Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Booing Your Fears Away:Just Jump!


It was one of those hot Caribbean summers. I was nine years old and had been waiting for this for the whole year; summer camp, adventure, and new friends. Like any kid, I was eager that morning to show off my swimming skills. Ready, set…someone unexpectedly pushed me to the deepest side of the pool. I froze; memory went blank forgetting all the previous lessons. The pool was over for me that summer and the summer camp I had been waiting for so long lost all excitement. It would take many years before I dare to get in a pool again and water turned into a being I respected and feared. 

Fear dwells in every one of us. It doesn’t matter if it is mistakenly created or innately felt. It is one of those feelings that serve well at times. It gives us the tools to explore a situation and make quick decisions; the fight or flight effect. Learning to adopt it as an ally instead of an enemy is vital for our well-being and survival. Unfortunately, many of us see it as a paralyzing force and we literally stop living and enjoying the wanders of life over-thinking and forecasting bad weather well ahead the storm has taken form. 

My failed encounter with the pool, made me develop a whole false belief about water. After that day, my brain sent fiery messages; water is not safe, there’s no joy in swimming, you will always be in danger, every time you approach it, you’ll be facing the same experience, and so on. The same happens with many other situations and feelings in life. How many of you are not afraid of heights, closed spaces, or falling in love? We all have some kind of fear. We had a bad, hurtful experience and from that point on everything associated with it turns into a nightmare we refuse to repeat. So, how to overcome these fears and start living once more?

After many years, I decided to face my old water friend again; born and raised in the Caribbean where water is crystal clear it would have been disastrous not to fully enjoy this gift of nature! So I forgot the pool and went into the ocean with its high-low waves. Acknowledging the cause of your fear is the first step. You need to face your enemy in order to measure both strengths. Once submerged, I began shifting my old belief, feeling the salty water, seeing it as a buddy, part of who I was from birth. It wasn’t easy at first but, you’ll be surprised of what the right attitude and a letting go of can do. Acknowledging and transforming my belief, from a bad memory to a positive relationship, changed my perception. Instead of keep thinking that any water related encounter would inevitably lead to danger, I thought about all the fun and exciting adventures I could devise to finally enjoy the pleasures of that powerful element that surrounds us all. 

It doesn’t matter what you are afraid of, you can get rid of those fears with a little bit of courage and intention.

1.       Acknowledge your fear
2.       Go back in time. Identify the precise moment or situation creating your false belief towards it.
3.       Face it!
4.       Change your belief.
5.       Ask yourself. How could I change this dread towards…into something positive? How could it work for me instead of against me?

That summer was a total mess for me. I lost many years of enjoying my natural environment. Now, we are back together in total synergy, just the way it should be; humans and nature as one!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Loving Agelessly



It was all a daily rendezvous of amusing games, flirtatious sighs, tender pats in the back, and subtle kisses on the forehead; lovely devotion between a man and a woman whom had devoted more than half a century to each other. 

By age twelve, while witnessing these spontaneous pirouettes, I used to think that this kind of affectionate displays among older people was kind of an abnormal behavior. You know, youngsters believe that love is to be fully expressed only by teens or young adults, still consider apt for this kind of things. Seeing a couple of sexagenarians kissing and hugging produces an immediate yuks … reaction. Yes, I was one of them but time and the possibility to live through it, is one of the best teachers ever. Today it is different, maybe because at my forty seven I have traveled many roads, savored every stage, got blinded in the darkness, and brought back to life through the bright spots of love. 

Seeing older couples walking hand in hand and embracing each other in plain daylight has turned into one of those miracle moments. They bring back the memories of my grandparents dancing to their own rhythms in the kitchen. It makes me realize how powerful that thing we called love really is, surpassing time, space, struggles and grieve, and keeping us alive, re-energized and young. Yes, young, no matter how many times we have to scroll down to find our birth year. Witnessing these lovely couples fills me with hope and optimism that love is endless, that is not thwarted by how many springs we get to see, how many challenges we are faced with, not even how many are the feet separating us from the world of the living.

As my grandfather used to repeat time after time, “when you live a meaningful life, you only get old when your heart stops beating and, beyond that, love still remains.”  They both lived through this mantra until the end of their days. Live fully, smile for no reason, enjoy each day endlessly, and love agelessly!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dance Your Life Off!!!!




