Thoughts in motion

Hello readers,

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been a week since I last wrote and I know a good deal of you must have missed my blog. I do apologize to those who came but found no content to read. Last week came with its own set of lessons and all I can say is I am grateful.

My partner and I had a road trip right after a festival of chariot and even though we have done the same route many times before, this time the challenges were different. I  have learnt so much in the last week that I feel obliged to share it with all of you. To be honest, sometimes we may be in a very trying situation with a lot of learning opportunities but if we fail to immerse ourselves into the experience given, we will not be able to fully grasp the message being conveyed.

In the face of disappointment, we are quick to judge, blame, and even give up. This is what I refer to as the “reactionary attitude”. Something goes bad, we act accordingly. There is no time for reflection, or time for us to evaluate the situation and then come up with a strategy. Over the weekend I can remember being in a situation whereby my partner and I had some not so good feedback and in the moment because I was carried away by her disposition to the situation, I also lost track of mine. My thinking ability had temporarily shut down and I was at the mercy of my subconscious memory. I was going through the physical motions of moving but my mind and heart were not in proper unison.

Another scenario had presented where I needed to exercise tranquility and remove myself from whatever was happening. I had being able to control my emotions and not act on impulse and the end results was great. It goes without saying that to whom much is given much is expected. Anytime we fall short in a situation we need to ask ourselves; are we utilizing all the resources we have in order to win this war over matter and the mind. It seems to me that we are in a constant tussle between matter and spirit. At some point we are in tune with our energies and spirit is in control, and at other times we allow our base tendencies to take over.

The struggle is real as a common phrase goes. We have to daily make choices that all add up into weekly choices, monthly choices, yearly choices and lifetime choices. We are a sum and substance of all the choices we have made over time in our lives. Whether we agree to this fact or not, it is a bitter pill to swallow. How do we convince someone going through a difficult time that they are in that situation due to choices they have made. The truth is we don’t. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion and as such most people learn by repeated and failed experience. There is the popular phrase “experience is the best teacher”. I used to quote that a lot as a teenager and once my Dad said to me “not in every case. In some cases only fools learn by experience. A first class human being (or intelligent person) learns by hearing from authorities on a subject matter or by the experience of others.”

I have always reflected on his phrase. There are some things I have been through a couple times and I ask myself; am I being a first class human in this situation or a third class human being. (This is someone who even though he has lived an experience still doesn’t learn and repeats the same mistake). There are other times when I have an experience once and I vow to myself never again to relive it. In effect what am I saying; life does get to us most of the time. The other part when we think we are outsmarting life, it is just a break. I don’t want to sound pessimistic or come off as one dealing with issues, I just wanted to share these random thoughts that were circulating in my head.

Another good analogy for life and its distractions is; travelling on the highway. When we travel interstate, we pass many exits. Each exit has its own attraction; food, gas, hotel, etc. However we do not get off at every exit. We keep driving until we need to either rest, refuel or eat. We won’t be able to arrive at our destination if we took every exit we saw. In fact we would never begin the journey if we took the very first exit that we saw. This will take us totally off track and if somehow or the other we got back on track and took another exit again, we would be off track again. In essence what I am trying to say is, it is always handy to have focus and direction in life. This becomes like a compass for us.

There will be times when we might need to pull over from the journey of life to take a quick break but we wont be off track. We still have the goal and our GPS will be our values. They will point us in the direction we feel is most important to us. Just like the regular GPS, it is just a guide to get us to our destination. Our values will always be our GPS, if someone is morally bankrupt or deficient then we can compare that to a GPS that is not up to date. If we hold others to our own values, we will be compared to someone who wants other drivers to follow his own GPS. Everyone has their own journey, we may journey together for a while but never entirely together.

After all said and done, we want to be able to look back and be grateful for the gift of life, the gift of good health, and the gift of basic amenities that we take for granted. To those who wake up everyday with the zeal of a hunting Lion, I say all the best and see you all at work on Monday.

Till next week do follow for more. Read, like and share with others.

Home; a safe haven or hell.

Hi!

I am actually ecstatic sharing with you all another blog this week. The response to my last blog was really amazing. I wasn’t expecting it to get so many views but I guess the topic is one we all are skeptical to talk about because of the times in which we live. Nonetheless, it was a joyful experience sharing and I appreciate the support always. So this week I felt hey why not continue on the rollercoaster. Share something that will pick at the mind and intellect of those who read it.

Since I spoke about Gender roles last week, naturally the transition will be to talk about the space in which these genders live in. The house we rent and share is just a house if certain elements are missing. Ever heard of the phrase; home sweet home! Well, it didn’t say “house sweet house”, because a house and a home are two different dynamics. One is the physical enclosure in which the other thrives. One may argue that well since a home is non-existent without the physical space called a house, then home is nothing really but a house with people in it. To this thought I beg to differ, animals habit in some really interesting spaces in Nature and to be honest, it is their home. Have you ever seen a tailor bird build its nest? Amazing piece of craftsmanship and art. However, as beautiful and intricate as the nest may be, it is not complete until the female tailorbird is sought, and comes to lay her eggs there.

