Author: Samantha Jones

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I’d been on a nostalgic road trip with my ex. This was no regular ex, but the love of my life, my ex-fiance. my best buddy. He was the closest I’d come to unconditional love, with him I felt truly loved, but of course I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I was young and stupid. Now this was a very surreal feeling. Firstly, I found it strange that he was in my consciousness at all as I hadn’t thought or spoken about him in a long while and hadn’t seen him on Facebook. But when I woke up it felt as real as it did 6 years ago and tears trickled from my eyes. It got me writing – writing about my guilt and regret, my feelings, my resentment, anger and love. I also wrote in gratitude for all the beauty we shared. This sense of sadness stayed with me throughout the day and I wallowed in it a little, I played some Snow Patrol – that always reminds me of him and makes me …

Update on ‘A Month Without Facebook’

So I did it, a whole month without Facebook, and to be honest it felt good. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be and I was far more productive, focused on things that are important to me (as I mentioned in  my previous blog). I felt freer and strangely more empowered. Now I am back on Facebook, and already feel myself falling into old patterns again, and it’s only been a week. Hmmm… The problem is it’s too easy to get sucked into looking at something and then suddenly an hour has gone and I’m browsing through people’s random lives, filling my mind with unnecessary clutter (a similar effect as watching too much TV). This ‘stuff” then subconsciously stays on my mind, and I woke up this morning realising I’d dreamt about someone I hadn’t seen since schooldays. I don’t like this feeling of something having control over me, and I don’t want my mind unknowingly filled with other people’s crap. So I should just delete my account and be done with it… …

Put Me In Your Suitcase…

Let me help you pack ‘Cause you’re never coming backNo, you’re never coming backCook me in your breakfastAnd put me on your plate‘Cause you know I taste greatYeah, you know I taste great Devendra Banhart “At the Hop” The first time I heard this song was on a mix tape that my friend made me. I was leaving Johannesburg and moving back to my hometown Durban. Paul was the Creative Director at the company I worked for – I always remember making fun of him. He was this 40-something, glasses-wearing, non-drinking, vegetarian that lived in hip Melville and listened to strange folk music. I always thought he was cool in an odd way and loved hanging with him, as friends. At the time I was in my early twenties – young, a little self-obsessed, partying and definitely still eating meat. Put me in your dry dreamOr put me in your wetIf you haven’t yetNo, if you haven’t yetLight me with your candleAnd watch the flames grow highNo, it doesn’t have to tryIt doesn’t have to try I never …

Hanging at ‘always a+’ Cafe

I love finding new cafes to hang out at, and since I’ve moved to my new hood, the Cultural Centre area in Kaohsiung, I’ve been lucky enough to come across many hidden little gems. I sometimes feel like I’m back in Japan and love it. This morning I met my student at always a+ cafe, just 5 minutes up the road from my house. They offer brunch (open at 8am) and lunch sets – I had Korean kimchi style ramen and my student had Japanese udon noodles. Simply delicious and reasonably priced! It came with a choice of coffee, green or black tea. I really like that there’s so much light inside the cafe and the counters provide an ideal workspace. And there is, of course, free wi-fi. They also play great music (this morning was a repeat of The Lumineers album unplugged), at just the right volume. I’ll most definitely be back for a visit soon. If you want to check it out, here’s the address, it’s just off Zhongshan 2nd Road in Qianjin …

A Month Without Facebook

Well 7 days so far, and counting. Inspired by Leo Babauta of Zen Habit’s “A Year of Living Without” blogs I decided to take on the challenge. He is one of my favorite bloggers and every month he writes a beautiful piece on something he’s lived without – be it sugar, sitting all day, restaurants, coffee or all day internet, every blog is insightful and inspiring. I have had a break from Facebook once before but only lasted about a week until I was lured back in. There are of course some things that I love about Facebook, especially as an expat living abroad, but lately it’s felt more like an energy vampire than a friend. This past week I have been super productive. I feel like I’ve had more time (and energy) to focus on things that I love doing or that I’ve wanted to start but have procrastinated over. So far this week I’ve: – started going to early morning chi kung classes in the park (followed by some yoga) – started learning Chinese – been blogging again – …

Food. Shelter. Love.

What else do you need? I really enjoyed this recent Ted Talk by Mathias Lefebvre (aka Piano Man). His message is simple yet profound. And although it sounds idealistic and completely impossible in this current state of living, it’s most definitely something to aspire to. He asks us this question – what do we truly need to be happy in our lives? It’s a lot, LOT less than we think.

