Resolving to keep resolutions – 4-month check-in

New year resolutions — don’t we all have them? Mine were:

With the start of the fifth month of this year, I thought it would be a good time to do a check in. I’ve been a great one for making and breaking resolutions really quick, but this year, I chose them with care, ’cause these are things that really mean something to me.

Checking in:

Find a creative outlet – This isn’t going all that great, unfortunately. I did put eye to lens recently, but not nearly often enough. I also picked up on my altered books after a really, really long break…but work pressures can really put a crimp on creative juices. But, there are 10 months still to go this year — I hope to be able to devote more time to pursuing my creativity this year.

Never stop learning – This one’s easy-peasy to keep up with! I’m constantly learning new stuff at work — be it industry-related or inter-personal/managerial skills. Plus, I read a lot, so be it a “pulp fiction” book like Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti or literary fiction like Milan Kundera’s Immortality, there’s a lot to learn about ancient cultures and philosophy.

Stay in touch with friends – As usual, this one’s really lagging, badly. It’s not like I don’t want to keep in touch, but more like not being able to find enough time! 🙁

Lose weight and get fit – I’ve been working on this since the beginning of the year, I’m proud to report! Knowing how much I can procrastinate, this is a HUGE achievement. First, I had a personal trainer coming in thrice a week, but I wasn’t too happy with the results (which were zero!) At the start of this month, I joined the gym, finally! Had a one-to-one session with a trainer there, and I was thrilled with him! He was really upbeat and motivating, seemed to understand my concerns, and best of all, told me my goals were very achievable! I have a second session with him on Saturday, when he will give me an excercise and diet plan. Fingers crossed that everything works out this time. The signs, so far, are good! 🙂

Live, laugh, love more – Isn’t that a beautiful thought to live with? Every day, I’m trying…that’s the best that can be done with this one!

So in the final analysis, looks like some things are going great, some not too well, and one’s almost getting broken. But, hang in there resolution! I’m gonna save you still!!

Do your best and let it go

“The master does her best and lets go, and whatever happens, happens.” — Lao Tsu (Tao Te Ching)

That’s the mantra by which I’ve been leading my life…though I had forgotten it along the way. I stumbled upon this quote again, just when I needed it most! At the start of a new year, a new phase of my life (the rip-roaring 30s!) and just when I was beginning to allow a new pattern to emerge — allowing the “uncontrollable” to control me. So next time I’m going down that route again, I’m just going to re-member my mantra!

After all, how much of what we beat ourselves up for everyday is really worth what we put ourselves through? How much of it is going to matter next month, next year, or 10 years from now?

Think to yourself, when something is bothering you or a disappointment arrives: Is it really a matter of life or death, as my emotional reaction seems to insist, or just ephemeral local weather conditions which will soon be replaced by other thoughts and feelings? Thus, Buddha said to remind yourself that everything is impermanent, fleeting, contingent, like a dream, like an illusion. This will help loosen up your tight grip on unreality.

Why worry about that which is so fleeting and impermanent? It does nothing but detract us from our inner peace and tranquility.

Here is one secret of spiritual mastery and inner peace, freedom and autonomy: It is not what happens to us, but what we make of it that makes all the difference. We can’t control the wind, but we can learn how to sail better. It’s not the hand you are dealt but how you play it, as the cliché goes.

Touché!

Healing tools

I just came across this absolutely beautiful article called Gift Yourself with Healing Tools by Kay Nuyens. She says:

we all possess the inner resources needed to make changes in our lives. When we get in touch with our “Wise Mind,” the part of us that knows, we can be self-healers, Masters of our lives. Mastery means that we are no longer victims; we are no longer feeling out of control. Each of us has the capability to gather our inner strength and to select some strategies for healing that utilize positive belief and expectancy.

She shares some really wonderful tools for self-healing and meditation in this article — and the first tool, Progressive Relaxation, sounds like it could be a wonderful 5-minute stress buster at work too! The technique works by:

releasing tension through direct suggestions. Muscle groups begin to relax as we focus our breath and intention…I invite clients to imagine a healing, calming color and allow it to flow through every cell of the body, releasing all stress and tension. Breathe in peace and tranquility; breathe out stress and tension. Taking in some long, slow, deep breaths, counting from twenty-five down to one also begins to relax our body and mind.