In essence, if a house is not filled with joy, laughter, peace, love, kids, family, etc, it is difficult to describe it as a home per se. The physical space has to have some attributes that enable us to enjoy the homely feeling, otherwise, we get the opposite. This is where the sacred science of Vastu or Fend-Shui comes in. I have been fortunate enough to study some documents and books on Vastu Sastra or the science of living spaces and I can tell you for a fact that our houses have a lot more influence on us than we really know.   Many of us might have either seen, heard or even experienced moving into a new house and its one bad event after another. The car breaks down, everyone falls ill back to back, debts accrue endlessly and no matter how much we try nothing seems to work. Then you take a month vacation and it seems like everything is on pause and then as soon as you get back “home” the saga continues.

Some people are fortunate enough to decipher the sequence and even try to trace why things are happening. Then we decide to move to a new place to try for another opportunity and things start to change for the better. I know I might have to do another blog to extensively explain some aspects of Vastu or Feng-shui, but in the interim, it is worthy to note that our living spaces are like a bigger reflection of ourselves. In order for balance and tranquility to be met, some areas of the house should be always blocked, some areas always open, some areas should have entrances and some areas should not. Our bedrooms where we spend a lot of our time should be designed in a way to help us relax and grow, our living room and other spaces should also radiate energy in a way that they assist us in the endeavor we are trying to perform.

When we ignore all of this and just build for the sake of building we violate the “building codes” of nature. Just like every city has a building regulation, Nature has universal building regulations. For those who might be skeptics to this science, at least you’ll agree with me that there must have been one time in your life when you have walked into the house of a friend or somewhere and just said to yourself “something is really off about this place”, and other times when you walk into a place and just felt so much peace that you were intune with yourself. That “feeling” my friends is not just a feeling but real science. A notch further is coming home from work and having to deal with these energies. For those of us who have regular jobs, you’ll agree with me that after a long day at work, one looks forward to coming home to some peace, love, and tranquility.  Now imagine living in a space that has adverse effects on you and your partner and one of you is always triggered.

Let me give a vivid example to help you grasp this idea. There are certain rooms in a house that have negative effects based on who sleeps in it. The room in the NorthWest is considered better for the head of the family and if you have a guest in such a room, they might overstay their welcome lol. This is because it is a space that gives dominance and stability. Likewise, imagine living a house with many negative faults as per Nature’s building regulation and at the same time living with a partner that makes your life tough. Double hell I’ll say! You come home and the house has its effects on you, you feel twice as worked up even though you just had a hectic day at work, and just when you try to unwind you have a nagging wife or overbearing husband. Scenarios like this have pushed many people out of their homes to find some peace and solace.

The mind can only stay so long without peace and love! The house has to be made into a home so that it can radiate Love, Peace and positive vibes from proper Vastu. So ask yourself, is my house a safe haven or hell? How do I feel when I am on my way back home? Am I excited or just going through the motions? Do I feel relaxed when I am back home or it feels just like work? Is my partner assisting in making our house a HOME? Am I assisting in making our house a HOME? Many really good people with wonderful hearts have been “pushed” out of their own homes because they just can’t find peace and love in it. Let us try to do better! I sincerely hope that I can shed more light on the science of spaces soon, in order to give my readers a better understanding of how this works and to assist you all.

Till next week, I remain your loving friend and well-wisher. Read, share and follow for more.

A traveler’s notepad II – Part 2

Dear readers,

Welcome to a new week of exciting blogs! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Last week I shared the first part of this blog, and in case you missed it, please check it out here. I must say I am grateful for the response it got. Today I’ll try to conclude by sharing the remaining part of the journey and my reflections as well. Sit back and let’s cruise again.

So I made it through the fog zone and made a few gas stops ( four to be precise). My partner and I came up with a refueling strategy; whenever we hit half tank we would take the next gas exit to refill. This way we tried to save ourselves the trouble of being on “E(mpty)” and not having a gas station close by. The high way had a good number of gas exits at pretty good intervals still we had a plan and we stuck with it. The scenario played to our advantage however if it was otherwise we would have still been fine. After about 5hours and 45mins of driving it was time to switch places. She had gotten some rest and we had made a few stops, gotten something to drink in between, bathroom breaks, stretches etc.

Reflection: No matter how equipped we may be for an endeavor be it material or spiritual, we have to learn how to pause, reflect, and then proceed. Nowadays even corporate organizations are telling high-level managers to take meditation classes to help them deal with stress. Likewise just as we had to refill the tank with gas, our body also needed to refill with stretches, water and bathroom breaks. The same thing applies to other endeavors, especially spirituality. If we get “lost” in the routine we may become mechanical and the beauty of spirituality is the spontaneity and bliss therein. 

When she got behind the wheels, I felt relieved that I had been able to do my part of the task we had set out to do. I took the time to do my mantra meditation as I wasn’t able to do so while driving and also to eat. (I find it hard to eat and drive and I get sleepy on a full stomach). She is good with speed so I knew she would do good on the time, I tried my best to help her stay up by having conversations deep enough to keep the brain active but not too engrossing to distract her attention. We played lots of music in between and that helped too. This is where it gets interesting. Two hours to our destination we noticed there were only three cars on the road; us and two others. The air was different, the land was green, there were lots of cows grazing as we drove by, we felt this sudden drop in tension and you can say some sort of zen or Shanti(peace). We knew we were far away from the city we live in.

