How to save for that big, exciting project you have put off for years!

Save for next big project

How do you save for that big exciting project?

You see something, and you really want it. In fact, you really need it; yet, you can’t afford it. At least not yet; or so you tell yourself.  Sounds familiar? How about this; “you say no to things that really matter to you” or “you window shop based on price tags rather than the inherent value.”

You are not alone. You probably are making your decisions based on a limited perspective of money; as I do too, sometimes.

And if I do, then why am I writing this article in the first place?

Because, exactly 8 months ago, I experienced a shift in my life regarding how I view money. After years of putting off major financial decisions and constantly telling myself I cannot afford it, I realized why I never got far with my personal projects. This shift has created a new realm of possibilities for me and my life.

I learnt special tips on savings and below I will share exactly these tips. Get ready to achieve your wildest most exciting project that before was unrealistic.

First things first, let’s define money.

Money, according to Merriam Webster, is a medium of exchange. Differently put, money passes through you to get things done and moving. That is to say, it’s not how much you have that will matter, rather, what the money makes available for you that carries the day.

What one incredible project would we use as a case? How about a meditation vacation in Thailand as an example? This may not be one thing that you need to survive, but you may need it to thrive. Especially, when research shows that you may need a holiday from your work soon.

The cost to the retreat is USD 900 exclusive of travels, meaning, if coming from the west or down south, you probably need USD 2000 to make the trip worthwhile. While this may seem like a huge investment, let’s see how we make it the tiniest little investment you ever made to your self-replenishment, wonder and aliveness. Notice how we establish the value of the retreat, in relation to both your well being and cost. Do this for any project you are working on.

Map your income expense chart

You now know the value of the project. You want to rest, replenish your mind, body and soul, all at the same time at a cost of USD 2000. Coming back to where you are, its time to map out how much money you make, and how you use it. Create a column for fixed expenses, variable expenses, savings and investments within your chart. Proceed to indicate where each of your monies goes each month, week and day. You will be surprised how some expenses are unnecessary. In some instances, you shall notice that some expenses that often stress you and give you the impression of not having money are not as urgent as you thought.

Make a list of all “your wish to haves” full with a budgetary allocation and timelines of delivery

Having gotten clear with yourself on your expenses, it’s time to create a new list of your entire wish-list. This could be a dream project you have shelved for so long. In this case, we all wish to go for a meditation holiday in Thailand. We figure out the entire cost of the project, in this case, being USD 2000 (inclusive of travels and transfers). When the entire “wish-list is complete, place them in order of priority based on the timelines of each project.

save for next big project
Mortgage and credit concept. Young man planning his future

One project at a time: Choose one major project and focus on it

Having done so, place the major project as the central focus. Others in the list will still receive your attention, yet, this one stands out as immense. Assuming we take the meditation holiday as the central focus, that’s what we put down. Notice the timeline indicated. Luckily, World Peace Initiative provides meditation holidays for each season of the year. Assuming we decide we wish to travel in Dec 2019; we have 16 months in between.

Break down the whole amount into monthly, weekly and daily targets.

Next, break down the amount of the project into monthly, weekly and daily targets. USD 2000 within 16 months will get us USD 125 each month. Into weekly targets will give USD 32 a week, broken into daily targets will make USD 4.5 a day! From USD 2000, we realize that we only need USD 4.5 a day!

Get real on whether you wish to save daily, weekly or monthly.

This realization may be liberating, yet, the liberation may be short-lived if you don’t understand how you operate. While some people are disciplined at saving daily, others prefer weekly while others prefer monthly. Whatever you decide, get real with how you operate and commit to it.

Open a separate account for the savings

To support your commitment, get a savings account to put in your money. Most bank accounts come with a Direct Debit Order that you can install to authorize your bank to deduct a certain amount of money from your account. This means that each time there is money in your account, it auto-deducts the amount you instruct it to. This way, you do not have to worry about missing a payment.

Track your savings over time and re-evaluate

As with any other project, you need to track your savings and notice whether you are on track or not. It’s normal to miss some days or weeks. You want to minimize that. Normal occurrences only happen for average people. Get clear with the days you miss and get back on track. It helps sometimes to task someone to hold you accountable to your goal. Sometimes, due to life’s unexpected turns, you may want to increase the amount, or even reduce it, and the best part is to keep fresh the reason why you are saving in the first place. The “why” will determine your choices.

Maintain an open mind for other opportunities and openings for action

Sometimes, when making saving decisions, opportunities to achieve my projects have emerged in ways I hardly expected. Remember, you may get your chance to achieve your goal in other ways as well. Stay open for when such signs emerge. You may be surprised, that when saving to travel for the meditation holiday, you get the opportunity to attend a global peace on the move fellowship in Thailand! The key is to stay open for the signs of accomplishing your goal sooner!

