Just imagine how much more successful we all would feel and be, if we could unapologetically self-express, feel safe and secure enough to present our most authentic selves, and communicate to each other honestly and openly.
I’m unsure if you feel it too, but there is a lot of positive energy in the air and I hope all of you are taking a moment to soak it all in. Perhaps it’s because we’re all happy to see the back of 2016, (I don’t think we need another recap of last years events), and that this year represents a fresh new start. However, I can't help but be aware of the fact that we’ve done this before. We start a new year eager and hungry for change, only to settle into old habits and complacent behaviours when it gets too hard.
If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer sit and wait for positive change to come knocking on our doors, we actually have to invest the effort and energy to drive our lives forward, in the direction we want them to go. Fortunately, we can kick start positive change by investing time in personal development, and it doesn't have to be a daunting task either, for personal development works as a cycle that functions in both directions, and we can start wherever we feel most comfortable:
Develop an awareness before committing to an investment.
First off, let’s change our attitude to the way we see the world, because realistically it isn't all that bad. It may seem that way because of our access to information, but that's the force behind change, awareness. For example, we have less racial inequality now than we did 5 years ago, although there is still a ways to go, we’re closer to equal rights for all than we ever have been before #blacklivesmatter. We’re also becoming aware of global elitism, and how a small group of people seem to impact the wellbeing of our everyday lives, both home and away. We’ve become so aware of our ignorance, because we’ve made ignorant decisions fueled by anger and frustration; #brexit #trump2016. Yet still, that’s the beauty of awareness, it makes us curious about things that were once not so clear, and feeding that curiosity inspires us to become even more aware.
As an additional note, even though my personal opinions were so against certain political directions, we must never forget that we’re in this together. We all desire the same emotional experiences in life and unfortunately, these desires can be manipulated and used against us if we’re not aware. If we’re shown something that we truly desire, associated alongside something that seems to get it for us, a lack of awareness can really fool us into believing the association to be true #propaganda #advertising. Therefore, it’s important that we develop an awareness and increase our knowledge and understanding of something before committing to it. We have access to the world's knowledge at our fingertips, it’s time we all realise how lucky we are and make use of it. Let’s collectively become aware of the world that surrounds us, by first becoming more self-aware. Let’s look for, access and accept the truth wherever it resides, and then drive change.
Learn to face and embrace your truth.
The best advice I’ve ever given, can ever give and I believe I will ever give, is to be true to yourself and live honestly. Until we face our inner truth, life will not move in the direction of our truest desires. As mentioned earlier, we are all striving for the same emotional experiences in life and these experiences will not be felt earnestly, unless we’re living true to who we are and how we feel.
Furthermore, our purpose in life becomes ever more apparent when we live by this philosophy. Distractions also become less of a bother and emotional restrictions, like anxiety and depression, start declining. I wrote a personal post not too long ago titled ‘Live Life with Integrity’ and mentioned how I was liberated from a lot of fear and anxiety, just by accepting my truth and sharing it with the world. It set me free to explore life in order to uncover my purpose, to trust it and then stand by it. Living true to ourselves enables us to get on with, and pursue the lives we want to build, and encourages us to make life the best experience possible.
Becoming more aware really does help us connect to and enter this stage of truth, because we soon realize what truly matters in life; we soon become aware of the benefits of living more honestly, not only for ourselves, but for our relationships too. Becoming aware of poverty and war for example, like our brothers and sisters from Syria fleeing their homes for their lives, should make us appreciate the opportunities we have available to us, and inspire us to drop the insecurities that restrict us from pursuing them.
On the other hand, as we start accepting truth we slowly start becoming aware of the things that we’re not so clear before. I personally realized that I was choosing to hold onto fear and that I could’ve let go a lot sooner, had I sooner accepted my truth. It really opened up my mind and made me aware of a world full of opportunity, it made me feel confident to explore curiosity, because I became curious about the things I had once feared and avoided.
Get comfortable exploring curiosity.
Exploring curiosity is one thing that can really propel personal growth and development. Just as children grow and learn by being curious, we must hold onto this quality for the entire duration of our lives. Life is meant to be explored and being curious is the best way, perhaps the only way to explore it completely.
Our awareness increases as we’re curious, becuase we learn more about ourselves, about our capabilities and also about the world around us. Curiosity is life’s teacher and can really help us answer so many unanswered questions, and it helps us to develop confidence and strengthens self-belief. For example, I had a client who was unemployed and believed she was uninteresting and that no one would ever be inspired by her, a belief based purely off of perception. So, I signed her up for a volunteer program she had always been curious about, but never pursued because of her belief. I only encouraged her to feed her curiosity and the rest she developed naturally, today you should see how her identity shines. She never realized how much she actually had to offer people. She was able redefine her personality traits from what she dubbed as “passive” and “timid”, to comforting, supportive, open-minded and kind. Now she’s putting herself through school and carving out a career as a Nutritionist.
We develop confidence whenever we push the boundaries of comfort, and as we expand our comfort zones, we hold onto the confidence we develop. Confidence is all about ownership so as you can imagine, the more confident we become the more sense it makes to live life more openly and honestly, and really take ownership of our own lives. Lastly, we realize that life is much more fruitful and exciting when we’re constantly engaging with something that’s fresh and new.
That old saying ‘live each day like it’s your last’ seems so limiting to life experience to me, so I say, live each day like it’s your first! Make each day a brand new day to get excited about, be aware, be true and be curious, and don’t live another day in vain.
Happy New Year!
We don’t honor ourselves enough. You and I are designed to accomplish great things, we’re built to withstand tough challenges and we each have a unique purpose for being here. We do ourselves a great dishonor whenever we allow anything, or anyone for that matter, convince us that we’re not worthy enough or that it’s not possible for us to follow our true calling in life.
We often talk of purpose as if it’s some cosmic gift from above or some declaration that society hands us and because of this thinking, we never feel like we’re quite good enough unless someone else affirms it. We’re constantly doubting ourselves and we’re seeking validation through notifications to which hold no real value. We diminish our self-belief because we’re not seeing purpose as a natural birthright; we’re to own who we are and to be free to explore life, so that we can grow into our purpose and courageously stand by it.
What I’ve written already may sound a little cryptic, but I’ve recently experienced a shift in perspective and discovered why so many of us struggle in our daily lives. A lot of us don’t feel supported enough to share how we truly feel and therefore we burden ourselves with our truths rather than opening up about them. We then learn to cope with our burdens instead of overcoming them and we hide away our truths under a guise of denial; resentment; anger; sadness; frustration; silence; avoidance and so on, always a disguise nonetheless. I’d bet that many of you feel misunderstood, but that feeling isn’t going to shift until you drop the veil, set free your truth and allow the healing to begin.
Too many of us are good people working hard and trying even harder to build happy and fulfilled lives. Even at our lowest of lows, we muster whatever energy we have left and rise out of bed in the morning to live through another day. I’ve coached enough people to understand that this statement resonates within a lot of us, as it did with me for a very long time. I’ll even admit that I’ve thought about ending all this despair too, because if I can’t live openly then for me there’s no reason to live at all.
I grew up in a Sikh household and the very first words that appear in the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy text) are “Ik Onkar, Sat Naam” which roughly translates to: There is one “God”, Truth is its name. From what I understand of this, is that the only thing we should live our lives by and the very thing we should actually honour, seek out, and respect, is the truth. The discovery of truth has guided Scientists, Mathematicians, Philosophers and Scholars alike, so where will your truth guide you?
It’s said that the truth will set us free. Think about it, the reason why many of us feel isolated or alone, outcast or trapped, or even misunderstood and lacking purpose is because we’re not living truthfully. We lock up how we truly feel; who we truly are; what we truly desire from life, because we’re too attached to mass produced ideologies that misrepresent us. Our attachment to these ideologies cause us to judge one another, because we’re conditioned to follow each other like sheep and respond negatively toward those who stand out.