Living in a fast-paced city and one of the highest consumer cities in the states, you don’t know what happens inside your body, mind, and soul until you step out into a more relaxed environment and you suddenly see that the fast pace and traffic jams are killing us in a slow-motion manner.

Reflection: Modern society has come a long way especially with science and technology, however in an attempt to move forward quickly into the “space age or era” it has dropped off many things which could help us when we get there. Fast food, fast cars, fast relationships, fast everything and we wonder why we are dying fast too. Take a look at the longest living animals on this planet, the Tortoise for example that can live up to 120 years, it is one of the slowest moving animals (0.30mph). A horse moves way faster than a tortoise at 55mph (running) but lives 25-30 years. We can always take a note from nature. This is not to say we should literally become sluggish however if we slow our “fast life society down” just a bit, maybe we might see many things that slip by us. 

We spent the last hour of the drive just comparing our home state with where we were as she drove. We began to see how much stress we were under and not even aware of it, the cool breeze blowing from the windows and sunroof of the car seems to ease away the stress of having driven so long. We got to our destination and we were happy to bond with family and friends. We spent the next few days, soaking in as much peace, love, clean air, good food, positive association and nature as we could. Our return trip commenced at the same time 5am, same preparations (enough sleep the night before etc). This time I actually felt well rested before we set out and I took the first leg as usual. At this point, I think it is safe to draw a correlation between my lack of proper rest on our initial trip, to stress hidden in my body and with two to three days of a change in the environment I could rest better.

Reflection: Recently I was watching a video on Instagram by a famous actress and she said I paraphrase ” if you sit in sh*t for too long, you won’t notice the smell anymore”. Similarly, some of us are so “used to stress” that we have adjusted and it seems fine until we actually take a break. This principle holds the same weight for most things in life too; be it a toxic relationship, bad business, unfulfilling job, etc. If you sit in it too long, you won’t notice how detrimental it is to you anymore. So take a leap of faith and JUMP.

On our return trip, I did half the drive and she did the other half. In fact, about three hours out of state we were already stuck in traffic and our ETA gained an additional 40 minutes. We both looked at each other and it all just made sense. The glaring difference when we were two hours to our destination were we felt peace and tranquility and now three hours away from home and we could see the stress build up. The traffic was so bad on the highway that one of the commercial truck drivers, actually parked and came out took a walk down, got back into his truck and we were all still at a standpoint. At this point, I said to her “the irony is we should be happy that we are returning home but the stress is so much that we can’t even feel that sentiment”. We both laughed at the absurdity of what was happening.  The remaining part of our return trip was an eye-opener to the level of stress we were subjected to, just by living where we are now and the beauty of the getaway we just had kept replaying in our minds.

We both agreed we had to do something about it.

Reflection: At the end of the day, we all are responsible for our happiness, and peace of mind. We make choices daily that either promote these or jeopardize them. Let us begin to choose wisely. In the same vein, this material world is a place of birth, disease, old age death, and our original home is with the Supreme Being (or God, for those who follow a particular faith). The goal is to be in a place where we are not limited by time, place, circumstance or our own bodies and the bliss is unlimited. 

For those of you who tuned in to read the conclusion of our trip and reflections, I am most grateful. Your continuous support means a lot to me. The dream is to be able to share more blogs and reflections like this to many more people on a larger scale and reach more people. I know deep down that there are many people who need to connect on a deeper level and I will be more than glad to help facilitate that. Feel free to leave your comments about this blog and share your realizations too.

I really look forward to sharing more with you next week. Till then do read, share and follow for more. If you are worried about missing my publications, then please subscribe to my blog so that you get a notification whenever I publish a post.

 

A Traveller’s notepad II – part 1

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all again today yet another interesting blog. First and foremost I’ll like to apologize for sending in my blog late today, I had a long weekend; tiring but very fulfilling. My partner and I took a long 11-hour drive to go celebrate my spiritual mentor’s birthday. During this long trip, we both did half the drive both ways and as usual, I tried to do some reflection when I was behind the wheels.

I must say I got back barely 3 hours ago, my body is still sore and fatigue is definitely wearing me down, however, I feel I do owe all my readers the responsibility of sending in a blog every week, besides I really want to share how my trip was. In the past I had also shared a travel experience with my realization, please do check it out.

That been said let us delve into my reflections. On our trip out of town, the night before we had done most of our packing and we tried as much as possible to get some good night rest. I must say I woke up feeling as if I wasn’t properly rested but I knew I would have to figure out how to make my body work. We packed all our stuff in the car and we set out, I had volunteered to start the trip for two reasons; I am a morning person so I knew I was at my peek in the morning no matter what and second so that she could get some more rest as I drove, pending when she had to take over. The first 30 minutes was somewhat scattered; we had to get gas, get to the ATM, and it was raining. I got a little cranky but as soon as I got on the high way, things began to settle in. At first, I couldn’t see because it was barely twilight, and the rain wasn’t helping either.

