Monday, February 28, 2011

Power of Vulnerability in Our Lives

I have been sharing this video with anyone who would pay attention.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

MEME | 30 Days of Truth

I found a meme for 30 Days of Truth. I have been thinking of something to do for my birthday this year. Maybe this is a good time to look at myself more honestly in the month of March.

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

QUOTE | Desiring Happiness

“Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.”

– Śantideva

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

QUOTES | Somebody has to do it

When you are trying to help someone, you have to have humor, self-existing humor, and you have to hold the moth in your hand, but not let it go into the flame. That’s what helping others means. Ladies and gentlemen, we have so much responsibility. A long time ago, people helped one another in this way. Now people just talk, talk talk. They read books, they listen to music, but they never actually help anyone. They never use their bare hands to save a person from going crazy. We have that responsibility. Somebody has to do it. It turns out to be us. We’ve got to do it, and we can do it with a smile, not with a long face.

~ Chogyam Trungpa

Sunday, February 20, 2011

MUSIC | "Anyway" by Martina McBride

Came across this quote from the Gita earlier:

“On action alone be thy interest…Never on its fruits…Let not the fruits of action be thy motive, Nor be thy attachment to inaction…”

Hold this thought and listen to this song by Martina McBride:



Anyway

You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
In a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yeah, I do it anyway

You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah, sing it anyway

I sing, I dream
I love
Anyway

Saturday, February 19, 2011

QUOTE | The crisis throws you back

“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Friday, February 18, 2011

QUOTE | We Learn by Practice

I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing, or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated, precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which come shape of achievement, the sense of one’s being, the satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God. Practice means to perform over and over again, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired. ~ Martha Graham


Read the entire essay here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Waves

I'm not sure what changed; the last few days I found myself easily overwhelmed by emotions. The heart was in pain, and there was no way to stop the grief.

Then, out of nowhere, came a sense of contentment. Everything remains the same, but something felt different within.

Maybe this is true:
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

Monday, February 14, 2011

QUOTE | Letting go of fixtation

Letting go of fixation is effectively a process of learning to be free, because every time we let go of something, we become free of it. Whatever we fixate upon limits us because fixation makes us dependent upon something other than ourselves. Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of freedom.

-Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, "Letting Go of Spiritual Materialism"

QUOTE | How Things Are

My thoughts for Valentine's Day:

“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.”

~ Chögyam Trungpa

Sunday, February 13, 2011

QUOTE | Kindness

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
~ George Sand

Saturday, February 12, 2011

10 Tips/Tricks for establishing a regular home yoga practice (link):

1. Let go of all expectations. All of them.
2. Giving yourself permission to just roll out your mat and breathe…
3. Set an intention.
4. Warm up.
5. Standing Poses, seated poses, backbends, twists, savasana.
6. Enjoy being able to take time in postures.
7. Don’t be constrained by how you think postures should look.
8. Be playful, and light, and joyous.
9. Make your daily home practice the one must-do of your day.
10. Be kind to yourself, and always, always, always get back on the mat.

QUOTE | Learn to watch your drama unfold

"Learn to watch your drama unfold while at the same time knowing you are more than your drama."
— Ram Dass

100 BOOKS | 100 Books To Read 2011


  1. Man's Search for Meaning • Victor Frankl
    [12/02/2011

  2. Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers • Leonard Koren
    [07/02/2011 ~

  3. The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination • Robert Coles
    [24/01/2011 ~

  4. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human • Richard Wrangham
    [23/12/2010 ~

  5. A Paradise Built in Hell • Rebecca Solnit
    [14/12/2010 ~

  6. The Classical World • Robin Lane Fox

  7. Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World • Samantha Power

  8. The Shadow of the Sun • Ryszard Kapuscinski

  9. The Histories • Herodotus

  10. Guns, Germs and Steel • Jared Diamond

  11. No Logo • Naomi Klein

  12. War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy
    [translated by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky]

  13. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi • Geoff Dyer

  14. Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of D.H. Lawrence • Geoff Dyer

  15. The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories • Leo Tolstoy
    [translated by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky]

  16. Just Kids • Patti Smith


































































































  17. Eat, Pray, Love • Elizabeth Gilbert
    [02/12/2010 ~ 08/12/2010]

  18. Outliers: The Story of Success • Malcolm Gladwell
    [30/12/2010 ~ 02/01/2011]

  19. Let the Right One In • John Ajvide Lindqvist
    [translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg]
    [18/11/2010 ~ 03/01/2011]

  20. Opening the Door of Your Heart and other Buddhist Tales of Happiness • Ajahn Brahm
    [15/01/2011 ~ 23/01/2011]

  21. Shah of Shahs • Ryszard Kapuściński
    [translated from the Polish by William R. Brand & Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand]
    [05/01/2011 ~ 23/01/2011]

  22. The Little Prince • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    [30/01/2011 ~ 31/01/2011]

  23. The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation • Thich Nhat Hanh
    [05/02/2011 ~ 07/02/2011]


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Everyday Activity Meditations

From Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness, on "Everyday Activity Meditations":

Often we can take the lessons we learn from observing one single activity and apply them to the rest of our life. See if you can use a part of your everyday routine as a meditation, a time of coming into the moment, paying attention to your actual experience, learning about yourself, deepening your enjoyment of simple pleasures, or perhaps seeing how you could approach a task more skillfully.

