Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last but not Least: Tribute to Indian Bloggers and Other Bloggers

"Whoa, I'm not done yet!" (Photo by Roberto Kaplan)

This is going to sound crazy, silly perhaps even, but I did not realize that today is the last day of the month for the Ultra Blog Challenge! No way! Weird! How can that be? Why did I think I had Wednesday as well? Time just snuck up on me. That's what happens when you write late at night I suppose! ;)

I had at least one if not two more posts I wanted to write for this month. In fact, one is in draft form entitled, Indian summer. Gosh, maybe I should retract the coffee/tea blog post, a prompt from WriteTribe but I already posted! Oh dear, what a dilemma! :(

Ok, I have an idea. In that case, I am posting two as I understand we can...right? ;) Well, now that it's the end of the month, who cares (anyway)?! ;)

A quote I wanted to share with all you, before you leave, from the beloved late actor, Robin Williams is the following: "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."

I think us writers know that, that "the pen is mightier than the sword" in changing lives, the world even. Isn't that what we want? I know I certainly do!

So I say: Write. Keep writing. Keep on writing. As you do, your life will change, and those of others around you.

My plan for October? Take it easy or rather easier, like posting when Spirit strikes me as I have been dealing with health challenges and pain for almost three weeks. Getting organized by catching up I hope on housework (like dishes) and papers.

I hope to 'see' a lot of you again soon, especially the regulars I follow and who follow me...love you all! And yeah, that includes all you Indie bloggers! ;) <3 ... I already feel sad to say goodbye, even temporarily to ALL of you, all around the world, as I feel a part of this blogging, this blogospheric community and tribe...it is a small world after all! ;) (heart shape as blogspot doesn't like my heart symbol unfortunately)

Tasty Teas Tuesday (in lieu of Coffee Day)

Photo of a coffee I had

Well! Since I missed International Coffee Day yesterday as I blogged about my recent award, I'll write about tea instead! Besides, it is my favourite drink!

Though I LUUUUVVVVVVV (that's "love") the smell of coffee just as much if not even more than the taste, I rarely drink it for various reasons: I seem to get acid reflux if I drink it, i.e., the "regular" coffee anyway (maybe not with espresso), and also it interferes with homeopathic remedies that I take. However, I occasionally treat myself to an espresso coffee, sometimes a tall, dark Americano ;) - couldn't resist that but true! - or a latte.

However, I would say my favourite drink would be tea. I find it amusing that I had actually been wanting to write about this and here is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Tea is calming, nurturing, grounding, and soothing for my soul and spirit. I sometimes remind one of my work colleagues that if I am ever upset in any way, then tell me to drink some tea. Better yet, serve it to me! ;) Tea just seems to have a way of settling me down. In terms of a feeling, I equate it in my imagination as being cocooned in a cozily-wrapped, warm blanket on a cool day...oh, while sipping hot tea of course! ;)

According to, my opinion, one of the supremacists of teas is David's Tea comparable to haute couture in the fashion world (http://www.davidstea.com/). Think of it like a royalty tea shop as there are eight types of tea with many flavours in each category. And here I thought that there were only white, green, herbal, and black teas. According to this shop, there are white, green, oolong, black, pu'erh (never heard of that one before!), mate, rooibus (I thought this was a type of herbal tea), and herbal teas.

Though unfortunately I dislike the taste of green tea - I will have it as part of an Asian meal, mainly Japanese though, I understand that it has a lot of major health benefits, including that of the heart.

Thus, I am "killing two birds with one stone" (an expression I do not like, but metaphorically means dealing with two things at the same time by blogging about Coffee Day as well as World Heart Day, well, both indirectly. ;)

People who drink green tea on a regular basis, may be less prone to developing heart disease as well as cancer. It can "improve some of the main risk factors for these diseases. This includes cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides." (http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/)

One of my favourite teas is Earl Grey tea - organic please as certain (non-organic) brands, even some of the most popular do not do it for me. In fact, they often leave a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Cream of Earl Grey is delicious too!

Even more pleasant and tasty is a tea known as 'London Fog, a drink so called because it is - think London, England here folks - made of Earl Grey tea and steamed milk that creates a foamy 'fog.' Ok, that's my interpretation! Check out the real McCoy here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_fog) Delish! (short for delicious).

London Fog tea can also be known as 'London Fog Tea Latte' or 'Vanilla Tea Misto' or an 'Earl Grey Tea Latte.' Stash brand of tea has a wonderful double bergamot early grey tea bag, but there are others such as Mighty Leaf which make for some great-smelling and tasting tea.

Their 'Vanilla Bean Latte' is fabulous and you can make your own version of the drink using this tea. David's Tea also has 'Bombai Chai Tea' as well - a note for you Indian bloggers - though I haven't had this one for awhile.

And speaking of which, I also love chai tea; see picture near bottom of this post. I know there are many variations; however, as long as it's steamy, but not too spicy, I am on good terms with it.

Since I haven't drank regular milk in years, I usually prefer almond milk or the like with my teas. And though I used to drink tea with sugar in it, I no longer do so, except for chai which prefers a bit of sweetener. In that case, I may use some honey or raw cane sugar or stevia or the like.

In terms of herbal teas, I would say my favourites are Organic India's Tulsi Sweet Rose which I'm drinking during the writing of this post as well as Stash's Licorice tea. The latter appeals to me 'cause, after all, I'm Dutch! Dutch stores are often filled with tons of licorice from sweet to salty, even double salted: Yum! ;)

Licorice tea is good for digestion while the sweet rose tea, according to my naturopath, is good for self-love. Who knew!? ;)

And in the summer, I prefer iced teas with a wedge of lemon or not.

By the way, does anyone know of a tasty darjeeling tea? I drank a really great brand in my 20's; however, haven't come across one that I like yet, albeit I drink it rarely now.

After you read this post and hopefully comment below, go ahead and make yourself a wonderful cup of steamy tea in whichever form you like. You deserve it! Don't you?

Which types of tea do you prefer and why? Does it change your essence as you are smelling it, tasting it, hmmm? Hmmmm.... ;)

...STAY TUNED...I HAVE A BRIEF TRIBUTE TO ALL YOU ULTRA BLOGGERS ... a bit later this morning, my time (for good reason) ;)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Another Award?! WOW! Woohoo!

I have been awarded yet another award by Usha Menon - my first Liebster Award - thank you Usha! ;) Check out her website for fun and entertaining clips including haiku at eccentricgrandmum (in case this link doesn't work: http://eccentricgrandmum.blogspot.ca/

I wanted to know more about this particular award as it wasn't self-explanatory to me. I discovered this website, http://wordingwell.com/the-liebster-award-the-official-rules-my-first-blog-award-and-a-few-personal-secrets-revealed/ in the process.

The Liebster Award - isn't it pretty? - was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere.

According to Lorraine Reguly's reearch of this award, this award exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. It has German origins – the word “liebster” has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart. and apparently boyfriend(!).

It follows similar principles as a chain letter, in the sense that it should be passed forward to a certain number of people. It can be misconstrued, depending upon your personal views, as either something wonderful (who doesn’t like awards?) or as an annoyance (a chain letter that involves work).

The choice lies within each of us to ACCEPT it, and continue PAYING IT FORWARD or to refuse to accept it, thereby STOPPING or INTERRUPTING the chain. However, if you stop the chain, you are only hurting yourself (keep reading for benefits you will have)!

Personal views play an important part in our choice to participate. Some people have refused to accept it and have made attempts to “break the chain”. There have been many people who have been nominated, yet refused to accept it, and now their blogs have been abandoned.

