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.