Bangkok

Climate Control | How About Me? An African Violet not a Daisy

Climate Control | How About Me? An African Violet not a Daisy

The idea that the weather and people’s moods are connected is quite old. Do you agree? If yes, how does the weather affect your mood?

Why do I say I am an African Violet and not a Daisy? Well, from experience of travel and living in my home country, I have realised that I need the ‘right’ conditions to thrive, just like an African Violet, which I have never been able to grow, they are just too sensitive. I am physically somewhat fragile.

Traveling in India, I became violently ill on three different occasions over a three-week period. There seems to occur a kind of violent physical travail of some kind, for anyone going on a quest or seeking (spiritual) journey. A kind of leveling or karmic cleansing.

Traveling and living in Thailand, I was plagued by skin ailments which I shouldn’t have had, for example, Chicken Pox, which I had already had, apparently the chances of getting it twice are slim. Rashes of strange kinds appeared and a thing called Prickly Heat. I thought I was losing my mind. I felt as though things were crawling over my skin and scalp, like tiny microscopic bugs, the horror of nightmare imaginings. I contemplated, yes my mind had gone, like the stories of falang (foreigners), who had lost their minds and perpetually wonder Khaosan Road, or the French guy I met who had sold his passport in desperation for Baht, now stuck, wandering round and round.

khaosan_Road_Bangkok

I succumbed to bronchitis, food poisoning several times and even ended up in hospital because of my ability to be poisoned. I was visited by Gastroenteritis so many times, it became like a familiar friend.

So, coming from an African Tropical Climate, the above visitations were rather shocking, given that I thought I would be somewhat immune. Not so, viruses and bacteria thrived and colonised wherever I traveled.

Even at home, I really suffer when it is too hot during December, January and February. Autumn and Winter are my best times. So I function optimally it seems during those times, when I am less flustered, less agitated and more calm. Yes, climate does affect me, put me in the right spot on the window sill, with the right nourishment and care and I will thrive. Even though life seldom offers the right conditions, the trick is to manage and balance the in-between, staying in the moment by moment. I work on this day by day.

Image Wikiepedia Gnu Attribution Image by Mr Bullitt 2005

 

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Bangkok and Sri-Ayuttaya

guest house

Photos of some of my stay in Bangkok at Sri-Ayuttaya and a couple of other pictures. I wish to record how thankful I am to the owners of this Guest House, for their kindness and for visiting me when I was in hospital over Christmas, with what the hospital thought was a collapsed kidney. The Bangkok Mission Hospital is fully vegetarian, so that was a treat.  I would recommend Sri-Ayuttaya to any traveler and they made wonderful Thai curries for me, with Tofu. The joys of good vegetarian food. Where: Sri-Ayudthaya Soi 14, Behind National Library Dusit,10300, Bangkok Thailand.

How sad I felt, tethered to a drip, prostrate in white linen with Christmas Carolers singing downstairs. How traveling challenges you with a kind of violent physical purging, especially when traveling in Asia. Physical afflictions plagued me in both Thailand and India. My romantic notions of living in India soon smashed into reality when I become violently ill the moment I ate something in a Delhi eatery. My sensitive sensibilities protested wherever I went. Strange coming from Africa and a warm tropical climate. Just like the mosquitoes like moths, the bacteria and viruses saw a wonderful if unwilling host, territory to be conquered.

Wat Pho – Reclining Buddha Temple

reclining buddha temple

 

The Reclining Buddha

The Reclining Buddha

 

My Breakfast Spot

My Breakfast Spot

 

Tiger Temple

Tiger Temple

Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.  It was an incredible experience, there were tigers all around…this one turned his head and put my whole arm up to the elbow into his mouth…the monk quickly put a white powder on the rock and the tiger let go and turned to lick it…WOW AND WOW! Almost sans arm!

 

Where I used to sit.

Where I used to sit.

Mosquitoes like Moths

multidimensional2

Right, so I am in Bangkok, Annie and I are going to a Wat for some Vipassana Meditation teaching. The heat is simmering, creating waves in the air. We arrive. I am excited, expectant. I mean, great place, authentic teacher, what more could I want? It begins. So there is standing, intending to walk, walking, intending to turn, turning, intending to sit, sitting. I am rocking it, I am doing it. But, I did not factor in the mosquitoes the size of moths. Mosquitoes that hated me in South Africa, unless they were desperate and there was nothing else available, loved me in a yummy way in Bangkok. Everywhere I went I was trailing a smog of repellent, which had no effect on these big boys. Once sitting they honed in. So, my first undoing was the judgement of rocking it, the second undoing was the mosquitoes. So for those who are trying to meditate, there will always be undoings: if not the monkey mind messing with your mind, it’s the environment making you uncomfortable, or it’s icky emotions playing tricks. These are all undoings we face each time we sit to meditate. Beware of the mosquitoes like moths and remember the idiom: “the devil is in the details”. Just keep coming back to the breath, or whatever the focus of your meditation is, gently, kindly, just keep opening the door and dropping back in.

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” ~ Anita Roddick

Image from Creative Market purchased Epilogue Presentation.

 

 

The Felt Weight

09

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” 

― Nathaniel HawthorneThe Scarlet Letter

I can say, that for me the release after the weight comes in moments, some of which I record here and will add to in time:

Sitting in a green cafe amidst Bangkok, soft light, sparkling glass, tranquil surrounds, beans seen through a glass-topped table, staring into the tangle of flyovers, concrete, cars and every transport mode known to man, realising the reality of the tranquil space, insulated in the muted sounds and air-conditioning, my daughter beside me – “we are doing it”. Ahaa, the reality of the freedom and the choice. The lived felt juxtaposition of chaos and tranquility.

The back of a small motorbike, whizzing around a tiny Thai town, can do, can do. Having noticed a woman at the boarder crossing into Laos, now on the back of her bike. Once crossed I walked with the weight of my backpack digging into my shoulders, eventually finding a small place in Wien Tien with a lovely courtyard. Sitting there, I saw the same woman and spoke to her in Afrikaans: “Ja wragtig ek dink jy is van Suid Afrika, (yes, I really think you are from South Africa)”. And yes, she was, of all places to find a fellow South African. How we laughed till tears fell that day and the next. How these moments lent an appreciation for small things, a cool room, tepid shower water, someone to laugh with from home, and the possibilities. Ahaa the freedom, the absence of weight.

Moving, boxes and chaos, empty spaces, exhaustion, emotional disarray, loss. How to cope? Thinking, I can apply what I know from meditation, I can label the emotion, name it, then think of it as if a cloud, passing over and dissipating, a watershed moment, again and again I did this, applied to life’s streams it gradually became easier to be more resilient, to lose the weight of the felt moment, by accepting, by letting go and simply being, knowing, really feeling it in my pores, that this moment too shall pass. Ahaa, the absence of weight. Be and be still. Meaning unfolding.

A Bangkok Park – Swamped by birds, the moments:

bangkok park swamped by birds

 

Image purchased at Creative Market.