Music has been by far one of my best therapies. Moving to the rhythm of soft tones or upbeat sounds lifts the spirit, leaving all worries behind. Moving the body to these tones constitutes the purest manifestation of the soul. “And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” Exodus 15:20

The secret of fluid dancing is to merge with the flow; to become one with it. Then the outside world stops and music and human blends into one harmonious vibration. Shouldn’t life be danced away in the same manner? Instead, as stubborn individuals we rather get stuck, deeply stuck in our concerns, dramas, and fears. We stop the flow of natural events as they should occur. We are constantly struggling to be in control, constantly trying to show our power by manipulating the people, events, feelings, and actions we disagree with. Little we know that in attempting to stop that essential flux of energies, we are blocking our own well-being and the abundance of opportunities life gives us to fully experience joy and fulfillment. Flowing with life is our nature, a ritual we should honor every day! Dance your life off! Be one with that flow and open yourself to the miracle of the natural rhythms your everyday has to offer. What better way to begin your week than by simply flowing! 

“When I dance, I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole, that is why I dance.” ~Hans Bos~

Friday, March 16, 2012

No More Karma


Yes, we have all heard about it. What goes around comes around and karma kicks us all in the butt in the end of the day. I believe it! Not because we have been destined to roll on the same wheel over and over until we clean our past deeds but because we have the potential to re-invent our thoughts, actions, and feelings with each new day. That’s what Karma means to me. The mind is powerful. The energy, good or bad, directing your thoughts has the power to either bless or harm. In the same way, the kind of energy you spread will come back to you. A man is known by his actions. Only you have the strength to shape them. The reactions you get would depend on how you chose to act upon the situations presented. Our heart is our power house. Harboring love and compassion would reflect those feelings. A heart filled with hatred, greed, and cruelty will call upon their shadows and you will be sitting under the branches of a wicked tree. It is as simple as that. Your karma is created every day and it could be reversed every day as well. Your karma is your choice! 

Saying bye to your karma involves awareness. You must be present to be able to fully listen to your body, embracing your senses and paying attention to their signs and subtle messages. Only then you would be able to get unstuck, release the ghost, and allow that new energy to freely swirl through you. Picture yourself freed from the darkness of karma. What do you see? Remember, it is your choice and with each sunrise there’s a new beginning. Think positive, do no harm, and live from the heart; releasing the ghost in three simple steps. It doesn’t get easier than that!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

H for a Meaningful Life



Resting on the slopes of the Himalayas, the kingdom of Bhutan emerges as the happiest place on earth. Isolated from the world until the late sixties, this relatively small country has found the recipe for a happy and meaningful life, and it is precisely its happiness levels what measures their personal and collective success.  How could this be possible in a country with one of the smallest economies in the world? What could we learn from these people to achieve their state of bliss?

It is notable their reverence to earth, preservation of their culture, and the balance between the material with the spiritual. However, their most valuable assets are collaboration as members the community and the  development of self-reliance as one of the main attributes of human nature. The preservation of the cultural values is highly promoted but, most important, their main concern is directed to the concern for the needs of people and their well-being.  They don’t live on an individual but a collective basis. Their living standards are not measured by GDP’s but GNH’s, Gross National Happiness index. As a consequence, the Bhutanese rank high in economic, environmental, physical, mental, and social wellness. Then, how could we incorporate Bhutan’s happiness philosophy to create a meaningful life?

  Pleasure – take pleasure in your everyday activities. Do what you love not what you have to do.

2.       Engagement – Take joy in the flow of events in your life. Venture in the adventure each day brings with a positive attitude.

3.       Relationships – be part of the community, know that we all belong to each other and it is by collaborating that we improve our living. Live through service.

4.       Meaning – drive towards a quest for what truly matters; make every day count through positive acts, thoughts, and words.

5.       Accomplishments – strive to do and be your best in the attainment of your goals knowing that in achieving them you will be helping your community as a whole.

6.       Mindfulness – pay attention to your actions and take time to enjoy and reflect about your path and what you are doing in the now.

7.       Abandon – Leave behind your fear and anything that is holding you back. It makes no sense to worry about what’s out of our control. Let go!

8.       Happiness – make it your everyday choice! Laugh a lot and share your laughter.

In the words of Buddha, Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

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Adultery by Paulo Coelho

AdulteryAdultery by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great story by Paulo Coehlo. Real life down to earth characters struggling to find the meaning of life; a mirror of what we all go through day by day. The amazing story of Linda makes us ponder and question. What's life's ultimate purpose? What force moves us? What is it that we should all strive for?

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