Cape Town

A Valley Existing for it’s Own Sake ~ Piketberg, West Coast, Western Cape

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SEEN ON THE DRIVE BETWEEN LAMBERT’S BAY AND PIKETBERG.

Coming through the Piekenierskloof Pass on the N7 tonight, at around 6:25pm, from Lambert’s Bay, the sun was setting on the Piketberg valley below. Awash with golden light, the grasses and farms shone in shades of yellow, brown and gold, with touches of red. The warmth of the light created a glow, seeming to suggest that the valley existed purely for its own pleasure and not for the farmers who had created the fields. There was a kind of vibration of peacefulness and perfection, as if nothing painful could touch such beauty, in that moment unsurpassed. The rounded forms of sheep, grey and moving, walking with direction and pure purpose, created eddies of dust, stirred by their feet, in the otherwise undisturbed and silent valley, interrupted only by the occasional windmill. A moment of breathtaking beauty, so sweet.

I attach the eerie sound of the windmill half forgotten from childhood holidays, spent on karoo sheep farms. City girl, listening, with eyes wide open, to the singing metal whine, in the cold and pitch dark:

“A recording of a metal windmill. You can hear the resonant sounds of a metal pole slowly going up and down, lightly rubbing on a metallic disc, changing in tempo, pitch and volume with the slight breeze that was powering the windmill.”

Here is a Vimeo video with the sound and the wind:

Listen to the windmill here from Freesound.org just as I remember it.


Image from Pinterest Kansas by Mary Sue Sander 

Song of Reminding Oneself – Bardo Song

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Here is an amazing song about the states of the Bardo, that I came across today, I just love it. It is about life and death. It reminds us to use everyday situations and experiences to improve and liberate our minds. I highly recommend the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

“Tibetan buddhism refers to the six Bardo’s as transitional states; the bardo of this lifetime, the bardo of dreaming, the bardo of meditation, the bardo of dying, the bardo of dharmata, and the bardo of becoming.” See VajraSound

This is also beautifully expressed at Levekunst where you can read the transcript of the audio.

Picture of spring flowers taken just outside of Porterville West Coast Cape Town September 2015.

This Precious Human Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama ~ Each Day Recite This

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“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Image from a walk along Trappieskop in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town: Sitting feet on the rock looking down.

The Endurance of Rock ~ Letting Go and Surrender

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Having always held to the idea of Rock as so exquisitely expressed by Kathleen Raine in 1951:

“There is stone in me that knows stone,
Whose sole state is stasis
While the slow circle of the stars whirls a world of rock
Through light-years where in nightmare I fall crying
‘Must I travel fathomless distance for ever and ever?’
All that is in me of the rock, replies
‘For ever, if it must be: be, and be still; endure.’ “

(from “Rock”, 1951)

I have come closer to the state of being of surrender and letting go, which for me has been an act of courage:

The 13th century Sufi poet Rumi uses a wonderful metaphor to bring this to life:

“Very little grows on jagged rock.

Be ground. Be crumbled,

so wildflowers will come up

where you are.

You’ve been stony for too many years.

Try something different.

Surrender.”

Indeed I am ground, I am crumbled.

Image from Wikipedia: The Red Disa which grows on Table Mountain – Disa uniflora blooms along the Aqueduct on the Back Table behind Table Mountain, Western Cape, South Africa

Mindfulness ~ “…paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment – non-judgmentally” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

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The Mindfulness Workshop will focus on mindfulness of breathing and mindfulness of the body. Awareness of the breath and awareness of the body. Mindfulness is about paying attention. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn: “…it’s about being where you are and knowing it.” He said, mindfulness is the awareness that arises through “…paying attention on purpose in the present moment — non-judgmentally.”

See Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1623709181248986/

Photo taken by Carol Knox.

Befriending Your Mind: Cape Town Mindfulness Meditation

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Announcing our first Meetup and Workshop: Befriending Your Mind: Mindfulness Training in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Learn Mindfulness Meditation. Book here:

Learn Mindfulness Meditation

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 1:00 PM

Location details are available to members only.

1 M&M’s (Mountain Meditators) Attending

Announcing our first Meetup and Workshop: Befriending Your Mind: Mindfulness Training in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Why Practice Mindfulness?Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for a short while, say a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits. Here are some of these benefits, which e…

Check out this Meetup →

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for a short while, say a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits. Here are some of these benefits, which extend across many different settings:

Mindfulness is good for our bodies: A seminal study found that, after just eight weeks of training, practicing mindfulness meditation boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness.

Mindfulness is good for our minds: Studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions, while reducing negative emotions and stress (pdf).

“Mindfulness changes our brains: Research has found that it increases density of grey matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy”.

Mindfulness helps us to focus: Studies suggest that mindfulness helps us tune out distractions and improves our memory and attention skills.

Mindfulness very importantly fosters compassion and altruism: Research suggests mindfulness training makes us more likely to help someone in need and increases activity in neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others and regulating emotions. Evidence suggests it might boost self-compassion as well, lacking a great deal in our daily lives and so important for improved quality of life.

