Les Mills Body Combat: Tried and liked!

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I like challenging myself trying new things. So last two weeks challenge was this kick-ass workout called Les Mills Body Combat.

It is true that it is a combination of some martial arts moves plus cardio moves.

First things first, I cannot say I like working out with these people. Seriously, full of muscles, taking what they are doing very seriously “we are gonna change the world, whoooaaaa!!”. Nope! It is not me. I like yoga people, smooth, mindful, caring, silent…. But anyway it is true that you get into the mood after a while.

I find myself kicking, boxing with my imaginary opponent. I try to visualise someone that I hate. But I have been a yoga person since last two years that it is hard to remember if I hated someone before. SO I try to fight with inequality, politics, and poverty, really imaginary pals. Otherwise, you really do not want to mess with people who are doing these kind of workouts. My husband was making fun of my boxing and finally he received a small punch from me and he stopped making fun and said “Wouuw it hurt, you have been really working on this, were not you?”

But it really is a tough work-out which needs patience. However, as they claim you burn a lot of calories, feel like dying from heart attack but finally be proud of yourself after one hour of this kick-ass work out. So I suggest it to friends who likes to try a different work out at home. First week you feel like you were beaten up very badly when you wake up, however, if you continue feeling stronger takes place of this feeling. Worth giving a try!

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The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist’s Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases

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This week I am reading  The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: A Psychiatrist’s Stories of His Most Bizarre Cases by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan.

I strongly suggest this book to psychology lovers. When you read through the bizarre cases that Dr. Small carries to his book’s pages you cannot help asking yourself “Do I have any of these symptoms?” If you are lucky you would not prefer to have.

However, this book gives you a brief presentation of how our brain and illness can play games with us with our body. And most importantly it is easy and fun to read.

The Movie LUCY: Shall everyone using more of his / her brain should be bitchy?

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What I am going to present here is a very brief discussion on different levels of perceptions on human nature, knowledge and progress between Eastern philosophies and Western approach in general. I just want to touch upon some points that occurred to me while watching the movie “Lucy”.

=====This piece includes some spoilers about the movie Lucy

Eastern philosophies have claimed that some mystic people -let them be Sufis, or yogis- who are close to love of God can control their own body, beliefs of other people or travel in time. However, as far as I know they have not put a scientific approach to it.

Today quantum physics theories and different scientists speculate on what would happen if people enhance their brain capacity. It is one of the favorite topics in sci-fi movies too. (Even our civilization history of bloodshed -as the most brilliant creatures on earth (!)- is not very promising, we wonder what if…).

So I like to think that mystic travellers are the ones who are the closest ones to that theory instead of scientists or geniuses of our time. I believe that it should not be limited to be brilliant in one part of modern science but a composite experience of enhancing individual mindfulness. That is why I think that it should not be limited to brain capacity but also one’s personal progress.

In the movie, as much as Lucy uses more of her brain, she starts to act robotic and inhumane. She tells that she loses desire, fear, or feeling of pain. She becomes totally cold-hearted. As more she becomes powerful, she looks acts less like a human or woman. At a certain point, I think we stop considering her as a woman since she acts not gendered.

On the contrary, if we consider claims of many Eastern philosophies to today’s quantum speculations, we find a different level of mindfulness. As much as someone gets closer to perfection (let’s say as one shows progress in using her/his brain in different levels) they are expected to be more humanistic with a more holistic vision.

They feel more intensively, they love more; they internalize people’s suffering more…

These people such as prophets, yogis, and mystics are claimed to talk words of wisdom, love, patience, and understanding. Some claim they can experience time travelling, healing power, control over their bodies, and conducting miracles. Again contrary to how it is shot in Lucy, they become perfect teachers, good leaders who collected millions around them in different thoughts and religions.

So just saying, I do not like thinking that if you more of our brain, we turn into computers. I like to think that we perceive more, we become better…

the fountain

This video of Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight (as a neurologist) shows what I mean a bit deeper… It is not directly related to using more of the brain instead using ‘some’ of it. It has some insights on my discussion.

Book Review: No one Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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I love Marquez’s novels. I like the way he builds a story’s structure, plays with it, makes fun with the reader, keeps it simple but impressive and mocks us with his surreal characters.

When we were discussing with a Mexican friend he told me “I do not understand why they call Marquez surreal. The characters that he brings to life are very real for us.”

His characters are a part of Latin American beliefs, culture and history which my Middle Eastern side does not find hard to believe. Also as a sociologist, I like the way how Marquez narrates common reactions of his society to certain events. For instance, in Chronicles of a Murder, he follows a person who is going to be murdered in streets of a Columbian city. Although everyone knows (even we know from the first sentence of the book till the end) this guy is going to be murdered, people prefer to keep silent. This is not because they hate this guy but because most of them thinks that someone else will take responsibility to tell him about his fate.colonel

In No One Writes to the Colonel, we observe a waste expectation of a Columbian colonel for his retirement salary. While time passes, poverty, illness and hardships of life overcomes colonel’s and his wife’s expectation for this salary. Everyone loses their belief in his chances to get his salary while colonel keeps his faith in it.

