9/11- A Day for Remembrance, A Day for Reminder

First off, God please protect those directly affect by 9/11, and give them the strength to live well. I can only imagine the pain they feel on this day. We remember the souls who left us and hope their loved ones have found peace. These souls shall live on and continue to be a reminder to recognize what is truly important in our lives.

Through the tragedy and sorrow, this day reminds us how precious and fleeting life is. In just an instance, a life can be taken, but this is the reality we often choose not to think about. We much rather comfortably assume that tomorrow will come for us and everyone around us. As a result, we may treat the ones we love unfairly at times.

How many fights have we gotten into with family members over something so trivial, and now we do not speak? How many relationships have we had where we were too prideful or scared to tell the person we love them, and now they are gone? How many times have we yelled at our sibling and angrily walked out the door, taking for granted he or she will be there upon our return? We do this all of the time because of how unaware we are in the moment that things can change in just the same amount of time, one moment.

We can be more aware by actively expressing gratitude for the ones we love daily, not only once per year on their birthday because they or we cannot be guaranteed a next one. The latin phrase, Memonto Morti translates to “One day you will die.” This phrase is not meant to be morbid, for it is simply a reminder of how lucky we are to have today because we cannot be guaranteed tomorrow. If this is still too dark of a principle for you to adopt, more popular phrases like Carpe Diem– “Seize the day” or even Drake’s very own, YOLO– “You only live once,” have been coined to embolden this same principle.

Today I encourage all of us to reach out to the ones we love and tell them how much they mean to us. Think about a moment you have experienced with them and indulge in its memory as if it were happening right now. Take notice of your emotions and the feeling of love this experience with this person gave you.

Today we remember those we lost, as well as those we have for the moment. #neverforget

What is My Intention For Today?

Take a moment to first ask yourself this question, and keep your answer in mind.

Recently I listened to an interview of Jay Shetty, who spend almost three years living as a monk. He has since been a public figure, promoting mindfulness and positivity, in short. During this interview Shetty says he begins his day with one question- “What is my intention for today?” The thought behind this question is to recognize what is the most important work for you to do today. Shetty encouraged us to focus on intention rather than what he calls the “weeds” or distractions that will inevitably come along with the day as well. The “weeds” represent the impurity of our true intention. In the example Shetty provided was his intention each day is to educate and inspire people. The weeds that get in the way of this pure intention is the money, the number of followers, and the fame that inadvertently comes along with it. Though it is easy to get caught up in these weeds, he focuses on this sole intention.

So, “What is my intention for today?”

As I ask myself this question, and my mind diverts to thinking about wish to accomplish professionally today. However, I interrupt this thought to reflect on my personal mantra—to be a source of peace and inspiration to all who surround me today. This begins to put my true intention into perspective. My true intention is to live out this very mantra. Initially, I believed my intention would be to close a sale and obtain a commission. But, this is not my intention for the today. Perhaps that is a personal goal I have for myself but it cannot be confused with being my intention. The lust for a royalty is a weed which may even distract me from executing this true intention.

What can possibly get me down or distract me if this is my sole intent? How can unsuccessful cold calls or a lull in a sales closing possibly get in the way of this? It cannot.

Focus on your true intention for today, and don’t let the weeds get in your way.

Where Brooklyn At?!

BK

As I raced toward the subway station area, occasionally glancing up from my Google Maps, my attention was grasp by a site wondering in my right-side peripheral. It was the Brooklyn Bridge! All of the times I have visited this part of the city and I had never realized how near the bridge was! I pivoted instinctually and gazed at the two sturdy arches stoically standing in the distance. From where I was standing, I predicted it would only be about a 5 minute walk to the bridge. I must take advantage of this opportunity!

My right foot ventured toward the bridge but shortly froze as I realized I might be late for my networking event uptown. I quickly contemplated the opportunity cost for being late to this networking event versus potentially never having the opportunity to walk on the Brooklyn Bridge ever again in my life.

Well, when you put things in this perspective, the response to myself was, in the words of the great Biggie Smalls, “WHERE BROOKLYN AT?!”

Off I went!

With a backpack loaded with my two journals, agenda, computer, peanut butter sandwiches and my rain jacket, I maneuvered through fellow tourists shopping for trinkets and bikers angrily yelling at pedestrians in the designated bike lane. I was determined to reach those two beautiful stone arches and make it to my networking event on time!

My feet began to swell and the thought of turning around lurked as the time neared the start-time of the event uptown. The bridge was much further than it had seemed when looking from the street. Still, determined not to miss out on this brief adventure, I continued, and took in the sights of the entire city in the process. Onward had been Brooklyn, while the sites behind me consisted of the World Trade Center building and the full eastern coast-line of Manhattan. It was gorgeous. I would not have given up this travel for the world.

I finally reached the arches, touched the stone and read the displayed plaque, which narrated the history of the Brooklyn Bridge and its creator, John Roebling. I took in the sites one last time before beginning my trek back to the subway to get to the networking event.

