3. The Smile – and How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love’ Marcus Aurelius 

Spread that light within!

I know what you are thinking now. You are probably mumbling that not all good things are wild and free and we cannot possibly start each day with a smile. That in spite of anything, you keep reaching the same moment when you stop and be like ‘Hey there universe – this is so annoying! How come this is happening to me? how come I have to deal with this again when I thought I was over it already ???’

Before you say anything know that I and still am there too ( hahah although my monologue is rather ‘hah – there you are again – tell me everything!’ Then, again, it is still me that basically corner myself and talk me over – ‘you have to change your thoughts before looking for results, girl!’ Because there is one thing to repeat stuff you despise doing and there’s a totally different thing to actually become aware and actively look for a solution.

Doesn’t it make sense? How can you change something in your life when you are on repeat all the time? There has to be a switch that you press on and change your choices – starting with your morning and all the way till that moment when you decide to victimize over not being enough and ‘I’ll never get there, do that, etc’. Get what I am saying, right?

Previously I wrote about the power of meditation and breath – and from my experience here ( mind you – I am just sharing here, from a ‘soul speaking to soul’ perspective!) – facing difficult moments, when you find yourself down in the dumps – makes it damn difficult to see the lesson, to Look for the breath or staying put for minutes to connect with your inner you. Yes – it feels like a joke – a whole different story when you are in THAT critical moment – and we all know it.

What helped me here is to take my attention at that inner dialogue, the capacity to be stern with yourself yet accepting, know that nobody is perfect, that life is a long process of learning and last but not least, to be kind, which – if we put it in other words as many don’t really dig what being kind with oneself is if not taking a bubble bath or a hot chocolate or some quick shopping treat – no. What I mean here is to try and seek always your highest potential. (If you KNOW you have a bad habit that you KNOW its bad for you – but you indulge in doing it because it gives you confort – that is not being kind with yourself.)

Secondly, stop and ask yourself if you are present with this feeling, this emotion that takes hold of you now. Do you allow space and time to solve this or you are just in search for a quick fix – a cigarette, a glass of wine, a good movie or something that could take your mind off it? Because that will not do.

Once you will do that, once you will address it sincerely – you will see that meditation is actually crucial for this – as well as introspection. For me this all happened in a moment of crisis when I reached a point that I fought for and found that I was constantly unhappy. I basically sat with myself and asked – ‘what is it that I lack? What am I doing wrong? How can I improve my situation? ‘

Garfield – definitely he lacks nothing :DD

And Hocus pocus – out of nowhere the answer came- Gratitude. I forgot to be grateful. I took myself too seriously and slowly I stopped enjoying what I was doing. I immediately took a book I recommend if you are interested in the subject – The Magic – by Rhonda Byrne – and introduced gratefulness in my life. With it – smiling. More often. Smiling at adversity. Smiling when shit breaks the fan. Smiling like stupid – but smiling. Sounds a bit too much but it works – believe me. Why not try? How difficult can it be?

I want you to please ask yourself now – what can this present moment, this awareness of your breath can bring if not gratitude and humbleness? And if you skipped the breath awareness then just go ahead and put a Smile on your face. It will work the same. Because our brain cannot tell whether you have a good reason to smile or you are sitting in your cubical totally annoyed by your boss, job and completely out of hope. 

At the end of the day, gratitude is strongly connected to the well-know aspect of impermanence– we are here now yet we don’t know what tomorrow might bring. Stop taking your life for granted and just open your eyes again and again till you understand it! Till you internalize it and put it into practice. Learn to see as it would be your first time.

Look around and make yourself see that everything that you come in contact with has the potential to be your teacher – you can learn from everything that surrounds you. Forget about books, movies, courses, degrees. Take a deep breath and feel the autumn’s breeze. Rejoince at the sun and its blissful light. Hear the birds singing and if that sweet coffee makes you wake up and get out of bed – well hold it for a minute and be thankful for the fact that it is now in your house, on your table and in your palms warming up your face this morning. Everyone can be your teacher if you learn how to see, if you have that humbleness to accept that you are part of the whole.


