Saturday, July 1, 2017

"How do I control my thoughts"

The other day someone asked me,  How do I control my thoughts?

If I knew how to control my thoughts I'd surely be making inroads towards enlightenment!

Having said that I have learnt to reduce the number of thoughts by not paying attention to every thought that transits through my head. 

Thoughts are like a crowded walkway. There is so much action on a busy path, yet we find our way and reach our desired destination. 

Just imagine if we started banging into everyone we met, we sure would end up black and blue and nowhere near our destination. 

We get through the road by finding the gaps amongst the people and winding our way through. We rarely bang into other people. We just continue on our journey focusing on the gaps. 

Similarly we have to find the pauses in between the thoughts. On an average we have 60, 000 thoughts a day. Just imagine taking each thought literally and going along with that thought. We would be a mess. If you were to concentrate more on the pauses and less on the thoughts, just like you would look more for the gaps than on banging into people, you will soon reach the road less traveled and a mind less cluttered.

Energy goes where attention goes. The more you focus on the pauses the lesser the hold of the thoughts. Just don't pay attention to the thoughts. Find the gaps and keep moving ahead. 


Sometimes you may meet a friend on the road and continue the rest of the journey with them. This is a bit like catching a positive thought. You can then go on with that thought for a while.
But sometimes you may start following your enemy or an ex :) and this will invariably lead to pain.

A negative thought is the same -the more you get attached to it the more it takes you down a negative route.

You cannot fight thoughts - if you try , you end up fighting - you only can resist and walk away . Just refuse to play the game. Watch the thoughts without attachment or judgement and they will loosen their hold on you. :)

Spiritual warrior (in training )

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Inner conflict becomes outer conflict

The other day some one came up to me and asked me, why there is so much conflict in the world? I wish I knew the answer and I could make it all go away!

Every time there is an act of terror or violence, traditional and social media goes into a frenzy. Messages of love, hatred, vendetta, justice start to float around. 

It's heartbreaking and gut wrenching, but at the same time it does not  feel shocking anymore. Incessant, unrelenting news about these acts of terrorism and violence is desensitizing us towards the horror of the lives lost. We forget that these horrendous acts are wreaking havoc and there is actual pain on all involved. 

Is conflict and violence the norm? Will we never see a conflict free world?

History testifies to the fact that conflict is as old as humanity itself. Human history on Earth has suffered a very bloody past. Innumerable lives have been lost due to wars over territory, religion, ideologies, and greed. Having said that, we are actually living in the most peaceful times since the beginning of humanity. The reason we feel its the worst is because now we are more aware and informed. 

We have incredibly complex and powerful minds that are capable of creating our own reality. Everything that we see around us is a creation of our minds. The good, bad, beautiful and ugly; all was created in our mind before it manifested into reality. 

So will it ever be possible to live in a conflict free world? Or will it remain a dream?

Personally, I think dreams can become reality. Look around—Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is already a reality. If man can conquer  land, sea, and sky and now even other planets and the moon, get whatever information that is desired at the click of a button, then we can surely make inroads into a conflict free world.

Conflict in the outer world is nothing but a reflection of conflict in the inner world. Sadly we are constantly at war with our own inner selves. We are in conflict with our desires, our values, our projections, our ideologies, our belief systems, and our expectations. These inner conflicts lead to agitation of the mind, and an agitated mind is the cause of conflicts and violence. 

The answer to “Why there are so many conflicts in the world?” and “Will they ever end?” therefore lies right within us.

If we desire a conflict free world we need to first establish a conflict free mind. A mind that is at peace is a mind free from agitation and disharmony. A mind that is centered and connected is one that understands that divisions based on cast, creed, color, and nationalities are all creations of the mind and not real. The onus to reduce conflict, violence and terrorism therefore lies in our own hands. Our thoughts, words and actions will determine the kind of world we live in.

The theory of the observer effect states that particles exist in a state of probability until observed or measured. This means that the nature of particles could change according to the observer. 