Variations have been made over time to the 'rules'. Marketing plays a role in accepting this award, as other bloggers are promoted. (This is not a bad thing, however, since people should help others!)

Other awards are a part of the whole meme. These include "One Lovely Blog Award," the "Sunshine Blog Award" (which by the way I was awarded last week by Usha as well), and the "Versatile Writer Award."

1. Post 11 facts about myself'
2. Answer the 11 questions given by you.
3. Tell them that they have been tagged by you.
11 Facts of Myself
1. Born in Europe and moved to Canada with my family when I was six.
2. Born a premature twin, am a surviving twin.
3. Have two older sisters and two younger brothers.
4. Work for a nonprofit agency full-time.
5. Am an ideas person, sometimes creating inventions in my life.
6. Have an eye for detail, good for editing at my day job and other things...
7. Am great at memorizing faces, voices, and numbers.
8. Especially love trees, mountains, and water from my European heritage.
9. Live in North Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Canada - north of Vancouver.
10.Used to have a cat as my 'baby.' Pets are family members too! ;)
11.See and collect heart-shaped objects. ;)

11 Questions for My Nominees:
1. Where were you born?
2. What city/town, country do you live in now?
3. What languages do you speak?
4. What is your favourite food?
5. Do you like to cook? If so, what is your specialty, i.e., favourite dish?
6. Do you prefer tea or coffee? If so, what kind?
7. What are your top three to five activities you like/love to do?
8. Do you sing or play an instrument? If so, what kind of music?
9. Have you ever performed in a school play or on stage?
10.When did you start writing?
11.What do you love to write about: favourite topic(s)?

Usha's 11 questions to the recipients of this award, including me:
1. Where were you born? A: The Netherlands also known as Holland for short.
2. Do you like to read? A: No, I don't like to read. I actually LOVE to read and wish I had more time! ;)
3. Which is your favorite book? A: ONLY one?! The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, written by Mark Haddon, a brilliant rollercoaster ride of emotions etc.
4. Do you believe in superstitions? A: No, I am not superstitious.
5. Do you like to have Burgers and Pizzas? A: Yes, if organic and I LOVE pizza!
6. Given a choice, which country you will like to visit? A: ONLY one?! Alaska to experience the pristine wilderness and see the Northern Lights
7. Which season of the year do you like and why? A: I LOVE spring for so many reasons: milder temperatures, longer days, flowers, trees blossoming...
8. Which newspaper do you read? A: I browse through several at work, though I prefer my local community newspaper for news and events.
9. What is the first thing you like to read in the newspaper (i) Politics (ii) movies (iii) Gossip (iv) Fashion A: None of the above! I like to read - I follow - one comic strip and read my horoscope for the day just for fun.
10. How many languages do you know? Name them. A: English fluently, a few words in Dutch, and a bit of Spanish and French.
11. Do you believe in reincarnation? A: Yes, I never did before until I had certain incidents that made me a believer.

The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND you choose to accept it, write a blog post about Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on yours.
2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a 'widget' or a 'gadget.' (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. nominate 5 to 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (as they might not have ever heard of it).
Though I would love to nominate both Vinodini Iyer and Shailaja Vishwanath, I know you two have already received the award and, no offense, I would like to nominate a few people who may not have received it thus far.

I would like to nominate the following bloggers for the Liebster Award:

1. Judy Yaron
2. Asiya Fathima
3. Nisha Sanjeev
4. Candess M Campbell
5. Penny McDaniel

Ok, now your turn. Have fun! ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Soulful Sunday: Fave Posts - Mine and Yours

Photo I took of smarties (candies): see the heart-shaped one? ;)

It seems that the top favourite post of 'mine' was....drum roll please...

"No, I do NOT Speak Indian!" by my guest blogger and friend, Vinodini Iyer! Woohoo! It's no wonder as her writing is brilliant. With replies from both myself and Vinodini to the people who commented, it added up to a lot of comments. And it seemed a bit heated. It made for an interesting post, just with the responses themselves! ;) So thank you Vinodini Iyer for provoking controversial discussion.

Here is a video entitled, "I M Indian" - thanks to Corinne Rodriges - that perfectly illustrates the point Vinodini was attempting to make in her guest post, though I do suggest you read that as well.

I have met quite a number of other brilliant Indian writers through my blogging challenges. They amaze me with their language and some of the words they use. Their writing is so captivating! I find quite a number of them who have twisted storylines. Please understand that this is a compliment. You all surprise me with your superb writing...yes, that includes some of you male bloggers too: Anmol Rawat, Shashank Tiwari or Shanx, etc. (I don't have your names memorized yet, though actually I have with a number of Indian bloggers which rather amazes me. Must be my chanting in Sanskrit! ;))

The second most favourite post was World Gratitude Day: Part 2 (#MicroblogMonday) inspired by the writing of another blogger, Nabanita Dhar - thanks again dear! The post featured remarks that were uplifting, positive, joyful, and well happy, just like the song! I highly recommend listening to the video at http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/world-gratitude-day-part-2.html. ;)

Though the In Honour of National Tree Day post didn't receive as many replies, it did however bring forth rather unusual and intriguing ones. For that in and of itself is worth a read! (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/in-honour-of-national-tree-day.html)

My own writing favourites were World Gratitude Day: Part 2 because I love that song: Read the post! (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/world-gratitude-day-part-2.html) ;) Also, though I loved receiving two awards that I wrote about last Friday, it was fun to figure out what I wanted to write about in terms of 17 points about myself.

And some of my favourite posts that I read this past week:

Shailaja Vishwanath wrote a brilliant piece that I just love as sometimes it can be a challenge to always be happy. It reminded me of a poem I "should" have written when upset about an incident that I experienced this past week. The phrase, "Plastic Voices, Plastic Faces" came to mind and I knew intuitively that that was the title of a poem (the one I should have written)! Maybe I will, later. ;) See http://shailajav.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/unreasonable-amwriting/.

I loved Nabanita Dhar's theory on gratitude which inspired my post early in the week (see above). Check our her blog at http://nabanita-blacknwhite.blogspot.in/2014/09/a-theory-and-some-gratitude.html#.VB-37ldGiQE.

Judy Yaron's posts usually make me laugh. These two are guaranteed to do the same for you: http://www.cutthecrapsolutions.com/#!Actually-I-wanted-to-write-about-SEX-/clxq/B71C3993-506C-40C7-949C-3DE4BAD7127B as well as http://www.cutthecrapsolutions.com/#!I-used-to-be-a-maleperson/clxq/D50DE852-4FDC-4505-8DDD-C1933E83AEF8.

What post would you most favour of mine this past week (other than Vinodini's which we know you all love)? And why? (The feedback is good for me to learn to improve my writing and/or blog!) ;)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Smorgasbord Saturday: 4th week of Ultra Blog Challenge

Photo taken from Roberto Kaplan

Finally, here’s a recap of my Ultra Blog Challenge this past week starting from Monday, September 22nd to Friday, September 26th. Except for my guest post on Thursday about misconceptions of India, the themes this week seem to be focused on happiness and gratitude, including for that of trees and autumn.

