Jan 31- Celebrate your accomplishments

After today’s post it will be one full month of posting every day. The idea to commit to this exercise came very naturally and I was super enthusiastic with the concept of spontaneity which I wanted and still want to stick to no matter what.

Of course, the implementation wasn’t so smooth as the conception. Sometimes I was very inspired and ideas were flowing. But some other times it simply wasn`’t my day, or I was just tired or super busy with my job. That’s where discipline kicked in.. And it worked. Gradually I started noticing more things that inspire me every day.

I am usually not taking compliments very gracefully. I would usually say “oh, really”, “it’s not a big deal” or return the compliment to the person who gave it. But today my inspiration is myself. I feel proud for following my passion and putting the energy to do what I feel I should be doing- staying true and inspired and inspiring others to do the same. And I am super happy I can share this journey with you J So let’s keep on rolling!

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Jan 29-Lead by example

Recently I had a very interesting and inspirational chat with my teacher from Brahma Kumaris. She was talking about good qualities to develop in ourselves. One of them was the ability make a change without judging or criticizing, but by giving a good example and acting as a role model. I found that to be very insightful and also powerful from two perspectives. First of all, it is very unlikely that you`ll make somebody change by criticizing them. In such situations the recipient of the criticism will naturally get defensive which is likely to cause them to close towards you rather than make the change that you were aiming for in the first place. And second- I really believe that if we want to make any positive change in our environment the first place to start implementing is in ourselves. Inspiring others by “walking the talk” is always stronger that simply preaching. It`s like a dance school- the best way to learn how to dance is not to read a book about dancing, but to observe and dance.

Yesterday I went to a gathering with a group of charismatic ladies as part of an initiative of Brahma Kumaris. The idea behind it was to have an assembly of like-minded ladies who can learn from each other, but also inspire and empower each other and create a nurturing environment, a “sisterhood” that would promote personal growth and also overall positive change in the environment which in my view we so badly need nowadays.

This meeting made a big impression on me in many ways. What was truly inspiring was to be in a female group with people whom you`ve never met before and to experience kindness and support and openness. A group of strong and well-established women that gathered to support each other and to nurture feminine qualities. There were some of them who travelled from different cities for this gathering and basically invested half of their Saturday to do this. For me this was truly incredible.

Some of the ladies performed a dance that they prepared especially for us and another one told us a story from her childhood. A powerful story, showing that when you are mistreated by your family a good way to improve the relationship is to think about all the positive things that you learned/got from the person and to thank them about it rather than criticize all the time.

That was so impactful for me! It made me think about the importance of developing good qualities. Criticizing is not a solution. But focusing on the positive aspects of people who criticize you and being the change you want to see in others might actually work.

It was also through personal example that the lady storyteller conveyed this important lesson to all of us.

Being a role model is not about showing the world how much we`ve accomplished and how perfect we are. It is about opening our hearts and sharing our own learnings in our own way with a good will. This is one of the most powerful tools that we actually have. Let`s try to use it more often 😉

For more about Brahma Kumaris, have a look at my earlier post: http://funandinterestinglife.com/jan-11-dont-take-life-too-seriously/

 

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Jan 28- Keep on going

Two nights ago I`ve been having a writer’s block and could not figure out anything inspirational to share. I was like a little stormy cloud and just wanted to go to bed. At the same I couldn’t imagine not keeping up to my promise to inspire myself and hopefully others every day.

I was flipping through the pages of a book on spiritual leaders and came across Amma. All of a sudden all the memories of my meeting with her came to life! I started writing and writing.  At one point I couldn`t stop myself. The night turned from gloomy to super inspiring!

Inspiration is always within us, but sometimes she is dormant and we need to wake her up.. We need to give her a slight push to get her going and then…Voila! The magic happens.

It is in our nature to give up, perhaps to protect ourselves from making mistakes. But from my experience after the initial block is overcome things fall in their places. As the old Bulgarian proverb says:

“Appetite comes with eating”

So..Keep on going! 🙂

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Jan 27 – Listen to your gut

I was reading my post from yesterday on my meeting with Amma and reflecting on the events that day. When I decided to attend her event, I knew that  it was extremely difficult and very unlikely to actually reach her as there were more than a thousand people there. It was also a working day and I couldn`t go there earlier than late afternoon; furthermore, the venue was at a remote location, so I couldn`t stay until too late. To top it up- It was also not easily accessible by public transport. Overall- a sort of a no-go situation.

There was no indication whatsoever that I would make it, but just knew I have to give it a try. So I travelled to the venue in the late afternoon, entered and took my place at the end of the endless queue. Soon afterwards I started talking to a lady who told me that there is a special queue for first timers. With some disbelief I approached one of the organizers to find out that this queue really exists and what is more- it goes with a priority over the other queue! How unbelievable is that!

I took my place at the second queue, waited for a few hours and made it for the hug (and also got a special personal mantra from Amma, just how lucky was I?). It was time to go and I started looking up alternatives to make it to the nearest city. It was quite late and taxi seemed to be the only option.

On my way out I met some people at the front who in the spirit of the event were offering to give rides to people to the nearest city. The warmth and affection that Amma had given to all of us, also gave us a feeling of oneness and desire to help, but also trust to accept the offered help without any doubts or fears.

The whole day just felt right- from beginning to end. Against all odds.

Sometimes things don`t seem promising in the beginning but in the process it works out beautifully. And you would have never figured it out unless you listen to your gut. Of course it doesn`t work 100% of the time. But when it does, it is pure magic.

