Day 153: Expectation

The past month and a half has been all about detachment and letting go of expectation. Surprisingly, since practicing this I have been less surprised with some outcomes and completely surprised by others. People, by nature, are completely predictable for the most part. Like a web stalker that knows that he has done wrong frequently checking my website. Specifically him and spectators are constantly are looking at Day 5: A Lesson. People who sit back and do nothing enable this person to keep doing what they are doing and they are banking that you won’t do something. He will lie, cheat and tell even more tales like the one of his childhood to get out of anything or come out ahead. So, what do I expect?

I expect absolutely nothing. I used to expect that being a good person would grant me access to amazing things. Unfortunately, that’s not the way life works. It sounds depressing on its face but it is liberating to know that you don’t expect anything. There are more surprises and rewards when you don’t expect them to come by doing some action. While I’m touching on the subject of Karma Yoga, I’m not saying that this loss of expectation and attachment are directly related.

With the situation mentioned above, I don’t expect that justice will ever come because liars and cheats win in today’s world. He will continue to collect donations for a bogus organization that hasn’t held camp in three years. Unfortunately, he is entering the sloppy stage of his criminal activity. The most sad part about this is that some spoiled brat as the son of a reality television star will indirectly ruin the reputation of people actually helping thousands of children and families.

Not all practices of losing expectation are bad. Losing expectation in relationships is also beneficial. Knowing that you are being the best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, coworker, parent, husband and wife day after day, assures you peace of mind at the end of the day. Having no expectation will actually bring you closer to all of those relationships. If you expect nothing, you don’t get hurt and you are not angry with that person. You expect your husband to take out the trash and he doesn’t do it. You get mad and your entire night is ruined. The trash simply needs to go outside. Even if your husband said that they would take it out, don’t expect them to. This will save you a lot of emotions in the end.

At the end of the day, the person that did wrong has to sleep with that. Their tortured, paranoid life is nothing that you should ever desire. Get the satisfaction that the person continually checks your website to make sure that you are not talking about them. If you are getting hurt by someone’s actions or inaction ask yourself why. You will find that 9 times out of 10, it is your ego that is bruised or you want to be right. In either case, take out the trash (literally and figuratively) because you can.

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Day 149: You Are Not My Problem

I had a really good talk with Rahul’s wife yesterday about how I let things affect me. I usually see all the things that people are doing negatively and then take on that negativity. I either call the person out or sit in silence fuming. Now that this behavior is noticed and noted, I have got to make some changes in how I take these problems or people on.

When I say this, I mean it with absolutely no ego: I’m not like everyone else. I do what I’m told to the letter and expect everyone else to do the same. Most people I know try to cut corners or place their cell phone really close to them so that people can’t see that they are texting instead of paying attention. When I tell them, even in a leadership position, I get looked at as the bad guy.

My classmates have no idea how much they cheat their other classmates, including myself, out of great discussion and learning by not taking assignments seriously. I won’t even get into the tardiness issue. It has been brought up so many times that it is pointless to even be bothered about it anymore. The best I can do is show up on time and be ready whenever they feel like showing up.

Maybe the things that bothers me is that regardless of being the person who does right or the person who does wrong, the outcomes are the same. Crooks get articles in Forbes magazine. Classmates get the same certificate as I do. How is all of this fair? It’s not but life is not fair.

Maybe, that’s the point. Life is not fair but I am being fair to myself. I’m making sure that I’m doing the very best that I can everyday and what everyone else is doing is none of my business. Perhaps, this journey is not about making it to the finish line with everyone but making it to the finish line and taking the ribbon for myself. I have been conflicted because as I learn my power I walk the thin line of confidence and ego.

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Day 148: Inner Peace

My partner got news the other night that his mother was readmitted into the hospital the other night. He immediately got on a plane after receiving a call from his sister saying that their mom was not breathing on her own. He left our apartment shaking and what I would believe to be the first stages of shock. It has been a stressful couple of days.

the Mumbai rains have not let up for three days now and Friday night it took me two hours to get home. This trip usually takes around 25 minutes. The L&T tunnel that is on my way home was completely flooded as you will see in the photo below. Although it was inconvenient, it didn’t sway my mood.

