Sunday, 27 January 2013

Why the Rush?
Oftentimes we become too attached to following a certain plan in life. To doing things in a certain order and finishing them by a certain deadline. First we must go to school, then go to a good university, then settle down and have a family. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this plan. However, it isn't a formula that works for everyone. As the famous phrase says, "each to their own."

There is truth to this statement. We make plans for our lives or we expect things to flow in a certain order. But the reality is that sometimes things change, and "forcing" the plan we originally had is like banging on a door that refuses to open. Sometimes when life throws upon us unexpected events, we must take a step back and change our plan- do what works best for the current situation that we are in. We must re-evaluate our needs and priorities.

And the difficult and often frustrating thing is in seeing how we have to "change" our plan and follow a different path than many others around us. We are tempted to compare our lives to others who "seem" to be doing the "normal thing." We may feel outcast because we are not doing what most people are doing- and this can be a discouraging feeling.

 But one thing that is important to remember is this: just because you are doing something different, it doesn't mean that what you are doing is worth less. Actually, the contrary could be the case- because you are doing what is right for you, you may be especially focused and dedicated- this adds worth to your life.

So let us not compare because it does absolutely no good. Let us simply do what makes us happy- what is best for us, simply said. And it may be hard, it may be lonely, but with support, perseverance and an open mind, we find the people we need along our path.



Thursday, 24 January 2013

On Never Giving Up
No matter how much stability we create in our lives, we will always experience a certain level of unpredictability. We make plans and things change. We face unexpected bumps and turns.  But in learning to deal with new situations, we become stronger.

I used to believe that life can't change in a big way. But yes, it can. You never know what's down the road and therefore it is important to believe in what you might have previously thought to be impossible. In the past few months, things I never expected came my way- this has proven to me the magnitude of change that can occur in a short amount of time.

We learn that who we once were is not who we really are. We have potential to become more by learning more. We can experience more and put ourselves in all our vulnerability out into this world. With two feet and a thirst for life experience and knowledge, we see that what we once thought to be true can be edited- changed.

There was a time in my life where I didn't know how quickly things can change. That it really is possible to push through a dark time and see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is possible to "break the ice" and experience life for what it really is- a beautiful mess of emotions, people, experiences and miracles.

Venturing into 2013, I think about all the people I have met and all of the new experiences I have had this year. And as I reflect upon all of this, I ask myself what it is that allowed me to"break the ice" so to speak.

The truth is that there are many important things, but the one that tops my list is the will to go on.

There are times when we want to give up, when we think we don't have it in us anymore. But that is the exact moment, where, when we just push ourselves further one more step, we realize that there is a golden sky. That there are people who care about us and our dreams are worth fighting for. There are opportunities- things to see and people to meet along our path, even with its bumps and turns.


Monday, 14 January 2013

What are You Waiting For?

 So the path of our happiness is paved right before us and we are scared to take the first leap. The first leap is always the hardest because we are facing uncertainty. But let us remember that uncertainty is also possibility and sometimes we need to dive in, even though we can't see the whole staircase. The famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr says just this, that "faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." 

Faith is believing that whatever comes your way, you can handle it. You have everything you need to make the right choices.

Throughout the past few years, this is one of the most important things I have learned: Awareness is the greatest platform of all. And by this, I mean that with awareness of our life experiences, we have the power to make the best decisions and create the best changes for ourselves. Why? Because the sooner we are able to notice the way things affect us, the sooner we can do something about it, hence, make a change or choice.

We then have the power to realize what makes up happy, what excites us, and what depletes our energy, brings us down. And with this knowledge, we can make the decision that brings us happiness. As we tap into awareness, we also tap into our senses, our opinions, feelings and intuition.

Making a decision is a powerful thing. As opposed to letting circumstances control our actions, making a decision means that you are doing something, regardless of the things that so often hold us back: fear of uncertainty, fear of being judged, fear of failure, low self-esteem, the list goes on.

I'd like to end this post with a very powerful quote by Will Smith.

