Life Matters

I am not small or insignificant.
I am large and significant as Life itself.
I am Life.

In life there is no such thing as comparison.
In life everything is Life.
Big or small,
single or multicellular organism.
There is no separation between different representations of Life.
You are the living proof.

Mind is what mind does.
Mind is an innocent child.
It likes to play games.
It likes to find different venues,
in endless ways.
Mind is entirely in your capable hands,
once you become ripe enough to become more aware.

Yes, awareness is like the perfectly ripe fruit of mother Nature and baba Sun.
Each of us parent that fruit,
that nimble child of ours.
Each of us in our own unique way and time.
Just like fruits ripening in and by nature.
That simple.

Ohh how I love the scent of a fully ripened strawberry,
radiant red,
infused with sun power.

It tastes unlike any other fruit I have ever picked directly off the plant
and delightfully packed into my mouth.
Eyes closed.
Perfection when it all comes together,
as it should,
as it was meant to be.

The journey of the ripened strawberry can never be forced.
It will never taste the same and you will know.
Once you have tasted the perfectly sun ripe strawberry,
receiving the sensorial explosion in your mouth,
with its fully intense strawberry taste,
you will never forget the experience.
Even if time comes when you have to settle for less.
Life can be such.
All you need to do is close your eyes,
focus on that precious moment in your life,
and you will be able to recall its sense,
perhaps even its taste.
Such is the power of mind.

So simple, yet so full of Life enriching stories I fondly remember.

Appreciate all what you’ve been gifted to experience in life.
Don’t try to possess, or take anything or anyone for granted.

We are all parts of one permeating Life Force.
Don’t ever be fooled in misleading beliefs or dogmas indicating otherwise.
Your every breath,
each heartbeat is your greatest guide showing you that you are Life itself.

Nuances are here to be celebrated,
varieties make our life experience more abundant,
joyful, and complete.

Celebrate Life!

Respect Life!
Like you respected yourself,
or like deep down you would truly like to be respected.
Protect Life like you protect your own life!

Every bit matters.
You are Life.
Life is You.
You matter.
Life matters.

Om

Sunyata – Emptiness

Rationally, we all know and understand that not all things in life carry equal weight and importance.  

Yet, when we zoom in – we behave like emotional bin bags – we easily get sidetracked, depending on different life situations. We do that entirely by ourselves to ourselves. Sure, the stimulus comes from the outside, but it’s us who receive it, process it, and act or react upon it.

You think, you believe, you convince yourself that you like something – and that this ‘something’ you like is good for you.

Yet, when we’re not very conscious about the choices we make, most of the things we like are actually not that good for us.

Reflect upon it for a moment. You go crazy after ice-cream, chocolate, cookies, pizzas, burgers, fries. You forget how many hours have passed since you plugged into Netflix. You start popping cannabis gummies day in day out, staying up late at night. You get accustomed behaving in a certain way, staying in a relationship that doesn’t serve anyone well. You go on a spending spree, buying things you don’t really need.

I’m not saying ice-cream is bad, full stop – as long as you’re aware, conscious of your choices, you’re fine. When you manage to do, whatever it is that you do in moderation, it’s ok. But can you? Can you brace yourself from ‘just a bit more, a bit longer, one more bite, one more try, a bit faster’, and say no thanks, I had enough.

What is good for you? How do you know? Have you learned by now, what supports you in life and what not?

All the stories that you accept or create, they dwell and operate inside your head, inside your mind. It’s all in there – already thought of by billions of minds at any given second, over eons of time.

Make sure to differentiate and know what goes in and on inside your mind! Who is thinking those thoughts, what you are thinking about, and above all, what do you do about those thoughts. The way you choose to churn them out. Learn to watch, to hold the pause, to reflect, not to react, to have that conversation with yourself, learn to respond.

There’s all that and there is the void.

Your own void that you keep on feeding with all sorts of information, thoughts, beliefs, hopes that can suddenly come to an end. You know what it feels like, when you lose someone precious in life, and only realize what you’ve had when they’re gone? That moment in life you feel the emptiness that was not there before. At first, the emptiness feels unknown. It was absent for a while – hence you became unaccustomed to what living with emptiness feels like.

Emptiness feels vast, grand, magnificent, scary, unknown, uncomfortable, unpredictable.

Emptiness prefers to remain as it is. A black hole into which all matter disappears, out of which new life is born. The void has to remain void.

Yet, we try our best to fill it up, to cover it up so we can avoid facing the void – we a+void witnessing our own origin.

Try not to continue with endless ‘must fill it up with noise and activities’ – because that hunger never ends. You’ll get sidetracked; your focus will easily get consumed, absorbed by the traffic you continue creating – by yourself. It’s how we forget the reason why we have chosen to come here in the first place.

It’s OK to feel uncomfortable with the unknown.

Empty the mind,
empty your heart,
whatever comes,
let it come,
whatever goes,
let it go.

Don’t try to hold on to anything – in fact – accept that you can’t hold on to anything, not even your life. Life experiences will present you exactly what you need, when you need it in the most perfect, synchronous way. Magic happens every day, be rest assure of that. This is not about being passive; on the contrary, one has to stay constantly aware in order to respond to what life presents and do the best they can. Stay soft, perceptive, attentive, so you can move swiftly. Like the weeping willow’s branches swaying in the wind. Dancing to the music, ever so gracefully, without resistance, yet, filled with stability and inner force. Knowing that your trunk – your spine is solid and your roots – your origin runs deep.

Two beautiful, graceful weeping willows. Its branches drooping over the lake of lilies.

“Be Water, My Friend.
Empty your mind.
Be formless, shapeless, like water.
You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.
You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. (Bruce Lee)

History repeats itself; it’s happening all the time, most of it has already happened before – hence, learn to become an observer, a watcher. Learn to step out of the repetitive cycle. Learn to see the life events, people, their intentions for what they are – not for what you want them, like them or even fear them to be.