Let us never forget about the power of the Smile in our life. I choose gratitude and smiling at life as the nr. 3 instrument ahead of anything else because I believe that I first need to change my attitude in order to move my ass out of bed, or house, or wherever I might be that I am stuck at the moment and cannot seem to find a way out. I choose smiling and gratefulness as the easiest and at hand practice that you can introduce in your daily life. Start now! 😀

2. The Breath- the Life-Giving Force

‘Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angro, get good and angro. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.’ Ernest Hemingway

Whenever you are in doubt, it is best to pause. Few things are so pressing that they cannot wait for a moment of breath’. T.K. Desikachar

In the previous article I wrote about the importance of meditation – as one of the first instruments to get in touch with yourself, to accept and embrace who you are instead of so much trying to change and shape, negate, contradict and work against our negativities and shadows. One thing is for sure – the more control we have over our mind the more power we have over our life.

Beside emptying the mind, meditation also helps create that space within – we create space in our everyday life for ourselves, to reconnect – could help if you have a corner in your house where you practice, that you associate with inner-work, an ode to your soul- but also that inner space, where you get to befriend and play with those aspects of you that you avoid or dismiss in this everyday life filled with distractions.

When the breath wanders, the mind is also unsteady.

Another practice that helps us create that space, is pranayama. In Sanskrit, prana – means life energy, energy that moves in our system. Yama is rule, control. Hence pranayama in yoga consists in all the breathing techniques that control the Breath, hence also control your energy.

Breathing is paramount in many spiritual practices, and lots of ancient texte dwell on the importance and quality of breath.

Although breathing is something that happens by itself, you might say it is something we can all do. Yet we don’t. We don’t know how to breathe – and I was the first one to realize that – on myself, as I observed I am breathing superficially, with not even a third of my lung capacity.

As you might know, there are consequences of this shallow breathing that can lead to anxiety, stress, panick attacks, and generally tensions in our body – all these because we breathe only with our chest, or thoracic breathing, or even because we hold our breath and take in less air. These are product of environmental stressors, like temperature, pollution, noise and day-to-day actions that create stress.

When we breath superficially, our body gets into this cyclical state of stress – and we become victims of this vicious cycle – stress— shallow breathing and vice versa.

Let conscious breathing be your anchor to presence.

So why not try something new today and see how it goes? You should just start by observing your breath whenever you remember – whenever you have some idle time, or when you sense you are getting nervous or unsteady. You don’t have to get into complicated techniques at first – just observe your breath and try diaphragmatic breathing (helps to lower blood pressure, reduces heart radem relaxes your mucles and increases your energy levels). Maybe even count on your inbreath and outbreath and hold your breath as much as you can – do some sets of deep breathing and observe the effects. Aren’t you convinced yet that this is key to your well-being? Eventually, you will integrate the breathing techniques that suit you in your daily practice, along with meditation.

Life is a created by moments and once we come back to our breath we understand deeply that everything comes and goes, everything is changing. Repetition creates the habit – and habitual actions only can lead to results. We sow the seeds and we then reap the fruit.

It is up to you how you create your life – and most probably, distractions are the number one factor that is stopping you from following your dream. Choose to disconnect. Give that to yourself and remember that its up to you whether you actually aim at taking action. Whether you continue to feel as if you are on a record that goes on and on because, as painful it may be, its safe, its predictable, cozy and secure. Try going beyond these zones of safety.

1. Meditation – the Practice of Presence


We live in times of distress, where we value productivity more than anything else, where we are constantly under stress and movement, in an endless cycle that sometimes feels like it will never end.


Meditation is the number one instrument in tackling this stress – that I chose to talk about and will dwell a bit in a general sense but also as a personal experience.


I know you might have mixed feelings about having to sit still when you are with all guns blazing, wild and crabby. But think about it as a practice, as a gentle action you can take in order to lower your spirits and dealing with such situations in a wiser way. When done with regularity, will help you return to your inner space in those particular critical moments.


Again, keeping a meditation practice, being disciplined and introducing it in our routine, be it morning, evening or even in our lunch break, has proven to improve immunity, relax our body, decrease stress, improve focus and brain activity as well as lower blood pressure.


