Archive for February, 2008

Freeing UP Energy

February 29, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Many of us go through our lives being aware of a well of pain that has been under our daily awareness for so long we aren’t even sure where it comes from. It almost seems as if it’s part of who we are, or the way we see the world, but it’s important to realize that this pain is something that needs to be acknowledged and processed. The longer we sit on it, the harder it is to work through, and the more likely it is that we will be forced to acknowledge it as it makes itself known to us in ways we can’t predict. Rather than waiting for this to happen, we can empower ourselves by identifying the pain and resolving to take action toward healing it.

The very thought of this brings up feelings of resistance in most of us, especially if, on the surface, our lives seem to be in order. It’s difficult to dig up the past and go into it unless we are being seriously inconvenienced by the hurt. The thing is, when we are carrying the burden of our unprocessed pain, sooner or later it will inconvenience us. If we can be brave and proactive, we can save ourselves a lot of future suffering and free up the energy that is tied up in keeping the pain down.

There are many ways to do this, but the first step is to recognize the pain and honor it by moving our awareness into it. In this process, even if it’s just five minutes during meditation, we will begin to have a sense of what the pain is made of. It might be fear of abandonment, childhood abuse, anger at being mistreated, or some other long held wound. As we sit with the pain, we will also have a sense of whether we can deal with it by ourselves or not. It may be time to work with a counselor or form a healing circle with close friends. Whatever path you choose, resolve to go deep into the pain so that you can release it fully, and set yourself free. Remember, it is never too late in life to heal what hurts, and there is never a better time than now.

Time – Tested Beauty Tips

February 28, 2008

The author, Sam Levenson wrote it for his grandchild.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness,

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people,

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry,

For beautiful hair, let a child runs his fingers through it once a day,

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone…

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, retrived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, one for helping others.

Missing Our Old Habits

February 28, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Whenever we make the effort to free ourselves of an addiction or a habit we no longer need, we are often surprised to find ourselves missing the old pattern as we would a familiar friend. This sounds counterintuitive, because we think we should instinctively gravitate toward what is good for us. Yet, it makes a lot of sense when you consider that we humans are creatures of habit. This is why we gravitate to people and places—and patterns of behavior—that make us feel comfortable. Therefore, many of the habits we form are not conscious and are based instead on learned behavior from role models who were not always making the healthiest decisions.

Most addictions begin as a way of avoiding feelings that are extremely uncomfortable, so it makes sense that stopping the addiction means a fair amount of discomfort for a time. The same is also true of habits that we have developed over time that we are ready to release. Just knowing that this is hard, and having compassion for ourselves as we work through this process, can help us to stay the course when we feel the urge to backtrack. It’s also helpful to remember that in time we will establish new, healthier patterns, and the yearning for the old ones will disappear. Eventually, we will instinctively reach for things that are good for us, and the longing for positive change may form the basis of a new habit.

The only way to get to this new place is to endure a time of difficulty, which is a challenge we can confidently handle, if we remember that it will lead to the change we seek in our lives. Our bodies, hearts, and minds always need time to adjust to a new way of doing things, but they will adapt, and even become our allies, if we remain true to our vision of a new way.

The Kaleidoscope Of Life

February 26, 2008

 [ From DailyOM ]

We tend to gravitate toward people who are most like us, at least in the ways that make us feel comfortable. But life has its way of bringing us into contact with people who challenge us with their differences. It may be an obvious difference reflected in their outward appearance or an invisible but powerful philosophical stance. Even in our closest circle of friends and family, though, there are those that confront us with their different ways of experiencing and expressing life. We can choose to resist, but we can also choose to learn from them and appreciate that they too have a place in the kaleidoscope of life.

As much as we may say that we want peace and quiet and a life without struggle, the truth is that human beings are currently thriving in a world of dualities and challenges. It is how we choose to approach these hurdles that determine if we sail over them, confirming our agility, or trip and end up face down in the dust. And each of us absolutely will and must stumble, and then get up, brush the dust off, and carry on. This is how we learn and grow, developing depth of character and shades of understanding. In a world of dualities, we have trouble defining ourselves without something opposite and can’t discover who we are. Without challenge, there is nothing to do and nothing to discover. That leaves us either in a state of nonbeing or in the state of pure spirit, but as humans, we are spiritual beings experiencing the physical world in all of its startling contrast and beauty.