The day I realized myself, was the day I embraced myself, shared my ideas and started exploring the truth. I may make it sound like this grand occasion, but it really was just a simple realization. Obvious, even. So I’ve decided to write this post today to encourage you all to start freeing yourself from any burden you feel buried under, because you areway too valuable to live your life in vain.
You all know me as Terry but not many know that my real name Is Talwinder Singh Sidhu, a name that I’ve only recently learnt to be proud of and respect. I believe we are all born equal in an unequal society and the only way we’re going to make positive change, is if we stand up and continue to fight for equality on all platforms. On that note, I’ve also recently learned that gender isn’t and shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to forming relationships. Lastly, I believe that every single one of us on this planet is destined for greatness, but only those who live truthfully will achieve it and find fulfillment within it.
Living with integrity will help you uncover your purpose and give you the courage to pursue it, because you’ll no longer feel bound to the same life design everyone else is following. Your relationships will improve because you’ll only support ones that are mutually supportive and as a bonus, your patience for ignorance to fade will increase too. Finally, when you do step out from underneath your disguise, you’ll finally give people the opportunity to understand you fully. Although it can seem incredibly terrifying at first and there may be some consequences to face, but in time, you will realize that you’ll have nothing left to fear and that your freedom guide you to where need to be.
All the best,
You may notice that I tend to disappear for a while and I hope that the message in this post will help you understand why.
I grew up feeling segregated because I didn’t feel connected to the world the same way my peers did. I remember my insecurities developing because of an eagerness to fit in and become like everyone else. I would find myself trying to adopt trends I didn’t agree with and personas I didn’t I identify with, just to associate myself with what felt like a herd heading towards their own slaughter. Each day I denied myself the opportunity to be me and do the things I wanted to do, I restricted my potential and kept my aspirations at bay.
Although I found success through traditional pursuits, the success never felt genuine. It felt more manufactured and less actualized because it lacked authenticity; it lacked me and my presence. As I followed the rules and marched on like a good corporate soldier, I could feel my identity slipping away.
Living a life I was unhappy with, I began feeling the negative burden of isolation quite quickly. Mentally, my thoughts would always wander into a depressive abyss. Always reasoning with negative thought, I would convince myself that I was alone in feeling this way and that I should feel more grateful and fortunate for my situation, even though I felt like crap.
Physically, I’d become incredibly aware of my isolation. When we’re physically alone it’s hard not to face the emotions we shy away from, so naturally I filled my time with as many distractions as possible: going out and connecting with the wrong type of people, binging on alcohol, fueling my body on the worst kinds of food and indulging on unimaginative TV and media. These were the vices I funneled my misery into.
Needless to say I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the way I was living my life and decided to neglect many aspects of it. From my health through to my relationships, I felt like there wasn’t a reason to take care of any of it. When we face struggles like this in life, awareness and acceptance of the truth is what we must face.
I remember being offered a promotion, or at least the option was on the table and I thought to myself “This is it. This is what my life is going to represent.” There was no excitement, just expectation. There was no passion, just resistance and I’d never felt more disconnected from the aspirations I once held for myself. I’ve always wanted my life to mean something, I believe we all do, and I just felt like I couldn't dishonor my own existence anymore.
What turned my life around and helped me nurture the confidence to make the bold decisions that drastically altered my destiny, was my relationship with isolation. I figured, if the world I’m living in doesn’t understand the way I’m feeling, and I’m feeling like I don’t fit in, then my isolation will be the safe haven to exercise my identity.
Rather than reason with my negative thoughts I embraced them, I lifted up the rug and faced the emotions I had swept under it. At first, trying to cope with them internally felt crippling so I started to externalize my thoughts by writing them down. I would end up writing thousands of words about how I felt and without really noticing, I was developing and facing an awareness I had long spent avoiding. Upon reflection it was like writing a tragic novel and it was about my life! Seeing my misery displayed back to me was incredibly awakening, and I could foresee where my life would end up if I continued to perpetuate a life I was unhappy with. Whenever I would return to my life and exit moments of, what I started to call 'therapeutic isolation', I’d feel uplifted.
Slowly I started feeling like myself again and although I wasn't ready, rather unsure about the next step I should take, I knew I wanted to continue down this path I had embarked on. I started to make use of my isolation to research and construct my next move and change the course of my story. The first step was quite simple and it was to stop fueling my own misery, first thing to really change were the people I surrounded myself with.
In my isolation I felt empowered and excited. I was always exercising my own identity and connecting with stimulus that encouraged me to think freely and openly. I felt my isolation also acted as a form of measurement, of who I am against the reality of who I was becoming. Eventually I began falling in love with the freedom I felt when alone, so I began gravitating towards a life that felt the same way.
I felt encouraged to connect with people who allowed me to think and live as freely as I could on my own. Anything less than acceptance and understanding wasn’t enough for me. I eventually started to move into places I connected with and in these places I seized opportunities that truly spoke to me. Through honest challenges, I eventually found success that did feel genuine.
Today my isolation is my sanctuary: a mental and physical space to explore the depths of my identity and engage a state of flow. Moments to set myself free and exercise my own potential. A time and space to explore and develop my ideas so that I fully understand them first, then prepare myself to confidently present them to the world.
You don't need to feel trapped when you feel isolated, nor do you have to view isolation as a negative aspect of your life. Use moments of isolation to refuel your identity and realize that you can develop a life worth living.
This post was written by Terry Sidhu.
Don't be shy:
Post by Vancouver Life Coach, Terry Sidhu.
I recently came back from a trip that made me realise the unspoken struggles we face alone, beneath the surface of the identities we present. Having reconnected with loved ones after many years and establishing brand new connections, I came back from this trip more aware of the emotional experiences we’re all striving for in life. Experiences that many of us will fail to achieve, if we continue to overrule what we’re truly feeling with rationalisation. The experiences I’m talking about, have to do with Love.
Love is an emotion that has baffled great minds for millennia, and I’m learning that the only way to understand what love is and the purpose it serves, is to first accept and embrace it. To realize that it exists and that it sits at the very core of all human emotion.
Sometimes I feel my work simply involves reconnecting individuals with love. Albeit helping individuals accept and embrace who they are and develop a love of themselves, through to helping individuals uncover a path that feels genuine and purposeful. Then there’s the relationship aspect of my work, where I help people reconnect with the feeling of love, rather than merely presenting the idea of it.
Although I began my career with a subjective understanding of love, my work has helped me develop objectivity on the matter. I’m understanding that love is an authentic connection to an honest energy, where one feels completely accepted by and accepting of said energy. Love is the most liberating of all emotions, which is why I feel we should navigate our lives by it. Learning about the impact of love and how it can influence even the most stubborn of minds, I finally feel I can write from the heart and of the heart, about this alluring topic.
I feel human consciousness or the gateway to human consciousness, has a lot to do with the awakening of our emotions. I think to when a baby is born, the very first thing a child experiences in life is raw and uninterrupted emotion. I feel my understanding of emotion is that they’re our awareness of existence. I feel our emotions are the true senses of our consciousness, and it’s trusting and relying on these senses that will guide us to the best conscious experience possible. Perhaps then our traditional, physical senses, are the gatekeepers that help us manage and construct our conscious experience.
I imagine human consciousness as a vast garden where seeds of emotion are planted. I think these seeds sprout at birth and from then on, the way we live our lives shape the way this garden grows. For example, a lot of negative life experiences will probably result in an unappealing garden full of negative emotions. Weeds that overshadow or restrict the potential of an appealing garden from blossoming; a garden full of flowers of positive emotion. If we can imagine our emotions in this way, like plants that need to be nurtured, then we can appreciate the value in nurturing positive emotion. Understand the effort it takes to maintain positivity and how easy it is to neglect and let negativity take rule over time. Therefore, to nurture and grow positive emotion, we must make the effort in our everyday lives for positive life experiences.
I use this analogy in order to help my clients understand the work it may take to revive their identities, and manage their lives into the fulfilment they seek. It’s a matter of managing and maintaining our “gardens” so to speak. It also helps us understand that all our emotions exist and are present within us, and just like the plants that grow in our gardens, we need to nurture the right ones. We must work to grow a garden worth presenting; to live a life worth living, and where relationships are concerned, we must develop a garden worth visiting; a life we’re confident sharing.
I’ve always noticed, or rather envied how children seem to have an innate ability to embrace love so easily. It makes me think that love is the emotion that grows in the centre of our conscious gardens. A tree that branches into emotions like passion, hope, enjoyment, confidence, excitement, happiness, liberation and so on. I think naturally we’re supposed to, and are allowed to, live our lives this way and I suppose that’s why it’s said that happiness is a choice.
I think our negative experiences in life and the mass, repetitive messages we’re surrounded by impact our emotions so much so, that we lose sight of our positive emotions. Our positive emotions become defined for us and reinforced by messages that tell us how we have to look and behave. Our gatekeepers, our traditional senses, are so overwhelmed by these messages that we’re convinced that love and happiness is something we must strive to earn, even though they already exist within.
As an example, think about the last time you’ve really wanted to settle a curiosity, or wanted to be spontaneous in life and just live, but you’ve stopped yourself because of a fear of what others may think?
If we continue to limit these potentially positive experiences in life, we nurture and grow negative emotions like insecurity, isolation, hopelessness, sadness, fear and so on, until they take over that tree and transform it into hate. If we can realise that we are in control of our lives, that we are the caretakers of our own gardens, we can actively take charge of how we feel. We can consciously choose to grow love.
Emotions have always been key to our survival and well-being and as the world has evolved, I fear we’ve learned to rationalize or turn a blind eye to what we’re truly feeling. Think about it, how many times have you had to convince yourself that “everything’s fine”, because from the outlook you should have nothing to worry about? You may have built a life that looks good, but how many of you reading this can honestly say you’re living a life that feels good?
It’s really simple actually, because we can easily distinguish what feels good from what feels bad and more importantly, we can distinguish what leaves us feeling good and what leaves us feeling bad. We just need to start listening to our emotions in order to guide our lives in a positive direction. We must learn to neglect and move away from all things bad, and educate and strengthen our gatekeepers to focus on all things good.
My apologies if this post sounds more spiritual than usual, but the happiest people I’ve come across lead their lives with love. I see that they’re surrounded by an abundance of love because they’ve let this emotion take reign over their lives. They love what they do, they love who they are, they love others easily and most importantly, they’re easily loved. How many of us can say we feel this way everyday?
Today we can to stop contributing our own misery, by facing the truth that is rooted in our emotions.
Productivity is not actually that difficult to engage, just ask anyone building a life they’re passionate about. If you’re wanting to increase productivity, understand that the challenge isn’t necessarily in the tasks you must complete, but rather in defining and connecting with the purpose and value of such tasks.
First you might want to measure your level of fulfillment within your own life. If you discover you’re generally unhappy or unfulfilled with the life you’re living, then you’re bound to procrastinate and avoid completing tasks. It may be that these tasks represent despondency and act as reminders of the unfulfilling life you’re living. Therefore completing these tasks only perpetuate this unfulfilled life; there’s no fulfilling gain so you’ll distance yourself from them and create a burden.
Productivity kick-starts with pro-active decision making: if you want to be more productive, you need to start feeling more in charge of your own life. In order to change how you feel, you must evaluate different aspects of your life that restrict you from feeling liberated. You first need to determine aspects of your life that restrict your identity, and keep you from building the life you truly desire. I call it making a list of misery. These are areas of your life that generally cause you stress and frustration, because you don’t feel free to do the things you’d rather be doing. It could be your job, it could be your financial situation, perhaps some family members and friends, or even your relationship.
Whatever restrictions you determine, the next step towards productivity is to break your contribution to your own misery. For example, if you find yourself in financial difficulties, cut back on spending. If you hate your job but you can’t quit it, then don’t work towards a promotion that’ll keep you there. If you’re around people that cause you misery, remove yourself from them and if you can’t, be honest about how you feel and work through your issues. The purpose behind this undertaking is to ‘de-clutter’ your life of anything negative, so you can connect to a positive outcome from the tasks you need to complete.
As you begin taking these pro-active steps towards reducing misery, you’ll reboot an optimistic mindset. You’ll begin feeling more like yourself as you’re empowered to manage your own life. You’ll have realized that you’re capable of directing your own life, and it’s up to you to navigate it into fulfillment. As you lift these restrictions in your life, allow your mind to wander into awe and inspiration and start constructing an awareness of what you really want for yourself. Even if the details are unclear, you’re reconnecting with the emotional fulfillment you seek and simply maintaining this self-awareness will help you form the details.
As you align yourself with a brighter future and the tasks that you struggle to complete will be given purpose. Knowing that you’re in control of your life and that it’s your direct input that dramatically affects its direction, productivity will not only keep a bright future bright, it’ll be valued as a crucial component to your well-being.
post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com
Happiness isn’t exactly the easiest emotion to grasp; I used to believe that people were either happy or not, I used to think that happiness was as clear as night and day. However, I’m learning that happiness is a development just like every other emotion that we experience, we have to contribute to our own happiness and it lies within the choices we make.
I’ve found those that contribute more to their own well-being and work on developing a purpose, tend to be happier than those who work to accumulate things to define their value. When we start to free ourselves from conformity, we begin working with our own emotions rather than against them and as a result, we live life more truthfully and with less compromises.
When I gave up trying to conform and began following my own desires, I also realised that it was easier to communicate and understand others. I also began connecting with like-minded people who actually appreciated my identity and my own pursuits, and vice-versa. I had inadvertently created a positive environment for myself that stimulated the courage and confidence to pursue a life worth living.
When I think about the happiest moments in my life, I’m reminded of liberation and feelings of complete detachment, I feel like I can take on the world and there’s not much that can keep me from blissfully embracing the present moment. Contemplating these memories and feeling untethered to my everyday responsibilities, I began exploring ways to measure happiness in a world where responsibilities command our lives, impact our emotions and often cause us to overlook our own well-being.
Psychology and Spirituality teach us the importance of maintaining balance... Even the cosmos need to maintain a certain balance to ensure we continue to exist on this planet. Most of the problems we face in our lives can be a rooted back to some sort of imbalance: when we’re overworked, overindulged, lacking empathy, emotionally numb/sensitive, over thinking and even struggling to sleep, these problems and many others stem from an imbalance within our own psyches.
Measuring happiness is to assess our lives in terms of imbalance, to assess how much of our lives are being spent satisfying our responsibilities (super-ego) versus, how much of our lives are spent indulging our inner desires (id). Too much of one or the other will lead to and fuel misery, therefore sustaining happiness is to ensure both parts of our psyches are equally valued (ego), if not, then we must work to restore balance in order to feel happy.
Delving into this Freudian theory has made me realize why so many of us struggle with the lives we’re living, and why many often feel overworked and underappreciated. In a society where we schedule our lives around work and responsibilities, I started measuring happiness by asking my clients the following question?
“If you could make a decision for yourself, consequence free, what decision would you make?”
If answered honestly, I found this question allows us to gain insight into our own imbalances. It allows us to essentially measure and restore happiness by understanding how much of our inner desires are being fulfilled, or rather how much we restrict this significant part of who we are. It also helps us understand the difference between setting goals and mindful goal setting. If our inner desires aren’t expressed nor fulfilled, the less happier we’re likely to be.