From that standpoint make a conscious decision of what you want next – based on your needs, wants, heartfelt desires that are supportive of your life journey and don’t harm others. Remain cool like a cucumber. Like a seasoned gambler: ‘you gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run! You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.’ (The Gambler, Kenny Rogers)

My life experiences have brought me here, where I am right now. Your life experiences have brought you here, where you are, right now. Present, switched on, and fully aware. And thus we stand. Here we meet, we share what we can share. Plenty of human experiences, passing thoughts, knowing who we are, heart full of gratitude, peace of mind, soul strength, sense of freedom. One step, one breath, one heartbeat at a time. Fullness and the void. There is more that connects us than what sets us apart. Yes… I do like that thought.  

Everything is as it is – perfect or imperfectly perfect. Including the vast, expanding emptiness that stretches my limited understanding of what it means to be perfectly at peace & free.

Sunyata’

Emptiness – bubble bursts into thin air
The sound comes from emptiness
The self emerges out of emptiness
The self returns into emptiness

There is a void in my heart that connects me to emptiness,
to remind me of all that I am and all that I am not.

With that in mind I begin reclaiming my soul power.
Without it, I am not.
I draw my inspiration out of nothingness.
My love emerges from emptiness.
It comes and goes back to where it begun.

We come on behalf of emptiness,
We disappear on behalf of emptiness.
Emptiness occupies the space when we are not yet, and no longer here.
Unknowable, unpredictable, I sense the unease.
Beautiful, enriching, soul nourishing emptiness.
I know you, I honor you, your royal emptiness.

Sunyata

Black Magic Pen

The black pen starts to sing,
I begin to write,
a song yet unsung,
unheard to any human ears but mine.

Teasing out my thoughts,
it makes me smile,
I never noticed how smooth, elegant, graceful is your flow.
Forgive me, I did not know.

Silver pen in blazing fire, fading my desire.  

Sweet are your words,
yet, you slack in some actions.
Don’t grumble, be grateful, be humble!
Let go of certain expectations,
loosen up, reset,
and drop your idea of perfection!

Illusion is strong,
the spell is quite binding,
but no earthly attraction could keep me from finding, 
the truth you were hiding. 

Silver pen in blazing fire,
smoke arises, 
higher, higher,
all consumed is my desire.

The nib is bent,
beyond repair,
the ink that spills no more is spent.
I smile…

Life lessons of a different, peculiar digression,
that takes me on a ride I willingly take part.
A side of me I no longer wish to hide.
The wholeness comes with all its parts.

Fleeting memories of a little girl,
who once took fancy in a froggy tale…
It all began to fade away.
Has this chapter come to end?

I gaze towards the sky,
the hum so perfectly aligned.
I hear the ocean in my veins,
I feel the coming waves,
sweeping me away.

The tide has reached its height,
I can no longer linger, stay behind.
The bond is strong,
the calling of the heart,
more powerful than any sound.

I don’t look back, towards the shore.
My gaze steadfast towards horizon,
I break the spell.
My breath, my inner fire, my heartbeat.
My dear chaitanya*, unconsumed, pure, free, everlasting.

In my heart, 
I reignite the flame,
that keeps me present,
it keeps me sane.

On this faithful, cloudy night,
I’m pulling out this stream of thoughts,
with my good old, reliable, black magic guide.

And that’s it for now…
because no matter which one I choose or when,
black, silver, or white,
purple, yellow, red, or any shades of grey.
It’s all ok, as long as I don’t lose my way.

I thank you, I thank you, I thank you,
I thank you for always being here for me,
I thank you for showing me the way,
to be and not to be.

Om

*Chaitanya (Sanskrit: चैतन्य) refers to ‘awareness’, ‘consciousness’, ‘Conscious Self’, ‘intelligence’ or ‘Pure Consciousness’.

Synchronicity

Dolphins

It’s been a few days since I’ve had an inspiration to write something new. Today it came. Thanks to PW 50: ‘What is my relationship with synchronicity and what do I imagine is possible when I bring more awareness to the role it plays in my life?

For me, synchronicity is all about perfect harmony, matching movements, sounds that are totally in tune, aligned frequencies, umami tastes, moments when your heart is open, overflowing with love, joy, and trust. Things happen, I meet people I was supposed to meet, I end up in places I was meant to be timing is impeccable.

Synchronicity is powerful, mesmerizing, it draws in, it attracts. For example, if we all started breathing following the same rhythm we would create a flow and become part of that same flow we created.

Just imagine watching 50 Irish dancers on the stage, tapping their feet at the same time, totally in tune. Or listening to a choir of 30 people singing a song, their voices joint, blended as one. How about the orchestra and all the instruments playing the same beautiful melody?

What about nature?
Watching, listening to the river can be incredibly soothing. All the water is moving towards the same direction, singing the same song, each drop of water is absolutely aligned.

Have you ever watched a flock of birds flying in the sky – or a murmuration of starlings? Hundreds and hundreds of birds flying as one, every single bird perfectly aligned. What an incredible performance!

What about two or more people brainstorming, coming up with great ideas, their frequencies matching, bubbling, in sync with one another, in their thoughts, intentions, working together, being part of the same flow

Synchronicity is all around us – we just need to pause, pay attention, and recognize it.

Take a look at your wonderful body, the movement of your legs and arms as you walk, when you run. It wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t in sync, not in a million years.’

Synchronicity brought me synchronicity itself. How much more in sync could I get?

Working through the 20 PrivateWork prompts has revealed a number of insights. It was a much needed exercise of confirmation. Now that I’m in that flow I want to capture every drop of it. Squeeze it out, here, on a paper, so every time I need to recollect and realign myself, all I need to do is refer to this moment. Come back to these words – to the space that binds these synchronistically infused thoughts. The empty, silent space out of which the flow emerges and carries on. To me, living words are the most beautiful art & science of magic that gets captured in a very special way, but not really captured because it remains free – always.

The words I read carry the powerful fragrance that is strong enough to bring me back to this moment when I digress. We all digress from time to time and that’s ok. We all wobble in life. Life is a challenging affair – we are constantly dealing with thoughts, information, never ending stories upon stories, emotions, we continue storing gigabytes of memory.

