Tag Archives: positive

because y’all know I love gratitude

I know I’ve mentioned something about gratitude in several of my posts. I’ve posted a few daily encouragements that mention gratefulness. One of my favorite quotes by the most influential person in my life is “To be grateful is to be human.”

I want to pass on this video to you all about gratitude. Got 7 minutes? Go ahead, watch it now.

Did you watch it? I think it’s pretty amazing how something so simple (and free for that matter!) is the key to our happiness. This just further proves that all of this stuff we surround ourselves with doesn’t create a solution to our happiness. And, this is something that is even hard for me to fully act on most of the time. Doing all of the stuff that we love, hiking, shopping, reading, painting, whatever just makes life more fun. But does it really truly make us happy? Short term, maybe. But, we can’t keep living for short-term results, because then in the long-term, it can maybe cause unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It’s kind of like this. Why do we take vitamins and work out and even brush our teeth? Because we know that it’s good for us, and can prevent disease and  rotten teeth in the future. If we can take care of our physical self so that we can be healthy later on in life, why can’t we take care of our spiritual and mental self?

Something so simple, but so hard to do. Yeah, it means putting aside our ego for a little bit to let another individual, or thing, or whatever that you’re grateful for what they did for you; that because of them you succeeded in xyz. But, in the end, a little humility and gratitude does keep ourselves in check. And that’s not a bad thing, right?

So, go ahead. Tell someone thank you. And really truly mean it. Don’t say it out of an obligatory way like when someone holds the door open for you and you grudgingly thank them for that little task. Be grateful and be awesome!

Want to read the actual study? I haven’t gotten around to it, but definitely on my reading list. Here it is!


a little over a month

It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. I have a list of things in my “blog idea” journal that I am dying to talk about, but none of them have been able to capture my true emotions and feelings of what is going on in my life right now. I’ve struggled to put down in words what exactly is happening. It’s a little scary. Every day I open up my wordpress.com tab, and every day I go to “add new post”, and every day I stare at the screen for more than I should trying to capture into writing what is going on in my life. Here’s what’s going on:
1. I’m getting married in a little over a month.
2. I’m moving across this country to New Mexico right after.
3. I’m starting school again after being out of the game since May 2012 (I know it’s not a long time, but it feels like forever).

All of this is literally happening at the same exact time, and it’s scary. And terrifying. And causes me a lot of anxiety. I think more than anything, a lot of self-doubt creeps into me, and I begin to second guess my capability, even though I know well that I can handle all of this. In my head I know this, but being the emotionally driven individual I am, I let them control me.

Can I take care of someone else? Will my Indian food even taste good?
How am I going to handle another region of the States? I’ve NEVER lived outside of the South (give or take the 3-4 years we lived in Ohio when I was 2). What if they make fun of me for saying “y’all?
Do I remember how to study? What if I fail tests?

If you take a step back, and really examine these questions, they are all driven by fear. And fear is an emotion. I have literally let my fears determine who I am these past few weeks, despite knowing that I am more than capable of handling all of this.

I have never minded a challenge. I work great under stress. I have self-confidence. These are things that I know. So, why let things that that are run by the unknown dictate how I react to certain situations, treat other people, take care of the things that need to get done?

Change is hard, and transition is difficult. Especially after you’ve been accustomed to the same thing for so long. But does that give me an excuse to do all the things that I probably shouldn’t have? Not at all. Excuses are never good, and they should never be a cop-out to what life is giving you. All of this is happening to me, because in some way, shape, or form I have asked for it. And if I asked for it, I know I can handle it. So why freak out?

It’s one month away from being my 1-year anniversary of my India trip. I settled into a routine, that unfortunately has created attachments for me, that I now am scared to give up. All of these new adventures and experiences could not come at a better time. It’s all about adjustment and adapting. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. So instead of being scared and terrified and anxiety-ridden, I need to channel that into the positive. Excitement, anxiousness, readiness.

As I look back to this past month, and everything that has happened, I’m a little embarrassed at the way I’ve handled everything. But, alas, such is life. You learn from your mistakes, and you move on taking the new lessons and applying them into your future.

