Be a Relationship Catalyst

Who are you really?

This is the question that has made many of us get to where we are today. If we are not the body and we are not even the mind, who are we really?

We are created with a name, not the one our parents gave us at birth, but the name we bring by nature, the personal print that characterises our own life from others, the reason why we were born in a certain place, with certain parents or without them, and certain circumstances around.

I believe that we come to this life in order to define who we really are. Each of our life experiences help us recognize our true nature, we are not alone, we are interdependent, not in a sense that we can’t live without others, but in a sense that we search for connection in order to feel SAFE. We also want to take care of others, and in exchange we will accomplish our life purpose.

Everybody is a reflection of you, and the Universe brings exactly what you need, when you need it. Each of them brings a message for personal GROWTH, only if we are ready and aware of that, we can take it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle for self-realization. For example, I hear a lot of people saying: “I regret all the time I lost with that person” instead of saying: “I thank that person for showing me the parts I don’t like about myself”.

Finding what “I” is, open up infinite possibilities for engaging in better and fulfilling relationships. Think about what part of yourself you want to show up. Be and decide who you really are because you can’t give something you don’t have. If you are searching for someone special, you need to become someone special.

What’s the right direction?

If personal interactions are fundamental part of life, it’s our duty to create the most powerful experiences possible. The meaning behind this is to discover where I am going and with whom, therefore, we have the freedom to decide everything we want, to design and create our present moment according to our basic needs and the desire of finishing the job of self-discovery, which is never-ending by the way…

As human beings we have two main characteristics by nature: self-control and love. We are not meant to be weak, this is a reality! You are the life to renew yourself no matter what you’ve been going through!

Self-control is supremacy of power, authority and strength over yourself. We need to say “no” to negative people and negative environments. It takes something to let go of everything that keep us away from being happy, and this is courage to reject what no longer serves us. But again, we need to know our limits, our weaknesses and strengths first.

Loving ourselves does not mean that we are becoming selfish, loving ourselves instead means that we choose only positive to come to us. Love from a compassionate mind requires loving without expectations. And here I want to share my point of view regardless expectations; having no expectations doesn’t mean that we are expecting to complete ourselves with others; or that we don’t need anything from anybody, but that we find ourselves complete and we are ready to share our completeness with others. We all have something to share: time, knowledge, space, interests… that’s why we decide to connect with others and share what we treasure the most.

Find the balance

“Be the change you want to see in others”. To become a catalyst you need to understand that the only person you can change is yourself. We spend most of our time trying to change people and things around us, but the fact is that we are losing our time. If you do something, do it for a reason.

A good friend of mine always reminds me of relating with nourishing and positive people no matter what’s my final goal, he also encourages me to find a real motivation in new projects. The energy I use in daily life for working, volunteering, dating, helping family and friends should be full of power and love. And don’t forget to give yourself.

“Let go and let it be”. Just because you decide to become more open and tolerant doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. If you keep a good perspective, you develop the ability to respond instead of react, avoiding unnecessary stress and arguments, give you the free pass for assertive communication and the right to express yourself better about your feelings and needs, leaving behind guilt and frustration.

Actions for lifetime relationships

Creating positive bonds is not so hard, after you find the right balance and decide who you want to be. It is time to try out your inner wisdom and start correcting your habits to keep that balance and not get out of track. How can we make it easier?

1. Pleasant: let go of the ego, stop trying to be right about everything, specially when it comes to the relationship with your partner or spouse. It’s okay to be angry at someone for a moment but ask yourself the reason why you are feeling that way. A simple “you are right, I’m sorry” bonds you to one another.
2. Positive speech: your ability to speak is one of the ways to connect. Be aware of giving compliments and gratitude to your beloved ones. Laughing, having a good sense of humour, making plans for a social meeting, as well as the tone of voice you use is a part of the mindset that you need to feel good and make others enjoy the time together.
3. Compromise: as I said before, you can’t complete yourself with someone, it’s necessary to give space and proper communication. Everyone has their own needs and opinions, we must respect each other and share their interest or at least motivate them to follow dreams and aspirations.
4. Acceptance: when you see someone as they truly are, you see their good and bad habits, automatically you stay present to the nature of life, and you stop the need to change someone.
5. Be calm: make an effort to be mindful, cultivate inner peace at all times, be the role-model for everyone around you. Make your mind neutral to all senses as all the things we enjoy with our senses will die or end some time in the future. Holding on to them will delay the purification of the mind.

“How deeply you touch another life is how rich your life is.”
-Sadhguru

How to practice patience when facing negative emotions?

I like to define patience as peace + science, or in other words, the science of peace.