To get over those complicated definitions, to overcome the great variety of meditation techniques, I am not here to help you choose which one fits you best, however I think it is important to know that, as Pema Chodron beautifully defines it – meditation should be first about – ‘ befriending who we already are.’


I believe that this statement offers a common ground to all meditation techniques – it is a touch base to take an interest in who we are, to be inquisitive about ourselves, to investigate and allowing ourselves to be open and let go. To stop here ad be curious about what the present moment has to offer.


The aim is to be fully awake, fully alive, fully human.’


What is important to keep in mind is that we meditate in order to lighten up, to become more aware, awake about who we are. We are not aiming to change or get rid of what we think we should change, but connect and accept our light as well as our dark side. One cannot be without the other.


A consequence of this friendship is a constant observation – is being in the now, as it is only in this nowness that you can let go and open up to that space – that space you can always access.


To be vigilant about what your senses Tell you, to Look, to Listen, to Touch, to Talk from that sacred space. That is the ultimate purpose of the practice – to be in that presence at all times – and live in the eternal now.

PS. For more about my meditation practice, please see below my posts on Vipassana Meditation. http://alexandrah.org/spiritual-india-vipassana-and-the-art-of-living/

Come back to your true nature

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly Away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be know.’A. A. Milne, ‘The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’


Summer has come to an end and autumnly vibes of retreat, self-analysis and contemplation took its place. A lot of time has passed since I lastly wrote. Since then I recreated myself, I shook myself, I brushed and overly cleared those sleepless nights, the uncertainty, the fear and the frustration of not being in control(and I m sure that I m not being the only one that had a couple of lessons in this regard) after the time spent on the ship. Those sailing times are long gone, and have been replaced by eartly vibes – as I spent a lot of time in nature, in the forest, in the parks and at the sea (the hypnotic sound of the waves, walking barefoot in the sand, singing and dancing till the sunrise!)


Hence, a lot has changed – and definitely a process is still going on wihin me. Questioning and introspection had a fair bit to say in this inner process – questions such as – do I tend to identify with my misfortunes? Do I consider myself happy only if all goes according to my idea – of what being well means actually? On the contrary, am I down in the dumps whenever I fail to accomplish what I aimed for? Am I attached to the outcome – or do I take it as it is – convinced that everything happens due to a reason, and that eventually things take their course exactly when they are supposed to…


A lot of lessons came exactly because of this need to control, lessons that reveal even now. The point is – the entire process starts once you are out of your confortzone. That is ground zero. So get out of whatever feels warm and fuzzy and see how that will make you feel.  There is a natural flow of things that we find we so often resist and push to materialize.


The key is to reflect and do the best you can with whatever happens. Just negating it or trying to erase it as part of an already closed chapter of your life will not do. It is paramount to integrate it – to reflect and draw your lessons. That is where the change comes in. PLUS ———>


Spiritual development does happen during moments of crisis, however it is not only limited to those. It entails also the day to day activities, interactions and attitudes we form. It also comes to the routines we commit to, to what we enjoy doing and the habits we create – as they shape our personality and lead our actions. 


But is your personality decisive here? What is your true nature? Do you ask yourself that? What gives meaning to your life? Are you responding from your essence?


Often we tend to think that we are our thoughts, our emotions and fail to distinguish between what does our untrained mind say about ourselves – and what does that space within, that untouched corner of our deepest self so often struggles to help us notice. 


Whether you are thrilled to bits or low in misery, chances are that you are carried away and often forget that this is just a passing state, that this will also pass. Hence you get caught in this agony, lose touch with who you are and maybe even hurt the ones you love.


To be present and to observe yourself is definitely not easy- you just need to face yourself and agree to start anew, to find discipline and sooner than later your self confidence will level up your self-worthand trust in life. 
Conclusion? Difficult times as well as joyous, exchilarating ones require introspection, us to go deep within, to that forever accepting, forever loving and nurturing space. It is there where you will always find that unconditional love, where you learn to accept the spirit and it becomes so clear that our mind is an instrumentand day by day we commit to a process of non-identification


You learn that you are Divinity’s gift and all you need to do is to learn how to harmonize your mind and spirit. To recognize how blessed you are to be in this shape and form in order to experience the magic of life with all its metamorphoses and changes.


