We had a blissfully fun time in Hawaii, filled with sun, laughter, and relaxation. It was truly an occasion of celebration for love and life. But in life, the opposite extreme also exists within the same time and space continuum.
Shortly after returning from our honeymoon, while still wearing our ear-to-ear smiles, we got news that my grandpa Lozier passed away on the day of our flight home, at the age of 95.
I was deeply saddened by this news and spent the next three weeks in silent mourning. Suddenly, all the problems created by my imagination seemed insignificant and petty, and I began to ponder my own mortality.
I reviewed the previous week, and regretted fighting with my mom in Hawaii. I regretted making her sad and angry with my immature and occasionally lingering teenage ways. I regretted not spending more time with grandma and grandpa Lozier. I regretted not spending more quality time with my parents while in Hawaii. I regretted all the time I spent thinking hateful thoughts about things I had no control over. I wished I could take it all back. I felt sorrow at the realization of lost time, and that I could never get it back again.
This is a record of what I’ve learned over the past few weeks in my pondering of life, death and regret.
Have you ever found yourself in a scenario where you had multiple deadlines, a long list of unfinished tasks, past due bills coming in the mail because you had forgotten to pay them, a rented copy of The Office Season 4 DVD that was due 9 days ago, and family, friends, and bosses asking you to do more? What can we do to gain back control of these chaotic and stressful situations?
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly busier. Things are moving at a faster pace and we are forced to move right along with it. More is required out of the average person than ever before. The benefit of our advancing society is that we are able to reap abundantly more than our grandparents would’ve ever imagined was possible. The downside is that we are often overwhelmed by the number of things that we are responsible for and that are required of us.
Sometimes the feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t come from the actual tasks and responsibilities we have but from the mental clutter that occupies our minds. For example, if you are at work and you start to mentally run through all of the things that need to get done once you leave the office; you need to get on the phone to reschedule a dentist appointment, pick up your kids from daycare, pay the electric bill, and then take your car to the auto shop, then you’ve already added to the pressure of those events by running them over and over in your head.
Another example would be a person who is nervous about giving a 15 minute presentation. The hours and hours spent anticipating and worrying for days beforehand adds to the stress level, which may inevitably cause the feeling of being overwhelmed.
So, how are we supposed to handle these overpowering situations? I believe that we start by asking ourselves some very important questions, then answering those questions honestly.
I have not spoken about this publicly, but one of the most extraordinary things that has ever happened to me was meeting an enlightened guru from India, named Paramahamsa Nithyananda, we call him Swamiji (Pronounced “Swan-me-jee”). The clarity I gained through meeting and learning from him was responsible for many of the lessons and simplicities behind Think Simple Now.
He is currently in the US, and as I was writing personal emails to close friends encouraging them to check him out, I felt that I would be doing my readers a great disservice, if I did not share him with you.
The happiest period of time in my life occurred during a six month stretch, roughly two years ago. I lovingly refer to this time as my “spiritual awakening” period. Several things contributed towards my falling into and staying in this state of bliss: