Start now

I want you to be brutally honest with yourself.  Ask yourself how many times you’ve stalled or waited around before doing something.  I mean…how many times have you, instead of starting, sat around and waited for the perfect time or opportunity to come by?  By the time you waited and waited, all your colleagues, peers and friends passed you by as they achieved their goals and seized opportunities.

I get it, it’s so easy to fall into this pattern of not starting.  Trust me, I used to be a habitual staller.  I justified me NOT starting as “oh, I have the time tomorrow,” “I don’t have the money to start just yet” or “I don’t want to push too hard or I might seem desperate”.  I missed out on many great opportunities because I failed to start sooner.

Then after starting have you ever told yourself or felt like, “damn, I wish I started earlier”?  Well that is how I was feeling about almost everything at one point.  I got into this bad habit of putting things off and cutting myself slack.  You see, I know that I can do most anything I put my mind too.  That being said, because I know this about myself, I wouldn’t put the pressure on myself that I needed.  Especially being self-employed and having no one to guide or push me, I was having a hard time figuring out a balance between discipline and spontaneity.  I got into a habit of not setting specific deadlines and that in turn kept deterring my progress because I would stall so frequently.  This eventually led me to having many “I wish I started earlier” moments.

It wasn’t intentional, I wasn’t trying to not start.  Things would just pop up that I would rather do or not do.   I couldn’t figure out what exactly was causing me to stall.  Then one day, I realized that not having set deadlines was the reason for me not starting.  So, in order to change this habit, I decided to consciously set short term goals for the day or the week.  By doing this, I could teach myself to develop positive habits of not procrastinating or stalling.  By writing out the things (even if they were little things) I had to do for the day or week, I consciously had a timeline that I had to follow.  And sure, I could still indulge in my usual habit of stalling by not immediately starting my tasks so long as I accomplished them by the end of the day.  As long as I could finish everything on the list or at least start it, I was happy knowing that I was able to make changes in my usual stalling habit without it completely throwing me off.

Going forward, to help me avoid NOT STARTING, and to help me START NOW, I consciously write out my task list of what I need or want to accomplish.  If it’s something that I know will take a long time and cannot be completed in one short day, I still write it down and transfer it over to the next days list.  This reinforces my goal and keeps me aware that I have to take appropriate steps to achieve my said task.  By getting into this habit of being aware of the tasks I need to accomplish and then having a deadline (even if no one else is monitoring it), it pushes me to start on the task.  Now, I find that I am well prepared for many opportunities that come my way.  I am prepared financially whereby, I can attend a seminar or course because I took the time to plan appropriately.  I am prepared emotionally because I am not stressed out about all the other things that still have to be completed.  Finally, I am prepared with extra time because I am managing my time a lot better.

Time to reflect:

Do you stall?  Do you wait for the perfect time or place or etc. to get you started?  Well, more often than not, if you get into a habit of stalling you will miss out on many opportunities.  It’s important to do what you can to change this habit, especially if it’s detrimental to your personal development.  Do something small, like writing down the task you need to do that day.  Doing this puts subconscious guilt or obligation on yourself to finish the task.  Even if you don’t finish, at least you started and got the ball rolling.  The key is to, start now!  Good luck!

mindbodysoul

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”  ~ Lord Chesterfield 

Deactivating Facebook saved my life

When Facebook first came out, I was in total denial and did everything in my power not to follow the trend of my friends and peers by joining.  Facebook was invented exactly at the same time I was in university.  Now this was back in the day when you couldn’t just become a member, you had to get invited…or am I thinking of Gmail?  Anyway, back then the rules were different.  There weren’t “like buttons” or ample storage space for walls and albums galore.  I was one of the many pioneers and first generation users for this social network.  It was solely used as a tool for popularity and the more people you knew, the cooler you were.  Hence why I was so anti-Facebook back then.  I just didn’t care to be popular.  Regardless, I literally spent my entire adult awakening (my twenties) years developing an unhealthy obsession with Facebook.

