Saturday, August 27, 2016

Persistence is Waking up and Having the Same Dream Every Day

Incredibly busy learning to become a sensei, more posts are coming once I finish next week.

In the meantime, take a listen to my life right now:

Friday, August 12, 2016

"The Joy Is In The Journey" - Me

Picture this: it is early in the morning and you are cruising down a highway, you are the only one on the road, the road is surrounded by Summer plains, your windows are down and the breeze is whipping through your luscious locks. You don't give a fuck! You can smell the grass around the as it gets wafted through on the breeze. You can feel the hair in your wind. You can hear the wind whip against all of the different parts of your car. What an amazing feeling!

That depth of observance should occur in EVERYTHING we do. I hate to break it to you, but nothing in the future is going to make you more happy than you can be right now. That new house? Nope. That new job? Nope. That new lover? Nope. This is my own philosophical opinion, but happiness occurs by being aware of everything that is happening in the present moment, i.e. what are you seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, or thinking. There is little connection between the activity that you are doing and the senses that you are experiencing/the thoughts you have. In other words, you could be doing something simple or be involved in a complex task, but that should not affect how aware you are of the present moment. 

How about it then, let's start appreciating where we are at in the world.

Having dreams in life is something we can all benefit from. There is nothing harmful from having set a high bar for the things we want to achieve. However, I would like to draw attention to what happens inside our minds when we start chasing some of these dreams. We often have a vivid imagination about what we will be or what we have achieved once we obtain our dream. This also imbues us with an intense motivation to wake up and take the next step towards accomplishing our goals. I can tell you that I have this feeling throughout every single day of my life and I must reiterate that these emotions are good to have! But it is also important for us to realize that we are such ambitious people, and we often do not give ourselves enough credit for how far we have made it. We need to just learn to let go!

There is a lot of comfort that can obtained by living along the lines of the old dusty saying, "the joy is in the journey, not the destination."  Instead of saving up all the enjoyment until once we reach the end goal, does it not make sense to enjoy the whole process?  You are completely able to feel happiness along the road towards your dreams.  All you need to do is free yourself from any anxious thoughts or beliefs that make you think once you are on the other side you will suddenly be full of happiness.  This is how people end up chasing happiness without ever realizing that it has been with them all along.  Lucky for us, we are smart enough to make this realization and break away from that never ending cycle.  We get to choose our happiness and we choose to be happy every moment of every day, starting right now!  There is no doubt that we are going to achieve our dreams, but we are going to enjoy every moment of the journey along the way!

A note from a wise woman.

Monday, August 1, 2016

3 Interesting Facts

  1. I can snap a pencil with my bare hands.
  2. I like drawing ninja stick figures.
  3. Someday I am going to train with Ninjas.

Waking Up

What are you afraid of doing?

We all have that one ambition that we hold back on because we are afraid of failing. It is time to wake up and pursue that goal! This could be anything from asking the girl that you like out on a date, writing a letter to someone who treated you well, quitting your job, or possibly traveling to an unfamiliar place. If you feel stuck or trapped, that is absolutely not true; you have control over every part of your life. It can be effortless to get cozy in our comfort zone and then forget how to challenge ourselves again. But, it can be simple to start challenging ourselves again. Every time we challenge ourselves (starting right now) it becomes easier and easier to do it. The very thing that was initially uncomfortable becomes what we find fulfillment in.

There are tons of societal pressures that young adults have to endure every day and the amount of pressure is only increasing with newer generations. Of course, there have been multitudes of technological advancements that have contributed to this. But think about this, our grandparents most likely experienced much different types of pressures than we are going through. In America, it was our grandparents dream to own a house with a big yard, a white picket fence, and have a family. This is what we call The American Dream. Now, my generation typically has much more complex ambitions than the simplistic dreams of our grandparents. However, with those big dreams comes a lot more pressure along the journey. Dealing with pressure is not that big of a price to pay for having such high ambitions though. There are plenty of ways to deal with the pressure, such as meditation, journaling, blogging, talking to friends, etc...

