Feb 28 – Charity begins at home

There are only 28 days in February this year, but this day containts an important message in my BK calendar that I want to share with you. It is interesting how true it is and at the same time how often we forget it.. Let’s remind ourselves!

“It is often said that charity begins at home. So let me give respect to my family and friends.”

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27.02- The Secret (Part 2)

Yesterday I was sharing more about the book “The Secret” and the Law of attraction discussed in it. According to it, our current reality is the product of earlier thoughts and feelings. We are then shaping our future with our today’s thoughts and feelings. The conclusion is that the more you feel good right now, the higher the chances of you feeling good in the future.

The book also describes a “framework” for accomplishing your goals which is the following:

  • Ask for it- make a wish for something you want to accomplish
  • Believe it will happen- it is important not to be doubtful. Replace doubt with faith
  • Receive- try to imagine a reality where you have already received what you wished for. Visualize it as detailed as possible and most importantly – try to experience the feeling of accomplishing your goal. Practicing this continuously will put you in the frequency that you want and will “attract” ideas and solutions that will help you to make it into a reality.

It may sound like a super easy thing, but visualizing requires practice, effort and persistence. Nevertheless, from my personal experience I can say that it works, so I can only recommend giving it a try.

And here are a few more practical insights from the book:

  • Try not to dwell on negativity. As you feel you are “taken over” a negative loop, try to reverse it by doing things that you like- taking a walk, talking to a friend, playing your favorite song.
  • Expect good things to happen to you and they will.
  • Never beat yourself up if you fail at something- that will only attract more failure. Instead, affirm positive qualities and outcomes, for example -“I am calm, focused and successful”.
  • Create a vision board where you put images of your goals and spend time looking at them- for instance, your dream house, life in nature, family , etc. This is can be a fun thing to do and it will really energize you to visualize your goals.

So these were the main learnings that I gathered from “The Secret”. Once again, I can`t say that I am the biggest fan of the book for two reasons. First of all, the examples in the book are influenced by the very materialistic “American dream” – a car, a house, money and inevitably come across as simply shallow. Second, I don`t think that wishful thinking can solely make you accomplish your goals. What matters is action.

Nevertheless, the insights into the power of visualization are extremely valuable. Additionally, all the great things that we accomplish in our lives first take place in our minds, and the book sheds light to how this process work. I don`t see it as a solution, but rather as a tool. A valuable tool.

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26.02- The Secret (Part 1)

 

Today I have been revisiting “The Secret” – a book that sort of “boomed” a few years ago and received a lot of commercial attention and that I have read myself and I believe some of its messages helped me a huge deal when I was struggling with a massive health problem with a very gloomy prognosis.

The book is an interesting mix between spirituality and “mind control”. Something that partial turned me off was that the advice focused on how to obtain possessions and wealth. Nevertheless, it conveys important messages which could potentially make a big difference in our life that I think are very inspiring.

The main message of the book is that we have the power to manifest what we think and as a result our thoughts “attract” our reality – this is the so called “Power of attraction”. For instance, if you are scared that something will happen, it is very likely that it will actually happen compared to a situation that you don`t think about it. The opposite is also valid- thoughts of prosperity, health and fortune will attract these to you. Following this logic your current reality is an outcome of your thoughts in earlier periods. And your current thoughts are shaping your future. Quite fascinating and empowering, isn`t it? More practical aspects of the book are coming tomorrow 😉

 

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Feb 24 – The beauty of traditions

One of my favorite Bulgarian traditional holidays – the 1st of March is approaching (more about the tradition here). It is is the time when we give Martenitsas and wishes for health and happiness. 

This tradition is so dear to me as it brings me back to my childhood and the times spent with my grandparents. It also reminds me how small gifts given with love (like Martenitsas”) can be much more meaningful than expensive gifts made because there is an occasion and something needs to be bought.

This year I am planning to make Martenitsas on my own and give them to the people who I love together with a piece of my heart.  Just like my gradma would have done.

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Feb 23- The happiness formula

Today I stumbled upon a Happiness Formula in “The Happiness Hypothesis” book (more about the book here). I`ve been very interested in Positive Psychology and have come across multiple definitions and frameworks regarding happiness and can confidently say that this is the most comprehensive one that I`ve ever come across. And without a doubt, it is the absolute inspiration of today.

