Monday, 31 January 2011

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Are we too full?

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912),
received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself.

"It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

Saturday, 29 January 2011

De-clutter your life

What stops us from de-cluttering our lives?

Before we can start clearing out the clutter, it is important to understand why we hold on to more things than we have to.  Otherwise, we will de-clutter only to re-clutter again.  Here are some of our emotional contributors to clutter:
1.  Denial -- We do not recognize it as a problem.  We have allowed ourselves toclutter believe clutter is not affecting our lives.  Sometime we keep it hidden  (closets, garages, spare bedrooms, storage spaces) and out of "sight"  as a way of not dealing with it.   

2.  Overwhelm -- When we don't know where to begin, we can get lost in overwhelm.  Maybe the  task seems so huge we don't think we can manage it.  The state of overwhelm sucks our energy leaving us feeling exhausted at the idea of starting to deal with the clutter.  And of course, overwhelm is easily confused with "I don't have time."  This confusion leads to difficulty in knowing what to let go of and what to keep in order to bring balance to our body and our surroundings.

3.  Fear of Letting Go -- Letting go of an item can be symbolic of not wanting to let go of the past.  Our stuff can have an emotional charge that is like an umbilical cord that needs to be cut so we can grow.  We may have boxes of items that we have not used or looked at in a decade, but just can't throw them out.  We have all heard or maybe said:  "I am afraid I may need it some day" or "It could be worth something"  or "It has sentimental value."  Letting go of "stuff" makes more room for energy. 

4.  Guilt - How many of you have purchased exercise equipment only to have it collect cob webs?  Or feel guilty that you spent so much money for something that no longer serves you.  The problem is we feel guilty that we purchased it 10 years ago and never used it so we don't want to let it go.  Also, guilt has a big hold on us, as we equate our clutter with feelings of unworthiness for not fulfilling our roles as good mothers, daughters, husbands, wives etc.

5. Anger - Are you living in a space where the  clutter belongs to someone else and every time you see it you feel frustrated and angry?   Or Maybe it is you that's the clutter bug and it is a source of anger for your partner or spouse.  This energy can  drain loving energy from your relationship.  We can get stuck in anger and blame and use it as an excuse for not taking action.
6. Embarrassment -  Are you afraid of letting people into your home because you are embarrassed by the clutter and mess?   Maybe the laundry is always piled up, the toys are everywhere, the kitchen doesn't have a clean surface and your desk looks like a tornado passed through.  Sometimes we're just too embarrassed to ask for help.                         

Solutions to Clearing Your Clutter

"The stuff of our lives doesn't change.  It is we who change in relation to it."    Molly Vass

Space Clearing1.  Start Right Where You Are -- To reduce overwhelm, pick an area of a room, a drawer, a closet, or a table. Start small - once you have conquered your task then move on to another drawer or area and eventually you will begin to feel an energetic shift taking place.  You may also begin to feel more grounded and centered as you begin to change one room at a time. 

2.  Designate a Time Limit -- Plan how much time and attention you can give to this task.  Maybe it is 15 minutes a day.  Or you can set aside a day or a whole weekend and engage the assistance of family and friends, to clean out the garage, attic, or storage building.

3.  Decision Making -- Use labeled boxes or plastic bins to help you sort through your stuff and speed up your decision making process.  Some sort categories might be:  a) Keepers -- I LOVE IT!  It brings me joy and I can't live without it.
b) Toss -- I hate it!  I never use it or wear it.  or It's broken and doesn't work.  Now break this category down further by:  Sell, Recycle, Donate or Trash.  Remove everything that is dragging down the energy in your home.  Throw away dead plants and dried flowers; remove anything that represents negative energy for you like old photos, jewelry, or your "fat" clothes.

