Archive for December, 2015

The 30 Second Toilet Meditation

December 31, 2015

30 second toilet meditation
The 30 Second Toilet Meditation

Edit 2017 – 2 years later

I now call this Micro Meditations.
I think it’s a bit more portable this way.

A micro meditation is taking One Conscious Breath.
You do your best to block out the world and just take one breath.

Let your shoulders relax.
Feel the ground under your feet.
Feel the infinite sky above your head.

Just for one breath.
Then go on about your day.
When you feel the edges of over stress creeping in do a micro meditation.

I used to teach it as the 30 second toilet meditation.
I’ve since changed it to micro meditations.
I still love this article I wrote a couple years ago.

I wish you all the best in your search for balance amidst the chaos.

Growth Intentions

As the year comes to a close
and I look towards 2016
I like to set growth intentions.

I think of all the ways I have grown in 2015 and celebrate them.
I also look at the areas that I still need to work on most.

Then I form my intentions around
continuing to develop the strengths
and strengthening the weaknesses.

Be Gentle with Yourself Vivek

As I do I also remind myself to be very gentle.
While I am a big fan of personal growth and change
I am also a fan of being gentle with myself.

It has been my experience that
when I work consistently and gently on something
it has the quickest and most long lasting effect.

Pushing too hard can often sabotage progress.
Gentle consistency has the most power.

An Example of Gentle Consistency

When people mention to me that
they have trouble meditating and
ask me for help I share with them
a meditation I developed for just that purpose.

It is called the:

The 30 Second Toilet Meditation

The two main areas of complaint
people share about meditation is that
they either don’t have time
or they find they cannot concentrate.

The 30 second toilet meditation addresses both of these concerns.

The way it works is at least once a day
you find yourself in the toilet.

At this point you are alone for a span of time.
You also are in a suitably seated position.

This is the ideal time and place to meditate.

You can even call the toilet
your meditation throne.

This covers the time concern about meditation
because you are not having to carve out
any extra seconds from your day.
The retreat from the world is already set.

Use Your Toilet Time Effectively

Instead of reading a magazine
or playing with your phone
you can use your toilet time
to reach out to the spirit of the universe.

The actual meditation practice works like this.

Take 3 Slow Conscious Breaths

In and out
In and out
In and out

That’s All.
(For a Micro Meditation you can just take one breath!)

This is something anyone can accomplish.
The goal is not to have a quiet mind while you do it.
The goal is simply to take 3 slow conscious breaths.

You can have your eyes open or closed,
you can have your hands in any position
and you can let any thoughts
wander through your mind.

Three Breaths Only

The other part of the strategy is
for at least 2 months
absolutely refuse to do more than 3 breaths.

Even if you’re dying to
take a fourth breath,
refuse to do so.

The reason for this and I’ve seen it time and time again
is that people will take a fourth breath and then a fifth
then the next day feel like they should also do five.

Maybe 5 will turn into 6 then
the next day they can’t concentrate for 6
and they get frustrated.
They feel like a failure
and give the whole thing up.

If you stick to just the three breaths
you will not get snared by this trap.

Are You Dying For The Fourth?

After 2 months if you find that
you are dying to take another breath
then do so.

But only take one more.
Spend the next two months
only taking four breaths.

If you do not find that you are
aching to take that 4th breath
then spend another 2 months
only doing three breaths.

There Is No Rush

In fact the success of this technique
specifically relies upon you not rushing the process.

If you can stick to the 30 seconds and
do your best not to miss a day
you will be giving your mind the message
that you really care about your development.

If you do miss a day, don’t beat yourself up for it.
This is very important.
Just restart the next day and keep going.

The benefits will start to creep into your life.

Tricking Your Resistance

This is a wonderful example of
working at something in
a gentle but consistent way.

Is a way of tricking your resistance.
Bypassing the obstacles to meditation.

Find Other Areas To Apply Gentle Consistence

See if you can find other things
that you are resisting
and apply this principle.

Look for ways you can engage in things
in a gentle and consistent manner.

Write Three Pages Every Day… Sheesh!

Let’s say you want to write every day
but cannot bring yourself to do so.

Instead of trying to write a page every day
try and write one sentence.

Is one sentence tripping you up?
Then do one word a day.
Do it on the toilet!
Every day when you sit on the toilet
write one word.
After 2 months add a second word.