I remained positive as water was coming into the rickshaw from a swollen creek. I remained grateful that Marzad knew the best routes. We shared a bottle of water. I was worried about his safety just as much as he was mine. To many, Marzad may just be another rickshaw driver but to me he is hero.

My inner peace has not been disturbed partly because of my training and partly because I refuse to let anything rattle me. I am definitely worried about Doug’s mother and his family as they go through this tough time. However, it feels like I have a peace of mind inside me so that I can be stronger for them. It’s not Ivone’s time to go so I am praying that God let her stay with us as long as she can.

I haven’t been the praying type until I started my yoga course and now I can’t imagine not praying. I pray for the good things, the things that I’m just grateful for and for strength to keep this work up. It takes inner peace to listen for the subtle things. It takes inner peace to take notice of the gifts that are all around me.

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Day 147: What Happens When Ethics Are Thrown Out?

The Mueller hearings in the United States has been a hot topic in the mainstream media in recent days. I am always amazed that I can be anywhere in the world and still be briefed on what is going on in the United States. What currently strikes me as most troublesome is the fact that ethics are being thrown out the window. Ethics are the basis of all humanity. It is the nonchargeable distinction of right and wrong or a loophole in our justice system.

Americans have been witnessing this very confusing circus for over two years now. First, came denial that a man that had no idea about politics is going to be our president. Then, came the divide that people either love him or hate him. This is still the stage we are in. However, now it is becoming a sort of obliviousness from one side that just believes anything that he says. Does a white man that is reality tv has-been and has real estate all over the world really have a seat in one of the most powerful positions in the world?

The most disturbing thing I came away with was that one side was worried about the possible criminality of the President and the other was only concerned about discrediting a man that just followed clues. It actually makes me ill that these people would thank him for his service and then call him reckless, incompetent and negligent. As a common man, I am shocked that all people don’t see the criminality that is sitting in the very house that we, as Americans, own. There was a news clip online that showed a Republican telling Democrats to ‘Shut Up and Move On.’

Is it sad that we have truth on paper in black and white and there are people saying (…and believing) that there is nothing to see here. Denial and ignorance have completely had a lovechild. It is sad that our Congress is not doing anything about these things regardless of what side you sit on. I don’t know that I trust a single politician completely. I get fooled by the ones that are ‘For The People’ and I get screwed over by the ones that promise to ‘Fix It’. Now, I am sitting with a document that is written by an institution that we are supposed to hold as the of the pinnacle of truth and are being told that the very things on this piece of paper are not as they seem.

It is a very uneasy time in America right now. I am glad that I have gotten to see this ‘outer’ perspective because I can’t really say that I sit with either side and that corruption doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. This is where ethics is being thrown out. The people that are supposed to be public servants are forgetting about the public that they are supposed serve. Instead, they are worrying about colors of people’s skin and trying to argue over language in a book written centuries ago. They all have forgotten about us.

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Day 146: Memory

Making memories has been a marketing slogan since the beginning of advertising. Memories often be a trap for a person that goes through any sort of trauma or abuse. Just like good memories, the bad memories cause reactions. We can recall some memories and can’t recall others. As they say, “The mind works in mysterious way.” If we have memories we don’t want to remember, can we erase them completely from our mind?

In Hatha Yoga, the term Smitri is translated to English as memory. This is one of the Vrittis, or the fluctuations of the mind. Yoga, as defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s it written: Yogas chitta vritti nirhoda. This simply says that Yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of the mind. The only time you can completely stop the thoughts of the mind is when you are no longer living. Our minds will constantly be working but we can train ourselves on how to react to those memories or fluctuations.

Let’s start with the bad. You are having the worst morning in your entire life. Then, you get a speeding ticket on your way to drop your 2nd grader off to school and the child has unbuckled the seat belt. The officer comes to your window and sees your child without their seat beat on before you realize it. Did you remember to put the child in a safety restraint? You can’t remember. You get a ticket for speeding and for your child not being in a seat belt.