As I grew up with Facebook, it was fast becoming a necessity in life.  The idea behind Facebook changed.  At first, it was a way to stay in touch with people around the world and make communication easier for long distance relationships.  It was great for staying in touch with life long friends.  I validated joining Facebook by connecting with friends from elementary, junior high, high school and university that I lost touch with.  It was a great tool to use to reach out and be accessible.  Also, it was an online photo album, which was a great idea.  Hence, why it did phenomenal, everyone, their parents and grandparents got involved.  Businesses even got involved and soon it was used to market products and services and glamorize fan pages and etc.

I got into this unhealthy habit of logging on to Facebook immediately once I got home from work, outings with family and friends, or just because I wanted too.  It was robotic, it became instinct or second nature to log on.  I felt disconnected from the world if I wasn’t logged on.  I couldn’t see what my friends were doing, I couldn’t see how people felt or what they were posting and it would give me anxiety because I felt like I wasn’t in the loop of things.  It was bordering obsessive compulsive.  There would be times where I’d log on and do absolutely nothing, just stare at the same pictures over again or flip through the same albums of other people I envied.  Facebook was becoming my psychological enemy.  It was turning my mind against me.

Facebook created this unwanted competitive nature within me.  I would sit back and look at snap shots of everyones lives and see all their accomplishments and think about how much I lacked.  I would focus my attention on this envy I felt while others travelled the world or met celebrities because of their jobs and etc.  I was addicted to this love hate feeling for Facebook. I would hate how I felt after logging on and wasting hours doing nothing, but love it for allowing me to see how others close to me were living their dreams.  I was inspired really by others and wanted to be like them, free to do what I want and be happy while doing it.  But, all the while I was wasting my precious life on Facebook watching others live their lives while I sat behind a computer crying about mine.  So, I made the choice to deactivate my account.

After deactivating my account, I felt a renewed energy in me.  I didn’t have this anxiety anymore, like I didn’t have to follow this routine of logging in at an exact time and witnessing other peoples glorious moments while I tried to find myself.  I didn’t have this pressure anymore to be something.  All of the sudden, it was like I was free.  I had so many hours at hand now to do anything and everything I wanted.  I was still connected to everyone I knew that meant something to me, without having to see the lives of other people that I am not that connected with.  It was like the race was over.  The race to see who can out do who with the most number of friends, albums of exotic places or adventures.  I had so much time that I was able to put the time and attention that was much needed toward my businesses.  I was able to meditate and practice yoga more consistently.  It was like out of sight, out of mind.  So, because I deactivated my Facebook account, I saved myself from my destructive self and that in turn saved my life.

Time to reflect:

Are you addicted to Facebook or some other social network?  Do you feel pressure or anxiety because of this tool, which is supposed to help you?  If you don’t then that’s great, and I applaud you for not allowing this tool to manipulate your mind and life.  If you’re like me and are addicted to using Facebook but it’s affecting you negatively in the process, maybe you should consider deactivating your account.  You don’t have to do this permanently, you can always go back and activate it, but maybe try for a few days or weeks.  Start small by not logging on for an entire day, then progress more and try not logging on for a few more days.  Keep doing this and one day you’ll notice that you won’t even have that need to check your Facebook anymore.  Good luck!

mindbodysoul

“If you can’t stop thinking about someone’s update, that’s called “status cling.” ~ Jessica Park

Yoga – Hot vs. Regular

yoga quotes

I love yoga.  It changed my life and for the past 5 years I’ve been practicing it for my personal development.  I wanted to get myself into a routine, work on my health, look and feel good and do something natural that’s existed for centuries.  I was always fascinated by people who practiced yoga daily.  I envied their discipline, flexibility, strength, and obviously their amazing bodies.  I kept telling myself, I am going to be a yogi one day.  So, instead of telling myself, I started doing it.

I first experienced yoga when I was in my teens while in gym class.  We took a few lessons and that was the extent of my expertise on the subject.  So, before diving into a yoga routine I wanted to find out more about it.  I did some research and realized I didn’t know the first thing about yoga, even if I remembered a few things from my old gym class.  Did you know there are like a million styles of yoga?  Well, not really a million, but there are many styles!  Once I typed yoga in Google, a zillion hits popped up with names like, Hatha, Kundalini, Yin, Moksha, Bikram yoga and etc..  I didn’t even know what I was looking at.  So, I turned to a friend who had taken a few yoga lessons and she suggested that I try hot yoga.