World Gratitude Day: Part 2 (#MicroblogMonday) features a video of ‘Happy’, an upbeat, fun song that I wanted to share. Thus I tied it in with the theme from yesterday’s post on gratitude. (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/world-gratitude-day-part-2.html)

Tantalizing Tuesday: Tree Days is a short piece about autumn equinox, the first day of autumn, my second-most favourite season. Autumn is a splendorous season, although unfortunately only in season in certain parts of the world. (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/tantalizing-tuesday-tree-days.html)

In Honour of National Tree Day was posted in keeping with the theme of trees from yesterday.where I copied a piece of writing when I was in school. (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/in-honour-of-national-tree-day.html)

"No, I do NOT speak Indian!" is a special post as a blogging companion and friend wrote on the misbeliefs of India which I was surprised many people had. I only have one out of the several she wrote about. ;) (https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4481012230858682867#editor/target=post;postID=7320907518553952528;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=3;src=postname)

Frolicking Fun Friday: Two (2) Awards?! was a writing about two awards I received in one day that came out of the blue. I also shared a number of items about myself that people can read about in order to learn more about me. ;) (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/frolicking-fun-friday-two-2-awards.html)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Frolicking Fun Friday: Two (2) Awards?!

This post was originally titled, "Talented Thursday: Supposedly Me!" but then I changed it as I posted Vinodini Iyer's story yesterday.

WOWWWWW! I just (accidentally) discovered that I have been nominated for not one, but two awards! Two blogging awards!! And on the same day, from one blog post! Woohoo!!

One is the Sunshine Award - not sure what it means though I love the name of it. I'm guessing spreading sunshine through writing perhaps? Uplifting someone's spirits? Making someone smile? (I later discover it's about "spreading smile and cheer." I'm pretty close, not bad eh? I got the 'spreading' part right! ;)

That award reminds me of my post the other day with a photo of me where I have a wide grin on my face, actually laughing - http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/world-gratitude-day-part-2.html After all, laughter is contagious and well, smiles can be too sometimes! ;)

The other award I got awarded (couldn't resist that play on words) is The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

I'm told that my blog (amongst a few others nominated) is "inspiring, entertaining and written with sincerity." I'm tickled pink, yet again! ;)

Both awards have been bestowed upon me by a relatively recent member of my blogging or blogosphere tribe known affectionally as 'eccentricgrandmum' (according to her blog) - http://eccentricgrandmum.blogspot.ca. I think I will start calling her 'Grandma' soon as she oozes sweetness. I just sense that about her.

Her real name is Usha Menon. Check out her fun, sometimes funny, blog in which she writes about various topics. She has a love for haiku poetry which she is naturally brilliant at. I so admire this - totally impressed - as I find that such a challenge to write! ;)

Now for 17 things about me (as part of receiving this award)...not sure why 17, but here goes:

1. I was born in Holland also known formally as 'The Netherlands' in a small town near Belgium. However, I did live for awhile in Amsterdam before moving to Canada.
2. I was born a twin who died shortly after birth, and consider myself 'monkey in the middle' in my family of two older sisters and two younger brothers. (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/08/middle-child-you-are-special-todays.html)
3. I love nature, especially trees and flowers - someone else better take care of the plants than me though! ;) - and also animals, especially cats and lately dogs due to my favourite dog, golden labrador upstairs where I live.
4. I love to look at the moon and stars in the night sky, and the clouds and/or blue sky during the day.
5. I see heart-shaped objects in a lot of things including nature.
6. I love pizza and green beans - NO, not together! ;) Thin crust pizza please to taste the ingredients!
7. I LOVE music, always have, always will especially and including electronic (as it is meditative, puts me in a meditative type of trance) and 'new age' and East Indian with harmonium, sitar, tabla instruments, not necessarily together. ;)
8. I love to sing and have sung from tenor range to soprano, mostly though as an alto in choirs. Alto is my favourite as I love harmony and to harmonize.
9. I love to chant in Sanskrit. One of the best ways for me to feel peace, joy, love, bliss! ;)
10. I love to dance - creative, spontaneous dance to all kinds of music. I have been considered a "Dancing Queen" as in ABBA, one of my favourite rock bands. ;) I can even dance while sitting with my head bopping and/or my toes tapping!
11. I love looking and feeling young-at-heart though chronically I am a senior, albeit a young one next year! However, I'm open to 'senior' discounts! ;)
12. Though I tend to be more on the serious side, I love to tease, joke around, and have fun. Thus, all my winks like so: ;)
13. I love to inspire and empower others. I am a natural 'encourager' and 'supporter' of people to live their life's purpose and passions.
14. I love the creative and performing arts, including the expressive arts - music and poetry are some of my favourite loves. Essentially creativity and self-expression are important to me which is why I love writing/blogging.
15. I love movies. My favourites are comedies, dramas, and documentaries. I love books too: biographies and autobiographies, fiction, poetry ...
16. I get words a lot intuitively, spontaneously, claircognizantly. I just 'get them'...I don't see or hear them. I was told to write by a psychic years ago. (See my profile for details.)
17. I'm told by many that I have a great voice and wonder if I should have explored being a radio announcer or the like.

Follow these instructions if you receive the award(s). You have to
(1) write a blog to acknowledge the award(s). Then (2) copy and paste the photos on your blog/post and (3) write 17 things about yourself.
(4) Nominate six to eight bloggers who you find fit for the award. (5) Inform all the nominees that they have been nominated. You need not nominate every one for two awards. The Sunshine Award represents spreading smile and cheer. That's it! Have fun! :)

I would have nominated Usha Menon with both awards if she hadn't nominated me! :)

DRUM ROLL PLEASE ... I hereby nominate the following bloggers, in alphabetical order, for both awards for various reasons including courage, wit, sincerity, humour, creativity, and twisted plots. I know I missed some bloggers whose writing I also admire. I haven't even gotten to the men yet! ;) Maybe next time?

Amy Bovaird, Asiya Fathima, Judy Yaron, Nabanita Dhar, Nisha Sanjeev, Penny McDaniel, Shailaja Vishwanath, Vinodini Iyer

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"No, I do NOT speak Indian!"

Photo of Taj Mahal from Wikipedia

In lieu of my recent Talented Thursday theme, I have a surprise, a special surprise for you! I have a guest blogger who is writing on my behalf, in place of me! Woohoo! :)

This female blogger has become a dear soul 'sista' (sister) of mine since meeting her in the blogging world through another blog challenge. We met through her stories - I was SO fascinated by them - the way she wrote with sharply curved storylines that reminded me so much of Agatha Christie's writing style - a mystery writer - in particular Murder on the Orient Express, the first book of hers that I read: you never knew 'whodunit.' (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whodunit).

Vinodini Iyer is a blogger, writer, poet, design professional, and a 'lost' painter based out of India. She calls herself a lost painter because, although she was academically trained in the Fine Arts, somewhere along the way she lost her touch with painting. Writing is a childhood passion she reconnected with a few years back and there's been no looking back for her ever since. She blogs at http://vinodinii.blogspot.in/.

As a child she would haphazardly scribble amateur poetry on the last page of her school notebooks, in particularly boring classes. Her mother would in turn find those pieces of writings and compile them in a file and send some of them to the local newspapers to be published in the kiddies column.

She started blogging about six years ago, but has turned into an active blogger only a few months back after participating in a few blogging challenges. One of these challenges is where she met me.

She writes about her random experiences in life. She is fascinated by the unknown mystical and pursues the same with a childlike wonder. She considers herself a gypsy at heart, a gypsy who loves writing about her journey of life through various voices, sometimes her own, sometimes of her characters! They could be in the form of essays, poetry, or short stories. Of late though, she has been veering more towards short stories. One of her short stories is about to be published in an anthology.

I'll let my blogging sista take over from here ...
Elly and I have known each other for about two months now. While she enjoys reading my stories with twisted endings, I’m in awe of the tremendously informative blog posts she writes with careful research to back her write-ups with. Since we had decided to do a guest post on each other’s blog, after she obliged me with a wonderful story on my blog on August 1, 2014 (http://vinodinii.blogspot.in/2014/08/my-newfound-friend.html), it is time for me to invade Elly’s blog space. I chose to talk about India in this post for Elly’s apparent interest in the topic.
While India boasts of a rich and vibrant culture, there are a few misconceptions the world has about India. This observation has been made on certain generalized assumptions one comes across while interacting with people outside India.

