Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Training, beauty and healing yourself

"Developing inner values is much like physical exercise. The more we train our abilities, the stronger they become. The difference is that, unlike the body, when it comes to training the mind, there is no limit to how far we can go."
- Dalai Lama -

Training and evolving to a better version of yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally, this is one of the duty we have to ourselves. And, how it is brilliantly pointed in this quote, unlike the physical part, the mind has no limits in becoming greater and faster. One year passed by, another will start soon. Choose a plan on how to improve yourself. And follow it.

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."
- Robert Frost -

Beauty will leave a mark on our soul. A flutter of white sparkle, and one idea is resurrecting to the surface, becoming a phrase, a beautiful lining of words, creating the same feeling, like a mirror, in somebody else's soul. This is poetry.

"Artists strive to free this true and spontaneous self in their work. Creativity, meditation are ways of freeing an inner voice."
- Gloria Steinem -

And one Christmas story, to finish on a lighthearted note. About a singer who lost her voice due to an incurable disease, and the hope that end up bringing her voice back. Click here for the video.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Gratitude, slowing down and the magic hidden inside a book

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
- Melody Beattie -

But more than once we choose to focus on the worst side of our day, and this is a choice too. There are many experiments done in the past five years to show the power of gratitude, and a simple fact such as thinking about 3 things to be grateful every morning can have a dramatic impact on our physical and mental health. So, i would say, why not try it, we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going to fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."
- Eddie Cantor -

Being in a hurry will darken our vision and will make the future and the present unclear, acting as a mental fog. While slowing down and trying to relax, we expand our perception and start to see , instead of just passing by and avoid to look. The mindfulness walk is an amazing technique for a tired mind. Take an interval of time out of your very busy schedule, and just walk, slowly, with no rush, being focused on your internal and external sensations. Even 15 minutes per day will be  beneficial, helping you to be less stressed and more focused.

"You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book."
- Dr. Seuss -

And if walking being aware is too much for you, here is another idea. Stress in not the enemy, because it will became real only when we choose to respond to the events in our life by being contracted, depressed and upset.

Have a perfect Sunday!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Void, fullness and the art of finishing stuff

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself."
-Thich Nhat Hanh-

Three interesting ideas. Analyze this. You need to be your-self to be beautiful. But how? How can you be your self. Who is this self? It is not the mind, with all the endless line of thoughts. It is not what we feel, because we are the one feeling. It is not the body, because the body is our body, but who is this one having a body? 'Neti, neti', will say an Indian sadhu. 'It is not this one'. Then which one it is? Let's go forward. It is only one sure way to madness, and that is to try to please everyone. I was told. So, is you try to please yourself instead of pleasing others, is this the way? Or the trick is to listen to that inner voice, to your intuition, you know what i am talking, but this voice is feeble and week, and other ideas are very loud in your head, so something needs to be done too in order to make it stronger and louder, the intuition, i mean. We need to rejoice and enjoy the silence, the emptiness. To search the unsearchable, to find the white noise behind the monkey mind. Start doing it. Do it again. And the miracle will come.

"Grit is not just having resilience in the face of failure, but also having deep commitments that you remain loyal to over many years."
- Angela Duckworth -

Perseverance is the greatest gift. And finishing what you started, this is how you get more power to do even greater things. Live your life like you are a marathon runner, not a sprinter. Plan in advance. And finish what you start. Always.

Good night, my unknown friends, good night.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Love, forgiveness and shifting the blame

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

This is indeed the best strategy, because is implying to work with ourselves first, before we try to change another person. But often we forget about it, and we blame the other for our own shortcomings. And then the balance of our relationship is moved even further. Think about this, when was last time when you sincerely admitted that you were wrong?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Light, dreams and the nature's healing

"Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light."
- Theodore Roethke -

The most important part of our life is well hidden, deep inside, and it is not easy, but it is worth the effort to take the light from inside to the outside world, in any given form. Could be poetry, painting, singing or just kindness to another being, the form and the level is irrelevant, could be child level poetry or bad painting, the effort is the one important. In being creative, your inner being will revel in his own right.

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
- Carl Jung -

How do you want to live your life? Do you want to ever dream about a future when everything will be perfect, and you will be happy and wealthy? Or do you want to look inside you for powers unknown to you, and make a plan to achieve what you want, with the tools you got, with an interval of time set up to get your goal?