Patience is the ability to overcome challenges without reacting with anger. You can show patience with a good attitude in front of life difficulties. Being patient is also the comprehension of life facts without forcing anything or anyone, without getting attached to anything or anyone, without any effort.

If the patience is part of our natural state, why do we “lose” it?

Patience is lost as we allow what does not correspond to our real nature. The enemies of patience are negative emotions such as ANGER AND HATE, which bring suffering. These negative emotions are created in the mind because the mind is like a sponge; it absorbs both the positive and the negative, unfortunately, it is proven that the mind absorbs more quickly the negative than the positive.

In the world we live in, we receive daily hate messages such as wars, abandonment, and injustice. In social networks and television, they show us a reality full of falsehood and materialism called “mass consumption“. All of this is absorbed and accumulated by mind daily. It is as if the mind were a glass of water and each negative thought is a drop of ink that falls into the water and becomes cloudy and dark.

When we faced difficult situations, the mind is cloudy and dark and, instead of responding assertively, it reacts with anger and hatred.

If something happens that I do not want, I get angry …

When someone says or does something that I do not like, I get angry …

When situations do not go as I expected, I get angry …

If we analyze this pattern, there is always “something” or “someone” that “steals” our peace or patience. If we let everything that happens around affect us, we end up suffering. And this is because we are so dissatisfied with life that we always want something more and we do not even know what that something is.

As the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo says: “People find it difficult to be happy because they think happiness is to be happy with everyone and everything, be happy and nothing more, laugh at everything. But if we could realize that happiness is to be serene. And that serenity is obtained when one is on the path he chose. Not exactly because he does well, that would be very easy. But we expect so much from the happiness that we have made it impossible.”

In order to end the suffering caused by anger and hatred, we need to change our DESIRES. Desires are another cause of suffering, and uncontrollable desires can lead to death. People hurt themselves, self-flagellate, suffer from depression, anxiety and end up losing patience altogether.

We all face obstacles; if they have a solution, there is no reason to be angry, and if they do not have it, how does it benefit us to get angry?

But here is something important, NOT all suffering is bad, the small daily sufferings that affect us physically and emotionally, such as pain and illness, also prepare us to endure great adversities. If we become familiar with the challenges every day, we become stronger, and it becomes easier and easier to solve them.

How to cultivate patience?

One of the most effective ways to cultivate patience is to have TRUST, trusting that everything we need comes to us at the time and in the right way, without any effort. This we can call waiting, “wait patiently.” If we return to the example of the glass with water, if we let the ink settle in the bottom of the glass, we can see clearly and choose to respond assertively to the challenges, instead of getting angry.

Confidence allows us to understand that everything arrives at the perfect moment and time. For some strange reason, humans have developed the need to control everything, including others. This creates great disappointments of how life is according to what we expect from it. Through the practice of trust, we let everything flow without the need to control; flow with life is much more relaxed and effective than go against the flow!

One of the best ways to cultivate that natural state of patience is by means of meditation. Meditation is an exercise for the mind, which is, as I mentioned earlier, the source of negative emotions and uncontrollable desires. Meditation allows us to:

-Learn how to deal with our thoughts and emotions

-Connect with our natural state of inner peace

-Clean the impurities of the mind

-Control the desires

-Accept the nature of the world that is UNCONTROLLABLE

3 affirmations to cultivate patience

After recognizing the origin of the loss of patience and understanding that we can control our desires to stop suffering, we can pause and transform our life experience into a conscious experience of peace and serenity. Positive affirmations are the opposite of the negative thought patterns that we normally use and are the starting point for personal development.

For this reason, I want to share the following affirmations to cultivate patience in all areas of life:

  • Practice acceptance

Today I accept the people, situations, and circumstances as they occur. I know that this moment is as it should be because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not fight against the whole universe by fighting against this moment. I accept things as they are and not as I want them to be.

  • Take responsibility

Today I take responsibility for my situation and for all the events that I see as challenges. I avoid blaming others or myself. I recognize that every challenge is a disguised opportunity, which allows me to take this moment and transform it for my growth and expansion.

  • Remain defenseless

Today, I renounce my point of view, and I have no need to persuade others to accept my opinions. I remain open to all points of view and I am not rigidly attached to any of them. I choose to be kind before being right.

Would you like to know more about meditation? Please follow here.

How I started to run for my life

depression help

Wanting to die is so easy. I have wanted to die almost every day of my adult life. (I guess getting into adulthood  is a little more difficult for drama queens). So yes, I have tried to kill myself in many lazy ways, like smoking everything, drinking everything, eating everything, especially rubbish. Yeah, rubbish was my favourite, rubbish  was everything, and I was always hungry only for that.