India has also been ridiculously and falsely perceived as a poverty-stricken nation. Ridiculous assumption, specifically because the world is well aware of the royal heritage and background that this country originates from. Our historical monuments, rich cultural resources, and lifestyle are a testimony to the wealth of culture and riches this nation boasts of. So, the documentaries and photographs depicting the dreary poverty in India that you might have chanced upon are only one side of the story. This is the land of the aristocratic Tatas, Birlas, and Ambanis. Go on, Google them if you haven’t heard about them.

People visiting India for the first time, at times are pleasantly surprised or rather disappointed to see Indians commuting by cars and buses as opposed to elephants. Fortunately technology spared the elephants long back, sent them back to the jungles, where they belonged, and gave us vehicles that ran on fuel. Also, a few people come to India with the hopes of seeing snake charmers on the streets, but, well, the snake charmer has probably become redundant long back and has switched to selling cheap cellphone covers outside the railway station.

At times, it is the fair-skinned Indian baby born in a foreign land that evokes awe, for the color of its skin. Especially, since it is another general assumption that Indians have either black- or brown-toned skin. Well we sure are proud of our honey-colored complexion, but just as there are different hair colors like red-heads, brunettes, and blondes elsewhere in the world; in the same manner Indians also have a wide variety of skin colors and facial features. And hence, we do have fair-skinned people around along with a wide assortment of wheatish, honey, and black skin. The best part is that our sharp features blend beautifully with almost all skin tones. I say this at the risk of sounding vain and immodest, but the fact remains.

Photo from students.ou.edu

A few months back, I met a lady from Sweden who was confused when I told her that not all Indians speak Hindi or Sanskrit. We have 29 states and 7 union territories in India which speak 18 different languages! And yes, for people who thought there was a language called ‘Indian’ (yes, I’ve heard that too!), you got it wrong. There’s no such language. Just as there is no language called ‘American.’ Hindi is our national language. Also, ‘Hindi’ is not a religion and ‘Hindu’ is not a language. Also not all Indians are Hindus; there are Indians who follow other faiths like Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism. Most of the educated Indians these days are well versed in English.

My whole intention of writing this post for Elly’s blog is to enlighten the ones who are genuinely interested in knowing more about India, but have been thriving on half-baked information that the media feeds them with. There are many more such myths and illusions that people outside India carry that I have not delved into here, or else this post would have gone much longer than acceptable limits of maintaining the interest of the reader.

Elly, thank you so much for inviting me to ramble on your blog space. For once, I did not write a thought-out story, but just went with the flow of words to come up with a blog post that I thought would hopefully add some value to your blog.
I am particularly honoured that Vinodini is gracing my blog, zesting it up with a bit of spice and writing about a topic that has always intrigued me. Thank you Vinodini for sharing this enlightening post on India. Namaste.

I encourage you readers to share your thoughts in the comments below to support my wonderful friend in her attempt to write in my style.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In Honour of National Tree Day

How can I NOT pay tribute to that which I love: trees! It's National Tree Day after all! I absolutely LOVE trees! Do you? Do you touch them, hug them, talk to them, and even 'bless' them? I do!

Yes, I may be 'crazy' doing that, but that's okay. My inner child is doing that 'cause she adores trees and why should I stop her? She isn't harming them!

Look very closely at the photo below: What do you see? Tell me... ;)

If you guessed a heart shape you were right! I see heart-shaped objects so often, including in nature. (See my blog post dated February 17, 2012: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2012/02/communications-from-my-dead-twin.html).

Here is a story/prose poem(?) I referred to in yesterday's post on autumn that I wrote when I was about 15 or 16, entitled, "Autumn Glory":

The countryside with its rolling hills, fields and pastures are full of colour and beauty as autumn appears. The trees await the moment for their leaves to turn into ripening and artistic colours of brilliant yellows, bright oranges, blazing reds, and deep rust browns. A touch of charm is added to the proud trees making them more lively and dignified. Gentle breezes ripple the leaves showing off their dazzling colours and boasting to the other trees about their dignity.* (I think I meant ‘splendour.’)

I stand bewildered and spellbound as I gaze up at the trees with awe. My spine tingles and I hold my breath as I look up at a tall, sparkling, all-red coloured maple tree. I am thrilled and delighted by this inspiration.

The leaves murmur among themselves, bravely preparing for the coming of winter. Then, as if by magic, the leaves drop onto the ground leaving the trees bare.

I used to like scuffling through the dry leaves as I walk and hearing the crunch of the crisp leaves. Now as I learn the magnificence of nature and the roles in which the trees play, I realize that I shouldn’t disturb the leaves but let them die peacefully.

The melancholy trees moan and mourn for the loss of their leaves as winter approaches. The trees shiver from the cold as they are unprotected. So the trees hibernate instead, until spring blooms again.

This is what autumn is like to me

Do you love trees? What is your favourite and why?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tantalizing Tuesday: Tree Days

Photo I took of a maple tree in 2012

Guess what day today is? It's the first day of autumn equinox when day and night are approximately equal in length in terms of time.

During an equinox, the Earth's North and South poles are not tilted toward or away from the Sun, and the duration of daylight is theoretically the same at all points on Earth's surface (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox).

This is what it looks like from the sun's and earth's perspective (from Wikipedia):

'Autumn' also called 'Fall' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autum) is a season best experienced in parts of North America, that is, Canada and the United States.* Autumn is well-renowned in parts of Ontario (a province in Canada) in particular, though it is also revered in various areas of British Columbia (BC) and Alberta (two other provinces), especially in the Rocky mountains. In addition, the Laurentian mountain range in Quebec and some of the eastern-most provinces like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (PEI), harbour glorious autumn landscapes.

A photo of a maple leaf I took two years ago

*According to The Weather Network (http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/canada/british-columbia/vancouver), “\The English who settled the eastern American seaboard brought the word ‘Fall’ with them from the homeland. The English who stayed home eventually adopted the word ‘Autumn.’

Do you like or love the season of autumn? If so, where do you like to experience it? Where in the world has beautiful autumns?

Tomorrow, I will share with you what autumn looks like from the eyes of a 15- or 16-year old child. So stay tuned as tomorrow is another type of tree day!

Monday, September 22, 2014

World Gratitude Day: Part 2 (#MicroblogMonday)

Photo of me a few years ago taken by Roberto Kaplan (vision therapist). (I was obviously very happy, tickled pink, being photographed while being silly playing with my turquoise feather boa.)

Yesterday, Sunday September 21st was World Gratitude Day!

However, don't you think EVERY day should be gratitude day in terms of Law of Attraction (LOA)? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_attraction_%28New_Thought%29 for details.

In terms of helping us get to that state, see the video below: simply titled "Happy", this song says it all! How can you NOT be/feel happy when you hear that song?! Even if you do not understand the words - here they are -
, the rhythmic beat is so upbeat, uplifting, inspiring, and well, happy is it not? How about 24 hrs of it? ;) (http://24hoursofhappy.com/)

If you google the name of the song online, you will see my comments beneath as follows in relation to someone hating this song.

P.S. This post was inspired by two wonderful writers from India: thanks to Nabanita Dhar - http://nabanita-blacknwhite.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-theory-and-some-gratitude.html#comment-form as well as Shailaja Vishwanath in relation to this being my first MicroBlog Monday: http://shailajav.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/write-about-what-microblogmonday/. ;)

I am linking this post to http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2014/09/what-is-microblog-mondays/: Check it out!

