Feb 20 – About Heaven and Hell

 

Today my inspiration is in the form of a beautiful quote from the “Fourty rules of love”.

“Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we love we ascend to heaven. Every time we envy or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell. Why worry so much about the aftermath, an imaginary future, when this very moment is the only time we can truly and fully experience the presence and absence of God in our lives?”

My Ayurvedic doctor once told me that in Sanskrit the words “sadness” and “poison” have the same root. And this is so true – negative emotions such as anger, fear and sadness bring a level of discomfort and unease that can even result in disease (have you thought that “disease” means “a lack of ease”) while positive ones, the greatest of which is Love-  lead to a marvelous feeling of ease and lightness that can indeed be compared to being in Heaven?

I bet there is no need to ask on which side we want to be.

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Feb 19 – About change

 

Change is all around us. The world is constantly moving and evolving and every moment is unique.

We also change. Our bodies change. Our thoughts change. We learn, grow and develop and sometimes our “newer” versions have little to do with the previous ones.

I came across a story in “My Grandfathers’ blessings” about the grandfather of the author in his youth and his reaction to a certain situation- being arrogant, angry and with little self-control. Years later the same man evolved into a respected rabbi, a leader of a community and a role model.

We are never perfect. We all have our lessons to learn. But most importantly- we all have the capacity to change. So let’s don`t be too harsh on ourselves when we realize we have our flaws. Everyone has them.

Instead of being critical, let’s focus our energy on first accepting and loving ourselves and then making steady steps into the direction where we want us to grow. What would you say?

You can check out the 7-day affirmation challenge of the lovely Emmely Jacobs here.

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Feb 18 – About helping others

 

The quote that “found me” today is by the Dalai Lama:

Our prime purpose in life

is to help others.

And if we can’t help them

at least don’t hurt them

The images that immediately came to my mind when I read this were the people bathing the elephants in the animal rehabilitation center in India.

Helping others in any form soothes the heart and makes us feel connected, useful and contributing to something bigger than us. Wouldn’t it be a great thing to practice it more often and give a helping hand? 🙂 

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Feb 17 – About attitude and ego

Today I came across a very witty text written by an unknown author:

 

Talent and looks are

God Given.

Be thankful.

Fame and money are

Men created.

Be Grateful.

Attitude and Ego are

self-created.

Be mindful.

 

There is a fine balance between being grateful and appreciative of what you have and at the same time staying mindful, centered, and grounded.

There are also moments when upon comparing ourselves with others we are not doing so great. Yet again– staying mindful, centered and grounded is key.

At any given moment when we compare ourselves to others, we`ll always stumble upon someone who is healthier, or better looking, or makes more money or just seems happier.

But essentially – we all came and we`ll all go to the same place (as mysterious as this place is).  Both times alone and empty handed. I believe that we all have our unique journeys with different lessons to learn and different gifts to enjoy and appreciate – some are given the gift of attractive looks, others- the gift of health, and some others- the gift of wealth. Our task is to learn our lessons and evolve.  I really don’t think attitude and ego are going to help in this, but will only slow us down.

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Feb 16 – As I began to love myself

 

I was going through my previous posts and came across something that I had written about two years ago on the day before mine and the blog’s birthday. It was inspired from the deeply touching text by Charlie Chaplin, called “As I began to love myself”. The text is a true masterpiece and a must read, one of those pieces that you read with new eyes every time. It that it also resonated a lot with my earlier reflections on Love.

While reading what I`ve written felt like listening to a very close friend:

“I hope that reading it will inspire you to go on a self-discovery trip and test whether his findings are valid for you. Because life is not only about getting inspired by others, but most importantly-about discovering your own truth and staying authentic.  And this is what this blog is about.”

This is something that I truly believe in. And I think it indeed highlights the essence of the blog. And to my surprise, I somehow felt inspired by my own words. And all the troubles of the day faded away. True magic.

You can read the full post here.