The truth is spirit.


The process involves practices such as meditation, contemplation, prayer, selfless service, reflection and self -observation. These and not only will be covered in my future posts, as they all play an important role in this union – of mind and spirit – and you will be able to find that one which best suits you. 


Till NexT time dear one.
Namaste !

On wildness, spontaneity and the present moment

Hey beautiful you!

The following words come from a different me since the last time we’ve met. ( The green shots have such a huge impact on me hehe ) For almost a month passed since I left the ship and an environment that triggered so many buttons inside me. ( in such a short time so many different lessons learned…)

Seems like I needed some time to integrate them, to give them space and to ground a bit more. What do you think I did for that!? Ran with my dog through the wild fields and laughed and played like a child-

when was the last time YOU did that? Not with your dog but with yourself? 

One of the biggest things that happened to me this last period is also to learn to be spontaneous and to flow- what is a FLOWer? Do you think a flower aims or makes a purpose from it being beautiful? If it turns out to be less, do you think it punishes itself with thousand of thoughts of not being, not doing enough for its beauty?  No! A flower is- and through its being – is beautiful. 

I found that I cannot plan for next month if now is what occupies me fully. So I am glad to see what it brings me and that’s that. I meditated and contemplated. What a joy to be back!

For sure I am sometimes stuck in an unpleasant place where I don’t really want to be any more. But instead of running from something- anything or anyone- shouldn’t I just accept it, look it in the eyes and see its changing nature? I tend to always go back to this-change is the only thing it’s permanent. However it is what we make of it that matters. How opened we are to see things differently from now on? Stop letting ourselves down! 

That heaven and hell are here now- we are the main director of this movie and we still don’t fully acknowledge it. Let us remember that. Let us take that responsibility of Choice.

let that wild being buried inside of you come out and play, smile and dance in the rain- enjoy yourself now, now is the time.

Going Home – 7 lessons in 70 days of quarantine (onboard cruise ships)

‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light

JK Rowling

Life is fair, normal, usual, routine-like when everything goes as planned, everything falls into place and you get what you wanted. Life is fantastic when you surprise yourself and do even better than you thought! Hey- I probably deserved it – you’d tell yourself. 

It is when life surprises you to the point where you don’t know where to turn to -this is all new to you- and you look up to the sky and ask ‘ why me?’ – ‘why now?’ – ‘why this?’ – that you actually start growing. That there is a shift, that you start questioning yourself, you stop taking things for granted. ( dunno why but Fight Club comes to mind)

Its once we get out of the confort zone that we finally realize that we are at some level a bunch of control freaks, that we cannot master everything and even if we would try- we would fail miserably. Fail to change the un changeable, that which is beyond our power. It’s then we would most probably be still and give ourselves a pat on the back with a disappointed ‘at least I tried’.

Today is the 71st day since my control-free process started- since we entered the quarantine, basically since it all began. Feels like a lifetime. Today is also the last day on the ship!!!!  (For a while) as tomorrow I am supposed to fly home- this time for good ( one more controlling lesson since my last flight cancellation- and with the biggest smile on my face now I will just say- never trust anything till you step into the damn plane!  🤪)

In these past weeks I have filled two notebooks of thoughts, impressions, affirmations, anger, frustrations and practices compassion for me and others. However here you will find just a short outline of what this whole time meant to me. 

In an effortless moment, after packing ( deja vu all over again), I sat on the couch, grabbed a coffee and pondered on what I lessons I am taking home with me tomorrow. 

I know that it has been forever since I saw the world, connected to the land, walked barefoot, played with a dog, hugged a tree (yes I do that sometimes!) and of course saw my loved ones – especially now after the whole virus hysteria.