Why couldn’t you remember? Perhaps, you make sure that the child is always strapped in so it has become an activity which you have just been mechanically doing. Had the presence been there while insuring your child’s safety, you would have remembered but there were too many things on your mind this particular morning. Now, if you are feeling like you are being shamed, don’t. The fact that the action of using safety restraints has become a mechanical process is a great thing because, as a child safety seat technician, I see too many cases where the child and the parent have no idea how they even work.

Our memory can work for us or against us. When you bring a present mind your mind records and doesn’t react to it. It gets stored deep in brain. When we walk in to the kitchen and forget why we walked in there in the first place, perhaps that was a mechanical response to some impulse. The reason you forget because the reaction is what triggered the action. You are not in control of what thoughts come in the mind, but, as mentioned in the last post, you are always in charge of your actions.

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Day 145: Purpose and Agony

In today’s corporate, capitalistic world there has been a lot of stress on finding happiness and the reason for being alive. This may be shocking but this actually a very old idea. At some point, humans didn’t like the simple answers they were finding and thought that life has to be more than simply existing. This could possibly be where expectation was born.

In the times of the Vedas, humans thought the purpose of life was to bow to the sun and perform their duties. People retreated to the forests to chant and bring praise to the Sun. The sun performs its duty every single day without any day off, any sick days or feelings of being under appreciated. Could imagine a day where the Sun said, “I don’t feel like working today. I’m taking the day off.”

Entire power grids would not collect energy for electricity. People would be confused and probably panic because the order of things would be in disorder. Animals would act strangely as nocturnal animals would not know when the night ended and the day began. Everything that we knew it to be would be in question.

Our purpose is also our duty. However, we often associate our purpose with happiness and then turn around to complain about the very thing that brings us that very happiness. What brings us happiness will also bring us pain if we have an expectation or attachment associated with that purpose. A duty is something that you do regardless of the gratitude you receive or the feelings you feel while performing that duty.

Since your duty is also your purpose, it should only serve 5 things. Yourself, your family, your society, your nation and your higher power are the only things that purpose and duty should serve. If you are finding yourself starting to have angst in performing your purpose or duty, start looking at what you are expecting to get out of doing this act. I will bet that your finding will be that you expect a ‘Thank you’ or some form of recognition. If that is what you find realign and remind yourself of why you wanted to do it in the first place.

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Day 144: 3 Ways to Find a Peace of Mind When Experiencing Anxiety

For anyone that has experienced anxiety, they will tell you that the effects can be debilitating. While at the grocery store an overwhelming crowd could seem like a sea of people that will never end. A heart beating rapidly and the breath becoming more shallow could seem like the beginning of death. A tingling feeling or rush of heat with a ringing in the ear that could happen at any moment could leave anyone with a terrifying worry. While there are many reasons to look at anxiety and be defeated by it, it is often forgotten that you don’t have to lose to anxiety. Here are three ways that you can defeat anxiety:

1. Remember, You Are In Control

One of the most paralyzing aspects is that it can surface at anytime like a dormant volcano or earthquake. While the natural disaster can be predicted, the response to that natural disaster. The same is true for anxiety. The control is completely up to you. While I’m talking about incredible strength, everyone has that potential to respond and be in control.

2. Remember To Breathe

With the heart rate going up the cardiovascular system will automatically trigger the respiratory system to respond by breathing faster. Start practicing detaching from the feelings in your body and start taking control of your mind. If you are at the store, pull off to the side and start breathing through your nose. Inhale to the count of 4 and exhale to the count of 4. When you bring the attention to the breathe, the mind can’t focus on anything else. Do this until you start to feel a since of calm.

3. Be Honest

Unfortunately, there is a stigma about having anxiety and the attacks that are accompanied with them. In all honesty, most of the people that create that stigma have experienced some form of anxiety at some point in their life. Some fear being on the other side of that stigma given the overall stigma of mental health. There should be no shame in asking someone or seeking a professional for help. Be honest about what you are experiencing and never be ashamed of doing so.

