Posted on April 27, 2010 by Priya Tuli

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We all know where that word comes from, right? And about the effect a full moon has on tides and tempers. They say cops don't really look forward to bright lunar-lit nights, because the general wave of criminal activity seems to peak and go crazy around then. No coffee breaks on loony nights for the cops, obviously.

Well, we have a big, fat, full moon looming tomorrow. I've personally been tracking this phenomenon closely of late, for reasons I am not going to elaborate on here. Ha. And sure enough, I find everything in general, including me, goes a little more barmy around the time la luna getta fulla. In other words, before, during and after da fulla moona.

It's not just me, everyone is more batty than usual, and the cats...ohhhh, the cats. I made the biggest mistake during the last full moon, of trying to get two of them to get along and not fight so much. Bad was a really full moon, in Aries to boot. Which means fire sign energy was rampant and exploding all over the place. I should have known better than to try a major reconciliation at that time.

Well, there was much fur flying...literally. Now I know exactly where that term comes from. And believe me, much as I adore my moggies, a catfight ain't a pretty thing. Thong. Thang. But now I do know better, so they have all been separated and shall remain that way for the next 3 days, until the full moon energy abates. I have learned that lesson very, very well.

And while I'm at it, I've decided to hole up as well during la luna loco times, because an ounce of prevention is better than a shitload of cure. So if you're trying to reach me for the next couple of days, forget it. I'm not available. I'll be off baying at the moon and plotting insane schemes, cackling wildly all the while. And probably looping off for a test-ride on my new turbocharged broomstick. The one with all the bells and whistles. Meanwhile, you stay safe, don't forget to howl at la luna as she reaches fecund fullness. And remember to watch out for the vampires. Keep lots of garlic handy to bean them with. Awrooooor!

Only in my head...

Posted on January 07, 2010 by Priya Tuli

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Does this happen to you, too? You receive an email, answer it in your head as you're reading it, then move on to the next thing on your to-do list and end up not replying? Then you wonder why no response to your response. So you check your outbox to see when you replied...and you realize you didn't. Damn! But you could swear you did reply! And you did, but only in your head.

Then there's text messages. You key in your response to a message, and continue talking to your lunch meeting partner. And you forget whether you've hit 'send' already, because your reply is still showing on the screen. So you hit 'send', while continuing your lunch meeting. Then you hit 'clear screen', and find you have two delivery reports for the same message. Sometimes even three. It happens every time. People must think I'm nuts to keep sending the same message over and over. That's okay, goes with the territory. Better that, than be bawled out for never responding.

But then there are times when you THINK you've hit 'send' on a rather long and involved text, and you clear the screen and realize the message isn't in your outbox and oh damn, no way you're going to re-write it now, maybe later...and then you forget. So really, it's a no-win situ.

So back to the email responses. Often, there isn't time for a long, newsy catch up right then, so you think you'll do it later, over a coffee break. Or tomorrow. Or maybe on the weekend. Five months later, you realize oh shyte, haven't responded to so-and-so yet. And overcome with guilt, you dash off an abject, grovelly apology, peppered with the million things that have happened in the last 5 months to prevent you from answering.

Then there's things like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals. Of course you'd like to wish friends and family on these special days, and now you can. Thank goodness for Facebook, the quick, painless way to communicate. Except you may not log on every single day, and you're sure to miss out on someone or other's special day. And so it goes.

So I'm working really hard on perfecting the art of communicating in my head. If you believe, as I do, that thoughts are vibrations, then you can project them at the person you're thinking of and they should be able to receive them. I'm not sure I've achieved mastery over telepathy yet, but I am working on it. And quite often, whoever I've been thinking of will pop into my inbox shortly thereafter, or call, or text. Even though I didn't respond to the last one. Oh, guilt!!!

And anyway, I figure the people you care about already KNOW you do, and they ought to therefore understand that you ALWAYS hold them dear, and wish them well, and want them happy, even if you always miss their birthday.

Evidently there is a signal problem with my telepathy as well, because I'm not sure all my people get the vibe. Which is why I am going to great lengths to explain that I already replied to that email, or answered their text, or greeted them on their born-day...but only in my head.


Posted on January 05, 2010 by Priya Tuli

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The trouble with 'evolving' and 'personal growth' stuff is that sometimes it feels like you're taking one step forward and 10 steps back. I like to believe I'm a better person than I was, say a year or five ago. And then I regress, and end up feeling like a long, sad, multi-segmented earthworm for days after.