The other interesting tool was Mindfulness — or using mental imagery to gather all the feelings and sensations being experienced at a particular moment, moving into that sensation. giving it a form and asking it for a message. It sounds easy, but I’m guessing that when you try it, it might require some practice before you’ll “get it.”

You can find the full article here.

No matter what

I was reading an article on the net about living on purpose and with soul. The article made you stop and think about “no matter whats” that we need in order to lead an authentic and generous life, that will empower and not imprison us.

So here are some of the influences, activities, and people that cause me to shine, that describes the environment that fosters my wisdom, and helps me to bring the best that is within me to the forefront.

  • No matter what, I need to have a space that I can call my own, where I can rest, reflect, think and play.
  • No matter what, I need a creative outlet. It helps me center myself and let go of some of my stress.
  • No matter what, I need a workplace that empowers me, where my contributions are recognized and acknowledged and where there are clear avenues for growth.
  • No matter what, I need to be surrounded by music and books — music to soothe my soul and books as they make me fee safe, somehow.
  • No matter what, I need to travel, to explore new places and cultures, as that keeps me alive and enthused.

  • Now, it’s your turn. Think about the influences, activities and people that help you to shine; and the metaphor that you would use to describe the environment that fosters your wisdom.

    What makes a life feel right?

    Is it success, less stress, positive relationships, personal growth or ongoing adventure? All of these are important, but of paramount importance are joy, passion and living from the heart. And joy, it begins with inner peace.

    It’s happened so many times that even after I go buy myself the latest toy — be it a new gadget or jewelry or what have you — but when I come home, there’s no excitement about the purchase. And I’ve often wondered why that happened? Perhaps it’s because we sometimes aspire for what we think we should, instead of what is personally meaningful for us. Bigger isn’t necessarily better…but doing what you love…that’s priceless!

    If some of your recent purchases or achievements ring hollow,

    check to see if the “cost” is too high, or if it’s something that’s not really meaningful to you. Sometimes the outer things we seek are just poor substitutes for an inner state we crave. when you experience the inner peace that comes from being the kind of person you aspire to be, you’ll find joy around every corner…in all the toys, experiences, beauty, and relationships that come your way.

    What about passion for life? That seems to have fizzled away. There are so many things that I love doing, but the passion to do them seems to be missing.

    Passion for life does not wear out…it fades from lack of use. At various stages of life we hit plateaus and then the choice is ours: coast downhill or climb to a new peak. If we make the effort and muster the courage to move forward in some dimension of life, we feel renewed. Energy and passion climb, and we feel fully engaged. But pass on all things new, and we get stuck in a rut of the known — smack in the middle of our comfort zone.

    That seems to be exactly where I’m stuck — things are comfortable as they are, familiar. To pursue my passions or to change them would mean undertaking some element of risk. So, what would I rather do? Stay stuck in the rut, or climb out of it?

    Think of the last time you tried something new — learned a computer skill, visited a foreign country, went to a party alone or just tried a new food. Even if it didn’t turn out as you expected, chances are you got a lift from taking the risk. Beyond the familiar — just past fear — is where life truly expands. Passion needs exercise.

    Just like I do! Un-stick butt from chair and move it! Find the joy, fight for the passion and create a meaningful life.

    A meaningful life is born in the soul, grown in the mind, and lived from the heart.

    Following the busy-is-better crowd means that we could miss out on the sense of purpose, on the feeling of having made a difference, of leaving behind a legacy…Instead, there’s constant motion, with one step merging into the next,

    and though [we may be] dancing as fast as we can, we often feel no sense of accomplishment. You’re busy, but what are you busy about? Are you keeping commitments to your self? Growing the gifts that you have been given? If not, you’re probably wondering, “Is this all there is?” Outer success does not equal meaning. And meaning does not just plop into your lap; it is created every day — with one thought and one act — at a time.

    God’s given us a wonderful present — the present! Each new day, new moment, gives us numerous opportunities to live a life of purpose.