My decisions in life were even poorer. I wish there were poor decisions basically because there were no decisions at all. I think I believed that committing suicide was a kind of sport, so I wouldn’t do it! I was trying to die on the couch, like a lazy cat that didn’t want to live on the roof tiles anymore. Lying in the sun is so tiring, especially when you feel guilty about it. (Needless  to say, I am lucky I was not a sporty person).

I was a living misery with a face of happiness. And I really want to ask: don’t people watch into people’s eyes anymore? Maybe they never did. Or we simply are or once were in the wrong tribe. At first, I thought I could handle it, really. I thought that was life and I was just… behaving young.  I also used to tell myself, life is difficult, and that was the reason I needed to struggle at work.

I thought something else would happen, something unexpected that would give me a lift. A kind of Messiah, even though I had stopped believing in God some years ago. An opportunity, a person, a trip… until one day I had my first panic attack. And that was my gift. My little Messiah was a little weird, but I have always loved weird things!  So, I understood that the opportunity can only be built, and I was the only person who could build it step by step. That was about taking responsibility and redemption at the same time. It was late at night. I was wrecked. I took a paper and a pencil and wrote down 5 things I loved  about myself and three things I really needed  to change. Then I wrote a letter of appreciation to me, whatever came in my mind about myself as a kid, what I loved, what I dreamed of, what I feared and encouraged me to have the will to live. I was afraid.

The magic list, this little saviour

The next day, I bought a notebook and made a list, every morning. My list at the beginning was funny. I had things like cooking, cleaning everyday and walking… for 10 minutes. Yes, yes 10 minutes. Now I know the best gift I did for myself was that I made the list easy for me so as to encourage myself and make me feel happy at the end of the day. That was what I did for my students, I never overwhelmed them and I always encouraged them, no matter how small the work was. I liked the result I used to see on my students, so I did it for myself too. I spoke to myself like I spoke to children and that was huge.

Encourage yourself as if you spoke to a child. That is the greatest  gift you can give to yourself. Have small goals and tick them everyday, until they become a habit. Tomorrow challenge yourself against the person you are today.

Soon I got used to cooking and walking 10 minutes everyday, and the next month I levelled up! I added 10 minutes in walking and I also started reading 5 pages of a book everyday. I was so happy when I bought my first book. I used to read a lot when I was a teenager, but till 18, school got really hard and boring for me, making my reading a real struggle. School made me hate reading, and I took a book in my hands 10 years later!

After 9 years of sitting on a couch and eating shit, my body was really in a bad condition. I didn’t aim to lose any weight, my aim was to get healthier, breathe easier basically and lead a healthy lifestyle, so as to be strong to walk on the mountains. The weight  loss would come as a result of this. I was lucky enough not to live in a big city, so I was close to nature in no time. I reduced smoking too.

When I woke up every morning, my body was heavy as a broken truck. I had to go to work, so it was impossible for me to wake up earlier to go walking. I went at night and when I got back home, I used to pick my book and read my 5 pages. Sometimes it was really difficult for me, because my brain always loves the habit. But I understood that I needed to make a new habit, it was only 5 pages after all!

I started having a new self to compete and that was so rewarding

I started loving reading, taking notes of motivation words written by wonderful humans 50 or 100 years ago. I loved the way they used to think, and I loved that I found people that shared the same opinion as mine. That was when I built my self-esteem. I started believing in myself.

And then the best part begins. As weeks went by, I improved my breath and started feeling a little healthier. After walking at night, watching the stars and dreaming, I returned home full of positive thoughts. Then I challenged myself to start walking in the morning, before walk. I will not lie to you, that was really hard. I had my backs and forwards, but always tried to tick on my list every day or at least finish all the job at the end of the week. Walking brought magic into my life. As my breath felt lighter, I decided to start running for a second. (I know it sounds funny but I am proud of that!). I pushed myself to compete my previous self, I put limits and personal records I needed to break. And one day the magic happened. I had a personal goal to reach for that day. As I started running, a non-relative thought came to my mind, and I forgot the goal. 10 minutes later I realized that I was running without thinking about it! It was the first happy moment of all this thing.  My body was healthier and stronger, my mind was healthier and happier. I built it and now I could enjoy it and challenge it for more.

The deeper satisfaction was the mental part of this challenge. Walking and running gave me more happiness, for sure. Running had immediate effects on my brain. I really felt motivated and willing to live for the rest of the day, made me work harder for my goals, made me feel successful and determined. Not only I wanted to live, now I really wanted to succeed! Watching insects and animals working from early every morning made me love being a part of this ecosystem, made me want to work for it too. I have watched dawns and sunsets, all so different from each other, every single day. I have listened to birds speaking with each other, I have smelled the soil and the rain. I have danced alone under the stars, I have played like a little kid under the trees. I have let my thoughts dance, run, hop, laugh…

I don’t know many things in life, but one I know for sure. My life changed because I moved. Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today and if you think you can’t, just think of how I started my journey. Wherever you are, start today, even with 6 minutes walk under the trees. I am not talking about gym, I am talking about nature.