Mindfulness enhances relationships: Research suggests mindfulness training makes couples more satisfied with their relationship, enables each partner to feel more optimistic and relaxed, and helps them feel more accepting of and closer to one another.

Mindfulness helps schools: There’s some scientific evidence that teaching mindfulness in schools reduces behaviour problems and aggression among students, and improves their happiness levels and ability to pay attention. Teachers with mindfulness training show “…lower blood pressure, less negative emotion and symptoms of depression, and greater compassion and empathy.”

Mindfulness helps fight obesity: Practicing “mindful eating” encourages healthier eating habits, helps people lose weight, and helps them savour the food that they do eat.

Payment can be made via EFT in South African rand: Reduced to R350. Contact me via email.

From the Greater Good – The Science of a Meaningful Life: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life ~ Dawna Markova

My thanks to Amy Cuddysunrise one morning:

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which came to me as seed, goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.
~Dawna Markova

(Thank you to Heidi Brooks for introducing me to this.)

Photo of False Bay, Fish Hoek, Cape Town, taken by Carol Knox – April, 2015.

Like “Sea Glass” One Recent Cold Morning

Reminds me of Heather Nova’s use of like “sea glass”, on a cold rainy morning, over the sea, vast, still, desolate. Here is the music to go with it – the wave came all the way from Africa “and all the things that I forgot that I could feel …all I want is to live as clear as sea glass”:

Photos of False Bay by Carol Knox one recent morning in April, 2015. View from my veranda.

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Daily Post | New Year’s Eve 2014 | Warmth

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I would like to share the warm feeling I experienced when looking out over my new home area in Fish Hoek, in the Western Cape, South Africa. These were taken on New Year’s Eve. You can see the Christmas tree at the top of the road. Response to Daily Post: Warmth

Photo taken by Carol Knox

 

Cross Country Ramblings 1

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The tiny Suzuki Alto is crammed with clothing, birds in a cage and a rabbit in a pet carrier. K had been freaking out because she felt it couldn’t be done. The journey is about to begin. We get a late start. Climbing the hill towards Hilton’s verdant green, I begin to feel the relief of leaving Durban behind. Something seems to fall from my shoulders like a veil slipping from my face. I can see more clearly, feel more intensely, dream more bigly, and hope more fervently. I am leaving behind KwaZulu-Natal and going forward and toward the Western Cape, literally and figuratively. As we progress towards the Free State, the skies become more blue and seem to occupy the windshield space with a hugeness not known in KZN. This big sky blue and white take my breath away. There are fields that have been planted and harvested both left and right of my vision. They glitter gold in the late afternoon sun. The golden glitter of the fields of the Free State I will not easily not remember. As I walked on the beach in the Cape Southern Peninsula, I thought of this and felt the need to write down some parts of the journey that have brought me to this destination, by the sea, with the view, with the loveliness of pink late setting suns, of whipping winds and cold sea air.

Images Carol Knox. The beach I walk on, approach five minutes from where I live, the sand fine like talcum powder, large strands of kelp almost the size of an arm strewn across the beach, white, windy, a wildness not quite tamed.

An earlier post: The Felt Weight where the relief from the weight can be likened to the slipping of the veil.

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

― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Shaking Up and Giving Up | A New Life

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Having encountered Dr Viktor Frankl in studying the Introductory course in Logotherapy at the University of South Africa, (UNISA), in  2012 and meeting Dr Teria Shantall at the workshop, I discovered my own vehicle to unfolding my meaning. At the time I was not sure how this would unfold. I really wanted to become a Logotherapist, but was not in the financial position to continue with the other courses offered at UNISA. In the time since then I have been in the process of paring down, which began with the letting out of my home. I moved in with my sister and then into a tiny “cupboard” as I put my house on the market, sold it and waited for my funds to come through. During this time of waiting and paring down, I worked on a fictional short story: Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes, and a small How to Guide on How to Reduce Stress, which I learnt how to publish as an ebook through BookBaby, which is nearing completion and due for submission to BookBaby for distribution.

As I struggled with the confines of the small space and many disruptions and lack of peace and quiet while living in my “cupboard”, I came to the idea to do a PHD to work with sufferers of trauma and PTSD. The underlying inspiration for this came from my relationship with Brett Pelser, who suffered so from depression and what I feel was PTSD. Finally and tragically he committed suicide. The idea also is deeply inspired by Logotherapy and Viktor Frankl. I really feel that trauma sufferers experience an existential crisis, their world no longer makes sense, they have no language to speak this senselessness, this schism in their very being and at the heart of their lives. My journey has taken me across the country to the Western Cape, which has the highest trauma statistics in the country. I have been accepted to do this PHD through UNISA and the Psychology Department. Things are uncertain for me in terms of creating an income to support myself and this study. I am staying in the moment, being positive and looking forward to new opportunities. A new life, a revealing and unfolding, the time is now.

Image of the beach five minutes from my new space. Courtesy Carol Knox.