The Sign

“When you reach the top, take a picture with the sign if you wish, but remember there are others waiting to do the same. Don’t stay up there for too long. Come back down and make room for others…” – Warrin, the stern Sweeper guide who makes sure nobody in our group gets left behind, as we make our way up Mount Kinabalu, one of the tallest mountains in South East Asia.

Earlier this year, a young German lady fell to her death from up here, during what was supposed to be a happy moment, having reached the peak and the sign.

Apparently, she was trying to capture the sunrise, but stepped beyond the fencing perimeter to do so, and slipped when the rocks gave way beneath her feet.

May her soul rest in peace… And may this be a reminder and a lesson to us all: A sign is just a sign. 

Why do we risk it all, for a fleeting moment with Signs?

The sign of the sunrise from the top of Mount Kinabalu must’ve mattered to her a lot… For us, perhaps the sign of a sunrise on our personal mountain matters a lot. And it should matter. We get to sit back and take in that breathtaking view after working our ass off to get up there.

We deserve that much for all the hours of hard work and commitment.

But let’s remember, symbols of success and accomplishments are just that. Signs and symbols. It is not the be all and end all. Enjoy the moment. Celebrate. Let the sweet sign of your labour be etched in your memory.

Then let it go.

Let your heart be free of attachments. You are more than a sign and a symbol. As the guide says, come back down and make room for others.

The best sign we can hope to attain is hidden and invisible. It is already within, waiting to be found, again and again and again. It is already yours. It is already saying what you wished the signs would say.

YOU ARE LOVED.

YOU ARE AMAZING.

YES, YOU MATTER.

Our awareness of this, would give us the courage not to cling to external signs or to put our lives on the line, in the hope to capture such signs.

It’ll allow more room for others to make their way up, too, and to share in our joy and mountain top experiences.

Happiness is, after all, multiplied when shared.

As for me, this moment up here is a sweet Sign of Courage and Persistence, in the midst of Fear. The sense of achievement is beyond satisfying… it’s an absolute surprise.

It’s also why I find the irony in the name especially meaningful. At the highest point of Mount Kinabalu, we find ourselves at “Low’s Peak”.

We know one, by knowing the other. The highs and lows, coexist together.

Let this be a sign.

Mount Kinabalu.

Mount Kinabalu. 150614.

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

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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

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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

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“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

DSC08406edit

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

Love Anyway

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
LOVE THEM ANYWAY.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
DO GOOD ANYWAY.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
SUCCEED ANYWAY.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
DO GOOD ANYWAY.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
THINK BIG ANYWAY.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
FIGHT FOR A FEW UNDERDOGS ANYWAY.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
BUILD ANYWAY.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU HAVE ANYWAY.

– ‘The Paradoxical Commandments’ was written by Dr. Kent M Smith in 1968, when he was a 19 year old student at Harvard, as part of a booklet for student leaders titled, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council. This quote is often attributed to Mother Theresa, who displayed this quote on the wall of her children’s home in Calcutta.

I see him on whatsapp. It means he hasn’t left. It means he extended his stay. It means I could get my things back. It means he could’ve contacted me to tell me so, and made plans to return them. But he hasn’t gotten in touch. If he wanted to, he would’ve done so by now. Can I live with that? I guess I can. Those items have sentimental value, but in the end, things can always be bought. But money can’t replace a person, a moment, or trust.

I guess my real struggle is in accepting the fact that he could’ve gotten in touch, but for reasons known only to him, has not. And the struggle is in accepting ‘not knowing’ or knowing that the moment we had, though short and sweet, is gone, and along with it, the trust. The struggle is in accepting the reality, the truth of him, as he is, not what I think he is.

But it’s strange…

I still love him anyway. Not in the romantic kind of way (there’s nothing remotely attractive about the way he is choosing to be these days), but in an unconditional way. I’m aware he’s acting like a prick, and that he’s screwing me over in the way that he’s choosing to be right now, and I’m angry. Nobody deserves to be treated this way—not me, not him, not anyone else for that matter. But shit happens and we don’t make the best choices when our Awareness is bogged down by our invisible baggage.

I’ve learnt through personal experience that on a deeper subconscious level, we treat others, the way we treat ourselves. And I understand that a person with a healthy level of growth, healing and awareness will not consciously do this to another person. When we choose to make others feel miserable, it’s because we’re struggling inside and miserable too.

I guess my struggle is in accepting that he still has some way to go before we see eye to eye. And until then, we’ll need to go our separate ways. In the ideal world, we’d still be friends and part on friendly talking terms. But this is the reality. And I guess I have two choices. Not accept it and keep trying and play the fool. Or accept it and let go, knowing that if he ever wanted to contact me again in the future, he would know how to.

I choose Acceptance.

I love what my friend Julia wrote yesterday, “My laptop crashed, so all my writings are gone, which is sad somehow, but I also take it as a sign, to start freshly. Maybe it’s what I have to do…

It’s good and important to have a peaceful relation to the one you loved. Nobody knows where it’s leading in the future. I learned not to take things too serious… Life goes on anyway, no matter how much energy you put into something and what you get out of it…”

My finger moved away from his number and call button. I’ll leave him alone if that’s what he wants. I’ve said and done what’s needed to be said and done. All there’s left to do now is to Accept that It Is What It Is.