I believe that whatever the observer chooses to focus on keeps showing up. With every thought we think, every word we speak and every act we undertake, we are partaking in the creation or destruction of our world.

Negative events put us in a state of fear and the media keeps adding to that fear, mistrust and anger. We all feel afraid and conflicted. We allow ourselves to get swayed by the competing ideologies that come blasting via information channels. We are in a constant state of distraction and agitation. We believe what we see and what we hear. We allow ourselves to be influenced by the outer world to such an extent that we don't even acknowledge our inner world. But the inner world is where creation happens.

In order to create a conflict free world, we need to create a conflict free mind: a mind that is free from fear and free from constant surges of “not enough-ness!” Not good enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not educated enough, and so on.

Allowing fear and disallowing truth have duped us into believing in a zero sum game. If I am right, someone is wrong, if I win, someone needs to lose. The Darwinian concept of survival of the fittest has permeated our psyche and too many want to survive at the cost of another.

Terrorists and perpetrators of political or religious violence lack self-confidence, self-love, and self-empathy and therefore look for validation from outside. 

If we don't get what we are looking for, we get angry and when someone comes along promising us acceptance, belonging, and love we feel validated. 

Now it becomes a question of us against them. If we are right, they must be wrong.  If only the strong can survive, I need to show strength; and in this desire to appear strong we forget that the only thing that matters is humanity. In our ignorance of truth we forget to see the interconnectedness of all living beings. We believe in territorial, racial, ideological and physical boundaries. We make ourselves smaller than who we really are and in our smallness we create conflicts of mind and body. 

The only way we can contribute to lessening the conflict is by first reducing our own inner conflicts, meditating on love, peace, and forgiveness toward ourselves. Once we focus on our own wellbeing we can become more secure with the opinions of others.

An agitated mind creates agitation in the outer world, which impacts all of us. Even though we are miles away physically, we are all connected. As long as there is pain and suffering anywhere in the world we will continue to suffer.

Each one of us has a moral obligation towards creating a brave new world. 

It’s a cliché that our world is technologically advanced but we have long way to go in terms of psychological and moral advancement. We need to live in a world where we see ourselves for who we really are. The sooner we recognize this truth, the sooner we can start to create a world that we really desire.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The ordinary in extraordinary.

The other day someone asked me to make a list of my achievements. I gave it some thought, infact a lot of thought and could not come up with anything extra ordinary. 
So my life has been a waste, I have not achieved anything that would make me stand out in a crowd and have people applaud my achievements. I am just one of the seven billion blips around the planet. The fact that I have done nothing extraordinary makes my life even more insignificant! Or does it???? 
A few years ago; a thought like this would have gotten me into a tailspin of sadness and possibly depression. I would have mulled over my insignificance and my lack of contribution to making this world a better place or even achieving any kind of personal goals. 
Today however; I feel absolutely comfortable in my ordinariness. If I can be kind, compassionate, empathetic, calm and peaceful towards myself and towards those around me, I think I have achieved extra ordinariness.
Why do we as a society only applaud the outliers? Why are we made to feel insignificant and small if we do not fit in the norm of what defines success? Why are financial achievements or attaining any kind of fame the only yardsticks of success?
Why are we always measured for our achievements and not for who we are? 
Would it not make better sense to be applauded for who we are? How our presence in itself is a miracle and how our very being is a part of the cosmic success. We are all insignificant in the grand scheme of things and yet each one of has significance. Every act and every thought has an impact on the collective consciousness. If we all indulged in the very ordinary acts with extra ordinary passion and commitment would it not be of significance? In any case why are we so concerned about how the world views us? Why do we need validation for our existence? Why is our self worth directly in proportion to our net worth?
We as a society are becoming immune to our own real nature. Our very nature is expansive and all encompassing. We are all making ourselves smaller than who we are by measuring ourselves through our achievements. No way am I underplaying the value of achieving extraordinary feats. I applaud the outliers for they have allowed the expansiveness of their being to shine through, where as most of us have not yet explored its full dimensions.
But having said that, I feel there is so much joy in being ordinary, being the best ordinary that I can be, keeping in mind that I am a part of this connected universe and every act and thought of mine will have a direct impact or the extra ordinariness of the cosmos. My one act of kindness could have a ripple effect and so can my one act of terror or pain. Think about the German Wings pilot who took down with him 150 other people. Think of the cumulative pain in those families. One persons act has had such an impact. His personal pain translated into a nationwide pain. People who are terrorized generally end up terrorizing others, people in pain usually give others pain and people in joy will generally bring joy. 
Would it not make sense for me to be joyful and happy in my ordinariness instead of being miserable in my extraordinary ness? Maybe this is my cop out for a lack of societal expected achievement, but I am comfortable being ordinary. I am comfortable being a stay at home mom, I am comfortable in my lack of significant financial achievement. I am comfortable with my failures and my mistakes. I am comfortable in my humanness. I feel pain when another hurts, I feel joy when someone rejoices. I may not have well defined goals but my life is not without purpose. I may not have five or ten year plans but my today has a lot of meaning. I may not have made a significant contribution in any field but I have made a significant inroad into my inner peace. I feel ordinarily extraordinary.