For example, if you have a deep desire to travel someday, but your current responsibilities restrict this desire, then you’ll probably find that you’re not that happy with your current life, because your life lacks direction and purpose and a significant part of who you are is being suppressed. However, if you allow this desire to filter into your life, you’ll begin to navigate your life to fulfill this desire. Your responsibilities will have purpose as you'll set your goals accordingly. Furthermore, you’ll also find that you’ll gravitate towards connections that echo these desires, from obtaining the appropriate skills to meeting like-minded people. You’ll ultimately live a lot happier knowing that your life isn’t being lived in vain, and that you’re staying true to your identity and what you want from life.
Just imagine living life with a little angel (super-ego) and devil (id) on your shoulders, if you predominantly listen to the angel you’ll run the risk of losing sight-of-self. If you let the little devil have rule over your life, then you run the risk of losing touch with the life you’re trying to build.
Measuring happiness is understanding which one of these characters you’ve allowed to govern the majority of your decision-making. Let them both share equal amounts of control and you’ll live a much more balanced life, and a much happier one.
Post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com
Sometimes we find ourselves in a state of lasting bliss when all aspects of our lives, have reached a level of fulfillment we’re satisfied with. Although we may not be exactly where we want to be in life, health and happiness will seem to flow easily and we’ll begin feeling assertive and aligned with our aspirations.
When we arrive at these blissful moments in life, we’re prone to complacency and avoidance because moving forward may involve risk, which could disrupt this new equilibrium. Therefore it’s crucial to develop a healthy awareness of self, others and the world around us, in order to continue our pursuits to that dream life we’ve always envisioned.
Awareness is an extension of mindfulness and it teaches us to pay attention to how we impact our own lives. Whether or not we’ve reached a stage of fulfillment, our choices have dictated this destiny that’s currently being played out. Awareness helps us upkeep involvement and control over life; paying attention could be the difference in feeling like life is falling apart, and feeling like life's falling into place.
Awareness begins with honesty. The first step is to focus on emotion, because it’s the emotions we feel that highlight the truth. When we hurt ourselves physically, we’re often very quick to notice the imbalance and work to resolve the pain as effectively as possible. However, how many of us can honestly say we do the same with our own state of mind.
As a relationship and life coach, I come across many broken souls living life irritated and insecure as a result of avoidance and complacency. On the other hand, I have clients that feel great within themselves but struggle to pursue new opportunities, in fear of losing something deemed safe and secure. The next stage of awareness, after uncovering present emotion, is to look back on the journey up until this point in time.
Many of us may not realize it, but our pasts hold many of the answers we seek to find about ourselves and our lives. How did I end up here? Why do I put up with this? How can I move forward? Why am I…? However poignant the question, the answer could be lurking within a previous moment in time. Investigating the past will help develop an awareness of motivation, uncover the triggers to motivation and we’ll learn how to avoid or promote certain behaviours.
If you’re looking to maintain health and happiness in your life, or if you’re looking to secure it, assess your current level of awareness and you may just realise where your life is headed. Today choose to take control, choose to eliminate fear and choose to overcome the insecurity you live with; Pay attention to how you contribute to your own misery and bliss, and you’ll become aware that you own your life.
post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com
Happy New Year, folks! 2016 is officially here and before you run out and sign up for those gym memberships, before you start your detox and worry about the debt you’ve accumulated over the holidays, let’s talk about you for a moment.
The world is moving toward a new paradigm and the traditional way of living and earning seems to be changing. You may have noticed how little control you have over your own life, as you cling to the conventional methods of living. Perhaps the 9-5 model simply isn’t getting you where you want to be in life.
You may also find yourself molding and adapting to incompatible identities just to avoid being alone, while life seems to just pass by without purpose. The routine is getting old; Perhaps you find yourself lacking energy and living for those rare moments of happiness and joy as you exist within the bounds of procrastination and complacency.
Though this isn't the case for everyone, maybe you've noticed such tendencies in family or friends, or feel that the instances above resonate within your own life.
There’s a new energy that arrives each time you ring in a new year and it encourages you to seek opportunity. We make resolutions and promises within our lives just as easily as we upgrade our already perfectly functioning cell phones, only to realize that the fulfillment gained from these impulsive decisions was merely temporary.
To kick-start your life and navigate it into lasting fulfillment, you must first deal with the biggest problems that rule your life. You need to resolve the very problems that germinate the recurring, negative thoughts weighing heavy on your mind. It’s time to lift up that proverbial rug and clean out the problems brushed under it. If you're seeking purpose and value this year, then you must work on developing the courage to attain them; unresolved problems break down the courage you need to develop. Your problems restrict the energy required to propel your life towards a reason of being.
Your immediate goals this year should be focused on overcoming the troubles you're facing in life. This year, if you’re feeling numb and lacking satisfaction, you may want to reflect on your behavior in previous years, because clearly something isn’t working if you're feeling deflated and unmotivated.
The longer you hold onto or avoid a difficult situation, the easier it becomes to talk yourself out of an opportunity; your problems will keep you from moving forward. Liken it to being in school, where each problem you solve in a subject- take math for instance- leads to a feeling of genuine confidence and encouragement, inspiring you to move ahead.
The opportunities you seek in life are available to you. Granted, some of us have to work harder than others to secure them, and I agree that the world isn’t exactly perfect and equal. However, working on and overcoming your troubles will make room for the encouragement and determination you need to succeed. The self-esteem you need to build and the tenacity you require can only develop when they have room to grow. Hold onto or avoid your problems for another year, and you’re only contributing to a life you simply aren’t happy with.
So if you’re stuck in a relationship that brings you more misery than joy, repair it or end it. If you’re in a job you hate, don’t work towards the promotion, work your way out of the job. If you’re feeling lost and alone, then work on developing the courage to admit it and seek support, rather than suppressing your feelings in an attempt to appear fine. If you’re dealing with an insecurity, or insecurities that lead into negative behavior, then work to uncover the root cause of it, in order to stop them from ruling your life any longer.
Want 2016 and the rest of your life to mean something, then reform your relationship with opportunity. Make room in your life to seek and secure opportunities confidently by dealing with your immediate problems first. Deal with the troubles that restrict your identity and limit your potential, and fix the problems that keep you from moving closer towards your aspirations.
post written by, VanCityLifeCoach.com
Every single person is on the same page when it comes to life. The details of our individual lives probably differ drastically, but the emotional experiences in which we wish to encounter, they're exactly the same.
I’m happy. Perhaps not all the time, but nowadays I can say with confidence that I’m living blissfully most of the time. I’ve walked away from the dark places I had convinced myself I was safe in, and I’ve stepped outside of perception and sought out truth. Many people make the mistake of “searching for happiness” as if it’s some mystical treasure waiting to be found, but I’ve learned now that the key to happiness is much more internal, we just have to face it and let it out. It was the smartest thing I ever did.
To be happy, I needed to...
…accept and be proud of who I am.
This was the most effective contribution to my happiness. I grew up in an environment of expectation, everything from how I was expected to act and what I was expected to achieve in my life. To follow tradition and fulfill a role I simply wasn’t born to play. As my own identity did not fit the criteria of such expectation, it caused conflict within my mind which led to anxiety and depression...and up until a few years ago, it ruled my life. Today however, I feel free and unburdened, I can confidently explore life to seek answers; I am free to do what I want and be who I am. As a result I’ve found purpose and passion, I’ve learned about myself and what it is I love to do. It all began when I decided to live life by the traits of my own identity, it allowed me to define my own aspirations and as I progressed down my own path, I began uncovering a sense of pride and self-respect.
…find joy in not knowing and embrace the freedom of discovery.
If you look at how kids explore life, you realize the fun and joy it is to discover and seek answers. When I went traveling, I would freely ask questions in order to understand what I didn’t know. Each and every time I learned something new, it added a new layer of awareness to my identity. A sensation that made me feel empowered to explore life further, to immerse myself in the unknown so that I could understand and connect with the world a lot better. I’m not saying travel changed me, but it encouraged me to raise questions at home and in my everyday life whenever I had any feelings of doubt and uncertainty.