In the first two hours, I was battling sleep. I know at this point some of you might be like “if you felt so tired why drive at all?” I must say I do understand the importance of getting a good night rest before setting out on a long distance journey (and to be fair to myself I did get some sleep, but my body wasn’t rested for some reason). Hence, the sleep was more of a mental thing than an actual need to sleep. I had a gallon of grape juice; sour and cold. Exactly what I needed to keep myself awake. ( I don’t take coffee due to its caffeine content, which is what most people use to stay awake for long drives). Strategically positioning it on the armrest, I took intermittent sips whenever I felt my eyes failing me. This game went on for about an hour or two. After a while, I noticed it wasn’t as efficient as it was when I first started drinking, plus my bowels were full and I needed to stop for a bathroom break. At that moment, out of spontaneity, I sprayed some citrus on my face in the hope that it would keep me up. Lo and behold! it worked.

Reflection: Sometimes in life when we want to undertake an endeavor that is important be it material or spiritual, we may feel like we are not fully equipped. Just as I felt when I woke up even after sleeping the entire night. Nonetheless, we must forge ahead regardless, because as long as there is will, there is always a way. The rain, and stops to fill up our gas tank, the poor visibility, and cranky mood are all like the setback and hurdles we are bound to face in that endeavor. They will surely show up. The sour grape juice that helped me stay awake due to the fact that it was cold and had citrus, is a good example of having a contingency plan for setbacks. These plans should be set up in such a way that they take into consideration the situation and our weakness. 

My weakness at the time was overcoming sleep and the situation at hand required a solution that could help. It is also worthy to note that whenever we set out to do something worthwhile there will be a thousand and one reasons why we shouldn’t do it. However, our “why” must be greater than the situation, if not we won’t be able to forge ahead. We all have to find out what our “why” (reason) is, and then use that as a catalyst in trying times. 

Three hours into the trip I found my self-driving through South Carolina and the fog made visibility almost impossible. the speed limit on the high way was 30mph and most drivers had the caution lights on. I was flabbergasted. How could such a warm state have this much fog? Anyways that was not my problem now, I had to go through it. After about 30 minutes of impaired visibility and driving really slow, we came out of the fog zone and things looked bright again. I picked up some speed and tried to cover for the time lost. Four hours in and I began to tell myself I guess I can make it after all. I only had to put in another hour and 45 minutes before handing over to my partner.

During this fog zone, some things came in handy. I wanted to turn on my headlight but my partner spoke to the contrary, stating that it made visibility worse as it caused glares. I took heed of her advice and turned on the caution signal and drove slowly.

Reflection: In our various quests especially a spiritual quest there will come a time when we may lack a sense of direction as things become “foggy”. It may be fogginess caused by lack of clarity of scriptures, or lack of proper understanding of practices, or a drop in faith etc. We can survive if we take shelter of someone who knows the way; usually a spiritual mentor. The spiritual mentor can show us the way because he has seen the truth and he opens our darken eyes with the torchlight of knowledge. The caution lights to me were the words of advice or “caution” we get from a spiritual mentor who shows us how to navigate our foggy path. 

I have broken this journey into two parts (hopefully) so that it is not too lengthy. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more. Watch out for the continuation. If you are worried about missing it, then please subscribe to my blog so that you get a notification whenever I publish a post.

Order in chaos!

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another exciting blog today, especially as it is also a new month. We are in the third month of this New Year and just like yesterday, I can vividly remember how we were all excited about how we were starting another Year. Like I mentioned in my blogs earlier this year, every passing day is another day closer to the end of the year. We have already done about 63 days in 365 days, and before you realize, its 100 days. This “countdown” is more of a subtle reminder for me to focus on the things I need to do than it is a nudge at my readers to do same. Definitely, I try my best to motivate people through my blogs and write-ups to give them a sense of direction in what they do, however, my blogs are also my way of speaking to myself.

Sometimes in sharing wisdom with people, you get to share it with yourself. Sometimes preaching to the choir isn’t such a bad idea (the “choir” in this scenario is me), because by doing so, I get to motivate myself to do things I really need to do. A few days back I was speaking with an acquaintance and we were sharing certain thoughts on time and managing it. I had expressed that proper time management to me will be “doing something that is productive, satisfying and fulfilling.” I didn’t even have to ponder a lot and those words sort of blurted out of my mouth. So he asked me to explain what I meant by “productive, satisfying and fulfilling.” It was at that point that I took a minute to reflect on what they meant to me. Then I answered saying that; productive to me was something that added value to others and also gave you a financial support system to the point where you could live off it. I also said satisfying to me will mean being so happy engaging in that activity that I couldn’t wait to get back at it the next day. Finally fulfilling to me was an activity that I knew made a change in the lives of others and gave me peace of mind.