No matter how spiritual we are, our lives will have challenges. We will always run into people that are different from us, but the true challenge may be in finding ways to be at peace with this process. Rather than give in to the fight-or-flight response that comes from our animal nature, we can find new ways to evolve together into higher, more beautiful expressions of ourselves, realizing, embracing, and celebrating the beauty of diversity and the strength it offers for the future.

Women Support Group in Adjumani Refugee Camps

February 26, 2008

[A write-up by my friend from the Philippines, Sister Maria Jose on her work in a refugee camp in Uganda.]

The situation of the women in the refugee camps is quite disturbing. I see the women in their homes, buried in household tasks, surrounded by many children working endlessly. I see them on the roads, walking long distances, carrying heavy loads of fire wood on their backs, or water on their heads, or some crops from the field. I see them going to the fields at the break of day with hoes in their hands. I observed their expressionless faces, exhausted, weighed down by life’s burdens. I feel their struggles, their isolation and loneliness. Is there nothing more to life than these? Are these women destined to a life of misery and bondage? Do they want to stay where they are or simply because they don’t see any way out? Yet these are women of great strength and quiet dignity.

The women support group started when a number of women responded to an invitation to “come and meet”. It is a simple socialization exercise to break the ice of isolation. Some women came out of curiosity, others with great expectation to get something that can assist them in their difficult situation, still others with sincere desire to reach out, to expand. Although the women are staying in the same camps they barely know one another. Most people in the camps live in isolation, minding their own affairs, their time taken by their daily need for survival. It is essential to break this isolation and to provide a forum where people can share openly, and touch one another. This is what the support group does in the initial stage of formation. Through simple activities people learn how to trust, to respect, to accept one self and others. In an atmosphere of openness and mutual respect, people start to relax, to visit their experiences and feelings that have been buried in the deep recesses of their being which very often they themselves are not willing to visit. Through these sessions, some forms of relationships developed, some growth took place.

In this program the resources are within the individuals, gathered and shared in the group. There is need for someone to facilitate this process, someone who is in touched with self and his /her basic goodness, a believer in life and its Source, someone who recognizes the value of another person, his / her potentials that lay dormant waiting to be awakened, to come forth to fuller life.

As a process, when people come together and break the barrier of isolation and fear, trust and confidence developed, hope and love emerged. The person learns how to value self, often reluctantly especially in the beginning. It is important to accompany the person in this process, to support and give encouragement. This is best done in a group. This is where individual persons learn how to give and receive affirmation and mutually empower one another. Given the space and the right climate, people begin to grow, to unleash their potentials and experience wonders in themselves and others. This common experience generates power. As a result people are happier and more appreciative of life in spite of many difficulties. There is a shift of orientation. They begin to look at possibilities rather than limitations.
This is in a nut shell what women support group is all about, the recognition of the great potential of a human person and his /her inherent dignity often covered with thick layers of unfreedom and fear waiting to be released so that life can have a chance.

Feeling Stuck

February 25, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

When we feel stuck in our lives it’s important to take stock of what is going on and find out if there is something we are doing or not doing that is keeping us stuck. Sometimes the situation is out of our control, and we need to look within to find the patience required to wait with equanimity until things move forward again. Many times, though, we can find the source of our stagnation in our own hearts and minds.

Sometimes we are clinging to old ideas about reality and we need to make adjustments that will bring us back in tune with life, so we can flow again. Sometimes we find that fear of change is what’s keeping us stuck, and we can resolve to find ways of facing that fear.

If introspection does not provide the answers we need, it can sometimes be helpful to ask those around you if they notice anything obvious that you might not be able to see. Remember to ask someone whom you can trust to be kind and sensitive as well as honest. Try to let go of your resistance because whenever there is something we can’t see ourselves, it’s because we don’t want to see it. Try to listen with an open mind, and remember that you are always the final judge of what you need. Anything offered to us from an outside source will need to be processed within before its wisdom can take hold.