"Every natural object is a conductor of divinity."
- John Muir -

The nature help you healing. Even a bit of nature, a plant or a pet, will bring a measure of good in your life. It is recommended to bring something in our living place, to take care of a flower or a little tree. Even if you are a man. Especially as a woman, being closer to the nature than men.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

What we have and what we don't?

What we have?
We have time, enough time to do anything.
We have eyes, to see the beauty of the world unraveling all around us.
We have ears to listen to the most perfect music, and that is not the one from the radio, but the heart of the loved one beating faster as we rest close enough.
We have taste to try the most amazing foods, and we can check on the real deal now, without travelling all the way to Tokyo or Barcelona.
We can feel the warmth of the sun in a good day, or the rain drops, or even the snowflakes landing softly on our skin.
We can smell on some amazing range of perfumes, and this is enough to make our thought go wilder.

What we don't have?
We don't have time, as we are over-scheduled and overwhelmed by a huge amount of crappy activities. The golden rule, you do not like it and you have no real benefit from it, don't do it.
We watch, but we don't look, we are merely passing by, with our eyes popped in the screen of the smartphone or tablet.
We are constantly assaulted by noises, and we probably forget what the real, complete silence is. Try to find 5 minutes in some quiet place, relaxing yourself.
We got our taste perverted by too much sweetness and salt, and most often the blandness of the food is hidden behind powerful preservatives and enhancers.
We automatically divide the smells in good or bad, without knowing that for one person the smell of horse shit is abominable, and for another is the smell of the childhood, when everyone was happy together with mom and dad and the other 7 siblings.
We do not feel enough, not internally, not externally either.

And the worst of all, nobody will teach us how to be happy. Because this is a personal journey, and you are the only one to do your homework. Good luck!

Eyes of a child, stress and wisdom

"The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart."
- Mencius -

The sense of wonder and the curiosity of a child could be the reason for his apparently unlimited energy. But we grow up, we forget our childhood dreams, and we learn to deal with stress and responsibilities. Is this the life we wanted for us to live? If not, ask yourself when did you changed, along the journey. It was all at once or happened gradually? Can you still go back in time, at that moment when you where still happy, living in the moment? Maybe what we need to do is not to think to much about the past, maybe not even about the future, but to stay in the present, reaching out in awe for all the sounds, all the tastes and smells, for all the smiles and real friends. Think about it! It is still possible to be happy. But i need you to start with one step. First one. And then the second.

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. "
- Viktor E. Frankl -

This is a practical key, or another way to say it, that we are not suffering because of the stress in our life, but merely because of our ways and choices on how we respond to the stressors. If something is not working, change your response. A definition of madness was to try to do the same thing, expecting different results. Right?

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."
- Terry Tempest Williams -

I was once asked what is the difference between being intelligent and being wise. I answered with someone else answer, remembering the moment when i had asked the same question. I was told: An intelligent person know how to use a tool in the right way, a wise person finds another ten ways to use the same tool for something else.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Solitude, nature and one awareness walk

"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities."
- Maya Angelou -

We are thinking here at what a tipping point is, and how one apparently unrelated events can transform the life of millions, in good or bad. To give only two examples, the history will be completely different if Einstein was convinced to be a shoe-maker, continuing his family tradition, or Hitler was encouraged by his art teacher to pursue painting instead of politics. You need to be kind, to always help others, for the simple reason that you can be the tipping point to mark a change in the collective destiny of the entire planet. You never know what you can do, what is you full potential or how the butterfly effect will play his role in this daily adventure called life.

"By assaulting nature, we raise the odds that we will assault each other. By bringing nature into our lives, we invite humility."
- Richard Louv -

You maybe didn't know about this, but most of the stress related modern illnesses will simply disappear if you try to have a daily walk, completely focused on the surrounding nature, looking at it as you are seeing it for the first time, thought the eyes of a child, without other distractions. An awareness walk of 30 minutes will completely change your life quality and it will make you to see everything else with another kind of vision.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Refugees, online universities and life as we know it

"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge."
- Thomas Carlyle -

So, you got this desire, burning inside you, and you want to learn, to know more. What you gonna do? Normal people will go to school, and to university after, paying a handful of money, and struggling for half of their life to pay it back. Is this the way? As you can see in this article, there are some good people who actually think about the better good. They created an university for refugees, completely online, where you can get a degree after four years of solid study.