It may seem silly, but
not writing at all is not writing at all!

Gentle Consistency Is Strong

Gentle consistency may seem weak to some,
but I have learned that it has great power.

As I set my growth intentions for 2016
I will also apply this method.

I myself have terrific resistance to growth and change.
Gentle consistency helps me in
dealing with that and accomplishing things
that I otherwise never would.

I hope this concept helps you
in your journey of personal growth.

The Freedom to Say No Creates Respect for Consent

December 30, 2015

PhotoGrid_1451536518779

Say goodbye to everyone Vivek

When I was young and my parents would
take me to a dinner party with friends or family
it was the custom for me to go around the room to
say goodbye and give a hug to everyone at
the party when it was time to leave.

This was not something I was ever given a choice about.
It was simply the way things were done.

My feelings about it were not taken into consideration

It didn’t matter if I liked the people that were there or not.
It didn’t matter if I felt comfortable with them or not.
In fact the idea that there might be some
choice in the matter never into entered my head.

I’m willing to bet it never entered into
my parents heads either.
(Maybe my mom? I’ll have to ask her)

This is the way it’s always been done

It was simply a matter of
being polite,
having manners
being courteous
being friendly.

This is how it is done in my culture
why should we question it?

I know for a fact that the tradition continues to this day.

My daughter always had a choice

I myself never made my daughter do that.
I never even made her say hello or goodbye.

It was always a choice for her.
I wanted her to listen to her feelings and
do what she felt was right for her.
That was the most important thing for me.

Being polite and respectful are good thing

I understand the idea of wanting to
teach kids to be friendly and polite.

I understand that we might want young people
to be respectful to their elders.

The difference in my thinking is that true friendliness,
politeness and respect are things that come from within.
If they come from an external authority
then they are not genuine.

Real respect is always a choice.

This means that in order to teach respect
there must be freedom.

This is why I always gave my daughter a choice.

I explained to her the value of saying hello and goodbye.
It made people feel good.

I also said that making people feel good at
the expense of your own integrity
is never a good idea.

You do not have ownership over your own body

The other problem with forcing kids to hug
all the adults in the room is that we are teaching them
they do not have ownership over their own bodies.

In this day and age when the concept of consent
is becoming more and more understood and embraced,
which I’m so grateful for,
by taking the choice away from kids about
who they touch and who touches them
we are telling them that consent is not a valid thing.

This means when they grow older
they will have this in their subconscious.

They will go out into the world not believing consent is important

If they find themselves in a situation where
someone else is saying no to something
they might feel that no doesn’t carry much weight.

Because it didn’t carry weight when they felt no.
In fact it was never even considered.

Also if they are in a situation where they want to say no
They might not feel comfortable, safe or secure in doing so
because of these experiences where they were
also not given the freedom.

Freedom, Choice and Communication

Like with so many things I believe
freedom, choice and communication
are the healthiest and most productive ways
to relate to kids.

If we treat them this way we are giving them the idea that
they have agency over their own thoughts,
their own feelings
and their own bodies.

And we are also letting them know that
other people have that freedom and agency as well.

True Respect

Knowing this deep inside is where
true respect comes from
and isn’t that a wonderful thing.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem

December 29, 2015

the truth will set you free but first

An Independent Opinion Requires Research

If you find that you have
or want to have a strong opinion about something,
it is worthwhile putting in the effort
to research and to think about
information and arguments
that contradict what you believe.

The common thing is for people to do research
that reinforces what they already believe.
It is safer to avoid information, research,
statistics and studies that support ideas
different from what they believe.

Understand the Opposite Side

My preference is to understand the opposite side
of an argument even better than
the people who actually believe them.

If we only investigate arguments on our side of an issue,
then we are not truly forming an independent opinion.

Finding Weak Arguments is not Research

Even if we look into the weak arguments
on the other side of an issue,
we’re still not really gaining true understanding.

People often do this to use as ammunition when arguing
or to convince themselves of the validity of their own perspective.
A classic example is:
gun control meme

To be clear, I’m not stating any opinion on gun control.
I’m just pointing out that this is the deepest many
pro-gun, or anti-gun control people investigate the
pro-gun control side of the issue.