…place emphasis on mindset and its key role in success.
I reflect back on moments I first shared this blog with my friends on Facebook, and how much I feared judgement and ridicule from those who thought they knew me. Today I share it with the world and also coach individuals into fulfillment. I realized that if I want to be happy, I should stick with what I love to do. Although coaching is an avenue towards bigger aspirations in my life, I love the process. Everyday, at this current moment in time, I feel I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. Rarely do I fear how life will end up, because however long it may take, at least I'm on the right path. Happiness isn’t something you can earn or accumulate, it’s something you contribute to and on this path, I'm contributing to my own happiness.
…submit to fact and adapt my behavior accordingly.
Living blissfully in ignorance is not happiness and personally I think we choose to be ignorant. They say misery needs company, however ignorance actually has it and plenty of it, and it's easy to join a herd to feel like you belong and fit in. However happiness is personal, you won't find it following trends or chasing myths.
I started my own journey for my own peace-of-mind and happiness, for nobody else. The proof is in my own well-being and if whatever I pursue turns out to be wrong, I've learned to move on until I discover what's right. If corporate gigs made me miserable, then I had to accept that to move forward. I did, and I ventured onto something far more valuable. It took me about 5 years to figure it out, but that time is experience, it signifies growth, it means something, it doesn't feel wasted and I already have so many lessons to share from them and I continue to learn.
Perception can be and often is blurred, waking up to reality and adapting my behavior towards the truth, definitely led me to a happier life. If something is factual and proven, and there’s no logical reason to challenge it, accept it and move on.
…take the time to better understand others.
Understanding other people better and getting to know them for who they really are, allowed me to better understand their actions, their perception of others and of me. For example, I realized that malicious intent was more about an internal conflict than it was about causing harm. We all desire happiness and fulfillment, but sometimes our own insecurities and troubles can make us act out in unintended ways. If you work to understand how much a person isn’t happy and fulfilled, you’ll be able to connect with them and reason with their actions.
If you take the time to learn about someone, you can learn to accept and communicate to them. In many cases, you could probably help them. There’s an empowerment that comes from this, because you begin realizing that we’re all more alike than we’re actually led to believe. It helps you ease the pressure of living with what other people think of you and it makes you feel less alone and more connected.
…overcome fear and make it a priority.
I don’t have many fears today and now I’m currently learning to overcome my fear of snakes. However other fears, like the fear of what people think of you, the fear of not succeeding or even the fear of not fitting in, will soon eradicate if you nurture the “law of awareness.” Put simply, you only need focus on being present and in the moment, for it’s the choices and actions of today that impact your future and control your past.
I’ve spoken to enough senior members of society to conceptualize regret, so get your head out of non-existent moments in time, wake up to now and allow your emotions to guide you through your reality. Which is how I made overcoming fear a priority, because overcoming it helped me regain control. Now I feel there isn't much that can stop me from chasing down my aspirations, especially no-one.
…directly challenge those that threatened my vulnerability.
There are a lot of prejudices in the world and a reason why a lot of it still exists, is because many people feel powerless to direct change. However, if you’re unhappy, perhaps change is what you actually need. I personally grew tired of people trying to understand me through the connotations that came with my skin color. I grew tired of keeping my emotions at bay, because of the connotations that came with my gender. I grew tired of having to accept everyone’s definition of success because I had my own ideas. With tiredness came frustration and frustration led to self-doubt. So I decided the only way out of this endless torment, was to face those that made me feel inferior in any way.
We’re all equals, that’s what I grew up learning and that’s what I ended up exploring and accepting. Any opportunity someone had to put me down, I simply asked them why? I’d respond in an attempt to understand rather than with a negative emotion like anger. When you give people the response they want, they win. Don’t give them the response they want, they’ll provoke. Challenge their motivation and intent and in my experience, they’ll back off.
In situations around the workplace, among your social circles and even at home, attempt to understand, educate and hopefully inspire. I don’t have time anymore for circumstances that make me feel worse about myself. I’ve learned to pay attention to how I feel, my emotions are the most honest thing I can rely on, so I’m going to protect them.
As I navigate my way through life, I may come across a more concise way to discuss how to be happy. However, what I realized as I put this blog post together, to be happy, I never really had to ask for or do much, I just had to allow myself the opportunity to be me, to be happy.
Our imagination can take our minds to places we never thought possible. We all have this beautifully engineered component which gives us the capability to, safely and securely, explore alternate realities and ideate to our hearts content.
It’s through exercising this ability we’ve been able to progress and evolve as a civilization. Many of the things we take for granted today, are the result of someone courageous enough to pluck an idea from an obscure reality and make it real.
One of my favorite pieces of advice to share with people who lack courage - is to create. Creativity is the key to unlocking our minds and understanding our own identities. It’s the opportunity and freedom to be ourselves as we explore the world within.
Being creative; that first brush stroke or note, that first idea or theory, that first movement or moment…it’s like switching on an engine, shifting into first gear and beginning that journey towards courage.
Engaging in our creative abilities allows us to confidently explore the truth within and explore the depth of our potential. As we shift into higher gears and really begin to indulge our identities, as we navigate through the limitless multiverse that is our imagination, we’ll begin to see sense in our creations and stimulate a unique purpose for our own lives.
We all start our lives living on instinct and raw emotion. As children we have that confidence and courage to explore and be open and expressive. As children we yearn to be understood and accepted, yet as we grow older, the paradigm shifts as we climb into a box and try to fit in; in fear of being different.
As we nestle into these boxes, a dilemma soon arises when we become increasingly aware, of how lonely it is living life boxed in by perception and the classification of normality. They limit creativity and curb our opportunities to innovate and express ourselves, because we continue to play within a space which we naively consider to be harmless. Yet it weakens courage and dwindles confidence.
They also limit our connection to others. They restrict how much we are willing to share and how much others have available to explore. Eventually, stepping outside of our proverbial boxes becomes a nonsensical notion, as we deem those living blissfully free from these restraints: brave, inspiring and/or foolish.
So if you’re sitting there reading this with hopeful desires, wishing and waiting for that one day, that one opportunity to lead your life into greatness. Then let your imagination soar and express your creativity and as you continue to create, you’ll find the courage to step outside of your box and showcase your identity.
If you want to live passionately with purpose and reason, then you need to access the traits of your very own being. You need to listen to and respond to your emotions, as you navigate your way through different experiences in life.
The journey into fulfilment begins with mindful experiences. You must be and feel fully engaged, in each and every experience you encounter. You must be completely invested and emotionally present through every experience, to determine what speaks to your identity and what doesn’t.
I’ve come across too many irritated individuals living life on auto-pilot, complacent in routine and living numbly. I know this feeling because I used to live this way; a life not worth living, lacking fulfilment and wasted potential.
We’re all beings with untapped potential and within us is the determination and drive to become all that we aspire to be. If you’re noticing that life seems to be passing you by, then you just need to regain control and pay attention to what your emotions are telling you.
Throughout my life, the one lesson I’ve relied upon to stay on track with my aspirations, is to listen and pay attention to emotion. Emotions indicate your truest intent and genuine desires, therefore ignoring how you feel will only lead you into an unfulfilled life and further away from discovering your passion and purpose. A deception that will blur your identity and cause you to drift away from what you truly desire.
Thought vs. Emotion
You can change and manipulate thought, even if a negative thought enters your mind you can counteract it with a positive one almost instantaneously. To demonstrate: if I ask you to think of a Lemon, you can do that without effort. Now if I ask you to think of a Red Lemon, you can also do so instantaneously and change the perception of reality within your own mind.