Here’s to the month and a half I have left in my beautiful hometown of Memphis, and here’s to the new memories I’ll be creating in my new home of Albuquerque. This is life y’all. You can either sit on the banks and mope and be upset, or you can jump in and see where the current takes you. I happily am choosing the latter.

mind over matter

so what seems like the inevitable finally happened. i got sick. but, luckily not the stomach kind of sick that you would expect most foreigners to get (speaking of foreigner, i have an interesting post on this coming soon), but the fever and cold kinda sick. and let me tell you, it has not been fun. getting the chills and a cold straight from alaska is not the most pleasant feeling in this tropical feeling. so, i want to tell you guys how i got over this ailment.

it all started with what i thought were allergies. i’m highly allergic to what seems like every particle that’s in the air, so basically air. well, if you’re unaware, there is a lot of dust in india. i mean a lot. every where you walk, you’re inhaling a good amount of dust and pollution. so, it started off really mild, as in just a few sniffles and sneezed every now and then. typical allergy systems. nbd. my mom was coming in a few weeks and she was gonna bring my zyrtec for me.

well, she came, and i took that zyrtec everyday, but nothing happened. ok, still, it’s only been like 2 days, it’ll take some time to kick in. well, it’s safe to say something kicked in, but it wasn’t the zyrtec. i got sick. sick like with chills and runny nose, and i don’t want to do anything but lay in the bed sick because my body was so achy. bleh.

it didn’t help that i hate taking medicine. i really don’t want to put in anymore chemicals in my body than i do already, so naturally i got yelled at by aunt, grandmother, and mom for not going to the drug store to help shake this. i was gonna fight this and let it run it’s own natural course.

but here’s how i actually got over my sickness: i kept telling myself that i’m okay, and that i wasn’t sick. and i know it sounds silly, but self-pity isn’t going to help you feel better. i don’t know the exact psychology behind it, but it has a lot to do with attitude and perspective, and this is something i learned very early during college. if i’m going to have a negative attitude going in, then how can i expect to have a positive attitude during? positivity breeds positivity. it’s as easy as that.

our brain is the most powerful organ, and if we choose to actually use our brain for the better, then we can make a lot of situations into favorable ones. we have the capability to manipulate any situation. but are we going to manipulate it for the positive or negative?

here’s a daily encouragement that is perfect for this situation:

It is only natural that sometimes we fall sick. But we must see that sickness as a sickness that originally exists in life, based on the principle of the Mystic Law. In other words, there is no reason to allow yourself to be controlled by illness, for it to fill your life with suffering and distress. From the standpoint of eternal life through the three existences, your fundamentally happy self is incontrovertibly established.  Daisaku Ikeda

Mosquito Bite Count: I squashed a mosquito 5 minutes ago | Serious Craving: Olive Garden Bread Sticks

peace and love all.

shakti [strength]

Happy Navratri everyone! The festival season is finally upon us, and we are now into day 5 of Navratri. Garba season is probably one of my favorite times of the year. It is such a colorful and joyous time, bringing hundreds and thousands of people together. It is a symbol of victory over evil and truly shows strength in numbers. There are many stories behind the origin of garba. One of them goes like this: there was a raakshas named Mahisaasur (monster; essentially, an individual who is adharmic, against good, against culture, etc.) ravaging a town. The people of the town eventually were helpless and they prayed to Maha Kaali (she has many forms, but is a representation of strength) for so many days and she heard their prayers and came and killed Mahisaasur so they could live peacefully. Another story dates back to the times of Lord Ram. It was during the war between Ram and Raavan (here’s a quick synopsis), again, it was a fight between dharma and adharma. The war lasted 9 days, and on the 10th day, called Dashera, was the day Lord Ram defeated Raavan.

amazing costumes adorn each person

The traditional Gujurati folk dance of garba can be found all over the U.S. In India, it is quite a spectacle to say the least. Literally thousands upon thousands of people pile in to huge grounds and dance for 3-5 hours each of the 9 days, late into the night. Not only that, but there are groups that come with all sorts of props like decorated umbrellas, dandiyaas, ribbons, fire, and all sorts of things. The first day I went, I didn’t

look at the colors

even dance (despite my love for garba). I just roamed the fields to watch all the different groups with their props and everything. You just become so entranced by the colors, the music, and the joy that is enclosed in that one space, it’s impossible to not soak in the positivity around you.

There are so many great examples like this from the Indian culture that show that good always victors over evil. When I read stories like this, I’m reminded of how even the bad qualities in myself, my laziness, jealousy, anger, whatever, can be overpowered by positive attributes internally and externally. Not only that, but it shows that consistency in your life and directing yourself and your life to the Ultimate, can definitely bring your life fulfillment and you can truly be considered a child of God. The road you take depends on what works for you, but there are millions to choose from.

Today, let good victor over the bad in your life. Embrace the positive you have in your life and let it overpower the bad, and choose to be on the path of strength and optimism.

