Yoga in Challenging Times

I am now a contributor to the Health & Harmony blog 🙂 Here is my first post – on how yoga has helped me during this current challenging time! Health & Harmony is a yoga studio owned by a dear friend (a follower of the Simple Yet Complex Journal!), and where I used to practice yoga. It was also where I’d go on Sundays to practice chanting and kirtan, and where I’d have probably started teaching and holding mantra/kirtan sessions if it wasn’t for the current challenges.

Hope you like it!

My grieving heart

So I’ve struggled to grieve and mourn. Sometimes I forget that what I’ve been through is so intense that I need time to deeply feel my sorrow. Sometimes when the pain comes, I feel I want it to go away quickly. I resist. And by resisting, I don’t allow it to be, and it becomes more intense.

Thing is, I spent my childhood feeling my mum’s intense sorrow when she got divorced. She cried and cried, and I had to be there with her. I have sad memories of having to sleep with her, and she’d spoon me or hug me, and would just cry until we fell asleep. I was 9, and I can’t recall for how many months or years her pain and crying carried on. I know she had to grieve – I just wished it wasn’t in front of me all the time or while she was holding me. I also had to grieve my parents’ divorce and the fact that my family was falling apart. I unfortunately didn’t have any space for that, neither had I any support to understand or express what I was feeling. Today it feels as if I’ve done a lot of mourning in my life – however, I’m discovering it wasn’t really me who was grieving back then, at least I wasn’t doing it about my own pain.

It’s as if my mind wants to say ‘Enough of crying’. I sometimes think that I’m making a big deal of it all. That I wasn’t supposed to feel it so intensely, that I wasn’t supposed to miss things, that I was supposed to be bigger than that and just appreciate what the Universe has given me now (beautiful Sicily and a Vedanta retreat). Until I’m reminded of the contrary. So I’m kind of learning now, and although my personal yoga practice has helped me stay grounded and aware, most of the times I have to be reminded by my therapist and my friends that it’s OK to grieve, that it’s OK to have a bad day just because my mind wants to go through every little aspect of what’s happened, and my heart just feels overwhelmed. (I’m so grateful that I have so many beautiful friends helping and supporting me, spending their precious time to call, message and/or video call me. Love you.)

So here it’s, from my grieving heart today: I miss Adelaide. I miss my life in Adelaide. I miss my own bedroom and my housemate, who so dearly had me in her house. I miss my routine, my yoga class on Tuesdays, my chanting with the sanga on Saturdays, the nights out dancing, the dance classes. I miss the people, my friends. I miss the sense of security that that routine gave me. I miss the freedom I always felt in Australia, the fact that I seemed to always know where to go, the homecoming feeling I’ve always had. I miss the man I grew to love in ways I never thought I would. I miss his hug, his touch. I miss his happy face whenever he felt us more connected. I miss his stubbornness, his silly jokes. I miss relaxing by his side and caressing him during the many times he cooked us a meal. I miss, I wholeheartedly miss all of this.

I’ve been revisiting the little poems I’ve written, and below is one that somehow connects to this post. I don’t know exactly when I wrote it, but it was between the date when I got the visa application result and the date of my departure.

When I finally let my guard down
The universe conspired
So it’s time to say goodbye
And again
So much hurt already
Can I have a break?
For once I was thinking of settling down
I’ve found my place
Little Adelaide
And its people with the biggest heart
Why? I question
I try to make sense
Maybe there’s nothing to understand
Don’t overthink, I tell myself
Just live
Just love
Every singe moment
Every single person
Be open
Be honest


By the waterfall

Here’s a little bilingual poem I wrote on 24 November 2018 while sitting by one of the waterfalls at Waterfall Gully in Adelaide. Nearly one year later, it came to my mind as I am sitting today with myself:

By the waterfall / Aos pés da cachoeira

I can. I believe.
I dream. I achieve.
I hear the sounds of water flowing down.
I hear the sounds of my own emotions
calming down.
I hear the birds. I hear the wind.
I feel my heart. I find peace.

Eu posso, eu acredito
Eu sonho, eu conquisto
Ouço o som das águas caindo
Ouço o som das minhas próprias emoções
se esvaindo
Ouço os pássaros, ouço o vento
E a paz encontro no peito


I like experimenting with my body, and seeing how my mind reacts. This year I have given up alcohol, just to see how I’d react in moments of stress and in social life. All going good so far, nearly reaching 10 months without drinking. Even over these last few months, with so much going on for me, I didn’t think once of asking help from a glass of wine 😉 it’s really good to see how body and mind change when we change habits.

I haven’t either drunk much coffee in the past couple of years. I haven’t given up coffee completely but I’ve been careful when drinking coffee as I’ve noticed it agitates my mind. So I’ve been drinking decaf instead, or simply chai/tea. It’s interesting how coffee is such an addiction everywhere – here at the retreat we have a designated person for coffee making as seva! Even though we have Italian coffee here, I don’t feel like having it. I feel so happy that I’m super determined to make habits change. Specially now, with so much uncertainty, I wouldn’t want an even more anxious mind.

