The Power of Giving

Giving can have different motives. People tend to give out of excess, what they feel useless, or when they want to create space for new things and clean up the mess. They may also give because they feel uncomfortable keeping something. In these situations, the recipient becomes a dumping site, and no feeling of affection or love for the other is in this act. Others spend to give: they sacrifice what they wish they could keep, but they choose to let go as they feel it is for a higher purpose for both the giver and the recipient. This becomes a charitable act when giving happens unconditionally with no expectations of a future gain or receiving back the same gifts or other favours.

Do I have enough to give?

While some people give out of love, others may think they need to acquire more to be able to give. The feeling that they do not have enough to give creates hindrance in the act of giving. The complex human nature will never allow them to share as one will never have all he or she needs. In fact, there is always what to give to others – kindness or cash, time or affectionate care – as what many may need could simply be a feeling of being loved and cared for, not necessarily material stuff. In fact, giving helps the mind and inner wellness for our own self-development.

How can giving change our life?
Donating one’s earned things is one of the most regarded act of charity as we donate what has a value. It becomes help given to others with an aim to make their life conditions better. This comes in the form of cash, material stuff such as clothing and other useful items that once received will make the person relieved. We can donate time as well, a less valued asset, which is really a good gift. We can also give something very cheap, like a smile, which can transform someone’s life. A shiny face, a greeting full of kindness and affection can relieve the mind and that is what millions on earth are lacking: kind words and gentle smiles from those whom they expect the least.

You may disagree with me, but try to give money or a gift to someone with a gloomy face and see the difference. That echoes the beautiful quote from Kahlil Gibran who said: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Joy of giving

In our earlier posts, we explored how donating can help one be free from an ego mind. Yes, getting used to giving can make one’s mind free because even in many scriptures from various religious believes there is this popular saying: “There is more joy in giving than in receiving”. Shannon Perry said: “It’s worth burning myself out like a match so long as others receive the light and warmth I dispatch.” He probably meant that “others are because I am”. This is why those always in predisposition of giving are called generous: not only does this earn them a repute, they become our role models as well.

What if it’s hard to give?

In case you find hard to give, there may be so many factors in your life that have led you to this. No art can be performed to change it when there is no practice. We may start with just a little and make it a constant act to be a part of us till we feel like it is a duty for us to give out: volunteering has been one easy way to start with; it is where we offer our skills and time with no monetary value awaited. The mind will feel happy when we have managed to let others feel good from what we share with them. Would you like to try it today? Go ahead!

Are You an Active Listener?

In the field of teaching the second language to kids, there is a criterion called Active Listening. It’s a period of time that the kid doesn’t talk or communicate verbally. He or she just listens, and you are sometimes confused if they get what you teach. In this case, parents and teachers usually become anxious and they doubt it if the child can learn the language at all.

The pressure might increase on the child to talk and react. However, most of the kids start using the sentences when this time passes. And they astonishingly use the words that we have thought they don’t even know. A child who is not speaking may be actively listening and may need time to process what they are hearing before saying anything. Hence, it is important to value listening, as well as speaking – non verbal responses from young children are perfectly acceptable. They show that the child has understood the message which is very important in the process of child’s development. Even for learning our mother tongue, we used to listen for at least two years before starting to talk. This can be a reminder of how listening is important in our development.

However, as we grow up and become older, we forget how actively we used to listen. Now we are just passive listeners or we randomly hear things around us. So, there is a need to improve listening in our daily life and value this sense as much as other senses. Here are different ways how to practice:

Active Listening in Communication

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

How actively are you involved in a conversation? In dialogues, the focus is usually on speaking. We are in a hurry to reply. We sometimes become restless when we have to listen. We may forget listening and start daydreaming. In sharing ideas, we try to be active in speaking rather than listening to others. A lot of misunderstanding comes from forgetting “effective listening”.

Active Listening in eating

Photo by Mariana Medvedeva on Unsplash

Mindfulness teachers have always said that we should integrate all our five senses for eating. When we eat, we see the food, we smell it, we usually touch it and finally taste it; but how much do we hear the food we eat? It may even seem strange! But it is true that we normally forget to listen to the food! For mindful eating, we are being advised to see it carefully, eat it slowly and be focused on the meal. Some teachers suggest that we need to listen to it. Bring it to your ear, listen to it. Depending on the type of the food, you should give it a squeeze. What do you hear? If you are the one who cooks, listen to the cooking process carefully. What do you hear when you cut something for the food? Just try it once and then compare the enjoyment of applying listening to eating.

 Active Listening at home

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Tired of all the unnecessary noises in the house? Long hours of passive listening to the TV or radio while you are doing something else? Be the one who chooses what could be heard at home. It simply depends on you and your type. A relaxing music, the sound of the nature, childish and cheerful songs are all different options. You may also want to listen to the silence of your home. Yes! Silence has its own sound to listen and enjoy.