Should I stay or should I go to work?

Remember the song by 'The Clash'. Darling you gotta let me know, should I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double. This is dilemma faced by many. 
I recently met two very senior female executives with young children. Like many others who I have spoken with over the past few years, these two have the same concern. They are very conflicted about their decision to stay at home with their children or go back to work. 
This brings to my mind the ' The Paradox of Choice' a book by Barry Schwartz, where he discusses why less is more. The conflict in mind arises when we have a choice. If there is no choice about a situation we end up accepting the situation as it is. The question about going back to work or staying at home is usually a troubling question if the mums are in a position to make a choice. If it was a matter of putting a roof over your and your family's head and food on the table, no mother would be contemplating. She would be heading right back to work.
The debate and confusion in ones mind starts when going back to work is a luxury. It's not a matter of a livelihood, it's a matter of lifestyle. Often the mothers who have shared their concerns with me have been in the latter bracket. They have partners who earn very decent sums of money and are able to afford a good lifestyle. The women too are equal in their earning capacity and thus live a very comfortable - almost a lavish lifestyle. Both are on a fast track in their careers and staying at home with the children is sure to impede the chances of promotion. 
So what is a woman's choice?
It's funny I talk about choice as I recently watched a video by Deepika Padukone on a woman's choice . Although I don't agree fully with what is shared on the video, I get that it's a woman's choice how she leads her life. Sadly the message has gotten a bit too feminist for my liking. It ends up creating a divide between men and women by reinforcing the freedom of choice.
Similarly the debate on going back to work and staying at home to look after children ends up becoming an avenue for debaters to point fingers at the choices made by another. 
There is no right or wrong way. It is a way. They way you have chosen to live your life is a way you have chosen based on your own circumstances. If you feel that staying at home is what works for you then that is the right way and if you feel that going to work is what works for you, then that is your way. No one really knows what made you make that choice, only you do, so make the most of that decision. What you should not be thinking of is, being on the other side when you have chosen an option. The grass always appears greener on the other side and only when we walk on that grass do we see the chaff or hay in the path. 
There are pros and cons to both the choices. It's a matter of personal discernment and personal life situation that should determine your choice and not any kind of peer pressure at all. 
I met a very troubled mum who is in a very senior position and due to a work related travel was unable to attend her daughters school function. She was distraught at the thought of having disappointed her daughter. When I spoke with her daughter, her daughter didn't seem to be that upset. Infact she was very proud of her mothers achievements. In another situation however a young boy was very sad not to have had his mother around for his sports day where he won the gold medal as the mother had to travel to attend a funeral of a relative. Every situation is different, every child is different, every family is different. There is no right or wrong, there is no one size fits all approach. It is a choice you make for yourself by weighing in all the options. The only thing I can say is' once you make a choice- embrace that choice fully and enjoy it fully. Do not wonder what it would have been or could have been once you make a decision. It is your decision and it is the best decision. There should be no judgement. If you start second guessing and judging yourself for the choice you make there will be enough people who will join you in judging you.
Instead of asking others what choice to make, ask yourself a few of these questions. 
What do I desire and what do I value? 
Can I live with my choice without feeling any regret or guilt?
Am I in a position to reverse my decision and choose the other option?
Am I a perfectionist or a satisficer? ( satisficer is a person who will reach a conclusion based on an adequate level of acceptability and stop looking for best possible solutions). 
If your desire and values are aligned - you will be happier.
If you can live without regret or guilt, you will be happier.
Interestingly, if you have a choice of reversing your decision you might be less happy.
If you are a satisficer instead of a perfectionist, you will be happier.
There is no right or wrong way, it is your way and what ever you choose is the right way for you.
If you stay it will be good and if you go it will good too. So enjoy your children in whatever capacity you can. Working mom or a stay at home mom. It's your choice smile emoticon

