Posted on Leave a comment

Mind Hack: Be The Magnet

If you were a magnet what would you attract? What would you repel?

Look at yourself right now, and imagine that everything in your life is stuck on to you. Imagine every thought with its own weight, every person and place and emotion stuck on to you externally. How heavy can you possibly become? Now what if you lose your charge completely? What if everything and everyone falls off, how would that feel?

What if you got to choose what to carry? What if you were given the ability to repel certain thoughts, people memories and events?

See, not all people have the same magnetic force, same as emotions, thoughts and memories, and places. We spend a lot of our time not noticing how heavy somethings are, and when we are absolutely consumed by their unyielding force we wonder what it is that makes us feel so heavy, so weighed down.

Except we can do something about it. We can take a minute maybe even a day to think about the experience of being stuck to too many things; we can dwell on the importance and significance of that. We can then understand why it is that with some people we feel weightless, and with others we cannot move.

We must learn what serves us, what is good for us and what isn’t. We must detach from the forceful and detrimental elements; no matter how difficult it is.

What if you could choose when to turn your magnet off, and simply let go of what’s stuck to you? What if all you need to do is think about it and recognize that harmful things are being done to you simply because you are unaware that there is an off button.

We don’t all live in the same manner, and surely some of us are better than others in knowing when to switch off, and when to go all out attracting the best things in life. You are bound to get some unwanted objects stuck to you here an there, but the act of cleansing always rids you of what was, and allows you to reconsider what could be.

So switch that magnet off, and give yourself a second. You deserve some time off.

Posted on Leave a comment

Philosophy of Make Overs

I’ve been a fan of make over shows ever since I was a little girl. Weird? Not at all; you might think: well, people tend to like that stuff, we are all taught to obsess about it in one way or another. We all want to be beautiful, and if there is an expert on beauty telling us exactly what we need to become the more beautiful versions of ourselves, then count us in. I hear you, but I beg that you put aside that cup of cynicism for the duration of this post and consider a lighter take on it.

Surely, beauty or handsomeness might not be everyone’s keyword. Many of us do not identify with those traits for a variety of reasons. But what if I told you that you (Ms. or Mr.) who don’t consider yourself a beacon of good looks can get there with a few tips.

DOES THIS PITCH SOUND FAMILIAR? Beauty marketers attempt this approach to get you to feel a little worse about yourself for a second, hence posing a problem and then handing you the solution in the form of a cream or an injection or a shade of dreamy midnight lipstick. I do not wish to go into the “f*cked upness” of that, but this is just an example of how we have commonly become cynical about our own beauty.

Beauty is on the inside, and it is reflected on our faces and bodies and actions. There is no doubt about that. With this said, I want to take you back to make over shows. Beauty makeovers are not about unattractive people becoming gorgeous, but about people with a lost physical identity who find it somewhere with the help of others. At the end of the day, to each his/her own, and no amount of words can come close to covering all the nuances that are brought forth by this topic. So stay here with me and understand that we are talking about one specific aspect which is physical appearance and its relation to identity and how we see ourselves.

Your hair, your face, and your body don’t define you; so that is not what I mean by physical identity. Physical identity in my dictionary is about how we choose to present our shapes and forms in ways that describe and tell stories about who we are. Those were my favorite moments in makeover shows. People who had disrupted connections with their faces, bodies and self presentation who suddenly were allowed to dig into that. It was beautiful to watch people uncover who they are by embracing the beauty that comes with them.

In our pursuit of selflessness and becoming better humans, we have to understand the importance of finding clear connections to our bodies and faces. You wake up feeling under the weather and slightly sick, don’t go and stare at the bags under your eyes and start finding reasons on why they are there and reliving the bothersome times that got you here. Self care indicates that we are gentler on our spirits and on our bodies, and if we take care of both then we maintain the balance. So on those bad days, maintain your care routine, moisturize and don’t hold your beauty as captive of the sickness. Treat yourself and put on something presentable and comfortable, something that signals to the world; I am healing; instead of I’m sick.

Play with the beauty you have and always remember we need that balance and we need the connection between our spirits and our bodies; and our thoughts will follow.

Posted on 1 Comment

The Decisions That Make Us

Have you ever asked yourself this question?

Will the action (or inaction) I take right now describe who I have been over time, or who I want to be?

We begin with the understanding that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with us. You do not NEED to change anything unless you believe it will serve you in becoming a better version of yourself. A lot of political and social correctness goes in to the discussions we have about self development, and change. The reason behind this is not to hide away facts; but to soften our opinions about ourselves because those could be pretty harsh. At the end of the day you are free to be whomever you wish yourself to be; that is the beauty of our uniqueness. We each have a body and a self that we can move the way we wish simply by deciding to do.

