sound of his harmonica, but i honestly was the happiest i had been all week. The energy that he gives off, together with his saxophonist Jamie and his smooth rapper Motheo, is definitely contagious! (Album out SOON)
#WellDoneLads
http://https://soundcloud.com/jeremyloops

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Jeremy Loops

And then unfortunately we had to go. *wah-wah* So we didn’t get to see Seether, but i’m sure they were wonderful.

Please  listen to and support more South African artists. These guys make our country more beautiful!!
And feel free to invite Love SA Music to your gigs 😉

#JoleneOut

She was that kind of mother.

It’s hard to imagine living without someone you love. But when it’s not only someone you love, but someone you need, admire, learn from, seek counsel from, and have seen or spoken to every day of your life , it starts to seem impossible. However, for the past 8 months, my sister and I have been doing the seemingly impossible… living without our mother.

Nothing can prepare you for the way losing your mother feels. It’s scary, and heart breaking, very confusing, and extremely weird. Your brain is crammed FULL of memories, moments, songs, smells, words, behaviours, sayings, associations, mannerisms, tastes, conversations and a billion more things all relating to this one person in your life who, suddenly isn’t there any more. But your brain keeps reminding you of these things, which never used to hurt, but now it suddenly hurts, so eventually your brain stops doing it, and that’s when things get a bit better. When you’re able to have slightly more control over the memories, and you’re able to retrieve them at your own will. Of course you can only do this to a certain extent, and every now and again you get surprised by overwhelming emotions that send memories flooding back from your brain and out of your eyeballs, and it normally takes you by surprise!  The subtle whiff of hairspray, the lady in Woolworths who wore a blouse similar to hers, a mother walking hand in hand with her daughter across the street, the smell of carrot cake, your first bite of Bolognaise, a silly made-up word that people use when they can’t remember the real word …. the list goes on and on.

But no matter how painful these memories or little reminders can be, they’re all very very good. They remind me of what being a mother is, and although i’m not a mother YET … i remember the kind of mother i want to be.

The kind of mother that won’t ask her children to do the dishes because “they’ll wash their own dishes when their older, it’s more important that they play”. The kind of mother that will always discipline her children when appropriate, but always let them know how much they are loved by giving them lots of hugs and kisses. The kind of mother that will respect her children, and will give them the freedom to explore who they are, no matter how much she disapproves of the heavy metal blaring from the stereo in their room. The kind of mother that will let her children know that no matter how early it is in the morning, they can count of me to fetch them from the party when their drunk friend leaves them behind. The kind of mother that will patiently teach my kids to sew, knit, cook, bake, garden and apply make-up correctly. The kind of mother who will always be there, no matter the time or the circumstances, to laugh with, and cry with. And the kind of mother who will teach her children that they are loved, by a far greater love than mine… and that they must love others.

You know … that kind of mother.

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White Arrows – Get Gone

Love this fun song by White Arrows, perfect for playing in the car on a busy, sunny saturday X

How nice it is to be human

This morning i tore myself away from my laptop to take my precious little Aoki on a lovely, long walk. How nice… clear the head, get the blood flowing, some fresh air… wonderful.

It was on this walk, that i had a revelation of how amazing the human body is. I’ve always appreciated, and slightly stood in awe of the body and how it works (thanks to my fitness/health freak dad) but today i thought of a few more things that made me appreciate it even more.

The first one being: When i left the house i had a certain song stuck in my head. Can’t even remember what it was now… but while i was walking, i noticed that my brain automatically calculated the speed and rhythm of my steps (and this happens to me all the time, i kid you not) and selects – apparently at random – a song stored somewhere in my memory that suites the tempo. I then I get THAT song in my head, and walk along to its beats, singing the lyrics silently to myself. Today it was The National – Secret Meeting!
AMAZING!!!

The second: I find it fascinating how when one begins to run, your arms automatically bend, in order to move better. HAHA! Imagine if we were to run with straight arms? It would be slightly harder. Babies run with straight arms, but that’s because their arms are so short. They sit with straight legs for the same reason, well, that and it helps them keep their balance. It would be really hard for us though, and your brain knows this, and beds those arms immediately when you pick up the pace… HOWEVER…

all arms bent.

When you want to LEAP … OUT go the arms, assisting the body in thrusting itself upward (in my case not very far) and  adding to the grace and elegance of the move… like ballet dancers…

do not try this at home.

and lastly, I think the fact that our bodies are waterproof makes life a little easier, also more fun… immersing ourselves in water for pleasure, recreation and hygiene would be a lot harder if we needed to keep wringing out our legs. :/

I’m ‘big’ now, i’d better be something!

I’ve always been somewhat of a dreamer.

People would ask me ‘what do you want to be when you grow up? And I always had a different answer. Some were met with a raised eyebrow and a giggle – like when I said I wanted to be a cashier – and then there were those that made people smile with pride, like becoming an architect. I still find it interesting that people think some jobs deserve more respect than others… Surely it’s not the job itself but the person, and their attitude toward it that is deserving of respect?