Take care of the animal inside. We are animals, my friend, deep inside all we need is freedom.

Our bodies are made to move. Our bodies are made to work on the mountains, walk on hills and do stuff. We have built zoos for animals and our own kids. We have built zoos for ourselves, and that’s why panic attacks come to warn us. I find panic attacks as a gift, as a warning of our bodies that you are in the wrong path. I changed my whole life because of panic attacks. I moved, I got broke, broken, lost.. only to see that I was on the wrong path.

Wherever you are, start today. If you have started, keep on moving. Take care of the animal inside you, walk on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

What Helping Others Taught Me About My Life

be your own hero

I don’t like the word philanthropy. I really don’t. Maybe this word for me responds to the fact that I despise what I don’t understand (and I am pretty sure it stops here).  What is really philanthropy?

I am lucky enough to speak Greek, so I can understand the two words that create this word. So, we have philos (which means friend) and anthropos (which means human). This means, we are genius now to understand that in Greek  philanthropos is someone who is a friend of humans. I am so happy for him, but… what about the other guys? And why don’t we have a word that describes the other guys? Who are the other guys? Where do they live? If they are extremely poor, they can’t be philanthropists, they are the ones that receive it. (for some reason we can’t have both!) If they are everyday people, they at least don’t care about their fellow humans or if they are rich, they at least don’t care about others.

A philanthropist is a rich guy that helps the poor. When you think of a philanthropist, you do not think of a person that works with another for the second’s benefit. The difference is we need to work together. That’s why I think this word should pass in history. It has nothing to do with the future society, we as human race deserve it.

I have been interacting with people and animals all my life. What this behaviour taught me is that we are a part of an animal society, and the most ridiculous thing is to feel superior when you help someone. You are just in a different period of time with the other person that currently feels weak. I can learn from this to make myself better and maybe avoid some mistakes that could lead me to a similar situation. I can also ask for help when I feel weak for some reason or another, from people who do not feel superior than me in this period of their lives, they just love working with others. This helps to the one in need psychologically, you know, that’s why many people don’t ask for help. They feel ashamed for others’ people interaction to their problem.

I have made a list of what helping others have taught me so far about people and myself,  and I am sure, this list will grow bigger as I grow older.

1) We all repeat a story in our minds. You do the same, I do the same. We repeat a story continuously, and this story becomes our reality in a small or big period of time. 3 years ago, I met a woman who lived alone. She had adopted a stray dog that followed her to her home. The woman didn’t know that the dog was pregnant, the dog gave birth to 5 puppies. Short after talking to her, I understood that the enemy was between her ears. She considered herself as lonely because she was unique and no one would understand her. I cannot imagine, how many years of her life she repeated the story to herself and made this story her reality. She would listen to no one that wanted to help her. She was very kind and educated, but that did not stop her from ruining her life. This woman was a life lesson for me. This period I was trapped in my own mind too, in a different way. Talking to her made me listen to myself, and deeply I understood that in reality I was talking to myself.  She didn’t listen to me, but I did. I changed the narration I was saying and made a new one, a more positive one. The more positive narration led me to a more positive story. I change the narration regularly since then.

2) Read people’s behaviours and translate them in you life! Change! What a magic word I used in the last sentence of the previous paragraph, because of the kind lady that refused to change. The easier we change our mind about things, the easier we change our story. There is a myth that people with strong ego are the strong ones. Personally, I think this is a scam that makes both the person and the people around him suffer. If your previous behaviour doesn’t serve you anymore, quit it! Do whatever serves your happiness! It is impossible to be sure about your attitude, especially in your 20’s and 30’s, come on! Change! Write a whole book of your life, don’t read the first page all over again and again!change the narration in your mind

3) We don’t watch documentaries, we are documentaries. When you volunteer in a healthy way, you feel super excited! It gives you a positive energy, happiness and self respect. Yes, it is not about brag, it is about self esteem. When you are a person that experiences things on the road, you don’t need to watch documentaries about life, you are the hero of your own documentary. In my late 20’s, I was wrecked. I was lost, really I didn’t have the will to face my day. BUT. When I got to the road to help, I was my hero. Honestly, I wouldn’t watch TV, as long as people like me weren’t invited there.

