The Power to Choose

In one of my last posts I reflected on how we can create peace from within, rather than looking for it outside of ourselves or trying to control the environment to create it. Another realization I had is that in every moment we have choices. I can choose whether to stay in a stressful situation, complain, try to control/manipulate it to my benefit, linger in a "woe is me" victim's mindset lamenting on how difficult life is, how awful people can be, and how unfortunate I am; or I can choose to remove myself from the charged situation to clear my head and reflect on what I am feeling, why I am feeling that way, and what I need to do (or not do) to heal my heavy heart and learn from the situati

Find your Peace Within

The other morning I found a knot of sadness stuck in my chest. I recognized it as anxiety & had to dig deep to find out what was causing it. I had woken up at 5:30am to do my morning meditation & yoga, hoping to get a head start before the other guests arose. However soon after, new hostel guests arrived and were playing rock music & chatting/laughing quite loudly. In my mind I was stuck in a place of wanting silence/peace/calm for myself, while also recognizing that these guests had the right to show up in whatever way they wanted, even playing music early in the morning. What made my wants/needs greater than theirs? I remembered a negotiation strategy I learned in my social psychology clas

Going from Good to Great!

How do we go from good to great? Of late, I have been hearing a lot about how (past and current) great creative masters (whether musicians, chefs, programmers, artists, designers, etc.) were able to stand out amongst others in their field. What I am finding is that the first step towards mastery is to learn and replicate how the best have done it before you. However, after that you must go one step further and take all that you know (in your heart and mind) and all the experiences you've had in your life and channel it into your work, so you can recreate it as your own. This idea implies that contrary to what some people might believe, it isn't shameful to copy what others are doing or have

Living Simply to Live More Richly

Part of what I'm noticing and love about Medellin is its tendency toward simplicity. From deciding how long to work (versus play); choosing décor for their homes and businesses; and/or deciding on what foods to prepare, the people here air on the side of minimalism. For example, many people don't work on Sundays (and some don't work on Monday either) and return home to eat a freshly prepared meal with their families; walls are painted white and decorated with plants; and restaurants promote the "meal of the day" as opposed to giving lots of choices. The Paisas seemingly have enough to make them feel comfortable and satisfied, but not too much to make their lives feel overly cluttered or com

Slow Down to Experience More

David and I recently saw a documentary called Given about the Goodwin family, who went on an epic surfing adventure across 15 countries to give their 6-year old son the opportunity to expand his horizons and gain a deeper understanding of life. The cinematography of this movie was spectacular and delivered a sensory experience like no other movie I have ever seen. I immediately became infatuated with this adventurous, down-to-earth family and naturally wanted to see more of their photography on Instagram (@thegoodwinway) and their social media account does not disappoint. Beyond the photography, I was drawn to the advice they leave in their profile, which says, "Slow Yourself Down, you will

Stop and Reflect (Part II)

I am currently reading Cal Newport's book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, in which he explains how we can get more done in less time on projects that are important to us, by focusing our full attention and eliminating distractions. He cites convincing research about the negative effects of multi-tasking on our overall productivity to support his argument. Since starting the book, I've been increasingly noticing how addicted I am to distraction and how I tend to ease my boredom or procrastinate via social media (specifically, Instagram), mind-wandering, opting for a snack or beverage break, engaging in superficial conversation, fidgeting, running non-essential err

Stop and Reflect (Part I)

Life is full of rich experiences which trigger us to feel so many different things. Our emotions are the surface level manifestations of deeply-held beliefs and judgments we have about ourselves and the world. How often do you stop and reflect on why you feel a certain way? Why did what your friend said make you feel angry? Why did what you saw on Facebook make you feel anxious? There is so much to discover about ourselves from our emotions. Whether in the moment or at the end of the day, take a moment to stop and reflect, so you can learn more about yourself and grow into the person you want to become. (In my next post, I'll share an example from my own life.)

Meditation Tip: Give your Exhale the Attention it Deserves

When breathing during yoga and meditation, many of us (including myself) have the tendency to pay more attention to our in-breaths and less to our out-breaths, almost as if we are rushing to get to our next inhale and the exhale is merely a roadblock. But what would it be like to give equal attention to our exhales? In life we are not always fully present/aware, oftentimes running toward the next moment. Some of us tend to only focus on what is wrong with ourselves and in the world and gloss over the good (negativity bias); others have the tendency to distract themselves from what they don't want to acknowledge. What if we could develop our awareness, so that we can embrace all of life, th

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