In all this, be kind to yourself and remember that we all get stuck sometimes. Think of it as a part of your process, a necessary step on your journey, rather than as a problem that shouldn’t be happening. This can help to keep your frustration at bay and give you the space you need to take a deep breath and really figure out what’s going on.

Grounding Oursleves

February 22, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

We often hear people telling us to ground ourselves, but we may not be sure what that means, and how we might do it. Grounding ourselves is a way of bringing ourselves literally back to earth. Some of us are more prone than others to essentially leaving our bodies to and not being firmly rooted in our bodies. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this, but while we are living on the earth plane, it is best to stay grounded in our body.

One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves is to bring our attention to our breath as it enters and leaves our bodies. After about ten breaths, we will probably find that we feel much more connected to our physical selves. We might then bring our awareness to the sensations in our bodies, moving from our head down to our feet, exploring and inquiring. Just a few minutes of this can bring us home to bodies and to the earth, and this is what it means to ground ourselves.

We can go further by imagining that we have roots growing out of the bottoms of our feet connecting us to the earth. The roots flow with us so we can we always move, but at the same time, they keep us grounded. We receive powerful energy from the earth, just as we do from the forms of energy we associate with the sky, and our body is a tool that brings these two energies together in a sacred union. When we are grounded, we essentially become a strong container in which our spirits can safely and productively dwell. This is why grounding ourselves everyday, especially at the beginning of the day, is such a beneficial practice. Fortunately, it’s as simple as bringing our conscious awareness to our bodies and the earth on which we walk.

Interconnected Experiences

February 21, 2008

[ From DailOM ]

When events appear to fit together perfectly in our lives it may seem at first that they are random occurrences, things that are the result of coincidence. These synchronous happenings, though, are much more than that, for, if we look at them more closely they can show us that the universe is listening to us and gently communicating with us. Learning to pay attention to and link the things that occur on a daily basis can be a way for us to become more attuned to the fact that most everything happens in our lives for a reason – even when that reason is not clear right away.

When we realize that things often go more smoothly than we can ever imagine, it allows us to take the time to reflect on the patterns in our lives. Even events that might not at first seem to be related to each other are indicators that the universe is working with, not against, us. This idea of synchronicity, then, means that we have to trust there is more to our lives than what we experience on a physical level. We need to be willing to look more closely at the bigger picture, accepting and having confidence in the fact that there is more to our experiences than immediately meets the eye. Being open to synchronicity also means that we have to understand that our lives are filled with both positive and negative events. Once we can recognize that one event is neither more desirable nor better than the other – they all have an overall purpose in our lives — then we are truly ready to listen to the messages the universe gives us.

While we may not be able to see everything in our lives as being synchronous, we can certainly use hindsight to be more aware of how the universe guides us. This sense of wonder at the mysteries of the universe and the interconnectedness present in our lives will help us see our overall ways of being and will in turn make it easier to work more consciously towards our spiritual evolution.

The Way I Miss You

February 20, 2008

[A close friend opened her heart and shared her grieving with us.]

Wiping tears as they streaked down, I re-read the poem I wrote for my late sister, pinned in front of my study desk since 3 years ago. In this journal entry, I allowed grief to re-surface once more, and let it remind me to embrace the essence of pain, joy and losses as part of my life journey.

A copy of the poem in Chinese is reproduced with a brief translation given below.

The Way I Miss You   (Brief translation)

Unexpectedly, my tears would overflow, and my longing for you would surge.
I’m aware of the uncertainties of life, but I’d like to think it should not happen to us.
I’m aware I need to let you go, but why! I can no longer await you.
I pretend. I told them what matters is that we’ve spent some years together.
But I didn’t tell them – my heart is incomplete the moment you left.
I’m helpless. I can’t control the emotions neither my tears.
Braced, I understand that life will go on, but
I also know the overcast in my heart will stay on.