    Staying on purpose requires listening, not to the cacophony of our 24/7 world, but to the wisdom in our hearts.

    How about meditating everyday? It used to feel good…it used to give me a sense of calm, of inner joy…but then, I got too “busy” to do it anymore. Maybe, instead of giving up on the meditation, is should start saying “no” to time wasters and “yes” to living a life that feels right.

    Silence, focus, conscious choices. I’ve learned that these are the things that add meaning to life.

    Thanks to writer Suzanne Zoglio for the wonderful article she wrote on Soulfulliving.com, which helped me look within and analyze my situation.

    Out with the old!

    Manifestation so works! I’ve recently been thinking about all the stuff that we’ve accumulated at home and all the work and effort we’re going to need to put in to throw things out. And today, I came across an article on just that phenomenon of accumulating and discarding.

    It seems to me that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half getting rid of them, paring our possessions down to a manageable cache. At some point, it is important to take the time to catalogue what it is we have, what we have accumulated, what we hold onto, what we have carried with us through the years, and what we would be better of letting go of.

    If we are to practice living life with intention, purpose, and appreciation, we are called to take stock — on every level imaginable — material, mental, emotional, and spiritual. And we feel the need to evaluate everything in terms of its value to us. Do our belongings, attitudes, ideas, obligations, commitments, habits, goals, dreams, relationships, and wardrobes still fit us? Do they suit us and our current life style? Are they flattering? Do they please us? Do they continue to serve us? Do they feed us what we need? Or do they drain our energy and slow us down by the amount of maintenance that they require?

    The author then goes on to list out a number of suggestions for clearing out…like…

    • Throw out, re-cycle, or donate one thing every day. This is a great practice in claiming what is important to you and discarding what is not.
    • Eliminate one food from your diet that you know you should not eat. When you get used to living without it, eliminate one more.
    • Send all of the novels that you know you will never re-read to a school or hospital library. And that pile of magazines, too.
    • Clean out your medicine cabinet and cosmetic drawers. How many of the products crammed in there merely mask superficial symptoms and flaws rather than enhance your essential strength and beauty?
    • Reduce stress through yoga, exercise, breathing techniques, warm baths, sex, music, art, meditation.
    • Slough off the old, like a snake shedding its skin, or a butterfly its cocoon. Emerge renewed and energized.

    You can read the entire article here.

    Divorced from reality…

    …for a few days when I went back home to Poona….

    Soaked up the cool air during breakfast in the garden every morning

    Soaked up the cool air during breakfast in the garden every morning


    It was a total break from the hectic pace of my “real” life. A going back in time, as I returned to my room — the place where I spent 20 years of my life — to a life sans responsibility…no need to think about work, to plan the next meal, to track groceries, or worry about mundane things like making up the bed. It was a return to innocence, to a time when responsibilities were something the grown ups had to deal with.
    Watched nature unfold around me on lazy monsoon afternoons

    Watched nature unfold around me on lazy monsoon afternoons


    The weather in Poona was lovely compared to the oven that is Delhi…cool breezes, light monsoon showers…perfect for lazy mornings spent reading the newspaper, breakfast in the garden with the singing of the morning birds…late morning spent talking with the parents, an afternoon siesta, long walks in the early evening, crowned by a shopping trip later in the day…a more languid, peaceful, soulful time.
    It was yesterday once more as I returned to the sanctuary of my youth --- my bedroom!

    It was yesterday once more as I returned to the sanctuary of my youth --- my bedroom!


    As some of that peacefulness clings to me still, I’m reminded of the lyrics to Dido’s Sand in my Shoes:

    Two weeks away it feels like the world should’ve changed
    But I’m home now
    And things still look the same
    I think I’ll leave it to tomorrow till unpack
    Try to forget for one more night
    That I’m back in my flat on the road
    Where the cars never stop going through the night
    To real life where I can’t watch sunset
    I don’t have time

    Wakeup call

    Today’s Reminders from God on my iGoogle page was:

    “All walls fall before you. Your faith and My Power are the only two essentials.”

    It’s such a reassuring statement to read first thing in the morning, especially when you’re going through as much mental turmoil as I am. There are so many decisions that I need to make without losing too much time.