4.  Cleaning -- Now that you have removed all of the clutter and reorganized, the next step is to give your home a thorough cleaning.  Make sure all of the dishes are clean and put away.  Same with your laundry - fold and put away all of your clothes in their new spot.  Wash your linens and make your bed.  There is nothing more inviting than clean sheets and a freshly made bed.  Open all of your windows to bring in fresh air and energy.  Put some fresh flowers out and you will begin to feel the lightness and joy as it enters your space and your body.

5.  Clearing and Manifesting -- Now that your space has been cleaned and freshened, it is time to clear out the remaining stagnant energies the energetic imprints that are held within our space and our bodies.  Light some candles, burn incense or essential oils.  Smudge your body and your space with Sage.  Go around every room and every corner and every closet.  Leave no area behind.  Now follow around your space again while you ring bells, drum or clap to further clear the energy and lift the vibration.  Play some relaxing music as you focus on what you have cleared and released.  With your hands trace Figure 8's all around you and around your space as you begin to weave together this healing energy creating a strong energetic matrix to support you and your process.  Using our new Clearing and Manifesting Energies routine, you can now set your intention on what you truly desire to manifest in your body, your space, and your life. 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Happy Republic Day!

Where The Mind is Without Fear

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Rabindranath Tagore

Saturday, 22 January 2011

On Judging and Blaming

“Concern yourself not with what is right and what is wrong but with what is important.” -Unknown 
Sometimes we get so caught up trying to assign blame to people that we lose track of what really matters. I suspect we do this because it’s a lot easier to make someone else responsible for our feelings than it is to focus on what our feelings are telling us.
Buddha Holding a FlowerInstead of acknowledging we need to find the strength to confront someone, we dwell on the bad decisions they made. Instead of accepting that we need to make a major change in our professional lives, we get caught up in all the opportunities we didn’t get or all the obstacles we have to face.
Blame absolves us from creating forward momentum because in that moment, what seems relevant is someone else past decisions, not our choices in the present. But that’s where our power lies: in what we choose to do from moment to moment.
Today if you get caught up in what’s right and wrong and what should or shouldn’t have happened, ask yourself: what’s really important in the situation, and what are you going to do about it?
~ By Lori Deschene is the Founder of Tiny Buddha. Read more about her on or on Twitter @lori_deschene.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Importance of Flexibility

How flexible are you?  For me, it depends - on my mood, how much fear or resistance I have about something, how attached I am to a particular outcome, and various other factors.

However, as I look throughout my life (now and in the past), I realize that the situations, relationships, and experiences that cause me the greatest stress and frustration, are almost always the ones where I'm not being flexible.  And, on the flip side, the more flexible I am - the more peace, ease, and fulfillment become available.

Today, more than ever, we are challenged to be flexible - in our work, our relationships, and in every other important aspect of our lives. However, due to our own fear, arrogance, resistance, stress, and obsession with being right, we often end up being inflexible to our own detriment and to the frustration of those around us (or so I've been told).

Being flexible is not about being weak or passive.  Flexibility is a conscious choice, a powerful skill, and a valuable approach to the ever-changing, always-evolving world we live in.  We can be firm in our convictions, passionate about our beliefs, and clear about our intentions, and at the same time be flexible enough to make significant changes and be open to new ideas along the way.