Also linking this to http://ultrablogchallenge.com/.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

World Gratitude Day (Part 1): Fave Posts of Mine and Others

It seems that the two favoured of my blog posts I wrote this past week were the video on Frolicking Fun Friday: Painting with Fire Part 2, though Talented Thursday: Walkie-talkie You! brought in a lot of "Oh no. That's me" type of remarks. I wasn't judging anyone, only sharing information, educating others if you will.

However, I also received some rather creative captions for my picture that I posted on Wordless Wednesday: Caption Wanted. I was rather surprised and somewhat disappointed that the Michael Jackson impersonator didn't garner more views and/or comments in Tantalizing Tuesday: Child MJ Impersonator. (By the way, if anyone finds the video from 'China's Got Talent' with Canadian subtitles, please DO let me know so I can post it!) One of my shortest posts this week, "100 Words: Write to Change the World" brought more comments than I expected.

What post(s) would you most favour of mine this past week (Monday to Friday)? And why?


In terms of other blog posts I read this past week which were many, these are a few that I really liked:

Usha (as in Usha Menon) whose name I love as well as her nickname 'eccentricgrandmum' posted Haiku and Humour which I found quite amusing! :) (http://eccentricgrandmum.blogspot.ca/2014/09/carpe-diem-ghot-writer-27-haiku-and.html

Penny McDaniel again wrote a lovely post, Bee Here Now. I appreciated the creativity and colourfulness of the words and images: (http://pennymcdaniel.com/bee-here-now/#comment-1471)

Has there ever been a Mrs. B in Your Life? by Judy Yaron as she shares story with wit and humour: a delightful read (http://www.cutthecrapsolutions.com/#!Has-there-ever-been-a-Mrs-B-in-your-life/clxq/450AA109-FAC8-46DB-BED7-1419661EAA9B).

I could say this one is in a league of its own: The Creep by Vinodini Iyer as her posts are, well, read them and you'll find out! ;) (http://vinodinii.blogspot.in/2014/09/the-creep.html)

Other posts of a serious and courageous kind were Francene Stanley's - can't seem to find it - and Amy Bovaird's Climbing Mountains: My Passion - Pursuing a “Can Do” Mindset (http://amybovaird.com/pursuing-a-can-do-mindset/), the latter about her dogged determination to climb a mountain no matter what, that is, with a lack of night vision!

As today is World Gratitude Day, what are you most grateful for? For me today: blogging community of friends around the world! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Smorgasbord Saturday: 3rd week of Ultra Blog Challenge

Picture I drew with pastels of my 'inner fire' during Expressive Arts therapy class

Ok, here's a recap of my Ultra Blog Challenge this past week starting from Monday, September 15th. Except for the post on Thursday, the theme this week seems to be either creativity or communication through writing, singing, and talking, as well as nonverbally, with fire.

100 Words: Write to Change the World was my early week post prompted by WriteTribe (blogging challenge). Notice the proud badge on my blog? ;) My take, a different perspective, is on one of a number of inspired quotes we were to choose from. I chose one from 'the King' himself. No, not Elvis Presley or Muhammad Ali or even Michael Jackson, but Martin Luther King. (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/100-words-write-to-change-world.html)

Tantalizing Tuesday: Child MJ Impersonator was originally meant to be posted as 'Talented Tuesday' or 'Talented Thursday.' It was something I felt compelled to share after seeing it the previous night online on Facebook. If you like/love Michael Jackson, you will love this, I think. ;) If you have time, view both videos; one is quite short. (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/tantalizing-tuesday-child-mj_16.html)

Wordless Wednesday: Caption Wanted is self-explanatory. A photo (I took) with a caption wanted by you, the 'audience', my readers to stimulate your creativity. (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/wordless-wednesday-caption-wanted.html)

Talented Thursday: Walkie-talkie You! is a twist on the word "talented" that had me and others learn a new word: nomophobia. A photo depicts a phenomenon that is replacing internet addiction. What will be next as technology is increasing exponentially? (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/talented-thursday-walkie-talkie-you.html)

Ending with Frolicking Fun Friday: Painting with Fire Part 2 which featured - finally - a video of the fantastic fire performers, Paint with Fire that I initially posted two weeks ago, but with photos only. The photos served injustice to their creative performance that I witnessed - not the one in the video. However, it will give you a sense of their show. (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/frolicking-fun-friday-painting-with.html)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Frolicking Fun Friday: Painting with Fire Part 2

YouTube video (Vancouver Music Video Production by Hemstock Films: http://www.hemstockfilms.com, http://www.facebook.com/hemstockfilms, Artist: Deorro Song: Five Hours Website)

Eureka! My friend Linda who came with me to see this group two weeks ago at the Shipyards farmer's market in North Vancouver BC, sent me this video. It is of the same group of fire performances (except for one female) at one of the beaches in Vancouver, BC. I had posted photos that didn't do their performances any justice, "Frolicking Fun Friday: Painting with Fire" (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/frolicking-fun-friday-painting-with-fire.html)

Wow! Isn't that more like it? Doesn't video just make performances more alive?

What do you prefer: photos or videos and for what context? How does the essence of the image/experience differ? Does your essence change: do you think/feel any differently when viewing them?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Talented Thursday: Walkie-talkie You!

Photograph from internet
I love to invent words from time to time, though with increasing technology and inventions, new terminology is also being added to our everyday language.

Take this word for instance: nomophobia. Have you ever heard of it? If you were to guess what it means, would you do so correctly? No matter, here's a BIG clue: 0http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomophobia

Did you guess right? The word 'nomophobia' is actually made up of three words: 'no' plus 'mobile' plus 'phobia' to make what looks like a compound word. It essentially means a fear of being without your phone.

Isn't that a seemingly reality as cellphone addiction is becoming more common. I wouldn't be surprised if it is replacing internet addiction.

In Chongqing, China (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chongqing), a 30-metre (100-foot) stretch of sidewalk was specifically created for nomophobics in a theme park. Can you believe that?! I wonder about other parts of the world!

This sidewalk lane has the word "cellphones" along with a symbol for visual display. The lane is separated with two thick white lines.

Being a form of a 'walkie-talkie' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkie-talkie) - us humans - would require a certain amount of control and discipline to talk and walk at the same time, preferably in a relatively straight line. That may be considered a talent.

So much in fact, that the post-secondary school near my work featured a 'road safety' challenge with orange traffic cones, lane lines, and the like as part of student orientation last week. I would have participated except that I recently got my new cellphone and didn't quite know how to work it just yet. I think it may have been an enlightening experiment.

Are you a 'walkie-talkie?' Are you able to walk without hitting people, poles, walls, and the like? (Apparently, that's quite common.) If so, you are talented, though I wouldn't recommend it! ;) <3

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Caption Wanted

Quick: What caption comes immediately to mind when you see this photo? Let me know and I will post my answer after I receive a reply from a number of you. ;)

*Note: A double entendre for "wordless" in the title as in no words, or less words than usual - the latter, my definition, which applies in this case. ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tantalizing Tuesday: Child MJ Impersonator

I saw this last night on FB (Facebook) and thought I would feature it here.

The video above is of Xiao Bao ("little treasure" in Chinese) on China's Got Talent, a show on TV (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%27s_Got_Talent). He started performing when he was only two years old, though he declares that he has been dancing since he was in his mother's belly. Xiao Bao was born premature at two pounds.

Google his name and/or check out this brief video clip of him:

You may or may not believe in reincarnation. I didn't until certain incidents occurred. I wonder: could this be Michael Jackson (MJ) being reborn? After all, this boy was born almost a year after MJ's death.