Expect to achieve your goal, detach from it and focus on the savings.

There are several opportunities in the universe and this goal is one of them. Your focus on making it happen makes it real. Therefore, expect to accomplish it. By expecting to do so, you validate its realization. Next, detach from it. Many times, we want something and still question whether we really need it. We wonder if it’s right for us or even if we shall even make it. By your accepting to have it in your life, it emerges, now let go of it and focus on the immediate actions that shall make it happen.

Get ready to begin your project

Getting ready is an essential part of life. Remember the story of the village that went to the square to pray for rain, and only a small boy carried an umbrella? Your project starts the moment you commit to it and start saving. For the holiday, save the dates, start processing your passport, looking for friends and meetups in Thailand; tell friends who may want to join you. I remember, at one point, wanting to buy a car, and when I started saving for it, I went to refresh my car knowledge and renewed my license. After all, when it comes, I want it to find me ready!

What is that big exciting project you have put off for years?

Its time you made it real!

Take the step today and start saving for it!

And of course, you can save to travel on a meditation holiday too! Remember you can save as low as USD 1 a day and still make it to Thailand next year. It’s all based on where you are and whether you are ready to take the leap into wild possibilities!

Research Shows That You May Need A Holiday Soon

Peter is in the office with Talia finishing up on his work. Both of them are expatriates mostly travelling through several countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They are working on huge emerging projects that involve several people, and reports can be frustrating. Actually travelling, as cool as it may sound, ceased to be fun as most of their time is spent in between boardrooms, meetings and the rush to beat crucial deadlines. Talia, with a sigh, looks up at Peter and says, “There’s a lot going on, I need a vacation!”

Collegetimes.com

And don’t we sometimes anyway?

Holidays are breaks, time taken off from work, away from home on leisure and recreation. These are the times to rest, recharge and refocus.

Sadly, several statistics indicate that stress and anxiety in the workplace have escalated progressively over the past few decades. American Psychology Association 2015, reports that 65% of workers feel stressed and nearly half of them say they need tools on how to manage stress. Additionally, the number keeps rising every year across several workplaces in the world. Imagine what that means for their families, their friendship and the state of their health. It’s like running a thousand miles in the right direction, only to spring back double in the opposite direction.

The conversation on stress and vacations is an old one, and several people take lavish time off to treat themselves to spas, trips and beaches. However, what we are yet to figure out is the quality of the time spent out on such vacations.

Here is a scenario: Peter and Talia, decides to take one weekend off the work to go to Chiang Mai, an exotic tourist destination in Thailand. Friday afternoon, finishing up on the work in the office, they hardly notice the work anymore, because their minds are on the flight to Chiang Mai already. Flash-forward, Sunday evening, they are having dinner in Chiang Mai, and they look sad, because their midnight flight to work awaits them.

New approach to a holiday

As this happens in the real world, World Peace Initiative Foundation has created a new approach to a holiday. On the 18th to 20th May 2018, the organization hosted a 3 days mindfulness meditation holiday with Buddhist wisdom on how to live mindfully and relax your soul.

The unique experience combined meditation, mindfulness, Buddhist philosophy and Thai cultural excursion together in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The retreat center was carefully selected to give participants a chance to access Ayutthaya Historical Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Floating Market.

From Buddhist wisdom, physical exercises and individual talks with a Teaching Monk to fun-filled excursions and guided meditation sessions combined with unique mindfulness practices meant to leave a lifetime mark in the participants’ lives.

Here is some of what the participants said about the retreat:

“The program is very good and very organized. The schedule was perfect, allowing us to do things at our own pace. I sought to learn meditation and was able to have a good meditation that I didn’t expect…At some point, I got a light relaxing silence that I couldn’t hear my breath or my disturbing inner voices. For once, my inner voice was not talking…” Nary 

“Catching moments when I had no distractions brought lightness to me. The monks were very inspiring and practical…” Aylin Boya

To find out about upcoming meditation holidays, click here.

How do you spend your holidays?

Share your experience with us in the comment section below and do not forget to share this post with your loved ones to bring more self-efficacy and a recharged life to our communities.

Featured image: HealthGuidance.org

Why She Introduced Meditation in Her School in Kenya

She came to Kenya from India at the age of 23. Her passion to serve in Africa  was her reason for coming. She started teaching at a village school in Mombasa, Bamburi High School. Gradually, she rose up the ranks of leadership and service to establish Nairobi International Schools. The first E school in East Africa. If you do not know much about the school, here is one thing you must always remember from Mrs Radhika Lee herself.

From nothing, extraordinary things emerge if we believe and connect to a higher experience of God.

I got into the school 30 minutes late. I had missed my directions to the majestic high school section that rests off Maji mazuri Road, Lavington area of Nairobi. Getting in, you are immediately struck by the calmness and cleanliness within. At the reception, I notice Mrs Lee in a meeting; she’s quite noticeable from the several images of her work in the media.

