Breathe In & Breathe Out = Accept & Let Go

As the year is coming to an end, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for reading, commenting, complimenting, and supporting my blog throughout the past six months.  Who knew that my little blogging exploration on my journey into healthy eating and balanced living is still going strong?  I did not anticipate that far ahead, and to know that I’m slowly but steadily gaining more wonderful readers and/or blogging friends as time goes by, is truly amazing.  I appreciate and am thankful for YOU! 🙂

Aside from connecting with loved ones and dear friends during this holiday season, something else that I appreciate and am thankful for in December is the opportunity to reflect.  Having this opportunity to reflect personally and professionally allows us to set goals and strategies to continue to grow and develop as a person of many roles (e.g. daughter, sister, friend, teacher, student etc.) for the next year.

An important lesson I learned this year, as I’m reflecting, is what my dearest wise friend Zainab shared with me at the beginning of the year while we were at a yoga conference.  She taught me a very simple meditation technique or coping mechanism when confronted with a stressful and/or difficult situation, personally or professionally.  It is simply to take a few minutes to BREATHE in a quiet space.

Here are the steps:

1. As you’re breathing in a deep breath slowly, accept what has happened in your mind.

2. As you breathe out slowly, let whatever has happened go in your mind.

3. Continue this technique as long as you want to and once you feel calm, you’ll feel peace in your heart and mind too.

I practised this meditation technique whenever I experienced the downs in my life.  It truly works and  I can honestly tell you that learning to “accept and let go” is the best medicine for my physical, mental and spiritual health this year!  Furthermore, I realized that there are some events/situations and people’s behaviour/attitude that are out of our control.  Frequently, these “out of control” situations or behaviour are what we consider  “awful, bad, or horrible” and upsets us.  Well, the only thing we can control is the way we react to and think about it.  To put it simply, we need to “accept and let go”, and not dwell in the past.  The power of positive thinking and being in the present does wonders for the body, mind and soul, and truly makes us happy from the inside out.

I wish you all happiness, love, peace, success, good health and beautiful moments for the upcoming new year! 🙂

Breathe in and breathe out, and let’s welcome 2014 with renewed energy, hope, and dreams!!

Looking at the beautifully icycle covered tree , as the sun shines on it, in my backyard after the ice storm last week reminded me that beauty exists even after the storm.  Just like breathing in and breathing out, we need to remember:  "Remain calm when a storm hits your life and remember the sun is never too far away." :)

Looking at the beautifully icicle-covered tree , as the sun shines on it, in my backyard after the ice storm last week reminded me that beauty exists even after the storm. Just like breathing in and breathing out, we need to: “Remain calm when a storm hits your life and remember the sun is never too far away.” 🙂

Simplify & Love Life!

Here’s a beautiful story that I would like to share with you that really made me think deeply about living and balancing life during yoga this week.  While we lay in shavasana (corpse pose),  my yoga instructor ended our class with this meaningful Zen story entitled, The Tea Warrior.   This story is taken from here: http://www.buddhagroove.com/readings/listings/zen-story-the-tea-warrior

*I have italicized the words taken directly from the above link.

Story: On a mountain lived a famous tea master. His skill in this art was unsurpassed, and many came from faraway to sit at his tea house.

One day an impatient samurai burned his tongue on the master’s green tea. Enraged, he challenged the master to a duel.  

As the warrior drew his sword, the master turned to his young apprentice.  “I have done nothing but make tea my whole life. This duel is surely my end. The tea house is yours, my student.”

The student cried out.  “No master, take my sword. Face this warrior and raise your weapon in the same way you raise the teapot!”

The master walked slowly into the courtyard, and the samurai rushed to attack. Then, the master closed his eyes and raised his weapon steadily towards heaven, with the same grace and strength he would command in the solemnest of tea rituals.

At this display of balance, the samurai panicked and thought, “This old man must be a master swordsman!”

The samurai fled the tea house, never to return.

Food for thought: This Zen story shows how true mastery of one skill is far better than trying to learn multiple skills to appear more formidable. In our world we are constantly pressured to multitask and be able to adapt to any situation, but what really makes us effective in work and play alike is to find what we are really good at, and devote as much energy as possible towards developing ourselves in those areas.