What do you think: do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?

Monday, September 15, 2014

100 Words: Write to Change the World

Prelude: I usually write what I know and this quote is the one that speaks to me loudest: "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." - Martin Luther

"Inspired Elly" (photo by Roberto Kaplan)

I desire, no, I aim to change the world - I admit it - by the stroke of a pen or keyboard, by the words from my heart.

Congruent with my vision of scribing poems and songs - a form of rap or slam poetry perhaps - and more with children. Not just any words, but inspirational words. Words that come to me like...what?!...instant recognition, instant knowing. Like there is no doubt in my mind. It is clear. Crystal clear.

These kids’ lives will change, the world will change, one beat, one poem, one song, one heart at a time. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Soulful Sunday: Favourite Weekly Posts - Mine and Others!

Photo by Roberto Kaplan

It seems that the two favoured of my blog posts I wrote this past week were the following: my Tuesday posting about the Supermoon (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/tantalizing-tuesday-supermoon-no-5-in.html) which garnered some interesting commentary as well as the last in a series on Robin William's death (http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/part-3-aftermath-of-brilliant-comics.html), the latter on the stigma of mental illness and how I overcome it.

Friday's post, "LOA: Suicide, Homicide, and Me," was somewhat unusual in that I reversed Thursday's and Friday's posts and also I had forgotten to ask a question on both days. I did so later. Thus, the remarks on Friday's post reflected around my courage for telling my tale online (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/part-3-suicide-prevention-week.html).

Was I justified initially in feeling upset and angry about not receiving comments hours after posting? This in response to my raw exposure of my soul and in observation that some fiction writers received lots of replies on their themes of suicide? That is, they didn't pour their heart out like me, leaving it raw, open, exposed, and vulnerable. However, I later realized that it was Friday night, the start of a weekend here and a Saturday on the side of the globe. Maybe that was the reason?!

All but one of my postings this past week ended up being on the topic of suicide. And I read some great posts too, though I didn't have as much time nor record them with an exceptionally busy week:

Vinodini Iyer’s scintillating writing on the theme of 'darkness' –
http://vinodinii.blogspot.ca/2014/09/the-power-of-black.html. Her blog post inspired me to want to write on that about the circles under my eyes - LOL - which could be a due to a lack of sleep and/or allergies. ;)

Penny McDaniel’s post on water which sounded so poetic. I wished she had written poetry instead to counter the photos she posted (http://pennymcdaniel.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-water/#comment-1435).

What post would you most favour of mine this past week, Monday to Friday? And why?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Smorgasbord Saturday: 2nd Week of Ultra Blog Challenge

Photo I took of an artistically swirled latte

After this week, especially yesterday's post, I feel like I could use a break - a cup of coffee (espresso-type) drink or rather, a BIG cup of soothing Earl Grey Tea please!

This week was rather interesting with me discovering that it was World Suicide Prevention Day which I never heard of before. The following is a really great and simple, easy-to-read site with some startling facts and stats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Suicide_Prevention_Day. This year the theme was "One World." Suicide Prevention Week was also this week.

My posts were as follows: Here’s a recap of my week’s posts starting with Monday, September 8th:

I had originally intended to title this post as "Mental Health Monday..." but it would have been too long a title and it was long enough already. I felt and wanted it to be part of this series that I had started after the death of Robin Williams, a beloved American actor and comedian.

Instead, the post became "Part 3: Aftermath of a Brilliant Comic’s Death: Funnyman AKA Robin Williams" which was about the stigma of mental illness. I know and have known a number of people with mental health issues, primarily depression, but also PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, etc. They are still people, still humans, just like you and I!

Me and my love of the moon and stars at night prompted my second(?) posting on the sensational Supermoon, "Tantalizing Tuesday: Supermoon No. 5 in 2014" where I – with that beautiful photo I wish I took – wrote about the relationship to the Law of Attraction (LOA) which was another theme of mine this week in part, as well as a phenomena known as the "observer effect" which thrilled me when I first read it a few years ago.

My original "Word-less" Wednesday was transformed to "World Suicide Prevention Day & Suicide Prevention Week" as I had just discovered that they were the themes for that day and the week. I was astounded by some of the mind-blowing stats, sad to hear.

This with a photo I took which I absolutely love – the same is hanging at my workplace for now - touched ever so slightly on the three main criteria for suicide, then onto a brief story about my life on one of the factors, followed by a brief mention of two potential lifesaving supports (though one may not be apparent generally under certain circumstances).

I changed Thursday’s post title to "Self-Love: Suicide Prevention". This post was actually meant to be part 3 with Friday’s post as Part 2; however, I switched them around for some reason though can't recall now. (I'm sure I had a good reason though.) I spoke about why I wanted to die most of my life, until a certain point.

Friday’s post and title was changed as well. Instead of Part 3, I changed it to LOA: - short for Law of Attraction - Suicide, Homicide, and Me. This posting was relatively easy to write physically, but I was surprised, shocked even, that I still had emotion come up at the end after I posted it. I thought I had forgiven, dealt with the situation, and moved on with a clean slate. After all, it happened years ago!

I realized I didn’t add questions to Thursday's and Friday's Part 2 and 3 so added those before I post this one!

Again, thank you to my robust readers, faithful followers, and courageous commenters! Love you all! :) <3 (There may be better words to describe my readers and commenters, but that's what came to my mind immediately and I can't seem to think of any others. If you have better descriptors, let me know and I may consider changing it!) ;)

Friday, September 12, 2014

LOA: Suicide, Homicide, and Me

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approx- imately one million people - that's 1,000,000 - around the world commit suicide yearly or every 40 seconds, more than that of homicide and war combined: astounding! Furthermore, they expect that the rate will increase to every 20 seconds by the year 2020: unbelieveable!

Those are definitely sad statistics! I could have been one of them if my intent to self-harm was strong enough. (Read the last two postings for details.) I'm grateful I never did in the end. (Is that a pun?!)

However, before I started believing in myself (even remotely), an incident - condensed version - occurred that would eventually change my life.

Long story short(er), I attracted not one, but two men who were willing, able, and capable of killing me and almost did. Luckily I escaped both times unharmed, at least physically.

The first time, in my early 20's, was in relationship with an alcoholic (though I didn't know that till towards the end of or after our relationship ended) who was obsessive in that no one else could "have me." I think he felt he "owned" me as if I was his property.

If you ever come to know this about your relationship or that of another person, take my advice and run, don't walk, to the nearest exit (i.e., out of the relationship). Those are the one of the most dangerous types of men.

My boyfriend was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality (based on a character in a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson) about a split personality now known as 'dissociative identity disorder.' He could be friendly, charming, sweet and kind one moment, and full of fury with explosive anger or rather rage, the next. Definitely scary to be around! I repeat: AVOID at all cost! This is a warning!

One night - middle of the night or very early in the morning - I awoke with a fright to, I believe if I recall correctly, someone calling my name and/or a sound and/or knock at my balcony. I lived on the fifth or sixth floor if I recall correctly. He had somehow climbed (to my amazement) to my floor level.

When I opened the balcony door, he was intoxicated, angrily cursing and shouting at me. Shortly thereafter, he had a kitchen knife at my throat. (Oh yeah, I'm not kidding you!) A short while later, he attempted to either suffocate me with a towel/washcloth from the linen closet or strangle me - I wasn't sure which and I wasn't sure about to find out as I somehow escaped, ran to my friend's apartment on another floor or did I run to the superintendent? Was I ever terrified: I thought that was the end of me.

