Is it stalking or keeping an eye on environment?

“Sir, would you please clean after your dog?” said a woman to a man who came out with his dog and let the dog pee and poop and left without picking after his dog.

Mother of two was going on her usual walk in a gated community, and at times she saw feces on beautiful lush grass she wished her children could play.  As it is the grass nowadays is covered with dogs’ pee and her children couldn’t pay anyway.  “What a shame,” she thought.  Animals are a priority and allowed to let their dogs soil everywhere.  As a result, there is no safe place for children.  There is a dog park in the neighborhood but people like to take their dogs for a walk instead of the dog park.

“Stop stalking me,” said the man.

“Sir, I have two kids and they can’t play if the place is dirty.  I’m not stalking you.  I’m just walking.”

“No, you were observing me if I would clean or not,” said the man whose voice was raised in anger.

The woman, on the other hand, talked politely because she thought after all her children had as much right, as the dogs, to play on the grass, and thought, “I wonder how people would react if children start doing the same thing as dogs.”

We talk too much about our health and creating a healthy environment.  How can we have clean environment when dogs are allowed to pee and soil public places frequented by people.

After a while the man returned after taking the dog home and said to the woman, “There are no bags.”  He was referring to the stands installed to provide bags to dog walkers so they could scoop up dog’s litter.  But he picked up a bag that was lying on the road and cleared the area.

The woman went a little closer to the man and thanked him.  But the man was still angry and said, “Get out of my space.”

At that time the man looked a four-year old boy who thought the woman didn’t allow him to get what he wanted, which was leave the place dirty.

What would you have done?

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Letting go with love!

Above all else I want to see differently – A course in Miracle

The first time a friend told me to let go was when I was vehemently narrating an event; I was defending myself, and blaming someone for how wrong their action was.  I didn’t know how to let go.

Everyone has their own way of letting go, but what I know, after trying various ways, is that if I block and push down a situation that bothered me, the feelings associated with the situation never go away.  This way feelings fester below the surface and affect my emotions, even if I am not aware of it.

Now, I usually acknowledge the situation and the accompanying feelings because

acknowledgment validates feelings.  Why? Because I have learned that feelings will never go away without validation, no matter how hard I push them away.  They always come out, to my surprise, at a different time even when I’m not thinking about them.

After acknowledging my feelings, I focus on finding out which body part is effected by a particular feeling.  Over time, and a bit of practice, this becomes a second nature, and one can discern where, in the body, different feelings are stored.  Our feelings, if not processed for a long time, get stored in our cells, and over time they make us sick.

Then I stay with the feelings, without thinking about the story, until they go away.  In the beginning it would take a long time for the feelings to go away, because they were not due to one situation.  Rather they have been stored in our cells after encountering countless similar situations, which gave rise to same feelings, for a long time.  I also talk to my feelings like this:  Thank you for coming up.  You have served me well but I don’t need you anymore.  I release you with love.  Then I visualize a shape representing the feelings, wrap it in pink balloon and then see it fly towards the sun.

Over time and practice I have learned to let go of situations, even if a particular situation angers me a lot.  Once final question I always ask about the situation: What do you want to teach me?  The answers come, if we listen to our body.

Sometimes I follow this adage:  Sometime it’s better to be kind than right.  When applied to ourselves this means let go of anger and bitterness that we may be holding.

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Giving and receiving are the same

As a Muslim, I have been taught that if we give with the right hand, the left hand shouldn’t know about it.  The moral of the proverb is to not brag about what one has gives to others.  To me giving was only money.  But later I realized giving can be in so many ways.  Money is one form of giving.  Sometimes a person needs a hug, a glass of water, tea, cooking a meal for someone, or help with moving.

The problem can be when we expect something in return especially if we have helped a friend move, and then we expect the friend to help us move because we helped them.  If   “I helped them” becomes “I did a favor to them.”  Then we expect favor in return.

A Course in Miracles teaches us that giving and receiving are the same.  Our souls are so connected to each other that when we give it’s like giving to ourselves.  It’s like when we drop a stone in water, after the initial splash, there are ripples that reach way beyond where a stone was thrown.  The same way when we give we not only help the person but humanity because we are connected.  Giving, whether money or something else, without expectations is liberating.  It’s important to give to those who, we think, are annoying us.  Give good thoughts, gratitude for teaching us patience, self-respect, and many more things.

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I’m Not Ok, You’re Not OK

Aaz Dev O Dad Maloolam Ensan um Arzoo Hast – Rumi  (I’m sick of demons and gouls, I want humans)

With recent suicides of famous people in fashion or food scenes, I, like many others, kept thinking about the dilemmas faced by people who take their lives.  As a Muslim, I am taught that only Allah gives us life and only He takes our lives.  So far I have lived with that teaching.  That is not to say that Muslims don’t commit suicide.

Research shows that we all experience depression at one time or the other but there are degrees of depression, from a mild sadness to severe condition.  What causes depression is a million- dollar question.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could put our figure on what triggers depression?  Alas human brain is very complex and we still don’t know how it functions.  At the moment we are aware of symptoms but the cause may be illusionary.

Over a decade ago, I called someone who was on the board of an organization that I was a board member of.  Usually, I do not call people at work or people who are members of committees that I also am a member.  That particular day, when I called the person, I talked about general things.  Before ending the call he invited me to join his family in painting the outer walls of their house.  What I remember of that conversation is the question he posed, after talking to me a little: “You are not  thinking of doing something serious to yourself.”  I interpreted his question as, “Was I going to harm myself?”  The thought had not even entered my mind.