At that moment, these words got us thinking. There is no doubt they had more effect on me after I had gone back home. To be honest, the discussion we had was like a sneak peek into some sort of chaos I was trying to solve. We live in a world that can be chaotic at times, especially if you live in a big city. You have to constantly try to find your balance or center yourself otherwise you just lose it. Inside this “chaos” one has to have a voice that is heard, and everyone is trying to be “heard”, so imagine what this does to the already chaotic situation we have. It is intense and I must say having a regulated spiritual life has helped me remain centered, of this, there is no doubt. Nonetheless, it is still easy to get drowned in the cacophony of voices that are trying to be heard in society. So in the midst of this “chaos” how can we instill order? We cannot instill order throughout the world; because the power to do such a thing isn’t present in just one Man. We can, however, influence people and they can pass on the influence we have had on them.

Mother Theresa, Michael Jackson, Mahatma Gandhi, and many others have shown us how we can strive to make our voices heard in all the noise around us. Pondering on all this, I have been asking myself “what can I do to add value to people’s lives and impact change?” I presented the same question to my acquaintance and he said ” invent something”, we both laughed and I said ” it doesn’t have to be something nouvelle; it just has to solve people’s problems, that’s all. As simple as that sounds, trust me it requires some thinking to be able to come up with a good solution. One may wonder what has creating something or a service that solves people’s problem got to do with chaos. Well, quick example; Facebook! ( I am not saying I also want to make an app or social media, it was the first example that came to mind). It has been reported that 1billion people use Facebook, that is one-seventh of the entire world population. The founder has created a service that has helped people, it has brought some order in the chaos of trying to keep in touch with many people, and definitely, his voice has been heard despite the “chaos”.

I know not everyone is going to be a CEO, or a big social media creator, however, we all can influence the world in our own little way. In a world where there is so much ado about form and less substance, it can be very daunting to try to change the status quo on many things. It is those who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world who actually do… nice quote from Rob Siltanen, unfortunately, today we have lots of “crazy people” who are actually bringing about change, and trust me the change they bring is not really sustainable. I guess that’s the riddle we all have to solve to restore order in the chaos. We have to ask ourselves “what kind of change do we want?’ Is it positive, replicable, sustainable and does it bring order to the existing chaos? If we can answer yes to all then we may proceed to give that change a voice amidst the existing cacophony.

I am just one Man trying to make sense of all that is going on, and trying my best to bring about positive change to others. I know that with time I can create a better platform to serve people better until then I humbly crave your indulgence. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

New Year and all that comes with it.

Dear readers,

I must say it has been a pleasure sharing with you all this year the many thoughts and topics in my blogs. It has also been an honor to be able to have your support and feedback throughout the year, I really do appreciate this. Considering that this is my last blog for this year, I’ll try to keep it short and straight to the point. I want to wish you all a Happy New Year in advance and all that you wish yourselves. May the New Year bring you all blessings in all areas of your lives.

Every New Year, we have many people try to get resolutions and decide that they are going to do certain things, give up certain things, and probably a long list of things they would like to achieve by the New Year. I have written a few blogs on New Year resolutions before and I don’t want to harp too much on the concept of resolutions this year. Each year I try to see it from a different perspective. This year I’ll try to look at the whole concept of resolutions from a perspective of what really separates those who achieve and those who don’t. Let me start by saying I have a few things I’ll like to also achieve in the New Year and the probability of me achieving them depends on how I place myself in ways to do so.

The first things about goals or resolution are that they have to be clear and precise. The clearer they are, the easier they are to work towards. This is a fact that I guess some of us are already aware of. It is easier for example to achieve losing 20 Lbs by a certain time rather than just “losing weight”. The difference between those who achieve what they set out to and those who don’t is a myriad of reasons. It is obvious we can not list them all here however we can at least look at a couple. One major difference is lack of hunger. Yea, I know this doesn’t sound like what you might have been expecting to hear. The hunger I speak of here is not the one that is associated with food, but with a dire need to get something.

When our resolve to get what we want is higher than any other thing then we can safely say our “hunger” for it is intense. When our resolve is not resolute and clear, then we lack the desired hunger. This factor as simple as it may sound is what distinguishes many high performing athletes and successful people from their counterparts. The intensity of our hunger determines how much of adversity we can take and overcome. It is this hunger that gets us up to go to the gym even when it is freezing cold outside, it is this hunger that helps us delay gratification because we know that investing for our future is more important than living a life of luxury now. I once heard a motivational speaker say and I paraphrase; that until our desire to succeed (in whatever endeavor) is as great as our NEED to breathe then we may truly succeed.

One thing that is certain is that distractions are sure to come up as we try to achieve our goals for the New Year. If we have a goal and there are no distractions then we need to ask ourselves if the goal is a realistic one. Nothing good comes easy and if it does it is probably too good to be true. If it were easy, then everyone will be an A-list actor or a top performing athlete. When every other motivating factor fails, there is one that we need to keep; the hunger. Every day when we wake up we need to eat to keep our physical bodies going and without food, our bodies will become weak and eventually shut down. The same applies to our dreams and goals for the New Year and beyond. We need to feed our resolutions daily by doing what we need to achieve it. We need to see our resolutions as a pang of hunger and that the only way to satiate it, is to feed it. Feeding it means achieving the goals set.

I hope this expose help someone who might need some direction this New Year. I wish you all a prosperous New Year and hope you can achieve all that you set out to.

Failure; the building blocks of success

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another interesting blog this week. Since Thanksgiving Day is in a few days and I won’t be writing on that day, I’ll just wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving day in advance. Please pardon the Turkeys for the sake of our environment and try a Vegan/Vegetarian feast this year. 

Today I’ll like to just freestyle my blog (which I do most often anyway). I have been contemplating the subject of failure and its different connotations. Despite the harsh reality that comes with failure and whatever consequences it carries, people still define it differently across the globe. To some financial crisis is a failure, while to others it is a blessing in disguise. Others see rocky relationships as a failure while some see fragile health as a failure. There are those who see anything short of what they desire also as a failure and as diverse as the perspective comes, so does the intricacies of it too. To be honest, I am yet to meet someone who undertakes an activity for themselves, with the sole intent of failing.  

Even though this may sound somewhat radical; I must say that failure is actually relative and to measure it with a yardstick is almost impossible. I, and certainly many of you must have heard motivational speeches from celebrities who were told back in the school days that they would never amount to anything useful, because they failed a class or subject. Only for them to become way bigger than anyone could have imagined. So while they may have “failed” at school work, some found their passion and direction in other areas like Music, Sports, etc. One of the greatest minds to be celebrated in the world of Science; Albert Einstein, was described as stupid by his teachers and even some of his early works were called fiction rather than Science. 

Just like any other area in life, spirituality also comes with its own kind of failure. Sometimes we slip on our vows or our practices and sometimes we find ourselves struggling with the very basic understanding of the core philosophy. In different eyes, we could be described as a failure especially if we don’t share similar experiences. It is important to note that before we can call or describe anyone as a “failure”, we need to ask ourselves; do we have the same experience with whomever we are trying to criticize? We only gain experience from what we give attention, and our failures come from our experiences. The fear of failing in anything we do can be used as a great motivation to get things right, and it could also be an invisible gun at our heads if we let it control us. No one is a complete failure and even stones that are cast away as unfit, are later used as the cornerstone or pillars of a building. 

We fail when we decide to stop trying, and we succeed when we refuse to let our setbacks define us. A setback is temporary if we learn from it and bounce back, a failure is a setback that we have allowed to grow roots in our lives. As spiritual practitioners, we are definitely going to have setbacks and the way we handle them will determine if they become failures or successes. While spiritual life is best practiced in a community of like-minded people, we mustn’t forget that it is an individual journey too. We cannot use our failures to judge others or use the success of others to judge ourselves. To each his own race.  We have to be steadfast in our practices and be resolute in our focus. 

We will never be without some iota of “failure” in our lives and the way we process it determines the way we progress or not. The beauty of life is that to be successful we would need to build on our failures. Many people learn a lot more from “failures” than they do from “success”. Usually, when a failure occurs we re-evaluate things, think, go back to the drawing board, we try to better ourselves at whatever it is that we do. On the other hand, when we “succeed” we hardly try to critic ourselves to see how to improve, rather we think we are spectacular and hence growth is stagnated because we fail to look for a room for improvement. 

In a nut shell, any spiritual practitioner who is serious about making some progress must learn to embrace the duality of success and failure. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more. 

Get out of your own way!

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. Last week was filled with lots of activities for me and I must say I discovered myself in a new way.

There is no gain saying that I try my best to excel at whatever I do and I am of the opinion that whatever you put your mind in, you can do well. It has also been difficult for me to understand how people cannot get somethings done, UNTIL yesterday when for the first time in my life I “froze”. Those who know me might find this strange and so do I. So how did this all happen?

I have been an avid lover of things related to the arts; singing, dancing, composing songs, writing poems, acting, playing instruments etc. Some of these I have as innate abilities and others I have developed over the years. I am not a professional of any kind however I do my best to perform at a level above average in whatever I undertake. Having said that, I also have had issues in believing that someone could “freeze” doing something they like doing. In fact, I laugh at movie characters who get tongue tied at a speech or who find it difficult to do something “simple”. I guess nature was just waiting for the best time to teach me a very vital lesson. This blog is clearly not what I intended to share today, however the experience was just too real to not share.

In a gathering of say 15 people last night I was invited to sing, something I do every time without qualms and I enjoy doing it. I had just finished playing the drum and took the harmonium and started to sing, when I noticed my fingers and hands were all shaky. I couldn’t believe it. I sing every day and I have never had such an experience. I pulled myself together and somehow went through the session but my composure was totally off. Somewhere in between, I pumped the harmonium louder and sort of hid my apprehension in the high sound. It worked for a while, but a tune I knew so well, failed me. I was not only embarrassed but humbled beyond words. In that moment I began to imagine how hard it must have been for so many people who had to keep up with me at things they weren’t good at, and I had no idea. I began to see how it felt like to experience such temporary shock. Interestingly I have done singing sessions in front of hundreds of people for hours, and never had an issue, so what happened?