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cocaine is so last century

Cocaine is so last century 
Early morning a friend of mine said something that made me ask him if he was drunk or
high on coke . He responded jokingly - coke is so last century ..
I wonder what is the drug of choice these days for over achievers like him ?
Interestingly, that very morning I had read an article by a Hongkong banker where he anonymously shares his story of ease of access to cocaine and women in Hongkong . This article came on the heels of the double murder committed allegedly by another banker in HongKong who was supposedly under the influence of drugs .
What is it that drives these people to ruin their lives for a few hours of high? I have personally met quite a few extremely bright people who are addicted to all sorts of highs . These could be alcohol, drugs , cigarettes, dangerous sex , fast cars, dangerous sports or sometimes just pushing themselves to work till their bodies can take no more .
What is it that we are all looking for ? According to Maslows hierarchy of needs once our basic needs of safety , food , sex and shelter are taken care of we climb higher towards acknowledgement and acceptance of our peers and then eventually seek self actualization .
Most of the people that I met who were taking recreational drugs were pretty much on top of the financial and career ladder and were pretty up in their game . They were hardly wanting financially or physically , but there was obviously a void that they were trying to fill via drugs or alcohol .
Superficially all seemed to be in control of their lives and were the envy of many but once I got to know them I heard about their pains . Their pains were as varied as they were . Some had work pressure , some had relationship issues , some were struggling with parental expectations , but almost all were struggling with self acceptance . Even though most had achieved a lot in their lives they felt they needed to achieve more . They felt a sense of emptiness which they could not explain . Unfortunately this emptiness sometimes translated into broken relationships but often it translated into obsessive compulsive behavior towards recreational drugs ,sex, sports, alcohol or work .
I had never thought about these common trends that I had observed amongst some of the over achievers till yesterday when I received a call from a friend who was at the brink of a break up . She called me in tears and told me that she and her husband of 15 years were splitting up and the children might end up with her husbands parents as both she and her husband were addicted to cocaine and she was afraid that her children may end up paying the price of their addiction .
Well , the children are already paying the price . . Their parents are splitting up and they are being sent to their grandparents house . They are being uprooted from their home and school and being sent to another country . How traumatic is this going to be for them ? In this particular case there is plenty of acrimony so this may be the best scenario at this stage but wouldn't it be better if we could nip these problems in the bud ? All addictions ruin lives and often addiction just sneaks up on you . No one takes drugs or alcohol thinking they want to become addicts but one day it's too late .
So instead of painting a doom and gloom scenario let's see what we can do to prevent ourselves from going down that route .
As I mentioned before , the reason we look for outside stimulation is because we fill unfulfilled . We feel a lack that we want to fill up . Unfortunately no amount of money, sex, drugs , alcohol , recognition , acceptance or acknowledgement will ever fill that void . That void can only be filled by self acceptance and finally self actualization .
What do we mean by self acceptance and self actualization ? Self acceptance is a state where we are grateful for who we are . Not necessarily for what we have done or achieved . Just being grateful for who we are and for our presence on this planet . Once we accept ourselves it becomes easier to accept others for who they are . Instead of trying to change the world we become an intrinsic part of the world that is .
Self actualization happens when our presence becomes meaningful and purposeful . The void that we think we can fill with drugs or other stimulants only gets filled when we find meaning and become of benefit to others. We are all intrinsically linked , therefore till the time we become selfless we will keep searching .
The key to happiness and highs is not in cocaine or Dom , it lies in becoming of service to others . Think about a time when you did or said something to another which made them feel good . How did you feel then ? Did you feel empty or fulfilled ? Just a small gesture of kindness made you and someone else feel good , then why look for that feeling in cocaine . The body is capable of making its own feel good drug . It's called dopamine - Deliver only purposeful and meaningful intentions nearly every time 
So yes , cocaine is soooooo last century . The new drug of choice is love, kindness, empathy and selflessness ..
But watch out , these could get addictive and lead to withdrawals .
Love and happiness


