Go North

As has been typical with Montreal weather lately, this weekend called for shit in the form of rain. However, after mulling it over, Mother Nature (a.k.a the whore) had a change of heart and we were the well-intended recipients of <GASP!> sun… So, I headed North to the mountains for some peace and quiet. These are a few awesome things that I came across on my morning power walks – complete with a feline stalker. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit to you, dear readers, that I hate cats. Yes, it’s true. I’m a dog person. Quite frankly, I consider cats to be evil masking around as innocent-looking fluff balls. Anyway, I ran into the fellow you’ll see below while walking on a secluded path in the woods and well, the little bastard adopted me. He followed me all the way home and he MADE ME LOVE HIM. The little shit. Every time I leaned down to try and take a decent pic, he ran at me like a damn dog and the rub fest would begin. No matter how I tried to escape, dude just wouldn’t have it. Well… he’s pretty good-looking for the spawn of Satan, don’t you think?

Evil feline [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Evil feline [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Evil feline in a bed of clover [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Evil feline in a bed of clover [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Evil feline coming to get me [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Evil feline coming to get me [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Now on to more interesting things.

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

My favorite tree ever - it looks like it's standing in Vriksasana [Photo: RAnnDomized]

My favorite tree ever – it looks like it’s standing in Vriksasana [Photo: RAnnDomized]

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

 

Peace,

A

In A Hood

Sometimes, you manage to get a perfect shot simply be looking up. Great light, beautiful architecture, and lovely floaty clouds to complete your composition. What more can you ask for? This one reminds me of an HDR image but it’s not – I shot it with an iPhone and applied no filter.  Now,  you really should be careful when  you’re walking around staring up at the sky – those over-sized Montreal pot holes are just waiting to swallow you up. I should know – I tested it out myself. Ouch!

 

Photo: RAnndomized

Photo: RAnndomized

And on an unrelated note, it appears that no amount of yoga can make up for the shit-streak that I’ve been on the last 2 weeks, so I found this to be bloody well fitting of my mood lately – at least the one between 9-5…!

Image courtesy of e-Cards

Image courtesy of e-Cards

 

Peace

A

Finding Solitude

I found myself in need of some introspection this weekend and as always, I sought out clarity and enlightenment in nature. More and more, I find myself drawn to trees swaying in the wind, their leaves rustling with every breeze – to the sound of waves lapping up against the shore, and toward the sound of birds chirping happily away on a glorious sunny day. This is where I find solace and sustenance, equally. This is where everything seems to come together for me. I think it’s because there is absolutely nothing fake about nature – it’s as authentic as it gets. I’m so sick and fucking tired of social media and all of its bullshit – of constantly having to be ‘ON’ or connected – of listening to inauthentic discourse from anyone and everyone. Just get real, already.

I awoke this morning with head and heart cluttered. My immediate response was to lace up and head out the door at 6:30, where I was greeted by sun and silence – the absolute perfect remedy. I’ve got this very specific walking route that allows me to avoid people and cars (well, for most of the walk, anyway), and that always leads me to my secret Zen spot. I don’t even need to think about it – my internal GPS automatically directs me there, and ‘there’ is where I ponder in peace, while appreciating the beauty of my surroundings. The reality is that my friends don’t always get me or understand what I need despite my clearly stating “I need X”, so I go inward and deal with shit on my own. This is when nature comes in handy. Isn’t this the perfect place to seek out answers? I think so. And no, I can’t tell you where this is – I’d have to kill you.

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

And last but not least, last week’s stress lead to much cursing and other assorted potty-mouthedness (Annism). This spoke very well to my state of mind:

photo

I’m not sure where this image originates from, but I got it via Reddit.