And another experiment – I’m trying to eat a vegan diet for these five weeks. Our meals here are vegan (prepared with local, seasonal produce!), but some people have brought cheese in from town (I don’t blame them!) or other animal products. I’m determined though to avoid these and stick with vegan meals, and see how my body and mind will react over these five weeks. So far I feel light, my bowels are working wonderfully every day and I’ve been sleeping well. Winning!

This was today’s lunch: basmati rice with roasted almonds, dried figs, and sultanas. Fresh salad with lettuce, carrots, and fennel. Sicilian peperonata with potatoes, capsicum, capers and onions.

From above

There’s something fascinating about seeing the world from above. It always makes me think about how small we are, and how diverse the world is.

Departing Doha
Beautiful mountain range 40 min before landing in Rome (video, click play)

On self-compassion

Today I naturally woke up during brahma muhurta, those one-and-a-half hours before sunrise, best time for knowledge and connection with divinity, as described in sacred texts like the ayurvedic Ashtanga Hridayam (for more on brahma muhurta, click here). I had set my alarm for 7 am, but at 5.14 am I was awake. I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind was too fresh and alert. It was pouring down outside and cold in the bedroom, yet I still sat down in bed encouraging myself to meditate. A mantra came to mind, and I found it on YouTube, focusing my attention on such a pure and touching chant – Namo Avalokiteshvara. If you haven’t listened to this mantra yet, I highly recommend – watching the video on YouTube (below) is highly soothing and moving.

Namo Avalokiteshvara is known as the Great Compassion Mantra. I heard it for the first time while watching the documentary Walk with Me – it had a profound effect on me; it really touched my heart and after a few minutes listening to it, I do feel like my heart is melting with compassion.

Compassion – and particularly self-compassion – has been an important aspect of this journey I’ve been through lately. I was raised to be tough, to hold my cry, to get things done no matter what emotions I was having, to never fail. So it’s natural that I go easily into a self-criticism mode and feel inadequate when/for having hard times. Or I just somehow ‘forget’ that I’m going through so much and start doing too much, putting on my plate many more things than it can hold, until I’m reminded through a chat with someone that I’ve been going through a tough time, and that it’s normal to take it easy. So more and more I’ve been finding that I need to practice self-compassion, self-kindness, and self-love while navigating this journey. And I think I’ve been succeeding in doing it here and there. When things get hard while I’m sorting things, packing, or just when emotions arise, I try and cultivate understanding and kindness toward myself. Like it happened yesterday – I was packing and this avalanche of emotions hit me, as my mind started to think about my uncertain future and the fact that I’m leaving my life as know it behind. I let the emotions flow, distanced myself from packing, thinking: it’s ok, I can sit with my emotions now and come back to packing tomorrow. For some, this might seem like a natural response. But for people who have always been criticised for having emotions and for their sensitivity, being so gentle on themselves may take lots and lots of practice, and a voice may still echo in their head questioning if being warm and accepting is really the right thing to do.

I’m glad I was up in brahma muhurta, with a fresh mind, ready to accept compassionate energy from the mantra, and with clarity about what I’ve been learning about self-kindness and being imperfect. This opens a new window to see everyone as imperfect, and to be compassionate and understanding also toward everyone around me. It’s a new perspective on life!


Welcome to Simple Yet Complex – my life journal 🙂

I’m soon leaving Australia, embarking to Italy and on a five-week self-knowledge journey. Life has presented me with challenges, and lately I’ve been having interesting insights, and learned lessons from such a challenging time. So I thought of starting this journal to share all of these experiences with you.

The idea is to make this blog an online journal, where I can record and reflect on my life’s events, thoughts, and insights. And also to keep you in the loop about my whereabouts and what is happening with me regarding my migration to Australia. I’ll try and write frequently, but I’m not sure if daily posts will be possible while I’m at the retreat in Italy. Let’s see how it all turns out to be! The best way to follow this journey of mine, would be to follow the blog (click the ‘Follow’ button on the right, or if you’re using a mobile device, you should see the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of the page) – once subscribed, you’ll receive the Simple Yet Complex blog posts in your email every time I post.

I had a blog in Portuguese in the past, where I told my friends in Brazil about my adventures in Australia. I had great pleasure in writing it and sharing my experiences, and always received good feedback about my posts. Nevertheless, this is my first blog in English, and although writing in English is part of my occupation as a translator, I’m not a native speaker of English, and the recent challenges and stress I’ve been through showed me how my language skills – both speaking and writing – are hugely impacted by stress. So please be understanding if some posts are not written in 100% perfect English 😉

I hope you enjoy reading about my simple, yet complex journey and life, in which the sun is always shining, despite the clouds and storms.

Lots of love,