SUMMERTIME

Summertime. Adventures. Road tripping. Wilderness. Love. Music. Sea. Sunshine. Good times!

1. "What You Don't Do" - Lianne La Havas
2. "Ashamed" - Deer Tick
3. "American Daydream" - Electric Guest
4. "Blue Velvet" - Lana Del Rey
5. "Doo Woop (That Thing)" - Lauryn Hill
6. "Sink or Swim" - Deer Tick
7. "To KNow Him Is To Love Him" - Amy Winehouse
8. "I Need A Dollar" - Aloe Blacc
9. "We're Still Friends" - Donny Hathaway
10. "Mi Mujer" - Nicolas Jaar
11. "In This Shirt" - The Irrepressibles
12. "Salty Dog" - Cat Power
13. "Lullaby" - The Cure

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WALK UNAFRAID

'Walk Unafraid' by Michael Stipe, Michael Mills + Peter Buck

As the sun comes up, as the moon goes down
These heavy notions creep around
It makes me think, long ago
I was brought into this life a little lamb
A little lamb
Courageous, stumbling
Fearless was my middle name
But somewhere there I lost my way
Everyone walks the same
Expecting me to step
The narrow path they've laid
They claim to
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love or leave me high

Say keep within the boundaries if you want to play
Say contradiction only makes it harder
How can I be
What I want to be
When all I want to do is strip away
These stilled constraints
And crush this charade
Shred this sad masquerade
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love or leave me high.

If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go
I just want to hold my head up high
I don't care what I have to step over
I'm prepared to look you in the eye
Look me in the eye
And if you see familiarity
Then celebrate the contradiction
Help me when I fall to
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love or leave me high

JUNE TUNES

/ Charlotte Perriand /

1. "Looking Too Closely" - Fink
2. "So Much Trouble In The World" - Bob Marley & The Wailers
3. "No No No" - Beirut
4. "Rat Race" - Bob Marley & The Wailers
5. "Truth" - Alexander
6. "Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" - Bob Dylan
7. "Another Lonely Day" - Ben Harper
8. "A Sunday Smile" - Beirut
9. "I Wanna Make It Wit Chu" - Josh Homme & PJ Harvey
10. "Can I Kick It" - A Tribe Called Quest
11. "You Got Me" - The Roots

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MAY MIX // THE WANDERER

The text above is from the book Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin. It's subtitled "Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche". It's also the main reason why things got a little quiet here in my corner of the interwebs: I've gone wandering. Wandering takes time. Offline. A lot of it ....

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
— Lao Tzu

1. "Back To Life" - Soul II Soul
2. "Trouble" - Cat Stevens
3. "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" - Johnny Cash
4. "Diamonds (Acoustic)" - Malky
5. "Blue Valentines" - Tom Waits
6. "Lost & Found" - Lianne La Havas
7. "Diamonds" - Josef Salvat
8. "History Of Broken Hearts" - Malky
9. "Harvest Moon" - Neil Young
10. "Moon" - Little People
11. "Aaron" - Paul Kalkbrenner
12. "Ain't Nobody Worryin'" - Anthony Hamilton
13. "Human Behaviour" - Bjork
14. "How Soon Is Now" - The Smiths

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APRIL MIX

Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because the regret is stronger than gratitude.
— Anne Frank
//   a p r i l   m i x   //

//   a p r i l   m i x   //

A friend of mine, Rad, posted something inspired by the above Anne Frank quote on Facebook earlier today that really hit the spot for me. It's been on my mind all day ... I can't help but share it here:

This really made me think. How interesting our minds operate. How easy it is for us to focus on what people did WRONG instead of appreciating things they did RIGHT.

”Focusing on someone else’s ERROR, focusing on someone else’s GUILT (they did this to me, they did that, they wronged me!). All of that is taking us further towards ANGER, BITTERNESS and FEAR and only creates more SEPARATENESS between each other.

”I think we really need to look into it in order to make a change in our intimate relationships and collective consciousness of this planet. Of course, people make mistakes, we all make mistakes but at the same time we make so many GOOD things too! Here the FORGIVENESS comes and our choice WHAT to focus on in someone else’s behaviour.