So asking yourself “Who do I want to be?” helps you dig into your traits and habits, it helps you think back to a place where you felt you were “better” maybe even “worse”. The question just allows you some space before you take any action – generally referred to as mindfulness. You may find that you want yourself to have healthier habits, a more positive outlook about life; and simply pride in your decisions.

So who are you now? and what decisions have you been struggling to make?

They say that people change over time, but you must know that those who do so are the ones who have been changing their habits, thoughts and decisions at every corner. We do not become “ourselves” over night; who you are today is a huge complicated mix of the actions, in-actions and reactions you have made in your life. Ultimately the decisions you make are bound to shape you – both physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

DECISIONS WE MAKE – some examples:

So you are looking at a bag of chips, or at another mile’s run. You are staring into your crush’s eyes, or holding a dying loved one’s hand. You are looking yourself in the mirror wondering about that plastic surgery, or you are simply laying in bed telling yourself today’s story in summary. You are sitting in class or in a meeting and the split moment comes where you could either contribute with value or simply hear “no”. You are getting into a taxi after a draining day and you feel like a smile is the last thing you wish to give.

We are always faced with a decision, sometimes small seemingly insignificant ones, and other times life gets big and we are faced with bigger ones. So who are we in those moments? What do we think of before we make a decision? Is it all arbitrary movement across lives and people? Or is making one decision vs the other reflective of who you were, are this second and who you can become?

You see, saying No to that bag of chips wont make you lose the weight now, but it will make you feel more powerful for having a stronger will. Deciding to run the last mile might not prepare you for the marathon, but it changes how you feel about dedication. Laying in bed and choosing to tell yourself that you did good today, that you are blessed with the things you have will not change your life, but it will allow you to sleep better with no weight over your chest. Smiling when you are tired because your taxi driver smiled at you and said something nice, will not make you less tired but it will make you feel good about positively connecting with someone no matter how “unimportant” the moment is.

Our lives are made by the groups of decisions we take. If we view all decisions as unimportant, then we are letting everything and everyone control the course of our lives, if we view all decisions as major we will all drop dead due to stress induced heart attacks. Decisions are always going to be made, the trick is to stay connected to what we want, what we are willing to let go of, and what serves purposes bigger than our selves.

Posted on Leave a comment

12 Sets to Quiet that Scary Brain of Yours

The set of 12 was coming to an end, and my lungs felt like deflated balloons. I don’t smoke, AT ALL. But damn, my breathing was so off. I sat on one of the black benches, with some threads ripped at the sides, I stared into the mirror into my red face, and under the white lights, despite the pressure inside my mind and the sore muscles in my legs I felt strong. REALLY F*CKING STRONG.

We all have a relationship with our bodies, some toxic, other obsessive, some great and some nonexistent. One thing that gives us an incredible foundation to our relationship with our bodies is movement. Movement helps us understand that the brain can chatter a lot, it can distract the hell out of us and can put us off course; the brain alone makes up stories; and worst of all it could tell us that we are weak, not good enough or strong enough. Our thoughts are so influenced by our circumstances and if we really let them go out and play, they start to multiply and create more rational and irrational reasons for said sob story. Which is why we need good habits like Movement that are cornerstones in our days, regardless how the day goes, we move anyway.

Be careful, one good recipe for a mental health DISASTER is sitting on our butts all day, doing something (or nothing) and letting our brains run loose.

That is where movement comes in.

Movement whichever form of it you choose whether it is dancing, working out in the gym or on your living room floor, or simply taking a walk during lunch break helps put our thoughts in check. Why? When we allow our bodies to take charge for at least 30 minutes a day, our bodies’ cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop and our endorphins (friendly good hormones) get a good boost to shut the door on the negative thoughts and feelings. Do this enough and your muscles get used to the movements, and your brain learns to incorporate them into whatever story it wants to tell itself. Here is an example

BEFORE

Today is a bad day, There is so much traffic and I feel so tired from sitting all day. I have a headache and my friends bailed on our outing. END of story, your spirit is down, you go to bed after downing a likely unhealthy beverage because why bother? You are that Guy\Girl. You are somebody who doesn’t care.

AFTER

Today is an OK day. It wasn’t great, there was so much traffic and I felt tired sitting all day. I went and did my workout however, and then I realized that my friends had cancelled our plans. Its a good time to get some well-needed good food and rest because I SHOWED UP today. I feel strong and go figure, I no longer get those annoying headaches from staring at the screen all day.