想念你的方式
— 致离去的 姐姐

眼眶决堤 突如其来   鼻头的酸楚  塞满  以为早已抚平的伤怀
刹时间 –  慌乱 , 迷惘 , 无奈。沉寂的思念  又 卷土重来
不是不知道  生命的无常, 只是  一厢情愿 —
那不该发生在我们 身上
不是不知道   应该让你走, 只是  心难受 —
再无法  为你守侯
故作聪明  故作成熟  告诉他们
有缘  与你聚首  便已足够
没说的是  你离去  心头早缺了口!
思念随时来袭   – – 我窒息 我淹没  无力还手
有时候, 让眼泪挂满腮啊
有时候,任它哭湿两支衣袖
再次抬头
墙上挂钟 继续摇摆
身边车子 继续往前开
我清楚
一步一脚印 我还得 继续往前踩
看得开  却
始终拂不去 — 胸口还要再落雨的 阴霾

Outside The Comfort Zone

February 20, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.

Whether we avoid something because it scares us or bores us, or because we think it will force a change we’re not ready for, putting it off only creates obstacles for us. On the other hand, facing the task at hand, no matter how onerous, creates flow in our lives and allows us to grow. The relief is palpable when we stand on the other side knowing that we did something even though it was hard or we didn’t want to do it. On the other hand, when we cling to our comfort zone, never addressing the things we don’t want to face, we cut ourselves off from flow and growth.

We all have at least one thing in our life that never seems to get done. Bringing that task to the top of the list and promising ourselves that we will do it as soon as possible is an act that could liberate a tremendous amount of energy in our lives. Whatever it is, we can allow ourselves to be fueled by the promise of the feelings of exhilaration and confidence that will be the natural result of doing it.

Top 10 Foods to Eat Organically

February 20, 2008

[From GreenLiving, excerpted from Your Organic Kitchen, by Jesse Ziff Cool]

Some conventionally grown foods are treated with more pesticides than others. Some retain more of the pesticides. Here is a list of the top 10 foods containing the most pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C.

SIMPLE SOLUTION:

You can sidestep harm and still eat vitamin-rich foods. If you cannot find these foods organically, here are some great alternatives that contain the same valuable vitamins and minerals.

High-pesticide food: Strawberries
Main nutrient: Vitamin C
Healthy alternatives: Blueberries, raspberries, oranges, grapefruit, kiwifruit, watermelon
High-pesticide food: Bell peppers
Main nutrient: Vitamin C
Healthy alternatives: Green peas, broccoli, romaine, lettuce

High-pesticide food: Spinach
Main nutrient: Vitamins A and C
Healthy alternatives: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus

High-pesticide food: Cherries
Main nutrient: Vitamin C
Healthy alternatives: Oranges, blueberries, raspberries, kiwifruit, blackberries, grapefruit

High-pesticide food: Peaches
Main nutrient: Vitamins A and C
Healthy alternatives: Nectarines, watermelon, tangerines, oranges, grapefruit

High-pesticide food: Mexican cantaloupe
Main nutrient: Vitamins A and C
and potassium Healthy alternatives: U.S. cantaloupe grown from May to December, watermelon

High-pesticide food: Celery
Main nutrient: Carotenoids
Healthy alternatives: Carrots, broccoli, radishes, romaine lettuce

High-pesticide food: Apples
Main nutrient: Vitamin C
Healthy alternatives: Watermelon, nectarines, bananas, tangerines

High-pesticide food: Apricots
Main nutrient: Vitamins A an C and potassium
Healthy alternatives: Nectarines, watermelon, oranges, tangerines

High-pesticide food: Green beans
Main nutrient: Potassium
Healthy alternatives: Green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, asparagus

Selfish Humans

February 19, 2008

We tear the entire forest down,
Forever in the name of progress,
To build more and bigger towns,
And to get rid of the swampy ” mess “.

Never did we think that to us,
Is easy land for the taking besides the wood,
But for the insects and the birds,
Is where they find their livelihood.