When I finally arrive at the event, I was only 10 minutes late and the presentation had not even started! I thought of all I would have missed out on if I got too caught up in worry about not making it to an event that did not even start on-time. I knew this might have been the only time I would go to the Brooklyn Bridge, potentially, and if I did not go then, I may never go.

We do not know what tomorrow brings, so think about what CAN be saved for tomorrow and what MUST be done today. Enjoy!

Intimacy and Loneliness

I’m thinking about yet another concept I had observed from listening to the Dali Lama. It was the relationship between intimacy and loneliness. When Dali Lama speaks of intimacy, for the record, he is not speaking of sexual intimacy, but rather intimate human connection.

When the interviewer asked the Dali Lama if he ever got lonely, living in isolation, away from family and spending many days in silence, he responded, “I have never felt loneliness.”

This response had my attention because I had always, personally, questioned whether something was wrong with me, since I never had this sense of “loneliness” either. Often, from my experience in participating in conversation, when people speak of loneliness, its context is often associated with experiencing a love life or lack thereof. For example, people speak of wanting to find someone for the sole reason of feeling lonely. Perhaps all of their friends have a significant other and they believe the presence of another will fulfill this void. The fact of the matter is, however, another person will never fill this void if we are not creating connection. This idea will clear up later.

It was interesting to take this perspective as the Dali Lama spoke about why he is never lonely. He begins to describe the kinds of encounters he has with the people he meets, whether it is an official meeting or simply one in a hotel elevator. He describes the connection he creates with these people. No matter what their status, no matter what the topic of conversation, he feels deeply connected to them. As a result, the Dali Lama’s human need for intimacy is regularly quenched. He creates it himself through genuine listening and openness with other human beings. How can he ever feel lonely if he is constantly connected to the universe in this way? He cannot.

Now, this brings us back to us non-Dali-Lama people, who feel we incapable of connecting to just anyone. No one understands us, right? No one is listening, right? It has me thinking…. Is it really another or is it just us who are hindering our connections? How often do we truly listen when another is speaking? How genuine are our questions of interest in another’s life?  Such conversations are opportunities to connect, yet we find ourselves distracted, uninterested and ultimately, back to feeling lonely. Go figure!

Taking it back to my personal reflection on intimacy and loneliness in my own life, never feeling this sense of “loneliness” people would speak of really, I began to think about why. Well, what I concluded really came down to the simple act of making connections with the people around me every day, like the Dali Lama (well…sort of). I am definitely not one to talk to stranger or any of that craziness, but I enjoy talking to my mom, grandma, friends and family just as much as I enjoy listening to them! This simple act has made me too feel constantly connected to the universe we all comprise, so where would this sense of loneliness have a place?

What I am saying is, another person will never fulfill our loneliness. In fact, if we do not work to create connection with that added person, we will feel just as lonely whether they are there or not!

There are so many opportunities to connect to anyone on a daily basis! Take advantage of them! I understand fellow introverts like me might not want to speak to just anyone on the street like the Dali Lama, but how about our own family members and people we are close to? It is so easy to take for granted the comfort of their presence. We might find ourselves never striking up a conversation with our parents because we feel they will always be there. But, in realty, this is missing out on an opportunity to feel connected to someone we love. Make the effort to start conversation with whoever you live with today! I guarantee the feeling of loneliness and intimate connection cannot coexist.

Can Any Form of Focus Be Considered Meditation?

As I lobbed the hackie sack back and forth between each hand, I felt focused. I had been focused on having the hackie sack land into each hand to ensure it did not drop. During this time people have been passing and conversations had been occurring in the distance, but I did not see or hear anything. All I saw was the focus of the ball and my two hands as if my eyes were a camera adjusting the aperture for a clear focus on the hackie sack and blurring the background imagery. My focus was not on time, for it was not on anything but the present moment.

After the conclusion of this brief 3-5 minute focus (some might call it a distraction. To each their own), I realize the feeling in my head and the focus that it ensued was no different than the feeling of focus traditional meditation provides. Meditation encourages all of us to recognize the present, for our minds not to wander. People may paint a generalized image of meditation of one sitting in a quiet room, legs crossed, and eyes closed as waterfall sounds play in the background. This is a perspection of traditional mediation practice of focus on the breath and single-focus.

So, am I suggesting this time of play, throwing a hackie sack diligently from palm to palm could be considered a form of meditation? Yes, I am.

I then began to think of all of the moments in my life when I have felt a similar focus. What I had concluded were moments when I am working out, studying, reading, or writing. The similarities between these activities is the discipline to have a single-focus. Most of the time, when we are truly engaged in such tasks, we do not notice time or distractions. When we are focusing on one current task, our mind IS single focused and is not wandering. We are present.

I often hear of people struggling to maintain the discipline of meditation (myself included), and I think this revelation for myself, at least, has relieved the pressure to find time to practice a 10 minute breathing exercise, and rather encourage me to find an opportunity to meditate in many different ways in my everyday life. By recognizing new forms of meditation, perhaps we can all do a better job in taking advantage of opportunities to be present.

So,

Indulge in that new book you bought

Write a blog post to share with your audience

Free write in your journal

Let’s get creative about meditation and find new ways to engross ourselves in the moment.