Independent Thinking Requires Choice

If we want to have an opinion about something
that represents our authentic truth
we need to understand all the different sides of an issue.
Including the strong arguments on both sides.

Only then will we be making a true and free choice
based on what we really feel is the right thing.

If research tends to be entirely around
reinforcing our own beliefs then
what we are actually doing is
parroting what other people have said
or what we have been programmed with.

Argue With Yourself

To think something through deeply and intelligently
requires being able to argue with yourself effectively.

It doesn’t matter how logical your perspective seems
nor how crazy the opposite one seems
if you haven’t done this you are fooling yourself.

Fanatically Anti-Spanking

For example as you probably know
if you’ve read any of my blogs
I am completely against spanking and
punishing children in any way for anything.

At the same time I understand the pro-spanker
and pro-punishment ideology very deeply.

In conversation with people who are pro-punishment or pro-spanking
I can usually explain their own perspective and ideas to them
better than they even understand them.

This is because I have actually looked into what
the potential benefits are to these ideas
rather than pretend there are none.

Only by truly understanding the thought process
that goes into the opposite of what I believe
do I feel I’m even beginning to make
a free choice of my own opinion.

I Am Grateful When I Hear A New Idea

This also helps very much when I am having
a discussion with someone because it is rare
that they can say something that surprises me.

The great thing is when someone does make
an argument that I haven’t heard before
I am very grateful to them.
Whether I agree or disagree with it,
I will take it into deep consideration
and I will learn from it.

Duelling Monologues

I have also learned over the years to
avoid arguments with people who are
very much invested in maintaining
their belief structure as it is.

They are usually unwilling to hear other ideas
and investigate them intelligently.
Conversations like this usually end up being
duelling monologues and this is something
I am profoundly uninterested in.

I am however very interested in
genuine investigation into ideas.
I find that when the person I am talking with
is also interested in that I always come away enriched
regardless of whether or not they end up
agreeing with me or I end up agreeing with them.

The Challenge of Change

It can be challenging to put real thought
into the opposite idea because
there is always the chance that we will
find something that we agree with on that side
and will then have to change our minds.

If our self-image, our sense of who we are
is tied up in our opinions rather than in
seeking what is most true for us
then we will resist a change in our thought process,
in our minds and in how we see the world.

Set A Priority For The Truth

If we can instead set a priority for the truth,
or at least as close to the truth as we are able to perceive,
then it actually becomes a pleasure to experience change.

But before this experience
becomes a pleasure
it most definitely is a challenge.

As the wise Gloria Steinem said:
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Kids Are Not Testing Our Boundaries, They Are Testing Our Love

December 28, 2015

Kids are not testing our boundaries
Kids Are Not Testing Our Boundaries, They Are Testing Our Love

In my blog post yesterday I wrote about
my niece coming to visit me and
how precious our interaction is.

As I was writing it I remembered back
to an experience we had last summer.

Spraying Me With the Hose

I was at her place and we were playing in the backyard.

At one point she had the hose in her hand
and was watering the grass,
watering herself and
generally watering everything.

Occasionally she would turn the hose on me
and the first few times I laughed,
but I really didn’t want to get wet
as I didn’t have a change of clothes.

I Asked Her Not To Wet Me

Every time she was spraying me
I would ask her not to and explain that
while I love the way she sprayed,
and I loved how much fun she was having with the hose
I personally didn’t want to get wet.
I would be very happy if she would not spray me.

In typical 5 year old fashion she would continue to spray me.

At one point I said to her
a little more seriously
that I really didn’t want to get wet
and could she please take care not to spray me.

Will You Get Mad?

At that point she asked me:

“Are you going to get mad if I do it again?”

I responded:

“No I won’t get mad at you
and I will never get mad at you.
Even if you spray me
I’ll still not get mad at you.”

She looked at me curiously,
almost like she was in shock
and asked: “Why not?”

I responded:

“Because I love you.
Because I love everything about you.
I’ll never get mad at you
and I will never yell at you.”

She went back to playing after that
and amazingly she never turned the hose on me again.

She Didn’t Need To Test Me Anymore

It seemed like whatever she was seeking,
whatever she was testing
she found and didn’t need to test anymore.

Your Kids Are Not Trying To Manipulate You

Many times we hear people say that
kids will disobey in order to
test our limits or our boundaries.