I am curious and excited to meet her and a bit nervous too. When I eventually get into the office, I meet a lady, quite confident, calm and inviting.

It’s interesting how someone like her, appearing successful has had immense challenges, from abusive relationship to having no money. Her story of trying to survive and showing her best self every day at some point in her life, reflects what several people go through in their pursuit to make a difference today. Here are a few nuggets that we captured from the 1 hour encounter with Mrs Lee at her Senior school’s center:

1) Giving up is not an option

In her pursuit to make a difference and offer her gift to the international education landscape, she battled with several issues. Family abuse, financial challenges and identity, being an Indian living in Kenya tops the list. Despite all these, she would think of several other things, and giving up was never a part of them.

2) Paint your vision, put some pictures and words into your dream

At the point of struggles, and survival, even though she had a job, she still woke up early to write and put down images of her dream into paper. She recalls with a smile on her face how she would talk with her son about the names of the classes in their conversations. She indicates that early mornings, with all calmness, were her time to put down her thoughts.

3) Show up your best always

It’s common that when we have challenges in our personal life, we let it trickle into our work and several areas of our life. While we recommend people to take action whenever they are in any crisis, Mrs Lee also believed in showing up her best at all times. In one instance, when a receptionist in one of the former schools she headed talked poorly to a parent, she was dismayed and offered to speak to the parent directly. To her, the parent was the reason for their being there and she had to show respect and understanding to them. She adds that the culture of an institution determines how the people there experience life and transformation.

4) Nurture and treasure relationships

When she came to Kenya, then in a rural village school, it’s by the support of close connections who gave her the push to expand beyond what she already knew. When she took it upon herself to treat a parent right, the parent eventually became a trusted partner in her dream school becoming a reality. She says that relationships are very important in the life of a new generation leader. Some of the sauce to nurture effective relationships is openness, flexibility to meet people at their point of need and being relatable. You could almost laugh when she recounts listening to trendy music and playing basketball, for the fun of it while connecting more to her teen students.

5) Prayer, meditation/quiet time & connecting to the divine is a bedrock for progress and impact

Importantly, Mrs. Radhika Lee has had an immense connection with God in her life and experience. In fact, she attributes all her success and impact to the God advantage. When asked what exactly she means by God, she starts passionately about the experience of God and reflections that are personal to each and everyone; only available in quiet times when the mind is calm. She has a tradition at her school of a 30 minutes quiet time every morning. According to her, each silence is a chance for the students to tap into their experience of God. As she explained, I could almost imagine all classes quiet; gates to the school locked, all students calm, as meditation music guidance chimes from the speakers available in each and every class.

Photo Credits: Rainbows in Clouds

Much recently, Mrs. Lee published a book called Rainbows in my Clouds, a sensational experience of a young girl who blossoms into a woman of the modern times. It’s a story of resilience, persistence, courage and consistency to overcome insurmountable odds and make a difference in the lives of children across the world. In the book, you will find out how she almost lost her life had her house manager not acted quick enough at the face of an abuse.

The proceeds of her book go to support CATSI, The Cancer Awareness and Treatment Support Initiative that lends a helping hand to the brave souls fighting cancer.

What inspires you from Mrs. Lee’s life nuggets? My favorite is number 5. Let’s take this conversation to more people that need it! Share the love!

Photo credits: Kenya High Commission 

5 lessons from day 10 of my 90 days integrity challenge

The first quarter of the year is gone!

In March 2018, I realized that the first quarter of 2018 was quickly coming to an end. I thought of the resolutions I made and the progress so far and wondered what happened.

“We make such huge chunks of our goals as long as they seem far out of reach, don’t we?” I thought.

After attending The Landmark Forum, one of the bucket lists for my 2018, I came right into contact with integrity.

Honor your self before anything or anyone else

Integrity in this new sense has nothing to do with being a good person, or a person of morality. In fact, it’s the opposite, getting comfortable with being a “bad” person.

What has goodness and badness got to do with life anyway? So, let’s get those words out of this space for now.

Good and bad is an impression we make and try to keep in the face of others. Integrity, on the other hand, is waking up to honor the commitments and words we make with ourselves and our values.

So, take a moment and recall…

How many times do you honor the commitments you make to others? Keeping time, working, among others? And now, how many times do we honor the commitments we make to ourselves? To wake up at a certain time, to meditate a certain number of times a day?

From my evaluation, I had become an expert at trying to impress others by honoring their expectations of me and not honoring the commitments I made with myself.

Results?

My resolutions never get done.

I am always busy working and never having a time to rest and do things that matter to me.

What’s my predictable future by December 2018? A few resolutions, no major progress and a ton of excuses at why I didn’t do the things I set to do.

So, in 90, I am changing all these and setting a new template to honor myself and be authentic to myself, Period!