4) We are a part of our tribe. When you get in touch with people from different backgrounds, you understand that you are a member of our tribe, our society that experiences things from one and only aspect. You are simply in a different period of life in comparison to the person whom you “help”. He is either younger or older than you. Basically, do you really know how you‘ll be when you are older? Are you sure about that? Maybe in your first years of your life you were lucky to have parents, but it was just luck. No one is superior in our tribe. Everyone knows things all the others don’t. Let people interact with you and take notes. That’s how you grow.

5) It is your duty to go, it is your duty to leave. This is the most important part for me. Helping is like the military. You don’t stay there forever. You go there, you listen, you breathe and you leave. Furthermore, it is very important to be careful as far as humans are concerned. Have you ever heard about soul vampires? Do whatever serves you always and forever. Helping is a circle, you come today, I will come tomorrow, someone else will be there the day after tomorrow. Don’t get frustrated and addicted in helping, because it is not healthy for your mental health. We need happy people, not overwhelmed and frustrated, always remember that, my friend.

In my late 20’s I was ready, after many failures, to finally embrace the real change in my life. In the meanwhile, helping others not only worked in favour of my karma, but also I had lifted myself by lifting others. Now I know my worth building self-esteem through the power of the community. That changed my life.

Everything that I mentioned about people can easily be translated into animals too. Basically it is even better. Help whatever breathes, but always remember the fifth part of our list. We want you to be happy. I will say it again, do whatever serves you to be happy, but don’t trap yourself in your own narration in life. We are a community, and we need you active here.

If happiness is contagious, then what makes you happy?

Have you heard that happiness is contagious? Well, there are a few empirically proven studies by behavioural and social scientists suggesting that happiness is not only contagious but it is also positively impacted by the people around.

Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School in his study on ‘dynamic of spread happiness’ shows that happiness spreads through social networks, which means your happiness have positive impact and could influence the happiness of others as well. Further, spread of happiness is comparatively faster than the spread of sadness. Incredible, isn’t it?

If this is true, then the next question is: what makes us happy? Is it some kind of chemical reaction in our mind that is being activated by certain types of action in our regular life or some more specific environment which our mind prefers? Some studies claim that happiness is a state of mind, and if that is true, then what kind of action leads to it? Based on many studies and human experiences, here are some simple actions, easy enough to practice in everyday life, which make us happy and content:

1) Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination
It’s one journey where the path we have taken matters more than the final destination achieved. We always have a choice for the path to be taken, and this is where we decide which kind of life we want to live. Each day has a new beginning and a story to experience. So, make sure, you live and enjoy the very path taken, as it is the last one.

2) Human brain is great but heart is even more incredible
There is an age old debate on ‘logic’ versus ‘emotions’ until we start understanding the deeper science behind our emotions. They are the ones that make us humane. People who lived happy and fulfilling life consider emotions and social aspect while taking decisions about life, partner, children, family, friends and parents. Time to time, its beyond logic but that’s what helps them live a happy life.

3) Live to experience, as money doesn’t buy everything
One of the best use of money is living the experiences and investing our time and energy for creating great memories. They are more worthy than materialistic accumulation including money.  Science has shown that buying experiences – like, going on a skiing trip or taking an art class – makes us happier than material goods. As per several psychological surveys, people who spend more on life experiences are happier than people who just purchase things.

Photo by Carly Rae Hobbins on Unsplash

4) The Joy of giving
When you give to others, it is bound to give you inner happiness. Kindness, generosity and compassion are basic human values, and it’s an open secret followed by most successful and happy people of our time.

5) Small pleasures are collectively bigger than biggest achievements in life
There is an ancient saying: enjoy the small happy moments of your daily life. Because frequent, small pleasures tend to be different every time, whether it’s sharing tea with friends or reading a new book, we don’t adapt to them and become bored as quickly. Also, there are several such opportunities to live and be grateful about instead of waiting for something big.

6) Don’t compare yourself to others
“Compare and despair,” goes an old saying. We all are different and unique, so when you compare yourself with others, it means you are evaluating apple and oranges at the same parameter. People really do make themselves miserable when they focus on their “relative” well-being. That means how they think they’re doing compared to everyone else.

7) Appreciation is Important
The more you appreciate what God has given to you, the more you will be content and happy. Appreciation is also about encouraging the good inside you to grow further. The art of appreciating what you have and staying happy within your limits, is a factor that needs to be practised.

Let’s try something simple, close your eyes, take a deep breath and think what makes you more happy? Is it the money in your bank account, big car or a trip to your most favourable place or country, dinner with your partner or family? Now the decision is yours.

Kuldeep Singh can be reached out at twitter @Kuldeep_lko

Photo credits of the featured image: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Know Your Passion To Lead a Happier Life

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have. To access and manifest the best version of ourselves, we first need to look inside with honesty and apply careful and persistent effort. Learning as much as we can about our passion and mission in life is directly related to the amount of happiness we experience.

