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The Secret to Self Loving

Photo by emma

This past year, I have come to appreciate the power of truly loving myself. Most of my life, being alone was one of my biggest fears. I found myself in numerous relationships for the wrong reasons and ended up settling in ill-fitting ‘partnerships’. This deeply rooted fear and lack of understanding of myself caused the relationships to become my whole world; my focus of attention; my center. I would sacrifice my own goals for the other person. And, when the relationship collapsed, so did my sense of self.

Through much introspection, I realized the source of these failed relationships was myself. I realized that I didn’t truly love or appreciate myself and had relied on external sources for love and approval. I decided to change. I had to overcome my fear of loneliness by finding independence and personal freedom. Even since I found true appreciation for myself, the quality of relationships I have attracted has been phenomenal. I have discovered that the more I loved and understood myself, the less I feared being by myself, and the more healthier relationships I was able to attract into my life.

I started doing what I called “Dates with myself“. Regardless my external relationship status, I would schedule time with myself. I would literally take myself out on a date and spend that time totally focused on myself. It’s my time. We spend so much time and energy focused on others that we forget to recharge the source of that energy. It is only when you are well that you can have the energy and internal resources to make a positive difference and help others. This is a simple, yet powerful concept that can dramatically improve your wellbeing, effectiveness and mental health.

Cleaning Out Your Life: One Closet at a Time

Photo by jamelah

A clean and organized closet provides many benefits: better space utilization, your items are organized and accessible, not to mention the biggest gains: an organized closet space adds to the harmony of your home, as well as your mental wellbeing. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, and because everything carries with it energy, the mess in our environment can affect how we feel subconsciously. We might suddenly feel very irritable without knowing why. Your closet and the surface spaces of your home are good places to start this cleaning process. This will result in a deeply therapeutic and fulfilling experience.

I did a deep closet cleaning a year ago, and let me tell you, such heavy ‘mental bags’ were lifted off my shoulders. I gave away 11 bags worth of clothing and shoes (see picture) and I felt like a new person: empowered, organized, light and a new beginning.

Here are some strategies for cleaning out your closet space…

7 Hacks to Remember Any Name

Photo by Hamed Saber

Our name is one of those hard wired words in our subconscious (like “Free” and “Sex”), which has the intrinsic trigger to get our attention. You are more likely to react and respond to the sound of your name than say the word “apple”.

The ability to remember people’s names is an incredibly useful skill, in business and social interactions. Do you remember how impressed or surprised you were the last time someone remembered your name? I still get impressed, and I tend to remember these people in an especially warm and friendly light.

I have a distinct, short and easy to remember name (“Tina Su”). I often fall victim to the embarrassment of not remembering names of people who approach me with “Hi Tina, how are you?” My mind would go into panic, thinking “Oh crap! What’s her name again?”

I have developed the following techniques to help myself remember names. I’ve used each one extensively and they have proven to be effective in my experience. I want to share these with you, and hope that you will find them as valuable as I have.

9 Ways of Cultivating Creativity

Photo by Cindy Loughridge

I believe that Creativity and Spirituality are interconnected. By spirituality, I don’t mean religion, I’m referring to the human spirit, our Source, that place in us that feels connected to Life. Napoleon Hill calls it “Infinite Intelligence“. Deepak Chopra calls it “Pure Consciousness“. My friend Joshua Roman described it beautifully, “..that place in us that never ends.”. This beautiful place in us which cannot be accurately described by words, and can only be felt by the heart.

Being creative is simply relaxing into that place in you and connecting with this “Infinite Intelligence”. It is a gift in each of us, waiting to be discovered. We are all talented beings, because we all have access to the same infinite Source. We are all richly endowed, naturally.

When we act from a place of Creation, we are in a place of abundance, where there are no bounds. Limitations and scarcity only comes when we act from a place of Competition.

There is no such thing as Being more creative“, you ARE already a creative being. But, you can practice to become more in-tuned or aware of that creative energy surrounding you, all the time, of which you have unlimited access to.

Here are 9 practices I personally use to help me in ‘cultivating’ creativity.

How to Motivate Yourself to Massive Action

Photo by Sara Lando
It's the action behind the attraction that makes the wish come true

Powerful motivation comes in understanding that you can achieve anything you truly desire in your heart. It is the knowledge that you are destined to fulfill your every goal, which drives you to change.

The decision is the first step towards change. Regardless of the decision, every change requires some form of action. Do you find it challenging at times to motivate yourself in taking action? Sometimes, I catch my mind making excuses, and occasionally I ‘succeed’ in avoiding the action all together. Here are some pointers I have personally found helpful in motivating myself:

  • What & Why?“Start with the end in mind.” To achieve a goal, it’s important to define clearly what that goal is. How do you know when you’ve achieved it? Define a measurable end. Once you have your goal, it’s important to understanding the Why – why you are doing it? Ask yourself what are the motivating factors behind it? For your family? For your kids? Why? Why must you succeed?
  • Break it down to small achievable tasks – It is very easy, and human, to be overwhelmed by the sheer effort and energy involved in achieving a big goal. Especially if the goal consists of many unknowns or a long-drawn process. We tell ourselves it’s impossible or it’s too much work, and then we give up even before we take any action towards a goal. I’ve found it very helpful to always split the main goal into several milestones. Then breaking each milestone into a series of steps to achieve that milestone. For each step, break them down further into smaller, measurable and achievable tasks that can be achieved in a few hours or less. This will make the goal appear manageable. Achieving one task after another builds confidence and momentum, and before you know it, the end result will be in sight.