    I had made up my mind to take a certain path if things at the work front didn’t go according to plan at the end of this year’s performance cycle. Now that the time has come to act, I find myself wondering if I should still stick to that decision, or take a slightly different approach instead. A part of me is worried about the recession, while another part of me just wants to go ahead and act. Caught in this dilemma, with no clear plan in place just yet, I find myself unable to act. Unable to sit down and list out pros and cons of different actions and paths and to take a decision.

    But this statement, so simple and powerful, jolted me out of this limbo that I find myself in. The time has come to act, and with my faith and His power, things will work out just fine.

    Finding meaning

    Three and a half billion years of evolution has built the need for meaning and purpose into human beings. It is as real as our need to breathe. —- Donna Druchunas

    And how do we uncover this deeper meaning to our lives? The deeper meaning of life lies where we choose to dig deeper. Ask yourself everyday what went well and why it went well. If you had a good conversation with an angry friend, describe what about that conversation went well. Did you do something different? Did you respond to a negative with a positive? Try to outline three positive things and the reasons why they went well at the end of the day. Daily practice will help you to build a good foundation for uncovering meaning in your life.

    Beware what you wish for?

    Cover

    Image via Wikipedia

    The Secret has become a “new age” phenomenon, and as all things that get extremely popular, has also drawn a lot of criticism, chief being that the book is all a sham and that things don’t work the way Rhonda Byrne claims they do.

    I received the following forward from a friend, asking me my views on what was said in an article titled Beware what you wish for (pasted below).

    Have you heard about “The Secret?” It’s a new DVD which has become a phenomenon of what is called “viral marketing,” i.e., being passed along from friend-to-friend. It’s been on the news, it’s been on Oprah, it’s become a thing of the tinsel-town elite. What is the “The Secret?” It’s a technique which the “spiritual personalities” on the video guarantee will bring you wealth, friends, happiness, power and practically anything you desire. Obviously, it’s caught on. Especially with the unwary. Particularly with those who want something they haven’t earned.

    The Secret is actually old wine in a new bottle. You have known it previously as the “Power of Positive Thinking,” “Think and grow Rich,” Nichiren shoshu chants, the song “Wishing will make it so” and even Haitian Voodoo practices. In simple language it tells you that you can have anything you want if you think about it constantly while visualizing what it is you want in your thoughts. Well, sorry, Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill got there first–-not to mention the black priesthood from Alantean times.

    Does The Secret work? Yes, it does. And that’s just the problem. It’s why we have this delicious little saying, “Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.” Remember that. It’s true. Think on it.

    There is a reason that Jesus said, “Your needs are known” and that great spiritual leaders have all said that we should be desire-less. There is a reason that people say, “The Universe will provide.” You should be aware that the “spiritual personalities” and the “New Age Churches” touting this so-called “secret” know nothing of real spiritual laws and are all out for the buck.

    When you wish, desire, chant for, focus your thought on and visualize that which you think you desire, you make a karmic demand on the Spiritual Ether. Your demand disturbs the Ether just like a boat plowing through the sea and if you get what you desire (the question is always “when”) it will definitely have a price. It will exact something from you that you cherish or else you will soon lose it and much more. This is that part of The Law they don’t tell you about because they don’t know or understand it.

    There is a story of the woman who wished for a white Cadillac in her garage. Her husband lost his job and they had to move and the people who moved in had a white Cadillac. Another story is that of the New York society matron who wished for a mink coat. She got it and her husband was immediately transferred to Egypt. Need I say more?

    Oh yeah, they say this is white magic and you can use it to wish for peace and for healing and all that. Doesn’t matter. There is a principle involved here. It’s called the “Rebound Blow.” Just as a rifle kicks back when it’s fired and a balloon goes forward when air escapes from the other end, the rebound blow comes into play when you send out a forced desire for something.

    The way this aspect of The Law is best explained is in that phrase from the Teachings of the Temple by Master Hilarion. He says, “Each step of good opens up a like return force of evil.” This is the rebound blow. Send out positive and you can expect negative in return. When you disturb the ether with the force of your desire that magnetism of that energy will circle around and hit you from behind with its reverse force. This means that if you have made a step upwards toward the good, the rebound blow will try to knock you back down again. And it will if you have not prepared for it.

