Not a Destination!

Sailing boat wide angle view in the sea

Planning, fine-tuning, and striving to get better and better every day in every way, are all good things to do. However, if you fail to enjoy the ride while embarking on all these great habit changes, you will miss one of life’s wonderful mysteries – that the beauty of life is not tomorrow or yesterday – it is today, here and now!

At any given point in time, no matter how successful you are, there will be things that need to be done or fixed or improved upon. Focusing on these to make you better is good. However, they will also make you feel incomplete and imperfect. So, do improve in these areas, but also focus on the good things you have done, and are continuing to do so that you have the sustained energy to create positive changes.

Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey! Therefore, always remember no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing – enjoy the ride!

Chance meeting!

Young Asian female sitting on beach meditating and looking out to ocean.

I had a meeting scheduled with a friend at Blenz coffee shop. However, for some reason, I ended up at a wrong Blenz location, situated a few blocks away.

While waiting for my friend, I ran into a student of mine whom I had not seen for 10 years. She said that she had come across one of my books recently and was planning to contact me but had been apprehensive of how to go about it. Our meeting was a sheer chance meeting. Or…maybe not.

I took our meeting as a good omen, and to confirm how the Universe conspires when we aspire. In this case, my ex-student aspired to meet me, but the only way I could bump into her was to end up at the wrong coffee house. Later, as it turned out – through this student’s contact and subsequent discussions, it led me to a long-term business opportunity which was not expected at all. So both of us benefited through this unexpected encounter (or accident).

How do these types of improbable coincidences happen? A lot has been written about synchronicity, but I will mention a few which resonate with me:

– The more you notice these kinds of happenings, the more you attract them.

– The Universe is giving you a hint that you are on the right track.

– It is a grace from the divine.- When you reconnect with your Source (Quantum field),  you notice and invite more of these positive occurrences.

– You feel that the Universe is collaborating with you.- You shift your attitude from having doubt to becoming doubtless.

– Instead of looking at your work as requiring unimaginable effort, you view it through the lens of it being effortless.

– No amount of obstacles take away your excitement. At times, the larger the hurdle, the greater the excitement.

– These type of improbable coincidences happen all the time, whether we notice them or not.

How about you? Have you noticed signs that the Universe is giving you lately? If not, enhance your awareness, open your eyes, and meditate often.

Let Go!

hand with color balloons on sky background

Letting go is not the same as giving up. Giving up is when you are aiming for a worthy aspiring goal and you do not persevere to achieve it. Letting go, on the other hand is not hanging on to things that no longer serve you.

For many of us, letting go can be difficult. You find things linger on after you ‘let go’. This is because old habits – whether emotional, mental or physical – can be hard to break. In some sense, it is a loss of security for us, no matter how unhelpful it is. When that happens, go back to the foundation of why you have let go. The stronger the foundation, the easier and quicker the shed off period.

Letting go can also be liberating; you find that in the end, you are a stronger, freer person because of it.

Seven Secrets to Lasting Happiness

Mother And Daughter Having Fun Playing Game Outdoors

Happiness is and will always be the most cherished, yet most elusive, of all human desires. Happiness isn’t something that someone gives us, nor is it something that we have to work towards. It is a state of mind that sneaks in upon you sometimes in the most unlikely of circumstances or situations. It is many times a by-product of purpose and endeavour.

Your happiness is entirely your prerogative and responsibility.
Today being the International Day of Happiness, let’s look at seven secrets to attract this elusive feeling:

1. Discover yourself – The first step to lasting happiness is to discover yourself. One way to discover yourself is to explore life daily, try out new activities, experiences, meet new people, travel, spend some quiet time daily, meditate, read. The experiences and activities you enjoy most will bring you closer to who you are as a person. Another way is to start writing a journal listing the triumphs, milestones, and breakthroughs you’ve experienced. Once you know what makes you happy, doing more of it brings you closer to being joyous.

2. Remain positive – Happiness is not a set of circumstances; it is a set of attitudes. When you count your blessings, your blessings multiply. When you count your sorrows, your sorrows multiply. This is because we attract what we focus upon. So if you focus on the positive angle of situations and people you invite more positive experiences.
Happiness is not a set of circumstances, it is a set of attitudes.