His question always baffled me whenever I thought of the conversation.  As I was reading the news about recent suicides of high profile people, I thought of the board member’s question.  Perhaps my tone of voice alerted him to ask that question; perhaps my call out of nowhere alerted him to think that I needed help!  I don’t know what triggered that question.  But now I think that such a question would make the person who may be depressed, think about what’s going on in their mind.

Once NPR aired a slot about depression.  What it said was that only medication cannot help with depression.  Like any other disease, assuming that depression is a disease, one needs to combine medication with other tools in order to stay out of gunk.  Depression could also be interpreted as no hope, no purpose of life, despite or especially because of having everything.

An ex Israel soldiers once narrated that, as an experiment, some soldiers were told to come for a meeting.  All those who got the order came together.  Several hours passed by and the meeting still hadn’t started, and soldiers were getting restless and frustrated.  After a while they started fighting with each other.  I guess, over time, after fighting the external demons, our mind may turn inwards or against ourself.

In his book ‘I’m Ok, You’re Ok’, Thomas Harris talks about four different mindsets and how each person, with a particular mindset, views the world and themselves.  The four mindsets are:

  1. I’m Ok, You’re Ok
  2. I’m Ok, You’re Not Ok
  3. I’m Not Ok, you are Ok
  4. I’m Not Ok, You’re Not Ok

Perhaps we switch between each of them, but it could be a little un-serving ourselves and others when we are in the last mindset that forces us to take our life or others’.

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How many times do you judge in a day?

Fault is in the blamer spirit sees nothing – Rumi

A friend told me once she talked to her aunty after visiting her cousin (aunty’s daughter).  Aunty said, “How her daughter was saying how well behaved my children are and how I needlessly worry too much.”  The friend added that she felt judged.

Whether the friend was being judged, or not, by her cousin, it’s a fact that judgment creates feelings of inadequacy, in the person who feels judged.   After hearing the friend’s story, I realized we are so used to judging everything that it has become our second nature to judge.  For instance, the first thing we judge in the morning is the weather.  If the temperature is not what we like, then we complain about the weather and say that the weather is not good.  Growing up we are taught by our parents and adults that, in order to be safe, we have to behave in a certain way, and whether something, or a behavior is good or not.  It is important that we are taught these rules by our parents and society in order to be successful.  But gradually judgement creeps in.  It is when we start comparing ourselves with the success standards of the society, we then look at others and eventually we start comparing ourselves with others.  That’s when the judgement comes in because we are either judging ourselves or others.  Whether we are at par with the societial standards or not.

It’s human nature to want to feel good.  When we don’t feel good we, sometimes, put others down by judging them to be not good, or not successful because they don’t earn as much money as they should, or shouldn’t, or their car is so small, and…

Judgement is ego bases, hence the very process of judging brings us into this mindset where we feel we are either superior to others, or inferior.  This attitude can result in racism, nepotism, favoritism among many others.

It’s important to accept our experiences with gratitude instead of judging them to be bad, especially the ones we don’t like.

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7 mirrors of life

A few years back I noticed something on the face of one of my siblings, who is almost a decade older than me.  Then one day I noticed the same thing on my face.  No, it’s not genetic, or at least I don’t think so.  Recently, what I realized was that the sibling was showing me a mirror.  A few weeks before my aha moment, I thought how one of my family members who has always been successful in career and life, thinks life is a struggle.  I thought I must mention this to her.  And the dialogue in my mind went something like this:

Monkeys in my mind: “You know you always think life is tough and only undesirable events, things cross your path. It’s similar to waiting for the other shoe to drop. Look at your life.  How successful you have been in life, in your career. You always had abundance of everything…”

Gregg Braden talks about 7 Assyian, I assume he means Assyrian, mirrors.  Braden says that mysteries of life are revealed in our relationship with those who surround us.  These mirrors identify the roles, of our personal relationships that we would live our life in the presence of one another.  He says that each moment of our life is reflected in actions, the choices and the language of those around us.

As I was listening to Braden’s second mirror, I realized that I was judging the family member because I thought she wasn’t enjoying life from what I think enjoying life would be.  It was like a double whammy.  Not only was I judging her but she was also showing me a mirror of how I wasn’t enjoying life, even according to my own definition of what enjoying life would look like.

What do your relationships reflect back to you?

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Let life happen!

As we grow older, our childhood mindset of being in the present goes away, and we learn to set up goals and plan in advance in order to be successful.  Of course, it’s important to do so in order to have direction on one’s life and succeed.  However, in the process of setting up goals and making plans we, sometimes, forget about life.  That’s not to say that while making a plan we have to think of every minute detail.  But when we do not think of life, every little event, remark can become and obstacle and we get discouraged and after a while we lose hope.  Eventually stress is created and if unchecked it can affect us in many ways.

During the process of creating our goals, we only think about ourselves.  This where glitches come because to live life and be successful, at work or at home, we have to interact with people, and that’s when things happen whether we like or not. Humans have tendency to resist things or events that we do not like.  And it creates problems.  So it’s important to be open to life and allow it to flow, rather than resisting it.

Instead of looking at a situation which we do not like because it’s delaying our plan, we could look at it an opportunity to learn to do things in a different way.   Many a times, we have to look at a situation and see how could we grow.  For there may be a lesson to learn.  And until we learn our lesson, similar experiences will keep coming.

Allow life to happen and watch it with a big smile.

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