I typed hot yoga in Google and it narrowed it down to a list of locations that offered it and so I clicked on the one closest to me, which taught Bikram yoga.  I checked out their schedule and rates and decided I’d try their Introductory package for new students and tried 10 days of hot yoga.  Immediately going into the room I realized this is not what I remembered yoga to be.  I walked into a 40 degrees Celsius heated sauna like room and immediately started sweating.  I probably guzzled down 4 bottles of water in less than 1 hour.  At first it was hard to breath, especially since I have asthma, because of the excess heat.  But, as we progressed with the poses it got easier and more comfortable.  By the end of the 1hr 30mins session, it felt as if I had sweat all the toxins out of my body.  It was not only a cleanse internally but also externally.  For the first time, my skin looked and felt so much better and healthier.  I was hooked.

After practicing hot yoga for a few years, I decided I wanted to understand why there were so many different styles and how they varied.  So, I started to attend classes that offered regular yoga, some of which include Hatha, Asthanga, Moksha, Vinyasa, and Restorative yoga.  I realized after attending the different classes that each style offered something unique and different.  Some styles concentrated on strengthening the mind and body, while other styles focused on relieving stress and pain.  Vinyasa is a style where you flow from pose to pose melodically, almost like a dance.  Whereas, Asthanga is a Power yoga where you concentrate on building muscle strength and stretching the body simultaneously and is often physically demanding.  Finally, Restorative yoga is a combination of meditation and yoga which concentrates only on 5 poses throughout the session while holding those poses for 15 mins at a time.  Regular yoga occurs in a standard, room temperature, studio and you will notice that you won’t sweat as much unless it’s an intensive power yoga session.

After trying both hot vs. regular yoga, I would have to say I personally enjoy hot yoga much more.  I kill two birds with one stone, I get to practice yoga while detoxing because of the sauna like conditions.  If you can’t handle heat, I suggest NOT to try it because it is very strenuous on the lungs while trying the poses.  It becomes very uncomfortable at times and you feel like you need air but you are not allowed to leave the studio, as it affects the other students.  If you want to learn the techniques specifically, then I suggest you try Hatha yoga, which is the original yoga.  All styles of yoga originated from Hatha yoga and added their own twists.  Hatha yoga will teach you all the poses and the techniques that go with them.  Once you’ve mastered that, you can try Vinyasa because it helps you flow from pose to pose and allows the development of breathing techniques.  Finally, after you’ve conquered that, you can try power yoga through Asthanga, which will really help train and challenge your body using everything you learned from yoga.

Time to reflect:

Have you ever tried yoga?  If you have, what’s your favourite style of yoga?  If you haven’t, I really recommend you try out a few classes.  Don’t just buy a package and commit to one yoga centre.  Try out different places and styles by purchasing their Introductory New Student package which is often no more than $20 and lasts for 7-10 days.  That way you can get accustomed to the practice of yoga, check out the different schedules to see which one fits your lifestyle and timing and you can figure out which style is suited for you.  Sometimes you will find that one particular style of yoga may not be suited for you and it would be awful to be stuck with an expensive package.  Go out and try it!

mindbodysoul

Coping with judgement

Previously, I wrote about how I was getting tired of constantly being judged.  Since my divorce, I have been judged by everyone and their grandmothers.  I get it, I made a mistake and now the lords of judgement are here and passing their judgements on me.  It’s inevitable, no matter where you go, you will be judged.  I even dealt with abusive judgement, where it got to the point of me having suicidal thoughts because I couldn’t get away from my past.  I felt like I was reliving all my failures over and over again and could never see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I felt like I was stuck in a tunnel of mistakes because I was facing judgement every second of the day.  I didn’t want to live like this anymore.  So, I had to learn to cope with all this judgement.

One of the toughest lessons I learned was by cutting ties with the closest person to me, my mother.  My mom is a tough individual, she sacrificed a lot, created a life for herself and I can learn a lot from her.  However, because of all that she was able to accomplish on her own, she has a sense of entitlement and feels she can pass judgement.  Which is completely fine, I accept it, but when it becomes abusive I will not tolerate it.  After I made the decision to cut ties with my mom I was able to understand a lot more about her role in my life and what I was supposed to learn from all of this.