"At its deepest level, I think teaching is about bringing people into communion with each other, with yourself as the teacher, and with the subject you are teaching."
- Parker Palmer -

And how can you do this better than creating online communities to help refugees from everywhere. You can change lives, you can give them the opportunity of their lifetime, when often a local degree is asked before getting accepted for an interview. Al you need is love. And maybe few years of study.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Sleeping enough to be awake, creating enough to be alive

"To be an artist is to believe in life."
- Henry Moore -

Because as an artist you are creative, and a creative person is closer to being a God, closer to the secret of life, fresh and sparkling ideas, bringing beauty from the mind to our reality. In the end, it is all about being authentic, being true to your Self.

"Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."
- William Shakespeare -

We live in a sleep deprived society. One simple test to prove it, if you are using an alarm to wake up, you are not sleeping enough. For some people, sleep is a way to learn how to dream lucidly, to gain control over another dimension of your life. Tip: if you want to lucid dream, learn how to fly in your dream first.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Inspiration, respiration and preparation

"You think you are alive because you breathe air?
Shame on you, that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don't be without Love, so you won't feel dead.
Die in Love, and stay alive forever."

He said it 800 years ago, but today it is still more actual than ever. We breathe to our daily schedules, but we don't live. Our eyes are mesmerized but thousands non-magical hooks, online and offline, on the bus, on the street's sideways, on the radio or TV. In only one day we are exposed to 490 adds, and daily media consumption for a typical adult is measured as 9.8 hours. We watch screens instead of living, our focus is directed in one endless loop, day after day. So, I will ask you one more time: do you think you are alive because you breathe air?

Poetry, peace and Aikido

"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."
- Nelson Mandela -

Think about Aikido, you are not stopping someone kick, but you let him to do it and you even help with increased speed in same direction. It is all about the flow, because when you learn not to react and oppose, but to help and absorb, and then the miracle happen. It is one the the many important lessons of our life. Learning this, nobody will ever oppose us.

"Strive to be uncynical, to be a hope-giving force, to be a steward of substance."
- Maria Popova -

This is all that is expected from a mature human being. But as the concept is difficult to relate, i will let the poetry to do it. Next two samples of poetry will try to explain what i cannot.

A Guide To Life's Turning Points
by Brian Browne-Walker (Oct 21, 2013) 

Progress is made in steps, not in leaps. Move only as far as the opening allows. Remain neutral and tolerant of adversity. When in doubt, remain still.
By accepting things as they are and not making fruitless comparisons to the situations of others, or some imagined ideal, one engages the power of the Creative.
Though outer conditions appear unpromising, success is possible if you look faithfully for the good in others, yourself, and the situation.
It is a time for moderation in everything. Moderation of enthusiasm keeps you balanced.
Moderation of despair deepens your understanding.
Accept natural limitations. When there is an opening, go forward with balance.
When the way is closed, withdraw willingly into stillness.
Do not enter rashly into a conflict, stand quietly in the center and keep your balance.  This enables a true and lasting resolution to be found.
Shock frightens us, and at first we are convinced that it is bad. When we learn the lesson that it has come to teach, we are thankful for it.
Restless effort undermines one’s interests. It is unwise to charge repeatedly at a closed door. Withdraw into stillness and accept both the challenges and the blessings of the day.
The difficulty is coming to a close, but only if one is firm against harshness, doubt, and despair. Help only comes when there is room for it to enter.
One who gives up a stubborn and harsh way of acting will not regret it. No harm comes if you soften now.
Abandon ambitions, anxieties, and agendas. What is necessary and worthwhile arises from the stillness within.
A true change of heart is possible when we accept the necessity of adversity. Peace comes when we discontinue the strivings of the ego.
Look not at the outward situation, but at the effects of your own thoughts and actions.
Through self-contemplation and self-correction, you arrive at a proper understanding.
Remain patient until the Creative does its work. Modesty will bring greater rewards than the aggressive maneuverings of the ego.
The solution to every situation is always available. By remaining open, innocent, and moderate, you allow the Creative to aid you. Do less, not more.

