“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” 
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

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Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown 

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Beloved Beast | Let us kiss the beast within ourselves

“It is one thing to feel loved… when our life is together and all our support systems are in place. Then self-acceptance is relatively easy. We may even claim that we are coming to like ourselves. When we are strong, on top, in control, and as the Celts say, “in fine form,” a sense of security crystallizes.

But what happens when life falls through the cracks? What happens when we… fail, when our dreams shatter, when our investments crash, when we are regarded with suspicion? What happens when we come face-to-face with the human condition?

Ask anyone who has gone through a separation or divorce. Are they together now? Is their sense of security intact? Do they have a strong sense of self-worth? Do they still feel like the beloved child? 

“This [brokenness] is what what needs to be accepted. Unfortunately, this is what we tend to reject.

Here the seeds of corrosive self-hatred take root. This painful vulnerability is the characteristic feature of our humanity that most needs to be embraced in order to restore our human condition to a healed state…” – Nicholas Harnan

…Yet as soon as we lose our nerve about ourselves, we take cover. Adam and Eve hid, and we all, in one way or another, have used them as role models. Why? Because we do not like what we see. It is uncomfortable–intolerable–to confront our true selves…

“And so… we either flee our own reality or manufacture a false self which is mostly admirable, mildly prepossessing, and superficially happy.

We hide what we know or feel ourselves to be (which we assume to be unacceptable and unlovable) behind some kind of appearance which we hope will be more pleasing.

We hide behind pretty faces which we put on for the benefit of our public.

And in time we may even come to forget that we are hiding, and think that our assumed pretty face is what we really look like.” – Simon Tugwell

…come out of hiding. No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable…

“Over the years I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection.

Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. 

When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions.

The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned,I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.”… [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” – Henri Nouwen.

“…To feel safe is to stop living in my head and sink down into my heart and feel liked and accepted… not having to hide anymore and distract myself…

…no need to impress or dazzle others or draw attention to myself, a new way of being in the world… calm, unafraid, no anxiety about what’s going to happen next… loved and valued… just being together as an end in itself.

…If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.

We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go.” – Chapter 1, ‘Come Out Of Hiding’, Abba’s Child, by Brennan Manning. 

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Mt Kinabalu – Climbing a mountain in a day

Originally posted on Letters To 1978:
Borneo is one of the greenest and most beautiful lands I have seen. My travel buddy, Sarah, and I were here to climb the highest mountain in South East Asia in one day. Here’s our story… Mount Kinabalu National Park – 4.50pm, Sarah and I have just arrived in Mr…

Diving Life Lessons

The Pineapple Post

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This personal reflection was written by Sara Mcbride after a return visit to Solomon Islands

I’ll be honest, there was a time in my experience in the Solomons that diving was all I had to look forward to.  It was right after the Christchurch earthquake and I felt completely and utterly depleted.  I took my first course around and it changed a lot for me.  For awhile, it was what I woke up for, walked for, ate for, slept for and worked for.  The first words out of my mouth when I met someone new was “do you dive?”.  It become an obsession but a healthy one.  So, I just want to go through some of the life lessons I learned whilst diving in the Solomons:

1. Sit at the bottom until things become clear: Look, I think we all know that life can…

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Unusual Creatures of the Japanese Sea

Masha Egupova

by Andrey Shpartak by Andrey Shpartak

This is Chirolophis Japonicus that lives in the Japanese sea in the Russian Far East. Despite its scary look, this fish isn’t scared of divers. You can even touch it or feed it, if you’re lucky enough to meet it in shallow waters.

This fish enjoys eating octopus and its legs in particular. The fish may reach 70 cm in length. Its yellow horns allow the fish to hide between seaweed and stones on the seabed.

by Andrey Shpartak by Andrey Shpartak

And here is a poor octobus bitten by Chirolophis Japonicus.

by Alexandr Semenov by Alexandr Semenov

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“If you keep thinking I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, then you can’t! If you think I can, I can, I can, then you can!” – Christopher Cassey, my PADI OWC instructor.