After thinking for some time, I could identify a few things; first and foremost I was too concerned about the outcome of my singing, as it was in front of a relatively new crowd. I was yet to connect with my audience on a more friendly term, and as such I was nervous. Yes, I said it, even I get nervous too. Second, which is probably the most important factor, is that I was standing in my own way. I was in my head telling myself, how people were watching me, how everyone wanted to see how well I could sing, I was literally breathing down my own neck, as such I was slowing myself down. In flashback, I just wonder why I was so disturbed over nothing. Did this experience disturb me? Yes it did. Am I going to try again? Definitely! What if it happens again? Then it means there is something I need to work on. If there is an anxiety, it means there is fear, if there is fear then naturally there is ignorance. Fear is born of ignorance. So what I need to figure out is what am I ignorant of, that is creating this fear in me that suddenly shuts me down while I do something I love doing?

The moment I can identify this, then there is a chance I can solve my sudden freeze and fear. One crucial point to note is that, even the audience was not as disturbed as I was. So there it is; I had created an expectation in my head, and because I was unable to meet that expectation, I had difficulty accepting the fact that I was consciously standing in my own way. No one was booing me to stop, no one laughed, no one even criticized me, and I was fighting demons I had created in my own head. The beautiful thing is that, these demons are only as strong as I allow them to be. If I continue to feed them, which is what they want, then they grow powerful. If I refuse to feed them with doubt and fear, then they die naturally.  In life we all, will face moments like I faced yesterday at one point in time or the other. In some cases, it will be due to genuine lack of expertise, in other cases, it will be due to our own internal dialogue. Whichever the case may be, we need to get out of our own way and give ourselves a chance. I know if I have to do this right, then I have to do it again, and focus on what I am doing rather than what my mind is telling me.

I know it is easier said than done, however the only way to improve, is to try. The Master is just a student who has failed so many times and has refused to quit. Failure is good, because it makes you humble, gives you instant feedback, and allows you room for progress. Success, sometimes doesn’t teach us as much as failure. So last night I didn’t do well, it means I am one step closer to doing it right. This should be our mindset and we will definitely achieve a lot more success in any aspect of our lives. I have no idea what will happen the next time I try to sing in front of the same “unfamiliar” audience, but I know for sure, I am not going to chicken out.

Till next week, do follow for more.

Last Year in Perspective

Dear readers,

Happy New Year and compliments of the season. May this New Year bring you the very best in your endeavors and May the grace of the Lord be with you all.

Upon entering this year (2017) I had published a blog on New Year resolutions and I made the following promise to all of you, let us see how well I fared.

This year my commitment to you all is to provide you with as much clarity and information on various topics by giving deeper insights into them. There are a few plans put in place to see this through and as the year goes by they will naturally unfold. Finally, before saying a few words on our topic today, I would like to urge you all to please share this blog space with others, why? We are all morally bound to share whatever helps us with others so that they can also benefit. The content I provide here is not for just a selected few, it is for everyone and the only way everyone can get it, is if we try to put it out there more. So please do encourage friends and family to read, share and subscribe. By subscribing you don’t miss any of the action and interesting stuff. I mean why would you want to miss any new post?

In the best of my ability I have made available one new blog every week, unfailingly. In the space of 21 months we have grown from 0 unique visitors to 2,155 unique visitors, and a total of 93 distinct and inspiring blogs. This has been possible much because of your continued support and feedback. I look forward to more and a better 2018.

At the beginning of the year I had published an article on New Year resolution and how they affect our lives, how to follow through with them etc. Today however, I won’t be doing another New Year resolution blog, rather I want us to take a good look at the year that just ended. Now I know many of you might be thinking, “Well last year wasn’t fair to me in many different areas, so why should I waste my time revising it?” The simple reason is; sometimes in order to be focused on where we are headed it is necessary to remember where we are coming from.

We begin to slip on most of our New Year resolutions not just because we lack resolve, determination or the discipline to follow through, but because we often times forget too soon why we made those resolutions in the first place. This year I made a couple of resolutions, some personal and others general. In other to give better clarity on why we should take time to look back at the just ended year, I will share one of my resolutions for the past year. Often times we make resolutions at the beginning of the Year, that are vague, like “this year I will lose weight”. In as much as this is a positive resolution, if our resolutions are not specific, we may lack the impetus to push it through. I had a rocky time last year in terms of my personal relationships and this had a boomerang effect on my eating, as I sort to nullify my pain by eating a “little” extra. It wasn’t long before I began to notice the extra weight kicking in real fast, I was closing in on 190 pounds. For a guy my height I needed to lose at least 40 pounds of that, if I was going to stay close to the “light”.

When the year started I had made a resolution to keep fit and work out, I exercise regularly however when my relationship hit stormy waters, my resolution to work out also sank. One day looking at myself in the mirror and seeing all the extra weight I said this is not who I am. The weight had to go. Now pain became a motivation instead of a distraction, I cut back on my eating, changed my diet and increased my work out to a daily program. In the space of 6 months, I lost roughly 20 pounds. Today I weigh in at 168-170 pounds and even though I have about 20 more pounds to shed, I can say I have come a long way and the result is not just physically obvious but internally satisfying. Was it easy? Not at all. Did I miss my old eating habit? Initially I did, not any more. How did I overcome the urge to binge on food? By looking back at my old pics with the excess weight and telling myself this is not who I want to be, and by having a mental picture of the shape and form I want to achieve.

