Thursday, July 31, 2008

What an old movie taught me

Remember those wonderful characters in The Wizard of Oz? There were the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion: Dorothy's compatriots on the journey to see the great wizard who would grant each of them their most desired wish.

The scarecrow wanted a brain, a mind with which to reason and know the truth of all things. The tin man hoped for a heart so that he would feel the presence of love which he longed. And then there is the cowardly lion who wanted courage to face his fears.

And we remember what happened: by the end of their journey, after everything they went through because of their love for Dorothy and each other, they discovered that they don't need the wizard and the wish at all - the very quality of character for which they had gone out to look for was already living within them!

We all have that within us. However, it cannot ever be gifted, granted, or given; it must be earned through our personal journey. Otherwise it will not be authentic and be truly ours. So take that journey, and find whatever that is you are looking for, from within yourself.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Be Like Water

Bruce Lee, not only was one of the greatest martial artists that ever lived, but also was quite a philosopher. He thought deeply about the essence of martial art, often breaking the boundaries set by traditional teachings. During the years he shared many of his findings, here is one example:

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.

Similarly, in Karate they often talk about having a "mind like water", which means keeping a mental readiness like a pond, dwell in stillness, quietly reflecting. When you throw a pebble into the pond, the pond does not overreact, nor under-react; it takes the pebble as is, accepting it, and then softly, calmly returns to its original stillness.

Be like water, my friend.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Il faut cultiver son jardin

Indeed, we all must work in our garden. To me, this has several meanings:

1. Life's reward comes with hard work, dedication, and persistence; there is no short cut to success. It might be nice or advantageous to be smart or good-looking, but they are poor substitutes for real, authentic labor.

2. It is "our" garden we need to work in, not others. What other people do or don't do with their gardens are not our primary concern; our garden is. Focus on that and everything else will take care themselves.

3. There are many people in this world who want to sell you "gardening tools" - how to speak well, how to network, how to be social, etc., etc.. Or better yet, Life Coaching. Although these techniques do have value, they pale in comparison to the work that we MUST do internally, if what we desire is true, long-lasting happiness.

It is we who must work on our garden.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Is

It is not our duty to suffer over what will be or won't be - to live with painful regret or guilt over what was or wasn't. Our sole task is to be responsible for what is - and to allow this relationship with life to produce what it will. There may or may not be suffering in this order of responsibility, but, if there is, it will be transformational as opposed to self-tormenting - which is the negative effect of every act born of assuming some false responsibility.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Veggie Sausage Patties

I love sausages, but they are unhealthy - too much FAT. Recently, a friend of mine (thanks Kim!) cooked me some veggie patties from Morningstar, and oh my God, they are delicious! They taste just like real sausages, if not better. Above all, it is packed with meatless soy products, herbs, spices, and contains only 3 grams of FAT, where a regular sausage patty has 12.

Nutritional Facts:

Serving: 1 pattie, 1.34oz.
Calories: 80
Fat:5%, 3g
Cholesterol: 0%, 0mg
Sodium: 11%, 260mg
Protein: 10g
Carbs: 1%, 3g
Fiber: 6%, 1g
Sugar: <1g

They are very easy to cook - you can heat it over a skillet, microwave it, toast it, or bake it.

At Walmart, a package with 6 patties costs a little under 3 dollars. (They also have other products, like veggie hamburger, chicken nuggets, etc. I have to try them.)

Morningstar, I love thee!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strong and Weak

Sometimes we try to project an image of being strong to people around us. But at the same time, we often realize that we do it in vain - the more we demand or crave the respect of others, the less likely we are to receive it. If you've ever tried to raise children, you know this is true.

Here are some examples of how we may be unknowingly sabotaging ourselves while wrongly assuming we're strengthening our position with others.
  • Fawning before people to win their favor
  • Expressing contrived concern for someone's well-being
  • Making small talk to cover up nervousness
  • Hanging on to someone's every word
  • Looking for someone's approval
  • Asking if someone is angry with you
  • Fishing for a kind word
  • Trying to impress someone
  • Gossiping
  • Explaining yourself to others

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sufi Poem