Two weeks ago, I wrote about optimism when things don’t go our way. Well, this week, I could have used some of that optimism. I think the honeymoon period of living in a hospital is over.
So, I’ve been at the hospital for a little over 3 weeks, on bed rest. It’s been two weeks since Jeremy returned to work, so I spend most days alone on my fancy multi-adjustable hospital bed, with 7 pillows, a laptop and the TV remote.
In the beginning, I thought I was at the Ritz hotel. Nurses remind me of when I should take my pills, I get to hear my baby’s heart beat twice a day, my contractions are being monitored regularly, there’s daily house-keeping and an array of food choices at the push of a button – just like room service, except, it’s free and no tipping.
Then, I found out a week ago that I had Gestational Diabetes (GD) – a common but temporary symptom for 16% of pregnant women during the third trimester (28 weeks until delivery). Which means I’m on food restrictions.
The nurse of the day happily walked in and handed me a new menu – it says “Diabetes Diet Menu“. Because I don’t eat meat or eggs, my choices became further limited.
After 76 days of living in an ashram in a tiny village town East of Bangalore in India, I am home at last.
I still have not found a proper one-liner that concisely answers the common question, “How was it?” A cliché “Good!” seemed appropriate to satisfy the questioner, but it is not the right answer. I’ve tried several answers and nothing seems to accurately conjure what I experienced. “I’ll write about it soon” quickly became my reply… and soon, I started to avoid people all together.
In this article – which is a personal update for those interested – I will attempt to share some slices of experience from my spiritual journey for the past 3 months.
There is so much I want to say, yet there is nothing I feel like saying. I wish to convey my feelings without words, but that isn’t possible over the Internet, so I will do my best with words.
Whenever reminded of my experience, my first instinctual response is to feel an utter space of peace, and sometimes, I feel like crying, tears of Joy and pain which I experienced and overcome, tears of gratitude … grateful for my transformation, grateful for the space of unattached clarity and undisturbed bliss. During this time, I had witnessed many miracles, which are truly beyond words and logic.
(Update 07/08/2009: I’ve decided to extend my stay for two more months, and will be in India until September.)
For the next four weeks, I will be living in an ashram near Bangalore India. I will be attending a meditation and spiritual retreat called Inner Awakening that I have been anticipating for many months now.
It’s an opportunity to learn directly from an enlightened guru in a serene environment, along with several hundred other spiritual seekers from around the world.
I’ve decided not to bring my laptop or cell phone, and to fully emerse myself in the experience. Besides, a month without technology sounds like a really nice cleanse of its own.
Do you regularly feel at ease and at peace? Are you continuously overflowing with Joy and Bliss on a daily basis, such that you seem free of problems and emotional pain? If so, go directly to the comment section and share with us your secrets.
If you’re still reading, you are amongst the vast majority of us striving for a better life, yearning for a more peaceful and joyful existence. Yet, it seems like an impossible challenge, where we end up mentally punishing ourselves for failing, concluding that “I’m just not made to live in peace.”
You see, it’s not us, it’s just that we’ve become so easily distracted by the hurrying demands of modern life, that we’ve temporarily lost touch with our natural state of being. But there is a way, if we seek it.
The purpose of this article is to share a simple technique to bring more peace, joy and clarity into your life. Would you like that?
While pain might be inevitable,
the suffering that comes from the pain is not.
Suffering is not a state of life, it is a state of mind.
Suffering is your response to an event.
Whether you suffer or not depends
entirely on your reaction to that situation.~Paramahamsa Nithyananda (Swamiji)
Today, I will get (more) personal.
I’ve debated about whether or not to share this information in a post. It was a quiet battle between keeping my personal life somewhat private, and the intense desire to share the lessons from this important chapter of my life. In sharing, I’ve surrendered to my fear of being judged negatively by you – readers of Think Simple Now.
My husband Jeremy was married once before. During the early stages of our romantic courtship, he was simultaneously battling the lingering ends of an unsettling divorce (things got ugly and someday I hope to share the details of this tale with you – perhaps in a book). Suffice it to say, it felt like it was never going to end.
For about six months, my inner stillness was disturbed and stirred up by the negative feelings revolving around this event. My “pain body” came crawling out in full, front-and-center view, and stayed with me while causing unnecessary suffering.
Even when his divorce was finally over, I didn’t feel much better. The feelings of resentment and hate (however subtly in my subconscious) for his ex-wife remained for another three months after the fact – until two weeks ago to be exact.
This article isn’t about forgiveness or complaining about my own self-inflicted pains, but it is about personal freedom. The kind of freedom from the massive mountain of stories we’ve piled onto ourselves that result in suffering.