Now that we realize how big our dreams are, we can start to do something about them. They are often scary and require us to go against our normal way of life. There is no reason to feel afraid of that though. Ponder this: would you rather be uncomfortable for a month or so, or be happy with what you are doing for the next couple years of your life? When you put it into perspective it does not seem that scary. In fact, once you take the first step into the unknown, everything starts to become much more comfortable. It is taking that first step which is the hardest part. You can treat it like a band-aid, either take it off slowly, or rip it off and get it over with. Compile a big list of your ambitions and start to get an understanding for what it would take to reach them. What is the first step you have to take? Remember, if it seems scary to do then just put it into perspective.  Bill Burr has a good quote about this topic:

"Realize that sleeping on a futon when you're 30 is not the worst thing. You know what's worse, sleeping in a king bed next to a wife you're not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple kids, and you got a job you hate. You'll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There's no risk when you go after a dream. There's a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe."

Understanding what your ambitions are is not not enough on its own, you need to act! Carpe diem, or seize the day! Realize what the first step you need to take is and then go about actually taking that step. Make a promise to yourself, write it down, tell a friend or family member, do whatever it takes to make yourself committed to this. After that, all that you have to do is actually take the first step and continue along the path. Of course, there are going to be times when you become less motivated and need some inspiration. This is why it is a good idea to write out your ambitions and everything you want to accomplish, so that you can look back upon it and get the inspiration you need. However, for now you should just be focused on taking that courageous first step! Today is your window of opportunity:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Surround Yourself With Happiness

'Today is such a beautiful day!' -You, right after you woke up.

What was your first thought once you woke up? I hope it was how much you love yourself and where you are at with your life. I forget where I came across this nugget of knowledge, but I once heard that one way to increase your happiness is to surround yourself with happy people and activities. 'Really, it can be that simple?'  Yeah, it can be that simple. It all comes down to what influences you surround yourself with, how present you are in the moment, and how much you appreciate yourself. Let's start off strong:

Positive Surroundings:

"Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that I'm feeling?" Thanks for asking Mr. Marley, I hope it is!  However, one thing I do know is that by listening to your music I become a much more appreciative and selfless person.  It is amazing how much more of a positive person I become when I listen to bright, melodic, and happy music.  Wait a minute, this is also happens not just when I am listening to music, but also when I am looking at art, or watching movies, or hanging out with friends!  You start to act and think like what you surround yourself with.  If that is true, then surrounding yourself with activities and people that have a positive energy will start to ignite the happiness within you.  Do not get me wrong, experiencing sadness, anger, and fear are all perfectly healthy to feel every once in a while.  However, it is up to you to surround yourself with positive activities more often than negative ones!

The biggest hug I have ever received.

Embrace The Present:

"When am I hanging out with this friend again?"
"What time am I going to eat next?"
"What makes ninjas so cool?"

These are the kinds of questions that are always distracting me from living in the present moment.  Often times we live in our thoughts instead of the present situation.  Your mind will distract you from the present by telling you that this activity is boring, interesting, or difficult, etc...  But your mind does not get to control you anymore!  This is where you become aware of these thoughts and bring your attention back to what you are currently doing, feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting.  After becoming aware of these sensations we can learn to appreciate them and be happy that we even get the chance to experience them.  When you see a picture of a Buddha, do you ever think that person is unhappy with their life?  They look way too chilled out for their own good, don't they?  They have learned how to be happy by living in the present moment and not letting extraneous thoughts distract them.  It takes years of observing their thoughts to become that chilled out, but if you can spend more and more of your day becoming aware of this concept, you too can someday be floating on a lotus flower petal.

This store sells one thing: big fluffy clouds.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It:

Wow! We have come so far in our lives and been through so many trials and tribulations which have helped shape and define our awesome character.  But how often do we take precious time out of our day to recognize and appreciate that?  I almost never do!  There is no need to worry though, that can be changed pretty easily.  Let's just take 5 minutes out of our day to meditate and appreciate how lucky we are to be where we are.  It is exciting to be learning new things and coming up with new ambitions in our lives.  Starting to wake up and recognize ourselves for being so bold and adventurous is another great leap we can take in becoming grateful.  We need to learn to love ourselves to the fullest extent, that means in every aspect of our lives, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, funny and awkward.  People do not connect with others who are perfect, they connect with people that they can relate to.  Our imperfections make us relatable!  Let's start to embrace ourselves and accept every part of us for what it is, not what we want it to be.  There is a great book that I would recommend, it is a quick read and we can all learn from it: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant.