I know my mom was only trying to protect me and wants me to learn from my mistakes and that’s possibly why she reminded me of the negative past.  But, her negative judgement was affecting me so much that it hindered my progress.  I even took backward steps and made even more disastrous decisions on impulse to help me deal with the psychological abuse I was feeling.  I had to change this pattern of, feeling such highs on my own and then feeling so low, when I went to look for validation and support from my mom.  I could not change her personality but I could change my environment.  I had to make a decision on my mental health and well-being.  I could either put up with the abusive judgement and live rent free or I could spend money to have my own space and create a positive environment to help me heal and grow.  So, I decided to move out on my own and got my parents blessing in the process.

The decision to move out allowed me to appreciate and salvage my relationship with my mom.  I was able to finally get away from the constant negative judgement and now when I see my mom I get love and support because she misses me and is able to see my progress more clearly.  By being away, I was able to show my mom that my past mistakes haven’t hindered me, in fact, they made me into a stronger individual.  She was able to stop focusing on the bad and realize the good.  While being away I was also able to consciously think of ways to cope with other types of judgement and this is what I came up with.

What to do when someone judges you:

  • Smile and listen to the judgement being made – the act of smiling will alleviate any tension that immediately builds up when someone attacks your character or judges you
  • Pause without responding for a full 30 seconds after judgement is made – by forcing yourself to pause and not respond, gives you a chance to calm down especially if negative feelings are brewing
  • Don’t react emotionally – by not reacting emotionally to the judgement you take control of your actions and can objectively make decisions that will help you progress
  • Thank the person for their judgement – by thanking the other person for their opinion, it makes them stop elaborating and continuing with their train of thought, which might include more judgment, this takes them off guard and it allows you to end the judgement and take control of the conversation and then you can redirect it to a more positive subject
  • Redirect the conversation – after thanking the person, try to consciously redirect the conversation to a positive topic that you’ll both enjoy
  • Meditate – if the person judging you has left a sour taste in your mouth long after the judgement and you continue to dwell on it, take the time to meditate and look inward and calm your mind, soon you will forget what the other person even said, because your inner being will comfort you
  • Cut ties – if the person judging you is abusive and hinders your growth and negatively affects you, you have to re-evaluate the situation and see if that person should remain in your life, you might have to end all communication with that person for a short time or maybe even indefinitely

mindbodysoul

“It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Being judged

Are you tired of constantly being judged?  Because I know I am!  It’s especially frustrating when the people closest to me criticize and judge every one of my actions.  I already face judgement from the world and strangers on a daily basis.  While at work, while driving on the road, shopping at the mall and etc.  Ok so I admit, being judged isn’t necessarily a bad thing always.  Some times you hold a lot of power when people judge you, particularly wrongly, and you prove them wrong.  However, being constantly judged can become unhealthy and can take an emotional and psychological toll on you.

Throughout my life I’ve been blessed with a family and many friends that cared enough to judge me.  I always appreciated their judgement because I understood it came from a place of love.  On several occasions, their judgement influenced my decisions and helped me avoid detrimental mistakes.  On the other hand, on many occasions their judgement negatively affected my personal well being by instilling fear and doubt.  I was conditioned not to trust myself and constantly needing validation from others on my decisions.  Instead of trusting my own instincts and having confidence to make a decision that I could take full ownership of, I got into a habit of always looking for someone else to validate my decisions.  Maybe on a subconscious level I was looking for someone to blame if the outcome of my decisions didn’t pan out positively.

Some of the closest people in my life pass a lot of negative judgement.  I appreciate constructive criticism, because I believe it’s necessary if you want to improve.  But, when constructive criticism becomes negative and abusive judgement, it needs to be stopped and those relationships need to be re-evaluated.  I am currently in a place in my life where I need to surround myself with positivity.  So, I cannot emotionally afford to be around people who constantly remind me of my failures instead of encouraging me to move past them.  I cannot accept someone constantly berating me instead of uplifting me.  I know my limits of what I can and cannot tolerate while being judged.