Are you experiencing anything that is causing you worry, heartache, resentment or stress? If so, continue to read and allow me to share the story of my new found freedom… and how I got there.
I consider myself a frugal person and I’ve always thought that it was a good thing. However, I recently discovered that, while frugality is a worthy and useful quality, the root of my own frugality is based on some limiting beliefs that I’ve held.
It all started with the story of a little dell laptop, and the story went something like this… The computer I use every day is a five-year-old Dell laptop. It was originally my work laptop from Amazon.com, until the hardware lease expired, and I was allowed to purchase it for $68.
This little machine has served me well, but due to its nature (ahem – it runs on Windows) – its gradual decline in reliability and performance was noticeable (even after re-installing Windows and doubling the RAM). I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the need to reboot my computer at in-opportune moments, and the random crashes and slowness of Photoshop – which I frequently use.
Last week, Jeremy watched as I was hunched over my little laptop, frustrated once again by the slowness of its functions, hinting of the need to reboot. I cursed out loud, not wanting to reboot because I had too many browser tabs open; so I persisted, insisting that I could tough it out. He turned to me, and with a concerned expression, said, “Honey, let’s get you a new Macbook and an external display. I think you’re really gonna love it and you’ll be so much happier and productive.”
I have resisted converting to Apple for about ten years. My excuse was always that I couldn’t stand the keyboard differences. While this was somewhat true, it was also an excuse to stay within my comfort zone and to resist change. That evening, however, I reached a tipping point in my dissatisfaction with PCs, and decided to give Mac a try (while trying to ignore the resistance in my stomach).
So, Jeremy and his friend Dave took me to the Apple Store. Once inside, I immediately felt like a kid in a candy store, drooling over the sleekness of the machines and the beautifully minimalistic store design. We walked into the store with the idea of buying the cheapest laptop + display combo, but when I saw that the current generation of 23″ monitors have a glossy reflective display, I knew that it would distract me more than be a tool of inspiration and productivity.
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.
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:
We’ve all heard the popular eastern mantra: we create our own pain, in our minds. Yet, when it comes down to daily living, we still do that which contradicts what we say we want – we continue to willingly inflict pain upon ourselves.
Despite being an advocate and devoted “preacher” of this message, I too subject myself to this self-inflicted pain, and suffer from itsfallout.
For the past few months, I have been drifting in-and-out of an unconscious and anxious state of mind over the anticipated conclusion of an unresolved situation. My mind dwelled on the uncertain nature of the situation, and would not let go of the self-depleting thoughts that were creating a lot of pain and negativity within my inner space – uneasiness, resentment, anger and hatred. Suffice it to say that my inner peace had been stirred up into an unpredictable storm.
I am happy to report that the event did finally come to a conclusion, and it ended in my favor. Now I’m struggling a little with the conflicting feelings of shame, for having been angry and spiteful, and feelings of gratitude for having experienced these emotions and learning from them.
While analyzing and extracting the lessons learned, I saw that pain and our reactions to it come to us in a familiar pattern. Unless we take some proactive measures to interrupt this pattern, we will forever be enslaved to the whim of some external circumstance that is beyond our control.
When faced with tough life situations, what can we do to handle them while minimizing any disturbances to our emotional wellbeing? This is the focus of discussion in this article.
Are you tired of setting New Year’s resolutions only to find yourself faced with the same resolutions a year later? Don’t you just hate that feeling of guilt rising in your stomach at the thought of lost time, lost opportunities and lack of self-discipline?
I was at the gym last night and was shocked to see 3 times as many people there than normal. Rushing out of a locker room filled, hip-to-hip, with half-clothed ladies I’ve never seen before, I hopped on the last of twelve treadmills and gazed around the room in amazement – nearly every machine was occupied, the personal trainers were fully engaged, and there were countless new faces.
This is what I call “New Year’s Resolution Syndrome”.
It is well-known that gyms will overbook annual memberships at the start of each year, banking on the fact that many people will not follow through and will eventually stop showing up. Over the next few weeks, the traffic will slowly die down and the gym will be back to its normal and quiet self again.
What’s the problem here? The problem is that resolutions do not work. Especially the socially coined, “New Year’s Resolutions”. It’s a cliché that only 12% of people actually take action on and resolve.
What we need is a different approach. We need a system of designing our lives to sustainably improve the quality of our daily experience.
This article details a step-by-step system that I personally use for creating and living a balanced and meaningful life. Throw away ‘them TO-DO lists, and resolutions, because they don’t work – at least, they don’t last long enough to make a sustainable impact. Let’s drill down and focus on what really matters.