 

Peace,

A

 

Reflections on the ‘bul

For the first day or two after I arrived in Istanbul, I felt like a deer caught in the headlights of a Mack truck. There are SO many people, and SO much traffic that literally, every inch of available space is taken by someone or something. For me, this was quite ironic because I have a tendency to people-hate when I’m out in public. Now before you judge me, just hang on. I don’t deny that I like my personal space, but who doesn’t? And the truth is that it drives me insane when strangers invade my space. If you’ve read any of my etiquette posts, you know that I offer plenty of valid examples on why space invasion ain’t cool. The way I see it – if I can manage not to invade your space, then you most certainly CAN avoid invading mine. All you need to do is pause for one moment, and realize that there are other people in this world besides YOU.  Anyway, I definitely had to keep an open mind while traveling in Istanbul, which lead me to one conclusion: Istanbul is the perfect place to conduct therapy sessions if you have  personal space issues – just don’t carry any weapons 😉

So I’ve been home for about 3 weeks now, and I am very aware (and grateful) of how much free space surrounds me, even when I’m walking downtown during a busy lunch hour. In Istanbul, even the water and skies are constantly filled with boats, fisherman and seagulls. No matter where you go, you are constantly assaulted (for lack of a better word) by some kind of stimuli.  While I was there, I didn’t know how I felt about Istanbul. Probably because I had no time to think about it – I was too busy trying to keep up with everything that was happening around me, while simultaneously trying to avoid getting my ass run over every time I crossed the street. All of this led me to the (delayed) realization that while in Istanbul, I was  living IN THE MOMENT. No past, no future – just the present moment. The NOW.  Now that I’m home again, I realize just how awesome Istanbul is.  Its architecture and people, its food, its stray dogs and cats, its carpet salesmen and shops upon shops of Turkish delight and baklava, all of its nooks and crannies that make it so easy to get lost, and finally, the call to prayer that restores balance.

It also dawned on me that Istanbullus look you right in the eyeballs. They don’t look past you or through you, or go out of their way to avoid you – No. Despite the insane hustle and bustle of their city, Istanbullus acknowledge you with each passing glance. You are SEEN. This is very different from the society in which we live, where we are all so self-absorbed that we see nothing past the tips of our noses, and view anything beyond that as an intrusion. They SAW me. Amazing! For me, this was incredibly validating because for the last year or two, I have very much felt invisible in many of my relationships, and I forgot what it was like to simply be acknowledged by the people around you. This realization thus confirmed that I made the right choice(s) when I opted to walk away from certain relationships where I seemed to be nothing but a fixture. Bye bye, love, as The Beatles would say. Actually, I think I prefer a gentler reminder: Hit the road, JACK!

Despite everything that was going on in Istanbul, there was something missing… I didn’t realize what it was until today:  the big knot that took up residence in my gut a few years back. My stress gauge, my anxiety detector, the cause of my IBS, my resistance to all things worrisome or unfamiliar. Since I’ve been home, I’ve been very focused on not falling into old patterns, so last week when I started to feel a familiar disturbance, I knew exactly what it was and where it was coming from. I’m still working on keeping that bitch in check.

I didn’t go to Istanbul with any crazy expectations of what would or should be; I just knew that I needed a change and I knew that this trip would be the catalyst for everything else that would take place this year. No pressure, eh Istanbul? What I came home with was so much more than I could have imagined. I know that I left all the residual shit that I had going on, behind in Istanbul. Certain chapters were closed and that’s that – I’m done. The heaviness that I felt in my chest is gone too. The best way to describe it is to say that before Istanbul, my chest was filled with cobwebs – kind of like the spider’s lair in Lord of the Rings. But now, those cobwebs are gone. I can breathe freely again and it feels great! There was definitely a shift that took place during the retreat. I don’t know what it means yet, or where my path will take me, but I do know that I feel a hundred times lighter, and I’m a happy camper. That little grey cloud that was hovering over my head, giving off those shit vibes? Kicked to the curb by a bright, shiny ball of fire that I’m sportin’ like like a halo.

Rock on, Constantinople.

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

 

Namaste y’all,

A

 

People Watching

I still haven’t made my way through all the photos I took in Turkey, but these are a few people shots that I like. I almost never shoot people (though I sometimes want to – ha ha ha!), favoring architecture over humans.

Can I take your money in exchange for a carpet?

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

That Simit looks good!

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

I managed to get some wedding photography in as well:

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

And this group of women that I keep referring to as gypsies, even though I’m sure they’re not:

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

And because cats are everywhere in Istanbul, I somehow managed to get a pic of this cat’s arse:

Photo: RAnnDomized

Photo: RAnnDomized

More to come… at some point 🙂

Namaste

A