It’s bad enough if used to house communities,
But to clear vast tracts of virgin land,
For the sole purpose of a golfing minority,
Is too great a sacrifice to comprehend.

If the denizens of the wild can really converse,
What story will they be telling us,
“Please give us back our precious forests,
For they really do belong to us first “.

Historically humans have a very nasty
Disregard for nature and its beauty,
All we ever think about is money, money, money,
And instead of others, its always me, me, me.

If we are to continue to survive as a species,
Man have to be more sensitive to nature’s fate,
Can’t go on burning forest, polluting the seas,
Do something now before it’s all too late.

—- by  Simon Chan Kee Mun

This too will Pass

February 18, 2008

Music & lyrics by Quek Hui Ling ( Free download available on www.buddhistfellowship.org)

Life is sweet and joyful when you’re blessed with love.
Life is wonderful when things do go your way.
And you think how nice if all this bliss will never end.
But remember this too will pass.
Pain comes uninvited and shatters your dreams.
Pain comes from people leave and tear part of your heart.
It’s when you think you’ve reached the end of the road.
Remember this too will pass.
Nothing’s gonna stay forever.
Soon your pain will go.
It won’t be long before the night is over and then you won’t feel cold.
No matter how much sorrow’s in you.
No matter what they say
Time will heal your wound and ease your pain.
Because the Sun will shine again.
In time it seems too much to handle.
You feel like giving up.
There are better days ahead. Remember,this too will pass.
Nothing’s gonna stay forever.
Soon your pain will go.
It won’t be long before the night is over and then you won’t feel cold.
No matter how much sorrow’s in you.
No matter what they say.
Time will heal your wound and ease your pain.
Because the Sun will shine again.
The Sun will shine again.
The Sun will shine again.

Undistracted Energy

February 18, 2008

[ From DailyOM ]

If we make no effort at all, our thoughts usually scatter in a vast array of directions. They start and stop and move in surprising ways from one second to the next. If we try to follow our thoughts without controlling them, we will be amazed at how truly inconsistent they are. Yet, if we apply our minds to a specific task, especially one that interests us, they gather together and allow us to focus our attention, creating great power and energy. This is what is known as pure thought, because it is undistracted.

The law of attraction—like attracts like—influences all energy, including our thoughts, and this is what makes pure thought so potent. Our undistracted thoughts create a powerful magnet that draws similar energy into our vibrational field. As a result, the longer we are able to hold positive thoughts in our minds, the more powerful the positive energy around us becomes. We don’t need to focus on action and controlling so much when we are surrounded by energy that draws what we want toward us. We can simply respond to the opportunities that naturally come our way. When this is the essence of our experience, we can go with the flow, knowing that we will be okay.

If pure thought is a body, it is our emotions that supply the heart that can really bring it to life. Our thoughts and feelings exist in relation to one another, and they form a feedback loop through which they communicate and empower each other. When we hold a thought in our mind without being distracted, we have achieved pure thought. When we have a positive emotional response to that thought, we enable it to dance and move and breathe itself into existence.

处理好当下的一切

February 15, 2008

[禅的智慧]

有个小和尚,他每天早上负责清扫工厂院子里的落叶。

清晨起床扫落叶实在是一件苦差事,尤其在秋冬之际,每一次起风时,树叶随风飞舞落下。

每天早上都需要花费许多时间才能清扫完树叶,就让小和尚头痛不已,他一直想要找个好办法让自己轻松些。

后来有个大和尚跟他说:「你在明天打扫之前先用力摇树,把落叶统统摇下来,后天就可以不用扫落叶了。」

小和尚觉得这是个好办法,於是第二天他起了个大早,使劲地猛摇树。他想:这样,就可以把今天跟明天的落叶一次扫干净了。

一整天,小和尚都非常开心。

第三天,小和尚到院子一看,他不禁傻眼了,院子里如往日一样是落叶满地。一位老和尚走了过来,对小和尚说:「傻孩子,无论你今天怎么用力,明天的落叶还是会飘下来。」

小和尚终於明白了,世上有很多事是无法提前的,唯有认真的活在当下,才是最真实的人生态度。