The other night, I got into Plate Smashing mode. No idea why. It could have been the full moon. Or the frustration of not being able to get my desk and workspace cleared. Or the fact that the cats had been scrapping all day. Or that I spilled a whole carton of tomato juice in the fridge and all across the kitchen floor, and stubbed my toe three times in succession. And I still had a heap of work to get through before I hit the sack for the night. You know, one of those days.

Or it could be that I'm still just a bad-tempered, grumpy sort, and leopards never change their spots. I've noticed I get grumpier when I have to do anything at all in the kitchen. Which is convenient, because that's where the plates are.

So anyway, when the juice spill happened, that was the last straw. I picked up the closest thing to hand, which happened to be a fork. I aimed it at the sink, where the dinner dishes awaited washing. And I hurled it at a plate, which was propped up like a dartboard at the back of the sink.

My aim has never been much good, but would you believe, I hit a bullseye. I think the Great Big Pie in the Sky figured I'd better have one win to close the day on, or more vile invective would flow. So the plate, being melamine, obligingly broke, but not completely. There was a jagged three-inch hole where the fork missile had hit, leaving the rest of the plate intact. Ahhh, it felt GOOD to have done that!

I finished up in the kitchen, retrieved the broken plate which I intend to hang on a prominent wall as a trophy, and slunk off to finish up my work, feeling a bit silly. What a goofy thing to do. It hadn't solved anything, and now I'd have to deal with the aftermath of having slipped backwards on my path to greater enlightenment.

The good thing is that I no longer give myself a hard time for too long after any such digression. So, I got mad. So, I swore and cussed in true sailor fashion for five whole minutes. So what? Far better to let it all out that carry it within, like a tight angry knot curled up in your belly, and then get passive-aggressive with the people around you.

Moral of the story: I learned that progress is happening even when you think it isn't, and getting rid of the anger and irritation by venting safely is a good way to get back on an even keel. My recovery time is much shorter now. I timed it. Took me half an hour to get over the plate, another half hour to get over how stupid it was to smash the plate, and I was cleansed. I even laughed, because I haven't smashed a plate in years. Thank goodness it wasn't one of the good ones. Except just don't show me a carton of tomato juice for a few days, please.

Remember letters?

Posted on January 04, 2010 by Priya Tuli

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I found a bunch of old letters today, in an old shoebox. They were from 15 and twenty years ago, a fraught period in my timeline, and reading through them reminded me of many forgotten events, places and faces. Nostalgia-tripping, bigtime. The strange thing is that it feels like all of that happened to someone else. Time has blurred the edges and everything looks slightly out-of-focus from where I am now.

Ah, the wisdom of hindsight, the luxury of perspective. I see now the lessons I had to learn, and of course I would never have learned them if life hadn't unfolded exactly as it had. It's usually the toughest of life's passages that have the most to teach us. A reluctant learner, I  kicked and screamed loudly, cussing and shaking my fist at the sky for good measure, when life continued to toss me one after another of those 'curve-ball' lessons.

But that's not the point. The point is, nobody writes letters any more. Not REAL ones. The last one I received was 12 years ago. No wait, I still have ONE friend who refuses to use email. Actually I have several, but only one who still writes letters and cards instead. And mails them. Every year, I still get a couple of letters from her. That's the only time I get to see stamps any more.

Email doesn't count, nor do, because though we say we write them, technically we don't. We tap-tap them out on a keyboard. And that is one whole remove away from the act of writing a letter.

The paper you write on absorbs your thoughts, feelings, messages, vibration. So the receiver might actually have a fit of the shakes when they finally get to read your letter.

But seriously, apart from the vibrations, letters were a direct connect from the writer to the reader. Both invested time and energy in order to connect. The one to write, and the other to read. That's why you write a letter, but send an email. Today, none of us focuses singlemindedly on anything, because we're so into multi-tasking. Which is a shame. But when you're reading a letter, even an old one, like I was an hour ago, you can't simultaneously check email and watch TV and talk on the phone.

So anyway, I was riffling through these letters in order to see if any
were worth keeping. All I managed to get rid of was an old bank
statement. I kept all the letters. Every one of them. I don't care who reads them after I'm dead, it won't matter any more.