As thoughts can be manipulated, altered and misdirected so easily, what you think you want, may not necessarily be what you truly want. This is why it’s incredibly important to pay close attention to emotion in order to maintain control over your life. Your emotions are like truth-tellers, they can help you navigate your life towards the bliss you’re in search of, and into the fulfillment you desire. I can’t tell you to be happy because we’re not really capable of altering emotion like we can thought. If you want to change your emotions, then you may have to change your reality.
To discover your passion and to find your purpose in life, you must pay attention to emotion. Your thoughts may rationalize a negative experience, however we cannot fully trust thought as our thoughts can easily be manipulated and influenced. However we cannot deceive emotion, therefore as you navigate through life’s experiences, pay attention to what you're feeling. If you find that an experience contains no emotional fulfillment, then move on and keep experiencing until you discover the fulfillment you seek. Until you uncover your passion and define your purpose.
I grew up in a culture surrounded by sexual repression. A subject too taboo to discuss openly in an environment where dating wasn't even a topic of consideration. Which I found bizarre considering my ancestors nurtured a land of spiritual liberation and sexual expression and exploration, India.
Sex is an act we should discuss more openly and practice more freely, because confidence in the bedroom can help strengthen our vulnerabilities and affirm our identities. It can help us reach an esteemed level of self-assurance, and can uplift our intimate relationships to a level of complete acceptance and assurance. And if we're feeling secure and confident within ourselves, we're more likely to succeed in many other aspects of our lives.
To maintain happy and healthy lives, we must always monitor and maintain balance. If you're an individual that strives for meaningful sexual experiences, sex or rather bad sex, can be an indication of imbalance. Basically if you're not enjoying your sexual experiences and you're left feeling unfulfilled, it could be a sign that there's a problem in some other area of your life.
It is often said that our minds are the most powerful sexual organs we possess, therefore to understand sex and its impact on success, we must first connect to the moments that lead us to meaningful sexual experiences. Therefore we cannot talk about sex without establishing the roles of attraction and love first:
- Attraction = the recognition of a compatible energy, as your identity seeks Balance.
Shed the shallow ideologies presented in the media, and you'll find that attraction is a very personal pursuit. What we find attractive is as individual as our own identities. Who we find attractive isn't just based on just looks, everyone knows that personality plays a large role.
The more open and honest you are about what you find attractive, the securer you'll feel approaching who you find attractive, ultimately feeling secure within your own self. You'll significantly improve your chances of finding a sexual partner that you're compatible with, increasing your chances of finding someone that will help you strive for and maintain balance within your life. You'll learn very quickly, that knowing what you want will help you achieve exactly the success you desire, much faster.
- Love = the recognition of acceptance, as two compatible identities become Balanced.
As you become accustomed to knowing what you're attracted to, you significantly increase your chances of finding love. Love is to be completely accepting and to feel accepted. Two identities forming a connection unbound by convention, but bound by acceptance. Love will significantly improve your self-assurance, because being loved is knowing that who you are is valuable. That small four lettered emotion positively impacts your identity and your personal pursuits, because you've found your ultimate supporter and your biggest fan. That encouragement will guide you to success, by navigating you through the challenges that will most likely arise.
- Sex = the recognition of truth, as two identities performing the Balancing Act.
Good sex, the best sex, is when both/all parties involved can be completely vulnerable, open and honest with each other. Attraction can take you so far but sex will uncover a lot of truths. I think back to random one-night encounters, often they lack fulfillment, because it's difficult to be completely vulnerable, honest and open with someone you've just met. Also the initial attraction may have been a deception, because the sex never measured up against the identity you perceived.
Sex uncovers a lot of truths about an individual, and when both parties do measure up to that initial attraction, sex becomes this awe-inspiring, self-assuring experience you expect it to be, and you begin to trust your own judgment and instinct. You begin to unleash your inner genius and tap into your potential, the very fibers of fulfilling success.
Encourage yourself to become more open and confident around the topic of sex, sexuality and what you find sexy, and begin your journey into liberation. The impact of living a liberated life, will feed the energy of unlimited success.
post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com
Over the last few weeks I took a break from writing and I spent time with family whom had visited me from England. I wanted to be present during each moment as they were only here for a short while. I didn't want to escape a moment to experience gratitude. Life is about balance and prior to them arriving, I had spent most of my time working towards my own passions and building my career; I had severely separated from a crucial part of my identity and neglected the very support that kept me grounded. My family visiting me was an opportunity to reconnect.
The last time I had spent this much time away from my writing, was when I suffered a severe case of doubt and fed the belief that I wasn't really good enough. The difference this time, I was in full control of my own mind, I mindfully stepped away from work because I knew what I needed to. When you become so passionate about something and push through the negative infiltrations, fear transitions from not feeling good enough, to the fear of losing what you’ve built. Spending the last few years developing my own mindset and pulling myself out of unprogressive thoughts, has taught me that I can’t live life motivated by fear. I can harness it to trigger motivation, but I cannot allow my life to be driven by it. Today I proclaim to live life awake, aware and in abundance; I’m learning to master my own mind.
#1. Objectify your Thoughts
A habit I’ve been getting into, is evaluating and reflecting negative and destructive thought. Whenever my thoughts turn sour, whether it’s about myself or negatively towards others, I dance around it with thoughts of understanding. I’m not simply replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, as far as I’m concerned, there’s a long line separating the two. What I choose to educate myself with to interpret thought, is what keeps my mind balanced and still.
When a thought enters my mind that causes me personal conflict, I acknowledge it. I make myself fully aware that I’m experiencing some sort of disconnect with my own identity and it’s time to evaluate and reflect. I personally externalize the thought, put it on a piece of paper and begin to understand how I came to such a negative assumption. When you decode these thoughts, you begin to weaken their impact, almost like repeating a word over and over again, until it no longer sounds like a word.
We often give certain thoughts more power than others, usually the negative ones get the most attention; like how a baby gains more attention by kicking and screaming. By making yourself aware of thoughts, you begin to question them, you’ll circle around different thoughts with questions; theories and ideas, until you stumble on the truth. And you’ll know when you've reached this "aha" moment, because you’ll feel very much empowered.
#2. Conceptualize Perception
Nothing feels more real than entering a flow state. When working on something you're passionate about, the world around you seems to flutter away as you engage your inner genius, as your heart, mind and body is working in full synchronicity. If you regularly engage a flow state, you’ll become increasingly aware of how blurry perception can be. This is my 123rd blog post, I’m 7 chapters into writing my first book and I have invested countless hours a day talking about what I’m passionate about. Each time I come out of a state of flow, the world around me seems that much more distorted.
I’ve learnt to conceptualize perception, for one, I don’t waste time on what people think. It’s impossible for me to know what thoughts are motivating other people’s perception of the world, without spending time to get to know and understand them first. When you’re negatively impacted by others, you’re often focused on one recurring, internal thought. You’re boomeranging your own thoughts as you convince yourself that everyone shares it.
Don’t be naïve, focus more on doing the things that engage your passions and fill your life with bliss. If at every moment you’re engaging in an activity or thought that doesn’t fulfill you, you blur your perception of reality even more. Life becomes complicated and you’ll find yourself scrambling to understand why you don’t fit in.
#3. Experience Detachment
For the longest time I’ve been trying to understand the term detachment, that I failed to practise it. It’s not letting anything have rule over your life that'll steer you away from truth. In my opinion, detachment is more of an experience rather than a practise, it allows you to experience liberation like never before. Imagine; complete and utter freedom and no rule from thought, desire, emotion, people and even your own possessions.
I always say detachment feels the same as taking your clothes off in public, you have nothing left to hide as you strip away everything you’ve ever held onto, that kept you from exposing the most vulnerable part of who you are; your truest form. Detachment finally allows you to exist, uninterrupted nor influenced. Detachment guides you to peace of mind.