The quest for self, the “why am I here?”, “what is the reason for being?” never gets out of fashion. If we begin with asking ourselves “why am I here?” – we might not get too far. Instead, here is a simpler and a more structured way to start:

Ask yourself and write down the answers to the following questions:

1) What you Love (it helps identify your Passion)

2) What the World Needs (it helps identify your Mission)

3) What you are Good at (it helps identify your Vocation)

4) What you can get Paid for (it helps identify your Profession)

Then, you can answer some additional questions to help you get more detailed answers about yourself:

1) What do you Love? What aspects of your life bring you into your heart and make you feel most alive?

2) What are you Great at? What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you? What talents have you cultivated and what do you excel at even when you aren’t trying?

3) What Cause do you believe in? What change would you most love to create in the world? What would you give your life for?

4) What do people Value and pay you for? What service, value or knowledge do you bring? Something that people need and are happy to pay for or share some value in exchange.

Keep the list close and update it each time you feel like you discovered something new about yourself or connected with what you already know. The answers usually reveal when we are in the flow and engaged completely in what we are doing. Look back with honesty and identify these moments in your life.

Doing this will help refine your focus, attention and be more selective with your time and what you engage in. Allow less time and space for activities that take away your energy and do more of what gives you the positive energy. Don’t be afraid of failure. You won’t know if something is rewarding unless you’ve tried it. Life is made by our daily choices and habits, not predetermined. Knowing your mission and passion will bring more happiness and joy on daily basis.

Photo credits: Jenna Anderson on Unsplash

How Human Rights Contribute to Peace

people holding heart together

After a long day at work, many of us have the privilege to go home, take a hot shower, cook dinner, and sleep in a warm bed. For those of us who live a life of relative comfort and have our basic needs met, it can be hard to imagine what life would be like if we weren’t so lucky. What would the day look like without these basic things?

We might sleep outside on the street, hungry or even sick. Things as simple as consistent access to food and shelter are not a given for many people around the world. Without access to basic human rights, feeling at peace is unlikely to happen.

Peaceful people make up a peaceful society, and peaceful societies make up a peaceful world. Since scarcity often leads to conflict, societies that support their citizens by providing them with healthcare, education, food, and shelter, are generally more peaceful and prosperous than those who don’t.

What Is Peace?

Understanding what peace means is essential if we want to understand why it is so important — especially if peace is something we take for granted in our day-to-day lives.

At an International Day of Peace celebration organized by Peace Revolution Cameroon, participants from various countries weighed in with different definitions of peace. The word was defined in many ways, including “the respect for life and fellow human beings” and “freedom from disturbance.”

Peace might mean different things to different people around the globe, but it’s clear that without peaceful individuals, we cannot have a peaceful world.

Most Peaceful Countries

According to 2017 data released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the United States ranks 114th out of 163 in a list of the world’s most peaceful countries.

“Data highlighted a declining level of trust in the U.S. government, as well as growing social problems such as income inequality, heightened racial tensions and rising homicide rates in several major American cities,” writes Megan Trimble in “The 10 Most Peaceful Countries in the World” to explain why the US ranked so low.

Which country tops the list? According to Trimble’s U.S. News article, it’s Iceland — a place where discrimination is illegal and citizens have access to universal healthcare. Iceland is widely regarded as a leader in human rights. The United States, on the other hand, demonstrates that it values capitalism over the well-being of its citizens. The success of Iceland and the problems in the U.S. clearly show that human rights are deeply linked to peace.

Challenges

There are many barriers to peace in today’s world. The unrest in the United States is a great example of what happens when a country doesn’t protect the basic human rights of its citizens. In the fight for peace, protest signs are as common a sight these days as birds in the sky.

Social workers have defined 12 major challenges that need to be overcome to create a better world. These challenges include making sure that everyone has access to healthcare, helping homeless individuals find dependable and affordable housing and food, and ensuring that all people have equal opportunities to pursue education. Let’s take a closer look at these challenges:

1) Access to Healthcare

In some countries (including the United States), healthcare is a privilege, not a right. Money, location, mobility, and availability can all be barriers to receiving medical care. As the need for chronic care increases, the elderly are especially vulnerable to lack of care.

Discrimination also impacts access to healthcare. Low-income communities often have limited access to healthcare facilities. Given the racial makeup of such areas, this is often a form of discrimination in and of itself. Healthcare providers could discriminate on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, economic class, religion, individuals with pre-existing conditions, and more. In areas where there is a dearth of medical professionals, this lack of choice poses a serious problem for minorities.

2) Access to Food and Shelter

It’s hard to achieve peace of any kind when you are hungry, tired, and don’t know where you’ll sleep at night. Food deserts and lack of affordable and accessible housing options are huge barriers to health and peace worldwide.