As if nature, the most brilliant architect I have ever come across, has engineered this game that seems to have no end, unless you take charge, unless you awaken, become more aware and start working, tirelessly. Until you expand your pause between the stimulus and your response, not allowing to continue reacting – re+acting. Have you ever thought of this word – it’s genius. It holds the meaning of itself – continuously repeating the same old act. We all react – until we don’t.

Instead of reacting, all we need to do is learn to introduce the pause – we have to master the art of expanding the length of the mighty pause, so we can allow the clarity to arrive – we enter the flow and we gain the ability to respond.

Relationship with myself and others is about being in sync with each other. When you’re in sync with your self you can be in sync with anyone. Even when they are not. Therefore it is my responsibility – it starts with me. Responsibilityability to respond. Either I choose to bring harmony, peace of mind to this world or I choose not to. Hence, we all seek activities that help us realign with ourselves – and that’s a good, useful approach. For me it’s swimming, yoga, writing, meditation, dancing, being in nature, listening to particular music, horse riding, churning mugs on a potter’s wheel. For you it can be something else – find out what that is, because it’s more important than you think.

Synchronicity is a state of pure bliss – Ananda – no friction, no fear, no resistance, no control, no doubt. Responding while having trust, complete trust in the way you respond to the stimulus that came your way.

Skillfully, gracefully, with a smile, with an open heart. In sync, in tune, at one, in alignment, in the flow… back to oneness with life, back to the Self. Like a river, like gazillion droplets of water, all flowing towards the Ocean. Like a dancer becoming merging with music. Like your heartbeat, perfectly aligned with yourself, with the universe. Body, mind, and soul, completely in sync.

What an experience – what a beautiful life to be able to live like that. Now that’s what I call a life worth living.

In sync, in harmony, in tune with One Self, hence in sync with everything and everyone else.

Om

Karma – the Law of Cause and Effect

Cause and effect…

Whatever I think, say or do causes a ripple effect – it travels onwards. Often times I have no ideas where it ends, if at all. Just imagine how it’s all happening in a perpetual motion – continuously unfolding events based on how we project our thoughts on an individual level and how +9 billion people add up to the flow on a collective level. Can you imagine that?

It works like fractals with endless number of variations and permutations. Mind boggling just trying to imagine.

It’s easy to see actions and how one action leads to another – I smile, you smile back. Or words – I say thanks you, you reply: ‘you’re welcome’.

But what about thoughts? It’s more challenging to see the tireless working of the mind – yet, it’s the busiest area and represents the key to how your fractals dance and how your life unfolds. Tell me how and what you think and I’ll be able to determine the probability of events in your immediate life. But is that all?

What if this is just one of many lives our soul comes wondering through. Surely than there’s a law of cause and effect, so called karma, that spans across more than one lifetime.

The yogic scriptures say karma is universal. They say no-body can ever escape the law of karma, that life unfolds according to our deeds.

Yet sometimes it appears as if that’s not true – seeing some people living a carless, selfish, destructive, damaging life style full of poor habits and they’re still powerful, influential, wealthy, healthy, and look happy.

Could it be that at some point over their lifetimes they have earned a lot of merits? Their account has a great balance and no matter what they do they continue living based on their past life good deeds? If that’s true, I shouldn’t be fooled, because what comes around goes around and the balance keeps on changing. At some point they will probably reach zero sum balance and when that happens, life situation changes – usually suddenly and drastically.

It seems like karmic balance operates according to the most accurate banking principles. None of our balance diminishes or appreciates out of some budgetary interventions, deflation, or inflation. No one can take anything away from you, or meddle with your balance – what you earned is yours to own.

Can we do something to change our karmic balance? I think so. Karmic balance changes all the time. There might be limitations in terms of how much effort and how long it will take to get rid of certain burdens, but we clearly have a free will either to react or to work it out – as long as we’re aware. Between every stimulus and response there is a space of freedom that is always ours to claim – and that’s what I call awareness.

For example, you’re struggling in your life, you’re stuck and not able to live a reasonably comfortable life fit for 21st century.

The first step is to recognize the area of struggle. This might be related to your poor health condition, you may be experiencing financial struggles, you’re not having the most pleasant family life, difficulties with your job, you attract people that are not nice to you. Basically, you feel stuck in one area or another.

What’s the second step?

The second step is to acknowledge your dissatisfactions – things that cause irritation. For example, you have an issue with your shoulder and it’s painful. You may struggle with money and it’s causing your worries. You may have a shitty relationship with your manager and find it challenging being in their presence.   

Step number three is to accept it – fully, in your mind and heart. I accept the pain that causes irritation, I accept my financial situation and my worries, I accept that it’s challenging for me to be around my manager.

Fourth step is to shower your love, all your blessings and attention into areas where you experience such imbalance. Sending and feeling love and kindness are your two most powerful allies that will eat up your karmic debt if you persistently and consistently repeat it. Along with gratitude for having been given this chance. How fast? It all depends on how much balance you have on your account and how uninterrupted is your flow.

Yes, there is step five. You may have to do something about it – change your job, undergo an operation, you may have to show your acceptance through some actions and change your behavior. But that alone is not enough to fix the issue that got you where you are in the first place – there has to be recognition, acceptance, genuine letting go, infused with gratitude, and lots of love and kindness.

Sometimes it may be your task to clear up generations old karma – it’s not an easy task, you may often find asking yourself, why me? Why not my brother or sister? Why me? It could well be because you are capable for completing such task.

Human beings – on a physical level we all look similar, however, on a soul level we may be completely different. Soul journeys can span across tens, hundreds or thousands of lifetimes. Rarely will the individual in this life time remember the journey of their soul through those lifetimes. Yet, you may feel to yourself as if you are an old soul – you are even able to recognize one, wondering: ‘are you sure we have not met before?’ This has happened quite often to me.

There may even be familiarities you notice, as if you have done certain things in life already, even if you haven’t. The learning of a particular craft comes very easy to you – feels like second nature. You can effortlessly understand math, you are naturally talented in arts, music, languages, etc. You can sit in-front of the potter’s wheel for the very first time and spin up a perfect mug in a first go.