Colonel’s long expectation reminds us that emptiness in age’s heroic sacrifaces. Although Colonel had given much for his country, as is presented tragic comic way, his efforts are not appreciated in return. This short novel is also a literal critique of the day’s politics and corruption.

The Maze Runner vs. PhD Student

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I am gonna finish it!

I could not decide this piece to be a movie review or a comment on PhD writing adventure. So I decided to make both. Since everything reminds a student her unfinished research, not even watching a movie without comparisons, evaluations, conclusions, examples, and justifications is not possible!

Note: This piece may include some spoilers about the movie the Maze Runner

  • I told in my first blog writings that you should warn me to go back to my research if I posted more than you expect. (Special thanks to my friends who never warned me!) Just kidding, my friends and my beloved husband already know that giving a warning to a PhD student can receive unexpected reactions:
  • break ups, broken hearts, mean comments expressed in different forms:

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  • -What did you achieve in life that you dare to criticize me?
  • -I have a Masters degree!
  • -I graduated from the university in top 5.
  • -Do you know how hard it is to continue this?
  • -You never support me etc etc.
    • Mostly accompanied by tears, unnecessary depressive gestures and so on.

So first warning: Never warn a PhD student!

This week I have been busy with my research. It made me feel more positive finally to be able to study on my PhD. again after a long time. 2014 was the hardest year in my life with numerous health issues, loss of a beloved one and so on… Basically this year gave me lots of tears and depression. So PhD adventure is not only a fight with time but also turned into a psychological war for me.

I know that I have to be patient, I know that I have to focus better, I know that I have to push myself enough to keep on studying but not too hard to slide into depression (again and again). I know these things because I have been a life long student. First things I learned in life made me more and more hungry for learning. Nobody told me that I will end up in a PhD maze!

Last week I also saw this movie “The Maze Runner”. As a PhD student it did not scare me a bit. Because running in a maze without a map and with unknown obstacles is nothing when compared to following years long research.

If you think being deserted in an unknown place and robotic spiders in a maze are scary, think about some problems that a researcher face everyday: conflicting comments from a committee, nonexistent funding, an underpaid and life consuming job, isolation from every aspect of life, still being a highly criticized student in your 30s, long hours of asocial studies and so on…

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Considering these funky facts, being a PhD. student is quite similar to being a maze runner. You have to run everyday over and over the same maze to make a ever changing map of it. Trying to figure out why you are deserted in there and questioning your life choices again and again everyday. one minute believing that you are doing the most important thing and the second minute downgrading your efforts realising the fact that nobody reads a dissertation.

But as is issued in the movie the Maze Runner, there should always be a bit of hope to see the light at the end of this mighty maze! So forget about what I have been telling and try to remember “happiness of being on the way” instead of obsessing about getting at the end of the maze.

Happy Yoga by Steve Ross

In general, I have several books by my side during the week. Mostly these books are irrelevant to each other. For instance last time I had Stephan Hawkings Universe in a Nutshell, Classical Ottoman Poetry, Dostoveski’s Demons, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Cronicles of a Murder and this final book I have finished: Happy Yoga by Steve Ross.

Happy Yoga

Happy Yoga reasons why there is nothing to worry about in seven parts (Hard to believe!). The book is mainly established around the inner logic of yoga and yogis, going beyond yoga as we know it.

What I like most about this book is mind tickling idioms at the beginning of each part. Also, this book provides a journey in itself for people who are seeking for an inner logic, truth beyond the physical realites of the world.

Although I am pisces and it is not the hardest thing to follow such mindfulness journeys in my imagination, sometimes I find book’s advices a bit unrealistic to apply: Following a vegan diet (milk is only good for caves), and everything will be alright if you let it go totally (Seriously, I am coming from Turkiye and we are not used to let things go that easily).

Even though I found it hard to apply this week I am challenging myself with a vegan diet. It is one of worst things that you can do a carnivore. I thought I would starve to death! It is my fifth day and I still survive believe it not more energic! (Ok I would not say no to a cheese cake beside my coffee, I should admit, but anyway it worths trying)

I want to finish sharing some of these wise proverbs in the book:

Wherever my travels may lead, paradise is where I am.

Voltaire

Nothing was, nothing will be, and everything has reality and presence.

Herman Hesse, Sidharta

Your true nature is beyond description. It cannot be known with the mind, yet it exists. It is the source of everything.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Anything more than the truth would be too much.

Robert Frost

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

 

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Resembling Mom in Time

Photo from womenesi.com
Photo from womenesi.com

When I figure out in time I start to resemble my mom more, it makes me smile. The habits of culture and time, and acts and gestures of a beloved one start to find their reflections in my acts and habits. It is like remembering… As if my body and mind coordinate to find their roots and home imitating my mother’s movements. Her looks, her gaze, her reactions become mine.

I miss you mom and I love everything which reminds me of you.