Mosquito Bite Count: 7 | Serious Craving: Onion Rings

a picture of how many people come to just one day of garba

people on people

just cute live, traditional musicians grace you as you enter the field

tick tick tick and tock.

Yesterday, I was at my cousin’s place just hanging out. All the kids here take essentially what I call extra tutoring classes for everything. And I don’t mean just the ones struggling, everyone. For every subject. It’s a little ridiculous and I wouldn’t have survived in school or college here. They call it “tuition” (pronounced tyoo-shun) and they literally go to these things for hours upon end. She was getting ready to go to her tuition for accounting. She’s taking the last step for the equivalent of our CPA in May. Anyways, I asked her how far it was from her house. And she goes, “Yeah, it’s pretty far. Like 15 minutes away.” I thought in my head, are you joking? 15 minutes in America is nothing. Even in big cities where you have crazy awesome public transit, 15 minutes is nothing. It takes me 20 minutes just to get to Wal-Mart from my house. I was really shocked at the perceptions of time here. Even when I landed at the airport, I asked my aunt and uncle how far home was, and they said it’s about 15 kilometers (which I quickly figured out in my head, based off of a 5k being 3.1 miles, is about 9ish miles away). To me, that was nothing. 9 miles is an easy 20 minute car ride. But here, 20 minutes seems like the equivalence of 3 hours. I thought back to the countless number of times I drove from college in Birmingham, AL all the way back home to Memphis. That was a long 4 hours. But 15-20 minutes…?

I started to think about the importance of time, and the utilization of it. We’re always complaining how we don’t have enough hours in the day. I wish I could count how many times I’ve said myself, or I’ve heard others say, 24 hours just isn’t enough. But, when you look at it from a bigger perspective, it really is. I’m 22 years old, that’s the equivalent to 192,720 hours. Now, tell me that’s not a lot of hours. So the question becomes, how can I stretch every minute I have as far as possible? How can I really utilize each hour that I’m awake so at the end of the day I’m not complaining that I didn’t have enough time to get X,Y,Z done.

The past few months, I’ve been living at home with my parents and just working on applications for grad school and stuff. But other than that, not doing a whole lot more. I have a routine, but I definitely have plenty of free time during the day when my parents are at work. A really good friend of mine semi-got onto me for not making the most of all this time I have. And, he’s right. Instead of watching 5 episodes of HIMYM, I could cut back to 2 and spend that extra 1.5 hours to read or perfect a skill, or learn something new. But, it’s just so much nicer to be passive than active, right? Well, we all know that quote, “an idle mind is the devil’s playground” or some variation of it. So back to my original question, how can I stretch one minute to make it last “forever”?

Every morning, I wake up and meditate. Not for super long, but I try to for at least 30 minutes. I really recommend everyone just sitting by themselves for even as little as 5-10 minutes and just clear your mind and try to just focus on being in that moment. Anyways, this morning I was you know, meditating, and without thinking, my hand moved to my face to scratch an itch I had. Now usually, when you just quickly scratch your head or arm, that sensation goes away fast. Go ahead, try it right now. Experiment time: how long after do you feel that scratch? Ok, so I went and scratched my face. And I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but I kid you not, that sensation lasted for at least 5ish minutes, and more than that, I felt it deeper than just my outer most layer of skin, seriously permeating through however many layers of skin there is, down to muscle and bone.

I think this is the answer to my question. We need to figure out a way to make these sensations and eventual perceptions that we feel last longer than a few seconds. One way to do that is the ability to control our senses. This is one of the messages found in the Bhagvad Geeta. As humans, it is easy for our senses to control our mind. We like something, we’re attracted to that, we want to taste that, all of this then controls our actions. But, really, it should be the other way around. Our mind should be strong enough to control our senses. I don’t know the science or philosophy behind this, but if we can control our senses, than I think we can control what we feel, and make that feeling last longer than it really does. In turn, we might be able to make our time last longer, because we would be able to feel the after effects for much longer. Any experts out there please feel free to comment!

I woke up from my nap today (napping is somewhat mandatory here. Ha. Everyone takes a good hour, two hour nap if you’re home in the afternoon), and found a bird trapped inside the house. There are 3 windows we have, and the middle one was open, but it was trying to escape from the window that was closed. But, the funny thing was, the solution to his problem was literally right next to him. He just couldn’t see. This is so applicable in our lives, if not for you, than definitely for me. The answer to so many of our life questions is right in front of us, but the hard part is realizing that it’s there. My life has become now, more than ever, a spiritual endeavor to seek truth. And the solution to this thing we call life is here. It’s written by our ancestors and sages and saints and thousands of people who have come before us. But, if I don’t stop watching TV all day and try to uncover what’s out there, how am I going to be able to travel down this road? It’s as easy as stretching the minutes of my life as far as they’ll go.

