Letting go

“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”

 

I was discussing with a friend about about a negative experience from her past. During the discussion she was visibly upset and has a lot of angry feelings attached to the people who were involved in the situation. It got me thinking about attachment to the past. I think attachment to the past, good and bad alike are equally important to note.
If the past is good, are you holding onto that and comparing it with the present situation you are in? Or are you appreciating it for what it is, as much as you appreciate the present moment for what it is? A lot of times when we are suffering, we look back on the past and think “I wish my life was as it had been a few years ago.”
But we forget to accept. Accept that this is the current situation you are in, and then you can assess what is in your control to change. What obstacles life throws our way is not within our control, and accepting this mere fact can lead you to a path of happiness, and more fulfillment. We also learn so much more from struggles and grow wiser having overcome tough times. “This too” will pass. Tough times pass, and pleasant times pass. But if you spend all your time in the tough times thinking about the pleasant past and merely re-reading the chapters of your past, you may not learn as much from the next chapters life has given you.
If the past is negative, are you attached to the pain that is brought upon from this? Do you see yourself finding your identity in it? When you think of the past and the people who are involved, do you accept what happened and that you are a bit more damaged from it? Again, acceptance of this is the first step to recovery. Accept it has happened. Accept that you might be a little damaged from it. Once you can identify the damage, you can start to work on healing.
I will leave you with this thought. When in doubt, you may want to let go of the past for this simple reason: holding onto the past makes the present heavy. If your heart is filled with longing or pain alike from the past, it is less open for fully experiencing openly the present moment.

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Fig Sweetened Almond Chocolate Chip Granola Bites

I just love sweets.  And around 3pm at work my stomach starts rumbling and I start craving some sweetness. I often have trouble finding healthy and nourishing snacks that will also satisfy my sweet tooth, so I looked around, found a recipe, and made my own variation of it. This was pretty sweet, so feel free to use regular sliced almonds if you’d like and reduce the sugar per serving and calories too!

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This recipe is great for: Fiber, Protein Makes 14 servings. Per serving: Calories: 279, Carbs: 22.3g, Fat: 18.7g, Saturated Fat: 2.9g, Protein: 8.3g, Sodium: 11.5mg, Sugar: 8.1g, Fiber: 5.3g

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Pupusas with Black Beans and Sliced Onions

This traditional Salvadorian dish has such a hearty and comforting taste and sense to it. Please enjoy! Please remember, add as much ancho chile as you’d like. The amount I have specified will make it pretty spicy, so if you do not like your food spicy, decrease the amount of ground ancho chile you put in the spice blend.

 

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This recipe is great for: Fiber (Beans), Protein (Beans)

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: Calories: 391g, Carbs: 67g, Fat: 13g, Protein: 13g, Sugar: 7g

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Sympathetic Joy

Competition is natural. Back when the cavemen hunted for food, men saw other beings as a threat, “hunt or be hunted”. But now is that so relevant? Being in Silicon Valley, I constantly am around people who are extremely competitive. But this competitive nature breeds jealousy. Intense jealousy. How often have you thought: “I don’t have what he or she has, so I want it.”  If someone is happy, it must mean they have something I do not have. This leads me to think of sympathetic joy. Sympathetic joy is the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well being. Why is it so hard to feel joy because of someone else’s joy? Because we think economically; scarcity of resources. We see happiness and joy as a human want or desire.  We see it is limited in this world. Therefore is someone is happy, it means less happiness is available for me.

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Ikebana

I went to a Ikebana class yesterday. For those of you who do not know, Ikebana is a type of Japanese floral arranging, but it finds its origins in the temples in ancient India and has evolved over time.

Space is a central component of the design.  You make use of the positive and negative space and present the combination of both. I have not trained in western floral arranging, but I imagine it Is a bit different from western floral arranging. Ikebana truly allows you to be creative with space. Here is the piece I made with my sensei:
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I loved the idea of negative and positive space. The idea is not to fill up the space with a lot of pretty flowers, but rather be creative using less positive space than what we typically would be inclined to do.

In this floral arranging, you are supposed to use branches along with flowers. And why shouldn’t you, as those are also what are grown? There is as much beauty in those branches that fell from the tree as there is in the flowers grown.

This comes back to my ideas about beauty and what we are taught as children. When making my creation, we did an asymmetrical triangle with the flowers. I was so surprised. Immediately I wanted to change it to become symmetrical. But I resisted the urge, sat with the feeling, and soon enough I saw that the asymmetrical balance is natural, dynamic, and engaging.
I hope to continue to find the beauty in the asymmetrical nature of life.

Simplicity 

I heard a lecture in a Buddhist center. In this lecture he spoke about simplicity. The simplicity of being. 

Interestingly I connected this with a line for the new Cinderella movie: it is risky to be seen for who you truly are.

 Who you are. A simple unattached, beautiful soul. You truly just are. Simple. 

 
We as people feel it is risky in finding out who we truly are. I am finding out through more and more investigation that I sometimes don’t like some of the thoughts I am observing, and I attach a stigma to them. 
 
The teacher mentioned to observe our agitation without judgement of them. I definitely struggle with this in many situations. A lot of times I start to feel agitated and then feel agitated that I am getting agitated…and soon enough I am caught.
I recently cut ties with a person who I was extremely close with.  The first few nights my sleep was disrupted and I found myself extremely panicked. The first night, I found myself super scared and I could not calm myself down. The next night I decided to try to observe what my body was doing while i was going through this. The first thing I noticed was my face and chest became really hot. My heart was racing. My breath was shallow. I started to breath deeply. Then I turned to the harder stuff…my thoughts. I started to observe my thoughts…and long story short, I had a lot going on there. I realized how much stigma I associated with certain thoughts, and how quickly I tried to reject them. 
 
Here is how that works. 
Have you ever been talking to someone, and they just walk away in the middle of your sentence?  How does that make you feel? Guess what trying to reject or ignore the thoughts you associate with a stigma does to those thoughts? It certainly does not make them go away. In fact if you try to reject them and ignore them, it is easier to be caught by them. Instead of automatically rejecting them this time, I investigated them and thought about the rationality of these thoughts. I was able to look at them objectively and not be caught by them. I know this will be a continual process, everyday, and each day I overcome, I consider it a victory 🙂

Mindful cooking-thoughts

To be honest I have never enjoyed chopping. That’s probably been my least favorite activity to do. Over the last Christmas holiday, I spent it with my family. I made butternut squash soup and needed to chop two butternut squashes, and my hands cramped up from chopping so much! My family said to me: ummm….its pretty obvious you don’t cook often.   The funny thing is, I love to cook. I have always loved to cook. But I always rushed the cooking part so I could get to the eating part faster. 

 

That would leave me chopping mindlessly, sautéing mindlessly, and eating mindlessly. After that experience, I realized I need to slow down, and be present in the entire process, from chopping to the last morsel I put in my mouth, to experience the present moment.  It sounds intuitive right? But I challenge you, the next time you cook. With each slice you create, each crisp sound the oil makes on the frying pan, stop, take a second, and take a deep breath and just be. During this deep breath and the “just being”, absorb the sounds, smells, sights and the feelings. 

 

Savor every bite of the process, all the way to the last one!