This is not about the difficulties though- but the overcoming, the process. Slowly, when you’re facing the same situation over and over again, your system starts to defend itself in some ways and starts doing things differently with the aim of lowering the impact and making it easier on yourself. You want to find your own space, your shelter, your bubble (first lesson) and so you feel more like yourself , you find your own element.

For sure the invitation to introspection was something that we all were aware of since the beginning. We observed that finding that space within really helped coping with what’s going on these days, raising your vibration and keeping your mood up became top priority ( at least for me since otherwise hey, had days I didn’t know why I should get out of bed!) 

Hence, maybe we picked up some confidence with meditation, realized it is something we can actually do and it does magic! Talking from experience -meditation (along with writing) were the instruments I knew I had to help me build this shelter, in coping with my emotional fluctuations. (And if you haven’t done yet, you should try it now! I recommend insight timer app for meditation- it’s free, full of options and it even has a timer! As for writing, there are tons of journaling courses, just get a notebook and a pen and let it out!)

On the other hand, when the shit hits the fan, when you are told your flight got cancelled you won’t get on the yoga mat and blissfully close your eyes mumbling ommmms ! No! You simply can’t. You will be angry, dismissive and to hell with everything! What’s the point? Temperature, masks, gloves, washing for the 10,000 time and then repeat? 

Hey I am telling you- it’s normal! You are not alone! We reach the point of fighting it, the rebellion, (2nd lesson)for sure as we want things to be as they used to. Especially because it’s not like we can track it and know at least for how long it will still go. 

We have no idea what the future will look like, we have all these question marks in our heads and nobody can answer us. Damn right we’ll be furious. You know why? Well you got it right- we don’t do well with uncertainty. And once again- you gotta let that out. You have to stop and breathe. Just breathe. 

 It’s been a great lesson of adaptation (3rd lesson) wasn’t it? Not to mention creativity (4th lesson)– how much more obvious can this be for me and you to understand that we create our own reality? Building new habits, unlearning other less useful ones, find that movement is such a great privilege- get out of that confort zone, pay attention to those excuses, whether you create your own workout plan, do some online yoga or take long walks wherever.

After so much resistance and struggle we learn to slowly let go and in the event of even losing more of our freedoms- we learn to do the best with what we have and appreciate simplicity.

Simplicity (5th lesson)- what’s your relationship with simplicity? Didn’t you notice how simple life is and how little you need overall? Self-sufficiency, mindful consumption and constant appreciation (6th lesson) are key here. 

What is there to appreciate? I am sure that during these past weeks we have changed our connection to the world surrounding us- to the elements,nature, animals – we are more appreciative even for the little time we have outside and then of course- our home ( which now became our little universe full of possibilities 😌), food and last but not least connection!. 

If you would ask me what’s my biggest intake in this whole period I will undoubtedly say – friendship ! ( 7th perfected lesson) connected with friends  People that speak my language – and I m not talking about linguistics here – so that you don’t have to translate your soul ( as a saying very well puts it).  We shared, laughed, recollected those good old times and completely forgot about space and time! ( reminds me of this romantic Croatian term ‘pomalo’ which means free from time!) 

Life is made of moments and I must say that these times have warmed my heart and helped me go through those sleepless dark nights. Hardship and adversity is part of the process of learning- but how incredibly interesting it is to see how different we are- how perspectives change, as if we have different set of eyeglasses to reproduce the world around us. 

Each from our own bubble, yet being there for each other, celebrating togetherness, find ourselves in others’ fears, longing for normality, hoping for a better tomorrow. I can say that I mostly cherished this beautiful, compassionate human connection and found that the answer is not only within us, it is also between us!

Tomorrow is my moment – I am finally going home! I have been there for long in my imagination- felt the warmth of my mother, the smoothness of my bed, the green trees and the birds singing. Tomorrow a new chapter begins – for I will step out of the ship- grateful to have received me for all this time, for the people I shared so much and that became my family. Tomorrow I will finally see this new world, real world! Wish me luck, for I haven’t stepped in the plane yet!🤪😁 ✈️ ☀️

On Earthing and Interconnection

Today I ‘ celebrate’ two months since I last touched soil. It was the 10th of March, we were in Key West, US and me and my friends went out for shopping and a well deserved lunch. Coming back I looked a bit melancholic as I took the last glimpse over the place, as if a part of me would say ‘ cherish it now for you won’t get this soon’. 