Mosquito Bite Count: 2 | Serious Craving: back to Taco Bell. Yum.

the little bugger trying to get out.

he’s out. and free.

last one. he’s so cute.

open door policy

Kind of going along with my last post about India being a very personal state, everyone here always leaves their front door wide open throughout the day. As soon as you wake up, you go and unlock the door, and just leave the screen kind of closed, but basically wide open. People come and go as they please. The only time a doorbell is really needed, is at night when you’ve closed up shop to go and get ready for bed. I wonder what creates this strong feeling of trust amongst communities. It’s not as if there is zero crime in India, because there definitely is. Is that feeling of trust an inherent quality or an acquired one, and what is stopping us in America from trusting one another? There is an obvious element of fear in play here. As people we’re afraid of so many things: snakes, bugs, heights, etc. But isn’t a bit silly to be afraid of members of our own species? Lions aren’t afraid of other lions. To top it off, we are supposed to be rational animals, and that rationality should tell us to not be afraid of members of our own group, population, community. Rather, we should live in harmony with them.

In my yoga session today, we were working on flexibility motions. One movement involved reaching your arms wide open and raising them above your head and slowly bringing your hands into prayer hands. But the concept behind it is that we’re inviting all the positive energy of the elements and our environment into our being and into our soul. This is a pretty neat idea huh? We’re so quick to close ourselves off from the rest of the world, weary of what others can do to us, but why aren’t we open to others bringing positivity in our lives? This is something I am learning more and more every day. There is so much out there that I haven’t been exposed to. But why am I so reluctant to open myself to the vast amount of knowledge, culture, people, or whatever else that is out there? And again, I am brought to the fact that I’m afraid of change, and not only change, but afraid of where all these things can take me in life, and maybe just maybe I might like it. This is scary.

I think we can learn a lot about this from water. My aunt and uncle took me to the river front of the Sabarmati River here in Ahmadabad (there are pictures below). But the nature of water (haha, no pun intended hahaha), is such that it takes in anything that comes its way. It will eventually flush out whatever is not good for it, and retain things that are good (i.e. heat from the sun…positive energy…see where I’m going with this?). If you look at great rivers or oceans, they go on forever. It’s hard for us to see the end. The vastness is just one big wave (ha, I’m really on a roll today) inviting whoever and whatever is willing to take that first step in. But are you going to just wade in the pools by shore, or are you going to swim as far as you can go?

We should do the same with our lives, inviting in as many good things as we can into our lives. We need to create a reservoir of good energy that we can reach into whenever something negative comes our way, because in the end, good always outweighs bad.

Today, read a good quote, poem, do a good deed, tell your best friends something positive about them, tell yourself something positive about you.

Mosquito Bite Count: 3 | Serious Craving: a good American sandwich with provolone and Swiss cheese.

Boat ride on the Sabarmati River

Sabarmati River

Sabarmati River

a proton is positive: number 16

hey folks! time for a blog update. school is back in full swing, and at UAB, we’re going in on our 3rd week. it’s crazy to think that senior year is actually here. where has my college career gone? being a senior and 21 was something i only dreamt of as a kid, and now that it’s finally here, i’m not sure what to do with it.

there are a lot of things i have learned in college. i learned that procrastination only works sometimes, due dates are not set in stone, and that as long as you surround yourself with good company, life can’t really be all that bad.

but the most important thing i have learned in college was in chemistry class. the proton. a proton carries a positive charge. it attracts electrons holding a negative charge, and even though it attracts these negative charges, it still stays positive.

we as humans, really need to learn from this teeny tiny particle. for us, the first negative thought that we are surrounded by, we immediately start thinking negative. negativity spreads quicker than spilled milk, and the odor it leaves behind is just as bad. human beings are very influential creatures, but also very easily influences. we want to be fit in, so we will act and think just like the person next to us.

why are we not able to stand firm in our thoughts and beliefs? why is it so uncool to have a positive attitude? protons and electrons have the capability to create very powerful forces, just like the human. yet, we can’t even stand firm in our attitude.

one positive idea, thought, attitude can change the way many people think and act and feel. it takes just one. just one proton carries the energy to practically change the world–why do you think we want to try to split and harness that energy so bad? just like that, one person has the exact same capability.

so use it. use that positive energy and change the world. be the unchanging proton that we have learned about.

and i leave you with this quote:

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” -ralph marston

peace to all.