The traditional response is to say that we
have to be consistent and not give in
or they will always take advantage of us.

Instead I believe they are in fact testing our love.

How far can they push us and
we will still love them and
see the beauty and goodness in them?

They Are Forming Their Self-Image

They do this because they are
learning about themselves,
they are trying to understand their worth.

Pretty much from the time they are born
our kids receive so many limiting
and negative messages about themselves.

When they first arrived here they had an
innate understanding of their worth.
They know that they are deserving of love
because love is their primary experience.

This quickly changes as they have to
adjust to the realities of living in society
even if that society at first is only with their parents.

This is why they test the boundaries of our love
so they can build a self-concept around their experience.

Going to the Fair with My Dad

I remember a time when I was quite young
my dad took my sister and I to the CNE (the fair).

There was one more ride I wanted to go on
at the end of the day and we didn’t have enough tickets.

We need to buy two more and
my dad had exactly that much money in his wallet.

His Last Dollar

It would literally be taking his last dollars
out of his pocket to buy those tickets.

He hesitated and said “This is the last of my money.”
I could see that he didn’t really want to spend it.
(As an adult now I can totally understand that feeling)

I Was Testing His Love

I remember my feeling at that moment,
I honestly didn’t really want to
go on the ride that badly,
but I needed to see how much I was worth to him
so I pressed on saying that I really wanted to go on that ride
please would he buy me the tickets.

I can still see the look of struggle on his face,
the tension building and then
he let out a breath, smiled and
said he would get the tickets.

That was probably one of the happiest moments
of my young life and certainly helped me in forming my self-image.

He might not even remember that moment,
but to me it was a major thing.

I was testing MY worth

Honestly I was not trying to manipulate him,
I was not trying to control him
as the common understanding
of the way children behave goes.

I was testing his love because
I wanted to know how much I was worth loving.

Instilling Worth From The Beginning

If we can start our parenting journey
with this understanding then we can
make our kids feel that sense of worth
so profoundly that they never
really feel the need to test it with us.

This also allows them to go out into the world
with a solid foundation of knowing
that they are worthy of love
profoundly and unconditionally.

It’s Never Too Late To Start

Even if we come upon this understanding
when our kids are older,
whether they are 1 or 5 or 10 or 16
it is never too late for us to begin
instilling this idea into their consciousness.

It is something that definitely looks different at different ages,
but the necessity of it never goes away.

Let Everyone Know That They Are Worthy Of Love And Acceptance

In fact the more I learn about this and its importance
the more I find myself doing it with everyone I interact with.
I am often trying to help people feel
that they are unconditionally worthy
of love and acceptance.

Of course I also have less conscious moments
when my own programming takes a hold of me,
and then I’m not so nice!

But when I’m able to be conscious
and operate from the deeper part of me
then I do my best to impart this message wherever I can.

Birthday Blog 2015

December 27, 2015

birthday blog 2015
Birthday Blog 2015

The Innocence of the Newborn

When I look at a newborn baby I see a
purity and innocence that moves me deeply.

I try and remember that I too once
had those same qualities.

Sometimes in moments of deep meditation
or in focused contemplation I can feel
the edges of that state of being.

I think we can also touch it when we are
being freely creative,
in moments of uninhibited play
or deeply connected love making.

My 5 Year Old Best Friend

Yesterday my 5 and a half year old niece came to visit.
The two of us are best friends.

I was fortunate enough to hold her in my arms
when she was just 5 hours old.
Our close relationship began at that moment
as I told her how wonderful she was and she told me the same.

When I held her in my arms at that moment
I explained to her that the world is a difficult place.
There are many obstacles she will have to face
and many people will tell her she’s not good enough.

She Has Infinite Wisdom

I said that I could see the infinite wisdom of
the universe in her eyes and that she should
do her best to always keep that powerful energy alive in her.

I also told her that I saw the pure love in her heart.
Holding her in my arms her love flowed into me
and I could feel myself being nourished and healed by it.

The Newborn’s Message of Love to Me

I’m very fortunate that I speak baby
so I was able to hear and understand her when she responded.

She said to me:

“Uncle Vivek you have the same
wisdom and love inside of you.
You have lost touch with
a big chunk of it and
now your job is to reclaim it.”