”We can focus on the LOVING thoughts instead — the GOOD THINGS, GRATITUDE, BEAUTY, INTIMACY, CONNECTION — and practice them each day, day by day until they are strongly embedded in the fabric of who we are. Like going to gym we need to practice this NEW inner muscles of seeing INNOCENCE in PEOPLE and willingness to SEE them differently.
— Rad Kaim

1. "Girl From The North Country" - Bob Dylan
2. "The Penalty" - Beirut
3. "Beautiful Collision" - Bic Runga
4. "Listening For The Weather" - Bic Runga
5. "She's Always A Woman" - Billy Joel
6. "I Try" - Macy Gray
7. "Basic Instinct" - The Acid
8. "Angel" - Aretha Franklin
9. "Suburban War" - Arcade Fire
10. "To Build A Home" - The Cinematic Orchestra
11. "Walk Unafraid" - First Aid Kit
12. "Fade Out Lines" - The Avener & Phoebe Killdeer
13. "Boys & Girls" - Alabama Shakes
14. "Don't Wanna Fight" - Alabama Shakes

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MARCH MIX

1. "On Call" - Kings of Leon
2. "Le Vent Nous Portera" - Sophie Hunger
3. "Je Veux" - Zaz
4. "Things I've Seen" - Spooks
5. "Djon Maya Mai" - Synapson
6. "The Hanging Tree" - James Newton Howard
7. "Bombs Away" - Eels
8. "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" - Sophie Hunger
9. "Lucky" - Radiohead
10. "Four Seasons In One Day" - Crowded House
11. "Sun Is Shining" - Bob Marley & The Wailers
12. "Into Temptation" - Renee Geyer
13. "Gravity" - Bic Runga
14. "Bennie And The Jets" - Elton John
15. "Out Of Time" - Blur
16. "Interstate Love Song" - Stone Temple Pilots
17. "Is This Love" - Bob Marley & The Wailers

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February Mix

February was kind of a tough one, most of the time I just wished for the month to be over. Nothing dramatic, it just didn't flow. It wasn't effortless. But. I kept telling myself there had to be a good reason for it and something is probably brewing... Sure enough. After the enforced hibernation of February, things are now starting to make sense. Like jigsaw falling into place... 

This music got me through the month. That and a big dose of The Good Wife.

1. "Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene (Live)" - Hozier
2. "Perfect Darkness" - Fink
3. "Ruin" - Cat Power
4. "Redemption Song" - Bob Marley & The Wailers
5. "From Eden" - Hozier
6. "Roxanne" - Police
7. "Fat Freddy's Drop" - Ernie
8. "Arsonist's Lullaby" - Hozier
9. "Deep In The Woods" - The Herbaliser
10. "Budapest" - Jethro Tull
11. "It Will Come Back" - Hozier
12. "To Be Alone" - Hozier
13. "Me And The Devil" - Gil Scott-Heron
14. "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" - Chris Isaak
15. "Unrequited Love" - Lykke Li
16. "Blessing And A Curse" - Have Gun, Will Travel

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The upsides of a bad cold

The upsides of a bad cold: I get to watch the morning light crawl across the walls without any pressure of having to do something or be somewhere. I get to stay in bed all day if I want to. I get to read the stacks of unread books and flick through six months worth of Vogue. I get to feel super loved and cared for. Friends, neighbours, even my yoga students offered to bring me food and do my shopping :) I get to slow down and retreat, integrate the last few whirlwind weeks. So much has already happened in 2015, my mind is completely blown away. A bad cold can be a real blessing.

January Mix

January, January, January... you beautiful winter month, you treated me so well! So much aliveness, travel, dancing and general fun was had (and it's not even over yet!). There was a lot of dancing in January. Naturally then, this month's soundtrack came together based on one rule and one rule only: if it makes my body dance, it's in!

1. "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" - Paul Simon
2. "Blackbird" - Fat Freddy's Drop
3. "Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt" - DJ Shadow
4. "California Soul (Diplo Remix)" - Marlena Shaw
5. "Chandelier" - Sia
6. "Cycle Eyes" - Cosmonauts
7. "Da Feelin" - Nightmares On Wax
8. "Hush Hush" - Yung Skeeter
9. "Shadows" - Pryda
10. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier
11. "The Bay (Clock Opera Remix)" - Metronomy
12. "Moustace" - Black Joy

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LOVE MORE THAN YOU HATE

As I sat on the plane this afternoon looking at the beautiful pastel skies, I thought about the events of the last few days. Both personal and the current affairs. It always strikes me when visiting the Czech Republic how vaguely xenophobic the general mood there always seems to be.