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Feb 15 – Capture the feeling

Surise

Photography is a distinctive type of art that captures not only moments, but also the underlying feelings of the photographer. It is a unique portal to memories and experiences and has the power to covey messages much subtler that what is visible for the eye. It is also something that all of us can master with practice and inspiration.

Take the photo of today as an example. What  is visible are the colors, composition and peculiar fact of having the moon and sun on the same picture. But what it actually depicts is the feeling of peace, but also anticipation for an unforgettable experience which is actually just beginning to unfold with the sun embracing the moon.

We very often get so engrossed in the spur of the moment that we don`t feel like bothering to take pictures. But putting the extra effort pays off when you look back and recall the feeling associated with the moments captured. It reminds us of the richness of our lives which undoubtedly lies not in our material possessions, but in our experiences.

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Feb 14 – Love is

Valentines day

 

It`s not a secret that I am not a fan of St. Valentine’s day mainly because of the massive commercial hype around it.  All the hearts, glitter, huge amounts of fluffy gifts with ambiguous purpose are quite a turn off for me. Additionally, the pressure to display your love and affection (for example by having dinner together with 100 other couples) also feels unnatural and somehow unauthentic. Furthermore, I think the whole “celebration” is in some way discriminatory and cruel to all single people who are left without a reason to celebrate.

On the other hand, it is a beautiful concept to have a day when you can pay tribute to Love and to reflect what it means to you.  Because even though the critics of the day claim that we should express our love daily (which I actually fully agree with) and without occasion the reality is that it doesn`t always work and having an occasion to be reminded of the meaning and importance of Love is actually  a pretty good idea.

So what is Love? There have been many different approaches towards defining Love,  but I think that it is important for everyone to formulate their personal definition. For me, it starts from truly loving and respecting yourself (we all need to start from somewhere 😉 ) and then expanding it to others. It manifests through acceptance rather than desire to change the other person as well as care for the well being of the person above and beyond our personal well being. And very importantly – it is not a noun, but a verb; something that requires dedication and attention.

Love is also a driving force for good and creativity and helps us to become improved versions of ourselves. And as the brilliant Khalil Gibran puts it in his chapter on Love in his masterpiece “The Prophet”:

“Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.”

For those of you who want to see his whole message, have a look at the video:

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Feb 12- You have the power

Girl on a swing

Today I spent most of the day on my own, doing a photography course. To my surprise, I didn’t feel bored, lonely or missing something. On the contrary- I felt energized to be doing something that feels meaningful and puts me in a certain flow.

As usual, in the course of the day I received a “message” that reinforced that. I was reading an interview with the psychologist Mikhail Litvak and something that he said and really resonated with my experience today is:

“The ability to appreciate spending time on your own is a sign of spiritual maturation and growth.  All our greatest accomplishments happened when we were alone.”

Sometimes we don`t realize it, but we actually achieve the most important things in our lives on our own. Support, team work and collaboration are very important, but the moment of creation, the idea, the drive come from our own individual source to which we usually connect when we are alone. This source gives us the power to dream, envision and create. And most importantly- the power to act in a unique way.  We should not forget how powerful we are and how important and nourishing are the moments that we spend on our own, connecting to ourselves.

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Feb 11-Break the circle of addiction

I recently watched a super insightful video about addiction adapted from Johann Hari’s book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs’. It is not only related to addiction to drugs, but also the “modern” addictions such as the ones to social media, electronic devices, Netflix, etc.  from which all of us suffer at varying degrees often without realizing it.

The video reveals the most effective remedies to addictions –  love and connection. It also discusses how the overuse of phones and other electronic devices is linked to feeling of loneliness and unwillingness to connect. I am not going to share more, as I really recommend watching it for yourselves.

I believe that it is essential for the well – being of ours and that of our loved ones to stay connected, to be there for each other, and to simply listen.

How many times have you seen others having dinners with family and friends, where at one point most of the people are interacting much more with their phones rather than with each other? And how often have you been in that situation? Shall we break the circle?

 

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