We made a pact in that moment
that I would help her preserve her light
and she would help me find my own.

A Pact of Love with My Daughter

I made the same pact with
my daughter when she was born.

I can still remember looking into her eyes
as she popped out, umbilical cord still attached.
We had a moment of true recognition.
Seeing the beauty and inner perfection in each other.

My daughter is 18 years old now
and we continue to have that same recognition
and the same mutual support and love.

I still help to protect her light
and she still helps me to find my own.

Back to my niece though.

A Ritual of Love

One thing I have always done with her is
whenever I see her I hold her in my arms
and I say to her:

“I love you my darling.
You are beautiful and smart
and special and wise
and creative and intelligent
and fun and funny.
You are wonderful in every way.
You are so precious to me
and I love everything about you.”

I have been repeating the same message to her
(including variations)
every time I see her for the past five and a half years.

She Drinks In the Affirmations Deeply

Every time I do she buries her face in my neck,
becomes very still and listens intently.
I can feel she is absorbing this deeply.
Both the words and the emotion behind it
go into her and help her to remember.

Yesterday was no exception.
When she came over she jumped into my arms
and I gave her my message of love and admiration.

When the moment was over she pulled back,
looked into my eyes and said:

“You always say that to me.”

It was like she made a connection to the past
and was asking for some kind of confirmation.

I simply looked at her and said “because it’s true.”

That seemed to satisfy her and she went on her way
to play with her cousin and her brothers.

Messages of Love to Myself

As I enter my 48th year of embodied existence upon this planet
I feel like I should be saying these things to myself as well:

“I love you my darling.
You are beautiful and smart
and special and wise
and creative and intelligent
and fun and funny.
You are wonderful in every way.
You are so precious to me
and I love everything about you.”

Revealing My Inner Light Brings Joy And Fulfillment

The more I can reveal the inner light
that was my whole being when I was a newborn
and bring it into conscious awareness as an adult,
the more I believe I will experience
joy and fulfillment in my life
and also the more I will be effective at
spreading love and healing in the world.

I invite you to join me in saying
this message of love to yourself.

Create your own version that resonates with you
and perhaps say it to yourself once a day
while looking into your eyes in the mirror.

We can almost think of this as
digging through the layers of fear, anger,
wounds and pain to find the light at our centre.

The more we repeat this the more we will believe it
and the more our authentic selves will rise to the surface.

Beauty and Pain

December 26, 2015

beauty pain
Beauty and Pain

Guided

I believe we’re guided throughout our lives to what we need.
Every experience is for our highest good.
Every challenge is there for us
to learn and grow from.

Pain is part of growth
for we must let go of the old
to welcome in the new.

Blinded by the Pain

Sometimes the pain is great
and lasts a long time.
When this happens it can
blind you to the beauty all around.

It is good to remember that both
pain and beauty exist.
We must expend the effort to deal with the pain
and appreciate the beauty.

Don’t Give Up

Keep the love in your heart,
the faith in your spirit
and you’ll find your way out of the maze.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the
negative energy that finds its way to you.

The Challenge of the Warrior

You are fighting the good fight
to live consciously and lovingly
so you’ll be challenged along the way.

A warrior of spirit is always challenged.

My saying is:

“You cannot cut off the head of the demon while hiding in the bushes!”
-Vivek

Fight On

So continue to step out of the bushes and fight on.
Bear the pain a little longer.
It has a message for you.
Remember to seek and find the beauty.
It is there to remind you of your truth.

Cherry Picking – Selective Devotion

December 25, 2015

cherry picking
Cherry Picking

Merry Christmas

I’m not actually Christian,
but seeing as it’s Dec 25th
I thought I’d write something about Jesus.

It makes sense as he was born in the spring
and we’re having unseasonably
warm temperatures right now.

Selective Devotion

Very often when folks complain about
religious people they criticize the fact that
they are usually cherry picking
from their religious books.

Using the Bible to Justify acts of Hatred and Violence

It is not an entirely unreasonable criticism
for if we look around the world we can see
so many examples of how people use
their religions to justify acts of
hatred, division and violence.

It seems hardly any religion is free from this taint.

Positive Cherry Picking

And yet I actually believe that cherry picking
is the only intelligent way to be religious.

Every religious book has so many
wildly contradictory ideas,
that it is pretty much impossible for us
to take everything at face value.