I wish you Love…

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

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“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein. What are some major shifts you’re ready to make in 2014? 9 more months. Make it count.

We’re 3 months 8 days into 2014. The past few months have been nothing short of challenging, not only for the world, but for most of us.

There’s plenty of good, a lot of gains, but along with it, there are the not-so-good, the bad and the setbacks. It’s unavoidable. Or is it?

It’s true there are many things we can’t control. We can’t choose what happens to us or what people say and do. We definitely can’t control Life. But every step of the way, we can choose wisely for ourselves. We do have a role to play in steering our life in the direction we want to go.

But we don’t always make the best choices under the circumstances.

Yes, we’re human. We slip up, we mess up, we make mistakes. The important thing is, after acknowledging our responsibility in our mistakes, we can forgive but we must never forget. If we do, we’ll never learn.

Moving forward, let’s see what we can learn from the past 3 months and see how we can eliminate the things that detract from our 2014 Goals.

I’ve gotten myself into unfortunate situations that are totally out of character, when I drink too much. Even though this happens only once a year, all it takes is just ONCE to make a mistake you’ll regret a lifetime.

This is not what I want for myself.

Like I said in my previous post, even as I’m regaining clarity, I’m allowing the gravity of it all to bring me to its proper place. The point isn’t to put it all behind me. I want to face the truth of the reality, to fully learn from it.

I know I want to step up. I want to raise my standards. I want to develop goal-achieving rituals. I want to surround myself in growth-enhancing company. I want to value my time more. And most importantly for me, I want to do what I can, to maintain an Absolute Peak State Of Mind.

I want to take better care of me, so I can take better care of others. I want to be more responsible for me, so I can be more responsible for others. I want to be able to protect me, so I can protect others, too. 

It begins with me.

It begins with you.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.

What are some major shifts you’re ready to make in 2014? We have 9 more months.

Let’s make it count.

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

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5 Days Countdown: Breathe

“Probably the most relaxing sound for me is my breathing. I’m reminded I’m alive. no other singular sound more characterises the dive experience than the sound of the breath.

Breathing in, gently, and with near imperceptibility, I begin to rise. Breathing out, I slowly descend. This gentle rocking, is one of the things that makes diving so soothing…

I breathe, therefore I am. Diving that is. And the breath is such a great way to pace myself… By listening to my breath, I become acutely aware of slowing my inhalations… luxuriating, in the simplicity of the process, and very slowly, exhaling… listening, as the trickle of bubbles are set free as they inexorably make their way to the surface of the water, like helmet in transparent balls of energy, each with their own separate mission to pulse their ways to the top.

Once there, they are set free…

I breathe and feel the filtered dry air fill my lungs. It wakes up all the slumbering alveoli, those tiny sacs that carry oxygen, throughout my body, from within my lungs. And I’m reminded that I never, never breathe relaxed to full breaths like this, when I’m going about my business, topside. But the slow movement of everything under the water, reminds me that there is only this moment, only this breath, and only this feeling…

I’m breathing as I dive, with every breath more relax than the one before it. And as I breathe, I enter more deeply, into where I am. Listen, I’m glad I started diving. It reminded me to slow down, slow down and breathe… to feel… and to enjoy.” – Michael Mish, Breath.

The past one week has been one hell of a turbulent ride… Even as I’m regaining clarity and allowing the gravity of it all to bring me to its proper place, I find that I’m 5 days away from my dive trip in island paradise. I’m getting dive certified for PADI Open Water. It doesn’t feel like a good time to go now. But then again, the sun, sea and sand would be good for me, even as I make time and space for healing. Am very grateful to come across Michael Mish’s vid on BREATH today. His meditative approach to diving is inspiring, calming and peace-restoring… it’s exactly what I need.

Perhaps, it’s exactly what you need too. A simple reminder, to Breathe.

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

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Use your Imagination. Your Imagination have to take you beyond the pain… beyond the trouble… to the next level.

“I want you to Fail Forward… I want you to get to a place in your life that every mistake you make, every setback you get, every obstacle that you don’t overcome, every barrier you can’t climb, I don’t want you to give up, but I want you to Fail Forward…

You got to learn from your mistake… get back up and try again… don’t stop, don’t quit… Fail Forward, learn from each and every one of your mistake. Don’t quit, don’t give up… If it gets hard, you tie a knot around yourself, you double tie if you have to, but you hold on… You will never reach your goal, you will never reach your dreams if you don’t use your Imagination…”

“Use your Imagination. Your Imagination have to take you beyond the pain… beyond the trouble… to the next level.”

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

This Too Shall Pass

 

“This too shall pass” (Persian: این نیز بگذرد‎, Arabic: لا شيء يدوم‎, Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎)

an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. – Wiki

thistooshallpass

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