“If you keep thinking I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, then you can’t!

If you think I can, I can, I can, then you can!” – Christopher Cassey, PADI instructor.

By Day 2 of my 3 nights OWC crash course, my mind wavered if I could do this… Maybe I can’t… Maybe I’m not meant for this… Maybe I’m just kidding myself… Maybe I don’t even want this! I tried to keep an open mind, observing my thoughts as they came, even while I was diving.

By the time the sun had set for the day, I had more or less decided. 

I want to pass my OWC. But I don’t think I can… Not in 3 nights. By the 3rd day, I had a plan. I’ll return on another trip to complete the 2 boat dives to get my license. I didn’t have the confidence to do it that day.

The instructor was supportive of my decision. He wasn’t going to push me if I wasn’t ready for it. That’s nice… But somehow, deep inside, I knew it would feel nicer if I left the island finishing what I had begun here.

One thing led to another. In the end, I opted to stay on an extra night.

I still remember the first boat dive. First thing he did at the end of it was give me a high five with the biggest smile. “Good girl, you did it!”

Man. That feeling was pure satisfaction. And I wasn’t expecting that!

My first boat dive. OWC 2014.

My first boat dive. OWC 2014.

With my OWC Instructor, Chris.

With my OWC Instructor, Chris.

I know I didn’t do that great underwater, and ascended 10mins before 40. But it’s clear he wasn’t looking for perfection. The second boat dive was kinda the same. But the point is that we made it. We completed this!

Ascending from the womb of the ocean,  back into the heart of life... ballerina style! ;- )

Ascending from the womb of the ocean,
back into the heart of life… ballerina style! ;- )

It felt surreal when he handed me my temp diver’s license. Put myself through a lot of stress to earn it! And it was worth it. In 3+1 night, I gained more than just diving skills. I got a reminder of life’s basic rules:

1. Relax
2. Breathe
3. Exhale
4. If you keep thinking I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, then you can’t! If you think I can, I can, I can, then you can!
5. Calm down

Also, gotta love the bunch of awesome divers my couz got together for the trip. Couldn’t have asked for better company! Their massive support and empathy skills were off the charts. All in all, best 5D4N of my April.

Every moment and wisdom gained on the island is guiding me forth. That was my intention from day one–and for everything I’m doing this year:

To conquer the fear that’s been holding me back from doing what I want to do in life. 

Today, I found myself struggling while writing, thinking the same fear-thought patterns: “Maybe I can’t… Maybe I’m not meant for this… Maybe I’m just kidding myself. Maybe I don’t even want this.”.

But Christopher’s voice is coming back louder and fiercer in my head:

“If you keep thinking I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, then you can’t!

If you think I can, I can, I can, then you can!”

I CAN. SO CAN YOU.

After a dive and a swim... the Snorkle-Beerbong Initiation night, to "celebrate" passing my OWC. (Actually, I had not completed my 2 boat dives on that night, but in the eyes of my diver friends, I'd already passed the test! And so I did, the very next day... ;- )

After a dive and a swim… a Snorkle-Beerbong Diver’s Initiation rite, to “celebrate” passing my OWC. (Actually, I had not completed my 2 boat dives on that night, but in the eyes of my diver friends, I’d already passed! And so I did, the very next day… ;- )

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“You can’t avoid life’s potholes… the good news is there is far more joy and happiness available to you when you choose to see it.”

You can’t avoid life’s potholes. No one gets a free pass or a smooth road. There will be, we’re sorry to say, some sorrow, fear, pain, sadness or other stress.  But, the good news is that there is far more joy and happiness available to you when you choose to see it. Let’s take a moment to note those wonderful things, moments, memories or gifts in our lives.” – queenofyourownlife.com

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Unique pothole at my apartment’s carpark – Love, Mish. ps: Do you see what I see?