Having said that, there were a few relationships that I re-evaluated in my life because of this issue.  Sadly, one of those such relationships is with my mom.  I love my mom, she is the best and I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure she is happy.  In the same breathe, however, her negative presence was and will always be one of my biggest emotional and psychological downfalls.  Her constant negative judgement was on the brink of abuse.  My mom has OCD and so she has a tendency to repeat things over and over.  Now imagine being judged by a person with OCD who constantly reminds you of your failures and flaws while you are trying to heal and create a positive environment.

My mom was that voice of fear and doubt that always crept up in every one of my decisions.  Every time I made a mistake it was bad enough to live with the memory of that mistake but then to have to relive it over and over again and being judged on current situations based on past mistakes was becoming a normal thing.  I couldn’t even recognize my progress because I was constantly being reminded of past mistakes.  This affected a lot of my decisions because I would make decisions based out of fear instead of listening to my intuition.  Being judged this way forced me to make a critical decision and that was to cut ties with my mom.  I love her so much, but to maintain my sanity and our relationship I had to end communication for a short period to re-evaluate how she would fit in my life while I was trying to achieve my goals.  I could not have her be a destructive part of my life when I know how important she is to me, so I had to do one of the hardest things and stop seeing my mom.

Time to reflect:

Are you in a relationship or is there someone in your life that plays a critical role but passes constant judgement?  Does this person serve as a positive role model or influence in your life right now?  Or is this someone you could do without?  If you are being abused you need to re-evalute how this person fits in your life.  If this person is someone that is blood or you believe will remain in your life forever, then take some time away to think about how they can still fit in your life.  If this is someone that isn’t related and you see only serves negatively in your life, maybe you need to completely cut ties with him/her.  It’s important to surround yourself with positive influence and judgement.  Avoid being around people who will instil fear and doubt in your abilities and hinder your growth.  

mindbodysoul

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” ~ Jesse Jackson

Compromise

In order to live a balanced life, you have to learn to compromise.  There are times where you have to take the high road and be satisfied with not having things your way.  It’s not like you were defeated or that you’re any less of a human being or that your value is any less because you compromised.  It’s actually commendable that you can learn to compromise for the betterment of everything around you.  But…where do you cross the line from compromise to complete lack of awareness and unnecessary sacrifice?

After my divorce I dated a few guys, nothing too serious because I obviously wasn’t ready for that.  However, I did want to stay in the game, I mean a girl’s gotta have some fun and be pampered and taken care of from time to time.  But, after about 2 years of going on a few dates my friends set up I decided it was time to dive into a relationship and see where it would take me.  I met my boyfriend who was also divorced but that was pretty much the only thing we had in common.  During this relationship I learned many things, the most challenging being “compromise”.  I reaffirmed what I knew, that a relationship is a TWO-WAY street.   I also learned to give without expecting anything in return and actually finding fulfillment and joy from doing that.  I validated my beliefs and learned to stand firm in my beliefs even if others don’t agree with me.  I learned that compromising in a relationship doesn’t make one person weaker than the other, it is necessary to maintain balance.  It helps build respect for one another and the relationship.  I learned some great things about compromise.  However, with the good lessons also came some harsh and critical life lessons.

During my 3 years I compromised a lot of myself to fit into this relationship.  I resorted to the same habits I had in my marriage and conformed to an identity separate from my own.  I became this “girlfriend” that had things in common with her boyfriend and shared in his interests and likes.  I pursued his passions and encouraged his dreams and ambitions.  I compromised my own interests and likes to appease my boyfriend and make him feel confident, happy and fulfilled and justified it as, “oh well, I like those things too”.  In the 3 years of our relationship, my boyfriend has never taken me to or participated in anything that genuinely interests me.  If I suggested something, he would either make a scene, say it was inconveniencing him on his “day off” or that he didn’t want to be pressured into something that he didn’t like.  He has also told me to my face that he doesn’t respect me and that I do not make him happy.  He proceeded to tell me that the individual that I am (the real me, someone who is opinionated and enjoys controversial topics) is not someone he wants to be with.

After 3 years of compromising my identity to fit this relationship, I am being told by the man I am with, that the person I became for him is not enough.  In fact, my real personality seems to keep shining through and he doesn’t like who I am because it doesn’t fit his idea of what he is looking for in his partner.  So, do I hold on to my ego and set aside my pride and continue moulding into a relationship that is clearly not for me, just to prove something to him and the world?  Do I lose my self-respect and try to hold on to someone because I can’t handle rejection?  Do I make the ultimate compromise, my true identity, and become something, yet again that I am not, just to satisfy someone?  HELL NO!