Living in London, arguably the most diverse and multicultural city in the world, it's easy to forget that the majority of the world is anything but. It's easy to forget how powerful the combination of heavily edited news propaganda and the inherent fear of the unknown is. So much fear. So much violence. So much sadness. So much hopelessness in the world. The absence of immediate practical solution is overwhelming.

But there is a solution (I believe it is a solution): We need to, as a species, learn how to LOVE more than we hate. Visual, cultural, political, religious etc differences or not. I have been previously accused of being naive for saying things like that but I disagree. I truly and from the bottom of my heart and soul believe that LOVE is the solution. The unconditional, all encompassing kind that has no opposite.

Loving Kindness meditation (metta)

I am healed, I am whole
I am loved, I am loving

You are healed, you are whole
You are loved, you are loving

We are healed, we are whole
We are loved, we are loving

(via Sally Kempton on Yogaglo)

DECEMBER REFLECTIONS: TODAY IS... A FIRST: CHRISTMAS (KIND OF) ALONE!

Ever since I decided to spend Christmas this year by myself, I've noticed that the reaction of most people has been tinged partly with concern and partly with pity. Mostly unspoken but clearly present. Imagine the horrors of being alone, and therefore lonely, at Christmas! Of course, it crossed my mind too, I had no idea how I'd feel once the day came. The cultural stereotype is that deeply rooted. (I had a whole selection of inspirational words ready to get my shit together in case it was needed!)

I am well aware that Christmas alone might be a really dark and lonesome experience for somebody who doesn't have another choice. I did. Spending Christmas by myself was a conscious decision. I felt like I needed the headspace. I could have gone and been with my family in Prague. A few dear friends invited me to spend Christmas with their families (so grateful to you, beautiful souls!). Instead I took me, myself and I to Marrakech, a place not exactly known for its peacefulness: it's dirty, the nights are cold and all day every day I am hassled by men to buy stuff, eat food and explain where my boyfriend is. Only, it doesn't actually hassle me (99% of the time). Because the whole thing is not at all about me! And that feels like a damn good place to be.

Instead of the usual Christmas setup (too much stress, too much food, too much wine), my days here have been slow and nourishing: Go to bed early-ish and wake up when I wake up. Do my asana practice, meditate, have breakfast. Go out and do something cultural, see sights, wonder around. Have lunch and spend the entire afternoon reading in the sun. Watch the sun set, eat dinner and wrap the day with a good scrub in a hammam. Maybe a glass of wine with the housemates. Repeat.

I can happily report that spending Christmas by myself has been the best decision I made in a while. Yes, it does help to be in a city where Christmas means nothing and I am so far removed from any reminders. Still, being here alone (apart from the housemates who are lovely but generally way too stoned!) means that I have no one here to share my thoughts with the traditional verbal way, and so instead I am sending them out to the black hole of the interwebs not knowing for sure if anyone will hear. And that's fine. Because this experience made me finally truly realise that I alone am enough, that universe has my back and that I will always be ok. Because by taking the time to retreat, face my fears, hear the silence, ground and reconnect, I made space for a whole new experience of aliveness. It's empowering beyond what I could have imagined. And there's more.

By an incredible turn of pure serendipity (and synchronicity), I am being joined here in Morocco by @rowleygc tomorrow and together we will attempt to reach the summit of Jebel Toubkal, the snow covered highest peak of Northern Africa. Yep, I had to completely repack and change flights last minute and am now freaking out just a little -- I've never climb a mountain before! -- but I am also super excited about this great adventure ahead of me and can't wait to stand on top of that mountain.

I am grateful for every single person and every single twist and turn of my life that has made it possible for me to be here and now. I am counting my blessings and thinking of everyone less fortunate than me. I will probably go out now and buy some stuff that I don't need in order to keep the circulation going. Wherever you may be, with all my heart, I wish you a truly wonderful and peaceful Christmas! xxx

PS Some of you (you know who you are) might read these words and think that I've lost the plot -- I assure you that I have not! Just lost the editor :)