The lesson? Simplify. Remove all obstacles. Do only what you enjoy doing, and trust in your unique skill set to get you through any situation in daily life.

My own reflection: The year is coming to an end, and over the course of this year, I have discovered even more about myself such as what truly makes me who I am and what I find real pleasure and enjoyment in, and what I am really good at.  Life has been quite hectic and fast paced this year, and if I ask myself why, it’s because even though I have promised myself to cut down from the “pace” I’ve been going from a few years ago, I’m still multitasking as it’s demanded in my workplace, social life and the society I live in.  I realize this multitasking mindset needs to be slowly teared down, and to tell myself this: “Hey, it’s ok to slow down and just focus on one thing at a time to the best of my ability or on myself, then move onto the next task, because things will get done eventually anyways.”

This insightful story and lesson from yoga class has reminded me that we need to be true to ourselves and turn inwardly to think about what makes us really happy.  For example:

Is it working and multitasking like a robot from 9-5, as demanded by societal norms?

OR

Is it finding something we truly love and enjoy, and turning that into a lifelong passion/career, even if it’s considered impractical or foolish by the majority of people around you?

These are just  some things I’ve been contemplating lately, and with the story from my yoga class, I’m inspired to turn my thoughts into actions, and find my ultimate happiness.  I know it will definitely take a lot of courage to step forward to simplify life, something that is considered outside of the “norm”, but I’m prepared to slowly work towards my passion and dreams, to find my real “joie de vivre”.  As Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  I’m ready to take that single first step towards my own “simplified” journey, to be my true self and dance to the beat of my own drum, and live and love life the way I want it to be!

I challenge you to look deeply, and think: What do you truly love and are you ready to simplify your life and live life to the fullest every day at your own drum beat, and not by others? 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead!

Namaste,

Violet

I took this photo when I was doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.  This trip reminded me that the endless tiring hours of hiking was worth it because I not only got to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful natural sceneries along the way,  but also fulfilled my dream of seeing Machu Picchu in person.  Therefore, by focusing only on hiking (one of my hobbies), I was able to reach my goal of seeing Machu Picchu with joy!  In the same way, I believe that with focusing on what we love and enjoy to do, we can live the life of our dreams with happiness.  So... "Follow your own path, let your heart lead you to do what you love."

I took this photo when I was doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. This trip reminded me that the endless tiring hours of hiking was worth it because I not only got to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful natural sceneries along the way, but also fulfilled my dream of seeing Machu Picchu in person. Therefore, by focusing only on hiking (one of my hobbies), I was able to reach my goal of seeing Machu Picchu with joy! In the same way, I believe that with focusing on what we love and enjoy to do, we can live the life of our dreams with happiness. So…
“Follow your own path, let your heart lead you to do what you love.” 🙂

A Short Reflection on Transition & Transformation

When I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off at work, I really enjoy having conversations with my friend HezekiYah.  Our conversations usually delve into deep topics about life, human nature etc.  His observations always propel me to take a closer look around me and inside myself.  As our school year comes to an end, our discussion centered around transition.  We both observed that everyone around us, including ourselves, were in “transition”.  To me, transition is the process of changing from one state or condition to another, and change comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and possibly in all areas of our lives.  As we grow older, our attitudes, thoughts, motivations, and behaviours change, which in turn help us to grow stronger and wiser.  I believe that change is good, sweet and life-affirming!

In reflection, the person I am today is different from the person I was a year ago.  For example, who knew that I would begin blogging or enjoy spending time in the kitchen, whereas a year ago I was strongly against learning technology (I see blogging and technology as the same thing!) and preferred to go out for meals.  I guess the beauty of life is that as we encounter new situations and/or people, we grow and change as a result of these experiences, into the person we want to be in our minds and hearts.  As HezekiYah said, if we are the same as a year ago, something is wrong.  Stagnancy begets boredom and inflexibility.  I think it is very exciting to be in transition, embracing change within ourselves and around us, and moving forward at our own pace, until one day, we transform into the person we desire to be and live the life we envision for ourselves!

I will end my short reflection with this quote that I love and reminds me of transition and transformation. I hope you enjoy it and will reflect upon your own transition and transformation, and continue to build the life you dream for yourself and those you love, without fear! 🙂

Go confidently quote