Do I mourn the loss of the physical or do I celebrate the the journey of the eternal soul ?

Today is my mothers anniversary . Had she continued her journey around the sun she would have turned 70 in two weeks . But her soul decided to give up this manifestation and move on to the next.
For my brother and I it was the worst calamity to befall us . Her passing away orphaned us and we felt completely alone and lost .
I mourned the loss for a very long time . The pain still seers through and the cut feels raw . But I know that no one ever goes away . Both my parents are living through my brother and I and our children . Their physical presence is gone but their light lives on .
There are days when I miss the physical and all I want is to experience their presence and get a hug from them but alas the desire remains unfulfilled . Then there are days when the knowing comes in and I feel grateful for their short presence in my life and I bow to their decision of continuing on their journey .
Sometimes I get angry , sometimes I am despondent , sometimes I am upset and I feel cheated. But I also realize life is exactly the way it is meant to be .
We humans always want more . More of everything . More time , more love, more money , more appreciation , more accomplishments . I think it's time for more gratitude . Instead of mourning my loss I need to celebrate my memories and the short time I had with them . Their soul has gone on to experience another adventure . The pain of their lack of physical presence will always remain but I know their spirit lives on and I shall be grateful for their time on this planet .. I love you both .. Till we meet again .. Xxx.

Cursing the traffic Jam

Yes I am guilty of cursing during a traffic jam ..My personality morphs into a restless , nasty , thankless person . I squeeze right next to the other vehicles and try and ignore anyone trying to come into my lane by looking straight ahead trying not to make eye contact ..cause I know the moment I make eye contact I'll have that familiar hand gesture and pleading eyes looking at me wanting me to give them way ..
So I just look ahead , choose to ignore the lane cutter and stare at the road ahead .
I am also a terrible passenger during a traffic jam . When my husband drives I give him non stop instructions on which lane to take for faster exit . Often my screaming and shouting falls on deaf ears and I scream and shout even more when I see the lane I suggested moving faster than the one we seem to be stuck in ..
This morning however I realized , how grateful I am to be living in a city like Hongkong where the traffic at least moves . I was stuck in traffic in Cebu for over 2 hours and we had a distance of 8 km to cover . Listening to my friend ranting on about the traffic suddenly put things in perspective ..
Funny how when you hear someone else rant and curse you immediately try and pacify and become philosophical . This was an entirely new me trying to calm my friend and trying to make him see the futility of screaming and cursing the traffic through his closed car windows . Who was hearing his ranting except him and I and no amount of ranting could have made the traffic move faster ..
My husband and I are both guilty of this ranting, but hearing someone else go on about it made me realize how pathetic it sounds and how utterly useless it is ..