Then we have to sort through
what parts are stories, parables and direct teachings.

The problem with selecting specific parts of
a religious book to follow is when we use it
to justify judgmental, negative or
angry thoughts, words and deeds.

Use the Book to Become a Better Person

It seems to make much more sense to me
to pick out the parts of your book that
cause you to become a better person.
The parts that guide you towards
being more loving and kind.

In that spirit I will share with you
a couple of the things Jesus said
according to the Bible
that have struck a chord with me
and helped me in my life.

Make the Teachings Your Own

I am intentionally not quoting directly
from the book because
that is part of the point I am making.
That we should take the positive teachings
and make them our own.

Trust the Divine

The first one goes something like this:

Look at the lilies of the field,
they neither labour nor spin
and yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed as one of these.

He goes on to say that if the divine shall
take care of a flower then surely
you shall also be taken care of.

This is where he also says:
Take no thought for the ‘morrow,
what you shall eat or what you shall wear.

In Times Of Difficulty I Relax And Trust

All of this speaks to me because it is saying
that if I rely upon the Divine Spirit,
the source of all existence
then I can relax and trust
that I will be taken care of.

There are many times in my life when
I get worried or afraid that things
aren’t going to work out for me
or I’m going to end up in some form of poverty,
whether material, mental, emotional or spiritual.

Then I think of this line,
I hold it close to me and I breathe.
I relax.
I trust.

I am able to find some peace
in the midst of the fear.

Seeking Deeper Levels of Love

Another line that I love is when
he tells us to love our enemies.
He says that if somebody slaps you
on one cheek, offer them the other.

There are many variations of this idea
that he shares with us.
They all centre around offering love
no matter what is happening to you.

The Opposite of Self-Defence?

It may seem funny for a
martial arts/self-defense teacher
to love this line so much!

It pushes me.
It challenges me.
It forces me to look inside for
deeper and deeper levels of love.

Fighting the Enemy Within

When I am tempted to be angry,
to blame or to hate,
I think of this idea.
I grit my teeth and force myself
to look beneath the surface of what is happening.

Both beneath my surface
and the other person’s surface.

I know that only pain makes us
behave in unloving ways towards each other.

The times I am able to access the love in my heart
when that is the last thing I want to do
I find miraculous transformation appears.

I Am A Work In Progress

Of course I am not always successful in this.
Over the years I have probably
been unsuccessful more often than successful.

But I don’t give up.
I keep pressing on.
And as time has progressed
I have become somewhat better at this skill.

At least I can say very clearly that
27 year old Vivek was very different
than 47 year old Vivek is.

Increase Joy

This is what I have been thinking about today
as I have being spending Christmas with my family.
The laughter and joy that we all experience
in each other’s company is so precious to me.

Using the ancient teachings to increase joy
rather than to increase suffering does them honour.

This Is The Kind Of Cherry Picking That Makes Sense To Me

I am NOT a Christian and yet
I use this book to become a better person,
to become more authentic and more loving.

I do not use it to justify any kind
of prejudice or violence.

“Do I want to complain?”

December 24, 2015

do I want to complain
Positive And Negative Expression

Like most things I feel that complaining
has a positive and negative expression.

Most of the time when we complain
we are emphasizing the negative aspects of our lives .

Perhaps we use complaining to
dwell on our problems or
to get sympathy from others.

Express the Negative Because I’m Seeking Change

At the same time I feel a certain amount of
selective complaining can be useful.

Most of the time when I complain about something
I am trying to make it clear to myself that
there is something I want to change in my life.

Rather than using it to dwell on my problems
I am highlighting just how much I am unhappy
with my present circumstances in order to
motivate myself to do something about it.

Discernment is Key

It is good to know that there is a constructive and destructive
form of complaining and to be able to
discern which is which at any moment in time.

A Good Listener Can Have a Profound Effect

I was talking to my dear friend Puja the other day
and I was complaining about something or the other.

Puja is a very good listener.
She was very present with me,
offering me support and empathy
as I was expressing myself.
She also asked questions to draw
out more from me when necessary.

This helped me to have a full emotional expression
and then transition to a solution minded focus.
I was able to think about what
my next steps might be in order to
turn my situation around.