Movement does wonders. and allowing our brains a break from thinking is a must! Let it get busy counting repetitions and sets, or let it focus on getting that target you set for yourself. Don’t allow it to run wild on toxic habits.

Try it and find out for yourself, after all, bad habits are hard to break but good habits are equally difficult to stop as well. So choose your habits wisely!

Posted on 2 Comments

The Difference between Happiness and Mood Swings

How about this for a fix to your never ending pursuit for happiness?

I cannot tell you enough how many TED Talks I’ve watched, how many questions Ive asked and how many disappointing responses I’d gotten about happiness. Let’s face it we all want it, but few of us can decide what it is that can realistically make them indefinitely happy, and why it is that they cannot get to that level of happiness. To say that happiness is an unattainable thing is inaccurate, but to say that we are obsessed with extreme unrelenting flamboyant versions of it is correct.

We want to be over the moon with joy always. We do not want the downers and the life situations that beat us up bloody. We want to fly high and show others that we can do it, and the altruists among us want to teach others how to be happy as well. Damn, that’s what I catch myself doing almost all the time. I am the QUEEN of unsolicited advice, and that my friends is not a glorious trait. EXCEPT, I have pushed the breaks. I refuse to tell you my dearest readers How to be happy, I also do not want to engage in that pursuit all be it not even my own. GUYS, the toxic and elusive thing in this entire industry of finding happiness is not happiness itself, but the FINDING it.

Happiness is people who love us, it is the bodies that carry us, the deeds we do and the efforts we make. Happiness is a value and not an item that we lose and then find, to lose again and spend our lives in pursuit of locking that item up.

Let me tell you why Happiness as a value is a comforting and a good thing:

A value is something we carry with us that does not necessarily belong only to us. Think of it like a rope always hanging by your side, not just for you but for everyone around you, it is not possible to mistake or lose, it just is there, and all you need to do is grab it. Think of it as roots beneath your feet. You could dry off if you forget about them, but all it takes is noticing them and then activating those roots to bring up what you need to become healthier. Values set us apart from every unaware being out there. Our values help us navigate meaning and intent, values determine our actions. Which is why, if happiness is a value and not a feeling, then we get to act based on that. We get to decide based on that. We choose to manifest our values by our actions; and so happiness becomes the source and not the end.

Your Sh*tty mood might be the reason that you cannot see the happiness existing in your life.

Let’s all look ahead and around, over and under and really see that the pursuit is only but a treadmill run. We are strong and we are broken at the same time. We are content and we are miserable at the same time. We can bring light but we can also suck the life out of a room. We are both the good and the bad. We cannot help it because we are human, and we are conscious of our thoughts and our desperations, we compare and we contrast our lives and the depths of pockets. We are so experienced in being ourselves whatever we might think that is, that we believe we are so different from each other. We might look different, and feel different, have unique lives and dispositions, dreams and eccentricities, but the funniest and most common trait we all share is that we cannot outgrow our humanity with all of its ugly bits and its wonderful parts.

So, if it is a kick in the mood we need, then we ought to exercise (not a joke) and let our human bodies take care of that. Our hormones will suddenly beat our consciousness with a stick and lo and behold, suddenly we feel lifted. Our better moods allow us to behave differently by reminding us of the happy value that exists anyway. It is then a lot easier to observe something comforting, something that we as humans can withstand. We are not lacking happiness, and looking for it; we are looking for better moods.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Fine Line between Leaving and Escaping

An Escapist’s Nod to Growth

Alice falls inside a room filled with doors. Some where large as though a giant made its way in and out of there frequently. And other doors were tiny, almost negligible in size, leaving Alice wondering about what possibly could fit in there that cannot simply make its way through a crack or a whole in the wall.

The doors were strangely comforting, she hoped that those doors lead to wonderful places and that they also offered an exit from terrible ones. As she felt her body shift in size as though becoming larger she wakes up and stares blankly out of bed. She keeps on having the same dream; and she wonders what it means.

A crash of a ceramic plate on the wall across from her room nudges her into a more alert state. Her parents were fighting again. Words were slashing their skin apart and the louder they screamed the more hollow she saw their hearts become. The morning had come, and her day has begun with ruined wall paint and bloodshot eyes looking away from her and into an abyss of misery. A flash of light caught her eye, and she decided to leave.

Alice saw the door and headed towards it to find herself immersed in that exit strategy her entire life.