“There is a redemptive power that making a choice has. Make a choice. Just decide what it’s going to be, who you’re going to be, how you’re going to do it. Just decide, and then from that point, the universe is going to get out your way. It’s water; it wants to move and go around stuff. So for me, I want to represent possibilities. I want to represent the idea that you really can make what you want.”

How beautifully worded. And true as well. 

With all this being said, let us take the leap of faith into this new year of fresh possibilities. What are you waiting for?



Friday, 11 January 2013

Why We Hesitate to Follow Our Gut

Have you ever felt an instinct to do something? A spontaneous desire to talk to someone or go somewhere? What we often think as a random impulse is usually our gut talking to us. We don't spend enough time listening to that small but insistent voice that will guide us to all that we want and need.

 Why do we stop ourselves from following our instincts? One of the reasons is because doing something new or different often involves some form of  risk- we fear the unknown. We would rather do what we are accustomed to because the results are predictable. But as soon as we shut down the fear, we also shut down another opportunity.

We assume the result, we rationalize, creating an elaborate story, adding all the details before we have even taken action. The truth is that we can never guess an outcome of our actions until we have actually given them a shot. And 99% of the time, the fears we have and the assumptions we make don't actualize- they are just our thoughts and a perspective skewed by fear.

Coming into the new year, let us allow our gut to have some of the spotlight. Our time is precious- let us move with it towards excitement by taking more risks and following our instincts.



Wednesday, 9 January 2013

What I Learned About Becoming an Adult (So Far!)
I used to think that becoming an adult was all about having more responsibilities and facing more hardship. However, in the past three years, I have been presented with many challenges and come to the conclusion that: if we see each challenge as an experience that we can learn from to better understand ourselves and the people around us, then life only becomes better with each challenge. It is not pain that will destroy us, but the way in which we deal with pain and other events that cause us suffering. This is a much more inspiring perspective of looking at things- with this understanding, we can let go of our fear and face life's challenges AND joys with an open heart- all experiences are of value. Whether they are teaching us about what we do want or about what we do not want, therefore providing useful contrast, every experience is of value. We need not be so scared to face the "real world" because everything in it, once experienced, will shape us into our best selves. We simply need to trust ourselves in this process, that we can handle what comes our way!

When it really dawned on me that our fears in life aren't really as bad as we expect them to be, I started taking more risks. I came to understand the power of vulnerability, when we put ourselves out there in all of our imperfection, without letting the fear of being judged be a limitation.
I developed a thirst for experiences that would inspire me and a desire to learn from people who have found fulfillment in their own experiences. I filled up my schedule with activities that put me out of my comfort zone, things to do that would challenge me and that I could learn from. This was the first time in my life that I felt I was actually living- and this is all because I was learning about the value of experiencing something physically, rather than just imagining it. 
After some time, I also realized that doing a lot can become tiring. We need time to rest, recharge and reflect. Time to let loose, do nothing, and be silly. I learned the meaning of balance. How important this becomes when we want to be independent. We must know ourselves, our needs, when to take action and when to rest. We must maintain an awareness of our physical and emotional state, how we feel, so as to create more balance and less of any extreme.

Becoming an adult teaches us about relationships and love. At the same time that we grow independently, we also grow together. And with all this being said, let us remember that being an adult doesn't mean that we can't still be a kid!



Friday, 4 January 2013

On the Verge of Change
 Sometimes we wake up in the morning and we feel a mess. We feel like we are falling apart, and miss out on noticing the positive things in our life. Instead, we get overwhelmed by everything, without realizing that what is actually wrong is not as bad as we think. It's just everything together- all the commitments, desires, efforts and challenges put together overwhelm us.
At this very moment, there is a need for some clarity that we can give to ourselves. First of all, we can focus on and identify the positive things- supportive people, the job we have, the space we live in, the opportunities we get and so on.

Then, instead of becoming victim to fear and overwhelm, we can notice if our fears or worries are even real. Yes, we all have problems and these can and need to be faced with the right support, but there are also fears that exist merely as fears. We must actively focus on changing that which can be changed, accepting those things that cannot, and most importantly, telling ourselves that some of our fears are just fear talking- instead of becoming overwhelmed, actively dissect a fear- you will realize that it is nothing more than an inaccurate assumption of what will happen in the future. Fears never actualize in the future as we expect them to.