Sharing Her Own Experience

At one point during my sharing
she started to talk about
a situation in her own life that paralleled mine.

This can be a helpful thing to do
when someone is talking about something difficult
because it helps them to not feel alone.

Self-Awareness In Action

She started saying:

“Something similar just happened to me, the other day I was…”

Then suddenly she stopped.

There was a moment of silence.

Then she asked herself:

“Do I want to complain?”

Another moment of silence
and she answered her own question:

“No. I don’t.”

Then we just went on with our conversation.

Honouring Herself Made Her More Present

She continued to be just as supportive
a listener as she was before.
In fact the act of honouring herself
made her even more present with me.

This was a beautiful example of
self-awareness and discernment.

Layers of Need and Desire

In that moment I could see she
had the desire to complain.
It came upon her and that is why
she started to talk about that
difficult situation in her life.

At the same time she had
another level of desire
to not amplify the negative in her life.

Seeking the Most Authentic Choice

That desire helped her to look at the situation
in a more objective way.
Rather than just go with her first impulse,
she took a moment to feel inside for
what was the highest or most authentic choice.

Once she determined which it was
she had the courage to follow it.

I think this is something we could all do more often.

We all have different layers of desires and
it is a useful thing to be able to
determine which is the most necessary, authentic
and helpful to follow in any given moment.

I Learned From This Experience

She didn’t say complaining is always wrong
therefore I’m not going to complain.
Instead she accepted that the complaining might
very well be necessary and helpful in that moment,
but she wanted to be sure.

It was a wonderful thing to witness
and I learned from it as well.

I learned that I have choice
even when often it seems like I don’t.

I learned the usefulness of
taking a moment to pause
when something feels off.

And I learned that I want to
increase my ability to be
self-aware and authentic.

I Know I Kind Of Meandered Between Two Points Here

The first being that complaining is sometimes useful, often not.

The second was about being more self-aware
and asking myself if I’m being
my most authentic in this moment.

I think they are both important ideas
and one is extremely useful in illustrating the other.

I certainly learned about both during that conversation.

Good Friends are a Gift

I will also add that it is good
to have good friends
and the best kind of friends are
ones we can learn from.

Even better are those with whom
we are co-learners.
Walking the path of growth
and development side by side.

I Believe In You and I Trust Your Strategy

December 23, 2015

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I believe in you and I trust your strategy

Giving everyone the evil eye

A short while ago I had a pretty intense eye infection.
My eye was red, watering
and generally pretty ugly.

Interacting with people was interesting because
they would immediately look at my eye
and have some sort of intense reaction.

eye infection

I received similar reactions from almost everyone

Some people would recoil at the sight of my eye
before they were able to get their more
polite self under control.

Some people would immediately offer me
sympathy to try and make me feel better.

Many people offered me suggestions on
how to treat it.
This herb or that cream
or these eye drops or the other tea.

Of course I didn’t mind any of this because
I realized it was quite a shocking sight.
I also knew that everyone reacting to me
was doing so because they cared and
they wanted to see me feel better.

And then I met my new friend Cesar

We were both attending the same dance performance
and during the intermission I approached him to say hi.

He immediately noticed my eye
and asked me if I was ok.

I told him what was going on and then
prepared myself to receive the same kind of
reaction that I was so used to.

An unexpected reaction

Instead he surprised me.
He looked into my eyes
and said with deep confidence:

‘I believe in you and I trust your strategy.”

Woah…

He didn’t offer me any suggestions.
He didn’t offer me any sympathy.

My mind froze for a moment as I attempted
to digest what he had just said.

I was deeply moved by this.
It instantly touched my heart.
Feeling this man trusting me
was an amazing experience.

We don’t receive deep trust and confidence from people very often

I realize it’s not something that I experience very often.
In fact I’m guessing that most of us don’t
experience that very often.

It was a beautiful moment that has stayed with me ever since.

Can we offer each other this kind of support?

I’m sharing it with you because I think it is
a wonderful sentiment for us to consistently
share with each other.

Can we make our children know that we believe in them?

I also think is that this is one of
the most important messages
that we can give to our children.

I believe in you and I trust your strategy.

Wow!

Imagine if that kind of trust was offered to you
consistently when you were a child.
Imagine if that is what you grew up believing about yourself.

