Gong Xi Fat Cai

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy Chinese New Year.  Gong Xi Fat Choi.

I’m so blessed and fortunate to have a holiday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  I didn’t really have time to stop and reflect on the turning of the calendar year from 2011 – 2012 as I was off having a whirlwind family visit to Australia.

I’m grateful for the fact that this holiday falls at the same time that one of my best friends has come to enjoy the end of a week long yoga camp in Bali.  She’s had an extremely difficult year experiencing the loss of her father and dealing with a range of other issues and took it upon herself to take a trip to Bali  so that she could reconnect back to her inner self.  Her hubby is happily taking care of her two children and she asked me to join her for the remaining three days of my holidays.  I’m sure that the planets have aligned to bring us back together and this time is just as important for me to reconnect with my spiritual self.  So here I am all alone without my children or husband on my way to Bali.

I experienced a giant shift in myself this year when I returned to Jakarta and am pleased to note that I’m finding time to sit and practice my meditation for 30 minutes every night.  This I have found has had a huge impact on the way in which I view the world and the gratitude I feel for everything.  I also believe some planetary alignment has benefited my change in mood as I really have come into this new year awakened.  In the present.

Since I’ve got this weekend to reconnect with my beautiful friend, who happens to be my soul sister.  I’ve also got the chance to reconnect with myself and to reflect on what elements of my being in the present moment will be a focus for this year?  How will I encounter this year’s hurdles and make the most out of life?

1. Becoming a Better Mother.

I’m currently reading ‘Buddhism for Mother’s’.  It’s a book dedicated to being present as much as possible for your children and recognizing presence and patience, but also about being kind to yourself.  I just need to listen more and be there more for my girls and promise to do this each day when I finish work.

2. Speaking Chinese.

I’m determined to begin my Chinese lessons again.  Having the ability to speak two languages has brought immense wealth and understanding to my life.  In the future I’d like to live in China and I’m visiting Shanghai in March so I really want to be able to converse even if it is ever so briefly with the people there.  Steven has promised to help me with this endeavor and we will identify one hour a week to our sessions.

3. I intend to be 65 kg

This is a difficult task for me and it means exercising and being conscious of what I eat.  Being healthy and choosing only good wholesome foods.

4. Being a vegan when and where possible.

I’ve already began this new year on Bridghe’s vegan challenge.  This has taught me an enormous amount about eating consciously and living consciously.  How much thought do we actually give to the food we are eating and the people or animals that have contributed to it?  I hope that after completing this challenge I will have the knowledge to make better and more informed decisions about what to eat.

5. Getting my Class Blog Up and Running

I have assigned this as my school wide goal so really need to make sure that this happens in the next few weeks.  Step one almost complete step two and three yet to come.

6.Being Kind

I always come back to this each year and am constantly trying to remember it.  If you read this post and I’m unkind or I could show more kindness please boot me up the bum.  I love that Shruti mindfully opens the doors for people, my friend Gabby looks deeply and intently at people when they are talking, and my friend Libby always respects and shows interest in what people have to say.  Remember one mindful act of kindness a day. (at the very least)

7. Being Creative

I’m always encouraging my kids to be creative and do so admire how they just sit and immerse themselves in it. Jabiz has promised some work on this one, so I hope he can find the time in his busy schedule.

8. Sharing with the community

I’m so blessed to have the life that I have and all of the opportunities it brings me.  I want to share my knowledge with some children who are less fortunate than me to ensure that they at least develop a love for reading.  Annisha and I will spend one Saturday morning a month for an hour at the local village school behind my house reading stories to children and creating activities for them.

9.  Creating Engaging and Fun materials for my Classroom

This is constantly something that I strive to do and I hope with my new use of technology in hand will be able to do this even better.

I’m posting this up here for all to view I hope in doing this I am more inclined to achieve each of my goals for this year.

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Facebook and Friendship

Personally a friend is someone I can share my ups and downs with.  They support me when times are tough and we live up the good times together.  I hold my friends dear to my heart and always strive to make ‘real’ friends. Friendship is even more important to me now that I live away from people in my home country.  It has been a struggle for me at times, and I’ve found life as an ‘expat’ or as ‘the other’ isolating and alienating.  Facebook once saved me from this suffering and when it first came out it was important for me to feel ‘liked’ and to have as many friends as possible.  In fact I went to the point of accumulating over six hundred friends,but did I know them? Did they really fit into my personal category of what makes a friend?  How real were these friends? These questions beckoned some thinking from me over the break and I’ve had a change of heart with my facebook page and who I want to be connected with.

On my recent trip home to Australia a friend of mine from high school commented to me that she had recently gone through her facebook friendship list and defriended many of the people she’d hooked back up with from high school.  She lived in the same town with many of these people and her logic was that none of them ever talked to her in real life, so what was the point of having them connected to her as a friend on facebook.  A logic that I’m beginning to come around to.

Another friend of mine at school commented on how she and a person she’d once worked with had left on bad terms.  When he requested for her to be his friend on facebook she declined, but she was happy to have him as an acquaintance on   Linkedin a professional version of facebook.

My husband is an Indonesian and his idea of a friend is different from mine.  He is very sociable and has a large network of what I would call ‘acquaintances’ , he doesn’t really have a close group of friends, but he is very happy to socialize with everyone on any occasion and he thinks it’s important to keep these networks of acquaintances alive as you never know when you need them.  How many sticky situations has he got me out of because of a friend he’d met along the way.  My husband’s facebook page has over 800 friends and he is very happy to keep on accumulating these people in his friendship list.  However, I have now begun the cumbersome process of defriending people from my facebook page and really thinking about what this platform is really for. So far it’s taken hours for me to defriend 100 of them.  Do I really want to waste my time with people that I don’t really know, that I don’t really share my life with?  Obviously not.

As I get older and wiser, I think back to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s thoughtful philosophy on friendship ‘make friendship an art’.  For me that art means we need to refine and redefine.  I want to learn and share my life with people who are interested in sharing their lives with me.  If it means through an electronic platform or on a personal day to day to day basis then so be it,but I will definitely get back to wilting down the number of people listed as my friends on facebook.