A few days ago we went to a hutong or province outside the city. What I saw was eye-opening. Cement houses with two rooms for a family, a kitchen and bedroom and no bathroom. They have to go to the public showers for that. And bring their own toilet paper since no public bathrooms in China provide any. This trip is an interesting experience to say the least...
I'm in China right now so the next few posts will be related to my experiences and the greater value I've attached to them. This country is so different from any other place I have visited. It has opened my eyes to the complexity of my life and the hardships of others. Here's one experience shared...
My Dad and me in the Jersey Shore in 2004.
I don't know about you guys, but my Dad is a very important character in my life. He has played a pivotal role in my development and has helped me grow into a mature and thoughtful being...
This is a mandala which is created out of sand by Buddhist monks. After hundreds of hours of careful work and attention to detail they blow it away and destroy it, showing that we should never hold on to anything tangible and external.
What is the purpose of life?
Maybe, it's none of our business.
Because in thinking about these things you have moved away from where you should always be: conscious, aware, and present in the moment. One of the hardest things for me to accept is that my feelings don't have to dictate my actions. Just because I may feel sad, doesn't mean I can't put effort into enjoying a family dinner. In fact, when I bypass these feelings, not ignore them, but notice them and move on to the moment, I feel better by the end of the night.
I used to think that attachments made life better, something even as simple as a friend, because they were there to support you and make you laugh. And don't get me wrong, friends and family are crucial to feeling internally well, but I realized that these relationships were becoming the only medicine to make me feel well. That I needed other's to pick myself up and continue to move forward. This shouldn't be so. You should be able to completely depend on yourself for true happiness and then look to others as mere additions to your joy. And so I learned to do what needs to be done like cooking and homework without the aid of others. Yes these are simplistic tasks, but I realized that I can't ever fully rely on others. They can only be there temporarily, while I am with myself forever. If you can depend and thrive off of yourself, then you have achieved an ultimate state because so much of our lives today is ruled by what other's think about us: Do I look fat? Do they like me? Am I doing good enough?
If you look for other's approval, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will never feel accepted by other's because they are dealing with their own situations as well. All of this discomfort caused by feelings is eliminated when you stay present. It's not to say we should be numb to our surroundings, but having the ability to return to awareness after something hits us, is powerful.
That's all my stream-of-consciousness mind can conjure tonight. Rest well :). BHN.
A picture of the golf course that I took last night before sunset. Love playing at 8 pm :).
Today I had a golf tournament. The whole morning before I left I was anxious as usual. I thought to myself: How is this round going to turn out? Is it going to be like last week? Are the adjustments I made in my swing going to work? Are the girl's I play with going to be annoying? Is this round going to be long and brutal? I was sitting in bed biting my nails when I googled "nervous for golf tournament". It's a funny saying that "things happen for a reason" because I really believe that it's true. Anyways, I stumbled upon a reassuring paragraph that couldn't have been more motivating. It said: instead of all that needless advice I could give you, why don't you check out this story here.
After clicking on it, I knew what story it would be, but I had to re-read it because I love it anyways. It is a famous Taoist fable trying to teach that no matter what is brought into our lives, good or bad, it has been brought for a purpose that only we can determine...
"This isn't a dress rehearsal, life is in action playing out before our eyes right now."
I always like that quote. I don't know if that's exactly how it goes, but that's how I heard it. Living in the US we have this ingrained perspective, this perspective of success. It is not okay to sit back and let things fall upon you. You must go out and work and finish college and make money and get married AND live in a nice house... And there's nothing wrong with motivation and working hard, but there needs to be a balance...
Today I am going to give you my experience with intermittent fasting. If you think it "destroys" your metabolism and wreaks havoc on your hunger signals, check out the links under my blog. I am just providing you with personal experience-- the links get into the science of it all. Anyways, I intermittent fast for several reasons. First of all, if you don't know what IF is, it is choosing not to eat for an extended period of time to deplete your food stores. See nowadays we are eating so much, so frequently, our fat and glycogen stores get overflowed every few hours. If we don't deplete them by means of exercise or giving our metabolisms a chance to synthesize the food, it causes insulin and leptin resistance, and eventually leads to obesity. On top of that, if you are continually feeding your body sugars, white flour, or basically anything highly processed, it increases cholesterol and puts our bodies in to shock having never experienced food that travels through the blood stream so quickly...
Mindful eating is an important practice to cultivate. In eastern philosophy, many monks take the process of eating very seriously and can achieve high states of meditation by being super-conscious with the food about to enter their mouths. I think eating with awareness is essential for humans because nowadays with the constant rush of a work schedule, school, kids and activities, I feel like we don't have enough time to sit down and enjoy our meals. Instead, we eat out and on the go and don't give a thought to what we are scarfing down our throats...
Let's talk well-being, travel, fitness, whatever comes to mind! And while we're at it, I'll throw in a few tidbits about my own life and philosophies. There is an infinite amount of scientific health, mind, and wellness topics to explore!