And with this mind frame, know that the way we react to fear is the key. Instead of becoming victim to it, we can actually use it as a tool to drive our action. We can stare it down and realize that it is not going to stop us from doing what we want, taking risks and making the changes we need to.



Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sensitivity is a Strength, Not a Weakness 
Are you sensitive to the environments that you are in? Do you find yourself experiencing intense emotion in life, as well as being sensitive to the emotions of others? To the point that it affects you physically and psychologically in either a negative or positive way?

 If your answer to these questions is a "yes", know that this is a source of strength, not weakness. Sometimes it seems like more of a curse then a blessing. The challenges are challenging but yes, the joys are also just as intense. And when we can learn from the challenging times and design life to best suit our needs and desires, then life itself is more than fulfilling.

Many people who are highly sensitive are artists, thinking creatively and enjoying environments where self-expression is encouraged. There is actually research being done on the personality traits of an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) which is believed to make up 15-20% of our population! Whether you believe in this label and what it bears, or simply in the presence of high sensitivity, knowing more about the subject can be very informative if not enlightening.

We are all human beings and we all have the capacity to feel, to live from the heart. But when it comes to shielding ourselves from pain, for example, some people naturally feel more vulnerable to the emotional affects of a situation. This makes being highly sensitive a challenge sometimes. However, it is possible to turn what may seem like a challenge into a powerful tool that allows to experience intense joy and gain wisdom from life's experiences.

Being highly sensitive means registering more information. More information can often be overwhelming. However, learning to focus on the right information and sensory input and using it to an advantage is the way. Gaining more insight simply means more to work with and more to share!

I will be writing more about this topic in upcoming articles so stay tuned!



Tuesday, 1 January 2013

What do You Want More of This Year? 

 With 2013 rolling in, we take the time to reflect upon the past year and all the experiences that it brought to us. We learned more about ourselves and about what we want. Perhaps we had moments of utmost clarity where we realized what it is that ignites our spark and really makes us happy. In any case, we all grow with time. 2012 has without a doubt made us stronger and wiser individuals.

As the new year presents us with its time, we must really become in touch with our hearts. See what it is that we really need and stretch our intuitive muscles. 2013 will be a new year of new experiences to add to what we already know. We must enter it with awareness. It is about beginning new habits, or better yet, strengthening the ones that are already serving us and receiving the necessary support to do so.

As I look back to 2012, I realize how much I have learned, throughout both the joyful and challenging times. I learned how to ask for the support I need, to love myself and be grateful for the amazing people in my life. I learned to trust my gut and be in the moment. I learned to set limits on what was not serving me and I learned to love the journey of learning.  And most importantly, I learned to express what I have learned in many ways, including through this blog!

After reflecting on what I have learned and consciously focusing on that which has brought me happiness and fulfillment, I aim to strengthen that which I know. To strengthen my life philosophy and belief system that has brought me so much happiness.

And this means to continue to be open to all the opportunities that life presents to us.  To stare down fear and have the courage to venture into uncertainty with our intuition for guidance. To be open to trying new things, seeing new places and most importantly, meeting new people. To learn more from these people and gain perspective. 2013 is about letting down our guard and embracing vulnerability. It is about letting go of judgement and the need to be perfect, the need to explain ourselves to people who aren't supportive and the need to please others. 

2013 is about taking risks and being honest with ourselves and others about how we really feel. It is about connecting with our deepest core and with others on the basis of truth. This year is about allowing our creativity to flow, celebrating our achievements and the achievements of others. It is about releasing negativity and cleansing our lives from anything that is toxic. 2013 is about letting go of our need to rationalize our every action because some things we do simply because it feels right. It is about finding time to let loose and be silly, while maintaining focus on the goals we want to achieve and planning the consistent action we will need to achieve them. 2013 is about taking action.

And finally, 2013 is about being open to love without fear of getting hurt, to feeling its explainable power and to expressing the love we have within us.

Many blessings,