What I learned is, there is a fine line between compromise and unnecessary sacrifice. I am more than willing to compromise habits or quirks that should be improved on.  But, I am not willing to completely change who I am because it doesn’t bode well with someones personality.  I am not willing to compromise my happiness to be with someone who doesn’t understand me or accept me for who I am.  I cannot compromise my identity for anyone, especially not for someone who doesn’t offer me anything in return to make me happy.  How can someone judge me on my personality after 3 years of being with me?  It doesn’t make any sense.  There is a clear disconnect in my relationship and I have learned that I cannot make the ultimate compromise, my life, just to be with someone and to prove him wrong.  It’s not worth it and it will not make either of us happy.   All I can do is take his honesty for what it is, and move on with my life and continue on my path of self improvement.  I learned everything that I needed to learn from this relationship and I can happily walk away knowing I made all the right compromises.

Time to reflect:

Are you in a relationship where you are making compromises?  Is this relationship something that makes you a better individual or something that makes you into a person you’re not.  No one should sacrifice their identity for anyone.  If someone in your life is making you question who you are and how you fit in, maybe it’s time to see if this person fits in YOUR life.  Are you making compromises or are you making unnecessary sacrifices?  Ask yourself and be honest, letting go isn’t a bad thing, it may be the exact thing you need to grow and be the best you can be.  

mindbodysoul

“I will never compromise Truth for the sake of getting along with people who can only get along when we agree.” 
~ D.R. Silva

 

My Mind is Still

For a while now I have been searching for spiritual guidance.  I lost my soul a while back and have been trying to reconnect with it.  I tried many ways to reconnect and the only time I felt any type of connection was during prayer.  It was during prayer that I felt this tingling sensation run through my body.  This feeling was something that I never experienced anywhere else.  I felt special and thought that prayer was my direct route to Spirituality and God.  But, I thought to myself, there has to be another way to feel that same energy I felt during prayer without having to just pray.  So, I tried meditating.

After failing to understand meditation because I wasn’t ready for it in the past, I was a little reluctant to try it again.  But something inside me kept crying out for spiritual enlightenment.  So, I took a few free courses that were offered at local ashrams and meditation centres around where I lived.  Then I upgraded to workshops conducted by meditation gurus such as Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey.  I needed to master the techniques involved in meditation so I took one on one courses with meditation teachers that offered “Simply Meditation”.

As I kept practicing meditation, I started experiencing that exact same tingling sensation run through my body.  But this time, that tingling and numbing sensation wasn’t the only thing that I was aware of.  I could feel an intense energy in my body, that I was able to achieve because I reached a stillness in my mind.  Periodically, during the meditation, my mind would become so still that all I could concentrate on was the silence.  While becoming aware of the silence, my body spewed this warm liquid energy that vibrated so fast and hard that a tingling sensation emitted through each cell in my body.  I was simultaneously feeling a vibrant energy and a stillness in the mind.

Before, I used to chase after an experience that would allow me to feel that same tingling, numbing and vibrant energy that I would only feel during prayer.  I found that same energy through meditation.  As I practiced mediation on a deeper level I experienced something even more phenomenal, I experienced stillness in my mind.  I can now simultaneously feel a high frequency of energy run through my body while my mind is completely still.  It’s a stillness where there is no thought or worry, just emptiness, a darkness, but a comfortable and happy quiet calm that exists.  Sure I still have floods of thoughts that pop into my mind.  But, I am able to push those thoughts aside and then just be still for periods of time.  As I keep practicing, I am noticing that those periods of time are getting longer and becoming easier to achieve.  I am addicted to this stillness in my mind.

Time to reflect:

Have you ever felt anything while meditating?  Have you experienced this feeling anywhere else or while trying something?  Practice meditating on a deeper level and allow your mind to reach a stillness.  Once your mind reaches that point of stillness you will tap into a feeling and energy that will leave you feeling invigorated.

mindbodysoul

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” ~ Lao Tzu