Who is to blame for this excess traffic on the roads if not us drivers . This situation is not unique to any city or country . Everywhere in the world the number of vehicles is doubling almost every year . The infrastructure is incapable of handling any more. We humans in our greed have expanded in all areas . There are more shops , more vehicles , more houses , more planes , more trains , just about more of everything . Despite the expansion we are shrinking . We are becoming more selfish and more insular . We walk with our heads down staring into our smart phones . We are getting more and more short tempered . We curse the traffic , we get upset if our food is not on the table within 15 minutes and that too cooked to perfection . We loose our cool at the slightest provocation . We ignore issues if they don't directly impact us . We pretend to be living in cocoons, but sadly we cannot remain in our cocoons . Everything and everyone is connected . What one does has a direct or indirect impact on another and eventually on each and everyone of us .
I know that consumption will not suddenly stop . We in our skewed sense believe that more is better and we keep on accumulating . I am as much guilty of this accumulative culture as is anyone reading this ..
But sitting in traffic for over two hours with my bladder ready to burst because of copious amounts of Boca juice ( coconut juice ) in a city like Cebu, where life is supposed to be slow and happy ( which it certainly did not seem like ) I had my reality check .
I was sitting in a huge Air-conditioned car taking pictures of the insane traffic . I was visiting only for a day but apparently this is the norm. This is becoming the norm almost everywhere . Most metropolitans are bursting at the seams ... I thought about what I could do in a situation like this . Walking or taking public transport was not an option for me . So I had to continue to sit with my legs tightly crossed and continue to hear the ranting and by the end I too had joined in the cursing.
Finally when I could empty my bladder I could think again . I don't think I can solve the traffic situation but there is something we all can do . We can start of by being grateful to be sitting in a car and then maybe deciding to not use the car for at least one day a month and then going to one day a week . Car pooling as often as we can . Using public transport if it is available . Our poor planet is carrying so much load that it's only a matter of time that it will be unable to take any more. Only if we could all stop and think for a moment and then really act on the thought . Often we indulge in debates about the state of the world but carry on exactly like before . It just becomes another conversation topic . Most of us complain and still remain a part of the problem . I am no different , but sitting in that car looking at lines of people waiting for a jeepny to take them to their destination , I did feel extremely privileged and lucky . If educated people like us don't do anything about the situation that we are creating then who will ? We always want the other person to change , but we ourselves like to sit on the sidelines and indulge in intelligent debate .
At least we can try and become a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem. I will surely try and reduce my car travel at least by 10 % . But I will also ensure that when I do travel during peak period I will not have coffee and Boca juice before I embark on my 2 hour - 8 km ride :))))
And I will Zip my mouth the next time I am in traffic and look lovingly at all the drivers trying to squeeze in front of me . I will smile at them but continue to look ahead at the road . After all I should not take my eyes off the road ..
Love and happiness .

Life lessons learnt from watching my daughter play golf ..