If you follow my posts you already know that since then we have been on an ongoing quarantine on the ship- even the transfer from one ship to the other was with the tenders hence still floating. (Not that there s a problem with that- still better floating than sinking -one thing I know for sure-  I am pretty much cherishing the floating too at least till we reach our destination 😆)

earthing is first when it comes to things I miss and learned to cherish in this period of time. 

Used to be anxious with every crossing or long periods of time ( mostly two weeks) that we were stuck on board. And what a sweet feeling that was- the moment you get to jump around like a wild animal, take deep breaths, walk around and explore the full experience of being on a steady ground. 

it makes sense that nature grounds us and surrounds us with positive energy and helps you raise your vibration. Hence being on land, connecting with the trees, the flowers, the animals around is so precious that maybe at times we take for granted. Sadly, we learn to appreciate thing when we no longer have them.

Of course, floating has its benefits as well as we have created here a bubble. 

On the ship this last period wasn’t easy but I learned to connect in a unique, novel way – I took baby steps and learned in the process the importance of movement– haven’t worked out so consistently ever before – admitting to myself that it is something my body as well as my spirit needed most. 

The sun -and generally sunlight meant a lot especially when you have no access to a window in your cabin. Then the rain– couple of times we were blessed with it and always felt like dancing as if I embodied the beloved Zorba, dancing and seeing the miracle of the skies! 

The people – and how they looked at it- made me realize how we are different yet the same. I have once more understood the meaning of the Mayan ‘Lak’ech’ which is ‘I am another you. Like shopping- we all have the set of products available to buy yet we make decisions according to our own preferences, needs, set of values, vibration.

In this I got better at setting healthy boundaries, and allowed myself the space I needed to be. Oscillating from one mood to the other as unpredictable as the weather, you learn to just step back and do a restart.

Based on this and correct me if I’m wrong, surely you have felt the same at a point – Isn’t it that when faced with change, when living in uncertain times, you tend to feel alone, to feel left aside, you question your decisions and choices and even judge yourself for arriving at such an uncomfortable point. 

Change is frightening. All great things start from there though. ( just thinking back at all those times when I stepped on a foreign land in incredible countries such as India, Peru, Egypt, Iran! – places I always wanted to be yet couldn’t really refrain from asking myself – what have I done? Am I ready for this? Have I gone mad???:))

And then out of the blue, this voice would tenderly whisper – you are not alone Alex! Our biggest human trait is the need to connect– and here I am surrounded by likeminded people- same as me- fearing, hoping, being anxious and even saying thanks for the same opportunities we all get- to be part of each other’s story. 

What storyline you are following is completely up to you ( and here we go back to my previous article) – you are the creator here. You might even need some space to figure it out,  reminding yourself that the best psychiatric in the world is the one inside you! Allow that space to sit and observe and when in doubt, just remember that we are In this together. Look around and learn to re-connect!

From control to surrender & living your dream

( things do happen- and as I am writing from my comfy balcony suite, cruising on the Atlantic on the way to Europe and eventually home soon… was wondering) …

Have you ever noticed how when someone asks you ‘ how’s your day so far’ – whatever you come up with you’ll eventually start believing it and what’s worse, prove it to be true?

These past weeks have made it clear to me that with more you allow yourself to feel lousy, to let your guard down, chances are that you will be dragged in this swirl of negative stories, attracting more and more that confirms it. It took me a time to actually get it – in real time experience mind you- that I was writing my script every day and according to that my day will go. 

Can you let go of your stories for a moment and decide to start your day on a different line?

It wasn’t that I had to lie to myself – I understood that I cannot. Things I was missing in my life were still missing. Furthermore, the list will go longer day by day. Uncertainty was still there. It was about finding the good, the right, the beauty in things. I invited in an old pall – gratitude and as a workout line I used to here very often- got comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

‘ if you want to live a life you never lived, you have to do things you ve never done!’