Kids born in the last 10 or 15 years will never know the anticipation of waiting to receive a letter, of marvelling at the postage stamps, of ripping open the envelope and pulling out the letter, of sneaking off somewhere quiet to read it. They will never need to develop letter writing skills, because they were born in the age of SMS. And they will never understand what us Old Farts are on about, when we get sentimental about an old shoebox full of letters.


Acute Forwarditis.

Posted on January 03, 2010 by Priya Tuli

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Forwards generally piss me off, particularly the ones that
say your eyes will fall out of their sockets, your computer will self destruct, your fridge will be seized with violent epileptic fits and your ancestors will all rot in hell if you don’t send it on to 59,328 people in the next 0.3 seconds, thereby causing the internet to gurgle and choke and die... from too many forwards.

They also piss me off because people get mad at you for sending them these dire threats at the bottom of the email, they don’t care that they were part of the original forward, and personally attack you for promising something bad will happen if you don’t send it on in the next 10 minutes.

I usually just ignore that rubbish, and focus on the good bits in the message, assuming others will do the same. But not everyone does, as I realized when I received several death threats in my email from people who obviously didn’t.

Anyway, today’s harvest of forwards yielded this beautiful
little gem, which I’m quoting here in its entirety, because it really spoke to me. I’d seen it before, but some of these are keepers. Enjoy.

They're Playing Your Song
By Alan Cohen, author of "Living from the Heart."

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child.

They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child's song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child's song.

When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood,
the people again come together and sing. Again, at the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song.

Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.

When I have shared this story in my lectures, a fair amount of people in the audience come to tears. There is something inside each of us that knows we have a song, and we wish those we love would recognize it and support us to sing it.

In some of my seminars I ask people to verbalize to a partner the one phrase they wish their parents had said to them as a child. Then the partner lovingly whispers it in their ear. This exercise goes very deep, and many significant insights start to click. How we all long to be loved, acknowledged, and accepted for who we are!

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.

If you do not give your song a voice, you will feel lost, alone, and confused. If you express it, you will come to life. We attract people on a similar wavelength so we can support each other to sing aloud. Sometimes we attract people who challenge us by telling us that we cannot or should not sing our
song in public. Yet these people help us too, for they stimulate us to find greater courage to sing it.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn't. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you'll find your way home.

Thank you, Alan Cohen!

Barter: the new dealmaker?

Posted on January 02, 2010 by Priya Tuli

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I never understood why the old barter system died out. Long before there was money, there were goods that one person wanted and another person had. A simplified demand-supply situation. How badly I wanted what you had, and how badly you wanted what I had, was how the deal was struck.

It was simple enough when the goods exchanged were apples and oranges. I imagine the trouble really started when goods of differing value, from varied categories, created a commodity-trading value conundrum. I mean, how many sacks of potatoes in exchange for a Nubian Eunuch? How much tea from China for an old pirate ship? You see the problems this sort of thing could cause. So they introduced cowries, and assigned goods a certain value. Seems daft to me to pay with shells for a bolt of fabric, or a pound of exotic spices, or a dozen slaves, but that's the way it was.

Now we have money, but that introduced a whole new dimension, complicating the original "you got - I want" system, because you need to work to earn the money to buy the goods you want.

The strange thing about money is, when you have it, you don't think twice about spending it on foolish fripperies. And when it's in short supply, you shoot yourself in the head for having spent two weeks worth of groceries on a stupid lamp. Or at any rate, that's what I did about a year ago when projects were thin and I wished I hadn't bought the *&^%$%^&* lamp. I mean, I can't feed a lamp to the cats, or pay bills with it.

The value of an object is inversely proportionate to how badly you want to own it. It has little to do with how much it actually cost to produce, nor the price you pay for it. Which is why, when you're in uber-acquisitive mode, you think an object is worth a higher price because you really, really WANT it, and that determines how much you're willing to pay for it. Which is usually a whole sh*tload more than it's really worth. 3 days later, when the novelty has worn off, you will kick yourself for paying that insane amount for something you don't even like very much. I find this happens to me most often when I buy lamps. Maybe I take this whole "we are beings of light" thing too seriously, sometimes.

I know I would never pay that much for a silly lamp again. Unless it were a Tiffany-type stained glass lamp, those I would pay six months worth of groceries for. One can't have too many stained glass lamps. But that's not what this is about.