In other to make our resolutions work, we need to have a clear picture of what we are striving for, and also have a clear picture of what we are giving up. When this two are in balance, then we can be sure to go through the year with little backslides in our resolutions. Last year (2017) taught me a lot of lessons, and if there is one thing that is certain in 2018, I shall be stepping in with these lessons as my compass and added experience. Just like any other year, I won some of my personal battles and I also lost some. At the end of the day I am at peace with myself knowing that I gave the year my best, I tried to improve myself as much I could in all areas of my life and above all I loved unconditionally. As I lay my head to rest each night, I know that my words and activities are not a source of pain or disturbance to other living beings, be they human or lower in specie.

I am grateful for being able to publish my book, you can grab a copy here (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/753002), I am grateful for all those who have helped me in one way or the other last year, I am grateful for the community I live in, and I am grateful for the gift of life to see yet another year. May this New Year bring us all the good things we desire. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

 

Vulnerability

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all today yet another exciting blog. I hope you all are faring well.

Before we delve into today’s topic, I’ll like to say Thank you to all my readers and those who have supported my blog by regularly reading, subscribing, sharing or even the thumbs up. At the moment we have reached a significant milestone of 2021 unique visitors to my blog, in the space of 21 months. That is approximately 96 visitors a month. Of course the desire is to reach out to more people and we are not there yet, nevertheless I am grateful for all your support and encouragement.

When I first started blogging, the inner desire was to create for myself a medium to express my thoughts, ideas, opinions and experiences on a platform where I could receive feedback, and share views. Over the last 20 months, I can say that has evolved into creating a platform whereby I can share insights, realizations and also speak on various subjects from a deeper perspective albeit Metaphysical. I have learnt a lot and the learning process isn’t over. One of the toughest part of writing is that you put yourself in a vulnerable position, one that allows for people to criticize, judge or even form opinions about who you are just by reading from you.

A true writer knows this is inevitable and in the unavoidable discharge of his writing duty, he takes the criticism and praise all with a pinch of salt. So in my blog today I want to willingly put myself in a more vulnerable position. One thing we fear the most is being vulnerable, hence we put up walls and defenses. This is not to say we don’t have valid reasons to be scared or overly defensive, nevertheless even the most powerful people we can think of, had their moments of being vulnerable. So what is it that you are most afraid of? What is it that makes you vulnerable?

As a kid I used to be scared of the dark and anytime I had to walk through a dark corridor to turn on the lights I’ll run a full dash to the switch. One day, I think it was my mum if I remember correctly, who told me “the reason why you are afraid is because you think you are alone and someone might get you. You never have to run when you walk with me or someone else, so next time you have to go turn on the light, just walk close to the wall and feel your way along the wall. This way you won’t feel like you are waking through a large ‘vacuum’.” The next time I was asked to go turn on the lights I remembered what she had told me earlier and I walked close to the wall, slowly sliding my hands by the wall till I got to the switch and even though there was some element of fear, it was a lot better and with time I was able to walk through the dark corridor with absolutely no fear.

Now that might be easy, however as an adult my mum wasn’t with me every time and I had to face most of my vulnerability alone. Sometimes in order to trust someone we have to be vulnerable to them, sometimes in order to love someone we have to be vulnerable to them, sometimes in order to succeed we have to be vulnerable, sometimes in order for peace to thrive, we have to be vulnerable not because we cannot be strong but because we know that there is strength in willingly accepting such a position. It is easy to love, admire, respect, worship and follow someone who is strong but not many people can extend these emotions easily and readily to someone they see as vulnerable. Vulnerability is often greeted with two types of reactions; disregard and exploitation.

There are people who thrive on the vulnerability of others so much so that they are constantly searching for anyone who is in such a state to prey on. They feed off weakness just like the Dementors in Harry Potter. The Dementors in this novel series are described as Soulless creatures that deprive humans of happiness and Intelligence. They do so by feeding off your fear or by presenting themselves as that which you dread the most. Interestingly the antidote to a Dementor is to make a joke out of it by casting a spell of ridicule. Similarly whenever we encounter people who feed off the vulnerability of others the antidote is to protect our “intelligence and stay happy”. When the Intelligence is lost, it becomes difficult to focus the mind even on the simplest joyful activities.

When someone is vulnerable people avoid him/her seeing that state as pitiful and not wanting to associate with the person. They feel that by associating with a person who is vulnerable they might as well become vulnerable. There are those on the other hand who greet vulnerability with exploitation and see it as a means to feel better about their own life. When a person who is vulnerable extends to them a hand seeking for help, they respond by finding a way to take advantage of that individual by exploiting them. By taking advantage of such a person they have no intention to help him/her out of her vulnerable side.

After hearing all of this someone might ask, so why would I want to be vulnerable to anyone? Well the answer is diverse however one way to see it is that one can learn to trust on a deeper level when he knows that he/she is vulnerable to another person. A good example is two lovers, who are vulnerable to each other. Despite the fact that they both know each other’s vulnerability, they never try to use it against one another. Someone who knows your vulnerability and still takes care of you and protects you instead of taking advantage of you, is a special soul. By being willingly vulnerable to people we get to know who they really are.

Hoping this meets you well.

Do like, share, and follow for more.

PS; Photo credit not mine