(Just in case you are the planner, the one obsessed by lists and plan b’s like me…)

Once more I got that I am the victim of the rules I live by. You are the result of what song you’re playing to yourself every morning. So set in for a change. Arise at a different hour, do something you haven’t done before and Ask yourself:

What to do today for a better tomorrow!? For a better me?

As I was enjoying the sun this morning ( used to say that I love the sun but Sunbathing for me is just too much) – realized that we are all going through a process of metamorphosis. We need to heal. To reconnect and reconcile. We have to look into how are being taught to see things from a perspective that maybe we never considered. 

I managed to stay two hours in the sun, meditated, did some work- and while my brain was saying something, my body had a different stand in this. I was controlling instead of flowing with it. I got over the sweat, the heat, the heart pumping in my head – just because I couldn’t refuse myself the warmth- and the cool ocean breeze. Just because I did it differently.

surrendered

my goal became mastering surrender till it becomes my second nature, till I learn to accept it with more grace and ease, till I am ok with not knowing but with the ‘how it feels’.

I think that everything around us is a proof of this simple and basic idea- to surrender, to let it be, to flow, to live the present. The sea and its waves, never the same, in a constant move and rhythm. The wind. The birds flying around. The puffy clouds. The rain and the tiniest snowflake. 

Once you do that you will allow to see life smiling at you in every moment- you will be surprised and recognize the miracle of each step, look, touch, sound and smell you are taking. You will learn to celebrate rather than adapt. 

Look around you and see it yourself. Maybe you should consider it. Learn to be better at surrendering. 

Living with uncertainty- lessons in quarantine (on a cruise ship)

What is the Intention?

As much troubled these times are, I am sure that all of us can find some good , easy to pin aspects that we can draw attention to, one of which could be a more genuine lifestyle and a definite reverence for the simple things in life. Hope we can at least agree on that!:p

It has been a time to reflect and take it easy for me too, and slowly slowly to align and adjust to the current situation. Align innerly and adjust outwardly. and remember to be grateful even for that which was not there for you. Yeah… good luck with that!:))

On another hand, I observed how easy it is to fall in the trap of victimization– and wherever you look at a point, on the social media, you would see people complaining about how critical they are living and how devastated they are that they cannot go to the mall, honor their vacation tickets or go for a walk in the woods ( random examples-) not that I don’t miss these things yet I have other basic needs to meet before those. 

Yes, we all refer to this isolation differently and chances are that you that are reading this article now have a higher level of expectations from life than an Indian mother of six from the slums of Mumbai.  Therefore let us not undermine the needs we have and try to rapport to them accordingly. With patience and awareness, compassion and understanding- for maybe the universe has been more kind to us than others.

remember things are not like they seem

So what is the life on a cruise ship these days? Of course situations can differ with the company, the health status onboard, position, even background and life expectancies- as we ourselves are the ones that set the tone to how we perceive the 🌍 so keep that in mind…!

And to make it clear- just because you see photos with sunsets and smashing wavy blue horizons, that doesn’t mean we are at the beach or that we are roaming the city – as I have heard that as well ( although I must admit Miami would have been much more on my taste now with less people/ traffic/noise around- Too bad- it wasn’t meant to be for us, Miami. Maybe next time?)  😆 

What was the Focus?

On staying healthy, positive, creative with food, get proper sleep and workout in the open deck whenever possible ( much needed vitamin D). Here I should add that while I have a great respect for the simple pleasures in life, when it comes to food I might be a bit picky- given the available resources- pssst once brought my espresso machine in the jungle and learned my lesson:))) suffice to say that I had to make some slight adjustments. Therefore had to say goodbye to the vegan, gluten & sugar free Alex – she had to bite her tongue and adjust to the situation. The Motto became- adapt or starve 😏 Survival mode on.