3) Access to Education

Education is one of the best ways to improve your personal options for success. But because of money, discrimination, and availability, not everyone has access to education. Oftentimes, lack of education means lack of job opportunities. In turn, that can lead to additional struggles like financial stress and trouble affording food and housing.

Solutions

Healthy bodies and minds are a part of the foundation of peace. Without them, people cannot thrive. So what do we do? To have a peaceful society, we must turn these challenges into solutions.

Positive change can take place in the very sectors that are often barriers, including classrooms, medical buildings, law offices, and social communities. Getting involved in any of these areas is a great way to help create a healthier and a more peaceful world.


This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

Seven Steps For A Yogi Path

There’s a lot of confusion about yoga these days. For many, it’s just a brand to market their products, or a tool used in social media as a way to get thousands of likes and followers. However, yoga is not only about a perfect headstand pose, or holding your leg behind your neck. The asana (poses) practice is a very important part of this whole technology; it helps you be in a good physical condition, prevents you from loosing the right function of your body, helps you detox and restore your system from all the negative impact of the environment but is not definitely the only aspect of it.

When I became interested in yoga, I had no idea what I was doing, in fact, I had many misconceptions about it, like yoga is for women, yoga is for flexible people, yoga is religion and so on. Anyways I went for classes every week until I fell in love with it. Fortunately, thanks to this first approach to yoga and meditation, in a few months my life changed completely in the four areas: personal, social, professional, mental. I could witness my body and mind changing, while my heart started to open little by little allowing me to connect with my intuition, self-love, and compassion.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root YUJ, which means “to unite”. And the ultimate goal of it is liberation, also known as Samadhi, through the union of the individual self with the universal soul. According to the old scriptures, yoga began with the universal sound OM, the powerful cosmic vibration that lies in the bottom of all atomic energies, the word of creation.

For me, one of the most important aspects of engaging into a yoga lifestyle is to have the right reasons; you need to be one hundred percent committed to your daily practice Sadhana if you are to have success in maintaining it. Your “why” should be more important to you than the reasons and excuses for not doing it. So, before you start any yoga practice, you want to create a Sankalpa or a personal intention, formed by the heart and the mind, which serves as your personal resolution.

If you are wondering where to start, here are simple steps for a yogi path:

1) Moral discipline

As human beings, we have the ability to choose between the right and wrong. This can be considered as a very important practice for training our thoughts, speech, and actions in relation to the external world. Remember, we are not alone, we depend on others not only to survive but to build pure and lasting relationships, either you practice yoga or not.

2) Positive duties

This is a practice for healthy living concerned with ourselves and bringing an impact to the outside world as well. Some of these duties include purifying our body and mind, cultivating an attitude of contentment, self-discipline, self-study or inner exploration, and if you are deep into spirituality, you may consider surrendering to your spiritual source.

3) Posture

According to Patanjali, the physical aspect of yoga is the third step on the path of freedom. Asana means “seat” (for the practice of meditation), the posture should be steady and comfortable. Instead of focusing on only one posture that we can hold comfortable and motionlessness, we should be able to attain many poses really comfortable and steady.

In this article, I am taking the risk of stepping out of the Indian tradition and honoring the Tibetan Lamas with these Five Rites to activate and stimulate the seven main Chakras (wheels of spinning energy). According to Peter Kelder “performing the Five Rites stimulates the circulation of essential life energy throughout the body”.

4) Breathing techniques

In sánskrit it is called Pranayama, the yogic practice of regulating and channelling one’s breath. Another path translates it as “freedom of breath”. The goal is to change our state of being so that we become more focused on what is to be the focus especially to meditate without distractions. My two favorite practices are:

Chandra Bhedana: our left nostril is energetically associated with the moon, our body’s cooling energy.

Surya Bedhana: our right nostril represented by the sun, carries our body’s healing energy.

5) Meditation

So far we reviewed the moral aspect of the being, the physical body and the breath as a source of balancing the energies. Now I am reaching one of my favorite aspects of yoga which is understanding the nature of the mind. We have two parts: the body and the mind, like the hardware and the software. The software controls the hardware, so the software needs to be optimized and clean in order for the hardware to work properly. The same way we need to keep the mind clean and optimized; keep it positive all the time, rest and let go of everything that no longer serves us. Meditation is a very effective tool to control the mind, desires, thoughts, speech and finally our actions. Research shows that regular meditation helps improve concentration skills, clarity, and emotional positivity.

I recommend you to start with a guided meditation.