How to Fight Your Fears

Photo by Krisztina Tordai

Fear is one of my favorite topics. Much of my time has been spent understanding this emotion and how I can overcome my personal fears. A sense of personal empowerment, accomplishment, and fulfillment surges with each fear I face.

The most important fact about fears that we should always bear in mind is this: Fear is not a rational response to whatever challenges stare at us in life. And it is all in our mind, within us, and not anything external to us.

The purpose of fear is to protect us from life threatening circumstances. For example: to run away when there’s a bear chasing us, or to be careful when handling live electric wires.

Fear can cause us to make an irrational response to challenges we face. Fear imposes limits on our minds, removing our clarity and leaving only negative thought patterns. Fear causes us to act emotionally because we panic, our mind shuts down and we respond instinctively to protect ourselves and our egos.

Fear hinders us in situations where there is no direct threat to life, but we might perceive a threat to our life as we know it. Fear of failure is one of the most crippling emotions that can limit your potential in life. Fear of social censure makes one feel lonely. Fear of heights takes away the joy of reaching mountain peaks and touching the clouds.

A personal story: I started photographing people, because

The Causes That Make My Heart Sing

Alex Shalman started a writing project called Caring Compassion Charity where each person tagged is to write about a cause they feel passionate about. I was tagged by Priscilla Palmer and Jean Browman at the Cheerful Monk. Much appreciated!

There are two causes close to my heart: 1) Tibetan Children 2) Empowering People

Tibetan Children – The Story

I spent a month last year traveling in Tibet. The journey was a life altering one. My experience moved my life focus inwards and lead to a series of events that triggered my understanding of ‘Happiness‘. I learned many lessons from the pilgrims, lamas, and street children I connected with throughout my journey. It became clear to me that one can be truly happy with no external possessions, and that the kindness within you can never be taken away. I was quickly moved by their lives of devotion, compassion and simplicity. Their generosity and consideration towards all people deeply touched me. I have never felt so loved by a group of strangers, and met a happy group of people who lived on so little.

6 Ways to be Positive in Any Situation

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a dismal mood? Being negative?

The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious; not only does it affect the individual, but it spreads to anyone they interact with. When only the negative perspective is in focus, the resolution process is impeded.

Eliminating negativity, or rather, being positive is a mindset that can be found at any moment, and turned into a habit. Here are some tips that can help you in shifting your mindset:

  1. Shift Your Thoughts – Be conscious of your thoughts. Especially, when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are diving into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity, mind-created stories, and negative downward spiral. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.
  2. Find the Lesson – There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. Sometimes lessons are expensive, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.

Attitude of Gratitude: 5 Tools for Appreciation

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We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

When life gets hectic and you begin to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are grateful for in life. When you are grateful, other things will fall by the wayside. For example, you probably won’t be able to feel jealous and grateful at the same time. You might even be thankful for someone else’s success or their contribution to you. Being thankful gives you perspective on you situation and brings you to the present moment.

One of the most impressive reasons for being grateful is the positive impact on the way you think and feel. Research shows that grateful people have, “higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy . . .”

You will find a positive emotional state by simply focusing on the parts of your life that you are most thankful for. Appreciate the abundance in your life. Being grateful is an energizing way to start your day and a relaxing way to end it. Tony Robbins suggests to list out all the things you are grateful for as you warm up for your morning exercise. Deepak Chopra has incorporated gratitude exercises into his guided meditations. Swamiji has added similar techniques in his guided meditation; Nithya Dhyann.

Feeling gratitude is an important practice that I have brought into my daily routine. I notice that it has improved my emotional wellbeing and general happiness.

Sometimes a quick visual reminder is all you need to bring you back to a place of thankfulness and abundance.

1. Gratitude Journal: Each evening you can list the things for which you are grateful. Start with just five things. You will soon see that your list is much longer than you expected. Personally, I have found that the best part of a Gratitude Journal is the record it creates; pages and pages of my personal history of abundance.

Meditation 101: How to Start

Photo by Christopher Daniels

We mentioned the benefits of meditation in the article: Finding Clarity & Inner Stillness.

If meditation is new to you, this article suggests several ways how you can start today. These suggestions are all based on my personal experience testing out various techniques over the years. I have personally found these to be helpful and hope that they can add value to your wellbeing.

1. Zazen or what swamiji calls “Just Sit”. From Zen techniques and also used in transcendental meditation. This is the simplest technique of meditation:

  1. Find a comfortable place. Sit with your back straight. It’s important that you are not lying down or slouching as you might fall sleep. Make sure you won’t be disturbed by closing the door and turning off or placing the phone in silent mode.
  2. Let your hands rest naturally and comfortably in your lap, or on top of each other.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Start breathing deeply and fully, eventually to a natural breathing rhythm.
  5. Focus on your breath and nothing else.
  6. When a thought comes, acknowledge the thought, let it pass, and go back to focusing on your breath.
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