    CAVEAT: YOU CANNOT HAVE AND KEEP ANYTHING YOU HAVE NOT EARNED!

    Say you want to stop smoking. The energy put into quitting will circle around and hit you at a later date with a reverse force that will make you want a cigarette badly. If you’ve ever smoked and tried to quit, you know this is the truth! That force will be equal to the force you set in motion. If you give in, you’ve lost. If you can summon a greater force and not give in, then each time that force circles around, its energy will be less and less, decreasing until it’s gone and you are free of the bondage.

    If you focus on something that disturbs the Ether, you will surely get the rebound blow. That’s Karma. There is a way to wish for something and protect yourself at the same time, however. Go ahead, wish for anything you want, but at the end of the wish, just add, “Only if it is my Karma to have this.” Now you’re off the hook. But then, why go through the process in the first place!

    Know that the more visualization and psychic force you put into a selfish desire, the greater will be the rebound blow. Here’s the kicker. If you receive that which you so greatly desire, something of equal value will be taken from you. Your stocks may decrease in value; you may develop a sickness; you may lose your job. Whatever force you put into your desire, Karma will seek recompense. That is The Law. The whole object is to develop a pure heart and use it to perform unselfish acts. Then Karma will bring you what you need. But you have to TRUST that!

    Do yourself a favor. Desire wisdom. It’s the only thing you can take with you when you leave. Remember the Law of Karma: you cannot keep anything you haven’t earned.

    —————————————————————————————–
    Here’s what I think:

    This is an interesting article, but a lot of the reasoning is flawed.

    The Secret basically explains the Law of Manifestation, which I had read about extensively, long before this book became such a big phenomenon. First, the reason for the book becoming a phenomenon (in my view) is that it breaks the law down and makes it easy to understand (it also over-simplifies the “law”), and gives people a step-by-step on how to use the law. The author got the basis for this book from The Science of Getting Rich, which was written in the 1800s, I think. So, this is a very old, universal law.

    Why I say The Secret over-simplifies the law is because I really don’t think you can think yourself into being thin, for example, something that has been mentioned in the book! But if you think about it, your thoughts do have an impact on your environment and surroundings. When you look at a situation negatively, it can overwhelm you; but if you detach yourself a bit and look at it from the perspective of learning something from it, the situation isn’t as overwhelming anymore. Which is part of the reason why we can look back at certain events and laugh over them in hindsight.

    Having said that, here’s what I think about the basic premise of this article: “Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.”

    Well, what would be so bad about getting “it”? It could just be that when you get “it”, you realize fully that there is a trade-off involved. BUT, the trade-off does not come from the “answer to your wish,” it comes from the choice that you made when you “wished” for that something. For example, if you wish for a Hummer and you get it, you then fully realize the cost of maintaining and running it! But, it was your choice, and you have to deal with the consequences of your choice.

    As for sending out a “demand from the Spiritual Ether” that will apparently have “an equal and opposite effect,” don’t you think that’s a bit too doomsdayish? I mean please! The woman who wished for a mink coat, only to get it and then have her husband get transferred to Egypt reeks of chain mails — forward this and something good will happen in 10 days, don’t forward it and you’ll have misfortune for 7 years!

    And when great spiritual leaders say we should be desire-less, it has more to do with the philosophy of a religious/spiritual path — based on the fact that we cannot take our material goods with us, and that we should dissolve our ego and be more open to the experiences around us — than to an actual “evil” universe, because that is what the underlying argument is! If everything I visualize or desire is going to have an equal and opposite effect, then maybe I shouldn’t use vision boards (which work, by the way), or have goals and focus on them! And have you actually contemplated the full meaning of “Send out positive and you can expect negative in return”? So are you saying that if I send out negative, I can expect positive in return? Sorry, but I really don’t think it works like that!

    You might also like:

    • The Secret to You – a visualization tool designed to harness the power of The Secret to fill your life with happiness, prosperity, health and love.