It’s day 10; here are 5 lessons I have gathered so far:

  1.  There is a difference between an interested fellow and a committed one.

Interest does not get you far, commitment; telling yourself you shall do it and feeling the impact send shivers down your spine is what I call commitment. Its actually deeper than that. Getting centered and feeling awakened by your decision and desire for change!

2. Integrity is not a destination

We don’t end up saying I am all full of integrity and now ready to face the world. Honoring ourselves is not a destination, it’s a way of life. It’s a moment by moment decision making that gets you waking up when you need to meditate, it gets you taking a glass of water to meditate more, or run 6 miles when you are tired and need to stop. It’s a way of life!

3. Enjoy this journey

90 days isn’t long, and people easily forget to the beauty of this moment. Any challenge is not much about the finishing line (even though the sweet sign of a victory is delicious) as it is in the sweet victories of recognizing that you are beginning to get it and its working in your life with delight! Enjoy, have fun, laugh at yourself, and let go!

4. Journal every step of the way!

I am writing down my experiences of this journey and guess what is coming up, a mindfulness and focus journal! Each day, I uncover a new layer that is becoming clearer. In fact, by end of April, the journal will be ready for use by anyone who wishes to embark on a challenge of integrity and mindfulness focus. I love writing and writer do what they love. You don’t have to love writing to journal. That is why I am creating a journal that will be suitable to anyone who loves journaling or not; because its fun to look back, see what you did, laugh at yourself, see a clearer vision and write it down!

5. Just Start

Oh, I find blog posts such as this very boring. I mean you read read and read and smile and say “nice” and even share, but unless you look at your life and just make a simple change NOW, its all nothing. So, just start. Perhaps you want to start by sharing what came up for you as you read through?

Its your turn!

You can reach me on Facebook to get more info of the 90 days challenge!

 

Lean in, Stand out!

Teach mindfulness and meditation alongside your regular transformation work with us!

Mindfulness meditation is increasingly becoming a powerful tool to bring awareness to the ever present peace that lies within us. Several people have gone to the East to learn these ancient tools and bring them home, to the west, and now, even African countries. Organizations and firms are beginning to recognize the salient fact that peace-building can never be left only to select organizations. In fact, companies are banking their return on investments on the wellness of their most critical resource, the human mind.

Peace ambassadors sharing light moments in an inner peace training session

World Peace Initiative Foundation (WPI) has moved in to bridge the gap and provide training to people passionate about peace-building and interested to share these ancient practices within their organizations and families. Of importance is the growing need of people to start sharing tools to cultivate inner peace in their own cultures, languages and contexts.

In a recent exclusive interview with the Peace Architect manager at WPI, we uncovered the history and gem behind becoming a peace architect; and how you too can become a partner in peace, to transform your organization; part-time or full-time; with proven benefits to your health, and wellness.

Take 10 with Kuldeep Singh

Q1: Welcome… and thank you for taking your time to show up for this interview. Tell us your name and where you come from.

My name is Kuldeep Singh from India and currently working with World Peace Initiative Foundation since (2010). Before that, I used to work with a government agency in India.

Q 2: Interesting indeed! Share with us your WPI journey…how did you start?

(In a reflective tone) After completing my first 42 days, I attended GPM 6, way back in 2010 with almost none international crew at that moment. Then, WPI was a small organization with one Peace Revolution Project as a flagship program of WPI. I was moved by the desire to spread peace with others, peace builders in action starting with myself.  I began to volunteer with the Peace Revolution Project for a year. Then, there were no structure or any form of organization.

We developed a structured platform to enable qualified young peace-builders to join us as a Peace Coach and offer quality and a support system for others undertaking the self-development program online. My biggest encouragement was the ability to help people and see them smile from the work we do.

Q3: Wow! So, how did the first Peace Architect come about?

The first architect was a small group of 10-15 people who supported the Peace Revolution work in their regions and were invited to come back and share in the bloom of the personal transformation somewhere back in 2012.

Then, an idea to form an international team of committed peace builders came to realization and I felt the need to join the team. Wonderful people came in from across the world with a passion to contribute… to the beautiful journey they had started. Everyone did something in their own country in the form of PIPOs (Peace In, Peace Out Seminars). By end of 2013, we had experienced a quick growth in the Peace Architect program, with several structures coming up.

Q4: What are some of the highlights in starting and growing the Peace Architect Program to what it has become today?

First, we felt that our teaching monks were not enough and we needed more people in their local languages who understand the context and could share inner peace tools with their communities. Of course, this came with a challenge to maintain the quality of service; yet, we realized that real society experiences which are a very important element in teaching were a big boost too.

Q5: Such a tremendous decision to make peace-building contextual, where are you now, based on the current projections regarding The Peace Architect Program?