To start experiencing this today, begin to understand your relationship with everything you give meaning to, starting with your material possessions is the easiest way to begin. Evaluate your desire for these things, ask yourself why? Question the very purpose of how things define your life, not your lifestyle. The more rule you have over your life, the more rule you have over your mind. The more you latch onto things, people, desires, and thoughts and so on, you weaken your mind because you deter from what’s truly meaningful.
#4. Awaken your Imagination
Ever had a crazy thought, idea or put together an insane, out of this world theory and shrugged it off as silliness because you’d think people would think you’re insane, paranoid or just stupid? Yeah me too, but there is so much fun to be had if you just let your imagination roar. Regularly exercise your mind by freeing it from the shackles of reality, I always note down my "insanity" and store it in a folder called "Chaos".
Your imagination is vital to unlocking your potential, eventually one of your ideas, or crumbs from several ideas will guide you to self-actualization. If you let your mind regularly do its thing, you’ll eventually stumble across something you’ll feel confident expressing.
Why compartmentalize your imagination to fit in with the current trends and ideologies when, the advances we have in the world today came from the individuals often once thought to be insane. The world isn’t flat, the earth revolves around the sun and society is finally coming to terms with the fact that, we may not be the only ones living in this universe.
Imagination leads to discovery.
#5 Open your Mind
Last but not least, be curious, because when your mind opens up, you give fear the opportunity to escape. Connect with engaging stimulus; read more books, listen to more people and accept more fact. Try new things daily and test old practises rigorously. If you want to advance your mind, you need to stimulate it with something new. Expand zones of comfort and never be afraid to understand something by asking questions.
I grew up around warped cultural traditions that caused prejudice and inequality, the moment I moved away from it, was the day I began to discover my identity and my place in the world. And never hold anyone else back either, especially if you haven’t gained the experience or exposure to conceive any genuine opinion. This is your life remember, it’s up to you to discover what it’ll be about.
“I’d like to see our species come together and use our amazing potential to live in harmony with all life on this planet. If I had to leave an impression, I’d like it to be a smile.”
– Markus Pukonen, Founder of Routes of Change
On 3rd Ave. and Main St. Vancouver B.C. is where I last saw Markus Pukonen; a man on a mission to “circumnavigate the planet without a motor.”
Founder of Routes of Change; a registered non-profit organization, with the intention of raising support for organizations that are creating a healthier planet, Markus began his adventure around the world on foot. Since then, he has already hiked, skipped and danced his way through the first few kilometres and according to his live, online GPS, he currently appears to be canoeing down Lake Ontario towards Prince Edward, ON.
I first got introduced to Markus when I gate-crashed his fundraiser during my recent visit to Tofino, BC. An intimate event, I spoke to several people who knew Markus personally and from what I had learnt, I was eager to understand the mindset of this man with an ambitious goal, derived from noble motives.
Markus loves our planet and “all of the beings on it.” He found himself burdened by the unfortunate state of our planet six years ago, when he lost his beloved father to Leukemia. Around the same time, his sister was pregnant with his niece. This cycle of death and new life caused Markus to wonder what type of future his niece would have, if we continue to pollute and ruin our planet. It also caused him to question the legacy he'd leave behind, if he were to face the same fate as his father. “It was time for change” and it was during this poignant time in Markus’ life, which jolted him to act upon one of his ultimate aspirations.
Over the last six years, Markus has been carefully planning, fundraising and generating awareness and support for his organization. Now that ‘Routes of Change’ has officially launched, he's beginning to feel both the positive and negative impacts of this mission. The pressure is definitely on and as deadlines loom, the reality of his aspiration is settling in.
To keep himself motivated and focused, Markus doesn’t overlook his emotions. He realizes that they are a key component towards navigating himself towards success. He also practises communicating openly for others to understand him better, especially during moments of high stress and anxiety.
“I’m planning on dancing every day to make things happy and positive and keep the silliness of everything in focus. I practice belly breathing, moving meditation, and yoga as well.”
Also, Markus occasionally finds himself “nervous and stressed.” On top of raising funds to support himself throughout this 5 year mission, he’s set himself a “huge goal” of raising 10 million dollars towards supporting positive change. So naturally, he's finding himself questioning how it’ll all “come together.” Furthermore, Markus has been pretty independent his entire life and for the first time, he’s asked for support from his community in a “big way,” causing further thoughts of concern and uncertainty as he doesn't want to let anyone down.
“I overcome these concerns and doubts by focusing on the positive, on the fact that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I know that things have a way of working themselves out if you move confidently in the direction of your dreams.”
Markus has also become mindful of the fact that not everyone understands his mission, nor can everyone empathise with his passion. He’s learnt that staying true to himself and standing by his own identity, will guide him towards the success and fulfillment he desires. He adds:
“I also remind myself that I was willing to do this trip without any money.”
His strength and encouragement also comes from gratitude, he genuinely values community, oneness and family. Even though he'll be without his nearest and dearest for some time, he only has to think about them to trigger motivation.
“I think about the love they have for me. I think about doing my best in order to make them proud. I don’t focus on the fact that they aren’t with me, I focus on the fact that they ARE with me. I feel their love and support and I gain inspiration and strength from it. I focus on that overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”
Markus sets a great example of how to use your identity towards bigger aspirations. He’s combined what he loves to do (his passion), with what he has to do (his purpose) and as a result, he’s well on his way towards reaching levels of self-actualization.
There are many lessons to be learnt from Markus and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with him. He’s confirmed that staying true to our own identities, engaging in what we’re passionate about and maintaining gratitude for the very things many of us take for granted, will steer us towards a life of bliss and fulfillment.
Have a great time Markus and thank you for raising awareness to make our home a better place to live.
To learn more about Markus Pukonen and ‘Routes of Change’ check-out Routesofchange.org. You can also support Markus along the way, by sponsoring a ‘penny per kilometer’, joining him during a leg of his trip or simply by offering him words of encouragement, advice and support.
I have very cool parents. A father with the ability to dream big, despite life’s knock backs, the man still has some big aspirations. His encouragement is limitless and he has every confidence that, no matter what I do, I’ll be okay.
My mother on the other hand, she lives by one philosophy which she insists on passing down through generations. A guru in her own right, my mother never ever gave a "damn sh*t!” We, we being myself and my siblings, all used to laugh at her funny sayings, this one in particular.
My parents grew up in a generation surrounded by very strict Indian traditions and extremely outdated cultural practices. Also, one of the first generations to genuinely experience the struggles of integrating into a western society, from racial prejudice through to raising children who had adopted very different values to those she and my father were raised with.
An avid reader, my mum grew up reading books on philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. She generally read anything that allowed her mind to explore, to escape the realities she was forced to surrender to. All our lives, during the troubles that came with financial turmoil, crooked family politics and the bullsh*t that came with living an arranged life, she never let her spirit die.
We all grew up hearing “I don’t give a damn Sh*t!” around the house, as she belted it out during stressful moments. In her charming in-glish accent (an Indian accent with an English undertone), followed by a delightful laugh that made any unfortunate situation seem small and insignificant. It’s only during the last few years, having figured out my own path in life, I connected with what mum actually meant by the words she uttered.
My mum has practised mindfulness her entire life, before the world began trending it, mum was living it. In every difficult situation, she would never let negativity infiltrate her mind. It was like this mantra shielded her from turning into a bitter old lady; resenting the world and everyone in it.
I always thought she held onto a hope that things would get better one day, as many do in unfortunate circumstances. I thought that was where she drew her strength. In actuality, that one-day was always her present day, the here and now was the time to laugh off her troubles and focus on whatever bliss currently existed, however big or small. Be it the fact that we had a day with a full healthy meal on our plates or, at the very least, love and closeness in our family.
Today, at 64, mum continues to share lessons of mindfulness to any person she meets. It makes complete sense why people warm up to her very quickly. She lives life as if life is literally the only thing she owns, and so long as she maintains control over her own mind, the force that drives her life, she’s the most fortunate person she knows.