That was a lot to take in...  How about we all just chill out and listen to this song:

You can also check out this sweet picture of me and a couple of my Chinese friends:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Learning to Have Trust

How do you start to calm down when you feel anxious or nervous about something in your life?  Do you read a blog, or check the last text you received from someone, or perhaps talk to a family member or friend?  Do you ever journal your thoughts to help you feel more relaxed?  The world works in such strange ways that it can be hard to be vulnerable and put your trust in those people and activities that happen around you.  This is especially difficult when we are always trying to take from the world instead of giving back.  However, it is vital for our health that we continue to put our faith in the way that our lives are unfolding.

Every moment in life is a chance for you to be accepting of yourself and others.  If we are always trying to take from the world instead of giving back to it then we are unable to be happy with the present.  It is so difficult to realize that most of the time we are trying to take from the world instead of giving back to it.  I guess I should speak for myself, but sometimes it is difficult to think about anyone else except myself.  For example, if I am talking to someone, I am already thinking about what I want to say next instead of just listening to what the other person has to say.  With that said, it can be easy to switch from taking to giving!  Just begin paying attention to the people and places that you are interacting with.  Furthermore, being observant of your surroundings can help you focus your mind on the present moment instead of the false thoughts that are creating your self-image.

It is our instinct to live a comfortable life.  Our primitive mind is trained to seek out food, water, shelter, and reproduction.  Once we secure all of these desires, it is our tendency to stay complacent.  But I am here to challenge you to get outside of your comfort zone.  Once you start to become uncomfortable with whatever you find yourself pursuing, it is our habit to stop doing that thing and seek out our basic necessities again.  It is at this point where you need to step up against your primitive brain and tell it to stay calm.  Being in uncomfortable situations is when we grow the most.  All you need to do is TRUST that whatever outcome occurs you will be a better person.  Once you are able to start trusting the world is when you will achieve your most ambitious dreams.

So, when are you going to start challenging yourself and trusting that everything is going to work out?

Take a chill pill!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Busting Through Barriers

How many times have you applied yourself to a certain part of your life only to get stopped in your tracks?  What was it that you were trying to achieve and how did you get stopped?  It may sound backwards, but asking ourselves these types of questions can help us understand what we truly want out of our goals.  Furthermore, it allows us to recognize barriers and then stay motivated instead of getting stopped.  It is time that we acknowledge any barriers in our lives and then bust through them like they never even existed!

For me personally, I have been trying to leave my master's degree in order to find a teaching position in Japan.  I have a particular city in Japan that I know I want to work in and will not settle for a position outside of that area.  While I know this creates tons of barriers, I also know that I will learn a great deal along the path to reaching my goals.  I have already applied to a big ESL company in Japan and was rejected after telling that company that I want to be placed around this specific area.  It took a lot of time to fill out their application and review online what types of interview questions they were going to ask.  However, I recognize that being rejected has refined my dream into something even more precise and attainable than before.  By choosing not to settle I am able to continue to grow and eventually find a position in the location and company that I want to be in.

Putting yourself out there and being vulnerable is a tough thing to do and we should feel proud of ourselves for having the courage to do it.  Never let a road block stop you from achieving your dreams.  If you are brave enough to put yourself out there, then there is no reason that you should not be able to achieve what you want out of that pursuit.  Do not get confused though, I am not saying that you do not need to put any work in to achieve your goals.  You need to put in an incredible amount of work and continuously put yourself out there to be successful in any aspect of your life.

In conclusion:
  1. Write down what your current goals in life are.  Journal that ish.
  2. Actively make yourself vulnerable and apply yourself to those goals.
  3. Do step 2 over and over and over.  Work hard...  Do your job well!
  4. Recognize the various barriers that you will encounter.
  5. Learn everything you can from those barriers.
  6. Repeat from step 1 and use what you learned from your barriers.
These steps will help you soar past the various barriers you come across in your lives.  If they don't then call me out in the comments and I will try to help you out some more.