Peace Architects preparing to guide meditation on International Day of peace in their own country and Language, on FB Live

We are holding the 6th training in December 2017 with over 50 people diverse from different countries and continents! Currently, we have close to 100 people becoming peace architect across the world and forming meditation communities to share the inner peace wisdom with their friends, families and community members.

From diversity, there is a common connection in the thirst for peace…and real life transformation! Peace architects are leading several aspects of the summits and training in over 100 countries! Local languages and cultures included.

Q7: Incredible! For people reading this right now and wondering how to join the program, what criteria do you use to become a Peace Architect?

Our first and basic qualification for anyone wishing to become a peace architect is to be passionate about sharing the concept of inner peace.

This person must have attended one of our international fellowships called Global Peace on the Move or Amani.

Afterwards, they are invited to qualify to be peace coach guiding other peace enthusiasts, we call, peace rebels, to complete the 42 days Self Development Program, before they can express their interest to become an architect of peace.

On the other hand,

In the coming years, we have also opened a platform where our partners or anyone interested in guiding meditation and inner peace activities (who haven’t attended our international training) can join and become a peace architect with us after meeting a few requirements that we set.

Q8: So, I understand that one also qualifies for an interview after meeting the requirements set?

Yes! After meeting above requirements, one is called for an online interview to determine their ability and skills to teach and train others on any peace related topics.

The beautiful thing is, our peace architects come from different language groups, professions and careers. For example, this December, we have over 50 nationalities, major speaking languages, professionals and trainers, university professors and major influencers joining to learn the art of facilitating mindfulness meditation spaces.

Q9: After the training, we understand that one gets a certificate, what benefit does the certificate hold to the trainer?

After the training, a trainer has the ability to guide meditation and mindfulness programs in various places. In a world that needs quality and some kind of authentication, the certificate gives one the confidence to organize training with proof that it is affiliated to our organization. The certified trainer can also represent the organization in major training and professional spaces where we are involved.

The certificate is valid for 1 year and is often renewable after taking an online refresher test.

A peace architect, Nesreen, left, after a successful meditation session at the UN

In the community…

We got curious to find out what it looks like; life after becoming a Peace Architect. Watch out for the next episode with real life stories of Peace Architects engagement in the community.

Are you the next Peace Architect of your community? Contact Kuldeep Singh (kuldeep@wpifoundation.org) to get full information of the upcoming training in June 2018!)

Want a happy life? 5 tips advice from Google’s Chief Evangelist

How do you know that you are alive?

 

 

(Pause)

 

 

 

Perhaps, it’s because you are reading this, you are breathing or you can see what is written here!

Now, most people can tell you this, yet, very few can really make what they call life truly meaningful.

In a recent interview with Peace Revolution, Gopi Kallayil, the Chief Evangelist at Google, touched on the core of living, with his life as an example. Choosing to call himself a happy being, he says everyone who intends to get the most of life ought to integrate certain principles and boundaries into the way they live and experience life.

Consider this…

How do you say yes to things in your calendar? Is it because you have time, or the activity serves your purpose?

The world is quickly moving towards more and more distractions and Gopi shares essential tips on how to focus on what matters most in life.

    1. Do you have a personal spiritual practice?

Spirituality means different things to different people. Whatever the definition you choose, Gopi says spending some amount of time to connect with your inner self and the core of who you are is essential to make sense of the impermanent nature of the world.

2. Do you have a core group of family…?

“When I say family, it’s not just blood family, but a core group of family, friends and people who support you…” explained Gopi. Adding that, spending time with this group of people occasionally is useful to our growth and development.

3. How do you take care of your health?

Health can be physical; as we all know it, yet our emotional balance, and financial wellness are essential aspects of our health too. Having a balanced diet, exercising and learning to keep watch of our emotions are core to our happiness. Similarly, financial wellness routines such as saving, wise investments and having clarity of our needs and wants are all an integral part of what we can all do to start attracting more happiness into our lives today.

4. What is your Professional passion?

It’s now becoming common that we all have a contribution to make the world a better place. The intersection where our passion meets the world becomes our mission. This mission could be our profession when we are paid to offer these services. An example is Gopi’s professional path finding the intersection between technology and business for greater good at Google.

5. Do you have a Personal passions?

On the other hand, some of the things we love do not necessarily attract any pay; we still do them. These become recreational passion that we do to grow and take breaks from the professional life. They also become points of connection to other people who share the same passion as us. It could be travelling around the world, dancing or sports.

It’s now your turn…

Do you have essential aspects of your life? The guiding principles that determine how you spend your time, energy and attention?

You don’t have to crack your brains now, take some time

and make or refine them following Gopi’s advice above and share with us your insights in the comment section below.