3. Develop your skill set –Treat every incident, every person as a teacher and you will never stop learning throughout your life. Whether it’s your leadership skills, honing your creativity, taking a new class or simply observing an expert at work, life throws up a plethora of opportunities to learn from. Once you adopt this attitude, even a negative experience brings something positive.

4. Build healthy relationships – Man is both independent and interdependent. Other than collaborating with others to meet our basic survival, the very act of relating with others gives meaning, joy, and purpose to living. When you have good relationships with others, life and work become easier and more pleasant. Your friends and loved ones inspire the best version of you and help you become more of you.

5. Let ethics and values be your guide – These are the ground on which you stand. If the ground is weak, the rest is lacking foundation. They define what’s right and wrong, and If you stray from what you hold important and fair, the resulting dissonance creates discomfort and misery. Hence, never do something that doesn’t agree with you in your heart, for not only is it unfair to others, it also takes you away from your goal of happiness and wellbeing.

6. Awaken your spirituality – When you are not connected to your spirit, you are missing the spark and are not inspired. Once our actions originate from the depth of our heart, representing the primary layer, the path for ego-free relationships will be paved. Whether it’s your daily meditation practice, or volunteering your time or skills for a cause, or simply helping someone, find some way to connect with yourself spiritually every day.

7. Enjoy the ride – Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey! And if we miss the journey because we were too focused on the destination, then we have sleepwalked through a significant part of our life. For often when we look back at life, it is the small moments that take our breath away, capture our attention, and fill us up with wonder and gratitude.

Whose Opinion Counts?

Profile of Caucasian young adult woman in red jacket leaning back against wall laughing.

We cannot control what others may choose to think of us. What we can control are our actions, reactions, and self- approval. Worrying about what others think takes us away from our own center and deters us from living in harmony with our goals.

By constantly trying to win others‘ approval, we expend energy that could be devoted to ourselves and to our close ones, and we consequently lose control of our own destiny.

Refusing to worry about what others think of us does not mean that we do not respect others or have concern for their feelings. It means that we are content to be exactly who we are and not what we think others expect us to be.

Look within to find your true value. The whole world may think us remarkable, but that does not necessarily make us so. We need to look deep within ourselves to find our true worth, to determine whether we are living in harmony with our best and noblest wishes for ourselves and for others.

Similarly, just because someone else says we are no good does not make us so. Shakespeare wrote, ―A rose by any other name smells as sweet. It is better to be true to oneself, even if this may lead to unpopularity than to please others by pretending to be someone we are not.

Listen to everyone but make your own decisions
There is no harm in listening to others, but ultimately we need to trust our own abilities to make decisions. A useful aid to decision-making is to examine how the decision adheres to your goals and purpose.

I used to sit in many board meetings not saying a word for fear of being seen as arrogant. Later I realized that by doing so, my contribution to the team was minimal. I had so much to offer but was afraid to express myself. As my confidence grew, I began speaking up more, and my true personality unfolded.

When we speak our minds without fear of judgment or censure, we are most effective. We begin to see that our views and thoughts are important and that we offer a unique perspective. The more we value our opinions, the more others will. Self-respect and freedom of expression are contagious.

My late colleague Dr. Wayne Dyer sums it up beautifully: “All those who have ever made a difference in any profession have listened to the inner music they heard and proceeded independently of the opinions of others. That was certainly true of one of my favorite nonconformists, Henry David Thoreau, who walked to the beat of a different drum and followed the beliefs of his conscience. He knew that the beat you hear within yourself is your connection to your soul’s purpose.”

Unity in Diversity!

Two babies in bubble bathThe idea of oneness is universal and timeless. As we delve deeper into life, the interconnectedness of everything becomes obvious.

We realize that everything we do to others we do to ourselves. Yet with differences in beliefs and way of life it’s difficult to see others as being one with us.
So how do you reconcile these apparent differences to explore a cohesive union?

The shift in understanding happens when you realize that all that you dislike, resent or judge in others actually might represent something that you deny or have not fully expressed in yourself. For example, suppose you are conscious of your weight; then a stray negative comment on the subject will probably hurt.
Similarly we often end up feeling resentful of people that we envy.
For example, you might resent someone who is very outspoken but if you dig deeper you might realize that it is you who feels unable to express how you really feel.

At times we are blind to the presence of the very qualities in us that we resent in others. For instance, how many times have you seen someone comment on a quality of someone else that they themselves exhibit, and yet appear oblivious to it.

Every time you feel tempted to judge someone, hold back and check if the judgment is telling you something about your own state of mind. Everyone we meet has a lesson to teach us about ourselves, but we can learn this lesson only when we decide to suspend judgment and use the experience to better our self-awareness.

The obvious question then arises: should we refrain from all judgment and wouldn’t that affect our quality of decision-making or the ability to make choices? No it wouldn’t.

The real question is not of judgment but of dispassionate observation and reflection. If we can view and explore a certain quality about someone to learn more about life or ourselves, then the other person becomes our teacher. The natural outcome then is understanding, compassion and even gratitude to them, even if you do not subscribe to their opinions and choices.

An example, in this, as in so many aspects of life, is Nelson Mandela. After being unjustly imprisoned for 27 long years he could still say this: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Mandela did not allow his long incarceration to color his judgment or prejudice him against a race. In fact, he used his experience to envision a vibrant and united country free from discrimination. Following his jail term, he embraced President F.W. de Klerk (the last head of South Africa under the apartheid era) and then served alongside him in a transitional coalition of national unity. The two men won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

When you refrain from judgment and use the insight to explore your own assumptions you achieve greater understanding and happiness.

Meditation & Work

Back view of pretty Asian young woman in red robe sitting on floor meditating in lotus pose.

Meditation at work seems like an anomaly. But the busier we are the more there is the need to be meditative. Companies the world over are now recognizing its effect on employee well-being and productivity. For instance, Google has a meditation class as a part of an internal course called ‘Search Inside Yourself’. The course is aimed at helping people manage their emotions; ideally making them better workers in the process. The co-founders of Twitter and Facebook regularly hold in-office meditation sessions to enhance mindfulness.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that meditation can revamp brain circuitry and change the way we perceive stress and deal with it. People who regularly meditate have better focus, are more creative, are less prone to anxiety and have a heightened sense of self-awareness. Plus, meditation is also known to slow down the aging process and enhance immune function.

One paper cited by Google even implies that meditators are more resistant to the flu.

Other than incorporating meditation as part of your daily routine, there are several mind-body techniques which you can practice during your work hours to center yourself in the midst of a busy day. This will help you feel calmer and more empowered to deal with any situation.

So select one or all of the following depending on what suits you best.

➢ Root yourself – Imagine yourself as a giant oak tree, with your torso embodying the trunk and your feet the roots. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and feel the ground beneath your feet. Now imagine sturdy roots growing from below your feet and into the ground, strongly anchoring you to the earth. Simultaneously feel the earth’s energy going up through your limbs and strengthening you.

➢ Create your own special mantra of life affirmations – Create three statements that immediately make you feel empowered and good about yourself. Maybe it’s your favorite prayer or mantra or even a compliment given by someone. Use the phrase that you feel instantly connected to and uplifted by. Repeat it at least 5-6 times every day.

➢ Take a Zen walk – Anything done with conscious awareness can become a meditation. Walking is one of the simplest ways to center yourself, and the best part is you can do this anywhere. Start by walking slowly. Feel each step. Imagine that your feet are talking to the ground.

➢ Snap your fingers to change your thought – We all have self-limiting thoughts which go around in a constant loop in our mind and come back with a frenzy when we are feeling stressed. Thoughts carry great power and if the wrong ones are allowed to trespass they can do great damage. The antidote is to associate distinct physical acts (e.g., snapping your fingers, pressing your left wrist) with the determination to cut the unhealthy chain. This will also bring you back to the present moment so that with practice these thoughts lose their power over you.

Finally, remember that learning how to center yourself is different from actually feeling centered. Just as you can’t learn to swim by reading about it, you cannot experience the benefits of being centered until you practice the techniques.