Anxiety is a horrible moment in time that can seem unbearable and, due to its unpredictability, can cause anxiety in and of itself. While it may seem like a loss of control is happening, we must never forget that we are never not in control of our responses. Many people associate the effects of an anxiety attack with death or dying. To my knowledge, there are no deaths to completely healthy human beings from the effects of anxiety. So, always remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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Day 143: 5 Ways to Not Let Other's Opinions Affect You

As a gay man, I have been trained at a young age that people’s opinions matter and that they should help shape and mold you into something that conforms to make other’s comfortable. In my late thirties, I am starting to realize that their opinions, are theirs to own and not mine to allow to attach to me. I have had horrible things said to me about my sexuality that is frankly not anyone’s business. These are 5 ways I have put on my armor when dealing with people’s opinions.

1. Be Solid in Who You Are

Everyone will have an opinion of you. There are good opi5. nions and bad opinions, but you don’t have to be either of those. You can be uniquely you regardless of praise or criticism. If you firmly know who you are, you never have to worry about a person that disagrees because it simply doesn’t matter. You can look at a critic in the face and say, ‘ok’ and move on.

2. Don’t Hang On to Praise

Often the people who do good in the world but they only do this good because they seek the praise of people to validate that they are good. Hanging on to praise is the same things as being hurt by someone that had negative things to say about you. Both are equally as destructive. It is good to remain humble in both positive and negative feedback because your response is a choice.

3. Listen to Your Own Opinions

As a yogi, I’m not free from having likes and dislikes yet, but I am present to those likes and dislikes. More specifically, I’m present to why I like a particular thing and dislike the other. What memories to we have attached to a like or dislike? These opinions of our own often influence our reactions to others. Being mindful of these things help you in being more solid in who you are.

4. Keep Goals

If you have nothing going on in your life, negativity will always find a way to enter your life. Respectably, if you are not working towards something for you and your life, you will let other people influence you or you will follow other people to give your life meaning. You are in control of your own life so why not create something that is completely yours to share with the world. Start by being a person that has higher goals in spirituality or if you need to start smaller start by just being a good person.

5. Accept That Negative Exists

As we learn in the movie Inside Out, the character, Joy, has to learn to accept Sadness as a part of her world. Metaphorically, we have to know Sadness to know Joy. When we accept that negativity has to exist for positivity to exist, we accept anything that comes from and either take something from it or leave it. Both are what makes having critics so valuable. Your critics can give you ideas or make you see something from a different angle. Accepting negative is the first step.

Learning these lessons has taken me many fails, tears and frustrations to come out on this side and I am still learning every day. Although it is supposed to be a children’s movie, Inside Out is a continued reference for me because it has so many valuable lessons. If you have not watched this movie, it is a must. However, if you are one of those that is not taking the next step in being who you are or from starting a life change, don’t let other’s opinions stand in your way. They may be acting out of fear or reacting to something that they are not even conscious to themselves. As they say, ‘Be you, Boo!’ and the rest will fall into place.

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Day 142: 3 Things To Do Before Bedtime

I have been getting several requests for advice on what to do to fall asleep. Simply stated, you need to prepare an environment for sleep and make an intent to fall asleep. Restless minds often find it hard to shut off but they are paying attention to the wrong things. Shutting off the mind is impossible until we are dead. However, you can slow the thoughts, limit your reactions to them and create new habits. These are three things that have helped me fall asleep quicker and feel more rested in the morning.

1. Turn the Television Off

Most of the time, we don’t realize how we contradict ourselves in the things that we want. We want peace but always fill our schedules so full that any amount of peace is not even listed. Who wants to sit around and do nothing? Sleep is supposed to be a time where the brain is repairing itself. If you think about it in computer terms, the mind is doing a backup. My partner has to have the television on and lately it has been on CNN news while we sleep. I would notice my mood being very negative in the morning and couldn’t figure out why. After I convinced him to try going to sleep without the television, he has even been benefiting from a deeper sleep. We turn on ‘Sleep Music’ and I have been falling asleep soundly for about a week. The music lasts for an hour and then it is quiet. If you need sound to fall asleep try this method and see if it helps.

2. Pay Attention to Your Breath

We spend money on oils, eye masks and Melatonin tablets but we often forget that everything we need is free and available to us all the time. Our breath and its amazing power to calm the mind is constantly forgotten and underrated. As you lay down to sleep, get completely comfortable, place your hands on your bellybutton and focus on your using your breath to raise your hands up and down. This sometimes takes a few minutes until I’m dozing off or has taken up to an hour to start to fall asleep. Regardless of how busy you are, I have not met a single person that likes to be stressed all the time. I know people that love to be busy all the time but do not like stress. I have friends that reach out to me because they are going through traumatic situations and I suggest this very thing because I believe that it cures most of the mind’s problems.

3. Don’t Have Caffeine Past 2pm

Many people are in denial about how much caffeine they consume and at what frequency. If you are needing that pick me up around 3pm, don’t reach for the coffee mug. Instead, reach for a bottle of water. Having caffeine past 2pm will almost certainly keep you up past your required bedtime. I used to get a coffee after work at 5pm to clean my house. Then, I would wonder why I wasn’t tired at 1am. It didn’t take long until I linked the two and start using this as I needed to. Caffeine is great when used correctly and not just a habit. Some people feel like falling asleep after consuming coffee or caffeinated soda and this should be a warning sign that you need a break. If you must have coffee, try having your ritual first coffee in the early morning. Then, have your second coffee shortly after lunch but before 2pm.

Sleep is very important to the body but we often think that we don’t have time to make the time for sleep. Making this a routine that you follow religiously will put you back in a sleeping pattern far better than any medication or over-the-counter drug can do. Parents make sure that their children brush their teeth, put on their pajamas and get tucked in. So, why do we as adults think that we no longer need these rituals to sleep? Never grow up, just get wiser.

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Day 141: America, Get It Together

The state of America is completely divided into three different groups. I describe these three groups in the follow way - The Globally Connected People, The Rich Leading the Poor and the Passive. I am going to take a current situation in the media and explain the perspective from all three different sides. It is completely fascinating to watch American politics from the other side of the world. This geographical different has changed my view and my approach.

1. The Globally Connected People

Recently, the President of the United States has made statements about 4 freshman congress women that have the hair standing on the back of necks of some. To hear the vile words come out of the President’s mouth like he has some sort of personal vendetta against these women is very disturbing. Growing up, I always looked at the President as a man that joined everyone together, but this current president wants to see everyone divided. He strongly believes that no press is bad press and bad press is still press. For Globally Connected People, it paints the United States as small minded and unwelcoming. This is very far from the truth for the Globally Connected. These people tend to speak out only giving the President more fuel for this fire. What can you do to stop this hate when the entire nation was on a path of starting to love their neighbors?

2. The Rich Leading the Poor

This group of people are dangerous because their silence of the blatant racism that is being spewed from the White House is disgusting. They know that their silence is allowing the poorer people of the nation to think that the one’s actually defending America are the bad guys. They know what is being said is wrong, but do nothing about it. Many Republicans would be yelling impeachment if President Obama would have said that a white man hated America. The current President is saying exactly that about American of different races because they are brave enough to stand up to him. I don’t see them backing down anytime soon and, equally, I don’t see the rich Republicans telling the President to stop (until it starts affecting their polling numbers). Money holds power the same as silence.

3. The Passive

This group is just as dangerous as the The Rich Leading the Poor. They have personal beliefs that what is happening is wrong or right but stay out of it completely. Their silence on either side is what people want. They don’t want to cause an argument or outrage so they remain quiet and stay ‘out of politics.’ In this day and age, staying out of politics is letting evil win. That is what is happening. Evil has wedged itself in between uncertainty and fear. When people are afraid, they have a fight or flight response and, unfortunately, many Americans have used the flight response for this very situation when love should win. These women have received threats and the very people that should be protecting them are saying that they hate America while The Passive are remaining silent.

America is not perfect but one thing that we have always prided ourselves on is that we are a melting pot of culture and diversity. Even the white people that are spewing this hate, weren’t originally from here. Blacks were brought her by force and then hated because they wanted rights. Hispanics try to escape her to escape crime, gangs and drugs and are then called rapists. Children are being separated from the very parents that were trying to get them a better life and then being put in conditions that we don’t even allow most pets to live in. What’s wrong with America is that everyone has an opinion but lack the power to do anything about it because the man in charge has more money than he deserves and a mouth louder than any voice can match. America, get it together.

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