 

Watch the full interview replay here:

 

 

Steps to Get The Most Out of Peace Revolution Self Development Program

Hey there,

You probably know about the Peace Revolution’s self-development program which outlines a 42 days guide to reconnect with yourself using meditation tools. When I reflect on why one would dedicate 42 days of their time to complete a self-development program, why I did it in the first place comes to my mind. Back in 2012, I came across the Peace Revolution website through a friend from Nigeria, Toyin. I cannot remember really what discussion we had before getting the link, yet, I know that I had an unyielding belief that the world is really a bad place and bad things happen and there is nothing anyone can do about it! So, my first task through the self-development program was to reconnect with myself; a feat I obviously failed, considering, I could not even get 30 minutes every day to calm my mind. I stopped at day 3!

The year 2013 came with an offer, from Toyin once again, sending me a reminder to apply for a regional fellowship for East Africans happening in Kenya. I had previously traveled to Taiwan and South Korea and I loved the feeling of travel and meeting new people. That was motivation enough to get to day 14, the minimum requirement to get to the East Africa fellowship then. After attending that 3 days fellowship, the peace of mind, the warmth gave me a chance to put all my energy to completing the 42 days. In fact, within no time, I completed the program and qualified for another fellowship, this time, in Thailand.

So, what exactly did it take me to start and complete the program?

My friend Timothy put together a step by step guideline that I find very informative:

Step 1: Sign up or log into your account at Peace Revolution. The “Log in” button can be accessed on the top left corner of the homepage.

The self-development program takes 42 days. I would gladly advise anyone to be consistent every day of the program to get a better outcome they desire. Oftentimes, when a fellowship is the driving force for anyone doing a self-development program, it’s recommended that if you completed the program more than 6 months before the fellowship eligibility deadline, you restart the program.

Step 2: Start from Day 1 and keep one day at a time…

Each day you come to the platform, remember you can always access it from the homepage and proceed directly to your day of progress.

From the homepage…

SDP top interface…

What do you expect through the program?

The program in itself is a platform for growth and self-reflection; for one looking within for insights to inner peace, calmness in order to live in harmony with others in the world. Therefore…

  1. Listen and meditate to the guided Mp3 or video stream
  2. Answer the first question based on your meditation experience after step 1
  3. Pull the IPT scale to show your overall state of wellbeing after the meditation practice
  4. Fill the time used to meditate to track your progress
  5. Mark the 5 acts of self-discipline based on your conscience
  6. The rest of the questions are really opinion based and meant to give you a chance to observe yourself and reflect on different topics related to your life.
  7. Finally you can press the “Submit” button.
  8. Come back the next day and check on your coach’s feedback before proceeding to day 2.

Goodness! No internet today! What can I do?

Perhaps you are traveling or away from the internet and cannot record your entries online as you would prefer it. Good news, the program allows you to backdate your entries up to 2 days!

It is advisable to have a journal document that you use to record your daily meditation entries and insights to update online when you get back to some internet.

What do you do when you come back online after 2 days?

Let us imagine that I plan to travel from 1st October 2017 with limited internet connectivity. The first step would be to download the mp3 voice meditation clips from the self-development programs available underneath every day of the SDP.

 

I will continue meditation on my own, offline and record my entries in a journal for a period of 2 days before saving all the days online. Therefore, when I come back on 3rd October, I should be able to backdate the SDP dates to 1st, and 2nd October before updating my entries of the current day 3rd October. Of course, its much recommended to be consistent through the program to gain more benefits, and this approach works only with missed days.

As I progressed through the self-development through to day 20, I recall the insights I collected on self-control, the essence of cultivating positive thoughts inward and outwardly, de-cluttering the mind, showing respect to myself and others around me. At some point, I was challenged to put much of what I had learnt into practice… organize a special ops.

Special ops..?

Reading through the 2 words, I did not see what exactly it means to have a special ops then; yet at some point, the realization that we get to give blew my mind off. Remember this quote?

The meaning of life is to find my gift. The purpose of life is to give it away – Pablo Picasso –

You have been practicing meditation for sometimes now, how about we share this opportunity with others in our community? When I first heard of this, I looked at the various options I had within my disposal.

From an online activity via Skype with a PR certified meditation guide from across the world to an offline meditation via a recorded PR meditation video, downloadable from the website or from a local Peace architect. An alternative activity is a live session guided directly a PR certified meditation trainer within your city.

Peace Architect Dora guiding a meditation session in Indonesia on “Meditation and Art” http://rumahberdaya.net/

One of the things I cherish from the self-development program is the support I got from the peace coaches who walked with me. I still remember the insights from Ilse and the support from Marcie, who ensured that I got the maximum connection with myself. Do you want to sit still with yourself, for a moment longer to connect with yourself?

You can sign up here and start your self-development program today!

If you have completed the self-development program, share what you learnt from the 42 days and who your peace coach was.

 

Integrating Mindfulness meditation into daily life

Meditation is good. Actually great!