Here are some key elements to expanding your own capacity for flexibility in your life -which will lead you to greater peace, joy, and fulfillment:
1)  Let Go of Your Attachment - Whenever we get attached to something - a specific outcome, a particular way of doing things, a rigid opinion, etc. - we are, by definition, inflexible. Letting go of our attachment to something doesn't mean we negate our desire or intention, it simply means we let go of controlling every aspect of it, forcing the action, and our fixation on it being exactly the way we think it should be. This is a process of conscious "non-attachment" (letting go), as opposed to detachment (not caring).
2)  Be Willing to Be Wrong - Most of us love to be right and will do and say just about anything to avoid being wrong.  Our obsession with "rightness" and fear of "wrongness" often gets in the way of going for what we want, saying what's on our mind, and letting go of our fixed ideas about how things are supposedto be.  When we're willing to be wrong (not necessarily interested in or intending to be wrong), we free ourselves up and give ourselves permission to take risks, try new things, and approach things (even really important things) with a creative, innovative, and flexible perspective.
3)  Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously - Taking ourselves too seriously (something which I know a thing or two about), creates unnecessary stress, pressure, and worry.  When we're able to laugh at ourselves (in a kind way), keep things in perspective, and remember that most of what we deal with on a daily basis in life is not life or death - we can take ourselves less seriously and thus have a more balanced, peaceful, and creative way of relating to things.
4)  Go with the Flow - If we pay attention to life, there is a natural flow that exists (although it may not always look like it or feel like it).  The more we're able to tap into the natural flow of life, trust ourselves and others, and believe that things will work out - the more likely we are to allow things to roll off our backs and manifest with ease.  As Esther Hicks says, "Most people are rowing against the current of life.  Instead of turning the boat around, all they need to do it let go of the oars." 
5)  Get Support and Feedback From Others - The support and feedback of others is invaluable in so many aspects of our life and growth, especially as it relates to us being more flexible.  We can learn from and model others who are more flexible than we are.  We can also give people in our life permission to remind us (with kindness) when we get rigid, uptight, over-attached, and start taking ourselves too seriously.

Being flexible is something that's often easier said than done for many of us.  However, just as with our physical bodies, the more attention we place on expanding our flexibility the more likely we are to do it.  As we enhance our ability to be flexible, our life can and will expand exponentially.
~ By Mike Robbins 

How can you practice being more flexible in your life right now? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog here.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Search for Simplicity

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity”. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The progression of most ideas and inventions goes through three steps. The first step is crude and simplistic. Then the idea is refined to consider all dimensions – and becomes complex. Finally, it requires enormous insight and creativity to distill the essence of the idea and transform it beyond the complex to the simple.  
As an example, man’s first attempts at flying were to strap on crude wings and jump from a cliff – a rather simplistic approach that often proved fatal.  Fortunately, the Wright brothers came along and created a complex piece of equipment called the airplane – leading to a multibillion-dollar aircraft manufacturing industry and an even larger airline industry. In a further step towards simplicity, telecommunication technology has reduced the need for travel by breakthroughs like Skype and tele-presence. We are still awaiting the next step of refinement – possibly teleportation – which will be far more energy-efficient and time-efficient.

In a similar vein, early human beings focused first on pure survival needs, looking at life rather simplistically. Then there was a realization that man cannot live by bread alone, and life started getting complex. A significant section of humanity is now obsessed with acquiring stuff – keeping up with the Joneses. The house you live in, the car you drive, the college you attend, the job that you do, the salary you get – these all became measures of success, and many of us spend our entire lifetimes pursuing stuff. We rarely pause to question why we are doing what we do – why we devote our lives to petty acquisitions. 

Too many of us give up our own true calling, our own dreams, to pursue other people’s values. As humankind, it is time we discover what life is really about – which is likely to be quite simple. Let’s reduce all the clutter and confusion that we seem to be carrying around as baggage.

Published by Sudhakar Ram on Mon, 17/01/2011 - 04:22

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Least Effort

Law of Least Effort
When you struggle against this moment, instead of knowing that this moment is as it should be, you're actually struggling against the entire universe. Instead, you can make the decision that today you will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. This means that your acceptance of this moment is total and complete. You accept things as they are, not as you wish they were in this moment. You can wish for things in the future to be different, but in thismoment you have to accept things as they are.
Adapted from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra (New World Library, 1994).
Least Effort for Healthy Produce
Surely the law of least effort for chemical-free produce is to buy that which was grown organically. Otherwise, this produce wash is the best I know of for removing chemical residue. It was formulated by Susan Summer, a food scientist. It uses vinegar and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. First, put the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in two different spray bottles. The technique is that you alternative spraying first vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide. Spray the alternating materials on the produce and the work surface. Rinse produce thoroughly under fresh running water before slicing.
Adapted from Home Enlightenment by Annie B. Bond (Rodale Press, 2007).