The Power of ‘Shreem’

I’ve started doing my daily mantra meditation again and it feels good. Having experimented with  different mantras over the years, I seem to be pulled back to the one that my guru Christine (beautiful yogi and friend) gave me years ago. It was a gift offered to me after I completed by Yoga Teacher Training in 2008. At the time I was told that we shouldn’t share our special mantra with anyone as it would lose its power (I think this is traditional TM meditation practice), but I feel that the mantras are universal and all-powerful, so why can’t they be shared? We are, after all, one. What is Mantra Chanting Simply put, each mantra represents a certain sound frequency (energy) that dates back to ancient times. Mantras work on the principle of ‘like attracts like’, so the more you chant a specific mantra, the more those qualities will be developed in you. Mantras are vibrations, and as we know, we are made of energy, each vibrating at a different frequency – mantras have the power …

Taste Totally

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately… mostly how I can get more of it in my life. The thing is, it seems balance can’t be forced. After all, it’s a natural law of the universe. I love this story from “The Book of Understanding” by OSHO: “In paradise one afternoon, in its most famous cafe, Lao Tzu, Confucius, and Buddha are sitting and chatting. The waiter comes with a tray that holds three glasses of the juice called “Life,” and offers them. Buddha immediately closes his eyes and refuses; he says, “Life is misery.” Confucius closes his eyes halfway – he is a middlist, and asks the waiter to give him the glass. He would like to have a sip – but just a sip, because without tasting how can one say whether life is misery or not? Confucius had a scientific mind; he was not much of a mystic, he had a very pragmatic, earthbound mind. He takes a sip and he says, “Buddha is right – life is misery.” Lao Tzu takes …

Banana Coconut Millet Porridge

Today is the first day since I’ve been living in Kaohsiung that I’ve started to feel the Winter chills. My morning smoothie just wouldn’t cut it this morning. Time for some wholesome, nourishsome millet. This hearty breakfast left me feeling warm, perfectly full and satisfied. Oh and did I mention it’s dairy and gluten-free. What you’ll need: – About 1/2 cup of organic millet (be sure to pre-soak it for a few hours – drain & rinse) – water – x1 banana – coconut cream/milk – desiccated coconut flakes – x1 cinnamon stick & 3 clove buds – flax, sunflower & pumpkin seeds – honey Simply cook the millet as per the instructions, adding the cinnamon sticks, cloves & desiccated coconut flakes to the mixture from the start. Once cooked – about 20 minutes (I like to keep a little liquid in the mixture as it dries up a bit once left to stand), remove from the stove and add some coconut cream/milk, seeds, sliced banana & a dash of honey if you so desire. Yummm… enjoy :) …

Easy Guide to Oil Pulling

I thought I’d share a quick and easy guide to Oil Pulling as I find there is so much information out there, that it can be a little overwhelming. My previous post is more detailed with lots of links and updates on my experiences to date (view it HERE). I’ve been Oil Pulling for the past 5 months and can definitely say it has benefited me. I’ve used sesame oil (which is recommended) and coconut oil. I would recommend starting with sesame oil (try that for about 6 weeks) and then switch to coconut for a few weeks and see how you feel. We have to remember that each one of us is different, with varying constitutions and past/current ailments, and therefore will experience different results. By nature, sesame is a more warming oil, and coconut has a cooling effect on the body. 1, 2, 3 Oil Pull Me 1. Take 1 tbsp of organic, unrefined sesame/coconut oil first thing in the morning (you can have a sip of water first if you need to). 2. Swish it …

Oh-So-Yummy Dragon Fruit

One of the things I love about living in Asia is the variety of different fruit and vegetables available.  A quick pop down to the market and you never know what you might find! The Dragon Fruit (aka Pitaya) is my latest addiction. I love this tropical superfood because it tastes oh-so-good and is extremely nutritious. As you can see in my pic, it’s covered in a scaly bright pink skin, which is actually thin and peels off effortlessly. The entire inside is edible and consists of white or pink sweet tasting pulp and tiny black seeds (my favorite is the pink pulp variety). I could feel it was good for me, especially my digestion (I had proof!),  so I researched more. Here’s what I found out… – Dragon Fruits are rich in antioxidants and contain a multitude of nutrients. What’s notable is the Vitamin C content – a whopping 9mg per 100g. Typical nutritional value per 100g: Nutrition Amount Water 82.5- 83 g Protein 0.159- 0.229 g Fat 0.21- 0.61 g Fiber 0.7- 0.9 g …