Not everything is a coincidence in life. Certain people you meet were supposed to cross your path. Some stay for a short time, some linger longer, a few stay for a life time.

There may be times when you don’t understand why life has put you together with ‘certain’ people you find extremely difficult to be around. Well, as long as there is any outstanding balance on your accounts you will continue experiencing a particular lesson that always finds a way to trigger your reaction – until it doesn’t. At some point you will be free to choose how to respond – only you will know when you reach that moment. At that moment you will realize that between every stimulus and your response, there is a space of freedom that is always yours to claim. You became aware.

Parents, siblings, relatives, partners, their family, friends, colleagues, rivals, competitors, students, teachers, children – we are all gathered here to learn, to grow, to become free.

In my own space and silent time, I had often wondered why have I been such a restless soul – moving countries, continents, homes, jobs, leaving behind my family, many beautiful people and friends I have met along the way.

Let’s just say I had plenty of outstanding balances from the past – my soul would not let me rest until I settled my bills. I learned that meditation helps, but that’s not enough. I had to go through various experiences in life to learn my lessons, to pay my debts – either to individuals, whole generations, or countries – serving until I was free to choose, to move on. It often felt like a burden, I did not understand why. Sometimes it felt like being locked in a prison, even though it did not appear so from the outside.  

Either I was not fully aware, not unwilling to accept, or not yet allowed to understand. I don’t know, but I know I wasn’t free until I settled my bills. Looking retrospectively, I can assure you – there is no free lunch in life.

Some way or another you have already paid for it or you still will. So, choose wisely, when you can.

There’s one tricky part in this whole equation and a note I must add. When particular karma is over and you’re free to choose – your old habits, behaviors, and belief systems you have built out of your ‘karmic limitations’ may still be there and very much alive. Make note of that – there will be some work required to clear that up, so you can properly be free to choose how you wish to respond and live your life going forward, else you will end up creating more karma.

For example, it was my karma to be born into a particular family constellation I was born to. I was able to free myself from its grip at some point in life. After that came a more challenging task and that’s been all on me – I have to free myself from all the conditioning I have developed during that time in that particular environment and leave the past burdens behind. If I don’t, if I choose to continue behaving in the same old conditioned way – out of fear, resentment, lack of trust, anger, etc. I will be increasing my karmic account balance and I will be forced into the repetitive cycle once again – no choice. That’s how history repeats itself – it’s a genius creation of a perpetual cause and effect flow with a never-ending story.

Recent events in my life have revealed much truth to me – how acceptance, gratitude, love and kindness lead to more freedom. Everything that happens in life is an opportunity for us to break free from some sort of clutches that have most likely been self-inflicted at some point of our soul’s journey.

I rarely see my life from this perspective, but what are the odds of a girl born and bred under the Alps, infused with Slavic, Italian, Austrian, and Balkan culture, to end up living in the north east of American continent with her best buddy from the southern part of India. Both from completely different locations, family backgrounds, unalike in appearance, personality, traits, habits, culture, yet very similar in ways impossible to explain.

Why did life bring such two different worlds together that would otherwise have never met? Out of where did such combination occur? What are the probabilities, can anyone explain?

Yet, so much learning has happened in the past 12 years and particularly over the recent 3 months – I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Let’s just say I was finally able to accept my Indian family, the culture I once opposed and rejected. I feel very grateful for the opportunity I was given in this lifetime. It feels deeply liberating when the burden of constant irritation is gone, when ego stops complaining, fighting, resenting, judging, not accepting, feeling insecure, not trusting, and when I am finally able to see all the beauty and blessings life has stored for me.

This too is called karma – stuff – so much stuff. Some stuff feels burdensome, some is full of Ananda – bliss, joy.

And here I am. Reflecting, pondering, following my thread of thoughts, putting it down with my favorite silver pen, with a conducive golden nib, and the most beautiful blue green ink with golden glitters.

Thank you life, for all the precious gifts I am able to receive.

Om

Background: This piece of writing started off by me experiencing an overwhelming sense of anxiety in the early morning hours. It was the calling of my thoughts, the invitation to let them go, to let out this story that was throbbing under my skin, causing me to feel how I felt. It all feels good after I spill out the ink. It works for me.

‘Divided I Don’t Care’ vs ‘United I Care’

Two voices speak through the land that was once called the land of opportunities…

I care and I don’t care. Let’s call the voice I care – Carry and the voice I don’t care – Donny. Let’s give both characters a voice while we, the readers remain observers, not taking sides until the story comes to an end.

Let’s give it a go…

Donny: “The most frequent statement in our former president’s speeches was ‘I don’t care.’ If the leader of my country, the most powerful man in the world thinks, feels, and does according to the guiding principle of ‘I don’t care’, why should I? He represents the epitome of success by all standards defined in any school textbook. Power, success, prestige, money, position. That is what I aspire to become, to be! I will do as I will, my way or highway, success above anything. I will use any means to reach my desired end!”

Carry: “I do care. I don’t mind if the leader of my country thinks, feels, and does according to ‘I don’t care’ principle. To me, he represents an example, more powerful than any school textbook that has ever been written before. He reminds us that we always have a choice, no matter how powerful we become. The only way to remain united is when we care, ‘we don’t care’ attitude leads to division.  We care for ourselves, our own well-being, for one another, we care for our neighbors, friends, family, and strangers. Every action counts. We are all guests on this planet earth, we can never become the hosts. We come and we go.”

Donny: “Why would I care? I am the center of attention! It is me who decides what is good for me and you. I am the deal maker. Reaching my goal is my ultimate happiness. My genius mind will find a way, any loophole in the system to push through. I will use any means possible to reach the end, I will employ the smartest people to help, make them my allies, and share with them the slice of my pie they won’t be able to resist. Everybody can be bought, don’t be fooled in any other way. I just need to find your weakest spot and I will get you like the spider catches a fly. Needed be, I will seduce, hunt, lie, manipulate. I will even induce fear and create chaos to assert my power and reinforce control.”