Friday, 14 January 2011

7 Vital Choices for Happy Relationships

by Lori Deschene
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~Lao Tzu
Ten years ago I thought I was going to marry my college sweetheart and become a young bride, which made it all the more devastating when happily ever after didn’t pan out. When we broke up, I felt literally like I lost a limb, complete with phantom sensations of his hand in mine.
It didn’t take long for a dark guilt to bubble up—a constant festering reminder of all the mistakes I’d made. I was highly unstable and insecure back then, and most of my relationships revolved around holding me up.
In the ruins of that romance, I didn’t know what scared me more: that someone else might hurt me again or that I might hurt them enough first to deserve it.
I simultaneously felt an aching need to fill in the hole where he’d been and an overwhelming sense of nausea at the thought of being with someone else.
For eight years I ping ponged from fling to fling and extreme to extreme—putting myself out there far too soon or completely hiding my authentic self; expecting mountains to move or anticipating the worst; choosing the wrong people and refusing to let go, or choosing the right people and running away.
In each case, I either burdened the guy with a body bag full of my fears and insecurities, or dragged it around myself wondering why dating felt so exhausting.
I learned every lesson the hard way after first proving myself completely insane by doing the same things and over and over again and expecting different results.
I’m now a little less than two years into a peaceful, loving relationship, and I realize the journey to this connection had more to do with loving myself than finding him. No relationship with someone else can ever compensate for secretly believing you don’t deserve it.
While I by no means know everything, I feel the hard part isn’t knowing what makes a healthy, happy relationship but actually applying that knowledge consistently. It’s a lot easier to make a laundry list of lessons than it is to put them into practice, especially when heightened emotions are involved.
So I’ve done something a little different to explore the different ideas that support healthy relationships. As I often do, I put a question out to the Tiny Buddha Facebook page: what’s thekey to a happy relationship?
I took a sampling of the nearly 200 responses and grouped them into 7 tips. For each one, I listed a few simple ways to apply those ideas right now. If you’re not currently in a romantic relationship, a lot of these can still apply to the other relationships in your life.

1. Practice self love first.

It seems like you can only have happy relationships if you can be happy with or without them. ~Erika Gonzalez
Know that it is not the other person’s job to make you happy. The only person who can do that is you! ~Christi Emmons
The ultimate kicker: be honest with yourself about who you are. ~Kelly Bell
Know that you can be yourself and still be accepted. The best relationship is when you bring out the best in each other, and you are purely content when neither has anything to say. ~Stephanie Schwenning
Take it off the page:
  • Make a list or mental note of all the things to appreciate about you. Realize everyone has flaws, and there’s a lot more right with you than wrong with you.
  • Work on forgiving yourself. The past is the past and you deserve to put it behind you, but no one else can let it go for you.
  • Be good to yourself today. Practice yoga, meditate, or take a walk.

2. Focus on compatibility.

Be best friends first. ~Wendy Nicholson
Have an incredible “like” for each other. ~Diane Bateman
Have shared (or at least compatible) values and communication. Everything else can be forgiven, accepted, or put aside, however values are the root of how we relate to all beings. ~Frank Ra
Find the person who inspires you to be a better you, and always encourage them to become the best them. ~Corinne Morrill
Take it off the page:
  • If you’re single, do something social that you love. You’re more likely to meet compatible people if you get out there and foster your  interests.
  • If you’re in a relationship, spend some time sharing something you both enjoy. My boyfriend and I met at karaoke, so singing together is a great way to connect.
  • If you’re in a relationship with someone and it always feels like hard work, ask yourself: are you trying to jam a square peg into a round hole? It can be scary to walk away from the wrong person, but it’s the only possibility of meeting someone who will feel right.