Choose a brief daily activity—something you may have done thousands of times but never been totally conscious of. This time bring your full awareness to it; pay attention on purpose.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Depression

I'm not a trained psychologist of course, but it occurred to me that I might actually have been depressed the last 2 years.

Symptoms include:

Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
Irritability, restlessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment


The past 2 years I have been persistently manifesting all the symptoms above, as well as emotional upheavals where I over-react or suddenly break down in tears over trivial matters. I stopped doing the things I love - I stopped reading, I stopped writing, I stopped practing yoga. My thoughts are often negative, and many mornings, I wake up with a sense of emotional heaviness. The only thing I do not have are thoughts of suicide. Thank goodness.

If I had realised this earlier, I might have asked for help sooner - or maybe not. People in the throes of depression often find it difficult to get help. All I know is that I felt very much alone the past 2 years. It was hard to get motivated with anything.

Maybe the fact I can see this now, is a sign I am getting better. It just costed me a lot to get to this stage.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

QUOTES | Mastery of yoga

Mastery of yoga is really measured by how it influences our day-to-day living, how it enhances our relationships, how it promotes clarity and peace of mind.
– T.K.V. Desikachar

POETRY | Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

Lessons

I have been watching some videos posted on Youtube by the Omega Institute. In particular, I have been watching this Seane Corn video over and over. I have been thinking about difficulties in relationships lately, and it felt like Seane Corn was addressing my inquiries.

Seane Corn speaks about angels in our life. These angels are the people who have crossed our paths, who have brought us down and brought us to our knees. God has brought the both of us together to help illuminate each other's soul. That person is burning through their karma just as we are burning through ours.

These angels in our lives are our teachers, our spiritual companions -- and we have come together to do important work. It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, but we have to look beyond it and see that there is no good or bad, only experiences and opportunities to learn.

"You cannot be victimized unless you believe it's true. You can't be abandoned unless you believe it's true."

You look back at your experience and ask where is god? Where is love?

Someone once said to me, things happen for a reason, and things come in cycles. The important thing is to take the lessons from what happened.

At this moment, I am struggling with making sense of some of the things that has happened to me recently. I have been out of practice with yoga and meditation for over 2 years. During this long hiatus, I had noticed how my focus and mindfulness has dropped drastically.

As I pondered the difficulties in my relationships lately, I have come to believe they are pointing me back to my practice. My unskillful actions brought me to a bitter conclusion. The pain was part of the journey. The lesson could not have been taught without the people who participate in the experience.

I have to learn to embrace the experience as what they are, and to let go even as I use them to nourish my own practice.

I have so much work to do. But before that, I have to give thanks to the people who helped me in my journey.


Friday, February 04, 2011

One Thousand Origami Cranes

A friend mentioned she wanted to fold origami cranes earlier. I asked her to fold 100 to get a wish. Turns out I was a little hazy on the figure. The Japanese has this saying: if you fold 1000 cranes, you get one wish.

I have a wish right now.

I want to fold 1000 cranes.

My friend says to give myself a time limit. One year sounds good.

I have decided to aim for 1000 origami cranes by June this year.

As I fold each crane, I will think of a friend, and send good thoughts their way.

May this too be a form of meditation.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

MEDITATION | 28 Days - Day 1 & 2

"We leave our homeland, our property and our friends. We give up the familiar ground that supports our ego, admit the helplessness of ego to control its world and secure itself. We give up our clingings to superiority and self-preservation...It means giving up searching for a home, becoming a refugee, a lonely person who must depend on himself...Fundamentally, no one can help us. If we seek to relieve our loneliness, we will be distracted from the path. Instead, we must make a relationship with loneliness until it becomes aloneness."

~ Chögyam Trungpa (The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation)


Managed to meditate once a day on both 1st and 2nd of February.

Been thinking a lot about some of the things that led me back to meditation.

At the end of the day, we are alone in our practice. No one can help us except ourselves. A spiritual practice is about taking responsibility for ourselves. You practice, good for you. You don't practice, that's your own problem too.

If we're practicing just so we can call ourselves a "spiritual" person and feel good about ourselves, or to show off to others - then it is nothing more than the ego playing games on us. You don't go anywhere if you're practicing only for some external validation.

But let's say you come to your practice alone. No matter how hard you work on it, nobody cares. No one believes you will ever change no matter how much you practice - but you just keep working. You finally give up hope of people praising you, or liking you for working hard. You abandon all hope of ever mending your relationships through your practice. You are all alone in your practice.

I think that is when it really matters - when you practice for practice's sake.