Can something that is painful not be harmful?

Yes. Yes it can. Think of that painful breakup, or that time you ran so fast, so exuberantly, your lungs and legs burned.

The opposite is definitely true. Sitting on the sofa instead of moving enough is certainly not painful, but it is definitely harmful. And I don’t mean that in a patronizing fitness industry way, but in a body-mind-health way. Our bodies are made to move and so keep our minds mobile.

Pain calls for attention and care. It asks us for ways that this can be easy. It asks us to acknowledge the hard and the resistance.It asks us to look at our boundaries and decide whether we are ok with where they are.
Sometimes we are in pain because our container is too small and we need to expand.
Contraction is painful, intentionally making ourselves small. Expansion is painful too, as our parts release into the newfound space, shifting painfully. Getting to stand up straight is scary. Scary is painful, it is the contraction just before the release.

So if we put avoiding harm, before furthering the mission, what is the relationship to pain? Pain sits on the edges, both the edges we want to dissolve and the edges we want to maintain. It is a guide, asking for care and attention. And yes, this does sound super kinky.

My friend Debbie on the Camino told me „Others give us pain, but we create our own suffering.“ I keep understanding this phrase and then forgetting its meaning, always relearning: I can try to avoid all the pain and suffer at its inevitability, or I can learn what it has to teach me and move on. It is my choice. What am I choosing today?

I am choosing to enter into conversation with the pain. I choose to bring it all into this life.
This beautiful, scary and painful life.

What are you choosing?

Fun Fact

Even today, 14 years since I first became a chemist and 4 years since I left the lab, I get anxious and feel guilty if I only label the top of a jar of spices, and not the glass, too.
Very important in a lab environment where everything is either crystalline and white, or liquid and clear, and a mixup could have, literally, fatal consequences. Not so important in a kitchen where all I could mix up is the cumin and the tumeric.


“Becoming without being is pointless. Being without becoming is boring.”
– Ursula le Guin


Full belly,
Full heart,
Empty mind.

As it should be.


I am, literally, sick with the modern propensity for pathologising otherwise healthy humans, be it in the health(y) food or fitness industries.
Your body has an amazing capacity for healing and regulating itself. Learn to trust your body to know what is good and to survive even things that aren’t good for it. Learn to listen to your body. Learn to read when it needs more rest and when it needs more movement and all the other things that bodies need. Learn to listen for the foods that nourish it. And if it is telling you that something is not right, find someone to give you advice who actually knows a thing or two about helping bodies heal and is willing to listen to the wisdom you have about your own body.


For all those who need a little boost to begin:
“Invocation for Beginnings” ZeFrank

The good life

The good life is about finding the just-right mix between “good enough” and “exceeding your own expectations”.


Unapologetic is the flip-side of Vulnerable. It’s about doing it, even if it isn’t perfect.

Now is the right time

I am currently exploring western reception of Indian philosophy through the centuries, specifically yoga, it’s reverberations with neo-vedanta and Indian nationalism, and historicistic beliefs in an uninterrupted yoga tradition.

Our culture has always been global. Resonances and cultural exchange has been a component of global cultures for a long time, as have interruptions, disappearances and resurfacing of old wisdom and folly. Modern Yoga with its psychophysical, denominational and purely physical practices is very much a product of amalgamation of western and eastern knowledge and tradition. And this is ok. It doesn’t invalidate an individual practice, or make it less significant for the spiritual development of the individual that the tradition dates back less than a century. Further I believe that our transnational amalgamation called Yoga is a valid path to inciting far reaching socio-economic change.

Insisting that Yoga as a practice dates back 5.000+ years of uninterrupted tradition, and is thus more valid than Abrahamic traditions, modernist scientific knowledge and other systems of understanding the world, as well as trying to force any insight, or fallacy, one has, or adopts into this corset of uninterrupted tradition, does a disservice to one’s own spiritual growth and understanding. Amalgamation, differentiation, interruption and discovery are all necessary to form a functioning understanding of the world, both as a culture and as an individual. Insisting that there is one ring to rule them all, figuratively speaking, and one that has been around for 5.000+ years at that, blinds one to the possibility of salvation in what is now.

Now is the right time, states the Lotus Sutra. I believe that our culture contains the possibility of giving us all the wisdom we need to live a life that is meaningful and human today. Some of it is already written, some of it we have to painstakingly discover, yet all of it is already there. Whatever wisdom we gain will be uniquely suited to our times. Those who come after will find their own wisdom, a new amalgam, partially using and partially rejecting what we have gathered and painstakingly making their own discoveries, to live their own meaningful and human lives.