(Ha) + (Tha)

People often confuse yoga for some sort of religion. They couldn’t be more wrong. It is in fact, as Yogi Bikram Choudhury states, “the science of living life correctly so that we can get to that point , our ultimate destination.” So why does Mr Bikram refer to it as the science of life? “Science helps us understand the physical world. Yoga helps us understand not just the physical body but also the mind and the Spirit. Yoga helps us understand nature; and nature helps us understand the voice of our spirit, or God.” The Symmetry of Hatha Hatha Yoga refers to the practice of yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises) and relaxation. In Sanskrit, Ha means ‘Sun’ and Tha means ‘Moon’. Isn’t that just perfection in itself? I’ve known this truth for a long time, but I love the way Bikram expresses it so simply and aptly in his book, Bikram Yoga. Let me share it with you… “In nature there is a strong symbiotic movement between the Sun and the Moon, a balance between …

What Ananda Taught Us

A great Buddhist story from a book I’m reading (Awakening The Buddha Within) beautifully describes the balance between effort and effortlessness. It goes like this: “By the time Buddha became ill and died, he had been teaching for 45 years and many of his disciples had become enlightened. One who had not was Buddha’s ever-present attendant, Ananda. This might be seem strange because of all the disciples, Ananda had heard every word that the Buddha taught and memorised them all. But, due to his busy schedule, Ananda had little time for his own solitary meditation practice. Several months after the Buddha’s death, it became imperative for Ananda to become enlightened. The First Council was to take place in order to recite and codify all the teachings spoken by Buddha. Ananda was essential to this meeting, however, because he wasnt enlightened, he wasnt qualified to attend. Ananda did the only thing he could do under the circumstances: he went into retreat, a meditation marathon, striving round-the- clock for enlightenment. Finally it was the morning of the …

Lonely Isn’t a Dirty Word

It’s simply a momentary state of being. It’s not the unspeakable demon that we sometimes prescribe it to be. It doesn’t need to be suffocated or suppressed. Perhaps it just needs to be recognised and nurtured. Maybe it just needs a little love. Not the kind of love that’s found in externals, but rather that deep, deep wholeness that we all feel oh so deep within. You know what I’m talking about. You know that you really are loved. You really are beautiful. You really are perfect, just as you are. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself otherwise, but deep down you know. “Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  ~ Rumi I know that sometimes it can feel like you really are alone and infinitesimal in this big, colossal world. But don’t forget that every day, every step, every thought you think and feeling you feel, Mother Earth is there supporting you. Enveloping you in her sturdy grounds …

Hello Taiwan, Nice To Meet You

I have finally arrived in Taiwan and set up home in the island’s second largest city, Kaohsiung. I chose Kaohsiung for a number of reasons. 1. The weather. To put it simply, its HOT. I didn’t realise just how hot until I got here but I’m a Durban girl and I need my sunshine. 2. The location. It’s located down South in close proximity to the beach and mountains. Oh yes, oh yes. 3. The parks. There are beautiful parks located throughout the city. 4. The yogi community. Kaohsiung sometimes gets a bad rep because of the pollution down here, but to be honest I feel like I can breathe better than up in Taichung, for example. The streets are wide and it’s more spacious. There’s also a lot more happening down here. So far I’ve hiked up Monkey Mountain, ventured down to the beach, been on numerous scooter rides throughout the city, done yoga in the park, ended up in the hospital at 2am with my poorly housemate, found my favourite iced matcha latte …

Do Something Good

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety, or a hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. Try to be at peace with yourself and help others share that peace. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.” – Dalai Lama (Awakening the Buddha Within, Lama Surya Das)

Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge

Deepak is doing it again…. this time he invites us to journey into our hearts with his free, three week guided meditation series focusing on Miraculous Relationships. “Fall in love with yourself. Fall in love with life.” I love Deepak Chopra and I love his teachings. I have read many of his books and done many of his 21-Day Mediation Challenges, taking something new from each one. Although I aim to meditate daily, sometimes this just doesn’t happen. I find that when I’m in a lull, doing Deepak’s Challenge is exactly what I need to get back into the swing of it. Give it a try, whether you’re a beginner or regular meditator you’ll love it. It’s not too late to join – register HERE See what Deepak has to say about the Science of Meditation: Oh and did I mention that I was lucky enough to meet Mr Chopra himself on a random train ride from Haridwar to Delhi back in 2010. He sat right next to me on the train and I got …