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Jan 26- Laughter is the song of your soul

My inspiration for today came from Amma – the hugging saint. She was born in 1953 in the Indian stake Kerala and grew up in a poor fisherman’s family. When she was nine years old her mother developed an illness and she remained at home to take care of the household. Deeply touched by the poverty in her village she began to share her clothes and food with those in need. She also began to hug people as a way to comfort them. She became more and more recognized and appreciated and received the name Amma (mother) and was recognized as a saint.

I very clearly remember my encounter with her about a year ago. She had her brightest smile and was sitting on a big chair surrounded by musicians singing mantras and performing lively happy music.  In front of her was an endless queue (which I was also a part of) waiting for her to give them dashan (hug and blessing) .  Amma is well known for embracing large amounts of people without taking any breaks. In thevenue where I met her there were another few hundreds visitors. Up to date she has hugged more than 30 mnl people.

As a first -timer, I was placed in the beginning of the queue and luckily had to wait only a few hours. People behind me waited a lot more. She kept on hugging people overnight. Always smiling and full of energy. When she hugged me she looked me in my eyes and exclaimed “My daughter!” She radiated so much warmth and love that it felt like I had always known her. It was a truly unforgettable experience.

Amma is perhaps the happiest, and most positive and light-hearted saint that I`ve ever seen. For her being joyful is a natural state and loving is a religion.

It is the bright, joyful and selfless individuals like Amma that ignite this world and make it a better place. It is the people who give and embrace without asking for anything in return that are our true role models and are capable of inspiring us to be like them and to make a change. Making a change by loving and being compassionate and never by threatening or forcing. Making a change by staying inspired and inspiring others.

I`ll end with one of Amma’s many beautiful quotes:

“Do you know that days go by regardless of you smiling or crying all day long

So keep on smiling, my child!”

More about Amma at https://www.amritapuri.org

On the picture- a beautiful smiling lady reading a book in front of her house in Kerala, India.

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Jan 25 – Read with your heart

For me reading is one of the most enriching activities. It`s like opening a door to a different world, or having a peak in somebody`s mind. It`s like the book I`m reading is alive. Ad it is different every time. And of course, there is always so much more to read..

Sometimes the books that I`ve read and have made a big impact on me pay me visit and inspire me to revisit their lessons in a different context. The last book with which I had that was “The forty rules of love”  written by the Turkish female author Elif Shafak.

In her book she describes the friendship between the mystic and poet Rumi and his biggest inspiration- his spiritual influencer and unforgettable companion the Shams of Tabriz. I am not going to tell you much about the plot of the book, as I really don`t want to spoil it for you. I will only say it gives an insightful glimpse into the live of one of the most beloved and inspiring poets that ever lived. And most importantly- is a beautiful read that inspires you to live and love.

As the story unfolds the Shams of Tabriz unveils his life’s work and wisdom- his forty rules of love. And here is one of  them that is my inspiration for today:

“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation.

 If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.”

I really couldn’t agree more. And what about you?

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Jan 24 – On Friendship

 

Today I`ve been thinking about friendship and what it means to me. For me on the first place it is mainly being there for each other as much as you can. And does not apply to good times only. It is in difficult situations that the true colors of friendship show. And it is definitely about quality over quantity. And most importantly as the remarkable Kahlil Gibran ( I`m going to tell you more about him soon)says in his amazing work “The Prophet”  :

‘”For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?

Seek him always with hours to live.”

 

Indeed, as time passes by we appreciate that there are two main type of people who enter our lives- the ones to kill time with and the others- to live with. Sooner or later (and especially when we face challenges) we realize that the second type is the one that truly matters and we need to cherish the special connection with them.

And there is the most special type of all- the ones with whom your heart is truly opened and despite the distance every time you see each other it feels like it has only been yesterday since you last called them. The ones that we can call at any time and share whatever we need to. The friends for life. Let’s celebrate them.

And here is the whole poem by Khalil Gibran:

On Friendship
 

Your friend is your needs answered.

He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.

And he is your board and your fireside.

For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”

And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;

For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;

For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.

For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.

If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.

For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?

Seek him always with hours to live.

For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. A

nd in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

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Jan 23- Take care of yourself

I`ve been hearing the same analogy over and over again for the last one week. If you are in the airplane and there is a problem, put your oxygen mask fist and then help the others around you. The first thing to do is to take care of yourself. Then you can think of anything else.

The same principle applies to our lives- we need to nourish ourselves and listen to ourselves in order to be in a good shape to properly connect to others and help them. And in order to do that we need to first be able to hear ourselves and sometimes even find ourselves. Which is getting more and more challenging with the increasing number of entertainment/ distractions around us and the overflow of information that most of us experience.

But it is up to us to make time and spend it with ourselves. It is always difficult, but also always pays off.

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Jan 22- Connect to nature

 I recently watched a beautiful documentary called “ Down to Earth” It is about a family goes on a five year journey to find a new perspective of life and meaning. They travel all around the world and live with tribal communities (they refer to them as the “Earth Keepers” ) who share with them ancient wisdoms of life.

Two underlying themes are seeing us and nature as an interconnected organism and keeping life simple. It is such a stark contrast with what`s happening in our modern society where connection with nature is very often put to a minimum and the strive for more experiences, accomplishments, possessions makes things everything else, but not simple! At the same time this doesn`t seem to make us happy.. So where is the key?

I definitely don`t think the solution is that all of us to retreat to the mountains and become monks. But there needs to be awareness. Awareness of different ways of living, cultures, values. There is no “right” lifestyle. As long as we are in peace, feel meaningful and make a contribution. Because in the end we are all one, we are indeed interconnected by being humans who all try to make the best of their life’s and face the same challenges along the way.

From that perspective watching movies who expand your knowledge and awareness are absolutely invaluable.

More about “Down to Earth” at  http://www.downtoearthfilm.com/

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