6) Yogi eating

The type of food we eat plays an important role in our lifestyle, the energy levels and the deepening of the meditation and asana practice. It is our responsibility to fulfil all the requirements for the body, be aware of the quality of the food, and make it simple.

Avoid intoxicants like alcohol, drugs, smoking. This keeps you stimulated, and your ability to perceive and feel changes. The level of clarity gets limited, and you may make wrong decisions. Another advice is to make 40% of your diet plant-based, with fruits and veggies. Animals carry memory and information that your body absorbs and make it part of itself. As evolving beings, we no longer need to eat large quantities of meat. And, of course, if you are willing to spread love and kindness to all beings, think about all the sacrificed animals that die in order to satisfy your old habits and cravings.

7) Heal yourself

Emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually, we all have something to heal, in fact, I truly believe that the only reason we are born is to know who we really are. We carry deep fears, self-judgments, imposed beliefs, that are hard to face and can only be eradicated with the willpower and courage to recognize when something is wrong. Since my first contact with yoga, I notice a change in my consciousness and a deep desire to develop my life, cultivate my inner desires and dreams only by listening to the heart and getting away from all the possible distractions of the matrix.

As the Dalai Lama says: “Be free to experience on your own what works for you or not.”

These paragraphs that I’m sharing with you are not the ultimate truth but all of the tips mentioned have been used for thousands of years in many traditions and cultures. Too often, I keep repeating to myself that everything happens for a reason, and thanks to yoga I can understand myself better and spread the words of well-being around me. I believe in changes, and one by one we can all change the situations, mindset, and misperceptions that keep us away from being happy and at peace.

LOVE YOURSELF.

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

Change Your Fixed Mindset to Access Your Hidden Potential Within

growth-mindset-to-access-hidden-potential

It’s a shame to say that the majority of people living in the modern world have a fixed mindset. By this, I mean that you, as an individual, believe that you have what you’re born with and you are who you are. Some might say that your fate has been decided and life is what it is.

However, others believe in what is known as a growth mindset. This is a frame of mind where you believe that you have to control your mind, your physical attributes, and the way your life is. You just have to be open-minded, work hard and take control of your own decisions.

Of course, summing up both a fixed and a growth mindset in just a hundred words makes it seem far simpler and easier than it actually is, so let’s dive in to see what changes you can make in your life that will help you transfer from a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, which will allow you to unlock your hidden potential within. 

Understanding a Fixed Mindset

Of course, there’s no way you can move on from a fixed mindset unless you fully understand what it is.

“First of all, it’s not a life choice or a way of being. A fixed mindset is simply a bad habit we pick up while growing up and in our everyday lives. You have to realise that you have full control over your mind and the way it works,” explains Darren Harper, a neurological scientist and writer for Academadvisor.

It will hold you back in every situation you find yourself in; it will stop you facing challenges come up against, and it will stop you being the person you want to be. Life is full of risks and the unknown. The only way to get the most out of it is to embrace it.

There are No Challenges, Only Opportunities

How often would you say you face a problem in your life? Once a year? Once a month? Every day? If you’re like pretty much everyone else on the planet, you’ll be facing problems every single day of your life. Some will be big, some will be small, some can be life-changing and some could be not having enough change to buy your coffee.

However, the first step to adopt a growth mindset is not to see problems in your life. There are no problems, only solutions. There are opportunities in everything. They could lead you to a new business model or an amazing book idea. It is up to your choice and the way of seeing it. 

Harness the Power of Writing

Writing has been renowned for thousands of years to be one of the most therapeutic and beneficial tool that human beings can do for themselves, and without exception it puts you on the path to adopting a growth mindset.

Consider the people you would define as successful. They know how they want to communicate. They know the message they are trying to say, and they know how to present it to any audience. If they’re giving a speech, they’ll write down various versions beforehand so they can make sure they get it right. They’ll also write every day about their thoughts, feelings and exciting concepts that spring to mind.

According to study, writing can help you to heal emotional wounds, feel happier and heal from depression and anxiety. Using tools like State of Writing and Via Writing, you too can learn about how to write comprehensively and accurately to wide your brain power, allowing you to articulate yourself properly in any given situation or opportunity.

Don’t be Afraid of Failure

One of the biggest problems we face in life is being held back by our own fear. It doesn’t matter what you set out to do; whether that’s asking a girl to the dance, starting your own business, starting a family, or taking your driving test,  – a fixed mindset is one that will leave you creating excuses in your mind why not to do it.

By implementing a growth mindset, you don’t see failure as something where everything’s gone wrong, and it’s the end of the world. You see it as all the experience you need to succeed.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things you can do when it comes to changing your fixed mindset into a positive growth mindset. Of course, this is going to take time, but with the right amount of drive and motivation, anything is possible.

Photo source: Pixabay