One thing I knew for sure though, was that I wanted to eventually be a mom. I was always the kid that ended up ‘babysitting’ at parties, every time my mom got sick I hoped it was because she was pregnant, and I loved my dolls more than anything! They were so real to me that I’d buy them Christmas presents and set my alarm clock to ‘wake-up’ in the night to feed them! Yes, I admit I perhaps took it a tad far, or perhaps I can commend my apparently vivid imagination, but that was one thing I remember the most. The other, was entertaining my family…
We were ALWAYS putting together skits, dances, shows and plays to present to our families and friends at get-togethers. We’d take turns being choreographers, directors, actors and singers, and force our ‘audience’ to watch our wonderful productions. Just how wonderful they actually were, remains a mystery….


I can’t even begin to count the list of things I dreamed of doing growing up and how many times I’ve changed my mind. I’ve wanted to be …  a hairdresser, a cop (I know, WHAT?), a beautician, MAGician, a writer, a limo driver (aiming a bit low there), a counselor, a dressmaker, an actress, a rock star, a dog trainer, a pilot, a chef/baker, a florist, an interior designer, a traffic officer (baaahahaha) a jewelry maker, a dancer and the list goes on and on …. Most of which were inspired by some or other movie I had seen, come to think of it.

My sister always knew that one day, she would be a nurse. We’d play ‘Dr Dr’ (because that’s what you do, when you’re young you name all your games twice) and she’d be the Dr or nurse and I’d of course be the mom with the sick baby.
But me? I had no idea. And I can honestly say, that as I sit here 20-odd years later, I STILL have no idea.

My passion for children has kept me wonderfully busy up to now, and has lead me to feel like I’ve never really even had a job. It has blessed me and been so good to me. But once a dreamer, always a dreamer, and I still think of things I could do. Of course they’re now a bit more exciting than working a till at Pick n Pay, but you’ll always find some new idea occupying my thoughts.

A while ago I was ready to pack my bags, board a plane and set off on a journey with the airlines, traveling the world as an air hostess and serving people ‘chicken or beef’.
Clearly that didn’t work out, but I have high hopes for this new one!
Like many others, I’m not sure where i got this idea from, but I now would like to become a director! Film or tv? I’m not sure, maybe a bit of both… Although there’s something so magical about theatre! One sniff of that old wood and your imagination comes alive!

I have SO much to learn, but with the wonderful people I have helping me out, I’m hoping that one day, I’ll be able to do something amazing! Something that will make me think back to this post and see how far I’ve come!

Or maybe not … Maybe I’ll change my mind…?

Could we please take a minute to celebrate “The Suit”

What’s better than a man in a suit? It’s totally one of  ‘my favorite things’… especially with a splash of colour, obviously.

Maybe i’m a bit Willy Wonka, but i saw these suits and i’m loving them.

With a cardigan

With an edge

With a hat

With a bow tie

With courage 😉

with friends, when you’re going to a dress-up party … as a box of smarties. :/

I think about what every other single girl thinks about … Food!

I just inhaled a chicken and mayonnaise on olive panini. I attacked it, the way those people in Survivor do when they win a challenge and get to eat something yummy.

It was specifically when a piece of crispy, green lettuce slapped me on the chin, that i realised what a wonderful (and often underrated) companion it makes for just about any sandwich, which got me thinking about all different kinds of sandwiches, and sandwich meats… and then just meat and food in general. (but especially meat)

Every now and again i’m  embarrassed by how passionately i feel about food, like when people point it out: “it’s cute how passionately you feel about food” or, once while at a party, my friend (the hostess) asked her husband to call people to come and grab a plate because “no ones eating except Jolene”. Awkward.

People always say that if you make a living out of what you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life. This lead me to think of ways that i could make money by eating, like being a food critic… but i would be the worst person in the world for that job  because i just love EVERYTHING. I’m the least fussy person when it comes to food. I eat just about any food in one form or another. I don’t LOVE asparagus on it’s own, but will eat it in a stir fry. Not the biggest fan of baked beans, but will eat them in a wrap or in soup etc. So when i congratulate someone for the delicious meal they’ve prepared, i’m not sure if it really counts as a compliment or not. Although the pure joy on my face when i’m eating and the “mmmmmm” noises i subconsciously make with closed eyes are always well received.

One would think then, that this makes me a good cook. But one would be sorely mistaken i’m afraid. I’m far more interested in eating than in actually cooking anything. I feel like it requires quite a bit of effort …. then it’s done, and all you’re left with are dirty dishes *raised eyebrow*. I’m hoping that my love for the 1940’s housewife will inspire me to  feel a tad bit more enthusiastic about preparing meals for my family one day, otherwise they’re in trouble. Or perhaps I’ll be so inspired, that i’ll be whipping up all sorts of dishes from all over the world (since i’m such an adventurous eater too) that they’ll be met with very suspicious “wow’s” and nervous expressions.

Either way, I do love food. And nothing is more irritating to me, than those girls who don’t eat. “Eating is cheating” they say!! Hold on, one thing is more irritating than them … the ones who believe it’s their job to inform you on how many calories are in everything, and give you that look of judgement when you’re licking traces of chocolate mousse off your spoon.

I DO disagree with eating to fill anything besides your stomach, and I’m a firm believer in looking after yourself and the body God blessed you with, but life is too short to be worrying about everything you eat, and obsessing over weight. There’s nothing wrong with loving food, the healthy and the not-so-healthy…

So here are some of my favourite food quotes, from people who love food like i love food ❤

“Fasting? The only thing fast about me is how fast i eat!”

Kimora Lee Simmons

“Would i blow everyone’s mind if i ate dessert first?”

Moss (IT Crowd)

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

Luciano Pavarotti

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