It was miraculous that I survived uninjured. I truly do not know how or remember how I escaped. Just typing this brings up visceral sensations in my body. The body always remembers...there is such a thing as cellular memory: "a variation of body memory, the pseudoscientific hypothesis that memories can be stored in individual cells" (as per Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_memory

And despite that particular incident, I didn't learn my lesson the first time round so the pattern repeated almost 10 years later. This time I attracted an obsessive personality from a particular patriarchal culture...think possessive.

This boyfriend similarly could be charming - since then I do not trust 'charmers' - and was pleasant and easy-going for the most part. However, one time he wanted to have intercourse with me. I refused as I didn't want to with him. So he started throwing me around slamming me against a wall at least once. And then, all of a sudden in one instant, he grabbed me, threw me onto his bed, and started choking me, strangling me with his bare hands.

Again, I thought: "This is it!"

By fluke, out of nowhere, I remembered that I had chocolate in my pocket and that it was a hot day. I can't believe I was able to even think straight in that moment! I stuck my right hand in my short's pocket - it's funny now when I think of this - and put my hand smothered with melted chocolate up to his face which was pretty close to mine. He let go and I ran off. I'm surprised he didn't lick my hands! ;)

Ok, you have to make fun of something like that after it happens as it's too serious and traumatic an incident.

Though I have since forgiven both men in my heart, not instantly but I did in time - feeling butterflies in my stomach as I'm writing this for the first time. Interesting that the hardest person to forgive was myself.

It was a few years later when I realized with sudden clarity what had happened and why. Read yesterday's post where I answer that. ;)

Was I a 'victim' of my thoughts/feelings/circumstances? How did the Law of Attraction play out in this (true life) story?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Self-Love: Suicide Prevention

Substitute the phrase, "I see my true colors" - colours in Canada - "and that's why I love me" in the picture...

Ok, are you ready to hear my lesson concerning suicide? And what I believe may be a lot of other people's lessons, primarily women (considering the culture/society we live in)?

One of the biggest challenges in my life that I have had to deal with is myself. That may sound strange, silly even, but I am serious about that.

When I was growing up, primarily in my teens, I wore a lot of dark colours: primarily navy blue, grey, brown, and black. A lot of 'cold' colours (on the colour wheel that is) that you might term "depressing."

I hated the way I looked: my hair, my body, my personality (or lack of it it seemed), my voice (as it came out flat and monotonous) and well, practically everything and everybody. I literally hated life - mine - and for a big chuck of it, I had wanted to die more than anything else, even more than my will to live at times. I had so many reasons going for me, some of which I stated above.

Since I had wanted to die most of my life in part to be with my dead twin sister - see blog posting dated August 25th, 2013 entitled, "Part 3: In a Funk - Blue since Birth?!" (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2013/08/part-3-in-funk-blue-since-birth.html), it made sense that I would attract people in my life with a similar vibration. That will become clear in the next part of this series that you will want to read. According to the Law of Attraction (LOA), similar frequencies respond in kind to similar vibrations or vibes (for short) that are being transmitted.

Think of it this way. When you walk into a room, a store, a meeting, or a group, do you notice the energy of the place? Can you feel or sense it? Does it feel heavy or light? Is there a sense of tension or peace? That is along the lines of what I am talking about.

And by the way, I developed or rather was aware that I had a gift of this since my late teens, early 20's. I was able to walk into a potential home or workplace and know immediately if I wanted to live or work there just based on the vibes I felt. Too bad, I didn't have that sensor with two ex-boyfriends whom I will write about in Part 2 of this blog post. You’ll definitely want to read that!

Ok, I digress here, onto my story or morale:

I realized years later that what I literally needed to know and learn the most was to love myself. As crazy as that may sound, you heard me - read that - right, correctly. I had to learn to love who I was, to learn to accept myself for the person I was, and that began with getting to know me.

Let me tell you, it has been a long journey. Though not 100% perfect in this regard, I can certainly declare now, years later, that I love myself, at least for the most part. I'm not perfect – no one is – and yet I have learned to love the person I am: I have come to know myself quite well, especially after reading so many personal development books since my 20's and having participated in numerous personal growth workshops that gave me better awareness, understanding, and acceptance of my unique and authentic self.

I have come to realize that I am a beautiful spiritual being: I have a kind and gentle heart (for the most part, as again I am not perfect). I say that also because I am aware that, if I had to, I would kill in order to defend myself. If I didn't have that instinct, I would be an easy target or victim. Trust me when I say that. I have come to understand this at a very deep level through one or two extremely challenging trials, i.e., experiential exercises as part of a workshop. I know what I'm talking about.

If you aren't willing to stand up for yourself, that is, fight for yourself, your life, someone else might not either. You could be an easy target for abuse and/or death. - Would you agree? Why or why not? - This is what I sense intuitively, know claircognizantly, at a deep level.

And my story in the next part to this sequel will demonstrate that...so stay tuned! ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day & Suicide Prevention Week

Photo I took of a 3D sculpture on the wall opposite Army & Navy Department Store on East Hastings Street (also known as 'the Downtown Eastside (DTES)' or the poorest neighbourhood in Canada in Vancouver, BC. (I actually wrote an inspired piece, Beauty in the DTES based on that image: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2011/01/beauty-in-dtes.html)

Did you know that survivors of suicide have an increased risk of suicide, whether the loss is a family member or friend or even a celebrity such as Robin Williams?

I discovered this due to an online training program I participated in at work, offered by Relias Academy (http://www.reliaslearning.com/). As part of World Suicide Prevention Day and also Suicide Prevention Week, there are specific courses, namely "Suicide Assessment and Treatment" which I completed yesterday and "Suicide Screening and Risk Factors" which I finished today (http://academy.reliaslearning.com/).

Both courses had some rather interesting facts on a topic society generally avoids. My recent blog posts on mental health in follow-up to Robin William's suicide beginning with my posting on August 24th of this year (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/08/part-1-aftermath-of-brilliant-comics.html) attest to this avoidance, indicated by the follow-up comments I received - thanks to those of you who did - and also to the no comments on my direct postings on suicide: "Taboo Topic: Part 2 - Who are You(th)...to be Alive?!" on February 23rd (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/02/taboo-topic-part-2-who-are-youth-to-be.html).

The courses refer to the difference and the connection between 'suicidal desire,' 'intent,' and 'capability.'

From my own experience, I had suffered from suicidal desire most of my life until about the time I accepted my dead twin sister's death (see "Part 3: In a Funk - Blue since Birth?!" on August 25th of last year, http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2013/08/part-3-in-funk-blue-since-birth.html); however, I have also since then a few times as well, especially one Christmas a few years ago (without going into details for confidentiality's sake), and when feeling incredibly alone with no one to talk to after moving to Vancouver, BC from Toronto, Ontario.

Though I have, as mentioned above, had suicidal ideation as many other folk - it's more common than you might think - I never made plans or preparations to do myself in. Thus, I have never intended to actually commit suicide.

Having a support system is really important, even if it's just one person to talk to and confide in. I learned that valuable lesson after feeling the depth of despair months after moving here.

Another potential lifesaver is having a sense of purpose, though this is probably a remote possibility for someone contemplating suicide as they experience a tunnel vision of their life. This is only one possible factor of several that could deter someone from committing suicide; see the link sites above.

I have several stories I could relate here, but prefer to keep this blog post short(er). One might leave you in shock, thus "Word-less" Wednesday would have been very apropro. However, I will consider whether to share this week or in the following one or two weeks.

Let me ponder in the meantime while I await your comments/feedback on the above and/or this question: Have you every contemplated suicide and/or do you know anyone who has?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tantalizing Tuesday: Supermoon No. 5 in 2014

Photo credit: "Behind Stawamus Chief in Squamish" courtesy of Tim Cyr

Did you see that big, beautiful, bright ball in the sky last night, at least in this, my part of the world? That was our fifth and final Supermoon this year.