“…while some of us get hardened by life, others are somehow tenderized by it — softened, gentled, humbled. The people whom I love and admire most are those who walk through the fire and somehow manage to keep their humor, their grace, their wonder, and yes, their innocence. Not through naiveté, mind you, but through muscular, decisive acts of love.

That, to me, is a hero’s path.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Unique pothole at my apartment's carpark

Unique pothole at my apartment’s carpark – Love, Mish. ps: Do you see what I see?

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” – Mother Teresa

Unique pothole at my apartment's carpark

Unique pothole at my apartment’s carpark – Love, Mish. ps: Do you see what I see?

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“The Ebb & Flow Of Life!” – Chris Assaad

Love this post by Chris Assaad: “Today was one of those days when I woke up and for no apparent reason I was feeling a little lower in spirits than usual. I began to wonder why.

Maybe it’s the cold, rainy, dreary weather and lack of sunshine as winter officially sets in. Maybe it’s a subtle feeling of discouragement as I come up against obstacles along the path to my dream and as I focus on how far I have yet to go to my goal.

Perhaps it’s a combination of fears that have crept into my subconscious and affected my mood. Fear of failure is always high on the list and then of course, there’s fear of everything that comes with success.

Or maybe it’s a bout of loneliness that triggered my fear of never finding the relationship I long for and of being alone for the failure or the success. Blah blah blah!

Ok that’s enough. This is how our minds work a lot of the time and if we don’t catch ourselves, we can get completely submerged in destructive thinking.

There are two levels to this pattern. The first is that when I wake up feeling a slight change in my mood, my first response is to assume that something is wrong and to go hunting for a reason. Well, we’re all professionals at that and when we go in search of evidence for why we’re feeling down, we’re bound to come up with plenty of great stories. Oh how we love our stories!

The fact is that there is an ebb and flow to life. There are highs and lows. There is bitter and sweet. There are gray days and sunny days and it’s all part of the package. If it were peaches, sunshine and roses all the time we’d probably get bored pretty quickly.

The second level is that we resist the mood and immediately try to “fix” it or escape it.  In some instances this takes the form of eating, drinking, doping, buying, consuming or indulging our way out of the problem. In other instances, we run, we hide, we deny or we slam on the brakes and shut down completely.

The bottom line is that the idea that we’re supposed to be on a high all the time is misleading and it can cause us to have false expectations. It’s no wonder that we live in a world mired in addictive behaviors aimed at escaping the lows that we all inevitably experience.

What I’ve been learning is that the best way to cause a shift in our mood when the darkness hits is to completely surrender to the experience of it.

This means facing the feelings, writing about them, talking about them with someone we trust and sometimes, even laughing about them.

The more we resist the valleys of life, the more entrenched in them we become. But when we honor our darker feelings and accept them as part of the nature of who we are, then they lose their hold on us.

When we acknowledge our feelings, give them voice and allow ourselves to feel the ugly, scary stuff, then the darkness passes and gives way to light.

Most importantly, when we’re having one of those days, it’s an opportunity to practice loving ourselves more, to dig deeper and have greater faith in our dreams, to build up our spiritual endurance and press on in the face of fear and uncertainty. It’s an opportunity to learn about ourselves and grow by getting to know a side of ourselves that makes us uncomfortable.

There is an ebb and flow to life.  Rather than fight it or resist it, let us embrace it.

Let us adjust our expectations of what is “normal” and practice accepting the highs, the lows and everything in between.

There’s a lesson in all of it and it’s by fully being wherever we are that we can maintain a sense of inner peace and remain empowered regardless of what the day holds or what the weather outside looks like.” – Chris

Chris Assaad is a rad singer/songwriter and a TDL reader. Check out his website here.

Read this gem of an article from The Daily Love ❤ Disclaimer: Just because I share an insight by Chris / The Daily Love, does not mean I am aligned with their teachings / programmes in all its entirety. There will always be things we agree with /don’t agree with. Please apply personal discernment. Take what you can, leave out the rest.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture