creating boundless space in our lives

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Generosity and mindfulness

The issue: Generosity and mindfulness are two important qualities that can have a big impact on our lives. Both involve being aware of the needs of others and ourselves and being open to giving and receiving.

Why it matters: Generosity is the ray of sunshine that brings light into our lives. We feel abundant inside, so we share our resources, time, support and love with other people.We don’t expect anything in return, thus the joy is unconditional. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions without any judgment.

Go Deeper: Being generous and mindful means being aware of our needs and the needs of others and taking right action. We are conscious of how our words and actions affect others and we take responsibility for our behavior and the situation.

The bonus: We experience true love, real kindness, and genuine support.

Here’s how:

1. Practice gratitude: Take time each day to be thankful for what we have and the people in our lives.

2. Give back: Volunteer our time or donate to a cause that is meaningful to us.

3. Listen: Take the time to really listen to others and understand their perspectives. It helps to feel the energy inside our body when we talk to other people. This clears our mind so we feel our essence and that of others.

4. Be kind: Show kindness to those around us, even if it’s just a smile or a kind word.

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The joy of true listening

The issue: In today’s busy world, our attention is pulled in all directions. We are often multitasking that we are not able to truly listen to our friends and loved ones and give them our full attention. Our mind is busy juggling the different concepts and images that we see and hear on our gadgets and the emotions that these concepts create.

Why it’s important: The lack of attention and listening can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. It reduces our ability to observe and be aware of ourselves and other people.

The suggestion: We create space in our lives by turning off our gadgets and focusing our undivided attention on the present moment. We look when there is nothing to see, and we listen when there is nothing to hear. Our sense of awareness is heightened. Thus, we feel our inner essence, thoughts and emotions and share our vulnerability with others. They in turn, feel our sincerity and acceptance and connect with us on a deeper level. We build trust and respect and develop stronger relationships.

The bonus: We grow and flourish as individuals and appreciate the beauty of each moment. We become alive and free!

Photo by Magda Ehlers:

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The Simple Things

The quote: “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” –Lao Tzu Why it matters: This statement is in stark contrast to what we are bombarded daily. We have the yearning, the craving, to be someone or have something. We are always chasing, looking for the next big thing. We purchase a big house, buy an expensive car, or wear designer clothes. There is the sense of being left out, of not being good enough, that is underneath all the wanting and needing. The cause: We have been  programmed to be dissatisfied with ourselves. So to get rid of feelings of inadequacy, we compare and compete with others. In the process, we become unhappy, tense, stressed and anxious. We are happy when we achieve something, but not for long. Someone else has more money, has a bigger house, has an pricier car. And so we are in a perpetual cycle of achieving and despairing. Because we find to our chagrin, that nothing out there will ever satisfy us. The solution: What if we are honest with ourselves and stop chasing things? What if we accept things as they are and go with the flow of life? What happens then? We stop identifying with concepts and beliefs. We become still and feel our inner essence. We are able to connect with other beings and feel gratitude and joy with what we have. And we realize to our amazement, that we are no longer inclined to spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to please people we don’t like. What a gorgeous feeling it is to be free!


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When we drop our attachment to concepts, images, judgments, opinion and beliefs, we experience bliss. We see the beauty of the stars at night. We marvel at the burst of sunshine in the morning. We enjoy the laughter of a child. We smell the fragrance of the flowers at the grocery store. We smile at a stranger at the airport lounge. We see beauty everywhere.

We are free of the concepts in our head. We are open to life and the universe. We feel our inner essence and feel connected to everything and everyone. We are blissful, thankful, grateful, joyful! Happy New Year!

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Life always gives us what we need. We may not always like it, because we are focused on what we don’t have. For instance, we wanted that promotion, but somebody else got it. We craved to have a relationship with that someone special, but he/she found someone else. We saved every penny to buy our dream house, but somebody else bought it. We are devastated. Our mind begins to run mental movies of bad things that happened to us in the past. Pretty soon, we feel sorry for ourselves.

But, what if we are friendly with whatever life gives us? What if we accept each moment as it is? What happens if, in the middle of our pity party, we stop and observe the situation without judging it? Suddenly, we see the issue from a different perspective. Our mind becomes still and we are able to assess the situation and see the other side of it. We are no longer taken in by the stories created by our mind. We see the situation as it is and gain a fresh viewpoint.

We realize that if we got the promotion, we would have been working a lot of hours under a demanding boss who would fire us in a heartbeat. Or that if we had a relationship with that special someone, we would discover that it would never have worked out because he/she would give us a lifetime of heartache. Or if we had bought the dream house, we would have spent a lot of money on repairs and we would have little left to pay for other necessities.

When we are friendly with the present moment, the weather is always perfect, the temperature is always right, the situation is always good. We are free.

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A beautiful story

We often think of life and death as the two opposite sides of a spectrum. But I think that birth is the opposite of death. Life is eternal. I was reminded of this truth when I talked to a friend, Kevin, whose father passed away last month.

He said that his Dad always liked cardinals, especially red cardinals. On the day of his father’s death, he received a red cardinal wind chime from his mother-in-law. She did not know of his father’s death, but when she saw the wind chime, she felt compelled to buy it for him as a gift. Kevin believes it was his Dad telling him that everything will be fine, and that he will always be with him.

Last week, a month after his Dad’s death, Kevin’s wife delivered a beautiful baby girl. He terribly wanted his father to live long enough to meet the baby. But it was not meant to be, and he was at peace with it. He recently took out his daughter to his backyard for the first time to smell the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. Suddenly, he heard the cardinal wind chime tinkling like crazy and swaying in the wind. It’s as if his father was saying hello to his daughter.

Kevin believes that his Dad will always be with him. He may not see him, but he feels him in his heart and he sees him in his daughter’s eyes. Life has come full circle. And if he ever misses his Dad, all he has to do is gaze outside his window and look at his wind chime.

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“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts.
It is more important than the past,
than education, than money,
than circumstances, than failures, than successes,
than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.
It will make or break a company … a church … a home.
The remarkable thing is that we have a choice
everyday regarding the attitude
we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past…
we cannot change the fact that people
will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have,
and that is our attitude…
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me
and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”
—Charles Swindoll

I came across this inspirational poem and was amazed at how relevant it is during these turbulent times. A lot of things are outside our control, which may make us feel powerless. But we do have control over our attitudes, thoughts, and emotions. We can choose not to let the past, other people or circumstances affect our mental, physical and emotional health. We are in control and we have the power to reject pervasive negative suggestions and comments. And if we need an answer or a solution, we will get it. We are surrounded by all the love and help we need. Such is the beauty of life. Peace and love to all!

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“Any star can be devoured by human adoration, sparkle by sparkle.” –Shirley Temple

I came across this quote by American actress Shirley Temple, and was struck by its truth. I believe it applies not only to stars and celebrities, but also to you and me. We may not be famous, but in this day and age, where social media gives us instant news and gratification, there is the pressure to succeed, to make it, to be special, to be extraordinary.

But the truth is that we can not succeed all the time. We can not make it all the time. We can not be special and extraordinary all the time. We need failures to point us to the right away, to meet the right people, to make the right products that is good for all, not just a select few. Failures make us humble and relatable. Everyone fails, sooner or later.

There is beauty in failing and in being no one or nobody. In this way, we are on equal footing with the birds, the flowers, the trees, the clouds, the rest of nature. We become one with the universe and discover our true essence, our true sparkle that is timeless, ageless, endless.

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Photo by S.M.

We are living in turbulent times where loss, sadness, chaos, hatred, anger and other negative emotions are everywhere. The world as we knew it is gone and replaced by a seemingly chaotic universe. Nothing seems to make sense. We don’t know what to believe anymore. Our very foundation is challenged and shaken to the core.

How can we free ourselves of this sense of unhappiness and negativity? We start by observing what is going on without judging it as good or bad. We leave life alone. This is a difficult thing to do because we are programmed to do good or be on the good side of things. We push things towards the “good” side of life. We are always fighting the present moment in our quest to be “good”. But do we really know what is good? Sometimes, pain, although considered “bad”, is the best thing that can happen to us. It leads us to growth, self-discovery and freedom. We are freed of our old way of thinking so we can embark on a new path of improvement.

So the next time we feel overwhelmed by the pressures of living, why not stop for a moment and take a pause? We take a few deep breaths and start to create space within and around us. We break the vicious cycle of creating negative thoughts and generating destructive emotions. We bring another dimension to our experience. We let go of taking control and let life work its magic. We know that life will always give us what we need for our growth and awareness.

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When we complain, we are look at life from a perspective of lack and scarcity. We impose our unyielding views and demands on the world. We expect the forms of the world to fulfill us, which they can’t. This is because reality is flowing and moving, and forms change with the passage of time. This is nature at play. Our error lies in identifying with the ephemeral forms of the moment, instead of being friendly with the present moment.

The present moment is pure and simple. But concealed in it is a power that is connected to the universe. This power is vibrant, timeless, boundless, infinite and all-encompassing. It is one with our inner essence and the essence of all beings.

When we go with the flow of life, we become one with the universe. We are transported to a new level that is better than anything we ever expected. We go beyond good and bad, and experience the bliss of being. When we reject the present moment, we miss an amazing opportunity. And we create pain, which diminishes our capacity to enjoy the richness of life. The key, then, is to be at one with each moment.

Still, how do we do this during these treacherous times? We start by creating space within us. When we are confronted with a difficult situation or person, why not pause and take a few deep breaths? We breathe in, breathe out. We feel the energy field in our inner body. We take a few more deep breaths. We allow space into our lives. Gradually, we feel the pressure come off. We sweep away the cobwebs of negativity from our being.

We shift our focus from lack to abundance. Our mind is quiet and we feel the essence of nature and marvel at the beauty all around us. We watch the vivid blue sky with the playful clouds passing by. We look at the bright-colored flowers in the yard and see a plethora of colors. We look at the tree outside our window and marvel at the abundance of leaves. We see birds hop on the grass and then fly to the nearest branch. We feel peaceful. We realize that life is the dancer and we are the dance.