For the last 4 years every year from the 30 th of July to the 2 nd of August , I have seen so much angst and nervousness amongst 7 to 12 year olds that it makes me think how we are so driven by success ..
Pinehurst - the home of American Golf is the host of US. Kids Golf World Championship . Every year over a 1000 children come to Pinehurst with hopes and dreams of becoming the best Golfers in their age category.
The first time that we went there was 4 years ago and I remember the nervousness that Inara experienced when she stood at the 1st Tee to hit that golf ball. I could feel her nervousness and not only hers but every participant there was full of anxiety, fear and hope. It was like a veil of anxiousness all around.
With every passing year it has gotten better for us but it is still quite nerve wracking.
I watched from the sidelines as my little child went through all the emotions of pain and joy.
It was the same story everywhere. Fear, nervousness, anticipation, jubilation, all emotions running rife.
Inara did Ok not as good as she could have or should have but I am sure she did her best or at least she tried. Isn't that good enough? Isn't it good enough to play the game and not play just to Win? My husband disagrees with me. According to him, one must play to win or at least try to win.
Why are we all so driven by success? Success at any cost! I can understand how it must feel to win, when all eyes are on you and everyone is congratulating you. It must feel great, but should our happiness depend on how we perform and then how the world sees us?
I could see the sadness and the disappointment in the eyes of the children who did not do as well as they hoped for.
Golf is so much like life. Once you hit the ball you have no control over it. All you can do is play the next shot as best as you can. There is no point dwelling on the previous shot and thinking what you should have could have done. Of course you can think about what you could have done differently to get a better shot but what is the point of mulling over it for the next three holes and ruining the rest if the game. The key is to shake yourself off the previous bad shot and focus on the next.
We all do the same in our life. We keep mulling over what we did in the past. We keep thinking about how we could have, should have done things differently. Our minds are in a constant state of flux. The constant inner chatter prevents us from listening to the voice of reason.
My 12 year old daughter was being extremely hard on herself. I tried my best to encourage her to breathe slowly and deeply and move to the next hole without dwelling on the previous but I think it was not that easy for her. She carried the emotions with her, and seeing her in distress was extremely heart breaking for me.
Fortunately the three days of competition did end and luckily Inara did recover from the setback of not doing that well. Life too is full of setbacks and mostly we do recover. Every failure or setback makes us better and stronger. I am personally glad that she is experiencing failure. Because of the game she is learning to face disappointment, she is learning that one bad shot does not necessarily mean the end. Every shot is another chance. She is learning to look back and see what she did wrong and what she needs to do differently. A tiny deviation in the swing can lead to a major deviation in the ball landing, just as a small decision can make a big impact, but once the ball is in the air it won’t change course, the key is to play the next shot smartly. Similarly our life is not in our hand, we think we make decisions but mostly our decisions are already made for us. The key is to play every shot as well as we can and know in our hearts that all that happens really does happen for the best.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Last night for the first time in two weeks I went to central . For the most part we were away from Hongkong and when we got back , life as usual came in the way of supporting the brave youth that have camped on the roads since end of last month .
Although I was unable to physically be there my , heart and mind was here . Ever since I got back I started getting various accounts of the camaraderie amongst the supporters and the angst of the non supporters .
In its third week now the umbrella revolution seems to have thinned in numbers but not in hope and desire . As I walked on the bridge in central I could not help but tear up at the resolve and dedication of the youth of Hongkong who are striving for their and our future .
We expats have homes to go back to , we all can easily pack our bags and decide to leave if things get too difficult in HongKong . But for most of us who have been here Hongkong is the home we all love ..
As I had written in a previous post , if we cannot support the youth of Hongkong physically , we can still support them through our faith , belief and encouragement . I know there is a lot of inconvenience being caused to the commuters and businesses are suffering but walking through the masses made me bow in gratitude and humility at the sight of those giving up their time and comfort so that we all continue to enjoy the freedom that Hongkong offers .
As I walked and talked to the youth who have been sitting there for over two weeks I felt a deep sense of gratitude for them .
I know many of us cannot be physically present there to offer support . But we can all do a simple exercise to see this come to a peaceful resolution .
I had previously written about how the expectation of a certain outcome creates the momentum for the particular outcome .
I request all you reading this to visualize a peaceful resolution
I will share a short exercise here .
If possible , find a quite place and time . This could be early morning , around midday , early evening or late night just before bed or anytime that works for you . Close your eyes and think of someone or something you love , could be your child , your partner, your pet or even a hobby . The kind of love that makes your heart expand. The love that overflows . Spend some time reveling in this love . Now visualize Hongkong and envelope it in the same love . See Hongkong and its people happy and business as usual. See Hongkong as a role model for China and not a recalcitrant child that Beijing thinks it is . I do believe , what can be imagined , can be achieved .
I know some of you may find this silly but we got nothing to loose . I have experimented with this before and found some good results .. Not always what I wanted but always got what was good for me 
I am extremely sorry for this long post but after my walk last night I am very inspired to see a peaceful end to this situation . Need everyone's help and love ..
Regards and happiness 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ask and it is really given – could be in another form though J

Yesterday, I decided to play a game with God!