Carry: “Everything in life is interconnected. Every action has at least one reaction and carries a ripple effect further than your thoughts can reach. The choices you make matter. What happens when I generate inner peace, compassion, generosity towards my fellow beings? What happens when I become considerate towards others – human and non-human? What happens when I choose to make decisions from the place of unity within? I’m well off, the others are taken care of, nature doesn’t suffer, children have a better future. I choose to protect nature; I am not driven by the short-term financial gains that will impoverish humanity in the longer term. There are woodlands, ecosystems that took thousands of years to establish – I have a heart, I have a moral obligation towards future generations to protect all the animals that live in that forest, all the medicine that is yet to be discovered, the intelligence of nature we have not yet been able to tap in, learn from, all the solutions that are yet to be revealed.”

Donny: “I swear by my mantra ‘I don’t care’ and I don’t care what you think or say because I don’t care. Life is all about competition, I have to succeed, I have to be better, faster, taller, more beautiful, wealthier, and smarter than my colleagues. For all I know, you could be my threat, my obstacle towards my fastest route to success. If I let you be and do your things it may impede my fast track towards my triumph. I have more rights than you do, my forefathers have worked hard to build this country into what it is today. I have the right to complain, to moan, and squander your joy if that’s what it takes to bring you down and give me satisfaction and fuel to reach my next stepping stone. Nature – piff, paff, puff.”   

Carry: “I have a different definition of material prosperity and I am not poor. All my needs are met and beyond. The magnitude of my prosperity comes from how much I care about others. It’s defined by the expansion of my heart. My heart is big enough to embrace anyone who comes my way. I look up to people; from what little I know; everyone could be my teacher. The enigma called America affords maximum freedom to everyone, it is the land of equal opportunities for all its fellow citizens.

Being a citizen of this land means I have an all-encompassing heart that accepts everyone and gives everyone space to thrive, to be. There was a time in my life when I didn’t know much, yet thanks to those who could see beyond my temporary limitations, when I was slow, not perfect I was given space and time to grow into what I am today. Imperfectly perfect, happy to serve, to support others on their way towards their success. Unity and freedom is what gives strength, prosperity, and glory our nation was revered once upon a golden time.”

Donny: “I don’t care, and I don’t understand what you’re saying. For me it’s all about survival of the fittest”.

Carry: “That’s ok. I care. I care with all my heart. Love conquers all – it’s a quality of heart that goes beyond understanding. We all project our own reality – we create it every day. What you feel, you think, you do is your reality. What I think, I feel, I do, is my reality.

Many centuries ago, it was the greedy habit of the ego that took over this continent. Thanksgiving happened in 1789 – we became more accepting, grateful, welcoming. A few decades ago, we again entered the cycle of poor habits. The sign waves continue and history repeats. This too shall change. The cycle can be broken not by opposing or fighting it, but by stepping out and watching it. As within so without.

It applies to every ant, every human being, everything divine or less divine. Everyone has a choice, every single moment defines our reality, and the reality of each and every one of us defines the collective reality. So is, what is. No shame, no blame, no judgment. You and me, we both exist, we both look similar, yet our levels of awareness differs. I care and you don’t. Life is a journey, and there is to say.”

Four colorful hearts on the top. 
Text under: A beautiful heart will bring things into your life that all the money in the world couldn't get you.

…what have I learned from this story? Watching two distinct perspectives on life one can choose to operate from? When one is able to choose.

Life is not about perfection; it’s about caring for each other. Mother nature is brilliant not because she is brilliant in what she does, but because she wants what is best for her children – her actions speak louder than our words. She demonstrates tirelessly through an act of selfless serving, giving herself up for everyone to succeed, to be free. Allowing freedom and space to learn, to be, even when sometimes at her own expense. To both, those who care and those who don’t – well, perhaps not quite yet.

This Bird Was Born to Fly

Flying Eagle

Birds – incredible, multidimensional wonders of nature.

Just think about it! Have you ever seen and observed a cormorant in action?

You can see them just about anywhere where there’s a water body full of fish – in rivers, oceans, lakes, you can even see them in London on river Thames, basking in the sun between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on one those remaining wooden pillars sticking out of the river that used to support an old bridge many, many moons ago.

Cormorants can walk the solid surface of this earth, they can spread their winds and soar high up in the sky or they can plunge through the surface of the water, dive in like a pro and catch a fish or two.

What a multiskilled expert – the cormorant.

I love analogies – I love stories and I love observing the interconnectedness all around me, realizing how nothing happens in isolation. Not me, not you!

Human beings – we are a lot like birds, but not necessarily living our fullest potential.

We wobble and hobble quite skillfully on a solid surface. Some of us are also good swimmers.

But how many of us can spread our wings and not only fly, but soar in the realms of the open limitless sky?

For that to happen, balance is required. What balance am I talking about?

For example, let’s go back to our bird. Birds spread their wings – they flap their left wing, right wing and they lift up towards the sky. Both wings have to be in perfect balance, perfect harmony in order to fly. No harmony – no flying.

How does that translate into human experience? Well, let’s say you have wings. Your left wing represents your spiritual state and the right wing your material state of being.

In order to fly you need stability in both of those areas – both need to be in perfect balance so we can fly freely, to soar above the ground.

Message – you need both sides in equilibrium – spiritual and material.  When I say spiritual, I mean all that goes on inside your mind – all your thought processes, moods, emotions, memories, associations. When I refer to material I mean action – your external world – solid tangible manifestation of what you see around you – money, friends, assets, thoughts – everything that goes on inside your mind converted into matter.

Today, I’ve started playing a new, exciting game because I need to achieve a much better balance in my life. This post marks the beginning of the play.

Here’s where I draw the line for now. To be continued…   

The Watchers and the Mood Swingers

The world appears before your eyes; therefore, it mostly appears depending on how we perceive it, not how it truly is.

If only we were able to see the world as it is, however, it never seems to be that simple. In addition, our perception changes frequently, depending on our changing moods.