Here  are 76 scientifically proven benefits that you may not be aware of; not to mention the ones that you feel when you close your eyes right now and suddenly feel blissful and relaxed!

It does not stop at the cushion or yoga mat in the morning or evenings!

Think of meditation and many people think yoga mats and cushions and a lotus position. What picture does meditation evoke when you meet it the first time? Leave your comments below.

Good news is; there’s more to it than simply sitting down and closing the eyes! The satisfaction and presence found within a lotus position can be created anytime and anywhere. As Jon Kabat Zin proposes, wherever you go, there you are! But how can we make it a routine? Routine projects a kind of boredom and since that’s far from our definition of routine, we shall call it a way of life!

How do I make mindfulness, meditation my way of life?

Good question! Oftentimes, we may get lost in the big words. Trying to comprehend mindfulness and all that meditation is and isn’t. Two things stand out in meditation, the presence that comes with being in the NOW and the choices that emerge from what is happening NOW! The presence, we can call that awareness! The choices, we can call it intention or what I choose to focus on NOW! Simple, right?

Now, we are asking ourselves, how do I become present to what I choose to focus on NOW?

What we all need to understand is that everything good and bad that we aspire to acquire calls for time, attention and energy! And when I say everything, I mean everything! Unless you have a counter opinion, which I would really love to hear in the comment box below…

You claim not to have time?

Do you get distracted? To your phone, Social Media or a chitchat with a friend? For that, you have time, why? Because you have allowed it to happen. How  can we also allow an intentional distraction to bring attention to the present? Here are simple ways to do it:

  1. Set a reminder on your phone or a mindfulness meditation APP  to secure 3-5 minutes breaks to reconnect to the present.

a) How about every 60 minutes?

b) … or based on your concentration span at work, you can set every 20-30 minutes to remember to come back to the present

Whatever works for you is what you choose. You can pick a time-frame and adjust every week or month as you deem fit. A soft tune reminder will do.

2. Ding Dong! Wow! Time travels so fast! I can’t imagine 1 hour is gone!

You set the reminder and… Phew! Now what?

You have a lot of options to choose from based on what you find most appealing, and interestingly, what you connect with. Here are some of them:

a) Paying attention to my body and breath at this moment.

b) Spend some time observing the content of my thoughts and feelings at that moment (What am I thinking right now, How do I feel at this moment? What am I creating at this moment)?

c) Use a meditation object:

i) A personal mantra such as “clear and bright”, love and light” or any other you choose.

ii) A visual object such as the sun, moon or a flower…

d) Reaffirm my intention or a specific quality I am cultivating using the “I am”. An example could be “I am kind, I am Love” I can smile and relax more, acknowledge in gratitude support systems around me among others.

e) Always finish with a smile of gratitude and get back to what needs to be done, with more presence and intention!

Simple as it may seem, nothing will happen unless you take your trigger seriously! You cannot “snooze” the APP or alarm. If you are lacking motivation, or inspiration, which is very important by the way, why not inspire these qualities during your 5 minutes moment of silence? You can reaffirm your motivation too!

In summary, life is complete in itself. The benefits that one gets with bringing more presence and intention to their life are evident at experiential level. No book, blog or article you read will explain it to you any better than you feel it when you try for yourself! But to try, we got to step out of our comfort zones and dare try it NOW! And in case, you lack an inspiration, that too, can form a part of your moments of mindfulness.

Mindfulness Meditation right at your fingertips!

 

You want to meditate, yet not sure where to start? Thanks to technology, we have, now, several Apps and devices that bring you this precious practice right at your fingertips… your phone. Caption this:

“We have apps that can offer you mindfulness practices, enable you to set a reminder to meditate, and actually record your entries in a journal fashion, perhaps within a community as well!”

What are some of the Apps and devices in the market so far?

Get out your phones and let’s go surfing Android market or iOS App Store, Now!

Wait…

A few things to consider before settling on any App:

  1. Does it have an easy to use interface that you can easily navigate?
  2. Is it practical and easy to use anywhere, anytime?
  3. Does it have an inbuilt mindfulness reminder
  4. Is it simple and easy to use?
  5. Is it free to use or do you pay some cost? This consideration may come to your mind when you are on a budget or not

Most times, honest reviews from the past or current users will give you this information!

a) Mindfulness Reminder 

This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices and cost about USD 2.99.

The interval reminders could be very useful to you if you are the kind of person who prefers spontaneity in meditation. The reminders could also be a distraction to those who prefer to have their phones on silent mode and away from distractions. It’s preferable to have specific tones that differentiate the reminders from other notifications.

b) Fitbit

This is a wearable device that is purchased and worn on the wrists. It has a unique way of connecting to your heartbeat and creating about 8 reminders in a day to come back to meditation. Has other health functionalities and actually looks very cool to have. The cost is perhaps between USD 90 to USD160. You can actually use this on any activity you intend to receive a reminder about!