We all learn different ways of exit growing up. We become experts in exiting situations, relationships, conversations and people. We exit when we do not want to face, when it is unbearable to stay in a room with a door that might offer us a better space than the one we are in.

And so we become escape artists, and our loved ones become just as good. We find ourselves constantly put in similar situations, ones that we learned to end by exiting, and we spend our lives looking for the nearest door whenever said situation presents itself.

We exit when someone is trying to tell us something that might hurt us, we head to the door when people are arguing around us, and when we feel overwhelmed.

So Alice, as do we, finds herself going back to that room filled with doors as she grows up; sometimes she shifts sizes to exit like a giant, and other times she becomes nearly invisible and negligible to be able and fit through the smallest door.

What do we do when we become so good at leaving and so terrible at staying and facing our problems?! What does that make us? Where does that leave us?

Worth a thought? When does the need to stay become more worthwhile than the will to leave? Do we become better or worse off when we always enter a room but look for the nearest exit to feel safe?

Staying takes courage and a pounding heart. It takes looking foolish sometimes by putting on an armor of love and growing elephant ears. Staying requires an understanding that life is temporary, and a decision that this situation, this person, this conversation IS worth the time invested. We do not allow our previously broken hearts to break again, but we allow them to reflect and refract every ounce of love we can muster from the room. Staying can sometimes teach us lessons not just about ourselves but about others. Staying helps us see that we cannot force people out of habit, sometimes we cannot solve other people’s problems; but in our case staying helps solve ours. WE FACE THEM.

The doors are always there, they saved us when we needed them. But sometimes life keeps beating the same lesson into us until we learn it; and that is when we stay and face it. When we leave not out of defeat or fear or panic, but out of love and having done what we could; the door will then not feel like an escape, but like a path towards growth.

So grow my loves, don’t just leave.

Posted on Leave a comment

Having A Bad Day With a Person You Love? This Will Help

Sometimes the people we love the most are those who are capable of inflicting the highest level of damage on us. Sometimes, we are capable of hurting the people we love the most just as much. So where do we go in the cycle of hurt and damage that ironically enough has love at its epicenter?

1 We can choose to build walls, that’s a popular option. Completely remove ourselves from any interaction that resembles intimacy; we nurture our own loneliness and participate in it.

2 We can choose to ignore the hurt we inflict, and only notice that which we receive; hence becoming the victims.

3 A third option is to give reasons to those who love us, but never let ourselves off the hook. And so we create a distorted idea about ourselves, where we become the person who sadly says: ” I don’t think i deserve love, because everyone who comes near me ends up hurt.”

So it is difficult to navigate our relationships and ourselves under such complicated terms. We create stories about others, about ourselves and the world we live in only to get through the days where nothing makes sense. Perhaps this story we tell ourselves today might help fix it all.

What if we can find a way around this cycle? One which can include all the love, some pain and a foundation in truth.

First things first, we as humans are capable of hurt, under the wrong circumstance with the wrong people, and the wrong time of day we could be the villains in somebody’s story. So nobody is perfect.

What if we try to accept that hurt is relative? Obviously the feeling is the same, but the intention behind it can differ. That one major aspect is what makes the biggest difference; INTENT.

You see, if somebody loves us, appreciates and cares for us, their aim is never to “hurt” us. And if we know for sure that there is more hurt in the intent, than there is love, then we ought to walk away. So it is a clear line that we must determine under observation, communication and professional help if necessary. Never keep around people who are worse for you than they are good.

Then and more importantly is how we carry ourselves, how we intend to interact with those we care about. Are you trying to inflict hurt upon that person? IF so, then you deserve the boot as much as anybody else. We are not separate from others and we are not better, but we could be more aware of our own behaviors around others.

Pain is inevitable in many occasions, life without pain without suffering without some degree of harshness becomes diluted with a sense of false control. Obviously we do not seek that kind of bitterness in our lives, but when confronted with it, we can acknowledge it for what it is, try to learn something and move on.

Those who love us will try their best to help us, as we would those we love. People have different ways, different attitudes and varying levels of ego that tells them how to show love and how to display intent. So sometimes, we clash with the ways of others, as they may clash with our own. But as long as we clearly and undoubtedly feel the love we find ways to come together, communicate our differences and try to become better together.

Learn your limits, understand how you prefer to be shown love and reciprocate, not only in your own methods but in the ways that others want to feel that same love.

Complicated? Perhaps, now and forever.

But totally worth it; because really who wants to have a bad day with a person they love?