I’d like to invite you to start contemplating your moods. Why? Because they define your reality – it is not only emotions that do it – it is the very container that holds your emotions that defines it even more – your underlying moods. Moods matter more than you can imagine, yet, they are seldom mentioned and spoken about.

What to do when you find ourselves seeing your life as bleak, unfair, hostile, boring, unpleasant, unfulfilling, unhappy, etc.?

STEP 1

The very first, most simple and readily accessible tool we all have on our disposal is the observer – the watcher. You are that observer, the watcher!

We observe, we watch the world around us all the waking time of our days. Mostly we watch the outside world, happenings around us, news feeds on our mobile phones, screens, people around us, weather conditions, colors, cars, changes, etc.

The question is, how much of your day do you dedicate watching what goes on inside you?

Do you ever observe what your body is doing? For example, when you go for a walk, you sit down, you drive your car, type a message – do you ever observe your breath, do you ever notice how your left- or right-hand moves, how your legs move, your fingers, how your head turns, neck bends, how your eyes go from left to right? Well, perhaps when you go for a yoga session to do your asanas – when you are constantly reminded to be fully aware. But what if yoga asanas became more integrated as part of your daily life and you become the watcher?

This kind of observation can happen in parallel to watching the outside world – it will not compromise your ability to see or for you to become less productive – on the contrary, it will make you more aloof, more in the body. You will operate in a more grounded way – from a place where you are coming from to face the world around you.

Now, this is the easiest, entry point of the 4 steps of the watcher that you’re going to learn about in this post.

Being in the body, being aware of your body and what it does is the first step of strengthening your watcher.

STEP 2

Next step, an important step is to start watching your thoughts – as you brush your teeth, jog, swim, eat your food, or put your clothes on – what are you thinking about? Now this may be a bit trickier – but doable. If you have started watching your body and have done it a few times you have already began training your mind to become more attentive, responsive to your command.

It’s a bit like training your puppy – if you ever had one, you will know that it takes a great deal of patience and repetition, but it works and it makes life much more pleasant and enjoyable. Same applies to our thoughts.

Once in a while, try and catch your thoughts – find out what you are thinking about when you catch yourself off guard. You can even use your phone alarm – set a random reminder that pops up like “Sherlock Holmes or Hercules Poirot Time”. Make it a fun game you play with yourself. 😊

STEP 3

Once you have built up enough observation muscle and can easily catch & watch your thoughts arising and passing away, you can up your game to a new level and start watching your feelings – your emotions. Just watching – never judging. Remember, no one likes to be judged – this includes you judging yourself. If you notice being sad – ok – simply say to yourself – I see sadness, this too shall pass. Same with happiness, joy, trust, fear, surprise, disgust, anger, anticipation, etc.

The rule of the game is to remain the watcher of the game. It’s like, when you watch the NBA game – you are not allowed to play in the court, but you are welcome to watch.

So, like this, you start watching your game of feelings, emotions and start recognizing your own NBA players, your rising and falling stars, lead guards, shooters, defenders, highest achievers. You start watching which of them lead the game, lead in the score – is it joy, lust, fear, or anger?

Try watching without aversion or attachment – if you can, try to remain impartial. When emotions arise and peak you don’t want confrontations because it usually backfires. This includes judgement, scolding, shaming, blaming yourself. It ends up adding fuel to the fire, it strengthens the emotions and weakens the watcher. You want to strengthen the watcher instead.

As soon as you enter the field of your emotions as a peaceful watcher, you have already done your job.

For example, if emotions were characters in a story, they would feel like we felt when we were little kids playing in a kindergarten.  When left on our own, behind closed doors, without anyone watching, we eventually started shouting, fighting for different toys, pinching each other. Than, all of a sudden, the door opened and in came the teacher – completely composed and quiet. Merely by their appearance and presence the whole room came to a still. No more fighting, no more shouting and causing havoc – the pleasant play resumed.

That’s exactly the role of your watcher. The more you practice watching the stronger becomes your presence when you enter your home field. You will be amazed how incredibly empowering it feels once you recognize that force within you. Same like we admired our kinder garden teachers – they all looked like heroes to us when we were little, we all looked up to them. The same principle applies with you being a watcher – and we can all grow up to that level and achieve that strength and position. In fact – some of you might have already become that very teachers you once admired.

STEP 4

Ok – now that you became a proficient watcher of your body, thoughts, and feelings, it’s time to up the game to the ultimate level when you start recognizing the container that holds all the emerging feelings, appearing and disappearing thoughts, and your body motions.

The mighty moods!

Moods are incredibly mysterious, changing, but less volatile than thoughts and feelings and they are longer lasting. Moods define the course of action. They act like music in the background, they set the tone. They either make us sing, jump up and down, put us in a contemplative state, or help us fall asleep. Think about your favorite concert where thousands of people share the same mood. Or, remember going to an event or a party – the mood sets the tone of your state of being and your behavior. It pulls out your emotions and it flavors your thoughts.

Moods are incredibly important – if you make you decision when you’re in an agry or arrogant mood you can damage your reputation, hurt someone, you can end up making very poor choices that you regret later on when your angry mood changes to a more placid, composed one.

Hence it is essential to learn to navigate and set the tone of your own moods and not allow the moods to set the tone for your erratic behavior and reactions. It depends from one person to another, however, if you’re a powerful person with a strong personality it will exacerbate your moods and impact many people, not just your family members and those around you. Consequences depend on the role you represent and play in your life and in this world. It makes a huge difference when you can manage your own moods. Becoming a vigilant watcher sure helps.

When it comes to moods, I think it’s important to point out the correlation between food we eat and our moods.

For example, how do your moods change when you suddenly take a lot of sugar (white, refined sugar, honey, maple syrup, fruits, saturated with sugar, a bag of dry fruits, products with high amount of sugar, unprocessed carbo hydrates like white wheat products and white rice that have a faster release of sugar instead of unrefined grains with gradual, long-term release).

How does that affect your mood? Well, if you don’t burn the excess energy that sugar creates in your body with some sort of physical or mental activity it finds different outlets, which are usually your poor habits. You get all hyped up for the first 15 minutes and then drop down and end up being all cranky. Sugar acts on the same part of the brain as cocaine does – it instantly releases serotonin and dopamine.