It is one of the most important ideas of Positive Psychology and can be presented in the following way:

H=S+C+V

  • H is, of course, Happiness 😉
  • S is our biological set point. It is scientifically proven that our genes play an important role in the levels of happiness that we can achieve. A person`s average or typical level of happiness is known as their “affective style”. This style is linked to the activity in our brain. People that have more activity in the right side of the brain would be more prone to “withdrawal- oriented” style implying relatively lower levels of happiness that people who have more activity in the left area of the brain and who have more of an “approach-oriented” style.
  • C are our external conditions. It is true that in most of the cases we adapt to our circumstances independently whether there are good or bad – this is referred to as the “adaptation principle”. However, it is proven that there some conditions are important to achieve lasting levels of satisfaction so it is worthwhile to develop an understanding of them:
  • Noise
  • Commuting
  • Lack of control
  • Shame
  • Relationships
  • V are our voluntary activities (and that’s where it gets very interesting). This is a matter of arranging your day and environment to increase both pleasures and gratifications. Pleasures have physical and sensory components; they can be derived from food, beach, sex and massages. They make us feel good only temporarily and have no lasting benefits.
  • Gratifications are experiences that engage you fully, allow you to lose your self-consciousness. These are the types of activities that put you in a state of a “flow”. It often occurs while doing physical movements such as skiing, running or swimming, but also in other situations where we are involved in a task that is both challenging, but also closely matched to our abilities such as painting, writing or photography. The key aspects of Flow are: There is a clear challenge that engages your attention, you have the skills to meet the challenge and you get immediate feedback on how you are doing at each step.
  • And this is where the main challenge lies. We need to find the right balance of pleasures and gratifications as we naturally have a tendency to go for pleasures and we should “encourage” ourselves to move to gratification-type of activities. They often come from learning something, improving something or accomplishing something. The key to finding your gratifications is to know your strengths.

I`ll end with two interesting scientific insights:

  • People who report the greatest interest in attaining money, fame or beauty are consistently found to be less happy and even less healthy that those who pursue less materialistic goals.
  • Research shows that it would serve us better to work less, earn less, accumulate less and consume more family time, vacations and other enjoyable activities.

So there it is. As usually my approach and advice is to take this with a pinch of salt. And use such insights as road maps that you need to customize for your own ways rather that as fixed recipes. In the end the path to happiness belongs to you only and nobody can walk it for you.

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Feb 22 – The soothing power of music

It has been scientifically proven that music has stress reducing properties and can have incredibly relaxing effects on our minds and bodies. Especially when it is soothing and calm. This is the type of music the artist that I discovered today makes. Her name is Shatam Kaur and she performs new age Indian devotional music.

More inspiration on music can be found here.

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Feb 21- About the world around us

“The Happiness Hypothesis” by Jonathan Haidt is a synthesis of wisdom from different cultures and times. It analyzes ten ideas that have been valued throughout centuries and integrates insights from recent scientific research to come up with a comprehensive set of valuable lessons that can be applied in our every day life.

Something that I read in the book today and that gave me food for thought and inspiration is:

“The world we live in is not really one made of rocks, trees and physical objects; it is a world of perceptions, opportunities, status symbols, saints and sinners. All of these are human creations, which although real in their own way are not real in the way the trees and rocks are real. These human creations exist only because you believe in them, like the fairies in Peter Pan”.

The world as we see it shaped by not only what physically surrounds us, but also how we perceive it, feel about it and respond to it. And that’s where the main challenge lies. We can choose to follow our often judgmental and biased minds. Or to work towards achieving more peace and harmony. By choosing the second option you’ll embark on a journey. A journey to yourself.

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Feb 20 – About heaven and hell

Today my inspiration is in the form of a beautiful quote from the “Fourty rules of love” (more about the book – here):

“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?”

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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” (more about the book and my previous reflections on it- here) talking about the grandfather of the author in his youth and how he reacted in a 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 that we are not perfect. Nobody is.

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?

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