Active Listening to your inner self

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

Has it ever happened to you that in the most difficult situations in life, your inner voice starts blaming you? Reminding you the mistakes you have made and making you desperate?

Be aware of it when you carelessly continue listening to this hopeless voice. This is the time for re-parenting. Be a good parent for yourself and change the things you would like to listen to. Be the voice of the parent who encourages you, helps you and gives you strengths and solutions to overcome the challenges. Listen to what you need to listen. Be the chooser!

 

What other activities do you think need active listening?

Featured Image by Mpumelelo Macu on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Peacebuilder Elvis Kumar Awarded at Commonwealth Youth Forum

Elvis Kumar (25), peacebuilder from Fiji was fortunate to be one of the 5 Pacific Regional Finalists at the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) hosted in London from 16th to 18th April. In the Forum, young people who are contributing to peace and security, poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and other areas were brought together for the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2018 under the theme “Towards a Common Future”.

Elvis Kumar, who is the Oceania Regional Coordinator and Certified Mindfulness Trainer for the World Peace Initiative Foundation (WPI) and Peace Revolution project, has been engaged in youth work, social development and community services not only in Fiji but in the Pacific Region. He has represented Fiji and has been the voice of the young Fijians in numerous seminars and conferences abroad. Elvis’s work was recognized for this prestigious award, thanks to his immense contributions made in peacebuilding and self-development activities in the Region. 

“I am very thankful to the World Peace Initiative Foundation for giving me the opportunity to work with them with an approach to sustainable world peace through mindful practices. I extend my sincere appreciation to all those who have taken part in my activities and benefited from it and provided great feedback. I am also very grateful to the Commonwealth Youth Program for recognizing and acknowledging my contributions towards building a peaceful society. Young people have the potential to bring about sustainable development, they must not be underestimated and must always be encouraged and supported,” says Elvis Kumar, who has worked in 9 Pacific countries with the inner peace and meditation framework for self-development.

Apart from attending the Commonwealth Youth Forum hosted during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Elvis was awarded with a certificate of achievement, a trophy and £1000 cash prize. During the Forum, Elvis also met with HRH Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, HRH Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker and discussed his development work.

Elvis Kumar with other award winners during the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London.

Young people constitute more than 60% of the population of the Commonwealth; their empowerment is essential to the success of the Commonwealth and its member states. The Commonwealth works with youth
leaders, member governments and other stakeholders to engage and empower young people and enhance their contribution to development.

The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work 2018 aimed to raise the profile of young people and highlight the contribution they are making towards developing a fairer, sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth of Nations, formerly (1931–1949) the British Commonwealth, also known as simply the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.

 

Can 100 Challenges Help Overcome Fear?

How many times in life we don’t do something because of the fear to step out of our comfort zone? Here’s a story about two friends, Vincent Dai and Mikaeel Adnan, from Sydney, Australia, who decided to begin a journey of 100 challenges trying things they’ve never done before to boost self-empowerment and overcome the fear.

Bungee Jumping, Say Yes to Everything for a Day, going to a retirement home and playing bingo with the elderly and cooking dinner for them; these are just some of the challenges on the list of 100. As Vincent explains, the theme for a challenge is either something new, something challenging or something they fear. For instance, jumping out of a plane at a free will was definitely something Vincent would never do, but now the challenge has been done.

Vincent adds that by actively seeking discomfort and trying new things, this exposes us to many new experiences that we probably wouldn’t even dare to try if we didn’t have a real think about it.

“This may seem crazy to some of you but honestly this is the key. By constantly exposing ourselves to fears and confronting them head on whether it’d be jumping out of a plane or merely going berserk on a dancefloor has allowed us to stop being in our head and start being out of our head which feels empowering,” says Vincent.

Moreover, this involves developing the confidence and strength to set realistic goals and fulfil our potential. “Everyone has strengths and weaknesses within them and a range of skills that are used in everyday situations, but all too often people remain unaware of, or undervalue their true abilities.”

Follow the journey of  Vincent Dai and Mikaeel Adnan on their Youtube channel.

How about YOU trying something that you’ve never done before?

Share your challenge with us!

4 Ways Travelling Makes You Grow

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One day I went snorkelling on a boat in Vietnam, and met an Australian couple who travel permanently. They have retired and dedicated their life to travelling, and I was very surprised to hear from them that “travelling was hard work”. Years have passed since then, and today I perfectly understand this sentence. Not only do we laugh, enjoy, post on instagram when we travel, but we also become disciplined, overcome our fears and grow.

How exactly does travelling help you grow?

1) Out of your comfort zone

Your comfort zone is where you do not have to make efforts. Please agree that to arrange a trip, you need to search, compare, book, communicate, plan and make a lot of effort. When you start fearing, this is when you go in the right direction – fear and discomfort are indicators of growth, of expanding your comfort zone. When your comfort zone expands, you start feeling comfortable in more places and situations, and your mind expands too.