Controlling their choices

So often we’re either telling kids what to do
or trying to rescue them from their problems,
but very rarely do we give them the simple message
that we believe in their ability to sort through
whatever challenges they are presented with.

Kids do need our support and guidance

I an not talking about abandoning kids
when they need us or leaving them to
suffer unnecessarily because we’re trying to
make them be tough.

There is a balance required of course.
Our kids need to know that we trust them
and they also need to know that we’re there for them
when they really need our support.

Do it my way because I know better

There are times when we can see that
the strategies our children choose for certain situations
are perhaps less than optimal.

This is the hardest time to offer them this simple message
that we trust them and believe in them
because we can see so clearly a better way.

This is when it really counts

In some ways this is the most important time
for us to reinforce our belief in
their Problem-solving abilities.

This way our kids will grow up with double confidence

They will have the confidence that
we are always there for them when they need us
and they will also have the confidence that
they can face any challenge that comes their way.

I believe in you and I trust your strategy.

What a wonderful message.

Thank You Cesar.

Forgiveness Is Essential For Inner Peace

December 22, 2015

Forgiveness Is Essential For Inner Peace

Forgiveness is essential for inner peace.
Holding onto the injuries of our past
keeps us from progressing.

There are 2 main types of forgiveness.

1) Relational Forgiveness which has to do with fixing relationships
2) Inner Forgiveness which has to do with self-healing

Relational Forgiveness

The first is about repairing relationships.
This type of forgiveness involves re-instating trust
when it has been broken or lost.

Requires Willingness

It requires both parties being willing to work
on repairing the damage done
and healing the inner wounds.

It also requires a willingness to recognize where we have erred,
for if we are unable to face our own mistakes we cannot
work towards repairing the injuries they have caused.

This can be challenging for we will bump up against
our own feelings of worth.
We will need to access deep levels of patience and humility.

Some Relationships Can’t Be Fixed
Some Shouldn’t Be

This type of forgiveness isn’t always possible
nor is it always desirable.
Some people are just better left behind in life’s journey.

There can come a time when it’s not worth
the effort to repair a relationship.
Some people are simply always going to be
toxic elements in our lives and it’s best to
let them go.

Freeing Ourselves From Their Inner Influence

At the same time it’s important for us to deal with
the inner effects of our experiences
so they do not continue to hurt us
even once they’ve gone.

This is where the next type of forgiveness comes in.

The second type – Inner Forgiveness

The inner forgiveness is about your own state of mind.
It is essential to inner peace and happiness.

It is about the transformation
of hurt to understanding
of grudge to love
anger to compassion
tension to peace
victimhood to detachment.

This transformation is absolutely necessary
and it’s a big job.

Personal Healing Work

It is something that we can achieve
even if the other person is out of the picture.
It is our own healing work.

The emotional residue of past transgressions
sits in our consciousness and it affects us all over the place.

Seeking Freedom

This is why forgiveness is so important.
It’s not about letting the other person off the hook.
In fact it’s necessary to hold people accountable
for their choices and actions.

It is in forgiving AND holding accountable,
not in making excuses for others,
that deep healing occurs.

Acceptance Is One of The Stages of Forgiveness

Acceptance is a funny word because
it has more than one meaning.

In terms of forgiveness acceptance does not have to mean
accepting that something is OKAY.
I don’t think it is OKAY to hurt, betray and abuse.

These are the types of things
we need to forgive others for.
Accepting them doesn’t mean
condoning them.

We Are Going To Experience Pain From Others

It is useful to recognize that these things do happen.
We live in a dualistic universe with good and evil.
Denying their existence does not make them go away.
Both are present everywhere and
it’s highly improbable that one can
live their lives without experiencing both.

Make Peace With The Dark Side

I think that acceptance is making peace with this fact.
I think acceptance is knowing that we cannot change the past.
We can only work on how the past will affect us
and work on creating our future.

Acceptance allows us to relax and breathe,
to think and feel,
and figure out what we’re going to do
about all this stuff we’ve gone through.

Something like that.

I Am A Work In Progress

I know I’m still working on
acceptance and forgiveness myself.
I will probably be working on it
for years to come.

I have no shortage of pain,
betrayal and abuse in my past.
I know that I have deep residue within my heart.
I desire to forgive, to clear it all out
so I can be light and free.