For the longest time, I've been trying to actively revive the barter system in my own life. I've managed to do a couple of interesting deals so far, and am considering closing my bank account soon, if this pans out well. I just need to refine my offering, in order to get things off the ground. So far, I've come up with house-sitting skills in exchange for a week in Santorini, now I just need to find someone there with a villa. Then there's migraine massage and foot reflexology skills, I'd trade those for a case of Dom Perignon. And there's navel-gazing, I'd do that for free. Any takers?

But seriously, I just did a deal with the local trashpicker. He agreed to relieve me of a whole load of junk, and traded me gloriously empty spaces in my home in exchange. I think I did rather well on that deal, I can FEEL the 'chi' really starting to flow. Now to find someone with a migraine...

Hi-rises on shifting sands

Posted on March 31, 2009 by Priya Tuli

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There isn’t a single new place that I’ve visited that I haven’t liked. Well okay, that’s oversimplifying it a bit; most places, I love. Some I love more than others. And some, well there are aspects I dislike. Those are the places I don’t particularly want to visit at all, or that I’ve been to and wouldn’t care if I never went back. We’ve all been to places like that, literally or figuratively, if you know what I mean.

And then there’s Dubai.

Not a destination of choice, I have transited through Dubai and stopped over for a couple of days on 2 occasions, to catch up with friends and family en-route to more inspired locales.

Everything in Dubai is an adjectival superlative: the biggest, the tallest, the longest, the widest. The most expensive, the most exclusive, the most modern. Dubai (do-buy?) claims to have the largest malls, and it probably does, it’s just that I’m mall- phobic and a mall is a mall wherever you go. And I’d rather not, so I didn’t.

I was happier wandering around in the fruit-and-veggie section of the local Deira souk, discovering saffron-flavoured pistachios from Iran and around 20 varieties of dates from across the region, each distinctly different in size, flavour and texture. I fondled figs, hefted oranges, poked pineapples and chanced upon a rocket-flavoured herb that I immediately wanted to buy armloads of. I meandered amongst great big sacks of walnuts and almonds and pine nuts and countless variants of  beans and aristocratic long-grained rice, and I sniffed a tiny box of precious, heady saffron. Finally, I was introduced to something I had never encountered before…the phallus of a male date palm, replete with seed spilling out. That’s what you get when you ask, “Oh, and what’s this?!?” Pictures as soon as I learn to upload them!

After a couple of hours at the souk, heading back into the glass-and-chrome world of high-rises that are so unsuited to the climate here, the essence of Dubai really hit me: Dubai is UNREAL.

Everything in Dubai is about What Money Can Do. They’re greening the desert and planting it with brilliantly-hued petunias. Reclaiming land in the sea and building the Palm, the World and who knows what else. Building the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Dubai. At 160 stories high (800m+), it will overtake the Taipei 101 tower, currently the world’s tallest at 509.2 metres. I would not like to be stuck in the elevator on the top floor of the Burj Dubai during a power outage. On ANY floor. But there’s little chance of that happening, because as their blurb says, it’s only for the select few, and I am one of the select many.

Dubai is afloat with Filipinos, a big change from the last time I was here. Today, from the airport into the city, you see them everywhere; it feels like walking around in Makati City, downtown Manila. Bumping into Indians and Pakistanis in Dubai on previous trips was surprising, but not that surprising; they have been coming to Dubai for work since the longest time, and many have permanently settled here. Hearing Tagalog spoken at the airport, however, while men in traditional dishdashas and head-dresses wafted by, felt unreal.

With the economy currently in a shambles, as it’s based largely on the construction business which everyone tells me is at a standstill right now, the downturn is being acutely experienced by hordes of construction workers, many from India and Bangladesh, who used to flock here in droves. They are now being sent back home in droves.

If this is the downturn, I would not want to stop by in Dubai when business is booming. Because there is a vibrational hum that pervades the city, day and night. Construction may have slowed down, but has by no means stopped. The thrum of heavy machinery, cranes and cement mixers is everywhere. Even as you sleep, the background drone informs your dreams, punctuated with the clanks and screeches such machines are prone to make.

It took me two days to figure what it was that felt so unsettling about the place. I finally realized it was the absence of even a moment of total silence, even up on the 35th floor at 3 am. The insidious hum of construction never dies down; it penetrates your cells and your plasma and corpuscles and I’m sure it would eventually drive you crazy, over a period of time. Which is why I think the next big thing in Dubai ought to be funny farms, to accommodate the legions who are likely to go nuts while the construction boom revives.