Facing your fear helps you grow.

grow travel

2) New perspective

Have you every eaten salty pig fat? If you visit Ukraine, you may think this is the best dish ever. Have you ever eaten corn and beans for dessert? This is what they eat in China. Have you ever dressed in a skirt as a man? In Burma it’s a national costume, and all men in the streets wear skirt.

It does not matter if you pick up the new perspective or not, but you learn to notice it, and appreciate it. Sometimes lessons from another culture really help change your life – I learnt from Thai people how to be ‘sabai’ – not to worry about anything and just chill out.

Learning new perspectives allow you to grow.

3) New skills and habits

I love travelling so much that I decided to make it my lifestyle. I managed to give away most of my things and live out of the backpack. This is my shower and make up kit, only the things I need and very well packed. This is how travelling can discipline you!

travel grow

You can learn how to ride a bicycle instead of using public transport in Beijing, because it is the easiest way to get around. One can study yoga in India, because this country is breathing yoga. You can learn free-diving in Koh Tao, the conditions for it are the best there. It is very often that places where we go create the best environment for learning a new skill. 

With new skills and habits you grow.

4) Understanding others – understanding yourself

Sometimes you come to a new country and freak out because things are done differently. In Thailand everyone is smiling at you and does not show their emotions. Being polite is a top priority, emotional intelligence is not trendy there. In Vietnam people are so open and sincere that it sometimes feels rude. One of my Vietnamese friends once told me – ‘You got a bit fat and your skin is so dark’ (which was her disapproving that I went suntanning). She was very sweet and I did not get offended, but she expressed it so honestly that it may feel inappropriate in other cultures.

Seeing both perspectives helped me put myself in the shoes of a person from another culture, and I could easier understand both cultures.

When you understand, you grow.

How does traveling make YOU grow? Please comment below.

Enjoyed this article? Read about 5 Ways nature can heal you.

grow travel

 

5 Ways to Develop Your Inner Power and Strength

Everyone in the world would desire to attain success in their life. People face a lot of problems in achieving their goals. Moreover, some of the people often get confused about what they want to do in their life. Others make a plan, but fail to execute it. All these problems can be overcome by developing inner power in you.

In this article, we will talk about your inner power which will help you in achieving the goals of your life. Hence, the inner power is referred to a state of mind which enhances your work ability. It keeps moving you ahead in the right direction in life. Precisely, the spiritual power is what makes you more confident. It makes you optimistic and positive in life. The inner power increases your focus on work instead of thinking about all the other unnecessary things in life.  You just need to follow some simple tips, and you will be on the right track of doing things.

1. Meditate daily

Meditation increases your focus; it makes you stress-free, it enhances your mental capacity. Please follow these steps to start your meditation practice:

  • Find your most comfortable posture either sitting on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed and place your hands on the knees;
  • Start breathing and forget about everything else;
  • Count the breaths so that your focus remains entirely on the breathing;
  • You will feel quite relaxed in your mind, with freshness and clarity. All the things that were annoying you before are now gone away from your mind;
  • Repeat these steps to feel better.

If you are not able to continue your daily practice then try reading some inspirational meditation quotes.

2. Breath deeply

Sometimes you need to take a deep breath to make your thinking ability more active.  Here are some steps to follow:

  • Breathe through your nose until you feel full, you will feel that your abdominal area will fly out and chest will rise;
  • While exhaling draw your lower abdominal area followed by your upper area. Stay in that position for half a second and then continue with the exercise again.

This exercise will open up the narrow cells of your brain and increase the blood flow in your brain.

3. Laugh freely

It is quite an easy technique to increase your internal strength. Laughter also helps you to increase the energy level of your mind as it increases the endorphins in your mind. When you laugh genuinely, your heart rate and blood flow increases.

4. Learn to forget

When you feel hate or anger towards someone, there is some weight on you. Any kind of grudge for someone can be hazardous for you. It makes you weak from inside. When you feel that somebody has done something wrong to you, you start feeling sad or feel like a victim. In order to forget and let go, learn to forgive the ones who have disappointed you in the past.

5. Handle obstacles

In different phases of life, you will face different kind of obstacles. You have to believe that there is no obstacle so big to stop you. Be confident enough that you can do it and don’t make yourself indulged in any kind of controversies.  Think positive to attract positive things in your life.

Image Source:  openheartedrebel.com

“Out of this world” into my life.

In the early 90’s, when I was a kid, there was a TV show called “Out of this world”. It was a young teenager named Evie who finds out that her father is from a different planet and because of that she has superpowers. Well, actually, just one. An amazing one! Evie is able to stop time. She touches the tips of her index fingers and everything around her freezes. She could then ignore her mom’s scolding, get some extra time to check her history book before answering her teacher or even give herself an extra minute gazing at her crush passing by in the hall. Continue reading ““Out of this world” into my life.”