I was in the Clear Water Bay Country club Gym and it was a gorgeous day.  Usually I have my phone and headphones and am like a hamster on a wheel . I work out for about 45 minutes with my head phones on, either staring into my I-phone or at the TV in front.

Yesterday however, I had no phone or head- phones, so I started staring out at the Ocean and the beautiful mountains and the lovely fluffy cloud formation. The scenery was gorgeous.  As I was staring out a crazy thought came into my head. I decided to play a game with God.

In my mind I though to myself and asked out silently for God to show me a sign of his/her presence. I wanted to see an OM  or  Shiva’s trident formation either in the clouds or the water or the shadow’s falling over the mountains. Unique formations were forming so I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I could see some sort of religious symbol.

I kept staring outside and was getting pretty engrossed in the scenery but sadly saw no signs.

Just then someone came on the tread mill next to me and turned on the TV and lo and behold – For a good five minutes, I saw the pope with his big cross talking about ‘ I don’t know what as I could not hear’. But I got my sign very loud and clear. I was looking for a sign from God and what bigger sign than Christ’s cross.

I learnt two lessons. If you ask, it will be given but may not necessarily be in the form that you expect. I expected a Hindu sign as I am  completely besotted with Shiva, but I got to see a cross –proving to me that God is one and we are all the same.

Second- God loves to play so take time to play with God. It is a lot of fun. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

KINTSUGI – Fix something broken using gold!

KINTSUGI – Fix something broken using gold!

I just read that Kintsugi is a Japanese art form where broken pottery is fixed with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold. Once, the broken pottery is fixed with gold it actually looks way more attractive than the original.

The story goes that 15th century Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favorite tea cup and sent it to China for repairs. It came back repaired with ugly metal staples. Seeing it look so ugly he got very disappointed. He then prompted his craftsmen to look for a more aesthetic means of repair.  The craftsmen used the cracks and aggrandized those with gold and the breaks became works of art. Japanese collectors sometimes would break perfect prized ceramics, just to have them mended in gold. These so said damaged pots actually fetched a higher price than their perfect counterparts.

Japanese took something broken and ugly and turned it into something beautiful!

Shouldn’t we turn our life’s cracks into works of art? Look back at your life and see how every crack has actually made you more beautiful. Often when I have asked people to look at their life, most have agreed that what seemed like a negative time in their life eventually turned out to be the most meaningful turning point for them.

From time to time we all break. Relationships break, aspirations break, friendships break, health and wealth suffer cracks and at times we feel incapable of repairing ourselves. These are the very times that can make us beautiful. All that is needed is faith that what ever is happening has some reason behind it. Often when we are in the midst of a perceived negative event it is impossible to see the good in that situation, but when we look back we can see that because of that event our life took a different trajectory. We could go on complaining about what happened or become miserable and angry or we could look at that so said negative event or break in our perfect life and use it to make life more beautiful.

I am reminded of a friend who spent time in prison. For all purposes he should have been angry and bitter, but instead he used that time to read up on various philosophies and worked on his body and mind and pretty much reinvented himself.  In his own words, “ had I continued on my original path, my body would have probably given up on me. Prison saved me.” Similarly a major health scare forces us to adopt a healthier life style and a broken relationship sometimes makes us more considerate and compassionate.

All negative events can be turned around and made into something beautiful, for it is true that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

I am also now understanding that physical death too is not necessarily the end. Yes the body dies but the soul continues on its onward journey. Although a difficult concept to accept, I can see that it makes perfect sense. We all come with previous baggage. The sooner we start accepting the breaks and the cracks the sooner we will start to recover and shine.

Next time something undesired happens, think about the Japanese art ‘kintsugi’ and see how that event can be dusted with gold to make it something of value.