 

c) Enlighten Me APP

Quite recently, World Peace Initiative through its Peace Revolution project released an Enlighten Me App too!

 

 

The App is available on App Store and Android and is literally free! The App integrates meditation into daily mindfulness sessions that anyone can engage in at any time.

 

Bottom line,

There are several Apps on mindfulness and meditation. Our attempt here is to share with you a few that really wowed me as I looked for them. My list of three also displays various types of Apps and devices that one may use based on what works best for them. I leave it to you to take this moment and get an App or a device that shall work best for you to get into a mindfulness routine. Having settled on one, enjoy your sessions and always remember;

I love you and wish you the very best in whatever you do to transform yourself!

 

Step out of my comfort zone: Get more from Life

I think about looking at an object up-close, my eyes fixed closely on this object, seeing just one side of the coin and feeling comfortable this way anyway. Another thought also crosses my mind of this group of blind people who were told to touch an elephant and everyone really get the chance to touch a specific part of this enormous animal. One touches the tail, another, the trunk, another, the belly while someone touches the ears. How interesting it is that when finally everyone gets a chance to share what they think an elephant is, everyone has a different story. One claims it is long rod with whiskers and quite firm while the other goes like, “mmmmh…a big flat flap that could be used to fan; and several answers come up including one who just thinks an elephant is one hard, tough, solid block with a rough texture. And so all these answers really reflect from which angle we view life. From which perspective we stand and from which vantage point we are… and this is really our world.

Photo: TripAdvisor

And so, many times, we get into arguments and conflicts with wanting other people to buy into our viewpoints, to think and reason like us without really getting from where they stand. This has become a norm in our society where we force beliefs down people’s throats. We force our opinions on others and make life quite miserable for ourselves actually. And so we create comfort zones of less hurt, less pain and less effort…

A comfort zone is our zone of bliss, our reality of what should be in the world, our point of joy. And so, from this reality of what should be, we conquer the world to make it what we want it to be, sit back and let things pass us by or ignore whatever is happening around us. From whatever angle, conquering the world or sitting back, we create an outcome and the outcome could be desirable or not…

Comfort zones have never brought any meaningfully sustainable change to anyone at all… Actually, world most remembered faces in history had a downfall trying to make the world into their comfort zones of “what the world should be” From Hitler to Napoleon among others…and of course going down colonial lanes of the world.

Not mentioned in history is the other side of the bracket where a majority of people also sit back and let things pass them and letting their dreams and purpose fall by the wayside. The groups who sit back and settle for what the social prescriptions and popular culture determines… The group that follow every wind flow and refuse to question their motives under every circumstance… Or those stuck in doing the same old things from a singular perspective? Believing in their side of the story being the only TRUTH in the world?

And then it’s not about anyone else but me…my perspective, my reality…what informs it…and above all, is it the only one available in the world? And if not, how can we live and interact freely within all these worlds that our minds have so historically built in the name of education and experience?

Education and experience are very significant words in the growth of anyone…and yes… come to think of it, we all learn and experience things every moment of our life and that’s what makes life…right?

How can we use our education and experiences to transform our perspective consciously? Because whether we like it or not, our world changes with every new thing we learn and every new experience we encounter.

Back to my object, back to my elephant story….

We have known fact to exist in our world and what we have experienced…  But what if it could be more than?

I mean we can grow up defining an elephant as a long rod with whiskers and explain it to everyone who comes after us or we can spend a day in another person’s reality… But how do we even do that!

From these questions, insight comes, in the form of wanting to retreats, visiting other people from other cultures besides us, travel different communities and living with people up-close…from their world. I mean we have been taught to become so firm in our world that we can change everyone around us, but what of becoming so deep that we can accommodate and transform ourselves and people around us?

What if we can spend a day, a week, or even a month in the perspective of someone else? What if we can step out of our comfort zones and embrace newness in how we do things? What if this was possible?

Well, it’s possible to do so, and fresh and enriching in just how much someone can learn from the self and from others when they step out of the way to see things differently.

But there is a catch, you don’t just go in blindly, but with an intention to learn and transform.  Transformation occurs when we trust ourselves well enough to let go of the reigns and know that we are alright to swim. When we really pay attention to what is it that is being said… is it useful right NOW? How about its use in ten years to come…? And how sustainable is it within the context of this fast changing world? These are questions that we must ask ourselves all the time as we embark on transforming our perspectives and learning new things.

So, the next time you get a chance to attend that cool retreat with friends or visit school, remember it’s not enough to share what you have, but also to learn from what is offered…and all these can only happen when we let go of our fears and listen to the other person from their point of view as well. Then we can see the trunk, tail, belly and ears of the elephants… Does it change what the elephant is, not really, just brings more understanding in the room…at the end of the day, an elephant will still be an elephant, whether defined by the tail or the trunk.