I find the moon sexy: circular (i.e., curvy), full, enlightened, and mysterious, and also with a bright glow. Doesn't that sound feminine and divine? ;)

Do you believe that there are more accidents/deaths/suicides during a full moon, maybe even more so with a Supermoon? Or did we just as a mass collective decide that? That is, did we believe that, agree to it, and thus create that? "What?!" you might ask, "Are you crazy?!" Perhaps, but not in this regard! ;)

You see there is at least one, if not two laws or principles that operate here: One is the 'Law of Attraction' also known as (aka) 'LOA.' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_attraction_%28New_Thought%29)

The other is known by various names including the "observer-expectancy effect", "a form of reactivity in which a researcher's cognitive bias causes them to unconsciously influence the participants of an experiment" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer-expectancy_effect) or simply known as the "observer effect" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_%28physics%29).

Essentially, that means that what you focus your attention on acts in a way that you expect it to! You basically see and/or get what you expect. Isn't that phenomental? Astounding even?

Hopefully this will clearly indicate that I am not crazy when I stated the above comment: the one where you thought perhaps that I was "off my rocker?" ;)

Also see my previous posts from July 15th for Rumi and/or Michael Jackson fans (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/07/lunar.html), and Part 2 the following day for devotees of yoga and/or meditation (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/07/part-2-lunar-effects.html).

What do you think of the observer effect? And theories around the full moon including the Supermoon?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Part 3: Aftermath of a Brilliant Comic’s Death: Funnyman Robin Williams

The stigma of mental illness is real (as are so many other things too of course!). It’s a cold fact in this seemingly harsh world at times that we live in.

I say that as I personally know (and knew) people who suffer from various forms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and the like.

I generally speak to and treat these people as “common folk” that is without special treatment or gloves. I don’t think they wish to be treated or handled any differently, other than perhaps their uniqueness noticed!

What I notice is that what is a lack in one area – mental health – is made up for so-to-speak in another area. I am beginning to believe that this may apply to most, if not all disabilities, whether it is a physical or developmental disability, a learning disability or mental health challenge, an intellectual disability or the like.

It seems, to me at least, that there is a creative genius lurking somewhere within these so-called “mental health disorders.” Robin Williams was an example of this and indeed, people who knew him or got to him remarked that he was “a genius” or “brilliant.”

Here are some other personal – to me – examples: a man, I know, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who asks deep and brilliant – read that as ‘creative’ – questions. A health care professional recognized him as having eidetic memory, something which I had never heard of before, and is apparently extremely rare in adults. His experiences are both visually and auditorally, particularly with conversations. (Google this if you are interested for details as there seem to be problems with some of the links.)

I know at least four people with bipolar disorder, formerly known as "manic depression" a more negative label in my opinion. One is a daughter of a friend of mine who demonstrates brilliance in the area of creativity, particularly in the arts: she is able to sing opera; paint; knit, sew and other such endeavours.

Two women – one was introduced to me through the other – who have become dear friends of mine. One I see more often, the other more as an acquaintance as her life is so busy. Both are extremely brilliant in thinking of wonderful and sometimes outrageously creative ideas. They are also funny and a bit quirky too, though the latter sometimes comes out more in their style of outfits than anything else.

And you won’t know who they are as I do not connect with them through social media to keep their lives private. That is what they wish and prefer probably due to the stigma of mental illness. One is more concerned about her career though. The other probably couldn’t care less as she is self-employed and doesn’t have the time nor interest for social media!

This is only one of many reasons why we need to speak more openly as mental illness is so prevalent in our society. One out of five people have or will suffer from some form of a mental health disability in their lives. That’s a high percentage of our population!

Do you and/or do you know anyone with a form of mental illness? How do others respond to you and/or to these people you know?

By the way, as an aside, tonight is a Supermoon (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/07/supermoon.html). Do you think the full moon especially affects people with mental health disabilities, people who may be more "sensitive?" I wonder...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Soulful Sunday: Favourite Weekly Posts

"Inspired Elly" photo taken by Roberto Kaplan

Again, as Kathy Hadley suggested in an email about the Ultra Blog Challenge, I am recapping with my favourite post and the posting that was most commented on this past week.

My post on "Frolicking Fun Friday: Painting with Fire" would have been my favourite if I was able to download (or upload?) the videos. Since that was unsuccessful, I would say my favourite post this past week is a tie:

"Word-less" Wednesday was not only easy to post as it was such a short posting, but it also can require some creative thinking on the part of the reader.

My tied favourite was "Talented Thursday: Blogging AND...?!" as it featured a fun and potential interactive video, and an animated photo that depicts me perfectly: LOL. ;)

However, my blog post that came with the most comments this past week (that was meant for Monday) was not surprising a commentary about mental health, featuring in part Robin Williams who committed suicide about a month ago. A touchy, sensitive yet important topic.

Thank you again to all of you who read my posts and especially those who commented on my posts this past week. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Smorgasbord Saturday: 1st Week of Ultra Blog Challenge

As per Kathy Hadley's email suggestion about Ultra Blog Challenge postings, I have come up with some of my own versions of themes for the day. They may change slightly per week and/or per per month; however, my intent is to post shorter blogs as much as possible:

(1) I understand how much time and effort it can take to read and/or comment on blogs (2) how much time and effort for me to read and/or research, write, download information/images/videos, and post blog postings (3) I prefer to be outside on especially nice days such as the bright sunny one today, and (4) have a life other than blogging, though don't get me wrong, I do enjoy it!

So here is a recap of my weeks posts (if I am interpreting this correctly):

Amusingly, I started the Ultra Blog Challenge on the wrong foot (though apparently not the only one), when I wrote about "Another Ultimate Blog Challenge" only to realize, though similar in name, it is slightly different. ;) I wrote about why I reconsidered another month of daily blogging and why perhaps you may choose to too!: http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/an-ultra-blog-challenge.html

I met five new people that day - thank you for your comments - two whom I had met prior via the Ultimate Blog Challenge! ;)

And Tuesday, thinking it was Monday after a long weekend, was originally going to be "Mental Health Monday" as a theme in lieu of somewhere where I read 'health' was the theme for this month. I entitled it, "Part 2: Aftermath of a Brilliant Comic’s Death: Funnyman Robin Williams": http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/part-2-aftermath-of-brilliant-comics.html. It is a slightly longer post (though not too long) with some facts about mental health and a fun-filled video featuring Bobby McFerrin and Robin Williams, the late beloved actor and comedian.

"Word-less" - a word I created (as I love inventing words) - Wednesday displays a photo I took last year with a very brief post, my shortest in fact: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/word-less-wednesday.htmlNo comments that day, thus far! ;)

On Thursday, the theme was "Talented Thursday" and I changed the title to end with, "Blogging AND...?!" which you will understand when you read it: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/talented-thursday-blogging-and.html. This was from my perspective as a blogger who is a singleton.

Last but not least, for "Frolicking Fun Friday: Painting with Fire," I wrote about something entertaining that I thought you might enjoy, albeit I couldn't seem to download the videos my friend took: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/frolicking-fun-friday-painting-with-fire.html

"Smorgasbord Saturday" is named as I am recapping my posts that span a variety of subjects.

Thank you to my robust readers, faithful followers, and courageous commenters! Love you all! :) <3 (There may be better words to describe my readers and commenters, but that's what came to my mind immediately and I can't seem to think of any others. If you have better descriptors, let me know and I may consider changing it!) ;)