Hence yes. Besides the fact that one we were safe ( no case on board), two we were in this together and three had the space to at least walk around and take fresh air ( even if with limited time) there was also free internet that made such a big difference as life for so many days without being able to get in touch with the loved ones would have definitely been a nightmare! And oh- talking about nightmares- kept on dreaming cookies for a while so you Should know what I ll do when this will be over. 🤩

Quarantine therefore also meant social distancing, strict rules and limited provisions. Add to that the vague information, living from one day to the other with no news (basically the situation of the sailors stuck on ships is not that clear to you because the media doesn’t talk about it much -guess it’s just a tiny fraction of the population so just adds up to the general hysteria) and you are actually practicing – uncertainty– the biggest lesson in this past period of time.

Why uncertain ? mainly because of the fluctuations of the spreading of the virus, here in the US – depending on the mood of the CDC ( center for disease control and diagnostics) changing decisions from a day to another- then of course the local governments, closedown airports and the discouraging news from home- wherever home is for you, chances are you were still stuck. 

Now let’s take a moment and let’s reflect together on this- when you thought of uncertainty, did it ever cross your mind that you will ever reach this point? Unsure of what tomorrow can bring, of your health and well-being depending on others, on all this external net that now is visibly so linked to your course of life? On your loved ones- when and where you will be able to see them yet not putting them in danger? On your job, on your summer months vacation and all this time you planned for this NOW that suddenly is … cancelled/ postponed until ‘ further notice’ – haven’t heard this expression so many times ever! For the fact that you don’t know where to turn or to whom to get some answers? 

I have read this somewhere and it really makes sense to transcribe it here: 

‘There is no need to create precise plans because the one who creates is your fixed and limited personality, which relies on your past experience- therefore will bring more of the past into your current life.’

Let us reflect on that and until next time, take a look at your relation with uncertainty and how easy it is for you to let go of controlling the outcome, planning and searching for answers. How easy it is for you to flow like a leaf on a river – a metaphor I use quite a lot these days to remind me ( I admit I am a control freak eh!)) of the natural flow of life.


(Ps. Miami at different times of our stay in port. )

Quarantine Time- On Resilience

:the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 🤓

Hi there! It’s been a while since I last wrote and due to the unfortunate events it feels like forever. You know me, I need time to process life and it’s been a tough period as I believe for all of us. Keeping a diary though and started my second notebook 📒 ☕️ ☀️

I am now writing from my windowless cabin on the ship that became my home for almost two months now. Haven’t gone out for one month though and honestly speaking I miss stepping on land, especially on grass. ( and the trees, and the birds, and the flowers well you get the picture)🤯

Being in quarantine on a ship has its ups and downs however just the same as everyone, you really reach a point when it’s all a matter of attitude. You forget the world situation- you become selfish and the child within starts whining and complaining and demanding. Because you have to be honest- we are all used to a level of confort ( which is of course according to overall situation we are in at the moment. Maybe once home some have to face hunger yet while still here, basic food is nothing to worry about).

On top of that, we all want our families and loved ones around in this harsh situations. We all need warmth and a motherly voice that tells us it will turn out well ( imagine I dreamed I was hugging a dog and I woke up so charged with this wonderful, unconditional energy 🙂

So yeah. In these conditions and now, Adding up the social distancing did not stop us from finding humanity in our rapport. Because yes, it is now when you see the person behind the rank, it is now you see how people cope with frustration, crisis and change. In spite of the difficulties, people will be people. It is not hard to find that we are all the same, have the same fears, same worries, same needs. And once you see that, you will see beyond the ordinary incidents, you will see that at the end of the day, we are all in this together, trying to deal with every day, with every change and turn of events.
( here we know nothing of when we leave- every day basically it could be THE day)

I practice gratefulness daily, I do journaling, meditate, run and still- at times I surprise myself of my thoughts, of this constant need to plan, to hold onto things, to dream, to even get what I want when I want it.

I was doing my journaling assignment today and the topic is ‘ what are the lessons drawn from this past month?’

guess the answer here is resilience- I learned to actually be more mature, more realistic, to be more self sufficient, to be more aware, consume more mindfully and know through experience, once again, that it’s Us that decide what to make out of a situation. As they say- if you receive lemons, make a lemonade.

what are your lessons this past month ?

be safe – be mindful- be loving 🥰

ps. Writing from my phone is not that bad after all 🙃🙏