3. Practice acceptance.

Accept that not everyone or everything is perfect. We are all perfectly flawed. ~Simon Kirk
Be non-demanding of your partner—partners don’t tell each other what to do. ~John Bigl
Mutual adoration and acceptance of the differences that make each of you individuals are keys to a phenomenal relationship. ~Casey Kimes
Happiness is a choice, as are all things in life. I choose to see and feel grateful for all of the best qualities in my partner, rather than focusing on shortcomings. ~Emily Roberts
Take it off the page:
  • If you feel yourself focusing on everything someone appears to be doing wrong, ask yourself if there’s something else upsetting you. It’s easier to blame other people than it is to look in ourselves, but oftentimes that’s where the problem is.
  • If you feel like changing something about someone else today, ask yourself what change you can make in yourself instead. If you feel unappreciated, show appreciation. It’s more empowering and productive to show people how to treat us than to complain about what’s lacking.
  • If there’s something you just can’t accept, ask yourself if you’re willing to walk away because of it. We can’t change other people, but we can change our relationship to them.

4. Have realistic expectations.

Don’t expect it to be happy all the time. ~Stephanie Goddard
Don’t sweat the small things and speak up when it really is important to you. ~Elizabeth Sadhu
Remember that it isn’t always happy, but get through those not so happy moments together or apart, whichever is needed. ~Jessica Duff
Keep realistic standards for each other. ~Ashna Singh
Take it off the page:
  • Eliminate the word should today—how a relationship should work, how people shouldact if they love you.
  • Notice when you’re projecting something onto the other person that has nothing to do with them, like a fear from a past relationship. Then make an effort to let it go.
  • Recognize when you’re looking for that person to do something for you that you need to do for yourself, like make you feel lovable or take care of your needs. Then release those expectations and do it for yourself.

5. Be kind in words and deeds.

Think about the person’s feelings before you speak or criticize them. ~Dana Brewer Covey
Have a fast ear and a slow tongue. ~Mark Ward
Have compassion and grow together, not apart, as the years go on. ~Krista Tverdak
Love must be bigger and stronger than anything else. Never keep any record of your partner’s mistakes and faults and be ready to forgive. ~Mel Escobar
Take it off the page:
  • Make an effort to really listen—not just wait to talk.
  • See the other person as if for the first time. It’s all too easy to take someone for granted. Really notice all the wonderful things they do, and let them know what you see.
  • If you get frustrated with each other, ask yourself, “Will this really matter after I’ve cooled down?”

6. Be honest.

Talk about things that leave you vulnerable from the heart. ~Cheryl Floyed
Compromise and dream together. ~ Becca Stinson
From my grandparents, who have been happily married for 60 years: the three C’s: caring, communication, and compromise. ~Emily Larsen
Don’t sweat the small stuff, and if something really is bothering you talk about it in a calm controlled manner. Leave drama in the theaters and movies. ~Ben Reyna
Take it off the page:
  • Open up about something that you’ve been keeping to yourself. It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic. People can only be there for us if we let them.
  • If something’s on your mind, express it without implying the other person is responsible for your feelings.

7. Remember to act.

When you’re bored, do something about it. ~Ernie Somers
Adjust to change. Adjust to moods, lifestyle changes, and new additions, and always remember to love. ~Elysia Cordero
The rest comes and goes as we change and grow and struggle, but being able to laugh together brings you back together. ~Kerry Kokkinogenis
Have rich individual pursuits and pursue things together. ~Laura Texera
Take it off the page:
  • If you haven’t in a while, take time to do your own thing today—completely on your own or with friends.
  • Take time to laugh together, whether it’s watching funny YouTube videos or trying something new together.
  • If you feel dissatisfied with your life, don’t assume it’s your relationship. What other adjustments could you make to feel happier with your place in the world? Maybe you need to take a small step toward a hobby or more fulfilling job.
And lastly…
Start over again and again. ~Miguel Angel Carrillo Infante
It’s a new day–a new chance to practice giving and receiving love.
Some of the Facebook responses were slightly edited for spelling; some were part of longer responses with more detail. Photos here and here.