And the second one:

by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Monday, 7 November 2016

About stress and unsettling routines

"Not being able to govern events, I govern myself."
- Michel de Montaigne -

It is a story as old as time itself. The stress is not bad for us. Some people grow under pressure, some people crumble. It is the way we respond to stress that it is making all the difference in the world. Or as some old mystic said, we are not going to the paradise or hell after we die, we are living in the paradise or hell every day of our life, and we are creating and sustaining this with every decision we make. So, next time when something bad happen to you, think about three way to react differently, and see what happen.

"People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

We are always thinking about how the life will be when we have everything we need, a day when we will never work again. Could be our retirement, could be early retirement via financial independence, could be a company we made and sell it. But then again, we are not made to stay, to become fixed in our own routines. When we do this, the life is lifeless. We are made to explore, to wonder, to stare in awe at the unlimited sky in a sunny October afternoon. We need to walk more, to do new things every day. The experts in neurochemistry showed us the value of the brain plasticity. We need to be exposed daily to something different, to not become stuck in some endless loop, Groundhog Day-like. We are made to thrive. To live.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Today's thoughts

"Human beings are wired to care and give and it's probably our best route to happiness."
- Dacher Keltner -

Funny thing, this affirmation will probably contradict our beliefs as an adult, but it is known that toddlers as young as one year old will take an object that parents drop and give it back. Compassion and kindness should be traits that need to be trained and mastered by every human being, and gratitude is a well known trait found in the animal kingdom.

And a nice bonus, until 7th of November you can watch this movie, with Leo di Caprio interviewing all kind of individuals about what need to be done to prevent a catastrophic event on Earth.

Thursday, 3 November 2016


"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. " - Albert Einstein -

We are all one, and every person got hopes, dreams, satisfactions, problems, disillusions. We often forget this, thinking at ourselves as the center of the Universe, which was created for us. In doing this we raise walls and fences, we build moats and trenches, we learn how to hide from one entire world. Yes, each of us is living in his own universe, but even universes collide sometimes. Remember that!

For your neighbor who is secretly racist.

I am black, and white, and Asian, and everybody loves me. Grow up. (said the Panda bear)

...and, to finish with an optimistic note, i give you Rumi:

One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring,
One smile can begin a friendship,
One hand can lift a soul,
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal,
One sunbeam can light a room,
One candle can wipe out darkness,
One laugh can conquer gloom,
One hope can raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care,
One voice can wake up everybody,
One life can make the difference.
Be that one.

Random quotes about life

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web." - Pablo Picasso -

You can see beauty everywhere, if you are looking for it. If you set for beauty, it will surround and enchant you. But you all your thoughts are negative, dark, stressful, then the color will fade, and the magic will disappear from your life. Think about that. If you think that this world is hell, it is. If you think that this world is paradise, it is. Either way you are right. Then, why not to make the right choices?

Transforming idea of the week: "Make new friends by attending a class or event at a community center in a different neighborhood from your own." - Maya Angelou -

Do something new, outside your comfort zone. If you are white, go to a non-white predominant club. If you are black, go to an Asian predominant club. You get the idea. Learn about other country, or about other profession. Spend time with some bikers. As long as you are not in danger, reaching other circles than your usual ones will make you grow, adapt and challenge your beliefs. It is an useful exercise.

"There comes a day when you realize turning a page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on." - Zayn Malik -

The metaphor is good, coming from Zayn, and it is making us thinking about our routines, about what are we doing in the same way every day, without trying to find if it is a better alternative. Do not become a person of habit. Challenge yourself and your little automatic gestures. The brain will rewire and your experience will make you a better person in any given direction. You will even start to learn faster, to change when needed and to find a teacher in everyone.

"There are three truths: my truth, your truth and the truth." - Chinese proverb -

Everything we see in understood through our life experience, and no one can see the same big picture in the same way. No, not even the twins. Can be close of our reality or far away, but it is not the same. We, people, are islands, surrounded by the entire world as an impersonal ocean. If we keep this in mind, sometime we can have a glimpse into another person life, and this is a big thing. The more often we can do this, the more wiser we will become.