Watch it! Observe yourself, your body, your thoughts, your feelings and see what happens when you take excess sugar. Watch a kid, the one that is lively by default – what happens when you give him or her a couple of candies and they get a sugar rush? It changes their mood.  

I suggest you try and go as much sugar free as you can – “sugar free ‘coz you want to be”! Look at sugar more as a medicine that helps you when you feel lethargic or need some energy – just like coffee. Take it as your medicine, don’t let it become a habit.

Note: I’m not a food expert. I simply used sugar as an example, because we can all relate to it and it’s a powerful indicator, having noticed how it affects me and what it does to my moods, my feelings, and thoughts. It has a strong impact and I’m trying my best to remain as composed a possible in life. It serves me much better – that kind of cool, consistent mood or equanimity, hence I am aware of what I eat and how much of what. You are what you eat – though I would refine this statement and say – you become what you eat and the food you eat impact your moods.

For those of you interested to delve deeper into this topic… According to the Yogic tradition there are 3 main imperfections that give birth to the mind:

  • Moha
  • Raga
  • Dwesha

Moha or delusion is the root of illusion, root of all cravings, imagining something that is not – it’s your false imagination, when you start thinking the grass is greener on the other side, or you imagine the other person to be perfect and you are later disappointed. You did not see them for what they were, but for what you wanted to see in them.   

Raga or attraction – you crave things you think will fulfill you, because you think you are not whole already as you are, you consistently look for accomplishment. You think you are small and incomplete.

Dwesha or aversion, resistance – you think you have to keep yourself safe from others and the world, as if there are things outside that will diminish you. Again, you believe and behave as if you are small and incomplete.  Whereas just the opposite is true – you already are perfect and complete.

Moha, Raga and Dwesha produce 6 children, which are the 6 defining roots of our moods. They are:

  • Kama – lust
  • Krodha – anger
  • Lobha – greed
  • Madha – arrogance
  • Moha – delusion that causes illusion
  • Maatsarya – jealousy

Apart from the 3 imperfections there are also 3 elixirs that can help. They don’t produce any children and lead one towards unity. They are:

  • Attraction to the self – longing for Atman, God
  • Grace of existence, universe
  • Revealing potency of the self – the watcher, visibility, clarity

We all have our predominant moods – something that defines our character, what we bring along when we enter the room – some people bring cheer, some heaviness, some are bubbly, witty, grumpy, negative, positive, etc. Modes change throughout the day, from one day to another, as well as through different phases of our lives.

When it comes to moods – you can help set the stage of how you want your day to pan out.

You have total control over many factors that influence your moods. For example:

  • Environment you choose to be in (nature, shopping mall, rural, urban, noisy, quiet)
  • Food you choose to eat
  • Music you listen to, movies you watch  
  • People you hang out with
  • Activities you engage yourself in
  • Roles you choose to play in your life
  • Thoughts you generate, marinate in, emotions you feed and feel

These are just a few I can think of this moment.

For example, I like writing, because it sets me in a particular mood where I start sharing what I have learned in my life, mostly based on my experiences and observation. Writing acts like an outlet for my insights. It puts me in a self-seeking mood. Whatever I have learned and find valuable I like to share; it makes me feel grateful that I can. I like to connect to kind, likeminded people; it makes me content. I choose healthy food, with very little sugar, I like to meditate, do yoga, dance, travel, explore, exercise, keep in motion and good shape and have couple of interesting challenges. It all sets me up for the right kind of mood to help generate pleasant emotions and have conducive thoughts that support my life goals – all of it defines my lifestyle. That’s why I‘m internally motivated to choose what I know is good for me.

Be a watcher, not a mood swinger!

When is the most conducive time of the day to watch your moods? It depends from one person to another – generally speaking, it usually happens during transitions – when you switch from work to home mood, during sunrises, sunsets, while having a quiet lunch or a dinner, going from one activity to another, waking up from sleep, just before falling asleep.

Try it out, see what works for you. The ultimate indicator is your level of inner peace, how content you are with your life, how much energy you have throughout your day and the joy you feel inside – that’s what ultimately leads to happiness in life.

The road can be paved with all sorts of material and the 4 steps presented above are only one of the examples of how you can go about your day, your life. They work for me and if what I have shared adds a stepping stone towards your happiness it’s surely brings happiness to me. Every little bit counts, that’s for sure!

Have a great day. I wish you all the best.  

My Creative Flow

Walking with umbrella

How does it all unfold?
When what comes – comes,
when what goes – goes…

When forces fluctuate like iffy weather,
unknown until known,
right before my eyes,
when sun means warm,
and storm means rain.

At times I get the urge to grab my favorite pen,
I feel the bubbling story itching to appear.
At times I swipe the Notes app on my phone,
swiftly following my thoughts,
packing them all in before they disappear.

There is no consistency,
the passage of the flow is unforeseen. 
Satisfying – yes, to say the least,
by allowing it to flow –
being part of every written row,
how many – I shall never know.

Until the pouring comes to end,
and the weather is no more,
I say thank you,
close my notebook, laptop, or the phone.

Willing to walk the uncharted journey,
what an incredible privilege,
this scrumptious dance of fractals we can all enjoy.

How, why, when… so many questions
I have no answers to explain.
And even if I tried,
it often makes no sense to anyone but me.

Each to their own unique ways,
each of us here to find our own how, why, or when.

You can read as many blogs and books as you may wish,
indulge in stories,
soak in all the podcasts, audios,
take in all the animations, videos.
Nice way to spend your days,
I’m sure it helps achieve a few important goals,
but does it give you what you seek?

You tell me!
Have you found what you’ve been looking for?

Rarely have I found my unique self through interpretations, other’s stories.
Yes, there are some golden nuggets of wisdom, inspirations,
filled with thoughts, charged up emotions, associations, memories,
lots of learning opportunities, motivations.