So no matter what situation you’re faced with, no matter what your current circumstances are, practise having full control over your mind and be aware of your thoughts. That’s what mindfulness is. Mum taught us to focus on everyday bliss, however big or small, it exists, we just have to start paying attention to it.
Negativity can only affect us if we allow it to and what mum actually means by ‘not giving a sh*t’, isn’t that she doesn’t care, it’s that she’ll continue to fight for the one thing that can’t ever be taken from her; she will never surrender her mind to negativity, no matter how hard life tries.
This post was written by Terry Sidhu.
Are you ready to reach your true potential?
I'd recently took a trip away to Tofino, British Columbia, to complete some work and escape the distractions of everyday life. When I arrived I was ready to churn out pure productivity, I could already feel my ego withering away as my inner-desires activated, engaged by thoughts of freedom, fun and accomplishment.
It was late, dark and very quiet. I immediately felt a slight anxiety as I entered this small town as lone outsider/tourist. I pulled up and greeted my AirBnB host with very quick hello and was given a 2 minute tour of the property…not even 10 minutes had passed by and beers were already being poured. I could already tell that this town had adopted a 'live-in-the-moment' mentality and any thoughts of anxiety were soon forgotten.
My host was an energetic character originally from Alberta, Canada. He’d given up his lucrative career, working on an oil rig, to pursue his passions. He became an artist and had moved to Tofino to seek liberation and to freely create. I had told him about my initial anxiety and how quickly it was dispelled, I mentioned my work and my writing and my reason for visiting. He talked about how many of the people living in Tofino weren't really from there, many of the people he had met and many of the people I had interacted with, seemed to have similar reasons for being there.
My first day though was pretty amazing, normally when I wake up my first thoughts are to check my Blackberry for any new emails from potential clients and to check my blog-stats. The internet connectivity was awful so right way I was forced into mindfulness. I got up early, caught the sun rise, meditated, went for a run and had my first Vegan breakfast (it was delicious) all before 7am.
After I had showered and changed, I took my laptop down to a waterfront restaurant and within minutes I was tranced into a flow state. Usually I would check all sorts of social media platforms and spend the first hour catching up with the rest of the world. This time was very different.
Later that day, I explored the neighbourhood and struck up conversations with random people. It became apparent that many people who come along to Tofino, although initially motivated by escape, were really there to just be themselves. To engage the capabilities of their identities in order to discover bliss. Nobody seemed too focused on status, money, popularity or anything else that bound people to lives that lacked fulfillment.
Nobody really cared about anything else other than making the most of every moment and that didn't really mean partying and having fun in the traditional sense. It meant making the most of one's passions, perfecting skills and becoming the best individual one can be. Investing every spare moment engaging an inner spirit and tapping into a self-confidence that came with true independence. Many people had visited from bigger towns and cities, only to remain there after experiencing some sort of detachment. Towards the end of my trip, even I was contemplating the thought of calling it home.
I couldn't help feeling empathy for those that sought freedom and liberation there. Many people seemed to have detached from their old lives, only to attach themselves to Tofino. I wondered how many will learn to carry this experience with them as they re-enter the lives they’d left behind.
My mum had incidentally given me a book called “why ----- mind matters.” It explored Buddhist philosophies concerning the mind. It was an easy book and within the first ten minutes I came across this quote:
“Man is essentially the manifestation of his thought forces.”
I thought I went to Tofino to work, to finish some writing as I embark on yet another goal. I thought I had to be there to bring back the inspiration and motivation I sought, to complete my book. Truth is, Tofino just allowed me to calm my mind and had given me time to think. It reminded me of the importance of focusing internally.
Prior to this trip, my mind seemed to be in several different places at once, I couldn't focus on writing and output seemed to lack passion. I had all the same ideas, but at home I couldn't bring them alive because I kept trying to focus with an external intention.
In other words, I was focusing on an outcome of a task rather than the purpose of carrying the task out. So when I would attempt to write at home, I was driven more by thoughts of getting my book published and the possibility of new opportunities and travelling more. When writing in Tofino, I reconnected with the internal intention; I wrote because I enjoyed it and because I’m passionate about what I want to share.
Now that I’m back on the ferry heading back home to familiarity, I’m returning with my intentions intact. I feel I understand what it means to put my mind to something now.
We can be anywhere in the world physically, but what truly matters as we embark on ambitious goals, is where we allow our minds to travel.
I watched this documentary [Alive Inside] and it reminded me of a message I drafted a few weeks ago. It inspired me to post it today.
To feel and experience raw passion, to discover and then nurture it, you must first tune into emotion.
Emotions pretty much control your being, they dictate your life and how you live it. Your emotions, if you can face them, could be the very key you’re looking for to unlock your potential. Great people are emotionally invested, driven by their own desires to make an impact on the world; they're passionate.
Music has a funny way of guiding you into a flow state. It activates a spirit which allows your imagination to fly free. When you play your favourite track and you’re transported to a moment, whether that moment existed or not, that moment allows you to feel.
When you feel, your heart syncs with your mind and they both work in unison to guide you closer to where you want to be in life. The aspirations you hold onto are activated and you’ll feel like every nerve ending in your body, has connected you to your destiny.
A fantasy overwhelms your reality and all you want to do is engage; this is your opportunity to be creative, innovative and inspired…and whatever else you need to feel to encourage work towards your goals.
When your emotions awake, you also shed many layers of thought that may have kept you from attaining a certain individual quality with your work.
A focus on emotion can stimulate a rare vision that normally you wouldn’t have been able to access. I think back to some of my best accomplishments, most, if not all of them we’re emotionally driven. Some moments gave me the courage to act on impulse, and others allowed me to truly understand what I really wanted for my life, allowing me to drop expectation and live life on my own terms.
This includes negative emotions too, for instance, hurt can motivate you to break negative behavioral patterns and encourage change in your life. Suffering can inspire you to change the world and anger can be channeled into productivity.
So next time you're looking to stimulate your passions, try putting on some of your favorite music, allow yourself to be transported to a moment and let the emotions you feel ignite a flow state.
When was the last time your identity was pushed to its limits? When did you last overcome an intimidating challenge?
How you deal with and overcome challenges is a skill you develop. If you're pretty good at it, chances are you've come across many challenges in your life. You've probably developed your skill well enough to withstand an array of pressures that life can throw at you.
One thing I advise people who pursue their own success, is to avoid complacency. The world and how it operates continues to evolve and change and our nature is to adapt to these changes. If you’re not nurturing your ability to overcome challenges, the more difficult it’ll be to adapt, more so when challenges are unavoidably presented.
As you become adapted to a life you've built, you may have learnt to avoid challenges as you nestle into comfort and ease. If you’re settled into routine and are comfortable in the everyday motions of life, it’s important to set yourself and see through goals/challenges regularly. They help you to strengthen your mindset, thus allowing you to tap into your identity; the stronger your will, the more confident and determined you’ll be to succeed in the passions YOU want to pursue.
Challenges present several learning opportunities that teach you more about yourself than you once thought. Challenges are a constant reminder, proof even, that personal potential is truly uncapped. If you're constantly nurturing this mindset, you build up a tolerance against negative infiltrations like procrastination, doubt, insecurity and anything else that keeps you from reaching your self-actualized state.
Your mind as well as your body can be pushed to surprising limits and in order for you to continue your journey towards self-actualization, you should seek to challenge yourself whenever an opportunity arises. You should always keep your mind and your body engaged in a constant state of improvement and progression.
Regularly engaging in challenges also helps you build up a tolerance of what you can handle at any given time. Remember, the more success you accumulate in your life, the more challenges you’ll come across to maintain and grow it.
Always continue to push yourself further today, so that you’ll sail through the challenges of tomorrow.