Yet I find myself most profoundly resourceful when I put my mind to rest,
when I integrate, fuse within my own ‘out of time and sacred space.’
The answers bubble up when temperature is ripe,
when I am willing, ready, open to receive,
when I too become a part of this extraordinary, creative flow.

Just like the ramble you now read and see.
It’s not so much about the content I hereby submit. 
It’s all about the flow,
so you can hop on,
bounce off,
and off you go,
do your thing.

Catch it if you can,
and use it well!

Om

Background reflections:

How does writing occur in my case?

I suppose this process or point of entry varies from one writer to another. Lately, my indication has been counter intuitive – at least for me.

My creative flow happens when I get overwhelmed with incredible sense of boredom. When I’m on the verge of entering another episode of dreading the current reality.

Luckily, I learned to dodge that bullet. All I have to do in is take a pen or a keyboard and let the flow do the rest – allow it to take me for a different kind of spin of my creative endeavors and exciting outpours. I allow myself to become executed for whatever note, message, story wishes to unveil.

And that my friend is my secret of how I enter my creative flow. The secret that’s not a secret anymore.


So, next time boredom, irritation, anxiety, sadness, anger, or anything similar, ‘downward spiraling’ comes to visit… face it with a completely opposite – face it with the unassailable force of uplifting energy. Whatever works for you – painting, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, chiseling, trading, moving, writing, cooking, gardening, etc. Spin its course, chart your own! Just try it out and let the magic of the flow unfold while you become the vessel for whatever needs to happen as you put your naughty mind to rest.

Have a great day and a splendid life
!

Brigi

‘By and Large’ Attitude in Life

Hopping on a bus, rainy day, holding umbrella

What does it mean?

Here’s the standard definition I found across a few dictionaries:

Definition of ‘by and large’: on the whole: speaking in general

What does, the ‘by and large’ concept mean in practical terms?

·       How many kilometers are between Montreal and New York City?  The answer: about 620 – give and take a few. It takes about 7 hours drive to get there. That estimation is close enough for me — no need to jump on google maps and divert your full attention.

·       What’s 397 x 210? About 80.000 – I’m simply going to round it up to 400×200. My brain works faster that way. If you want an exact answer, I’ll divert my full attention from our conversation and punch the numbers in my phone calculator.

My advice is only to divert your full attention when necessary.

The main message of this post is to notice our tendencies which can oscillate toward over-obsessing about details and wasting too much unnecessary time or precious energy. Very useful to know, so we can skillfully divert our approach when appropriate and necessary.

I got the inspiration to ponder and write about this phrase when I opened my Linkedin page this morning – Ray Dalio’s post on the 6th Sept 2022 (Understand the concept of by and large activity)

It caught my attention because of unhealthy tendencies I have noticed throughout my career working with people, and here’s my take…

When we over obsess about facts and details, we lose the original perspective – the big picture.

I asked myself, what is the foundation of such an attitude?

It depends from one person to another and varies across different areas we engage in – it can be rooted in wanting to be correct, asserting control, high-jacking attention, lack of confidence, fear of the unknown, perhaps there’s a degree of self-sabotage or punishment.

When you get stuck in details, you freeze and are no longer moving forward; you are no longer part of ‘the flow.’  You have got carried away with your obsession.

This narrow point of view is widespread in our society – it’s been ingrained and became part of our mindset during schooling. One point on your exam defines whether you have passed or failed the exam. Or worse – it determines if you were fit enough to have been accepted to the university or not. What kind of point-based system ludicrousness is that?

It signifies that we have lost the meaning of what matters in life. In this particular case, we condensed the meaning of life to a single pointed approach that can define someone’s trajectory in life. What a punitive, middle-age approach! (IMO)

Losing sight of the large picture approach is detrimental to personal, financial, spiritual, and mental health. This can include the economic health of an entire country.

When we get stuck micromanaging and marinating in details, this includes obsessing about our shortcomings, we lose sight of too many things that matter in life. That’s why I think – ‘by and large’ attitude – is something we should practice and apply more often – when it is safe to do so. (PS: please don’t apply this in a surgery)

Here are a couple of relatable examples.

Your kind friend prepared a meal for you. He/she added too much salt or slightly burned the pie. The veggies were not crunchy enough. Considering the circumstances, they not being a Michelin five-star chef, ‘by and large’ it’s pretty awesome and generous of someone cooking for you. Plus, you get to enjoy a wholesome meal with your mate.

Applying for a job – reviewing job specs, you notice a few expectations you don’t meet – ‘by and large,’ it’s ok. You can negotiate the rest when you get a chance. Don’t just brush yourself away from the get go. Buy some time to learn the missing points and other necessary skills.   

Having to quickly churn a report – considering the time you got on your hands – the rough estimates you were able to come up with are ‘by and large’ ok. If your boss expects a better job – negotiate for more time or some help.

Non-negotiable deadlines – if your boss is not willing to allocate more resources, you will have to compromise on the quality or quantity of the work. Make sure that’s clear from the start. What you can do in the given time with the technology and your two hands is ‘by and large’ ok.

You’re experiencing short-term losses in your long-term investment portfolio – considering the market downturn and your focus on long-term investments – ‘by and large’ that’s looking solid if you ask me. (PS: not financial advice)

Company employees… Mark is working hard, going beyond expectations because he’s driven – he wants to; Alex is doing just enough because that’s his capacity, and he’s meeting all the expectations. It all works out well, as long as everyone is happy.

Countries are waging trade wars, getting stuck in details, not budging, derailing the whole economy, stoking up another conflict – because they lose sight of the bigger, long-term picture, messing up the entire supply chain. Are these detrimental, widespread, long-term negative impacts? You tell me! What difference would it make to apply the ‘by and large’ approach in such a case?

I set up a few goals last year; my threshold was high to start with – I didn’t reach all of them, but I did great at what I achieved. I realized a few goals made no sense along the way, so I changed my track and kept on reminding myself of the 80-20 rule. ‘By and large’ I never lost sight of what matters, and I did not get stuck or lost in details, thank you very much.

Not that I’m not able to go into details where it really matters or when that’s necessary, but that’s a story for another day. 

I wish you a good day!